Ames and Simone.

by Alexa on January 15, 2008

It is always something, but rarely the something you expect. Don’t you find that to be true? I expected another first trimester miscarriage, and when that didn’t happen, I shifted my morbid focus to preterm labor. I read studies and memorized statistics. Now I keep thinking I prepared for the wrong thing. I didn’t prepare for this. This particular tragedy never occurred to me, was so far from my mind that when the nurse couldn’t get a picture of cardiac activity on the ultrasound yesterday, and left to get the doctor, I thought my baby was merely uncooperative and sleepy. He was in a strange position, down by my cervix, his little elbow and shoulder resting there, his arm over his head.

They tell me he died maybe three days ago—a Friday. They point out the small accumulations of fluid in his chest, the thickening of skin around his brain, his swollen umbilical cord, bloated and looking, I think, like link sausage, or DNA. Signs that he has been dead for more than a day. Two weeks ago he was “ideal.” They checked his heart, his brain, his kidneys, all of his baby parts, and everything was, they said, “perfect.” It just goes to show you. I don’t know what, exactly, but something about counting your chickens, or how hope is a winged thing that is always flying into your windshield.

I don’t think this post is going to make a tremendous amount of sense, which is fitting somehow, because none of this makes any sense to me at all. I miss my baby. His name was Ames. I wasn’t going to give the babies their names until they made it to viability, but I changed my mind. Ames was a good baby, he deserves his name. My poor little boy. Now, in the place I thought I felt him kicking, I can feel his sister. I wonder whether I ever felt him at all.

Last night a grief counselor called me to set up a time to make a birth plan. I am confused until she explains that I will be delivering both babies, though Ames will be only a pound and will have undergone some euphemistic changes. She tells me I might like to start thinking about whether I want him buried or cremated. Frankly there are few things I want less to think about. I would like Ames to be born live and squalling and covered with whatever disgusting substance babies are born covered with. That was my birth plan.

Usually in these cases they never find a cause, or so they tell me. They will analyze the placenta, because sometimes there is a problem there. They will check his chromosomes. But probably it will remain a “mystery.” I think “mystery” is a poor word choice, personally, because it makes it sound intriguing, and there is nothing intriguing about a dead baby. I am assured his death was caused by nothing I did, but this does not stop me from asking about every medication I have taken. I wonder about the days I forgot to take my baby aspirin. I wonder whether it was weaning off the prednisone, or being on the prednisone in the first place. I wonder how I am supposed to believe this has nothing to do with me when my body has failed four consecutive pregnancies. I wonder about a lot of things.

I hope it is not distracting, this writing in short paragraphs. I am not quite myself, and linking things together in a long entry, with a narrative, is beyond me at the moment. Probably you will be hearing a lot from me this week, because I am on modified bedrest, and it is very quiet here, and Scott and I don’t seem to know what to say to each other just yet.
You are always here for me during difficult times, and it means so much. Yesterday, after the ultrasound, the nurse left me alone to call Scott, and after I made that call, one of the worst I have ever made, my next impulse was to see if the medical records computer on the table could connect to the internet, so that I could post here. That sounds odd, but there you are. Your support has held me up.

A year ago, to the day, I was in beta hell, waiting for confirmation that my third pregnancy was doomed. The January before Scott and I had nearly separated over the question of whether to pursue fertility treatment. The January before that was my second miscarriage. January is a terrible month. I am terrified that this month is not done with me, that I will lose my little girl before the end of it. On January 25th I will be 24 weeks—the barest edge of viability. Ten more days.

They tell me there is a good chance that Simone will be fine (that is her name, Simone—she is a good baby too) but, now, how am I to believe that? How? I am on modified bedrest because I have been having a lot of contractions. Monday’s appointment had originally been scheduled for this Friday, but I moved it up because of the contractions, and an increase in discharge, and my general impatience. The contractions probably started when Ames died, though of course I didn’t know that at the time. Because Ames is Baby A, and is nearest to my cervix, there is a concern about preterm labor, or infection, or god knows what else.
“It is better when the upper baby is affected,” said my peri. Better.

