Friday, August 22, 2008

It seems like a lifetime ago

(I wanted this to post on 8-21, but it's 12:10 a.m. on 8-22 and I just got home from work so that wasn't possible)

In 1999, I turned 26 years old. I was married to my first husband and we found out that I was pregnant in February or March. We were excited, especially once I got past the 12 week point that I had miscarried at before. We went for the ultrasound and they didn't say much really. Then I went to see my ob/gyn the next week and he said that, based on my ultrasound, he was referring me to a maternal-fetal specialist in Nashville. An appointment was made for me to go in mid-May. No one had told me that anything was wrong at that point.

My mother took me to Nashville for my appointment. When we got to the specialist's office, they did another ultrasound. The tech who did it said nothing. She just said that she would get the doctor and he would explain it to me. She also went and got my mom. The doctor came in and explained that my baby had no kidneys and no bladder and that there was very little amniotic fluid. Did I remember having a gush of any sort? I said that I didn't. He explained further that the amniotic fluid is what helps the baby to learn to breathe and that with no kidneys, there was nothing that could be done for my baby. Essentially, this was a condition incompatible with life. He offered to do a placental biopsy that day to try and figure out what went wrong. Was it genetic? He didn't know.

The biopsy itself didn't hurt. It was a large needle and he stuck it through my abdomen into the placenta in my uterus. While he had it in there, he wiggled it around because sometimes that could cause a miscarriage. I was on Medicaid at the time and would have to carry until I delivered if I didn't miscarry. I went home not knowing the results of the biopsy.

I think he called with the results the next day. That's the only part I don't remember. The baby was a boy and was genetically perfect. It was an an anomaly or a series of anomalies, really. He had Potter's Syndrome and, if you look it up, it really does say, "This condition is incompatible with life."

My life carried on. Although, there was no baby shower. No baby gifts. No baby anything. Just this baby who remained inside me and only lived because of that. As the summer wore on, I grew a little larger. Not much since there was no fluid. Potter's babies develop smaller than normal babies because they are in a cramped space. He kicked and moved often though. It just hurt much worse than when Quincy kicked and moved because there was no cushion.

Finally, after midnight on August 21, I went into labor. I went to labor and delivery, where I was already 5 centimeters dilated. They hooked me up a fetal monitor and offered me an epidural. By the time the anesthesiologist got there, I was at 10 centimeters so I got a spinal block instead. Prior to that, they gave me Stadol, which didn't help much. I remember a few pushes. Someone switched off the fetal monitor. No one said anything.

My first son, Christian, was born and died on August 21, 1999.


Heather.PNR said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Bragger said...

How painful that must have been for you. I can't imagine how you felt.

susan said...

I'm okay with it now. I had nightmares for a while and I cried the day he would have started school. I used to have a lot of hard days. Now, it's just a few a year.

Wendy said...

I'm sorry Susan. I can only imagine how painful it must still be. A friend of mine had a baby with Potter's and was really hard to go through it with her. Thank you for sharing it with us.

susan said...

Wendy--you know someone else who had a Potter's baby? I've never met anyone else who did.

Maggie, Dammit said...


What an incredible story. I can't imagine what it was like, to carry him so long and feel him move and know you would only have one day to love him. I can't imagine it at all.

I'm so sorry you went through this. I'm so sorry for your loss. I realize it was a long time ago, but I imagine even time doesn't lessen a pain like this.

I'm so sorry.