Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008

I feel I should say something profound about the end of this horrible year, about how I have changed as a person, a human, a woman, a mother....

I feel I should write about hope and suns coming out tomorrow in a brand new 2009.

But all I am doing right now is sitting here calm, feeling the girl kick, taking notes, knowing that life is fragile and completely out of our control.

All I can do is wait and see, hope for the best.

See ya'll on the flip slide....

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jan 12

As I was sitting on the most uncomfortable chair ever designed for NST, I began to drift off to sleep, lulled by the bump-bump-bump of the girl's heartbeat.

I watched her heartbeat go from steady 150 to 128 to 170. Apparently this is all normal. What the hell do I know about anything anymore?

I meet with my Peri on Friday morning, where I will ask her calmly to show me a picture of my daughter's unclenched hands and profile that proves she has a chin. Looking at all the pictures I have of her, she is chinless and clenched fisted. When you lose a baby to a genetic disorder, these 2 characteristics googled does not bode well for outcomes. In talking to my OB, he tried to reassure me that nothing else has appeared on the ultrasounds, like cysts, water on the brain, holes in the heart, missing organs, all the important things. He tried to tell me the baby most likely has a chin, but you can't see it with the ultrasound.

This is supposed to be a normal course of mental freaking out. In the final days, you start to worry about whether or not the baby is healthy. Even when I have had all these tests, I still have these doubts and fears that there will be something wrong with the baby.

I need her to get out of me safely. I am inundated with stories of at term losses. Cord accidents, clots that appeared at the end, infections that were undetected. I am a mental basket case.

"When can we start talking induction?" I asked my OB today.

"We will need to see what Dr. M says on Friday. She may want to go earlier, even though I don't really want to because the last thing I want is the baby to be on a ventilator," he said.

"So when do you feel comfortable?" I asked.

"38 weeks," he said.

"That's Jan. 12th. Can't we just plan for that?" I asked.

"That's a good idea. Unless she says otherwise, let's aim for Jan. 12th," he said.

I exhaled.

Friday, December 26, 2008

MIA Relatives

My phone rang the day before Christmas Eve. It was my uncle Jim.

We chatted a bit. He is what you may consider my 'eccentric' uncle, a couple fries short of the Happy Meal, but deep down he has a good heart, so I always tend to ignore the fact that he is a little Coo-coo for Coco Puffs.

"So what else is going on with you?" he asked.

It occurred to me that he has no idea that I am pregnant, or due in the next few weeks.

"Did Dad ever talk to you yet?" I asked.

"About what?" he asked.

"About what is going on in mine and Peyton's life?" I asked.

"No, what's going on?"

"That I'm pregnant again...."

"OHMYGOD that is wonderful news, yadda yadda yadda.....when are you due?" he asked.

"Three weeks," I said.

Dead silence.

"Excuse me?" he finally said. "Why the hell didn't you tell me?!?"

Dead silence on my end......

~~~~~~~~~~
Phone call 2 days earlier from Uncle Joe (who, incidentally is sleeping along with his wife in my spare bedroom tonight).

"Hey Reese....why the hell didn't you tell us you were pregnant again?"

Uncle Joe found out from his son (cousin Joey) who is a Facebook friend and when we became 'friends' we chatted and I let him know what was going on. Joey decided to tell his parents over Thanksgiving.

Dead silence on my end.....

~~~~~~~~~~~

As I am nearing the end, I feel slightly more comfortable letting people know, however, I am not prepared to justify my reasons of why we were quiet. Joe seemed to understand my apprehension. Jim said he did, but suspect he did not. Pregnancies, even those that are mired in DBL subsequency, should be announced like every other pregnancy. Shared and celebrated the same. I have a hard time explaining fear to people who have never seen me fearful. I left home at 18, never looked back, spent a summer in Nigeria when I was a mere babe of 22. I left Texas to go to grad school. No one ever leaves Texas. This is all Jim knows about me. Fearlessness

I talked to Joe and his wife Diana tonight after dinner, updated them about Ronan. They called a few times in January and in February. They live in Virginia and where sad to hear that Ronan had died. They were concerned about me, about Peyton. Would we bounce back, or would the both of us die along with Ronan?

I told him tonight that it is impossible to ask a woman to celebrate a birth while grieving another baby. The heart isn't designed to work this way. He looked truly sad to hear that. Said that he couldn't understand fully because he had never happened to him....but said that he could imagine it.

Sometimes something simple as "I get it even though I don't" speaks volumes to a woman filled with fear and pregnancy hormones.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Getting ready....

I felt a little shy and weird as It was the first time since June that Dr. S. took a look down South to get a feel for things. The last time, he didn't even look, he was looking at my face as he expertly slid in fingers and pressed down to see where my uterus was. He shook his head and said "you're way early, I can't feel anything. I would guess 6 weeks."

Today was the GBS test that I have been asking him to do for a while. I used to work around Group B Streptococcus and am pretty sure I am probably colonized. We also had a long conversation about how GBS DOES in fact cross intact membranes, and he shook his head and told me I was wrong. So, the next time in I brought him NEJ of medicine articles and about 4 others that basically said, yes, it's rare, but GBS can cross intact membranes. He thanked me for the articles, a little smile on his face because I am sure he enjoys a challenge, a welcomed change from the fawning women that are his usual patients.

Today I got the wonderful GBS test and while he was down there he decided to check to see if anything is progressing.

"Your cervix is very soft and you are about 1 cm dilated. I would say about 60% effaced. I can slide my finger in and feel the top of her head," he said.

"OK," I said all the while thinking HOLY CRAP!

Hurry up and wait.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wishing

You'd be 8 months old had everything turned out.

You would have had a million gifts under the tree.

I would have picked out a Christmas outfit that embodied every hope we had when we envisioned this holiday with you.

Sometimes I don't understand why this had to happen to us.

Why does everyone else have their babies for Christmas?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Cards

The cards sat on my cluttered kitchen table for almost 2 weeks. I had made a deal with Peyton that I would attempt to write some while waiting for the delivery men to bring my tables.

Mundane tasks, these damn cards, I thought as I opened up my address book and began to go through them. There was nothing special about these cards---all of them wished everyone a Happy Holiday.

I signed our names:

Love Reese and Peyton....

And ignored the hole in my heart as there was supposed to be one more name added to the signature this year.....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thank you Jen---

When Ronan died, I had a fair number of acquaintances and some good friends who totally freaked the fuck out and bailed. In the land of make-believe where bad things happen to bad people and other people--people you don't love, many people were not prepared to deal with a close friend who had been blown the hell up and completely shattered.

I am reminded tonight that there were some friends that stayed, maneuvered in the dark and attempted to hang on to the crumbs that were left of the shattered me. Some who brought the broom and dust pan and attempted to help clean up a monumental, and at times, overwhelming mess.

When the twin towers fell, and I heard that rescue teams where attempting to clean the debris, the 1.2 million tons of rubble to hopefully get to survivors or to at least find the remains of those who perished, I remember thinking it's going to take 100 years to clear away that mess.....

But it didn't. It took eight months working 24 hours a day. Many people worked hard at it, and when it was all said and done, all that remained was a hole, this gigantic reminder of what had happened. I am starting to believe that in order to rescue the remains of a woman in DBL, the same amount of work needs to be done in order to free that woman. It is any wonder why people are not up for that kind of commitment---all that ridiculous work to get to the remains of the person they once knew and loved. And then to figure what to do with the gigantic hole that is left. Jesus.

For the friends who kept calling when I wouldn't call them back, who would send notes, well wishes, or would just sit silently by me, or let me talk non-stop and cry hysterically in the middle of the night, I thank you for that.

For the friends who have hung on tight, watching me walk the tightrope of this pregnancy with eyes glued to my balancing stick and a hand on a corner of the net to catch me if Godforbid something happened again, I thank you for that too.

In the mail today, among all the junk mail was a small box. Neatly folded in it was a small, hand-knitted blanket for my yet to be born daughter. A sign of hope and a sign that my friends are starting to breathe, let go of their death grip on the net, and beginning to believe that I will make it safely to the other side of the platform intact and with my daughter, born alive!

Thanks for believing and hoping when I can't Jen (and everyone else).

4 more weeks.....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Narcolepsy

I was in the middle of writing a report when time was lost for an hour. It was 1:30 when I started and 2:30 when I realized the computer screen had faded to sleepy black.

I fell asleep again. At first I thought it was the 3rd trimester kicking my ass, but then I remembered that my meds for blood pressure make me sleepy (which they upped the dosage the last time I went to my regular office visit), and when I started on them 12 weeks ago, I had the same problems. It took about 2 weeks before the Major who shared an office with me didn't have to wake me up with "Are you still over there Dr. S?!?"

Now that he is deployed to another area on base, I am left alone in a too warm office that practically sings me a lullaby and tucks me in with a nice cup of hot chocolate. I am hoping that no one important walks in on my slumber. I am sure my boss and whomever takes the moment to realize that they haven't heard a peep from me in an hour would cut me some slack, but seriously, it's damn embarrassing. What am I supposed to do? Go run laps out in the cold rain? (Incidentally, it is snowing in Texas, ya'll----seriously strange weather here!)

My boss offered me to work from home a couple of days a week. I think we are getting to that phase.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Privacy please....

I have a sinking feeling that my daughter has had enough. Either that, or she can tell that I have had enough and she is amplifying my sentiments.

Since June 12th, she has been examined via ultrasound or doppler every 2 weeks. At the Peri's office on Friday, at her second-to-last appointment, she moved around so much, the tech could barely get any measurements. She kicked the wand numerous times, wiggled to the left, to the right, showed her ass to the camera, her arms were all around her face.

