On This Day

The “On This Day” feature on Facebook is one of the coolest things that the social media site has ever come up with.  I can look at pictures of my bump when I was 20 weeks pregnant with Chase, then I can see pictures of when Ryder was so tiny and in the NICU more than a year ago.  I can’t wait for each new day so I can see what was going on one, two, five or eight years in the past.  

When we lost Charlotte, my husband deleted every post that mentioned Charlotte or earlier moments in the pregnancy.  There were belly pictures, a gender reveal, a pregnancy announcement, and several random posts about me being knocked up.  He took them all down.

I only made two mentions of even being pregnant on social media.  One was a pregnancy announcement that I waited to post until I was 15 weeks along.  I already knew that I expecting a girl, but I was so worried about the pregnancy that I didn’t post that.  Instead it’s a picture of Chase the day before he was to turn three, with his head in his hands saying “I asked for cars and trucks for my birthday, not a brother or sister!”  The only other post was announcing that I was pregnant with a daughter.  The next pregnancy related post was saying that we had lost the baby.  I forget that I kept the pregnancy announcement post “active” until the day before Chase’s fifth birthday when it popped up on “On this Day.”

It still makes me so sad.  How did we go from the couple that has everything to that couple?  How did we lose it so fast?  And why?  Always, always, the why.

A Day That Will Live in Infamy

That was supposed to be day my child was born.  My due date was December 7th, “Pearl Harbor Day” as every man over the age of 35 reminded me of.  So when I headed to a pretty routine doctor’s appointment for a nonstress test due to some high blood pressure issues while I was pregnant, I had nothing to worry (or stress) about.  It was a gorgeous, crisp October day, and I had nothing going on at work except my baby shower and my end of the year review.  My boss was out of the office, my husband was out of town, it was Friday and I had a weekend of baby themed things to do.  I dressed super comfy because my feet were starting to swell and I was 34 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and being as cheap (and practical?) as possible, I was wearing as few maternity clothes as possible, but we were about to hit another season and I still had six weeks to go, so I knew I would have to make some pointless investments soon.  For the time being, I settled on some leggings, a long sweater and some wide gold flats.

Unfortunately, my appointment was at the furthest of the two locations of my OB, and I had made the appointment early, so I couldn’t sleep in and had to drive 20 minutes (as opposed to 5) in traffic.  So I drove there slightly annoyed at yet another inconvenience in my squished bladder, indigestion filled, swollen foot life.  I got there as on time as I usually was, and didn’t have to wait all that long for the nurse to call me back, get my belly set for the non stress test and leave me with my copy of Happiest Baby on the Block and nothing but time.  The first time she came back, she looked a little concerned, the second time, she brought the doctor with her.  He explained to me that when I indicated that the baby was moving (by pressing a button), the baby’s heart rate should go up 10 or 15 beats above the baseline and stay there for 10 to 15 seconds.  Instead it would go up 5 to 10 beats and stay there for a second.  They told me that they were going to send me next door to the hospital to do a contraction stress to see if that would get his heart rate moving.  Then things happened pretty quickly.

I called my mom and told her they were sending me to the hospital.  I called work and told them that I might be late for my own shower.  I got a text from one of my best friends telling me that she was going to be induced (she was 2 days past her due date).  The doctor told me that they were going to get an ultrasound to make sure everything was still okay in there.  I had the ultrasound done in 2 minutes (it usually takes 30 to find everything).  The tech gave me a dozen new 4D shots of my baby, but I couldn’t focus enough to really take them in.  My doctor sent me to get another meal and told me to be back in an hour in case I just hadn’t eaten enough.  My mom arrived at the office and she and I drove around and around trying to think of something that sounded remotely appetizing to me.  It was 10:30 in the morning, I had already had breakfast and my stomach was in knots.

An hour (and two cinnamon raisin biscuits and a large orange juice later), we arrived back at the doctor’s office, I was plugged in again and waited.  My mom was so sweet, trying to be as optimistic as possible, but I saw the writing on the wall, they were going to send me to the hospital.  And that’s exactly what they did.  We walked over there which was a long haul.  We hadn’t gone on our tour yet, so I had no idea where I was going, I was just walking.  When they got me all strapped in there and things started sounding better, I wondered if maybe it was a fluke and there was older, less technically advanced equipment at the doctor’s office because things were already sounding better.  Again, I waited.

