Our Judah Story-Part 6-The Aftermath

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I remember little from the rest of our stay at the hospital. I was on so much medication and my body was so drained, I slept more than anything else. A few people came to visit us, and I was so tired, I would wake up just barely enough to see who it was, and then fall back to sleep, mouth open and all, without even caring. There were times I tried to stay awake and visit, but I simply could not keep my eyes open.

I remember talking with our grief nurse, Debbie. She was amazing. I don’t think I would have made it through those few days without her. I think we stayed there two more days before they told us I was well enough to go home. They offered for us to stay longer if we wanted, but left the final decision to us. We thought it would be best to leave that room behind. I got out of bed and took a shower. For the first time since our arrival I looked at myself in the mirror. My color was starting to return, but I looked way too skinny. Never had I imagined I would think that about myself, but there it was, hanging in the air. I was too skinny. I had only gained about 10 lbs during my pregnancy, but I lost around 35 pounds in fluid during the delivery. I hadn’t weighed so little since the very beginning of high school. It ached to see the empty spot where my full belly had once been. I would have gotten pregnant again that day if I could have.

We stayed with my parents over the next few weeks. I still needed to be watched closely-I wasn’t out of the woods quite yet. I was placed on strict bedrest. Because my blood pressure was still so high, I was told I had to keep the lighting in the rooms I was in really low. I could watch t.v., but nothing stressful or too intense. I certainly wasn’t allowed to drive, or do any lifting, or cleaning, or even a lot of mothering, for that matter. That was the part that hurt the most. I wasn’t able to take care of the sweet baby I did have.

Shortly after leaving the hospital, we made arrangements for a memorial service and burial. Debbie had somehow managed to get us a spot in a nearby cemetery that was specifically for babies and small children. There technically weren’t any spots left, so I’m not sure how she swung getting that spot for us. We chose a tombstone. It had lambs on it, with the words, “Little Ones to Him Belong.” In case you don’t remember. We still thought our baby was a little girl. We had named her Ruth Abigail. Her name was going to be engraved on the tombstone as well.

In the midst of planning everything, Blake received a phone call. “We have the final lab results from the amnio and CVS in” the voice on the other end informed him. She confirmed that our baby had Triploidy (three full sets of chromosomes), which we already suspected. “There is one other thing I have to tell you” she admitted. She apologized profusely before finally letting Blake know that the little girl I had given birth to was actually a little boy. As soon as Debbie had heard the results, she insisted they tell us the truth, which we so appreciated.

I had been outside when Blake got the phone call. I knew the news wasn’t good when he called me in. There is a lot he doesn’t remember about this season in our life, but he remembers this specific instance with great clarity. Having to deliver the news to me and the rest of my family just about killed him. For me, I had spent my entire pregnancy bonding with a little boy. It wasn’t a huge shock to me. I was sad, yes, and I was a little bit shaken. But my biggest fear was that it was going to be my only chance at having a little boy. For everybody else, however, they had spent time bonding with and grieving over a little girl. It was a pretty hard hit. I never blamed the ultrasound tech. We should have known it was too early to really be able to tell. We never asked for confirmation when he was born. In fact, going back and looking at pictures, we saw the boy parts. We were simply too grief stricken to even think about it. We were so close to the memorial and burial, and now we had to change everything from girl things to boy things. Thankfully, Debbie helped with the bulk of that. We returned pink flowers and got blue ones. I decided on a blue dress instead of a pink one. Those types of things. It was certainly not what we needed at that time. But we pulled through. We made it.

The memorial service was beautiful. Our worship leader sang, and our pastor spoke. Blake and I each shared a little bit. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of people who came out to love on and support us. There were so many people packed into that room-we didn’t even have enough seats set out. And so many of them had traveled to be there, some people I hadn’t seen in a very long time. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. I felt so loved and cared for. The burial the next day was much more intimate, but still so lovely. Our friend, Jimmy, who had spent countless hours at the hospital with us, spoke for it. Some of our dearest friends took time off of work to be there with us. We felt so blessed. It was a beautiful day, and while I felt so sad, I started to feel a little bit of hope. We had named our baby boy Judah Joseph. Judah means “Praise” and Joseph, “He will add.” There were so many promises packed into those two little names. My heart held tight to that. My heart still holds tight to that. And my heart needed all the hope it could get to hold me together for the months to follow.

