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....