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Monday, December 17, 2012

We are all Newtown CT....

Im not going to turn this into a political debate, I dont think now is the time nor do I think my blog is the place for politics (even though I am very politically involved), but I just wanted to say a few words on the tragedy that occurred on Friday in Newtown CT.

I think from the moment a parent gets the positive pregnancy test they begin to dream about their child...what the child will look like, what will their voice sound like, what type of personality they will have.  They also make plans for their child's future...even though there is no guarantee that the future will ever come to be.  Sometimes those futures are taken away in the blink of an eye and you find yourself completly in shock.

I remember the sound of my sobs when I was told Bristol was gone.  And I think that only a mother (no offense dads) can understand those they come from deep inside your body and you just cannot control them.  I was getting ready for work a few weeks ago when DH was watching TV in the bedroom....he was watching an episode of Rescue Me (I know its just a TV show but work with me on this one) and though I had no idea what was going on, when one of the ladies started sobbing I could tell that she had just lost her baby.  I asked DH what was going on and he said that she had just lost her son.

And then you have the grieving process....its a process.  You will never get past it and the pain will never go away, you just learn to make room for the pain as it becomes part of who you are.  You don't let it control you nor does it define you, but it is always there.

I wish there were some magic words that could take these families pain away, but they have to go through it...

Tonight when I go to sleep I will hold DH a little bit closer knowing that all we really have is today!!!

A prayer for the grieving....

Father, I pray for the town of Newtown CT and others in my circle of family and friends who are grieving...

They're hurting for many reasons, and I ask You to help them through this season of loss. I reach out to You, the Father of compassion and the Source of every comfort, asking You to touch them with Your unfailing love and kindness. Be their God who comforts them as they're going through their struggles, and bring them through the tough things ahead. Come alongside them in their pain, and strengthen them so they'll one day be able to help others who face the same struggles. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4; Psalm 33:22; 1 Samuel 20:14a)

You're close to people whose hearts are breaking, those who are discouraged and have given up hope. May You who see their troubles and grief respond when they cry out. (Psalm 34:18; 10:14a, 17)

When they're hurting, help them find their joy in You, for it's Your joy that will be their strength. Help them to trust You as their God of hope. Fill them with Your joy, peace, and hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Help them experience the love, joy, and peace that are the results of His life in them, no matter what they're going through. (Nehemiah 8:10b; Romans 15:13; Galatians 5:22)

May they sense Your presence in this hour of need. In Jesus' name, Amen.

**I am in no way trying to compare my loss to the losses these families face, I just want to offer my thoughts and prayers to victims and their families.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

From Pink to Purple to Blue....

So, the time has finally come for us to paint "the pink room."  

DH is a person who likes to have everything done way before it needs to be...he was never a boy scout but he pretty much lives by the motto, "always be prepared" when it comes to house renovations. So after we found out we were pregnant last time we went to Home Depot and picked out a few different paint colors for the nursery.  Since I am an enormous Winnie the Pooh fan we settled on 2 colors....Piglet Pink for a girl and Eeyore Blue for a boy.  So when we went to our 3D ultrasound in early January that time we found out that we were having a girl...on our way home from the ultrasound DH stopped at Home Depot and bought 2 gallons of Piglet Pink.  Within a few days the room was transformed from a brownish color office to bright Piglet pink nursery complete with valances and the saying, "Always kiss me goodnight" above the bed (I almost thought it was too pink, but I didnt want to tell him that.)  It was a room perfect for a princess.....but a room that she never got to see.  


When we got home from the hospital I kept that door closed for a long time, it just hurt too much to go in there.  It was beautiful and it broke my heart that she was gone and would never actually get to see that room.  We decided that, if we ever got pregnant again, we would keep a small square of the wall pink for Bristol, so that it could be "both" of their rooms.  

When we got pregnant this time we knew that we didnt have to worry about the color to paint it.  If the baby was a girl we would leave it the same, if it was a boy we would paint it Eeyore Blue.  So, when we learned we were having a boy we didnt even bother to look at colors, we knew what we wanted.  So, imagine our disappointment when we walked into Home Depot and they no longer made Eeyore Blue....if we wanted it we would have to find the exact color info online and then they would make it for us.  So, DH googled it and a few seconds later he had the color info...or so he thought.  We had them make the paint and, though it looked a little too purplish for us, we bought it and DH spent an afternoon turning the pink room into a blue room.....except that well, it wasnt was a really pretty shade of purple.  And of course, it was such a pretty shade we purchased 2 cans of the darn stuff!!!  

We decided that the purple just wasnt going to work, so a few days later DH went back to the Home Depot to buy an actual blue paint (one that matched the cute Winnie the Pooh valances we had ordered).  We were pleasantly surprised when they told him that he could return the unused can of purple paint.  And, just a day later we had a blue room.  

