mama kumquat

A blog from someone who has little of importance to say

Monday, December 11, 2006

Part III- It might take me a bit to get the momentum back from whence i came and there are so many other things that i want to write about, namely Pinochet's death but i owe myself, charlie and this process to finish, though i am not sure i can complete it all tonight. So, here's more:

What i remember most about that night are two things: being scared out of my mind and wondering when i should call my parents, husband's parents, siblings, work, but mostly, my parents. I really wanted to talk to my mom because she would understand what i was going through, though she never had a preemie but still, attachment to a baby is nearly universal among mothers. I wanted to talk to my dad because he always knows the right thing to say during medical emergencies, not necessarily in other circumstances, but for this, i knew he'd be in his form. I remember watching the clock starting at about 4:30 or 5am. Husband was trying to sleep, i was awake trying to ignore the contractions and my anxiety about this siutation we found ourselves in. I reasoned that i should not call my parents earlier than 6 am my time, because they are one hour ahead. If i called any earlier, they might be asleep. Tick, tick tick tick. Those minutes until 6am went so slowly. I needed someone other than husband to know what we were going through, someone else to share the stress, the anxiety, the apprehension. 6am, on the button! I don't even remember much of the conversation but that as soon as i heard my dad's voice on the phone, i started crying. He knew immediately something was wrong. "What's happened, C?" he asked as soon as he heard me say, "Dad?" I love you. I'll call with more details. Call my sisters.
The doctors wanted to keep me on bedrest. If they could keep baby in there for two more weeks, then it would be OK of i delivered at 35 weeks. I was told i'd have to stay in the hospital for two weeks. TWO WEEKS! I felt selfish for not wanting to do that, even though i knew it was best for my baby boy. I was embarrassed to even act like that was a big deal. I felt as though i should have thought, "Great, whatever it takes" but really, i was dreading the idea of bedrest. I would go crazy.
The doctors and nurses said that sometimes water breaks and then it can mend itself or at least not leak so much and it could replentish itself enough to keep baby in there for two weeks. This could only work though if my contractions would stop.

They weren't stopping and still were not getting closer together, nor were they painful at this point. They just felt like a tightening, then a release. No one knew if they were "productive" because at this point, they didn't want to check my cervix. Apparently, checking the cervix can introduce infection which would have been bad, so i was told that unless my contractions were getting very painful, they would not check me. So who the hell know if the baby was coming, if i was dilating?!
Sometime in the early afternoon, they did an ultrasound. Even though i knew through the monitor that Charlie's heartbeat sounded good, i was so eager to look at him, to see with my own eyes he was alive. I hadn't seen an image of him since my 19 or 20th week. They put the gel on my stomach, and i remember my heart racing with anticipation. Husband was taking a long time getting coffee. I willed him to get back in time to see his baby. Once they got to the image of charlie, his head, his face, i started bawling. I saw my baby's face. I saw his eyes open and close. I saw him move his mouth. He was mine and i was his. Nothing else existed but us. I'm not sure if anything comes close to the relief and intensity i felt at that moment. You know, i hadn't really cried too much at our earlier ultrasounds. I would get choked the one where we found out his sex, i had a couple of tears because i knew then he would be my Charlie, named after my grandfather. But this ultrasound was awesomely intense in every way. I sobbed, i was finding it difficult to pull it together. He looked OK. Our baby looked OK.
An hour or two later, a pediatrician, Dr. Sklar (i hope it's OK i use his name--but i love him and want to give him the honor of using his real name) came in. He went through the scenario if i DID go into labor. Husband was out getting us things from home, so i had this conversation with him by myself. In retrospect, i think they knew that i would be delivering Charlie sooner than later and would not be making it through my bedrest but i think until it was abundantly evident, they still were treating it as a "if you were to go into labor..." He ran down all the scenarios of what things could look like. Charlie might need oxygen. He would have to stay in the hospital for awhile. There was no reason i could not deliver vaginally. I needed to ask The Question. If you know me, you know that i like to know all the facts. I hate beating around the bush. So i had to ask The Question. What are the chances my baby will die?
You know, he said, babies born at 33 weeks have almost the same mortality rate as full term babies.
That statement changed everything. My body somehow lightened. "Oh." "He has the same mortality rate as other babies?" I had to ask again. Yes. Oh sweet joy. What a burden that was lifted! The fog cleared. The sun shined. The grass was green. (in actuality, it rained that whole weekend).
Our baby boy would be OK.

Still, more questions: Should i assume that you will need to take him right after i deliver him? I should prepare to not to be able to hold him?
Yes, that is a real possibility. But we'll know more when the time comes.
Sadness. might not be able to hold my own baby after he is born. But still, he will live!

That's all about Charlie tonight. Now about Chile.
I studied there for a semester and then went back for a few weeks for a research grant to study women's political participation during the coup, the Pinochet years and now (which was 1997). I am in love with the county. There is such complexity in the culture. There was and still is so much unresolved conflict about Pinochet and his regime.
A month or so ago i told my hisband that i was anxious for Pinochet to die. He didn't deserve to live, let alone in the country that he had personally bombed, killed and divided. I had been waiting for this for 10 years. Healing healing healing--my mantra yesterday. I pray for healing for the country, despite no justice ever being meted out.
Faith. Yes, i have faith that Pinochet will meet his maker and justice will prevail, even in the afterlife. Bloody hands don't go to heaven.
I cried yesterday. I felt as though i could have really cried hard but i didn't. But the relief i felt was sublime. May the dictator find justice. May the families of the dead heal. May Chile feel peace. Viva Chile!