Use the belief others have in you until you are strong enough to carry that same belief in yourself.
Last night, I said to Ger “I’m doing ok.” Then I woke up shortly before midnight, drenched in sweat, and realized “I’m really not ok.” It is now five days. And by the end of the day, it will be four and a half.
A few weeks after losing Iris, I had a consult with Maternal Fetal Medicine. The doctor that we met with was new to the group, but not new to the practice of MFM; he had been practicing for 20 years. He began the consult by saying “Before we talk about everything medical, I want to talk about you. How are you doing?” It started as more than a strictly clinical experience. He reviewed everything with us, and there were so many unknowns. Nelle was growth restricted. Iris was not, but had a chromosome microdeletion – though not one associated with pregnancy loss. Both placentas had Fetal thrombotic vasculopathy (clotting on the fetal side) but that could have occurred post-demise. It wasn’t 100% certain that the two losses were even related. I was tested for everything under the sun, looking for a definitive answer. Nothing.
We did everything that the MFM doctor recommended. We waited 6 months, to give my body a rest. We saw a genetic counselor and she supported our decision to have an amniocentesis done at 16 weeks to give us reassurances. We saw MFM again at 8 weeks of pregnancy this time to formulate a go-forward plan. He wanted to see us every 4 weeks, in addition to my regular monthly OBGYN visits. I was put on a daily injection of Lovenox, a blood thinner, in case a clotting issue had been missed.
At every MFM appointment, an ultrasound was done to check for growth restriction. All normal. We had the amniocentesis done at 16 weeks to check chromosomes. Normal. 20 week anatomy ultrasound. Normal. Fetal echocardiogram done at 24 weeks. Normal. Every growth ultrasound after that was normal. I failed my one-hour glucose tolerance test, but passed the three-hour. I started non-stress tests at 32 weeks, and those were weekly appointments. MFM visits were changed to every 3 weeks instead of every 4 weeks as we headed into the home stretch. I begged the MFM doctor to allow my c-section to be scheduled for 38 weeks instead of 39 weeks and he agreed.
Here we are at the last MFM appointment, a place I never thought I would be. 37 weeks, 4 days. Baby weighs about 6 pounds, 10 ounces. This specialized doctor’s kind face and words have been with us every step of the way. He offered gentle encouragement at 16 weeks when we saw no growth issues. He was thrilled at 20 weeks. I don’t know what it was, and he likely doesn’t either: one of the recommended courses of action, or a combination, or luck… but here we are.
Back at the consultation at 8 weeks of pregnancy, he asked me if I was ready to do this again. I told him that I was fairly calm, and at the time, I was. Of course, I had no idea of the emotional agony that I would endure in the weeks that followed. He nodded and said, “Of course. It feels like this story has already been written.”
He told us today how happy he is for us, to reach this point. Reminded us that the very first pre-conception consult with him was during his first week at the practice, so to see us through has brought him joy. He said that he didn’t want to give us any false hope along the way, but he has been optimistic from the beginning. I said to the doctor “Thank you. For your care and being there with us.” I asked if he does rounds at the hospital and he does, so he will “pop in” during our stay. He can become exuberant when he talks, and as he was gesturing, a quarter flew out of his pocket and landed directly on my abdomen, still exposed from the ultrasound. He said it was a sign – a lucky quarter – and insisted I take it with me since he has “never thrown money at a patient before.”
I wasn’t really going to keep the quarter, but as we exited the office from this final appointment, Ger said that I should keep it and we can bring it to the hospital with us next week. I tucked the lucky quarter into a separate pocket in my purse.