Saturday, September 10, 2011


Oh, kiddo.

I don't even have words for what's going through my head right now. In the last three days, I've felt like I was going to implode - just collapse in on myself and disappear into nothing, like I am a time bomb just waiting for impending disaster, and like there is no hope in the universe for anything good to ever happen again. We went in for the ultrasound that was supposed to be a simple "yup, there's your kid's junk, everything looks great, have an awesome rest of your pregnancy" and then done...but you know it's a bad sign when the technician wants the doctor to come look at something because she has "some concerns." Some dude I'd never seen or heard of before comes in, looks at your little heart (which, by the way, was maintaining a perfect heartbeat and looked like it was doing its job just fine), and tells us after five or more minutes of staring and readjusting and staring again that he's found something.

It's a congenital heart defect. We don't know what kind, what we'll need to do to repair it, or even how serious it is. The fact that things like surgery (even many surgeries), birth not in a birthing center but at the kind of scary hospital-flavored hospital (within arm's reach of a NICU), and the possibility of additional problems (not least of which being the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities) even came up makes me wonder: do doctors who have to share bad news with parents HAVE to share the worst-case scenarios just so everyone is prepared? Is this a strategy to make those parents with kids who will ultimately be fine with minimal intervention that much happier when the diagnosis is not terrifying, and to make parents with kids who will be seriously messed up grateful that at least that first doctor was honest with them? Do they just tell everyone how bad it could, possibly, maybe be to scare them into enough testing to conclusively prove what's wrong? ...or is there really something seriously, SERIOUSLY wrong with you?

We did find out that you're a boy, which is (quite frankly, and for what I believe to be totally legit reasons) exactly what we'd hoped. I mean, of course we'd have been happy with a girl, but we were really excited to see that little set of junk between your legs. One of the most heartbreaking things about this whole situation is that we can't even be excited about that. We're both so completely caught up in fear, uncertainty, and the gut-wrenching horror that can only be the obsessive protectiveness that parents feel for their children. It's sort of amazing how quickly both your Dad and I shifted gears into parent mode. I mean, I'm having an amniocentesis on Monday. Seriously?!?! That might be the single most horrifying, awful thing I can think of having done to my body. I'm honestly more okay with the idea of having a c-section than just one poke with one (humongous) needle, but because it's for you, I'm just fucking doing it. I hesitated and I talked with our midwives about it, but I knew basically from the beginning that it would have to happen...and because it's for you, I will.

Speaking of your Dad, however, he has been a kind of amazing I never realized that another human being could be for another. I've seen my parents help (and sometimes drag) each other through some pretty horrendous times, but I'd never been part of a situation - or relationship - where that kind of shared endurance and support is so abundant and powerful. I know we're only a few days in to this situation, but he has put forth one hell of a start, and I know he's not backing off. I'm really worried that if this gets worse (if it is worse, and if it turns into anything bigger than a best-case scenario), I'll crumble...not for lack of support (and not just from your Dad), but for sheer lack of capacity for what something wrong with you will bring.

Nearly every single time I've felt you kick in the last three days has been agony: there you are, showing up nearly perfect on an ultrasound and meeting every growth and developmental marker there is, except for (hopefully just one) big one. (You also have a double vessel umbilical cord, which is presumably a far less substantial problem, given the fact that it wasn't even mentioned until we were literally walking out of the room.) It's like you're telling me that you're strong enough for whatever: you're practically kicking some of my organs out sometimes, and I'm surprised you haven't started tap-dancing on my bladder yet. You move all the time, and that heart rate...I can't stop myself coming back to the fact that your heart rate sounds and looks so perfect. Because your Dad technically has a heart problem, too (although he's supposedly outgrown it, and it was the kind of thing that almost didn't require attention or follow-up after he was pretty little), he was apparently scared from the beginning that he would have passed his on to you somehow. Hearing that heart beat - which has been progressing normally from the first time we heard it, incidentally - had pretty much assuaged his biggest fears.

Here's where we hope. It's Saturday, September 10th, 2011. I'm not posting this right away because it has just been too painful for either of us to talk about it to more than just a very scant handful of people, and some of them were purely out of obligation. I've told a few coworkers, mostly because I would have exploded at work without someone knowing how destroyed I've been, and of course we've both told our parents. I told your Aunts Anna, Erin, and Leah, and your Dad told your Uncle Cameron. He might talk to a few other friends, but at least until after Monday, no one else is getting into the loop. It just hurts too much to say out loud that something might be wrong with our Batman. I'm leaving school early on Monday for our appointments with the pediatric cardiologist and the lab for the amniocentesis, and I'm staying home on Tuesday regardless of the results. Your Dad and I have spent a lot of time since Wednesday sitting on the couch holding on to each other, so I'm really hoping that some radiant love and intention have soaked over to you, and we walk away Monday with everything feeling okay. I'm not looking for perfect at this point (though I sure as hell wouldn't complain), but I need us to at least be okay.

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