That night when I got home from work I was helping DH put up the boarder....and though this boarder was going up easier than the last one, this one was vinyl and it didn't bend like the paper one did.  About halfway through the boarder project I was staring at the opposite wall when it occurred to me that there wasn't a pink square...(Im sure this may seem a bit melodramatic but well, Im hormonal and still grieving) it felt like losing Bristol all over again.  I couldnt breathe and I just started sobbing uncontrollably...the wail of a mother who lost a child.  DH hugged me and asked what was wrong.  It took me a minute to calm down enough to tell him...he told me that he was going to do the pink square but he didnt have a way of making it look nice so he didnt.  Im sure thats probably 1/2 true...but I think part of him was worried that every time Id walk into the room Id get sad.  He told me we still had the pink paint and he'd paint it for me...but that wasnt the point.  I wanted it to be left from when we painted it for painting over the pink it felt like we were painting over her.  

**Im in no way trying to say that DH had anything but the best of intentions when painting the room, but it was hard for me.

I'm doing a little better now, its just so hard.  And I think having a nursery finished makes it even harder on me...if we lose this baby too then we are gonna have a blue room and no baby.  Maybe its just me, but I think losing the baby after the room is complete is harder...its a constant reminder that your baby didnt make it.  It's a beautiful room that I hope he will be able to see in a few months.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

28 Weeks...

This past Thursday was our 28 week appointment.  We had an ultrasound scheduled for 8:30am and the actual dr visit scheduled for 9:10am.  After both appointments I was going to take my glucose test. This was another milestone in the baby growing process as last time we never made it to the glucose test...we were going to take it after our appointment but at said appointment we were told that Bristol was gone and then there was no reason for the test.  We left that bottle of orange stuff on the lunch try when we walked out of the room on 2/25/12.

Thursday was going to be different though, I had checked the heartbeat in the morning and plus he was moving around like crazy so I wasn't worried.  Though I did have great pause when the us tech lead us to the room in which we were told Bristol was gone...I would have requested a different room but I was afraid Id look like a nut.  The ultrasound went well...lo is measuring a week ahead of where he should be and everything looked good.  Everything that is, except the amnionic fluid level. In a normal pregnancy the level should be between 5-25.  Mine was 28...a mild case of polyhydramnios.  Some of these cases are caused by gestational diabetes, some caused for unknown reasons, and some are due to congenital defects.  The us tech told us he was going to meet with the dr to go over the results of the us and then he would be right back (this is normal practice for them).  I thought I was going to die when, a few minutes later, the director of the maternal fetal medicine department (same dr that told us Bristol was gone and sat with us to explain what was going to happen) walked into our room.  This time was different though, she had a smile on her face and she told us that the baby looked good and that she just wanted me to get tested for gestational diabetes.  We told her that we were happy to see her under better circumstances.

The rest of our appointment went well and at 11am I was getting my blood drawn for my gestational diabetes test.  When I called the office back a few hours later they let me know that I had failed the test and they wanted me to do a 3 hour test to get a better picture of what was going on.  So tonight at 10:30pm I am no longer allowed to eat and tomorrow at 8am I will be back at the office for that test.

Im not as worried this time (not that I will actually breathe easy until this lo is in my arms) because he has been moving around like crazy, he is a healthy size, and so far everything is looking normal.  The us tech even took some 3D images for us....(the middle one is actually of me and my brothers new puppy, but my "bump" looks cute and doesnt everyone like puppies??)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

"You should be over it by now..."

Ok, Im going to go on a bit of a rant for a moment....

Yesterday I was told of a conversation that took place in which someone who is really close to my husband and I said that "They should be over it by now, after all I am."

 Now my rant will commence...ARE YOU KIDDING ME???  DH and I tried for 2.5 years to get pregnant....month after month we were met with devastation when AF arrived.  I charted my BBT every morning for over 2 years....we had timed intercourse....we both went through a madrid of tests and answered the most personal questions we have ever had to answer to doctors who were basically complete strangers....I took so many hormones that half the time I didnt know if I wanted to laugh or cry....we endured two failed IUI cycles....and number 3 involved a bunch of at home injections.  When the doctor called to tell us that we were pregnant we were so happy!!!  Over the moon would be the best way to describe it.  And even though I was scared beyond all measure, I started to make plans for our child....would she/he look more like DH or me?  When we found out our baby was a girl around 18 weeks at the 3D ultrasound place we just lost it.....we started to buy things for our daughter and make plans for her.  We picked out a color and a boarder to paint her room.  We even bought bedding and room decorations.  I came home from working one day and DH had her room painted and all set up.  I even bought a pair of PJ's that said Daddy's Princess.  We made plans...

And on January 19th 2012 when the NP walked in to our room and told us that, "there is something wrong with baby," our world came crashing down.  For the longest and most agonizing 5 weeks of our lives we endured test after test (all of which were done on me and some of them were quite painful) and asked every question possible to prepare our selves for raising a special needs daughter.  And NOTHING could have prepared us for February 23rd 2012 when the ultrasound tech said to us, "I am going to get the doctor, there is no heartbeat."  I just wanted to scream and run from the room but I couldn't.

