Monday, October 25, 2010

And again

We have had two years of such happiness. Overall, I mean. There was a cancer scare last spring---a benign tumor on a fallopian tube that looked a little scary in the ultrasounds. And stuff. Just regular life stuff that was challenging. But we have had so much happiness. We have Sam. And last spring we decided that yes, we both wanted to try again because of the love, and for Sam to have a sibling, and wanting to experience the baby thing one more time. Mostly because of the love. And so we started trying to get pregnant in May and got pregnant in May and despite my old age it all happened so easily for us. And then our doctor told us that looking over my charts and all the latest research, he didn't even think I needed to take Lovenox this pregnancy. No more shots, just a little baby aspirin to be safe. For the first time in four years, my IgM antibody levels were down to normal range. And so here was the easy pregnancy, for once. I think it did feel like a reward.

And now that baby is gone at 19 weeks. Her name was Eva. You think that once you've been through the forest, you know the most fearsome creatures that dwell there, but there can be other monsters you didn't even imagine. For us, that was the Kell antibodies that we'd never heard of, mostly likely created when I gave birth to Sam and our blood mixed in some quantity. Sam had inherited his dad's genes, which were different from mine. He had a little protein on his blood cells that was different from the little protein on mine. And when my body sensed his foreign blood, it went on alert, producing antibodies to his type. He was safe, as he was already delivered. But Eva had Adam's genes, too. And my body had been primed to seek out her blood type. Search and destroy.

There wasn't a thing wrong with her, except that she was trying to grow in the wrong body.

By 18 weeks, when they began to look for signs of a problem, she was already so sick. A sick, tiny baby. They tried to save her, but she was too too small to save. It doesn't usually happen like this. Usually the baby doesn't get so sick so soon. Usually it happens later, if it happens at all. And then there are treatments—transfusions, namely—that work in the vast majority of cases. Ninety, ninety-five percent of these pregnancies end with a healthy baby at home. But at every turn of our story, the bad thing happened. What could've gone wrong went wrong.

I think this latest tragedy probably puts this blog into radioactive territory. After my second miscarriage, I went to a support group for the unfortunate minority grieving miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss. The stories I heard there were terrifying. Instead of comfort, I found new outcomes to fear. I drove home panicked.

Maybe that's how our story reads now, too. But I know we don't even have it that bad. It can always be so much worse. We have Sam. What more does the universe owe us? We get to be parents. Every day, he pulls us back into life.

And yet Eva is gone. My baby. I delivered her still, tiny body three weeks ago. We held her. Our daughter is dead. How do we live with that sentence?