20 July 2010

facing it



Yesterday I scheduled our second (and final) fetal echocardiogram prior to Ewan's birth. We knew we needed at least one more at about 36 weeks, and until yesterday, that appointment had yet to be scheduled.

It felt so weird on so many levels scheduling that appointment. I felt excited. I felt tense and nervous. I felt as I talked to the receptionist like I was holding my breath, letting it out in a deep sigh when I got off the phone with her.

It's so close to my due date.
He (and I) will be so big!
The doctor may see more wrong than he saw before.
There may be improvements.
There might not be improvements.
Might things be worse?
There may be a miracle.

There might not be a miracle.


As long as he's inside me and as long as my pregnancy is progressing with relative ease as so many do -- without any real hiccups or drama (aside from the obvious heart defect, which is enough) -- it's easy to imagine anything: that everything is and will be alright, that we will sail through this. This is not to say that the reality of the diagnosis has become any less potent for me, and it's not to say that I'm blindly holding on to the belief that somehow, the doctor was misguided in his diagnosis.

It's just that as long as Ewan is in me, growing and thriving, things are good. He's safe in there. He's not in any distress.

But that fetal echo has one specific purpose: it will give the cardiologists at Children's Hospital the best possible pre-birth view of what they can expect to encounter once Ewan is born. And so this fetal echo means facing it: the day Ewan no longer occupies my body, the day I can no longer shield and protect him in the way I do now. The day my heart will break a little bit more, and a little bit more again. The first day of many where I will hold my breath and wait.

This appointment means facing the inevitability of that physical separation, facing the thought of letting him go, of trusting those who are best equipped to care for his unique needs.
Deep breath.
I'm torn between the anticipation of meeting our feisty little punkerbelly, and just wanting to keep him in there forever. I don't think I will ever feel ready for that moment: the one where it suddenly feels like my heart is outside my body.


photo taken by james // processing by me
july 2010

13 comments:

Sarah said...

Sweet Ewan, sweet Kirsten. Praying for you both (not much to say besides that . . . just praying, praying, praying).

Annie said...

i am praying!

Rachel Elizabeth said...

I am keeping your family in my thoughts, especially little Ewan.

KLaw said...

You are never far from my thoughts. I am always praying for you and your precious baby boy. Keep your chin up and stay positive. Your precious little one needs to find strength in you. We're here for you.

The Real Life of a Red Head said...

Are our brains connected in some freakish way?! I am having those same exact feelings. We've already had our last echo before Joshua arrives, thank goodness that is over. However, I'm just so torn about being done with this pregnancy and loving on my sweet baby, and wanting to keep him in there forever.

praying for peace.

terri said...

holding my breath with you.

Jen said...

Oh how I remember those exact same feelings! I wanted to keep him in there forever, to protect him from what I knew he would have to endure, yet I couldn't wait to meet him and see his sweet face. I love that belly shot photo! :)

Thanks for all the messages on our blog- we've been on vacation so I haven't checked blogs in over a week! I am just now getting caught up!

You continue to be in my prayers!

Jen
www.thehuegelfamily.blogspot.com

erin said...

oh mama, i know that i don't have as much on my heart right now as you do.

but i felt/feel the same about keeping her inside... because inside- i know she's safe... i know she's taken care of. just. her world is perfect in there. she's perfectly wrapped up, always the right temperature. and comforted under my beating heart.

and i guess these really are the first lessons of parent hood- in that big scheme of learning to let go... to open your heart as wide as it ever will be.. to be so, so in love that it hurts.

i know that feeling.. that- everyday is a milestone of greatness. but it comes with a bitter sweetness knowing that it also means that it's a day closer to being over.

this incredible force that we harvest. that our babes give us. warrior mama love.

Carolina Carters said...

I remember those feelings exactly! So torn...somehow excited and terrified at the same time. Knowing how well he was being protected by me and knowing I had to completely trust a stranger with Derrick's life. It's hard.

Praying for peace for you!

Shannon
www.carolinacarters.com

Grootie said...

Thought of Ewan when I heard the first reading for today. "...Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you..." Jeremiah 1:5

You all are in my prayers.

kirsten michelle said...

@Sarah
Many thanks for your prayers, dear friend!!

@Annie
Thanks for your prayers, Annie!!

@Rachel Elizabeth
Thanks for the good thoughts; keep 'em coming!!

@KLaw
Thanks for being here, and thanks for being such an encourager. It's so good to know we're not in this alone.

@Jill
Right now, I would not be at all surprised to find our brains connected!! Though our babies will face different kinds of challenges with their hearts, I know a lot of the feelings and fears we have our going to be the same. It's so good not to walk this path alone!!

Thanks for being here, fellow heart-mama!!

@terri
Thank you, dear Terri.

@Jen
Yes, yes!! You totally get this. Thanks for being such an encouragement, and for being so vocal with your own story. It is so helpful to meet others who are open about what it's like to be in this place. Many thanks for your continuing prayers!!

@erin
warrior mama love. I love it. This is something all mamas have in common, I think: that fierce protectiveness of that delicate little life. thanks for your encouragement, fellow mama.

@Carolina
You know this path, too?! Wow, it's so encouraging to meet so many other heart moms. Thank you for your continued prayers!!

@Grootie
Oooh, that gets me every time: how He forms us and knows us before our births. He knows this boy, and that is good to know.

Shay said...

holding my breath and praying with you! I can only imagine all you are feeling and experiencing. so thankful to know that God is and always will be holding you all in his loving arms! praying for miracles!

Stefenie said...

I didn't get to experience what you are going through right now because we didn't learn of our son's defects until well after his birth. However I know that feeling all too well about having to hand them over to strangers and the anxiety you wrestle with. It is hard to put your faith in the unknown but we have to believe that there is hope. {{{HUG}}}