Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dear Chloe: Today Is Your Due Date {Part 1}

Due Date Part 1: Dreaming of the birth, Deciding on a date...

May 18th, 2014

In early September, I invested a small fortune in plastic sticks. I had, as many times before, convinced myself that there were two pink lines. I even involved an outside culprit by the name of Andrea to peek at the stick for me when Alan said there wasn't two lines. We discussed it over the Taco Bell treats she brought, and finally convinced Alan to let us go buy another test, and the next morning Alan and I were elated to find another two pink lines. I was 4 days early in testing, but already had two positives. Because the next day was Friday and I didn't want to wait all weekend, I was able to get the pregnancy test at the doctor's that afternoon, and in slight shock, was told it was positive. I was handed the green "Congrats, You're Preggers" packet of info, scheduled out all of our appointments, and went home to tell Alan. And there was much rejoicing.

One of the first things Alan asked was when is the due date, as did most of our family. May 18th. I was elated for a May baby. My other two kiddos are fall and Christmastime babes, so I was thrilled at the thought of a new bundle to cuddle as the spring blossomed around us and summer would begin. I envisioned playtime outside, watching in my mind as the kids ran through the sprinkler and I pictured myself sitting on the swing rocking a sweet new bundle of life, under the soft shade of the trees, protecting precious new skin from the sun, yet enough to feel its warmth. Because we knew it'd be a C-Section again, and those are usually scheduled week 39, we were secretly planning and hoping for a May 12th baby, my mother's birthday. But until that decision was made, we focused on May 18th.

We decided to pay and have an early ultrasound at only 8 weeks, to make sure we heard a strong heartbeat before heading home to Iowa the following week. We heard it. We didn't see it, but we heard it there. Our sonotech said the baby measured a few days off, but not enough to changed dates. We took our ultrasound pics with us of a tiny little bean and headed to Iowa to celebrate with family, and get nauseous along the way. And there was much rejoicing! Oh how we loved this little one and were so excited to meet her in the spring!

It was also around this time that we found out other friends were due around the same dates as us. I joked with them about the possibility of being roomed next to each other, and the chaos and grief we'd give the nurses. Still other friends were due throughout May, and in my mind, I envisioned playdates with our newborns and littles come June. The idea of spring and new babies was making me so incredibly excited to be a mommy again.

Our next ultrasound would be in December, as we anticipated learning if it was a boy or a girl. We're the type that wants to know, begs to know!! The night before our 20 week ultrasound I had a rough night sleeping, and was tossing and turning. I was so excited to find out if it was a boy or girl, that I dreamed about two colors. All night long I saw those two colors while I slept. I woke a few times and tried not to think about it, but the next morning, nerves trumped excited. The two colors I'd dreamed of all night were pink and black. Not pink and blue. I knew something wasn't right. At our appointment, that we barely made it to in time thanks to unpredicted snow, the sonotech questioned dates again. We were pretty certain, until she said we were measuring more around 17 weeks than 19 or 20 weeks. That'd put us at due date of May 22nd or 29th.

{Our 2013 Christmas card that was printed, ordered, stuffed in envelopes, labeled with the names of friends and family,  never got sent, announcing our baby, coming May 2014}

Another appointment in Topeka a month later resulted in measurements that were more around a due date of June, but there was no way this could be scientifically possible, which led us to the diagnosis of the growth restriction. My dates weren't off, my baby was. She was small. Measuring so far behind. We prayed and prayed for growth. Somewhere near the end of February I ended up asking my doctor what our due date even was because we'd had 4 or 5 by that point, and I was losing track of what the actual goal date was {by now we had the Mosaic Trisomy 22 diagnosis}. I was just at the end of 2nd trimester and made the comment that this was the semester of eternity-that back at 20 weeks, we were told 19 or 17, then were told 20 instead of 22 or 24, and that it felt like this trimester would never end. There was some comical discussion about the gestation time of elephants, and well, thus Chloe's love of elephants began. I'd picked out flowers for her on her taggies and blanket-something to go with her name that means bloom, but alas, the Lord had elephants in mind for her ;).

It was decided. May 18th. Original due date. We had a day. We had a calendar day to mark up with her name and a heart around it. We would plan on that date, even knowing it'd be a bit earlier due to c-section, but we focused on that date. It was our goal. Get this baby here and in our arms. After all we'd been through, we finally had a date to plan on welcoming our baby girl to the world. And there was much rejoicing.

But that was our story. God had other plans.


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