Monday, March 6, 2017

Birthday


We celebrated Sonny's birthday this past Wednesday.  My rainbow boy is a year old.

Psalm feels so far away sometimes, and this is one of them.  My darling, my daughter, I can feel her slight weight on my chest still (or maybe I'm deluding myself, but I have tried very hard to remember that feeling), and I look at her pictures often enough I can remember what she looks like but she has been gone for a very long time which is also absolutely no time at all.

And my heart breaks. 

This is one more thing we never got to do with her.  The second birthday of hers that she hasn't been cuddled for, hasn't been kissed for.

When I got pregnant with Psalm, I thought about how she was due late enough in October that she just might be born in November.  Douglas was 11 days overdue; Psalm might have been that long overdue, or she might have been just nine days overdue and born on Esther's birthday, or maybe she would have been born on Halloween.  And I remember saying on Facebook that I wanted to make a wee Halloween costume but that would surely jinx the baby to come after that holiday.

That worry seems so...na├»ve now.  So many things from after I knew I was pregnant but before I knew her problems do, and always will.  Some part of me hurts to see them, but sometimes I like being reminded of the eighteen weeks of happiness I had instead of the eighteen weeks of dread.



We celebrated her birthday again last year.  I guess we always will, even though I never really planned to.  I let Duncan, who was nearly seven months, smash some cake for her. 

I have said this before.  I keep this mental list of things she never got to do.  This is the extra sadness of the rainbow child; watching them mark off all the milestones the one who is gone missed out on.  I think having Duncan help out on her birthday stacked up with his celebration to make it feel as though he's now had two and she's had none.  And he will only, God willing, continue adding things to that list.  And the more he grows, the more out of reach she is.  And my heart hungers for her.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Exiles


Today, this passage speaks to me:

This is what the LORD says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

I have been in exile; I have spent my time mourning (and I still do), but I am looking toward the future when I will be called home again.

(This photo is of Duncan holding Psalm's heartbeat bear.)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

It creeps up.

The truism that grief pops up out of nowhere every so often is, well, true.

Two days ago, I was sitting outside, knitting, and one of the kids came out with Duncan.  I glanced up and over at him, and the exact angle his fat little foot was at for some reason put me in mind of Psalm and her thin, small foot, and I almost cried.

I play with Marie's feet and Doug's feet and they are long and thin.  They have their dad's feet.  Mine are wide.  I remember Psalm's foot, how it was turned to the side.  I remember touching her little foot.  There was so much of the tragedy of her life wrapped up in that one foot.  When Duncan was born, I cupped his feet in my hand and held them up to Erik and said "Look!  He has two feet!"  The newborn ritual of counting toes takes on new significance when you have had cause to stop early.

I will never see her foot get fat.  Will never see it tucked behind her as she crawls, will never see it and its twin stomp the floor as she learns to walk.  I am seeing Duncan do all the things she was never able to do, and I wonder whether she is watching her baby.  Whether she is cheering him on.  He walked early, he talked early.  I think maybe she is right there, whispering in his ear, making it so that he is halfway ahead of himself.  He surely has love for two people, happiness for two people.  He will know how much his big sister must love him, because her love for her whole family was so fierce that she fought her brokenness to be born to us.  He will know that losing her made me love him more.  I have two babies' worth of kisses to give him.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Look at this rainbow. Look at this ghost.

I never meant to not blog for a year.

I went and had a baby.  I didn't post about him here because (and I know how this sounds) I feared my ex-husband would find it and make trouble for me.

Oh, how I wish I had been more brave.  How I wish I had thought to say all the things I felt when I felt them, instead of now.

There's something existentially terrifying about a rainbow pregnancy.  Your innocence is gone.  I was told while pregnant with Psalm that I had no greater chance of having another baby with the same condition than anyone else.  Given I had already beaten the odds once, this was not as comforting as I'm sure the doctor imagined it to be.

I went to the midwife.  She was happy to see me.  She brought in the ultrasound machine and showed me the baby.  I asked her to show me the tummy, and there it was round and perfect and whole.

She told me another thing.  The baby was a boy.  I'd known, somehow.  But I was still sad, still carried with me some hope that the really obvious penis was magically an umbilical cord, until the anatomy scan.  Fun fact: boys are still valued so highly over girls that the ultrasound tech will get really, really happy to show you unborn penis.  And then you're supposed to be really, really happy.

I wasn't.  I wanted another girl.  Not to replace Psalm, but for all those things I missed out on when she died.

Gender disappointment with a rainbow baby is a shitshow.  You're supposed to be super happy and super stoked and grateful all the time.  But you're not, and you feel guilty as hell and it's terrible.  I knew that was going to happen, which was why I departed from Team Green.  I was hoping that 20 weeks to get used to the idea was going to be helpful.  It was not.  Instead, it was 20 weeks to be sad and then to hate myself for being sad.

I had a c-section.  I hated it.  I struggled with the decision up until nearly the last second.  And I regret it like I do nothing else in my life.  Rainbow pregnancy strikes again.  I couldn't do it without support, and I didn't get any support.

Best laid plans, and all that.

On Leap Day, Duncan-Mark Thomas was born and he broke my heart and then repaired it.

It was the same, it was different.  Same OR.  Same obstetrician.  But this time things were relaxed and everyone but me was happy.  The baby was delivered.  His beautiful, long cord was cut.  His beautiful, healthy lungs filled with air and he cried.  And I cried.  And he was cleaned up and wrapped and then given to me.  And I held my little dark-haired boy to my heart and listened to him cry and I cried and was happy and I cried and missed my little dark-haired girl.

He was so pink.  So perfect.  So alive.  And because I have two templates for children, and because he was made from Template B (Dark Hair) he looked exactly how Psalm should have looked.


And we took him back to recovery, like we did Psalm.  And he lived, like she did not.  And I was grateful and amazed and in love and broken again and again.

I uncovered his feet and looked at them and marveled that there were two.


I uncovered his hair and stroked its darkness and marveled at the warmth of his head and the size of his head:


I held his little hand and it held mine back and was warm and I knew the time to mourn had been replaced by the time to rejoice:



I played him Psalm's song, and cried the whole time.


He is innocent, and perfect, and a balm to my soul.

(Just to be clear, he is nearly a year old.  I will work to tell more about loving the rainbow while mourning the loss.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Other Worlds

I had an incredibly vivid dream last night.

I was sitting in the kitchen with this fat, bald, round-headed baby on my lap, wiggling her and being silly, and she said something.  I don't remember what, but I said "Ohmigosh, Psalm just said a full sentence!  And she's only thirteen months!"

