Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Some 'Splainin

So, we met with a perinatologist today. At least I think that's his title. He is a doctor at the perinatal testing unit at a local hospital. This dude was, in a word, smart.

A few weeks ago we contacted him to gain some insight as to what happened with Calla. After reviewing my medical records and history and pathology reports, he wanted to meet with us to go over our options. He thought, based on the evidence, that Calla had contracted a virus. He couldn't be sure without further placental testing.

C and I went in to meet with the Doctor today. At his hospital, in the Catholic heath system, it is a requirement to keep a placenta sample from ALL babies for--get this--22 years. 22 years! Damn--so much can happen in 22 months, let alone 22 years.

However, at the hospital where we delivered, the timetable is a little different. By about, oh, 22 years. Yep, placenta sample is gone. Done. In the trash. So, the magical testing we were hoping would provide us some answers--impossible.

This kind Doctor told us his best guess, based on my history, the pathology, and similarity to other cases, was the virus theory. There are a number of viruses that could have been the culprit--obviously, without the testing we will never know for sure. But, in a nutshell, the only way to possibly prevent this relatively rare catastrophe is to religiously wash my hands. Huh.

I noted that Calla's death was about 2 weeks after the mother-of-all-family-gatherings, Christmas, and the Doctor said that indeed this would be the probable incubation time for a virus. C noted that there should be a study done on stillbirth cases to see if they coincided with major holidays or gatherings. The Doctor said there was, in fact, a working theory that this is the case. In fact, the nurses note that shortly after Christmas it's "that time of year" in the L&D wing. We remembered the nurses saying, at the time, that there had been more than the usual number of stillbirths around the time of our experience.

A virus. A stupid, microscopic alien life form invades my body and kills my baby. Great. And these viruses, while prevalent in the Sesame Street set, can be picked up anywhere. A grocery cart. A doorknob. A handshake, an uncovered sneeze.

Son of a . . .

I'm still processing this, wondering how ANYONE on this Earth manages to squeeze out a living, healthy baby. It's quite mind-blowing.


  1. Can I just say that your profile picture is gorgeous!

  2. Sometimes I am not sure if a reason is enough. I mean that's all I wanted too, but when enough drs. told me their theory it didn't matter anymore. It's like a reason is all you can hope for after it happens and then you get one, or a possible one, and you still don't feel better. Or maybe you do. I didn't. Because then you just worry about it happening again. So I guess I am glad you got a possible reason, but I am sorry if it didn't give you what you want.

    Sorry for the babble. My thoughts are with you. And please keep telling yourself that it will get a little bit better one of these days.

  3. @ Heather--thanks--I like to pretend this is still what I look like :)

    @ CLC--I hear you on the reason. It's kind of like, "Uh, OK. Now what?" I guess I'm glad that it's not something that has an absolute chance of happening again, but knowing it was such a random, uncontrollable thing is frightening, too.

    It's all just so weird. I can't believe I had a baby over three months ago, and I can't believe she's not here. So weird.

  4. With everything that can and does go wrong, it is mindboggling to me that babies are born alive.