The Day My Heart Stopped
This day like any other birthday will always remain an important day in my life.
Nov 11th, 1988.
It was a warm day. My husband and I were living in Texas. It was just us because my husband was in the military and our families lived in New York and New Jersey. We had been married for 3 years and wanted to start a family. We waited long enough to put to rest the rumors that I was pregnant being the reason that we married so early.
The day we found out that we were expecting we were over the moon excited. This would be the first child/grandchild in the family. We started to plan our annual trip home for the holidays. It was the middle of August. We just moved to a great neighborhood into a 4 bedroom house, white picket fence and 2 dogs. The perfect “American dream”. We were only 22 and 24.
I found a great OB. Dr. Scott M Murray. Oh, he smelled just like Polo cologne. I will never forget him. We quickly scheduled all of our classes. Parenting, breastfeeding, childbirth, hospital visit, etc.
Our Christmas trip home was going to be better than ever. I was so organized and ready. Plus, I could show off my brand new baby bump!!
I ate properly. I got plenty of rest. I massaged my belly with cream so I wouldn’t get stretch marks every night.
Finally, around it was the end of my 3rd month. I could breathe. After all, I escaped the 1st trimester with no morning sickness. I was starting to show (a little too much). Ahh, I was starting to look and feel pregnant. 4 Months!! yay, we heard my baby’s heartbeat and had a picture from the sonogram. I also thought I was beginning to feel little flutters. Oh, what a blessing.
Now its the end of October and it’s almost time to see my family.
Nov 10th was a usual day. Full of excitement. Then, I noticed a bloody discharge. Alarmed, I call my Dr right away. He asked, “was I cramping ?”, No, I wasn’t. “Was It bright red blood?”, No, it wasn’t. So he suggested some rest.”Put your feet up and rest. Drink plenty of fluids and call back in the Am”. The next morning I checked and nothing!! No blood! I felt so relieved.
A Little while later I checked again and yes, it was back. The Dr instructed me to come to the office.
We were greeted with the usual hug and handshake. Ooh, that polo cologne. He had me drink a lot of water so they could do a sonogram. Ok, we already saw the heartbeat and I had a picture..so no worries, right?
After the sonogram, he had us wait in his office? No worries, it was after hours, right? That’s when he told me that there was no heartbeat. My baby’s heart stopped…my heart stopped…Nov 11th. Apparently, the baby stopped progressing around 14 weeks right after my 1st sonogram. I was supposed to be about 16 weeks. Dr. Murray held me for an hour while I sobbed uncontrollably.
I was too distraught to handle letting body expel my child naturally. Dr. Murray sent us to the hospital for a D&C. When I got to the hospital I threw up all over the place. Partially my nerves and all of that water. I kept apologizing to the poor nurse.
Now it was time for my epidural, my 1st epidural. Alone, scared, incredibly broken and sad, I sat sobbing. The anesthesiologist refused to do the epidural, he said I was moving too much. He actually started yelling at me. “Be still!!” My Dr. heard him, he threw him out and did the epidural himself. Then he gave me something to calm me down. I went to sleep. I woke up in the OR with loud machines and my legs in stirrups as they removed my baby, my heart.
The hardest part was to explain to friends and family, something that I didn’t understand myself. I tried to explain that I was a good person, I did everything right. I was not to blame. It was not my fault….right?
We spent that Christmas home, alone and broken..cause November the 11th I felt like heart stopped.
I have a few pivotal moments that helped me to decide to become a Doula, this story is reason #1 that I became a doula. Its why I put compassionate in my title. Its a tribute to the people that were compassionate to me at the one of the worst time in my life.