And then I woke up.  And realized what I'd said there in the dream, and that it had thrown me completely out of sleep.

In some other world, some other universe that's happening alongside this one, Psalm is OK.  I don't really put much credit in multiverse theories, but something about that dream was just so real.  And it shook me.

It is one thing to know consciously that grief sparks up at odd times.  It is quite another to experience it.

Last week, I was lying awake in bed in the early dawn, when there was just enough light coming in through the window to see things.  And I had Doug with me, curled up with his back to me, and I was looking at the back of his little head and it hit me like a brick that the back of Psalm's head had looked much the same, and that she should be more than a year old and be the one cuddled up next to me.  And it hurt, so I just held him a little closer and went back to sleep...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Birthday

It was a year ago I managed to write about Psalm's birth and death, so I suppose it's fitting that, a week after her first birthday, I am just now able to write about it.

The day kind of came out of nowhere and loomed over everything all at once.  Like, I knew it was coming but I didn't really want to face it.

I was afraid all along last year that I would forget what it was like to hold her, would forget what she looked like, would forget the feel of her hair on my fingers and of her skin and of her beauty.  And I kind of did but kind of didn't.  It's not something that comes out of nowhere but if I concentrate I can remember all of these things.

Facebook's On This Day feature reminded me of how fucking horrible it was to wake up the morning of the 25th and not have her with me and realize she was beyond my reach for the rest of my time on this earth.  And the truth is it wasn't much easier on day 365 of that than it was on day one.  I've gotten to where I cannot easily picture her as a living baby, and that makes me sad.  There are too many unknowns now.  Marie had dark hair and then it fell out and she had blonde hair and then it darkened to brown.  She had blue eyes that darkened to storm-tossed gray and then to brown.  Would Psalm have followed the same path?  Or would she have kept her brown hair?  There's just no way to know, and it's the unknowns that get you.

All these other moms seem to do these awesome things on their baby's birthday.  They do shit like release butterflies and balloons or light candles or do random acts of kindness.  And I am not that sort of person; I don't do big over-the-top stuff with my living kids.  So I was thinking I'd just kind of hold her in my heart but I'd like to light a candle but it turns out it's a bitch to find non-scented candles these days.

So the day before her birthday I got the brilliant idea of asking the kids what they wanted to do.  It ended pretty much as I should have expected, with Bobbie being insensitive and Esther in tears.  There was also an odd bit of time where I had to explain to the toddlers that, yes, Psalm is in our closet but no, you cannot see her because it's just her ashes.  She doesn't look exactly the same.  Still, it pleases me that the toddlers do think of her and do realize she's their sister.

Anyway, Esther said she wanted a cake and Marie said she wanted a balloon, so the next day Erik and I went to HEB and I picked out a small cake from the bakery and a small balloon and then bought a birthday card and a candle and totally forgot to buy a lighter for the candle because I was hoping no one decided to ask me whose birthday it was so I wouldn't have to explain that it was my dead daughter's birthday.

I'd had a dream the night before where we did all this and I bought her a card as well, so for some reason I had to go and do that.  There's not much of a selection at that store, and it's mostly Disney crap for first birthdays, so I went and looked in the bargain section, and that's when I found this:


And I had to have it the second I read it.  I didn't even read the inside until today, but it talks about people thinking of you.  Which I guess, with Psalm, is all we can really do.

And so a year has passed, and I am lost as before.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ghost.

My senior year of high school,  a friend of mine was killed in a car wreck, along with his girlfriend Melissa, and his best friend's girlfriend.  (The best friend survived with serious injuries, but that is neither here nor there.)

Some months after the wreck--which happened in September--I came out of Journalism class and saw a ghost.  Melissa, coming out of the Art classroom across the hall.

Naturally, I knew it *wasn't* Melissa.  It was her little sister, whose name I don't recall.  They looked almost exactly alike, and I remembered thinking how difficult it must be for everyone involved to have a surviving child who looked just like the tragically lost one.  (Not in the least for the girl herself, who was probably upset by reactions like mine, which were undoubtedly frequent at that school.)

Now I find myself in a similar position.

I joke all the time that all my kids look alike.  This is because they really do; they all look like me.  (And all of my dad's family look alike.)

Before Psalm, Marie was my only dark-haired baby.  Which is weird given I have dark hair, but it's just the way the genes worked out.  You can kind of tell in that picture who is who, because Psalm's color just was never good, but they still look incredibly alike.

Another thing is that all my kids are pretty hairy, but again since most of them are light-haired, it's nearly impossible to tell.  Marie and Psalm are the only ones with dark enough hair for their back fuzz to be visible.

They really both had a lot of hair even at birth.  I think Psalm had even more than Marie; it was long enough it was starting to curl.


Of course, there is a slightly different dynamic in play when the surviving sibling is the older one.  I have no way of knowing, for instance, whether Psalm would have had brown eyes like Marie, or blue ones like her father, brother, & sisters.  And of course we could never know her personality, though the way she survived so long in utero makes me think she would have been another firecracker had she not had LBWC.

But still.  I have this little girl who lives in my mind, and my mind makes her look like Marie did, because who else would she look like?  So with Marie, she is a reminder sometimes that there should be a second dark-haired girl in my family.  Someone else for her to fight and play with.

And that makes me sad.

Friday, May 29, 2015

You know what gets me?


This gets me.

Not this room in particular; it's just a photo I found using GIS.  It's birthing rooms that get me.  Pictures of birthing rooms.

I labored for a while with Psalm, in a normal birthing room similar to where I had Esther, and Doug (Marie's wasn't half as nice).  The room was filled with the comforting sound of her heartbeat, a good 140+ BPM that never hesitated.  My little warrior.

But that was the only normal part.  I looked at that little warmer and I knew she wouldn't lie in it.  And when the word that I would indeed have a c-section came down, I knew I'd never again be in one of these rooms.

Now and again hospital photos crop up on Facebook.  Lots of pictures of babies in warmers.  And it's like a punch in the gut.  There are no longer good associations with those.  They have them in ORs, of course, but it is different when your child is removed from you versus when you push them out.

My first two births were c-sections.  And it was important to me to know that I could do things the "right" way, the normal way.  And I did, because my body really does know its shit.

But with Psalm my body failed me.  Failed to make her right.  Failed to birth her right.  And will not be allowed to birth the others right.  Her surgical birth was necessary, but it was still a failure in my lizard brain because frankly her birth could be nothing else since she would not live long after.  Trauma on top of trauma, and I will no longer be able to reclaim things.

