Monday, August 27, 2007


I haven't posted what happened with Gregory on here. I came across his birth story, which I wrote the night I came home from the hospital, two days after he was born. It was the middle of the night Monday into Tuesday, and I remember not being able to sleep and feeling compelled to write it all down while it was fresh in my mind. I also remember about halfway through it, my milk came in and I went from having fevered engorged breasts to leaking all over my brand new pajamas. I just sat and sobbed and wrote it all down so I would never forget.

Friday night I noticed that I had not felt my baby move in a few hours and I was experiencing some signs of early labor, including irregular contractions that were getting stronger. I couldn’t tell if the baby was moving because the contraction, it felt very weird. I had noticed a decrease in activity and was told it was normal since I was so far along and the baby had less room to move. My Doppler was not picking up the baby’s heartbeat, even though it did two nights before that. I wrote it off to it needing a new battery since it was barely picking my heartbeat up.

Saturday morning, after replacing the battery, I still could not find the heartbeat. I started to worry and called my OB. He had me head to labor and delivery for monitoring. The nurse who met me there seemed optimistic. She had trouble finding the baby’s heartbeat, and called in one of the other doctors to do an ultrasound. My husband was becoming alarmed, but I already knew. I still prayed so hard. I remember him holding my hand, near tears, and I just kept silently saying the Hail Mary, and begging God to take me instead. The doctor kept looking, and I asked her when my baby died. She said she couldn’t say that, there was still hope, but I’ve had so many ultrasounds with this pregnancy (I was considered high risk because of a previous miscarriage, bleeding early in this pregnancy, a two vessel cord, and a car accident 3 weeks ago) and every time the heartbeat was so easy to find. She kept saying that the baby was in an odd position, and that’s why she couldn’t find his heartbeat, but I knew the baby was head down and had been for weeks. After fifteen minutes, I asked her again, and she turned off the machine, told me she was so sorry, and patted my hand. They told me my doctor was on his way in. I called my mother and told her I was in the hospital, and could she please come, that we think the baby died.

After my doctor arrived, he confirmed that the baby was head down and had passed away. I begged him to not make me deliver vaginally, that mentally, I could not handle it. After he checked me and discovered I was only starting to efface and was only a fingertip dilated, he told me it was my choice and we consented to a c-section. My husband could not bring himself to call his mother, but for me, it was helpful to call her and to say what had happened, it gave me something to do. She was devastated, and I asked her if she would like to come to the hospital and see the baby, but she said she did not think she could not handle that. My mother and sisters arrived, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen so much sorrow in my mother’s eyes as when I told her that the baby had passed away for sure.

They began prepping me for surgery. I was so scared – they told me that they would not put me under general anesthesia, but that they would give me a spinal and dope me up a bit so I would not remember much. My mother and the perinatology bereavement nurse Donna called the priest who married us, and asked him to come and baptize the baby. My mother and sister Kristin then left to tell my grandmother in person and to purchase a white gown for the baby, while my other sister Caitlin stayed with Marc and I so he would not be alone while I was in surgery. They gave me a shot of some cocktail and I was wheeled into the OR. Donna stayed with me during the surgery so I would have someone there to hold my hand for the parts I was awake (I asked that my husband not be there when they offered that opportunity because I did not want him to carry the memory of the medical discussion or the sterile OR when looking back on the short time we had with our child). I barely remember the spinal, just the quick pinch and then nothing; it was not painful, thanks to the other drugs. I don’t remember too much of the surgery – my face was very itchy, and Donna and the anesthesiologist kept scratching it for me. I happened to wake up and turn to my left at one point, and I saw one nurse handing my baby to another – I saw my doctor’s face over the screen and he told me I had a little boy. He was so pink, that for just a moment, I thought, maybe they made a mistake, it’s going to be ok, but he never cried.

They wheeled me into recovery, and both Marc and my sister were there, which was so wonderful, because they told me only one person could be there for me. Marc said it killed him when they brought me in because I seemed so happy and ok, and he was afraid for me to come crashing back when I realized what was going on. My doctor came in, and told my husband that the baby was perfect – it was a freak accident. The cord was very thin, and had become wrapped around his neck tightly three times. I am grateful for two things: my husband was concerned that this happened as a result of the car accident and this relieves him of a lifetime of guilt I know he would carry, and because we have an answer, which is something they said we probably would not ever have. My mother in law called a few minutes later, and asked to speak to me. I was very groggy still, but I remember her saying “I have the receipt for the travel system (that she had bought us for my shower less than a week before) and I will give it to you so that you can return it for the money”. My heart broke and I just handed the phone back to Marc. I felt so badly later for being sad about it – I realize she is grieving too and didn’t know what to say and was trying to be helpful. Marc told me later he told his mother never to say anything like that to me again, and she apologized, but pressed the issue with him, and he told her that we would not be returning anything for cash. My blood pressure went through the roof and the nurse started getting alarmed, but she understood when she heard what happened.

