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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Just like Heaven.......24,25,26 weeks........

So my Mommy flew in to be with us for three weeks. Yea!!!!!!! I was so happy that instead of her being there to mourn with us that the news was so much better. We still were not sure what the outcome of all of this would be but we were definitley at a much better place. Did I ever tell you how amazing my mother is!!!!!!!! That Monday I had another appointment, and things just kept getting better and better. Blood flow looked awesome and my doctor told me that at this point, it would be best if I went on strict bed rest. She also told me to take a baby aspirin and I had to give myself injections to thin my blood in hopes to help the placenta continue to do its damn job, stupid misbehaving placenta!!!!!!. ( I was diagnosed with placental insufficiency and my son had IUGR, or intrauterine growth restriction because he was not getting the nutritents he had needed). My fluid levels went up again and by the 26th week were almost back to normal. I just thought for sure if I could keep up it up, that we might make it to at least 34 weeks. My doctor was also hopeful. I had asked her about the outcome in these cases, and she said she had no idea because unfortunately most women dont make it this other words they either lose the baby by now, or unfortunately, they decide to induce earlier on. That still haunts me to this day. What if we had decided to.......nope cant let myself go there......we DIDNT decide and I am so grateful for that decision every day of my life..............

Friday, February 19, 2010

up down up down up down up down......24 weeks and counting

Well, it was time for yet another appointment. Chad stayed home with Viola. She had had enough of doctors appointments. Her stamina and patience through all of this astounds me. For being two years old, she sure held her own. I almost think she knew her Mommy needed her to be strong. I went in knowing full well that they would still hear his heartbeat, as he was kicking like crazy inside me. I was so fearful that he was stressed out. I knew I did not regret my decision(although I really di not have a choice anyway) but I was worried that he was suffering. I went into my regular obgyn first and as I waited in the waiting room, of coures I couldnt help but start balling my eyes out. All of these damn healthy pregnant women kept pouring in, smiling, happy as ahppy can be. I couldnt believe the torture. how dare they do this to me, make me wait among all of these pregnant women.....wait oh yea I was pregnant too but with the knowledge that my child was going to die. Finally the receptionist who knew what was going on, fianlly came up to me and escorted me to the back. She apologized and hugged me and said no one should ever have to endure that much pain. I thank her between my tears and finally went into one fo the rooms. Both of my doctors came into talk to me. They listend and heard the hearbeat. I asked them if they coudl guess at how long it would be. They said there was no way of knowing but they said if they had to guess it would be less than a weeks time. They explained to me what would happen when he finally passed away. They told me I could come in through the back door and I would never have to wait like that again. They also cautioned me that if I started bleeding etc. that I should call them first. if I did go into a hopital they would try and get him out and ressusitate him even though they coudl nto force me to have a c section I am actually not sure what would have happenend but I did nto want to find out. I knew that I wanted him to have a quality of life(he was still under a pound at that point, he just would have been too little, too sick) so I told them I would call them first and then they would advise me what to do. Anywyak=, we made a plan to check again after the weekend. I also had an appointment right after with the high risk docotr. They wanted to see if his flow had reversed yet and then they coudl give me a better idea of maybe how long he had
The regular docotr was not there, but they had this australian guy who actually showed up in bike gear. I thought I didnt want soemone new. Its just too overwhelming at this point. Anywya, got back into the room, lay down, lift shirt up, squirt gel on tummy, start ultrasound yada yada yada. The sonographers face was funny while she was doing the exam. I figured, hell what news could she possibly tell me that could top the death of my child. She told me that his fluid had gone up.......WHAT!!!!!!! She also said it looks like he gained a little bit of weight. he was now 15 ounces(he had been about 11 ounces before). He has grown a little, she told me. She then looked at the blood flow to the cord for a looooooooooooooong time. I really had no idea what she was looking at, what she was measuring, but she said, "hold on let me get the doctor, I will be right back". So the Aussie came in and looked at the ultrasound for a while as well and said,"HEy dont give up on this kiddo, he looks like he might have a chance". My heart SANG!!!!!!!!! What news is this floating into my ears!!!!!!! I was beyond elated but also, so confused. He went over all of the details and told me that the blood flow is now back to normal. He said, "dont give up hope just yet, this kid is a fighter". I just couldnt belive what i was hearing. I just didnt want to believe after all of the grief that i have felt, could this really be true. Could my child really still make it. The emotions I felt were insane. The huge rock that was sitting upon my heart floated away(although it left a lasting dent for quite a while after). After all of the ups and downs, this was definitely an up that I would take and hold onto for dear life........

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Brave new World.....Brave new Mommy......