The next 48 hours were the worst 48 hours of my life!!!  To have to give birth to our daughter that we had both wanted so badly knowing that she would not take her first breath...well, its a pain that I dont wish on anyone.  No parent should ever have to burry their child, even if that child was just 26 weeks.  DH and I were devastated!!!!!!!  And that pain, is not something you will ever get over.  A few days after we lost Bristol I read something that said, "The pain of losing a child is not something that will ever go away, you just learn to make room for the pain."  I think that pretty much sums it up....losing Bristol was the hardest thing I have ever been though and it has changed who I am at my core.

This holiday season I have mixed feelings....the holidays are hard for infertile couples who long to have families of their own.  Last holiday season we were dreaming of spending this holiday season with our Daughter.  On Thanksgiving while everyone was busying being happy I couldn't help but think that Bristol should be with us and it should be her first Thanksgiving.

I dare someone to say to me that I should be "over this" by now because I will let them have it.  Like I said, it has changed who I am at my core.  No, it does not define me.  Im not dwelling on my past.  The periods of sadness get further and further apart.  And I hardly cry any more.  I am able to look forward to new things and with each passing day I love Bristol's brother more and more.  With each kick I become even more attached.....and that scares me knowing that no time is ever guaranteed to us.  But I love stronger and deeper since Bristol and I am grateful for that.  And for the chance to spend the few short weeks I had with her.

To anyone who chooses to judge me and say, "I should be over it by now, " you can feel free to take a long walk off a short cliff.  Unless you have had to deal with infertility, a stillbirth, and been exactly in my shoes you have no right to say anything to me.  But for someone who had no problems getting pregnant and who has never had a loss of any kind to say that...well, that hurt worse than any other words that have ever been said to me.

"When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Is this your first???

I dont know what it is about pregnant being pregnant that makes strangers come up to me and ask when Im due, touch my stomach, and...the hardest question in the world, "Is this your first?"  I can handle the, "When are you due?" question...though I must admit the first few times it caught me off guard and I responded with, "When am I doing what?"  Now I can answer it and say March 2nd, but I stumble with my words and if people are paying attention I get some funny looks.....I mean Bristol was due May 31st and since I got so used to saying May 31st every time I was asked that question. plus March and May are the only two months that start with an M....well, you can see why I would stumble.  And the touch of the stomach....well, you'd better watch out cuz if you catch me off guard Ill smack you!!!  

But the hardest one of all is the question, "Is this your first?"  Now I realize that most people are just being polite or making small talk, but what is the socially acceptable answer???  If I just say, "No," then I get the follow up question, "How old are your other children?"  But if I were to say, "Yes," then Im ignoring my first child.  And that doesn't seem right.  Bristol is such a big part of who I am now, plus I love her more than I could even begin to explain....and to deny her very existence doesn't seem right.  Plus, I just cannot do it.  So I opt for the answer no one really wants to hear, "No, our daughter was stillborn at 26 weeks in February."  That pretty much shuts people up, but the ones who touch my heart are the ones who ask about her and then tell me they are praying for us.  I work in a retail store, and there are 2 customers who always ask about me when they are in.  The one lady was in the week before our 20 week ultrasound and purposefully came in the day after my appointment to see how it went.  She always tells me she is praying for us and that makes me feel better. 

Well, we go for our 28 week appointment next Thursday.  We are having an ultrasound done then too. Im hoping if everything looks good there that I will stop worrying but Im not kidding myself....Im gonna be worried about this little boy until the day I die.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Word Vomit

Somewhere within the 6 amazing seasons of Dawson's Creek, Joey goes off and starts bitching about everything that is annoying her.  At the end she apologizes for what she calls "word vomit" and says that once its out you can never get it back.  Well, Id like to apologies in advance for the word vomit that is about to ensue...

**Before reading on I'd like to warn you that below will contain references to God, bad things that pregnant women do, and a slew of things that are annoying me at this current moment....please no judging.

Ok, let my word vomit begin....

When going through the world of infertility and pregnancy loss it seems like everyone around you and their brother is pregnant.  I've always found it hard to not get really jealous or judgmental of these individuals.  She's too young, too poor, too this, or too that....DH and I would make the perfect parents why cant we have kids?  Well, I thought that would go away once we got pregnant....boy was I wrong!!!  My husband has a "friend" whom I've never really liked (though I prolly don't have any real reason as to why).  When we found out that they were pregnant (we'd almost been trying for a year) I started crying.  Hell, these people have gotten rid of two separate dogs and two cats because they cannot handle the responsibility and now they get to be parents before us?!?!?!?  When they had their shower I dodged it but DH still went (it was a co ed shower)...he told me that it was kinda sad because the only had a few people actually show up.  Somehow I was still jealous...I didn't want what they had, I just wanted us to have our own baby.  Fast forward through about 2 years and a bunch of drama to yesterday...DH tells me that they are expecting twins!!!  I don't even understand how that is even possible....not only do they get pregnant on their first month of tic, but apparently they are so fertile that they get twins naturally???  So they get to skip through life and these numerous pregnancies that appear to come very easy to them and here I am so terrified that something will go wrong with this baby that I cant even enjoy this pregnancy!!!

