I always knew I wanted more than 1 child, a sibling for Emma and 2 children to fill our home with love and laughter. Towards the end of the summer of 2010, Todd and I decided that it was time to start trying to make that happen!
After a few months of disappointing negative pregnancy tests, I finally got my positive on February 3, 2011. I was relieved, excited and anxious! Mostly, I was happy for Emma, who had been asking for a “baby” for some time. We eventually told her that she was going to be a big sister sometime around October 10th although it was hard for her to understand that timing, so we told her that the baby would be here by Halloween. She immediately began insisting she was going to have a sister. Well, her wishes came true, b/c in May 2011 an ultrasound confirmed that indeed Emma was going to have a little sister of her own! She came to the ultrasound with us and was fairly non-phased. “I told you so” is what she said to us as we were leaving the office!
The pregnancy progressed in standard fashion. I was tired, nauseous and anxious for October to come. I couldn’t wait to be the Mom of 2 little girls!We decided on the name Isla after I found the name in a baby name book and loved the sound of it. We struggled a little, worrying that she would spend half her life correcting people who might call her Izla! But we really loved the name and decided to go with it. Her middle name, Marie, is after Todd’s mom, Maria and my Auntie Re (Marie) who was my Mom’s sister. I used Marie rather than Maria b/c her first name already ended with “ah”.
Anyway…during an ultrasound in July, she was measuring a little behind in the weight department. The doctor recommended increased rest so as to increase blood flow through the umbilical cord to deliver nutrients more effectively. I worked on that and things looked a bit better at the next visit. They continued to monitor the situation closely. At the beginning of September, they were still finding that she was measuring a bit small for her gestational age and they wanted to increase my rest more. So I began working half days from home so that I could dedicate more time to lying down.
On September 22, I went in for another follow up ultrasound and there was a lot of concern about her rate of growth at this point. She wasn’t showing a big increase in weight gain over a week, so they brought up the possibility of inducing me that evening. My initial thought was YES! Let’s do this…I can’t wait to meet my little girl and be done with the pregnancy (I hope that doesn’t sound terrible…but the discomforts of late pregnancy were getting to me). However, the doctor warned that she was only weighing approximately 4 ½ pounds and that they do not like to deliver such a tiny baby if it isn’t necessary. I didn’t want to see my little girl in the NICU and thought it would be selfish to proceed with an induction just b/c I wanted to meet my newest princess and be done being pregnant. The doctor said if I could commit to more rest, they would let me go another week. I decided that was best. Todd’s Mom and Dad were on their way that weekend to be with Emma whenever it was time for me to go in to the hospital to deliver, so I committed to another week of increased rest. Her vitals were good (heartbeat, blood flow, fluid, kicks) were all great. So they sent me home and told me to monitor her movements, which I did all weekend long. By Sunday evening, Mimi and Grandpa had arrived and I mentioned to Todd that I was feeling a lot of movement and we were all excited about the possibility of meeting Isla later in the week.
Monday morning, September 26, I woke up got Emma ready for school, saw her and Todd off and got to work, as I had been doing while working at home the past few weeks. Towards later morning, a worried thought crossed my mind that I didn’t feel a whole lot of movement. I sort of dismissed it and reassured myself that I had a doctor’s appointment in just a few hours. I finished work and took to the couch for a bit before heading off to the doctors. Todd’s Mom asked if I needed her to go with me and I said nah, I’ll just be in and out…it was “just” the weekly check-up….pee in a cup, check blood pressure, listen to heartbeat , check dilation and schedule next week’s appointment. I cheerily left the house, asking if they wanted anything from Starbucks on my way back, as I had planned to stop for a Pumpkin Spice Latte on the way home. That was the beginning of the end of innocence.
I got to the doctor’s, peed in a cup…had a normal blood pressure and went back to be hooked up to the heart rate monitor. The nurse had a hard time finding the heartbeat. I showed her the spot it was found last time and as she fiddled around some more, I pretty much wanted to rip the thing out of her hand and show her myself, b/c I KNEW where it was. I wanted to be like “give me that thing, I’ll find it”. She went and got the Nurse Practitioner and she came in and asked if my baby was giving us trouble again. One time recently, Isla was moving so much that she circled my tummy several times with the doppler before pinning that bugger down for a reading on her heartbeat! So when she came in the room, we laughed knowingly. She circled…..and circled…and circled. I looked at her expectantly, hoping to share a laugh about where Isla was hiding, but saw a shadow of concern. She kicked on their ultrasound machine and said she wanted to get a better look. A picture came up and I wasn’t seeing the normal movement I was used to and I started to get nervous. I asked what she was seeing and she said she wasn’t finding anything…I asked her what that meant and she said that they call it a “demise”. WHAT!?!?!?!?!!? So she told me she was sending me to the doctor where I had my regular ultrasounds (where I JUST was the past Thursday when everything was fine and we decided NOT to induce). They would be able to tell me more. I called Todd to tell him. I can’t even remember exactly what I said….except for crying out that they couldn’t find the heartbeat and that he needed to come to the ultrasound office. I live about 2 miles from my doctor’s office, so I called my Father-in-law to tell him and he had Todd’s Mom waiting in the car for me as soon as I pulled up. As we drove, Maria was reassuring me that we don’t know anything yet…the doctor will be able to give us answers. This ride was taking forever and then I got to the office and had to pay a copay and WAIT for what seemed like forever. They brought me back…I hopped up on the table, eager for them to show me…..on their MUCH better equipment that they had found Isla’s heartbeat and that this was just a big scare. They squirted the gel on my tummy….and started moving the wand around. The silence was deafening and the still vision I saw up on the monitor was louder than words. I hesitantly asked “what are you seeing??” And the tech shook her head that she was sorry. Todd’s Mom cried out and I bowed my head and sobbed.
Next thing I know, Todd was walking in to the room and I am crying and telling him how sorry I am for not keeping our baby safe. He hugged me and told me it wasn’t my fault. If only I could rewind a few days back and be sitting in the doctor’s office saying “yes, let’s go ahead and induce tonight”. Instead, I was scheduling my check-in to the hospital to be induced that evening. The next 48 hours would be some of the toughest I have ever faced.