Continuing the story of Caleb
I was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday September 30th, 2008. We got there shortly before 8 p.m. We sat in the same registration room we had the night before when I was the only one that knew something was wrong. We walked down the same hallway. The nurse led us into a private room, away from all the happy mommies and babies. There was a card with a single yellow rose taped to the plaque on the wall with my room number. I didn’t have to ask. I knew.
I had just enough time to change into that terrible hospital gown before visitors started appearing. Brandon’s mom, my mom, and my grandma. Followed by Brandon’s aunt and uncle and finally my best friend Britney. Brandon’s Aunt Deena gave us a beautiful wall hanging with little children playing. An angel watched over the children.
The nurse came to get the IV started and go over my medical history. She asked if I took any medications. I told her pre-natal vitamins, only not every day because they make me throw up. Then I quickly asked her if she thought that’s why this happened. She reassured me that had nothing to do with it and suggested I take Flintstones vitamins next time.
They couldn’t get the IV in. My veins are not cooperative. I was jabbed 7 or 8 times by 2 different nurses. The visitors were distracting themselves by watching Dancing with the Stars, but Brandon was right there by my side. He looked at me with this look of sadness in his eyes. Like he wanted to just take me and run away. Away from this crazy situation that we were in. How did we ever end up here? So many years of thinking we couldn’t. Then we do. Only to not.
The nurses, still poking, suggested I look away. Singing has always comforted me so I started singing the first thing that popped in my head. “Five. Five dollar. Five dollar footlong.” Everyone laughed. Brandon’s look of helplessness faded into a smile. I had never loved him as much as I did right then.
Finally, after a few more jabs and jokes about using all my veins during my former life as a drug addict, the nurses were able to get the IV in and going. The nurse gave me my first pill to start the induction. An oral tablet, Cytotec, which I can still taste to this day. Battery acid choked down with a little bit of water. The tiny little pill kept getting stuck in the back of my throat and would dissolve before I could get it down. Every 4 hours the nurse would come in with one of those tiny packets containing that pill that tasted like battery acid and was supposed to make my body deliver my dead baby. I would have drunk real battery acid if it meant giving him life.
After a few hours, the visitors left. Just me and Brandon alone in the room. The first time we had really been alone in months. Just me and him. Him and me. I drifted off to sleep for a while.
The next day, Wednesday October 1st, revealed that my body wasn’t progressing. I wasn’t dilating and felt no contractions. They offered my pain medicine, though. I refused. What if they were wrong about him? There was still hope. How silly.
I had a few more visitors that day. My friend Mandi came up for a little while. It was hard for her. I could see it in her eyes. She knew and she remembered being where I was. For two girls who don’t usually shut-up, there wasn’t much to say.
Later that afternoon, I asked my nurse, Fran, how long my doctor would let me stay like this. I wasn’t progressing and they had started the induction nearly 20 hours ago. He was supposed to be here by now. She told me that there wasn’t much they could do since I wanted to see the baby. It wasn’t like they could “...go in and do a D&E”. Her words echoed in my head. Was I not supposed to want to see my baby? My doctor never offered an alternative to delivery. My heart hurt. I wanted out.
That night brought more visitors and the doctor on duty. She did an exam and an ultrasound. Different this time because they didn’t bother turning the screen towards me. The doctor decided it was time to insert a balloon catheter. Before they did that, however, they would give me an epidural.
The epidural was done. As were both catheters. I fell asleep. A few hours later I woke up screaming. I couldn’t move and I was freezing. I started crying. “Why me? Why us? I just bought a stroller. God tricked me. Why? How could this happen?” The nurse looked scared. Brandon looked scared. But I couldn’t stop. I begged for them to let me move. “Take the epidural out. Please take it out. Give me blankets. Please, it’s so cold.” I had a fever and an infection. They called my doctor, who ordered antibiotics. I fell asleep.
I woke up early Thursday October 2nd. The nurse came in and told me that I couldn’t have any more water or popsicles. My doctor was doing a caesarean section later that afternoon. She started removing the balloon catheter that hadn’t worked. Or had it? As she pulled it out she realized it was time. She paged the doctor on duty and they came running. “Push. Just one good push.” I screamed again. “I don’t want to see him. Please don’t make me look.” And then it was over. Quiet. Painless. Sad. Nothing like I imagined.
They wrapped him up and let Brandon take a peek. They took him to a different room until my doctor could arrive. After what seemed like hours, my doctor finally came in and told me he didn’t see anything wrong with him. Nothing definite that would point to an obvious cause or reason. I asked if I could see him. He told me the nurse would bring him in shortly. I felt so horrible for ruining his morning. He looked like a shell of the usually upbeat person I would see during my check-ups. What had I done to create this huge mess?