Today was NST time. The doppler was placed on my belly, and already she was giving the nurse trouble. I would have freaked out that she could not find the heartbeat if the baby wasn't moving around like crazy.

I was strapped to that freakin' thing for 1 hour, and in that 1 hour, she was still for 6 whole minutes---and thankfully had the required 3 accelerations she needed to prove she was ok.

My co-worker asked me today if the 1st week of January was a good time for a baby shower.

I must have given her a deer in the headlights look.

"Do you not want one?" she asked. I paused.

I am defiant to the point of ridiculousness right now. I find myself tempting fate, buying a bottle of Dreft to wash baby clothes, placing baby furniture in my on-line ordering basket, ordering a bassinet this weekend, attending not one, but TWO baby classes in the last 3 weeks, giving that talk at my alma mater before Thanksgiving that I was supposed to in January, all as a take 2 and a big middle finger to fate.

As I chewed on the possibility of having a normal end of pregnancy, a shower and all it's glory and that act NOT resulting in something devastating, driving through my subdivision to my house tonight a big black cat darted across the road.

Dammit....

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dreams

A strawberry blonde peach-fuzz girl, looking back at me in as much questioning wonder and awe as I am looking at her.

"Is it you?" I whispered to the baby.

She smiled.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In case you were wondering.....

I did submit the proposal. Yesterday. I worked pretty much all last week, except for Thursday, and I did manage to bitch and moan really loudly to my boss and everyone within earshot.

THEN!

I walked into work this morning, (late, damn the insomnia), and my boss says "REESE! Don't open your e-mail yet!" as I walk by him.

I am carrying a Grande Hot Chocolate from Starbucks in my hand that I haven't tasted yet because I hadn't tested my damn sugar yet, and my belly is peaking out from a sweater that is just a TAD too small (I seriously need to do some laundry).

"Why am I not checking my e-mail?" I asked walking into his office.

"They rejected the proposal(s) outright," he said.

I took a long drink. Fuck my fasting sugar.

I told you so was on my tongue, but I didn't say that.

"Why?" I asked.

"We needed an official letter about IRB status and since we didn't have it, they want to reject it. I was trying to reiterate that we submitted all the paperwork, but she said we needed an 'official' document. Of course I am texting her while I was in traffic going home," he said.

I chuckled at the thought of my 60 yo boss texting frantically while stuck in traffic.

At that moment Bill, our kinda useless Program Manager who was on vacation for 10 fucking days and did nothing to help this proposal along, came in with his lawyer ways and insisted we get on the phone and call 10,000 people to fight this. I exited, stage left, rolling my eyes.

"We are a TEAM, Dr. S. We need to follow through...." he told me in a super assholy condesending way, following me into my office.

"Well, Bill, the TEAM of me and Dr. B were here on Friday working our asses off while the rest of the TEAM were off enjoying their goddamn Thanksgiving. If you want to fight it, by all means. Fight it. I didn't want to do this anyway, so I am done," I said.

Bill looked dumbfounded and I turned away and logged onto my computer and got my sugar testing stuff ready while it took the 5 minutes to load.....it technically takes about 10 minutes for blood sugar to be effected. I swabbed my finger with an alcohol pad and pricked it, watching the little red spot turn into a bigger blob.

Bill looked a little woozy as I touch my finger to the strip and waited 5 seconds. 88.

"I thought they made a test strip that doesn't use blood," he said, backing out of my office.

"They all require blood," I said.

"Well, I am going to make some phone calls about this," he said.

"Knock yourself out," I call out, writing the number in my log book.

That man can burn my ass, I swear it. It's not that I didn't want to fight it, however, last time I checked, that was his damn job. The science was my job. The nit-picking beauracratic shit is his job. He's a lawyer and lives for that. Also, I personally think he is never busy enough. He usually is held up at his desk checking the Spurs basketball stats.

I could hear him calling people, because he uses speaker phone for everything, and our 'offices' are merely glorified cubicles. I scan through all the e-mail, and realize that this is an easy fix. Bill should handle it, so I log onto cnn.com and catch up on the news as I eat my pumpkin loaf.

At our staff meeting half an hour later, Bill proclaims his intentions to everyone to fix this, and I continue to sip on my drink with my most bored look on my face, only because I think it's annoying that he is trying to be the savior of everything.

I catch my boss glancing at me, his amused smile hidden in his coffee cup.

2 hours later, the proper people were notified, the proper paperwork submitted, and the proposals are well on their way to being reviewed ---and then most likely being systematically rejected because the research did not fall within the scope of their priorities. The good news is that I will be on maternity leave by the time they render their decision and will not be around to say I told you so.....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

32 weeks

The old apartment was cleaned, and I walked through it, remembering the feelings we had when we moved into it last year. My MIL, FIL, father and stepmother all chipped in to help us move, as I was 20 weeks pregnant.

Where do these boxes go? My father asked.

The baby's room, my MIL answered.

I am sad that I was not able to make that second room into a nursery. I imagined where everything would eventually go. The crib along the particular wall, the rug that Peyton picked out right in the middle. The rocking chair in the corner by the window. I even was glad that our neighbors had a small child, so the sound of a baby crying would not bother them too terribly much. They would understand.

I sprayed Windex on the windows yesterday, and the little boy from upstairs stopped when he saw me at the window and smiled a gentle smile. When we moved in, he could barely talk---now he was running around raising hell. I waved at him. He giggled and ran off.

Ronan's things are now in this baby's room. A small room just down the hall from the Master bedroom. His toys are on the shelf, a couple of bags of things are in the corner, and the pile of girl's clothing from Craigslist are in the closet. I went through the same mental ritual when we moved in, of where the crib will go, the rocking chair, the changing table. I only pray this time I will be given the chance to make a nursery and bring her home alive to her crib.

32 weeks. 5 1/2 weeks and counting.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

In the end

There were boxes and boxes, filled with mine and Peyton's history---before, during and after. In the back of the second bedroom closet, a closet that was in the room that was to be turned into a nursery, there were 4 things.....

A box that my mother had sent me right after Christmas filled with Baby's First Tigger and Eeyore.

A bag filled with a blue receiving blanket that read 'welcome home baby boy' that my step-mother had made.

A bag with the onesies that my TSgt's wife gave me at Christmas, all in blue, the sleep machine thingy that Dr. Anne and her husband gave me, a few stocking stuffers that my SIL placed in my Christmas stocking.

And the shirt that I wore to the hospital that night. A ridiculous straight-from-the -70s empire waist polyester purple thing with a black swirly pattern. Peyton had washed it and placed it there, knowing that I would never want to wear it again.

When I was pregnant with Ronan, a 6th sense filled me from the onset of the pregnancy. I had 4 ultrasounds in the beginning, and there was issues with the sac, it was too early, they wouldn't say I was pregnant, even though I was technically 7 weeks. At my 10.5 week ultrasound, the cocky new OB said he saw a heartbeat, but there was no way that I was almost 11 weeks. He was calling me 9 weeks, which meant I conceived July 26th instead of the 14th. I asked if he was sure, because my positive pregnancy test was on Aug 1, which was WAY early to be picked up on a test. "It could happen" he said, but deep down I knew he was wrong. I had been tracking my cycles inasmuch as I knew when I was having sex, and we didn't have sex around that time.

I came to San Antonio and called OB #1 to get an appointment. I was aiming to get in around 12 weeks, but could not get in until 15 weeks. I cried when the receptionist told me that, and I went to bed with a fear that there was something terribly wrong. The day before the appointment, OB#1 called to cancel and rescheduled for 2 weeks later (17 weeks). I lost my shit and I called my friend Gina in the parking lot of my new office building, trying to keep it together. It had been over 2 months since I had seen a doctor and I was just wanting a calming reassurance that everything was alright.

I met my new OB mid-November, and didn't really like her from the start. But, she put the fetal doppler on me and I heard Ronan's hb, 140. She reassured me it was within range and it was strong. Peyton and I breathed a sigh of relief. She scheduled my 20 week ultrasound for Nov. 30th, and my relief was short lived as I really wanted to see him (or her) on the screen.

The day of the ultrasound, I was jittery all day. The tech was a soft-spoken woman, and warned us that she did not speak a lot during these things. She asked if we wanted to know the sex.

30 minutes later Peyton and I exchanging concerned looks in the silent room. Did she mean she would be this quiet, or was something wrong? The she said softly "it's a boy", and snapped a picture of Ronan's tiny little 20 week old penis. I knew he was a boy. She handed me the picture and wiped my belly not saying anything. We called our family and told them the news. I was happy but still something gnawed at me.

There was no word that there was issues. There was no utterance that she was unable to see some major organs because Ronan was moving so much. OB #1 never told me that the tech suggested I come back for another scan. I read this all after the fact when I got my records from her office after we had a falling out about her standing me up for 2 hours every appointment (believe me when I say that was the tip of the iceberg). I truly didn't like her.

During this time I got a list of doulas and found Bradley classes run in San Antonio. I picked up the phone 3 times to call a doula, but hung up every time. Why was I hesitating? I told myself I would wait until I started my 3rd trimester. 28 weeks. I would be ready to register for classes and get everything in place. I went through Christmas, happy that the next one would be filled with joy of a child.

We were going to buy the crib in February. Plenty of time since he was coming in April. I registered for 6 things on Babies R Us, unable to get motivated to do anything more, and promised myself I would come back to it at the beginning of the 3rd trimester.

