If you remember from this post, January 15th started out with me feeling a little on the miserable side. My nurse had been saying for several hours that they would give me an epidural as soon as I wanted and that I didn't need to tough it out. I don't know how to best explain this other than to say I'm not a huge fan of epidurals. However, I am a major wimp and don't handle pain well. We talked to my nurse a little after midnight and decided that it might be best for me to get an epidural. That was administered to me around 12:30 am and was followed by my next dose of cytotech. I was then able to sleep for a little bit.
Around 2 am, my nurse came in again and told me that Emma's heart rate had dropped to about 80 bpm (remember, normal is 120 to 180) and it was not picking up at all. She said it wasn't dangerous, but it did worry her a little. So our nurse called my doctor and he said that they should back off of the cytotech for a little while because the dosage might be too much for Emma to handle. (I should also insert here that up to this point my doctor had called the nurse a couple of times to check on me). So the nurse told me that was the plan and I went back to sleep.
Around 3:30 am the nurse came back in because she was no longer picking up a heartbeat from the monitor. This had happened a few times before and after adjusting the monitor, we were able to pick something up again. However, as the nurse continued to adjust the monitor, she was not able to pick anything up. She told us that she was going to do an ultrasound to check on Emma.
She brought in the ultrasound machine and found Emma's heart and focused in on it. I could see the screen and saw that the heart was moving in some sort of manner, but I knew it wasn't nearly as normal or fast as it should be. Our nurse said that she was going to bring in the head nurse to take a look at it with her.
The head nurse came in and it took them a while to focus in on Emma's heart, but finally they did. Neither of them looked at me, but they started to discuss and explain to Tim and I how Emma's heart was really only fluttering and that as they counted, it was less than 20 bpm. They went on to explain several other things about what was going on. They did not say that she was close to death, but both Tim and I knew it and I couldn't help but begin to cry. The nurses then turned to face me and while nothing was said, we all knew that each other knew that this was the end. I began to cry some more. Our nurse said to us, "I think we should stop monitoring Emma, is that okay?" We agreed and our nurse turned off the ultrasound machine. I felt one last kick from Emma in the seconds after the machine was turned off. That was at 4 am. Emma's time of death was listed as 4:01 am.
The nurses left the room and Tim and I cried together and held each other and cried some more together. I don't remember all the words that were exchanged between us, but both of us were heartbroken. Tim said a prayer and I also don't remember much of the prayer, but I do remember that he asked a blessing upon all of the people that were praying for us. I am so glad he did that because I knew how much Emma was loved by others and I knew that we wouldn't be the only ones who were heartbroken.
And yet, as heartbroken as I was, I have to say that I was filled with such an immense peace. Going into labor, I thought I would be devastated if Emma didn't survive the birth, but I wasn't. I know that Heavenly Father gave me that peace to ease the burden and oh how grateful I am for that. I don't think I can accurately describe the peace I felt, but it was there, despite the heartache.
As Tim and I continued to talk, I had a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings. One major one was I wanted to go home and be done. I didn't want to be in the hospital anymore. However, that wasn't possible. I also sulked for a little bit about how much harder the whole situation just became. And then, once again, I thought of everyone who was praying for us and my heart ached for all of you.
I need to add here that words cannot accurately describe what exactly went on after about 3:30 in the morning. However, I want to do the best that I can so that I have a written record of it. Additionally, I'm not ready to share with the world all of the experiences I had at that time. So because some things are too sacred and personal, I'm not sharing them.
We decided not to call our families right away. It was now about 4:45 am and we knew that our news would be upsetting enough that it might disturb people's sleep, so we decided to wait until later in the morning.
Because Emma had already left us, I was given one more dose of cytotech around 5 am. The nurse then reviewed with us Emma's heartbeat patterns since the time we had arrived (at this point, over twelve hours ago) and then Tim and I went to sleep.