How Do I Go On Without You?

My husband and I have been happily married for three years, and think it’s right timing to start planning a family.  We tried and on the third month, I got pregnant.  Since this was our first, we had been very careful about everything.  I had some minor cramps, spotting and bleeding during my first trimester, but it was very bearable and nothing serious at all.  I told my OB, and she confirmed that it’s just my uterus expanding, giving more room for the baby to grow. After week 12 and everything started to stabilize, we started announcing our exciting pregnancy news to extended family and friends.

As I headed well into my second trimester, everything was fine.  No more morning sickness, my energy was back, I could feel my baby kicking me for the first time at week 16.  Then on November 16, I got a call from my OB saying she would like to see me right away.  Just by that sense of urgency, it didn’t sound very good at all.

I went to her clinic, and she said my blood screening test came back positive.  Somehow, my alpha-fetoprotein came back twice as high than normal preggers.  This result could mean:

1) my baby has open neural tube defect;
2) my baby has omphalocele;
3) there’s some slight problem with my placenta, it’s secreting abnormal hormones and causing these numbers going wonky for no reason;
4) my baby is dead.

In order to confirm if it’s #4 or not, my OB immediately did an ultrasound for me.  Not only we saw baby’s movement, we also confirmed baby’s heart was beating very healthily.  But of course, I still had to go to the hospital to do a thorough ultrasound, come up with a confirmed diagnosis, and meet with the medical genetics specialists.

During that week of uncertainty, my husband and I were very worried, scared, anxious.  We prayed a lot, and asked our family and friends to pray for us and the baby as well.  My husband and I didn’t really have the opportunity to share our thoughts with each other until the day before the ultrasound.  On that night, we shared our feelings and thoughts on a lot of “what if”.  We both agreed that termination is not an option.  It doesn’t matter if our baby is born with minor or severe disabilities, we won’t love him any less because of his physical imperfection.  With that thinking in mind, we both felt very peaceful on the night before the ultrasound.

On Nov 23 early morning on the way to the hospital, my husband and I were praying a rosary in the car together.  I felt the baby’s kick again at that very moment, and felt very reassuring. At 9:45am, I stepped into the hospital ultrasound department.  The sonographer was doing his job, looking at the baby thoroughly.

After a long while, the sonographer said to me that he saw a lot of things he is not supposed to see in a baby.  He saw  “halo” around his head, tummy, and back, which means those areas were wrapped around in fluids.  Then, a doctor came in to look further into it.  The doctor explained to me the whole right side of my baby was developed abnormally.  The right side of his brain was grown much bigger, that it’s squishing to the other side. His whole back, from neck to lower back had open neural tube defect.  His right forearm only had one short bone instead of two, and is deformed.  He also had omphalocele, which the organs were not grown properly into his abdomen.

At that time, all these words were just a blur to me…All I could think was “Oh my poor baby! My poor baby…” Yet, at that time, I was still saying to myself, termination is NOT an option.  Until the sonographer and the doctor was looking for the baby’s heartbeat, and it was nowhere to be found.  They both confirmed to me that my 20 weeks old baby had passed away.  Still in my womb, but passed away… At that very moment, I felt my heart was in my throat, guts wrenching, and really wanted to puke.  Tears running endlessly for God knows how many hours… I’ll never forget this indescribable pain.

The hospital couldn’t arrange a procedure done for me on that same day, so I had to carry my precious, yet dead baby in my womb for an extra five days. It was an absolute torture… Still feel pregnant, still look pregnant, yet I know everything would come to an end soon, very soon.

On Nov 28, I was admitted into the hospital to be induced.  Throughout the day, I was having cramps due to the medication.  Then the nurse gave me some Gravol and morphine to reduce the pain.  At 6:10pm, my water broke.  At 6:18pm, I delivered my baby, Acacius Lai Shun Tam.

It’s been a month, and the pain is not going away anywhere.   Crying myself to sleep and being mad at God are the only two things I feel I can do at this moment.  Especially having Christmas around the corner, it certainly makes grieving a lot more difficult.  A new year of 2012 is coming soon, but there’s no resolution in my mind at all.  I only wish my baby is still healthy and alive in my belly, waiting to come out to this world in mid April of next year.

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