Friday, July 30, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Update from the grandmothers

On July 16, at about 3 am, Annie's water broke. Dave was on an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Ocean, so Annie called her dear friend Katie. Within minutes, they were on their way to the Lemoore Naval Air Station hospital.  Upon her admission to the maternity ward,  Annie's very supportive doctor, Dr. Schipper, performed an ultrasound. At that time, both Annie and Dave (on the phone from the ship) learned that Noah's heart had stopped beating. With support from Katie, Amy, a great nursing staff, and her doctor, Annie labored until Noah's birth at 2:03 pm.

Noah weighed 2 lbs 13 oz. and was 13.5 inches long. He had auburn hair, like his dad, and blue eyes, like his mom.  Miraculously,  Dave arrived at the hospital late that night, and he and Annie were able to spend time together with Noah.

We grandmothers arrived in time to hold Noah, too.  A private memorial service is scheduled this week.

Annie will add to their story later, when she is ready.  They are grieving with hope.

Barbara and Jenny, aka Bobbie and Nonny

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Party for Noah

We've decided on what our equivalent of a Baby Shower will be. If you'd like to help in celebrating Noah, send me an email and I'll get you the information. There's no set date, necessarily, but there is an end-date, so the sooner you let me know the longer you'll have.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Three-parted Post

I'm going to preface this post by stating Yes, we'll be seeing a counselor starting next week.

I'm just always shocked by how many people have had similar or relatable traumatic experiences, especially the loss of a child.

No one talks about it. And as a result, we live in a world where our expectations don't match reality's baffling statistics.

Part of me says, if we don't discuss what we've learned - how difficult it really is to have a healthy child - then how can we share knowledge and spread awareness?

The other part of me answers - duh, it's because it's too painful. Obviously. If I open myself up to my emotions, they overpower me so fast, and I quickly become unable to function.

The other part of me says, would I have wanted someone to sit me down and tell me everything that could go wrong? Back when I was reading pregnancy books, they do tell you about millions of things that can go wrong, and I sat there thinking, "well, i'm young, i didn't do cocain, so this will never happen to me." (Irony here is that the book was reading didn't mention Trisomy - except in regards to Downs Syndrome.)

So, yes, I suppose they do tell you about the risks of having a healthy baby, but who paid attention to them before it affected them directly?


As I said, if I open myself up feeling all my emotions, it's bad. As I've posted before, it's not like we lay about the house being sad all the time. But it sure would be easy to do that. But some days are just more... pensive and fragile than others. So we build walls and keep distances.

Some of you may have noticed how impossible I am to get a hold of now-a-days. (Maybe I was before, too, I don't know.) I let my phone ring to voicemail a lot. The truth is, it takes so much energy to keep up our walls. Some days are harder than others, other days are easier. Usually on the easier days I'm more prone to chatting. But I can't predict which days will be what. Some times it's an hour-by-hour thing, too. I find myself calling people one minute, and when they didn't answer and call back 15 minutes later, the moment's gone and I no longer feel up to it.

I just wanted to put this out there because there are quite a few of my friends and even family that this happens to. I just wanted to let you know "it's not you, it's me" and it's not personal. I'm trying to force myself to be "out there" more, because if I let my relationships fall away before our tragedy and trauma strike, what will I do after? Who will I lean on then?

So don't give up. Keep calling, emailing, facebooking, snail-mailing. (I can't tell you how many time's we've gotten a letter from someone from church, home, or college just letting us know they're thinking and praying for us, and how that brings a ray of sunshine in our darkness.)


Now I'm almost 8months pregnant, and there is just no hiding it. Because of that, I get more attention from strangers or people I don't know well.

I almost want to wear a stickynote on my forward "DON'T SAY IT." Don't say "How far along are you?" "Is it a boy or a girl" "When are you due" "Oh you must be getting close now, are you excited" "are you so ready for him to come out" "do you have everything set up" because you really have no idea what you're asking. I try to remember, these people don't know, they're trying to be supportive of the pregnancy they think we're having. And I do a pretty good job - mainly because of constant practice - of smiling, nodding, and telling them what they expect to hear. But then I come home and feel sad. Because I want to be able to answer all those questions joyously, and I do, when I answer, Yes I'm looking forward to it, I really am. But these strangers don't know the what's looming ahead of us.

