Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's a BOY!

We had a Level II ultrasound today, and I got my first 17P shot and cervical length check. It was a big day!!! We found just one marker for Down Syndrome, the baby had an echogenic bowel. Not a very strong marker, but for some reason the perinatologist decided to up my odds from 1:138 to 1:40. It seems silly to me as it's one of the softest markers out there, but whatever. I am beyond numbers fazing me at this point! We declined the amnio for now, and we have another Level II ultrasound and fetal echocardiogram scheduled for May 27th when I am about 19 1/2 weeks along, and at that point if we find anything concerning or if we just change our mind, we can still have the amnio done. Right now I'm feeling really at peace with our choice not to have it though - the doctor said the only difference would be non-stress tests weekly during the last part of the 3rd trimester (and honestly, if I make it that far I will be amazed, I just have a feeling) which we won't do without a diagnosis, *unless* anything else shows up on the ultrasounds. Which I now get every 4 weeks, hooray! And every 2 weeks as the 3rd trimester progresses. Again, assuming I make it that far. Forever the pessimist, me! lol. I just honestly cannot imagine being that pregnant. Anyway. As long as the baby is getting what he (HE!!!) needs, I'm good with that, whether he has Down Syndrome or not. No big deal as long as he stays safe and snug in my tummy.

And by now it's obvious we found out that it's a boy, lol. I'm only 15 1/2 weeks, but the ultrasound tech and the perinatologist both said 'boy' without hesitation, and I've been pretty sure it was a boy all along, so I'm going with it. I didn't get a good look at the 'goods' though, so there is a tiny bit of doubt in my mind. But we'll see for sure in 4 weeks!

I am thrilled that it's a boy. Honestly, I was hoping for a boy, just because... how do I explain? I think it will be easier for me to separate the pregnancies, and the babies, in my mind. It makes it easier for me to realize, this is a different pregnancy, and a different baby, so the outcome will be different. And once the baby is born, I think it will be easier for me not to think things like "Would Gabriella have been like this? Would she have had [insert problem here - colic, whatever]" because she's the 'perfect' baby in my mind. Does that even make sense?

But at the same time, I've shed a few tears today. I am so happy to be having a boy, and I already love him with all my heart. But this is not my Brie. And of course I have known all along that it isn't, that she isn't coming back. I'm not crazy (yet). But it makes me miss her. In this bizarre but very real way. It has nothing to do with 'gender disappointment' - because I really truly had a slight preference for a boy, for the reasons stated above. So please don't think that. I wouldn't have been disappointed if it had been a girl either though -it really doesn't matter to me. I just thought in a practical sense having a boy next would be easier on my mental health. If that makes any sense. I keep saying that lol. So it probably doesn't.

But overall, everything is really quite well. I'm super happy about that!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Second Trimester!

I'm 14 weeks today in this pregnancy.. Hooray!! Second trimester.. and only 10 weeks to viability. I posted that as my Facebook status last night.. and it occurred to me that some people probably don't a)know what I mean by that or b) think it's really strange that I'm so excited over it. A 24 weeker is a dangerously premature baby.. but when you've been through preterm labor you realize that in women for whom it is a persistent problem in all their births, it tends to happen progressively earlier. So viability is a big deal to me.

It's hard to believe that when I was this far with Brie.. it was only 12 more weeks until I would give birth to her. Unreal.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another Dream

I had another super scary dream last night. I was in labor, I'm not sure how far along I was, but I did know that it was earlier than I had Gabriella. For some reason I was back in St. George, and I knew their NICU was only a Level II and couldn't do anything for such a micro-preemie. I was freaking out and yelling and asking why I wasn't being transferred and why I wasn't getting steroids for the baby's lungs - and no one cared! Everyone was just laughing at the crazy lady in labor. And the baby was born and I couldn't see him or her until he/she was safe and sound in the NICU... and it was a girl! But then they mixed up the babies and that wasn't my baby at all.. mine was a boy! Weird?! Yeah. Scary?! Yeah.