Our Judah Story-Part 4

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Honestly, so much of everything turned into a blur at this point. I felt as though I got sicker by the moment. I remember lying in bed every night, wondering if I was even going to wake up the next morning. Or, if I did wake up, would it be in a hospital bed? Would I wake up paralyzed? Was I going to stroke or seize as I slept? It was completely and utterly terrifying. I really think what kept me going was the thought that Lane needed her mommy. I couldn’t die, because my 10 month old daughter couldn’t grow up without her mom.

At my MFM appointment, they told me that I also had preeclampsia. But, the thing was, in order to “technically” have preeclampsia, you have to be 20 weeks along, which I was not. They said the earliest case of preeclampsia they had ever seen was 18 weeks. I still wasn’t that far along. But sure enough, I had preeclampsia. I cannot even tell you how many times I heard “This is so rare, we’ve never seen this before, this is a case for the books, etc…” I kept thinking about that medical show that used to be on T.V. where weird things happen to people and they get really sick and then it’s usually some really weird form of some rare something or other. I don’t even remember what it was called. But I felt like I would be a perfect candidate for that show.

I don’t know how much time had passed, not much, but we went in to get a second opinion. As it turns out, my brother and his wife go to church with an MFM. My sister-in-law has known him her entire life. He’s a good family friend. They gave us his contact info and gave him a heads up as to what was going on. We got in touch with him, and really just wanted to ask him a few questions. We didn’t think going in to see him was a possibility. But God is good, and Dr. Harry talked to my husband and told him he would open up his office early so that we could get an appointment in with him-it was even covered by insurance. Better yet, he and my doctor had done their residencies together. They knew and respected each other-they were simply in different networks. He was truly a Godsend.

The morning came to see Dr. Harry. We went into his office and met the ultrasound tech. She got everything started and told us our baby was a little girl (more on that later). I was SHOCKED as I had spent my entire pregnancy knowing my baby was a boy. When the doctor came in, we did a crazy in-depth ultrasound. I didn’t even know it was possible to go so in-depth. We looked at baby’s heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, etc. His heart was too small, I think, he had fluid on his brain, he was missing some organs. I don’t even remember everything that my sweet baby had wrong with him-there was so much. And then Dr. Harry turned to me, looked me straight in the eye, and said something along the lines of, “I don’t know what you usually look like. But I can tell you right now, you don’t look good at all. You have to deliver this baby. You cannot stay pregnant any longer. I know we serve the same God. And all life is sacred, and all life is precious. But Lindsay, this baby has a 0% chance of survival. This baby is not going to live. And if you don’t deliver-and soon-I mean you need to start the process today, as soon as possible-you WILL end up in the hospital. And it won’t be because of something small like high blood pressure. You WILL end up in the intensive care unit because of kidney failure, or a heart attack, or stroke, or a lung collapsing, or something MAJOR like that and it will be a long, tedious recovery-if you even recover at all. Doctors make up reasons for women to deliver their babies early all the time, but this is truly one of those rare cases where your pregnancy will kill you-and baby-if you don’t deliver in time.” And then he grabbed our hands, bowed his head, and prayed with us.

Before he let us leave, he made us go back to another room so that they could take my blood pressure and monitor me a little bit. He told us over and over again that we needed to call my doctor THAT DAY so that I could be admitted. I was ready to go, I knew how badly I felt, and I knew the whole time that I was never going to have that baby. But for Blake, he was still in shock-entirely and completely overwhelmed. He wasn’t quite sure he was ready for me to deliver. Everything was happening so quickly. We decided we could probably wait just a little bit longer. Dr. Harry must have seen our hesitancy, because he went ahead and called my doctor on his own. He told him how sick I looked and that I needed to come in as soon as possible to have an emergency delivery.

A couple of hours later, we received the call from my doctor that it was time. We needed to come in so that, at the very least, they could monitor me. He told us we could take a little bit of time, but no more than a couple of hours-the sooner I was there, the better. I don’t remember what we did in that time or even how much time we took. I only remember that driving to the hospital felt like we were driving to Death Row.