So I see these pictures and they make me profoundly sad, but it is difficult to explain to most people.  The room and the warmer represent the trappings of normal birth.  Doug's birth was finally everything I wanted--100% unmedicated mostly hands-off.  And I thought I was going to get to build on that.  And it all went to shit.  I never expected, even when I was in that room looking at my surroundings knowing it was the last time I would be in such a place even if it was not my last birth, that in the future I would find my grief triggered by the most innocuous photos, but there you go.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chasing rainbows.

I've kind of gone back and forth with myself whether to talk about this publicly or not, but since I've bared my soul the rest of the way, I'll throw this in as well.

Babies born after a loss are called rainbow babies.  Marie is a rainbow baby, following my miscarriage in 2007.

Two of the women I met when pregnant with Psalm, both themselves LWBC moms, are pregnant now with their rainbow babies.

Me, I wasn't entirely sure what to do about it, when to jump on the rollercoaster again, because it was guaranteed to be a scary time.  And for a good long while anyway, it was a moot point--since Doug is still nursing, I didn't get my period back until last month.

And so, fertility returned, I looked deep into the issue and said "Well, my January baby is awesome, and I'm going to be terrified no matter what, so let's go for it."

Go for it we did.

And you know what? We nailed it.  I bought a big pack of ovulation strips and pregnancy tests on Amazon, and blew the dust off my Fertility Friend account, and on the 29th of April, I got a very faint positive test that I wasn't even sure was positive.  So I held off and retested on the 3rd of this month, and got a better one.  I tested twice that day, in fact, and they were both positive.  Not, like, big dark lines or anything, but readily visible.

And here is where I fucked up, y'all.  I was happy.  Really really happy.  So I told Erik.  And then I told Linda.  And then I told the rest of the kids and the next day--buoyed by another positive--we told my mother.  And because I could not resist, we went and bought a couple of onesies for the rainbow baby, who would be born in January and who already had a name.

You can guess where I'm going with this, right?


I had a good few hours where I was nothing but happy, then the fear crept in.

I had a good ten days where I was...not really confident, because I had some early indications this would not go well, but where I could fool myself.  I was nauseous before I got the second positive test, and it was the peculiar sort of nausea I only get when I'm pregnant.  And my temps were good.  But the positive tests went negative, and though I know HCG can take a while to rise, and the tests I had weren't really good...

And then Tuesday I lost it.  The hope that had started to peek through.  The brand-new pregnancy, so new it wouldn't even have shown up on an ultrasound.

Well, shit.

Rainbows are common after storms, but sometimes...sometimes they come in a break between storms.

This is, of course, a different kind of hurt.  I have said before that I loved Psalm from the moment I knew she was on the way.  And the same was true for this pregnancy.  But this love was just a brief flicker of time, a smaller grief that might some day roll into the larger one of my girl's absence.  Sometimes when you go to stand, you fall back again.

And that sucks.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Half a year.

Man, it's been a long time since I posted here.

I've been having a hard time with this grief thing, again.

Being me, I felt guilty there for a while for not hurting enough and now it's back up to a constant dull roar.

Again, I know too well what I am missing.

Psalm should be six months old.  She should be sitting up, her perfect little belly lovely and round.  She should be babbling.  She should be crawling, or close to it.  She should be staring at the food I eat and trying to steal it from me, maybe even eating table food.

But instead she is ashes sitting in a box in my closet.

I have not been able to look too closely at that box.  We got it the day of her funeral, in a green velvet bag.  I have not opened the bag to look inside, much as I did not open her wrappings to look at the ruin of her body.  We have an urn picked out, but I've been unable to buy it, in part because the lone review mentions putting the ashes of the author's cat inside, and even though it's not a pet urn I cannot bring myself to use something that someone used for a pet for my daughter, because pets are not family members.

Or maybe that's just the excuse I am telling myself.  I don't know.  Maybe the pain is just insurmountable right now.  Maybe that's even OK.

I have a mini-crisis now and again over her name. Make no mistake, I love the name Psalm.  I loved it even when it seemed too weird a name to ever give one of my children.  But it was chosen back when it seemed we would not know whether our child was boy or girl.  Had she lived, she would have been named Susan.  Hell, even without life, had she been observably female to begin with, we would have named her Susan.  And sometimes I feel guilty for not naming her that after all.

So. Psalm should be Susan and she should be pulling her brother's hair by accident and slobbering on him.  But she is Psalm and she is a scar on my heart.  I held her for her whole life, but I did not hold her long enough.

Her heart is a river in my blood.

I haven't listened to that song in a while.  I think I outgrew the need, there for a bit.  I need it again now.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Well, I made it through Christmas

Christmas Eve was three months since Psalm was born and died.  I hadn't reckoned to mark it, but I did.  I shared a couple of pictures on Facebook.  This was one of them:

She was so, so tiny.  I will never get over that.  I think I said here before I think that about half of her was just not there and that's part of it, but of course she was a near-term preemie as well.  And I remember the feel of her little head in my hand, of her sweet, soft skin, of her silky hair.

Christmas Day was not easy.  The older girls' father actually bothered taking them for his half of vacation this year for the first time ever, so I was missing them and then missing my girl too.  Three months old on her first Christmas would have been awesome!  At that age they're pushing up and looking around at everything.  I've never had that at Christmas before, always either a pretty old baby or else a little lump of cuteness that doesn't really do anything.

Such a large part of this grief is realizing what you don't have...

I decided to take my usual group photo of the kids the next day when they were all home.  I'd read an article on including a deceased child in some way in future family portraits and decided to do something of the sort.  I put our little pink tree in the gift unwrapping chair along with her heartbeat bear, and added the portrait of her we had on the table at her memorial service, then had the kids stand around that.  Turned out pretty nice:


Of course, that smiling blonde girl there is the same as this girl here:


So you can imagine that the execution didn't come off so well.  I got four pictures taken before Ro burst into tears and I spent the next hour or so trying to calm her down.  She was doing that ugly crying like an animal in pain.  To say she is my sensitive one is an understatement.  I know the feeling, of course.  The difference is she hasn't had the expectation of keeping things in control beaten into her yet, and I really hope she never does.

This is another of those entries without any real point, by the way...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Getting through


You do whatever you can to get through the holidays.

For whatever reason, not being able to buy Psalm gifts was bothering me.  It occurred to me, though, that I could actually buy them, I just couldn't give them to her.  I'm donating other things in her name, after all, so why not this too?

