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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Denouement

Hi friends,

It has been a very very long time; part of my process, I suppose. I am going to spare you all any efforts at literary suspense to say that baby and I are fine. He is 25 weeks yesterday - and yes, it's a He and he has all his chromosomes in the right number and configuration.

As you all know, the CVS procedure we planned at 11 weeks had to be cancelled, so Jason and I were left in excruciating limbo - we had to wait 4 weeks till the amniocentesis procedure and then a remaining 4 days to receive the FISH results (a test that targets a few key chromosomal defects rather than the full gamut analysis which takes 2 weeks). The wait was going to be difficult, but we were relieved that we were going to find out either way before we left to visit Jason's family in Georgia over Christmas. While there, we were either going to 1) reveal our good news or 2) desperately force our grief deep deep deep down under a sea of mind-numbing substances till we could get back home and properly lose it.

Have you guessed what comes next? If you are a seasoned IFer, you probably guessed that - whatever came next - it went every which way except the way we planned.

The amnio procedure was actually fine - no fluid leaking, no fever, not even cramps. I was terrified to laugh or sneeze for fear that the sac would burst like a water balloon; but all in all, not a bad experience. I remember being pretty functional during the 4 day wait for the FISH results; but I slid down the slippery slope of hysteria soon enough.

My reserves crumbled on day 4 when, that morning, I was practically hyperventilating in the parking lot at work as I left a message with Maternal Fetal Medicine to get the results ,or remind them that my results should be in, or generally beg them to throw me a bone because I was barely holding my panic at bay. When the doctor called me back, I was not at all pleased. Doctors only call when it's bad news. Which it was.

The bad news was that the sample they collected for the FISH processing did not grow properly … so no results for me. Instead … another 2-week-wait for the full chromosomal analysis.

WTF?! As if I had't had more than fucking enough of those.

None of which I said to the doctor. I just sucked up my dismay while he explained that they had attempted the FISH twice, after which they didn't want to compromise the rest of my fluid sample which was needed for the full chromosomal analysis.

This really really fucked up the big Christmas Miracle announcement we were hoping to deliver in Georgia. Not to mention the fact that we just couldn't believe how fucking unfair this was. Yet another hard lesson hammered home once again; the "F" in IF does not stand for "fair."

So here we were, being asked to wait ANOTHER 2 weeks for results we were hoping to have a full month and a half ago. It was truly truly unfathomable, ladies. I couldn't wrap my head around the cruelty of it all. Time was becoming crucial since, given chromosomal unviability, we would have considered terminating the pregnancy. And since we'd had a baby with chromosomal anomalies once before, it was no long stretch of the imagination to consider that we may have to grapple with some excruciating choices. My biggest fear was that I would begin to feel the baby and that … well. You know. Suffice it to say, the farther in I was, the more ruined I would be - at least that's how I figured it at the time.

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We did tell Jason's family over Christmas - not indicating that we were still waiting to see if the baby was healthy and viable. We just announced it like, as per tradition, he was going to come into this world for sure. We soaked up all the joyful tears and congratulations with our fingers crossed behind our backs.

It was on the drive back home that I got the call from the nurse informing us that everything was all right and that the baby was a boy. Holy shit. A real boy. Not only was I stunned with the news that everything was OK, but I was strangely panicked by the fact that I had no idea what the hell to do with a boy. Though honestly, I probably would have had the same thought if it was a girl.

Since then, it has been a whirlwind of coming to terms with the fact that this might actually happen. My anxiety has shifted somewhat from concern about his health and well-being inside me, to his health and well-being on - impossibly - the outside. As you all know, it would have been reckless and irresponsible to think about the baby actually being born. Baby steps - no pun intended - are what's called for. Literally one day and one fetal heartbeat at a time as you inch toward 5 weeks, then 10, then out of the first trimester, etc etc. Finally, when it looks more likely than not that things might progress normally, you can finally attend to the Things You Couldn't Think About Before … like maternity leave, daycare, living arrangements, career, newborn care, baby clothes (the attraction to which I have never understood until my baby became a reality to me … now I get it.) All the things which, under normal circumstances, I would have begun thinking about the minute I took the pee test. But having lost four-five months to squelching hope, I am feeling very behind-the-ball. I do it happily and excitedly, but I am utterly overwhelmed by the impending seismic shift in my identity. It is strange and scary, but so exciting.

