Friday, March 27, 2009

Our Story: The first u/s of her

Part 24?? (I need to check!)

After the conference was over, I started to panic.

Well, that is an understatement.

Every moment of my waking hours (and some sleeping) I was obsessed. Was everything okay? What if I miscarried, again? Could I last another 7 days until my ultrasound?

I took pregnancy tests every single day.

Yes, it was expensive. But I needed SOMETHING.

I don't get morning sickness. I don't. I didn't with Curtis and I didn't with this pregnancy. I prayed for morning sickness. I know people want to throw things at me now that I admitted this, and with Curtis I was pretty damn pleased I felt so good. But with this pregnancy I wanted SOMETHING to tell me I was pregnant. I wanted a sore chest. I wanted mood swings. I wanted to puke.

I had an appointment set up with my doctor, the one I had when I lost Curtis, set up for close to 8 weeks. I would have an ultrasound to make sure things were growing okay. Implanted okay.

One day, at work, I took another pregnancy test. It was a daily habit. I knew I needed to stop. but...I needed SOMETHING.

The test line was light.

I had been testing for 3 weeks now. The lines had always been dark.

I start to shake. I had been having some cramps...nothing BAD...but...

Deep breaths. I get through the next few hours and make it to my next client's house. As I pulled in, I realized I couldn't wait. I couldn't do it anymore.

I mulled it over in my head. "Do I call? Do I try to get in earlier?"

I called. My doctor was out, do I want to talk to the other doctors?


I lied. I told them I was having severe cramping and spotting.

Yes, I lied. I didn't care. I told them I lost a baby at 40 weeks, I lost one to miscarriage. I needed help. Even if there was nothing they could do, I needed to know. I cried.

So, yeah, I lied. I don't care and I would do it all over again if I had to.

They got me an appointment at 3:30.

I made an excuse to my client's and shook the entire 45 minute drive to the clinic.

I didn't call Craig. I didn't want to worry him. I didn't want him to panic. Plus, I had lied. Now, he isn't the truth police or anything, but I just didn't want to tell him I basically made it all up because of a pregnancy test. My 50th or so this pregnancy.

They got me in quickly. While taking my vitals and getting the ultrasound machine ready the doctor and the nurse were having this conversation.

"Did you hear about the woman who got punched into the stomach and went into labor?"

"Yeah, my wife was the nurse on that case. It is just unreal."

"Yeah, I don't know if she was abused. I don't think the baby is okay"

At this point I piped up (it was a popular news story in our area) "No, it was a set up. Her boyfriend paid the guy to punch her. I think she lost the baby. You guys do know I lost a baby at 40 weeks and a conversation like this really bothers me?"

I had to lay back on the table. I felt so exposed. I was so early they had to go a vaginal ultrasound. I was trying to keep my legs from shaking.

I refused to look at the screen. The last ultrasounds I had were Curtis and his still body. My miscarriage and not a baby in sight.

"There we are. Everything is fine. Measuring 6 weeks, 6 days. Just one! Tiny heart beat. Look!"

I was stunned. I really was.

"Your bleeding and severe cramping are probably just the baby settling in. No biggie. "

Or, it could be the gigantic lie I told.

The doctor was all smiles. I said how happy I was. I said it is hard, I lost a baby at 40 weeks, I know how wrong it can all go. But for now, I am happy.

He said yes, and since it is so rare, no research is being done. I tell him that isn't true. It isn't rare. One of of 100 isn't rare. There is research. There are studies. I can get him the research from the organization I have worked with. He ignores this and repeats there is no research and it won't happen twice. I say I know people it has happened to twice.

What does he say?

"Well, you know, it can always be worse. At least it wasn't SIDS as an infant, or a drowning as a toddler or a car accident as a teenager. Just remind yourself of that. There is always something worse out there."

I think my mouth hung open.

He hands me my little ultrasound picture and walked out the door.

To this day, I hate the man. He is ranked one of the top doctors for women in our area. I fantasize about writing a letter. Even years later, I can clearly hear his words.

Yes, of course SIDS and drowning and car accidents are horrid. But that is not what I know. What I know is being pregnant 40 damn weeks. What I know is coming home to a house filled to the brim with baby boy clothes and strollers and swings. I know going through labor, the blood, the stitches to only hold my son for 4 hours.

I do not know SIDS or car accidents.

I know this. This is my "worst" this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I cannot compare. They are apples to! You cannot compare them. Each are separate things. I cannot shrug my shoulders and skip out the door singing "it can always be worse!"

