My Saving Grace

There is something innately unnatural about burying a child. Like it really goes against God’s plan and all laws of nature.

This Friday marks the second angelversary of Ethan going to heaven. I can vividly recall that entire day – going into labor at 2:30 in the morning, and fighting the labor the entire day until 5:30 that night when Ethan appeared on his own. It was then I learned I had incompetent (now diagnosed as insufficient) cervix and would require a cerclage and bed rest for all subsequent pregnancies.

Supposedly IC affects only 1% of all pregnancies though I beg to differ. I know many, many women who have suffered the same fate as me; in some cases, worse with many women having several losses. No parent should ever have to bury their child. It’s a surreal feeling – knowing I should have an 18-month old toddler and I don’t.

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I was about 16 weeks pregnant with Ethan in this picture.

I remember the days after Ethan’s passing were a fog. My mind convinced me that it was a nightmare and that I was never pregnant and for a while, I believed it. (I learned later this is a coping mechanism.) I lost a couple of friendships, one being 30+ years, and some other friends and family members I have no desire to talk to. A friend who I thought had my back through thick and thin, admitted he kept his distance from me because he couldn’t handle my grief. As a result, I terminated the friendship. (Funny how said person is trying to get back into my good graces now that Bo is here.) My brother (yeah, that brother) used a bullshit excuse of ‘not knowing what to say’ for an entire year and decided it was better to avoid than to acknowledge (now can y’all see why I want absolutely nothing to do with him ever?)

I felt (and still feel) abandoned by both sets of parents – mine and M’s – as they refuse to talk about Ethan or count him in the number of grandchildren they have. A lot of the time, it feels like I’m the only one who cared that I had a son before Bo. Both grandparents are proudly showing off pictures of Bo in their home but not a single one of Ethan. I decided who ever comes over to my home is going to see a picture of Ethan. He’ll be in a frame and along with other pictures of friends and family. It’s my home and if seeing a picture of an angel baby bothers them, they can get the fuck out and not come back.

Tragedy brings out the very best and worst in people. You will quickly learn who cares and who doesn’t. Some people can’t handle grief for reasons only they know while others embrace it. I guess I was so used to unexpected deaths from friends and family, I was able to deal with Ethan’s death head on. It wasn’t easy, though. I can vividly recall the day after Ethan’s funeral, I attempted suicide. I had a note written out and I cut up both arms with a very sharp knife, waiting for M to come home so he could discover my body in the living room. It was then I decided to seek treatment from a therapist.

Caring for Bo has been a challenge. For a while I thought I was suffering from postpartum depression and maybe I do have a mild form of it. I talked to other angel mom friends of mine about my feelings – why I’m feeling sadness when this beautiful moment just occurred. They all expressed the same thing – they were dealing with their rainbows milestones and big moments when they should’ve celebrated their angel’s milestones.

It makes sense. You would always wonder about the ‘what ifs’ and ‘could’ve beens’ instead of what actually happened. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wondered if Ethan would’ve been a fussy baby like Bo or what type of child he would’ve grown up to be. Would he be into art? Would he like sports? What about European football? Would he be a cool kid or a geek? What type of girl would he be into?

It’s sad. What hurts about infant loss is that you’re robbed of the opportunity to know what could’ve been and nothing will ever make it better. It gets easier over time. You smile more before you cry. I can look back at my pregnancy with Ethan and smile fondly. But I’ll always wonder what could’ve been. No matter how many children I’ll have, I’ll always long for the one that never came home.

Remembering Ethan

 

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Scream

This kid is stubborn.

So it’s been almost two weeks since my cerclage was removed and well, I’m still very much pregnant. It wasn’t too bad except for when I suddenly fell sick. I didn’t think it was a big deal but apparently my OB did. I saw him today and he checked me. The good news: Yoda is still locked and loaded. The bad news: He’s not low enough to warrant an induction.

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Yeah…

See, I asked him if Yoda could be induced on his due date (18th). Well, my OB had other news for me:

I don’t want you going past the 14th.

 

Granted, my reaction was pretty appropriate:

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Yoda’s head is already measuring 41 weeks. His body is measuring over 39 weeks. Combined with me being sick suddenly and my blood pressure being unusually high, my OB was very concerned about me going 40 weeks. In short, the longer Yoda is inside, the sicker I become. 

Twisted.

Whether I’ll be induced or have a c-section, it doesn’t matter at this point. I just want my son alive and healthy. That is all.

Superwoman

I’m sure I used that title before.

Today I had my cerclage removed. It was an eventful day. Let’s count the struggles…

My MFM’s office usually calls the day before an appointment to confirm. I didn’t get receive a call yesterday but I didn’t pay too much attention to it and just thought it was an oversight. Heh. Note to everyone – if a doctor’s office usually calls to remind you of an appointment and they don’t, you call them.

M and I arrive to the appointment and sign in. My MFM’s office is always busy no matter what time of day or what day of the week. It’s horrible. My appointment could be at 10:30 and I probably won’t be seen until noon. It’s something we’re used to. So, we thought everything would be cool today. We waited in the hallway since there were no seats available and we thought (logically), they would come out and check to see if we’re in the hallway or at least call my cell phone on record.

They didn’t.

After an hour, I sent M. back inside the office to inquire about whether we should go out to lunch while they go through the long waiting list. Turns out, not only did they not attempt to come see if we were in the hallway, they didn’t even have me listed to get my cerclage removed.

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Yeah, that was pretty much our faces.

