Earlier today, I took a big step in beginning the story of my infant loss. If you want to read from the beginning, you can read my post on Finding out there is something wrong with my baby. As I said in my other post, tomorrow marks 4 years since my little Gianna’s life was ended. Thinking about the whole process that I went through, has definitely stirred some emotions in me.
My mom read my first post and decided to give me a call tonight to make sure I was okay, and that I was really ready to do this. As we talked, she reminisced some of the things we went through the day Gianna died, and I became apparent of something that I do. I have talked a little about my experience with friends, or people who are hearing my story for the first time. Because it is always me telling the story, I have been able to share what I want, and edit out what I don’t want to talk about. I have been able to put up a wall and protect myself. I didn’t realize that I do that, until my conversation with my mom tonight. I was overly aware of the fact that I would likely cry if I dove into the conversation with her. I know my mom is reading this, so I hope you aren’t offended by what I say here mom! So instead of diving in and reciprocating with the conversation and memories, I gave very brief and short answers – Yeah, uh huh, I remember, etc. I have been putting up a wall all of this time, and shut the conversation down! I am hoping that by writing my story down, the conversations get easier. I thought they were easy, until I came to this realization. Wow! I wonder why hearing about someone else’s experience with what I went through, is so hard for me. If you have been through something like this, have you discovered that same thing?
To continue with my story, I left off with awaiting my first visit to the Perinatologist. I had a week or two from when I first heard there may be something wrong with my baby, to when I was to meet with the specialists, and have another ultrasound. I remember being nervous, but not too panicked because my doctor didn’t seem too panicked. In retrospect, I think he may have been trying to protect me.
That first doctor’s appointment with the specialists (which was an hour away from home, I might add), was one of the worst, if not THE WORST, days of my life. My mom was out of town, to Arizona, for the birth of one of her other grandbabies, hubby was at work, so my dad drove my kids and me down to Sacramento, for the appointment. Because I have very active boys, my dad thought it would be best to drop me off (I agreed), and take the boys to the park or something. That was our plan, and we stuck to it.
About 19 weeks pregnant, I walked myself into this Perinatologist office of about 4 or 5 doctors. The doctor I was meeting with that day was a French man, whom was absolutely wonderful, in spite of the horrible situation I was in. I believe we began with an ultrasound. The doctor did not talk to me throughout the ultrasound, and I don’t recall being able to see the screen at that first appointment. I just had to wait patiently, which is not one of my strongest suits. When the doctor was finished, I got cleaned up, and he stepped out. After a few moments, the doctor returned, so we could chat. Here it comes….
I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I left my previous ultrasound and doctor’s appointment with the only knowledge that there may be some extra (foreign) fluid around my baby. Boy, was that not the way of things. I sat by myself in this foreign office, with a doctor that I was just meeting for the first time, while he began to tell me what he found during the ultrasound. He told me so many things that I couldn’t even process, or begin to remember it all. He then wrote them down for me. He told me that my first baby girl seemed to have fluid on the brain. It didn’t appear to be Hydrocephalus, but at this point, I just knew it was fluid on the brain. He told me that my baby girl had problems with her kidneys. He couldn’t tell yet if both kidneys were affected, but one kidney was definitely dropped. He told me that my baby’s heart had some problems, but he didn’t know yet how severe they were. He told me that my baby’s feet looked to be deformed. At first he thought they were clubbed feet, but then decided they could be rocker bottom feet. He told me that my little girl’s hands might be clenched. There may be other issues as well, but these are the things that I see right now.
I sat, face-to-face with this man, as he told me these things, and wrote them down for me, and I didn’t cry. I was by myself and needed to hear and remember what the doctor was telling me. I don’t know what was going through my head at that exact moment, but that was so much to process! They made a follow-up appointment for me, and I left the office. I called my dad to let him know that I was done, and he pulled around the front to pick me up. Walking down the hall from the office doors, to the doors of the building, I remember feeling like a zombie. I felt almost numb, and as if I was the only person in the world, and nobody knew I existed. I don’t know if I have ever felt more alone as I did in that moment.
As I saw my dad and my kids waiting for me in the car, eager to know what I found out, I think I looked up at my dad through the car window, shook my head, and began to weep. I still remember the look of concern over my dad’s poor face as he saw his youngest daughter walk away from the doctor’s office, with her eyes and body filled with grief.
As I look back on this day, it almost feels like a horror show in my mind, because it was the day my earth shattered. The pieces are coming back together, but surely, there are still some missing.
I got in the car, and my dad immediately wanted to know what was wrong, what happened, what had I found out? With my kids in the car, I didn’t want to frighten them, but I was about out of control at this point. I was weeping and tried to spew out everything the doctor told me. I don’t know if my dad understood everything I said – shoot, I didn’t, so I handed him the slip of paper the doctor gave me, with the list of concerns. I don’t remember my dad’s response, but I got on the phone and called my mom to let her know. Like I said, she was in Arizona. My mom and I are very close, so for her not to be there was so very hard. My mom came unglued on the phone, while I told her these tragic these I found out about my first baby girl. I vaguely recall her asking me if this was all real, or saying that this just can’t be. The doctors are wrong, because they ARE wrong sometimes, about these things. Needless to say, my mom booked the next flight home, so she could be with me.
I called my husband next. My husband has a one track mind (don’t most men?), and he was at work, so he couldn’t really stop to process it all. I honestly don’t remember his reaction, but I’m sure he was devastated. I just know that we handled it all very differently. Maybe someday, I can get him to write down his thoughts and experiences with the whole traumatic event. I just remember there being a lot of tears on this dreadful day. I knew my baby had a lot of problems, but had no idea if they could be fixed. Would she live? Would she die? What kind of life will she be able to have? Will she die in the womb? Will I be able to deliver her alive, and hold her? These were all unknowns right now. The next step was to come back to the Perinatologist’s office and have an amniocentesis done.
If I could give any piece of advice that I learned from this day, it would be that if you ever have to go to a doctor’s appointment where you will be receiving results, please take someone with you! I think that not having someone with me in that office, on this day, was very traumatic for me. Having an extra pair of ears to hear everything, someone to hold your hand – it won’t take away all of the pain, but surely there would be SOME kind of comfort in it.
You can continue on to read An Amniocentesis And a Doctor With No Bedside Manners.