The Way You Roll the Dice and Swear Your Love’s For Me
The last time I posted here, I was bottomed out. I don’t know what to blame it on- hormones maybe? I was in an impossible situation that kept escalating and I don’t deal with personal threats well. I can tell you, these days, I have a new lease on life, and a new perspective to go with it. Motherhood has changed me. I went from being so afraid and so easily pushed down to someone tall, someone protective and strong. Each threat has only served to make me angrier now, into someone who won’t back down. My Son has made me insurmountably brave. I have a courage now, that I don’t even think about. It’s instinctual- something that occurs like a reflex, and happens so naturally that it’s like it was always there. And for once, despite the fact that things aren’t exactly any different, I’m happy. And I know everything will be fine. Perhaps, not without its complications, not without its difficulties, but fine nonetheless.
My arms are sore. My blood sugar keeps dropping hard and I can’t seem to keep it high enough today. An unusual sensation after months of being unable to get it below 10. I was beginning to worry that I was avoiding an unavoidable problem. My hair was falling out. I couldn’t sleep- sometimes for days- and when I finally did sleep, I would sleep so deeply that I was dead to the world. The worst days were the ones where my electrolytes and potassium were screwed up because of dehydration- which was often. Higher sugars leech fluids from the body- and lack of sleep increases blood sugars. I felt like I was in an endless downward spiral. I felt like I was watching the clock ticking toward an inevitable end. How long could this keep happening before it was going to kill me?
I know that sounds dramatic. It is. But then, I’ve been there before. I’ve dropped this weight, and lost this sleep, and spent these sick nights. And I remember where it took me. I remember what it cost me. I’ve spent the last two months praying- and I can tell you, that takes a lot from me. It requires a distinct amount of justified and certain fear for me to turn to a spiritual last resort and beg the universe for the least bad news possible. I’m a bit of a pessimist about my health, and spent years with my family bearing down on me about the risks of dying after childbirth. Pregnancy is very hard on diabetes. With everything that we just survived, what we just went through together, what we all almost lost, it was already so easy for me to believe that maybe I didn’t have much time after all. Maybe after all of those years of telling my family they were wrong about my odds, it would be my one moment of unguarded optimism that killed me.
I’ve been ketonic. Severely so. So imagine my surprise when earlier this week, I noticed my hair growing back. The bald patches, now covered in short, black baby hair. My best friend (with whom my metabolism is pretty much synched) confides in me that she is two weeks late, and concerned. For her, there is no risk of pregnancy right now, but I begin counting the days. And I realize… my God. I’m three weeks late. Three weeks. How didn’t I notice? By some miracle, after days of restless worrying, my cycle returns. Heavily. So, to risk TMI (sorry), suddenly my hair is growing back, by moving an inch I am risking an inevitable and messy accident and… my blood sugars are low. Really low. So low, that every 2 hours, I’m having to shove back refined carbohydrates to stabilize it. What is going on? And is this normal? Or was I pregnant again? Is this a miscarriage? The signs are absent- I’ve miscarried before. But this- this is almost worse. I was relieved to not be pregnant. An odd sensation to go from being desperate to conceive to terrified that I had.
I might want one more someday. And my Husband is a saint for not getting fixed- especially after I told him I was late. The fact that he is willing to risk one more one day… I can’t tell you what that means to me. Even if we never have another child, knowing he is willing to have another one for me means a lot. I have no current plans to pursue the idea of having another child. My Son is too young, I’m not even finished my maternity leave right now, and my Husband needs the time and support to find something better for himself. I would be a stay-at home parent with two kids, and he would need to provide the medical coverage to our family (something I currently do). I think about having another child right now and all I have about that is anxiety. Financially, I don’t know how we’re supposed to accomplish that. We’re just digging ourselves out right now. All I know, is that with these things suddenly resolved, seemingly overnight, I was filled with that emotion I’ve only ever had once before: I don’t know why, and I don’t know how, but I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything is going to be fine, and just as it should be.
For those who don’t know, my Son was born April 7th, 2012, at 4:12am, by emergency c-section. He was 7lbs, 12oz. I had been sick for days. Excessively sick. All I could do was lay on the couch and sleep, trying not to be ill. My whole body was swollen, tired and depressed. I’d been dragging myself to the hospital three days a week, every week for 31 weeks. That week, I skipped my endocrinology appointment. I’d had too little sleep and still felt too sick. I spent that morning sick with what looked like the flu and knew I was going to miss that appointment. I did make it out later, for my OBGYN and non-stress test. I could barely walk even across the street, as by this point, I was approaching my 36th week of pregnancy, and polyhydramnios. At 34 weeks, I was measuring at 41.5 weeks. The week before, I had tested positive for amniotic fluid, and put through a rigorous screening, at which point, it was determined to be a false alarm and the baby was fine. But my non-stress tests were taking longer and longer. Over the course of 10 weeks, I’d developed most of the major indicators of preeclampsia, but they were so slow onset that my doctors chose to disregard them. The night before my OBGYN, I realized I hadn’t felt the baby move most of the day. Overnight, I was trying not to worry and told myself I was being stupid. I should have gone to the hospital. I wanted to. But it was so late, and my husband was asleep, and I’d have needed him to take me. He hates taking me to the hospital and always complains. So I let him sleep.
I will regret that decision for the rest of my life. I ignored a basic primal instinct. At 34 weeks, I begged my OBGYN to do the c-section. I told him it was time. I told him the baby needed to come out. 4 days later, I got sick. My non-stress test came back with poor results. The baby had a consistent, unchanging heartbeat, and indeed, was not moving. They assumed he was asleep, and called me later that afternoon to come back in. But that day, John took the car when I got home and I couldn’t get to the hospital. So I waited for him to come home. I waited for hours. They did not tell me to worry, or to be urgent. They should have.
My Son died during childbirth. He stopped breathing. He flatlined. He came out limp and dead and white. I didn’t know until after they revived him. They revived him, thank God. I heard him cry in the other room while they cleaned him up. I don’t remember anything after that. I don’t remember being stitched up or taken back to my room. I don’t remember anything until they brought me my Son, surrounded by paramedics, in an incubator where I couldn’t touch him. I didn’t hold my Son for 12 days. It’s a fucking laugh when I look back and think about all the times I worried about the type of delivery I wanted and the drugs I considered, to ensure that my Son would be placed on me as soon as possible after birth, to ensure proper bonding. A fucking joke it is to look back and remember how distinctly worried I was that even a few minutes separated would hurt us. For 12 days I did not, COULD not, hold my Son. He was intubated and covered in wires. He was red and swollen, and they told me he was probably going to die.
We spent 51 days in 5 hospital NICU’s. By the time we came home, he was almost 3 months old. Every day I didn’t know if he would live. One thing would get better and they’d find something else wrong. I’d broken him with my stupid body and my poor judgment. We’ve come a long way. We still go to the hospital for tests- at first weekly, now every three weeks. But things are almost normal. Our bond is strong. My Son is a miracle.
I have hard days. But I have a new lease on life.