Monday, November 21, 2011

Carry On My Wayward Son....

Around 4am on Halloween morning I woke up feeling contractions. Nothing too crazy--I thought that they could be Braxton-Hicks. But by 6am I was feeling the same pain at the top of my belly in a rhythm--indicative of true blue labor. By 7am, I sent a text to 2 of my team members to implement the 'I am in labor' plan, because I was suppose to give a brief that morning, but luckily, we had a plan in place just in case. At 7:15 am, I got in the shower and told P that I was in labor, but I was going to get a shower before we went to the L&D.

We got to L&D at 8:30, and the nurse at the doc office already called them and told them that I was en route. This labor was already different from the previous 2. I was having contractions every 5 minutes, and my belly ached. They put me in triage, and put the Doppler on to measure the heart beat and contractions. The doctor on call for the group came in---and of course she was the one doc I had never met. She was older and kind of a no-nonsense kind of girl. Didn't seem too friendly, and I was already sad that this was going to be the person to deliver me. But, after 2 more interactions, she smiled a little at my smart ass comments, and I knew we would be a-ok.

By 10:30 I was being prepped for surgery. And the majority of the prep was the trying to find a vein for an IV. I have terrible veins (deep and hidden), and the anesthesiologist came in (another woman) and was so warm and friendly, that she made me love her right away. She tried only once to find a vein (after numbing me no less!) and then called for the Doppler and did it properly. It took about 30 minutes for that whole procedure to be completed. She explained everything in great detail and patted my arm, assuring me that everything was going to be ok. She asked how many children we had, and I told her we lost our first child to stillbirth from Trisomy 18. She said she was so sorry to hear that. It was nice that she was sympathetic. Everyone was that heard our story.

It happened so fast. The being wheeled to surgery, the spinal block, the sheet being lifted above me (which incidentally, was a lot LOWER than when we were in San Antonio. I could see the docs pushing and prodding. Craziness!), the feeling of panic that always sets in when they are pulling things.

"The fluid is clear" the resident said.
"Here he comes!" the anesthesiologist said.

And I heard the wondrous sound. The cries. And cries. And cries. He cried more than the girl did. I was actually awake for this, and could see them working on him and give him a kiss while my innards were being pushed back into me.

Around that time, I was feeling some searing pain in my chest. Burning in my breasts of all things. Hormones? It was so painful that Dr. Wonderful Lady gave me a shot of something and I was loopty-loop for the rest of the day. The very wonderful nice thing about this hospital was that Henry was with us from the second he was born. He was not whisked away to another area. He stayed with me in the OR and in recovery. It was a nice thing to always have my {now very much drugged} eye on him.

Recovery in the hospital was going well until the end of the 2nd day. My blood pressure really spikes after delivery, and since I didn't actually labor long (which is where it tends to get out of control high because of the pain aspect of it all), I really thought it wasn't going to spike this go round and I could go home early. Nope. By Wednesday morning Dr. P came in and said "you know the drill. We have to get you stable here before you can go home. We want to make sure that you are not going to have to come back to the ER, because then you are not in our hands anymore". Which made sense. My BP was reaching the 160/110 range (on meds!), which is high, but normal. The nurse (young thing as she was) was freaking out a little, which in turn made me freak out. Deep down I knew it was normal, but something about a medical professional freaking out unnerved me.

I was getting stir crazy, and a bit lonely. It was hard not having the family there to keep me company. P would run home and spend some time with the girl and bring her to visit, but by Wednesday night, I was pretty much done with that place. I had a lot of pain (more so than last time) and I just wanted to be home in my own bed. (BTW, who designed those damn beds? Insanity).

By Thursday I was given my fistful of meds, including the powerful BP drug (and my BP is slowly coming down from insane range to the mid-high range 140s/90s). I had to deal with an incision infection that was caught early (thanks be to Jesus for my background as a microbiologist), and two hematomas that are causing me grief at the ends of my incision. But it has really been only this week that I have felt some semblance of normalcy. I thank the NP at my doctor's office, Carol. She has been a blessing, letting me come in weekly to make sure this scar and hematoma are under control. She asked about my mood the last time I was there, and I said with all honesty, I was feeling better. Much better than week 2 when I was convinced I was going to die from a virulent infection or from a stroke.

Henry is a sweet child. He sleeps a lot, but when he is awake he just hangs with you and just is.... He is most comfortable in the arms of anyone. There is only one time that in my sleep-deprived state that I mumbled his name and accidentally called him Ronan. And then I cried when I nursed him. I don't know how the hell I did that. I purposefully did not name him an "R" name because I didn't want to chance that happening on a regular basis.

