Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rollercoaster Ride

First and foremost, THANK YOU. Thank you for all of the support that I've received through blog comments to my post last night and via email. When I logged into my email this morning and saw all of the comments to moderate, I opened each one and, honestly, the outpouring of love and support brought me to tears. As I clicked on each email and comment, I was so touched by your prayers and your kind words. Part of infertility and loss is the feeling of lonliness that imbeds itself into your core; reading your words took away some of that sorrow that I felt last night. I am so very grateful.

Things are better in the light of day. I'm still disappointed in my cervical measurements, but I am coming to understand where Dr. B. is coming from. We knew this would happen. And honestly, we all did. Peter and Dr B expected it, I think, where I really hoped the stitch would keep it at bay. But why else would we have the surgery if we thought I wouldnt need it? Exactly... We knew this would happen. We knew my cervix would shorten in spite of the cerclage and that the cerclage would be the closure holding the babies inside. It's still hard to accept, but it isnt out of left field.

I've gotten several questions about hospital bedrest. That is the next step. At this point, being at home is as safe as being in the hospital. I get the impression that once I'm full effaced, I will most likely move into the hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy. At this point, we are hoping to get to 28w before my cervix is completely gone. That would mean about 8-10w in the hospital if we made it full term. So, at this point, the hospital isnt in the picture, but depending on how quickly my cervix decides to make its full exit, I will, possibly, be blogging from the hospital. Rest assured- I will keep you updated.

I've also gotten some questions about hospital beds. Right now, I'm using pillows to keep propped, but Peter and I discussed (very briefly) a hospital bed before he went to work. Right now, we have a Sleep Number bed that is so very much more comfy than a hospital bed. So, I'm hopeful that the pillows will help keep this bed working. I have nasty sciatica and back pain, so anything that works in lieu of a hospital bed is great. But if the pillows dont help slow down the /dilation by our 2w appt (7/29), then I think it is something we will look more into.

Finally, I've gotten some questions about the dilation itself. I'll try to explain this as best as I can. Honestly, I'm not all together sure. Imagine your middle finger and your pointer finger flush together. That's the cervix. The stitch is trying to hold it close. As it dilates, slightly open the top of your fingers, making almost a Y shape. This is currently what I look like. The upper part of the Y is about 2cm dilated (as in, open, ready to deliver type dilated). The lower part that is still flush together is together because of the stitch. The bottom part of the Y shape is still closed cervix, at this point, up to 2cm (closed), depending on the measurement (1.4 at the least). What will eventually happen is that I will have no cervix left, so it will look like an "O" shape (nothing on the bottom, completely dilated on top), and the stitch will be all that stops me from dilating completely. The hope is that I will be far enough along that the babies will be too big to just slip through and that the stitch will hold in place for them to get as far along as possible.

A birth certificate update... As long time readers know, Peter and I have been working on getting birth certificates for the kids for many months. It's been a rough journey. Since no medical personal were present when the kids were born, this has been a nightmare, but Peter has been working tirelessly on this. And finally, the first of our three battles is coming to an end. Nicholas's fetal death certificate has been invalidated by the county coroner. While this may sound bad, it is actually great news. What happened was our county coroner issued the death certificate because the hospital where Nick was taken (in Philadelphia Co) said that he died in Montgomery Co (which we disputed). As Peter has moved up and up with talking to people in Vital Records for the birth certificates, he was told the fetal death certificates would have to be recinded for them to process birth and death certificates. So, one at a time, they contacted our coroner regarding Nick's certificate. We received a letter from the coroner saying that their records show he died in MontCo. Peter contacted him and explained the situation, that he was born at home in MontCo but died in PhilaCo. The coroner said that they would have to open an investigation. This was last week. Well, Peter called me this afternoon, after the investigator called him. She contacted the local EMTs who said that, when they arrived at 7:50pm, Nicholas was alive, that they cut the cord, kept him warm and with oxygen, and contacted MedEvac for transport to CHOP. She contacted MedEvac and the EMT said that yes, he was alive when they lifted off from MontCo and that he scored him an APGAR of 2. He stated that the last movement and natural breath was detected at approximately 8:37 and that, when we landed in CHOP, he declared him dead at 8:42pm, after five minutes of no signs of life. The invegstigator told Peter that, based on this information, the fetal death certificate was improperly issued and that they are revoking it; this means that Vital Records will be told to issue a Certificate of Live Birth and a Death Certificate for our precious Nicholas.

Writing this last paragraph, I've had to stop several times to get my crying in check. We've been working on this for over a year. Trying to get someone, somewhere to listen... And no one would. Everyone was very sympathetic, but all said they "couldn't help". That a 15w6d baby couldnt possibly have breathed. That he couldnt have lived. That our grief must have clouded our views. That we were wrong. Even having EMTs who would attest to our son's movement and breathing.... Nothing. I honestly dont know how Peter was able to keep his cool in the face of this. But he did... He just pushed and pushed. And, because people probably got tired of being harrassed by him, he finally has moved up the chain to people who instigated an investigation. We never had an actual time of death. We assumed 8:45 because that is when I arrived into CHOP's ER and they told us that he was dead when they checked him at arrival... But we didn't know... And now we do. We didnt know that the MedEvac paramedic evaluated him and gave him an APGAR scar. A 2... I know it's low, but it's something we didnt have before... (My little brother was a 2 when we was born; 5 minutes later, he scored an 8, so he was fine, no worries.) Whoever knew that hearing that number would bring such an emotion. But we didnt have it before... We just didnt know... And now we do. It's something else to treasure and hold onto.

