Elegy for Amy

23w4d February 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 2:47 am

23w4d. I remember that night so clearly, even though it should have been a blur. Coming off of the magnesium, I felt stoned and unhappy and it hurt to look at anything. We tried to watch the season premiere of Bones – which I stupidly forgot was the birth episode – but I was unfocused and out of it.

But I remember it so clearly, the danger lurking in the corner. I was off the magnesium and we would find out if that was all that was between us and labor. I wanted to sleep so we could wake up the next morning and be okay, but something was so obviously off that I couldn’t sleep more than 20 minutes at a time. I dozed, and Dan slept next to me in the hospital-issued pullout chair, and every 30 minutes I woke him up. “I don’t feel right,” I’d say. “I’m scared.” He’d sit with me and tell me it would be okay, until the moment, around 4:30 or 5 in the morning, when ┬áit became clear that everything would NOT be okay. And then he told me that. And that – him, us, that was the only part that was even remotely okay. Just after 7 AM, after less than an hour of active labor, our daughter was born. Stillborn. Two days too early for even that sliver of hope. 16 weeks and 2 days too early.

And now here we are again. And things are so different this time. I’m not in the hospital. I’m not in labor. I’m stitched up, medicated, my cervix is not as awesome as I’d like but it’s still plenty long and it’s still closed, and this baby is doing his thing in there, kicking away, practicing breathing, getting bigger every day.

Everything is different this time. But I’m still so afraid to sleep tonight.

 

Benched February 23, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 5:58 pm

Well, it happened. Bedrest! Fun!

Things are still okay. Really, WE’RE OKAY. Not bad, just not good, either. Neutral. I hesitate to write this post because I’m sure it will freak some of you out so I just want to assure you that our doctors are NOT freaked out, no one is alarmed and no one is talking early delivery. This is an overly cautious measure.

23 week ultrasound yesterday. The day I was hospitalized in labor with Amy. I was terrified, but last week’s power cervical length had me actually believing that we would get another “looks great” and be on our way to viability. We did not get a “looks great.” Or actually, we did get a “looks great,” and then we got a “hold on, let me see what the doctor thinks about this.”

My cervix is still closed, and it is still very long, more than 4 cm, but it is also doing something called funneling which means it is beginning to change. It opens a small amount at the top and then closes back up (so when the tech said, looks great, it was closed, and then she saw it start opening). This is a relatively common thing, in fact once you are in the third trimester it’s an expected thing, and it’s not alarming because of two things: 1)even with the funneling, at its shortest my cervix is still measuring 3.6 cm which is plenty of length. At 24 weeks anything over 2.5 cm is great, so 3.6 cm is still overachieving. And 2) it is not funneling all the way to the cerclage, which means the cerclage is NOT currently stopping it from opening, the cervix is holding up that amount of length on its own, which is great. But obviously no funneling would be better.

But I DO have the cerclage, and my cervix is still long and closed, so none of the doctors are worried about imminent delivery but they want to be, in their words, “overly cautious given [my] history.” So I’m on partial bedrest for the week until my next check on Friday, and 3 days of a drug called Indocin which is technically an anti-contraction med but has a side effect of lowering the volume of amniotic fluid, which they feel will relieve some of the pressure on my cervix. They said in these cases the common path is that this will resolve the funneling for now, I’ll be fine for another week or 2 or 3, then they’ll see some again and we’ll lather, rinse, repeat, preventatively. That sucks, but occasional preventative partial bedrest is 1000 times better than 20 weeks of full or hospital bedrest in imminent danger, and infinitely better than, you know, the other alternative. They are still talking about a full-term pregnancy in everything they say, which is good indeed.

But, given my history, and given that I am only 23 weeks, this also tells the doctors pretty much 100% that I have incompetent cervix, so kudos to them for making the right call in a field of fairly ambiguous evidence. If I didn’t already have a cerclage, they’d be putting one in based on this, so I am glad we listened to them and opted to get it early – it’s given us a lot of extra peace of mind in the interim and there would be a much bigger risk to baby now than there was then.

