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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Changing providers



August 3, 2013
Not quite six months

Hi I’m Vickie and I’m a _________.

Depending on where you find yourself, you usually get two or three words to describe your life.  At R.A.D. classes I say that I’m not a police officer (most of the instructors are) but I have dealt with a LOT of them.  At yoga, I’m Vickie and I’m 15 weeks pregnant.  At the grief support group, I’m Vickie and I lost my son Joe to Trisomy 13 on February 15 of this year.  In another month, I will be Vickie, the full-time student.  At the park, I am H’s mom. 

Lots of labels and none seem to go together. That blank line should have the word misfit.

When I say I lost my son six months ago but I’m also pregnant, I lose my grieving card.  At prenatal classes, I am not the person anyone wants to sit next to for fear that they will catch stillbirth.  I don’t fit in anywhere.  At a kid’s clothing store the cashier asked me how far along I am and when I said 15 weeks she said wow, usually on your second you pop right away!  I didn’t bother to tell her it was my third.  She had a bulging little belly behind the counter – why ruin her day?

More than anything, I am grieving and anxious.  When I feel sad about Joe, I can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong with the baby.  This pregnancy has been smooth from the start although you would not know that to look at my medical chart.  I’ve had three ultrasounds, I’ve been in at least once a week to hear the heartbeat not to mention the phone calls and I haven’t even had my second scheduled visit yet.  They keep reassuring me that’s what they are there for and I feel like a lunatic that I’m not reassured yet and have to keep calling.

Since I mentioned this in an earlier post, I did change care providers.  I thanked my OB for taking such good care of me and hoped he would continue to be my gynecologist and if something were to go wrong, I wanted to leave the door open so I could at least get a second opinion on my pregnancy.  I have no idea what usually happens in those situations.  In mine, I was told good luck and good bye.  In writing.  Good times.

I am now seeing a group of midwives.  It’s a gigantic leap for me to go from specialized care and delivery in a facility that sometimes does seven or eight C-sections a day to one that does possibly one or two a week (that’s directly from a surgical tech at the hospital I’m hoping to go to).  Midwives and taking charge of my own care is all part of trusting my body to do what needs to be done and giving up on the idea that it’s better to live with the devil you know than the one you don’t know.

At my old practice, the day Joe died, I was sitting in the doctor’s office going over what would happen if the ultrasound confirmed no heartbeat.  The secretary buzzed in and said “They are waiting for Vickie at Maternal Fetal Medicine, she needs to get over there right now.”  The doctor told her we were talking and would be right out.  Keep in mind, my two year old and my husband were also in there asking questions and discussing what was about to happen to me – a person they loved and were worried about, since things don’t always go as planned and if I needed surgery or if this would take a few days, we wanted to know.  And also, I was not in a rush to deliver Joe.  I was very scared and I knew he wouldn’t come out on his own in the doctor’s office.

When we were leaving the office, the other secretaries were being very nice and I stopped to talk to them and the boss of the universe interrupted to tell me “Vickie you have to get over there NOW.”

Nobody said anything to her.  Everyone looked at their hands and I went off to deliver   my dead son, my son’s brother, my husband’s little boy.  I wish I could go back in time and tell her to go fuck herself and give me a goddamn second.

So when I called that day two months ago to tell that practice I was having a lot of anxiety about this new baby and hoped I could go to a different facility for the scan and possibly a little earlier appointment, what I expected was an absolutely,  whatever you need, you have been through enough. 

Refusing to even ask the doctor and telling me it wasn’t an emergency and then arguing with me and my husband is on the other end of the spectrum.  Telling me to start this pregnancy off ‘right’ is out of line.

In my world, anxiety is real.  Women’s feelings are real and they count.  If I’ve been up all night having flashbacks of Joe’s diagnosis and delivery, you better believe the next morning I am going to do what I can to relieve some of that stress.

And to put it in more concrete terms, if my pregnancy is bringing thousands of dollars into a practice, my concerns matter.  If they want to let someone with such wonderful people skills on the front lines and refuse to acknowledge her behavior, no sweat.  I won’t be darkening their door ever again.  

As for the switch to midwives, I struggled with the decision.  It seemed awfully crunchy and hippie dippie to me.  Turns out – I’m hippie dippie.   Multitudes of assholes in my life have made it hard to stay centered and true to that but I’m kind of a moon sister or earth mother or whatever you want to call it. I don’t know that I could ever make the switch to organic everything and patchouli and shoes made from dirt but mostly that’s because I’m afraid of germs and trying new things.

I have been to tour the birth center where the midwives deliver and believe it or not, they have IV poles, medical equipment, disinfectant – imagine!  A real hospital.  The difference is in their philosophy.  To let a low-risk woman labor and not rush into a cascade of interventions.  Nobody is going to put my baby at risk – especially me.  I just have no reason to EXPECT complications. 

It’s a huge change for me.  I'm not an optimist. If I hear myself laughing too hard, I catch myself wondering what bad news is on the way that will make me cry soon.  Peace makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t like that about myself so I’m trying to turn it around.  I don’t want my kids growing up with a pessimistic, paranoid, insecure Mama.  More than anything I want them to trust themselves and their instincts.  I don’t regret a single decision I’ve made when I listened to that inner voice. 

These days I let Joe guide me and he is unblemished and untainted by the ugliness that has pushed me at times to do what others wanted.  He is my guardian and I have to trust that he wouldn’t lead me or his Irish twin to harm.  Sometimes he puts an asshole on a front desk to warn me that I need to make a change.  Sometimes he puts a friendly neighbor on the lawn to welcome us to look at a new apartment.  Other times it’s a push to get out of bed and take care of my son which ultimately helps me heal more than pulling the covers over my head.

I don’t think there will ever come a day when I wouldn’t give my own life to give Joe a day here on earth.  To see my boys play together.  Joe’s short life and the lessons he left me with were a gift.  I wouldn’t change that.  Caring is always a risk.  Grief sucks but it just means I loved.  I regret nothing.

We will be holding a candle light memorial for Joe on August 25, 2013.  Please join us by lighting a candle wherever you are.  For updates and details, the link is here: Candle Light Memorial

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