Memorial Ticker

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Forget that last strategy I came up with! I've changed my mind, inspired by non other than that feisty little girl who keeps getting stronger. She's a fighter and for awhile I almost forgot that she gets it from me ( : I'm BACK and ready for battle!

  I went to the doctor again about two weeks ago. Bless their hearts, they are so nice to us there. Very compassionate indeed. When I enter a waiting room full of pregnant mamas, various office staff who I don't even remember meeting greet me by my first name and ask how I'm doing before I even sign in. I am treated like royalty because they've heard what a sad situation I'm in.  Kind of surreal, really...   I went in for my ultrasound and saw her there - doing what she's been doing every time we check in on her: playing with her toes, sucking her fingers, hiccuping, etc. Her little heart looks funny and lopsided but it keeps beating right on track like it should. The prognosis is the same, I am told, I should expect a stillbirth or possibly a baby born alive but who will die soon after birth. I was prepared for that. I asked him is he had any estimate on how much longer she might make it, and he sadly told me I could possibly be having this baby in 2 or 3 weeks when her little organs fail because of the heart being unable to pump blood down to the body.
    I went to the cardiologist as we had planned before getting the worst prognosis, and he told us all about Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and didn't seem to think there was any reason she wouldn't make it to surgery. Course, he wasn't looking at the rest of her body (which is small for dates), but isn't it rather interesting that  he didn't even see the leak that was supposedly responsible for killing her slowly?!? He was surprised when we told him Dr. T's prognosis. He said that as far as HLHS hearts go, this one had all the goodies necessary for a successful surgery. Apparently sometimes the valves and blood vessels are deformed as well, but not with this heart. He asked if I felt the baby move, and said that the fact that I do is a wonderful sign.

   A few days after those appointments was when Paul and I decided to buckle down hard and get those assumptions of inevitable death out of our minds. We've taken things into our OWN hands, after all - she's our baby. I'm back on bed rest but it doesn't seem as boring this time because it feels like I'm fighting as hard as I can. I'm guzzling coconut water and stevia tea, both  being old unproven traditions in some cultures for increasing amniotic fluid. Coconut water is full of electrolytes, and stevia is so sweet that the baby is more likely to swallow lots and produce more urine.  This is what I can tell you about my baby right now, forget what the tests have told us: She kicks more everyday. When I poke a finger at her she pokes me back. My belly is getting bigger and bigger.....that could be her growing or it could be that the amniotic fluid is increasing. I'm happy with both those possibilities! One way or the other, it seems silly to assume that this person is dying....I think if we could tell her it would be news for her. She is getting STRONGER, not weaker, and BIGGER not smaller. And it's been two weeks now since the doctor said she might die in two or three weeks. It would be utterly insane of me not to join in the battle with her!
   On another important note, I'd hesitant to pray for her to live until recently. I just funny asking for anything from God....isn't that weird? I never realized I felt that way before because I've never had something this serious come up in my life. I had certainly prayed, but I was asking for strength to cope with His will that my baby would die. Then I found an article pointing out the obvious - that God is a generous God and He loves to give us things when we ask and abide by His commandments. The article used the example of the prodigal son. The son asked if he could be a servant at his father's house and the father excitedly planned a huge feast to welcome him back instead. Throughout history the saints have been known to ask God for sometimes very trivial things, because they knew that God delights in indulging his children. Awesome, man! So in addition to resting, drinking stevia and coconut water, and two gallons of water a day, I've been asking God everyday for my daughter to live a long, happy, healthy life despite the fact that her heart is deformed. I keep slyly reminding Him that He has already taken 4 of my 6 babies so it may be time to allow me to share in the JOYS of motherhood, and spare me the sorrows.

   I'm happy and hopeful. At the very least, I'm hoping that I can hold my daughter for awhile before she dies and look her in the eyes while we say hello and goodbye. <3    
   Bottom line is this:  we can't  assume she's dying when she is so alive right now.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Calling and a Cross

Eh, I'm doing better I suppose. I've developed a method of existence as I await the day that my baby will die. I can hold it all in soundly until around 5 or 6 when I start getting tired, then I'm toast - and the tears can come. The rest of the time I really  feel glad to accept this and oh so proud of my little one, chosen as she is to be with her Creator so soon.  I wouldn't trade her or this pregnancy for any other.
    You're not going to guess what my latest therapy technique is! Delving deeper into my midwifery books and getting down to the nitty gritty details that I need to learn but that have up until now made my eyes glaze over. The midwives I've come to know and shadow have graciously allowed me to attend more prenatal appointments, postpartum,  and last night I was invited to my first birth in the role of student midwife. People have expressed their concern to me about doing all of this while going through such emotional turmoil with my own pregnancy, but let me tell ya: pregnancy and birth has become infinitely more beautiful in my weary eyes. Sure, there is pain as a result of so many reminders that I'm the unlucky one of the bunch - but it doesn't outdo the glory I see shining even brighter in mamas waiting, carrying healthy babies. And the birth - Lord have mercy. How beautiful.  What a Blessing each birth really is. Truly a miracle. The Creator has been so generous with this gift that, though I can't even fathom why anymore, we have gotten used to the wonders of it. The lower I sink into the sadness accompanied by inevitable loss of my baby, and the more  my heart yearns and aches for a healthy normal pregnancy, the more pleasing it is to see  a mom get just that. Bittersweet, they might say.  Maybe the moms I will assist over the years will not have the realization that I have come to find, but if I am so fully aware of just how lucky they really are to be blessed as they have been blessed, I can work even harder to allow their experiences to be perfect. Never slack even for a minute. Study hard and learn my stuff well. My awe and reverence for this whole thing has climbed about a hundred miles high ever since I found out that it shouldn't be taken for granted.  