Then I saw an article in today's paper about a baby that was left on some couples porch wrapped in a paper bag with its umbilical cord still attached...some "mother" gave birth to that baby and then abandoned it!!!!  I know a ton of people who would give their left arm to deliver a healthy baby and this mom just abandons her baby???

And the other day I saw a lady who looked like she was 8-9 months pregnant and she was smoking!!!  Are you kidding me?!?!?!?  This lady should be thanking her lucky stars that she has made it this far but instead she doesnt care and is risking her babies health????

And then there is this guilt I feel....I know its wrong to feel jealous of other people, one of the commandments is "Thou shalt not covet your neighbors possessions..." (Or something like that) but I dont know how to let go of this craziness in my head some times....I just want to personally yell at all of these people!!!  They need to be grateful for what they have....for many people would give a lot just to have the chance to be in their shoes!!!

Ok, my word vomit is done for the day.....thank you for listening!!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A little late

Ok, Im sorry that I haven't written as much as I would have liked in the last 2 months.  DH and I have had a crazy time.

I dont know if I've mentioned this before, but I have a handicapped little sister.  When I say little I really mean that she is younger than me so I will always consider her little but in reality she is 21 years old, almost as tall as I am, and about 100lbs.  So not really little at all, but still.  Well, my parents are getting older so DH and I moved her in with us.  This was no small task as it required DH and his friend to finish my basement which has taken a long time and Im still finding construction related dust all over my house.  Anyway, that is the short version of why I've been so busy lately.

On October 11th DH and I went for our 20 week ultrasound (it was this time during our last pregnancy that we found out our Bristol had problems).  When the ultrasound tech said that the baby's cerebellum looked normal we started to cry.  And as the measurements came in and the baby was measuring at 20 weeks I cried even more.  And when she said that the umbilical cord was normal I cried even more.  I was carrying a healthy baby that was on the bigger side measuring in the 87% category.  It was measuring at 13oz's at 20 wks when Bristol was born at 26 wks she only weighed 14.8 oz's.  I was so happy.  However, I was completely unprepared for what she said next..."You are having a BOY."  I'm still trying to wrap my head around that...a BOY???  I dont know what to do with a boy.  I am not trying to sound ungrateful, the sex of the baby doesnt matter one bit to me, but I have no clue what to do with a boy.  I mean Im a girl and I've been helping to care for my little sister for the last 21 years.  I dont have a clue what to do with a boy!!!  My friend told me that it's going to pee all over...

It was funny, the NP that we met with told us not to worry about the 87% and before she could finish her statement DH and I were fearing that 87% was bad...but then she was talking about the pain of giving birth to a large baby.  If thats my biggest concern with this pregnancy I will be the luckiest woman in the world.  I had a dream the other night that I was chasing a large baby around the house and I couldnt find a diaper that would fit him and thus he kept peeing all over everything.  I woke up laughing...

Our next appointment is on November 8th....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

One Year Later

There is a famous quote from the book, A Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." and while I cant even tell you what the book is about (I was lucky enough to never have to read it for school), after the last year I can honestly say I completely understand what it means...

It was a year ago yesterday, September 22nd 2011, that I received a call from our RE's office letting me know that our 3rd IUI worked and I was pregnant.  I didn't believe it then and if you would have told me then what the next 12 months of my life was going to look like I would have told you that you were nuts!!!

But here I am 12 months later...I am a completely different person than I was 12 months ago.  The pain that I've been through is the worst kind of pain, and I don't think any mother should ever have to go through it, but somehow Ive come out on the other side a stronger and more compassionate person.  I've always had faith in God, but sometimes its hard when you don't know what his plan for you is.  And Ill be honest, the first week I was home from the hospital, when I was alone in the house I wailed on our punching bag and I screamed at Him.  I remember the deacon at the hospital telling us that its ok to be mad at God, we just couldn't close him out of our lives.  And, in a weird way, I find I have a stronger relationship with Him.

I've changed in other ways too (even though some of the changes I couldn't even begin to explain how they are related).  I don't listen to music as much...I used to switch between a talk raido station and my country music station, now its pretty much the Catholic channel on my way to work and the talk radio station on my way home.  I can't bring myself to use my wonderful pregnancy pillow that my husband bought me last time, Im too scared that it might bring me bad luck or that somehow it will jinx us.   Though all of my doctors have told me that 8oz of caffeine a day is ok, I have completely cut it out of my diet.  Im afraid to take hot baths even though (again) my docs have assured me that they are safe just so long as I don't allow myself to over heat.  I started eating salads (even though I cannot stand lettuce) but I had to give that up a few weeks ago when about 20 minutes after I finished eating a salad I threw it all up...vomiting lettuce is nasty!!!  Hell, even my standard Taco Bell order has changed...I used to love soft tacos and now I only like hard ones.

