Sunday, December 20, 2009

The longest weekend of my life...(Olivia's story)

Olivia's story is not exactly how we had hoped it would be. So much happiness and hope turned south very quickly. The following is a recap after coming home from the hospital:

*Note: There is a severe lack of editing here. Upon getting home from the hospital, I thought I had better write down the events before I forgot them, so I quickly wrote this as an email to myself as I remembered it and didn't really look back.*

The weeks leading up to her passing I noticed less movement, but was reaffirmed by Olivia's strong heartbeat that all was okay. Also the fact that towards the end, they have less space, hence less movement. On December 8
th, I went in for my 36 week check up. Her heartbeat was in the 140s and strong, so even with minimal movement, Dr. Herman said things look fine. However, come December 9th (36 week mark) in the evening, I started to get worried because she wasn't really moving at all. I ate ice cream, drank ice cold water, etc. with no response. I thought, okay I'll call in the morning because they say to wait a certain amount of time before getting worried. I tried to just go to bed, and pray that everything was okay. In hindsight, I should've gone to L&D that night, but would things be any different? Was she already gone? On December 10th, I called and they scheduled me for a non-stress test at 1:30pm. They didn't seem concerned, but wanted to make sure she was okay. The nurse had a hard time finding a heartbeat, but said there was one. However, it kept going away, so she went to get Dr. Herman. He came and couldn't find one, but didn't tell me that. He said in a calm relaxed voice, "Why don't we go ahead and do an ultrasound?" So we went to the other room, and I waited patiently as he focused on the ultrasound for what felt like forever. He didn't look anything but focused as he stared at the monitor. He turned it off, helped me sit up, then paused and said, "I'm sorry, but unfortunately there is no heartbeat." I asked if he was sure and he reassured me that with the ultrasound it's 100%. He said it could be a cord problem, but we wouldn't know until she was born. He asked how I wanted to handle things and if I wanted to be induced immediately. Sitting there in COMPLETE shock, I said, "yes, right now, let's do it right now." Well, I went to make a red cross message to James as he was in Afghanistan. I then called my sister, Jen, to have her relay the news. I was going to just have my friend, Sarah, get Oba while I went straight to the hospital, but figured it would be easier to go home and get him myself, etc. On my way home, I realized I should wait for James to get home so that he could hold his baby girl. So I called the doctor and they said we could wait until he gets home to induce, but to come to L&D to be checked for infection. All the while, I got home to get Obadiah's stuff together, as well as my stuff for the hospital. I spent the next 30 minutes or so crying/screaming/yelling out to God asking why this happened? Oba tried so hard to comfort me. So much so that while I was going to the bathroom, he ran in and tried to sit on my lap. He wanted to comfort me, and knew something wasn't right. He started crying while pacing the house and running to his hiding spots. He was obviously just as stressed out as I was. After about 30 minutes, Sarah got to my house to get Oba. He went with Sarah's ex-husband, who was in town visiting CJ (their son), back to their house. Once they left, Sarah and I headed off to L&D that night. By my request, we did another ultrasound just to make sure there truly was no heartbeat. Unfortunately, Dr. Vu (a resident), verified Dr. Herman's analysis. He showed me clearly on the monitor where her heart SHOULD be pumping, but it wasn't. While sitting there with Sarah and waiting for the doctor's decision on what to do next, our pastor, Peter, stopped by with his wife, Stacy. We prayed and talked for a few. He said after a long pause, " guys are nearly like Job, but not." So true. How much more are we going to have to endure while trying to build our family? After a little longer of us talking, they headed home. Right as the doctor released me, my friend, Shan, came in. She wanted to be there to comfort me, but the drive from Puyallup kept her longer than planned. After I finished up all the paperwork, as to not have to worry about it when I came back, we went back to Sarah's. We hung out for the evening as I just sat in shock. I had been having contractions for days, and continued to have them, as I sat there knowing that my baby girl had already passed away. I just wanted to be home and be alone with Obadiah and cry my eyes out. After about midnight, I did that. However, after talking to James for an hour and having strong contractions, we agreed I should go to the hospital. So I went back to drop Oba off at Sarah's. I called the hospital and was told to stay put until I had contractions 2 minutes apart and couldn't breathe through them. Fine. So I stayed the night on Sarah's couch. I think I got no more than an hour of sleep that night. It was such a living nightmare. I still couldn't believe we were going through this. We were so close. 