June 22nd, 2017 – Adrian’s due date. Because I was inseminated, we knew exactly when Adrian was “due”. I also knew due dates were estimates. Many first times moms deliver more than a week late. I had some brief thoughts about Adrian being a 4th of July baby.
Although I planned for a midwife-assisted natural childbirth, I had actually established concurrent care with a “traditional” PA/OB practice as well. And because at 35 years old, I was considered advanced maternal age, every week of my ninth month, I would go to the testing suite in labor and delivery.
Non-stress testing never scared me. They only put monitor straps on my belly to check for contractions, to monitor my son. None of it was invasive, though Adrian always kicked at the straps as soon as they were applied. They saw this as a good thing. They were looking for two such spurts of activity each time we went in.
That last visit, on the morning of my due date, Adrian again “performed” to expectations. I told my sister it was funny, almost like he knew he was being evaluated. But part of the visit was checking on me, and when they took my blood pressure, it was elevated.
I look back on this visit, and I feel So Much Anger. I was obviously swollen, my feet so huge I was down to one pair of flip-flops. I was nauseated. And my blood pressure wasn’t just high for me; it was also only a few points below the threshold marking stage 2 hypertension. All of this pointed to preeclampsia. And nobody said a word.
I look back on this visit, and I wonder — at how many points could this have gone differently? I did all the right things! I went to all of my appointments. I asked SO many questions: I read ALL the books. And yes, the nurse in the testing room pushed for induction, but she never told me why. And when I told her I wanted to let labor happen naturally, she sent me home. She didn’t think to tell me my baby could die.
June 22nd means so many things to me. It was my due date. It was the phrase I used when I registered an email address so I could start writing to my son. It was one of many dates my son could have been saved. It was seven days before he died.