Friday, March 15, 2013

Chapter 1: Back on My Feet Again

“Is the baby ok?” I ask the ultrasound technician as he runs the sensor over my abdomen. I can’t tell you that, he said. “Just a minute, I’ll be right back” It was January 15 1991. I was 17 weeks pregnant with my first and only child. Two days earlier on Sunday I’d started spotting. I went to our local ER and was told there was nothing to worry about and go home. No tests were done. I continued to spot despite bed rest the rest of Sun. and all Mon. Tues I phoned my Dr and told him what was happening. “I want you to have an ultrasound right away” he said. So, here I was. All afternoon I’d been trying to convince myself the baby was ok. I even bought a little receiving blanket as my promise that everything would be alright. After a few minutes another technician came in with the first. After what seemed like forever they said they were finished. “go wait in the waiting room and your Dr will call you”. I waited and waited for a couple of hours. Finally the Dr called. “It’s not good” he said. He proceeded to tell me that the ultrasound showed that the baby had died about 4 weeks earlier and was badly deformed. “What do I do now” I asked. He outlined the options of waiting to miscarry naturally or having a D&C done immediately. He told me that I was likely to get pregnant again more quickly if a d & c was done. I was in the city about an hour from our home. I didn’t want my husband to make that drive by himself so I told the Dr I’d go home, get my husband and come back. I phoned my husband and then drove home. It was the tail end of rush hour and raining. I cried the whole way home. As I was driving I heard the song “Back on my feet again” by Michael Bolton. It spoke of one day seeing the sun again, one day hearing the children sing. As I listened I said to myself “one day I will be back on my feet again”. That was my promise. My husband and I drove back to the city and went to the hospital and waited for the Doctor He came in and phoned for the Gynecologist that had conducted the infertility investigations a couple of years earlier-no reason had been found for the infertility. As we waited, everyone’s ears were glued to the radio as the deadline for Sadam Husseins army to pull out of Kuwait approached and then passed. To this day any mention of the Gulf war is tied into memories of my miscarriage. By that time it was about 10 pm. When the gynecologist came he wanted me to wait till the next day. I said no, again because I didn’t want my husband driving home to an empty house by himself. So, the D & C was done. Again I insisted on not staying overnight and was discharged around 2 am. We went home, and the long process of healing began. I went back to my Dr a week later for a checkup and tearfully told him, that I was afraid I’d never get pregnant again. He said “nonsense!, you got pregnant once, you will again”. It’s been 8 years since then and I have had no confirmed pregnancies. About a month after the miscarriage I saw an ad in the paper for families to provide respite care to multiply “challenged” children. When I was able to talk with the director of the program she told me that the idea of the program was to get children out of long term care facilities and into families. It was called the Associate Family Program. It was different from foster care in that the child’s birth/adoptive family retained guardianship and was as involved as much as they wanted. I got off the phone after the director promised to get back to me with application forms, looked at the lady whose children I was caring for and said “this is what I’ve been waiting for all my life”. As I drove home that day I knew this was the first step in getting back on my feet again. Well, it was, but it took a long time. We were told that we’d been accepted in the program the day our baby was to have been born. There were several children considered for us but all arrangements fell through for a variety of reasons. In the meantime Dave & I got on with our lives. I had been doing in home support for families of children with special needs through a home support agency. I had been with one family for a couple of years at that time. The following Fall the young girls I’d been helping care for at home, were ready to go to preschool. Although I wasn’t hired as an aide for the more severely challenged of the twins (Cathy), I was to be aide for a child in the other girls’ (Amanda) class. I also got very busy providing respite care in my home to several different children, including Amanda and Cathy, with multiple challenges. I was very happy in these pursuits but longed so much for a child of our own.

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