Somewhat Damaged

Things got out of control so fast.

His work partner, who originally sent along the request to check on him, decided to drive over before he even heard anything back.  He arrived about 20 minutes after the police did, and then sat with me for the additional 20 mintues that followed before my husband arrived home.  His mother, and my father-in-law’s ex-wife, was about half an hour behind that.  By noon, the house was packed with a mix of his friends and family, and by 4pm, we’d started talking about the things we would inevitably need to figure out;  little more than 6 hours after he’d been found, half a dozen of us had already started tearing the house apart in search of important paperwork and belongings that would help us deal with the aftermath, like his will.

We drank heavily that night, because of course we did.  I cried on and off, but chalked it up to everything being so fresh and so jarring.  I didn’t think anything of it originally when sleep was hard to come by, even when I was dead tired, or of the fact that the scene just seemed to keep playing on repeat in my mind.  Grief was old hat to me, and I figured this was all part of the process.  It felt similar to what I went through with Brock.

However, over the next few days, things only got worse.  Crying increased, and I began to have more and more trouble staying even relatively stable.  The little sleep I was getting dwindled to almost nothing because I couldn’t seem to pass out unless I was too tired to function or considerably inebriated (or both)… and, when I did, I would wake up again a short while later and not be able to get back there.  I was also completely unable to handle being alone, even for small periods of time, and kept forcing my husband to stay with me until I was able to nod off as a result.  I started to feel that I was losing my grip on things.  I holed up in our apartment and avoided interacting with people because I didn’t want to admit that I was feeling troubled because I thought it was embarrassing.  I felt that, if I gave them distance, maybe they wouldn’t notice that I was falling apart at the seams.

By Friday, I had to come to terms with the fact that something was seriously wrong.  I kept almost dissolving into tears for absolutely no reason, no matter where I was and what I was doing, and I very nearly had a complete meltdown at Walmart.  Memories from Monday morning struck me so suddenly and vividly that I began to hyperventilate, and it took me nearly 5 minutes to regather my composure and keep going – and, even then, I was still shaky and anxious.  I ended up leaving the store in such a hurry that I forgot what I had gone there for in the first place.

Even then, I didn’t want to bring it up.  I was ashamed and embarrassed by how poorly I was coping, especially since it wasn’t really my loss to begin with.  I didn’t want to make things about me when it didn’t have much of anything to do with me.  I grew progressively frustrated with myself for letting my emotions mess with me when, logically, I could tell myself it really wasn’t a huge deal, but mentally I couldn’t come to terms with it.  Trying to convince myself that it wasn’t something that should have traumatized me just further stressed me out because, here it was, basically ruining my life anyway.  It seemed crazy to me that I had carried my first son for nine months, only to lose him when I was almost 41 weeks pregnant, went through an awful 3-day induction, and delivered him silently — and come out of that okay — but finding my father-in-law, having died peacefully in his sleep after 55 long, eventful years of life completely wrecked me.  I still wondered if it was just too fresh to come to terms with properly, or if I’d just run out of strength, and this just happened to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.  All I knew, in either case, was that I was all but despondent.

I resolved to give myself a few more days to figure things out, which was a bad idea, and I knew it.  As I have struggled with depression in the past, I know how it works when you should go to seek help with mental health issues: on the bad days, you wonder, “Why would I bother getting help?” and throw up excuses to let yourself stay miserable, and on the good ones, you feel that this might be a turning point where things will start to get better, so you put it off so you don’t have to go through all the trouble and/or admit that you need help.  Fortunately, my husband and mother-in-law – who had both noticed that I was not handling things well at all – had other plans.  On Sunday morning, he woke me to tell me that we were going to drop Nathan off at my mother-in-law’s for a few hours, and then we were going to go and see my doctor to talk about what I was going through.