An hour and a half later, still no pitocin (to start contractions), just me in the bed, Mom trying not to pace and the two of us talking.  Apparently they were down a person, which is why it was taking so long for the pitocin, so when my nurse returned, I asked if I could please use the bathroom.  Got up, did my business, back to the bed, got plugged up again and that is when it got scary.  The nurse yelled at me to lay down on my left side, put oxygen over my nose and mouth and paged the doctor to come to the room immediately.  Apparently my baby’s heartrate had been in the 70s for several seconds (it should have been close to double that).  Apparently my placenta was tired of supporting a baby.  Apparently, I was going to have this baby sooner than any of us thought.  Maybe, I should call my husband and let him know what was going on.

Six hours later, Brad was at the hospital (a miracle considering modern air travel and he was coming from Louisville), my sister had turned around 30 miles from home after taking 90 minutes to get there with no end in sight, Brad parents were at the hospital, my dad had gone and picked up our dog and brought him to their house, he was sitting in the parking lot because he had a hunch that something wasn’t right, dozens of phone calls had been made and received, there weren’t any more scary moments or seconds, they had recanted about the whole “you may not be pregnant much longer” and then they came in at 8:35pm, exactly 12 hours after my appointment that morning and said, “We’ve decided he is healthier outside of your womb rather than in,” and informed me that anesthesia would be in to administer my spinal block in 30-45 minutes.

I peppered her with as many questions as I could think of.  Am I going to puke?  Maybe.  Is he going to the NICU?  Yes.  It could be a “drive by” (a week or so) but probably until he was full term (three weeks) or even up until his due date.  Would I hear him cry?  Maybe.  Could I hold him after he was born?  No.  Well, that was that.  There was nothing I could do to change what was happening, so I stayed calm and so did everyone else.

Five minutes later, anesthesia showed up.  My first question to them?  Am I going to puke?

The c-section is a bit of a blur.  When they wheeled me in I was taken by how bright white it was in there.  I felt like I was in a movie studio rather than an operating room.  I had no problems with my spinal block.  And after I asked the third (or was it tenth?) person if I was going to get sick, I decided that I would not.  I was so tired of seeing all of those women on TV/reality shows complaining about how they felt, or wimping out and freaking out about c-sections when they need to be the strongest that they have ever been. So I made up my mind that I was going to be the strongest chick that they had ever seen.  No tears, no puke, no whining.  And that’s what I did.

It seemed like forever, but at 9:11pm (36 minutes after they told me they were going to get him), little Chase William Sorgen, weighing 5 pounds, 2 ounces and measuring 18 inches long arrived.  A new chapter of my life unfolded.  My life would never be the same.  I was a mom and the happiest woman on earth.

Happy Birthday to my love, my heart, my life.  You make my life worth living and I can’t imagine a day without you.  You saved me when I needed saving and gave me a reason to wake up and get out of bed on the days I didn’t know if I could.  I love you more than you will ever know.

October 15th

I have so many mixed emotions about October as “National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month” and the 15th as “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.”  It is such an important time for so many women and so many families.  It is a commemoration for those lives that were cut so short, a day where the names of so many babies can be spoken out loud and with pride.  When those that have never experienced the gut-wrenching grief of losing a baby see a random article about it online or a pink and blue filter on a profile picture on Facebook.  It is such an important time for so many people.  

But I hate (probably more like despise) being a member of this club and it is hard for me to admit it some days.  A lot of times I feel like what I have experienced isn’t fair, but not in the way you may think.  There are so many moms that a year or two or ten later don’t have a rainbow baby to hold, or it takes that long for them to get pregnant and have a positive outcome.  There are women who experience unexplained miscarriages or stillbirth and never get answers to why this happens to them.  So in some ways I feel like a traitor.  Nine months and two days after I suffered the most traumatic day of my life, I had another baby to hold, and that’s not fair.

I want to be a part of this movement, but at the same time I don’t want to rub into everyone’s face that I have another baby.  I want to show that there is hope and healing, but I don’t want someone who is in the deepest pit of despair to see that I (unfairly) have a baby.  Yes, it’s wonderful that I have him, but as I have said repeatedly, my journey isn’t everyone else’s.   

