Monday, August 25, 2008

Missing Dashiell - 8 months later

I've been in a funk all day today - really since yesterday. 8 months ago today was the worst and best day of my life. 8 months ago today, for a few precious hours, I got to see and hold my precious Dashiell Tate. Unfortunately, that was the only time I got to hold him.

I can't describe the mixed emotions of giving birth to a dead child. To be in labor while discussing funeral arrangements and autopsies is horrific and surreal. Even so, the moment that I got to meet my son was happy, in a way. I got to see and hold the precious life that was living inside of me and it was miraculous. At the same time, it was the single most upsetting and sad thing that I have ever experienced.

Now, 8 months later and 23 weeks, 2 days pregnant with Dashiell's younger sibling, it's so hard to believe how much my life has changed. Truly, my love for this little one has really intensified my love for Dashiell, and therefore, intensified my grief, in a way.

I don't spend nearly as much time crying for Dash. I definitely have my moments, but they are not as prolonged as they were immediately following the loss. Nevertheless, I still have those moments. They seem to be increasing in frequency. Perhaps it's because I'm approaching the point in this pregnancy when I lost Dashiell, or maybe it's the 8 month anniversary.

I'm intensely bothered by people who refer to this baby I'm carrying now as my first child. My first child is Dashiell. He just happened to die before I gave birth to him. His life mattered. He changed me forever and he will always be my first born; my son.

I wish I would see him in my dreams more. I had one dream shortly after losing him where he opened his eyes. I saw these beautiful, peaceful, clear blue eyes staring back at me. I had been haunted by the fact that his eyes were fused shut when he was born. Had he lasted just 1 more week, his eyes would have been opened. I knew when I woke up that he was ok. Even still, I would give anything to hold him again in my dreams.

I miss you my little Dash, my sleepy man. Please come visit your mommy soon. I hope you're happy with Grandma and playing with all of the other angel babies. I know you're with me, but I miss you and love you more than words can say.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday's appointment

We had another appointment this past Friday. I came in with my blue folder and a barrage of questions as usual. Dr G is truly wonderful. Despite his very full schedule, he always takes plenty of time to answer my questions and calm my nerves.

I am apparently bordeline anemic, so I will be taking an additional iron supplement from here on out. I also had a very big weight gain - 10 lbs in one month, but Dr G was not concerned. He says I'm right on track, but it concerns me. I guess I'm just not used to that, since I lost weight with Dashiell. I also asked if I could come in for a quick heartbeat check at 24w5d, since that is the day I lost Dash. I think I'll need it to calm my nerves. He said, "would you just like to come in for a scan so you can actually see the baby?" I'm so lucky that he is so understanding and accommodating. I decided to go in at 24w 6d, the day after the loss, since I have therapy the day before. I think I'll really need the therapy that day.

After seeing Dr G, we went in for our ultasound. Things are looking great and this baby is measuring just over one week ahead. I guess it's good that I will be induced early! They said the baby weighs about 1lb & 5oz. That is one ounce less than Dashiell when he was born. Baby's head was so far down that they couldn't really get a good face shot, so no pictures this time. It's the best feeling in the world to see the baby moving and hear that beautiful heart beat. (it was 154). We had to turn our heads when they were looking at the sex. This was very exciting to me, since we're at the stage where it's probably very obvious. Less than 14 weeks left!

I'll go in for my "reassurance scan" and a cervical ultrasound on 9/5. My next appointment with Dr G is on 9/19 (also with an ultrasound). From here on out, it will be every 2 weeks. My biophysical profiles will start weekly at 30 weeks.

It seems like things are going well so far. Now, if I could only contain my thoughts from going to the dark places of worst cas scenarios. I just don't think that will happen. As much as I try to think positive thoughts, I will always be afraid of losing this baby, too. For now, I'm dwelling on the positives.

Friday, August 22, 2008

To tell or not to tell

I’ll be 23 weeks tomorrow and my dad & the rest of my family (except my 3 sisters) do not know that I’m pregnant. Nor do they know any of the ups and many downs we’ve been through with this pregnancy. After being in the hospital last week, it occurred to me that maybe I should ignore my dad’s wish of not knowing until 1 month before delivery and just tell him.

In a way, I’ve gotten so used to keeping this from him that it’s easy. At the same time, it’s becoming more and more difficult to decline invitations to visit him. I’m not allowed to travel at all during this pregnancy, so constantly using work as an excuse is getting very old. I’m also afraid that I may be hurting my father’s feelings. I know that he’ll be very happy for us when he finds out, but I am tempted at times to tell him.

Also, I'm clearly pregnant now. People at work know, so why shouldn't my close friends and family? The nice thing about people at work is that they're too afraid to ask me. Instead, they ask the girl who works for me is I am or not. I've told her not to lie about it, but to let people know that I do not feel comfortable talking about it. So far, that has worked really well.

