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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 ) :

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