I will never forget Charlotte, but I have two beautiful babies that need my love and attention here on earth and so I don’t mention the day and month like I should.  I have this blog, but it is a choice to see my posts, and in other ways I don’t like to put myself out there like so many (much more courageous) women do.  Maybe one day I will be braver about my journey and the plight of so many.  Maybe one day I will own what happened to me.  Maybe one day I will be accepting of my place among the strongest women I have ever met.  But I’m just not there yet.

Do You Remember the 21st Night of September?

At 3:30am the lights turn on and again there are 6 nurses ordering me to get on all fours, turn on my right, turn on my left, throwing the oxygen mask on again.  This time it lasts longer, but they finally find a position that the baby likes and the heartrate stabilizes.  We were all fast asleep and after everything calms down I can’t stop shaking.  Adrenaline is pumping through my body as fast as my heart is beating, which is so fast that the nurses confused my heartrate with the baby’s.  

The doctor comes back and is pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, which is weird to me, but she does this for a living, I don’t.  My nurse (her name is Jordan) hangs out for a while because we (or mostly me) are wide awake and I’m afraid of falling asleep and having it happen all over again.  While she is in there her phone rings and it is the doctor again.  She has decided to deliver as close to 24 hours after my last steroid shot as possible, which is when the shot is the most effective.

Jordan gets off the phone, looks at me and smiles, “Today’s your day.”

At this point it is 4am, we have at least 12 hours until d-day (get it, delivery day) and if time wasn’t slow enough the day before, now it literally crawls.  The second hand hardly moves on the clock.  We all finally fall asleep for a couple of hours, then we wake up at 7ish, turn on the TV and try to pass the time.  I fall asleep for another hour or so around 9 and the day drags.

Since all of these issues have popped up, I can’t eat or drink in case they have to do an emergency c-section, I can’t get up and move around and although I haven’t eaten anything or even had a cup of water in over 12 hours, I have heartburn.  The baby is still moving, I have had a catheter put in which is uncomfortable, the bed is made for long term stays, so any time I shift around even a tiny bit it adjusts noisily, and although I am 32 weeks pregnant, the heartrate monitor doesn’t stay on my stomach that well.  It is no wonder I can’t sleep.  At one point I tell myself that this is all temporary, I will get to meet my baby soon and won’t even remember the misery I am in.  As long as I have a healthy, living baby in just a few hours, it will all be worth it and a distant memory.

Finally at noon coverage of football starts and at 1 the games start and finally the day goes by a little quicker.  Family starts to come too.  My dad and Brad’s mom both show up and my guardian angel Lauren even comes by.  The doctor comes in and answers our millions of questions.  She is cool, calm, collected and thankfully is on call.  I’m not sure if another doctor would deliver, but she’s not willing to take the risk.  Again, I am so grateful for my practice.

At four everyone is good to go.  The surgery team is in their space suits, but there is a problem in the main OR and anesthesiology can’t leave.  Finally, an hour after 4, they call in the “on call” team and they have 30 minutes to get to the hospital.  Then everything starts happening quickly.  The consent forms, the nasty stomach neutralizer, and at 5:30 they wheel me back.

When Chase was born I was so excited I could hardly stand it.  I took in every single detail and wanted to remember it all.  The bright movie set white of the OR.  The smells, the lights, the sounds, everything.  This time I am terrified.  In the time it takes them to wheel me back and for them to give me the spinal they haven’t been monitoring the baby.  I am shaking because I am so afraid that something has happened in that time.  They can’t get the baby out fast enough.  I feel sick, but just as I did with Chase, I tell myself that I will not puke.  I need to soak this all in whether this baby is born alive or dead.  And the one thing I look forward to is that I will know if we are having a boy or a girl.

It takes an extra 15 minutes or so for my spinal block to work and they finally bring Brad in and at 6:16pm, a minute after we hear the doctor telling our baby, “I see you and you are so cute, but what are you?” we hear the sounds I have been waiting to hear since March 6th, a crying baby.  The doctor tells us, “It’s a boy!” and I find myself laughing and crying at the same time, but all that matters are those cries that keep coming.

He is not as sick as Chase was when he was born, so we actually get to see him before they take him away and he’s bigger than I thought and he has a ton of hair and he is screaming his head off!  His Apgar scores are better than Chase’s, he is crying (Chase didn’t), and he is breathing well enough that they don’t have to whisk him away.  When he is eventually taken by the NICU team, Brad leaves to hang with him and take more pictures and that is fine.

