Saturday, September 14, 2013

Leaving midwives behind

September 15, 2013
Seven months

Joe will be gone seven months tomorrow.  I came across a blog from exactly a year ago when I was worried about finishing my psychology degree and how I would handle H starting school. Tonight we re-lit three of Joe’s candles.  One for the new baby, one for Joe and one for H – the three leaves in my lucky clover.  We’re watching a dvd of the ultrasound we had earlier today.  H keeps saying ‘Baby Joe!’ and we have to keep reminding him, no, not Joe, new baby.

Joe will always be a part of our lives.  We didn’t throw away or hide the big brother shirts and we talk about how much we love him often.  We are already a family of four.

Sometimes it feels like he’s really gone and other days, it’s like he’s sitting beside me holding my hand when life gets too real.  I’ve been extra anxious now that the baby is approaching the same size Joe was (1 pound, 11 ounces) and the kicks are just as strong.  It’s not easy.  I wonder if this will be the last kick; if little one is getting enough of the things a baby needs; if we missed another Trisomy the tests can’t pick up.  Mostly I feel guilty for wanting a healthy baby, for not wanting another still, motionless child in my arms.  I don’t know how I got through this far.  I don’t think I could survive it again.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been seeing a group of midwives who promised to focus on both mom and baby while I’m pregnant.  I was upfront in the beginning about my anxiety, PTSD and fears.  They reassured me time and again, we are here for whatever you need.  Come in as often as you want to hear the heartbeat if that will help ease your mind.  Chase us down the road if you see us in public if that’s what you need.  Call anytime. It only takes two minutes to drop some gel on your belly and put the Doppler on there.  That’s what we’re here for.

I’ve also been meeting more and more loss moms whose stories haunt my nights and my days.  I know the things that can go wrong.  I know there are hundreds of other possibilities.  I’m also in my first year of loss.  I am a nightmare patient.  I’m also a nightmare wife and friend.  Some people have signed on anyway and are loving me through this process.

The midwives – not on that list.  The exact reason I left my OB was because a secretary told me my request for an ultrasound was unnecessary and not an emergency and at the very least I should go to the more equipped facility to do this pregnancy right and refused to ask the professional I trusted to take care of me.  All three things have been said to me at the midwives practice.  By a secretary.  I gave up a great doctor to avoid going back there (granted he didn't address the secretary's behavior but he was a good OB). 

Two days ago the eldest dirt mother at the midwifery group read off all the dates that I’ve called in and told me what I expected of the practice was abusive and they couldn’t have one pregnant woman ruling the roost.

Okay then, so see you in a few weeks and then eventually I will trust ye crowd to make decisions that are best for me and my baby and not let your petty, bitchy grudges against someone who was asking you to do your fucking job get in the way.  Alrighty then.

She had taken offense when I asked if I could start having ultrasound each month.  I’m approaching the time I lost Joe.  There’s only so much yoga a person can do to ease anxiety.  Ultrasounds are relatively harmless (unless you are the rat in the study that they held an ultrasound on for those 72 hours) and maybe I changed my mind about how many I wanted.  I went from the none suggested by some folks to the amount some of my mom friends had for much less reason than a previous loss.  My ‘care provider’ told me she would refer me for one more but unless it was recommended by the high risk doctors at Maternal Fetal Medicine, that was it – she was not going to be directed by me.  Then she asked in her best condescension ‘do you understand what I’m saying?’

It flashed though my mind to spew ugly things at her about death and loss and grief and cold bitches who let a tiny bit of power convince them they have some magical ability to keep babies alive – but instead I stayed calm.  I felt something in the room that kept my hand steady and my voice from cracking. 

I had already spoken to the folks at Maternal Fetal Medicine who were not surprised to hear from me at 21 weeks and were bending over backwards to fit me in to check on my baby.  And what do you know – given my history, they were more than happy to schedule me for each month from here on out for as long as I’m lucky enough to still be pregnant.

I need to be surrounded with love right now.  With excitement at the miracle in my body. 

The midwives are the only act in town unless I want to do a home birth or go back to an OB/GYN.  I can’t imagine they aren’t aware of that.  I wanted a more empowered birth experience and I fail to see how cutting someone down is supposed to be helpful.  Perhaps if they had returned my husband’s calls when he tried to act as my birth partner and called for me.  Or if the two ladies in the office the day I asked for a heartbeat check could have stuck around for a couple of minutes before taking their hour and a half lunch break, I would have felt supported.

I know at least a couple of people who read my blog regularly who will roll their eyes and pat themselves on the back for always knowing what a screw up I am.  What a disappointment and wreck I’ve made of H’s and my husband’s life.  Whether that exists in my head in the wee hours of the morning or if it’s real, I don’t know.  What I do know is that being dismissed and accused of being abusive when I’m just asking for help puts me right back into those relationships where I’m nothing – someone whose birth was a mistake, whose existence is simply a scourge on humanity. 

I already feel low enough.  I have a son who looks to me for cues on how to allow people to treat you.  How to pick yourself back up when you fall down and when people are mean to you.  NOTHING else matters.  I refuse to be anyone’s doormat while he’s watching.  I owe it to him and Joe to take care of myself even when I am struggling to face the day.

And to this little miracle here in the picture below.  

I went to my ultrasound yesterday and it was incredible.  My baby is beautiful.  All the organs are functioning like they should, everything is in the right place and this little snippet from the scan is the most amazing piece of artwork I’ve ever seen.  How did I get so lucky?  How has this been happening while I deal with grief and loss and the everyday crap that happens?

Possibly a little grace from the universe.  Perhaps a little help from Joe Grayson. We can all feel the kicks now and baby is happily growing.  I’m not naïve enough to expect one more day of this.  Horrible things happen all the time.  But if I get up tomorrow and feel more kicks and some pain in my back and a little queasiness from the hormones, I’ll know I get a little more time being Mama.  There’s so much joy in my life alongside the grief.  A hand that is almost the size of mine (even though he’s not even 3 years old yet) feeling his baby brother/sister moving and planning for next year when we go to the hospital to bring baby home is almost too much to take.

If I didn’t have people who overlook the crazy and still want to be in my life, I would give in to the jerks.  So if you’re a jerk and you can’t figure out why I don’t just disappear, blame the good people in my life.  Until I can stand on my own, I will keep relying on those who think I’m awesome.  If inspirational Facebook e-cards have taught me anything, it’s that you can’t please everyone.  To hell with the rest of them.

The search is on for an OB/GYN in the Portland, Scarborough, Falmouth, South Portland area who has experience dealing with rainbow pregnancies.  I bought my own Doppler so we have time.  And for the record, I have a lot of respect for midwives.  Just not a lot for those who struggle with simple things like feelings.


Julie Gannon Psurny said...

As I'm reading, I am feeling my little one kick. She is my first, and I'm guessing I'm due around the same time as you, or a few weeks after. I recently discovered your blog and just want to tell you that you write beautifully. Thank you for sharing your story, and for honoring Joe's memory so candidly and honestly. Here's to an uneventful and peaceful remainder of your pregnancy.

janice said...

Watching, praying, waiting..Janice

The Castro Family said...

From one angel mom to another, I remember how stressful the following pregnancies can be! Hang in there! Praying for health & peace!