Simone is transverse across the top of my uterus, kicking and wiggling obligingly. She waved at me on the ultrasound, and then opened her tiny mouth. I saw her eyeball, her chin. I just need her to live. Please. My dear girl. Sometimes she kicks hard enough that I can see it from the outside. I wonder what it is like for her in there, now. I am carrying one live baby and one dead one, and if I am very, very lucky, I will continue to do so for 14 more weeks. It hurts to think about.

They took blood yesterday to test for clotting factors, and warned me that having so much “non-living tissue” in my uterus can cause clotting issues that may endanger me and Simone. They will keep checking for the next six to eight weeks—after that “the risk is minimal.” Six to eight weeks.
I haven’t yet reached my peri’s danger-threshold of more than six contractions an hour, and yesterday my cervix was long (on transabdominal ultrasound). But I can’t relax, and I think I will call tomorrow and ask to sit on the monitors for a bit. Sometimes my belly stays so hard for so long I can’t tell if it is a contraction or something else. And six seems like such an arbitrary number. What if I am having six contractions an hour and can only feel four of them? I need to find out whether it is too late for P17 shots to calm my uterus. I need to buy a thermometer. It is hot in my apartment, and I am always overwarm, but now I am terrified of fever signaling infection.

I need a plan. I think we made one yesterday, but I don’t remember much of it now. I remember they promised to monitor me closely. I remember that starting at 28 weeks, should I get that far, they will do weekly biophysical profiles, and if Simone shows any signs of distress they will deliver. I remember they said she is likely to be born early, and I remember worrying about lung maturity, because of my gestational diabetes, and I remember that when I thought of my gestational diabetes I felt like screaming, because how many more ways can this pregnancy be high risk? And I remember the peri telling me that if I managed to get to 36 or 37 weeks they would do an amnio to check the lungs and deliver me then. But there are so many days to get through before 36 weeks, and information about outcomes is scarce. If any of you know of anyone who had a similar story, please write and tell me. I am starved for information.

And I am angry. I suppose that is to be expected, but waiting for the elevator after everything I saw another pregnant woman and thought bitterly that probably everyone in her body was still breathing, and probably she didn’t have two overflowing sharps containers on her counter, either. Probably she wasn’t still throwing up hard enough to cause nosebleeds, and probably her hair always does exactly as she asks. I am glad I don’t believe in god, because I think I would have marched straight to the nearest crossroads and sold my soul. I miss my baby, and it isn’t fair. Many of you have lost babies, and it isn’t fair. So many people want children and can’t have them, and that isn’t fair either. I demand that my other baby live. I have had just about enough of this.

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{ 185 comments… read them below or add one }

Carla Hinkle January 15, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Please write as much as you need or want to. We will all be here.

Ames and Simone — what lovely names.

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Ronna January 15, 2008 at 6:52 pm

I am so glad to hear from you. There is nothing we can do to ease your hearbreak but we can share it with you. Please write whatever you need, whenever you need. We will be listening.

I adore your choice of names too.

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Stacy January 15, 2008 at 6:54 pm

I am so sorry.
I wasn’t going to write but this post made it a necessity for me. I am so sorry, I wish I could help you other than saying everyone in Internetland is thinking of you.

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Jenni January 15, 2008 at 6:55 pm

after all you’ve been through they should just give you the keys to the peri’s office along with a cot and some instructions on the equipment so you can put your poor mind at ease anytime you want… it seems like so much more sadness then one woman should have to bear.

I hope January passes very quickly…

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lori January 15, 2008 at 7:05 pm

i am so, so sorry for the loss of your baby boy, ames. i am thinking, and wishing, and praying for a safe and healthy rest of your pregnancy with simone. and, for some peace for your aching heart.