Ryder Philip, born on September 21st weighing 4 pounds, 7 ounces, 17.5 inches long and all I can hear is the song “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire, all I can see when I shut my eyes is his fiery little body with so much dark hair, all long legs and skinny arms and all I can do is smile.  Finally, I can smile.

September 20th

Saturday is boring.  

After my night nurse rolls off of her shift, I am assigned two new nurses, one who went to my high school, but we don’t remember each other.  I am allowed to eat, allowed to unplug myself from all of the monitors to go to the bathroom once every 15 minutes or so because the nurses are tired of having to do it for me (this baby loves to hang out on my bladder), and I am even allowed to take a shower.  My “goal” for the day is to stay pregnant.

Mom comes and hangs out for a little while, my cousin has come into town for the weekend and brings me a milkshake and hangs out with Brad, my mom’s three sisters stop by while Chase is napping and then Mom brings Chase by after he wakes up from his nap.  He is a little weirded out by the hospital, but okay for the most part.  We watch the Hokies lose and I find out a friend from high school and college is in labor at the same hospital with her daughter.  I text some friends to let them know that I’m in the hospital and talk to several of them.  

The hours pass by with nothing notable and I’m starting to get irritated that there is no reason for me even being here.  I get my second steroid shot.  Then I make a list of questions to ask MFM on Monday and wonder how I am going to keep my sanity if they send me home and I have no monitors to tell me that the baby is okay.  

When it is just the two of us, Brad and I work on finalizing names.  We don’t know what we’re having (my money is on a boy, Brad’s is on a girl).  We haven’t figured out the first name for a girl (he wants a “formalish” name, I want the nickname) or the middle name for a boy (I am considering Brad’s middle name, but we have also talked about his dad’s middle name).

After all these months, Brad concedes to both of my names.    

My Mom goes to hang with her sisters for a while, so Brad brings us pizzas for dinner.  I am stoked to try the new “pizza cookie” and I am two bites into it when I look at the baby monitor and see the fetal heartrate at 89.  I can tell it is tracking the baby’s heartrate because of a little heart light that is beating.  My own heart drops and I think “oh shit” when 8 nurses and a doctor come rushing into our room.

They throw an oxygen mask on, give me an IV, and have me move around in various positions so they can get the baby to react and get the heartrate back up.  The doctor orders an ultrasound machine to be brought in to make sure I don’t have a blood clot in my placenta and another nurse is taking off all of my jewelry because if they have to do an emergency c-section (which is actually when they knock you out to get the baby as quickly as possible), you can’t wear metal.  Brad’s eyes are as wide as saucers.  I have had this before and although it’s still pretty terrifying, I know the best and worst case scenario.  After a minute or so the heartrate is stable, the ultrasound shows nothing urgent and everything is calm again.  

But, the doctor notices that everytime I get up to go to the bathroom, the baby is coming out of a decel of their heartrate.  I am not allowed to get out of bed anymore.  And it looks like something is actually going on and we “caught” it.  Mom was going to come up and stay the night with me, but Brad decides to stay too.  We are only 3 miles away from the hospital, but it would be best if we are all in one place.

Thankfully the night continues on with nothing else scary.  I have my kick ass nurse again, we laugh, we joke and finally we fall asleep.

September 19th

My second NST.  I went into this one feeling a little more confident that I would not have a baby any time soon.  In fact, I had almost convinced myself that maybe I would have a full time baby and have to attend the dozens of doctor’s appointments I had remaining.  I don’t know where this confidence came from.  I still hadn’t passed an NST, but I guess the glowing report I got from my OB before I left the hospital on Tuesday made me feel better.

This appointment was with one of the doctors at my practice that I didn’t love.  She was okay, but no nonsense and with zero bedside manner.  I had my biophyisical profile (ultrasound) which looked great, then had my NST.  

The baby who had not stopped moving since I was 15 or 16 weeks along hadn’t bounced around at all.  I could hear the heartbeat, it sounded healthy and fine and not as fast as it had been on Tuesday, but there was not much movement.  They got me to drink water.  Didn’t help.  Got me to drink an entire bottle of apple juice.  Hardly a noticeable difference.  The nurse had been in and out but after an hour, the doctor finally came in.  “We’re going to send you to the hospital.”  And again the sentiment I loved to hear, “If it was anyone else…”  This baby’s hyper and high heartrate was just the opposite today.  The last NST there had been too many accelerations, today there were too many decelerations.

