This is Jordan Riley’s stillbirth story. An infant loss is so heartbreaking. A baby loss is unexpected, we don’t typically think of losing babies. It’s hard for anyone to know what to do, how to react. I hope my sharing the story of our stillborn baby will help others find some peace in knowing they aren’t the only ones whose heart breaks at the loss. Possibly help in the grieving process.
I start when I first noticed no pregnancy movement. I was 36 weeks along.
I wrote to one of my lists on Monday about Jordan not moving and one thing they suggested was taking some time with just baby and me. I did take some *me & baby* time to talk to Jordan and what I felt scared me. You see, when I talked to Jordan… she just wasn’t there. I remember a few years ago when my grandfather lay in the hospital on life support. None of my family wanted me to see him. I went anyway and when I walked into his room, his chest was moving, but *he* was not there. I went to his funeral completely at peace. I felt he was in a much better place. Monday night, I was not at all ready to accept that of Jordan. I felt terrified that my feelings were right, and I prayed that they were not.
By Tuesday afternoon, still no movement. I called my midwife friend and she suggested we come out to see her, let her check for a hb. She was very concerned about how a hospital would treat us knowing we were planning a uc. (For those of you who may not know, uc is unassisted childbirth. This in no way had any impact on Jordan’s death.) She found no hb, nothing. Well, really we had little choice but to go to a hospital, as the death needed to be documented. So, she helped make arrangements for us to go to one of the hospitals and with her help, we were received very well. Only one person the whole time even said anything remotely negative and even that wasn’t, just the tone of voice… *So, why a homebirth?*…
Well, the hospital listened for a hb and then a quick u/s. It was a strange feeling to see her on a machine. We’d gone all that time, never seeing her, and here she was… and no heartbeat. We did not ask her sex. That was the only thing I had left. Later, another u/s was done before induction started, and even then, we did not ask.
We were given the choice to stay and start induction, or go home and wait. We chose to go home to wait. We needed to have some time. We spent the rest of Tuesday evening talking, Bob and I, about what was going on. How we felt. So much to talk about, to cry about, to be mad and happy all at once.
Wednesday was spent shedding many tears. Worry about what was to come. I was so ready for a homebirth. So ready to be here with my husband, my children and birth this baby into our own hands with no one to help. But, things were different. I would liked to have stayed home anyway, to birth her here. But, there were other factors that came into play for me, and for my family, and I needed (for me) to take a lot of that into consideration. And I decided that home was not the place this time. I was worried that going to a hospital I would lose so much, but it still was more important to me to do it that way, then to do it at home.
Thursday we just kind of existed. Some tears, some smiles, lots of hugs. During these two days, I talked to Tuesday (the midwife) who was wonderful. I asked about *natural* ways of induction, I asked what the baby would look like. I asked her about other women who had gone through this with her. I asked her lots of things. Even about how soon I could try again. I don’t want another baby to take Jordan’s place, but more that I was in a place were I was ready for a baby and, I still am. So, as sad as we are to lose Jordan, we are already ready to think of trying again.
Beginning the birth process – Stillborn Birth:
Friday morning I woke in tears… this needed to end before life could go on for us. We got the girls off to school, picked out a boy outfit and a girls, packed a bag for me and off we went to the hosp. I don’t know why I was thinking so, but for some reason I thought all would be done that night and I’d be home to sleep with Bob and the dogs that night… nope.
At 12:30p, they gave me a vaginal insert of sitotec (have no clue of the spelling – citotec). What we were told is it was *developed* for this type of situation. To get the cervix thinned and ready, and that usually after 2 inserts, labor would usually start on it’s own. I could have a dose every 6 hours. At 6 I got another… and contractions seemed to get a bit stronger, but still nothing much going on. Another at 12 midnight… I slept off and on all night, with Bob in a chair by my side. I had been there for 12 hours now, going on 18, and I have to say that all of the nurses, all of the doctors, were wonderful. They left us alone, only periodically (like every 3 hours or so) checking my pb, asking if I was hungry, etc. I got another dose at 7 or so… still nothing. They came in at 1p to start up an iv of pitocin. As much as I dreaded that, I *needed* it… in the sense that I needed this to be done. I needed to see my angel, hold her and kiss her.