He and Radha look the same. And they both resembled Ronan. It's a nice thing that my children look like each other. I feel somehow that I can imagine what he would have been like at these different ages.

On the second day, a nice young lady photographer came in and offered a photo shoot of Henry. I let her do it. She took a sleepy Henry and posed him in his nice, new blankie and snapped his picture.

"Do you have any other children at home?" she asked in between snaps.

"He's the second child we are bringing home," I said.

She stopped snapping.

"That's what I say. I have two at home and two in heaven," she said.

We nodded in respect for each other's loss. It was like my words were equivalent to the secret handshake. She knew what that meant, the power of the phrasing of those words.

She did good work. This was my favorite pic out of all of them...

And there was that moment, when we were about to leave the hospital, P snapped this picture of me holding Henry. He looked at the camera, and he wept when he saw the picture. The last time I held a baby boy we were not able to take him home...

There is not the blanket of grief on us this time, but the dusting that remains. And it will always remain....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Baby Henry came into the world about 11:45 a.m. Halloween morning. Guess he was too excited and couldn't wait for his scheduled C-section on November 4th! :)

He weighed 7 lbs 5 oz and was 20.5 inches longs. He has a head full of dark hair and is really one of the sweetest babies I have ever met.

We are doing fine, and hoping to be home in a day or so.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

November 4, 2011


This is the day that they will go and fetch the boy if he does not end up following his big sister's footsteps and come on his own early.

We are just hanging out. I have doctor's appointments 2x a week. Everything seems fine and dandy. I am slowly biding my time.

I do find it amusing that the Perinatologist keeps asking if I am still working 'outside of the home'. I feel like asking him "this is the US, no? We haven't woken up in Canada, Finland, or the UK where we actually give proper maternity leave, now have we???"

Work is crazy busy, but as my Colonel pointed out, I'm just going to have to let go and assume it will get done.

That's all from here, folks. Thanks for checking in on me. :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Blood Pressure and Sugar

So, did I ever mention that I get hypertensive with pregnancy? And that I get gestational diabetes?

The hypertension was pretty intense with the girl. It climbed up slowly starting at about 24 weeks, and I was popping methlydopa like candy by the time I delivered. A lot of it was just the stress of the unknown. And the gestational diabetes was well maintained with diet and a smidge of metformin.

Fast forward to this pregnancy. Blood pressure held off until 33 weeks. Since it's been 3 years, they decided to try a new drug on me, convinced that methyldopa doesn't work well. I took it in the morning, and two hours later there were bugs crawling on my face and I was vomiting in the bathroom next to my office. Back on methyldopa I went. And my blood pressure has been pretty stable with no protein in my urine. So this is PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension) and not pre-eclampsia (in case you were wondering).

The sugar situation is the same, but I have been doing really well with the diet, but for some UNKNOWN reason, they have become a bit psycho in the medical community about keeping fasting blood sugars below 90 in the morning. Mine hover around 93. So, after a week of more than 4 readings coming in above 90, they prescribed a med to help lower the fasting blood sugars. They started me on the lowest dose a couple of days ago. My blood sugar was 80 this morning. And I was starving. Like insane hungry. Then about 4 hours after lunch today, I started shaking. Badly. I took my blood sugar and it was 60! One of my Colonels (who is an M.D.) was trying like hell to find something for me to eat quickly to get my blood sugar back up. His daughter is Type I diabetic and he was (is) at a loss on why they prescribed a med when I was not having fasting glucose above 100. As I was leaning against my car I joked that they were trying to make sure the last 4 weeks of pregnancy were complete and utter hell on me. He agreed.

I am 35 weeks on Monday. They are going to fetch him at 38 weeks because of the PIH (even though it's under control). That means the week of Oct. 31-Nov 5 will be D-Day.

We've had lots of ultrasounds, and they show his chubby cheeks and a head full of hair. I get weepy at the thought that I get to meet him in a few weeks.

I have a baby shower tomorrow. Gifts have been spilling in. Little outfits of blue and brown. Blankets with monkeys on them. I feel almost normal.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Boys Vs. Girls

I start twice a week monitoring next week. 6 weeks until D-day. And I am beginning to really start to feel what bringing this baby home will mean.

The beautiful thing about bringing the girl home after we lost Ronan was that she was a girl. I prayed when I got pregnant again that it wasn't a boy, because I was worried about the shadow of a son after losing a son. I didn't know if there would be comparisons, or a deeper guilt because his brother was not here.

