Last Friday we had our second cord pathology scan. They basically repeated all of the procedures they performed in our first cord pathology scan, plus looked at Jay’s growth, because growth is still very important. Again, no issues were noted, cord related or otherwise, much to our relief.
Jay is measuring BIG, much like his brother Matthew always did. At the time of the appointment I was almost 28 weeks, while Jay measured at almost 30 weeks. They estimated that he currently weighs around 3 pounds, 4 ounces. He has long legs and long arms (shocker), and we got some great 3D images of his face – he’s so cute, and we think he looks very much like Matthew, which made me cry out of both happiness and sadness.
I asked if it’s concerning that Jay is this big, and our maternal fetal medicine (MFM) doctor explained that it isn’t, as long as I passed my glucose test, which I did. I told him I was a 9 pound, 9 ounce baby (!), and he explained that our children must take after me in this regard. (I think Mark was somewhere in the eights when he was born.)
I think we’ve trained our MFM well – he stayed in the room for the beginning portion of the ultrasound, before returning again at the end. As soon as the sonographer brought up an image of Jay, he exclaimed, “Hey, turn on the color Doppler! Look – no cord around his neck!” And most doctors insist they can’t see the umbilical cord on ultrasound. Hmmmmm… Here’s a really great image of part of Jay’s cord…
While we know it doesn’t provide any guarantees, we continue to appreciate the care that we’re receiving. And, as demanding as we’ve been (and continue to be), I’d like to think most of our doctors actually like us. Hopefully. Though our primary OB recently commented that Mark and I regularly come up in after-hours discussions at the hospital, so I’m not sure whether this is an insult or a compliment… But at least we’ve commanded their attention, even if it is because we are “those patients.” But our MFM is relocating at the end of this year and thus selling his St. Louis home, so he spent some time showing us pictures of the real estate listing, plus filling us in on his plans to build a new home, so he must not think we’re totally insufferable, right?
I’ve officially started kick counts. I’m just going to try to monitor kicks all day, every day, so I can hopefully get to know Jay’s patterns. Some research suggests getting to know your baby might be more effective than just counting ten kicks in one hour, so I’m going with it… To help, I’ve downloaded an app, Baby Kick Counter by Michael Kale. I know there are other apps out there… And I’m sure they each have their pros and cons, but I’m trying this one first, because it will let me count all day and tracks each time that I hit the button to indicate a kick. (It’s kind of an electronic version of Nora and Heather’s “post-it method,” as I’ll always have an electronically-documented time of last kick.) I think it even makes graphs, though I don’t know if I’ll take it this far… But who am I kidding? I probably will at least look at them.
It is still difficult for me to feel totally consistent movement with this freaking anterior placenta – I’m hoping movement picks up at 30 weeks, like it did with Matthew.
Let’s just say I’m gaining a healthy amount of weight, and Mark currently weighs less than he did in high school, so I’ve officially surpassed him in the weight department. (Every girl and guy’s dream, right?)
So a few (maybe many?) people at work now know that I’m pregnant… And some choose to reveal their knowledge in weird ways. I love how I’m 28 weeks along, and people are so proud of their detective skills, like they’ve discovered some huge secret. I mean, I’ve gained like 40 pounds, and my tummy is sticking out past my boobs, so…
Dead flowers lady was super aggressive about her discovery, ambushing JVB in the hallway one day. She just came out with it, “So when is Christine going to stop hiding her pregnancy?” And JVB was like, “I don’t know… Maybe never, because she’s terrified.”
And another co-worker majorly flashed her lady balls, coming into my dark office, shutting the door, and inquiring, “Can I ask you a personal question?” And instead of answering, “Fuck no,” because I don’t want to get fired and also because I’m not necessarily a mean person, I gave her the death stare and was like, “Fine.”
And yet another co-worker, who’s actually pretty sweet, did almost exact the same thing last Thursday. She just came right on in, shut the door, and said, “I know your secret. Congratulations.” And I was a little bit nicer to her, but then she majorly pissed me off because we were having a great conversation about how scared I am but how I’ll be doing intensive monitoring and about how I’m basically forcing my doctors to look at the cord. And she was like, “Well, when I was pregnant, my doctor did look at the cord.”
And I was like, “Well, maybe so, but not in the same way that I’m talking about – like I’m talking about looking at every part of the cord and actually following it around in its entirety, to the extent possible.”
“But they turned on the color Doppler,” she insisted.
“Yeah, I’m sure that they did,” I replied, “But I’m talking about tracing the cord, looking for all sorts of pathology including knots and neck wraps… This isn’t part of standard of care in the United States. Doctors don’t do it, like under any circumstances, because of legal liability.”
And she insisted, “But MY doctor did.”
And it took everything in me not to be like, “Your doctor did not look at the fucking cord because none of them do. Not mine. Not yours. Not any of them. Except for Dr. Collins. And he’s retired. And I doubt you were working with him given you’ve never experienced a loss like mine, now have you? Contrary to popular belief the only doctors who look at the cord in this country are the ones whose patients have demanded they look at it because they’ve suffered a previous cord-related loss. I promise you. Your doctor isn’t an exception.
And why are you arguing with me about this? I think I know more about this subject. And you think it’s sweet and supportive and productive to attempt to convince me that Matthew wouldn’t have died had he been under the care of YOUR doctor? Not buying it… Thanks for being just another jerk, working so hard to distance yourself from my tragedy, dreaming up all of the ways this would have never happened to you. I hope you feel better. Now please just get the hell out.”
So, though I’ve rebounded a bit, this past month has been pretty dark for me. For a short time, nothing was helping… Not even writing, though I continued to do it…
So I signed up for this 30-day writing course with Megan Devine, a licensed counselor and founder of Refuge in Grief. On July 12, 2009 Megan lost her fiancé, Matthew in a tragic drowning accident. I lost my Matthew on July 13, 2015, so I feel a special connection to Megan, and I also appreciate her philosophy on grief – it can’t be fixed, only carried.
The course starts June 6 and includes a daily writing prompt. I hope this helps distract me into July. I wasn’t able to get into the “capture your grief” stuff, so I’m hoping these writing prompts are a little more creative, but perhaps less open-ended. Otherwise I’ll fail miserably. I’ll probably post some of what I write here, unless I deem it to be total shit, in which case I won’t post it. (Not that I haven’t posted total shit before. I mean, I wrote a post about a blender for freak sake.) Though I’ll likely not post daily, but maybe I’ll post more than I usually do? We’ll see…
And as part of this writing course I’ll join a community of other writers who’ve also experienced a tragedy of some kind. We’ll read each other’s writing and support one another, etc. I’m hoping this is helpful to me. I’m certain, to some, it sounds super depressing, but I don’t view it this way… I view it as an opportunity to explore my writing and my grief and connect with others who’ve experienced tragedy… As one who’s still very much grieving, I don’t really shy away from others’ grief, so I think it will be more valuable than anything. It might help me feel less isolated.
Again, we’ll see.