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.