Thank God Cate stayed with us – Marc was able to go and pick up his family and bring them to the hospital, and my sister and I waited for my family. My brother looked like hell, and stayed in the room for only a moment, and my grandmother, mother, sisters and I just sat and talked. They wheeled me into a labor and delivery room down the hall, and took the gown my sister picked out and dressed the baby.

After my in laws arrived, they brought the baby to Marc and I first. He was so perfect. We named our son Gregory Ian. He weighed 4 lbs, 15 oz, and was 18 inches long, completely perfectly formed. He looked so much like Marc. I was scared to hold him initially, but they put him in my arms and I cannot begin to describe the competing and intense feelings of joy and sorrow that filled my heart. Seeing my husband hold him was a moment I’ve waited for for so long – and it was heartbreaking in a way I could never have imagined. We asked for our family to come back in and they all got the opportunity to see and to hold him. My mother and grandmother held him, and then my father in law, but everyone else seemed a bit afraid. I just kept being reassuring, and reminded them that they would never regret holding him, but that they might regret having missed the chance. My sisters each held him, and then I encouraged my mother in law to at least come and look at him more closely. It helped her so much to see him and convinced her to hold him. Neither of our brothers wanted to hold him – my brother in law is only 13, and it was not something he could process, he could not even look at Gregory, I think he was scared, and that is so understandable. My brother, who is an adult, was so overwhelmed and angry he could not bring himself to, but he did touch him and look closely. I have not seen my brother cry since we were younger; it devastated me to see the pain in his red-rimmed eyes. Watching my husband and father in law passing the baby to each other was rough too – Marc told me later that he can’t remember seeing his father cry like that before and that it killed him. Monsignor Farley blessed Gregory, and we all prayed and cried and took pictures. We asked for a few more minutes alone with the baby, but the nurse was still concerned about my blood pressure, so she asked our families to leave for the day.

Marc and I sat with Gregory for a little while longer. I was frustrated because a new nurse came in every few minutes and kept saying to tell her when we wanted her to take him to the morgue. I was so numb at that moment, but in hindsight I was so angry she even said the word morgue. I told Marc that this was probably his last chance to hold him, and that he should take a few more minutes to say goodbye. He started sobbing and said, “I don’t want a few more minutes, I want years.” I don’t think my heart has ever been so completely broken. I held Gregory for a few more moments, and sang to him the same songs I’ve been singing to him for months, and I rocked him and cuddled him and kissed him. We said goodbye and the nurse took him away.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Told Marc's folks today...they were thrilled! I really thought Grandpa was going to jump up and down. We've asked them to keep it quiet for a while just because we don't want to stress anyone out. My mother is annoyed that I won't tell my grandmother - she's sure she'll be thrilled and won't be stressed out, but I don't think I'm ready to do that.

Went to BRU for the first time since before Gregory died. It was fun and a lot easier than I anticipated. I bought some stuffed toys (frogs of course!) and looked at some things we'll need to buy (fleece cover for carseat, angel monitor, etc.). I am feeling so confident about this pregnancy in the last few days. I'm sure one day soon I'll wake up and have a major panic attack and convince myself the baby is dead.

The morning sickness from hell has struck again. When I was pregnant with Gregory, I had only minor nausea in the first trimester and was pretty much on bed rest because of bleeding. Once the bleeding stopped, I had a few days before the morning sickness started. FIVE days straight where I had a headache, nonstop vomiting, dehydration and cold sweats. My doctor figured it might be because of the red dye in the cold medicine I took and told me to stay away from it. Not three weeks later, BAM, it hit again. Another FIVE straight days of nonstop puking. It was just so unbelievably debilitating. It would ease up to where I was only vomiting once or twice a day, and then every few weeks, I would become violently ill. I had to keep a box of garbage bags in the car just so I had a place to puke. I remember Marc driving me into work one Saturday morning when I was about 19 weeks along, and we were stopped at a red light and I just kept vomiting. Marc starts laughing and I turn my head to see three teenage girls in the car next to me, completely horrified. I wanted to roll down the window and say "I bet you don't want to get pregnant anytime soon!" It finally ended when I called my doctor and begged for drugs. He prescribed Z ofran 3x a day. That stuff was gold. Of course, it was so expensive, my insurance would only cover 9 pills every 30 days, and at $48 bucks a pill, I started conserving and taking it only when the vomiting became so awful I couldn't keep anything down for 24 hours. Eventually it tapered off on it's own around 28 weeks, and salty, greasy food (fast food french fries) kept it at bay without the drugs. This time it hit on Thursday, and I was completely useless. I was on the phone half the day and muting every time I had to puke. The rest of the time, I was laid up on the couch, moaning and sweating and shivering. By the time Marc got home, I was begging for McD's french fries. The first half I ate came right back up (cold potato mush - mmmmm) but the second half stayed down. It's gotten to the point where I just keep sprinkling table salt into my mouth. It's gross, but it works! I haven't puked since Friday!

