The week dawned warm and sunny and full of fun. It was one of those weeks where the planned and spontaneous activities, along with the weather, energized and exhausted us in such a good way. It's mid March and somehow we managed hours outside almost daily doing things like bike riding, picnicking on a blanket in the yard, and just playing. Anna helped me cook (A LOT) this week, windows wide open with the breeze blowing in. We danced, ate sorbet downtown, stretched along with our yoga videos, and painted, all before Thursday, when we drove with our friends Emily, Harper, and Crosby to see Clifford (live) in Detroit. A few short hours later, we were in the midst of a tornado.
Thursday brought storms - the worst kind of storms - too close to home. Our community was devastated, so many homes destroyed. The tornado, somehow, danced around our house, demolishing homes, businesses, and trees just one mile away. Anna and I were huddled in the basement, unsure of just how bad it really was. It wasn't until later when I heard of the tornado at Hudson Mills Metro Park that I new I had seen the dust and debris from the tornado billowing up over the hill when I peered out the basement window in the midst of the storm. Fortunately, nobody was injured in Dexter. Fortunately, we were only out of power and water for a few days, a minor inconvenience compared to others in the community.
Despite our good fortune, or maybe because of it, driving through the carnage on Friday morning left me feeling so many overwhelming emotions...gratitude, deep sadness, fear, and the recognition that we have so little control and that this one life we are given is so precious.
That was Friday morning. Friday afternoon, Blake and I left Aunt Kaity and Anna with plenty of bottled water and a working refrigerator (thanks to Blake's coworker who loaned us his generator) on a summer-like almost-Spring day to have our "big" middle-of-the-pregnancy, or in our case, 18-week ultrasound. To most, it was a big day, because we would be finding out if we are having a boy or a girl. For me, I can honestly say that I have had no preference for one or the other. I've been able to see the wonder of both, and with the way this pregnancy has been going, I was just hoping, and for some reason expecting, to come away with good feelings after being told everything is just as it should be.
A little over twenty-four hours later, and I feel like I'm in the middle of a tornado again, albeit a metaphorical or emotional one. We were given mostly good news at the ultrasound, and in a week or so, I'm sure (well, I'm hoping) that I will once again get to a place of peace with the news that was not so good. Right now, though, I'm struggling to take in the fact that our little baby is at risk once more. It turns out that I am in the one percent of the population who has a condition called velamentous cord insertion, where the umbilical cord does not attach to the placenta where it should. Rather, it is attached to the membranes, and in my case, it is a rather long distance from the placenta. One of the challenges to feeling any sense of peace right now is that I need more information. The risks of low birth weight and prematurity (because the baby must sometimes be taken very early due to the flow of blood and nutrients being compromised by the condition) seem to be the most common complications. There are other risks, too, which I cannot wrap my mind around right now, some ending in the worst case scenario.
I'm going through my process - the one that I'm so familiar with now. It seems to mirror the seven stages of grief very closely. I'm passed through shock and denial pretty quickly, and I'm stuck in the pain, anger, and bargaining stages. I catch myself asking why. Why again? Why this? Each time we are presented with more scary news, I go through it. Monday I'll make a phone call to our favorite high-risk OB, and I hope I'll feel a little relief with some questions answered. The difference now is that I AM in that 1% of people with this condition already, whereas I'm still in the 97% of people whose baby doesn't have heart block despite my antibodies. So, while I can let go of the worry about our baby's heart for the time being, it's difficult for me to let go of my worry about, what seem to be, some inevitable side effects of this condition. In this moment, I'm not a shining example of staying positive and believing everything will turn out for the best. And, in this moment, I have to let myself go through this process to get to the other side. I'll get there eventually...I have to.
In the mean time, I'm writing. I'm heading downstairs to sew and talk to a friend. I'm trying to nurture my body and this baby as best I can in the midst of these crazy, life-altering storms that have me feeling so utterly helpless, so confused, so desperate for some certainty or guarantees. It may be a rough week ahead. Fortunately, there's sunny, warm weather in the forecast.
And, in case you are wondering, we are having a little baby boy! Anna is so happy. She seemed to know, and now insists that a boy is what she wanted all along. It's pretty darn cute.