Friday, November 18, 2011

Some answers

After we lost Molly, we hoped the doctors would be able to tell us what had happened to our angel.  While I was in recovery, a few different doctors came in and tried explaining to us what they knew.

One doctor said her umbilical cord was too short and she wasn't getting enough oxygen.

Another doctor said her umbilical cord was really long but was wound up really tight like a phone cord and had twisted around her ankle.

At our 20 week ultrasound the tech had showed us that the cord attached the the placenta on the very edge instead of the middle. This would be cause for concern but Molly appeared to be developing perfectly so they weren't worried. (Allowing them not to worry about something that causes concern is something I will never do again)

Really, at the end of the day it came down to the fact that nobody really knew what happened.
It appeared to be bad luck, and our sweet Molly was one of the few babies who have a rare umbilical cord accident that ends in neonatal death. Bad luck. No answers. Just questions.

With Kellen, we felt sure that our "bad luck" would not return. How could something so rare happen more than once? Chances were slim- although my mind never let go of the fact that our luck ran out once and I dont play with chance anymore.

Kellen was developing perfectly. Every appointment I was right where I should be, he was right where he should be, my blood tests were perfect. My doctor even said, "You should give women lessons on how to be pregnant!"
Two days later we were in the hospital again.

This time, my first question was of course, "How can this happen again?! What happened to my babies?"
Surely, for this to happen twice something has to be genetic. There must be something wrong with the way my body gets nutrients and blood to the baby. SURELY there must be something I develop that is harming my children. We were extremely disappointed when the string of deja vu continued and we were told the last thing we wanted to hear.

"Well, everything looks pretty normal. We aren't sure what caused it. He looks perfect. You look perfect, and your bicournate uterus is very mild at best. He had plenty of amniotic fluid around him. We just dont know what caused this. Yes, it is strange that there is nothing obvious. We just can't tell for sure what happened."      "Bad luck."

Luckily, this time bad luck was not good enough for either us or our doctors. They sent the placenta for testing and took more blood. The checked Kellen and they checked my body while they were doing surgery. They were determined to answer the question.

How can we ever feel safe getting pregnant again? Something is happening, and until we know how can we not feel like getting pregnant is just the first step to burying another baby? We need to know what we are fighting, or else having another baby seems not only terrifying but also foolish.

So until yesterday we were as confused as everyone else. Then, our doctor called and said that he spoke to the people who tested the placenta, and they found something. He wanted us to come in and talk with him. I was nervous, but excited. I was happy that we might hear something that would tell us what to look for, or maybe they could see what my body wasn't doing and could give me a pill or a shot and my babies would be better cared for. I was also scared he would say that my body is not meant for making babies, and it's amazing Kellen and Molly got so close to their due dates.

So, we went in to talk with him. We sat down and he came in and checked first to see how I was healing.
Physically I am healing like I should. My C-section is more painful than last time, but he said that is normal because they had to cut through some muscles instead of just uterus this time. It will take longer to heal, and he told me to keep popping pills. I kinda hate pills, but now I wont feel guilty that its taking longer to be comfortable than last time. Then I asked what he found out.

He said the pathologist who studied the placenta said that there was an abnormality about the way the umbilical cord attached to the placenta. The cord was attached way up on the edge.

Sounds familiar.

He said that the cord usually is plunged deep into the placenta and surrounded by a gel that allows the baby to move without the cord getting too tangled. However, Kellen's cord was attached just in the upper membrane of the placenta, just on the surface. This made it so as Kellen moved around, the cord was getting twisted tighter and tighter. The pathologist said that the "hypertwisting" was the worst he had ever seen.  The doctor drew the same picture that the tech showed us when explaining that Molly's cord attached weird but they "weren't worried."

SO- what causes this? Lucas and I were desperate to know if this was genetic.

Doctor says that because testing on pregnant women is limited, they dont know much about cord-placental attachments. When this has happened to women they have had no reason to believe it was anything but bad luck. With it happening twice they aren't sure if we truly are the unluckiest people in the world (from a non-spiritual non-eternal standpoint) or if this is genetic.

So basically, we went home knowing that it was bad luck twice. However, there is no way of knowing whether or not there is some reason my babies and their placentas form wrong. It is not fact that this would happen every time or even ever again. It is not fact that this was not bad luck. We could have a normal placenta/cord connection and a perfectly healthy baby next time. Or it could happen again.

At least now we know what to look for.

Until the scientific community gets a little more advanced in the world of high cord risk pregnancies, I dont think I would feel okay about trying again.

We have already discussed and gotten excited about the scary and wonderful world of adoption.
Though, my heart is not yet ready to move on from Kellen and it might be a long time, we know that adoption is our next step. Our arms are ready to bring home a baby, our hearts are ready to love a baby, and when the time is right, we will be parents of a baby who stays with us- no matter how they get here.


Jess said...

I am excited for you two. Let me know if I can help.

Liz-a-nator said...

I am so grateful for your example. Your strength and tender heart astound me every day, and I pray every day that you and Lucas will have the healing and peace you deserve.

I'm also thrilled for you to be thinking about adoption. There are so many children out there who long for arms as loving as yours. Someday, you will hear a little mouth call you "mama," even if you didn't make that little mouth yourself. You are already an incredible mother, and I half wish you would adopt ME for all the goodness you will bring to the lives of those you raise.

Jacob and I love you guys, and we've been thinking about you a lot.

Harlowe said...

At least you have some sort of an answer. I'll be praying for you two.

Callie Deluccio-Read said...

"We will be parents of a baby who stays with us- no matter how they get here." I loved this, Amber. Thank you for writing this blog. You're such a talented writer and I am grateful that you share so much of your life with everyone, including me!

Rachel said...

My husband and I just adopted a baby boy in August. I would love to help you in any way.

I think you are truly amazing people.

Kim Houle said...

You are amazing. Your strength and faith is inspiring! You and Lucas are the best parents in the world! You have so much love to give and any child that comes to you will be so lucky to have you! Love you guys.