May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Second Leg of my Journey

One more child.  It was a much desired and planned pregnancy.  My first trimester was relatively mild, but any drain on my energy and even a mild sickness is amplified when I'm caring for three children under the age of seven!  I determined that this would indeed be our last child.  I no longer had the desire to be pregnant or to go through another c-section.  It seemed so simple.

As I entered the second trimester I was so eager to feel my baby move.  I had felt the girls all move very early, between 13-15 weeks, and I just couldn't wait to feel this little one.  I know I commented more than once about not feeling those kicks.  I surmised that my placenta was probably in the way and blocking them.  I knew the baby was okay because I had been listening to it daily with a fetal doppler (we've done so with each pregnancy since Wyatt). Finally, I started feeling little movements here and there and they were mostly reassuring that things were okay.

However, as we approached the 19 week ultrasound I became very uneasy.  The lack of regular strong kicks, feeling not very big for my 5th pregnancy and just intuition I guess left me uncomfortable.  I also was struggling with not "connecting" with this baby and could not understand why.  I clearly remember taking a walk with my husband and girls the night before our ultrasound, just 5 weeks ago.  I told my husband that I had a bad feeling, that something was wrong with the baby or the pregnancy but I didn't know what it was.  My best guess and fear at the time was placenta previa.  Perhaps my subconscious prevented me from connecting the dots or my memories had faded enough to spare me the pain.

We decided to take our youngest two to the ultrasound early the next morning.  I was so excited for them to see their baby sister or brother.  However, I began worrying right away when they started.  The screen was annoyingly turned away from me so I couldn't see.  But when they turned it toward me things just didn't look right.  Of course, neither of the techs said anything about low amniotic fluid, missing bladder or kidneys.  But, this was my fifth ultrasound and I knew by now what I was looking for and that I did not see those things.  The baby was beautiful and bashful, so we were unable to find out the gender.  I hadn't wanted to know, but my husband did and we had planned on him finding out.  The baby just wasn't moving much and had its precious little privates well concealed that day.

I took the ultrasound photos and my two girls home.  Despite an urgent need to empty my bladder I tore open each of our children's baby books and frantically dug out ultrasound photos.  I knew in a second that this baby had Potter's Syndrome too.  The lack of fluid was unmistakable.  It's literally the difference between grey and black.  I sat at our dining room table and burst into uncontrollable sobs for the little life in my belly and for our family and what we would lose again.  There was so much more to process this time, this time we knew all about Potter's, we knew how the pregnancy would likely go and how it would likely end but now I had three innocent children who I could not protect from the pain of losing this child.  When my mascara  was gone I went to the bathroom and cleaned up without saying a word.

Later that afternoon when my mother-in-law came to watch our girls while we met with my OB/GYN, I said nothing when she asked how it went.  I showed her the ultrasound pictures as happily as I could, got in the car and prepared to hear some of the most awful words any person could ever utter, that my child would die, again.

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