On August 22, 2008, we were elated to have the news that we were expecting our third child. Because of previous complications, we had decided to tell only our parents after the first ultrasound came back okay, and then to announce the news around the 18w mark, once we had either had cervical surgery after heavy monitoring to make sure that it was needed or after we had passed the period where that was traditionally done unscathed. We enjoyed a perfect pregnancy, with high cervical measurements, and expected to tell family and friends of our upcoming birth during the holiday season.

Monday, November 17th, gave an outstanding cervical measurement, but on Wednesday, we immediately rushed to our hospital, 45 minutes away after seeing some blood, and although we heard our precious boy's heartbeat, the physical exam showed that Michele's cervix had dilated to 2. To our shock, an ultrasound on Thursday showed that part of his water bag and little Alexander's legs were in the vagina (even though the bag hadn't broken). We were advised to start labor, but just couldnt do it. Our little snugglebug's heart was so strong and he was moving around, even as we were terrified. We decided to maintain inverted bedrest and that, if he came, it was his time to be born. The doctors told us that we probably wouldnt make it through the night.

From our Bradley classes, we'd learned that pelvic tilts on hands and knees help move babies into better positions. Deciding we had nothing to lose (and still in inversion), we did a few minutes of tilts each hour. Thursday night, my water broke, sending a huge spray all over the floor and bed. Amazingly, Peter and I were calm. A sense of peace filled the room. Labor didn't start and we prayed for his sack to reform and his fluid to replenish, even though the doctors warned that there was an almost 0% chance. We were told to wait for labor to begin any time. But still... no labor.

Friday morning, an ultrasound showed little Alexander completely in the uterus and in an (albeit smaller) bag of fluid. We were concerned because we wanted more fluid, but we were just so grateful that there was a bag of fluid around him! We were still advised that the chances weren't great but were told that there was no harm in waiting and seeing a repeat u/s on Monday, to check fluid, bag, etc.

Saturday night, around 11:30pm, we woke up to quite a bit of blood. The OB on call was sent in and, after a doppler failed to locate Alexander's heartbeat, the doctor used an ultrasound to do so. Little Alex was doing very well, good HB, and movement. But there was blood everywhere in the uterus, a sure fire sign of placental abruption. The doctor advised us to induce labor, since there was nothing they could do.

We had already decided that we would let Alexander's labor play out on his terms as much as we could. We had prayed for miracles, and had received them, granting us more days than doctors had told us were possible. Peter explained that we would follow Alexander's labor pattern and proceed with the natural labor we had prepared for (even though we'd hoped to use it in months). He politely told the nurses that we wouldn't call them until after Alexander was born, and they all were very understanding of our feelings.

We slowly changed the bed over the next hour from inversion to an almost seated position, and yet, still no baby. One of the nurses, who knew we were Catholic, offered to call a priest, and at 1am, a priest from a local parish arrived. He was so kind and prayed a beautiful prayer over all of us, especially Alexander, and then gave the Anointing of the Sick. After he and the nurse left, we felt such a sense of peace that we decided to take a nap together as a family. Around 3:30am, Michele woke up to a contraction, wrapped up in Peter's arms. In a mostly quiet labor, we pushed out our beautiful son. Nathaniel Alexander was born at 3:45am, at 17w, weighing 3.9 oz. and measuring 7 inches in length. He came out kicking like the soccer player he was in the womb- and feet first! It took three pushes to get him completely into his father's arms, where he continued his feast of movement, much to our joy. We called the nurse, whom we'd already told we wanted to baptize him first and get his vitals second. We knew that we'd only have mere moments most likely and wanted to be able to make some very special memories. The nurse was very kind and immediately baptized little Alexander, who squirmed during the Sacrament, however by the time she was complete and he was in a blanket, she couldnt find a heartbeat and his little legs and arms had settled down, with him sucking his thumb. Peter held our beautiful little boy, who even after his spirit had left his body, still cuddled up to us, no matter what position he was in. After labor was complete, we went to bed as a family and slept, our baby nestled against his mommy's chest in his little blanket (so lovingly wrapped by his daddy), with Peter spooned up against her and holding our little one by reaching his (long) arms around completely. I can only imagine the beautiful image. It was so beautiful to us.

