I sit here writing this on Mother’s Day, empty handed. I’m sitting in the office, next to our nursery that is half painted, and filled with clothes and furniture that hasn’t been set up yet.
It’s been 6 weeks and 2 days since I gave birth, and it has yet to get any easier to wake up in the mornings.
October 19th, a little over 2 months after my wonderful husband and I officially tied the knot, I took a pregnancy test. We had started trying the day of the wedding, and were lucky enough to get pregnant a month later! At the site of the positive pregnancy test, I was in shock. I have a bicornuate uterus (heart shaped uterus), so we expected that we were going to be trying to conceive for a lot longer than we originally did. We were very blessed, and so lucky. I knew that because of my uterus shape I had a higher chance of losing the child, but in my ignorance I thought that was only in the first trimester when most babies are lost. After telling my husband that he was going to be a daddy, we immediately started planning our future. Clothes, furniture, a new house, everything was bought in preparation for our little one. We called the baby Honey, keeping a gender neutral name until we knew officially what baby was.
I was due June 25th, and we celebrated every milestone. I had bump pictures every week, and every Friday when we would hit the next week I would send my husband what new size of fruit or vegetable our baby was! I wanted a girl so bad, and January 16th we found out that my dreams were coming true! Our little baby was a girl, and was everything that I ever could have wanted. We named her Birch Ember Ellison, and her initials spelled out Bee. She was our little honeybee from the very start, and we loved her more than anything in the world.
February 26th I started to feel some cramping off and on, and had mild bloody discharge. Obviously this worried us so we rushed to the emergency room, where we found out it was nothing but a minor infection and that our little honeybee was happy and as healthy as can be! We got genetic testing done and there were absolutely no signs of anything that could possibly go wrong in our future. I was ignorant, and I felt safe. I thought that we had made it, nothing was going to possibly happen to our little girl. I was healthy, she was healthy. We were getting regular checks from a professional specialist doctor because of my uterus, and we were even getting sonograms more often than the average mother. I never in my life would have imagined anything could ever happen.
March 26th, exactly one month after we went to the emergency room, and the day I hit 27 weeks (third trimester), I experienced off and on cramping again. Only this time they were more common, and they were slowly getting more and more painful. We called the hospital, and the nurse asked if I had felt my baby move recently. I had never felt her move, on top of my disfigured uterus I also was blessed with an anterior placenta, and had never gotten the chance to feel her move. She told us to go to the emergency room just to get checked, which I then thought was a waste of our time (and money for that matter). I was sure it was just the infection coming back, and it was going to be nothing to stress over. On our way to the emergency room my husband and I talked about the road, and how many roundabouts there were. I remember saying “when we’re back here in a couple months to give birth I’m sure these roundabouts are going to be really difficult when I’m about to pop!” Again, I was ignorant. Walking into labor and delivery, we got our room to visit the on call doctor. I was given a gown by the nurse and asked to change. I nonchalantly walked to the bathroom to change while my husband stressed out on the couch, I kept reassuring him telling him that nothing was wrong and everything was going to be just fine. Once I got my gown on, I sat down to go to the bathroom, and a very large squirt of blood came out. My water had broke, and the world started crashing down around me. After this I remember everything happening so fast, the nurse rushed in while blood dripped down my leg. She put me on the bed and put a large pad underneath me, then pulled out her doppler to try and find a heartbeat. I knew she wouldn’t be able to. Blood gushed out of me with every clench of my stomach, and I started crying as hard as I have ever cried in my life. The nurse mistakenly found my heartbeat and told me that my little girl was okay, but I knew she was wrong. The doctor rushed in and took over the doppler while my husband and I cried together, knowing they weren’t going to find anything. Then we heard the words that broke us, “I’m so sorry.” We knew what those 3 words had meant, and we knew that she was gone.
The doctor gave us some time to cry together alone, and take some time to let everything settle. She then came in and told me I was going to have to have to birth her. This did not sit well with me, I wasn’t ready to give birth. I was only 27 weeks, we had just hit third trimester, I had not trained at all. I knew that I wanted to give birth naturally, and I knew that you had to prepare for that. I was not prepared, I was scared and I didn’t know anything about what was going to happen. The fact that OB’s recommend pregnant women take birthing classes in the third trimester is the worst thing they could do. It set me up for failure, and is only good for the mothers who are lucky enough to carry their child past their third trimester. I wasn’t prepared, I didn’t have a doula yet, and I had no idea what I was going to do besides fight the contractions and hope that I can get through this with my husband and my own strength.
I was given the induction pills trans vaginally, and the contractions that were already there immediately got stronger, and came more often. I sat in the tub with the hottest water they had just pouring on my uterus. This was the only thing that was helping me during this time, the doctors continued to push the epidural but I kept pushing back. I knew I didn’t want that, I knew that the healing would be quicker for my body if I didn’t get it, so I suffered through the pain. After about an hour of constant contractions I decided to get out of the tub and move to the bed, but with the horrid pain from the constant contractions I was having and the heat from the shower I got light headed and almost passed out. Smelling salts and a cold washcloth got me back on my feet, enough to at least get me in the bed. At that point I was dilated enough that my daughter was coming. It happened very fast, the nurse yelled for the doctor as other nurses rushed around me and the bereavement doula introduced herself. With a couple small pushes my daughter was out, and a small push later so was the placenta. Birch Ember Ellison was born sleeping at 10:10, weighing 13 oz, measuring 10.63” long.
The doctors then told us that they had expected Birch had already passed a week or two before this night, because of the fluid underneath her skin. This was the hardest thing to hear, that I as a mother had no idea that my daughter who I was carrying, who I was ordering clothes for, who I was scheduling 4D ultrasounds for, had already passed. I was supposed to know if she wasn’t okay, I was supposed to keep her safe and healthy, and I couldn’t do that. The doctors sent for an autopsy on her body, and our daughter was cremated shortly after.
We have many thoughts that run through our heads. If we hadn’t missed our doctors appointment two weeks before that when there was a large snow storm would we have caught this? Was this because of my uterus? Was there something we could have done? Is it because during the snowstorm I shoveled? Is it because before I knew I was pregnant I had a couple drinks of alcohol? Is it because a couple months before giving birth I had forgotten I couldn’t, and I had a cold turkey lunchmeat sandwich? Was it my fault?
We will never be the same again, and we miss our little girl so much. We would do anything to have her back.
Our future has been changed for us, and we are constantly reminded every minute of every day how much we love and miss her.
We lost our little honeybee.