I worry about that now. Is it logical? I don't really know....

For those of you who brought a baby home that was the same sex as the one you lost---was it tougher, do you think? Or am I just overanalyzing everything now?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lattes and Cancer

The first time I ever had a coffee---the type with all the chocolate, cream and yummy yummy sinfulness---was in 1997. I was taking Physics II at a ridiculous hour, like 4:00-5:15 Tuesdays and Thursdays. I hated that class, hated that the teacher was not a teacher but more of a paid babysitter who used his paycheck to funnel his wickedly clever ideas. I was rolling into the Science building and my friend Taindee was manning the newest coffee cart. 1997 was the year that Starbucks and its competitors really hit Texas. The idea of paying $3 for a cup of coffee was completely all the rage. Until this point I had swallowed coffee with 30 creams and 30 sugars to make it through all-nighters at the Jim's down the way from the university.

Taindee was the happiest of people, and was always ready with a smile. She also had this infectious laugh that got everyone going. We were in two student organizations together, and it was always a good time when Taindee was at an event.

"Hey Reese, how's it going?" Taindee asked, smiling.
"Ugh, horrible. I hate this class," I said.
"What class?" she asked
"Physics II," I said.
"Ah, the smart people's class," she joked. Taindee was an art major, truly talented in her own right.
"Here. Take a coffee with you," she said.
She began to steam, froth, and drip. Two minutes later she handed me a tall cup of dreaminess that forever changed my perception of coffee.
"How much do I owe you?" I asked, reaching for my wallet.

She winked "First one is free."

I found Taindee again on Facebook about a year ago. The first thing I noticed about her profile pic is that she was bald. Chemotherapy bald. My heart sank.

She seemed upbeat, but she was battling lung cancer. A freak cancer with an unknown cause. She had never smoked. She assumed the fumes from the chemicals in the art room may have caused it.

She was on her third relapse when I got in contact with her. Medicaid agreed to let her try to battle it one more time. Her Facebook posts got few and far in between. I went searching for answers about how she was doing today and found that she lost her battle a couple of months ago. I was mad at myself for not keeping up like I should have during that time. I blame the move, the insanity of pregnancy, everything...

She was a good person. The kind of person who brings light and happiness on a dark day. The most depressing thing about all this (other than the fact that cancer blows), is that I am getting to an age where people I know are dying, or enduring life threatening illnesses. I have another high school friend that is battling cervical cancer, and this is her 3rd time to bat as well. I foolishly think that 35 is young, and that life is boundless and infinite. I know it isn't, but on paper and in theory it is, no?

I am better for knowing Taindee, and I guess in the end that is all we can ever hope to gain or leave behind---our legacy of sorts. The memory that someone holds of you in some random moment---a nice moment where we take the time to sit and smile.

Taindee and coffee are my random moments. I wonder what random moments someone will hold of me when I'm gone?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thirteen More Weeks

A lot of things have been keeping me rightfully distracted the last 26 weeks.

Wow, I am already 26 weeks.

Work, primarily. Work. I have been acting Chief for a few months, and they officially made me the Chief two weeks ago. I have been doing all sorts of Chief and Senior Scientists things that have me in meetings, or calls, or turning in a million things at once. I was in DC last week, making friends and influencing people (ha!). And in two weeks, I will be flying down to Texas for hopefully my last meeting. I am drawing the line at flying after 30 weeks.

I had my follow up ultrasound today, and the boy cooperated and showed me and the ultrasound tech 4 chambers of his beautifully beating heart. He also showed me that he has his father's feet and his cheeks that are starting to fill out.

I registered. That was a surreal experience. I am trying to move forward, move like a 'normal' preggo woman. But then I get a phone call from an old friend, who wanted a sounding board for her co-worker who's wife is pregnant with twins, a boy and girl. The boy was diagnosed with Trisomy 18. They are trying to figure out what to do. I gave my 2 cents. If it was me, I would wait it out. They are 27 weeks along. I passed along my email and phone number. Just to make them feel they weren't alone.

Who am I fooling?

This is my new normal. I am pregnant with a seemingly healthy boy on the outside, but in my mind I have seen the light. The creepy crawlies that lurk. For every 10 babies born healthy, I hear of 1 that hasn't made it. And it doesn't so much hurt my heart in a devastating way so much anymore, but rather I feel I am a warrior now in this battle, seasoned and maybe a little pickled. I am the one the young ones come to when they are scared, or when devastation comes knocking on their door. I don't know how to feel about that. Honored? Bitter? Complacent, maybe.

