I was feeling confident going into November 22, 2008. The day before had been, well, boring for a pregnant woman who had pPROMed. By tonight, two years ago, I was happy we'd gotten another day, no worse for wear. I was drinking a lot of water, wasnt leaking fluid, and could feel Alexander moving around. I fell asleep, wrapped up in Peter's arms, waiting for the weekend to pass so that I could- fingers crossed- get a cerclage on Monday and carrying Alex through the new year.
I woke up around 11pm, covered in blood. The bed was covered, my waist and below were covered, Peter was drenched. I woke him up. My worst fear was that I'd delivered in my sleep. Peter quickly discovered that Alexander had not made his entrance, but there were huge clots and I was bleeding pretty terribly. We rang for the nurse as he changed his bloody clothes. Our favorite nurse from our time there- the same nurse who would ultimately baptize Alexander before he died- came in and paged the doctor as she set up the doppler.
I willed a sound to come out, but... nothing. She looked and looked... Nothing. "I'm sorry," she whispered, but I wouldnt let her go any further.
"He's not dead." Even though I couldnt feel him moving... even though there was no sound from the machine... I just knew. He couldn't be dead... He couldn't be.
Our door opened and another nurse, followed by Dr. L., who happened to be a friend of Dr. B. and was covering his patients, came him with an ultrasound machine. Our nurse explained that she couldnt find Alexander's heartbeat and I tried to hold back a sob as Dr. L. started the ultrasound.
It was black. I couldn't see a thing... including my cuddlebug. I was on the verge of a complete meltdown when the doctor pointed and said "There he is, right there. He's moving... But I dont think we're going to be able to see him too well." He looked for what seemed like forever before shutting the machine off and, with a pained face, explained what we were facing.
My placenta had started to pull away from my uterus. Labor was inevitable. Alexander would be born soon... when was a matter of guessing. But there was no delaying it any further. I will never forget the look on his face or the gentleness of his voice as he said "I'm sorry, but there is nothing I can do to stop this."
But then, he said something that I am so thankful for. Instead of trying to convince us to induce labor or to take medications to ease the birth, he looked at us and said "What can I do to help you?"
This doctor that I didnt know, that I'd never met before that evening, wanted to know how he could help... Not what he could do from a textbook or how he could administer this drug or that one, but how we thought he could be assist us... Peter explained to him that we had delivered extremely premature babies before and that we wanted to be as alone as medically safe, that we would deliver naturally and didnt want intervention, since we knew that Alexander's time would be measured in minutes- if we were lucky. Dr. L understood and told us that he wouldn't bother us unless we rang for him, and advised the nurses to give us our space.
Our nurse asked if we wanted a priest called, which we did, and she left, and then we were alone. Alone to contemplate the inevitable. Our son would die. He would be born only to leave the world. It is the cruelest of realities... to know that you can't save your child. To know that you would do anything in the world to do so- that you would die yourself if it meant that they would live- to know that nothing is enough.