Anyway, we will officially be 18 weeks on Thursday.  Our 16 week appointment went well but they didn't do any ultrasounds like I was hoping they would.  I literally begged for one but they still didn't give me one.  They said everything seemed find and the heartbeat was normal.  Well, DUH....I monitor the heartbeat at least once a day.  We go back on 10/11/12 for the 20 week ultrasound where they will tell us the baby's sex and more importantly if it has any problems that they can see.  Im so scared for that day. I know the doctors believe that what happened last time was a fluke and that there is no reason to think it should happen again but Im still terrified.

I just pray every night that towards the end of February or the beginning of March that we are holding our healthy bundle of joy.  Until then every day I thank God for another day with this baby.

Friday, August 24, 2012

6 Months and Counting...

Well, today marks 6 months since Bristol left us.  6 months since I held her in my arms for the first and last time....I've been pretty emotional this week, but I think thats pretty understandable.  Yesterday, for the first time in months, I cried at work.  You know, I would think that this would get easier over time, but it doesn't (at least not to me), nope...I just learn to make room for the pain.

When I went back to work on April 9th I remember thinking how hard it was to see the ladies who were pregnant when I was.  How it wasn't fair that their babies were still with them but there I was empty and without my baby.  I got through those first few months by telling myself that once the end of May came, they would have their babies and then looking at them wouldn't be a constant reminder of my loss.  I was wrong though, even now looking at them is a constant reminder of our loss.  It makes me not want to look at these ladies much less talk to them, which is really hard because they are actually really great people.  They even had a conversation with another one of my coworkers about not wanting to make me uncomfortable when I came back to work.

I miss Bristol so much.  I have a lot of regrets for those two days...and Im gonna have to live with those forever.  These regrets might sound grotesque to someone who hasn't been in this position, but they will haunt me always.  I wish I would have taken more photos of her.  I wish I wouldn't have been so scared to touch her and look at her.  I wish I could have held her just a little bit longer.  I wish when I held her that I could have been stronger so that I wasn't so scared to touch her and look at her.  I was just so scared that I made so many mistakes....I just hope that Bristol understands my actions, or at least isn't mad at me for them and knows that I love her more than I could ever say.......

This week marks another milestone, this one a bit happier.....Thursday marked 13 weeks of pregnancy and thus the entrance into the second trimester.  When we went on August 15th baby was measuring at 11wks 5 days which is just where he/she should be.  I've been a lot more sick to my stomach lately, especially the last two mornings.  This morning it was so bad, and personally I think vomiting is the worst when there is nothing actually in your stomach to throw up, that I had the worst thought Ive ever had...sometimes being pregnant is really hard and not fun at all and I don't know why people do it.  Wow, the second that thought popped into my head I instantly regretted it...but how do I take back a thoughts???  What type of person does that make me????  DH and I have been ttc for over 3 years and our first baby was stillborn, and Im blessed enough to get pregnant again and now Im having this thought???  I should be grateful for every moment I have with this baby...Im going to go back to my mantra for the first 8 I am pregnant, I am going to enjoy it, tell my baby I love him/her, and thank God for every day I get with this baby...


Monday, August 13, 2012

Second Freak Out

A new week a new freak out.....

Well, I went to my second high risk appointment this past Friday.  I was scared because it was my first time going to U of M by myself.  I didn't know if I could handle actually being there alone and second (and perhaps a bit weirder) was that I have a crazy fear of parking decks (especially tight ones) and the parking deck at U of M is usually full and the only spots take an expert driver to be able to park in them.  But once I found a parking spot easily I was on my way.  I took the wrong elevators which actually put me right in front of the fetal diagnostic center (which is where we were told that Bristol was gone) and that made my eyes tear up.  Once I made it to the OB clinic, tt was actually pretty uneventful.  I met with the dr who did the quickest ultrasound ever.  We saw the baby (but she didn't do any measurements) and we saw the heartbeat (which was reassuring to me).  Then they sent me on my way.  Everything was going well until this past Saturday...thats when I started to have stomach pains.  They actually feel like gas pains (sorry if you don't want to hear this part) but they hurt and actually cause pain when Im sitting.  But how can I be sure its just gas pains???  What if its something else???  I ended up calling the triage department on Sunday to ask if they have any suggestions.  They told me I can take Gas X and then asked what I had to eat within the last 48 hours.  I told her what I had eaten (standard food for myself) and she laughed and told me that any one of the food groups has been known to cause gas in pregnant women, even stuff that doesn't normally cause gas.  The Gas X has helped a little bit but the pain is still there, thus Im still worried.  I had some random nightmare last night that didn't do anything to help ease my freak out.  Im pretty certain that every random ache or pain from below my boobs to the bottom of my lady bits is gonna freak me out until this baby is born and safely in my arms!!!  And then prolly till Im gone.....

