Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Story

We found out we were pregnant with Henry on Easter Weekend 2009. It was a surprise and we couldn't believe we were going to be having another baby around Christmas. The first eight weeks of the pregnancy were great and I felt much better than I did with Jack but then the next eight weeks (from 8 weeks until about 16 weeks) were pretty bad. I had awful morning sickness and just felt exhausted all the time. It was hard and Carl had to pick up a lot of the slack- doing dishes, laundry, taking Jack out when he got home from work. It was really hard.

Finally I started to feel better....for about a week. Then I got an awful chest cold and felt even worse than I had with the morning/noon/night sickness. Right after this is when I started spotting. At first, it was minimal and didn't seem worrisome. The doctor's checked me out several times when I went in concerned about it and they found nothing. At our 20 week ultrasound, everything looked fine. No soft markers for anything, measurements were good and we found out we were having another boy- we were thrilled!

Even though the bleeding continued, we were hopeful. It started getting really bad and I would have episodes of bad bleeding for several hours. On Thursday, August 13th, we went to the hospital in the evening because I was having pain. Up until this point, the doctors has specultated that the bleeding was from a tear in the placenta or the placenta starting to seperate but there was no for sure diagnosis. I had been on pelvic rest for awhile and then modified bedrest so I wasn't doing much at this point anyways. When we got to the hospital, our doctor was the on-call OB so she came in and did an ultrasound. They told us that the fluid surrounding Henry was very low so either my water had broken or it was due to him not getting enough of what he needed from the placenta. They also saw for the first time what they thought was a bloodclot. The news was bad and we were told we should terminate the pregnancy pending further tests to ensure their thoughts were right. We could either be induced and deliver Henry or have a procedure called a D&E. At that point, we were devastated but held out hope that our ultrasound the next day would come back okay and maybe it was the machine or the person doing it at the hospital. Unfortunately we got the same results the next day and talked to two different doctors who also thought we should terminate the pregnancy. When we found out that my risk in continuing on with the pregnancy was not super high, we decided to carry Henry as long as God would allow and hope that even with a minimal chance that we might be granted a miracle. The chance of Henry being viable or even making it far enough to be viable was very slim and with the placental issue (that they determined was from the blood clot) his chances were minimal that even if he would make it, he would most likely have severe disabilities. During the next two weeks my bleeding got a lot worse at which point I had to stay at the hospital. We ended up having three seperate transfusions to try and keep my blood counts up but it kept falling. On Thursday, August 27th, I had severe bleeding at then began having contractions. We knew that the next big bleed would probably lead to labor and it did. We still had hope for Henry and were just praying that God's will would be done but that maybe he would give us a miracle. We had made it to 24 weeks which was a milestone because at that point, babies have a better chance of survival. We had talked to our doctors, the high risk specialists and the neonatologists and had a plan in place after thinking about and making many hard decisions but we felt that what we decided gave Henry the best chance of survival.

I labored through the night and got an epidural at 6 cm. With Henry being so small they weren't sure how far I would have to dilate for him to be delivered but since he was breech it made it a harder delivery for both of us. Around 8 a.m. on Friday I felt a huge pressure and knew that Henry was coming. The nurse ran to get the doctors and it happened really quick from that point on. Henry was born at 8:10 a.m. and was stillborn. I asked the doctor right away if he was okay and she told me no. We were overwhelmed with sadness but found some relief in finally knowing what the end of the story was. After we delivered the placenta, the doctor told me that the blood clot had been at least twice as big as the placenta itsself and that I had lost several liters of blood.

After we finished the delivery, our nurse cleaned up Henry and dressed him and we were able to stay with him and hold him for as long as we wanted. We held him and told him how much we loved him and our parents got to hold him and spend time with him too. We cried a lot and it really set in at this time that it was over and we would not get to have Henry in our lives here. It was by far the most sadness we have ever felt. Our pastor came to the hospital and we did a naming ceremony for Henry and said prayers for him together with our parents. After we spent as much time as we wanted him, we were moved to another room on the postpartum floor. After being up all night, we were very tired and rested as much as we could. I had to have the final transfusion on the day we left the hospital as my blood counts were extremely low but they did it and let us leave the same day since we were very anxious to get home to Jack.

We chose to have Henry's body cremated so we now have his ashes here with us. We have some other reminders as well, including some pictures we took and some professional pictures from the hospital. Being home with Jack helps to ease a lot of the sadness but every day has ups and down. Our parents were here and helped us out immensely through everything. The just left recently and we are learning how to get back to our "normal" life with just the three of us.

We know a lot of people are thinking of us and wondering how we are doing so that is why we decided to do this blog. It's an easy way to keep everyone up to date on what is going on and what we went through and if it helps someone else in the process, even better. We know there are going to be good and bad days and we know that there are some hard days coming up- the monthly anniversary of Henry's birth, his due date, the holidays and just days when something reminds us of our little Henry. We miss him everyday and think of him constantly.

We saw my OB two weeks after I delivered Henry and my health is fine- still anemic but taking vitamins and Iron. I have had headaches from the anemia but they seem to be improving. After getting the pathology report back from the placenta they are for sure that the blood clot caused a massive abruption which is why everything happened how it did. A normal abruption (how much of the placenta is seperated from the uterus prior to delivery) is around 20% and mine came back as a 90% abruption. If we choose to try for another pregnancy down the road this won't have any bearing on whether or not it would happen again. My chances would be the same as anyone else getting pregnant of having it. The chances of a plancental abruption are low to begin with, less than 1% so hopefully we will never have to go through this again.


  1. Thank for you sharing this information with us. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Bollingers

  2. Sam....thank you so much for sharing Henry's story. You and Carl should be so proud of yourselves for everything you did for Henry. He is absolutely beautiful. Jack is very lucky to have parents like you two. - Leslie

  3. Sam, I wish I was reading a different story on your blog. Henry was beautiful and will be watching over his big brother until they meet one day. Please know that I'm thinking about you and praying for you.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. Kara has kept me updated on everything that has happened with Henry. I think about you, Carl and Jack often and wonder how you are doing. Being a mother myself, it is extremely painful to even imagine what you have been through. What an amazing gift Henry was to you, if even for a short time. Thank you for sharing the pictures, what a precious little face.

  5. I just finished reading Henry's story..I am so sorry..He really was a beautiful little boy, and I am so glad you were able to spend some time holding him and getting pictures of him. My prayers are with you..and I am so happy that we have met..