Sunday, June 14, 2009

Our Story, Part 26

Rest of Curtis' birthday/Heartbeat

(left off on Curtis' 1st birthday, 2006.)

The rest of the weekend away was exactly what we needed. We spent a lot of time swimming, talking, relaxing, and eating. We agreed that, as long as we could, we would go away for Curtis' birthday.

That first year, a lot of people remembered. We got flowers sent to us, we got stacks of cards, emails and phone calls. Everyone remembered and we loved it. Craig's side of the family went to the angel on his actual birthday, right at the time he was born (5:31pm) and took a picture and sent it to us.

As soon as we got home, I felt panic set in. I mean, it always had been there, but whoa. It was ramping up. I had made a typical 12 week appointment at my OB's office. The doctor who had delivered, and fumbled, Curtis' birth. the 12 week appointment was key to me. It was when I was going to get to hear the baby's heartbeat on the doppler. It was when we were going to have to make choices. Choices that could mean the difference, literally, between life and death.

I clearly remember the appointment was set for a Thursday. The date was my mom's birthday, June 7th. No one knew at this point I was pregnant, so I was a bit worried the date would forever become tainted for me.

I had nightmares about the doppler. I remember so clearly the doctor putting the doppler on my huge, swollen stomach and hearing....nothing. No placenta sounds, no blood flow sounds, no heart beat sounds. Nothing. Then, my heartbeat off in the distance and the doctor putting his fingers to my wrist to confirm it was MY heartbeat and not Curtis'. I remember him rushing off to get the ultrasound machine and Craig saying "Well, I heard the heartbeat." And me shaking my head, knowing he was gone, saying "no, that was mine."

We got to the doctor's office and I was shaking. Craig asked the doctor if we could skip the doppler and go directly to the ultrasound instead. He knew the doppler raised my anxiety. Dopplers mean searching over my (expansive!) stomach. Fumbling. Searching over and over. The doctor blew off his concerns and said "well, we can take a peek with the ultrasound after the doppler." and did his nervous laugh we had come to hate. Craig retried his approach. "It is just that the last time the doppler was used...."

Too late, he had the thing fired up and ready to go. I shook my head at Craig to let him know I was okay. He put the wand on my stomach and within seconds said "I hear it in the distance, I just need more gel." He applied for gel to the wand and there it was, loud as can be, sounds just like galloping horses.

Craig grinned. I breathed for the first time in weeks.

True to his word, the doctor wheeled in the ultrasound machine and we got a glimpse of our baby to be.

I asked to not have a pap smear, I was so afraid of disturbing anything. The doctor blew off my concern, again, and basically said no. I was pretty much on cloud 9, so I went with it. Looking back, it makes me mad. Just further proof this doctor was not who we needed.

He informed me that they would not be doing anything different in this pregnancy, that is was a fluke and they do not see this type of thing repeat. I could have a high risk ultrasound at 20 weeks, and be induced at 40 weeks.

I didn't bother to argue. I didn't bother to tell him I have read the research. I have MET the doctor doing the research. I have met women who have had multiple pregnancies with multiple losses and multiple cord issues. Because he would not believe me. He would not listen to me.

I needed, above anything, a doctor who would listen to me. A doctor who BELIEVED me.

Now that I had the heartbeat on the doppler, I had work to do. I had to rent a doppler so I could find the heartbeat when I needed an anxiety relief. I had to find this new doctor, and soon. I had a few ideas, a few people who had walked this walk before me that would help. I wasn't alone in this. But I needed to move, and quickly.

The doctor bid us goodbye and told us he would see us in 4 weeks. Not so much buddy.

With an ultrasound picture in hand, we gazed at our little bean in the parking lot. It felt good. There was a lot of stress and worry...but for a few minutes, just like the day I found out I was pregnant, I felt good.

Craig grinned at me. "So???" he said, practically bouncing. "When can we tell people? When can we tell my parents?"

Gulp. Tell people? As in let others know? Cause others to worry and stress and, on top of it, ask me a million questions?

I am not so sure about that.


Hope's Mama said...

I got a doppler two weeks ago. That thing is already my best friend and worst enemy. Still, it is providing some small moments of comfort. I am also now in the process of organising a few day's away for Hope's first birthday. I can't stand the thought of being home. As home is where I would have been, throwing her a huge first birthday party. I need to get away from it all. I like the idea of making it a yearly tradition. I hope this next baby can join us for her 2nd birthday.
Good on you for getting another doctor. I am happy with mine. For now. And I'm amazed at your ability to hold off telling your parents. We told them all the day we found out, at 4 weeks, but didnt really tell everyone else until seeing/hearing the heartbeat at 12 weeks. Such relief - but also signalling the start of such worry to come. I might go get that doppler now.....

Rachel said...

It's hard to read your story (thank you for writing it), but good for me to hear how you made decisions regarding care. I'm struggling with that big time now (currently 7 weeks but not telling many) Right now I just need to get beyond the fear of a miscarriage. I also tested positive for a weird anti-body and that may greatly affect my care once they figure out how much of it is in my blood. Oh, to be one of those women who gets a positive pregnancy test and then 9 months later delivers a healthy baby. I was one once, but probably never again. The innocence is gone forever.

mrs. mari said...

thank you so much for sharing your story so openly.

i still, all these many many years later, still climb the mountain on the birthday. still cry. still talk. still eat cake.