I have 13 more weeks to go. And I told my doc this morning that there are many mini battles to be waged in this time period. She agreed. But in the meantime, my body seems to be cooperating. Fingers crossed that it continues.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Singing in the Rain

One day my itty bitty baby turned into a little girl. How the hell did that happen?

She is an avid singer of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The ABCs, Sesame Street, and Elmo's World theme song.

She can count to 20, expertly forgetting the number 13. Not quite sure why.

She is a bit of a stinker. If you tell her to take her finger out of her nose, she places the other one up her nostril and smiles.

I love her so much, and I think she will be an excellent big sister. I pray that she gets that chance....

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys

20 week Level II ultrasound.

The heart remained illusive, which means that I have to return soon to get a look at the 4 chambers.

The spine looked good, and all measurements were within 1 week of my due date.

In the midst of measuring the femurs, I saw a peek-a-boo, confirming what I knew to be true from the get go. He is a boy.

I remembered when we found out Ronan was a boy. I remember being happy, scared, and a million things. Now I feel mostly scared. Scared that I won't bring this one home either. It didn't help that they made an appointment for 28 weeks to look at the heart. It was too deja vu for me. I have a regular appointment in a couple of weeks. I am going to ask my OB to schedule an ultrasound before then to look at the heart. (Ronan's heart had a ventricular septal defect, and I just want confirmation that this baby's heart looks good).

I know this baby is a different child, but there are feelings that linger, and will always linger. I just hope I am up for the challenge. Because today it just seems like too much for my poor soul to bear....

Saturday, June 11, 2011

1230 Days Later

I remember being about 10 days into this new life. I was completely post-partum, bleeding, breasts sore, filled with milk with no baby to nurse. I felt I had been ripped physically from the life that was rightfully mine. I stood in the cool February evening, and I thought if the world swallowed me whole, I would not ever fight it. How does anyone move from that place? How does anyone ever laugh or smile again? The world seemed so different at this point. I equated it to being dropped at the top of the mountain and told to climb down. The first inclination was to say f-it and just jump. It would’ve been so much easier.

People closest to me buzzed around me lost, not knowing how to cope with witnessing their ‘rock’ crumble to pieces. I had one friend called me up hysterically crying telling me she felt useless to help me, and begged me to help her help me. And I all I could do was sit down and exhale. Numb. Defeated.

The world moved forward. My friends started to give birth and produce the shadow babies that would follow me and remind me further of what I lost. My best friend from childhood took the prize home for the most gut-wrenching blow when his son was delivered healthy on Ronan’s due date that April. He wrote me an e-mail and said that he understood if I hated him forever. When I read his words, and saw my gentle friend offer his heart and our almost 30 year friendship up as a sacrificial lamb in hopes to take away some of my pain, I crumpled to the ground and left that grief-strickened, heart-sick girl there on the floor. And a new Reese stood up.

The road was filled with hellacious downs, and seemingly ok days. Part of the really low times were hormonal. Those first few months, especially when the evil period showed its head again, I could feel the roller coaster making its ascend up the scary incline. And I was powerless to stop it. I learned very quickly that I just had to buckle down and let the horrid ride finish its course. It was then for the first time that I understood the power of the chemicals in my body. These hormones that excacerbated my grief 1000x, bringing to light all the minor details my brain tried to hide from me in my day-to-day existence (Remember his red lips? He had your nose. Do you remember how you thought he was thrashing around earlier that day? That’s probably when he died, and you did nothing about it). The ride was evil, harsh, and there was more than one occasion when I wanted to put a bullet in my head to stop the video of his silent birth being played over and over again in my mind.

We went through the motions of my surprise pregnancy with my daughter with the idea that we would not get attached and when and if disaster struck, we would at least salvage the small part of our heart we had begun to reconstruct. Dr. S was ecstatic for me on that first appointment, congratulating me to the point that I had to run out of the room to throw up in the adjacent bathroom. I was numb again. He sighed said that it was going to be a long 9 months. Little did we know.

