One year.

Here it goes. The one year “anniversaries” (though that word sounds much too cheerful to me) of the worst days of my life. I don’t know why 365 days (or I guess 366 in this case) should be more significant somehow than anything else – 137 days or 592 days… I’ve even tried not to really think about it in those terms but as the dates have approached, I’ve found myself crying more, feeling more anxious…and dreading it all.

Today marks one year since I got sick. I remember it so clearly. I woke up around 4 am, sick to my stomach. Not just nauseous, but this weird pain right below my diaphragm. I got up and ate a pickle. Yes, I know, probably not the best choice, but somehow it made sense at 4 am. Before long I got up and puked. I killed time until my OB’s office opened and then called to talk to the nurse. I told her I had taken some Tums, but it wasn’t really helping. She told me to try taking more Tums, and if I didn’t feel better by around 4 pm, to call back. I told her I had an appointment with my perinatologist that afternoon, and she said “Oh, well that makes me feel better. Definitely mention it to her.”. There was really no sense of urgency, so I was not all that concerned. The same thing had happened a week before, and I had called and left a message with my OB’s office and nobody even called me back. Even though I mentioned in my message that I was concerned because I was being watched for pre-e. I felt better by around noon, so I never followed up and I figured this would be the same.

I went in the afternoon to see my peri. The appointment was uneventful. My blood pressure was fine. My ankles weren’t swollen. I hadn’t gained any weight. Both babies had grown proportionally, but Lina was still much smaller than Cole. After the ultrasound I mentioned the nausea (it had more or less subsided). She listened, raised an eyebrow, and said she was a little concerned and wanted to have some bloodwork done. She asked for it to be returned STAT, which should have alarmed me more than it did. I don’t know why I refused to believe that anything could REALLY go wrong. I walked out of her office and paused for a few minutes to look at the beautiful newborns in the nursery across the hall. Walked downstairs to give my blood and went home.

When I got home, I called a friend, and told her what happened. I said I gave some blood but assumed everything would be OK. While I was on the phone, I heard another call, but let the machine get it (for some reason, adulthood has made me incapable of such technical tasks as answering call-waiting, something I was quite skilled at in high school and college). As soon as I was off, I got the message that Dr Bond wanted me to come back to the hospital. Still, no panic.

But when I got there…I got what I wish had been the worst news of my life. Sadly, it was only the beginning. I had HELLP Syndrome. A serious and life-threatening form of pre-eclampsia. I would be transferred to Columbia Presbeterian by ambulance as soon as they could confirm that NICU beds would be available. The babies would be delivered in 24 hours. Still. I was convinced that that was the worst of it. That everything was going to be OK. I still.can.not.believe. what followed.

October 2nd still plays in my memory just like a movie.

Everyone told me the first year is the hardest. I can only hope so. I still have a few months before “the first year” is officially over. I’ll just have to take “their” word for it. Because it still feels like hell.


8 Responses to “One year.”

  1. 1 Marilyn October 2, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Patrice – We are ALL still here for you whenever you need us! Sending you strength and prayers.

    Hugs to you my dear Babysteps friend,

  2. 2 Sheri-ct October 3, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Partice- you have been in my thoughts a lot lately. My heart is breaking for you all over again. Sending you many healing thoughts and prayers.


  3. 3 Niki October 3, 2008 at 9:49 am

    A dear friend shared your blog with me and I’ve read through your past posts, the stories of your beautiful children, and your most recent post. I understand your pain and sadness. My son, Myles, was born at 26wks due to severe preeclampsia/HELLP as well. Like your little boy Myles fought for almost a month and then passed due to an infection. My heart goes out to you as you approach the year anniversary of the days when your heart broke. Many hugs and strength are being sent your way!

  4. 4 Scott Erb October 3, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Hi Patrice,
    I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started to read your blog. Wow. I don’t know what to say. I read every single entry, and at one point my wife looked over at me at my computer and said “are you crying?” I read through it backwards, and then more quickly forwards again. Having two children (Ryan, born April 3, 2003, and another boy Dana, born December 27, 2005 – almost exactly a year after Annika), I find it hard to read about babies and children dying to parents I don’t know, let alone people I do. And though it’s been over 15 years since we’ve seen each other, as I read I could still see us at a bar in Dinky town, having a couple beers, talking about international stuff, the future, and the like. Despite the time and distance, as I read through it all I felt as much friendship for you now as back in those days in the Twin Cities.

    I’ll write you a “real” e-mail soon to you with a lot more info and thoughts. For now, suffice it to say that reading your blog has made me feel really in touch with you despite so many years; I had to get up from my computer many times and go to the other room. My in laws from Russia are visiting (for five weeks), and I would need to process what I’d read, think about you, and of course didn’t want them to see me teary eyed. Anyway, for now I just want you to know that I’ve read your entire blog and it’s taken over my evening, and you and your family are now in my thoughts. I’ll read the blog regularly, and hopefully we can stay in touch! Maybe sometime we can figure out a way to get together and have Annika and Dana have a common birthday party. Now, I think I’ll read through your blog one more time…and send you any psychic energy of the universe I can.

  5. 5 Cara October 7, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Every day sucks. Anniversaries suck even more and yes, it is a bit too cheerful for the first year, and the second and possibly even the third or fourth.

    Just breath deep. Someday the movie reel changes…promise.

  6. 6 A.M.S. October 7, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Much love and quiet thoughts.


  7. 7 sara October 9, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Keeping you in my thoughts during a time that must be so difficult to remember.

  8. 8 currency trading March 23, 2013 at 8:11 am

    I wish I could publish like you. Your guide One year.

    | The Cezzar Joint has pushed me to get off my butt and get
    some word out to the world. You have boosted my confidence just by writing so

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About Me

I'm a grieving mom. I have one beautiful daughter, Annika, who's 3 years old now (born 12/28/04). I also had twins, Lina and Cole, on 10/04/07, born at just 26 weeks. We lost Cole after just 23 days due to complications related to his prematurity. Fiesty little Lina overcame so much and just when she was getting ready to come home with us, suddenly had a complication unrelated to her prematurity and passed away on January 11, 2008. This blog is about getting through it. More...

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