Initially I was going to donate to either Toys for Tots or Elf Louise.  This thing at Walmart, though, turned out to be easier.

Like I said in my previous post, Psalm would be three months old Christmas Eve.  So we went to the baby toys to find something for her.  The older girls weren't that into it, but the youngest three kids were, especially Esther.

It didn't occur to me until just now that the two things we donated were emblematic of her two youngest siblings.


This is what Marie picked out, with my help.  (I offered her two choices, and this was the one she took.)  Owls first started being a big thing when I was pregnant with her, so she's got quite a few owl toys.  The odd thing is, I usually don't go for pink stuff, given I've got five girls, but this just got me.  I'm sure I would have actually bought it for her had she lived.


Doug picked this out.  He loves balls.  Ball was, in fact, his first word.  This is a little plastic ball with a smaller ball in it that I think has a bell inside. 


Naturally--and I should have expected this--though Doug was perfectly happy to toss the ball in the donation bin, he was not as happy when he realized he couldn't take it back out.  But he got over it quickly.


Esther and Marie.  I forgot that Esther had wanted to be the one to toss this toy in and told Marie she could, so they had to do it together.

The whole thing was rather more emotional than I expected.  Why don't I expect these emotions?  I'm not too good at this feelings stuff, it seems.  I wanted so very bad to have a baby girl to give that owl to.  And I don't.

Friday, December 5, 2014


Advent

Advent is a season of hope, of anticipation.  The new Church year has begun and we await the birth of our Savior.

This is a shitty season to have just lost a baby.


In some alternate world, this is the first handprint of many that will be made by my sweet Psalm as she grows.  I would have spent the last ten weeks rubbing my thumb across the lines in her palm and kissing her fingers one by one.

On 24th December, Psalm would have been 13 weeks old.  Three months.  Three month olds can do a lot.  They can hold their head up.  They can track you when you are walking by them.  They can roll around, though probably not roll over.  They're starting to nom on everything.

I bought little diapers when I was pregnant.  Fitted diapers.  Tiny little things, that in the end were too big for her and wouldn't have worked anyway because she only had one leg.  I think oh, she would have been a big baby when she was born.  I think.  She was 4lbs 6oz.  They say they grow half a pound a week, which would have put her at only 6lbs 6oz at term four weeks later, but if she had been healthy she would have weighed more because she wouldn't have been missing a leg and her chest would have been bigger and honestly I have no fucking idea why I am typing this.  It's just word vomit at this point.

We went to church Sunday for the first time since Psalm's memorial service.  Well, my mother and the kids and I did.  Erik had a headache and stayed home.  We went to Resurrection, which is closer to us than St. Mark's.  They had a guest priest, because theirs in in Europe.  Her sermon used pregnancy as a metaphor for Advent, briefly.  How you wait for this child and then she comes and you are then presented with all the potential this child has, you get to think of everything she could become.

And Psalm, she couldn't become anything.  She is written on my heart forever, but she will never grow up, never have dreams, never....never...never...

Also, this song tears me up every damn time I hear it, because Psalm was supposed to be born in late October in San Antonio:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Everyday

A while back, one of my Facebook friends said, on a status about having to call the insurance company to tell them Psalm had died, that it's the everyday things that get you the most.  He was right, of course, in more than just dealing with the insurance company.

I didn't commemorate a week of her death, or a month.  Her due date was commemorated with her memorial service.  I don't foresee myself especially marking three months, or six, but perhaps I will.  Right now, grief is at the same high level every day, and there's no reason for me to stop and say "Oh, it's been this long", because it all feels like one long day.

Still, it's the everyday things that get you.  The van is parked, broken down, and to go anywhere we walk half a mile to the bus stop and as we go I feel Psalm's lack; she should be tied to my chest in the mei tai, carried along up next to my heart.

Halloween is a favorite holiday of ours (as so many other people), and when I first found out I was due in late October I started thinking of a teeny tiny Halloween costume and it fucking sucks to be walking through Wal-Mart and see all the tiny little Halloween-themed onesies and pajamas and have no baby to buy them for.

And there are babies everywhere; October is high time for them because January is so cold.  Some time ago, at Wal-Mart to buy some things we needed, I saw a tiny little brown-haired baby girl who couldn't have been more than a week or two old, as Psalm would have been, and I had to go outside and cry where her parents couldn't see me.  San Antonio is a bad town to have brown-haired baby girls make you cry, but I have since discovered that seeing any newborn hurts like hell.  Clearly, I should just stop going out, but of course that is not practical.

I can feel her with me.  Not a ghost, unless ghosts are a manifestation of the survivors' sadness, but she was my sixth child and after five children you know how a baby feels in your arms.  And my arms are empty, but I can feel where she should be; I can feel her small weight as though she were there, and perfect.  I think often of how much she looked like her daddy, and how dark and wavy her hair was and how like Marie she would be.  Strong, stubborn little girl.

Grief is a strange thing.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

So many things...

It occurs to me that I haven't posted very many photos of Psalm here, so I am to rectify that today...


I would take your pain away and hurt for you if I could, but I fear that doing so would mean taking away some of the love you feel as well, because those are the two sides of the same coin.  Still, I hate like hell that there is anyone else out there who knows exactly how I feel.

There's been another baby born to the support group, a wee tiny boy who lived a quarter of an hour.  And oh, my God, the pain.  The remembered pain.  I ache for his mother because now the pain isn't an abstract thing, it's an exact thing.  I know how it feels to wake up with empty arms and empty womb and oh, my friends, I cannot explain it to you and I hope like hell all you can do is imagine it yourselves.


God's cruelty is refining. (Stephen King, Desperation)

There are dark thoughts that will not leave my mind.  No thoughts of harm or wishing I wasn't here.  Nothing that serious.  Worries about my girl.  When she opened her mouth at me and grimaced at first I thought she was in pain, but I rationalized it as her trying to cry.  But what if I'm wrong?  What if those were frantic gasps for breath, with underdeveloped lungs too small to pull in air?

Just the same, she opened her eyes and looked at me and I saw there the wise look that all newborns have.  But someone else interpreted her look as fright.  What if she was right?  What if Psalm was frightened by the lights, by the noise, by her own failing body?

How much of what we tell ourselves about death is true, and how much of it is lies to make ourselves feel better?  We presume there is little to no pain, that it is somehow a serene slipping away, but there's no way to know that's true.  And that troubles me, because I made the best decision I could for her but there's always the chance that my choices were the wrong ones.