The iv drip. I swear they cranked it up. By 3p, I was wanting something to take the edge off. I felt so bad, that I was cheating by wanting drugs. This was a decision I made on my own, and knew it then and now, that I will have to deal with it afterwards. And I will. Every one of my babies has been induced, and delivered with drugs. This is hard for me, as I am so afraid that I’ll never get another chance to have it all natural. By 4p, I was in so much pain. Crying through contractions, thinking this is too hard, the pit was too high, this was too much. I remember sitting up and seeing how high they had it on and pointing and say, *no wonder I hurt so bad… it’s too high, it’s too much*. I knew at this point it was too late. Even if they turned it down, it would no longer matter. I had been having contractions for something like 28 hours or so, my body was tired, I was tired, and well… I was ready for a break. I do remember thinking too, *this is transition… this is when everyone wants to give up… Its going to happen soon* but, even knowing that, I didn’t care. I wanted an epidural at that point. They did give me one, but just a shot in the iv (after they got it in), just enough to take off the edge… The nurse did check me about the time I was thinking transition, and I was at 6 (this was at 4 and I delivered at 5:08… it truly was transition and going fast!).
Once I was given the shot (at 4:40), I told them I could feel it still on my left side and I wanted to roll that way. I did, and the next contraction or maybe within the next 2 or 3, my water broke. It’s never broke on it’s own before… I felt that *pop* and the gush of fluid. I did things this time that I didn’t want to do, things I never, ever, thought I’d have to do or want, but there are some things that happened that make me feel good, make me smile, make me feel proud… the water breaking on it’s own was definitely one of them. It felt good. I immediately felt tons of pressure the next contraction.
Ok… I need to go back just a bit, before I go on…
At around 4 I was asking for an epidural. The nurse must have known I was getting close and I later told her that if she’d have told me how close she thought I was it never would have mattered, I still would have wanted that epidural. And even though I knew then I’d have to deal with how I felt about getting one, I don’t regret it. The guy that came to give it to me, was called away for an emergency. I was left still wanting it, crying and thinking I couldn’t go on. The nurse kept telling me to tell her if I felt the urge to push, that it was very likely I wouldn’t make it until he got back. So, she must have felt I was getting close. And I felt it too. So did Bob I think.
Stillborn baby is born.
So, my water breaks, I’m getting incredible pressure and I’m telling Bob *Tell her* *now*… He runs off to tell the nurse and wow… things are going, or coming, and it’s going to happen. I was so afraid I’d get scared and not be able to do what needed done. Her head started coming and the ring of fire that I don’t remember feeling before was there. I always thought it would be on the underside of the vaginal opening, but where I felt *fire* was up by where you pee. I remember thinking, *damn this burns*. I was a bit mad because I wanted it to stop. While I was waiting for another contraction to help get her head all the way out, I reached down and touched her… *my baby*… Got her head out, and her body seemed to take a bit too. I guess it’s harder because when a baby is still born, you don’t have the baby’s help in coming out. I do remember thinking that she wasn’t helping me, she wasn’t wiggling like she would if she were alive. It didn’t make me sad though. I felt very much that things were going the way they needed to. Then, I felt her little body slide right out. This was another good feeling I had, as I don’t remember *feeling* my others come out. It was something I wanted to feel so much, and I got to.
They looked at her quickly, while she lay between my legs, and clamped the cord (nothing noticable that caused her death). Another thought at this point was that if she’d not been still born, they would not have been doing that (clamping her cord). They layed her gently in a blanket and layed her on my belly. I have pictures of her there. I was so groggy, but she was so beautiful. She looked like an angel. It wasn’t until a short time after she’d been laying on me that I thought to ask if she was a boy or a girl. They left me alone for close to an hour waiting for the placenta. Finally, they reached up inside and it was there, so they went ahead an pulled it out… if I’d stood up, it would have just plopped out. But, this was fine. I asked to see it (daddy was holding his angel) and they showed me the baby side and the other… I’d never seen it before.