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The Day My World Stood Still

On May 18th, 1998 I found out I was pregnant. Being only 17 and just
graduating high school three days before, I was shocked along with my
fiance, parents, grandparents, etc. However the shock wore off quickly
then happiness and preparation sunk in. This baby would be the first,
well...the first everything. A crib and cradle were borrowed, a comforter
set and a swing was bought, and baby blankets, towels, washcloths were
given. Needless to say, we were very excited.

Being young I took for granted that nothing bad could happen. I always
thought that miscarriages, stillbirths, etc. only happen to older women.
I had an ultrasound and an Alpha-Feta Protein (AFP) test and everything
was, or should I say seemed, fine.

Then around 11:30-12:00pm on September 9th (21 wks pg), I started having
very mild cramps. I didn't know that this wasn't normal because it seemed
that everything I felt and asked about was normal. I went to sleep and woke
up around 5:30-6:00am. I knew something was wrong so I felt inside and
there was what felt like a water bubble descending from my cervix. I
noticed that I was also leaking fluid. I woke my mom up and told her
something was wrong. We called the doctor's office and they said to go
to the hospital at once.

Once at the hospital they hooked me up to monitors to listen to the baby's
heartbeat and check for contractions. There were some mild contractions
but the baby's heartbeat was fine. I told the nurse about the water bubble
because it wasn't put on my chart. She checked me and sure enough it was
the amniotic sac. My doc was called immediately and an ultrasound was
ordered. Then the nurse told us basically that the baby was coming and
there was no chance of survival. My mother called my fiance and stepfather
who were there in minutes. The ultrasound was done, showing fluid in my
cervix and that the baby was a boy.

My doc arrived, checked me, and told me that the problem was incompetent
cervix. Which to the layman means the cervix weakens, thins out, and dialates
sometimes with no pain and others with very little. I was already dialated
to 4 or 5cms, but doc said that he could put in a cerclage, kind of like
plastic stitches that would sew my cervix shut. There was risk of infection
and a chance that the surgery could put me into active labor, but he said
it was the ONLY chance of saving my son. So, as any mother would do for
her child, I agreed to have the surgery.

I stayed in the hospital for four days. Except for the fluid leaking, I
was doing well according to the doc. I was sent home on Monday the 14th.
Bed rest, no smoking, very few and quick showers not baths, and quick
trips to the bathroom were my orders, which I followed exactly. Sometimes
I even used a bedpan rather than making an unnecessary trip to the bathroom.
I was also put in the Trendelburg position, butt up in the air (basically
on my head), to keep the fluid from coming out. Many friends and family
came by to check on me in the hospital and at home. I was very lucky.

Thursday, the 17th (22 wks pg) I awoke to some more mild cramps. Only this
time it felt like constipation cramps. I hadn't had a bowel movement in
about 10 days so I tried to go (in the bedpan) but couldn't. My mom called
the hospital and told them that we were coming for an enema. Once we were
there, I was told, as usual, to produce a urine sample. I did this but when
I wiped there was something there. I told my mom and the nurses and was checked
immediately. My doc was at another hospital so they had him on the phone
while they checked. I heard the nurse say, "It looks like the cerclage
has moved down. Is that possible?" Then I heard, "Oh, wait a minute."
The nurse left the room with the phone. She came back and told me what I
knew all along. It wasn't the cerclage coming out, it was my baby's,
Caleb's foot.

I totally lost it. I felt like I was completely insane. My mom called my
fiance and stepfather again. She asked me if I was scared and I remember
saying, "No, mama. I'm not scared because I know what's going to happen."
We had been told from the very beginning that unless I made it to at least
24 weeks, Caleb would have a 1 in 10,000 chance of surviving. My doc came
in to tell me that they would have to put me to sleep to take the cerclage
out. He told me that Caleb was coming and nothing would stop it now. I went
to sleep.

When I awoke, the pediatrician told me that Caleb, my 1 lb 2.7 oz 11 inch
dream, didn't come true and asked if I wanted to see him. Of course I said
yes. My mom, fiance, stepfather, and fiance's sister and mom were all there
with me and Caleb. I was still very groggy and could see double of everything
but I could still tell that he was the most beautiful and precious baby I'd
ever seen. Once I was more awake, they took me to a room and took Caleb for
pictures and footprints. They brought him to us in the room and we all were
allowed to hold him, love him, kiss him, and basically just admire how very
beautiful he was.

We held funeral service for him with close friends and family. My grandma
and aunt bought him a doll outfit to be buried in. It was an adorable blue
cordouroy jumper with a matching hat. It was a perfect fit.

The nightmare isn't over just because he's gone though. I have dreams and
and thoughts that he's still here in my belly. I miss him more than I ever
imagined I could miss anyone. Everyone tells me, "At least you didn't get to
know him and then lose him." They don't know what it's like to hold the most
perfect and beautiful creature on the face of this earth, feel that motherly
bond, know that it's your baby, and not be able to take him home with you.


Mommy's Letter To Caleb

Grandma's Thoughts

Pictures of Caleb


More Poems

Incompetent Cervix Bulletin Board

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