Part of me hopes that if you have found this page, it is not because you have been through what my husband and I have gone through. The other part hopes that if you have gone through something similar, this site might bring you some comfort. I suppose I am getting ahead of myself. On July 16, 2016, at 32 weeks pregnant, I gave birth to a son, Isaac, just 30 or so hours after being told he had passed away. I had done things the right way. I had exercised regularly, avoided cold cuts, eaten well, slept well – the works. However, I had developed HELLP Syndrome, a dangerous pregnancy complication, related to the much more commonly known Preeclampsia.
To be clear, I had noticed the telltale symptoms of Preeclampsia weeks prior to our loss. I’d learned about them in our Prepared Childbirth class. In fact, I had asked my OB at my recent appointment about my suddenly elevated blood pressure, rapidly worsening swelling and seeing spots in my vision. This doctor, the man who delivered me 29 years ago and was supposed to be monitoring my high-risk pregnancy, told me everything was normal and ushered me out of his office. I later discovered he didn’t even note the concerns in my chart. The symptoms continued, I developed a pain in my chest that radiated through to my back. It was my arthritis, I told myself. I gained 9 lbs in 3 weeks, but the doctor wasn’t concerned and he knew way more about pregnancy than this first-time momma to be. My family and I joked about my feet, which no longer fit into any shoes but my flip flops. I joked about my new superpower, the ability to see my own cheeks. None of us realized how bad things had gotten.
The hospital apparently knew what was happening to me pretty soon after realizing Isaac had passed away. Although, in an effort to keep me calm, my diagnosis was discussed behind closed doors. I knew something was really wrong with me – they couldn’t get my veins to cooperate, I had to have my blood pressure constantly monitored, and some poor anesthesiologist had to explain to me that because my platelets were low, an epidural was out of the question. At one point I insisted on executing a living will. Despite an IV full of pain and anxiety medication and limited information, I knew something was dangerously wrong with me.
I have since filled in most of the gaps with the help of my husband, parents, and sisters, who all rushed to my side when they heard the terrible news. I will save that for another time. The sad and unavoidable truth is that 3 weeks and one day ago, we lost our baby boy. We’d had huge hopes and dreams for our baby boy. The nursery was well underway, the baby shower complete. We were supposed to be on our last vacation as just a couple. Instead, we were forced to say goodbye to a little boy we will never get to know.
If I haven’t lost you yet, congratulations. The past three weeks have been a rollercoaster, and I expect things to continue on in an unpredictable and difficult manner. I’d been thinking, though, that maybe our story could help other couples. Maybe our story can help another couple identify a problem before a tragic loss, maybe it can comfort someone else who has lost a baby far too soon. I’m going to be brutally honest on this blog. I will tell our story in more depth. I will share some, if not all, of the letters I have written nightly since leaving the hospital. I will share the ways that we are grieving, the ways that we are choosing to remember the perfect baby we will never again hold. If it doesn’t help someone else, it will at least help me.