Saturday, March 6, 2010

This time.

Let me tell you a story which I think is emblematic of this pregnancy after unexplained loss journey. Friday, I had one of two Non-Stress Tests (NST) I get a week. And so I toddle downtown for the first appointment of the day. On my way, I drink my mega smoothie of frozen berries, yogurt, almond butter and banana, then shoot an orange juice. This kid is moving whether he likes it or not. I am an anal first appointment of the day type of gal. I am impatient and uncomfortable in a room of expectant mothers, so I try to minimize it with first appointments. I am the first one there, and ride up the elevator with my MFM. We talk weather. I figure I more than likely will not talk to him today, if all goes well.

I sit in the NST chair as their belt me up for the heart rate monitor and the contraction monitor, and I get my little witchy book all witchified. The boy moves off monitor a few times, which restarts the twenty minute straight clock. But all looks good. The kid's heartrate is good. The movements are on target. The Nurse Practitioner comes in and I ask her if they are checking amniotic fluid levels today. She says no. Everything is great. (I only asked because at some point I was told that they would check amniotic fluid levels once a week via u/s.)

I'm getting ready to go, and unexpectedly, the MFM comes in and says, "Let's check her amniotic fluid today. We are having a slow day and it's good to start that now."

So, back out to the waiting room I go. Hey, really, I don't mind extra checking of anything. So, I text Sam, let him know that I am just waiting for an u/s. I work on the Times Crossword. (That app rocks my blackberry, dudes.) And get called back into the Cranky Tech Room. That is what I call her, because I have dubbed her She Who Cannot Be Bothered. Anyway, whatever. They are just checking amniotic levels. So, I lie back, bear the belly, lube up...there is the amniotic fluid. There is the spine. I see no heart.

She measures, without speaking, and takes some stills. She tries to get Thor's profile, but then tells me that he is facing down. "'Scuse me? He's looking down the hatch?" I think. I don't get it. Whatever, she gives me a useless picture of the back of Thor's head for some reason. But it is starting to bother me. All this non-talk about everything else, so I ask. I just put myself out there.

"You see a heartbeat, right?"
"You were JUST hooked up to a heart rate monitor for forty minutes. You heard it. We don't check the heart when it was just beating for forty minutes."
"Yes, but my second daughter was stillborn at 38 weeks for no reason. And it has been twenty minutes. I know I sound crazy, but it didn't take her days to die. It only took the heart to stop one time."
"I know, honey. I understand. Yes. The heart is beating." Sigh. Leave the room. Send in the MFM to deal with the crazy lady.

I didn't cry. I didn't feel remorse for being crazy. I just felt an immense relief. Today, I had a full-on freak out during naptime because I couldn't rouse Thor, you know, until after a large glass of orange juice, a Cadbury Creme Egg and a spoonful of whipped topping. And when he kicked, it still wasn't convincing. I still thought that he lacked the oomph of the day before. He always makes his kick counts, but I wonder if he really means it.

I have three weeks left before Thor comes out, and I'm thinking that this is just the beginning of the hardest time of this pregnancy. The time when every minute feels like the minute of his death. We think we have a name. Or I overheard my husband tell his sister that we decided on a name, which was surprising to me, because it seems like we have been avoiding that conversation since Sam has been on drugs. I am beyond looking at a name book. I am treading water, convinced the kid will not end up here, and this is my last shot, because it will be my last pregnancy. No matter what.

Wednesday, Beatrice and I took Sam to the orthopedic surgeon to get one of the pins removed from his surgery. Usually they send you back into the OR to do these sort of things, but my husband thought he could handle it. And Bea and I were sitting in the room watching the doctor wiggle the pin around, and Bea stage-whispers, "Daddy is being very brave."
"Yes, Daddy is being very brave," I say as I see the color drain from my husband, sweat collect on his upper lip, and his eyes roll back in his head. Passed right out, as the doctor finished pulling the five inch pin from his baby toe.

