There are so many things in life that I want answers to, but I know there's a good chance I'll never get them. This is one of those things...
When everything started happening with Jackson two weeks ago, I wanted answers. That Wednesday morning, when we heard the news that would shatter our lives, of course one of the first things that popped into our minds was "WHY?!"
Why did this happen? What went wrong? What did I DO?? When Dr. Bellantoni came in to my room after we were admitted and started talking to me about the whole situation in his sweet & caring way, he started off with this...
"I can guess what is going through your head. You have 3 questions right now. 1. Why did this happen? 2. What is going to happen next here at the hospital? and 3. What about the future?"
Of course, he's been through this before, and understands moms like me...we want answers. He was ready to help me understand.
As for #1 - why, he said we may never know for sure. His best guess at that point, on that day, a mere 2 hours after we had heard the news and checked into the birthplace, was that the few bad things that had happened in my pregnancy were signs. Starting off with a multiple (twin) pregnancy, there was always a risk. Something probably went wrong with the placenta attaching. A huge red flag was that our one twin, little Lily, didn't make it. That could be the reason.
Another answer could be the SCH, or subchorionic hemorrhage. I started bleeding at 15 weeks, and never stopped. The bleeding got better, but all the way up until that week, there was still brown blood. Old blood, I thought it was. Now, thinking back, I think I may have been leaking fluid, but I just thought it was part of the SCH clearing up, so I thought nothing of it. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. It was just a series of unfortunate "events"... all of these things happened to me, and that the order of it all happening couldn't be avoided. I had been leaking something for 6 weeks at that point, everyone said it was normal with a hemorrhage and it was to be expected. Anyways, a SCH can weaken things with the baby, and can lead to pre-term labor. There's just a very small chance of that happening.
Chances. I have thought about chances and percentages and numbers a lot with this pregnancy. We know that at least 1 in 4 or about 25% woman experience pregnancy loss, which includes miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss. There is also around a 25% chance of losing a baby before 12 weeks, these miscarriages happen most often. 1 in 160 pregnant woman will experience stillbirth. It is considered "stillbirth" if you are past 20 weeks. About 3% of woman experience pre PROM (premature rupture of membranes before 37 weeks). 3.3% of all pregnancies result in fraternal twins. 30% of twin pregnancies can result in Vanishing Twin Syndrome. The What to expect website says that more than half the women that bleed during pregnancy go on to have healthy babies.
Well, it's not a secret that I defy the odds. Just reading those numbers up there - I fell into the short hand of all of them! We had twins. I did "miscarry" with a vanishing twin. I did bleed with the SCH and we did not end with a healthy baby. My water did break. I did experience stillbirth. Can we catch a freaking break, please? I think that is why Dave and my mom and most of my friends and family were SO sure that Jackson would be ok. They believed we had met our quota of "bad stuff" happening. Well, let me tell you, unfortunately, there is no quota.
This past Tuesday, we had our follow up appointment with Dr. Bellantoni. I was terrified. Not only did I have to go back to the very OB office that I had been to plenty of times with hope and dreams of our precious baby, an office where there were tons of woman with beautiful baby bellies (my 23 week belly would have been so round and sweet by now too, I was just starting to show at 5 months), an office where we found out the worse news of our lives...I also was terrified of what the answer could be. We were about to discuss the WHY of it all. Did I do something wrong? Was there an infection we should have known about? Did my blood work show some terrible, irreversible problem with me? Would he tell us that we shouldn't try again? I was having a mild panic attack the whole morning, and very, VERY close to tears in the car and waiting in that office. Dave was nervous too, but I think he feared for my sanity that whole time. I may have been shaking. I kept thinking about those terrible days a few weeks ago, about the birth center down below us, where we walked in knowing what we would have to do and how it would all end.
Dr. Jon came in and was as nice as ever. He asked us how things were going, was very understanding and explained everything that he could. My placenta report came back with nothing. We chose not to have the autopsy done on Jackson, he was so tiny and had already been through so much, I know he was already gone but I just couldn't do it. Doc had told us that it wouldn't have given any answers that would change what happened or the future. So we left it. He did order a ton of blood tests on me while I was admitted, the full panel plus checking for disorders like Lupus and blood diseases. All labs looked ok. No infections, no cord problems, nothing that we could really see. There were no answers there.
