(Baby update at the bottom)
Guy sat beside me after dinner last night, the serving bowls around us looking like the floor after Christmas gift giving. We chatted and enjoyed the lovely late glow of daylight-savings that poured through the window. Guy had made a his Should-Be-World-Famous slow-roasted glazed corned beef, with lightly sauteed cabbage and herb roasted potatoes. Leprechauns had struck, and the lemonade sparkled green in the bottoms of the glasses. We switched back and forth between serious low-voiced conversation about risks and interventions to lighthearted chatting about runny kid-noses and leprechaun traps. It has become both easy and necessary to talk about the difficult things in small doses, blended with the slices of our day to day.
Just then, a familiar face bounded up the walk. Brother Bair, at church that morning, had been showing me pictures on his phone of his newly planted garden. I had made fun of the current state of affairs in my yard in sad comparison; tulips and daffodils popping their lovely but disappointed heads up above the dead leaves and foot-high weeds, wishing they had been born that spring in some other garden. Now, here he was at our messy kitchen table extending an offer to come and help with the yard.
"It's what I can do." he said, and I think more than anything, those words touched me. Not everyone has every talent, but everyone has something they can give. His vast mechanical skills won't come in handy for my blood clot since it is not lodged in my fuel line. He can't take away what we are going through, but he can make our burden lighter.
We took Brother Bair through our my dreaded studio to the yard. On a good day my studio is organized chaos, but after we unloaded a good portion of our garage into it for our solar retrofit in January, it looked rather like the aftermath of a very shabby rummage sale, and that was before a month of kids knocking over boxes and digging through it all. Beyond that was a ransacked playroom and a yard the kids have tuned into a war zone.
I have no shame anymore. When you have had to show your unshaven legs and girly bits to every one in a lab coat East of Berkley, need help with certain unmentionable hygienics, and when a trip to the bathroom is your big excitement for the day, you loose the pride that once drove you to turn a whole Saturday into a clean-a-thon, only to lie later to dinner guests saying you had "only tidied up a little". Thus, the dozen or so people who have been here in the past few weeks have seen our dark underbelly, and though I apparently haven't a fiber of shame left, it has been hard on Guy.
We are all having to accept things; changes in plans and hopes and schedules, new workloads, and now - a lot of help. Accepting prayers and kindness and plates of cookies for the kids is so much easier. It is harder to accept the things we wish and imagine we could do for ourselves, or the things that reveal our weaknesses.
Then there are the harder things to accept, like the diagnoses and risks. One in particular; God's will for us, has been the hardest of all, simply because we have no idea what His will for us will be. We can pray for what we want the outcome to be, but faith means more than believing you will get what you pray for. I am coming to understand that faith is learning to align your heart with the will of God, even if you don't know what that will is, what ever the outcome.
I spoke to a Neo-natologist yesterday for about an hour. Though I didn't know him, he attends our church and learned of me through a friend. I was worried about stepping over that professional boundary, but his first words after I said hello were,
"Oh, I am so glad you called, I was hoping I would hear from you today."
It put me instantly at ease.
As we spoke I had been hoping that he would say, "Well, all those risks are true, but I think they have been overstated," or something like that.
He confirmed our many concerns and those of our doctor.
It is serious.
He did, however, also speak to me as one of my own faith, and in that way was able to speak of spiritual matters and how they relate to the medical concerns in a way that no practitioner had been able to. Overall, he eased my heart a little.
One thing he said that helped is that very often, surprisingly so, in fact, when a placenta separates in a catastrophic way, they do a crash cesarean and recover a white, floppy, dead looking baby. The amazing thing, he said, is how often, within minutes, that baby is pink and crying and doing great.
Today we had a visit with a new OB. I will admit this appointment was not for baby, but for me. Our High Risk OB is not someone I can talk to at all. This new OB, while not my main provider, gave me the kind of support and tenderness that comes from one mother's heart to another. Here are two nuggets that I came away with from her that made my heart lighter:
She said that while there is a 10% chance of and abruption, many of those are not catastrophic, and and among those that are, there are many babies who survive. So 10% does not mean there is a 10% chance of death, which is actually much lower. Another way she put it, well over a 90% chance that the baby will survive.
She also said, "It's actually kind of a good thing you got a blood clot." If you were going to have a clotting problem, she explained, getting a clot in your leg is much better than having silent clots coating the placenta and smothering the baby little by little until you find out because the baby stops growing. Our baby, so far, seems to have been untouched by this whole thing.
I couldn't have wished it to be any other way.
Three more appointments this week, including a look at the clot and a full scan of the baby.
We are hoping the baby is obliviously happy.
Thank you for your prayers.