We mamas of lost babies have been called strong.  After a while, this becomes a burden.  We're not strong.  We're just doing what we have to, just putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward because while your heart is beating and you are breathing, there is no other choice.

I have no strength left in me.  None.  I have given all I have to other people, and I swear to God if I hear one more line about men being stoic and holding up things for their families I am going to scream.

We had Psalm's memorial service this past Tuesday, on my due date.  Dry-eyed, I arranged to have a photo blown up to display at the service, and I packed her green blanket and the little baby book from Sufficient Grace ministries to act as a guest book and I took them and I laid them out on the table.  I thought the service would be the time to cry; I told the girls this was the time we are given to be sad.  But I'm the one who had to stand up and be strong for those who were crying.  I'm the one who has shed her tears hiding in the bathroom more often than not so I don't bring others down.  I'm the one who went outside after seeing her death certificate and her ashes so I would bother no one with my grief.  I'm the one who kept quiet about how fucking much it hurt to have a friend's child born on my due date because I didn't want to upset my husband with the knowledge it was happening or the friend with the knowledge of how painful it was.  I hurt physically and emotionally and I am sucking up both sources of pain because that's just what the fuck I do.


Just fucking once, I wish someone would speak of my daughter as though she was a normal baby.  As though her presence was the presence of a real person, not the embodiment of...something.

I posted to Facebook the video the midwife gave us of her moving around and making faces and kicking me in the face.  When it happened, it was a happy moment because here I am cut open on a table and my newborn is kicking me in the face.  Yep, she's my kid for sure.  Grouchy as fuck and kicking.  There was nothing beautiful or precious or anything about that.  It was the closest thing to a moment of normalcy we got that day.  But I guess it's not realistic to ask other people to look past the circumstances and see the moment for the moment.  I realize Psalm isn't really real to most people, and that most folks have a problem with seeing any newborn as a 100% human human, but I just want some tiny little slice of normal to cling to because otherwise this is just an ongoing nightmare.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

All that girl wants to be is loved....


What we have done is not because of being strong.

It is not because of pro-life beliefs.

It is not because of faith.

All of those things are there, perhaps.  But the reason we continued this pregnancy without a second thought, even though we knew the heartbreak that awaited us at the end of the road, is simple:

Love.

That is the reason.  I loved this child from the moment I suspected I was carrying her.  I will love her until the day I die, and (God willing) in the life beyond this one.

This has long been my favorite Bible verse, 1 Corinthians 13:1:

If I speak with the tongues of men or of angels, but have not love, I am but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

The ending verse of the chapter (the one that contains the "Love is patient, love is kind..." bit that is read at so many weddings) is more famous, and equally applicable here:

Three things remain: faith, hope, and love.  And the greatest of these is love.

It is all about love.  Jesus said "This is my commandment.  Love one another as I have loved you."  (John 15:12, remarkably nearly the same in every translation.)  I'm nowhere near Jesus levels of love, but I love as much as I can.

My uncle, who was like a father to me, was Wiccan; they believe in a Spiral of Rebirth, rather similar to the Hindu belief in reincarnation, where you are reborn as many times as you need to learn the lessons you need.  And I was thinking about this, and the question arose "What could a person need to learn that a 90-minute life is long enough?"  And the answer is obvious.  She needed to be loved.  And so she was.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sometimes it comes out of nowhere

I was listening to Pandora last night.  Otis Redding radio.  Motown, in other words.

A song came on.  "Little Bitty Pretty One."  And suddenly I was almost in tears.

I sang that song to all my kids but one.  I didn't sing it to Psalm.  There was too much else going on for me to think of singing to her at all, to be honest.  Singing to my babies is an intimate thing.  I've always sung their first song to them when it was just the two of us.  And it was never just the two of us.

But I did play her her song, "She Will Be Free".  So there's that, at least.

Not that it's enough.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

She will be free...

I'm always about a week behind in updating things, and this is no different.

Woke up early last Wednesday.  We'd made the decision to go ahead and schedule a c-section, being that it would give us the best chance of meeting our baby girl alive.  This was on Monday.  We wanted to schedule things when everyone could be there--Erik's mom, our priest, the photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.

Around 8 o'clock, about 20 minutes after I got up, I felt the first mild contraction.  We decided to take the girls to McDonald's for breakfast and see what happened.  Got in touch with my mother and all went to eat.  By the time the phone calls were made--and along with them, the tentative decision to schedule surgery for the coming Monday--the contractions were coming every three to five minutes.  I'd told Erik about them but no one else.  As we were getting ready to make an HEB run, my mother said she'd stay behind and I frantically mouthed to her that I was having contractions.  We still didn't want to tell the girls anything.

So we made a quick stop at HEB.  Contractions kept coming.  Noticeable but not painful.  We went home and I took a shower and had Erik call in and they said to go ahead and come in.  So we made sure we had everything--prayer shawl, clothes for her, camera (I'd had Erik buy a 4-pack of batteries while we were at HEB, so we had brand new ones), things for the kids to keep themselves occupied.  Erik called his mom and she started in this direction, and called everyone else to let them know we were headed to the hospital to see what was going on.  I called my best friend, Mark, and he said he'd find a way to the hospital.  I made a Facebook post.

We got to the hospital, got parked, went in (with a stop at the restroom for one last belly picture), and went in to Labor & Delivery.  I managed to make it through checking in and registering OK, but in the bathroom where you change--the same one where I'd changed while in labor with Doug--with some other baby's healthy heartbeat filling the air, I broke down for the first time.  And then I got myself together just in time to have to explain to the triage nurse that she might not be able to find a heartbeat, because the baby had a fatal diagnosis and I hadn't felt her move the night before.

And of course, she couldn't.

But then the midwife came in, with the sono machine, and they found her and her little beating heart back on the left side of my body where she'd spent most of her time rather than the right side where she'd been on Monday.

They'd called Erik back at some point, and he was there for the discussion with Katie, the midwife I'd only seen once during my pregnancy, about having a c-section.  She said she'd scrub in and act as nurse and the nurse in L&D triage, Heather, would scrub in as well and stick with us and help out however she could.  A third woman, whose name I don't recall, offered to take our camera and take pictures.

There was one more c-section ahead of me, then they'd get us back there.  Katie went to talk with Dr. Beceiro, one of the OBs in the practice the midwives are attached to, and in the meantime my husband was brought OR clothes and got to watch as I was shaved and otherwise prepped.  This whole time, I'm having regular, acutely painful, contractions, but the monitor was on Psalm-Angel's heartbeat and it was fast and regular and the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.

