Unlike some, I haven't been one to watch the calendar since Isla died. I did not mark the one and two month "anniversaries" of her birth and death. Those days came and went, just like other days. Apparently I still like to torture myself though, because just now, for some reason I myself do not understand, I went online to determine how many weeks pregnant I would, or rather, should be. The answer: 37 weeks. Full term.
I have been asked a few times when telling Isla's story whether she was full term. I HATE that question. I always defensively respond by saying she was past the point of viability, and explaining that she quite possibly could have lived outside of me without any long term health complications. I wish I did not have to feel so defensive, but I also wish people understood the depths of my loss and knew not to ask such insensitive questions.
The past 12 weeks feel like an eternity. I feel like I have aged 12 years. I'm old, worn out. It is hard to imagine that I could still be pregnant with Isla now, and could be for several more weeks. Hard to imagine her living inside of me all this time. I can't help but wonder how she might look if she arrived today. How much would she weigh? How long would she be? How much longer would those long feet of hers be? How much bigger those big hands? How much more hair would she have? Would her little face look the same?
Isla was so incredibly perfect, it is hard to believe that she needed another 12 weeks or more of growing to be ready for the world. She was of course tiny, but she was big, very big, for her gestational age. She weighed 810 g, when the maximum range of "normal" birth weights at 25 weeks is only 759 g. She was also very long - 13 inches, when the average length at 25 weeks is only 9. It makes me proud to think of how big she was. How big, and and how seemingly strong and healthy. Like I did a good job of growing her right up to the point of her death.
We were given the preliminary autopsy report last week. Despite that the report was completed on July 7th, we did not receive a copy until last Thursday, when it was faxed to us because my OB decided it was not worth having us come in to discuss the results because the report said very little. Why did I have to wait almost 3 months to receive it then? And why, now, I am still having to wait another three months or more for the final report? So frustrating.
While the preliminary report said little, it did indicate she had pericardial and pleural effusions and ascites (collectively hydrops), suggesting that it was most likely an infection and not a placental abruption that killed her. Poor Isla. Poor big, strong, otherwise healthy Isla. Dead, gone, because of some infection.
While I am enraged by the injustice of it all, and of course wondering when and how she contracted an infection and what I could have done differently to prevent it, I am also somewhat relieved to know that it was likely not a placental problem that caused her death. If it was an abruption, after having one I would have a ten fold risk of having another and there is little, if anything, that can be done to prevent it. I also have spent much time concerned that it was an abruption and agonizing over whether I did too much walk or lifting in the days before her death to cause it. And, thanks to reading books about the importance of pre-conception care, I have also spent time fussing over the things I did before I knew I was pregnant with Isla that may have resulted in the growth of an unhealthy placenta.
With the final report we will hopefully learn exactly what type of infection she may have contracted. I am hoping it was something fluke, like Parvovirus B19 (Fifths disease/slap cheek), and not something reoccurring like Group B Strep. I don't think I will ever not feel absolutely terrified to be pregnant again, and well, like all of us babylost bloggers, I now know of five million other ways in which babies can die, but I am hoping if it is some fluke infection that killed her, the rational side of my brain will be able to reason that it likely will not happen again and that one day I may actually have a living, breathing child in my arms. A child who will hopefully grow inside of me for 37 weeks (and not a moment longer because it would be cruel for any doctor to expect me to last the full 40 or longer).
Thirty seven weeks ago tomorrow, January 6th, 2009, I started my period. At the time it was heartbreaking because my period was a painful reminder of the loss of Peanut. Yet thirty seven weeks ago I was also naive and full of unabated hope (well...almost unabated). I'm wiser now. Much wiser. Nevertheless, while my hope has certainly waned, it still exists.
Thirty seven weeks. Not so long. Less than a year. It's strange how 37 weeks can feel like an eternity. I guess that's what happens when you learn that 37 weeks is sometimes 12 weeks longer than a lifetime.
A Moment of Pause
2 months ago