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


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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Breakfast Club

If I tell myself enough times that everything will be fine, I will somehow will the earth to allow everything to be fine.

But, I am not fine. Nor is my husband. Last night we cried ourselves to sleep because we are walking zombies in life right now.

Go to work. Pretend to care. Keep busy. Eat. Talk to co-workers like there is nothing wrong. Eat. Drive in hellish traffic. Eat. Watch TV. Go to bed. Try to sleep. Try not to think that the baby you are now carrying is dead/could die.

I have created an alternate reality in my mind where I am Reese X, super woman of the world, childless because I decided to be, discoverer of the cure for HIV, Pulitzer-prize winning author, jet-setter, all-around know-it-all. Adored. Loved by all. Fulfilled. Put-together. I am so the bomb in my feeble little mind. Seriously, I kick ass in this alternate reality.

Then I realize I have a perinatologist appointment tomorrow where they will check to make sure the baby I am carrying has a brain, heart, kidneys, closed spine, oh, yeah, all his fingers and toes and if they have a penis or vagina . Suddenly I am Reese S. Small-town girl. Childless because of a freak genetic mutation. Government scientist. Writer of blog a handful of people read. Homebody. Not-as-smart-as-she-wants-to-be. Generally liked. Loved by few. Missing something. Complete basket case.

I am taking bets on my blood pressure reading tomorrow at 3:30. Any takers?

I wonder if aromatherapy will prevent me from mouthing off to the the blonde nurse who tells me every time "What's going on? Nervous about something?"

More importantly, will someone have some bail money handy when I punch her in the throat....

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Va-Jay-Jay Diaries...

Men who read my blog, you may want to skip this one....I warned you.

When I was in the Michigan Health System, I was used to a certain way that the doctors handled issues. Imagine Reese in a small examination room, where she is talking to a young-ish doctor, explaining that she is having issues down there.

The doctor, knowing she is pregnant, would assure her that this is normal, that pregnancy causes all sorts of hormonal issues that wreck the balance of things down there. Then she would have her feet in stirrups and an appropriate sample would be collected to figure out what was causing the problem. After examination, the Harvard-trained doctor would most likely tell her that it was {insert bacterial or fungal in origin here}. She would start her on the appropriate medicine and call her in a couple of days to confirm the results from the lab. (Reese would know before that, though, because she worked in that lab).

BUT THEN....I move here and this is how the conversation goes...

'Dr. S. I am having some issues down there...'

'This is normal in pregnancy, but you are only 9 weeks and I don't treat any issues down there until the second trimester, because of the risk of miscarriage...'

"Um, okay...." (Old school versus new school thinking). "I'm fine with waiting..."

And I wait. And wait.

At 14 weeks, I am still having some issues down there and I mention it again. But that gets put to the back burner when they couldn't find the heartbeat right away and I have to go to the ultrasound from hell.

So I call today at 16 weeks, because if it is a bacterial overgrowth issue, it can SERIOUSLY effect the pregnancy later on. And I gotta tell you, if I wasn't going to be treated at all, I was going to have to plead guilty to assault. I didn't want to wait until my next OB appointment 3 weeks away...

I called at 2pm, (stupid me called the ritzy office instead of the downtown homegirl office). After a 10 minute wait, I was told the nurse would call me back.

She called me back at 5:30. I explained the situation. She said she would call me back.

An hour later, she called and said I had 2 medications being called in--one for bacteria, one for fungus, because he didn't know what was causing the issue.

AND apparently didn't want to be bothered (personally) with my vagina until the 3rd trimester.

I have issues with this as a Microbiologist because of the over-prescribing of antibiotics causing crazy things like MRSA and all sorts of shit that make my job a living hell. A simple exam would have told him one way or the other. And I am not thrilled with taking 1 drug let alone 2 while pregnant.

Oh, well, can't win them all...right?

Ed.ited to add...

I don't mean to offend anyone who have suffered miscarriages. A 'bloody mess of cells' were not my words, but someone who contacted me about my supposed miscarriage. "He was just cells, right?" I forgot the quotation marks when I wrote it...I apologize if it was written like I thought all miscarriages were just cells.

