It's been two weeks since the worst day of my life and so I think I'm ready to write about it. We'll see how this goes...
On Thursday, December 22 2011, I woke up expecting a pretty low-key day at work. Instead I got one of the biggest nightmares any expecting parent could imagine.
My wife was 38 weeks into her pregnancy. For those not in the know - that's in the "can go any minute" zone. Due dates are 40 weeks for reference. On Wednesday (12/21) - Amy got a perfect report from the doctor: Heart-rate was perfect; fluid was perfect. They talked about possible induction dates. That night (Wed) - Amy mentioned that she hadn't felt the baby move that much during the night-time and was a little concerned. We thought the baby was just sleeping. On Thursday morning she still hadn't felt the baby move that much so we went to the doctor's office for peace of mind. The doctor wasn't in but the nurse mentioned she was working at the hospital so we went there. They brought Amy into a "triage room" and then brought me in a minute later... It's the scene we will remember forever - where doctors were searching for the heartbeat but couldn't find anything... We didn't understand. We were sure there was a mistake. We were wrecked and absolutely lost.
Our doctor came to us in tears with the "when am I going to wake up from this nightmare" look... She, too, had that look on her face a little...
For those that are reading this saying "that's gotta be the worse of it" - it was the worst from the shock perspective for sure ... but the worst day of my life wasn't close to over...
After we were told that the baby Amy was carrying for 38 weeks was no longer alive - we were told that Amy would have to deliver it - just as if it were alive... This process took about 13 hours. 13 hours of Amy in a hospital bed hooked up to machines feeling beyond lost and sad. 13 hours to ask ourselves every question you can think of... Amy described it like being a POW just waiting to be tortured. Her torture was obvious and the only thing that got us through was knowing that every step brought us closer to the nightmare being over.
Amy delivered the baby in an amazing and remarkably strong fashion. Looking at her go forward (and fight through that) is something I will never forget. In such a painful day at a horrible moment - my love for my wife actually grew seeing how brave and strong she was. We asked the sex; It was a girl (something we kept a surprise). The pain got more intense/more real after we knew that. Cause of "fetal demise" was determined a "cord accident" with the cord wrapped around our unborn daughters neck and legs extremely tightly. While rare - it's apparently a known cause for stillbirths throughout time and nothing technologically can prevent that.
We decided not to hold or look at her (or get any other visual details) as we didn't want any more visual scars for the rest of our lives. We cried. A lot.
Our Doctor was such a big part of us getting through the torture. We are convinced that while she has seen these cord accidents before, that it's never happened to any of her direct patients. She was supposed to go away with her family - but rescheduled it to make sure she was there for us that night. While leaving - she said "Guys - I will remember this day until I'm 80 years old." That was something that will stick with Amy and I for a while. What I'm also hoping will stick with us for a while are the facts that:
1) There is no one/thing to blame. Just bad luck
2) If we were to go back in time and do anything differently - there really is nothing we would do. Again - just bad luck.
So - that's the summary of our worst day ever. It still hasn't been two weeks - so I can't say we expect the pain to have eased much - and it hasn't. Our friends and family have been incredibly supportive - but it's a hard thing. There's nothing anyone can say, do, buy, etc. that will make us truly feel better. The only thing is time and experience I suppose.
We are so thankful for our absolutely amazing daughter, Alexa. Telling her was undoubtedly one of the hardest things I will do in my life. Amy and I are thankful for the love, support, and bond we have for one another. We are determined in the long-run to not let this horrible occurrence define our lives. This said - it's going to take some time to allow for that. We appreciate the support throughout our lives - but there's going to be a point when we will expect our family and friends to treat us the exact same they did before this happened. We are going to try and move forward as best as possible. Alexa mandates that we don't stay and sulk all day, every day - and we are determined to not let this effect her needs.
So - that's the worst day of my life. There will always be a scar in my heart - but I will not let the size of that scar overwhelm my family's life. I truly hope that this experience brings perspective to Amy and I that actually can enrich our appreciation for the great things in life and dissipate the nuisance of daily frustration as much as possible.
If you have any questions about this experience - feel free to reach out over time.