This week we have done a lot of traveling along our journey and I have been debating whether or not I felt like writing about it. We had 2 doctor's appointments this week, and sharing about medical things feels a little too personal. However, when I think about what this blog is its a little late to worry about being too personal. I think lately I have reverted back into my typical pattern of burying my feelings deep inside and occasionally pulling them out for only me to examine. So, in an effort to stick to the reason I began this blog: sharing my story for friends and family to follow along, facing and dealing with my own emotions, and to reach out to other parents of stillbirth, here goes….
On Monday we went to see a perinatal (high-risk pregnancy) doctor. Seeing this doctor was something we asked to do, rather than it being medically recommended to us. All of the testing and facts related to Emma's birth did not suggest that there was any complication or treatable/preventable cause for her death. That being said, living through this has been extremely traumatic, and getting additional support is something we really need.
Going to this appointment brought a lot of anxiety. The appointment was in a medical office at the hospital where we found out Emma had died and where I delivered her. Being there was very emotional. It was also stressful to know we were going to be rehashing Emma's death and delivery. I was so happy to have Britt with me. I always feel stronger when he is there.
The appointment ended up going very well. The doctor confirmed that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent Emma's death, as it was truly a cord accident. In his words, "we were struck by lightening." That's certainly what it feels like. At my request he ordered a panel of blood tests to be done for rare clotting disorders, in order to rule them out as a cause of her death. 5 tubes of blood this afternoon later, and we are waiting for the results. The doctor felt very strongly that the tests will not show anything.
One of the things I best remember from this appointment was talking about some regrets I have and him saying, "there are no wrong decisions here." Of course other people could tell me that, I could tell myself that, but hearing it from a highly respected and recognized doctor goes a little farther with me. Some of the best news of the appointment was his belief that there is no reason that this should happen in our next pregnancy. While that is comforting to my heart, it does nothing to help my brain. The trauma of your first child being stillborn leaves you to believe you will never have a living child, at least thats how I feel. Why should I think I will ever have a living baby when Emma should have been here and is not. Obviously life does not work the way it is supposed to.
The doctor agreed to see us through our next pregnancy, whenever we are ready for that step, and even though it is not truly medically necessary he will provide any extra monitoring possible. He also said he will likely have me delivered around 38 weeks. If the baby is developed enough to come on out, then next time around that's what he or she will do, no waiting for trouble this time. The doctor said that I would be a candidate for a VBAC, and I said….I am past the yearning for a natural birth experience, and I would really rather have a living child in my arms. Open me back up and give me my baby!
The doctor also recommended that I see a nutritionist, which was the appointment I had this morning. Heading to this appointment was another stressful experience. This time I went by myself and for some reason on the way there I started having major anxiety, like feeling like I couldn't catch my breath and being lightheaded. Once I got there I had to go into the main hospital (this was a different hospital). I tried unsuccessfully to ignore the signs for labor and delivery as I made my way to central patient registration. There at check in they made me a hospital bracelet I had to wear for my appointment, even though I was going to an outpatient center. That brought back the major anxiety. Last time I wore one of those I was in the hospital with Emma. Not okay. By this point I was barely holding it together, and as soon as I got in with the nutritionist and she asked what brought me in I burst into tears. The good news is, I always feel better after a good cry.
A little backstory on seeing a nutritionist. I have always (like my whole life) been classified as "underweight" based on my height and weight. Its nothing I can help and its always been that way. I always say I was meant to be a short person. I have small hands and feet, skinny arms and legs, and a small frame in general. If I was not so tall my weight would come out in the normal range instead. 4 months post-partum and I am back at my pre-pregnancy weight, which means I am back to being "underweight".
Anyway, starting my last pregnancy as "underweight" did not have any negative effects. I gained 36 pounds during the pregnancy and each week Emma measured as growing as she should. She was born a healthy (and hearty!) 8 lbs 3 1/2 oz.
However, the perinatal doctor understood that I wanted to face a subsequent pregnancy controlling every possible risk factor and making sure that I am doing anything and everything to help in having a healthy living baby. That being said, starting pregnancy at a healthy/normal weight leads to a healthier pregnancy and outcomes for mom and baby. Cue weight gain time.
The nutritionist was wonderful and spent a lot of time talking with me about healthy weight gain and ways I can achieve it (not cheeseburgers, fries, and milkshakes…dang!) The goal is 5-10 pounds which will put me on the low end of normal. To be totally in the "normal" range for my height I would need to gain 22 pounds…that would look ridiculous on my slender little self and is totally not necessary (the nutritionist agreed, by the way).
Anyway that's the story there. It feels really uncomfortable to share, as weight is something really personal to talk about it and has always been a sensitive subject for me…I drank Ensure in middle school to try and gain weight because I didn't like people making comments about how skinny I was. I always say I would not go up to someone who is overweight and say...jeeez you are so fat, do you eat all the time? Just as people should not say…jeez you are so skinny, do you eat? Discrimination works both ways. With that I am stepping off my soapbox for the night and snuggling up with my hubby. So glad tomorrow is Friday, this week has drained me.