The good news: we learned the autopsy results. The bad news: we learned the autopsy results. They weren't good. Then again, are autopsy results ever really "good"?
One real positive thing: I can officially tell you pregnant mommas who've been brave enough to keep reading all this that--as far as what happened to Perpetua--you have nothing to worry about. Because, as it turns out, it was all me.
We were escorted to an office, a different one than before, with a shiny desk adorned with the remnants of a KFC snack bowl and medium beverage, condensation dripping down the side. "Oh. Sorry about the clutter." The doctor plopped into her wheeling chair, looked at her papers, sighed, and delivered the following:
"The results were significant. Not that you are to blame, but your placenta... basically you had preeclampsia. I've never seen it this early, so I assume it's caused by an underlying medical issue you have. Possibly lupus. Anyway, the fetus was normal, but was eventually not able to get enough oxygen due to the placental issues. But don't worry... were you to get pregnant again, the solution may be as simple as a daily baby aspirin to help thin your blood and prevent clotting..."
I've never been in a free fall, but I think I kinda know how it feels now: I'm thinking that it gets really quiet from the rushing of the wind past your ears like white noise. That you feel numb from the chill of the speed of your fall. That it's cold, and numb, and quiet, and you wonder when it will stop.
I know it's not "my fault." I know I didn't intend it, and would have done anything to prevent it. But for the record, baby girl: Momma is so very, very sorry that her body failed yours. I'm so sad I didn't know in time to fix it, if I could have. I'm so sorry I didn't know that you were quietly getting too sleepy to survive and live to be my baby here, like I'd hoped you could...
As for my "free fall" comment, I actually stayed in my chair... couldn't have moved if I wanted to. I really did think (and hope) the problem was some genetic fluke that meant the baby couldn't progress further than she did due to an inherent error in her chromosomes. In other words, that she'd lived as long as she could. I guess I wasn't prepared to hear the baby was normal, and I was not.
I believe I was calm and monotone as I asked my questions, and requested copies of the pathology report. The write-up's almost incomprehensible, every other word a complex medical term you feel you need a college course to understand. Ever feel like you majored in the wrong thing? Golly. I've still been trying, Googling every word separately and in phrases to try to understand better. Mostly getting studies on rat embryos, nothing particularly helpful. Try these out for size: "Severe decidual vasculopathy." "Fibrinoid necrosis." "Avascular villi." "Pervillous fibrin deposition."
Now trying saying those in an accent. :) Sigh...
And then there's the stuff that's easy to understand: "Markedly abnormal placental tissue." And what I guess is typical pathology report style: a moment by moment description of what the researcher was doing. Color, texture, weight in grams of everything... great appetite reduction literature really. X-rays had been done. Apparently there were pictures taken of her after all. (!) The baby was completely normal. But concluding the perinatal report: "Severe preeclampsia with marked maternal vascular disease."
My friends, I will be going to doctor's appointments for a lonnng time it seems, blood tests, MRI's, the works... trying to find out what bizarre disease (if that's actually what it is) I have that can cause problems like this, or blood clots in me, to find out what happened with this pregnancy and how I should proceed for my own health. In the doctor's words: "I've never seen anything like this, preeclampsia so early on, without high blood pressure or anything..." Shhwell.
Wow. I really did take my fertility for granted before all this. It is just so darn easy for me to get pregnant. (No, I didn't mean it that way... oh never mind. :) After my second unplanned pregnancy within two years of marriage, I had been completely convinced that "Dancause" may as well be "Duggar," at least until I actually learned Natural Family Planning. :) And overall, I really did think, that if I had two strong lines on a stick, and had awful morning sickness, and didn't smoke or drink or eat too much tuna, and made it to 17 weeks... that everything really was going to be okay. That it made more sense, at that point, to worry about getting struck by lightning. But I was wrong.
We aren't in control, no matter how much we want to be, no matter how often we think we are. Ultimately, we are wearing seatbelts on a sphere spinning through space, upheld by a Power far beyond our reckoning. I'm grateful I have a personal relationship with that Power, and that He loves me.
I'm still not mad at Him. I'm kinda surprised about that, waiting for the rage at the "unfairness" of it all to hit and me to go through the motions of trying to blame my Creator. Who knows, maybe it will at some point. I don't blame the people who are mad at Him; He can handle it and guide them on their own journey... I mean, I was plenty mad during my first miscarriage: the early one, Gabriel. I felt completely betrayed by God then. The weight of the unanswered "why" was too great. It took time to get through that and to let go of that primal anger at losing a child I was "supposed" to have.
But now somehow it just seems that I don't have to know the "why" right now. I have the medical "why" I wanted, or the beginnings of it, but the "why" of God allowing it... I'm leaving that to Him. I am leaning on my faith that the God who loved my child into existence hasn't changed His mind about that at all. She still exists. And He still loves her. And we'll all be together again someday, gloriously happy in eternity, the Whole that is greater than the sum of all the fragmented earthly parts of a much bigger and better plan. Because hey, if this life is all there is, there is simply not nearly enough chocolate to keep me happy... I'm just gonna say it, cuz we're all thinking it. :)
I was the careful mom that stayed far from the edge and yet fell off a cliff. But somehow, God has been there to catch me. Somehow, I love and appreciate Him more than ever. Partly because this has been so awful that I've really had to "give" this whole situation to Him, because I just couldn't bear this on my own. Even being cynical: doesn't it make sense for me to keep working on a relationship with Him, since He has full custody? :)
With all the sad things that can happen in this world, either the universe is a cruel joke run by a blind Deity, or our losses here are all part of a greater gain. Even the shortest lives here are ultimately too precious to be a waste, too important not to matter.
Nothing good is ever truly or permanently lost. More than ever, every day, I remember what I have to look forward to. More than ever, every day, I'm thankful
for the blessings
I got to keep.
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
'Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Tell me, if you have understanding.
When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Have you ever given orders to the morning or assigned a place for the dawn?
What is the way to the place where light lives?'
And Job answered, 'Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.'"