But he is hobbling now. I mean, it is a sort of walk. He carried a dish into the kitchen today, and I almost wept. The hardest part of this time is the relentlessness of it. Every. Little. Thing. Suddenly falls under my job description. I have never been one to toil about such things. I am a person who sees something that needs to be done and does it. Usually without guff. I don't keep score. Usually. But now I have found myself growing bitter. Ruing that this time, when terror should be enough. It is trumped by no rest, no respite, no milking of the gigantic is simply business as usual. If I have a Ben and Jerry's craving at 2 am, I am going to the market. Nothing special about this pregnancy and this pregnant woman. I am still expected to carry the heavy things, and shovel the walk, and clean up the puke. To bend over and pick up all the scattered pieces of whatever the dog dragged in.

Some days, I feel the worst for Jack. I am constantly sniping at that dog. Maybe because he doesn't cry when I exasperatedly scream, "Et tu, Jack the dog?" when he begs to go out right after I set up a sparkly water with lemon and a strategically placed ottoman and the crossword; whereas Sam gets his feelings hurt, and Bea cries. Jack is always in my shizzle now, wanting to go out, wanting a nuzzle, and barking at an invisible intruder. I feel spent. "I have no emotional energy for you, Scavenger. Get out of my kitchen," I say when I am fixing dinner. I growl at him when he follows me into the bathroom, because I have a train of toddler and dog behind me into every room, even the most private of times. Of course, he gets fed, and walked and all the stuff you do for a dog, but I roll my eyes a lot, and sigh, and screech, and yell at him for his bored instincts of chewing tissues from the bathroom garbage.

I am bored with my own bitching.

Bored with my bitching. And terrified of my reality. I feel like I have been pregnant for years. Actually, I got pregnant with Lucy on April 10, 2008. I was still breastfeeding Beatrice. I carried her for nine and half months. Then she died. For six months after, I felt like a vessel of grief and sadness, still carrying something large with a strong heartbeat, within me. Then, another baby joined Grief in there. And he is growing big and strong, and I can't for the life of me see him in our lives. No matter how optimistic and wide-eyed I try to be, I still cannot see him. I lack that particular ability. But pregnancy after loss has to have some iota of hope...we must have imagined that we could make a baby that lives or perhaps we would have never even tried again. I just can't remember being that optimistic right now.


  1. I can see him in your lives. I don't know if that helps, but I do see him going home with you.

    The dogs always get the short end of our stick here too. When I was really frazzled, I would forget to feed her until nighttime. Poor dog.

  2. I have been sending you all the strength and peace I can muster over these last few weeks. Hope some of it made its way to you.

    I can see Thor. In fact, I saw him in a dream a bit ago. He's coming, Angie.

  3. Things have been so chaotic for you lately. I am so sorry tht you can't just relax and have someone do all those things for you. I too am the type to just do things myself...carry in all the groceries, vacuum the house, push through the aches and pains, etc. But I can't help but think that if I had paid more attention to what my body was telling me, my girls might be here today. That little piece of guilt that I carry around has allowed me to have others to do many more things for me this time around...and you know what?? I am kind of enjoying it! Take care of yourself Angie, I can't believe you only have 3 more weeks!! I can't wait to hear all about you sweet little guy. xx

  4. "I am treading water, convinced the kid will not end up here, and this is my last shot, because it will be my last pregnancy. No matter what."

    Angie I could have written this myself. I remember this part of my pregnancy being excruciating. Nothing short of seeing my living baby helped, and when I finally did, everything changed.

    Funny thing is, now that Jasper is here, I miss being pregnant... mainly because I know that it's not going to happen again. Feeling life inside me was precious and beautiful but living with the terror of losing them was horrific.

    Waiting to see you on the other side, Angie. If you need to talk or vent or bitch I am here. Very soon Thor will be here and this awful waiting will be over.


  5. Pregnant for years. I remember that feeling well. It felt like an 80 week pregnancy to finally bring a baby home with us.
    I feel for you so much. But I know you can do this and Thor can, too.
    Not long now Angie.


  6. Angie, so much of what you write rings true with me, and I'm only 1 weeks pregnant. This pregnancy gets harder instead of easier, and I can't imagine a living baby in our lives either,but I must've, I must've to even consider trying again.
    Sending you love and strength. Although I struggle with my own hope, I can see Thor in your lives and I'm exvited for you.x

  7. ughh, that should say 18 weeks!

