I held you every second of your life.

My Abortion Doctor

The day I met my abortion doctor, we were just going in for a consultation.  Maternal Fetal Medicine had sent over my medical records, including the prognosis for our daughter.

I didn’t have an exam, we just met with him in his office. It was small, but the walls were filled with plaques for organizations he belonged to, awards he had won and medical diplomas.  There were pictures of him in various places: scuba diving, hang-gliding, fly fishing.  He was a man of varied interests.

He met with us, discussed my file, listened to our questions, and the got to work with his staff to get my abortion scheduled and make sure it was covered by my insurance.

The day of the procedure I had to check in at the hospital in the labor and delivery wing.  Just in front of me was a woman checking in with her family.  She was large, glowing, happy to be in labor.  Her family was excited.  Another nurse wheeled a baby in a bassinet past us.

I stood at the check in counter filling out the paperwork, hands trembling as I tried to fill in the forms.  My eyes were filled with tears as that baby bassinet glided by.  An arm slipped around my shoulders.  The doctor had arrived.  “You ok?” he asked?  I shook my head, leaning into him.  I didn’t think I would ever be ok again.

Once we were settled into the room, he came in to administer the drugs that would calm me down and soften my cervix for the procedure.  He was very gentle.  His staff was very gentle.  I cried throughout the whole thing.

While I was in recovery he made his way back to that room where my husband waited miserably and patiently, my wedding ring tucked in his pocket.  The doctor told him I was ok, that the procedure had gone perfectly.  He also told him that our daughter was in even worse condition than the ultrasounds had indicated.

My return to the room was delayed by a medication mixup in recovery (and I am ever thankful to the nurse for catching it).  The doctor stayed the whole time with my husband, talking about everything under the sun, until I was wheeled back into the room.

At my follow up appointment two weeks later he was the same kind, gentle, caring human being he had been before.  He checked me out, answered my questions, wished us luck.  A year or so later when I sent him a thank you card with pictures of my newborn daughter in it, he responded again.

Abortion doctors are not monsters.  They are human beings with thoughts, feelings, families, interests outside of work, and huge hearts for the women they treat and the services they provide.  Mine is also an OBGYN who delivers babies and cares for women’s reproductive health.

I found this article today about another such provider (not mine).  I hope you will read, since this man, as well as my doctor, put their lives on the line every day for what they believe in. It shouldn’t be that way.

The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker

 

We Really Do

Is it Your Lucky Day

Is it Your Lucky Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My husband has made a few friends in the short(ish) time we’ve been in this town.  One of them is a single guy who is my age, and today he came by our new place for the first time.

He’s a nice enough guy, but at 41 he prefers being single.  He is so uninterested in being a parent that he had a vasectomy several years ago.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  If he doesn’t feel parental, then it is best that he made that decision.

He kept saying how pretty our daughter was, and how smart.  He’s been around her a few times, but not in the last 4-5 months.  She has grown a lot, is very vocal and into everything.

We were all standing in the kitchen as he was preparing to leave, and the baby had crawled in from the dining room, pulled up on my legs and held her arms up indicating she wanted to be picked up.  I swung her up against my chest, cradled her close and kissed her head.  She buried her face in my neck.

“You’re lucky that she’s healthy,” he said.  My only response was a nod as I kissed her curly hair.

“No, really,” he said again.  “You have no idea how lucky you are that she’s healthy.”

I closed my eyes, breathing in the sweet smell of her slightly sweaty head.  “Oh believe me, we are well aware of how lucky we are.  We really do know how lucky we are to have her.”

I know my husband doesn’t tell our story much, and I know he didn’t tell this guy.  It was just strange.  It just makes me wonder what he’s been through, or what someone close to him has been through.

I wish people could talk about these things with each other openly.  Life would be a lot easier.

Two Years

Rainbows

Rainbows (Photo credit: jaqian)

Two years ago today, I was wheeled down a long hallway into a large, cold, white room filled with mirrors and lights.  The room slowly filled with equipment and a group of very caring people hooked me up to those machines, trying to calm my shaking and crying.  A technician near my head wiped a tear from my cheek and said “good night” as the world went black.

Two years ago today, as I was being wheeled down another long hallway I swam up from anesthesia frantically rubbing at my eyes.  A nurse said “Don’t touch your eyes” and pushed my hands away, then someone pulled the tube from my throat and the first thing that escaped from my lungs was a sob.  And then another, and another, and another.  “Don’t cry, please don’t cry,” the nurse begged.  “I’ll have to cry with you.”

I couldn’t stop because the first thought in my head as I woke was that she was gone.

My baby was gone.

As I waited for the rhogam shot, images flashed through my head: the first time seeing the flicker of a heartbeat, the way she swam around like a sea monkey at the next appointment.  I remembered the picture frozen on the screen at Maternal Fetal Medicine and the words “This is fatal” as the doctor pointed out the problem.

At the second opinion appointment they hooked me up to an ultrasound machine and then the tech had to leave briefly to set us up in a different room.   The view on the screen was  from the bottom of the baby, looking up towards the head.  Her heartbeat on the screen looked like lightning on a hot summer night, stretching out across the sky.  I’ll never forget it.

All I wanted was to get back to my husband.  The rhogam shot was sent up incorrectly, so it had to be reissued.  While I was thankful to the nurse for being so thorough in her job, I needed to be out of that recovery room.  The shot arrived and I was wheeled back to my husband who kissed the tears from my cheeks and gently slid my wedding ring back on my finger.

On the way home that evening we drove through storms, and off in the distance towards home was a rainbow.  I wanted to have hope, but it seemed too soon.