Friday, August 3, 2012

The First Freak Out

Well, its been exactly 1 week since our last dr appointment and I can officially say that I started freaking out today.  I don't think it originally started out as me freaking out, but thats how it ended.  It started this morning at 3:30am when I woke up from a nightmare that Jason Voorhies was chasing we around with a machete and I was trying to kill him but nothing was working (yup, sometimes my love for scary movies bites me in the butt).  I couldn't fall back asleep cuz I was too creeped out so I logged on to FB.  I had received a nice message from a FB friend whose daughter died last month of DWS at 14 months old.  She was congratulating us on our pregnancy and then she said something about her and her husband going to meet with a genetic counselor to discuss the chances of having another baby with DWS.  Well, that didn't make sense to me cuz we were told that while DWS was a genetic problem, it is not something that is passed from parent to child, its actually a mutation in a gene that occurs sporadically shortly after conception.  I don't know why, but I just kept thinking what if it happens again???  What if it actually is passed from parent to child and I'm responsible for making my child sick and thus responsible for why she died???  What if this child has it too???  What if this baby dies too??? What if he/she is disabled???  I know what its like caring for a handicapped child as my youngest sister is severely impaired, but will I be a good enough mom and able to fight for my child???  Then I started thinking about the fact that I am already showing...what if I lose this baby too and then everyone knows that my body fails my babies???  What will people say then???  What will they think of me???  What will my husband say knowing that Im responsible for our babies deaths???  Needless to say my mind has not been my friend today.  All of these what if questions but no real answers...this waiting game is gonna drive me nuts!!!  I am officially 10 weeks 1 day today so that means that in a little under 10 more weeks we should have a much better picture of this baby and if he/she is healthy.  I think if I can make it that far without going completely nuts that will be a significant accomplishment!!!  I talked to DH about this and I feel better now.  I also talked to my bff who is a dr who also helped to put my fears at ease.  But then when one fear is put to ease another one always creeps up...why am I not as sick as I was last time???  I'm sure freaking out is normal, especially with the amount of hormones going through my body.....This is gonna be a long 9 months....I just pray at the end that we are holding our health baby in our arms!!!

I must say though, that I do have an amazing husband.  He told me that the song What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction makes him think of me...that made me cry...

You're insecure, Dont know what for,
You're turning heads when you walk through the door,
Don't need make-up,
To cover up,
Being the way that you are is enough,

Everyone else in the room can see it,
Everyone else but you,

Baby you light up my world like nobody else,
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed,
But when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell,
You don't know,
Oh oh,
You don't know you're beautiful,
If only you saw what I can see,
You'll understand why I want you so desperately,
Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe,
You don't know,
Oh oh,
You don't know you're beautiful,
Oh oh,
That's what makes you beautiful

Friday, July 27, 2012

"Rainbow Baby"

I just read the most amazing quote that I wanted to seems to really be appropriate for me today for two reasons.  First, we met with a high risk doctor in the maternal fetal department at U of M today who gave us a lot of hope for this pregnancy.  Second, on our way home from said appointment today the sky turned dark blue/green and it started pouring and hailing (I even have some hail damage to my car).

"A "Rainbow Baby" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm after you have experienced the loss of a child, stillbirth or miscarriage. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope. It is a term about the baby one has after the baby that dies. No matter the storm, when you trust God, there is always a rainbow waiting."

Anyway, our doctor appointment went well today.  The doctor said that he believes that all of Bristols problems were interconnected....basically that her fate was predetermined from basically 5 or 6 weeks of pregnancy.  The doctor wants us to have the first trimester screening on August 15th, another ultrasound around 14 weeks, another one around 17/18 weeks, and then another one around 20 weeks. He said by that point we will have a good idea how healthy the baby is growing. Today is 9 weeks 1 day, so hopefully in 10 weeks 6 days we can breathe a small sigh of relief.  I love this baby so much, but im not gonna feel 100% comfortable until he/she is safely in my arms!!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Graduation Day

“Congratulations! Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!You're off and away!” 

I thought graduation days were supposed to come with a renewed sense of pride or happiness.  You are starting on a new journey in your life, one that should be filled with excitement.  Well, today we "graduated" from the reproductive endocrinologist to the high risk OB department of U of M hospital.  Well I am happy about making it this far, and I am grateful for every moment I have with this baby, I am in no way going to kid myself that we are "safe" yet.  No, I think I lost that "innocence" if you will on January 19th of this year when the NP came in to the room and told us at 21 weeks that there was something wrong with our baby.  And I lost that innocence again at 26 weeks when we were told our baby no longer had a heart beat.  

My heart smiled today though, when at our ultrasound, we saw our baby and its arms and legs moving.  It was moving around in there and almost looked like it was waving to us.  Some how its only the size of an olive but it has arms and legs and the ability to move.  It has a heart rate of 163bpm.  The dr kept calling "it" a him today, though she did say that its too early to tell.  I have a feeling, that this baby is a boy.  

We go to our first appointment at the high risk OB department at U of M on Friday.  Im kinda nervous.  I have only been back there twice since we lost Bristol.  And this time it will be different because we are pregnant.  