 

22w4d February 20, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 1:36 am

I’m still here. I’m still pregnant.

This plays in my mind on an endless loop right now. Tonight is the night that everything bad started, last time. In three days time, I would be in the hospital, and in 8 days, our daughter would be dead.

So here we are again. And I’m still pregnant. Counting down the hours and days until I am more pregnant than I’ve ever been is all I can do from here. Thinking about the dream ultrasound from Friday, knowing that it should mean we’ll make it there just fine.

 

GoGo Gadget Cervix February 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 1:05 am

Great news from our ultrasound yesterday, which totally warrants a second post this weekend: not only is my cervix still holding strong, but it’s actually grown longer, which is amazing news.

In case you don’t live and die on cervical measurements or really know anything about the cervix (I certainly didn’t until 10 months ago), basically it works like this: when you’re not pregnant, your cervix is normally long and a little bit open. Once you become pregnant, that sucker is supposed to seal up tight like Fort Knox, but it is also supposed to stay long until some time between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, when it (slowly) begins the process of preparing for birth, which involves shortening and opening way, way up. So, in conclusion, unless you are nearing full term, “short” and/or “open” is BAD, and “long” and “closed” is GOOD. The longer, the better.

So every time they check your cervix, this is a margin of error. It’s an ultrasound, not a ruler, and different techs measure in different spots. Up until 24 weeks, you want a length of between 3.5 and 4.5 cm. Mine has been measuring well at an average of 3.75 cm since my cerclage surgery at 14 weeks, across different techs, different machines, at different times. We’ve all been very happy with that. Yesterday, when I went in, mine was measuring a whopping 4.45 cm. Even accounting for margins of error, that’s at least .5 cm longer than it was last week, which is kind of a big deal. It means the progesterone shots they’re giving me are doing their job, and it means the odds of our getting to or near term are going way, way up, and that? That made us so happy that this morning we did this:

crib

 

Next stop, 23 weeks.

 

22w0d February 15, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 4:03 pm

Here we are, 22 weeks. This is going to be the hardest one. This is the week where everything went wrong, and I am dreading it but also looking so forward to getting past it. We have an ultrasound today and another next week at 23 weeks, and if there’s such a thing as prayer for me, well, I’m doing the closest thing to it I know.

And forging boldly onward, we bought a crib. The mattress is coming today. The precious tiny quilt and matching sheet came yesterday. There is a crib in my house, and that means someone’s going to need it, right?

In the moment where we buy these things, I feel like Superwoman, I feel free, I feel excited, I feel even relieved. Like, okay, YES, this is happening, see, it’s happening. And in the hours afterward, I worry that I’ve done something that’s going to break my heart if I have to undo. But who am I kidding – if that happens, won’t my heart be broken anyway?

To see it sitting there, leaning against the wall in the room that we hope will belong to NewBaby in a few months time, the crib feels like a good omen more than anything. A symbol of hope and a symbol of faith. Here I am, trusting that this time, things will be better. Here I am, planning for a living child. Here I am, turning my back to the terror lurking under the surface.

And the finding of the crib itself seemed oddly timed, oddly right. One night I realized that not buying these things was making me feel worse than buying them would, and so the next day, we went to Babies R Us, which is, you know, what people do. And every crib is the same, more or less, and they’re all kind of slick and modern and a little chintzy, and in the back at the same time, Dan and I spied this one. Old-timey and solid and different, somehow. The price was right, so we went to purchase it, only to find out this model was sold out, discontinued, and even the floor model couldn’t be sold because it wasn’t an actual crib but just a display and was missing some kind of safety thing. So we went home, a little disappointed, and I did a search on Craigslist. One listing came up. In the last three months, one person has put this crib up for sale, and it was the exact one we wanted, and it was listed just 24 hours prior. Like the stars aligned somehow, and here it was.