There were appointments with high risk docs, tests and more tests. Scans and more scans. All of them showed a healthy baby. A healthy baby due on the date that Ronan was born---January 26th. None of it made me feel less anxious, less doomed. There were all the problems of incompetent cervixes, cord accidents, placental abruptions, etc. etc. that still had to be overcome. Every month I came back to my OB with a list of complications that I wanted to be assured I didn’t have. I’m sure he kept a 5th of vodka in his bottom drawer just for me those days he saw me. Then she started to move, and I eased up a bit, but then she never kept a pattern and I began losing my shit on a daily basis. I would constantly poke, dig, drink coffee, whatever to wake this child up. And then on a scary ride into work after Thanksgiving, even after eating a sugar breakfast, coffee, nothing woke her up and I was convinced she had died too. I sat in my office not knowing what to do. In a last ditch effort I placed a cold Coke can on my belly, exactly like I did on the day I discovered Ronan died, and after 2-3 minutes of nothing, she awoke with a start and kicked the hell out of me. I sat on the floor on my office and wept.

By Christmastime P and I would lay in bed and talk to her, tell her we loved her, begged her to please hang on so we could meet her. The self-protect shields were down. We wanted our baby. And if we lost her too, I honestly didn’t know what the fuck we would have done.

Her birthday came earlier than expected, and in that wondrous moment of meeting her and bringing her home and getting used to everything, we cried and wept as the 1 year anniversary came and went, saddled with grief for him and a loads of guilt for her. We were mourning all over again, but with hope this time and not desperation. It was such a bittersweet moment.
As I was rightfully distracted, I can tell you that in those moments of quiet when the baby, husband and dog were asleep that I found time to sit with my son. And I would remember him, talk to him, tell him that I miss him. And in those moments where I felt I was falling back down into a pit, he would send a sign to me---a crazy bird following me around, dragonflies buzzing, or a deep need to look at the moon which would be revealed to be a sliver moon (my favorite), and I knew he was never far from me. The more I mention him, the more that people came to understand that he was not this tragedy that happened to us, but rather a part of us indefinitely. And that’s all I could ever hope for.

I am pregnant again. And I suspect that it is another son. I walk around less scared about losing this baby, despite the scares we have had already, 17 weeks in. Maybe it’s the belligerence in me, to try to have a ‘normal’ pregnancy, or maybe it’s because I’ve already been through hell, and a repeat visit would suck, but I think I could do it if I had too. I worry more about losing P or the girl, because that would be devastation. I worry about dying and leaving those that love and depend on me behind. If I am honest, I will say that it’s another ruse, another way to be distracted. As this one starts to grow and move, I really can’t wait to meet him, but know that if he resembles Ronan, it will be another mental battle to overcome. That’s basically what this life feels like now---a series of infinite mini battles that still peck at you to remind you that something inherently changed in you, and it will never be 100% alright. And I am resigned to that. It’s a lot more liveable than the all-encompassing grief that I was in those early days.

If you have stumbled here raw and red from this just happening to you, I would like to tell you that I am sorry you have to go through it. It is indeed the most horrible thing you will ever feel. You will hate the sound of your sobs, the taste of your tears, and you will ache like you have never ached before---mind, body and soul. But if I could sit with you, I would hold your hand and tell you that time is the only answer. You are incapable of thinking past the day 1 or 20 of this journey. But somehow you keep moving, and day 10 turns into over 1000 days behind you. You wake up one day and decide that maybe today will be an ok day. You will stop and admire something small in life, and it will move you to remember that life is worth living. You will smile, you will hear yourself laugh, and you will find yourself happy for someone again.

But you will never be the person you were. The new you will probably be more sympathetic, more cautious, more aware of the fragility of life. And all in all, that's not such a bad thing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Higher Ground

The baby was fine. Just a lot higher than where dipshit Doc was looking. I told her I thought my uterus was a lot higher than it usually is at this time and she scoffed and said I was wrong. The u/s tech started low and ended a few inches from my belly button.

"Wow, you're higher than most women are at this age" she said.


And there he (they think it's a he) was hanging out.

I moved my appointments to Monday or Wednesdays, to make sure an U/s tech is available until this baby gets big enough that you can hear the heartbeat. I also made sure never to see that particular OB again.

I am freaking exhausted. With the bleeding and the nausea/wanting to die side effects from the progesterone and the fucktard doctors deciding to be morons with an evil doppler.

It makes me appreciate the simplistic views of pregnancy from the olden days. Just let the baby be. Whatever happens, happens. So help me God.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Doppler Effects

Went for my normal 14 week appointment today. New doc. Asked a million questions. She gave a blow-by-blow about when I would go off the progesterone, when I would get my level 2 ultrasounds, how many NSTs I would have, how many more follow-ups I would have. Yada Yada Yada.

Then at the very end she pulls out the dreaded doppler.

