I plan to write about how we spent Matthew’s birthday later, but it’s been a rollercoaster of a week, so for now I’m going to pretend I’m a teenage boy who generally only provides one word answers to questions and possesses the personality of a dead fish, and my parents are trying to drag some information out of me at the dinner table via the “high/low” conversation starter game, and then it all comes spewing out because there actually are so many highs (maybe) and lows beneath the surface.
So I’ll start with the lows, so I can end positively so everyone will have a good taste in their mouth, right?
Lows of the week (in no particular order)…
1 – Witnessing a mildly-concerning-yet-concerning-enough variable deceleration on a hospital non-stress test (NST) worthy of an immediate ticket to the Maternity Trauma Center for overnight continuous monitoring.
2 – The aforementioned occurring on July 11, 2016, with the overnight hospital stay taking us into July 12, 2016, the exact same date we checked into the hospital in 2015. As I’m sure you can guess, neither we nor our doctors were at all freaked out by this.
3 – Before gaining the knowledge that said overnight continuous monitoring would prove incredibly reassuring, seriously contemplating delivery on July 12 or July 13, Matthew’s birthday.
4 – Coming face-to-face with the maternal fetal medicine doctor (MFM) I saw when I was pregnant with Matthew who has never once offered even a simple, “I’m sorry for your loss.” This MFM recognizing me and passing up yet another opportunity to offer condolences thereby redeeming himself, as well as completely invalidating my (and all of the other doctors’) concerns, questioning the necessity of my overnight stay.
5 – Requesting Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms pertaining to my upcoming C-section and carrying around said forms contemplating whether to fill them out (required by law) or drag my feet with them and beg for my employer’s forgiveness later because last time I filled them out my baby died just days later.
6 – The NICU doctor insisting that steroids (to mature baby’s lungs) are beneficial, and, ten minutes later, an MFM entering my hospital room ranting about the downsides of steroids (after 34 weeks) in front of said NICU doctor. This wasn’t the least bit awkward or confusing.
7 – Rescreening for gestational diabetes because Jay is a “big baby.” Flunking the one-hour screening and taking the three-hour test. (I passed.) Realizing the cons of all of this monitoring I’m doing (i.e. the, hopefully, unnecessary anxiety it causes), because if I were “low-risk” I’d be dealing with none of this, because no one would even know I have a “big baby,” because my belly is measuring perfectly. Thinking about how most don’t go through ANY of this stress and about how unfair it is. And having the woman who registered me for the three-hour test offer her extreme sympathy for her perception of my “hell” that is taking said test on a bright, sunny Saturday morning. If only she knew a fraction of my hell…
8 – Going back to work the day after my overnight hospital stay because I want to look like I’m trying. Looking disheveled, complete with the flip flops I wore in the hospital shower the night prior. Breaking one of my flip flops as I walked to the restaurant that serves my favorite Mexican Fiesta salad. Sitting outside at 2:00pm in downtown St. Louis with all of the homeless people, crying, and looking equally homeless, and feeling selfish for eating my two Luna bars as I waited for Mark to bring me new shoes. (I literally had no hope of fixing my sandal and didn’t want to chance getting tetanus given that most of the area surrounding my office is currently a construction site.)
9 – Experiencing a power outage since 3:00pm yesterday, which significantly interfered with our plans for Matthew’s birthday (more on this later), and still having no power as we speak!
10 – Expressing concern to Mark over decreased fetal movement (to be clear, nothing was actually wrong, and it isn’t super difficult for something like a 10-minute quiet spell to trigger my anxiety) while standing next to Matthew’s grave. Realizing that I was in fact standing next to one child’s grave, wondering if the other was dead and thinking about how so royally fucked up this is.
Highs of the week (in no particular order)… I want to point out that there are also 10 of these, which makes this possibly the most well-balanced blog post I’ve ever crafted, which is super impressive considering I’m feeling anything but emotionally stable at the moment, so everyone should be proud.
1 – My overnight nurse from my most recent hospital stay asking our first child’s name and then asking to see a picture of him.
2 – Seeing (and hugging) the NICU doctor who tried valiantly to save Matthew’s life.
3 – Reuniting with some of those who were working July 12, 2015 and/or July 13, 2015 and some of them expressing interest in being there for my repeat C-section with Jay.
4 – Jay’s heartbeat looking completely reassuring for an entire evening, night, and morning.
5 – Our favorite sonographer fitting me in for an emergency cord pathology scan (over her lunch break) to resolve our concern that the cord could be wrapped around Jay’s ankle. Said sonographer listening to all of my fears and all of my crazy and offering words of comfort and hugs. And tissues.
6 – Staying out of the Maternity Trauma Center for one full week (prior to my most recent visit) and leaving the Maternity Trauma Center before Matthew’s birthday.
7 – Dr. Collins continuing to answer his phone for us and all of our doctors and nurses being generally sympathetic to our needs.
8 – Watching the Olympic gymnastics qualifiers. (In another life I’m a gymnast. But not a 6’0” tall one, because this would be too bizarre.)
9 – My boss showing understanding for my situation, offering to let me take time off for the duration of my pregnancy, saying, “Whatever it takes to get him here. Like, even if it would help you to just go sit in the park… I don’t know?” (I kind of thought, “Yes, actually, this might help,” though I haven’t taken her up on her offer quite yet.)
10 – Receiving messages for Matthew’s birthday more touching than I ever could have imagined from both near and far and feeling some comfort in knowing that our sweet boy isn’t forgotten.