The story of a boy….well, he was much more than that to me……
Part 11: His Legacy Unfolds
This is the 11th in the series.
Before I begin; let me say that this post will most likely not be funny. And it might contain information that upsets you and not in the usual way with offensive language and politics…..but in a human, sad and guttural way. I may very well ramble at times and for all of these things: I am genuinely sorry. Please read Parts 1-10 before reading this. It will just make more sense that way.
The Sonogram results: one tiny fluttering heartbeat: check
Due date:8-11-08 I remember thinking briefly how cool it would be if the baby came on 8-8-8~HA what a dreamer I was.
Next milestone: make it through the first trimester. Now being pregnant with a baby conceived through the miracle of modern medicine is extra special. And by "extra special" I mean shots, hormones that make you feel like a crazed lunatic, waiting, near constant monitoring, vaginal ultrasounds (with alarming regularity), more tubes of blood taken than you knew you even HAD, and oh yeah~ ALL of the normal pregnancy stuff too.
I am in no way complaining about ANY of that.....I know what it is like to WANT pregnancy and ALL that comes with it so desperately you think of little else. I prayed for 10 years for two lines on a goddamned pee stick~~~~ and ONCE: ONE time in that ten years I got a positive ~ only to have the dream dashed yet again 4 days later when blood work revealed my HcG level was dropping and I was miscarrying. I very much remember the scheduling of sex based on an ovulation predictor kit. I remember the heartache month after month after month when my period came.
just to be pregnant, please God.....I wanted it, prayed for it, BEGGED for it. And felt a great relief when it finally happened.
That being said: this pregnancy was different. I was different. It is very profound to feel both the greatest joy and the greatest sadness you have EVER felt all in one day...many times even more than once a day.
I was exhausted. Beaten down. So very, very sad. You see it was a great leap of Faith to try again after William died. And the wounds of his death and the aftermath was something I was STILL very much in the thick of. Some say we tried to soon~ it was hard not to agree with them. Thinking about it now~ I remember being absolutely possessed with the thought and need to be pregnant again. But I was ill prepared for how HARD it would be.
Nothing could bring William back......no matter how many times we decided to try or how much time passed~ nothing would bring him back~ he was dead~ and there is, to this day, a William shaped whole in my heart....and in my soul......I was talking to a good friend of mine once and she said she didn't think you ever got *over* the death of your child~ you just learn how to deal with it better (if you're lucky).
That December ~ a mere 7 months after the most devastating thing I have ever survived~~ I was pregnant.
And it was HARD.
REALLY, REALLY FUCKING HARD.
And I did not allow myself to feel joy. I didn't know *how* to feel joy. When people congratulated me I would force a weak smile and an even weaker 'thank you'. Frankly it felt WRONG to feel joy. There was such a cloud of pain~ and the moments of pure joy felt like a betrayal of William's life and death.
And physically this pregnancy was very hard on my body (we would find out why later). Constant puking, devastating fatigue....some days I swear to god I felt as if I was just going through the motions~ and in reality~ I was.
I mean who the fuck did I think I was Wonder Woman? No sick time left~ a cloud of grief surrounding me~ a two year old to take care of~ a husband who is also grieving ~ a house to take care of~ a full time job I really wanted to keep~ and **I** thought it was good idea to get pregnant?
I often say to my husband that there was NOTHING easy about this whole pregnancy. Almost NOTHING went the way I thought it was going to. It makes me sad that I do not have a single picture of me pregnant this last time. It's one of those things that just didn't occur to me to do.
So I am doing my best~ with all of the above.....and one day on a routine trip to the ladies room at work~ there it was: bright red blood. Too panicked to drive I ask a coworker to take me to the hospital~ called my husband he met us there. An ultrasound revealed that my placenta was covering my cervix almost completely ~ I had what is called 'placenta previa'....and they tried to reassure me by saying that I could expect some light bleeding: GEE THANKS. Oh and they said I needed to be on 'pelvic rest' which is a fancy way of saying: lady don't put anything in your vagina. Uh~ okay...then how about you get that fucking vaginal ultrasound away from ME! And the ER doctor laughed and said "what I mean is no sex"~~ well FUCKING DUH! look at my life as I have described it above~ yeah sex was about the *last* thing I was thinking about. And then it was DH's turn to laugh~ you know that awkward laugh met by stares and silence? Than one.
Okay~ let's just put this whole 'placenta previa' nonsense on the ever growing pile of shit for me to worry about in the dark hours of the night when the rest of the house was sleeping.
Somehow we all survived the first trimester~ and all I had to say about that was good fucking riddance: no more nightly progesterone shots. No more oral estrogen........ahhhh another milestone crossed: check.
As the milestone of where I was in the pregnancy when we lost William approached I could feel myself getting very anxious. I wanted to talk about it constantly~ my husband (patient though he is) really did NOT want to talk about it. Men and women grieve very differently. And there were many days I was so angry with him~ because I perceived that he had 'gotten over it'.....and I knew in my soul that I never would.
I was getting more anxious by the day. I had an amazing OB who is also my friend (and previous boss) and she would fit me in whenever I needed reassurance. I may not have any pictures of ME~ but I have a crap ton of ultrasound pictures of the baby.
So now it's time for the 'big' ultrasound and another set of blood work to screen for issues. I went in to that US room not really sure if I wanted to know the sex of the baby~ turns out the baby was not feeling terribly cooperative~ OB said she thought 'maybe a boy' but she wasn't feeling like she could tell with any certainty.
Went home~ showed DH the pictures....speculated the sex of the baby, told him the OB said everything 'looked great'.....and he said very flatly "yeah, well we have been here before....so let's just see how things go'.......and I cried~ in that moment I *knew* he was still very much grieving too.
And as our luck would have it....we didn't have to wait to long for the next shoe to drop.
You know it's not great news when the dr herself calls you~ even if she is a friend~ the call came~ my blood work revealed a 1 in 22 chance that the child I was carrying had Down's Syndrome. 1 in 22 and that was after correcting for my "advanced maternal age of 37".......holy fuck.
We spent the weekend crying and praying and talking and crying some more.
I am a big proponent of being "prepared"....I have seen the devastation that parents face when they deliver a child they presumed was healthy and found out in the delivery room that there child carried a disease or deformity.......I want to know what I am facing up front.
But what would I *do* with the information when it came? What if the baby did have Down's Syndrome? Of the many possible genetic diseases a person can have: Down's Syndrome always seemed like a wild card to me~~~~ there are people with Down's that are highly functioning and live happy lives......and then there's the other end of the spectrum~ the end where the child needs round the clock care. AND about 17 gazillion variations between those two.
We talked, we cried, we prayed some more (I yelled at God a lot~ not sure if DH did or not).
At the end of our discussion I told my husband through tears that even if the baby had down's there is no possible way I could have an abortion....you see as luck would have it.......this was THE VERY WEEK we passed the milestone of when we lost William......and try as I did to not get my hopes up~~ passing that milestone felt like a big relief. But it meant that I KNOW exactly what this baby I am carrying looks like~ I held a baby of this same gestational age in my hands and for an hour and forty seven minutes.....that boy LIVED. I have always believed in a woman's right to choose ~ but facing this issue personally~ it was crystal clear that I could not do it.+++
We agreed that we did need to at least be prepared. I called and scheduled the amniocentesis for Monday.
Coming next: More waiting
+++sidebar this is NOT the time or place for ANY discussion on abortion, PLEASE respect my story enough to let it just be my story and the way I feel~ we can discuss abortion and politics another time. thank you