The doppler and me are not friends. The window to start using it on a skinny girl is around 12-14 weeks. A plus-sized girl, usually around 17-18 weeks if you're lucky.

She tried in vain. 4-5 times. She couldn't find the heartbeat. I knew she wouldn't find it.

"It doesn't mean there is something wrong," she assured. I just shrugged. Numb.

"I can schedule an ultrasound for peace of mind, but I can't get you in until tomorrow"

"Tomorrow is fine," I said. Numb.

She continued on with wanting to see me in 4 weeks, like nothing is possibly wrong.

I don't remember much after that. It's cold and dreary here, and I sat in my car and called P. Told him I was ok, but that the doc couldn't find the heartbeat. He was quiet. I told him it was early. It could be nothing.

And in my heart of hearts it feels different than with Ronan. I don't feel a sense of dread. I don't think that this baby is gone yet.

I hope, anyway.....


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

NT Screen

"Results are within normal ranges for maternal and gestational age"

The news didn't send relief flooding through me like I thought it would. Detachment is such a bizarre feeling.

I don't really want to be this way, but I don't really know how else to be.

Pregnancy is no longer a wondrous thing. And I am so jealous of the women walking around who have that look of bewilderment and awe with round bellies.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jane Says {Insert Wretching Sound Here}

It's been a horrible few weeks, ya'll.

I have been sick. Hellishly sick. The sick that overtakes you, that makes you want to curl up in a ball and pray for death.

And I haven't been sleeping. I wake up at the same time every night and try to find a happy memory to ease my mind back into a nice, comfortable sleep. I usually can trick my mind with the warm waters of Maui, the whale watching in Maine, the crazy goats with no ears in Whidbey Island. Sometimes I can't. And then I am forced to let the pain and the nausea win.

Add to all that that the girl was stomach buggy this past week, and we were cleaning up vomit and poop for 5 days straight and some serious feelings of despair overcame me. I felt like I was drowning, and I was tired of swimming and fighting. This is my 3rd time to bat, and I have never felt like this before.

I finally went and googled the side effects of progesterone supplementation and lo and behold--it's thought to 'exacerbate' the symptoms of pregnancy.

I had my regular appointment today, and I mentioned all this to the OB. I was even more disheartened when he said that I was going to stay on supplementation until 16 weeks (because he wants to assure the placenta has totally taken over the production). So, he prescribed a med for the nausea to help take the edge off.

I go for genetic testing on Friday. D-day. Praying it all goes well....

Monday, April 4, 2011

Grapes of Wrath

The doctor walked in after the initial 30 minute meeting with the pregnant nurse.

While I was waiting (over an hour) in the waiting room, I saw two infants, two about to pop women, 2 very menopausal women, and 2 women looking terrified sitting next to their boyfriends??? It was nice to see a variety of women. I was stuck somewhere in the pregnant and terrified.

The nurse was sweet, but I did have to resort to a bit of sock puppetry to explain the past and current situation. She seemed to get it, and I was a bit sad to see that my tale scared the bejesus out of her. She confided in me that she had already had a ruptured ectopic, and two early miscarriages. She was currently 24 weeks. I didn't want to tell her that she could breathe easy. I think working in that office, she already knew the reality.

Dr. Mc was thin, older, and very nice. He had a Post-It note on him when he walked in.

It said "Trisomy 18" and "Early Bleeding"

After a lot of talking, mostly by me, he examined me and basically told me that he saw no bleeding and that my uterus felt 'about 8 weeks'. He kept me on the progesterone and agreed that I would be high risk and scheduled me with a perinatologist. That appointment is in 3 weeks.

So I am here. The blueberry is a grape this week. And it is still hurry up and wait.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blueberry Hill

So, um.....yeah.

In the midst of packing up a lab, packing up a house, driving 1200 miles and receiving our household goods, I found out I was pregnant.

I am a little overwhelmed with the speed in which I can get pregnant. I know better to complain, as there are lists of women 17 miles long that would love to have my 'problem', but I am asking that you understand the insanity surrounding my life in the last 2 months to get us from Texas to here and then to add to the drama that surrounds pregnancy in general now that I am a golden member of DBL.

At first, I couldn't believe it. I went around in a daze like "OMG, I ruined the girl's life. She's gonna hate us for this". Illogical, I know.

Then I walked around with "OMG, I have to find an OB who will listen to all the drama and give me the same treatment that I had in SA" then I was super depressed that I didn't have Dr. S to get me through all of this.