When we were going through our IF problems it aways seemed like pregnant women were smug to me, like they think they are superior and that nothing else mattered since they were pregnant.  Now, I feel that they are smug in a different an almost naïveté way thinking that nothing could possibly go wrong with their pregnancy.  Oh to have that luxury, to think that nothing bad ever happens to pregnant people...that once you hit a certain point you are "safe."  Well, I know there is no safe time, and I will probably be worried till the moment I hold our baby in our arms.  And then probably until the day I mine, I love you!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

6.5 weeks

So we went yesterday (7/10) for our 6.5 week ultrasound and blood work.  I was happy to hear that my beta levels went up to 3781 from 540 just the week before.  My progesterone levels are good too (probably from the prometrium vaginal suppositories that I am taking twice a day, but whatever it takes).  The ultrasound was good  too, the baby is measuring 6 weeks 2 days (when I questioned that it should be 6 weeks 5 days she said that at this early stage just a mm can throw it off and not to worry).  Tomorrow I am officially 7 weeks.  We also got to hear the heart beat...a proud 125 bmp.  I cried.  We go back next Tuesday and then the following Tuesday.  My first appointment at with the fetal maternal medicine department at U of M is on July 27th at 9am.  I am hoping they will tell me how we are going to proceed with this pregnancy...I will be considered high risk but I don't know what that means as far as this pregnancy is concerned.  How often will they see me?  How often do I get ultrasounds???  I have a lot of questions...I just pray that this baby is healthy and that he/she makes it.  I love him/her already!!!

On a completely unrelated note, the people who just danced on So You Think You Can Dance were pretty good.  I can't stand the show...the one lady judge annoys me to no end, but there were some good dancers none the less.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Husbands Take

Ok, so my husband started a blog a few weeks ago and I wanted to share his first post with talks about what infertility and stillbirth is like from the eyes of a husband.  Reading this made me cry as I realized that my husband feels the same pain I do in just a different way...

"What can I say about what I am going to talk about on this blog.  I can say a lot about what me and my wife have been through, and I can say a lot about what we are going through.  But in order for you to understand all of that, you need to know a little bit about the beginning. 

My wife and I have been married for over six years.  She is in her early thirties, and I am in my late twenties.  She is the love of my life, and there is no one else I would rather be married to in the entire world.  She is beautiful, a dream that I had when I was younger come true in real life.  The start of our relationship was perfect, we met, we slowly fell in love after being great friends, and married on a beautiful summer day surrounded by our friends and family.  We first purchased a condo and then were lucky enough, even in this economy, to buy a beautiful house.  We have two dogs and a cat, a wonderful family, great friends, good jobs, and the ability to live comfortable.  We had achieved the American Dream, and now wanted to share that dream with someone else, a baby of our own. 

But although the beginning of this story sounds like something out of a romance novel, and it really was, most dreams that come true in real life have a nasty way of turning sour even if you try to stop them. 

After being married for a while, my wife and I took a bold move.  Well, I took the move per her direction, and one day tossed her birth control pills into the toilet in a proud declaration that we would soon be pregnant.  I mean, my parents told me that was how they did it, and by golly, that was how I was going to do it.  In my parents case (or so they say), after a fun romp in the living room, they were pregnant a few weeks later.  My wife and I had the fun part, but month after month, we learned that getting pregnant is not as easy as it seems. 

Heck, we all know how to get pregnant.  Most of us like the idea of trying to get pregnant (myself included), when we are ready.  Teenagers can get pregnant without even trying after a one night stand. But, despite our best efforts, and that first few months there were a lot of "efforts," nothing seemed to happen.  Pregnancy test after pregnancy test was only 1 line, or in cases where I wanted to be "a tech guy" the digital test said not pregnant.  Period after period would come, and we would just wait to see, wait for something that seemed like it would never come.

One year went by.  Friends who started trying to get pregnant only months before were succeeding where we had failed, and my ego was starting to stutter.  But more important than my ego, my wife was  changing her mood when the negative tests came from laughter and being positive, to tears and hopelessness. What was wrong, what was I doing wrong, would there ever be two lines on that test...

After the first year, we went to a doctor for me.  That was fun.  He did all sorts of fun stuff and asked me all sorts of questions.  Then came the tests...yea he asked me to fill a rather large container with a "sample" to test.  This was the first time in my life that I wondered why those damn cups were so big...I mean who to they think I am, a porn star?  Well, I did my best, and apparently did well because everything looked good.  I was thinking this would make my wife happy, but in our quest for answers, there were none, so she seemed even more hopeless. 

About six months later, she was due for a few doctor's appointments.  She went, got ultrasounds (the fun one's up the ho ha), blood tests, and a random assortment of other test, all of which told her she was fine. 

Six months later, we went to see a reproductive doctor.  By this point it had been almost two years since we started trying to get pregnant, and those friends I was telling you about, well they had beautiful children that were getting older by the day, and all we had was an empty room, and diminishing hope.  The reproductive doctor was fun, more tests, more talk, less answers.  We were told that we were fine, and that we should try "some procedures" to get pregnant.  Teenagers can do it with one night of pure passion, we needed "medical intervention," and boy, that does not feel good. 