I put everything on hold until 28 weeks. The start of the 3rd trimester.

And then, at 28 weeks, he died.

When they told me he was gone, part of me, way deep down, was not surprised. The part that was surprised was shocked that my gut feelings were actually true.

I was not meant to have him. I always felt that deep down--

....And in the end, it was true.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Update....

Overnight my belly has pooched out. Seriously, this happened overnight. I was walking around, looking like a typical fat beeotch, and then BOOM, out came the round(ish) belly. Now I have been running into everything and I am sure I have given my child a mild concussion or brain damage.

We moved 95% of our stuff to the new house. I hired some dudes and a truck, and at 9 am Tony and Jonathan showed up to pack up all the heavy crap. It took them 2 hours total, and I gave them a gigantic tip, as it was the holidays and they were very efficient (I had saved up for 3-4 hours of their time and decided to give them what I had budgeted, seeing as we in the middle of a financial crisis right now). They were very humble and grateful, and celebrated with a fried chicken lunch at the Church's Fried Chicken down the road (Peyton and I saw the truck parked there). The simplicity made me smile, and makes me love the South.

Work is seriously sucking balls right now. I came in on Monday to an e-mail telling me that I have to submit yet another goddamn proposal for funding. (I have submitted the damn thing to 3 different venues, all which have not rendered a decision.....I am a little tired of this shotgun submission shit). This time, though, the funding source listed their top 5 priorities, and our research topic was not listed. So, by logic, it would seem kinda useless to apply for this funding, seeing as it is not a priority. When I pointed out this wee little fact to the higher ups, I was hmmmmmed and hawwwwwed and basically told to do it anyway. Write a 15 page proposal. Due on Monday. With paperwork for the IRB approval submitted (and preferably accepted) by then. Nevermind this is a short holiday week. They are seriously smoking some crack.

God Almighty help me, I was lividly pissed when I was told to continue on. I don't like having my time wasted like this. I told my boss I was pissed, and told everyone that was within earshot that I was pissed. My boss, God Bless him, is a nice man who lets me rant and rave, and part of why I feel compelled to do it is because he is asking me to, however, I told him be prepared to hear a lot of bitching about it. Really all I want to do it whine. Really loudly. God I wish I was on maternity leave already. I wish I had 100 days saved up and I could take them all. Instead, I have to borrow 6 weeks of time in order to have a salary during my time off. Although I am grateful our government allows their civil servants this opportunity, I wish I lived in the UK where you can get 6 months off, paid.

I am so tired, I feel like shit, and I hate that I feel the need to keep quiet about how I really feel because I feel ungrateful for the baby I am carrying. But, being pregnant since July 2007 with a 3.5 month break in-between really takes a toll on a woman. I have been pregnant for 13 months. No woman can remain quiet when this is her reality.

6 more weeks. I can handle 6 more weeks, right?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Craigslist

Peyton and I waited in a Wal-Mart parking lot for a black Bronco that was going to deliver 'the goods'.

"When did he say he'd be here?" Peyton, who was eagerly awaiting a dinner at Red Lobster, asked.

"6 pm," I said.

"Honestly, I'm surprised that you did this," he said, looking at the random people walking to their cars with their loot.

"So am I," I said.

At 6:05 I called the cell phone number I had for the guy. After 10 rings he answered.

"I'm so sorry we are running late, but we are almost there," he said.

"No problem," I said.

5 minutes later, I see a black, beaten up Bronco drive by.

"I think that's him," I said, and we watched him drive slowly, looking for my Mazda.

I drove up and parked closed to where he was, and he pulled up besides me. A big Mexican man, tatted to hell on his arms. The kind of man who would make anyone nervous, but I was completely at ease.

"Sorry we are late," he said, his accent thick.

"It's ok," I said.

He opened the hatch from his SUV and started to go through the goods. I pulled out three $10 bills from my maternity jean pockets.

And he kept adding to the pile. There had to be over 70 items: onesies, little dresses, pjs, all in purple, light green and pink.

I had never seen so many little girl things.

"Our church and family was really generous," he explained, as I eyed several things still on the hanger, "but you know, she grew out of them so quickly," he said.

On cue, his daughter in the car seat started to fuss.

"How old is she now?" I asked, unable to see her in the dark.

"A year," he said.

Peyton helped load the piled of baby clothes in the back seat. Eric even handed over a small baby bath and a package of Diaper Genie bags, unopened.

I handed him the $30, wishing I had more because of the pile.

"Thank you, guys," he said, pocketing the money without counting it. He shook our hands and shyly walked away.

When I drove home later on that night, I sent Eric an e-mail thanking him again.

He responded, writing in all caps:

YOUR WELCOME, AND GOD BLESS YOU - MAY GOD'S ANGELS TAKE CARE OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!

Here's hoping Eric....here's hoping.....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

If I stop to think about it, I am incredibly sad right now. The wonderful thing about having a stressful month at my job is that I get to keep moving, vibrations that keep my mind from focusing on the underlying sensation that I am just not right.

But I can feel the undercurrent. It is like electric wires lined up on a cold, deserted street—you can hear the distinct buzz. If I stop to ponder that I am almost 10 months out from losing Ronan and almost 2 months from delivering this girl, I feel faint. I think I am having the remnants of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Last night before I climbed into bed, I could hear the ultrasound tech shake his head and say the word “nothing”. That’s all he said, and that is how we came to officially learn what I already knew that fateful Thursday night.

Nothing.

My hands shake while writing that word, because it is hard to believe how one small word can hold so much meaning. Nothing. We saw nothing that resembled the miracle we were hoping for that night. We asked for it and got nothing. I labored for 17 hours and got nothing in return, a box with pieces of memorabilia that scream NOTHING!!!!! when I occasionally open it, releasing the agony that is trapped there.

There is this illusion that if we choose to keep moving, not dwell on the past, focus on the future children that we may or may not acquire, then we will eventually have something to null and void the nothing we were initially handed. How can you fill nothing--a space that has the power and vastness of a black hole? If you even attempt to fill it, everything that you place near it will get sucked up and be forever lost.

She is not enough to overcome this grief that suddenly finds me. I feel like a terrible mother writing that down. My mother-in-law calls her Baby Hope, but as I walk along this path, feet tired, soul tired, body tired, I truly wonder is it hope that I am searching for?

Am I looking for her?

No. In the nothing I look for him. My little seal baby.

I am always looking for him.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Panic at the Disco....

What is it about extended time off that throws me for a loop? I am sitting here, having had 4 days off (1 call-in because Peyton was hellishly sick this Sunday/Monday and today is a federal holiday), and I am just so depressed about going back to work tomorrow.

I am feeling crushed under the pressure of life and work right now. I have 10,000 random thoughts going through my mind at any given moment, and I just want silence right now.

I don't feel like eating, I don't feel like sleeping. I am watching TV and seeing commercials and shows with moms and dads and I still feel the nagging sensation that this will never be us. We are moving this weekend into a big house, and I am so uncertain that this house will hold the 'complete' family we are supposed to be.

I have spent serious time thinking about what I would do with another 3rd trimester loss. The only natural conclusion I would have in that scenario is to kill myself. I am not shitting you, I would swallow a bunch of pills and say 'fuck it'. My husband does not want to hear that kind of talk, but seriously, having picked myself up from that kind of horror before, how the hell could I do that again?

I have read about a few people who have had two 3rd trimester stillbirths in a row, and I do not know how in the hell they pulled through that. I am not that strong. No woman should have to be that strong....

When I was walking out of my marathon meeting on Friday, one woman, a contractor/admin person asked quietly if I was pregnant. She is a big gal herself and explained herself by saying that 'sometimes big gals just get big in the belly and I didn't want to assume'. I did have to chuckle at that. I said yes. She asked if it was my first.

I was surprised that people in that particular department didn't hear the news of Ronan back in January. I was pretty new at my job when this happened, so I guess I can understand how some people were out of the loop. I told her no, and briefly gave her the story. She seemed generally disturbed. It is a Hispanic culture thing, I think. She shook her head, signed herself and said that she could never live through that. She explained that she had trouble conceiving for years, and when they pinpointed the problem (a tumor on her pituitary gland that caused an increase in testosterone) she didn't want to risk losing babies (apparently her sisters went through multiple losses) and decided to adopt. She then proceeded to tell me the stories of women she knew who went through a stillbirth and went on to have healthy children.

I appreciated the sentiment, but stories like that do nothing for me now. Even she opted out of suffering. As I was leaving, I was thinking that she had the right idea. Bypass all this worry and adopt a needy child. What is wrong with that? What is wrong with being a chicken shit and saying "um, no thanks" to the very possibility of going through this again?

People keep telling me that I am so close and that I should be positive. This is not getting any easier. I am feeling worse as the time gets closer.

In Sympathy...

I walked around the crowded grocery store, filling the basket with the components of my go-to casseroles (King Ranch) and a quick chili and cornbread. I had sent a message to H's mom that I wanted to send along some food to the 10+ family members that were surrounding H since she gave birth to Anna. She agreed to meet me that evening.

As I placed canned tomatoes and chili powder in the cart, I saw the card section to my left. I walked down the deserted isle and scanned the titles of the sections. Birthday, birthday, boy birthday, girl birthday, Thanksgiving. I turned down the next isle. Wedding, baby, thank you.....and there is was. In sympathy.

It was a tiny section, marred further by the fact that there was loss of a parent, loss of a spouse, loss of a grandparent. There was no loss of a child. I was not surprised.