  8. I just found out that I'm pregnant (that's not common knowledge yet, oops!), though like Sally, it's a hellish long 80 weeks before we get baby. errr. I mean. IF we get a baby. my husband said "seeing is believing" when I asked how he felt. I think I got pregnant with Kathlyn on Nov 9, 2008. And I think I'm due with my little cherry on Nov 13, 2010. 2 years. Pregnant for 2 years.

  9. oh, and, I'm not bored of what you're calling "your bitching.." Not in the least. So please keep writing. "Bitching" is what the u/s tech said to you.

  10. Oh, Angie. I haven't been in your shoes but I can imagine the terror halfway. And you are well within your rights to bitch and whine. I would throw a tantrum every day.

    Hold out, my Dear. Not long now.


  11. I can't see mine, either. And I avoid the name conversation like the plague, so god forbid this child lives, his name will probably come out of the Philly Inq that day we'll be so flustered. That or Bella will name him. (oy.) And he turns spatially more than he "kicks" of late, and even though they tell me that movement counts! It's all good! I think, well ya, but what does it say about neuro damage? Hmm? I hate those techs. It doesn't matter how much they know, they all blow you off until the doc comes in.

    Hang tough. sometimes after I yell at the dogs I remind myself that at the very least, it's a good distraction, and for that I love them. xo

  12. 3 weeks. this must be so hard, angie. i cannot imagine. keep breathing, if you can. and the great thing about dogs is that they still love you even when you yell at them. you have every right to your crankiness - it is part of the deal right now. if you chose to spend the next three under the covers and tell the world to go hang, no one here would fault you for it. holding much love and hope for you! xo

  13. The end was the hardest, for sure. So close, but still not believing that a baby would come home with us. I could never see past the hospital.

    Sending you strength and love to get through this time as peacefully as possible.

  14. I.Hear.You..
    The baby I'm carrying will be my last too, no matter what. Since Kenny left, everything is up to me as well, from the dogs, to Ivy to taking myself (and Ivy) to the store when I'm craving something.
    I know what it's like to wish you were pampered and have your feet rubbed once in a while, but like you, I'm still expected to keep things together while experiencing this heart-stopping fear that he kicked so big because he's in distress and now he's probably dying..till he kicks again.
    You've got three weeks and I've got five. Surely there's bound to be a healthy baby boy at the end for us both.
    You're my only blog friend that, like me, had a girl that lived, had a girl that died and is carrying a boy inside that is on the verge of being just fine.
    Angie, I can't wait to read about you bringing home your precious boy. It won't be long until you will breathe a big sigh of relief and be proud of yourself for going through all of this and bringing Thor with you to the other side of it.
    Sorry for being so long-winded. Have I told you I really miss you? Well I do, and I'm also awfully damn proud of you for making it this far with such grace and humor. :)

  15. Thinking of you Angie. This is the hardest part. Hang in there.

  16. Thinking of you, Angie. I wish I was still in driving a casserole over range. Hang in there.

  17. sigh. understand and am nodding my head to so much of this....pregnant for the time this little gal arrives, it'll be exactly 4 years since our eldest was conceived. 3 babies in 4 years. never ending pregnancy it seems.

    three weeks. you are never far from my thoughts these days as we prepare to meet our little babes...


    oh and can I just

    sorry you are carrying all the load right now angie, wishing that you had more time for you..

  18. Ugh, some techs just drive me crazy with the patronizing look while you freak the fuck out. Can't they see the Handle With Care and Fragile labels on our foreheads?

    Hang in there, hun.


  19. I think we start to hope the moment we decide to try to get pg again. And I think we stop hoping the moment we get the two lines. It just hurts to much to hope when the possibility of another loss is hovering around your head like a hornet.
    You do whatever you need to do to get through these last few weeks. They are HELL. But they will end. And in the meanwhile, let us hope for you. That is something we can do, every second of every day.

  20. the end of a subsequent pregnancy is heartwrenching, i still remember it vividly. i was the same as you & couldn't see my son home with us, it was like i was afraid to. afraid to let go again. because, well, look where letting go got me last time. but he came, and your miracle will come too. it's amazing how they grow in there along with Grief, but they do. sending love & hugs.

  21. it seems the closer it gets the harder it becomes. ((hugs)) and big love, Angie.

  22. Just checking back in to send some love. Here with you.

  23. sending you so much love angie. i'm here with you. freaking out too.


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