I walked over to the hospital again.  As I checked in I noticed that the date was the 19th.  Nine months to the day after Charlotte had been born in this exact hospital.  It was completely insane that I was already back.  Not under ideal circumstances, but at that moment, I still had a kicking baby in my belly.

This time I knew the back way and didn’t need anyone to show me.  I knew the check in process and again texted everyone to let them know what was happening.  This time I told them not to come over, I was planning on watching a couple of hours of ESPN and then going home again.  That was not to be.  You are not allowed to fail two NSTs in a row.  So after I checked in and got several not so glowing reports, the doctor finally came in.

I had one of the same L&D nurses that I had when I had failed my NST with Chase and found out that my least favorite doctor at the practice was on call for the weekend.  I had only had one appointment with her when I was pregnant with Chase and vowed to not have another appointment with her again.  She was an alarmist and that only time I saw her she was convinced I was pre-eclamptic.  I realize that this is a horrible, scary thing to happen in a pregnancy and don’t make light of it at all.  But she wasn’t listening to me when I told her that my blood pressure always went up in the office, that I was monitoring it at home and that it was totally fine.  So I spent the weekend, during the summer, collecting all my pee for 24 hours.  All of the blood work came back completely fine.

She came in after an hour or so of being monitored and told me that they were going to send me to MFM because the heartrate was still a little dicey (a nurse told me that the baby was scoring an A half of the time and a C the other half) and MFM had an echocardiogram attached to their sonogram machine so they could see if there were any issues with the baby’s heart.  They were going to admit me regardless to watch me over the weekend because it seemed like something was going on.

At that point I texted everyone again to update them and Brad decided to come over to the hospital.  My mom’s three sisters were in town because they have an annual weekend together, and this just happened to be the weekend and rather than going to DC as they have done every other year, they decided to stay in town, thank God.  As is always the case with the hospital, there was a lot of sitting around and waiting.

Brad arrived right before they wheeled me to MFM, which was thankfully just a couple of floors away, and as they were bringing me over there we ran into a woman checking into Labor & Delivery.

She was in the throes of labor.  Moaning, groaning and holding onto her large baby bump and I got so sad.  That would not be in my future.  All I had ever wanted was a normal pregnancy with a normal birth and a good outcome.  Here I was 32 weeks and 2 days pregnant being brought over to the high risk doctors because it didn’t seem like my baby was doing very well in my womb.  The same had been the case my two pregnancies prior.  I am one of those masochists that wants to experience birth, see how much pain I can take and deliver a baby naturally.  But I knew that I wasn’t going to make it to that point again.  I knew it was not in my destiny to deliver naturally.  As it stood, I wasn’t sure if I was going to have a living baby again.  I was in the best place possible, being monitored as I should have been, but that chick made me really sad.

Everything looked fine at MFM, I was told that the OB on call actually wanted to deliver, but they were going to give me steroids for the baby’s lungs, and I already had a follow up appointment with MFM on Monday.  If there was any hiccup throughout the weekend, they were going to deliver.

I was wheeled back, got my first steroid shot, was given a room, finally had something to eat, and had a consult with the NICU.  There is no question, this baby will go to the NICU.  I am thankful that Chase was in the NICU, that I already had experience with the NICU dance and that I even know some of the nurses.  I had Brad and my dad bring me dinner and stuff from the house, Chase went to dinner with my mom and her sisters, and I got settled in for the weekend.  I was assigned a kick ass nurse for the night, my mom came to stay the night with me and we had one of the more boring Friday nights we had in awhile.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

It’s back to work I go.

Work has been funny the past couple of years.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I worked in a media sales job for nearly six years and made life-long friends, worked for some fantastic people and a great company, but moved on for various reasons.  I then worked for a local for-profit college when I got pregnant with Charlotte, lost her and then got pregnant with Ryder, which was interesting (to say the least).  After my 12 week appointment with the high risk doctors, I turned in my resignation and decided to do my own thing for a while.

Don’t think that all I did was sit around and hang out.  Hardly.  I did contract sales for a local printing company, started my own promotional business and also did any other job I could find that paid at all.  I kept Ryder home with me until he was six months old and then kept both of them home with me two days a week to cut back on expenses.  If I was awake, I was worried about making ends meet, wondering how I could make more money and how much we would dip into savings before I needed to reevaluate my current career choice.