We spent a beautiful morning with our son, holding him, dancing with him, singing to him. We napped with him and kept him close. We also took a lot of pics, and Peter's parents came to the hospital and spent an hour with their grandson. It was wonderful spending the time with him among those who love him so much. Peter called the funeral home that handled the arrangements for Nicholas and Sophia, and arranged for Alexander to be picked up Monday for cremation and his addition to the marble box we had Nicholas and Sophia placed in, which during our hospital stay, sat next to the bed, as it does at home. We decided to replace the plaque on the box, adding our son's name and removing the "Forever in Our Hearts" from before. It now reads:
Peter Nicholas Haytko, IV
Gaea Sophia Haytko
Nathaniel Alexander Haytko

We made the hard decision to discharge Sunday night and have our beautiful baby boy taken to the morgue. We knew that it was better for his body than staying with us in the warm room, and frankly, we couldnt handle the idea of having him away from us and still being in the hospital. It was either be discharged on Monday and keep him all night, then have the funeral home pick him up on Tuesday, or discharge Sunday and have the funeral home pick him up Monday. The hardest thing was leaving the hospital again without our beautiful little one in tow. We were so heavily monitored and yet, even that, couldnt save our son. It's such a feeling of powerlessness. Our doctor did say that he would cerclage at 12w in the future, since now they can document the cervix opening early without warning. But, today, we can't think about baby #4. All we can think about is our beautiful baby boy, our cuddlebug, our Alexander. We are so grateful for each moment we've had with each of our children, most recently Wed-Sun with our precious baby boy, Alexander. So many prayers were said and we know that they had such a huge impact, helping to both give us the more time we desperately hoped for and the much needed time to prepare.

http://haytkobabies.blogspot.com for more pictures

http://mylifeafterloss.blogspot.com for information about Alexander as well as his big brother and big sister, Nicholas and Sophia.

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Comments:

Ruger...
Nov. 25, 2008 at 10:53 PM

I'm so sorry for your losses.

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Bethy16
Nov. 26, 2008 at 8:01 AM

Oh Michelle I am so sorry. Alex's story is so like mine with Sara. I too Prom'd and then abrupted. If you need a great PROM support group here is a wonderful website. These ladies have been a godsend to me. http://www.kanalen.org/prom/index.php  We have been through it all. PROM'd because of incompatent cervix like you or PROM'd for no reason like me. Try to get on ourlist I am sure you will love the support. You can also contact me anytime. I am here for you! My thoughts and Prayers are with you guys!

Beth

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momto558
Dec. 1, 2008 at 8:52 AM

Michele, You and your husband have such faith.It's so touching.What lucky babies to have parents like you and Peter.I know how much I love my children.Wish every child in this world could feel the love that you two have.I pray that God continues to give you the strength and guidance you need to get through this.Every once in awhile someone comes along and touches your life in a way you don't expect.You have touched mine and I am so lucky to have you as a CM friend:) XOXO,Michele

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gimme...
Mar. 9, 2009 at 8:26 PM

It sounds like you spent your Thanksgiving like I did.  I'm so sorry.  We were due around the same time and gave birth around the same time.  We'll see our babies again some day.  God bless.

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Joey07
Mar. 10, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Nicholas, Sophia and Alexander were so blessed to have you guys as parents, they knew from day one how much they were loved and till this day they know how much they ment to you guys......may God Bless you guys and don't lose faith for God knows what He does.

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mommi...
Mar. 18, 2009 at 7:13 AM

you and your husband are some amazing people.   amazing stories.  bless you and him.  ((hugs))  thank you for sharing.

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candc...
Apr. 9, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Beautiful ABSOULTLEY beautiful...It made me cry.

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