And that's what I am afraid of. I'm not afraid of the unknown. I'm afraid of what I know will happen.

Being Catholic/Christian, I know that Noah will be in God's hands and be in a better place and all that jazz. I know that. I believe that. But knowing and believing that doesn't make pain of future-loss go away. I really thought it would help. But it doesn't.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not losing my faith in God. I'm not even angry at God (at least not yet). I'm not blaming Him. I believe he'll keep his promise to us - that's why we named Noah Noah. But there is only so much solace to be found in that. This knowledege makes the rational mind say "it's okay, in the big picture, it's really ok, Noah's not meant for this world." But the emotional part of me says, "but I want him to be." And it doesn't make it easier.

I thought it would. But it doesn't.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Waiting Room

Oh my gosh the Waiting Room blows our minds every time we go. Today we had a 9am appointment, our first one that early. As a result we had a different crew of peeps to hang with. No kids! What!? I know, it was crazy, there were no kids in the waiting room. And only two families violated the "no more than two guests per patient" policy. Also a first. Usually it's everyone.

The wait started very quiet. No distractions. Except two patients had the same first name and so one girl would get all pissed when they meant the other Crystal. Well turns out, Crystal #2 probably had a lot on her mind. Her Snoop-Dawg ring tone was the first thing that drew attention to her. And when it rang for a third time, and she answered, that's when things got interesting. Oh man.

"No, man, he's locked up... yeah, he's in jail. And they won't let me see him.... Yeah, he was arrested yesterday for jaywalking....Yeah, but then they found out he used a fake name, they took his prints, dude. And he had a warrant so the locked him up....They told me they'd arrest me if I kept trying to see him...He's got a court date tomorrow...yeah I know,  but they won't let me see him. I can call a number tomorrow to find out what the result is...."

Yes. Really. That was the conversation she had in the waiting room.

I just want to go back to Japan where you don't answer you cell phone in public. Prime example of a conversation we didn't need to hear!


Well, today just sucked.

We had a doctor's appointment in Fresno (Waiting Room Stories post). Our usual sonographer is on vacation this week - the first vacation anyone in the office can remember him taking. Our sonographer this time just didn't mesh with us and our situation. It's one thing to be professional, but now we know the difference between "professional," "professional with sympathy," "callous ass," and "doesn't know how to respond to our situation and has obviously never seen a Trisomy baby." John and Dr Morgan- our first sonographer and doctor at this new clinic - was professional - the one who was almost in tears by the time we left. Jeff and Dr Choa- our 'regular' sonographer is professional with sympathy - and because of that we feel 100% comfortable around him - he understand the situation we are in. Callous ass would be Dr. Wood's office, everyone. And then there's Mariella or whatever he name was today. She's the "doesn't know how to respond to Trisomy and obviously never seen it." She kept her distance and there was just something about it that told us she didn't know how to respond.

So we had some antenatal tests done - Dave and I don't understand, we thought we declined antenatal care, but then this might be standard? I'm not sure. There are three tests that Noah had to complete within the 30 minute time frame: 3 gross movements, fetal tone (heartbeat?), and breathing. I guess around now is when babies start practicing breathing on their own. Well, Noah didn't practice breathing. Usually, that would mean they'd send us to the hospital for 2 hour evaluation, or reschedule another ultrasound and try the test again in a few days. If he didn't pass the second round, they'd check me in. So fun times. Dr. Morgan had told us of a Trisomy 18 case he'd seen at the beginning of the year where they opted to continue evaluation in the hospital - she was there for two weeks - and then was able to check out. But it doesn't change the outcome - they still wouldn't delay delivery (before 32 weeks), or do anything more aggressive later. And the concept of me being in a hospital for an undetermined amount of time... in Fresno. Dealing with people like people in the Waiting Room. Away from Dave. For a situation that monitoring won't affect. Not worth it.