Well as you can imagine, the next two days of my life were the most painful I will(and hope to) ever experience. I could not stop crying. I kept feeling him kick. I talked to him. I sung to him. I tried to enjoy him. I tried to get to know him. I tried to imagine what he would be like. I tried to accept that he was not going to make it. I have never experienced grief like this. I have never had anyone very close to me pass away outside of my grandfather and my cousin and both of my cats, Buzz and Fido. This was soooooooooooooooooooooooo very different. I kept trying to be positive through my tears. I kept trying to feel lucky. Lucky that I got pregnant so easily, so many women and men have so much trouble, I thought, lucky that I got to carry him this long, so many people have miscarried, lucky that I got to feel him kick, so many people have never got to feel even that. I thought how lucky I was to at least have had this time with him. I fought through the tears. I rubbed my belly. I was relieved my Mom said she was flying out and would be there Saturday. There is nothing more genuine and more unconditional than a mothers love. I felt hers, as I so hoped Thurston felt mine. The night before my next appointment I kept telling him that it was ok for him to pass.....that I was his mommy and mommies have to be brave, that I would understand if he let go. I promised him I would always love him. That I would never forget him, that he would always be a part of our family. I kept saying it over and over, mommy is brave so you dont have to be, mommy is brave so you dont have to be, mommy is brave so you dont have to be.......

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This is the end.....How to disappear completely: Part 2

It was beginning to be about mid afternoon and Chad and I finally decided that we would go home and wait for Thurston to pass away. We actually both felt good about our decision. Obviously we were not happy, but we did not want to have any regrets. The doctors stressed to us as well that we both need to be on the same page because if we were not, it could cause great hardship in the future for our marriage. Thank god we were both on the same page. Then, finally my obgyn came in. She sat down and before she said anything I had told her that we decided not to have the induction, and that we would just wait for him to pass away. She told us she couldnt be happier with our decision because we wouldnt have been able to do the induction anyway. She said that all of the doctors and administrators had to sign off for us to have the induction and there was one hold out..........the neonatologist. Suddenly, dr. Mcormick came in. She is a doctor in the NICU and was going to explain to us why she would not sign off on the form. We told her we had decided not to go through it anyway, and she looked relieved too. She said that we were right on the cusp of 24 weeks which is a point of viablitiy for a baby and a cut off to have an abortion(again I hate that word because I just never thought that that is what it was). Although, earlier, another neonatologist came in and gave Chad and I the statistics of a 24 weekers chances(which are grimmer than grim) and that because Thurston was more like a 21 weeker, that if we had a c-section to get him out at this point he would probably not make it....they didnt make tubes small enough for him, and even if he did he would most likely have extreme severe disabilities. Anyway, we decided to go home, to grieve, and we made an appointment for Friday, two days later, to see if his heart had stopped beating yet. I convinced them to give me the second steroid shot anyway, even though it seemed futile(to everyone but me) as I figured, well it cant hurt but just in case, just in case that 10 million chances to one that somehow he holds on I know that we did everything we could to help him once he came out......................

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The day the Earth Stood Still...Clatu Barata Nikto......Almost 24 weeks

I remember my love for older film started when I was very young. I remember watching "The day the Earth stood Still" with my mother when I was around 4 or 5 years old repeating over and over clatu Barata Nikto in my head as if MY life depended on it.....How I wish those words worked on this day, the day my Earth stood still, probalby the worst day of my life.......

We went back to the perinatologist, the high risk docotor. We were to get the results from the amnio. I actually had a pretty good feeling about it for some reason. Maybe I just wanted to believe that everything was going to be ok. We got there and Chad and Viola came with, I knew I could not handle this part alone. We got in the room, I jumped up on the gurney and lifted up my shirt(it was beginning to be a routine now) and she began the ultrasound. She checked the fluid and it was the same. She took some more measurements etc. and I was just so impatient. I wanted to see the doctor for her to tell me my son was ok. Hurry Hurry Hurry. Finally, the doctor came in and sat down. Hurry Hurry Hurry.....She had both that look that says, "do you want the good news or the bad news first". The good the good the good please!!!!!!! Ok well we got the intial tests back and your son DOES NOT have anabnormality. YIPEEEEEEEE. I was on cloud nine million. What great news yea......but WHOA...not so fast missy. Its not all good news. CRAP. I could here the BUT a mile away.
BUT your son is not getting the nurtrients and oxygen he needs. It seems that we can now whittle the problem down to an issue with the placenta maybe. Its now a wait and see from here on out. We can do weekly exams to see how he is growing, to check the fluid level etc. Chad Viola and I were about to leave when the doctor called me back and said, "let me just check the blood flow really quick". So I went back in the room again, lifted shirt etc. etc. and she checked the blood flow. She said yup, you have end diastolic flow from the placenta to the baby. She said basically the flow should still be flowing even when the heart stops beating(didnt know that but your heart actually takes a tiny rest in between beats) and when Thurstons heart was resting, evidently so was the flow. Not good but at least it wasnt reversing yet she said. That is the worst sign and really, at his gestation there would not be much hope so she said this is at least good for now. She sent me to go get my blood work done to see if maybe I had a clotting disorder as this sometime causes the placenta to malfunction. Then she said I need to go to the hospital to get a steroid shot in case (well not in case, it was pretty sure that I would be having an early delivery if this kept up) we delivered prematurly.

