The Isolette

PALS_VRM_IsoletteWe visited labor and delivery triage numerous times during both of my pregnancies. Each time, except one, they brought me to the room alone to make sure I was safe and not being abused at home. After they were assured that I was safe, my husband could join me. The one time they didn’t follow that procedure we were there to deliver our stillborn son, our first child. We skipped triage entirely that day; they took us directly to my room.

That room was at the end of the hallway, right next to an exit from the unit, which was accessible only to staff. My room had been stripped of anything baby-related. I found out later that there was a sign on our door with a picture of a teddy bear looking out the window, indicating that the family inside that room had experienced a loss. Each person who entered our room knew before they even opened the door.

The nursing staff kept the door closed, trying to shield me from the noises of laboring moms and crying babies. They started the induction and encouraged me to sleep. I didn’t.

At some point during the night, my nurse was called away to help another patient—a mom who waited almost too long to get to the hospital—and the door to my room was left open. The nurse quickly readied the other mom’s room and laughingly called to her, “You better get down here, or you’re going to deliver in the hallway.” I laughed too, momentarily forgetting why I was there. Another nurse came and shut my door.

I delivered my son early the next morning. Typically, mom and baby are moved to the postpartum floor two hours after delivery. We weren’t typical, and we stayed on the labor and delivery floor until we were discharged that evening. We spent the day with our son, in the same room where he was delivered. I was thankful not to be moved. I broke when I handed him over. The nurse had us exit through the staff-only door next to my room at the end of the hallway.

When we got pregnant again, we chose to stay with the same doctor, the same hospital. We knew parts would be hard, but they had been so good to us. They knew us, our history, and we couldn’t imagine starting over with a new team. My OB was fiercely invested in us, in our family. We knew she would do everything she could to help us bring home a healthy baby.

Our second pregnancy was very different from the first. We passed each milestone with reassuring news. We knew there was no guarantee, but we had hope. We wouldn’t have gotten pregnant again if we didn’t have hope. But we were still terrified. We bought a few things, had maternity photos taken, and even had two baby showers, but I kept the tags on the clothes, waited until the last minute to install the car seat, and only packed my bag when my OB said I needed to bring it to the hospital. Each task took a significant leap of faith. I prayed we’d bring home a live baby, but I don’t think I ever confidently believed that we would.

When we walked into labor and delivery triage that last time, I was ready to deliver, no matter the outcome. My anxiety couldn’t take the unknown anymore. They brought me into my triage room alone and asked me if I was safe at home. I answered, “Yes, I am,” and they let my mom and husband join me. After discussion with the doctors and my doula, we decided to admit me for an induction.

They took me back to my room, in the middle of the unit, right across from the nurses’ station. As I turned to walk into the room where I’d deliver this baby, I looked down the hall to the room where we delivered my son. I took a deep breath and entered my room.

I changed into the hospital gown and sat on the bed, and that’s when I first noticed it—the isolette and baby warmer along the wall. My eyes welled with tears. I looked at my mom and husband, as they were working to get us settled. I pointed to the isolette and said, “They expect us to have a live baby. There was no isolette in the room where we delivered Patrick.”

My mom nodded her head and said, “Yes, they do.”

And in that moment, I finally believed that our baby would be born alive.

* * *

PALS_VRM_Siblings

Our daughter (shown here with a photograph of her brother) was born about seven hours later—February 23, 2016 at 12:31 a.m.

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By | 2016-10-13T17:09:01+00:00 April 25th, 2016|Birth, Parenting After Loss, Pregnancy, Reader Favorites|3 Comments

About the Author:

Valerie Meek is the Operations Director for Pregnancy After Loss Support. She lives in a Boston suburb with her husband, daughter, and Sato puppy, Didi Darling. She became a mama when her son Patrick was born still at 20 weeks in April of 2014. She has been honored to share her TTC and pregnancy after loss journey at PALS. She gave birth to her baby born after loss, her daughter, "Stitch," born in February 2016. Valerie writes about her family life and crafty endeavors (quilting, embroidery, crochet, knitting, cooking, canning, and scrapbooking) at her blog Meek Manor. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, as well as by email.

3 Comments

  1. Amy Caldwell July 25, 2016 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    Iam so sorry you had lost your babe I know how you feel my husband and I had our first child he was born natural birth. And then we got pregnant with our second child his name was Carter we lost him when I was eight and a half month. We had gone to the dr a month before he was due and the dr said he only weighs 2pounds we asked the dr why and all he said was this last month he will game weight. This was the same dr that had deliverd our first child. So we got everything ready and had a baby shower and for everything ready to be able to bring him home a month later. But when it got closer I started to not feel well and I had spent that weekend on the coach. Well then I told my husband that I was starting to have contractions and he called the dr and told them they told me don’t come till they are two minutes apart. So we said okay and we went and left our oldest with granma&grandpa and we left for the hospital. By the time we had gotten to the hospital they were getting worse. So they checked me in quick and took me back. They did a sonogram and find to find out he was all ready dead. So I deliverd him but I didn’t see him. My husband saw him above the sheet. And told me he had a full head of hair, all ten toes and all ten fingers. And he has dark skin like my grandpa. I miss him so much. We had a memorial for him it was really hard. But I feel like I haven’t let him go he is in a box with us at home.We had decided to find another dr and we did well he ran all test on me and found out my thyroid was off balance so he out me on med right away. And watched me then several months later he said are y’all ready to have a baby and we ended up pragnet with our daughter i carried her the full turm she was born 3 weeks early. But she was healthy. And today she is getting ready to start pre kinder garden.

  2. Amy Caldwell July 25, 2016 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Iam so sorry you had lost your babe I know how you feel my husband and I had our first child he was born natural birth. And then we got pregnant with our second child his name was Carter we lost him when I was eight and a half month. We had gone to the dr a month before he was due and the dr said he only weighs 2pounds we asked the dr why and all he said was this last month he will game weight. This was the same dr that had deliverd our first child. So we got everything ready and had a baby shower and for everything ready to be able to bring him home a month later. But when it got closer I started to not feel well and I had spent that weekend on the coach. Well then I told my husband that I was starting to have contractions and he called the dr and told them they told me don’t come till they are two minutes apart. So we said okay and we went and left our oldest with granma&grandpa and we left for the hospital. By the time we had gotten to the hospital they were getting worse. So they checked me in quick and took me back. They did a sonogram and find to find out he was all ready dead. So I deliverd him but I didn’t see him. My husband saw him above the sheet. And told me he had a full head of hair, all ten toes and all ten fingers. And he has dark skin like my grandpa. I miss him so much. We had a memorial for him it was really hard. But I feel like I haven’t let him go he is in a box with us at home.We had decided to find another dr and we did well he ran all test on me and found out my thyroid was off balance so he out me on med right away. And watched me then several months later he said are y’all ready to have a baby and we ended up pragnet with our daughter i carried her the full turm she was born 3 weeks early. But she was healthy. And today she is ready to start pre kinder garden. We are thank full to have our two kids and he is our little angel we will see him one day when God calls us to heaven. And we will all celebrate with him. Till then he will always be in our hearts every day and he will always be thought of.

  3. Amy Caldwell July 25, 2016 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    My prayers go out to all the moms and dads that have lots a baby.

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