When the Bottom Falls out of Your World

I wrote about my beautiful home water birth experience on my old blog years ago. I wrote with conviction. I wrote it because I loved it and I wanted to and was going to have another home birth with all my heart.

I was humbled last year.

I had two miscarriages before a successful pregnancy. We were past the scary part. It was all terrific. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but when I was having the 18 week routine ultrasound during that pregancy, I wondered why I was doing it. It was uncomfortable, it took forever, I’m young, I’m healthy, what are the chances of something being wrong. I have many friends who didn’t have any ultrasounds. They’re really a fairly new to the scene thing. Marius was in the waiting room with Mac chasing him around everywhere trying to get him not to destroy things.

What I didn’t realize until later is that the ultrasound tech didn’t really show us the ultrasound too well, and she printed off one carefully chosen picture. She didn’t want us to the black spot where lung should have been.

After the ultrasound I went and milked the cow and we had dinner with my Mom and Stepdad. I remember walking along a log and complaining to my Stepdad about how uncomfortable it was and how long it took and how much of a pain in the butt it was for Mare and Mac. We went home around 7, and I checked the messages as I always do when I walk in the door.

“Hi Kate, it’s Maggie (midwife), I just talked to the radiolgist and somethings not right with the ultrasound, give me a call at home right away” 

Message left at 5:30. A mere 2 1/2 hours after I walked out of the office and it had already gone to a major city hospital and back.

I took a deep breath. In my head I said “Please be missing fingers please be missing fingers”. I could deal with that. That would be okay. Click to the next message.

“Hi Kate, it’s Maggie again, I’m heading down to the office to do some paperwork, give me a call there.”

Uh oh. She updated me on her whereabouts instead of leaving it up to paging her. Something really wasn’t right.

I tried to talk but choked words came out.

“Mare, Maggie called. Somethings. Wrong. With. The. Baby.”

But how could something be wrong with the baby? I felt fine! I felt the baby move all the time! How could I feel so great when the baby wasn’t?

She picked up on the first ring. She asked if we wanted to come down to the office and talk to her. Just tell me now I said. I couldn’t bare a 15 minute drive with suspense so thick it would choke your breath. Is Marius there with you? I tried to talk again but all I heard was a strangled voice saying “Yes.”

I don’t remember her exact words. I remember feeling stunned. I remember Mac in the background ripping apart a new bag of 24 toilet paper rolls and unrolling them down the stairs. I remember writing down notes so Marius could tell what was going on and so I knew for later.

Plural Effusion of the Left Lung

Cystic Hygroma

Malformation of the Heart

Down Syndrome

“But Maggie,” I asked, “Tell me. Tell me straight up. What are the chances. Will this baby make it? Or will we lose this baby.”

“Oh Kate,” Her voice choked as well. “I think you need to prepare yourself for losing this baby”

She’d been with me for the long haul. She cared for me when I was 16 and pregnant. She caught Mac in our beautiful home water birth on a sunny July morning that she still remembers the peace and calm of. She talked me through my first miscarriage. She held me up and encouraged me after the second. She wasn’t just a care provider. She was an integral part of what having babies meant to us.

She went into details about what specialists she was currently faxing requistions to and what was going to happen. My mind started to blur. I’m not sure I even answered her goodbye.

I cried until my ears and head hurt. I managed to tell Marius what was going on. And he said with conviction “If there is 1/100 chance then we are are fighting on that.” I cried until my body shook and there wasn’t any more tears to come out. Until your throat hurts like your stomach is trying to crawl out of it.

I laid awake most of the night. I thought about newborn heart surgery. My mind wandered to the dark depths of therapeutic abortion before my heart chased it away. I cried some more. I thought about Down Syndrome and how I would be that babies biggest advocate if please Lord please I could just meet it. By 4 am I was tired of trying to sleep. I wanted to tell my Mommy. I wanted to go and be with her and for her to cuddle me on her lap and tell me it was all going to be okay like she would have when I was 5 and cut my shin open on another oyster shell. I also knew I didn’t want to wake her up, but that she was an early riser. I texted instead. “Text me when you’re up”. She got it at 5 am and thought that it was from the night before. “Just let out the chickens” I got at 6 am.

I told Marius I was heading over there. That I couldn’t lay in bed any longer. I doubt he’d gotten a wink of sleep. He too laid awake all night trying to comfort my tears.

I’m breaking this into parts so it doesn’t get too long. To be continued…

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