So Chad and I went to the hospital, and they sent me to a room where they hooked me up with an NST test(non-stress test). After about 30 minutes we were getting antsy to go home and poor Viola was getting restless. I asked the nurse did it always take this long to get a shot in the ass, trying to joke a bit. She said they just needed to get the approval or something so we waited and waited and waited. It was seriously about an hour now and I was about ready to to tell Chad to take Viola to eat when I saw not one of my OBGYN's but both of them walk in the room. What it takes two doctors to administer the steroid. And then they had those same DAMN faces that the perinatologist had when she first broke the news about my pregnancy. My heart started beating fast again. I knew this wasnt going to be good.

They both sat down and took my hand. They explained to me that his heart rate was all over the place. That from the looks of everything, that my beautfful baby, the one I spent months trying to convince Chad to have, that I had dreamed about, that I wanted for Viola so desperately, was not going to make it. That he was too stressed in the womb and that it was only a matter of time before he met his demise. It was just too much to take. The tears flooded forward, projectiling onto the bed. Chad started to tear up. Viola now had to see me and daddy cry. I think we asked them to explain everything and again, I just remember talking heads. blah blah blahbady blah blah. I couldnt believe this was happening to me, to my baby. why why why why why.

They went over our options. We could induce him, and get him out, or we could go home and wait for him to die. WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF OPTIONS ARE THOSE.....I thought to myself. I wasnt sure if I could handle the pain of carrying him around inside me, everyone asking me the proverbial onslaought of pregnancy questions "hows the pregnancy going", "how many weeks are you now", "is it a boy or a girl". I thought I would tell them to all Fuck off. I thought a lot of things. Chad and I tried to mull it over, how the hell do you mull something like this over. I still couldnt believe this was happening. By the way I am crying the entire time. At one point as Chad was holding my hand, I asked him"even if it just to humor me, do you think we could look into adoption". I will never forget what he said and it just solidifies my love for him and how lucky I am to have him. He said,"Well I guess if we have to endure losing a life, maybe it would be good to save one". He always knows what to say, even in the most excruciating painful circumstances.
We at that point thought that we would go ahead with the induction. The doctors were pretty convincing that he was not going to make it, and I did not want him to suffer any longer even though I was constantly changing my mind a 1000 times a second. They made Chad and I sign this thing and they left. Chad took Viola to get some dinner and when the nurse came back in I told her I didnt want to do anything without Chad here. I was already having second thoughts. My mind never raced so fast in all of my life. I just couldnt think straight. we had already called our parents and they said whatever we do they would support us. We have AWESOME parents by the way. Chad came back and I told him I changed my mind I think. How the fuck can anyone make a decision like that in such a short amount of time under that much emotional duress. One of the doctors finally came in and told us that by Texas law, we had to wait 24 hours because it was considered an "abortion". WHAT.....I did not even think about that word. I was dumbfounded because I guess when they told me he was going to die, that he was dying in my womb, that an induction would just be ending his suffering. That put a whole new spin on everything. I was actually relieved. There was no way I could make a decision like that in that short of time the longest night of my life.....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Heart Attack....23 weeks....

So Chad took the day off of work and we drove with Viola to the heart specialist. Thats the thing when you dont have family to help out, ya gatta take your kid everywhere, under the most stressful of circumstances. Yet it has also made us this really strong, tight little unit it has. Kind of like we are all in this life together and we do everything and I mean everything together no matter what. It definitely has made us stronger fer shure!!!!!!
Anyway, the docs office is located downtown so it is a bit of a drive. We walked into the building, and it reminded me of an old Victorian insane assylm. If the circumstances were differnet I would have been enthralled as anyone that knows me knows I love anything from the past, especially 1930s and before but in this case, it was creeping me out. Anyway, the doctor was running late as he had a last minute case at the hospital down the street so we waited, and we waited and we waited......

