I want to be sure to protect this momma's heart -- so if you want to comment, please keep your comments full of love.
I lost my daughter, Cameron Nicole, at about 20 weeks gestation due to a number of things. To this day, I am still not sure the EXACT reason I was induced to deliver. I have a general idea, but haven't received many answers.
My pregnancy came as a shock to my former boyfriend and me. When I became pregnant with Cameron Nicole, I was very young -- only 18 years old, and still a kid. So many things ran through my mind when I saw a plus sign appear on the pregnancy stick: This is not good timing. This is NOT the person I want to have kids with. How am I going to support a baby?
Although I was very nervous, I became a mom instantly, and I loved that little baby more than I have ever loved anything.
At first, my pregnancy was picture-perfect. But in the back of my mind, something just felt wrong. I have never suffered a loss, nor have I known anyone close to me who had. Every time I had a Dr. appointment, I was terrified of the baby dying. There was just something that felt wrong. Maternal instinct is an amazing thing.
About 7 weeks into my pregnancy, I was having a lot of cramping. I took myself to the hospital with a fear of having a miscarriage. The Dr. did an ultrasound and couldn't find a heartbeat. I was devastated. They told me the pregnancy may be too early. Or that I could be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.
I just couldn't believe this was happening. I couldn't breathe. I don't think I cried one time, though . . . I just had to stay strong. My mom was in the emergency room for all 10 hours I was in there. The hospital called in Drs. to come in and look at my ultrasounds, blood tests, and so many more things that I am probably unaware of. I was admitted to the hospital for fear that my tube would rupture if it was an ectopic pregnancy. For the next 3 days they monitored me and checked my hcg levels. By the last day, there was great news: My hcg levels were doubling and I was sent home with so much hope! I had a sonogram appointment scheduled for a week later to check for a heartbeat.
That week was the slowest week of my life. I was so anxious to find out if my baby was alive! At that appointment, I heard the most incredible sound, the sound of my baby's heartbeat. I was so relieved! My mom and I cried together and were just so relieved. At this moment, I realized that things would work themselves out and everything would be okay. I had amazing support from my mom.
This is where my story gets hard for me to tell . . . I honestly believe my daughter potentially saved my life. The father of my daughter (or what I consider him . . . a sperm donor. He was NOT a dad.)was abusive, spent all of our money on alcohol, gambling, other woman, and who knows what! I found out several times that he had been with other women, but didn't have the strength to leave. I felt so embarrassed to be single and pregnant, so I put up with all of the horrible things he did to me. It wasn't until he pushed me up against a wall and locked me in a room. My pregnancy gave me the strength to leave that horrible, toxic home, and to be single and pregnant. I don't know if I ever would have had the courage to leave.
After I moved out of the home I had helped create, I was very fortunate to have an amazing family. Although it was so hard to take the help from my mom, I needed it. I needed a safe place to live.
I can't say that my pregnancy was stress free . . . it was nothing near that. I found out Cameron's "dad" became homeless and unemployed a few weeks after I moved out. I knew that meant no help financially from him. I also knew I would have done everything in my power to keep him away from her. If he put his hands on me while pregnant, what would he do to her?! I talked with so many lawyers about my situation and wrote up a parenting plan so I could sleep at night, knowing his chances of seeing her when she arrived were slim.
October 9, 2010 at around 10 p.m., I went to the emergency room for the second time experiencing severe cramping. When I was brought back and I received 3 enemas because the Dr. said I was "just constipated." I told him repeatedly, "NO, NO, IT'S SOMETHING DIFFERENT, I WOULD KNOW IF I WAS CONSTIPATED!" I was sent home with some type of laxatives, that I refused to use. (Throughout my pregnancy, I don't believe I took ANY type of medications, besides vitamins . . . I would power through any type of pain.)
On October 10, 2010 at around 10 a.m., I was sitting in my office at my desk when the most shocking thing could have happened to me, My water broke. I didn't know what to do with myself. This was my first pregnancy so I didn't know what was normal, and what wasn't. I knew that I had to get to the hospital as soon as possible. I left work bawling, but didn't tell anyone what was happening, just that I needed to leave.
I got to the E.R. and my water was still breaking. I was screaming for someone to help me, and to tell me what was happening and why. I didn't understand I was only 20 weeks along. About an hour after being in the E.R., my mom showed up and I was rushed up to labor and delivery. I was in a little dark room and felt so alone. The Dr. in labor and delivery checked my cervix and did a bunch of other tests. After about an hour after being in that little room, he diagnosed me with "premature rupture of membranes" and said that I had the option to either go home and see if my water bag would seal up, or stay in the hospital to see. Either way, I would have to be on bedrest the rest of my pregnancy. They also said there was about a 30% chance that I would make it full term. I just didn't know how they expected me to make decisions.