We did exactly that.  We talked through what had happened over the last few days, about losing Brock, and about how I was handling things with Nathan.  I confided to her that we are not bonding terribly well, for some reason or another; so far, caring for him has been more stressful than gratifying, and I explained that, while I love him, I don’t like him (it’s the best way I could come up with to embody my feelings about him most of the time).  I left with a prescription for antidepressants, the number for a public health nurse, and the reassurance that I would be referred to counseling or psychiatric services as soon as she could find a connection.

So there we have it… apparently, I’m crazy now.  I wonder if I have been like this for a long time and not known it, or if I just snapped somewhere recently.  I even catch my husband treating me like I’m compromised sometimes, asking if I remembered to take my pills and coddling me in silly ways.  I would be more upset, I think, but, you know, antidepressants.  It’s only been three days and I already feel like I’ve lost the capacity for the crushing sadness I felt before – I still get sad, but not to the same degree.  I also don’t get as happy either, though… everything just feels muted.  It’s really strange.

Oh, and of course, I still don’t sleep well, and I still can’t stop thinking about the moment I found him.  Seems we still have a lot more work to do to fix me.

Advertisements

Life and Death

I was just becoming used to the typical daily routine of parenthood – at least, what it was for me for the time being.  My husband and I had finally nailed a schedule down that worked well for us.  While Nathan still isn’t on any kind of predictable schedule, we were finding a sort of rhythm and starting to find ways to get over some of the more awkward hurdles, like timing my pumps and making sure that my husband got a good, solid night’s sleep at the same time.

In this time, and with the sleepless nights that sometimes come with having a newborn, I was also starting to understand my father-in-law’s schedules.  Since we live in the basement, I could hear him going about his daily routine above us; I started to get a good idea about how he lived, and what he did and when.  He would get up every two hours throughout the night, basically like clockwork, to use the washroom.  Every day at 7, he’d get up (which would be announced by the sound of his dogs jumping off the bed) and start his day by going to the washroom, then going to fix breakfast and coffee.  Just before leaving for work at 8:20 each morning, he would turn on the radio in the kitchen to keep the dogs company, go sit on the front steps to put on his shoes, and leave through the front door.

Nathan is usually a fairly good sleeper throughout the night, but has been working through a regression the last few days. Where he’d normally go to sleep at 8 and wake at 11, 2 and 5 for feedings before starting his day around 7:30 or 8, last night he only slept from 11 to 1, then 4, before deciding he was up for the day.  During the 1 o’clock feeding, I heard my father-in-law use the washroom, as he always did.  Nothing unusual there.

I was preoccupied with Nathan being fussy for a long time, so it took until about 6 before I realized I hadn’t heard him get up in a while.  Even then, I figured he was just sleeping more deeply than usual, and I was busy with the baby.  Besides, it was too early to worry yet, but something nagged at me, even so early.  He was so brutally consistent in his routines that it was already odd to see them broken.

7 rolled around, Nathan was still awake and fussing, and he didn’t get up for work.  I began to wonder, but figured he had scheduled the day off and was sleeping in (but wondered why he hadn’t mentioned as much to us).  I finally got Nathan down around 7:30, and had a beautiful 40 minutes of sleep before he woke… again.  I was starting to get really perturbed by the lack of activity upstairs, but wondered if he’d woke, done his routine, and left early in the brief stint while I was asleep.

At 9:30 – Nathan still awake, but starting to seem drowsy – my husband called me and asked me to check on him because his partner said he’d never turned up to work.  When my father-in-law didn’t answer his phone, he asked my husband to check on him.  Since my husband was at work, he delegated that duty to me.  All my fears suddenly validated, I was all but certain I knew what had happened.

I knocked on his bedroom door and called his name several times.  No answer.  Finally, I announced my intention to enter, steeled myself and went inside.

He looked perfectly peaceful, like he had just fallen into a particularly deep sleep.  His dogs still laid dutifully on the bed next to him, showing no signs that they understood what had happened.

