Elegy for Amy

15w3d December 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 9:40 pm

Let me tell you a little bit about NewBaby, whose nickname has been changed to FlailBaby (and who actually has, I think, a real name already but we’re still testing it out).

FlailBaby, they’re pretty sure, is a boy. Our son. We’re having a son. And I didn’t know it was possible so soon, but he appears to be the spitting image of his father. Right down to the nose, which we got a close-up profile shot of that could be an ultrasound of Dan’s profile as easily as this baby’s.

FlailBaby never stops moving, hence the new nickname. We went in for our 9 week ultrasound, when the baby is kind of baby shaped but the size of a kidney bean, and the tech kept saying, “look how much it’s moving!” But it didn’t look like much, then. We went for our 12 week ultrasound, and before the wand was even all the way down on my stomach, we see this BABY. Bucking wildly, every which way. Dance party of one, in my uterus. Watching him, it was hard to believe I couldn’t feel this yet. About a week later, I started feeling little flutters, the faintest tap dance across my entire abdomen, the kind of movement you might expect to feel if your child’s main pastime is gyrating his entire body wildly. Then two weeks after that, 15 weeks, another ultrasound. He’s getting more crowded in there, but still flailing around, nonstop. The ultrasound tech, “did you eat something sweet? Orange juice? Are you SURE?”

I mentioned all of this to Dan’s mom, who told me that Dan flailed around so much in the womb that he would actually knock her off-balance.

And FlailBaby, hilariously flailing FlailBaby, is loooong. His organs and important bits all measure normally. His arm and leg bones, however, are measuring more than a week ahead. His father is 6’7″. This is what happens when you procreate with giants, I assume. As I eye Dan’s enormous head warily. His father was born weighing 10 pounds. And suddenly I’m kind of glad that 38 weeks is the longest they’ll let me go…

And he’s ours. We already love him fiercely. Strange how it fills a hole while also making us ever more aware of what’s missing.

 

Cerclage(s!) December 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 10:17 pm

It’s pretty hard to type while laying as flat as possible at all times. Today is Day 4 of bed rest, and since out of a team of 6 OBs mine was the only one who thought “full” bed rest was required past Day 2, I’m taking some liberties today – just a few, a few hours sitting slightly reclined instead of laying flat, and an extra trip downstairs. And so I give you an actual update post.

The surgery went well Saturday, after a fairly excruciating 3 hour delay that involved my being hooked up unnecessarily to an IV and thus laying flat in bed before the procedure even started, not to mention not having eaten all day. That is really the worst thing that happened though, so I can’t complain much. The anesthesiologist came in and said given the procedure and my Lovenox shots, he’d be more comfortable doing monitored IV sedation (a version of general anesthesia that does not require intubation) than spinal anesthesia. I nearly leapt out of the bed with joy. Apparently the downside of this is that my doctor would have to put up with more involuntary movements, which she had no trouble with. Added upside: this meant I was asleep for the entirety of the procedure.

The whole thing took about 45 minutes once I was wheeled in, and the doctor actually put in two cerclages and was very happy with the placement she was able to get. My biggest surprise was that it hurt. Like, a fair amount. The doctors have all downplayed this procedure so much, oh it’s no big deal, it barely even counts as a surgery, that I didn’t realize how much pain I would have afterwards, and that was fairly alarming particularly considering my contractions with Amy felt just like bad cramping. So to anyone getting a cerclage, I’d say, just be warned. It’s not horrible, and they give you drugs, but I was in a decent amount of pain for all of the first day. By the second day, I had no pain when laying in bed, but would have a fair amount of cramping anytime I got up or moved around. Today is really the first day I haven’t had any pain at all to speak of.

So we go back Friday for our ultrasound to make sure it’s all good in there, and then I am a free woman again!

And a strange thing about the hospital. I am pretty sure every single hospital employee we spoke with while there, from check-in desk to nurses to anesthesiologists, every single one asked me, “is this your first?” And I wanted to be like, well, obviously not, right, or I wouldn’t be here. Because if a woman comes in for a preventative cerclage, there’s only one reason – she has a dead baby. A second trimester loss is literally the only reason that a doctor would place a cerclage on a woman preventatively. And while I can excuse the check-in desk shouldn’t the nursing staff maybe be aware of that? Or just, I don’t know, not ask that question in general? So, no, this isn’t our first, but we’re hoping like hell that by doing this we get to bring the second one home.

 

Good to Go December 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 4:47 pm

Surgery went well yesterday; I’m now the proud owner of not one but two cervical stitches. On bedrest for the rest of the week and still kind of groggy from the anesthesia, but things went well and we are, I hope I hope I hope, good to go. Will update more later.

 

Fearless December 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 3:37 pm

I’ve always kind of envied fearless people. I’ve never been one of them – I’m anxious, I worry about everything, no statistic is too small to be considered as a distinct possibility. Other people do crazy things – jump out of airplanes, bungee jump off bridges, climb up mountains – me, I get nervous every time I merge onto the highway.

I’ve envied those people, but I also think being fearless is crazy. Not being afraid of anything seems the definition of insanity. Our ingrained survival instinct makes us fearful for a reason – our own safety. My survival instinct is, I think, just kind of overactive.