After a while, Dr. Beceiro came in.  There was a snag in the plan.  Because of the short cord and the baby's organs being fused to the placenta, she was afraid she would have to do a c-section with a classical incision.  This drastically increased my risk of uterine rupture in future pregnancies and meant deliveries would  have to be made between 35 and 37 weeks to avoid any problems.  I knew she wasn't exaggerating--two of the women in the support group on Facebook had had classical incision c-sections and subsequent uterine ruptures.  I could be one more and done, but the risk would still be there.

So we changed plans again.  I'd labor a while longer and we'd see if a vaginal birth was possible.  I'd been checked by Katie and determined to be 1cm dilated.  We'd let things go another few hours, and check again to see if there was any progress.  If not, we'd move ahead with the c-section plan.

After an indeterminate waiting period, we got back to a labor and delivery room.  There was a big couch, and a chair, and the usual warmer setup.  It was incredibly similar to what I'd seen with Doug.  I went to the restroom and then toted my IV pole--I was on fluids to ensure I stayed hydrated enough there'd be no problems with anesthesia--to the bed and climbed in, lying on my left side. My glasses were put on the bedside table.  I cuddled Erik close and tried my damnedest to relax during contractions.

At one point, the on-duty chaplain came in.  Wonder of wonders, she was Episcopalian.  She anointed me and prayed with us.  Psalm-Angel could not, she said, be baptized once she passed, but she could be blessed.  She brought the kids in a few at a time for hugs and kisses and promised to return in a couple of hours with a book and some literature.

Heather, who'd come over from L&D, came back and hooked me up to the heartbeat monitor again.  Psalm-Angel's little heartbeat filled the air.  Katie came in and checked me--still 1cm.  No change.  By then I'd been in labor 8 hours, so it was fairly obvious nothing would change.  I had tried, but a c-section it would be. I was terrified of the specter of a classical incision and the decision of how many children to have being taken away from us.

Things moved fairly quickly after that.  The priest stopped by one more time and gave us the promised books and pamphlets, commiserated with us about the surgery, and said another prayer for all of us, including something in there about guidance for the surgeons.  By 5:32 I was in the OR facing my other big fear--anesthesia.  I'd last had a c-section ten years earlier, and placing the spinal had taken longer than the surgery.  As I told everyone involved, I'd quit counting after the fifth attempt to stick me.

The anesthesiologist this time was much better.  It only took two very quick pokes and he had the epidural placed.  I was unsure about this rather than a spinal, as I'd been bullied into an epidural with Marie that hadn't given me much relief at all.  But this time it took quickly and well, and I was numb in almost no time at all.  Erik was brought in from his nervous hallway wait, the room filled with personnel, and things got started.

The thing with epidurals is that they can evidently have a "window" where the anesthesia suddenly works poorly or not at all, and I was lucky enough to develop one of those toward the left side.  The pain was abrupt and unexpected, but honestly no worse than natural childbirth.  I told the anesthesiologist right away that it had started to hurt like hell, and he sent more medicine down as the doctor was, it felt like, trying to yank my innards out forcibly.  It was explained to me that this was them breaking up scar tissue--they hadn't gotten to the baby yet.  I closed my eyes, gripped Erik's hand tightly, and tried to breathe through the pain.

Suddenly, there was a commotion, something was said to me, and a baby was laid on my bare chest.  She was wrapped in a couple of blue-and-green OR blankets or something similar, her arms and head free.  She opened her little mouth in what first looked like a grimace of pain but I realized was an attempt to cry.  I wrapped an arm around her and kissed her wet little head and when she opened her eyes and gave me that wise newborn look, I lost my composure yet again and started to cry.  I kissed her over and over and told her how much I loved her and how glad I was to meet her and how sorry I was to not be able to fix her.  She opened her eyes a second time to see her daddy, tried again to cry, and kicked me in the face with the little foot that had been up by her face for however long.  She closed her eyes and I thought she had died, but the midwife came and checked and said she was still alive.  Erik held her.  Many pictures were taken.

They took her off to the warmer and I think Erik went with them and they got her detached from the placenta and wrapped in the more familiar white with pink and blue stripes hospital blankets, and the little pink and blue cap covering a huge amount of hair.  They discovered she was improbably hanging on and brought her back to my chest.  I was told I could take the other arm too and hold her, so I wrapped both arms around her and went back to crying and kissing her.  I told her she could go home whenever she needed to, but I was sure glad to have her.

Then, good news.  Because of the time I'd spent laboring--time I'd felt wasted because of the outcome--it turned out the doctor was able to do a c-section with just the low transverse incision.  No classical.  No on-purpose preterm babies.

We were moved back to a recovery room.  I had her in my arms the whole time.  The kids and  my mother and Erik's mother and Mark all came back to see her.  She had her eyes closed, lying on my chest.  Everyone saw her and fussed over her and kissed her.  I held her.  I saw her lips were turning dark.  At some point I felt her fly away.  I don't know how I knew she was gone, but I did.  Family out, Mark still there, the midwife checked her again and said she had no heartbeat.  A neonatologist was called in to pronounce her dead.  Mark was there.  Ashley, the older of Erik's two sisters, came back at one point with her daughter Hadley, and stayed momentarily.  Then they both left.

Still, we stayed.  My daughter, now lifeless, lay on my chest.  I stroked her dark hair and her smooth cheeks, tried not to notice how little of her there was.  I'd declined the chance to see her unwrapped as Erik had.  Going into it, I had thought I would want to see everything, but at the time I just could not.

Psalm-Angel Guadalupe was born 24th September 2014, at 6:10PM.  She was pronounced dead at 7:48PM, a technical lifetime of an hour and thirty-eight minutes, though as I said I know she passed before that.  As far as babies with LBWC go, it was a long life.  I've been told of one baby who lived two hours, but most lived for much, much shorter times.  As I said some time ago, the miracle I prayed for was to have her born alive, and that is the miracle I was given.  Ask, and it shall be given unto you.

There are other things to talk about.  Her bath.  How lovely she looked in her dress and blanket.  Her Baptism by the on-call chaplain, a Baptist minister who arrived shortly after she was pronounced.  Her professional photographs.  But these things run together in my mind.

What stands out is this.  She was born.  She looked at me with the same utter love that my other newborns have.  She spent very nearly all her life in my arms or her father's.  She knew nothing, nothing but love her whole life.

