At 9 months pregnant, I was very uncomfortable. I had a reaction to the pregnancy hormone which made my skin itch like crazy and it was driving me mad. My doctor told me it was safe to take over-the-counter Benadryl to help with the itching, so I was taking two pills every 4-6 hours every day. The last week of my pregnancy, I was concerned that taking this many pills (like 170 pills a week) would hurt my baby. So I called and asked the nurse if it was safe, and she assured me it was.
Due to my uncontrollable itching (to the point of itching until I bled), after pleading with my doctor, I was able to convince her to induce labor the following week, just six days from my due date. But first she wanted to see me in the office. So that Monday I saw the doctor in the office, we heard the baby's heart rate which was good and strong, and she scheduled me to be induced the following morning in the hospital. “Ah, just one more day and I'll have my baby in my arms,” I thought. The last kick I felt was at midnight that night, just before I went to bed. I slept like a rock, looking back, because the baby was still.
When we arrived at the hospital, the first thing they did was hook me up to a fetal monitor to track the baby's heart rate. They couldn't find anything. I thought something must be wrong with the monitor or the nurse must not know what she's doing. I shook my belly and said, "Wake up" to the baby. I looked at my husband and just shook my head in disbelief and said, "Oh, if this is really happening, how cruel would that be?!" What kind of God would give you a baby and have you carry it for 9 months and then takes it away just one night before you were scheduled to deliver?!"
After an agonizing 2 hours waiting for an ultrasound, the technicians confirmed our worst fear. There was no heartbeat. Our baby boy had died. My body had already gone into labor, so after several hours, I delivered my son, and then we had to say our heart wrenching goodbyes. This was without a doubt, the single most saddest day of my life. I was devastated.
After examination of the placenta and an autopsy of our baby, my doctor told me the cause of death was the separation of the placenta which caused a blood clot inside the amniotic sack, which cut off circulation to the baby, but also kept me from bleeding to death. The doctor could give no reason why this happened. She said it usually occurs when there’s some kind of trauma to the belly, like a car accident or something. The autopsy revealed that there was absolutely nothing wrong with our baby. He would have been 100% healthy had he been delivered one day earlier. We missed it by one day. It was a fluke.
However, there were a few things I did which I think may or may not have contributed to this happening, and I would like to warn other mothers, just in case...
1. Be very cautious when taking any medications during pregnancy, even if your doctor says it's ok. I think taking all the Benadryl during the last few weeks of my pregnancy may have contributed to losing my son at full-term.
2. The day before I lost my son I went shopping with my mom. I was very active right up until the end of my pregnancy. I remember carrying a heavy sewing machine from my car to inside the house, and this is just not smart. There are reasons pregnant mothers shouldn't be lifting heavy things! Have someone else to the heavy stuff for you and kick your feet up and relax. Take care of yourself and your baby. Don't try to be "Super Woman!"
3. The day before delivery, I was very constipated, as is very common during pregnancy. I remember straining trying to go, and I think this may have caused the placenta to weaken and possibly separate before it should have. I have heard that pregnant mothers should not strain when constipated, but I didn't take it seriously. I wish I would have.
I have two healthy kids who are now 16 and 13, a boy and a girl. While there's a place in our hearts where our son, Jeffrey, will always be, we have learned to accept that he was born to God, and that he will always be our little angel. It took some time, but eventually, time does help heal the pain. And as difficult as it is, and as sad as it is, time will heal your pain, too.
Happier times are ahead for you. Just feel your feelings, feel your pain, cry your tears, and don't give up. It's hard to imagine you'll ever feel better, but you will. Trust me. I know. I have been there, and I got through it. So will you. Take good care of yourself and each other. Best of luck and best wishes for you and your family.