I took last Thursday off from writing about Caleb's story. Writing and sorting through the emotions that come with remembering these events in such detail is very hard for me. Last week was a bad week and I was in NO WAY prepared to write. I'm back now and ready to share more of Caleb's story...
Tuesday September 30th, 2008 was a beautiful autumn day. The sun was shining and the smell of fall was in the air. The leaves were starting to turn and people were beginning to put out Halloween decorations. College football was well under way. People on the TV were talking about OSU's big game against Wisconsin the following weekend. It was a typical fall day in Ohio.
I remember that day in such detail. I absorbed every single minute of it. I don't always do that in my daily life. I tend to zone out a lot and find hours of my life gone without really knowing where they went or what I did. I never remember my daily commute. I don't really remember the details of the first time I met Brandon. My wedding day is a blur. And my high school graduation might as well never have happened. But this day was different...I was so alert for every single minute. It is burnt into my memory forever.
I started calling my doctor at 8 a.m. that morning. I wanted to see my doctor- I wanted him to do a real ultrasound and to tell me this was all some big mistake. I knew we would all laugh about it later. The doctor in the hospital last night didn't even say Caleb was gone. She never said those words so it must not be true. Besides that ultrasound machine wasn't nearly as nice as MY doctor's machine. Surely he will be able to find a heartbeat. These are the things I thought in my head knowing all along that I was lying to myself.
Finally, I got a hold of my doctor's nurse. She told me I could see him at 1 o'clock and then we could discuss our options. Yeah, like there were any. Brandon was sleeping and I was going crazy in the hotel room. I called my boss and told her. I talked to my Grandma, my uncle, and Brandon's mom. I didn't really know what to say, but I felt like I had to be strong. I woke Brandon up and told him we had to leave that hotel room. I felt like a caged animal. The truth is I could have been anywhere and felt that way.
I knew I couldn't go home still. All the baby stuff would be too much. We drove around pretty aimlessly for a while. Finally, after what seemed like eons, it was time to head to the doctor's office. Since it was a Tuesday, my doctor was working in another office out in a rural part of the area. The office is kind a generic office for many different doctors. They all share it and provide medical services for the people in the area. Tuesday's happen to be Gyno days in the country.
Not only do the doctor's share an office, they also share a receptionist. And this is how I encountered Awkward Moment Number 1 (I'm sure any parent's who have lost a child can tell you about these moments. They also happen at places like the grocery store when you bump into an old friend and they ask about the baby or when someone asks you how many children you have). Had we gone to the regular office the entire staff would have known who I was and what was happening. I had called the office 20 times that morning and talked to everyone from the nurse to the cleaning lady. But it wasn't that office. Instead, we got to play 20 questions with this receptionist. Finally, my doctor's medical assistant arrived and saved the day.
She called us back into the room and told us how sorry she way. She was so sweet that it made me feel bad for making her a party to this horrible event. Finally, our doctor came in the room. He hugged me and told us how sorry he was. Again, he is such a nice guy and I felt so bad for bringing him this pile of crap which was my life at the moment.
He told us we could wait and see if labor began naturally or I could go to the hospital and be induced. He spoke with the hospital staff and they said I could come in at 8 p.m. that night. I knew I couldn't walk around waiting for labor to start. I couldn't knowingly carry by dead baby inside of me. I had to go and I had to go as soon as possible. He said he understood and told me he would be on call all night, though he doubted anything would happen until the next morning. I asked him if I had to see the baby. At that point, neither me or Brandon thought we wanted to. He told us that we didn't have to, but he recommended it. Looking back, I can't believe I even thought I wouldn't want to see Caleb.
We left the doctor's office and had no where else to go. I was forced to face the baby stuff. We went home and I started calling funeral homes. Brandon and I discussed a funeral, but we both knew we couldn't do that. We would have him cremated and bring him home to be with us forever.
I talked to several people that day, but the conversation I remember most was with one of my best friends, Mandi. Mandi's son James was stillborn in 2004. We talked on the phone for a long time. We talked about seeing the baby, what to bring to the hospital, pictures, and outfits. We talked about how this is the worst thing that could happen and how unfair it is to lose a baby you haven't even met. We said that Caleb and James were now buddies in Heaven. We talked about how the pain never goes away but that it will become easier to deal with after time. She told me to hold my baby and to do all the things I would have done if he had been born alive. She told me how sorry she was that I had to join her "club". I'm very fortunate that I have had Mandi on this journey. A lot of mom's in my shoes are very alone, but I am able to discuss this with someone who I have known for a long time and who knows me inside and out.
After I talked to Mandi, I decided to take a bath and try "enjoy" what could be my last few hours of being pregnant. I shaved my legs and scrubbed the dry skin off my feet. I wanted to at least feel presentable during what I knew would be an otherwise ugly time. Then I took a short nap and got ready to leave for the hospital.
As much as I didn't want to go, I had to get it over with. Holding on to what was would have been pointless....