We also learned that as of 3 weeks ago, Noah was in the 5% for weight. 584g, 1.2lbs. They didn't do growth measurements this week so we don't know how that's changed, but that's never good. We expected him to be small, but it's still hard to hear it. Especially such a low percentile. Dave and I were talking on the way home - If you compared him to his like-peers - Male Trisomy 18 babies at 31 weeks - he probably measures right on, and is great compared to everyone else. Mainly because no one makes it this far to begin with. Also not a fun thought.

To top off the visit, we got no pictures. Ugh. So we're obviously only scheduling with Jeff from now on.

So we made it home, and Dave went into work, and then I promptly broke down. Sat balling with Slider for over an hour. Slider's got some great attributes but consolation isn't one of them. Just crying about everything. Nothing in particular. But everything at the same time.  Dave was able to come home from work a bit early and we canceled dinner plans and were able to just spend some time together, which i needed. (He's been flying/working nights the past two weeks in preparation for Carrier Quals out of Virginia next week.)

So that was a great afternoon only to be topped by this evening's news: Our travel insurance claim has been denied based on the fact that pregnancy is a preexisting condition. Well you just watch Dave and I fight this. It's total bullshit. We weren't canceling the trip because we realized I was pregnant. We canceled the trip because the DOCTOR(S) said I can't travel. So that's fucking awesome. I don't know who deserves to get $2k more than we do at this point. I'd go ahead and say we've earned it. So this will be fun. Not.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Weekend

Every year, I feel like the 4th of July sneaks up on me, and before I know it, I've got no plans. Poop. Probably as a result of this, Dave and I don't have any 4th traditions - unless you count rarely seeing fireworks. Last year we were in Perth, Australia, and Dave had a kangaroo steak for dinner and we saw a movie; the year before we were in Maryland at the Grebb's; I can't remember the years preceding those... So this weekend will at least be memorable.

On Saturday, we had a JO wine tour arranged in Paso Robles. For me, I wasn't thrilled about driving to Paso, spending 50$ for me to ride around in a limo (when i could be driving since I drove up there anyway) and then having to drive back. But it's never a dull moment with the single guys, that's for sure, and Dave found a way to pay for our trip.

Here we have Dave getting a Hanna Montana airbrush tattoo on his lower back. What we like to call a "Tramp Stamp."

When some of the single guys said "I'll pay you $100 to get a Hanna Montana tattoo" "Yeah I'll throw in another $50" Dave weighed the pluses and minuses and immediately said okay. So, there we paid for both our of limo tickets, all the wine we purchased, and then pocketed a bunch. Woot!

The day escalated quickly and was a lot of fun, save the last 45 minutes which were nothing but d-r-a-m-a. Aside from the drama, this was the first full-out day of neck pain, and I was poppin' Tylenol like they were Pezz...

On Sunday, the actual 4th of July, we had no plans. We used Dave's well earned money to go to Walmart-ugh-and buy two racks of ribs, which ended up being waaay to much and one sits calmly in our freezer. Dave and I realized we hadn't had ribs (homemade) since Summer 2008, when Mary and Kyle came to visit us in Virginia Beach. We decided to try two recipes out of the Webber Grill Book: one saucy, and one Memphis-style rub.
The Rub.

The Apple Mop Sauce.

Grilling, with some hickory chips, and sweet corn.

YUMMY. The rub was a bit peppery, the mop was awesome (it has shallots in it, and Dave said all he could taste were the onions, eeeeewwww. I, however, loved it.) the corn was amazing, the squash was bland.

before and after

Peach Cobbler with some local peaches. (I doubled the amount of crust.)

Slider, being Slider, and celebrating. 

After dinner, we went over to the Stephen's house for some fireworks. Local fireworks here are super lame. They are only on sale July 2-4. They cannot go more than 5ft off the ground. So we all sat on the curb to get a dog's-eye-view in an effort to make them more spectacular. 

Look! It's a picture of ME and DAVE!  And Noah. I look like a tent in this shot, but my dress is red-white-and-blue. Not the greatest picture, but it's at least a documentation that we were there together, all three of us :)