Thursday, August 6, 2009
The Day Noah Left Us
It was one month ago today that Noah left us. One month ago that our lives were changed forever. Someone else who lost their child said something like this on their blog and I feel the same way...that we think of our lives now as divided into two categories "before Noah died" and "after Noah died". I don't know why certain days have to be so difficult. While Noah was born on July 7th and this is also the date that his death certificate will say he died, our lives changed on July 6th at around 6:30pm when we heard the words, "his heart has stopped beating".
I called David on his way to work this morning and said, "it's been a month since Noah left us". He said, "And it never gets any easier....it seems harder." I told him that the further from the day of his death we get, the further away from Noah I feel. I don't want him to be forgotten. I know David and I will NEVER forget him, but I worry that others will. His life mattered. It mattered SO MUCH to me and to David.
I can't help but replay the whole day in my head over and over again. I remember waking up that morning and realizing that I could not remember if I had felt him move the entire day before. I knew I had felt him move on Saturday at around 5:00 because it was the first time that my brother and my sister-in-law got to feel him. We could even feel where his head was near my rib cage (he was breech). I went to work that Monday and told my co-worker that I was a little concerned that I had not felt him move. At lunch I decided to drink a Mountain Dew hoping that the caffeine would do the trick. Nothing. Around 3:00 I was reading all sorts of things online about how to get your baby to move and someone said to drink orange juice. I left work and went to the store to buy a big bottle of orange juice. On the way back to work I drank the whole thing and then just waited. To put this in perspective for you, let me share that five days prior to this, the same thing had happened. He had not moved for a while and after a lot of prompting, he finally started kicking. I shared this with the doctor at my last appointment, but his heartbeat was 155 and there was no indication that there was a problem. On the way home from work I called my Dad who was extremely concerned and he asked me to call the doctor. Then I called David and started to get really concerned. We both arrived home around the same time and I decided to lay on my side for a while and see if I felt anything. Still nothing. I called Angela who was in New York on vacation with her family. She said that it had been too long since I had felt him and that I really needed to call the doctor. I know what some of you are thinking....why didn't you call the doctor sooner? Since my 24th week appointment when my blood pressure had really started to become a concern, I had been totally cautious. I bought my own blood pressure cuff and was taking it about 15 times a day. I had called the doctor on-call on 3 different occasions and I had gone to the doctor's office without an appointment 3 other times because I was so worried. But the last time I had gone to the doctor I saw a mid-wife (not my usual doctor) and she told me that Noah's heart rate was fine and that I needed to calm down and stop taking my blood pressure so much. This made me feel like a totally paranoid mother. So on July 6th when Noah wasn't moving, I really thought I was just being paranoid.
As soon as I got off the phone with Angela, I called the doctor's office. I spoke with a different mid-wife that was on call and she told me to come straight to the birthing center at the hospital. David and I took Ethan over to our friends/neighbors' house and then were on our way to the hospital. Like I said, David and I were concerned, but let me just say that it never crossed our minds that our child could be dead. We were concerned that he might be in distress and that they would have to take him early and that he may end up in the NICU for a long time. That was all that was going through my head....how tiny he would be, how difficult it would be to see him hooked up to machines, unable to hold him and feed him. David was making me laugh on the way to the hospital. We had been talking about the name "Noah" for a long time, but it wasn't until we were on our way to the hospital that David said, "Ok, I'm finally ok with the name Noah, so let's name him Noah David". I was SO happy in that moment. I had been begging him to let us name him that for months and he just wasn't sold on it until that day. When we arrived at the hospital, they put us straight in a room and we waited for the nurse to come in. I changed into a gown and got into the bed. The nurse finally came in and put the monitors on my belly. We waited. Nothing. She tried for several minutes and could hear nothing. She finally said, "Don't panic, we really need to get a doppler. I think I hear some movement, so don't worry." Another nurse and the midwife came in with the doppler and I fully expected to hear the loud beating heart as soon as they put in on my belly (just like every other doctor's appointment I had). But there was nothing. I started to cry, but still had hope that maybe he was just turned and they couldn't hear it. A few minutes later the doctor came in with an ultrasound machine and I knew that this was the moment. This was either going to be the best sound I had ever heard or the silence that would break my heart. The doctor turned on the screen and faced it towards us. We saw sweet Noah's body...his head, his spine....his heart. And it was still. I looked at David who was in total shock and I just start screaming, "Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God." After about 10 minutes of this I finally looked back at the room of doctors and nurses who had tears in their eyes and said, "How could this happen? He was fine! Why????" They did their best to comfort us and David and I wept together. Then David had the horrible task of calling our family and friends to let them know. I spoke to noone.
While David was gone from the room, the doctor explained that Noah was breech and that because of my emergency c-section with Ethan, it would be best to do another c-section instead of induction. I had originally wanted to have a V-bac with Noah, but at that moment I could not fathom having to go into labor and push out my child that I would never hear cry. The doctor asked me if I wanted to have the c-section that night or in the morning. There was NO WAY I was going to let them take Noah from me right then and there. I was just finding out that he was gone and now they wanted to take him from me? NO. "In the morning," I said. David came back in and was not happy about this. He thought it would rip me apart to have to try to sleep, knowing that my child was still in me and was dead. I knew I wouldn't sleep anyway and I just needed time to process. I needed one more night with my son all to myself.
I talked to Noah that night. I told him how sorry I was. Sorry that I couldn't protect him better. Sorry that I didn't pay more attention to his kicks. I prayed that Noah had just fallen asleep and that he didn't suffer. I asked God to show me why. WHY????? 30 weeks and 5 days of praying for him, planning for him, waiting for him, carrying him. WHY????? What was it all for? What was the point? Haven't we suffered enough loss already God? Why would you take away Ethan's little brother?
I didn't sleep at all that night. I just wept.
We miss you sweet baby. Your mommy and daddy love you so much!!!
I'll share about Noah's birth tomorrow.