I called an OB group here, and by default, they see you at 10 weeks. I was like "Um, hell no, you will see me before that" so I had an appointment for April 4th, where I would be around 8 weeks.

And then I had to come back to San Antonio to help shut down the lab and tie up loose ends this past week. I volunteered when I saw no one else would go.

So, last Sunday I took the late flight out, and arrived around midnight in SA. My father-in-law picked me up (I was staying with him) and drove me to base in the morning (he also works there). While I was working on Monday, I started to spot again.

I have been spotting since I got pregnant. It hasn't been a lot, but it's there. So, I called Dr. S's office and they said I could come in for a 9:30 appointment the next day.

On Tuesday I went downtown to the office where I spent 9+ months of my life trying to assure that the girl would arrive safely. Dr. S saw me and hugged me and said "I thought you were moving!" He confirmed I was pregnant, took blood for a progesterone level, and sent me for an ultrasound.

And there I saw the blueberry with a fluttering heartbeat. Everything looked good. He wished me well, sent me along my way with prenatal vitamins and asked me to send him a picture.

Wednesday morning I was getting reading to make a run to pick up some supplies, and I go to the bathroom.

Soaked through my panties.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

I had a pad in my purse, and I cleaned up best I could and called P. Told him that there was real blood, and this may be it. I called Dr. S's nurse and got a bit of the runaround until I insisted that I was NOT going to the ER. She made me an appointment for 2:40. It was noon by now.

One of the guys I was working (R) with came in and I lost. my. shit in front of him. He was concerned and wanted to drive me to the ER immediately, but I told him that I wasn't bleeding that much. So we sat there in silence until I finally sent him to go get some food.

I talked to P the whole time R was gone. We prepared ourself for this. I told him I was calm. I just needed to know what to do/what to expect if this was truly over. I sent a text to a few people who knew I was pregnant. Everyone was on high alert.

R came back with food and we talked about philosophical things, but he mostly just sat in silence with me until it was time for my appointment.

I can't tell you what I was thinking as I was waiting. I think I was pissed that I was about to add miscarriage to my history. And even though I know it's quite common, I just was pissed off that it was happening to me.

I finally was brought back from the waiting room and Dr. S just stared at me when I saw him in the hall. He asked about the bleeding, took a look and said that my cervix was still closed tight. He saw old blood, but nothing fresh.

And then he said that the ultrasound tech was busy for the next hour, but he wanted to check to see if the baby was still there.

I read People magazine and sent texts to the people waiting along with me. I was pretty calm. My friend G asked if this was the longest wait ever for an ultrasound. I said no, waiting for the ultrasound tech to come tell me Ronan was dead was by far the worst.

The tech came by 20 minutes later. And I stripped down like I had the day before. She slid in the wand, and I saw the blueberry again.

And the flutter.

He/She was still alive.

And had grown since the previous day with a stronger heartbeat.

"Looks good," the tech said.

My progesterone level is down, and Dr. S seems to think that this may be confusing my uterus, causing the blood. He sent me to a compounding pharmacists (the ones who actually mix up the drugs) for progesterone suppositories. The man, Harvey, was 135 years old, but kind and assured me that many, many, many women have come to him with this problem, and his concoctions work like a charm.

I took my prescription and loaded up for the airport.

With all this drama, basically the entire family knows. My FIL asked if I didn't have this scare, would I have told him. I said 'no', and then for once in his life, he seemed to really {understand} why pregnancy was not a happy-go-lucky thing with us. He was worried. He was concerned. But he was hopeful. Essentially, he was experiencing what we were, and I gotta tell you it was a relief to finally see him get it. My MIL on the other hand....well, we are still working on opening her eyes a bit.

So the moral of the story dear readers is that until I am, until told otherwise, still pregnant. I have a follow-up appointment with a new OB here on Tuesday for a progesterone re-draw and a crash course introduction. He is an older man, and I pray he is caring and understanding.

Nothing is easy, but I am glad I can come share with you. Wish me luck...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Midwest Love

We are finally in Ohio, settling in nicely.

We bought a house and are enjoying seeing our stuff fit like it like it always fit here. My new lab is state of the art and I feel like one of the luckiest girls in the world when I walk around the still nearly empty space and realize that someday soon I may be running this place ;)

And in other news---there is other news.

But I'm not quite ready to talk about it yet ;)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January 26, 2011

David Cook wrote this song in tribute to his older brother who was dying of brain cancer.