I woke up in the hospital the next morning, in pain from the surgery, aching to hold my daughter, and this song was in my head...not the one I expected, but a good one, and fitting

She will be free
like the leaves floating in the wind and the stream.
She will not be bound
by anything that tries to drag her down.
All that girl wants to be is loved.
Her heart is a river in my blood.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

35 weeks

These are my tickers:



These are just guesses, really.  I probably don't have thirty-five days left.  But I'm already past what I thought I'd get, so I'm out of making guesses.

Time to revisit the births since I have some new info thanks to the support group.  I finally found not one but two people who delivered at 37 weeks! So, current info:

  • 27 weeks: 1 birth
  • 28 & 29 weeks: 1 birth
  • 30,  31,  35, 37 & 38 weeks: 2 births
  • 32 weeks: 5 births
  • 33 weeks: 4 births
  • 34 weeks: 7 births
  • 36 weeks: 3 births
Thirty-four weeks is still the most common, but I'm already past that.  Average length if my math is correct is 33.25 weeks.  I'm already past that.

Here's what it looks like from here on out:
  • 35 weeks:  2 births
  • 36 weeks: 3 births
  • 37 weeks: 2 births
  • 38 weeks: 2 births
So, from here on out 36 weeks is the most common time, but there's barely any difference.

I'm already thinking I've won the lottery insofar as this condition goes.  I mean, not that there's a happy ending, but this pregnancy has lasted longer than I expected.  Out of 32 total births that I have the info for, only 9 have lasted at least 35 weeks.  Tiny sample size, to be sure, but to me it's still significant.

Baby Girl seems to be doing pretty well in there.  I mentioned to the midwife at last week's appointment that she was moving a lot more than I expected her to.  She had somehow managed to move a little bit past midline on my stomach; Lauren found her heartbeat on the right side instead of the left.  I am pretty sure she's moved back to the left, but I still feel her reaching over to the right a little bit.  It's pretty cool.

I'm still not in a good place emotionally, but I'm trying hard to appreciate what I do have.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fleeting

Lately this has all seemed incredibly unreal.

Today I have made it to thirty-four weeks.  I've had a few Braxton-Hicks contractions, but that's it.  The baby is moving quite a bit, I felt her just as I wrote the previous sentence.  I've felt kicks or something at the top of my stomach; I feel a huge amount of movement down at the bottom, little hands tapping, little head butting.  Midwife appointments have been mostly routine--I've gained a pound here and there, excellent blood pressure, baby's heart rate is good, uterus is growing as per usual.

Everything is normal.  Except, you know, for what isn't.

I'm a smart gal.  Intellectually, I got this back in May.  That bubble above baby girl's abdomen--where all her organs should be--was so very obvious on the ultrasound I saw it and noted it long before I knew what it was.  There's no question here, no equivocation.

But lately I've been having a hard time with it.  Harder than in the recent past, even.  We had boy and girl names both picked out before we went to the ultrasound.  I'm happy with the name she will have, and I've no interest in changing my mind, but in the back of my brain I keep wanting to call her by her other name, because goddamn it this is all so normal.  I can't be waiting to kiss Psalm goodbye; I must be waiting to bring Susan home.  Intellectually I know what will happen, but my lizard brain won't believe me because I know how pregnancy goes and this is a normal pregnancy and that means things must be fine.  (I suspect this is how one keeps from becoming a gibbering fool, by the way.)

The childbirth dreams have come back, with an unearthly tinge of nightmare to them.  I've awoken in the middle of the night and been shocked that my amniotic sac is intact and the contractions were ephemeral.  I dread childbirth every single time, of course, because it hurts like fuck even with the good drugs, but this time it's ten times worse.  I am terrified.  Scared the baby will come on a weekend when the older girls are with their father.  Scared I somehow won't have time to get to the hospital.  Scared there will be hemorrhaging.  Scared I'll wind up in surgery.

And...I just want to be past this.  I want to be done with it.  I want to at least know whether I have two days or two weeks or another month or something altogether different.  I want to be able to wrap my daughter in my arms and bring her home with me and have her take her rightful place as the much-prayed-for fifth girl.  But at the same time I can't bring her home, I know that, and I don't want her to go anywhere.  I want to keep on feeling her little hands every morning and afternoon when she taps me to say Hi, Mom.  I want them to have been wrong but I know they weren't and it's just fucking overwhelming.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

One more day

Really, 12 more hours.  And then I will be out of August.  Baby girl is doing good at the moment, I've had two periods of easy-to-feel movement today.  So it looks as though I won't have to worry about an August baby after all.

Little victories.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Strong girl.

Thirty-two weeks and some change today.  I made a ticker, just so I can check it here:


baby development

Baby girl is wiggling more than I thought possible.  Her heart rate is still strong, in the 150s again this morning.

Midwife at last week's appointment said Psalm-Angel is tough.  I've said I'm not strong, but she sure is.  And she's my kid, too, so she's stubborn as hell.

I know it won't matter in the end, but for now I will enjoy it as long as I can.

I am at that horrible point where I am simultaneously wanting things over with because they are so damned stressful and terror that they will end soon.  I mean, I don't actually want this pregnancy to be over with, because it means my daughter's life will be, but there is an absolute heaviness to the waiting and the not knowing.

And suddenly, there is nothing more for me to say today.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

The hardest part, for me...

…is not the knowing what, but the not knowing when.

We know what's going to happen, and we get ever so closer to it with every tick of the clock. And Every day I wake up wondering, will this be the day? And it's so damn hard.

I still don't know what I'm going to do. This is all entirely new to me...

Her little face


Somehow, knowing that Psalm-Angel is a girl has me feeling more connected to her.  It wasn't a piece of information that meant a huge amount to me...until I had it.

Thursday's appointment involved an ultrasound to make sure she's in a position where she can be delivered vaginally.  Though I was told the tech would be the same one who performed my anatomy ultrasound, it was someone different.  This woman was much nicer and gave us three 3D pictures of Psalm-Angel's little face.  She managed to get better photos than the woman at BabyVision, even (though I still think what we got there was amazing).  She seemed surprised by how vigorous the baby is and how much she was moving around.  As always, baby girl is doing just fine as long as she's inside me.

I went into the appointment scared, because I barely felt any movement at all for three days leading up to it.  The morning of, while waiting for Erik to come out of Valero with drinks, I listened to this song on YouTube on his phone, and she gave me a good strong kick, and I nearly cried:




And now, we are back in waiting mode.  The end of the journey is that much closer (and the gestational age on that picture is nearly two weeks off!), and it's going to hurt like fuck, but I'm starting to understand how much this time benefits me.  There is so much I would have missed out on had I gone the usual route.

