My story is not for the faint of heart.
A friend encouraged me to write today. He said it would help with my catharsis. He encouraged me to tell my side of the story. To be an eyewitness to an event of such excruciating pain is life altering. There is a lot of pain in the world and most people, MOST PEOPLE, would have you focus on the pain of others. They would have you focus on those who have less than you. At least that’s what my inner voice tells me some times.
The thing that most people do not understand is pain. I’m talking true emotional pain. I’m talking true mental anguish. The blue screen of death for your thought processes. A problem that is so maddeningly big and complex that you simply cannot comprehend it. You have to experience it.
Sure, people can extend sympathy. They can say, “Anything you need, let me know.” I am not the simplest of men in terms of lifestyle, but I can definitely say that my needs are satisfied almost 100% of the time. It is the WANT that is driving me at this moment.
Let me start at the beginning.
On November 25th of this year, my wife “miscarried” (the medical terminology). This definition is bull shit. Sorry. I got ahead of myself a bit.
Kay had been having bleeding issues for a little over 3 weeks now. We knew we were pregnant and bleeding is not necessarily something you want to see at that time. Ultrasounds and heart Doppler’s were all good. We had an active little baby with a strong 160 bpm heart beat. The bleeding got worse. More ultrasounds, more tests, and an appointment was set up for a specialist here in 2 weeks time. All the ultrasounds = good. All of the pictures = fine. EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT! …Except for the bleeding.
You can’t lose that amount of blood and not have it affect you. Kay had been getting weaker and was put on a light bed rest and then a strict regimen. It did nothing to help.
At 2:30-ish am on February 25th my wife shook me awake in my son’s bed. (Jacob and I sometimes switch beds in the night when he kicks me out of mine…)
Kay: “I don’t want to…but I’ve been having some kind of pains every 2-3 minutes for the last 15 minutes. We need to go to the hospital.”
I got up and dressed while she called our son’s Godparents. We dropped Jacob off and then drove silently 45 minutes to Owensboro and their Emergency Maternity Ward.
We were put in a room for the initial check and the baby’s heartbeat was 157 bpm. The doc came in to check. He turns to us and says, “I’m sorry. I feel baby parts. There is nothing we can do.”
After a very brief stunned silence he “half jokes”, “This is probably not how you wanted to spend black Friday.”
To this moment, I am unsure of how I did not just blow up at him then. But he was human. He was having a human reaction.
We were moved to delivery. It went fairly quickly. And then at 4:47 AM, there was this tiny…tiny girl in my wife’s arms. “you’re too early little one,” Kay said softly.
Nurse: “What will you name her.”
Kay looks at me and I say with a gasp: “Anne… Anne Grace Keller”
Kay: “Anne with an E right?”
Me: “Yes, with an E.”
Nurse: “Anne’s heartbeat is 160 bpm. She’s a fighter.”
And as if to prove this, Anne moved her head to gasp. She moved her arms. She was a fully formed human. There were no genetic markings of any kind of disorder. She wasn’t missing limbs. She wasn’t misshapen except for the size. She was perfect.
*Here Kay’s story gets a bit fuzzy and mine delves into something that has had me shaking since Friday*
The nurses step out to give us a moment with Anne. I’m holding her now. She weighs 4 ounces. I can barely feel her. Kay turns to face me.
Kay: “I don’t feel so good”
Kay’s face was grey. And I mean grey as a corpse. The blood pressure monitor read 60/40.
I ran out the door to the nurses’ station 3 steps away and said, “She is not good!”
All 3 nurses and the doctor from the station ran into the room with me.
Doctor: “She’s coding! She’s crashing!”
Nurses are running all over the place and all kinds of alarms are going off.
Doctor turns to me: “There are going to be a lot of people in this room. I NEED YOU TO GET OUT!”
A nurse hauls/guides me from that room to the room next door, sits me in a corner, and leaves me alone.
It’s worth mentioning that I remember seeing a priest (I would learn his name of Fr. Cash on Sunday) in the hallway. (For those of you playing at home, Kay and I are devout Catholics.) I figured he was there to Baptize Anne as Kay and I requested. It took more than a couple of moments for him to come into the room that I was in…
Priest: “I want you to know that I gave your wife last rights before coming in here.”
***FYI, this is not the way to begin a conversation. For those of you not in the know, Last Rites is also known as Anointing of the Sick. However, in most cases in a hospital, Last Rites are used as the nomenclature than Anointing of the Sick***
Me: “Excuse me?!?!?!” (Although at this point I was crying so hard, I don’t think I was intelligible)
Fr. Cash performed Anne’s Baptism and Confirmation. Anne was still alive. Then…he GTFO’d. (He had the flu)…and I was alone…again. Fr. Cash did get a nurse to sit with me….though she must’ve brought a life jacket or poncho from all the water that was pouring out of me at that point.
It wasn’t until maybe 30 minutes later that I finally got any information. A good friend of mine (I had called earlier before all of this) arrived at the room and asked, “Where’s Kayla?”
I answered in blubberese a confused “I don’t know”
He marched to the nurses’ station and got me some answers. Kay had continued to hemorrhage. The placenta did not detach. They were operating and Kay was receiving blood to make up for the lost. (Kay would end up taking in two whole units of blood.)
And Anne was still alive.
There’s some blurring of timeline now and a little fast forwarding. I took Anne with me to the recovery room where Kay was. Eventually, 1-2 hours later, we were moved back to Labor and Delivery.
And Anne was still alive.
Kay’s dad had come down. He got to hold his newest granddaughter…because as I stated before…Anne was still alive.
The nurses came in and checked on Anne every 20-30 minutes. Her heartbeat continued. And continued. And continued. And…got weaker…and weaker…and weaker…
One of the last times that the nurse checked she said that Anne’s heartbeat was around 10-15 bpm.
And then, she was gone. And I sang to her as I had done while Kay carried her in her womb.
“Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow Me, I will bring you home. I love you and you are mine.”
There was crying. There was sobbing.
There are other indelible moments from that day.
Telling my son, that the sibling he was wishing and praying for would not be coming home with us. That she was in her Grandma’s Arms. (Kay’s mom died of Ovarian Cancer 3 years ago)
Another moment was when we got her measurements. 6.5” and 4oz.
But the memory that will stick with me the most… Anne was born at 4:47 AM. She was declared dead at 9:40 AM. That is nearly 5 hours.
This is why I’m having a bit of trouble today. This is why I’m having anger and rage and confusion and just utter…pain.
She wasn’t a miscarried “bundle of cells”. She wasn’t a stillborn birth. She was alive. She was perfect. And I loved her.
I’m sorry if I brought people down tonight. But I was told to get this off my chest and Negative-G is where I feel the safest to do something like this.
Love your kids.
Senior Park Management
Senior Park Management