Friday, January 15, 2016

Dancing On Rock Bottom

For every tragedy, I can look back and pinpoint my "rock bottom". In 2009 it was the small in stature, gentle faced doctor that held my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, "I am so sorry, but there was nothing else we could do for your husband." In 2012, I can still feel the grass tickling my ankles as I sit leaning on my sister. I looked at the coffin and thought, "my mom is in mom. My mom is dead." This year, 2015, it was in a public restroom stall. I crouched down, back to the wall, digging my nails into my palms, bawling, and silently screaming toward the ceiling. With my nose bleeding from wiping it so many times with doctor's office tissues and bathroom paper towels, I walked outside to my car. The world was melting around me and I once again was having to say goodbye before I was ready.

These are the events leading up to this year's rock bottom.

Cocktail after happy cocktail was flowing at our September house warming party. We did it! Nick and I bought a house for our family and now our friends and family were over to share in our excitement. Cocktails, happiness, and overwhelming feeling of love led to the "PREGNANT" digital sign on a stick. It was September 23rd and we were thrilled! I was so sick that I couldn't stop joking that I was pregnant with twins. I joked, but I had a feeling and my intuition has always been as good as my mama's, I already knew.

October 20th, my intuition was confirmed at our 8 week appointment. There were two little heart- beating beans, each in their own cozy little sacs. I cried as Nick was as cool as a cucumber. I will never forget him saying, "Wow, so we're going to have a big family." All I could think about was if we would even be able to afford Ramen Noodles and if we could, we'd eat them by candlelight because we wouldn't be able to afford electricity anymore.  I stayed completely in shock and freaked out until November 10th when I saw them again on ultrasound. There they were. Little lizard fingers and toes, and alien heads bobbing about. I was in awe, I was in love, and all my fears were gone. We were going to have 3 kids, and it was all going to work itself out.

November 16th at Maternal and Fetal Medicine we had another ultrasound. Baby A was bouncing about and measuring perfect. Baby B, more still, measured about a week behind. The doctor assured us that this could mean something as simple as one is a boy and one is a girl. They drew my blood, chatted with us about my "advanced maternal age" and we were on our way. That intuition I have was telling me I needed to be worried, there was something wrong with Baby B. I was terrified, but there was nothing I could do. I put it in God's hands and tried to think positively.

 Monday, November 23rd. A morning rush of parent teacher conferences and then off to Newks with my team. I had a voice mail from the genetic counselor. Why is the genetic counselor calling me? Why does her voice sound like that? Tiffin, try and breathe, call her back.

Riding in the car with Michelle and the genetic counselor gives me the news. One or both of the babies is most likely afflicted with a syndrome called Trisomy 18. This is a lethal syndrome in which the children usually die before being born or only live minutes after birth. Oh dear God, this is not happening. These are my children. I sat passenger side as Michelle held my shaking hand. My next conference was at 1:00 and it was 12:59. The counselor explained to me that to be sure they needed to grow cells and I would need to have an amniocentesis done sooner than later.

I finished out my conferences in a fog. I immediately went home to share the news with Nick. We cried and held each other close. How were we going to deal with this? How would we get through thisHow do you come out on the other side of this? Please Lord let this be a mistake.  

After a series of diagnostic tests were completed, we got a phone call on Black Friday with the preliminary results. Baby A was a genetically healthy boy, and our Baby B was a girl afflicted with Trisomy 18. They were going to continue to grow the cells to get the complete picture and severity of this particular case. I cried myself to sleep many nights in a row.

The following Tuesday, the Doctor called with the full results. All 3 strands for our baby girl were Trisomy strands. His exact words were, this is a fatal diagnosis. I had no idea that I was still holding out hope that maybe it wouldn't be as severe, but I couldn't stop shaking and crying. A medical professional was telling me my baby was going to die. I had an OB appointment that same day and wept through the entire thing. She found both heartbeats and I cried even harder. She tried her best to comfort me and reassure me with words of joy for our healthy baby, but nothing was making this news any easier. When I was able to make my way out the doctor's office doors, I plunged into the bathroom, landing in the first stall and unleashing cries that only a mother growing children in her womb can understand. Why, God? Why have I had to ask you WHY so many times in my life? I don't understand Your plan, and I don't like it either. I am angry with You, and I am hurt. I am down as far as I can go. I am laying here praying to You from rock bottom.

Nick and I said goodbye to our unborn daughter on the angel date of December 11, 2015. On that very day, Lawson came home from daycare with a huge smile on her face, as she always does. She hugged me and tugged at my hands for me to "get up, Mommy" from the couch. When I stood with her precious little hand in mine she walked us to the middle of the floor with that huge grin and wiggled, "dance, dance, dance, mommy". We spun and hugged and her smile was contagious.

Her and I danced that night on rock bottom instead of laying there flat. I danced to the beat of my many blessings, the most precious being her smile and touch in that very moment. I spun her around with our cheeks pressed together, just like my mom did with me so many year ago. The tears ran silently off my nose.

Lawson and I stopped dancing, I shared a kiss with my amazing, supportive, calming, and wonderful husband, and we all had one of L's favorite "family" hugs. She reminded me that night that you can dance at any time, and on any surface....especially rock.