Francesca Joy Molitierno: Part 2
I can’t really say that we “woke up” as we never fully went to sleep. We dozed in and out of restlessness, sometimes sleeping, but one of us was always seeming to be awake, watching over the other. We knew we would be heading into the hospital at 9pm & my parents would be landing at 5:40pm, so we would pick them up, head to grab food somewhere, & go to the hospital. Dave’s parents would be getting in later that night and they would meet us there.
This day we just spent staring at the clock, counting down the hours and minutes and seconds until we had to be somewhere.
I had a few close friends that I had informed reach out & I spent the majority of an hour in the afternoon stumbling around clumsily trying to figure out what you pack in a hospital bag to deliver a baby. I hadn’t gotten that far in “learning” about the process of childbirth, which just lead to more anxiety about the night to come. I didn’t know what to expect as far as labor was concerned. Was I going to have to push? How do I even push? How do I breathe? We hadn’t been to classes yet. I felt clueless. I was going to be thrown into a situation that should have been so exciting 13 weeks from that present time, but thinking about it then just made me throw up. At least twice that day, I snuck into the bathroom so as not to worry my husband and just threw up from the pure fear of what was to come.
The time came to leave. We got in the car & we headed to the airport. On the way, we saw a rainbow. It was different than any other rainbow I had seen before. It felt more like a promise... that this would be over soon & we would meet our sweet girl. We picked up my Mom & Dad & we headed to dinner & then to the hospital. I think I picked at a salad & ate some soup. I wore the baggiest clothes I could find, but it was virtually impossible at this point to hide how pregnant I was. My baby girl was inside of me— lifeless. This thought never left my mind. I couldn’t shake it, no matter how hard I tried. I remained positive about where she was, she was in heaven, but the fact that her body was still inside me was just… well, there are no words.
We arrived at the hospital. We checked in and registered for our stay. The woman registering us was so sweet, but asked me my due date to which I responded “December 17th”. She typed this into the file, but clearly, this made no sense to her, so she asked me my due date again, maybe thinking I meant to say September? This time, I had to respond with the reality of the situation. “My due date is December 17th, but I am being induced tonight. My baby didn’t make it. She’s passed”. I could see the pain in this woman’s eyes as I shared our situation. I could feel her genuine compassion when she said “I’m so sorry”. I knew she was, but this was only the second time I had to share our nightmare and you just are never ready for something like that. She continued our check in process & walked me down the hall to triage where they would get me set up with a room in labor & delivery— or so we thought.
September 21st, 2016 was apparently one of the highest volume nights in Tampa General EVER for women coming in already in labor. I was sent back out to the waiting room to wait for an open bed. I watched the door of the unit swing open numerous times with women in wheelchairs, clearly in pain, clearly in labor. I watched them get taken back into triage and not come back out into the waiting room. I knew they were in more of a need of a bed than myself, but I couldn’t help but feel that my situation wasn't of a priority. I began to pace the waiting room shaking. I was so scared. I was STILL waiting for this nightmare to end.
Looking back on this time & how much fear and anxiety I had racing through my body, the times where I couldn’t imagine it getting any worse, God would show up.
Across the waiting room from where my family and husband were sitting was a Dad and his very pregnant wife. I guess he could sense my nerves and anxiety, so he struck up conversation. He sweetly asked “are you having a boy or a girl?” I responded quickly and proudly this time to stranger number three who unknowingly asked about my baby, “I’m having a girl, but she’s an angel. She didn’t make it”. He shook his head knowingly and looked away at his wife. For some reason, I wanted to keep talking to this couple, so I asked what they were having & they began to share their story with me.
***I hope I get all of these facts right about their story. This conversation kept me hanging on by a thread, when I was about to seriously melt down, their words kept me centered and aware.***
They were scheduled to be induced at 8pm with their 5th child, a boy— their fifth boy. At this point, it was at least 10:30 at night and we both were still in the waiting room, so the company was the best thing I could think of to pass the time, so we continued to talk. They told me about their five children. One who was currently in Children’s Hospital with a flare up due to his cystic fibrosis. The father, David, also had cystic fibrosis and in that moment, was dealing with his father who was in a motor cycle accident earlier that day in another state and they weren’t sure if he was going to make it through the night. They told me about the two stillborn babies they had lost before their five boys. They shared with me tips about labor & delivery. What to do during and after. They asked about my pregnancy up until that point. They were a welcome distraction to the nerves I was feeling and I was so grateful for their company, but their time came to get their room & I was genuinely happy for them. I was excited for them to welcome their baby boy into the world & as they departed, they told Dave & I they would be praying for us and to not lose hope. This was the first twinkle of a thought that I felt that just MAYBE we could try again. Maybe we could have another baby after this. Maybe this wasn’t totally out of the cards for us. I thanked them for sharing so much of themselves with me that night and told them they gave me hope. I never thought I would see them again, but I was so happy to have had their fleeting friendship and I felt myself smile for a few moments when speaking with them.
Around 11:45pm, we were all still sitting in the waiting room. My anxiety was absolutely through the roof at this point and I kept asking my mom if she thought I could ask them for some type of drug to calm me down and she assured me they would help me with that once I was in a room. I never thought that a few minutes later a midwife would come out to speak with me. She explained to me that she felt it was in my best interest to be given the choice to go home and reschedule my induction for the next day so I could be comfortable. I immediately began to cry. The words I heard her say were “Your nightmare is going to continue” but, I knew, I would rather go home and cry than sit in that waiting room for another second, so I agreed to leave. She gave me the direct number to the triage department and told me I was scheduled at 11am for the next morning, but to call earlier if I wanted to to try and get in sooner.
We went home.
We cried more.
We barely slept again.
We went another day with our baby’s body inside my belly.