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Monday, April 11, 2011

Ultrasound Update

     Just got home from my ultrasound appointment with High-Risk pregnancy specialist, Dr. T.    As you know, I've been doing everything in my power to bring up amniotic fluid levels and get that baby to grow. No such luck. It wasn't good enough. When I was first seen by him in early February the baby was just barely over the 10th percentile, size wise. Several weeks later she was below the 10th percentile. Now she is around the 5th. I am almost 30 weeks now and Dr. T's estimate is that she weighs under 2 pounds. (As fate loves to take advantage of me, it made perfect sense that I should come home, get on facebook and be presented instantly with a friend's weekly pregnancy update. She is also 30 weeks so her update declared joyfully, "Congratulations! Your baby is now 4 lbs and almost 16 inches long!")

    To put it in simple english, my hope is basically unfounded. Things are progressing in a downward spiral just as the doctor had predicted. Here is the grand finale to this terrible post: I hadn't wanted to admit it because I liked holding onto my shred of hope, but all weekend my body has toyed with the idea of labor and balanced on the brink of evicting my poor daughter prematurely. All day saturday I layed miserably in my bed thinking "Wow this feels exactly like mid-labor" but remaining in denial. I took herbal tincures and things, and they seemed to slow down the contractions, but early early this morning I woke up contracting again (this time with lots of blood...sorry if you didn't want to know that), and it has continued all day. The ultrasound showed that the placenta previa has resolved itself, so the bleeding is presumably from the dilation of the cervix - which means these contractions are working effectively. Clearly it's been on again/ off again, so I'm not counting on anything immediately, but I guess there is no point in taking the tinctures to try and stop it anymore.

     So this is what is happening right now in my sad little world: there is a box of birth supplies sitting next to my bed that I need to begin joylessly rummaging through to make sure I have everything I need to for the birth. I remember packing up that box after Jonah was born and thinking that one day I would be reopening it for my second baby - I never imagined it would be under these circumstances. Paul is out right now collecting a few things that we will need, we lost our camera in the move and since I haven't been able to unpack all the boxes yet we're just putting a new one on the credit card as this is very important and possibly urgent. We are doing this all with the assumption that I will have a peaceful, private home birth, but the midwives are understandably nervous about assisting a birth that will inevitably end in infant death. The laws in Virginia are idiotic when it comes to midwives. My next stop is to sort out what the plan will be if labor kicks in and I actually do have to have this baby somewhere or another. What I mean to say is that I really have no clue where I will have this baby if it comes soon and who will be the care provider. The idea of a hospital birth in this situation  is utterly repulsive to me. I want my privacy to birth, get to know my daughter, and grieve without butt heads wanting to check my blood pressure every three seconds and stick me up with needles and things.

I remember my first prenatal appointment, in my own living room, it was like hanging out with girl friends. I thought to myself - this baby's birth is going to be great, might as well be a birthday party. I remember, also, New Years at 12:00am and my first thought was that this year would bring with it a new baby to snuggle. When we moved and I first saw our house I thought to myself, this is the room the baby will probably be born. in (leaving the possibility open for like, the living room instead...)  When I first start a new journal I always look ahead at the blank pages and wonder what they will be filled with, but never did I suspect that they would be wrinkled from so many tears and a story about a baby girl who wasn't made for this earth.

   I have sure had some incredibly horrible luck in my time. When I was eight-teen, Paul and I found a boy not much older than us shot through the head, lying in the streets of San Salvador. Not a sight that leaves you very fast. Just a year later was when a stranger busted into my apartment and brutally, vindictively raped and beat my poor roommate. I had all kinds of animals when I was growing up, and I cannot tell you how very attached I would become to them. Well guess what? So many of the ones that belonged especially to me died that when my family took in a stray dog, our neighbor suggested that it be licensed under anyone's name but mine since calling it mine would be like signing it's death warrant!!!! As you know, I have had four miscarriages. If you don't know me, you should see me - I'm fit as a fiddle and there really should be no reason for me to keep losing baby after baby.   I know I'm going out on quite a limb here, the reason I bring all this up is because Paul, knowing me well and my magnetism to bad luck,  recently suggested that I get LIFE insurance!!!!!!! He knows everything about me, and he is concerned enough with my streak of bad luck that he thinks a 23 year old better get life insurance. *S I G H* Sorry, I thought it was funny. Thought I better throw in some wry humor for ya.

   Again, prayers requested. This is such a hard time for my family. We don't know what to do, where to go. We don't know whether to plan for a baby who will need open heart surgery right away, or a funeral. Both require lots of planning...


  1. Oh, also the amniotic fluid is less than 3cm, it should be around 10 or 11 in a healthy pregnancy.

  2. Gina, so sorry that you didn't have a good appointment today. We'll continue to be praying for you and your family through this time. If you need anything, please let us know. I have an extra camera that you are more than welcome to borrow if you don't end up wanting to purchase one today (and if you did, you can take it back and use mine). And if you need a meal or anything, please let me know. I am so sorry.

  3. I am so sorry. Prayers being sent your way. And like I said before, if you need anything, don't hesitate to call me.

  4. I have been thinking of you all day, and my heart is aching for you. I know how hard it is to update glad you are able to, and get all the support and love that you can. This precious girl has a purpose, and is a blessing. Lots of love to you.

  5. You are cared for in this. Thought of with so much prayer and love. Your whole family and sweet baby girl. I pray for Grace and strength in every moment.

  6. gina, sometimes the grieving mind struggles to find a pattern, a design, a way to categorize our life's heartbreaks and misfortunes, but a lot of times the conclusions we come to--the stories we tell ourselves--are simply not, well...true. i don't know another way to put it; i hope i don't offend you. the notion you are unlucky just doesn't ring true.

    i would submit that, yes, you have seen a lot of suffering and death. but i believe that is because you are a person who loves and seeks out LIFE. your passion, your desire to travel and minister to "the least of these", your impulse to connect with the holy spirit and with other people through music, the desire of your heart to be a mother, the calling you feel to be a midwife--these are all things a person pursues who deeply loves life.

    when we love the life god has given us, and we are drawn to love and care for living things, we sometimes naturally see the other side of the coin: death. if we had not loved, if we had not let our heart fall in love with life and the living, and instead remained in a tight, fearful ball, then we'd get to skip a lot of dying. but i doubt that's what god wants for us. it certainly isn't, apparently, what god had in store for you. sigh.

    just as you are called to love and care for women and babies who are on the threshold of birth, so too god may have placed a calling on your life, for whatever reason, to love and care for those on the threshold of death. of course, this is not something most people--if anyone at all--would willingly choose. it is not a place anyone lightly stands--it is so agonizing to love and lose, to bear witness to suffering--but it is honorable and sacred work, and you are brave to do it. yes, it feels like you had no choice in the matter, but really you did, because you chose to love.

    i don't believe any of this is a matter of luck, gina; it is a matter of love: your love for life, god's love for you. it really is true that "love bears all things"...even this. piece by piece, layer by layer, step by heartwrenching step, even this.

    may you have peace, gina. blessings to you and your family.