Please let the stars keep aligning. This crib wants a baby to sleep in it one day.

 

10 Year Night February 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 12:00 am

Today is a very special day. And while I know, once you get married, you celebrate your wedding anniversary and no one counts anything else, today is a very special day, because exactly 10 years ago, Dan and I had our first date, the night that we met.

Ten years. That’s big, that’s something, even if it’s not a wedding anniversary. I’ve spent a decade – nearly a third of my life – with this man. And we’re still in love. We still laugh at the others’ jokes. We still sit next to each other on the couch, sleep spoons, and frown if we don’t get to eat dinner together. We still LIKE each other, which is saying quite a lot, after 10 years.

I still remember when he asked me out, how I panicked – we met online, and after one e-mail he announced that I should simply go to dinner with him. I still remember his absurdly harsh-looking photo online; he looked like some kind of Russian militant and I remember thinking this guy was going to be far too serious for someone as sarcastic and brazen and silly as I can be. I’m so glad I was wrong. I’m so glad I agreed anyway.

And then I remember our date, how easy it was talking with him. How excited he got telling me about a surplus auction he’d gone to recently. How we talked for so long we had to order another beer. How appalled he seemed when I used the men’s room when the line was too long for the women’s. He said that night his first impression of me was that I was someone he have conversations with for a long, long time.

It’s ten years ago now, and still some of the snapshots in my memory are like they were taken yesterday, him lounging on my futon on a Sunday morning and asking if I wanted to spend the afternoon driving around country roads with him (I did), trying to teach our dog (then she was my dog) to swim at Stone Mountain and him sitting on a log coaxing her in, playing Junkyard pinball at Oz Pizza while we waited for our very favorite pizza – a pizza we still get, though the original location has long since closed, and it’s just as good as it was in 2003.

Ten years is a long, long time, and it’s hard to believe how young we look in the photos from our first year together. But it’s ten years later, and we’ve made a home together, married, started a business together, had and held and lost a child, and another on the way. Ten years. I can’t wait to see what the next ten bring.

 

20w6d February 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 4:17 pm

This is so hard. I’ve written this post half a dozen times, but then I close it because there’s so little else to say. But I want to post it, lest anyone think that I am handling this with any of those words people throw at me like “grace” or “strength” or “calm” – I’m not. I feel like I am going crazy, waiting, just hoping nothing bad happens. I’m almost 21 weeks. So close to being out of the proverbial woods, theoretically, but also so close to everything bad that happened. It’s not even one day at a time; it’s one hour at a time. I would gladly sleep until March if I could. People ask me how I am and the answer, most of the time is, surviving. Barely.

This is really, really hard. I believe it will get easier, but right now, these few weeks? Feel like that moment in the movie where the music starts to crescendo and the main character is creeping through the house, and everything looks okay, everything looks fine, but you know – YOU KNOW – that someone or something is about to jump out at him. You watch, body tense, through your mostly closed fingers, waiting for something bad to happen.

That’s how this feels right now. Every day, that’s how I feel. Every day, it’s a brief moment of relief – another day, conquered, another day, still a live baby in there, another day, closer – and then it’s mostly the terror, punctuated by as many distractions as I can find. I watch a lot of trash TV. I play a lot of Facebook games. I read a lot of beach novels on the Kindle. Wait for tomorrow.

There are moments where I’m confident. Where I’m just a ridiculously pregnant-looking woman, having a baby, enjoying our time together. I try to stay in those moments because I wish there were more. I wish this was 90% of the time, instead of 10%. I hope it changes when I get to that magic milestone.

Turns out I do have a (mild) infection, so, I’m on antibiotics now. And so glad I asked them to check, just in case. For a few hours, even that was strangely freeing, because at least it’s something different. Something actionable. Here are these drugs that will resolve this problem. But only time will help with the rest.