A few weeks after his brother's death, he stepped in front of millions of people and sang it live--completely composed, professional, finding a place deep within him to overcome the incredible sadness and sorrow he felt.

The show must go on. Life, must go on.

At the three year point I can tell you that our lives have moved on from the moment where we heard the words 'nothing' and the moment where I held my stillborn son in my arms for the first and last time. There are times when I feel it was so very long ago, but others, like today, I feel like we have not walked but two steps away from those people in the hospital room.

I wish my son was here. I wish I could have had the pleasure of knowing the person he would have become.

Happy Birthday, Ronan. Mommy and Daddy love you and miss you.....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We Just Lost The Moon

I read about a woman on one of my message boards going into early labor. She had an incompetent cervix that began to open. They held off the inevitable for as long as they could, but the baby boy was born, very premature at 26 weeks.

People started sharing their thoughts and well wishes as they began their roller coaster ride in the NICU. The mom kept an on-line journal about the terms and updates they were throwing at her on an hour by hour basis.

I read this thread, and I said a prayer for her and that baby boy every night. I tried to reach deep down and find that positivity that the old me used to have at the ready. "Of course things would be fine", the old me would think. "I prayed for them--1,000 women are praying for them---so it will all be ok."

But the new me had a nagging feeling. It was a dark and thick feeling, like bubbling tar. The odds were not in this boy's favor. As I read the mom's journal, horrible words like brain bleeds, NEC, air in the gut, murmurs in the heart just made that tar-like feeling just get worse and worse. So much so that I could not even bring myself to comment on the thread. But I continued to pray, grasping on to the micron of hope that this boy would defeat the odds.

He didn't. That sweet boy passed a few days ago. The tar had been laid, and this new road emerged. And this poor woman is now on a path that she had already been on once before. It is fucking unfair, and there is no point in the universe to make someone suffer once, yet alone twice.

I want to live in a world where hope lives again. When someone's life is on the brink, I want to believe that they will be saved/make it/have at least a fucking fighting chance for a happy ending. Since Ronan died, I have realized that there are so many more tragedies than happy endings. Where are all the happy endings?

One of my favorite movies of all time is Apollo 13. Not because Tom Hanks is in it, (who the hell doesn't like Tom Hanks), or because I toyed with the idea of being an astronaut when I was a kid---it was because after all that hard work and effort by 10,000 people---after all the tears, the fears, and the prayers---the astronauts made it home safely. Hope prevailed. Happy ending achieved.

My ability to hope has been altered. It is skewed. The compass that runs it has been broken. And I have no idea how to fix it. I don't even know if it can be fixed anymore.

But a part of me, the residue of the old me, still wants to be believe it can be.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Time Keeps on Ticking---Into the Future

Happy New Year!

I write that, but then I have to remind myself that it is January, which begins the monumental highs and lows associated with this month. It includes the girl's wonderful birthday tomorrow and ends with all the painful recollections that start out like a mild mist and ends in a full blown hurricane that makes landfall near the end of this month.

I hate this month. I loathe it.

It started on the drive into work on Monday. My mind was focused on driving, happily listening to Duran Duran, remembering how I loved Simon Le Bon and wrote him a fan letter that I'm sure my mother tossed in the garbage rather than pay the air mail postage to send to him. Then my subconscious caught a glimpse of something, a sign, a bird, something--- and I was crying for no real goddamn reason, other that the fact that it was January, and that's what my mind does to me every January.

I feel different this year. I don't know if it's because it's three years out, but I feel less guilt about wanting to run away from what awaits us. The first year, I had to face it, all post-partum-y, sleep deprived, and uber guilt ridden. Last year, it was a quiet resignation. January 26th came and we paused, knowing we would have to stop and feel his loss all over again.

This year I am walking around with my ears covered like "la-la-la-la-la not listening". I stupidly think that if I keep moving that I won't have to feel what I have to feel. But then I see a picture on a Christmas card of my friend Ben's son, who was born on Ronan's due date in April 2008, and it takes all I have for me not to crumble to pieces.

I feel so old on this journey. It has gotten easier with time. But I feel the reason for that is because of distractions. If I didn't have so many distractions, I could sit in silence and remember how I felt holding him, and how it hurt so bad to not take him home. I could sit and remember how salty my tears tasted, and how the taste of them now makes me physically ill. I could reflect that my son would be three, and wonder if he would have had the same curls that his baby sister has.....

I will keep up my distractions until the sheer pull of the need to stop and grieve overcomes me.

And it will always overcome me, that's a given.

It's the law of this land.