Finally they called us back into one of the rooms. We waited in there for a while as well. My poor daughter, I thought. She sure is one patient little girl. Finally we were escorted into another room where Chad and Viola were allowed to sit and watch Curious George the cartoon movie. We had never seen it before and Viola actually enjoyed it thank goodness because my examination took the entire movie. And the entire time the doc was doing the ultrasound, he was completely silent......I mean like a silent movie silent, with no orchestra, no organ accompianiment, no cute 1920s cartoon sound effects, painfully quiet. That made me so nervous. He was marking things down, looking and looking over and over again. Finally, as if it was planned as soon as the credits to the movie rolled down he said, "ok I think we are done here, I got what I needed". So with bated breath I looked at him like, "OK tell me everything what is wrong with my babies heart". He told us to go back in the other room and he would talk with us. Tears were pouring down my face. I knew something was wrong. I could feel myself wanting to throw up, my stomach creeping up my esouphogus. We waited patiently again, and finally the doctor came in. I was standing in the corner, leaning up against the wall hoping that it would hold me up when he told us the horrible news. He looked at Chad and then me again and said,"well I looked for a very long time and I was very thourough and i want to let you know that it looks like your sons completely normal". knees buckled, I could feel this unbearable weight suddenly fall off of my shoulders, I started crying, I looked at Chad with happy eyes. The doc explained why the first doctors thought there was a heart defect and said it is very hard to see anything with this low of fluid. He drew us a diagram and everything but assured us that Thurstons heart was normal. Chad and I thanked him and he wanted us to have a follow up appointment in a month. I couldnt believe how relieved I was. I knew that if he did not have a heart defect that the chances of a chromosonal abnormality were also low.
We actually felt like celebrating a little. We knew that there was still something wrong with Thurston but this was a victory, a small victory, but a victory nonethelss. We went to Mohters cafe, our favorite vegetarian restaurant in Austin. we knew we could at least have a somewhat normal weekend now. At least until the next appointment.......

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The day that my whole world stopped......23 weeks

So I met with the high risk doctor today. I was sooooooooo not worried at all. I just thought maybe I need to drink more water. I had just left a wonderful playdate with Viola. She came with me and played with toys while I sat up on the table. The sonographer came in. She was as nice as pumpkin pie, seriously such a sweet sweet girl. As she sat looking at the scan I had asked her to confirm if it was a boy as I seriously did not trust that last sonographer. And she confirmed it. I did see some worry in her eye. She kept measuring the baby with her instruments and kept looking at his heart over and over again. I asked her about the fluid and she said that it was very low. I started to panic a little. Then she said she thought she saw something in the heart. I really started to worry. She then said, "let me get the doctor". I called my mom immediately. We have some valve thingy that runs in our family. I think both my sister and grandmother have been diagnosed with something else, and Viola and Chad both have a heart murmur so I was praying and hoping it was something along those lines. Then the doctor walked in and I told my mom I would call her back. She had that look in her eyes. I will never forget that look. That, "there is something really really bad I have to tell you" look. She sat down and said she thought there was something seriously wrong with Thurston. She thought it could be chromosonal based on the fact he was measuring 3 weeks behind(more like a 20 week old fetus), his fluid was low and he looked like he might have a heart defect. It seriously felt like she was talking in slow motion....almost like a charlie brown adult but in slow motion. I could feel my stomach hurling, I could feel my heart beating, I could feel the world collapsing around me. I think I screamed hysterically, and then I remembered Viola was in the room(She had been sitting there patiently for over an hour and a half during the examination bless her heart). I picked her up and held her. She looked at me funny and said"mommy crying". I will never forget that moment. It haunts me to this day.
I told the doctor I needed to call my husband. I am not sure of what I told him over the phone outside of get over here as soon as you can. Chad came and was so calm. He just has this strange ability to be calm during the most stressful of situations. The doctor went over our options. She asked if we wanted an amnio to see if he had a chromosonal abnormality. We said yes. She then said we could see a heart specialist to see what kind of heart defect Thurston had. Everything just happened so fast. Chad took Viola out of the room and the doctor did the amnio. She couldnt get any fluid because it was so low and it hurt like hell. She poked me twice and then decided to take a sample from the placenta instead. Tears were pouring from my eyes. I couldnt believe this was happening, and way too fast. I wanted time to stand still, like in Narnia. I wanted to process it but I couldnt. I felt like I was inside a blender. The blades cutting me into small pieces that I couldnt begin to put back together.

When we finally got home, somehow I managed to call the heart doctor and made an appointment for the next day. Seriously I don't remember the rest of the night. There were alot of moments that I have buried deep inside me. This was one of them.