    Here's my concern: what about the sadness that will be part of  my presence at births for years to come? Obviously I won't bring it up to a mom in labor, and I won't show it of course, but it seems like birthing energy is so joyful......I hope I don't ruin it : /

Speaking of joyful birthing energy, it occurred to me last night that the energy of my own birth will be so different than any other birth I've been to. It will  be sad. How in tar nation am I going to get through the strong contractions without the joyful energy? And that moment when the baby is born....and everyone is surrounded by angels and filled with such a surge of awe and wonderment...what will that moment be like when my little one is born? I suppose the angels might still come. Yea...I guess I won't know til that day. There might be something victorious about it after all. Eventually, though, it will make way for tears and such a cold empty feeling.

Oh I don't know. So many questions that can't be answered! Just a new life and a bad prognosis, and lots of waiting. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Prenatal Diagnosis

I haven't been going to births lately, not since Christmas Eve. I haven't been doing much of anything, actually, just sitting around in my hubby's boxers and tee shirts wishing I could delete these next 5 years or so, or however long it will take to get back to my normal self.  I want to be able to talk and smile and joke around with people like I used to without that nagging worry that I will suddenly and unexpectedly burst into hot tears that make my eyes sting and my throat feel all swollen.

 How do I even begin to tell you whats making me this way? This feeling I have right now is the same feeling I have when I need to talk to someone about that horrible morning 6 years ago when my room mate knocked on my door at 5 AM covered in blood - she'd been raped right there in her own room next to mine. It was a terrible, terrible, sorrow filled day that I will never forget....but how in the world does one bring up such an unhappy conversation? Such a burden on anyones heart. Why would I put it there unnecessarily? It's easier in a blog; you may stop reading at any time if you don't want to know about things that happen, things you think never will happen in your life.

   Did you know I'm pregnant? I am! I was planning my second home birth. I have had a total of four known miscarriages, so once I got out of the first trimester I rejoiced in the assumption that my baby was well. I began telling people that I could now count on having a baby in June. I had already gotten myself all worked up and excited about the birth and the Blessing Way and the summer to come with a new baby.
On Christmas Eve, at a client's beautiful birth actually, I began to bleed quite alot. I was 14 weeks along at the time, so I thought I must have lost the baby a little later than I usually lose my babies. However, the doppler brought up a perfect, clear heart beat and I allowed myself to rest for several weeks and I thought it all blew over. A month later, though, the bleeding started again. I was on bedrest for three weeks. In that time we found out that placenta previa was causing the bleeding  - I saw my plans for my homebirth being potentially dashed to pieces.  That happened early February. Over the following weeks the  diagnosis was tweaked and tweaked some more: I was told the baby would die from a serious heart defect, then I was told that she (yup, it's a girl!) had an 80-90% chance of surviving the first and most major of three open heart surgeries she would need, then at the last appointment I was told that I should expect a stillbirth sometime between now and my regular due date. The cheerful little kicks and strong heart beat don't mean much - the baby is dying inside of me as I type. She has hypoplastic left heart syndrome and a bad leak which is depleting her little body of blood. There is just about no amniotic fluid in there because she cant' really pee that much since her kidneys hardly get what they need to function. Her organs will fail at some point.

   I am 25 weeks along right now. My little tiny baby is hardly big enough to give me a baby bump...but it's there, it's there alright. It's just enough of a bump that strangers notice. Those people who love baby's and pregnancy sometimes stop me and ask with a warm smile "When is you baby due?" One month ago they would just laugh and say something about how tiny I am. Now I'm to small to be normal at all....there is a look of surprise that crosses over their faces before they laugh it away and say good luck. I expect in another month it will be worse, and another after that will be worse, too. My baby isn't growing very much, and she never will, because she is dying.
   Nothing can touch the pain of helplessly carrying a baby who is expected to die. Looking into funeral arrangements while she is kicking me as if nothing is wrong. Envisioning the birth....will  she be alive for any amount of time or will she have been dead for while? Some baby's fall apart when they die in utero. Will my daughter.....fall apart? How will I explain to my almost 2 year old that the "baby inside" is here but she's dead?

   Praise the Lord, in cases like this He surely gives us strength. Not trusting Him is out of the question! I'm clinging to Him with faith I've never had before, not like this. But trusting Him and His plan also means trusting His plan for me as well as my baby. For her, He has planned a short life. For me He has planned deep sorrow. I'm not trying to avoid it, I've been letting it all flow. Let me tell you what I've learned about grieving though: It's exhausting. Crying day in and day out, not sleeping, fighting the tears when you're in public. Hard work. This is going to be one loooooog labor ) :