While signing my discharge papers, my temperature shot up to 103.2 from 98.0. I started uncontrollably shaking, sweating buckets, and my heart rate was extremely high. The Drs. were horrified and just kept saying they have never seen this before. Experts were called in. About an hour later, the expert Drs. arrived and told me I would have to deliver, and if I didn't, I had a 90% chance of getting sepsis (a blood infection) and a very high chance of ultimately dying.
I was stuck between choosing death for me, or death for my baby. As a mother, I couldn't wrap my head around choosing death for my child. I was more than willing to die for my baby. The Drs. gave me an hour to make a decision. (I think they wanted me to come to terms with what was happening, so I didn't feel forced.) My nurses and Drs. were incredible.
I was on my deathbed, hardly able to even open my eyes I was so sick, and I just couldn't bear the pain any longer. I finally gave in the towel and let them induce me. I could feel myself fading fast. They tried 3 times to induce me, and it was the most incredible pain I had ever felt. I was throwing up, shaking, sweating and screaming my lungs out. My cervix just wouldn't dilate. I was hooked up to so many machines, and had a lot of powerful drugs put in my IV.
The worst parts were when they had to do ultrasounds, I couldn't stand seeing my tiny little baby moving around in there having no idea what was about to happen. I held my pregnant belly and talked to her the whole time. I didn't want to let go. I had over 30 Drs. and nurses coming in and out of my room, doing bloodwork and they even brought in a mobile catscan because at one point they believed I was getting meningitis. I had no hope that I would make it out alive.
Somehow Cameron's dad found out and was calling the hospital begging to come see me. I banned him from showing up . . . I couldn't believe he ever thought he would belong there. He also had the nerve to text me, and my mom repeatedly, "is our baby going to die?" and "is this the end?" Those were not the words I needed to hear.
As soon as labor pains kicked in, they suggested that I get an epidural. When the woman came in to give me the epidural, I started bleeding heavily and it felt like time to push. At that moment, I knew this was it. I think mentally I went away during my delivery. How could I mentally be there delivering a baby I know would die?
I remember hearing the Dr. tell me to push and with one push she was out. Cameron was born at 5:38 a.m. on October 12, 2010. They rushed her away to test for a heartbeat. She lived for 3 short minutes . . . minutes I wasn't awake for. I thank God that my mom was there to hold her hand. I fell asleep and didn't wake up until around 9 a.m. My dad was next to me holding my hand.
I was in the hospital for the next few days feeling a million times better, but feeling the emotional side was unbearable. At first I didn't want to see my baby . . . I just couldn't imagine seeing her lifeless body. My mom talked me into it and I gave the okay to bring her in.
She looked like a tiny baby, even at only 20 weeks. She had 10 fingers and 10 toes. She was perfect in every way, just beautiful. I did not hold her, I just looked at her for hours. That is the one part I regret. The hospital took a few pictures and got her hand and foot prints. I was sent home with empty arms. It was the most confusing feeling ever: To be pregnant, give birth to a beautiful baby girl, and to leave the hospital without a baby in my arms.
Grieving without the support of a husband/significant other was really hard. I was all alone. Being so young, I had absolutely no friends who could relate. Needless to say, I lost a lot of friendships. I wasn't able to try again for a baby that I wanted so badly.
The Drs. also said I had contracted Chorioamnionitis (also called amnionitis or intra-amniotic infection), which is a bacterial infection that occurs either before or during labor. The name refers to the outer membrane (chorion) and the fluid-filled sac (amnion) that encloses the embryo. Chorioamnionitis affects between 1 and 10% of women at term and up to 33% of patients who deliver preterm. Chorioamnionitis usually develops when bacteria that are part of the normal vaginal flora "ascend" into the uterine cavity. The amniotic fluid and placenta, as well as the baby, become infected. E. coli, group B streptococci, and anaerobic bacteria are the most common causes of chorioamnionitis. E. coli and group B streptococci are also the two most common causes of infection in newborns.
I miss my baby more and more every day. It's crazy to think she has been gone a little over a year now.
A word to other mommas: Some things I would suggest . . .Take as many pictures as possible, every inch of your baby. Hold your baby! I can't say that enough!
Thank you for reading!
My goal in sharing stories on this blog is:
1) To honor our beloved babies and keep their memory alive.
2) To validate and honor the grief of the moms who have lost their little one.
3) To be a resource to women who are hoping to find someone, somewhere out there, who can relate to their feelings of loss. I hope this blog will be that resource.