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amanda January 15, 2008 at 7:10 pm

i agree with jenni. i actually thing that your dr. should be living in your apartment though.

i am sooooooo incredibly grateful to hear from you alexa. thank you for sharing with us and opening up to us and sharing their names and your thoughts and your sad news and this whole journey. thank you for lettings us be there for you and share this burden with you, as little as we can… which feels like not enough and so very little after all.

what you are going through, what you have been through… there are no words at all. after your post on monday i may have decided that i don’t believe in a god at all any more. its all so horribly, unspeakably wrong.

all my thoughts and hopes are with you and scott and simone. please DO write a lot.

i will brainstorm to the best of my ability for things to do when you need the time to pass quickly and the thoughts and fears to leave you the hell alone.

lots of love.

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Meghan January 15, 2008 at 7:10 pm

I’m so, so sorry about Ames. It’s all so unfair and senseless. I hope the rest of January flies by, and that it’s 100% uneventful.

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Heidi January 15, 2008 at 7:11 pm

I am so very sorry Alexa. I wish I could take some of your pain and carry it for you. You and Scott and your babies will all be in my thoughts.

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Anastasia January 15, 2008 at 7:16 pm

It’s not your fault.

I’m so sorry. :(

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Molly January 15, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Simone is a beautiful name, Alexa, and so is Ames. Lovely.

I am just overcome by how senseless and awful this seems, and by how much you’ve already been through, and the battles that you will continue to fight.

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Jillian January 15, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Alexa, I’m so so sorry. You’ve been much on my mind since the sad news of Ames’ passing. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and so I know that your son was a good baby and that you both were deserving of much more time together.

I know we will all continue to join you in your hopes for Simone.

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jonniker January 15, 2008 at 7:19 pm

I’m just sitting here miserable on your behalf, Alexa. I desperately want to be able to do something — anything — to make it better, to fix it, to help you, and it breaks my heart that there is nothing any of us can do except be here to listen. It’s not fair. There should be more. It seems like surely our collective thoughts and love will bring him back or take this away, and most of all, I am just so sorry that I can’t do that, because I want to — I want to so, so badly.

xoxo

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MN Guy January 15, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Damn. I am so sorry for your loss, and your plight. I’m an atheist, so prayer is out, but know that I’ll be thinking of you, and hoping for a healthy, caterwauling, vernix-covered little girl for you. Be strong.

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meghan January 15, 2008 at 7:27 pm

I’ll be praying for you, Scott, Ames, and Simone. And wishing there was something more I could do for you.

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Sara January 15, 2008 at 7:32 pm

I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet Ames. It’s not fair, and it’s not your fault. I hope that the rest of your pregnancy is long and uneventful, and that Simone arrives safe and sound.

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Tash January 15, 2008 at 7:47 pm

I only flit through here occasionally so I was devestated to read of this news. Well, devestated, as in swearing, crying, and finally stunned silence. I am so heartbreakingly sorry for the loss of dear Ames. (And as a mom of a “mystery” I concur: it’s not remotely one at all.) Please Simone, please hang in there. For everyone. You sound remarkably coherent, write when you can and believe me we’ll be here. Thinking of you.

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Laurel January 15, 2008 at 7:48 pm

oh Alexa. I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. You should not have to be dealing with this. The names that you picked are perfect. Ames and Simone, beautiful babies. I will continue to pray for you and Scott, your pregnancy, Simone’s quick development, and everything else. Please write as much as you need to, we will always be here to listen.

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Jen January 15, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Oh, Alexa, I am so terribly sorry for your loss of your sweet baby boy. I will keep you, Scott, and baby Simone in my thoughts and prayers.

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Leggy/Clover January 15, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Oh Alexa, I am crying for you and for your dear sweet Ames. It is not your fault, there is nothing you could have done. How frustrating it must be to not have any answers. (Frustrated! What a pathetic word for what you must be feeling- I’m sure that’s the least of your complicated emotions right now.) I wish there was something, anything I could do for you. I know you don’t know me from Adam, but please, if there is anything at all I can do, please let me know.

