“It was springtime, about 10:00 AM and we were driving down State Street in Orem, Utah to drop my husband off at work. I was 16 weeks pregnant and just coming out of 3 months of horrible morning sickness. My only goal with my wardrobe was comfort so I was dressed in ratty sweats and a T-shirt. My son, two at the time, was also in the car with us, securely buckled in the backseat I was driving to make it easier for my husband to jump out of the car and walk straight into work upon arrival.
About half way to his work my nose began to tickle and I felt a sneeze coming on. After a couple of large huffy inhale’s of air, it exploded.
immediately afterward I felt a rush of fluid.
Reflexively. I squeezed my pelvic muscles tight in hopes of squelching the rush. I thought maybe I’d just lost my bladder. But it didn’t work. My next worry was that it was blood so I used my hand to touch the fluid, but upon inspection I discovered it to be clear.
Absolute horror washed over me.
I looked at my husband, panic written all over my face, and said:
‘We need to go to the doctor’s office now.’ We immediately detoured that way.
When I got out of the car I looked at my pants. They were soaked clear to my ankles. Sadly, even in the face of terrifying probabilities, I was scared what others would think of me if they saw me in such a state so I took my jacket and wrapped it around my waist best I could to cover the wetness and avoid judgmental prying eyes.
I walked quickly but steadily through the front doors of the physicians plaza.
I walked with purpose over to the elevator doors.
I waited patiently for the doors to open.
I fidgeted some during the ascent up to the 2nd floor.
I was relatively steady as I reached for the door.
It was when I entered my doctor’s office that I felt the emotion reach my eyes. I made eye contact with the nurse behind the counter and recognition and worry spread across her face as she witnessed the sheer panic that reflected on mine. I approached the desk and through shaky tears I said: ‘I think my water broke.’
She was kind enough to take me to the back nurses station and explained that my doctor was in with another patient and would be out shortly. I waited for what seemed like hours, but I think was about 5 minutes.
The exam room door finally opened and my doctor exited. He saw me and looked at the nurse with a puzzled expression.
She said, ‘she thinks her water broke.’
Dr. stupid then said: ‘Oh no, she just peed her pants.’
I was shocked he would say such a thing. Here I was drenched to my ankles with fluid I couldn’t stop by clamping off my bladder and he had the gall to accuse me, a grown woman, of ‘peeing her pants’ as if I don’t know what it feels like to lose my bladder.
I was ‘this’ close to slapping him when he saw the look on my face and quickly ushered me into an exam room. He left me in the room to change into a gown and then reappeared a few minutes later with a special strip of paper to test for the presence of amniotic fluid.
It was positive.
I just laid there on the table sobbing my face off in front of my husband and my poor two year old son who had no idea what was happening, just that mommy was really sad. I slowly got dressed and left with strict instruction to stay on bed-rest.
I spent the rest of that day and the next laying in bed or on the couch, only getting up to use the bathroom or to get something to eat. There was very little change in how I felt. I felt suspended in time. This weird time-warp of surreal slow motion.
The following evening I began discharging a green mucus that I thought might be the result of an infection. I got scared. Not sure exactly what to do, we packed up and went down to Women’s Delivery Services at the hospital.
Given I was only 16 weeks along, there wasn’t anything they could do for me; even if my baby was born I wasn’t far enough along for it to survive outside of my womb.
The nurses were so kind to me though; one in particular, named Sheryl. She called my doctor who happened to be in the building. He came down to check on me. He assured me that the discharge wasn’t worrisome but he did want to get a better idea of what was going on, so he ordered a 3D ultrasound that would measure the level of my amniotic fluid.
Sadness overwhelmed me as I was told by the ultrasound technician that my amniotic fluid, on a 1-5 scale, measured at a 0. Even more devastating was the fact that my baby’s heart was still beating even in the face of sure death.
I was so mad at God. Why? Why would He keep my baby alive when death was inevitable? Why wouldn’t He just take it back? Take it back to safety; where it is light, white and clean and not full of sorrow and heartache? It seemed horribly cruel to make me wait for my baby to die inside of me.
I was an absolute mess.
Sheryl, who had been at my side through the entire visit, could sense my heartache. She helped me gather my things and as I was leaving, told me she was on staff all night and to call her if I needed her at any time, no matter what.
I went straight to bed when I got home and quickly fell asleep. I woke up about 1:00 am to use the bathroom, sat down on the toilet and relaxed my muscles to release my bladder. However, I didn’t experience the usual release and flow. Instead I felt my baby coming down my birth canal.
I clenched my legs together and ran back to bed; laying there for probably another hour begging and pleading for God to not take my baby:
‘I love it God, I don’t know what it is yet, but I know I love it. Please, I’ll be better, I’ll do better, I’ll love You better, Please… please…. please.’ Still, in the back of my mind I knew God didn’t work that way.