In other news, one more baby from the support group has been born into God's arms.  No blog to link to this time.  Another girl.

Tuesday is my birthday.  It'll suck; my birthday almost always does.  As long as I don't go into labor on/have the baby on it, though, I'll consider things a success.

Friday, August 8, 2014

I must admit

I am jealous.

Jealous of ultrasound pictures of babies with smooth, perfect bellies.

Jealous of newborn photos with smiling parents and happiness and all the hope for the future that is the norm.

Jealous of belly pictures and professional maternity pictures and people buying baby gear for their healthy baby.

Jealous, even, of positive pregnancy tests, because I know the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of a healthy, normal pregnancy.

I mean, I'm happy these women are having normal pregnancies.  I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

But I want what they have, and it's not a usual feeling for me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Yesterday was a good day.



Yesterday morning, we had our 3D ultrasound at BabyVision Ultrasound.

Right ear.  Baby looks so much like Doug here.
 I hadn't intended at first to get a 3D ultrasound, though we'd floated the idea.  It just didn't seem right to see the baby ahead of that first meeting.  But given the very real possibility of a stillbirth, the idea of seeing the baby alive obviously took on greater significance.



Now, we went into this intending to pay for it.  We don't make a habit of asking for things for free.  But when Erik explained the situation, they offered to do it gratis.  Given that, I expected a fairly cursory scan and a few pictures.  What we were actually given, though, was a 15-minute scan, seven printed pictures, a CD with 31 photos, and a DVD of the whole scan.  This doesn't neatly fit into any of their packages, but the closest one is $200.  We also wanted to buy a Heartbeat Bear, which is a teddy bear that has a recording of the baby's heartbeat inside, but they gave that to us without charge as well.
This is the heartbeat bear.

So there was that aspect of it; it was amazingly generous.  But the more important aspect of it is one that I can't quantify.  The woman who did our ultrasound was incredibly friendly, and enthusiastic about Psalm-Angel.  She treated the ultrasound like a normal ultrasound and Psalm-Angel like a normal baby.  She showed us his/her ear and arm and leg.  We saw the heartbeat up on the screen.  It was all really amazing.


You can see the baby's heart pretty clearly here.

We had another midwife appointment that afternoon.  It was pretty run-of-the-mill except for needing to take my glucose tolerance test; this required drinking what I called the Devil's Kool-Aid.  I didn't have any trouble with it last pregnancy, but I barely got it down this time around, and got pretty woozy after my blood draw.



That draw also included three vials for the MaterniT21 test.  This is generally used to check for chromosomal defects, but in my case it is more to determine the baby's sex, since there's no other way to do it.  So we'll eventually be doing a reveal for that, which isn't something I ever expected to find myself doing.  It's OK though.



When I was there, I asked Kim whether we could get a printout strip of the baby's heartbeat.  She was willing, and had one of the nurses walk me down to the NST room--the same one where I had my non-stress test for Doug--and I was hooked up for about half an hour and got a nice long strip.  It was good to see, and amusing to hear the baby smacking against the heartrate monitor.

Printout of the baby's heart rate, from the office.

With all this, I very nearly feel a sense of closure.  Of readiness.  I told the baby yesterday, Just a few more days until your sisters get home.  Give me one more week and then you can go home whenever you need to.

Obviously, I don't want it to end this soon.  But I am feeling more ready to face it.

You can see the omphalocele clearly in this picture.

Today I am feeling a bit fragile.  I think this is my new normal for now.  The baby's positioning has me worried.  S/he seems to have an arm up above his/her head and a leg up in front of his/her face.  I am not sure what that means for a vaginal delivery.  I'm going to the midwives weekly from now on, and plan to take a print-out to discuss it next week.

If you look just above the baby's head, you can see both the arm and the leg going up.

The other thing that has me a bit worried is the baby's heart rate.  Until yesterday, it was holding steadily in the 140s, as all my babies' have.  Yesterday it was 123 or so at the ultrasound, 130-something in-office, and varied from the 120s to the 140s most of the time I was hooked up to the monitor, with a couple of worrisome drops into the 90s.  Anywhere from 120 to 160 is normal.  A change from mid-range to the low end makes me nervous, though.  In researching the normal range yesterday evening, I ran across a couple of mentions of the heart rate slowing down closer to birth, but even that said the norm was in the 130s.

This is the heart rate displayed on screen. Very neat.

So I think we may be nearing the end, and even though I am as ready as I'll ever be, I'll never really be ready.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I said in an earlier post I thought there was only one other woman in the support group I belong to who was also pregnant.  I was wrong.  There are a handful or more.  I'm not sure how many entirely.

I started to write a post yesterday, and didn't, and it turned out to be a good decision as these things go, because things have changed.

The thing about a diagnosis like LBWC is this.  You know the outcome.  You just don't know when the outcome will happen.

This week, two women in the group have birthed and lost their babies.  One, on Wednesday, who was in the same week of pregnancy I am in.  I read her announcement as I was feeling Psalm-Angel move around inside me.  The other was just today; she was further along.  But the outcome was still the same.

***

On a different note, I want to update my earlier research into how long these pregnancies last with info from the support group (I've done my best to ensure I didn't repeat anyone whose story I have from elsewhere, but it is a possibility).

Previous info looked like this:

  • 28, 29, 30, 35,  36, & 38 weeks each had 1 birth.
  • 31 weeks had two births
  • 34 weeks had 3 births
  • 32 weeks had 4 births.
 This is the new info:

  • 27 weeks: 1 birth
  • 28 & 29 weeks: 1 birth
  • 30,  31,  35 & 38 weeks: 2 births
  • 32 weeks: 5 births
  • 33 weeks: 4 births
  • 34 weeks: 6 births
  • 36 weeks: 3 births
So, that's actually a pretty big difference.  Twenty-nine births total.  New average is 32.9 weeks, so almost 33 weeks, but 34 weeks has the highest number total.  Still, only two people have made it to term.  (Term being 37+ weeks, and what an odd thing it is that no one has given birth in week 37.)

Not sure how much meaning any of it has, but somehow math is comforting

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sigh.

Overheard at work today...

"How's the baby? It's getting close, yeah? October?"

Sigh. "Yeah." It's getting close, all right...

I'm still here. Still not curled up in the fetal position at the prospect of losing our son/daughter, but that sure as hell isn't to say that I don't want to be, or that I'm not having a hard time with this. I'm going along as best I can, but there are still some days.

Like I said elsewhere before, though, sometimes I don't cry. Sometimes my anguish just channels itself into my hands shaking...