In other news I think we've reached a decision on whether to do an amnio to get a definitive diagnosis for whether or not this baby has a chromosomal abnormality. We decided that if it's going to take a diagnosis to get the health care we need to make sure this baby gets here safely, then we're going to do it. If not, if we can still be treated as if we had a diagnosis with just the positive screening, then we won't take the risk.

On the brighter side, if the baby cooperates during the level II ultrasound, we might be able to find out if it's a boy or a girl! At 15 and a half weeks - yay!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Abnormal NT Scan

I got a call from my perinatologist letting me know the results of my NT scan. As it turns out this baby has a very increased risk of having a chromosomal abnormality - 1:138. Very high for a woman of 22 years. I'm so worried. So worried. I had a feeling to have the NT done, when I felt no need to do it with Brie. I'm worried that that was intuition, the Spirit, whatever telling me to do it, because something is wrong with my precious baby. I know the chances are good that nothing is wrong, but. But. I'm terrified. I love this baby and of course want this baby with all my heart regardless of the outcome. And I was so blessed to have Brie. So blessed. She is such an amazing spirit, and I know that. But I just need one. One special spirit. But if another is sent my way, I will of course welcome him or her with open and loving arms. So there is nothing I can do.. I'm just in an extreme part of the perpetual parenting cycle. Worry and wait. Worry and wait.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Today is 5 months since Brie died. I just realized that Easter fell on the 5 month anniversary of the only full day that she lived. How lovely, really. Because I know she's not really gone. She's just not here. With me. I think sometimes she is with me though - just not in the flesh. If she wasn't, how else could I go through life, even through the motions? Like today. I was mildly chastised by my wonderful husband for being in the rut I'm in. I haven't felt the need to really go do anything beyond the utterly necessary. And I know it's not good for me. But I needed to have it pointed out, because honestly, I don't really care. But I do care about making my husband upset. I know he doesn't like to see me like this. Depressed and uncaring. It's not good. I should probably be on an antidepressant. But I don't want to be, because if I am, at the end of this pregnancy, if it doesn't turn out well, I won't be able to donate milk. And I so badly want to do that. If I can't feed my own baby, how beautiful to be able to feed other babies, maybe other preemies, other sick babies, in his or her honor. So it's up to me to snap out of it by myself. And sometimes I do. For an hour, or a day, or sometimes a week. So today I'm doing some cleaning, which always makes me feel better about life. It helps to have a clean apartment.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Happy Easter indeed. The first of many without my precious Gabriella - but I'm sure she is somewhere celebrating this day more magnificently than we can imagine. I still miss her. Maybe this year we would have dressed her up as a little bunny. Because she'd be home by now, you know. Home with us. Not in the NICU, and not 'home' as in heaven. Home with me. We would have made her a little Easter basket, even though she would still be too little to understand. We would have taken her to get pictures with the Easter bunny, maybe at the mall, and read to her a children's book about the true Easter story. She would be smiling by now. Maybe starting to roll over. Or maybe she would have done that a long time ago - I'm guessing off of her adjusted age, but after all it has been 5 months since she was born. Just two since she should have been born. She would be so big now. Maybe ten or twelve pounds. Because she was only two when she was born. I can't even imagine her that big. She was so tiny. So perfect.

Brie, wherever you are, whatever you're doing today, please know that mommy loves you and misses you. I wish you were here with us.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

First Post

I wanted to create a blog for something else. Maybe some of you saw it. But that's just not where I am right now. That's where I want to be. But I didn't continue posting on it because there was just nothing to say - I'm not progressing in any area at all right now, but that's okay.

It has been 5 months today since I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. Five months. To be honest, it's been such a daze. Good days, really bad days, and foggy days I don't remember. Lots of fog. Going through the motions and waiting for bedtime, waiting for unconsciousness, to pass the time.