I found the people that assumed that I went through a miscarriage, having never gone through either a stillbirth or a miscarriage themselves, assumed that it is not a big deal, just bleeding, something that happens when you are 'just pregnant', and that the babies you are losing have no real shape or significance. These are not my thoughts, but rather the very real crap that I had to navigate through when we lost Ronan. My frustrations are not that stillbirth is more traumatic than miscarriages (early or 2nd trimester), is that the overall view of 'losing a baby' can be viewed by some simply as losing 'cells'---that there is no real baby there that is lost. (As demonstrated by my committee member's change of tune when he heard I was in my 8th month. His only point of reference was early miscarriage, so he assumed no huge deal). Some people don't even realize that by 10 weeks those 'cells' start looking like a baby. It is that ignorance I was writing about, but going back reading it, it sounds like I am ignorant myself....

I really don't want to get into a debate about which is more traumatic, stillbirth or a miscarriage. I have seen it on message boards before and everyone is right and no one is wrong. Loss is loss.

My point of the previous post, however shaky, is that some people will trivialize loss, as Peyton's Nana did, until they actually see what Ronan looked like. I suspect that those who had 2nd trimester miscarriages suffered the same bias by people, until they actually see what a 16-17 weeker looks like--a miniature replica of what they are to be at term.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Seeing Him Makes it Real

I had my in-laws over for dinner. My FIL had just returned from a hiking trip in Idaho and my MIL and Peyton's grandmother (Nana) were holding down the fort while he was gone. I invited them over primarily to hear FIL's stories and because I prefer to cook. FIL likes to try his hand at cooking, but when he's busy/tired/upset, we usually spend Sunday dinner scraping off burnt pieces from the roast. I figured he'd be too tired to cook anyway.

After dinner, Peyton asked if we should show the pictures of Ronan to Nana (she lives in Georgia and was not here when everything went down in January). I said he should ask her, and his mother, who was content to keep the image of Ronan in her head that she had from rocking him in the hospital.

I was talking to my FIL about my week at work, which is getting more insane by the minute, and I saw Peyton pull out the pictures from the bag that holds all of Ronan's things---sympathy cards, notes, death certificate, autopsy reports, and the pictures the hospital took of him.

I continued to talk to my FIL, and then I heard his Nana begin to cry....

"Seeing him makes it real," she sniffed.

I don't think some people understand that I delivered a 2.5lb baby. A baby. Who looked like a baby, smelled like a baby, who I held as a baby. I did not have a miscarriage. Ronan did not leave my body as 'a bloody mess of cells' (someone did refer to his assumed miscarriage to me like that once). He was almost 14 inches long, with feet that I prayed he would have grown into. Even my best friend who was in the hospital after I delivered remarked how she was surprised that he looked like a baby. She didn't put it together in her head what a 28 week old would look like. Let's put this in some kind of perspective---anyone watch that show Jon and Kate plus 8? All of her sextuplets were between 2 and 3 lbs. And they all lived.

When some people hear that I lost a baby, they immediately assume that it was miscarriage (and no big deal). And I don't really know why that offends me. Probably because of what I had to endure for Ronan's stillbirth. I think most people don't understand what really has to be done to get a dead baby out of its mother. Many people were surprised that I didn't have a c-section right away, cut that dead thing out of me, and find that they are mortified that I had to go through labor and birth the baby even though he had died.

Yeah, that's kind of the whole horrifying point of all of this rambling in DBL, no?

Some women have shared with me that it can be horribly traumatic miscarrying, with all that blood, soaking several pads. Truth me told, I think I miscarried my first month off the pill before I got pregnant with Ronan. It was the heaviest period I had ever had, with cramping and blood that went on for days. In the back of my mind I thought this was a miscarriage, but I didn't test before the period came to be sure. I theorized it was a missed abortion or a blighted ovum. If I had been, say 11 weeks and not 5 weeks, I can only imagine that my experience would have been amplified by 20.

One of my thesis committee members e-mailed me in March, and he was under the impression that I had a miscarriage. To give him credit, that is all he really understood as his wife had had several miscarriages after the birth of their only child, Andrew. All bloody and traumatic, he wrote. I calmly wrote to him explaining I was in my 8th month. I delivered my son after being induced in the hospital and 18 hours of labor. I had held him, cried my salty tears on his warm-from-my-womb body.

He wrote back that he cried when he read that. I suspect he had his soliloquy at the ready, consisting of the 'chin up' talk or the 'nature's way' chat. When he realized that I delivered a 'real' baby, all he had was stunned silence. He had no basis of knowledge or hope to share with me at this point. The very thought horrified him, like it has so many others.

Babies just don't die.

My OB said that when I met him that first night in the hospital.

Mine did, I remember thinking, always the perpetual smart ass.

