I posted back at the end of October about the fact that we were going to be losing one twin. I'm not sure how to put the link into that post or I would for some of the background! I've been wanting to update since I did give birth and have started to many times, but never finished. I think the first few weeks I was just numb and now it's starting to really hit me. It's so hard to grieve our daughter and parent our son. We've had some friends and family make some very insensitive comments and we've had some supportive family and friends. We find people don't know what to say so they avoid us and we are of course wanting to talk about our baby girl. I've been seeing a counselor since we received the heart defect diagnosis in July and we started to going to a support group. All helpful, but it doesn't bring our baby back.
Here's the update--It's very long:
My water ended up breaking (at work) on Friday, November 4 at 36w4d. I headed over the L and D and was prepped for the c/s. Since doctors told us that our baby girl would live minutes to hours at most, it was important to us that immediate family was present to meet her and her baptisim. I will never forget when they pulled her out and she cried--doctors had told us that she may not and then her brother was pulled out and he cried--such amazing sounds. Hannah is our girl and she was 3lbs, 3oz and 16 inches long and Nathan is our boy, 6 lbs5oz and 19 inches. The nurses brought both of them to me before they and DH went to introduce the babies to the family. We had amazing nurses the whole time--including two that stayed past their shift to be with me during the c/s since DH was going to leave with the babies. It was a rough procedure and I was very sick.
Once I was in recovery, DH and the babies came in. Two great nurses took care of us and I was dizzy and vomitting so I was afraid to hold the babies, but the nurses helped and we got some pictures. There was a nurse in the OR that also took pictures and the NILMDTS photographer was going to start doing pictures as soon as I was out of recovery. Hannah was hanging in there--showing no immediate signs of distress, but it was very evident that besides the heart defect, she had several other birth defects--both babies were so beautiful and amazing.
There were lots of pictures and time for immediate family to hold and snuggle both babies. I was still throwing up about every 10 minutes and don't remember a whole lot. Once family left, our nurses bathed Hannah. Nathan had been given a quick bath in the nursery right after birth. Since Hannah's heart defect and birth defects were non compatiable with life, we did not want her to suffer through procedures and chose to do compassionate care. At this point, she had already surpassed doctor's expectations of the length of time she would live. It was about midnight and I miserable but did not want to send my babies to the nursery. Our two nurses convinced me to send Nathan and then made a deal with me that they would keep Hannah with them outside the room and wake us up if anything changed. We were their only patients so I agreed.
The nurses woke me up around 4:00am to tell me the sweetest story. They put Hannah and Nathan in the same bassinet in the nursery. When Hannah was crying, Nathan began to stroke her cheek. The nurses found a disposable camera and took some picutures for us. They were so excited about this and we are so thankful for the pictures.
By the time the babies came back in our room, it was 6:00am Saturday and Hannah came back sporting a hat with a bow that one of the nurses had made for her. I was feeling much better this morning than last night and for the first time in months, had gotten solid, consecutive hours of sleep. I felt so much better and I couldn?t wait to hold the babies. They were as adorable as I remembered and I remember just holding Hannah for quite some time.
We spent the morning taking turns holding each baby and taking pictures. We knew we would have some visitors later in the day so we wanted to spend as much time as possible with the babies. Hannah was such a sweet baby. She would never open her eyes at the same time, but would rather blink one and then the other. They were beautiful eyes?a very pretty blue. We talked with nurse and the Neonatologist about Hannah. We made sure that she was not in any pain nor would be when she would pass. They assured us that she would be very peaceful and would pass when her heart could no longer pump the oxygen through the valve to her lungs. Her vitals remained constant throughout the day. We knew that her time would be coming to an end eventually, but the thought that maybe should would hold out for a few days did cross our minds.
We kept visitors to immediate family on Saturday and I was just so thankful for the babies and that our family members were able to hold both of them.
My parents and sister were at the hospital in the early afternoon and came back in the evening because they said they had a feeling they needed to. The events become slightly fuzzy at this point. I remember my parents holding both babies and I remember DH and I holding them too. I remember Hannah being taken out of the room for her feeding and the nurse bringing her back in. It was a nurse that we hadn?t even seen before and she didn?t really say anything. My mom picked Hannah up and was rocking her. She asked me and Ed if we wanted to hold her and we said we were fine?we spent a ton of time with her earlier and we wanted grandparents to be able to hold their grandchild. She handed Hannah off to my dad who was also rocking her. He took a picture of her and showed it to me?she looked a little more pale. I didn?t think a lot of it. She also looked peaceful and was all swaddled. Soon I looked over and noticed that she had formula bubbles coming out of her nose. I thought this was strange, and asked my dad to wipe them away. They wouldn?t stop and I looked over again and asked for her. I called DH over and said, ?She?s gone? as I frantically tried to see if she was still breathing or if her little heart was beating. DH came over right away and we both held her as I pressed both nurse buttons and my mom ran out to get the nurse. This was around 7:20pm, shift change. The nurses came running in the room and checked her vitals as we held her, and I looked at them, and said, ?she?s gone, isn?t she?? and the nurse just nodded. DH and I held her and cried and cried and cried. I remember DH calling his mom and dad and telling them to turn around and come back and to call his sisters. The doctor came in and officially called time of death at 7:25 pm the day following her birth. She lived 23.5 hours--we had so much more time than anyone thought we would with her.
I don?t rememb er too many detials. I have no idea where Nathan is during this time. I thought one of my parents had him, but my mom said that a nurse had taken him for testing right before Hannah died. I remember being sick to my stomach and almost vomiting. I remember DH and I just holding her and holding each other. My family was there and DH's family came quickly. I had brought a special blanket to the hospital for Hannah. Nathan had a matching one that was green and brown circles and Hannah?s was pink and brown circles. It was the softest blanket. I do remember wrapping her in it and just stroking her, crying.
I do remember offering others to hold her, but I don?t think too many people did. DH and I took turns. I also remember wanting everyone to leave so we could be alone with Hannah, but not being able to say it. Nathan must have come back in the room at some point, because we held both of them together for awhile.
Our families left and the nurse came back in and said that we could spend as much time as we wanted with Hannah and if we wanted her to stay with us, that would be fine. We spent time with Hannah and Nathan as a family of four. I just remember Hannah looking so peaceful. It was very evident that she was not in any pain when she passed. She looked beautiful. We made the decision that we wanted to say out final good byes to her and have the nurse take her. We wanted to remember her as she was at that moment.
I don?t remember too much more of that night. DH and I came up with what we wanted to post on facebook and we both texted a few close friends. I know we sent Nathan to the nursery for the overnight so we could get some sleep. I know that I did not sleep well at all. I went to bed angry, sad, in shock and even in denial. It felt like a really, really bad dream.
We knew that Hannah was not going to live long, but to have your baby die in front of you and hold her lifeless body is something that no one should ever have to experience. There was no way to prepare for it and the emotions and feelings were so intense. It?s amazing how such a little girl can have such a huge impact in a short amount of time.
We had a wake and memorial service/burial for her a few days after we left the hospital. It was beautiful.
I apologize for this being so long--I really wanted to share my story--Thank you so much for reading. I also apologize for the the disjointed thoughts and typos--it's very late here!