Monday, June 14, 2010

Ultrasound!


Ultrasound!
Originally uploaded by Tiny House
With my first pregnancy, I had what felt like a ton of ultrasounds. But with this one I've only had two. So the pictures from this one are like gold to me. Today we had another, and got the cutest pictures. This is his profile, with the umbilical cord resting on his forehead.

I was high risk with my first, off and on throughout the pregnancy. I found out early on that we were having twins. And so I grew attached to each. I lost one little boy around 10 weeks in. Which was incredibly scary because the emergency room staff wouldn't do an ultrasound because the focus at that early of a stage in pregnancy is on the mom, not the baby. That was Saturday. I didn't find out until Monday that I still had one baby left. And the radiologist who told me this was very abrupt and I cried. Some people should not be in a position to tell someone their child just died. After a cross-country move, I started visiting the hospital at 31 weeks due to preterm labor, and birthed him at 35.5 weeks due to premature rupture of membranes.

I've been fairly quiet here about this pregnancy, mostly because I'm afraid since I am considered high risk. I went to the hospital twice recently for pre-term labor, starting at 25 weeks. Thank you irritable uterus and soft cervix. I'm now 31 weeks and have since developed a case of gestational diabetes. And lets not even mention the unrelenting morning sickness and super low blood pressure.

I know it's not my fault, but I can't help but think that my body is incapable of keeping my babies safe until full term. And it scares me.

I'm also a bit sad because I know this is my last pregnancy. My husband and I aren't prepared to go through this again, so this is it. So I'm trying to enjoy as much of this process as possible. Sometimes I wonder if the kick I just felt will be the last fetus kick this body ever feels. But it's difficult because I'm so uncomfortable.

On the other hand, my sister is currently living with us and is due later this month. She's managed to carry her baby full term (she's 38.5 weeks along) and is so done with being pregnant that she's trying lots of things to move along labor. The differences in our bodies amaze and confuse me at the same time.

Being a doula is amazing. I'm amazed by how our bodies are capable of growing another human being. And then knowing when to birth them into the world. I'm honored to be a part of people's birthing experience, offering advice and soothing words to help ease their transitions into being a mom, dad, and family. Volunteering at the hospital offers a tremendous amount of experience.

I also hope that one day I will have the words and wisdom to help guide families and moms throughout the early stages of their loss if something goes wrong. I want to be the opposite of the emergency room doctors and radiologist who compounded my heartache and loss when my body wasn't capable of keeping my son's twin safe. Or when I had my son early. Or if I am unable to keep this baby to term.

At one of my recent hospital visits as a patient, there was a neonatal code blue. That means a baby wasn't able to breathe and his heart wasn't working. All the staff rushed in, and when my nurse came back in I knew by her face that the baby didn't make it. She explained that that was the third baby lost that day. We cried together. She because she experiences this often, and it's hard. Me because I'm terrified that this could happen to my baby.

But, as so often happens, I've managed to overthink my original blog post. I want to share my beautiful baby's picture, and focus on keeping him safe until it's our turn to bring him into the world. In the meantime, I'm going to hold my first son tight while he sleeps next to me, and his baby brother bumps around in my belly a bit longer. And who knows, maybe I'll be taking my sister to the hospital tonight to help her bring her first baby into the world.

1 comment:

JJ Keith said...

There's lots about this post that I relate to. I'm 30 weeks along with my second (and probably last) baby and I'm trying to enjoy it despite my many discomforts. I feel like when people ask me how I'm doing they really want me to report that I'm either feeling awesome or awesomer, not that my back hurts, my esophagus is in my mouth, and I'm depressed because I have too little energy to play with my toddler.

Before my first baby was born I had three miscarriages so I have a tenuous relationship with pregnancy -- it makes me nervous and I'd much rather just fast forward to the day I get to take my baby home. But culturally there seems to be a mandate that pregnancy be a magical time of special bonding with your unborn baby. Sorry to be a contrarian, but I'd much rather just have him in my arms.

Sorry for the ramble. There's a lot of stuff I'd like to say that I'm afraid to post on my blog and here's some of it. Long story short, hang in there. You're almost there. And pregnancy is a highly individualized experience and sometimes that individual experience is strained, but that doesn't make it any less valid, special, or loving. I guess I'm talking to both us. :-)