December 16, I returned to the doctors for blood work to determine if I was finally pregnant. I received a call from the nurse around 10ish this same day. She said "Megan, I am calling to tell you the good news." I was already in tears. It had worked, I was finally pregnant. My want of becoming a mother had finally come true, I AM PREGNANT. I called everyone, Brian, my mom, my sister, my mother-in-law. I MySpace’d my brother since he was overseas in Iraq. I called my dad, and finally told my co-workers.
On December 24, yes Christmas Eve, we went in for our first ultrasound. It was the best Christmas gift ever. We saw our babies heart beating for the first time. It was amazing, just the smallest little flicker, but yet it was life, OUR child's life. I continued to see our infertility doctor for the next 6 weeks. We received ultrasounds every time we had an appointment. Each appointment the doctor stated all looked well and that our chances of miscarriage were greatly reduced. I continued to be extra careful with thinking that all was perfect, only cause it took so long to become pregnant. I didn't want to just assume anything. January 25, 2010 was my first regular OBGYN visit. This was my "first prenatal" appointment. I continued to have routine check ups. The doctor would listen for the baby's heart beat, do a urine test, etc.
Our 20 week ultrasound took place on April 6, 2010. I couldn't wait for this ultrasound. It had been 10 weeks since our last ultrasound, and I wanted to see what our little child looked like now. Brian and I had discussed during the entire pregnancy, to this point, that we were not going to find out the gender of this baby. We wanted it to be a surprise since we worked so hard to conceive this child. I remember the ultrasound tech asking us "would you like to find out what your having?" I looked over at Brian and we both said "No, we would like for it to remain a surprise." The ultrasound was amazing. In a short ten weeks, our child went from looking like a very small teddy bear, to looking like a cute little baby. He was moving his arms, putting his hand to his face, moving his legs, and when Brian talked he moved his hand into a fist, as if he were telling Brian to be quite. We received three photos of our child before leaving the office. After the appointment, we were so excited. We went to my mom's to show her the photos that she had been counting down the hours to see. During the next doctor's visit, my doctor reviewed the ultrasound results with me. He stated that everything looked great, "a healthy baby, all four chambers in the heart look great, the brain looks well, and everything looks like it is developing as it should be. Keep up the good work." He then stated, "However, they did note that you have a low laying placenta, it is nothing to be overly concerned with. We will monitor it with another ultrasound at 28 weeks. But don't work yourself up over it, it is nothing serious and most of the time it goes away by 28 weeks." I went home and obviously went right on the Internet. I needed to know what caused this and how to fix it. My child that I had try to conceive for 2 years was not going to be harmed because of a "low laying placenta". After researching, I realized that the doctor was right. Nothing on the Internet was alarming, worst case, the placenta would be too low and I would have to have a C-section so the placenta wouldn't come before the child. I relaxed and put this behind me.
At my 24 week appointment, I received my first fundal measurement. I measured 19 cm. My weight continued, as normal, to increase by the 8 lbs, as it seemed to do every appointment. I asked the doctor if he felt that the weight gain was normal, as by now I had gained 18 lbs. He said all was fine and not to worry. He asked if I felt okay and I told him I felt good, that morning sickness was gone, not many cravings, etc. I explained that it was hard to sleep and that I felt like my stomach was really stretching. He laughed and explained that is pregnancy and with the growing baby that is how I am going to feel. He ordered me the Glucose test and stated that at my next appointment he would order me another ultrasound to check for the low laying placenta again.
At my 28 week appointment, my fundal measurement was now 33.5 cm. I had grown by 14.5 cm in a four week period. (remember, I was only 19 cm at my 24 week appointment) The doctor seemed concerned but stated that he was ordering the ultrasound to check for the low laying placenta, so anything alarming would show on the ultrasound. I explained that now my back was killing me, my ribs felt like they were going to pop out of my skin, and I was getting some swelling in my feet (not much, but some). He said that this was pregnancy but all looked okay and once he got the ultrasound results he would call me. That was May 20, 2010.
May 25 was the date that we scheduled the follow up ultrasound. I counted down the hours all day, I couldn't wait to see my child again and see the changes in his or her development. I also couldn't wait to find out why I was so big. I again had resorted to the Internet and found something called Polyhydrops. This is when the mother has too much amniotic fluid which cause stress on the baby. This was alarming to me, as I had all the signs. Upon arrival for the ultrasound, I was relieved to see that the same tech was there to do my scan. I was hoping for this since she did the last scan that showed the low laying placenta. We went back to the room and she began the scan. Just as last time, she stated that she wanted to take her photos first, then she would show us our baby. She asked again if we wanted to find out the gender and again we decided not to, we wanted the surprise. The tech finally turned the monitor so Brian and I could see our baby. He or she was so beautiful to see. This time the baby was positioned so we couldn't see his/her face. We could see the spine, feet, head, and arms. We saw the little arms moving and again going up near his/her ears.