My husband was asleep and I tried not to wake him with my tears as I lay there sobbing. I felt hopeless, isolated and utterly alone. Then the thought hit me:
I picked up the phone and timidly called the number on the card I was given. After a brief moment I heard Sheryl’s voice on the line:
‘Uh oh, what’s going on?’
I told her what was happening and that I didn’t know what to do. I remember her listening to me; really listening. She listened to my fear and my tears. She heard me. She was so kind to me. I don’t remember much of what was said, but she suggested I get a garbage bag to put in the toilet to catch my baby when I delivered. It felt good to have some guidance and direction, not just emotionally but also with the practical matters that needed to be handled. I hung up with more courage to face the inevitable.
Upon hanging up my attention was brought back to my poor bladder that was on the verge of bursting. I reluctantly went back to the bathroom knowing I could no longer delay. The time had come. I had to deliver my baby. My husband was awake and with me by now and I asked him to get the trash bag and position it in the toilet.
I sat down and relaxed and let my baby come out. It was very quick and there was no physical pain. And as heart-wrenching as it was, I was actually excited at the prospect of finally being able to go pee.
I raised up off the toilet some in order to move the trash bag when to my horror I realized my baby was still hanging from me. I immediately dropped back down; flushing hot and cold waves rolling over my body. I felt dizzy. The world was spinning in slow motion and I felt like I was in a dream.
What…. else…. could…. go…. wrong!?!?
I couldn’t bring myself to touch my baby so I sat there for five minutes shaking myself trying to get my baby to drop, but it wouldn’t.
I was terrified and hysterical.
I asked my husband to call Sheryl again.
She explained that it sounded as if the umbilical cord didn’t release from the placenta causing it to remain attached at both ends.
Sheer panic washed over me.
I can’t do this.
This…. is…. too…. much.
Sheryl was on top of it though, even over the phone. She told my husband that she was scheduled to get off work at 7:00 am and would come over to my house and help us.
What? She’s going to come to our house?
I immediately felt a flood of relief. I only had to hold my bladder for another hour or so before she arrived. I prayed so hard during that time that my baby would just drop. But granting that request was not part of His plan.
I sat there on that toilet with my baby hanging from me for over an hour, hoping and hoping I’d make it until Sheryl got to my house, but the time finally came when my bladder had had enough. It had no hold left. I had to pee.
But I refused to pee on my baby. So I leaned into the terror and mustered up as much courage as I could. I slowly unwrapped some toilet paper from the roll and, covering my fingers with it, gently wrapped them around the umbilical cord and pulled.
It was done.
I quickly moved the garbage bag and released my bladder; a brief moment of sheer joy in the midst of heartache. I’ll take tender mercies in all forms.
Once finished I ran to the living room couch and just cried. I cried and cried and cried till it seemed like I had nothing left. And then I cried some more.
Just as my tears started to run out, Sheryl arrived. She bee-lined it across my disaster of a living room and gave me a giant hug. Told me she was sorry for me and just loved me.
How does that happen? Pure and perfect empathy from a perfect stranger.
I felt her light shine on me.
I felt instant comfort and peace.
I felt protected and cared for.
I felt nurtured and safe.
She quickly got to work caring for my baby who still lay on the bathroom floor in the garbage bag. She gently took it out, and although I couldn’t look at it, she told me that he was a boy. She packaged him up in a Ziploc bag of water so we could later have the pathologist look at him in hopes of determining what went wrong.
Before leaving, Sheryl gave me another huge hug and showered me with more words of encouragement.
She. Is. Amazing.
She still works at the hospital I deliver at and with my two pregnancies following my miscarriage I was fortunate enough to have her as my delivery nurse.
One regret I had during my last time with her is I never asked her why she was so compassionate toward me, or why she went out of her way to come to my house. For some reason I was really scared. I was really scared that the experience didn’t mean as much to her as it did to me and she would dismiss me.
But there came a point when I couldn’t stand not knowing; not reaching our to her. I found her on Facebook and sent her a message asking her why she went so far above and beyond to help a perfect stranger, me.
This was her response:
‘Oh my dear friend. I am not sure exactly what to tell you except that my gift is to love people. I am not trying to state that in pride. I just find it so easy to love people and to think of you going home in such a difficult time with unknown circumstances was hard on my heart. when you called it seemed without thought the only thing to do was to offer support for you. I remember how your heart was breaking and it seems that you were not sure about seeing the baby. While I certainly do not understand all things, it is a sacred thing to give birth to an infant of any size. For you who had waited and wanted for a child, this was heart breaking. I just wanted to be there for you because I knew I could do that much for you. I do not have the gift of words, I do not know the best thing to say to give comfort but I can be there, and I can give hugs. I am so glad you are a mother so that you can experience all the joy that comes with that. Thank you for your kind words. Love from Sheryl.’
What a beautiful spirit.
I am so grateful God sent her during one of the darkest periods of my life.
He did hear my prayers.
And He sent me an angel
An angel in my darkness.”
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