Our admit time was pushed back to midnight. So here we are heading back to the very same hospital to bring Sunflower into this world, 16 months to the day that we lost our firstborn. Oh I miss my Ezra! And oh I can't wait to meet my Sunflower! What a very long and winding journey this has been.
I'm scheduled to be induced the day after tomorrow. I'll be admitted to the hospital on Monday night and will begin the process - my OB expects that I won't actually deliver until Tuesday. Sunflower's head is engaged and I'm 1cm dilated. I had accupuncture this morning to try to help get labor going, and I'll do it again on Monday. This is really happening!
There's no way to articulate all the emotions I'm feeling right now. Relieved that there is an end in sight. Anxious about the labor and delivery. And now that we have a definite plan, yes quite excited.
Yet I still can't think past Tuesday. Still can't wrap my mind around the idea that all this may just result in a live baby that I get to take home with me. A son for us to raise. It's like Tuesday is where the sidewalk ends, the end of the yellow brick road...what happens after that nobody knows. Or at least I don't.
On this day one year ago, a beautiful little girl was silently born at the very same hospital as my Ezra. And another family's grief journey had begun. I wish my beautiful friendship with Lucy's mama Angie had begun another way...it could easily have been at a local breastfeeding group or playgroup with our newborns.
My heart aches for Angie, her sweet husband Sam and gorgeous living daughter Bea today and always. Via her mama's written words and friendship, sweet Lucia Paz has brought so much light and peace to my own life this past year.
Judging by the number of emails I am getting "just checking in", I figured I would post a brief update. Nothing has changed - Sunflower and I are still hanging out here, with my blood pressure waivering between high normal and normal. Each day brings new levels of discomfort - wow am I ready to be done!
Our news however, is that there is a strong possibility that I will be induced next week, once I am safely 37 weeks. We will decide for sure when we see my OB again on Wednesday and if so, schedule a date. I feel very good about this plan, although I am finding myself having a hard time wrapping my mind around the possibility that I could go through labor and delivery again and have it result in a happy outcome.
There's not much to report around here. Which is actually good in the scheme of things. Still pregnant, still anxious. Bedrest seems to be working, to the extent that my blood pressure continues to waiver between normal and high normal, but not going any higher. Protein levels remain normal. Sunflower is growing big and strong. But I can hardly relax...pre-eclampsia can suddenly escalate at any time, which is why the daily monitoring at home and the three times weekly doctor's appointments are so important. I am doing my best to stay present in the positive, to trust in what is to come. But it's a strangely liminal place to be, when I don't know if I'm going to be pregnant for one more day, week or month. I'd really like to fastforward to the part when I'm finally home with Sunflower in my arms.
Ezra died at 33 weeks, 5 days. I woke up yesterday with Sunflower at the exact same gestational age, and wondered if I should spend the rest of the day staring at the sky waiting to be hit by lightening. The morning was spent wallowing in a funk on the couch while still in my pjs and pink fuzzy robe. But then a friend called, with an offer of a visit with her and her 3 month old, and a promise she'd bring lunch. And so somehow the afternoon flew by, a large part of it spent with a sweet little boy sleeping on my shoulder, Sunflower kicking him from inside my belly. It was exactly what I needed - a very obvious and physical reminder that most babies live. At least so I'm told.
Today began with yet another trip to the hospital, sent by my OB. A regular monitoring appointment with higher than usual blood pressure combined with a splitting headache that did not respond to multiple doses of tylenol over 14 hours or so (headaches can be a sign of pre-eclampsia) - and off I was sent. I really don't mind - at this stage I'll take all the poking, prodding and monitoring in the world if it means I get a live baby at the end. But I think both my OB and I knew what the likely result would be: blood pressure came down again once I was lying on my left side in the hospital, headache responded to migraine medication and all the labs came back totally normal. So home again. I slept the whole afternoon like I was sleeping off a bad bender.
This rollercoaster ride is no fun. It feels like I'm riding blindfolded, and have no clue when the double loop or death defying plunge is about to come. I don't mind being at home reading and watching movies - that part is fine with me. But I hate the uncertainty that each day brings - things are fine at the moment, but what about 2 hours from now...2 days?...2 weeks? I never liked rollercoasters anyway.
While at triage this morning, I shared a room with a young girl I never saw, but of course heard (as if those privacy curtains actually provide privacy!). She sounded to be a teenager, at most a young twenty-something. She was all alone and had been there overnight - being monitored because at something like 24 weeks she was having frequent contractions that she herself couldn't feel. She was pissed off, she wanted to go home to her other baby and wanted to get back to her job. But from the doctors' perspective, she wasn't going anywhere fast.
As part of my professional life, I work with teenage parents. I am a great believer that young parents can and do parent well -- although they often need different kinds of support than adult parents might. The conversation this young woman was having with her doctor broke my heart. The doctors wanted to do an internal exam because they believed this young woman might have an infection that was causing the contractions -- if the infection was identified and treated, the doctors explained, the contractions might stop. The young woman was balking at the idea of an exam involving a speculum. The doctor tried to probe why - was the pregnancy voluntary, did she have a history of sexual assault? But at no time did the doctor say 'look, if you have an infection and we don't treat it, not only may your baby come early, but your baby could die!' There was vague mention of a possible nicu stay. But mostly there was a lot of condescending talk about how she made the choice to get pregnant and now she has to have an exam like an adult would. It was an exercise in unbelievable self-restraint that I didn't pull back the curtain and talk to her myself. Luckily in the end she reluctantly consented to the exam. But yet again I am infuriated at how the medical profession so often conspires to keep the veil of silence around stillbirth and infant death.
On August 29, 2008, after 33 weeks and 5 days of the most blissfully happy unproblematic pregnancy imaginable, my world came crashing down when my son Ezra Malik died in utero. I was induced and gave birth to Ezra on August 30, 2008 at 3:47 pm. He is 4 lbs, 18 inches and has the most amazing combination of his mommy and daddy's features. He is perfect in every way. We later learned he died from a placental abruption. His mommy and daddy love him dearly and miss him terribly. Ezra taught me much in his short life, and he continues to teach me every day as I journey on my own path of grief. I created this blog both to record Ezra's life, but also to create a venue to share some of Ezra's lessons as time passes and I am more able to articulate what they are. I will update it from time to time when I feel able.