I picked up a few general sympathy cards and put them back. None of them were right. None of them said 'I am so sorry your baby had a fatal genetic disease and you had to carry her for 9 months knowing that she was going to die. I am sorry you went through 12 hours of labor only to watch her take her first and only breath. I am sorry that you will go on now with this fear in your heart that never goes away....'

I held a card in my hand and I cried...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Baby Anna

I mentioned that I was in contact with a woman whose daughter was carrying a Trisomy 18 baby to term.

I did not write that the daughter and I began e-mailing shortly after that post and had lunch 2 weeks ago. The baby girl was still alive, and the woman (H) was about 38 weeks. I did not write about how it was a beautifully sad and therapeutic lunch, where 2 grieving mothers found solace in knowing that they were not alone. I couldn't bring myself to write about how H looked, tall and thin with the smallest baby bump, carrying a child who was destined to die. I couldn't write about how unfair it was that I was meeting this wonderfully strong woman under these circumstances. I couldn't write about how sad she looked even though her voice was calm and brave. It was just too damn hard.

Yesterday, on her due date, baby Anna was born alive and lived a few precious moments before she passed silently from this world.

I imagine her and Ronan walking hand in hand, 2 precious children whose souls jumped into bodies not meant for this world....

Keep them in your thoughts tonight.

The Boy----

Spencer is sitting on my lap watching The Locator with me. By the way, if you have never seen that show, I dare you not to get sucked into it. I usually have a good cry (the feel-good kind) when I watch it. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

Spencer's been on a small dose of prednisone for a week, and the dog food that he would rather die than eat has been his favorite thing in the world. He is STARVING. He is eating and gaining weight. Gone is the whippet-style ribcage. His energy is back to almost normal Jack Russell terrier levels, and his poop is about 90% normal.

Yes, I had to mention the poop. I have never been so damn happy to be the witness of solid poop. Peyton and I actually jumped up and down when we saw the first solid poop.

Yay Poop!!!!

Thanks for your well-wishes and positive thoughts. Spencer sends his licks along with his gratitude. =)

Thought I'd leave you with some pictures of the boy (because we have 1000s of them....)




"No need for the toilet paper!" (Spencer 2004)





Spencer 2 months old....this is my favorite picture baby picture of him....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

28 weeks.....

Technically, wee one, you have lived a day longer than your big brother.

Thank you for moving like crazy all day long, where I swear you did not rest until I was driving home this afternoon. My shirt rustled from all of your 2.5 lbs forceful kicks. That was quite a feat considering how much padding I have.

I feel you resting right now, moving slowly but surely, elbows in my navel.

Keep moving wee one---we are almost there....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sugar and a Nurse Named Lois

My glucose screen came back slightly elevated. *And by slightly I mean 6 points above cut-off. I made a deal with Dr. S that instead of using the single arm/vein that I have to stick me 4 times for the 3-hour test that most likely will tell me that I am borderline diabetic (like I was with Ronan), how about I just start on the diabetic diet these last 2.5 months and test my sugar periodically to make sure everything is in normal range and I don't give birth to an 11 lb baby?

He agreed.

So, I got a phone call yesterday to meet with Lois, the RN who runs the gestational diabetes course, to ask if I could come in this afternoon for some diabetes counseling.

I ended up downtown at Methodist. Last time I was in that hospital, I was welcoming BFF Chris' son into the world (9 years ago). Lois was there waiting for me.

She was about 50-something, short and round. She told me straight up that she is living with diabetes, which made me feel better since nothing annoys me more than skinny bitches lecturing about a disease they will never get. (No offense to the skinny bitches who read my blog ;) )

We have to fill out a pretty long questionnaire about my health and pregnancy.

"Is this your first?" she asked.

"No," I said.

She wrote a few things down and changed subjects.

"And how big was your first child when he was born?" she asked.

"He was stillborn at 28 weeks. He was 2.5 lbs," I said.

Her face turned deeply sad, that kind of sadness that you can spot at 10 paces. DBL leaves a mark on a woman, like an invisible branding that we can see on each other's foreheads.

"I lost my 1st son, my second child to hyaline membrane disease," she said.

I nodded. Seemed all I could really do. I am never surprised to hear the tales of infant loss, now that I realize it happens so damn often.

"I really don't know much about that disease, except that Jackie Kennedy's baby died from it," I replied.

"It's a respiratory disease. The lungs didn't mature," she said softly.

"I am sorry about your son. I won't say much more because seems like people never say the right thing when they learn a baby dies, do they?" she remarked sadly.

"No, but I am learning that it's ok as long as they acknowledge him," I said.

She nodded and then we talked about testing and ranges of sugar. She called the nutritionist in (a SUPER skinny bitch) to come show me my diet plan. They made it real simple, with pictures even, taking all the thought out of eating well.