I bawled in a way that has become all too familiar to me since Brock died.  I shakily called 911 and they talked me through it the best they could.  They asked me to try and perform CPR, but I would need to get him onto a hard, flat surface to try.  When I touched his arm to make a cursory attempt to try to drag his 250+ lb frame out of bed, he was ice cold.  I recoiled and wailed louder, inconsolable to the woman trying to talk me through the process.

The police and EMTs arrived about 5 minutes later and pronounced him dead.  When the coroner arrived and assessed him at noon, he suspected he’d died 8-12 hours prior.

So, I discovered a dead body.  And, for the second time in slightly more than a year, I’ve had the displeasure of touching a dead person.

—–

He didn’t live well – smoked excessively, drank heavily and ate poorly – and we knew a bad outcome was all but inevitable, but we didn’t expect it so soon.  Not once, in the days leading up to his death, did he mention feeling strange at all (and he was always happy to find things to complain about).  We had no reason to suspect that he was getting ready to check out so soon.

We didn’t hang out often or talk too much (we are/were both rather introverted), but I spent a large chunk of his last evening with him.  It was perfectly routine for him.  He started drinking at 5, as he always did, had 6 beers, as he always did, watched a movie recorded on his PVR, as he always did, ate a late dinner, and was in bed by 10.  Nathan and I watched most of the movie with him, as I brought him upstairs with me while I put a shepherd’s pie in the oven so that my husband could have a nap.  It was a bad movie, called The Caller, and we had fun complaining about it.  We talked about normal shit during commercials, like what age Nathan would get interesting at, the fact I’d forgotten to get rent from the bank for him (and that I would do it tomorrow), and whether or not the dishwasher was full enough to run.

It is heartbreaking how many people I’ve spoken to today have been hurt by his loss, but also admitted that they fully saw it coming.  How sad it is to live in a way where people look on your death – at the young age of 55, no less – shrug, and say, “Well, he didn’t exactly take care of himself.”

 

Love yourselves.

 

 

 

I see another move in my immediate future, and my husband and I now also get to look forward to purging his house, settling his affairs, making funeral arrangements, and so on.  Forgive me if my infrequent writing slows even more.

Yesterday

Yesterday sucked.  No other way to put it.

I was actually in okay spirits at the start of the day, but as it went on, the displaced feeling started setting in again.  It’s something I try to avoid thinking about and, subsequently, feeling too much, even though I think it’s always kind of there in the back of my mind, but yesterday there was no getting away from the feeling that I am not where I’m supposed to be, that I might have been able to change things if some things had occurred differently (those ever-persistent ‘what-if’s), and that I would be somewhere else, doing something else, if October 19th of 2014 had gone differently… if I’d seen a different medical professional, or if I’d asked for a second opinion, or gone to a different clinic.

DifferentThat word came to mind a lot.  I hesitate to say better or worse, because I don’t know where I would be if Brock were here, and I don’t know for sure if that reality would be better or worse than this one. I just know it’d be really different from where I am now, whether or not that’s a good or bad thing.

I know I’d be raising a different baby, one that would be celebrating his first birthday instead of being a mere 15 days old, and that Nathan would certainly not be here.

I wouldn’t have had a bunch of milk with no baby to appreciate it if Brock hadn’t passed, so I never would have been a milk bank donor.  Did my donations help any babies pull through who might not have otherwise?

I don’t think I would have felt the same frantic emptiness and need to better myself if I hadn’t lost Brock, so I probably wouldn’t have gone to finish high school (I formally graduate on the 12th of November), or found the time and money to finally go to driving school and earn my G2.  I wouldn’t have started volunteering for a local blood donor clinic, and my husband likely never would have begun donating regularly, either.  I wonder whose lives his donations have touched, too.

I would never have gone to loss support groups or struck up conversations with other loss mothers and fathers on online forums, and therefore there are a lot of great people I know now that I never would have met.