36 weeks. Why did this happen? Luckily, my sister, Deb, booked a flight and was on her way out to be with me until James got home. She got there at noon that next day (Dec. 11) and we headed home. She cooked, cleaned, and just tried to keep me company while we anxiously awaited James' arrival. We soon found out that James made a flight out on Saturday, and luckily was arriving Sunday (Dec 13th) at 11am. So we tried to keep busy until then, just hanging out on the couch, on the laptops, and with the tv on. We headed to SeaTac to pick James up Sunday afternoon, and it was such a relief to see his face and hug him. He was home, so now we could deliver our baby girl. I had worried that with all of the contractions, Liv would come before her dad got home. However, she waited for him. We tried to relax that evening, but we really couldn't. It was just too much to handle. Just walking into Livy's room with James was unbearable. We both broke down. We were completely ready for her. We had everything. Her bed was ready, clothes washed, diapers stocked up, etc. Deb left to give us space (we didn't know until we went downstairs and couldn't find her), and ended up getting a flight out that night so we could have time alone. We tried to get some sleep that night, but as with the rest of the weekend, that didn't really happen. We got up early enough for showers, and headed to the hospital. We were supposed to be there at 7:30am for the induction. We got there, got set up in our room, and the doctor came in to start the process. I had blood drawn, vitals taken, and an internal exam to figure what approach to take. After doing so, they decided to start the process with a dose of Misoprostol to soften the cervix at around 9:30am. By 1pm, they gave me another dose as I was 2cm dilated. About an hour later, we had them order the epidural. It wasn't long until the anesthesiologist came in to administer the epidural. Let's just say he liked to talk and was incredibly goofy. Even with all of the pain I felt, the sadness that surrounded the situation, and the shock behind it all, James and I couldn't hold back the laughter. He was definitely a blessing, as it brought probably the only smile to our faces that day. It wasn't more than maybe 12 minutes before I was nice and numb, which was great. So we continued to just hang out and wait to see if things were progressing. By around 4:45pm, I started to feel more, but forgot that I was in charge of the button to re-up the epidural. So I started to go through the contractions and we had them come in. About 15 minutes later, I was back to being on a cloud. All the while, I knew I felt Liv progressing. I wasn't sure if it was me, or if she was really starting to come out. Well, we finally told the nurse and she called the doctor in. He came to check my progression and sure enough, her head was right there. They immediately called for Dr. Herman to get in there, because it was time. I knew I could push right then and there, but waited for them to get in and prep for her delivery. They set up the bed, got their gowns on, etc. and prepped the room for Liv's delivery. It wasn't but 2 pushes and she was completely out. It was like reliving the same nightmare that we went through with Jake, as it was silent when she came out. It's the most awful sound, as you know little Olivia had already passed away and her poor little body was limp. After she was delivered, they announced the time. Our daughter was born on December 14th at 5:34pm. They cut the cord, etc. and took her off to the monitoring table to clean her off while Dr. Herman instructed Dr. Larson (resident who actually delivered Liv) how to stitch me up. I had a 2nd degree perineal tear. I suppose it could've been worse. So I laid there and just closed my eyes trying to keep myself calm as I waited for them to finish, knowing our baby girl was over to the side of my bed being cleaned off and getting her footprints taken, etc. After everything was cleaned up, Dr. Herman said that unfortunately (if that's the right word), there was nothing wrong with the umbilical cord or the placenta, but that they would send it off to pathology for testing. Before he headed out, he went and just stared at little Olivia on the table, and just shook his head with a look of complete sadness on his face, then left. They finally handed her off to James once they were done cleaning her up and dressing her in a little outfit provided by the hospital. Seeing James hold our baby girl was a sight I'll never forget. It was so sweet, but so incredibly sad. She was 5 lbs. 10 oz., 19 inches long, absolutely perfect. James soon handed her off to me. I laid there holding our baby girl, and couldn't help but just stare and cry. All I could think was "Why?!" Why did our baby girl pass away? Why us? Why after losing Jake and Jordan, we're now going through it AGAIN? Why did her heart just stop? After the nurses finished things up, they all left so that James and I could be alone with our baby girl. We sat there on the bed together while holding sweet little Livy and just broke down in tears. Our hopes and dreams for Liv were crushed and gone. We, once again, were going to have to say good bye to our child. After a little while of being alone, we called my mom in so she could meet her newest