Could there be 3 worse words? I can give you 2. Fetal Demise. Who comes up with this crap? Surely no one who has ever experienced what Gary and I have.
So let me back up a bit. Thursday, April 21st started just like any other day. Gary made us fruit smoothie's for breakfast and we went to work. We work together so we carpool and the ride in was just like any other. As I sat at my desk and started work, I drank my smoothie and smiled for Allie liked the drink and often kicked when I took a sip. I had been feeling her less and less and I had started to drop and I was now 37 weeks. Being full term meant there was not a lot of room in there for her to move around and so I was not that alarmed that I did not feel her as much. After all, I had been to the doctor that Tuesday and we heard her heartbeat and all was fine.
Sometime after lunch, I remember telling Gary that I disliked not feeling her as much. I also remember emailing him later that afternoon that I had felt her. I was worried a little, but what first time mom is not? We finished out the work day and went home.
That night was our last Labor and Delivery class. It was a 4 week class that we enjoyed for the most part, although it did freak us out a bit. We watched lots of movies (some showed WAY too much if you ask me and I am not a prude!) and practiced breathing and talked with other soon-to-be-parents. At the end of class, I happened to mention to the nurse that led the class that I had felt decreased movement over the past few hours. She said not to worry too much, but to get something sugary and go home and lay on my left side and wait for 6 kicks in a hour. If I did not feel them, then she suggested I call my doctor. Just to be on the safe side.
So, I did as she asked. And I felt nothing. So after about 15 minutes or so, Gary decided to call the doctor and she suggested we go to this hospital and get hooked up on monitors to see what was going on. There was no need to wait an hour - it was time to go...now.
I started to cry. A lot. I was in a blind panic and could not see straight. I asked Gary if he was worried and he flat out said no. We had gone to every doctor's appointment that we were supposed to, had all the blood work done that was required...in short, we did everything we could to make sure our Allie would grow strong and healthy and this little hiccup was just us being overly careful and cautious. Nonetheless, we flew to the hospital.
Upon arrival, I was offered a wheelchair. I politely declined as I was in no pain and felt fine to walk to the Maternity floor. We talked to the nurse on the way to triage about how happy we were to being this close to being parents and how we knew she was a girl, and other such small talk. I started to relax and feel a little better. Once there, they hooked me up to a monitor and then...nothing. They put a monitor on my finger as they said they wanted to differentiate the heartbeats...not read mine instead of the baby's and vice versa. When they could not hear hear heartbeat, they rolled in the ultrasound machine. And then they called for another nurse. And then another. And then I heard them whisper to call the doctor.
We asked what was happening and they said it was too soon to tell - there could be an issue with the cord or the baby could be hiding, but none of that made sense! There were no cord issues before and she had never "hidden" before. What the hell was going on??
After a few more minutes, we moved into a Labor and Delivery Room and they instructed me to put on a gown and wait for the doctor who was on her way. I changed and then sat on the bed and after some time had passed, I asked Gary what he thought was going on. He was stoic and calm and said he did not want to alarm me, but if the baby was in distress, they would have rushed me off to surgery. But they had not done that. They had us wait. Which he did not feel was a good sign. And he was right.
Our OB came in a short while later and with the ultrasound machine, she looked to see what was going on. After an eternity, she turned to Gary and me and with a crushed look upon her face, she said she was sorry, but there was no cardiac activity. Everything stopped. My world literally froze. It was then that we heard the words "fetal demise" for the first time. It's the new word for stillborn, apparently. The doctor continued saying that we did nothing wrong and that this was not our fault and she was so sorry and she asked if we need or want anything. I also remember saying that I wanted my baby. It was all I wanted from the moment we made her. And now she was gone. And I had to deliver her. The hard part was just beginning.