That's all I need---to take the thought out of anything these days.

~~~~
27.2 weeks. This morning she decided to sleep in, not moving AT ALL. I called Peyton while driving to work, trying to stay calm but getting slightly hysterical. I had felt her fine last night. She was just dead weight in my belly.

"She'll be alright," he reassured. I shook off the fact that he said the same thing about Ronan that fateful Thursday night.

I shook my head, told him that I was sure he was right and hung up.

I mentally ran through all of tricks I did that day 9 months ago. I drank a Coke, I put a cold can on my belly. I jumped up and down. Ate chocolate. Begged. Pleaded. Made deals with God, Allah, Satan, whomever was listening at the time.

As I was driving to work, stuck in traffic, I felt tears start to form in the corner of my eyes.

Dammit, I thought. Frustrated because I was going to be late for the 100th time (that was what I was telling myself, anyway)...

Please....

And then I felt her. Bump. Bump. Bump.

10 weeks is really a long time away.

Monday, October 27, 2008

7-year itch




Seven years ago Peyton and I exchanged vows in a small ceremony (thanks in part to the aftermath of 9/11). We were in Michigan and decided to forego the gigantic Southern wedding and keep it small and intimate.

When I woke up seven years ago, I was the calmest I had ever been in my life. No second thoughts. No worries about making mistakes. I was content that I found the man I was supposed to marry.

We waltzed to Sarah McLachlan's Ice Cream and watched happily as our friends (and family!) got happily toasted and danced to almost every single song, a welcomed break from the stress and fear of the nation at the time.

Tonight we held hands as we waited for Spencer's ultrasound results. We exhaled loudly as they explained that they did not see any masses, blockages, or anything that indicated diseased organs. His bowels were slightly thickened, an indicator of inflammatory bowel disease. Spencer happily licked us after being a good boy for the techs (who gushed that he was the cutest thang EVER). His belly was shaved, emphasizing his now-skinny gait, but he was happy to go home and chew on his bone.

We stepped out for a quick dinner, talked about politics, crazy things we read in the paper, and chuckled about the last time we were at this restaurant (we had dinner with friends and had gotten into a pissy fight and were not speaking to each other that night). Conversation flows so easy for us sometimes. The food was good, the service great, and the last memory of that place is now replaced with an older us---11 years together, committed to walking to life with each other.

We came home after a quick stop at Wal-Mart (of all places) and are sitting watching an energetic dog chew happily after he ate a small meal of chicken and rice. If he keeps it down, we will declare victory and perhaps announce it was a really nice anniversary after all....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An Unwanted Distraction....

Our dog is still sick. He has never rebounded from the initial bloody diarrhea that he had over a month ago. For every 2 good days, he has 3 bad.

We took him to another vet to attempt to try to troubleshoot this now chronic condition. The first night she prescribed a probiotic and Imodium for the diarrhea. After 2 hours of both medicines, he vomited so violently, we thought he was poisoned. We spent many hours watching diligently until all 3 of us passed out on the bed together sometime around midnight.

Since last Wednesday, he either throws up or it come shooting out the other end. (And I do mean shooting....I swear I have been completely educated on poop in these last few weeks). We scheduled an ultrasound for Monday (our wedding anniversary). The new vet thinks he may have an obstruction, but even if that cannot be seen, inflammatory bowel disease can, or half a dozen other things can be ruled out.

I have cried many tears as I see my once lively dog sleep in a fit of exhaustion from being so sick. I have mentally prepared for the worst news tomorrow. I told Peyton that I am expecting the worst, because I feel that this is the year where we lose everything important to us. Our son. Our dog. Our will to live.

My dad scolded me today and told me I had bigger things to worry about. I know most people who don't own animals don't get how a sick pet can cause so much worry. I yelled at my father that I was well aware that the baby should be priority, but for fuckssake, could he at least empathize that our dog has been with us for 5 years and this is a horribly sad and stressful time?

We can't catch a break here---

Friday, October 24, 2008

10 weeks

"Will you make me go to 40 weeks or can we have a conversation about that?"

I decided to ask my OB as he was walking off this morning.

He closed the door.

"I won't make you go to 40 weeks. 37.5-38 weeks, and you cervix looks good, this baby is coming out," he said matter-of-factly.


I am at 27 weeks this coming up week. That means in 10 weeks she could potentially be here.

I walked out of the office in a daze. She kicked me all the way on the drive to work.

10 weeks doesn't seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things, but in my reality, it is.



I am nearing the time when I lost Ronan. 28 weeks. I am trying my hardest to not focus on that, and keep telling myself this is a different baby, a different situation. But I have to tell you the next 2 weeks are going to be somewhat hellish for me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ronan's Name in the Sand




From my friends in Australia. Go read how someone is attempting to honor our dead children by writing their names in the sand....

Friday, October 17, 2008

Santa Claus, what's that? Who's he?

We just rented a house. Nice and big. Nice neighborhood. 2200 sq. feet for $140 more a month that we are paying now.

While house hunting we found ourselves chatting about where the baby's room would be, how we would handle the baby with stairs, is the back yard good for Spencer and for the baby?

And little stabbing flames were whispering to me 'why are you even mentioning that? You don't know this baby will live to make it to this house'.

We silenced the voices enough to sign the lease and fork over a gigantic cashier's check tonight (incidentally, this is the first time I ever had to do 1st and last month's rent! WOW, that was a lot of $$!) I pray now that we will know what it's like to raise her in that house.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

January 26, 2008

When Ronan was born, I spent nearly an hour memorizing his features, his stubborn chin, his nose, his wispy eyebrows. I inhaled his wonderful smell, closed my eyes and envisioned the man he was denied to be. No trace of stubble on that proud chin. No uni brow. No toothy grin. No sir. He would be clean cut, tall dark and handsome. A kind man like his father with a smart ass sense of humor like his mother. He would have been the type who went off to college and kept in touch. He would have made us so very proud.

As I opened my eyes from that daydream, the enormity of what I missed out on overcame me. I would never know what it would be like to see him ride a bike, catch a ball, or fall in love. There would be no little league games, awkward adolescent moments where I caught him with a Victoria's Secret catalog, or pride as he walked the stage to get a diploma.

I would never hear his sweet voice call me mom.

And in my honest hearts of hearts, it was that one thing I wanted the most in the world.

And I felt so goddamn denied, so incredibly robbed in those moments. I shook from the injustice of it all. Seething pain was seeping from every pore, every thread of muscle in my body. Until then, I did not know humans could feel like this and still be breathing. Loss, I discovered that fateful day, is really a 4 letter word, more heinous than any other 4-letter word, with a meaning that knows no boundaries of color, race, creed, socioeconomic status. When someone says they lost their child, the vision I now have is a sea of deep, blue, vast nothingness, of hot metal being pierced in my chest, and of my poor, lifeless, little broken boy laying in my arms until they ached.

Today is October 15th---a day we set aside to remember. I share with you my memories, although some of you who read have your own memories.

I miss you every moment of my life, sweet boy---

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Walks to Remember

We got an invite from the doctors who performed Ronan's autopsy and the bereavement staff at the hospital to participate in the annual "Walk To Remember".

Both invitations were just a postcard with an address. We thought 'great' a walk to remember Ronan. This should be nice and meaningful. Maybe there would be a balloon release or something. We invited my in-laws, and planned to spend the Saturday morning walking. I broke out my tennis shoes and we were ready to go.

It was a misnomer. A gigantic misnomer.

It was not really a walk per se, but rather a ceremony to sit in a room and hear all the heartbreaking stories about how people have lost their children too soon. There were sobbing parents and weepy reunions with L&D nurses. My freakin' out meter went to an all-time high and fight or flight was kicking in. I was panicking and prepared to flee.

I was NOT prepared for a funeral, which is what it felt like to me (according to the program description). I don't like funerals, and when I do have to go, I truly have to prepare myself to be sad the entire day. I was thinking that we were celebrating our son's life with a walk, instead this was really like attending a memorial service. It felt like I was going backwards in my grief. We left without sitting through the ceremonies.

I do not want to feel sad and robbed when I think of Ronan. Sitting through a memorial service 9 months out was bound to make me relive those horrible feelings of loss and betrayal, feelings I feel daily but manage to keep in check. I did not want to have a 'good cry' after hearing Eric Clapton's Tears from Heaven, hug strangers and feel better. I don't work this way. This is why I never went to group grief counseling. I was never comfortable babbling face-to-face to a group of strangers how shitty I felt. Hearing other people's pain face-to-face never makes me feel better about my own, it makes me feel completely horrible for them.

There was a small path laid out in the gardens next to the center to reflect. Peyton and I walked through this, holding hands attempting to feel our connection with Ronan (which we feel anyway).

Did anyone else participate in this where you live? How was did it play out over there?

Monday, October 6, 2008

24 weeks

How the hell did I get to 24 weeks already? In a month, I will be in my 3rd trimester.

Holy crap.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pay it Forward

A couple of weeks ago I was on the Missfoundation message boards and someone was asking for help and resources for a mom who was diagnosed at 30 weeks with a Trisomy 18 baby. They happened to live in my area. I responded an eventually got an e-mail from the Grandma of the baby girl.

I have been talking to her via e-mail and a couple of times on the phone. She is devastated of course, trying to comfort her daughter during this horrible time. They have decided to carry the baby until her time, arming themselves with the information to prepare themselves for the day when she stops moving.

I have not talked to the mom directly. I can understand how she is not willing to chat with a stranger during the most awful time of her life.

I am imagining that she and her husband are doing what Peyton and I would be doing if we had known. I don't know which is worse. It's like asking if you would rather die by firing squad or by lethal injection.

The Grandma e-mailed me last night and said the baby's movements have slowed. She is moving every 18 hours or so. Her time may be coming soon...

Please keep this family in your thoughts tonight. I want that baby girl and her family to have nothing but love surrounding them.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day: Take Action

October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States. More than 25,000 children are stillborn in the United States every year leaving mothers, entire families and communities devastated. Estimates of the rate of occurrence of stillbirth make it at least as common as autism.

Stillbirth is not an intractable problem. Greater research would likely significantly reduce its incidence, but good research requires good data. H.R. 5979: Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act is under consideration by Congress. This proposed bill would standardize stillbirth investigation and diagnosis, thus providing more data for the needed research. Better research means fewer children born still.

On October 15th, remember the thousands of unfinished children lost and the families who remain to grieve them. Honor them by taking action. Let's help pass H.R. 5979.

