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Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Call, Continued

We went home and told some necessary people our news about the baby and then called the Emmens home. I got Mrs and explained the situation, they quickly volunteered to come over to our house and sit with us to talk. My memories about that discussion are vague, except his telling us that if I was his daughter, he would not recommend an abortion. These babies usually do very well and although it may be months in the NICU, recovery is very good. I hesitantly then asked the question I was needing to ask, is this a conflict of interest, our knowing each other so well? Would it cause a problem with his doing the surgery? His response was no, he would do the surgery and the beginning of a plan to move forward was begun. News spread quickly among family and friends that our baby was going to need surgery after birth. Our church family began offering support right away, knowing this could be a long haul. This pregnancy had been tough, I had been nauseous often and now with this news, Mark became even more protective of my well being. I was often exhausted and to escape the constant nausea, I napped daily. Those days are a blur to me though. I know I was scared and the gathering of knowledge about our baby's condition obsessed my every thought. I had many conversations with well meaning people who told me stories of people they knew who were born with gastroschisis and went on to do well. The ultrasound tech also had implied this was the best of situations. I tried to remain positive, but fear often plagued me. Ultrasounds were done weekly to check growth of the baby, who I still didn't want to know the sex of. I had a tough time gaining weight and was put on a high calorie drink three times a day along with my regular diet. My OBGYN set Mark and I up with a counselor, as the the risks were high and she wanted us to have a relationship with someone. Then there was the news that another woman in my OBGYN office was going to be delivering a child with gastroschisis. I found this incredulous, she was due just weeks before me so I asked that my phone number be given to her. When she called we immediately connected, having something so uncommon in common bonds people quickly. We had many of the same fears, the uncertainty was overwhelming at times for both of us. We had only been talking a few minutes when we discovered we were from the same home town, her voice sounded familiar, so I had probed for more information. She had graduated a year before me from the same high school and we had known each other well. How could this be? The odds of having a baby with gastroschesis were very slim and I knew the other woman delivering within weeks of my delivery? We joked that it must have been the water in high school and expressed how nice it was to be back in touch. We quickly became friends again, calling each other often. Our doctors were taking different approaches to the births and we compared notes. We both saw Dr Emmens and she had known his daughter a bit in high school also. We didn't have very long to go in our pregnancies when we connected with each other. I was getting steroid shots to pump up the growth of my baby's lungs, should she come early, my friends doctor had not recommended this for her. I loved the steroids, my energy increased and I finally felt good enough to eat, although my weight gain was still very low. For the entire pregnancy I gained about 13 pounds, but the weekly ultrasounds showed growth. I loved the boost in energy, but it was so great I read much most nights, only sleeping sporadically. I always read to escape my thoughts at night and help me sleep, but in pregnancy it was constant. Still to this day, I can not always remember a book I read during those long months of worry. One morning at about 32 weeks gestation I woke up and I was bleeding, bright red blood. Mark was already up getting ready for the first of the daycare kids to show up, he had been letting me sleep in, as sleep had been so hard to come by during the night. When I went to find him, he overreacted to the situation and to this day I still tease him. Instead of calling my OBGYN office, he called the ambulance. Within minutes I had several police, fire fighters and ambulance crews in my bedroom looking between my legs! Some thought they saw the baby crowning, some weren't sure what they saw, as this was not their specialty! Well, it was decided I needed to be ambulanced into the hospital. Mark followed in the car. At one point in the drive something happened that scared the crew and they put on the lights and took off, leaving Mark in the dust. He was terrified as he walked into the hospital to find me. There was was much confusion as to what was going on with me. Worry that I was going into preterm labor was high. I was a high risk pregnancy due to my babies condition, but also due to my son's birth that had not gone well either. Finally the diagnosis was that I had an infection and I was put on high doses of antibiotics and sent home. Hopefully I would make it at least two more weeks without delivery. TO BE CONTINUED

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