As I start to feel the flutters of this baby, I am saddened because my son who once occupied my womb before this child is no longer here. The only thing that I have other that his memory box and pictures, is the memory of him inside of me, that proves he was real. He moved inside of me, growing and kicking...and sadly, dying. As this child grows, my feelings are bittersweet. I hold on to the memory of my much loved and much wanted son and try not to have those memories occlude the memories I am creating for this much loved and much wanted baby.

I have given up preparing for the worst, because I don't want to miss anything this round or take anything for granted. I feel those movements of this baby, and even though it could be gas bubbles, I know it isn't. Whatever happens, and if this baby has died before I my scan on Wednesday, I will always know that he/she was also real. I felt them move inside of me.

As a mother, it is the only way to honor my children if they are not meant to be on this earth with me....

Monday, August 4, 2008

Holding Back

Every woman needs to decide if and when she will throw her chips on the table to try to have a baby after something like this happens. I belong to an on-line grief board, and can attest to the many types of women there are that have gone through the stillbirth/miscarriage experience.

And the one common chord that rings true with all women in DBL is that ALL OF THEM, are scared as hell to get pregnant again.

The idea of placing hope in a pregnancy is like opening up the scar on your chest that has barely begun to heal. What I find that dictates a lot of the decisions to try again is the underlying reasons for the baby's death. Was it a maternal issue (incompetent cervix, clotting issues?), fetal issue (cord accident), or genetic issue (Trisomy 18 like Ronan or Triplody like my on-line buddy Jess). I am reading a lot of people's thoughts on blogs and find that those with maternal issues (HELLP, pre-eclampsia, etc) have an extra hard choice to make because they plain out don't trust their bodies to carry another baby, and/or it could potentially kill them. Those in the other 2 groups have some sort of statistic on their side, because most fetal issues, including genetics, are usually that of chance (1:some ungodly number). However, the fetal issue side feels strongly that lightning can (and DOES) strike twice.

When I was released from the hospital, I asked Peyton how he felt about trying for another baby, because I didn't know at the time if I wanted to ever carry another baby again. He said he didn't know if he could handle it again. A few months later, after we heard that Ronan was unlucky in the genetic pool and got tagged with Trisomy 18 and after we heard from the perinatologist that she deemed us healthy and fit to try again, we weighed our options about trying again.

The fire that got placed under my ass about examining the timeline to try to conceive again was the genetics issue. Trisomy 18 is rare (1:9000) births, and we got targeted. My biggest concern was (as I was nearing 35) we would have the increased potential for Trisomy 21 (Down's) (1:250-ish chance). I didn't like those numbers, having been on the losing side of the Roulette table already. Peyton and I decided we would try again soon, see how things progressed, chanted to ourselves everything would be a-ok, we could handle this.

This was May 1st.

By May 7th I was knocked up.

By May 9th I knew I was knocked up (Apparently I have a fainting thing I do when I am pregnant--did it with Ronan)

By May 18th it was confirmed by a HPT.

By May 27th my OB was remarking how impressed he was with our speed of conception while I was running to go and puke in the bathroom.

I have had minor drama (severe cramping, a little spotting) while in Boston at a conference. I was convinced I was destined to walk into Harvard Medical Center covered in blood and hysterical. I rested that afternoon, and I was ok the rest of the time. Peyton came up for the weekend to spend some time with me in Maine. The very smell of the ocean and seafood sent me hurling. Plus there was a heat wave in New England that weekend. Tre fun.

I have had 3 u/s total: One at 7 weeks where I cried hysterically to an unknowing tech, who I explained to in between sobs that the last time I saw an u/s my baby was dead. She held my hand and said after 3 seconds that she saw a heartbeat. God bless her. At this appointment we determined my due date was January 26, 2009---Ronan's 1 year b-day.


The next u/s I had @ 12 weeks and was part of my ultrascreen genetics test. I was out-of-my fucking-mind crazy that day, because I had not seen my baby since 5 weeks before and was convinced she/he had died. As I broke down to my OB at 10 weeks, he told me that unless there was blood, the baby should be fine. I countered that I could send him the e-mail of a couple of gals where that was not the case. Bastard. My blood pressure at the perinatologist that day was 160/100. I was hysterical. Once the tech took me in, I could see the fluttering right away on the 52" monitor and I began to breathe again. The nurse then proceeded to completely miss my vein as she drew blood for the screening test, leaving me looking like a heroin addict, but I was oblivious as I stared at the u/s pics they printed for me.

