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)...


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.