It turns out that the State of Texas instituted advanced metabolic screening on all infants this past January. If I heard the doctor correctly, it actually went into effect on January 3, which would mean that Lennox and Zoë were among the first to benefit from it. It also means that the doctor didn’t have to go to the lengths he thought he might to try to get Zoë’s blood sample tested for some of the rarer conditions that might have caused her sudden acidosis.
As it turns out, she tested negative for those 25 additional conditions. The cause of death remains, and always will be, extreme prematurity. We’ll never have an explanation for how a little girl who had amazed everyone with how well she was doing, with how many hurdles she cleared suddenly just stops. If you ever wondered why the fund raising is so important to me, why I push so hard for money to be donated to the memorial fund or to the March of Dimes, that’s why. The not knowing. Someday, in some research program, someone will find out what happened and while it won’t help me, it means some other mother will get an answer and will know why on the same day she cheered to hear that her preemie gained that coveted second pound AND got moved to the less critical care room her sweet, beautiful, funny three week old’s heart just suddenly stopped.
So. That’s it. Our final answer. There is some comfort in knowing that it wasn’t something genetic. It was a crap set of circumstances that we could not have predicted or prevented. Some comfort. If we try again and if I get pregnant again, I don’t know how much fear that knowledge will alleviate. Lightening does strike the same place twice, you know. The odds may be against it, but it happens.
But, now we are done with the hospital and the doctors. Almost exactly one week past my due date, I’ve finally deleted the phone numbers for the neonatologist and the NICU from my phone. Another door closes.