There are so many other little things, too.  I wouldn’t live where I live, or have a lot of the things that I now have, probably.  I envisioned a different baby, a different nursery, a different life.  On days like yesterday, it just hits me again, all over, that this was not what I envisioned at all.  It makes me wonder if there was ever anything I could have done to change the outcome, and it makes me feel woefully out of control of my own fate (which, to be fair, I know that I am – but the illusion of power is totally gone, which leaves me feeling awfully vulnerable.)

My husband and I took the day to just feel bad for ourselves.  We cried, we talked it out, we snuggled Nathan a little bit more earnestly, we got expensive takeout for dinner, and I had a couple of glasses of wine for the first time in 10 months (another advantage of pumping – if you get ahead, you can take a little time off.  Score!).

The other thing about the day that really upset me was that a lot of people didn’t even seem to notice that it was Brock’s birthday.  I received condolences and well-wishes from a few friends, acquaintances and family members, but I heard nothing from most people… and, in particular, a few I really expected would have reached out said nothing.  I’m pretty sure even most of my close relatives (my mom and dad, and in-laws) didn’t even notice the date; it was just another day for them.  It wounds me to think that he could be so easily forgotten by most people when he’s almost all that I think about on many days.  Perhaps it’s my fault for letting him be forgotten, I guess?  I don’t really know how else to look at it.  Maybe I should have made a huge deal out of his first birthday and thrown a big party or something, but I let the opportunity evade me, so now I’ve just got more what-ifs to think about.  Hooray.

Happy birthday, Brock.  I can at least promise you that your father and I will never forget you. ❤

Five Days (or one)

It’s crazy to think that, good outcome or bad, this pregnancy will be over in no more than 5 days.  By the end of the week, I’ll be done being pregnant (again) for the foreseeable future.  Some women say that they dread the last days of pregnancy because they don’t know when, or if, they will get the opportunity to do it again… not me, nosiree.  Especially with the emotional stress of pregnancy after a full-term stillbirth, I cannot wait to have a break from carrying babies.  I had a dream where I went for a nice, brisk fall run, and even in the dream I was just so darn happy about the freedom that dream-me wept a little.

I had a pretty great weekend, not going to lie.  I decided to treat it as a last hurrah of sorts, and spent it shopping and hanging out with several people who are near and dear to me.  I even went to the movies two days in a row (after not going once for… at least 8 months?) and a friend and I did a miniature maternity photo shoot, which was awesome to get done.  The caveat, of course, was that my husband wasn’t able to make it, and it strikes me as a little odd that it’s a bunch of photos of just me… also, I felt some strange guilt at getting maternity photos this time when I never did any with Brock, but there’s really no getting around that.

On Sunday, I had my scheduled NST at the hospital in my hometown.  It was a bit triggering, to be sure, since it was the same hospital that Brock was delivered at, and the same room where we had Brock’s last (live) NST (and then, two days later, found out he had passed).  There was a particular cubby that I was worried about being put in because it was where both of those things happened, and where we were put when we had to call our families to break the news while we waited for a room.  Fortunately, we were put in a different bed this time, which made things slightly more bearable.  It still wasn’t pleasant to be back there.

Mercifully, the NST went very well.  Nathan was very active throughout with a good, stable heartbeat and no decelerations.  In 45 minutes, there were no incidents and very typical coverage – and, this time, we had the results reviewed and signed off on by a doctor, no second guessing here.  The only surprise we had throughout the scan was when, at one point, the nurse who was looking after me informed me that I was having quite a few Braxton Hicks.  I have very rarely ever noticed any contractions at all, but the monitor was picking them up once every 10 minutes or so, lasting 45 seconds to a minute each.  I spent the rest of the time trying to pay more attention to what my body was doing and realized that I have been mistaking BH contractions for baby movements – usually, I’d just mistaken them for him stretching or moving slightly and pushing against my belly when, in reality, it’s the opposite (my belly shrinking and contracting around him).  It was also easier to notice them on the monitor because his heartrate would typically accelerate a little whenever I had one.  I’ve become more aware of them since and continued to have quite a few last night… though I’m pretty sure they’re not doing much of anything, so I’m not too worried about it (not to mention that, with an induction date looming, it would actually be ideal if they were doing something).