granddaughter. She held her and just said how sweet she looked and how she looked like she was sleeping. We spent a little while together while they ordered my dinner and just sat and stared at Liv. Mom was going to go back to our place to sleep before her flight out, and while figuring out how she was going to get there, our wonderful nurse, Kendra, offered to drive her there. So then James and I were able to continue having time alone with our little Liv'ster. Not long after that, the professional photographer linked with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep called to let us know she was on her way. We had our nurse help clean Liv off a little more and dress her in her homecoming outfit that we had picked out months ago. The photographer got there soon after that to take pictures of Liv for us. We really appreciated that service, as this will be all we have left of our daughter. Soon after she left, mom called and said that Deb was able to find her a super cheap flight going out that night, so James went to pick her up and take her to the airport. While I didn't want James to leave, this worked out best. I was able to spend the next two hours alone with my sweet little Olivia. Holding her, talking with her about all the things we had hoped and planned for her, and just staring at her. It was so hard knowing that later that night we would have to say good bye. James got back, and we spent the rest of the evening together as a family, loving on our baby girl, and just hugging her as much as we could. Rubbing her soft little cheeks, staring at her hands and feet, and just realizing how much of a clone she was of me. James said I must've asexually reproduced, because there was absolutely nothing of James in her physical features, and I mean nothing. She looked JUST like her momma. Even in the womb, she was calm, cool, and collected. Jake was psychotic and couldn't sit still in the womb, and arrived looking just like his dad, while Liv looked just like me. I never thought a baby girl would tug at my heart as much as little Olivia did. I want her back so badly. Well, at around 3am, we decided it was time to say good bye. Unfortunately, her little body was only going to continue to decay, and James hated seeing that happen. So we said our final goodbyes. Our overnight nurse, Zorada, took her little outfit off so that we could keep that with her stuff, and she bundled her up in her blanket and took her away. We then attempted to get some sleep, but that was hopeless for me. I woke up every hour on the hour sweating profusely, and just thinking about Liv. By 7am, I decided to get breakfast and just stay up. We just sat and hung out in shock. Dr. Herman came to check on me, and by that time, I think the oxycodone took a little TOO much effect. I wasn't all there and the room didn't look right. I couldn't really focus when Dr. Herman asked if I had any questions, etc. He said that I could go home that day if I was ready. I wanted to stay as long as I needed to be monitored, and said we'll see how I'm feeling. Well, we spent the rest of the day just trying to relax as I laid in bed, continually being monitored. Luckily, unlike with Jake, I didn't lose much blood at all, so my healing process was going much better. By around 2pm, we decided we'd go ahead and go home that day. We told our nurse that we were ready. Well, we thought she was going to go get the discharge paperwork and come back, so we just waited for her. Before long, James and I both fell asleep. We woke up around 5pm and called for her since she never came back. Little did we know, she was waiting on our final go. So she got the paperwork, we packed our stuff up, and headed out. James went to get the car while Beth (our nurse) wheeled me out in the wheel chair. As we were leaving the L&D area, she had them play the lullaby that plays every time a baby is born. Well, that was sweet, but it sure didn't help my emotions. It only led to me breaking down as we took that silent ride to the car. We headed home, and came home to an empty, quiet house. We were back where we were after Jake and Jordan. Grieving the loss of another child. Coming home to a house that only days earlier had so much happiness and hope. Only now it was full of sadness and despair...


  1. Priscilla, I cannot even express to you how sorry I am for the loss of your precious children... 3 of them. It just absolutely breaks my heart to read this & to imagine the pain that you must have gone through & must still be going through. I know that, really, I can't even imagine. I'm just so, so sorry. I pray that God will lift up your head & somehow, some way, use this to really bless you & your husband.

  2. i'm sorry. there isn't anything else i can say. i found your story through faces of loss. i hate that i even had an inclination to visit that site, and i hate that you have these stories to share...i wish they were different..for all of us. i'm sorry.

  3. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I understand your pain too well. I can tell that you are a very loving Mother.

  4. I've been following your blog for awhile but for some reason never read Olivia's or Jakob's story yet. I see Dr. Herman to, I'm assuming you mean Barry Herman. I'm praying for you.