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Matthew's crib

by  Tracey Costello

7 Aug 1998

It started out as the fairytale pregnancy. Girl and guy get married....conception happens during the honeymoon. What more could I have asked for? Turns out a lot.

I confirmed the pregnancy just as Dwayne and I were heading out to a super bowl party this past January. I was a few days late, and suspected that I might be pregnant, and with the beer that would be flowing that evening, I wanted to be sure one way or the other.

We both were surprised and ecstatic about being pregnant....I think I was more ecstatic, and Dwayne more surprised. :)

Weeks passed and I wasn't feeling the best....tired and slightly know, first trimester stuff. Just as things started to look up, they got bad. I awoke one evening in late March to a gush of blood. I raced off to the hospital where they confirmed a heart-beat and sent me home 8 hours after I arrived with no answer as to why I was bleeding. For a few days I layed on the couch scared that if I moved too much I would loose this baby. He (as we later found out) was still alive and kicking, and I wanted to keep it that way.

A few days passed and everything seemed to be going much better. The bleeding had stopped, and I was feeling pretty good. We decided that we needed to get away, so off we drove to visit my sister for the Easter holiday. I had a week of holidays after the long weekend, so we decided to stay and visit Toronto a bit. The Tuesday after Easter I had another (smaller) gush as we sat around watching a movie. My sister took me off to the hospital....Dwayne too. Still a heartbeat, but the big city doctor told me to stay off my feet. He described my condition as a threatened miscarriage. No kidding....but no one could tell me why.

I did just like the doctor said. I laid on my sister's couch watching Rosie, soap after soap, and Oprah. She or Dwayne would get me water and juice, lunch, whatever. There I laid for a week. Gush number 3 happened a week after I was told to stay off my feet. This time we went to a smaller hospital ....more of a country kind of facility. I refused to sit for another 4-5 hours in emergency.

When I arrived, I was taken right in. The doctor admitted me into the obstetrics wing immediately. Just after getting "settled" into my room, I passed some tissue. The nurse gave me a hug and said, "you're miscarrying my dear". I cried again. This time much harder. This time it was in the present, not the possible future. She hugged me and helped me back to bed, then she took the tissue and sent it to the lab for testing.

When she arrived, she came with the thermometer, blood pressure thing, and my friend the doppler. That wonderful machine kept me going and gave me contact with my baby. I could hear him moving around...and hear his strong heartbeat. She did her thing, and low and behold, my baby was still alive. Tears again. This time, they were tears of relief.

There I stayed for almost 5 days. This time however the bleeding didn't stop. I kept bleeding, but the baby's heartbeat kept on beating. That Saturday evening, after my husband left to get some dinner, the 4th gush came. This time there was very little blood and lots of clear liquid. The nurse tested it with an overgrown Q-tip, and sure enough it was amniotic fluid.

They explained to Dwayne and I that the baby would surely not develop properly without the fluid. We could have the pregnancy ended, or we could wait for nature to finish what she had started. To me there was no option....there was a heartbeat, and therefore I would continue. I was 18 weeks pregnant.

After explaining my options, and the fact that I would probably go into labour in the next few days, the doctor discharged me. He told me to come back on Monday for an ultrasound to see just how much fluid was left. So I did as I was told. The ultrasound showed almost no fluid. We had hoped that maybe it would replenish itself. Wishful thinking. I'm told that miracles do happen, but just not for me I guess.

2 weeks later, with no labour we finally had the ok to head home. I had been gone from Quebec for a month, and finally I was going home. We arrived home late on Mother's Day. I slept most of the next day as I didn't have much desire to get out of bed. Dwayne, once again, brought me juice, water, whatever I wanted.

That night the contractions started. I cried, man did I cry. Not for the physical pain, but because I knew that this was "it". Once again, off to the hospital we went. My doctor , (god love her) was on call that night. The contractions got harder until about 4am when I was about 5 cm dilated, but there was still a good strong heartbeat (152bpm). Then the contractions stopped. There was nothing we could do. I naively asked if the dilation would reverse. I so wanted to hold on to this pregnancy. I didn't care how "badly deformed" this baby would be. We decided to go on the drip, get this labour thing over with.

Matthew was born on May 12th at 11:30am. He was so little....only 20.2 weeks. The nurse in her broken English, asked me if i wanted to hold him. I now regret my decision. I wasn't prepared to be asked that. I figured they'd whisk him out of the room before I realized it. They laid him in the bassinet, wrapped in a little blue blanket. I just stared at him through my tears. Dwayne went over and said a little prayer over him, and I cried.

If I never hear the phrase, "it was probably for the best dear" again, I'll be happy. That is one of the worst things a person can say to a grieving parent. Yet, people fumble it out of their mouths in a desperate search to say something intelligent.

It is now August 8th. This is the first time I have really written about it. I don't know why it has taken me so long. Just my way of dealing with the loss I suppose. I've spoken of it in pieces many times, and even this is the short version. 7 weeks of hell.

I'd appreciate any words of wisdom/experience on PROM and on getting pregnant again. I may be pregnant again, but the fear of having to go through this again scares me.

Thanks for listening.


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