Anyway, now I’m just counting down the hours until my next OB appointment, which might very well be my last.  If things don’t go well, I might be admitted that day.  If things do go well, my appointment on Friday might be cancelled, which would just leave us needing to go in for our induction on Saturday morning.  Either way, we’re very much in the home stretch, and I should probably be working to finish setting up the nursery instead of writing!  I could write so much about how nervous/anxious I am that I will be admitted tomorrow to have my baby, and how I feel completely unprepared for how inevitably emotional this will be, but neither of us has time for that. 😉  If all goes well tomorrow and I get sent back home, I’m sure I’ll find time to ramble about it between then and Saturday.

Happy October… 9 Days (Maybe), Complications, and Other Musings

Happy October, everyone.  Can’t believe it’s come around to this time of year again already.  October is always one of the busiest months in my life, even under normal circumstances (tons of birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Halloween) and it’s going to be even more turbulent this year.  Brock would be turning one a few days after Nathan’s expected arrival, and I really have no idea how that’s going to sit, emotionally or otherwise.  I suppose I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it, though.  Trying to predict how it will go now would just turn out to be wasted effort, I’m sure.

Our induction to meet Nathan is scheduled for October 10th presently, which means I’ve only got 9 more days to get ready (at most).  I am term today, so really, it’s anyone’s guess what happens from here.  I’m not really expecting anything to happen on its own because of how Brock’s delivery went – even being induced at 40+5, it was really hard to get him out, my body just seems to hold onto babies a bit TOO tightly – but I’m also not willing to rule it out.  I am dealing with some pretty significant pressure and aching in my pelvis that I don’t remember getting with Brock, which makes me feel like things might be moving in the right direction on their own a bit quicker this time.  Honestly, I really hope that this is the case for several reasons.

I wish I could say that things were going smoothly in general, but they’re really not.  I was reasonably calm and collected until this morning, when I received a call from my obstetrician’s nurse about my appointment yesterday.  The ultrasound had some unusual results, but nothing that I thought were jarring red flags; for example, this sonographer seemed to think that he was in the 85th percentile for weight (where the one who had scanned me only 5 days prior said he was 60th), and this one also measured almost 15mm more amniotic fluid than the previous one did, which puts me back into pretty severe polyhydramnios territory.  I had dismissed it, finding the results being that different only a few days apart very strange, but chalking it up to a margin of error on one tech or the other’s behalf.

Anyway, my OB had a look at the results today and did not like them in the least.  They are radically different in bad ways, and she is less passive about that than I am.  Not only do they want me to go and have an NST over the weekend (which, at least, I can do at the hospital in town), but they are also calling me in for yet another ultrasound next Tuesday.  Oh, joy… more trips to Toronto… more missed hours at work for my husband… and, best of all, more worry.  As someone who’s had a previous stillbirth, telling me that I had suboptimal results on something is a surefire way to make me freak out.  It’s weighing really heavily on my mind, and I don’t know how I’m going to make it to the end at this point without freaking out.  I keep trying to will my body to get things started on its own… if my water broke right now, it would actually be a mercy, even though my apartment is a war zone and I haven’t even finished painting the nursery yet.

I keep trying to tell myself that it’s only 9 more days at most, and things could start happening at any time, that the odds of something going wrong again are really slim… and that this should be enough to placate me, but my husband and I are just so collectively scared and stressed out that I can’t reason with myself.  Heck, I have humoured the idea that the kidney problems that they’re claiming now require additional attention are actually a front for a secondary issue, like that he’s managed to get tangled in his cord the way his big brother did, and they’re just not willing to tell me that because then I’d really lose it.  I don’t know.  I can’t picture a happy outcome right now, and it’s terrifying me.  I just want him out and here, safe and sound.  I’m so done.