Action Steps:

Step 1. Use Your Blog to Enlist Others
-Copy the contents of this entire post and publish it on your blog immediately.

GOAL: Enlist 10 of your readers to spread the word

Step 2. Use Your E-mail to Enlist Others
-E-mail 5 bloggers and ask them (nicely and in an unspammy way) to publish these action steps on their blog. Consider contacting celebrity bloggers, political bloggers, medical bloggers, or bloggers who are not part of your reading community.

GOAL: Enlist 3 bloggers outside of your normal blog sphere to spread the word in other online communities.

Step 3. Help Pass the Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act
-By October 15th, publish a post on your blog supporting H.R. 5979 Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act. For maximum impact, title your post: "Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act."

GOAL: 1,000,000 Google results on October 15th when that term is searched for. Currently, Google only returns 20,400 pages - most of which have nothing to do with the bill.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nightmares and OBs

It started with the type of imagery that comes from random thoughts settling in your mind. There is no timeline or pattern that makes any sense. Nightmares usually don't come to me in a beautifully laid out script.

I could hear what I thought was my cell phone ringing in the next room, but I was stuck in the dream, unable to wake up to answer it. I had a brief flash of the baby, and reaching down to feel a wetness between my legs. I went to check it, and all I saw were clots and blood.

I woke up with a horrible dread. It was 1 a.m. and I threw off the covers and ran to the bathroom. I snapped on the light, squinted at the light and checked. Everything was fine.

I sat on the toilet and cried, scared for no real reason. Scared for every reason. I had a dread cover me that I would not be seeing this baby born alive either.

I crawled back into bed, woke up Peyton, said in my little girl voice that I had a bad dream. He woke up slightly, shifted positions, held my hand and fell back asleep.

I buried my head in my pillow, tried to shake the feelings. I have been on autopilot for a few weeks now. Not happy, not scared. Just being. I assumed it would crash any day now. I wasn't prepared for such a horrific throw back into the pit.


I met with my OB yesterday and had a serious talking to about his staff sending me to the ER last week. I told him I felt he was Barack Obama instead of my OB and that we had to find a way to not do this again. I was pretty calm and rational for how pissed off I felt. I didn't cry, which is a feat with how pissed and pregnant I am. He apologized profusely. Said he would talk to his staff, said I should demand to hear to go to the ER from him if they suggest it again.

If you read all the comments about this OB online, they always say he is great, but it's his staff that sucks. The downtown office is better than the North office (which is the rich side of town, and I don't know if that makes any bit of difference, but that office is 10X busier than the downtown office). I switched to the downtown office after I got pregnant again because it was closer to my work. When I called on Thursday, I called the North office (because that is where he is on Thursdays). Silly me. And I am not surprised that they sent me to the ER. They were the same people who congratulated me on my pregnancy when I showed up at the office 3 days after I delivered Ronan stillborn--and they did it 2 more visits before Peyton (who is one of the calmest, nicest men on earth growled that our son had died and they needed to check their damn files before they opened their mouths).

I don't know how we will proceed. The OB knows my stance. I may have to become that psycho patient to his staff, but at least I feel he is on my side. If God is merciful, I won't have to call that office for any more issues anytime soon.

P.S. He found the heartbeat after only 2 tries this time. Maybe the girl felt that since he was being good to us, she would sit still and be dopplered.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life Touches Life

As Chris lead us to the small bed holding his daughter in the PICU, I saw Mckayla move towards the sound of her mother's voice.

11 weeks old, she looked about double the size since the last time we saw her. Her head was now covered with soft dark hair. Her eyes were brown and alert. She seemed to follow Peyton as he stood by her bed.

"Hey Mckayla," he said, touching her head.

I was overwhelmed with how I felt, seeing her and all the small infants in the PICU. How utterly scared their parents must me.

I thought about our girl, how so very long we need to go, how scared and unsure that I feel 24/7, how many times I keep telling myself, 'when she's born, everything will be ok." If anything, this experience has proved that there are no guarantees. If we are fortunate enough to bring our daughter in the world alive, there is no guarantee that we are meant to keep her for any length of time.

I touched Mckayla's outstretched hand and she grabbed my finger instinctively. Strong. Alive. Healing.

The girl kicked me then, a sign of solidarity, she and Mckayla kindred spirits.

Watch after her, little ones, I whispered a silent prayer to my children....

So far, so good...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Worst Case Scenario

Blindness. Mental Retardation. The baby definitely had a stroke according to the neurologist. An ophthalmologist is being called in for a consult.

Good things: She is responsive, eating, crying, her pupils are reactive. They were able to finally get a spinal tap to rule out infection. And....she is alive.

That's all I know for now----basically nothing.

Heading over to the hospital----will update when I know more.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Crisis

I know I have talked about my BFF Chris' newborn daughter recently.

He called me tonight to tell me she was admitted to the PICU for seizures and a suspected stroke.

We are really not taking this news very well over here at the Reese and Peyton household.

If ya'll are praying and meditating folk, keep them in your thoughts/prayers. We don't need to add anyone else to this damn circle of friends....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Out of the Woods?

We took the Boy (Spencer) to my in-laws to help with a yard sale. They have 2 dogs and Spencer likes to play with the youngest one who reminds me a little of Bubba from Forrest Gump (they have the same underbite).

He ran, he barked, he wrestled.....he is acting like he is coming out of whatever it is that he had.

He has been spoiled with boiled hamburger and rice the last 2 days. He's been on Flagyl and he seems to have his appetite back with little to no blood in his stools. I feel he is out of the woods, but we are still being cautious.

Right now he is laying besides me snoring, tired from all the running around he did today.

Thanks for all the well wishes. I'll keep you updated....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Remains pregnant with baby in utero....

"Um, hello? Ms. Reese? What are your symptoms again?" the 12 year old receptionist asked.

I had called my OB to schedule an appointment because I was feeling pressure, and I just wanted to check it out.

"Vaginal pressure," I said and exhaled completely annoyed. I didn't know when my OB said 'call with questions', that I would get a girl who just graduated from pom-poms who was suddenly responsible for dispensing medical advice.

"Um, Dr. S. is very busy today, I suggest you go the emergency room," she said.

"The ER? Seriously?" I asked.

"That's what we suggest," she said. If you listened, you could hear the script pages being turned. I felt like I was calling to complain about my high speed internet and got Habib from India instead of calling my GODDAMN OB.

"Fine," I said and hung up.

I tried calling my Perinatologist.

"Um, we can't see you unless Dr. S sees you and says we should see you," an equally trained woman on that line said.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

So I called Peyton and explained that if I wanted to get checked out today I would have to go to the ER.

"Are you kidding me?!?" he asked.

"I wish I was..." I said.

I hung up with him and talked to my boss. Told him how ass backwards this was and instead of going to a routine check up at an office, I was now going to have to spend the day at the ER. He shook his head and the insanity of it and told me to go and get checked out.

I drove to the ER ALL THE WAY ACROSS TOWN FROM WHERE I WORK (~30 miles), and tried to tell myself that the pressure was nothing. The girl kicked me as to tell me why yes....yes it was.

I got to the ER and it was pretty vacant. A few minutes later they come out with a wheelchair and tell me I am going to L&D.

"They told me the ER," I said in mild protest.

"You're past 20 weeks, so you get to go upstairs," he said cheerfully.

Upstairs is where I delivered Ronan. I have not set foot in that place, nor did I want to until I went into labor.

I go up and try to explain that I didn't want to be there, but apparently I can't get in to see my own OB who apparently is the equivalent to a rock star or a congressman.

"Oh, that OB group always sends their women here. It's not your fault. We'll take care of you," the nurse said cheerfully. I walk down to a room and I feel tunnel vision coming on. Panic attack.

"Strip down to this and we'll get a doppler on you," she said.

"OK," I said in a small voice. I felt like a scared little girl. I stripped down to nothing in the bathroom and tried to stifle my whimpering sobs. I walked out and laid in the 'birthing bed' and tried to shake off the memories of January.

Cissy walked in. An older nurse. I calmly informed her that the last time I was in this hospital I was delivering my dead son. And then I proceeded to cry hysterically. She held my hand and told me it was perfectly understandable why I would want to get checked out. She placed that dreaded doppler on my belly, but within seconds she found the heartbeat. Steady. She monitored me for a while and smiled. Baby looks good.

A few minutes later, Tannya, one of my nurses from January walked in to say hello. "I thought that was you!" she said. She asked how we were doing and was excited to hear about this pregnancy. She also reaffirmed that given my history that she would have come in too.

After 2 hours and an exam that showed a closed cervix, I was released with a paper that told me warning signs that should get my ass back into the L&D. She also released my orders to keep my appointment with Dr. S and that I was still pregnant.

With a baby in utero....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

$800 Later...

....Still don't know what is wrong with my dog. Some days are good and some days I come home to a crime scene of bloody poop all over the dining room carpet (which is Berber, which cannot be cleaned properly).

He has been seen by 2 vets---the young Dr. M and the ER vet. Bloodwork shows normal values, and I insisted that he send his poop for culture in case the antibiotic he prescribed earlier missed a particular bug (Bring on the microbiologist in me!). He could not rule out Parvo, but felt it was highly unlikely since Spencer is vaccinated, but if adult dogs do get it, it has to run it's course. There is no indication of pancreatitis. The x-rays showed no blockage, no masses, no stuffing left over from the spontaneous destruction of Lamb, his faithful squeaky toy, last week.

We threw out all his food and treats and bought a new bag of rice and lamb. He is on anti-nausea and on Flagyl in case it is IRB.

I was down right hysterical yesterday, because I was convinced he was going to die. It would be yet another cruel thing to add to my already shitty year.

Right now he is sleeping. I pray that he continues to rest and gets better. I can't handle much more of this stress....

P.S. The girl is moving around and kicking fine. I try to take stock of these precious moments.

Friday, September 12, 2008

20wk5d

Peyton hesitated when the alarm went off. I had to nudge him at 6:15 to finally get up. I got in the shower.

Please start to move....

This child is like me---so not a morning person. I secretly wished I had made a later appointment.

I got shampoo in my eye....I haven't done that since I was 5.

Just a little. A little kick. Come on. Show me the money....

I toweled myself off. Peyton barely acknowledged me. A complete 180, as he is the morning person, filled with smiles and kisses in the morning.

"Are you ok?" I asked.

"I just want to get this over with," he mumbled. Sometimes I forget how stressful it is for him too.

We left the house late (7:30), and the traffic was insane. Even though we live 8 miles from the hospital (all highway), we barely made it to the appointment at 8am.

We didn't talk in the 32 minutes it took to drive there.

You need to kick me.... I ordered to my child, still sleepy. Nothing.

