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.....