I really do not want anyone else in my family to know until I am holding a healthy, living baby in my arms. As much as I appreciated the support after losing Dashiell, it was very difficult fielding calls for months checking in. Although it is well intentioned, there are many things that a mother who has lost a child doesn’t need to hear. Among them:

“Life goes on” – we know this is true, but my life stopped for a period of time after losing Dashiell. “It wasn’t meant to be.” - I believe this is the cruelest comment I have had to hear over and over. People just don’t know what to say and don’t think about what they’re saying.

“Everything happens for a reason.” – while I fundamentally believe this, in a way, I really struggled with this comment every time I got it. If that’s true, why are children born to crack addicted mothers or abusive homes? Sometimes I think shitty things happen, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a good person or not. Bad things happen to good people every day. It’s still no consolation.

“There must have been something very wrong with the baby.” – NOT TRUE! There are thousands of perfectly healthy babies who die every year. It’s not always because of a genetic or anatomical abnormality.

“You’re young and you can try again.” This one was really a double edged sword. First off, 36 is not young in terms of childbearing years. Second, just because I can have another child doesn’t take the pain away from losing a child.

“You have to work.” I went back to work one week to the day after I was released after the hospital. Looking back, I would not do that again. I would take several weeks off and take as much time as possible to mourn and get myself to a better place instead of pushing myself to do something I wasn’t ready for.

“God has a plan” I don’t know that I truly believe that anymore and there is no arguing with someone who is very religious. I consider myself to be a very spiritual person, but not particularly religious.

Like I said, I feel very lucky to have such a loving and supportive family, as well as wonderful friends, but if anything were to go wrong again I don’t think that I could handle hearing these things so much from people I love. I know it’s well intentioned, and because they live far away, it’s not as if they could just be with me & hug me, but I simply can’t endure hearing those things again.

I have been thinking lately that maybe I’ll tell my dad once I hit 30 weeks or so, but for now, I’m going to play it by ear. The most important thing I can do now is to be honest with how I’m feeling and to look after myself. Selfish? Maybe, but it’s what I have to do.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A bit of a scare

Well, it was a pretty exciting day. I woke up at 3:30am this morning with slight heart palpitations. I slept until 4:30, and finally got up because the palpitations were so strong & bothering me so much. I arrived at work just before 7am and started to feel really awful - sweating & just not right around 7:40. I proceeded to throw up a lot of water. My food & vitamins seemed to stay down.

I work at a major financial/travel/credit card company and they have a health services office where we can go. I decided to head up at 8:30, as soon as they opened to have my blood pressure checked, just in case. I figured I'd do that & call Dr. "G" at 9 when his office opened. Well, they did take my BP which was a little low (104/60) and they decided to do an EKG just to check.

Apparently, my heart was doing little skips and I was diagnosed with a PVC (premature ventricular complex). They made me stay laying down and called my doc's office. My doctor wasn't in, but his colleague there told them to send me to their hospital (which is probably the farthest hospital from where I work!) IN AN AMBULANCE!

They told me I had to go to labor & delivery. I lost it. Of course, I just started panicking and worrying, even though they were clear it was just a precaution. So, they called my boss in London to let her know, called my colleague downstairs & got my husband on the phone, too. I called him back & asked him to bring the camera just in case, and he got really upset.
At 9:35, the EMTs got there & took my info. I asked if I could go to the bathroom and they said "Yes, just don't lock the door." They were really were scaring me. I was wheeled out of work on a stretcher through the service entrance, but ended up on the ground floor of the World Financial Center where soooo many people were coming into start their work day!

I arrived at the hospital around 10:10, or so. Thank goodness for no traffic. They asked a few questions & immediately checked the baby's heartbeat. The heart beat was nice & strong. I had felt the baby move around 8am, so I knew the problem was likely with me and not the baby. They also did an ultrasounds, which showed everything was ok with the munchkin.

They monitored me for contractions, my bp, my blood sugar, & did a full blood workup. All of that came back normal. They did a second EKG, which showed the same abnormality. The attending doc from my doc's practice said this condition, on it's own, is fairly benign and that many pg women feel this. Who knew?

The attending said she'd call Dr. G & fill him in. They may want to see me sooner than my next appointment, which is scheduled for 8/22. Also, I may have to wear a heart halter for a full day to get a reading. I kind of hope they do that just to ease my mind. I'm still a little dizzy & feeling mild palpitations, but they released me around 4:30 today.

I may stay out of work tomorrow for my own peace of mind. I have an appointment with the GI doctor at 10 for an unrelated issue. I may just come home & take the day after that. I'll play it by ear.

Anyway, it was my (and baby's) first and hopefully last trip in an ambulance!