Healing is still in progress, even today.  I tear up when I think of her, even now.  When someone mentions her name I cry bittersweet tears.  I’m so grateful to have family, friends and a wonderful support group that went through this with me, and continue to go through this with me.

Momma misses you, Cady.  Today and always.

I Can’t Remember

Earlier today I was nursing my daughter, and she placed her hand on top of mine and began worrying my wedding ring as she nursed.  I lost a bit of weight during and after her birth, so it is rather loose.  As she spun it around it would by turns hide and reveal the tattoo of Cady’s name that is beneath it.

Wedding ring, Byzantium, 7th c. AD, nielloed gold.

Wedding ring, Byzantium, 7th c. AD, nielloed gold. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As my daughter drifted off to sleep I started thinking about her sister, my daughter who was never born.

The day we found out there was something wrong was my birthday.  I can remember the doctor’s appointment, the doctor’s words, the pictures on the screen.  I can remember calling work to tell them I wouldn’t be coming in.  I can remember calling my dad on the way home.  I can remember going to the pharmacy and waiting out in my car while they filled my prescription (pills to help alleviate the Bell’s Palsy I was suffering from), feeling too raw to be around “real” people just then.  I remember staring at the bricks as I made a couple of calls to close friends.

I can remember my husband saying he wanted to go get something to celebrate my birthday, even though we didn’t feel like celebrating.  He asked me if I wanted to go along, and I said no.  I just couldn’t bear to be around people.  He left, and no sooner had his tail lights disappeared than I was wishing I had gone with him because I couldn’t bear to be alone.  He came back less than an hour later with something for dinner, and two slices of chocolate cake from the store bakery.

I can’t remember what was for dinner. I can’t remember eating that cake, or if there was even a candle on it.  I can’t remember whether I slept that night, and if I did, how?

There were 5 days between the diagnosis and the second opinion/follow-up.  I remember I went to work, but I can’t remember what I did while I was there.  I remember I cried a lot, but I can’t remember any conversations or getting dressed or showering or sleeping or driving to and from work.

I remember doing a lot of researching and weighing things out with my husband. I remember the follow up appointment, and how the nurse was concerned that my blood pressure was so high, and that I had dropped 12 lbs since the prior appointment.  She asked if I was feeling some stress.

Really?

The days between doctor appointments are a blur. I can’t remember how I functioned in those days.

I wish I could.  I wish I knew how I survived it.

Almost Christmas

angel of happiness

angel of happiness (Photo credit: a little tune)

This year is so different from last year.  In December 2011 we were just embarking upon our journey to what would become our rainbow baby girl.  I knew I was pregnant, but we hadn’t told anyone yet.  In fact, I didn’t even have my first doctor’s appointment until December 28.  We were in the waiting stages.

Last year I wrote about buying a Christmas ornament for Cady, a Willow Tree angel.  We didn’t end up leaving it out year round, because we moved this past spring and I packed it away so it wouldn’t get damaged or forgotten.

I also didn’t put it out for Christmas this year.  The angel is where it belongs, sitting on the dresser in our rainbow baby’s nursery where it can watch over her for the rest of her life.  I put it there just today, and I cried a little as I traced Cady’s name and angel date written on the bottom of it.

Miss P, our rainbow girl, is napping beside me, snoring softly as I type this.  My sadness is wrapped in happiness this year.

Why I’m Here

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Before I got pregnant, whenever someone would have a loss during pregnancy, I would wonder why they were so upset about it.  I didn’t understand how you could miss someone that you never met.  It wasn’t a baby, it was a pregnancy, right?  And then it happened to me.

Losing a baby at any stage of pregnancy, for any reason, is a painful, isolating experience. Late at night in the dark you can feel all alone in your grief, like no one could ever understand what you are going through.

45/365

45/365 (Photo credit: Cristian Bernal | townhero)

I was lucky enough to find a group of women who had experienced losses similar to mine while I was in the midst of my grief.  They helped me so much.  They inspired me by sharing their experiences with me.

I was grieving the loss of my unborn daughter, but I wanted what we went through to mean more.  I became focused on getting through the pain so that I could come out the other side and hold out a helping hand to the women and families I knew would come after me.

During those dark days before, during and after I lost my daughter, I would come here and try to capture in words what I was going through.  The writing was cathartic, because after I wrote through the grief I could let some of it go.  I hoped that someday someone out there would be searching in their own darkness and would hopefully find this blog and it would help them feel less alone.

I come here to write because I remember the darkness.

I come here to write because I remember how alone I felt.

If you searched for this site because of a similar loss, then I am, in essence, writing this for you.  You are not alone.

Torn

Things with our little rainbow have been lovely.  She’s such a good girl.  She’s funny and smart and intense and charming and a good eater, sleeper, bather, it’s all good.

ripped seam

ripped seam (Photo credit: concrete_jungler101)

A friend of mine had a baby girl in January 2011 and is currently 30ish weeks pregnant with another baby girl.  She’s been keeping everyone updated on Facebook, and the other night she posted that they had been told a couple of weeks ago by a specialist that their baby had a very rare and serious birth defect.  As I read it, my heart climbed into my throat, already breaking for them.

As I continued to read, she told us that they had spent several hours at a children’s hospital with a specialist having testing and MRIs and that the end result is the baby is perfect, no birth defects.  I am so relieved for her.

So why I am crying?

Because our diagnosis wasn’t incorrect.  No doctor performed an MRI and looked at our sweet baby girl’s brain and told us she there was some mistake and she is perfect and everything will be fine.

She is gone and she will always be gone.

It seems like the worst example of motherhood, to wish for the daughter you couldn’t have while the daughter you do have sleeps peacefully in her bassinet.  That daughter wouldn’t be here if the other one was.

I love my living child.  I miss the one I lost.  I will always love both of them.

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