Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The beginning

I guess our journey really began back in November when we found out we were expecting our 5th child.  One of our children has already gone to Heaven, we miscarried early in that pregnancy but still believe in the life of the child.

Before I even took a pregnancy test I thought of this baby as a girl.  I hadn't ever had a intuition about the gender of one of my babies so it constantly shocked me.  Without thinking I would refer to "her" and her future life.  My daughter really wanted a little sister, my son really wanted another little brother... either way someone was going to be happy.

The pregnancy has been fairly smooth.  I'm so blessed to enjoy my pregnancies.

Around 18 weeks or so I started to realize how slowly I was growing.  Although I was feeling concerned I just told myself I was being a worrier for no reason, I had already started to feel the small and beautiful movements.

We went in for our 20 week ultrasound.  All three of our kids went with us (that poor tech!  even well behaved kids add to the energy in the room).  As I watched the screen it was so fun to point out the spine to the kids, and for them to see the profile shot.  After my husband took the kids out of the room I watched the screen a bit more closely.  I just had a funny feeling, but I quieted my fears with logic... "how would I know what normal looked like?".  The baby was small, they figured I was just not as far along as I originally thought.  I definitely didn't believe that I could be two weeks less pregnant, but maybe it was a combination of that and a small baby.

We were told to expect to come back for another ultrasound when the baby was bigger.  Then that afternoon I got a phone message asking me to come in the next morning to review my results.  This isn't my first rodeo, I knew this wasn't a good sign.

As stubborn as I am I continued with my super quick trip to Phoenix with some very special friends.  I called the doctor to ask for a phone consult instead.  I know it's not ideal to give information over the phone but I have a wonderful doctor who agreed to my request.

You know how things have a way of working out?  We were supposed to talk around noon.  At that time of day I was sitting comfortably with my friends outside enjoying lunch and conversation.  We had plans for some shopping and then pool time in the afternoon.  Can you imagine how my day would have been derailed if the call had come through?  I'm so glad that even though I was consumed with waiting I was able to enjoy those relaxed hours.

We headed to the pool, at this point I was expecting a call around 4pm.  The phone rang soon after, my heart tightened.  I walked to the other side of the pool area to take the call, sat down and within moments was hit with a sledgehammer.  The news wasn't good, and there was so much of it I was unable to make it go away.  There was a problem with the shape of the head, the brain, the spine, the heart, the babies size.  Even writing that now is overwhelming.  All of these were markers of a chromosomal or genetic abnormality.  I asked if there were many options or a few that were more likely.  I can't remember the exact answer I was given only that it was followed up with "it's serious".  I think she must have said Edwards syndrome and it didn't catch my attention.  When I asked for clarification about "serious" and used our previous experience (with our last pregnancy) with possible T18 as "incompatible with life" the response was "the same" or "similar".  Again that moment, that answer remained fuzzy.

As I got off the phone a friend was instantly holding me.  I couldn't even call my husband, I knew he wouldn't be able to understand me if I started crying (which I was doing with earnest).  I sat, talked, cried, even laughed with my friends for a few minutes.  Finally I had the courage to call my husband, who was home taking care of our 3 kids.

Our conversation was composed, almost detached.  We were both somewhat prepared and not at all prepared at the same time.  I wouldn't say that my life feel apart, but the world definitely tilted.

I will never know exactly how it felt to be alone that night like my husband.  Although he has shared the story with me.  I am thankful for the people who surrounded me, who let conversation and love flow.  Who helped me continue on with a wonderful evening together and never once asked me to be anywhere other than where I was.

Then next morning on the way home I saw a healthy baby at the airport.  It hit me, "I'm not going to have one of those". I fought the tears.  When I mentioned that I was emotionally exhausted my dear friend looked directly at me and said "you look emotionally exhausted".  I felt her love. I felt her acceptance.

As I tried to ask my friends, who had heard my first words as I replayed the phone call, if I was maybe being dramatic, maybe exaggerating one of them teased me.  "You're not really the drama type".  I knew she was right, I knew this was real, I knew I had no idea what was ahead.

On the airplane I looked at the flight attendants name tag.  Would I be naming this child?  Was the name more important now, what did it need to say about him/her?  It was another overwhelming moment.

Later that day I was alone for the first time.  The tears came fast, they came with furry.  I was full of so many questions, concerns and fear.  I was never really angry (I have friends who have taken on that burden for me).

It took us a couple days to send information to our friends.  And we learned that we had to wait almost 6 days to see the Perinatologist.  I spent the beginning of that time in a daze, staring at a wall, going through the motions.  Then I just went numb and functioned.  We still had a birthday party planned for my two oldest children.

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