Goofy gassy smile :D
Have you heard? My baby is special. My baby girl was made with an extra part (my happy way of saying a scary thing like cancer or a tumor) that a team of top surgeons, pediatric hematologist oncologists, Doernbecher hospital, nurses, and lord knows who else are preparing to remove on the 29th. A day which seems to feel so far away and at the same time speeds up on you when you quit paying attention. Like that one Youtube ninja cat video. Though it's fun to think of this coming milestone as a stalking cat, it is not nearly as cute or cuddly. No laughing either. Or not much. Ok well there is laughter. How can we not be happy when we have the love of the three of us to sustain us until and beyond the coming trials.
They say that a baby still gestates for the 9 months after birth. She or he needs skin to skin touching, or kangaroo care. They need breast milk. They need your body's or bodies' biorhythms. They need talking and loving and touching. How wonderful it is, can I say, to be thankful each moment and not take it for granted. Grace when you read this, remember to not take even the most serious too serious that you forget to love what is smack dab in front of you. Or in my case what is sucking at my boob making lovely little puppy noises and flexing her hands, a physical feature she inherited from her father. How could I not immensely enjoy our keep-in as we lock the two of us in the house for the rest of your gestation?
This post is to remember how it all started in the hopes that, well, it will all be over soon. It hasn't all been an ordeal. It's also been a blessing. I see that now.
My midwife, the person who in so little words broke the news to us on August 1st around 7pm that the radiologist had found "something" and she reassured us that usually this is something they can handle and that everything will be fine. I wasn't ready to hear that then. And I waited to tell even my closest siblings and even longer to tell our families. We had two more ultrasounds that week.
To think that July 31st I had the wonderful (crazy busy) experience of a baby shower with some of my favorite women in the world all there to prepare our family with loads of baby booty and wisdom. I was surrounded by love and excitement for my pending first born. It was a wonderful high. Though I was exhausted beyond belief, I road that high right through the next day when Kris and I saw Grace stick out her tongue in 3D ultrasound. The tech gave us photos that I still carry with me and used at the lowest moments since then to remind myself even when I didn't believe it that I'd get to kiss that little face.
Odd. It's odd to know what your baby will look like before she ever leaves her upside down world of my womb. She happily rooted away at her hand, which she still does, and stuck out her long tongue for the cameras to reveal a physical feature she inherited from her mother. Seriously. Ask me to stick out my tongue sometime. It's freakishly long. NOT creepy, just odd.
So that evening that we received the call, we were riding on a wave of baby booties, onesies, bibs, cribs, diapers, baby carriers, cards, checks, and some awesome in-utero pictures. Those pictures were I'm sure given to us by a tech that knew we would have rough time ahead of us. How she must of felt to distract us with this beautiful face, one we might never get to love for long. What a hard job. I suppose that makes up for her lack of congeniality at the beginning of the appointment, but whatever. Maybe she had a bad day.
So Kris and I huddled in on ourselves. He was thankfully sick with a cold; not good that he had a cold, just that he had a legitimate excuse in his own mind to take the time to process the news. And we were referred to Eugene that same week four days later to go to another ultrasound (which wouldn't be the last). The thing about ultrasounds: they are diagnostic to a degree, but they will always refer you out of house with way more questions than answer. Think of it as a way to see further like binoculars, but unless you are up close you can't verify with certainty the nature of what you are looking at, especially if it is a squished up 37 week old baby in a belly.
From there, we were referred to OHSU, which is very ominous. Especially knowing that the reason was because they are the only place with pediatric cancer division. We went home devastated. We informed our families- which no one knows how to do that properly. We pulled the matteress out into the living room. I tried to eat even though I felt sick. We watched dumb shows and movies. We cried. OK, I bawled. We made love for what we thought would be the last time for a while, because the referral was for an inducement of labor. Long story short, the next day didn't happen that way obviously. We were hit with a barrage of doctors and varying opinions, with OBs planning surgery soon and the surgeons casually sending us home. Some with their heads cut off and some with them screwed on tight. Though we saw them every couple of hours in our very uncomfortable labor/delivery room thinking they'd abandoned us, they were actually duking it out in the halls over our best care.
Thankfully a very kind New Yorker named Dr. Wyatt- lets be honest, I get points for even remembering her name that at least I remember her face and the accent- she gave us the low down and said to go home, try to be happy, eliminate stress, and that time would be better for Grace and for me so that natural labor was an option. Of all the things I wanted, a happy family, a healthy baby, a natural labor... hmm. It's felt unfair. She IS healthy. When you see her, you'd say the same.
More on this story soon... I should spread it out a little before my already long post becomes a novel (or two and let us not pretend I'm neither loquacious nor long-winded anyways... just embrace it (you can blame my father)).
Plus, we are having dinner delivered by loving family and company to stay and love on our little one.
Anyways. This post is obviously for me, like a diary that I just happen to leave laying open on the interwebs. Well, aren't all of them for my own sake? I have no clue if anyone or everyone or just my sister reads these. But you know who will? Me. And Kris. And Grace. I want her to know through us that sometimes life is hard. It breaks my heart that she'll have heart ache like mine. Plus, I write. That's what I do. I read and write. I don't have a job and honestly I'm over than now, but the only way I'll be who I want to be is to be her now. Writing honestly about real things without fear of reprieve and with the hopes that someday I'll be a better writer... not that someone will read it today. But that someday down the line I'll read it and feel stronger. Ooh and to write OFTEN and with my own voice. I want Grace to have her own voice and surely the tradition of writing in my family has favorable odds of being passed on to her, or I can only hope.