Thursday, February 19, 2009

Remembering Nicholas


The doctor had asked us how our weekend was and my husband answered “hopeful”. It was a Tuesday afternoon in October, 2008. The prior Thursday we had been given some devastating news about our baby. “The ventricles in the baby’s head are enlarged. They are much larger than they should be. We will have to run some further tests to determine exactly what we are dealing with.” The doctor was concerned, extremely concerned. “I am going to get you into Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto as soon as possible. They will do a detailed ultrasound of the baby’s head… we will go from there”. The doctor continued to talk about how Mount Sinai was excellent in dealing with very sick babies . “We must be prepared,” she said, “so that the medical staff can do whatever they need to do once your baby is born.”

I don’t remember much of that conversation. I had waited over an hour for the doctor and during that time I was calm and relaxed, actually enjoying the time to myself (albeit in a hospital waiting room). My OB had told me not to worry, in fact, he said “don’t lose any sleep over this. Ninety-nice percent of the time these concerns work themselves out and everything is fine, the baby will be fine, we are just being cautious”.

You see, I had a difficult and complicated pregnancy. At 20 weeks I was rushed by ambulance to Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay (it was July and we were cottaging on Balsam Lake). The physical pain I felt that day was horrendous. I knew something was very wrong… I just continued to pray that it wasn’t the baby. Then the ambulance attendant said that we were going to go straight to labour and delivery. My heart sank, I continued to pray. It ended up that I had an eight centimeter cyst on my left ovary which had twisted, cut off blood supply to the ovary and was causing an enormous amount of pain. The doctor told my husband and I that if I didn’t have this emergency surgery that both the baby and I wouldn’t make it. So, I had surgery to remove both the cyst and my ovary with my precious baby on board. When I went to sleep from the anaestetic that night I didn’t know if I would wake up still pregnant or not. I was terrified that I was going to lose our baby and yet I had no choice, no control over what was happening to my body.

When I came to I was so sick from all the meds that I didn’t even remember where I was. All I wanted was my husband and all I could think about was our baby – did he make it? He did. In fact, he seemed completely oblivious to all of the excitement and content to just hang out in mommy’s belly, safe and warm.

Three days later I went home and started the process of recovering from major abdominal surgery. Every kick, every turn, even every hiccup seemed to resonate through my scars but they were all the most reassuring feeling in the world. My baby was alive and well... he seemed to be letting me know it.

About 10 days later I knew I wasn't getting any better. The bouts of pain would come and go and I would double over in agony. I decided that I should go back into the hospital and figure out what was going on. More pain management, more rest.... The doctors figured that I had a blood leak of some sort because my blood count was very, very low. Again, the baby was fine... or so we thought.

I seemed to recover slowly after that. I forced myself to rest and rest and rest. Every movement was painful, but well worth it. I was just happy that it was me experiencing the pain and not my sweet baby boy.

It seemed like fairly smooth sailing from then on. My Ob was keeping a close on me and the baby and although we had a rough go of it, I was convinced the worst was over. We were lucky....

And then in less than a minute our world was rocked to the core...

We got that appointment at Mt. Sinai and took all of the tests. I still remember being in a waiting room full of happy, healthy pregnant woman and wanting to crawl into the walls. I couldn't believe what we were there to do, the news we were going to get... my husband and I just continued to pray and think positive.

The news that Tuesday evening was more than devastating. They took us into a private office (which is never a good sign) and laid it on the line. "Part of the baby's brain has not formed at all... it seems that there was a significant loss of blood to the baby at some point and he is barely surviving". I was completely and totally numb. I remember the doctors and my husband talking to me, but I couldn't move, I couldn't speak, I couldn't even cry for a moment.... and then I screamed a scream that I have never heard before. I was shaken to the core and holding onto my belly for dear life.

A week and a half later, at 35 weeks, I was induced into labour. Nicholas didn't want to come.... it seemed to take forever. Nurses and doctors were in and out, some with looks of such pity and sorrow and others with beautiful, reassuring words that I will stay with me forever. Finally, at 1:35pm Nicholas honoured us with his presence. He never opened his eyes, he never cried..... I kept waiting to hear him crying, praying with all my heart for some miracle. He was beautiful. So much like his brothers. I will never forget his smell... clean and fresh. He was starting to get cold and I was trying to keep him warm. My husband and I held him for some time... time seemed to stand still... we were in shock.

My beautiful, beautiful boy. Mommy is sorry that I couldn't protect you. You had your own path and you took it. Mommy is so proud of you. You have taught your mommy and daddy so much. We miss you desperately, but I think we are now getting to a point where we feel so incredibly blessed to have known you. You have made quite an impression and I am determined to treat our experience as a positive one... for you, for us and for your precious brothers. You will be forever loved and remembered.


Anonymous said...

I am just so sorry Nicholas isn't here with you. ((Hugs))

Rachael said...

I am so sorry for you. Sorry that don't have your precious baby with you.

I remember fussing over Alice all night trying to keep her warm, worried that noises would wake her... If only they did.


Erica said...

I've read this many times but never commented. That's what we are dealing with, enlarged ventricles right now. Normal is less than 10mm. Two weeks ago we were at 18mm and 22mm... I'm sorry for your loss... I think of you and your son often.

Post a Comment