Stage I

On December 4, 2011 Chris and I found out that we were bringing the number of children in our home from two to three. We were excited, because in spite of our finances and living space we wanted just one more. We also decided that unlike the previous pregnancy, we would keep this to ourselves until we had the first dr’s appt. I continued my runs, workouts and made sure I pulled my weight this time around the house. I inquired about staying on my medication, which is important to me since without it I can’t control the traffic jam in between my ears. I think one the biggest reasons why my pregnancy with Addie was so difficult was because I took myself off of it and received little guidance from my former OB. I was going to be smart this time and not put my family through Mood Swing Hell. Taking advantage of the partnership the practice has with Brigham and Women’s, I set up an appointment to meet with a psychiatrist to go over my options. Long story short, we decided that it was best to leave me on small dose and take it from there. I felt great and it was by far, the best I had ever felt pregnant out of my three pregnancies. 

191 days after we found out that our attempt was successful, we had our level 2 ultrasound which told us we were having a baby with a severe congenital heart defect. The Norwood is also referred to as Stage I, part of the three stage series. For me, Stage I began on March 5 when my whole heart became broken and I made the transition from having a great pregnancy to one of a CHD baby. Isabelle’s Stage 1 began this morning at 7:15 as we made our way down to pre-op. I carried her while Chris carried our bags filled with things to keep ourselves occupied and out of the Worst-Case-Scenerio. With each step I had flashbacks of that day in the OB’s office, crying hysterically with my husband holding me. I thought of all of the nights I held her inside of me, rubbing my belly and calming myself down with “At least she is safe for now in here.” I thought of when I left the hotel and took a cab over to the hospital, half believing that I was in labor with way too much luggage. 

All of these scenes ran through my head as we made our way down the hallway off the elevator. I stared into her face so I could see her even when I closed my eyes. I have had tears running down my face for the past 4 hours, my husband has been there to wipe them away. We have had numerous messages of encouragement and hope from family and friends, all of which have given us both great comfort. 

Last night at 1:00am Isabelle had her eyes open and we just stared at each other. I whispered while stroking her hair, “Mommy loves you, Daddy loves you, Liz and Addie love you…be strong. Please come back to us because you are loved so much and we want to share our lives with you.” I kissed her many times and breathed her in, hoping she could feel the love emanating from my being to hers. I needed to get this out this morning, because I want to focus on what lies ahead and not what we just went through. There’s time to look back later. Right now, I need to breathe deep and rely on the faith and prayers of many to carry us through the next 7+ hours.