After we lost Brie, my mom warned me that I may have nightmares. I never did. In the first weeks I thought, maybe I'm too exhausted. They'll come later. But they never came, even as we tried to get back to normal. And I got pregnant again with this precious child who I carry within me, and I thought, here it comes. Pregnancy dreams are crazy enough, add some post traumatic stress and you have a perfect storm. But I was again blessed with peaceful, restful sleep. A break from the thoughts and feelings that haunt me all day, every day.

Until last night. I remember that it was a vivid dream at the time, but I only recall snippets from it now. It seems that I had two separate dreams. Or maybe just one. I'm not really sure. I remember being so worried about some babies who were in the NICU.. maybe four. Quite a few. I'm not sure if they were all mine, or if any of them were mine. They were tiny babies though. Too tiny to be real. Too tiny to live without wires and tubes. I was so worried. So fearful. And that's all I remember from that dream. Or from that part of the dream - I'm not sure which it was. The other part, was another child. My child. My child who I had left in someone else's care - again I'm not sure why. Maybe in the NICU too. I don't know. But that's the way it was. In my dream. I'm not sure if my child was a boy or girl, or what his or her name was. But I got a phone call, and was told my baby had a deadly problem, and needed surgery. Only there wasn't anyone, wherever I had left the child, who could perform the needed surgery. I had to find someone. I had to find someone quickly or my child would die. And so I called everyone I could think of, everyone I knew, and no one could help me. Some were too busy, some didn't know how to do what I needed. But no one could help. And then there were ants - ants all over my house. And people were spraying them, and I couldn't think why people would be worried about a few - or even legions of - ants, when my baby was dying.

I'm not sure what happened in the dream. Either I didn't dream any more about it or I don't remember it. I'm not sure whether I was able to save my baby - or any of the babies. But I would guess not. Because how could I? I can't even control or trust my own body enough to be sure that it will protect this new baby until he or she is strong enough to live.

I'm not sure why I'm having these dreams now, though. I've been really frustrated lately, so maybe that's it. I just don't understand how people can, in all seriousness, and of course with the best of intentions, tell me that the answer to my worries it to be positive. And then expect me to understand their worries about their living children, and somehow sympathize. I understand that these wonderful people have never buried their child before. Thank goodness, they've never had to hold their child while her heart beats for the last time. To watch her life slip away. To dress her for the last time, looking and feeling and smelling nothing like the baby you remember, the baby you gave birth to. And put the lid on her casket and somehow, somehow find the strength to leave her alone at the cemetery to be buried. To leave her in her grave, and return to life. But do they not think, that while my daughter was struggling for her life in the NICU that I was not being positive? Do they not think that I sent her all the positive energy and love in the world? Do they think that if I had had more to give, that it would have made a difference? Because I don't think it would have. I am learning a lot from my daughter's death, still, and one thing is this. The Lord is great. He gives and he takes away. And all the positive or negative energy or feelings or whatever in the world, in the universe, is not going to change that. I don't know why this happened. But I know I loved my baby. I wanted her. And I did everything I knew how to do for her while she was on this earth. But she was too pure, too lovely, to live here with us. Much too lovely. Much too perfect. Much too pure. And anyone who felt her presence can attest to that. But some parents, some parents don't want their babies. Some mothers do everything they can to cause a miscarriage, because they didn't mean to get pregnant. Or don't want to be pregnant. Or for some other reason that none of us can judge her for. But they send all the negative energy in the world to their baby, thinking please die, please die. But the baby doesn't die. Sometimes, the baby miraculously shows no ill effects from the substances their mothers ingested trying to kill them. Why? Why does that baby live and mine didn't? Because. That's the only answer. Because it was God's will.

But I'm not without hope. It sounds like I am, but really I'm not. If I were, how could I be pregnant again? How could I roll the dice this way, gambling my heart and soul for this little one? I couldn't. I have hope that this time, things will be different. That this time I'll bring a baby home, not bury one in the ground. That I'll lose sleep taking care of my baby, not crying for her.