It really ruined a nice moment. It robbed me of seeing my daughter (unknown to me) the first time. I remember little of seeing that tiny bean on the screen and remember more the conversation about the woman getting punched and the "hey, it could be worse!" slap in the face. I remember more about him brushing off the research I knew was happening. I remember more how horrified I was that an OB doctor didn't know how to deal with a grieving, so deeply grieving, pregnant woman.

I got in the car and called Craig. I needed to tell him. I needed to tell him our baby had a heartbeat and in this moment, despite that jackass of a doctor, things were okay.

He was on the golf course.

"So, babe, yeah...I was panicking and ended up in the doctor's office."

"You okay???"

"Yeah, there is a heartbeat. Things are good."

"You don't sound okay. "

"I am okay. It is just... well, I will tell you later. But the baby is okay. In this moment, we are okay."

And we were.

But now that I was 0 for 2 in doctors, how was I going to find a good one?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I have been MIA again.

Round two of the stomach flu hit us. I guess I got kind of cocky. We had it once, back in January. Both Claudia and myself. So I thought we were in the clear. Everyone and their dog has been getting it recently, but we already had it. So when Claudia woke with a fever, I didn't think much of it. Just teeth or another cold, I thought.

She started puking the next day and didn't stop for another week. I got hit with a mild round too.

It was lots of fun, let me tell you.

I do not handle her being sick well. Sure, I can care for her just fine, but it causes me to break down. Every single time. There is the guilt for working part time and sending her to daycare. She wasn't sick a single day of her life until she went to daycare. In the past 7 months she has been in daycare, she has been sick practically every other week. I am so tired of hearing how it will "build up her immunity" too. Everyone says this. My parents, my grandparents, friends, relatives, strangers... it actually sounds like a bunch of crap to me. Everytime I say with a sigh 'She is sick, again." someone spouts this off. All I care about is how sick my baby is all the time. Not what may or may not happen in the future.

I don't know why I can't handle her illness better. This is what I signed up for. This is what I missed with Curtis. Surely he would have gotten sick. There is just this element that you cannot protect them from and illness is one of them.

It is just hard to see your baby in misery. (Over and over).

I will be back soon with another our story post :) I just wanted to check in now that we are all slightly on the mend.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Extreme Home Makeover this past week spotlighted a neat woman who takes pictures of premature infants at her local hospital. In many cases, it is the only pictures the family ends up with as many of their babies do not make it. They didn't mention if she does bereavement photography, if there was a stillbirth that had taken place or the premature infant had died before she got there. I hope she does.

When we found out Curtis was gone but before I delivered him, I knew I wanted pictures. I had spent some time on baby message boards and knew of a few woman who had stillbirths and had gotten pictures of their babies. They were not friends then, I just had followed their stories. (However, they are friends now.)

I remember sitting in my hospital room chanting to myself "We will get to hold him. We will get to take pictures." I later said it out loud to Craig who said "Really? Oh. Okay." He didn't know. But I did.

Reading their stories.... Knowing something about stillbirth and what takes place after the baby is born at least prepared me a bit. Craig wasn't prepared at all. I think knowing I would get to see him and hold him helped me in those first hours after I found out he was gone but before he was born.

I am forever grateful to the women who went before me on this path. For paving the way to understand. It wasn't that long ago that they whisked the baby away and the mother wasn't allowed to see or hold her baby. I cannot imagine the ache those mothers must feel to this day. They felt that baby move for months inside of her, but then she wasn't even allowed to look at the baby. She was told to forget that baby. That she could have another. Like her cookie fell on the floor. "Well, just get another!"

Some of those women have changed minds....funerals are now held. Pictures are taken. The baby is introduced to family. The baby is named and, in some states we are allowed to get a Birth Certificate Resulting in Stillbirth.

I am grateful, to this day, for the women who fought so hard. Because of them I was able to hold my son, get as many picture of him as I wanted, have a blessing with a minister, and for the most part no one has told me to forget my son. I had a wonderful nurse who sat with me through the whole experience and made sure I had as many memories of my son as possible.

When a woman like the one who was spotlighted on Extreme Home Makeover, or a group like Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep or Candy from MissingGRACE takes the time to help grieving families in their darkest house it makes me hopeful. It sounds odd, but it is easy to get bogged down in a world that is so unfair and filled with negativity. But there are people out there trying to better it, so we do not have to walk alone in our grief. Maybe those women had to be alone in their grief and they saw a need. Maybe it is part of their coping, part of their healing. For them, I am grateful.