Overwhelmed.

This has been an absolutely horrible day – one of the worst I can recall.  I have cried so much today that I actually ended up researching at one point if there is a point where we run out of tears because I’d cried for nearly a solid three out of four consecutive hours.  (Yes, you can… but if you do, it means you’re severely dehydrated; always drink lots of water after a big cry because your body takes water from other places to supply your tear ducts with moisture.  The more you know…)

I think I was feeling emotional from the start.  I’m not too sure why, but Brock wouldn’t leave my mind much at all today, and I found myself looking through his old photos – first ultrasound pictures, then bump pictures, then the photos the hospital took after his birth.  Cue weepy episode #1.

Next, after I’d had a good little cry about that (and, subsequently, thought I was feeling much better and could move on with my day), I was reminded that it was the birthday of a different (sadly deceased) child – the other woman I knew of in my due date club who’d had a loss celebrated her departed daughter’s first birthday today, and it obviously hit very close to home.  More tears!

I discovered the worst piece of news of all, though, almost immediately after that one… if you’ll recall the couple I talked about in my last update, whose son was battling for his life in the NICU: it was discovered on Thursday evening that he had a small hole in his bowel that required surgery.  While the surgery itself went very well and he tolerated it well to begin with, a post-operative infection set in, and it was more than his tiny body was equipped to handle.  He passed away earlier this morning.

I was totally despondent for a good two hours after that.  I had already endured one loss (which was how we met them, through a local bereavement group) and we had that much in common, but I couldn’t begin to fathom how it would feel to lose two babies, especially consecutively… and under such similar circumstances.  Both babies were lost to complications of being immature, one after living for 8 weeks and the second after only lasting 8 days… and, in both cases, it was the result of an infection.  I cried for them, for their son, for the unfairness of the universe… and then I cried some more as a result of my own anxiety, because if life can be so unfair as to let the same thing happen to them twice, what’s to say that I’m not going to find myself going home with empty arms again, too?  Then again, if we do get our rainbow, aren’t they just going to resent us for having our happy ending when they didn’t get theirs?  In their situation, I would, especially since they now face the very real possibility of not getting their baby, especially not without serious intervention since it’s now clear that she can’t presently carry a baby to term.  It was a lot to try to process, and my heart hurts so bad for them… I really can’t put my emotions into the right words.  I know I’m not putting the feelings to real justice in how I’m writing, but I can’t think of a better way to word them (I blame the headache that I’ve acquired from crying so much).

Nate has responded with quite a lot of movement – and I’ve also had a couple of Braxton Hicks, probably in relation to the stress – which should make me feel better, I suppose, but it’s not.  I’m just over everything today.  I want to go back to a point where life was easy and I didn’t understand what overwhelming grief was and how absolutely unfair things can be.  There’s a different, possibly shittier version of myself in a parallel universe who would see a post about an infant dying and think, “Oh, that’s really sad,” maybe feel a bit blue for a few minutes, give Brock a big hug (because in a perfect world, he’d be here), take a big swig of wine because I wouldn’t be pregnant, and then move on.  I’m not saying that would be the appropriate reaction, but I feel way too close to tragedy now.  Instead, hearing about others losing their children turns me into an inconsolable, weepy mess and gives me flashbacks to the moment where I found out that my own son had died.  Post-loss Sevyn may be more philanthropic and compassionate, sure, but she’s also world weary and just needs to know that, sooner than later, there’s going to be a break from all this tragedy and drama.  I feel like it’s been nothing but bad news as far back as I can remember… or maybe I’ve just lost my ability to appreciate or focus on the good, who knows?

Hopefully, by this time three weeks from now, I will have a healthy, screaming baby, and my faith in life will be somewhat restored.  In the meantime, there’s not much I can do except wait and hope that I’m right.

