Carter was due tomorrow. I am feeling the need to share his birth story and no one IRL has asked about it. I hope it is ok to post it here.
If you didn't know, and couldn't figure it out - Carter passed while I was in labor with him. I have included some small pictures below. If either his birth story or the pictures will be traumatic to you, feel free to stop reading now.
The Friday before he was born, I was having lots of signs of impending labor - spotting, cramps, etc. Saturday morning came with some strong contractions, but they stopped and there were no signs of labor anytime soon all day Sunday and most of Monday.
By Monday afternoon, I knew something was starting to brew, but I couldn't say with any confidence that it was time. The cramping increased during dinner and by the time I tucked Livie into bed, I was fairly confident that we would be heading to the hospital sometime that night. In true nesting fashion, I cleaned the bathroom and living room before settling on the couch to watch TV with DH.
DH and I were laughing as Carter moved his little butt around in my stomach. You could see and feel it moving from side to side. I wish I had taken a video.
DH and I headed to bed around 11:00. I was really uncomfortable at this point, but didn't think that it was quite time, so I was hoping to get some sleep in. I woke up at 1:00 feeling like I was having a never ending contraction. I called the on-call midwife and told her that I needed to come in. My brother came over and DH and I headed to the hospital it was about 2:30ish (i think) when we got there.
As soon as I walked in the door, the nurses announced that I looked awful and rushed me to labor and delivery. It didn't take long for me to realize that something was wrong. The nurse tried forever to find a heartbeat, and was acting panicky as my room filled with more and more nurses. They wouldn't talk to me, but I knew that I hadn't heard that familiar heartbeat come out of the monitor yet. (at one point I heard a nurse call out a heartbeat of 140 and felt momentary relief - I later learned that was my heartbeat) When I saw the ultra-sound machine rolling in, I knew we were in trouble.
Looking at a perfectly still baby on the screen was heartbreaking. I felt like I was having an out of body experience. This stuff happens to other people - not me.
The placenta had separated from my uterus, cutting off blood and oxygen supply to the baby. Additionally, it had formed a cup shape and was holding all the blood that the abruption had caused. I am so thankful that the doctors were able to see this on the ultra sound, as it answered a lot of the questions that we would have otherwise had.
I broke down as soon as I realized what had happened, and begged for an epidural to take away the pain so I could sleep. The midwife agreed that I could rest for awhile, and said that as long as my vitals stayed strong, I could rest until 5:30.
At 5:20, I was fully dilated (was a 4 at arrival) and the nurses were encouraging me to deliver. DH and I took a couple of minutes to prepare ourselves, and then it was time to start pushing.
An epidural was a unique experience this time. It took away all contraction pain, but I could still easily move my legs and feel everything that was happening with my girl parts. The only pain difference between Carter's birth and Olivia's (med-free) birth was lack of contraction pain.
Carter was born after only a couple pushes. I felt everything, but without the contraction pain, I remember it all so clearly. My memory of his birth isn't clouded like Olivia's was. The room was dim and quiet as Carter came out and was placed on my chest. Even though I knew it wasn't going to happen, part of me kept waiting for him to cry.
I will never forget looking around the room and seeing all the nurses standing there with tears in their eyes.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to look down at him, but I am glad I did because it was love at first sight. He was perfect. Lots of similar features to Livie, and the same mole on his back that his dad has. I was expecting to have an hour or so with him, but the nurses told us we could keep him as long as we wanted.
Olivia came to the hospital to meet her brother. She helped pick out an outfit, and then she bathed him and dressed him with mom and dad. Liv chose a monkey outfit from Carter's diaper bag and from that moment forward he has been known as "monkey butt" (there is a monkey on the bottom)
DH and I spent the day talking and snuggling Carter, before calling Olivia back for dinner. We ate dinner as a family of four, and then allowed Olivia to read to Carter, play with him and sing to him. She tucked him in and kissed him goodnight.
After Livie left, DH and I said our good-byes and tucked him in again. We allowed him to be brought to the morgue for the night. I asked for something to sleep and fell asleep right away.
In the morning, I had Carter brought back to us and laid next to him for awhile. DH and I sang him some our family's favorite songs, and talked to him about all sorts of things.
Eventually, we asked the nurses to help us leave, because we could have never made the decision on our own. DH carried Carter back down to the morgue and wrapped him up and tucked him into the baby basket they have there. I couldn't handle the trip, so an amazing nurse sat with me.
Leaving the hospital without him was the hardest thing I have ever done.
The placental abruption caused a lot of bleeding on my part (to the nurses here, my hemoglobin was a 7 when we left the hospital) and the emotional and physical toll has me in pretty rough shape right now. (not to mention the pulmonary embolism a week later)
We picked up Carter's ashes last night, so we are all finally home as a family together - just not in the way we expected.
Below are some (hopefully) clickable thumbnails of pictures of Carter. I miss my little guy. So much.