Last night I went to the International Stillbirth Summit dinner, part of a three-day event put on by the Star Legacy Foundation. Most of the event consists of doctors and researchers from all over the world presenting on causes and prevention of stillbirth. While I think it is absolutely amazing that everyone is coming together and talking about how to reduce the number of babies that die before they ever take their first breath (like your big sis), I decided that right now was not the best time for me to sit in a room and hear about everything that can (and does) go wrong in a pregnancy. Like I said, this is important, important stuff, but my level of anxiety has been through the roof already and I just didn't think it would be a good or healthy experience for me at the moment. I am so thankful that the wonderful ladies organizing the event have so gracious and understanding to let me just attend the parts of the event I feel comfortable with.
Anyway, the dinner last night was wonderful. It was exhilarating to be in a room with so many other inspiring people who are working to make a difference in the 'baby loss' community: Sherokee Ilse (author of Empty Arms and all around amazing babyloss advocate), Shauna and Lindsey of the Star Legacy Foundation, Sue from My Forever Child, Tim from Babies Remembered, Candy from the Missing Grace Foundation, Marion and Susan, President and CEO of First Candle, and many, many others. I also got the chance to meet the sweetest woman, Carrie, and her mother, all the way from California. Carrie lost her beautiful daughter, Gemma, just a few months ago at 40 weeks. How incredible that she's already out there, learning more about this awful thing that took her daughter's life, and meeting other people who have been there.
I couldn't believe how many people there already knew all about Faces of Loss and had such wonderful things to say about it. I felt like some sort of celebrity when people would look at me and say, "YOU are the one who started that website?" Don't worry, I'll try not to let it get to my head :) These freaking adorable circle business cards I got to pass out (designed by Julie) didn't make that easy, though!
So during the dinner they had a couple different musical performances. One of them was a concert pianist who shared some of the songs she composed after the loss of two of her children (both stillborn). The whole thing was moving and beautiful, but it started to hit a little too close to home when she started talking about her second stillbirth. She found out she had a clotting disorder after she lost her first baby, so she was seeing both a regular OB and a great Peri, having lots of extra monitoring, and giving herself daily Lovenox injections (sound at all familiar??). Well, that baby died, too. Now I am not at all saying she shouldn't have shared her story, obviously, but I can't deny that that part of the story caused some major panic for me. I held it together just fine on the outside, but inside, as she was singing the song, "Not Again," the one she wrote after that second stillbirth, I was definitely freaking out just a little.
Someone must have told her that I was pregnant again, also after a stillbirth caused by a blood-clotting disorder, because later during the evening, she came up to me and said she was so sorry if she scared me; that everyone else she knows who did the Lovenox shots went on to have healthy babies; that what happened to her was very rare. She also told me that she also had fibroids that were a big part of her losses that she didn't mention in her presentation. I thought it was so kind of her to come talk to me, and told her she didn't have to apologize and that I was so very sorry for what she had been through. The strength and kindness of people truly amazes me sometimes.
Anyway, by the end of the night, all I could think about was you. I just wanted to get home, pull out my doppler, and make sure everything was still okay in there.
So I sped home, ran upstairs, found the doppler, quickly squeezed the blue gel on my belly, and turned it on. It was dead. Apparently I had left it on the last time I had used it, and the battery had died. Of course, it takes one of those big 9-volt batteries which I knew we didn't have any of lying around, so I went downstairs and told Dad we had to run to the store to get a new battery. His response was an eye roll and an, "are you serious? It's almost 11. Can't you just wait until tomorrow?" Um, no, I couldn't.
Then Dad remembered that the smoke detectors in the house all use 9-volt batteries. Problem solved! I'd take the chance of my house burning down if it meant I could hear that precious heartbeat of yours, Baby.
I stole the battery out of one of our smoke detectors (don't worry, Mom, I put it back when I was done!), and was able to find your heartbeat right away. That sound, it just never gets old.
The best $30 I've ever spent (and a bonus picture of Jackie)
15 weeks today. Please, please, please continue to be okay, little E. One week until we (hopefully) find out if you're a little boy or a little girl. I don't care one way or the other. I mean, it's totally 'Team Alive!" for us, all the way.
See you soon, sweet babe.