We parked, sat in the waiting room. The nurse called me back. Everyone in that office knows our story and are always anxious to see how the baby is progressing. It is night and day from my regular OB. All the girls waved at me and tried to offer support even though the concern was on my face.

"How are you, Reese?" the nurse asked.

"Alright," I said.

I stepped on the scale and gained a whopping 8 pounds since my last appointment. I try not to be disappointed by telling myself that I was in the negative last time I was here because I was having such a bad case of morning sickness. In reality, I have gained 6 pounds total since I got pregnant. (I am a big gal---I am not supposed to gain a lot of weight, and I didn't with Ronan....I gained 8 pounds by 28 weeks with him).

"How's the baby moving?" she asked.

"I am only 20 weeks. She is not consistent," I tell her, defensive.

"Have you felt her move this morning?"

"No," I said.

"Ok," she said in a cheerful voice, her face giving her away.

"Let's take your blood pressure."

Pause. "It's a little high" she said.

"Uh, huh, " I said.

"Let's get you in the room and have a look, ok?"

The same ultrasound tech is waiting for me. Blonde, older woman, very talkative.

"I haven't felt her move this morning," I said.

"Ok," she said

She gooed up my belly and she zoned in on the heartbeat immediately.

"150," she said and smiled.

I could hear Peyton exhale loudly.

6 pictures and 30 minutes later, the peri walked in and looked at the baby herself.

"I agree. It's a girl. Her heart looks great, and all images show that a repeat case of Trisomy is very, very low," she announced.

"Ok," I said, relief seeping from my pores.

"Congratulations. This is great news," she said shaking our hands.

For this moment, this rare moment of bliss and hope, I will take this news and be happy. I will not think about all that could go wrong in the next 19 weeks. I ate harvest grain and nut pancakes at IHOP, drank my juice and felt her kick me. I saw my husband smile at me, eating his black cherry crepe. From the outside we looked like a happy couple expecting a baby. For this moment, I willed us to be.

Thursday, September 11, 2008





This is my boy. Spencer. Best dog in the world.

When we were crying hysterical after Ronan died, Spencer would drop the ball in my lap, as a way to say 'hey, no more crying now....'

Since Monday he's been sick with bloody diarrhea. A vet trip and $165 he seemed to improve. I came home today and he seemed to have relapsed. Blood everywhere.

A trip to the emergency ER tonight (and $265), his blood work is ok and they gave him more medicine to calm his stomach. I am praying it works. I gotta tell you that if something happens to this dog, I will not be ok. I will be the complete polar opposite of ok.

The entire 15 minute drive over there I am chanting to God "PLEASE do not take my dog. I cannot handle if something happens to my dog..."

I have this worry on top of my ultrasound tomorrow. I had a dream something was wrong. And that it was a boy.

I give up.....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Appointment on Friday

I have an ultrasound on Friday. The pain was almost non-existent today. My discharge is the same, and the pain I have reminds me a little of a UTI, so I am going to ask to be checked out for that. My hips are hurting a little today and I have a semblance of riding a horse type of pain. I am feeling like it is truly round ligament or SPD.

I will ask about it on Friday, or sooner if my symptoms change. If it is SPD, I will ask for a referral for PT, even though I feel like it's useless. Today I feel less panicky---diligent, but not as insane as yesterday. Thanks for your comments and support. This sub-baby shit is almost too much some days.

I have a random question for everyone....mostly about superstitions.

The day before I was induced to deliver Ronan, I was preparing for a talk I was going to give at my alma mater. That night I went into L&D and needless to say, I never gave that talk.

I got an e-mail asking if I would like to speak again in October, when I will be almost 28 weeks. Exactly like last time...

Would you give the talk? Part of it feels like it is too much like the last time, and I sense a sort of Deja-Vu. I keep feeling something will go wrong if I give the talk.

And then my practical mind is trying to convince me that this is different. I will have 2 ultrasounds before the date, everything is pointing to not having a repeat situation.

I don't know....what would ya'll do?

Monday, September 8, 2008

20 week is supposed to signify something positive....

Round Ligament pain or is my cervix preparing for preterm labor?

Some moments I am sure it is ligament pain. Others I am not so sure.

A call to my OB said it's round ligament pain. If your discharge doesn't change or if you aren't bleeding, it's just a pain you have to deal with....

....but then I hear people's stories about similar pain and trips to the ER only to show their cervix is dilated.

If it was just hip pain, I wouldn't be worried, but I have this stabbing crotch pain to go along with it.

DAMN IT!

Why can't this be easy?!?!?!

Monday, September 1, 2008

I feel you.

It is ever so subtle, but I feel you, fluttering.

Please keep moving. 20 more weeks, give or take a couple of weeks.

I promise I will do everything I can to keep you safe in there....

Blood Pressure Be Damned....

I had a routine OB appointment on Friday, a whole 9 hours after I got off a plane from D.C. I had to do my marathon wait of an hour in the exam room, reading about what toddlers would find titillating. I feel the need to send them a subscription of Time, People or hell, Cosmo, anything. First of all, this is a woman's clinic. Women, young and old are seen here. I am sure Grandma getting her annual pap smear doesn't want to read Parenting, with the assumption that if she has children, she has already handled their terrible 2s.

Second, I don't really want to read about handling toddlers when I am trying like hell to handle a pregnancy without losing my freakin' mind. Pictures of smiling children still sends little nauseated waves in my stomach. I am still in a "I'll believe it when I see it" mood. These children on the cover of the magazine were obviously birthed by an oblivious woman who's only worry was if the baby was giving her stretch marks. I don't recognize these children. I want a magazine that encourages me to breathe, and show me how to handle the conflicting emotions that I have every waking hour of every day.

I talked to Dr. S and he said that he was happy with the results of all the genetic testing. He asked for the 1000th time if I was still taking my prenatal vitamin. I don't really know why he keeps asking me this. Have I suggested in my behavior that I would suddenly stop taking nutrients to feed this baby?

"I don't like your blood pressure today," he announced suddenly.

I was a little surprised. I am usually normal in his office and if I am borderline high, his nurse mentions it while she is ripping off the cuff.

"It's 140/88. I think it is creeping up and we should start taking care of it now, so that you and the baby will be better off,"

"Ok," I said.

"Dr. Perinatologist and I were just waiting for the time when it wouldn't come down, and I think this time is now," he said.

"Uh, huh," I said.

"I am prescribing X and this is very good in pregnancy. I want you to start taking it and tell Dr. Perinatologist that you are taking it when you see her on the 12th and we are going to keep monitoring it..." he said.

"Ok," I said.

"Are you ok?" he asked.

"Brilliant," I said.

He stopped and frown at me.

"Let's listen to the baby," he said.

I pulled down my jeans and he placed the dreaded Doppler to my jellied belly.

Silence. For the 3rd fucking time.

I CANNOT TELL YOU how that static sound fucks with me.

Dr. S kept searching in my lower abdomen. He began to look a little concerned.

I pointed to the area where Dr. C found the heartbeat last week, up high near my belly button. I heard the subtle beating of my baby's heartbeat. Dr. S. sighed heavily and smiled.

"Do you think my blood pressure will ever come down if you continue to have trouble finding the heartbeat every time I come in?" I asked in my usual snarky way.

He smiled and shook his head.

Friday, August 29, 2008

So now you're back, from outer space....

D.C. went well. Talk went well. Some day soon I have to mention a very assholy conversation I had with a complete asshat...

K@lakly tagged me for a meme...

Mention six quirky, yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them. Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged. If you participate, let the person know who tagged you you’ve posted your quirks!


1. I can watch the same movie over and over again. If I am flippin' channels and The Departed is on HBO for the 200th time I will stop and watch it because I would rather watch something I enjoyed over and over again than find some other crap to watch on TV.

2. I have never colored my hair. Never. Not ever. Although there was a period of time that I wanted to cut it short, dye it fire-engine red and watch those around me have a coronary.

3. Everyone assumes I am this ridiculously hard worker and smart because I have a PhD. Truth be told, I am incredibly lazy and my 'smart' comes more from street smarts than book smarts. I do have an uncanning talent to do the bare minimum in order to achieve the greatest results. I could always pick out how to make the best grades with doing the least amount of work. The 2 classes I had to study until my eyes bled were Org. Chem and graduate level Biochemistry....and I resented every fucking minute I had to study. My parents always whined that if I really applied myself I could do 'amazing' things. My response was that doing my best took too much effort. ;)

4. On that same vein, the only reason I am a scientist is because I am good at it and it is easy. If I was not such a wimp, I would have been an actor and a writer. However, the thought of being a 'starving' anything has never set well with my plus-sized ass.

5. When I turned 30 I decided to see if I had any real chance in this writing thing, so I applied for a writers-in residency program at Hedgebrook with the thought that never in a million years I would get accepted. I did get in. I spent almost 3 weeks in the Fall of 2005 in the woods holed up in a small cabin writing and becoming one with nature. It was probably (to date) the best personal experience of my life.

6. My father is a Texas Ranger (the cop, not he ball player). No, he does not know kung-fu and the one time he road a horse to chase down a criminal he got thrown off the horse and tore both of his rotator cuffs. He is finally going to have surgery on Wednesday to fix it.

I tag Monica (Still Hopeful), Mrs. Spit, Ya Chun. The others have already been tagged...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Day Trippin'

I have a conference over the next couple of days in D.C.. I leave tomorrow afternoon.

I cannot express in words how I DO NOT want to go, get on a plane, or speak in front of the SG of the USAF.

Back in the day I would be reveling in this experience. Hot shots in D.C? Bring it on! Now I have to chant a new mantra every night before I board the plane--I can be away from my husband and not fall apart. Yes I can. I. can. do. this.

This time my boss is making the trip with me. Perfect time to show him more neuroses. During the amniotic fluid scare last week I calmly walked into his office 2 hours after I arrived to work and asked if he would mind if I went home to rest.

"What's wrong, Reese?" he asked, not buying my not feeling well excuse.

I then proceeded to burst into tears, which then in turned scared the Be-jesus out of him. I am not one to cry in front of people, let alone an ex- Rear Admiral. All my meltdowns at work (all 3 of them) were done either alone or in front of the one co-worker I felt comfortable sobbing my eyeballs out in front of.

He calmly handed me a box of tissue and heard me do that sloppy cry---the trying to breathe and talk, big inhale, sniff, big inhale. He listened calmly, said he was sorry that I was going through this worry, and sent me home, asking me to call him when I saw the doctor.

When I called later on, he answered "Reese?" voice full of concern. I told him things were fine and he said "I assumed they would be," in a not so convincing tone. His memory was still burned with that phone call at 6:30 the morning I was to be induced in the hospital. All I managed to choke out was "Dr. M? It's Reese.....(3 minute pause)....we lost the baby...." before bursting into tears.

I have taken 3 trips since March, and have read the entire Twilight series. Now I have the last book in the series and I will read it tomorrow night, well past 3 am where I will then fall into an exhaustive sleep, too tired to fight it off anymore and just about the time when have managed to silence the whispers that come to me in a big, lonely hotel room.

