After confirming that Alexander had died and figuring out what happened next. We drove home from the hospital/Dr's office to wait and prepare for the next day when we would induce labor. We drove home with the empty car-seat installed in the back seat that had been waiting to protect our little boy. A car-seat that would never hold my baby boy. We didn't talk much, my husband didn't want to break down while driving.
We got home, it seemed late that evening in February. I went back into the bedroom to call my parents, while my husband called his and put something together for dinner. Neither of us were very hungry but we needed to eat something for physical strength the next day. I called my mom, she immediately knew something was wrong as I tried to choke back sobs so I could talk. I told that Alexander had died. She asked what happened and if I needed them to come up right away. I asked her to tell my brothers and my grandma, anyone who needed to know. My dad and she would drive up the next day to be there for me when we induced labor. My parents were supposed to come up after Alexander was born and stay with us for a week to help out with their new grandson. My husband had a similar conversation with his mom. His family would come down for a visit in a few weeks to grieve with us instead of cooing over their first grandbaby.
I called my pastor. It took a couple calls to reach her that time of night she was in meetings. She asked if she could come over right then. I said yes. By the time she showed up at our door my husband had heated up some leftovers, stuffed french-toast he had made earlier that week as a celebration meal for my last week of school before Alexander arrived. The celebration food had turned into just something to eat. My pastor prayed with us, I think she read a bible passage or two, I don't remember. She asked if she could come to the hospital the next day before we induced. I told her yes.
I got on the computer and emailed my principal and his secretary to tell them I wouldn't be into work the next day. I was going to work one more day before going on maternity leave. I told them they could inform the staff but I didn't want phone calls or visits right then. I sent in lesson plans for the rest of the week and even finished and submitted my grades. I know most people wouldn't bother because family comes first but I needed to focus on something else just then. It was still early for bed but we decided to try to get some sleep anyway. I thought maybe I could go to sleep and wake up with it all being a dream.
Neither my husband or I slept much at all that night. We mostly held each other and cried off and on all night. We finally decided we weren't going to get any sleep and got out of bed around 3 am. Thus began the longest day of my life February 9th, 2011.
I sat down on the couch and got out the blanket I was making for Alexander. I had started it before he was even conceived. I had worked on it throughout my pregnancy with him. It was practically finished. I made it in three panels and they just had to be hand sewn together. I cried and held it and after a while I began to sew it together.
I had to finish it for him, even if he would never be wrapped in it or sit on it and play. I did finish his blanket, it was stunning, a work of art and one of my few comforts in the coming days.
My husband brought me some water or maybe tea and asked If I needed anything. I said we should watch a movie. We put on "Stardust" a beautiful fantasy movie about love and good triumphing over evil. I had forgotten that it started with a baby being left on a doorstep.
After the movie we sat around, I think we may have taken showers, eaten breakfast, and gotten dressed at some point. I don't remember. I do know at some point we decided we needed to leave the apartment, the apartment that was ready to have a baby come home to it. The nursery was all set up, clothes washed and sorted, folded and put away into drawers. All the handmade gifts for Alexander, from my family, from my husband's family would never be used by him. It hurt to be there, I was restless, I wanted to do something, but all I could do was wait.
We drove to a park that we liked to walk in. We walked, and walked, and walked, stopping on occasion to hold each other and cry. I scowled at the man pushing a stroller with a toddler in it while drinking a beer. We could have walked forever, but my body still 9 months pregnant was hungry and beginning to give me some pain in my hip and lower back. We talked to my parents, they were an hour or so away. They would take us to lunch when they got there. We went out and got something to eat anyway.
My parents did arrive. My mom held me in one of those hugs only moms know how to give. She said she was so sorry as she cried with me. We went to lunch, I ate the soup and salad bar. We went back home. I had my husband get my hospital bags out of our car. I repacked them. I took the outfit I had picked out as Alexander's coming home outfit and an organic cotton receiving blanket that was so soft. I placed those items in my bag. I took out the camera and left it and the diaper bag at home.
My parents drove us to the hospital. We walked up to labor and delivery where we waited to be checked in at the desk for my appointment to induce at 5:30 pm. After sitting there for too long (thankfully no women in labor came in during that time) we were taken to room 12. The room furthest away from all the other rooms, our door had a flower on it. I got dressed in the hospital gown, a nurse came to take blood samples for testing and set up my IV. The dr. came to talk to us. We discussed pain medication. Originally I didn't want any pain medication, but now Alexander was dead I was all for not feeling physical pain. I had emotional pain to deal with. He asked if I wanted to have one more ultrasound just to make sure. I declined. I couldn't hear those words again. He said he would be back to start the induction soon. My pastor arrived and read some bible verses and prayed with us. I think we sang Jesus loves me, I don't remember.We waited, and waited. I was hungry. The nursing staff brought us some food to eat. They said the dr. was doing an emergency c-section and would be there soon. My pastor went home for the night and said she would be back in the morning.
Right before 8 pm the dr came and put a pill up by my cervix to induce labor. Then the shift changed and I met new nurses and a new dr. They gave me an ambien to help me sleep. My parents went back to our house to try and get some sleep. My husband slept on the couch in the labor and delivery room. A lab tech came in to draw 14 more vials of blood. The new dr. had ordered more blood tests to see if there was an infection that cause Alexander's death. The new dr. came in from time to time to see how thing were progressing, he placed another pill by my cervix. I went from not dilated or effaced at all to like 4-5 cm in a few hours. He broke my water. Throughout this whole time I was sleeping between interruptions. At around 3am I woke up and was unable to go back to sleep because I was actually feeling my contractions.
That's about the time my parents arrived back at the hospital. I sent my dad back home to get the blanket I made for Alexander. I wanted to hold it. The nurses gave me something through the IV for the pain and started giving me fluids so I could get an epidural. I labored for what seemed like a long time. My dad came back at some point. I held that blanket for a time then gave it to my mom so it wouldn't get dirty. I asked for an epidural, the nurses said the dr. changed the order for a spinal tap because I was progressing so quickly. The anesthesiologist would be here soon. I had a lot of back labor and used the cow position (on hands and knees) I learned in prenatal yoga to help alleviate it. My husband squeezed my hips together like they taught us in our labor and delivery class. I felt like I needed to push and told the nurse. She let my try to push once and said it wouldn't be much longer.
The anesthesiologist was coming. So the sent everyone but my husband out of the room. The nurse told me to sit on the edge of the bed. I said I couldn't. She said yes you can and tried to help me. I tried but I couldn't I said "He is coming!" She said yes he's right outside the door, you just need to sit down. I said "no the baby is coming!" and she looked and Alexander was crowning. I gave birth to him after 3 short hours of hard labor, not having an epidural or a spinal tap. The nurses took him to clean him up before I met him.
It seemed like forever, but it was only a day. We waited to finally say hello, knowing we had to also say goodbye.
Alexander Michael Armes was silently born at 5:42 am on February 10, 2011.