But, as he told us, no answers are actually good answers. It seems that the twin pregnancy is the best reason to go on right now, which in light of everything, can be good news. It means that going forward, it's "probable" that it won't happen again. Probable. We know now that in life, there are no definites. There is no threshold of heartache that we can reach and feel safe. Could it happen again? Absolutely. God help us all.
In my case, it seems as though the placenta just didn't "velcro" the correct way, which lead to the weakening of everything, which probably led to my water breaking. The SCH probably didn't help either. Without the fluid, at 21 weeks, he couldn't survive and sure enough, his tiny heart stopped beating. Just a few short weeks more, and it could have been different...but I try not to think in what ifs, because I could drive myself crazy...
Anyways, in all of these "non-answers"; I actually did find some peace. Some relief. I didn't do anything to cause this, and there wasn't anything happening with Jackson that we could have fixed. It just wasn't meant to be. He wasn't made for this world. How can I argue with God for taking him, when He wanted him to be there instead of here? I can't.
As for question #2, what happened next with the birth and all that happened those few days, I still can't write about that. Not just yet.
Question #3, the future...that is something I can talk about. In the future there is HOPE, and I am clinging to HOPE so desperately right now. When we were in the hospital, all I could think about was how I needed to go back on birth control, asap. I didn't want to go through this again. We even talked to Dr. Jon about it, as I went into induced labor and thought about going forward with life after this, he tried to talk us out of any major decisions. He said that we should wait until our postpartum visit, yes - even with a stillbirth there are tons of "postpartum" things I would need to handle - to make any decisions. He didn't want us to be too hasty in deciding anything just then. He was right. Docs usually are.
By the time our appointment rolled around this past Tuesday, my thoughts changed. Now, I want to get pregnant again. ASAP. I want a baby in my arms that I can KEEP in my arms. Not to replace Jackson, not to rid me of my beautiful but terrible memories of my time with him, but because this whole process has showed me just how much I want to be a MOM. Of course, I wanted to be a mom with Jackson & Lily, it hit me immediately after reading that "YES+". Our pregnancy wasn't planned (it wasn't avoided either, we were ready if it happened) and while it was a shock and a change to get used to, we were excited. Now, with that whole future swept away from me, I want it more than ever. I've written about my feelings towards having kids before, in my whole life I was never one of those women who just wanted to be a mom. I am an ambitious soul, I love work and school and doing something that makes a difference for others. Well, forget all that now. I just want to be a mom. It's all I want. That's a big change for me.
On Tuesday, Doc gave us the go-ahead. We should wait a cycle or two, just for mechanical get-back-to-normal reasons, but he doesn't see any reason why we should wait to try again, or to get other tests done. I think he, almost as much as we do, wants to see us with a happy, healthy baby. Even with the diabetes, (I was diagnosed with probable gestational or Type 11 diabetes at week 8 of the pregnancy and put on insulin) we don't have to wait. My endo doctor told me to stop all insulin for now, just to see what my sugars do postpartum, and almost immediately the sugars went back to normal. My A1C isn't high enough to be of concern at all, and thankfully all my docs assured us that the diabetes did not in anyway cause this tragedy to happen, it barely warrants being called diabetes anyway.
I've promised myself, and Jesus, and my family, and whoever else that cares, that I won't torture myself with the whys and what-ifs and how-would-it-have-beens. As much as I can help it. There's just no changing the fact that this terrible thing has happened to us. There is nothing I can do to bring them back. I have to trust that God knows what He is doing in me, in us, and move forward. It's very hard to move forward, but I will do it. I have to. I am not strong enough, but Jesus is.
I would do anything to have Jackson & Lily here with me now, safe in my belly or in my arms, but again...I can't be mad at God for taking them, because I know that forever, they are safe and they are loved. Who better to take care of them then all of our family that have gone before us, but most of all our loving God who cherishes them even more than we do.
So now our hope is for a rainbow. A rainbow baby is the baby you conceive and carry to term, healthy, after a loss. It's the rainbow after the storm. I am aware of how anxious being pregnant again will probably make me, but I am willing to risk it, risk another loss, just to try. It's what I want, it's what I feel is right, and is what I hope will happen! If you need something to do to help us feel better, it's prayers to heal in the best way we can, prayers to be ready, to be successful in carrying a baby to term, and to not worry as much the next time around. Pray that, if God chooses to make us endure this again, it won't break us. But most of all...
Pray for our RAINBOW.