Don’t get me wrong, it was an unbelievable 16 months.  I got to spend so much time with my guys, I wasn’t a slave to the pump when I was breastfeeding Ryder, learned how to go to Target and not drop $50, and I taught myself how to cook.  We also went on a couple of road trips because there wasn’t any reason why I couldn’t hop in the car on a random Friday morning.  The boys and I spent many days at local amusement parks, the beach and the pool on days they were home with me.  And Brad and I got to take the trip of a lifetime to Europe for our 10th anniversary without having to ask for over a week off from work.  

It was also eye opening to see how much money we spent shopping and eating out and thankfully our savings account didn’t suffer too much.  But, I was not happy living to paycheck.  

In July I heard that an account executive at a local television station had resigned.  It happened to be at the TV station where several former co-workers from my last sales job worked.  The hiring manager just happened to be my former manager at the same place (who I LOVE).  I felt like it was a sign.  I wasn’t going to just jump back into sales in media, I would only go work at this station.  

Several meetings, interviews, online assessments, personality tests and coaching sessions later, I was offered the job.  I happily accepted and last Monday was my first day.

I was so apprehensive about going back.  Missing out on Chase and Ryder.  Having to get dressed in the morning, the 40-50 minute commute each way, working in an office again.  Getting into sales again.  It was a lot for someone who has no one to report to but themselves for almost a year and a half.  But it was time.  I missed talking to adults.

Going back has been shockingly easy.  I know we are only one and a half weeks in, but good grief!  I wake up early, workout, get ready, get the boys ready, and then I leave.  Brad has taken over the drop off duties, which makes my life so much easier!  The commute hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be, I have a window (with a view of the river) at my cube, my team is awesome and the entire department has welcomed me with open arms!  It doesn’t hurt that I worked with four of my old coworkers and knew of several others just from my years in the business.  

Every day I have driven home with a smile and happily been the first one at the office.  I know it’s the honeymoon period and that I am in admin mode, but I already have some super creative ideas and I am more motivated than I have been in years!  I am excited to work again and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

September 16

One year ago today I had my first of many more doctor’s appointments which included a non-stress test (or NST for future reference).  I had fought to be monitored as much as possible.  I had asked my OB Nurse Practitioner friend the earliest I should ask for NSTs and she said 32 weeks.  I ran into my OB in Kohl’s and asked her the same question, her response was the same, 32 weeks.  I was no stranger to the doctor’s office, I had been there for blood tests, ultrasounds, follow ups and regularly scheduled appointments.  

At my 28 week appointment I asked the Nurse Practitioner I had my appointment with what they could do to start super-monitoring me.  She suggested weekly appointments with ultrasounds and dopplers to listen to the heartrate until I was 32 weeks at which point they would start doing twice weekly NSTs with weekly dopplers and in depth ultrasounds (also known as Biophysical Profiles).  I thought that was great, she got permission from a doctor and I was on my way.  Until I got a phone call from the office a couple of days later saying that I had failed my gestational diabetes test.  Ugh!  

When I went in for the 3 hour glucose test, I was given a list of the remaining doctor’s appointments until my scheduled c-section, which was scheduled the day I turned 39 weeks.  It took up an entire page, single spaced.  But they were listening to me and doing what I wanted.  

I passed that test (phew), and my first NST was the day I was 31 weeks and 6 days.  I felt weird that day.  I felt like I wasn’t going to leave that appointment pregnant.  I was jittery and nervous all day.  I dropped my son off at preschool and hugged him harder and longer than usual.  I was sad when I told the dog good bye.  I ate yogurt and two muffins for lunch because my stomach wasn’t settled and that was the most bland food we had in the house.  

I got to the office on time, they got me all plugged up to the machine and I tried to relax as much as possible.  The last and only other time I had an NST, I had failed it and had a baby later that day, so it made sense that I was a little apprehensive.  

I hadn’t been in there more than 15 minutes when the NP came back in and said she was a little concerned with how high the baby’s heartrate was.  It was consistently in the 180s.  She asked what I had for lunch, then said they were going to wait a couple minutes longer to see if it came down some.  It did, but there were still minute long intervals of super high heartrate, so she said she wanted to send me over to the hospital.  I was expecting this and told her that when she started apologizing and saying, “If it were anyone other than you…” and trailing off.  Before I went over there, I had an unscheduled biophysical profile, which looked fine, so I walked over to the hospital.  