Monday, August 20, 2007

For my sister Kristin

So I mentioned before about how I was keeping a big secret from my sister Kristin.

Can you guess what it is darling?


Finally got around to scanning my ultrasound pics. I'm so lazy sometimes. It's not like the scanner is where I rest my feet when I'm at the computer.

7w5d - the printer was kind of crappy, but the big black abyss is my full and very distended bladder, the baby is to the lower left of it.

11w6d, and you can see why I call her Beulah Skeletor Pigface.

She's so cute, yet so creepy.

Profile pic

I love the dildocam - the detailed shot of her tiny little fingers just amaze me.

And congrats to my friend Mindy on a wonderful ultrasound today at 7w4d! I am so excited for you!

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Second trimester! *confetti*

But I'm going to kick my doctor. I had an appointment on Thursday morning (11w6d). I figured we'd finally get around to bloodwork and internals and all that fun stuff. I walked in and he said "Oh, let me go get the doppler". I almost stopped him, knowing it was still really early and that there was a good chance we wouldn't hear anything, and it would just send us into a panic. But I let him go, and made my mother come sit in the room with me because I was anxious. The doc tries fishing around for a bit with the gel, and then tries alcohol. He says he can't even find me on the doppler, which makes me think the damn thing is broken, but no, it's that he can't find the uterine artery or the placenta, and this causing him to worry. (It's apparently a sign of a missed miscarriage and a shrinking uterus.) I'm still refusing to give in to the panic, and keep telling him not to worry. After trying more gel and still more alcohol, he finally finds the uterine artery, but no baby. He starts mentioning emergency ultrasounds and wants to know when I can get scanned. (It's important to note that my doc volunteers at a couple of the women's clinics my mother runs - I see him there so that Marc doesn't have to take a day off each month to drive me to his private office - and that this particular clinic does not have an ultrasound machine.)

I am now starting to panic. I call Marc and lie through my teeth, that I'm getting an ultrasound because the doc hasn't gotten the results of the other one. I call the only guy at work who knows I'm pregnant (my old boss from my previous job) and tell him that there is a problem and that I need to go have an ultrasound. My mother and I blow off work for the rest of the day and head to get scanned. I sat in the waiting room staring at this whiney, largely pregnant 16 year old who is pissed at her boyfriend for checking out another girl, and I fantasized about slapping the pout off her sour face. Then I alternated between knitting a blanket for a baby I was sure was already dead and sobbing. We finally go into the room, and the tech is telling me not to worry. She puts the wand on my tummy and I see the baby for half a second, and she tells me to go pee. I thought I needed a full bladder, but she doesn't bother with it because she likes to take her time and doesn't want me to be uncomfortable. I went to the ladies room and my mind is racing - the baby had arms, legs, big head - it looked like it should look at this stage, so if it's dead, it had to have been in the last couple of days. I keep thinking that there is still hope. I go back in and I'm in full panic mode now. She puts the wand back on my belly and says there is a heartbeat and all is fine, but she wants to do a transvaginal ultrasound. I am so relieved I start sobbing.

I made my mother stay (after everything I've been through, there is no shame - I didn't care if she's in the room, I just needed my mommy to stay) and we try the dildocam. Baby Beulah Skeletor has a huge head with a slightly upturned nose, the most beautiful tiny finger bones, and a heartrate of 163 bpm. The clarity was unbelievable. I could see her wiggling and kicking and touching her face. It was the best ultrasound I've ever had. I love this tech - she is even more disarming then the last - she made me laugh, she hugged me, she was so casual about it all that I didn't feel unnerved for even a second. I asked her if she'd do my Level II in October, even though I know my doc is going to want me to see the perinatologist from my last pregnancy. I want her to do my growth scans every month as well. She is awesome.

Doc and I are going to have to chat at the next appointment. We need to be on the same page for the rest of this pregnancy. I know that he tried the doppler because he wants to reassure me every step of the way. I know that he was heartbroken when Gregory died, and that all he wants to do is give me a healthy, living baby. I am so blessed to have a doctor who listens to me, respects that I read a lot and challenge things he says, and who talks to me like an equal - he doesn't sugarcoat anything. But if I'm going to let go of the stress as much as I can, then he needs to let it go too.

My boss also found out I was pregnant. When I got home, I told the guy I work with that all was well, and that since I'd had to blow off work, maybe now was the time to tell our boss. He said "you never told him? well he knows now I guess!" I spoke to my boss after that and he was so amazing. He is so happy for us. I explained that we had not been telling people because 1. we'd suffered a late term loss last year, and we were more guarded, and 2. I'd just started this job and didn't want anyone to think that I wasn't in it for the long haul - this is a long term commitment. He said that he had never thought that, and that he believed family was the most important thing. I have hit the effing jackpot with this job.