So M and I had a, ‘Oh you got to be fucking kidding us’ type of silent reaction, the receptionists sent us out to lunch and told us they will call. Over lunch, I took the advice of a fellow IC mama, Jaimee, and had two extra strength Tylenol to help with the pain before the removal. We went out to lunch and sure enough within the hour, they called, eager for us to come back. We went back to the office and checked in, and ready for the show to get on the road. My MFM came in shortly after and started the examination. My cerclage, a double-stitched Shirodkar, was holding steady and my cervix measured at 3.5.

Now comes the fun part.

If you ever had a pap smear, you know those damn things are uncomfortable as all hell. Well, add some excruiating pain to them and you got yourself a cerclage removal. Yeah, it’s pretty much like that. I didn’t see the cerclage being removed but M did and said it reminded him of cable ties. Heh. I had some heavy duty reinforcement up in there! Afterward, I did bleed for a bit (which is common) but I wasn’t in any more pain. The pain, while it hurt very much, only lasted a few moments as the cerclage was being removed.

So you’re probably thinking, well, this is it, right? That was the appointment? I wish.

After the removal and during the general examination, there was a scheduled fire alarm and we had to evacuate the building. Yeah, we had to freakin’ evacuate the building. I thank God the fire drill didn’t occur during the removal or that would’ve really sucked. So I had to dress up, evacuate along with the other preggos and go down three flights of stairs, and wait outside until it was safe for us to go back in. We didn’t have to wait long but it was an inconvenience.

After we got the go-ahead to go back in, we went back to the examination. Yoda was being stubborn (like Daddy) and refused to let us see his face, though he did throw up the Black fist to us.

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Once the general examination was done, I had to for my NST to make sure Yoda wasn’t in stress and he passed with flying colors. Happy and exhausted, we finally went home. It was the final appointment at my MFM’s office.

For those keeping score at home, let’s add up the totals:

Time we left our apartment: 10:45

Time we arrived for our appointment: 11:15

Time of appointment: 11:30

Time we were actually seen: 2:00 PM

Time we arrived home: 5 PM

A very long and emotionally exhausting day but we got the end result that we wanted – the cerclage is out. Yoda is measuring just an ounce shy of seven pounds and is expected to make his award-winning debut within a week.

And now we wait.

Outstanding

Tomorrow is the big day.

The day I get my cerclage removed.

It’s cray-cray to think that back in May, I posted about how nervous I was to get the cerclage implanted. Then I posted about how my recovery was going. Now I’m posting on the eve of its removal.

I never thought I would make it this far. Not that I was expecting the same thing that happened to Ethan to happen to Bogdan (Yoda) but with a late loss, you never feel comfortable.

Truth is, I still don’t quite feel comfortable but it’s more pregnancy-related than anxiety.

Getting the transvaginal cerclage was a huge risk and it paid off. I knew the risks and the spectacular failure rate. Both of my doctors were watching me very closely. My OB started researching pediatricians who specialized in premature babies, just as a precaution.  My MFM advised me not to leave the area unless it was an emergency.

Now I’m 37 weeks, according to LMP. I’ll find out how big Yoda bear is and if he’s still measuring ahead.

Just crazy. I think I’ll celebrate today’s accomplishment with some lemonade and tomorrow’s achievement with a nice, cold glass of cranberry juice.

Technologic

We saw our MFM this past Friday. I also received another NST. Yoda bear is doing fabulous and great! We got a great pic of him when he wasn’t trying to cover his face with an arm. He officially has Mommy’s lips. Oh dear. My son is going to be a heartbreaker. I need to get out the shovels and shotguns. Forget daddies being protective of their little girls; I’m about to be the heifer-filter.

“You might want to consider a c-section…”

It’s one thing when one doctor suggests a c-section; it’s an entirely different ballpark when you get an unsolicited second opinion from another doctor suggesting the same thing. Though my MFM scheduled me to get my cerclage removed the week of Halloween, I’m not sure if it’s necessary. If there’s a chance I’ll be having a c-section, there’s no point of getting the cerclage removed, which was my OB’s point. My MFM was very clear, however, that the absolute last day I’ll be pregnant is the November 18th due date and I’m pretty sure my OB will say the same thing when I see him this week.

I already have a few people in the anti- c-section camp, for understandable reasons. However, my situation is quite different. It’s not like I’m scared of a vaginal birth but I have two doctors who are concerned about Yoda’s health as well as mine. My doctors have not sugar-coated their opinions or advice to me throughout the pregnancy so I know when they suggest something, they’re clearly seeing something I’m not seeing. I know the recovery will be difficult and I might have to undergo another c-section next time around if the cerclage will be permanent. I am not naive about how serious a c-section is and that it is major surgery; I’m well aware of the risks. Yet, my only concern at this point is for Yoda to be delivered happy and healthy; I really don’t care what method he comes out.

M and I did complete childbirth classes just in case I do a vaginal birth. We learned the many different breathing techniques which I need to practice because I did get lightheaded. Our favorite one is the Hee-hee-hee-hooooooo technique. My tongue dries out pretty quickly so I have to stick it to the roof of my mouth whenever I do that. I also got to practice laboring on an exercise ball, which was neat. My favorite method is leaning on M as he sways me side to side and rubs my lower back. I recommend everyone should do that even if they’re not pregnant.

We learned the five senses/focal points. We decided for smell, we’ll open up a peppermint candle; for taste, popsicles; sight, a movie; touch, a massage; and lastly for hearing, some soft music. We received the pre-registration paperwork for Yoda to bring with us to the hospital when I get ready to deliver. Now it’s just waiting time. I could be giving birth as early as next month.

Exciting!

Now I just have to pack the hospital bag and the diaper bag. Yes, I did get a diaper bag at my shower! It’s so stylish! I’ll update that along with some more baby shower swag in another post.