January 22, 2015

20 weeks and counting...

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Sometimes I wonder at the wisdom of sharing my whole life of grief and pregnancy here on the blog. I am always getting reminders that yes, this has been a good decision.  Ok, sure, a whole lot of people know a lot of my personal business, as much as my family and best friends know, but that doesn't bother me at all.  This week, I really needed as much love and prayer and support as I could get, and the blog and by extension my Facebook was an amazing help with that!  The call for support and prayer...that is what social media should be for!  Our army was out there, begging God to take care of us and fight for us and keep us safe and sane.  

For the first part of this subsequent pregnancy of mine, I could tuck away most of my fears and anxieties that crop up after the pregnancy loss ordeal we experienced last time.  From September to December, I could get up every day and not be terribly worried, not freak out about each thing, for the most part.  Doctor visits and some bathroom visits were the only times my fears would claw their way back to me.

But now, that I am 20 weeks, I feel that I have to work a little harder, and fight a little more, to be relaxed and not let all that baby-death knowledge rule my life.  Especially with the "21 week" mark coming up next week.  On Monday night, I think I had a true episode of PTSD.  I didn't go crazy or anything, but I basically cried all night long.  Every time I went to the bathroom, I was afraid my water was going to break, and that may be a fear that I deal with constantly from now on...it just showed up on my bathroom door, reminding me of what happened with Jackson. I tucked myself away in our room, barely talking to anyone except for Dave who would check on me, or my mom who threatened to come over and take care of me.  The thought of our anatomy scan looming the next morning was too much for my heart to bare.  I kept thinking about the follow up scan that forever changed our lives last June, with the tech and the scanning and the silence and the doctor...goodness my heart is pounding just writing about it.  

I didn't want to go.  I thought about calling them and canceling.  I thought about being sick instead.  But I knew that the BEST thing for this baby of ours was to go and get checked out, to make sure all was ok because if it isn't, we could still work hard to make this all work out for good.  I didn't want to go, but I knew I had to.  I didn't sleep well all weekend.  It was the roughest time of this whole thing so far.

Tuesday, we woke up and got ready, and headed down to St. Joes.  Dave prayed in the car on the way down, I cried here and there, and we talked to try to get our minds off of what we were about to do.  Now, if you are pregnant and it's your first, or you've never experienced loss, then DO NOT worry.  You should be excited for this appointment, it's a fun one.  The chance of something being wrong is so, so low.  But for us, with fear deeply rooted in an actual loss experience, it just can't be fun anymore.  

When we got there and parked, I told Dave I couldn't do it.  I didn't want to leave the car.  He was firm, and told me I had to go...that he would drag me in there if he had too.  My breathing got deep and quick, and the panic was right on the cusp.  We checked into the office and sat down.  I went to use the bathroom a few times, and I noticed that as I was sitting there in a room full of preggo women, that my panic had suddenly subsided.  I knew it had to be the prayers that were coming in.  A few people had told me or texted me that right around 11am, they would be praying.  I felt it.  I had a calm that I couldn't understand. 

The tech, Leslie, called us back.  I was completely honest with her and told her I was a nervous mess, and we told her why.  She was so sweet and positive, and jumped into the scan with complete confidence that everything would be ok.  She put the wand on my belly, and right away pulled up the baby's heartbeat so we could hear it.  It was such a beautiful sound.  I wasn't quite worried about that part though, because I had felt the baby move that morning.

She started scanning some more and I saw the head.  A full, closed, big beautiful head.  I saw arms and legs.  I quickly started checking off the problems or diseases our baby doesn't have because of what I was seeing.  Head looked good - probably no anenchephaly.  Spine looked pretty good - a slew of disabilities checked off.  Four chambers in the heart - another good sign.  Check check check.  Baby was moving, and dancing, and all was going well.  She had me get up to use the bathroom a few times, and thoroughly explained what she was seeing and scanning.  Baby wasn't giving her great views, or at least staying in a position where she could get good pics, but she said halfway through that nothing that she saw was surprising, all looked normal.  

Finally she shared with us that we are having a boy, "I see some boy parts!" was her exclamation!  Dave and I were ecstatic, but shocked.  We were certain we were going to have a girl this time.  I felt like I had an inkling this time around, but I was totally wrong!  Poor kid, we've been calling him "Zoe" for a month.  We picked out the name Zoe even before we were pregnant, because I learned that the name means "Life" and what better name for a baby after loss, right?  Well, we will have to save that one!  We have NO names for a boy, but we are working on it;)

After about an hour, she said for us to take a break.  She wanted me to stretch, and wiggle around, and see if we couldn't get baby in a better position.  When she came back in, she had the doctor with her.  The.Same.Doctor.  Dr. Cootauco, who told us that Jackson was gone back in June, came in to look at our scan.  This is routine at St. Joes, doctors come in no matter what especially in high risk preggo woman, and consult on the pics.  They came in and we all sat down, Doc told us that she remembered us and asked us how we were, if they had ever found a reason for Jackson's death, and asked about how things were going this time.  Then, she sat down and looked at our scan for a good 2 or 3 minutes.