Yay for trimester 2!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


The bizarre dreams continue. I had one where all of my grammar school friends were mad at me because I got pregnant again, and another where M had cheated on me and didn't care that I was mad. I really wish I was better at interpreting my own dreams, these all just seem a bit crazy.

Finally caved yesterday and bought maternity jeans after my regular jeans stopped fitting over my hips. I have a pair of maternity jeans (a bit frayed, as I wore them hard) from my pregnancy with Gregory, but I couldn't bring myself to wear them. I was wearing them when we got in the car accident when I went into early labor, I was wearing them weeks later when he died, when we went to the hospital and found out he died, when I left the hospital. One part of me doesn't want to put them back on because they are his jeans and should stay a part of that pregnancy; another part of me doesn't want to wear them, even though I was desperate, because I'm afraid of jinxing this pregnancy. So Marc took me to ON and I found a snazzy pair of jeans that were only a little too baggy in the butt.

I also bought some new knitting stuff - I needed a few new sizes of double pointed needles and the Michael's by me only bothers to carry size 4 DPNs. We went to AC Moore and I expanded my set.

Went to the cemetery last week - Gregory's name has been added to the headstone. We buried him with my mother's father. The plot is meant to hold my grandparents, my mother's brother, and her sister. We weren't in any rush to add his name, and I said we'd add it down the road when another name was going to be added. My uncle Michael had been diagnosed with diabetes forever ago, and has lost his eyesight (and independence) a few years ago. He became really ill earlier this year, and long story short, rushed to the ER, lost consciousness, all of his organs were failing and he passed away one afternoon in early March. I never expected him to die before my grandmother (running theme here: no one expects to bury a child). I don't think I really accepted Michael's death until I saw his name on the headstone - I think I was still so wrapped up in and raw from Gregory's death, I just couldn't accept losing Michael as well. It's hit me really hard in the last couple of weeks. I miss him a lot. It's hard to imagine Thanksgiving or Christmas without him. It's tough going to visit my grandmother and him not being around. He was my dad stand-in (my father is not in my life, and hasn't been a regular player in almost 20 years) - Michael took me to my junior high graduation dinner, he took me to the father-daughter dances, he's the reason I love baseball the way I do. I find myself wanting to visit the cemetery as much for him as Gregory now. I'm starting to think the grief will never get easier - just as you start recovering from one death, the next one sucker punches you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


When I quit smoking a few years back, I used the patch. My favorite part was the intensely vivid dreams I had. The dreams were so real and made complete sense, even after I woke up. The same thing happened when I was pregnant with Gregory - intense, vivid dreams that made total sense. Dreams, at least for me, were never like this outside of these experiences. Now there were no flying monkeys, no giving birth to a litter of kittens, no supernatural wonders. This time around, it's very different. I'm now having the very vivid and real dreams, except they are completely crazy.

Take, for example, the dream where I had given birth to a baby, but I didn't see him. Marc and I were on vacation with my family and his family, and everyone else was taking care of the baby. I hadn't even laid eyes on him. I was on a boat at one point (my mother-in-law was rowing home) and I started crying realizing that when we got home, I was finally going to see my child. When we arrived back at our apartment, Marc went into the bathroom to wash his hands and put the baby down between the toilet and the wall. I saw this from the hallway and asked him why he did this, and everyone acted as though I had lost my mind - this was the safest and greatest place for a baby, what the hell was wrong with me? Then, I was holding the baby. He was too small and looked very dark and jaundiced, and his clothes were too big, but he was able to hug me with the strength of a small child.

It's obvious to me that parts of this dream go back to Gregory - while I was in surgery, my mother and sister went shopping for a christening gown. They found a cute outfit, but he was swimming in it. He was 4 lbs, 15 oz, and too small for the tiniest gown they found in the store. And of course, there was some discoloration as he'd passed away about 24 hours before. This explains the too small for his white clothes, discolored baby from the dream. I wonder how much of the rest of the dream is related to my fears about Beulah. Shortly after I miscarried in July 2005, my sister had a dream that I was pregnant again, but had another miscarriage, only much, much later in the pregnancy, and that it was a little boy. She told only my other sister about it. When Gregory died, she went to my grandmother's house with my mother to tell her what happened, and suddenly the dream came flooding back to her, and she said the whole experience was deja vu, down to the clothes she was wearing. I don't put a ton of faith in random dreams, but history and the Bible are filled with prophecies in dream. It was a bizarre enough coincidence that we all semi-joke with her and ask her if she's had any dreams lately. It scares me to think that these psycho dreams I've been having could be at all prophetic about this baby.

At least the plot of the dream gave me a good laugh.