So, it's been an emotional rollercoaster of a day. I'm a little slow in reading blog entries today, but I will get to them, I promise. I'm taking it easy and we are treasuring today and praying for tomorrow. All we can do is pray and hope and think positively. And, if the journey ends today, I'm so happy we had these days with them... I wouldnt give back a moment with my sweet Maya and my precious Bobby. They've brought such sunlight into our world. I hope that we see 24w and 28w and 32w and that I go into the hospital at 36w and come home with 2 beautiful, heatlhy babies. But, no matter what, I'm thankful for today, and for all of you who have walked this journey with us. Your prayers are very appreciated. We'll get there. We will.


Amanda said...

I am so glad that you're getting closer to a birth certificate for Nicholas! I can't even imagine how amazing it is to have this new information about your little boy.

Still praying for you and your little ones!!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Michele, I didn't know about the death certificates. I am so sorry for all that you are going through.
It is definately a roller coaster and you really have had to hold on tight. I am praying for you, Maya & Bobby. I can't wait until I see them in your arms alive & well.
You deserve so much.

I want you to know that I received you donation. I am in the process of trying to figure out how to handle donations. I was at the bank today trying to set up an account. Right now I am reviewing my options. I want you to know that I am going to cash the check and put it into a special box to pay for stamps, hanky's, etc. I want you to know that I promise you from the bottom of my heart that I would never not use this money on this project. I am a very honest person and your donation will only be used for "For Your Tears" and never used privately for my own satisfaction, as God is my witness.

Anonymous said...

My family and I will continue to pray for you guys :)

Also, I just found a prayer to St. Collette, who is also a patron for expectant mothers, so I figured I would leave a copy here for you to say:

I beseech you
through the burning love which
inflamed your heart for Jesus
in the Most Holy Sacrament,
through the marvelous graces
with which He enriched you and
the loving compassion you did bear
to Him in His bitter sufferings,
obtain from Him for me
my requests. . . .,
which I hope to receive
through your powerful intercession.


O Lord Jesus Christ,
who have enriched Your spouse,
with heavenly graces,
grant, we beseech You,
that we may imitate her virtues
here on earth, and with her
enjoy the eternal happiness of heaven.

Cara said...

I must say, I was hoping you wouldn't be tested by this - but I didn't think it unlikely.

Your faith, your attitude, your presentness in the moment will carry you. You and peter are fighting for so much.


Kate said...

sweetie pie,
goodness me, I missed your update yesterday and feel just swamped with emotions-- YAY the babies are doing great, and YAY they are ON IT with your cervical issues, so there are no surprises, just observations, plans, reactions-- I wish it were different, but given what is, I think that you are in good hands with your medical team, and your little ones are in great hands with you.


oh, Happy Birthday Sophia,
and oh, gosh the fight for the certificates-- Peter is heroic, and I am so glad you finally have some movement in the direction you wanted. I cannnot imagine the frustration and he must have the patience of a saint.

And you-- thinking of you and hoping that everything turns out as well as it possibly possibly can and that you breeze through August.

warm wishes to you and prayers of all the kinds I can muster,


Busted Tube said...

What a battle to have to fight for the death certificates. I'm so glad that you're seeing some progress. You're doing a great job of taking life one day at a time and your doctor seems like a really caring, smart person who knows his stuff and will do whatever he can to keep you and the babies safe. Life is full of joy & sorrow and I guess we can be very, very sure that those of us who've had more than our share of sorrow will eventually learn to embrace the joy- you're a great example of that to me!

ezra'smommy said...

Just thinking of you and praying that your cervix holds out as long as needed for a safe arrival.

Andie said...


I just visited to say thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

I have been reading your story. It is heartbreaking. You and Peter are so strong. Thinking of you, P, Bobby and Maya and praying for a safe delivery for you.

Mommy (You can call me OM) said...

Oh, Michele. That is definitely powerful information to have, to add to your collection of memories for Nicholas. It's funny how we tell ourselves it doesn't matter what others think or believe about our babies lives, yet it's so validating to have proof showing our babies are most definitely real.

I haven't looked into a death certificate or a certificate of stillbirth. Frankly, I don't think I can face the challenge. I don't even know what my state law says on the matter. Someday.

I'll continue to pray for you, Peter, Bobby, Maya, and your cervix. Email me if you need anything.

Peace, my friend.

Carrie said...

HI Michele,

I just saw you started following my blog and was so excited. I've read your story and am so terribly sorry for your losses. You have an amazingly strong spirit and I know that all of your babies are so VERY proud of you.

I cannot imagine how scared you are after all you've been through. I relate a little with my pre-term contractions and now bed rest to your fear, and am thinking of you. I am hoping and praying that both of our bodies hold on to the precious babies inside for at least another 8 weeks (I am 20 weeks, too).

You will get there! Sending you many hugs and much comfort.