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Lori January 15, 2008 at 7:59 pm

Ames and Simone are lovely names. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and hoping that the rest of January is as kind as possible to you.

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My Reality January 15, 2008 at 8:01 pm

These are beautiful names. I am just so sorry you are dealing with this, it is just so unfair.

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EJW January 15, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Oh Alexa, I so wish this weren’t happening. Simone and Ames are beautiful names. Please know that this isn’t your fault, in the least, and that everyone here in the computer is listening to you and pulling for you and hoping for you.

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Gbich January 15, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Alexa, I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now, often laughing inappropriately out loud at work. I’ve just recently embarked on the pre-pregnancy roller coaster, though I cannot imagine how you must be feeling right now.

I’m so very, very sorry for your loss, and especially for Simone who has lost her brother. As someone who does believe in some kind of god, I can only pray that Ames will watch over Simone through the duration of your pregnancy. You’re in my thoughts.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
-Winston Churchill

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Erin January 15, 2008 at 8:11 pm

I am so, so sorry for your loss.

My ex-SIL was pregnant with fraternal twins and lost the boy at about 22 weeks as well. She delivered a healthy baby girl at 39 weeks. I wish the same for you.

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Sally January 15, 2008 at 8:12 pm

We are all here for you. Look after yourself, Scott and Simone. Im so sorry about Ames.

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Newt January 15, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Oh Alexa. I don’t have any pull with God, but I’m sending my most fervent hopes that little Simone grows strong, and fast. It’s so little, but you are in my thoughts.

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Farah January 15, 2008 at 8:40 pm

I wish I’m so sorry didnt sound so trite – please know that You and Scott and baby Ames and Simone are in my thoughts. You and Scot picked very beautiful names. I wish that I had answers or something to comfort you. Just virtual hugs and supoprt!

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Amanda Hope January 15, 2008 at 8:43 pm

I’ll be thinking of you, and Scott, and little Simone.

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barbara January 15, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Peace to Baby Ames and I wish you much peace, too. I so want for you to get through this shit with no further misery, with a healthy baby. Gah. Big virtual hugs.

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Kristin January 15, 2008 at 9:01 pm

Alexa, you’ve been on my mind constantly since I clicked on your site last night. I’ve been following your blog for several months now and I was in shock when I read the terrible news. I’m so sorry about Ames. Please take care and don’t blame yourself.

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Andrea January 15, 2008 at 9:08 pm

I am so sad and outraged for you. I don’t have any idea how you can bear this– what a horrible combination of grief, fear, pain and uncertainty. Their names are wonderful, and I hope you’ll find some peace and a way to make it to 38 weeks.

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Jen H. January 15, 2008 at 9:15 pm

I saw your last post. I couldn’t even post a message, I’m sorry. I just tried to pretend I didn’t see it, because it saddened me so much. I checked back tonight, positive that it was all a big mistake. I am so sorry you lost your baby boy. I am thinking about you and Scott and baby Simone…

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Kymmi January 15, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Ames is a beautiful name. I know how much you love your little boy – my heart breaks for you. There are no words that I can think of to make you feel better, just know that you, your husband and Simone are in my thoughts.

Be well.

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Flicka January 15, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Next year we are just going to skip January altogether.

My heart is breaking for you, Alexa. I wish I knew more what to say. I wish I could be there to distract you during the long, quiet hours of modified bedrest. Ames is a wonderful name. So is Simone. They are good babies. You are a good mother. You are all in my thoughts.

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magpie January 15, 2008 at 9:33 pm

I am so sorry. I hope the next 6-8 weeks are okay – thinking good thoughts for you.

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mgs January 15, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Words fail– I am so, so sorry. My thoughts are with you.