I called Brad, texted my mom and was sent to wait in the triage area.  I got changed into a hospital gown, Brad arrived and the two of us hung out listening to the heartrate.  It had come down substantially after I got over there and my usual OB was on call, so it was nice to see her and her presence eased my mind some.  Brad and I hung out for several hours until my OB came back in, checked the script of the heartrate from the past three hours and told me I could go home.  Really?  That anti-climatic?  

Brad had one last work trip scheduled for the year and his flight was that afternoon, so he ran out the door to get on the plane.  I figured that everything was fine or they wouldn’t be sending me home and I would be back in the office on Friday for another NST, so I didn’t mind him going.

I walked to my car which was the only one left in the lot since the office had closed and headed home.  It was a little surreal to go back home and I was grateful I wouldn’t be having a baby who was less than 32 weeks in gestational age.

I did have a panicky moment while I was at the hospital.  I wasn’t mentally prepared to have a c-section.  It looked like that was going to be the route this baby was going to enter this world.  I wouldn’t have minded a VBAC, but you can’t be induced with a VBAC and I wasn’t in labor.  I wasn’t ready for a baby to be born at all.  Other than obsessively fixing a dozen meals to throw into the freezer, I had not done a single thing.  There were no clothes, the nursery was still an office with all of the baby furniture up in the attic.  I didn’t have diapers, an updated car seat, nothing.  I remember Brad and I getting into an argument because I didn’t want to do anything to prepare and I had justifiable reasons.  
I told him if I hadn’t had the baby by 34 weeks, I would start preparing, but until then, what was the point?  If the baby was born earlier than 34 weeks, there would be a NICU stay, so we would have time to do and buy everything.  If the baby was born after that, there would still be a 2ish night stay for me at the hospital and the baby would sleep in our room for several months, so there was no need to get a crib down.  Now I was beginning to question my own rationale.  But at the same time, I didn’t want to do anything new or different.  I was not going to be happy until that baby was home with me.  Today, however, wasn’t looking like I would be having a baby any time soon.


A couple of weeks ago I ran into a friend I had not seen in a while. She knows about Charlotte, but I haven’t seen her much. Most of our dealings and friendship had to do with my last job, I have since quit that job and both of us have had babies, so we have texted a little in the last year or so, but haven’t been in constant contact.

She was at a restaurant with a friend of hers that I did not know. The subject (always) switched over to kids, how many we have and whether we have boys or girls, and I was saying something about a house full of boys and her friend said, “Well you can always have another.” I made my face that I make whenever someone says that which looks like something between panic, insanity and humor and said, “Oh no, I’m not having another.” The conversation continued on for a couple more minutes, and then we went back to our respective lunches.

I know that the second I walked away my friend turned to her friend and told her the truth. Spilled my sad story to someone who hopefully doesn’t have her own sad story. Gave her the footnote that I feel like follows me wherever I go. Maybe I’m wrong and I’m not giving people the benefit of the doubt, but I feel pretty confident that this happens often. The gray cloud that hovers over my happiness, the scarlet letter I knew I would be branded with. And that’s okay, it keeps Charlotte’s memory alive.

I Wish

Recently I’ve had this feeling gnawing at the back of my mind.  I want to have another baby.  That sounds so selfish especially after knowing what I know about my own reproductive shortcomings and those struggles of so many women that I know and have met along the way.

This feeling persisted immediately after Ryder was born, until one day it occurred to me.  I don’t want another baby.  I want a daughter.  Specifically, I want Charlotte.  And then the other day I had another epiphany, this is merely a wish, and that’s okay.  Life is filled with wishes, not many that we’ll get, but that doesn’t mean that we have to stop wishing.  I wish for a lot of other things…that Charlotte had lived, that I had more time to spend with my kids, that they would never see the ugly, scary and awful parts of life, that I made more money, that I was thinner, that I could run faster, that there was no illness, hunger or suffering, that there were no more wars, that germs in preschool and daycare were eradicated, that I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain an ounce.

Most of my wishes have only my own interest in mind, which is the same way having another baby would be.  There is no logical reason to do it, my body has proven that along the way.  Is is purely a selfish want, so I’ll tuck it away in my mind (or on this blog), and keep on wishing.