Because I now have the foresight of a swami, and I hate to say "I told you so," I'll only gloat mildly that I totally guessed there would be passive aggressive Valentine's presents. (Fist pumping while gyrating and sticking out my tongue. Hey, I'm so rarely right about these things!) I guess to make up for the completely ignored Christmas and the completely ignored one-year anniversary of our daughter's short life, the in-laws sent, um, I totally forget. Something Valentiney for Bella. And being the nice guy that he is, Mr. ABF picked up the phone YET AGAIN and dialed, and lo, someone picked up. He immediately put Bella on the phone (because one passive aggressive measure deserves another), and then spoke with the wife, and then, gasp, even a few bumpy words with his father. There have been a few more rocky phone calls, but the fact that the calls are being made and answered is really breakthrough. And Bella started proclaiming out of the blue that it had been a very long time, "since I was a baby," that we had seen them. And so plans were made to have breakfast with them on Saturday. Our first get-together since November.
It sucked. There was zero mention of why it had been five months since we last spoke, save for the frequent whistled pronouncements of how big Bella was and how she now talks like she's reading a novel. There was this really insulting, condescending and accusatory statement about how the wife "is really afraid of our dog."
(Before we get into the 8x10 color glossies with the circles and arrows, I pause to show alleged dog that strikes terror in the hearts of in-laws:
He now claims, in this rather threatening voice like he's about to call a lawyer, that our dog "jumped on her" when they were visiting at Halloween (completely likely; the dogs were going apeshit with the bell ringing every 20 seconds), and "bruised her, and she's really fragile right now" (she's in remission for lung cancer -- I'll return to this in the wrap-up) and "is reaaallllly afraid of him." READ: WE HAVE
We may have stood you up at your daughter's memorial service, and ignored you and your family for five months -- including Christmas -- but we have our reasons for staying away from the likes of you.
Of course we were so aghast at this whole play (given that we've owned our other dog for 9 years now, and have pictures of him jumping into her lap while she giggles like a school girl) that words failed us entirely and we simply apologized. To be greeted with a grimaced, condescending nod.
But that wasn't the end of the it: last week FIL/wife had to put down their cat of about 20 years. It was sad for them, I understand, believe me. I'm the first to sympathize in these situations. But I swear. to. god. he spent more time lamenting his cat, ruing the final hours, genuflecting to the vet staff than he did his own granddaughter or any of our situation, ever. The real kicker was when he said when they got back from their trip in a few weeks, they'd have to decide whether or not to get another pet. "And I just don't know if we can go through that again."
"Yo, tell me about it," I should have said, but seriously, what gives here? Am I missing something? They're completely treating our grief like it's PMS. They're practically jamming these coded messages down our throats. Now, wife was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago, and is in remission, but the recurrence rates are fairly grim. And while I understand (totally) shielding yourself, protecting yourself, I don't buy it as an excuse for hostility. Especially against your son and his family who just lost a daughter a year ago. If we're that hard to deal with given our respective situations, I say we each take a powder.
Segue to never doing THAT again: Doc from Children's, who's a metabolic specialist by the way, now believes the signs point to infection. He believes there was some placental abruption (due to infection) circa 25w that then corrected itself to some extent (back to this rather freaky caveat in a moment) that led to the damage. His evidence (in addition to a pile of metabolic and genetic testing that turned up negative): echogenic bowel around 28-30w. Certain organs/systems and physical features being completely unaffected. The smallest growth recorded (I believe in a gland function) was circa 25w, other growth measured around 34w.
Sounds convincing, but here's where the rarity kicks in: usually when there's placental abruption, you go into labor. I did not. Somehow things kept chugging along keeping her alive (according to his theory), but with some now stunted growth that would become severe. Apparently this never ever happens, ergo there's no evidence medically speaking to compare this to. (Apparently the pathology report even accounts for some "healing" in certain areas -- I forget this totally, and really need to sit down and reread the damn thing when I get a free five seconds.) They've never seen anything like it.
The other questionable aspect of this theory is the glaucoma. Apparently there are diseases that cause glaucoma, but she tested negative for those. Glaucoma usually doesn't arise from the lack of oxygen. And while he can point to some of the metabolic mess and claim that the struggle to correct herself led to some energy problems, he's hard pressed to explain the presence of an odd protein circling around in her system.
And finally, there's no evidence of infection, and usually one is able to track down something. Could be it had cleared out by that point, he says.
This never ever happens.
Oh, and what about my placenta, you ask? They threw it out -- because we all thought she was fine, remember? Yeah. The irony is blinding. Perhaps the big clue here was present and available and thrown in the trash because she looked lovely and her Apgars were decent and she was just taken for observation. When the wheels really started coming off the bus 24-36 hours later, I remember some heated words between the NICU doc and the delivery floor wondering if there was any way in hell they could FIND it.
I understand from a few of you who were given this cause of death that your OB's noted that the placenta "looked off" -- so I'm gathering there's some obvious visible problems evident to the naked eye, and my OB said nothing, recorded nothing.
So. Not sure what to think here. Genetics (with whom Metabolism respectfully disagrees) also makes really valid arguments that include problems like glaucoma and odd proteins, and certain organ systems being blown to hell while others are not, but again, this has never happened. Lots of negative tests. We've never seen anything like this.
I'm not sure whether to hang my hat on placental abruption "which never happens like this" or genetics "which has never happened like this." Either way, lightning struck, I lost, Maddy paid the price. My odds are apparently "not likely to happen again" up to "a 1:4 chance of delivering a terminal baby." Either way, no way of knowing during the process. Aaaauuuuggggh.
I of course went off to check out placental abruption on doctor google, and noted that if I kick my coke habit the next time around my chances for a live baby go up considerably. Good to know. Also good to know that I don't meet any criteria on the risk list save for being over 35. Nothing I can do, no way I can tell.
Don't know if I can do this again.