There could be a chance.

Fast forward to last week where the OB could not find the heart beat with the doppler and kindly/quickly sent me to the u/s tech (a new one) who proceeded to poke and prod me for the better part of an hour for an unknown reasons. Again, I was hysterical, assuming that my baby was dead/dying and she was trying to zone in on the anomaly that she witnessed. As she told me to hold in my breath and move certain ways, I was imagining telling my family (AGAIN) that the baby I was carrying was dying...

But alas, she was merely trying to capture the actual beats of the heart (she saw the fluttering) but the little bugger was moving too much. I hopped off the table, tight lipped, wiped the KY jelly from my belly, walked out of the building and cried hysterically in my car. I called my poor boss, (who answered his cell phone in the bathroom because he knew where I was going--I could hear the echo and the concern in his voice) and told him calmly I needed to take some time off because I was out of my mind hysterical.

"Is the baby ok?" he asked, having been the on the receiving end of that phone call last January.

"Yes, but they had a hard time finding the heartbeat and my nightmare moment from January was playing in my head over and over again," I whispered.

"Take all the time you need..."

I have spent many nights in the last 15 weeks (yes, I am 15 weeks this week) wanting to write about the insanity going on in my brain. I have refrained for several reasons, primarily because I am in a vulnerable position.

Those not in DBL might assume a new baby is the answer and I should be cured once I get another baby in my arms. To those people, you must know that this is not the case. I am not replacing Ronan. Ronan will always be my firstborn. The love of my life. You cannot replace one dead baby with a live one. The heart doesn't work like that.

Those who are still taking their time with their grief, you may not be ready to read about the ramblings about yet another pregnant gal in DBL. And I don't blame you. It is hard hearing about pregnant woman, even if you do share some underlying feelings with me. I understand that some of you will stop reading, and to you I say, I understand. Believe me, I understand.

I have met some wonderful women on the boards who suffer from infertility and/or conditions that would place their lives in danger if they try to conceive again. I wish I could explain why some women can get pregnant easier than others. The same way I wish I could explain why some women have children only to murder them or abuse them. It just is not fair. If reading my blog suddenly brings about these feelings of unfairness, I also understand...

For the 2 people left who continue to read, please know that this is not an easy journey for me. It is hell most days. I have been pregnant now for over a year now (with a 4 month break). I feel like shit, I feel ungrateful because I feel like shit, and I am scared.

So very scared....

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Chicken Shit

It was my 15th high school reunion this past weekend. Just as a reference, I went to a REALLY small high school in South Texas (143 in my graduating class), and there were several who knew that Ronan died.

I backed out because I was not ready to deal with people, see people, have those who knew offer condolences, have those who didn't ask me how many kids I had and what the hell was I waiting for (assuming it was my career drive for the reason for my empty arms).

In short, I did not want to be the center of that kind of attention.

I just glanced at some pictures one of my classmates placed on-line, and it was bittersweet. It would have been nice to see these people, talk, catch up, you know all the normal things people are capable of doing when they haven't been dealt this kind of paralyzing blow.

God, if you could drop me a sign about who the hell I am supposed to be now, I'd appreciate it. I really miss the old Reese. I spent 32 years in her skin, refining her mind. It's completely unfair how all that has to be changed now. It's like writing a novel, and it is so interesting and fun, and fascinating--- you are so damn proud of it. Then some asshole comes and destroys your computer and it's all erased, and there is no back-up. You try like hell to recreate that story, those feelings that were so beautifully captured in those moments, but from this viewpoint, all you can do is start from your new beginning, because trying to recreate the past, before before, seems fake and unreal with these eyes now.

I did not go to my reunion, because I don't like who I am now. I didn't want those people to think that who I am now is who I have been the last 15 years. Part of me is like "WAIT! You should have seen me January 23, 2008. That is who I really was," but in reality, it is all moot now.

If God was truly a merciful God, he would have kill us all dead shortly after the words "I'm sorry...." were uttered. Instead we have to endure induction, labor, delivery---silence....bleeding, more bleeding, milk coming in for a baby that died.
It is truly the cruelest thing to do to a woman. And even better, we have to learn how to live in a skin that is too tight, it burns, it's ugly, it's distorted when we look in the mirror. And we have to convince people we are ok in this new skin, even though they pity us, agree it's hideous, and would never in a million years want to trade places with us.

I don't know what to do anymore...