The Home Stretch, & Seeking Positive Thoughts for Friends

Almost there…

I’m 35 weeks today.  My induction is scheduled for 23 days from now, and I can’t decide what to feel, even now.  It varies from hour to hour, and sometimes even from minute to minute.  One minute, I’ll excitedly look forward to not being pregnant anymore – I’ve been pregnant for so much of the last two years that I don’t really recall what it feels like to NOT be pregnant at this point – and the next I will be totally terrified because we’re still living in a state of disorganized chaos and I don’t feel at all ready for parenthood.  Isn’t that preposterous?  I’ve had almost two years to get ready to bring a baby home, how can I still have such a deep fear of what lies ahead?

Regardless, that’s pretty much the long and short of it; most prominently, I want him here and safe, and as a close secondary thought, I worry about whether or not we’ll be good parents or how we will handle it emotionally.  I have several relatives (husband included) who think that I am going to get hit hard by postpartum depression, and I also have my own fear that I’m going to have trouble bonding with or feeling the right kinds of feelings for Nathan.  I worry that I’m going to resent him for not being Brock, especially if they happen to look similar.  Add all of that on top of the still-lingering jitters and worries that something is somehow going to go wrong again, and I am a pretty stressed out person right now.  I just have to keep trying to remind myself that the odds of what happened the first time happening again are incredibly slim, and that it’s all going to be over soon… and, if I do end up struggling emotionally or otherwise after his birth, lots of people will be available to help me work through that, too.  I’m well looked after, and I know that, but it regrettably still doesn’t stop me from having irrational thoughts from time to time anyway.

I actually don’t really know what else to say that I haven’t already said before.  I am scared, but I’ve been scared since the beginning of this pregnancy, even before it in some ways.  I’m actually fighting off a cold at the moment, which isn’t helping my jitters any because I got sick around this time with Brock as well.  It would mean a lot to me if there WEREN’T so many parallels between my pregnancies.  It’s hard to imagine a different outcome at this point because I feel like I’m just living the same thing all over again.

Speaking of parallels… my husband and I made friends with a couple that we met through our bereavement group shortly after we lost Brock who were there because they had lost a son to prematurity.  She went into premature labour because of an incompetent cervix, something they didn’t find out until he made an unexpected, extremely early debut at 24 weeks’ gestation.  Sadly, he suffered a lot of complications and passed away after an 8-week fight in the NICU.

She found herself pregnant again 10 weeks after I found out I was pregnant with my rainbow, and she was immediately referred to the same high-risk hospital I go to who made a point of keeping an extremely close eye on her.  For a long time, things seemed to be going perfectly well… until 21 weeks, when an ultrasound showed that her cervix was bottoming out again.  She was given a rescue cerclage and put on limited bed rest while they tried to determine if the procedure was successful or not.  A week later, everything seemed to be going well, and they started to gain hope for carrying to at least 30 weeks for the best possible outcome…

Unfortunately, as we are all too well aware, things don’t always go as well as hoped, and she went into labour again last Friday.  By the time she made it to the hospital, it was too late for them to intervene and her second son was born at 24 weeks, 2 days.

We went to visit them on Sunday afternoon and their new son is just adorable – tiny, yes, but adorable.  The good news is that he seems to be doing much better than his older brother did.  He was substantially larger (enough that they are speculating that her dates may have been wrong, and he might be older than they’d initially thought), is tolerating treatment better, and having an easier time with breathing, feeding and handling.  Either way, I can only imagine the stress and worry that they are going through right now, especially since they know all about the NICU battle ahead of them.  Like me, they must be so terrified to be going through something so similar to their first experience.  Please, send them and their son your positive thoughts, vibes, prayers – whatever is your style – for the shortest and least eventful NICU stay possible and a healthy take-home baby at the end.

Life doesn’t really have much of a sense of a humour, does it?  I just hope that we are all fortunate enough that we eventually find splits in the road and are lucky enough to walk down different paths at some point.