THEN we heard the words no expecting parents ever want to hear.......... The words that changed our lives forever, the words that I will never forget since they repeat in my head everyday over and over again, "don't be surprised when your doctor calls you tomorrow, there is too much fluid around the baby, which is why you are so big. With this comes more issues, but the doctor will explain that to you tomorrow."
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - This is the day that I relive over and over again. I hate this day and I wish it would have never happened. I look back on it now and wish I would have never gotten out of bed on this morning. It was like any other morning, I woke up late, I rushed to get ready, I couldn't fit in anything since I was gaining 2 pounds a week, I did my hair, rushed to pack my lunch, let the dogs out, grabbed my laptop and purse, and ran out of the door for work. I arrived to work and I was booked all day with calls. First up, my manager, to discuss a new curriculum which needed to be built ASAP for the June rollout. Since I was in a rush this morning, I didn't have time to grab coffee. I decided that since I had a few minutes before my meeting, I would head downstairs for some decaf coffee (come on, did you actually think I was drinking caffeinated coffee while I was pregnant, LOL). I walked downstairs with some co-workers, all the while telling them that I can't take much more of being pregnant. I can't sleep, it is uncomfortable to do much of anything, my ribs were killing me, and my stomach was numb from the stretching. I am sure they were tried of hearing me, but I was seriously not sure if this is what pregnancies were really supposed to feel like. After getting coffee, I was back to my desk and on the phone with my first call. My cell phone rings and it's the doctor. He sounded very concerned and asked what I had been told by the tech during the ultrasound. He continued by saying that "the baby has a lot of fluid around it but also IN it." I was freaking out.... fluid IN my baby, what?! The doctor explained I needed to go the hospital to be monitored and I needed to be there in 2 hours, I knew by the sound of his voice that this wasn't going to be good. I got off the phone with the doctor, told my manager I needed to go to the hospital right now, called Brian, then called my mom. On the way out of the building, I called my mother-in-law. I went home, grabbed some clothes, and went to the hospital. I never in all my life would have guessed what I was in for, never. I was checked into West Chester hospital and was hooked up to a fetal heart monitor. After a few hours the doctor came in and stated that they were going to send me over the University of Penn to be seen. They didn’t really say what was wrong, just that MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) needed to see me sooner than they thought. I was transported by ambulance to University of Penn. Upon arrival, the doctors were there waiting for me. They did an ultrasound and an echocardiogram. Immediately they began whispering and I knew it wasn’t good. They basically said that the baby has a deformity of the heart. More tests needed to be run to determine what was wrong. One doctor said it looked minor, just that a vein needed to be stretched, but that the next set of tests would determine for sure. Again, I never thought it was going to be what it was….
Thursday, May 27, 2010 - After countless tests, cardiology sees me. The room was small and sad. There was a box of tissues on the table and I remember Brian saying, “This can’t be good”, I just laughed it off, still not thinking the worst could happen. The head of fetal cardiology comes in, another doctor, and a case worked. The case worker softly said in my ear “this isn’t very good”. The doctors began to talk and covered with us what a normal heart should look like. They then showed us our baby’s heart. It was totally different. Valves were upside down, ventricles were smaller on one side and larger on the other, arteries were too thin, it just was all wrong. The doctor said, “It is a condition known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).” She went on to say that our baby had fetal hydrops from the heart condition and stated that the heart condition was not the “typical” HLHS. Our baby’s left side of the heart was not working but it was also so enlarged it was causing the right side to lose function also. They stated that our baby had ZERO chance of survival if we didn’t do the fetal intervention. Brian and I took that night to discuss what we were going to do.
Our options were:
1.) do nothing and let “nature take its course” or
2.) try the fetal invention and hope for the best, but understanding that rates of survival were extremely low with as bad as our baby’s condition had gotten.
Before the evening was over, we had another ultrasound. This is when we decided that we were going to find out if we were having a boy or girl. The doctor stated we were definitely having a little boy. I remember looking at Brian and thinking, “we got what we were hoping for, our little boy.”
Friday, May 28, 2010 - An amniocentesis was completed to ensure our son didn’t have any other anomalies. We met with the doctor’s again after having another echocardiogram on our son, Wyatt James. They stated that the echo came back about the same as it was the day prior, but that Wyatt is extremely sick and will only get worse. We told them we decided to move forward with the fetal intervention. The doctors stated that they would look to schedule the procedure for the following week. After meeting with the doctors, they said we needed to await the amnio results before the surgery could be scheduled, so they sent us home for the long weekend.
