We sat in her office, next to each other, pouring over my file together for over an hour.
I asked a lot of questions.
She admitted there's a lot she doesn't know.
I asked if she has heard of Jason Collins - the one doctor in Louisiana that does research on umbilical cord accidents. She had not, but she seemed eager and willing to learn more.
I told her I have now read that babies with cord issues often die when the mother is sleeping. The stress from the melatonin created by the mother is too much for them. I reminded her she suggested I take melatonin to help me sleep. I told her I'm not blaming her, but I want her to know this.
She drew me diagrams to show me more of what happened with Ben, but there's a lot of unknowns there too. Apparently I had an extra "accessory lobe" on my placenta and there was blood where there shouldn't have been in his cord? It's just natural to not bother asking as many questions when you get a healthy baby in the end.
She said she didn't think it was related to Lydie's cord. But then again, I've had two pregnancies and two abnormalities in cords. She said we shouldn't dismiss that.
She showed me all of Lydia's ultrasounds, even the cord insertion into the placenta, where everything always, always looked healthy. She said she didn't think monitoring the blood flow through the cord would have made a difference, because Lydie was always getting everything she needed and was growing at the 54% percentile. She was always getting what she needed until suddenly she wasn't. It was "acute," and even if I had non-stress tests the whole pregnancy, there was likely no way to predict this.
It was an odd mix of talking about hindsight and the future.
She suggested that we meet with a high-risk doctor together. That she would completely review my file before, write him a detailed letter, and go to meet with him with Justin and me. She warned me that he may not have many answers either, that he has more experience with twins and high blood pressure and diabetes. But she's hoping he will be able to help.
She said they may even send me down to Louisiana to meet with Dr. Collins.
She told me that they've had a few second trimester losses in their office but it's been a long time since she has had a patient lose her baby so far along. She talked about the moment she couldn't find Lydia's heartbeat, how she knew in that moment. How she couldn't believe it. It felt a little therapeutic to talk about that moment, since that is my haunting moment. It felt a little therapeutic to look in the exam room where that nightmare happened.
I feel like maybe I educated her a bit, about what happens after baby loss. I told her about my grief, told her no, it's not getting easier after 6 weeks. I told her that hearing about how extremely rare this is doesn't really make me feel any better. In fact, I think it makes me feel worse. I told her a lot of people who aren't good parents get to have healthy children. She agreed. She said life is unfair.
She said we should mention to the high-risk doctor that my cousin and his wife have also had a stillbirth. She said we shouldn't discount anything.
She seemed willing to learn.
I need to remind myself that no matter how much research I do, no matter how many people I talk to, no matter how many questions I ask, there are always going to be many aspects to this story that we don't understand.
And somehow I am going to have to learn to live with that.