Wednesday, September 19, 2012

9/19/2012-Wine...oh, I mean "time" heals all...

It took me about about a month to write Blog #1;  Baby#1: River's Story
I don't know how long it will take me to write the story of Baby #2, Reed.
River's story was the most difficult thing that I've ever written, and things don't exactly improve from there.
I feel like I have to write the stories to process the emotions. Because bottling them up, outside of my one hour a week therapy appointment, just isn't working.
Speaking of bottling things up...I will quit the wine..when I have good reason to.
One of the only things getting me by right now, as I fight against the Captain to start looking into IVF (because he needs A LOT of time to process ANYTHING INVOLVING FEELINGS - he may, in fact, be due for a system overhaul...or even just, some new anti-virus software), is good old alcohol. Perhaps this is a hallmark of an alcoholic, but, IMHO, 1 -2 glasses of wine per day does not an alcoholic make. Right?
I don't know, but this is how I am getting by. I'm also pretty sure that Jesus drank more than me.
 I'm also pretty sure that antidepressants are failing me at this point. I mean, I'm not suicidal...not today, anyway. But there have been times.
But for right now, I'm going to enjoy a glass of Cupcake winery's "Red Velvet." With some Hawaiian pizza, and Season 1 of Heroes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

6/23/2011 Blog #1; Baby #1: River's Story

Thanks for clicking on my blog.

This blog is meant to be a cathartic refuge for me...and my husband, Captain Spock, if I can get him on board with reading it. But I can't even get him to eat vegetables or floss, so I'm not holding my breath.

And if I can help some other women feel less alone, as the story of Mo and Will ( helped me feel less alone, then perhaps my struggles will be worth it. Perhaps.

It is not a place of judgement, politics, or nastiness.


In the beginning, it was just me, Captain Spock, and our many pets.

We waited until we were married for a few years before we started trying to conceive for the first time. At a minimum, I wanted to have my Master's degree; he wanted us to be in our new house first.

Check, check.

We were both in our early 30's, and expected, like everyone else, that nothing would go wrong. We'd get the "positive" on the test stick, and bam! 9 months or so later, we'd have our baby...not to mention, the fun of having decorated the nursery, the potentially tense arguments of picking out baby names, and for me - sore feet and a bittersweet attitude towards my ever expanding belly.

What we got was something else entirely.

Baby #1
Prior to Week 5: Went off the pill in September. Continually miscalculated the anticipated date of ovulation. It took 4 months...

Week 5 - We are pregnant, after trying for a few months. So happy! Wondering if it's a boy or a girl already!

Week 8 - I go for my first ultrasound. It shows a "small" growth sack. Not sure what that means. OB/GYN says that he doesn't think it's a concern. I'm a little freaked out. Had never heard of a growth sack before today...I call Captain Spock to let him know. He knows almost nothing about pregnancy, other than what I tell him. He's as concerned as I am. I try to reassure him that the OB/GYN doesn't think it's too much of a concern.

Week 10 - Ultrasounds are showing that there isn't as much fluid as there should be - this is known as "oligohydramnios." I resolve to drink more water. I drink 2 gallons of water every day. I do nothing but pee. We go to a geneticist. She has no answers, nothing to add on this.

Week 12 - Even less fluid than before. But baby is developing on, no one's sure what's going on. OB/GYN remains optimistic.

Week 14 - The baby is starting to lag behind in development. He isn't quite measuring up to where he is expected to be. I wonder if the due date was calculated correctly, if maybe my babies will just develop a little more slowly than what is "typical", if this will just resolve itself. There is also evidence that there is a Single Umbilical Artery (SUA), which is out of the norm. Two of my friends say that they know other women whose babies had the same thing, and they are healthy. Apparently it's a sign that there are other problems, possibly chromosomal.

I resolve to eat more protein. I'm thinking that maybe the baby is behind because I'm not getting enough. I've always been picky about eating meat, and while I'm not a vegetarian now, I was for a few years. I mix up raw protein powder with almond milk and berries in my blender every day.

Week 16 - Fluid is scarce...the development is still lagging behind, but not at an increased rate from before. I'm told that the lack of development is called Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR). There is so little fluid that the ultrasound isn't clearly reflecting an image back to us. It is getting increasingly difficult to tell what is going on with this baby.

I go home and google IUGR. I freak out. The prognosis from what I'm reading isn't a good one. But some people have had this turn out okay...
I'm still at it, with the protein and water. And doughnuts too. I have to have some kind of control over the situation. I am convinced that I've been doing something wrong and that this is my fault. I start taking more naps: in my car, in bed in the middle of the day, wherever I can.

Week 18 - Back at the geneticist. The baby is so far behind now - one month in the abdomen, a little less in the brain. We start talking about what to do. The geneticist suspects that there is a chromosomal abnormality. I ask, "like Down Syndrome?" She says "no, something else, but it's too hard to tell right now." We decide to wait just a little bit longer to see if there is a miracle and baby rights his own development. I cry and cry in the room. No one really knows what to say.

