I've been meaning to get these thoughts out in the open for the past 3 months. I don't know why its taken me this long. I want so desperately to move on and typing this out means re-reading my journal entry from 3 months ago and its painful. But, sometimes I don't want to let go of the grief because that's how I can keep her close.
July 4, 2015
Our sweet Hazel was born on July 3rd at 7:12am. She was 17 weeks & 1 day old. We said 'hello' and 'goodbye'. I've never hurt so much in all my life.
On July 2nd at 3:00am, I woke to bleeding. I was so scared, but had been bleeding previously throughout my pregnancy on & off. So, I'd hoped that it was just another bleed from my subchorionic hemorrhage. When Steve got up at 6:00, I told him what was happening & we both agreed that we should go to our doctor as soon as they opened. When we arrived, they said Dr. Nolte wouldn't be in for another 2 hours and recommend we go to the ER, so we did. There, we had an ultrasound and saw a healthy heartbeat but also saw that the placenta had a tear and that's what was causing the bleeding. We also saw, for the first time, that this was indeed a girl. Our Hazel. Dr. Nolte soon came in feeling optimistic, saying to continue to take it easy. We all felt that this would continue on to be a healthy pregnancy but knew we needed to cancel all future plans for the next few months, including Steve's Master's program. He wasn't super disappointed about that.
That evening we decided to share with our families all that we'd learned that day, including the news of this baby being a girl. We felt it was important to pray specifically for Hazel. Overall, it was a good day. Until that evening.
I noticed that I was having slight cramps around 8:00pm and about 30 minutes later, they'd worked up to full contractions that took my breath away, coming every 3 minutes. Unbearable pain. Steve called my brother & he and his wife came to stay with Sawyer while Steve took me back to the ER. The 45 minute drive to Roosevelt was horrible. I'd never felt so much physical pain for such a long time. The contractions would not ease up. I was bleeding heavily through all my clothes. My whole body clenched contracting without giving me a break. Screaming in pain, I wanted to pass out. I wanted to not feel. And the thought of what was probably happening to Hazel was just too much. When we finally got there, Steve wheeled me in and there was a kind nurse who quickly helped me get out of my bloody clothes and get me into a clean gown. I'm so appreciative of the amazingly kind staff who helped us. The ER doctor came in with an ultrasound and started to scan my belly. When he said that he needed another tech to come in, I knew then that this was bad. Steve told me that he saw the heartbeat on the screen which gave me a little bit of hope. The tech finally arrived and started doing another ultrasound. I was terrified to ask, but I had to, "Do you see a heartbeat?" Her response was less than casual and almost upbeat "Barely. Its very very slow." Maybe if she knew how badly we wanted this baby, her tone would have been different. Maybe if she knew that we'd spent the last 10 years working toward getting pregnant, she would have been a little apologetic.
The ER doctor came in and said that they didn't want to have to tell anyone that their baby is dying, but thats what it looked like. When he left the room, Dr. Nolte came in and said something similar, that this was very unexpected, but my body was trying to deliver this baby. However, he said that they were going to do all that they could to keep her inside. Looking back, he knew she was already gone at that point, but it was important to him that they do all they could to appease Steve & me. I so appreciate that, he is such a good doctor. For the next 6 hours or so, I laid in a decline position to get her to come back up into my uterus. They gave me Morphine a couple times in the ER, but once they transferred me to OB, they gave me Demerol for the pain. This drug was so powerful, it took away much of my ability to feel emotional pain. They also gave me medicine to keep my uterus from contracting. I mentioned to Steve "It may be silly of me, but I still have hope." He felt the same way.
During those 6 hours, we were alone for most of it. I told Steve he needed to talk to Hazel & that my heart was somewhat relieved when I rubbed her through my belly, so maybe it would help him too. He came close, gently patting her and telling her that he wanted her to stay. Through tears, he told her about her big brother Sawyer, her dog Lucy and our house & big yard. He let her know that he wanted to watch her grow up. I was feeling peace at this time. It was just the 3 of us. I also felt that if this was her time, all would be okay. I remember telling Steve "She might be needed more on the other side." His painful response, "But I need her here." I couldn't argue that. I needed her here too.
Steve had called his folks earlier to come up & releive my brother and his wife so they could go home. On their way into town, they stopped at the hospital and stayed with us through the wee hours of the morning. They let us know that all the family was praying for us and wanted to remind me that baby Hazel was a fighter. I wanted so badly to share in their optimism.
About 3:30am, our doctor came in for what would be the last ultrasound. Having so much faith in our doctor, Steve's dad shook his hand and said "You're our favorite person in the world." The look that Dr. Nolte gave him in return said "I'm not." That look confirmed the feelings that nobody wanted to face. As soon as the ultrasound began, it felt dark. He held the wand over her, holding very still. I held my breath. He held the wand still for what felt like an hour, just staring at the screen. He finally spoke regretfully, "You guys. Im not seeing a heartbeat." It was over. But at the same time, it was just beginning. This nightmare was starting when hope was ending.
I asked Steve's parents if we could be alone. They headed to our house to be with Sawyer when he would wake in just a couple hours.
At this point, our doctor gave us options. I could deliver our baby, we could hold & spend time with her, or they could perform a D&C surgery to remove her and the placenta. We decided that we wanted to meet our baby. They gave me a medication that would allow me to deliver her. At 7:00am, the doctor came in. It was time. With the assistance from our nurse, he started pulling on the baby & asked me to push. I don't remember much from this time, but I do remember exactly what she felt like against my skin as soon as she came out. I let out a painful scream, not because I was physically hurting, but because I knew she was no longer with me. I wasn't carrying her anymore. This was perhaps the most painful feeling of it all. The umbilical cord was too short for him to lift her up to me. I wanted to see her. I wanted to hold her.
When they got the cord clamped off and cut, the nurse wrapped her tiny body and while handing her to me, she whispered "She's so perfect." She WAS perfect. She was so tiny and delicate. I couldn't believe that I'd been growing her. Everyone stepped out, giving the 3 of us our privacy. We bawled, mourning the loss of our sweet baby. I couldn't help but feel so guilty. I couldn't carry her anymore. My body wouldn't allow it. I turned to Steve, choking through my tears "I'm sorry! I'm so so sorry!" He was broken and it was my fault. He told me to stop, that I didn't have anything to apologize for.
We held our baby, telling her how much we loved her and how so very special she was.
After our short time with her, she was taken to the nursery for her hand & foot prints. Later, a woman from the mortuary came and visited with us. She was so kind, letting us know that they would keep and preserve Hazel for us as long as we needed, free of charge. Also, that the tiny baby casket would be provided for us, free of charge. We would be able to take our daughter and bury her wherever we wanted. What a blessing.
Now we're home. Everything feels different. I'm always thinking about my little girl and what might have been.
These past few days have shown me that my love for Steve is greater than I ever thought I could have for anyone. He has been so strong and gentle. I couldn't have done this without him. My love for him has grown more in the past few days than it has in the past 10 years. He was meant for me and I continue to try and be the one for him. The love that I have for Sawyer has also grown. I cherish him and I want to savor the time I have with him. Nothing in this life is more important than these 2 people. I look forward to the day when I can see my baby Hazel again, when I can take her by the hand and tell her how I love her and how much I've missed her.