Saturday, May 29 - Monday, May 31 - Talk about the longest Memorial Day weekend ever. Since the doctors had stated that Wyatt would probably not make it through the weekend, I was praying every hour that I would feel him move or kick or something. The weekend was so long. Brian and I went out to purchase a fetal heart monitor to try to hear if his heart was still beating, those things are worthless.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - As scheduled, I returned to Philly, but this time to CHOP were I was scheduled for another fetal echo. Upon arrival, I laid on the table and prayed that I would see Wyatt’s heart still beating when the tech pulled it up on the screen. I closed my eyes, prayed, and opened them. There is was… his heart was still beating. After the echo, we saw the doctor’s again. They stated the surgery was scheduled for Friday, June 4. We met with the anesthesiologist, who was awesome. He explained that I would need an epidural for the procedure as they would be cutting into my abdomen, accessing the uterus and moving the baby to the correct position (without going into the uterus). We received our first 3D ultrasound to check for other defects. It was so exciting to actually see features of our little boy. After understanding the procedure, we were sent home again and we were going to have to come back on Thursday to meet with the doctors again.
Thursday, June 3, 2010 - Another echo, which the doctor’s stated that Wyatt looked as though he was getting worse. After Brian’s question to the tech about the hydrops and do most babies only live with hydrops for 48 hours, the tech confirmed the question. She stated that they sent us home over the weekend and when we returned on June 1 for the echo, she honestly thought that Wyatt’s heart would have already given out. She was shocked to see that he was still holding on. We met with the entire team of doctors, there must have been 10-15 people in that room. They explained the entire procedure from start to finish again.
The procedure was:
1. Cut into the abdomen to access the uterus, but not enter the uterus.
2. Maneuver baby into position, insert needle to make a hole that would relieve pressure from the enlarged left side of the heart. The hole would allow for drainage into the right side. This would help the right side work better (allow it to expand since it was cut off by the enlarged left side), this would in turn reduce Wyatt’s hydrops.
3. Then if procedure works, bed rest until 34 weeks, then delivery.
4. Then Norwood procedure for HLHS After the meeting, we were sent home and needed to return the following morning for the procedure.
Friday, June 4, 2010 - We arrived at the hospital at 5:30a. We were immediately taken back to our room. I received an IVF, had another ultrasound to ensure Wyatt was still alive, and received the epidural. After receiving the epidural, I don’t remember much, I remember being wheeled into the hallway, I said goodbye to my husband, I believe I said goodbye to my father, and I was taken back into the O.R. The nurse told me not to be shocked as the O.R. was filled with many doctors. I remember being wheeled into the room and that was it. I then remember waking up, seeing a doctor in scrubs and she said “the baby didn’t make it, the baby didn’t make it”. The next thing I remember is waking up and seeing Brian. He had tears streaming down his face. I was crying when I woke up. He knew that I already knew that Wyatt was gone. The doctor came in and said that after three attempts, Wyatt’s heart had started to slow down. They had to pull out. They quickly closed me up and did the last ultrasound to determine how Wyatt was. That ultrasound was at 12:28p. At that time, Wyatt’s heart had already taken its last beat. That night, I started to go into labor. It was painful due to my 11 inch incision from the procedure. It was a slow labor, only .5cm dilated. The doctor asked if I wanted the Pitocin and I refused due to the pain.
Saturday, June 5, 2010 - I continued to be in labor, dilating only to 4cm. I continued to receive pain medicine to control the pain from labor and pain from the surgery that I had the day prior. At 10pm, the nurse hooked up the Pitocin.
Sunday, June 6, 2010 - This was also the date of my 30th birthday. What a birthday right. At 8am, I was dilated to 6cm and the nurse increased the dosage of the medicine. At 2pm, I was dilated to 8cm and by 4pm I was 10cm. At 4pm, the doctor told me it was time. It was time to deliver the baby I had dreamed of, the baby we tried to conceive for 26 months, the baby I carried to 29 weeks and 1 day gestation, our baby boy we wanted so bad, our little Wyatt James. It only took 48 minutes, and he was out. He arrived at 4:48pm. Just a few more minutes and we would have been exactly 30 years apart. I even said that to the doctor during the delivery.
|The first time I held my son|
Some people say a baby isn’t alive until it is brought into the world. The newspapers will not print photos with the obituaries of stillborns. Many others think that it is wrong to name a child who never lived outside the womb. This is my thought on that: If that’s the case, then tell me why I felt my son move everyday? How did I know when he was awake and when he was sleeping? How did I know what food he liked and what cause his belly to hurt? Please also explain how a child who never made a sound taught a family so much. Maybe one day, people will understand that life starts on day one when the body begins to form, not when the body is delivered into the world.