Week 19 - 21 - As I am writing this now, it has been over a year and this part of the story is murky. We go back to the geneticist, and confirmed that baby is too far behind to ever catch up. He is being crushed in my uterus through the lack of fluid. Without the fluid, baby's lungs can't develop. I ask if there is any possibility of this baby surviving, and the geneticist says, "no." We consult with my OB/GYN that day and discuss termination. He says that not many people perform this type of termination in our area. I would have to deliver the baby.

 I want to deliver this baby and release him from the prison that is my body.
 I want him to go to a Heaven that I've barely ever dared to believe in.  
I want that release for him.

I have to wait about a week before the "procedure." I wonder if I am cursed from having an elective termination at age 19, when I accidentally got pregnant while taking Accutane...and now that I want and am ready for a baby, I am paying for that transgression.

I elect to have the epidural, which I have always been petrified of.

It's no biggie! A little needle, just a pinch, and I am hooked up with a button I can press if I feel pain. It's a beautiful thing, and I wonder why anyone would go without it...but I'm a big baby with a low pain tolerance.

After learning that I could be here for a week before the prostaglandins placed by my cervix take full effect and trigger labor, I tell the nurses to crank up the Ativan and Ambien. I won't survive this any other way than fully drugged. I would have taken morphine and opium at this point. The pain in my soul outweighed any physical discomfort. I am trying to read "The Help" and am immediately saddened by one of the main character's loss of her son. There seems to be no escape, not even in the once completely reliable escape of reading.

I keep making the nurses check my cervix for dilation; I want to get this over with.

Three days in, I think my water breaks in the middle of the night. Apparently, the baby is just waiting for a little push. I push him out on the first try. It feels like a rubber toy snaking out. He is not alive. They clean him, and I hold him...but this, I barely remember. Thank god for the drugs. I fall right back to sleep after handing him off. But not before I heard a newborn baby crying next door.

I name him, an androgynous name...because I don't not want to know the sex. I'm adamant about this - but we will learn that this is an impossible request when you have a fetus sent out for karyotyping.

We find out the next day that we have to organize a burial. I cannot believe this. But it's state law. We decide to have him cremated. We have friends that own a funeral parlor, so we are able to make the arrangements with realtively little trouble.

I am wheeled out the next day behind a new mother. Pink balloons are attached to her wheelchair. I am fuming and despondent at the same time. Cannot believe the stupidity of this nurse. I loudly voice my conern to my husband, and the nurse overhears, and hangs back a bit before sending me on my way.

It's a long wait for the karyotype results, several weeks. I pretty much go insane with grief during this time. I have no family in my city, and my mother is deceased. When everyone else has a mother to go to at this time, I feel doubly sorry for myself, not having her or my baby. It's a double loss, all at once. I become estranged from the rest of my family during this time, as they are angry with me for not telling them about the loss sooner. I live several hours from them, and decided to send the news out via text, because I just couldn't say the words. No family comes out to see me. I resolve to not speak to people who kick me when I'm down. A resolution I have made countless times against two abusive parents.

Cut off from family support, with an emotionally "slow", but other wise brilliant Captain Spock, I repaint the baby's room, stare blankly at the TV without actually watching it, and basically just lay around with my loving pit bull for two months. The hospital sends home the baby's footprints, his hospital wrist bracelet, his hat,
I obsess over the size and shape of the footprint: the size of one of the pads on my index finger, but clubfoot.I look at the footprints multiple times a day.

I never open the pictures. I send that to my in-laws house for "better days."

I ask Captain several times,"What did the baby look like?" Because I was just too doped up to remember the details.

We obsess over what to do with his ashes. We consider beautiful "sending off" ceremonies. We discuss religious services. We wind up doing nothing, because it's just too painful. We keep the ashes in a Depression-era sugar bowl in a hutch in our dining room. We never, ever handle the ashes.

Several days at a time go by where I don't bathe.

I lose complete interest in absolutely everything. Some days, I drink 5 giant glasses of boxed wine, and that's the only way that I can moderate the crushing anxiety. And those 5 glasses are not enough.

At some point, I have a violent panic attack while watching a character deliver a baby on "Boardwalk Empire." I'm in such shock when the scene comes on, that I can't change the channel. Captain Spock never realizes that he should act quickly in these situations...I flail against the floor, pounding the linoleum in the kitchen with my fists and feet, screaming at the absolute unfairness of this merciless universe. Captain cries, perhaps for the first time during this entire situation. My hands are swollen spotted and spotted with angry purple bruises the next day.

The karyotype results come back : He was a little boy with triploidy - a triple set of chromosomes. Fatal, and completely unavoidable. Something that happens to 1% of the population, and is unlikely to ever happen again. We are told by our geneticist that it is usually from two sperm fertilizing one egg. Nothing you can do to prevent it, and the babies born with this never live past 8 months. Never.

The mourning process restarts as we now know that the life that isn't being lived would have belonged to a little boy.

I can see him on playgrounds, at Target, at schools...but, what could have, would have, should have been is no more.

"In the depth of winter I finally learned that  within me, there was in me an invincible summer."
 ~ Camus