Think positive thoughts for me, ya'll. I really need this to go well....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The World We All Know....





I cried when I first saw David Cook perform this. It was back in May, and I just understood why he picked this as his last song to sing and why he cried at the end of the performance. His world was different now and it will never be the same (albeit for a good reason).

I just remember feeling the same way about my life. When I step to the edge and and see my world below...the world I now know resembles nothing I used to know...

I keep hoping that the tears will stop falling when I hear this song being played. If I can do that, I think it will signify that I am at a point in my life where I recognize this new world.

My keyboard's wet. It hasn't happened yet....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dr. C

When I was admitted into the hospital in January, I met my new OB, Dr. S. He stayed with us for a half hour, explaining what was to happen all the while holding my hand. He said that he was not on call that weekend, but his colleague Dr. C. would be taking care of us.

Dr. C was a tall, rail-thin man with a mane of white hair and that dark Hispanic skin. He came in the following morning, called me Miss Reese in his quiet, almost whispering voice, put his hand on my shoulder and explained again what would be happening.

"There is no reason to suffer with the labor. You can get an epidural as soon as you are ready," he said softly. I nodded. No need to suffer any more than you are already suffering, he wanted to say. I wiped the tears from my eyes.

He placed in the 2 miniature pill-like doses of Cervadil to get my cervix dilating. That was at 11am on Friday Jan. 25. At 4pm, the nurse put in 2 more pills, and I was off to the races, the cramping increased in full force, and was in full-blown labor.

He came in shortly after I had my second dose, asked how I was progressing, and in between trying to breathe and not to cry from the pain, he said "it should progress pretty quickly now".

By 7pm, Tonnya was shooting Demerol in my IV line while I was whimpering to kill me. The overwhelming emotion brought on by labor was destroying the control I had maintained up until this point. My step-mother held one hand, my MIL the other. Peyton was standing by the bed touching my forehead looking like he was in agony. My father and FIL had to leave the room. It was too much for them. The unfairness of all this pain and no grandchild to bring home weighed heavily on their hearts.

By 8pm, Tonnya was calling the anesthesiologist to come administer the epidural, even though the standing order was to administer it when I was 3 cm. I was still at 1 cm and I remember hearing her say "fuck that. She needs one NOW!" I loved that woman.

While waiting for the doctor, Tonnya hugged my head while I was in a narcotic induced half-sleep, moaning when I had a contraction but too out of it to really care. She said "God doesn't give you more than you can handle. I know you will go on to have more children. I will see you here again very soon, and we will deliver a healthy baby at that time." I barely opened my eyes, and tears fell down my cheeks. She wiped them away and hugged me again before she left.

Thirty minutes later the anesthesiologist walked in with my new night nurse, Valerie. Valerie helped me go to the bathroom before they started because they have to put a catheter in after you get an epidural. I remember feeling like hell, looking like hell, and thinking I was in hell. I sat back on the bed and Dr. K opened my gown in the back. I hugged Peyton, thinking that THIS moment, getting a damn needle in my spine, was what I was so scared about when I was pregnant with Ronan. By the time the moment finally came, I wasn't frightened anymore. My son was dead. I had nothing else to lose.

Dr. K threaded the catheter through my spine and pumped in the cold fluid, and then the warm fluid. He pumped in a narcotic too, he said, to kill the pain. In 15 minutes I was numb, body finally matching mind and spirit.

My family came back in, and I was human again. It was late, I was tired, and I said they should go rest. He was probably not coming until the morning. Peyton crawled into bed with me and we held each other for a while before I encouraged him to sleep.

At 4 am, my water broke. I could feel it happening in slow motion, the membrane ripping and the warm gush of fluid. I knew it would be soon.

At 6:00, Dr. K had refilled my epidural medicine, pumping in more narcotic for the delivery, and Dr. C walked in 30 minutes later. I told him I felt the need to push. He checked me and said "I can feel the baby's head right there. We can go ahead and get ready," he said.

Peyton was dressed and by my side and I felt the surge of panic as people started gathering in the room. 3 strangers in addition to Dr. C and my nurse Valerie. The bed transformed into the stirrup contraption you see in the movies and Discovery Channel. Dr. C took his position at the foot of the bed, put on some gloves and poked around down there.

I froze.

"Ok. You can push when you're ready," he said softly.

Push? Push? How do I push?

"Go ahead," he said, looking up at me.

I hesitated again. Pushing made this real. This was the moment of truth. I would see my son, and he would be dead. The last thing I wanted to do is push.

"It's ok," he said in a little sing-song that you would tell children. "Just a few pushes....that's all it'll take,"

I pushed 3 times, and he was out.

"He's a big boy," Dr. C said softly.

"And a lot of hair!" Valerie said sweetly.

I turned my head away while Dr. C coached Peyton on where to cut the cord. I looked at the clock on the wall, counting seconds.

Dr. C placed Ronan on the table that was stradled across my stomach. I finally looked at him. He was so beautiful and I was immediately in love.






When I went to the doctor 2 days ago for my amniotic fluid scare, I was seen by Dr. C. He still called me Miss Reese, still placed his big hands on my shoulder. When he examined me, and was at the foot of the table, Ronan's birth came flooding back to me.

"Alright then, I am getting some samples and I will look under the microscope. The nitrazine test is being administered now. It's negative....Ok. I'm done. Let's get a listen to the baby's heartbeat," he said softly.

I closed my eyes and I could hear him encouraging me to push again....

He placed the doppler on my jellied belly and took a few seconds to find the heartbeat.

"Come on little one," he sing-songed. "Your baby likes to hide," he said and smiled. I smiled sadly. Ronan did the same thing. He would literally swim away from the doppler, the OB chasing him with the wand making patterns across my stomach.

"There it is!" he said triumphant. "154...." he wiped the goo off my stomach.

"I'm going to look at these and I will be back in a few minutes," he said.

I got dressed slowly and sat down. It took everything not to curl up in the fetal position on the floor.

"Everything is negative. I think it is just a side effect of the antibiotics you were on last week. Keep your appointment next week with Dr. S," he said.

"Ok," I said softly.

"It was good to see you again," he said, and shook my hand.

And even though it was hard reliving everything that we went through 7 months ago by seeing him, it was good to see him too...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Exhaling...

All tests (including for amniotic fluid) came back negative.

8 hours of stressed-out hell.


I need a drink....

Impromptu Dr. appointment

I could be leaking amniotic fluid.

Does this ever get easier?!?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Darwin and Evolution....

I am not often taken with news stories. But I felt this one move me to tears.

It's sad when you start feeling the only people who get it are not even people at all....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My sweet Ronan,


I have been trying to not go into that place again. I opened your box from the hospital and immediately smelled you. The animal instinct kicked in. Blind and half dead, I could find you in a blizzard from that scent alone.

We miss you. But I know you know this. You show me in sunsets and a in a flock of birds that seem to follow me everywhere I go. That first drive into work, you sent so many birds, I felt like Tippy Hedren. I know you sent them because you knew that I didn't care if the car crashed and blew up into a firery inferno. But you cared. It was your way of telling me to hang on.

I don't know what to say to you about this new baby. I cried when I found out, but I knew before I knew. I woke up early one morning and just knew. I drove into work, and the sun was rising and I saw the light. It was the same light I saw when they took you away for the last time at the hospital. I sat there, stared at that light and told myself over and over again that I was only saying goodbye to your body. You were no longer there. You were in the light. I know that you were sending me the light that morning to tell me it would be alright. That even though I was scared, whatever happened next, everything would be alright.


I hang on to that light. When I am overwhelmed by the daily details, I see the subtle shades of orange and pink, golden rays peeking from the white clouds.


Stay with me, sweet boy. 23 more weeks left...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Genetically Speaking....

The girl is fine.

Had my final test come back 'normal'.

Now I need to have a conversation with my body to cooperate, keep her in there long enough, and try not to kill us in the process of completing this pregnancy.

I have to remind her to not sleep on her cord, or decide to play 'swim through the hole the cord makes'.

I have to tell myself that 24 weeks is not a hell of a long time. In theory, it could just be 20 weeks, and all would be well in the universe.

Please. Please....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Divine Secrets

Ever since I was 12 and the idea that I would have children someday popped into my newly-menstrual mind, I knew I would give birth and raise a son. Maybe 2.

Boys were just easier, and it was all I knew. I am an only child, and all my childhood friends were boys. I was raised by my father from age 11 on. It just made sense.

I don't have anything against girls, per se. I just wasn't a girly-girl. When my elementary school friends got together and gossiped, I fought like hell to try to fit in, find something (anything) in common with these GIRLS....

Eventually, I found girls more like me, and I eventually learned how to foster the relationships with women. But, truth be told, I am still guarded with most women I meet. My best friend is my husband, and the only reason I am friends with my oldest (girl) friend is because she is almost identical in thought and feelings to me. It's easy to like someone who thinks just like you....

And what the hell would I teach a girl? How would I dress a girl? Christ, the very idea of having a girl scared me to my core.

But then when I was in grad school I went to go see the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood with some friends. Cheesey movie about Southern gals who were insane by all logic. However, there was this one scene where Ashley Judd as Vivenne and all her Ya-Ya sisters were at the lake one summer with all of their children. Vivenne is lying on her stomach on the beach watching her eldest daughter, Siddalee, swim. Sidda smiles at Vivenne from the water, and Vivenne, who's chin is resting on her hands, lifts a single finger to wave back in this secret, delicious language.

It was in that moment that I realized that I could have a baby girl, fall in love with her, raise her and teach her things, important things about becoming a strong woman.

It sounds like a ridiculous ephiphany. Most women grow up with their dolls, imagining raising their baby girls. When my friend Jess got pregnant with her son, she wrote and complained jokingly... "what the hell am I supposed to do with a boy?!?" But this fear of little girls was very real to me for many years, but now, (especially now), there is no fear. Only excitement about the new adventure.

Even though the tech would not guarantee a girl, I feel it down to my core that the baby is a girl.

And if you ask me how I feel about this, I will tell you that I feel content. I feel content and happy while I am missing the son that I was supposed to have here with me...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pretty in Pinkish

"Well, if I was going to go by the scan today, I would say I am about 90% sure it's a girl. I didn't see any boy parts....but let's see you back in a month to do another scan and we'll make sure then, ok?"

I stared at my daughter(?) on the gigantic screen, legs crossed at the ankles with her hands by her ears, deep in thought, or annoyed that we were talking too loudly in the ultrasound room.

Two minutes later, on cue Blondie walked in with the blood pressure cuff.

"140/80. MUCH better," she said and walked out.

I was too mesmerized to give her an I-told-you-so look.