This part was indescribably excruciating.  I was nervous, but I think Dave nearly passed out.  I could tell that he was anxious, but it wasn't until afterwards when we talked about it in the car that I realized just how bad off he was.  He said he couldn't even look at me, let alone talk.  He was paralyzed.  Fear does that to us.  The silence while looking through those pictures, good gracious.  Finally, after what seemed like a year of agony, Doc said that she didn't see anything that concerns her.  She wanted Leslie to get a few more pictures, because Baby Boy wasn't cooperating very well, so they started looking at him again.  Doc said a few times over during this part, that everything looked OK and that if she saw any single thing that alarmed her, that she would tell me.  She promised.  I think that they feel bad, because at our anatomy scan for Jackson there wasn't anything going on that they could see, yet a week later my water broke.  But, I did have the twin loss, and the hemorrhage, which we already knew about, and this time there is none of that.

She did say that we need to come back in 3 weeks, because baby will be bigger then and they will be able to get better pictures, but again not because they see any problems.  Of course, because I am high risk, they'll do an echocardiogram on the baby, which measures how the heart is functioning or something...again, just routine.  She tried to assure us as much as she could.  Now, we aren't out of the woods yet, nor will we be until this baby is born...so many things could still be wrong, or could go wrong...but at least the scan didn't show anything alarming.  That was a big step for us.

Walking out of the hospital was one of the best feelings, the best highs, ever.  I remember feeling that way with Jackson too, but that whole situation didn't dampen how happy I felt this time.  We are having a boy. Everything looks ok so far.  This could really be happening.

We got to spend the rest of the day sharing with our family the news of our Baby Boy Bland.  I made little cards the night before, 2 boy cards and 2 girl cards, for my parents and Dave's mom to open.  I had brought them in the car, and wrapped the boy cards up in little boxes.  I guess we will save the girly ones!

We shared with my parents first, since it was in the middle of the day and Ash was at school and Joyce was at work.  They opened their gift and were so happy, my dad in particular because he really wanted a boy.  They took us to lunch to celebrate our happy news.

After lunch we raced home to share the news with Ashley.  She was also shocked because she was sure it was a girl, but I think that was more because she wanted a girl than anything else;)  My body likes to produce boys, though, and that is ok!  She was still excited.  We had bought a onesie for her when we found out the news, and wrapped it in the box I posted on FB to tease everyone!


Afterwards we waited for my MIL to get home and headed over there to share the news with her.  We had to make sure these VIPs knew before everyone else:)  Joyce was totally excited...so was her boyfriend Jon but he doesn't smile in pics;)

So all in all, it was good day.  It was the day I really wanted to have, and God answered our prayers and gave it to us.  I try not to think about the fact that last time, we had this day too - we even had a gender reveal party and celebrated all together - only to have to say goodbye to our sweet little boy a week later.  

I know this is a different pregnancy, but it's also hard not to compare them.  Hearing that we are having a boy again is a little hard.  Mostly, its so fun and exciting because I am so excited to be the mom of a BOY!  But...part of it is hard, because of the son we lost, the son we never got to love and keep and watch grow.  I think we thought it was a girl so strongly because we wanted this time to be COMPLETELY different, and a girl would have made it so.  Having a boy brings back a lot of memories, and joy that got stolen away, and it stings a little bit.

All in all, we are so beyond thrilled.  God is telling us that we have another chance, and that He is here with us while we go through this.  We are determined to not let our less take the JOY from this baby boy, from this pregnancy.  I'll never be one of those women who "just loves being pregnant" no, that won't ever be me.  I'll enjoy what I can, but I'm counting down the days until viability (47), and then to 36 weeks (110), and then to 40 (138).  I can't wait to meet our baby boy!

Thanks to everyone who has been supporting us this week, calling or texting, sending us things, stopping by, and especially all the praying.  We could feel it, we had peace because of those prayers.  So thank you a million times for loving us through it, because in these times we just can't get through it on our own.  We are so lucky, so blessed, and so overwhelmed with the support!  

I've got nervous-energy projects to share too, I did a lot over the weekend, so stay tuned for those!!! :)

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