April 14, 2017
Vagina Chronicles: Harriette + Piper
On my 31st birthday my boyfriend and I had a drunken conversation about how I was ready to have a baby. Like a good boyfriend, he complied, and we went for it. That was Friday. By Monday I was at work thinking “oh shit I can’t do this” and I decided to take the morning after pill. A couple months later it occurred to me that my period was late! Imagine my predicament when people ask me if my pregnancy was planned. My response is always "yes in a way, God definitely wanted me to have this baby".
My first trimester was a breeze. I continued to practice Bikram Yoga well into eight months and was very active the entire time. No nausea — only a lot of peeing. Mentally, not so much. When I was around four months pregnant the baby was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease called Tetralogy of Fallot which is a heart defect that features four problems including a hole between the lower chambers of the heart.
I went in for routine blood work checking for for spina bifida or downs syndrome. My results came back high which is a concern for spina bifida. As a result, I had to have a detailed ultrasound which lasted about three hours. During the ultrasound the sonographer saw something wrong but of course couldn't tell us what.
I remember speaking with the midwife and she asked me if we were religious. I told her that I was Christian and believe in God but I would not consider myself very religious. She said “I only ask and I don't mean to overstep but most people in your case would probably terminate given all the issues you are facing.” She went on to say “you have been here several times and you are always stay so positive given all the hard news you have received.” It was really at that point that I realized this intuition was real. I told her that I can just feel that everything will be fine and in the event that it is not I am prepared to deal with whatever the outcome is.
When Piper was born she was fine. During her first couple of months we still had monthly echo’s to see how her heart was progressing. The hole was not getting any smaller, and even though she never lost any weight since being born she was gaining weight slowly on the account that her heart was pumping double time because of the hole. When she reached four and a half months her cardiologist decided it was time for open heart surgery. When she was out, seeing her in the recovery room was the most painful thing anyone on earth could ever experience. But in three days she was downing mama’s milk and not even on any pain medication. She only has to check her heart once a year now and they don’t for see her ever needing another surgery.
I would love to take credit for Piper’s calmness, but I know now that it was not me. She spoke to me during every step of this journey.
Pics by David Bess