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Meagan January 15, 2008 at 9:34 pm

I am so, so sorry. And angry. And also shocked. I just assumed nothing like this would happen. How can things like this happen? You’ve been through so much that I was sure you had hit your misery quota. Beyond hit your quota. So Simone is going to be fine. She has to be. There is no way she could not be. It’s unfathomable. Tell her Meagan said that anything less than perfectly fine is unacceptable. And, while you’re waiting for her to pop out all perfectly fine, know that everyone here is thinking about you and wishing very good things for your whole family.

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She Likes Purple January 15, 2008 at 9:40 pm

I’m thinking of you. I’m thinking of you. I’m thinking of you.

And, yes, those are just beautiful names.

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leenie January 15, 2008 at 9:51 pm

much much love, to you and scott and simone and ames. much love.

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Nico January 15, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Oh, Alexa, I am so deeply deeply sorry that you are experiencing this heartbreak. You have gone through so much already to get here, it is just wrong that you won’t get to know your little boy. I am thinking of you, Scott, Simone, and Ames.

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Kate January 15, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Oh, god. I’m so sorry. I am going to send my very best healing thoughts to you. I know they’re paltry and inadequate, but I can’t think of a single other thing to do.

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All Adither January 15, 2008 at 10:23 pm

You so deserve to have this baby girl come live with you. I don’t pray, but I’m thinking about you more than one should think about another human being they don’t even know.

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jv January 15, 2008 at 10:25 pm

I’m speechless, and shocked, and brutally upset. I don’t know what to say. I can’t imagine what you’re feeling, I don’t want to imagine. I am so sorry, there is nothing to say. I’m a stranger to you, sending you a hug.

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Bea January 15, 2008 at 10:27 pm

I’m so sorry. You’ve said everything so well, I don’t know what to say. I guess I wouldn’t have known anyway.

It’s always something, and it’s always what you don’t expect.
There’s so many days to get through – I hope you can do them all one at a time.
Other pregnant women don’t go through all that. It’s not fair.

Bea

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cat, galloping January 15, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Well you are as articulate as ever, my dear. And I’m aching for you.

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B January 15, 2008 at 10:31 pm

This is heartbreaking news. I am so sorry.

Little Ames you are missed already, even though you are not born yet. Know that you are loved.

Simone – grow strong. Grow and grow. You are loved more than you will ever know.

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Mary Scarlet January 15, 2008 at 10:33 pm

I demand it too, Alexa. We all miss baby Ames.

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Melissa in TN January 15, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Hi Alexa. I just wanted you to know that my prayers are with you (I hope that’s ok). I have been thinking of you all today.

I love the names you picked out. They are beautiful and I’m glad you shared them with us.

I am so very sorry. Rest and take care.

M.

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kris January 15, 2008 at 10:44 pm

I don’t understand why things like this happen. I don’t have any pretty words, but I know that your babies have pretty names. I’m sorry that Ames died – I’m sorry for everything that you won’t know with him. I’m sorry that you’re going through so much pain right now and I hope that all of us who are here, circling around you in support, can give you even the barest help in bearing this pain, because we all care about you, and Ames, and Simone, and your husband. You’re loved and your babies are loved, and we will never forget him.

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OrchidLover January 15, 2008 at 10:49 pm

I was so saddened by your last post that I woke up twice last night, with the words you wrote running through my head. This sucks so much and I’m so sorry. I know Simone will be fine. You know how? Because the fucking worst thing that could happen did. She has to be fine now.

I love your name choices–we were talking about Simone for our girl, too, but haven’t decided. We don’t know each other at all. The internet is really funny, but because I like you so much just from reading your blog, Simone immediately jumps out at me on our list now. You have a remarkably clear mind for someone in your situation–I think your point about things you never worried about going wrong happening is pretty profound.

Don’t worry about birth plans or anything else you don’t want to think about now. Just do what you feel you need to. I’d definitely pray for you, but I don’t especially believe in God, so I think I say, “You’re in my thoughts.” That’s like the same thing, but for atheists or agnostics.

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