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As I type, he is kicking against my basketball belly. I felt my first honest-to-god kick at 19 weeks, and he is a reliable little mover and shaker. He's had 2 great anatomy checks and tests in the normal range on all things. As for me, besides heartburn and wicked lower back pain if I over-extend myself, I seem to be weathering pregnancy with blissfully few side-effects.

I am not sure what I should do at this point with respect to this blog. I'm not ready to take it down altogether because … what if I need it again? God help us. But I don't anticipate I'l be blogging much; hopefully some updates here and there but I don't want to misuse this space to prattle on about my day-to-day worries which now revolve around the fact that I will most likely quit my job and try and find part-time work after he is 3 months old. (After visiting the day cares, discovering how much of my salary will go to his care by a stranger, and reading my newborn books, I feel more comfortable sacrificing my career and my salary (such as it is) for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch my baby grow up, at least in his first year. It is a HUGE leap of faith because my anxiety around money is EPIC.) For those of you who continue to post after becoming, and remaining, pregnant, please don't think that I am criticizing your blogs; I actually love reading about your pregnancies as they progress. It's just that the kind of support I personally need and the kind of support I can personally provide seem to belong less and less in the IF domain … personally.

I want to thank all of you who took the time to comment on my blog and offer your support. You all were instrumental in anchoring me in a reality that was utterly unfair, but sadly common. The very fact of our shared experience and suffering in the face of something so inexplicably unfair helped to ground me in functional coping mechanisms. By acknowledging the universality of harsh and unfair reality, I could deal with the inevitable pain of being alive rather much better than if I had given in fully to despair, hopelessness, self-flagellation, and anger.

Perhaps it is easy to say this from the comfortable distance of 25 weeks; in fact, I know it is.

But I have learned a lot about resilience, humor, and honesty in the face of adversity from reading your blogs. THANK YOU.

7 comments:

bunny said...

Oh Melanie, I'm so overjoyed that despite the hideously rocky road (seriously? you had to go through all that? SERIOUSLY?!?!?) you find yourself in this wonderful place. And thank you SO MUCH for letting us know. Just yesterday I was looking at your blog name in my list and thinking "her baby is for sure dead, that's so sad." But he's not! He's alive and kicking! I wish you the very best for the remainder of your pregnancy and beyond.

N said...

I am so happy to hear about the good results on your boy!!!! YEAH. I hear you on the waiting an waiting our experience was similar, planned to do cvs, changed mind, scheduled amnio, got sick and to reschedule 3 times. URghhhh. So incredibly had to wait through, I felt like i missed out on the few weeks I was not sick or a whale with worry. Oh well.

Also hear you on the blog thing. I post sporatically, but feel odd about it. BUt too scared to get rid of blog, incase something happens. Which I beg the universe each night not to let happen.

I hope you post a pic when he is born. good luck with the rest of your preganacy.

B said...

i've been so hoping that everything is ok but so worried that it wasn't. i'm so glad it is :)

finding out our baby is a boy suddenly made it a lot more real for me, too. like if he's real then there must be a chance that he'll come home with us come june.

i hope you update us from time to time even if you don't keep blogging again regularly.

take care and i hope your pregnancy progresses in a very boring fashion xx

Bluebell said...

I've been periodically checking your bog and thinking the worst. So, phew... You had me worried. Hairy sounding time - but awesome that baby boy and you are all good. It's sad but oddly fitting to say goodbye... Knowing youre ok. Update us once in a while, won't you? xx

gingerandlime said...

I'm so glad to hear from you. I kept looking at your blog in my reader, thinking, "Oh, her life is all farting rainbows and skipping through daisies and she doesn't have time for this blog anymore, what with being all pregnant and all," but then I would think... Or not.

So, so happy for you and your boy. :-)

Augusta said...

Thank you for posting this update, Melanie. I had been thinking of you exactly as you describe: pregnant with a healthy baby. I'm really happy for you. Your story gives me hope.
Thank you for your kind comments on my blog and for sharing your experiences through this blog. I wish you well in the transformations in progress and those ahead. I'm not speaking from experience, but I believe that motherhood is going to rock your world.
Take impeccable care of your beautiful self.

B said...

I'm guessing boy must be here by now??? I hope all is well xx

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