But since losing Amy, I find myself thinking more and more, that what I’m doing right now is pretty damn fearless, too. That maybe “fearless” doesn’t have to mean not having fears – fears are natural, normal, and often justifiable. Maybe it’s pretty fearless to have those fears and decide to do it anyway. Maybe you don’t have to actually BE fearless, but rather just LIVE fearless.

I am afraid, every day. Afraid that we’ll lose this baby, too. Afraid to hope for too much. I was afraid to be pregnant again, and who could blame me? I’m afraid of my surgery tomorrow, and who could blame me? I’m afraid even of the spinal block I’ve agreed to. But maybe what’s important is – I’m doing it anyway. I’m afraid, but that doesn’t run my life, anymore. And maybe that’s just as fearless, in its own way.

 

13w4d December 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 7:17 pm

We’re calling this week the March to the Cerclage. I am a nervous wreck. Funny, because before I was nervous about getting the cerclage, but ever since last week, when they said hey, your cervix isn’t really firm like it should be, I just want it done. Now. Every twinge, every ache, every cramp, every trip to the bathroom sends me into a tailspin. I have dreams all night about preterm labor. I’m horizontal any time I can be. If I could, I’d go check myself into the hospital right now until they do the deed. I just want it done, over with. To be on the other side of it, thinking all the positive thoughts for NewBaby and happily ticking off the weeks that get us closer and closer to a happy ending.

 

Incompetent at Worst December 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 12:00 am

This is a hard post to write, but I know I need to write it. (Everything is fine, right now, everything is fine – I feel like I need to preface every post with that.)

Normally I have my ultrasounds and my OB visits on the same day, but due to the holidays that wasn’t possible this time. So I had my ultrasound, which I posted about, and then the next morning was my OB visit. We discussed my cerclage and set a date (December 22). The doctor took some cultures, “just in case.” And then she wanted to check my cervix, just to make sure it’s still firm.

It’s not.

And it’s still okay – were it really bad, I’d already have that cerclage in. But, to quote the doctor, my cervix simply “doesn’t have that oomph” that you’d expect at this early stage. It’s not soft yet, but it’s not firm, either. It’s not how it’s supposed to be. And that’s kind of scary, but there’s so much more.

They were never able to sort out what happened to Amy. Did I have an infection? Incompetent cervix that led to labor? Preterm labor that led to dilation? No one knows which of these things came first, and so all were reasonable conclusions. So the plan this time was, I guess, to sort of preventatively treat for all of them. My high-risk doctor was convinced it was incompetent cervix, but it was impossible to prove as I didn’t present in the typical fashion. And so we came to the cerclage decision, something I eventually decided I was willing to do because I’d hate to need it and not have it, but I wondered constantly, is this necessary? Am I just adding on trouble?

And now we have proof, a second time around, here is my cervix, malfunctioning. Not colossally, not galactically, but it’s not how it’s supposed to be, and that combined with my history makes the answer, finally, obvious: incompetent cervix. That’s why Amy’s no longer with us. A random, rare condition that we had no reason to suspect or check for. Nothing we could have done differently. It wasn’t my fault, really and truly and 100% there is nothing that could have been changed.

And that’s a relief. A huge weight off, really. But it’s also so fucking sad. There is supposed to be something you can do. Babies don’t just DIE, for no reason, due to stupid rare conditions no one would have any reason to look for. They shouldn’t, anyway, but they do, and mine did, and knowing why gives us sudden closure, but it’s also unlocked another grief treasure chest. This is why our baby died.

The worst part is that it’s supposed to be worse every time. Cerclage and careful monitoring the only treatment. I sure as hell hope it works.

 

12w3d December 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 10:58 pm

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Hanging out in this scary almost-second-trimester land, close enough to see the place where we lost Amy and just hoping so hard to get far, far past it. Before 12 weeks, you don’t really feel anything, pregnancy-wise, but then the random pains, aches, cramps, and **sensations** begin. Normal sensations. But every twinge has me on high alert, and suddenly it just feels like there is something in there. Because, you know, there is.

NewBaby gave me a bit of a scare on Friday night, when I had some achiness and just wanted the reassurance of hearing that little thumpthumpthump on the Doppler. I couldn’t find it. I waited four hours, and still, nothing. And it’s still so early, really, that I knew not to worry too much, but thank you, NewBaby, for showing yourself on Saturday. The relief I felt to hear you again can not be overstated.

We had our NT scan today, which is the ultrasound where they check for markers for Down syndrome and a couple of other genetic abnormalities. It’s also, more importantly if you don’t have many risk factors for these, the first chance to really see the baby in all its baby-shaped glory. Three weeks ago, NewBaby was a vaguely baby-shaped blob roughly the size of a cashew. Today, NewBaby is, well – a baby. Very much a baby. And as his mother predicted, NewBaby is an extremely active little fetus, kicking, bucking, flipping, flopping, this kid moves constantly. Unless the ultrasond tech needs a different angle, then it’s nap time.

Oh, and it looks like NewBaby is in fact, a he. I thought I would be more sad about that, but honestly I was just glad to see how well he was doing in there that it wouldn’t have mattered at all. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts about that later, but for now I am just grateful, and glad.