It was like any other typical appointment.
Of course at this time, I was going in twice a week for ultrasounds. During these appointments they monitored his movements and made sure he was practicing his breathing. I remember watching his heart rate, usually 132 beats per minute. Jensen would dance and wiggle around, letting me see his profile and front of his face. Usually he passed within five minutes. Sometimes it took him ten and a little coaxing from his mama. Every time he got a 100% and the doctor would tell me how good was doing. But this time was a little different.
Jensen had made big movements and his heart rate was great, but he didn’t practice his breathing. He had hiccups instead. So they couldn’t technically pass him on. I remember being tired from the baby shower and organizing the presents. He had moved all weekend and I made sure to put my feet up every night to relax. With all my protesting with seeing Jensen like he always had been, they still sent us for a Non-Stress Test or NST for short.
I had never had an NST before and I was angry. Honestly, I didn’t think Jensen was in danger and he had passed everything else. It was nice outside and I wanted to have a picnic and take bump pictures. Instead we went to the hospital into triage for them to hook me up. Not only did they hook my belly up to monitors, they tested my fluids and checked my blood pressure. The whole entire time I was pregnant my blood pressure was perfect except two times. This was one of them.
Like I said above, I was not especially happy about going to the hospital. It spiked my blood pressure and I, not Jensen, had to have extra monitoring.
NST ‘bump’ picture.
His heartbeat was monitored and the beeping calmed me. I saw every time he made a movement and he did end up practicing his breathing. When the resident doctor came in, I asked him questions about the Panorama test and asked about babies with Down syndrome. He ended up getting ultrasounds of Jensen that were taken at the hospital and looked them over with me. I got to show my baby off to another person, which made me smile. He kept telling me not to worry about Jensen. That he looked perfect and he’s passed all his tests but this last one and that I shouldn’t have even got sent to triage anyways. It made me feel better, which lowered my blood pressure.
In all, that day, we were there for around four hours. It was a long one, but I felt reassured because I knew the both of us were great.
I was so exhausted that night. When we went back, I remember thinking about the next few weeks. Jensen was due on April 17. My doctor wanted me to be induced at thirty-seven weeks and I though he was trying to scare me with the NST to be able to get induced then. I was adamant that Jensen would come whenever he needed to. “He’ll come when he’s ready,” I would tell the doctor. There wasn’t any reason to take him out early…
Today I woke up and remembered that appointment and the thoughts I had after it was all done. It stung. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I would have just complied and been induced at thirty-seven weeks. My mind told me after he was born that he would have lived if I would have just listened, but my stubbornness killed him. Those thoughts haunted me in those early weeks. Honestly, they subsided, until I woke up and theese flashbacks came.
It’s the one thing I’ve been afraid of with his birthday coming up. Would the memories and flashback show me something I missed? Something that would have saved him? If I would have just been scared enough and let them induce me, would he still be alive? Instead of writing this now, would I be chasing him around the house?
Let me tell you, these thoughts crush my chest and take my breath. I would have and would do anything to have saved him, to have him right here with me.
I hate feeling like I failed him.
Of all the chaotic grieving emotions that we loss moms have to navigate, I find that guilt is the most crushing. For me, it’s guilt about agreeing to remove Leah’s life supports so soon, rather than fighting harder for her. I will never know if she would still be here had I done things differently, and the torturous “what if’s” will probably intensify as her birthday approaches in June. Sending love to you and Jensen. He is so lucky to have you as his mom.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The guilt is the most crushing for me. You’re right, as loss moms we have to navigate it and know that we did all we could do. Sending my love to you, Leah, and your little love growing 💙💕