So we decided together that we should try some of these procedures.  We went in for what they call an IUI, a fancy way of describing me providing another "sample," them cleaning it, and then "injecting" it into just the right spot, at just the right time of the month, after just the right does or cocktail of medicine, and then, hopefully, (after about $6,000 for those uninsured) you can get pregnant. 

So what happened after that?  Well, we only got one line on the pregnancy test that month.  All the hope that came from the possibility of a new baby dwindled away with just a few drops of yellow liquid and a silly pink line.  Tears, sadness, hopelessness. 

As a side note I have often wondered if the people who work in production facilities that make pregnancy tests think about what those tests will do to people.  It's not their fault, and our reaction is not really the most adverse that could be had, however, I can only assume that the few ounces of molded plastic, cotton, and other materials that make up a pregnancy test are not thought of, generally, as life changing.  But think about it, that teenager we talked about, a couple who is surprised, a couple waiting for the news, or someone like me and my wife, learning the fate of a "procedure" that could have changed our lives.  That is some powerful stuff. 

Anyway, my wife cried that day.  She sobbed actually, and me, I don't really cry anymore, but I felt powerless.  I almost wished that someone was breaking in the house making her cry, or stealing her purse, I could do something then, I could be a man for her.  But what do you do when you have "good health" and she has "good health" and everything should be fine, but it isn't?  What do you do when you can't buy her what she wants, can't take away her pain with words or talking?  You suffer in silence, you try to console her, but nothing seems to ever work.  Stress build, and you have nothing to do but wait.

Twice more we went through this, but the last time, something changed.  I was at McDonalds that day in between jobs, I do IT work, and she called to tell me the results of her bloodwork after the last ultrasound--she was crying, but this time they were tears of joy, I couldn't tell by the tears, but she was pregnant. 

So, everything seemed great, we finally were able to breath a sign of relief. 

It was short lived.

The first time we realized that we were going to worry about this pregnancy, was a few weeks after we found out about it.  Things were going well, the reproductive doc said we were doing well, and despite a few "off to the races scares" everything looked promising. 

She went to her first appointment at a real GYNO, and we were told "at this point you have a 95% chance of taking home a beautiful baby."  That sounded promising, but my wife just didn't feel right...she had a bad feeling, and I thought she was crazy.  However, we worried every day after that. 

At about 18 weeks we could not wait any longer to find out what we were having.  One Saturday night we got a 3D ultrasound and found it we were having a girl (I wanted a boy at the time).  We celebrated and were once again positive that everything was fine, we smiled, we laughed, we cried, we didn't notice something important. 

The ultrasound tech, who by the way can't say anything medical about the baby, had a look on her face that wasn't quite right.  We were seeing a beautiful baby girl, moving around, with two arms, two legs, and everything perfect, she was seeing something else.

We never heard a word from her, and when I told my wife about the look I thought I saw, she fluffed it off.  Nothing could be wrong, Bristol Grace was beautiful. 

Then a few weeks later on a cold winter morning, we went to our 20 week ultrasound. 

Nothing in my life could have prepared me for when the doctor came into the room and said "well...there is something wrong with the baby." 

My wife, who seconds before that moment was talking to me about how she was worried, started to cry.  I had a blank, helpless stare on my face, and a feeling of helplessness again. 

We raced to another speciality hospital, hoping it was all a mistake.  They looked at my wife for hours and did a crazy was not a mistake, our baby was in serious condition.  Would she die? Should we abort the pregnancy?  They didn't know, it was our decision. 

We decided to continue, we loved her, we knew we had to try. 

We went back for test after test, week after week, and everything seemed OK...The Dr's were concerned, but not worried, at least not yet.

Then at about 26 weeks something weird happened...My wife didn't feel Bristol kicking for a day...she was so small, maybe it was just a fluke...and anyway, the next day we were going to the doctor for another scan...we would know more then. 

I only felt Bristol kick one time, which I am so thankful for, but my wife felt her every day, it was a reassurance she was still there, and she didn't fell her for one whole day...was she OK?  She had to be...

It was another cold morning, it didn't seem special.  There were no signs, there were no warnings.  It felt like any other day.  I wonder if all of the days that define us as people, really change us forever feel that way, but this one did, if felt standard.

We got to the hospital, my wife sat in the chair, and the ultrasound started.  Where we once say life, a beautiful baby girl, we only saw lifelessness.  There was no movement.  The tech spent about 5 minutes moving around and then told us what we already knew, she had to get the doctor, "she was sorry but there was no heartbeat..."  My wife cried, I was helpless again.  I though I was going through something rough, but I was selfish in my thoughts.  My wife was sitting there, our baby passed away inside her, and then she was told "we have to deliver you."  Or in the reality of the situation "you have to go through pain that no one should ever have to go through, and at the end, you will get nothing."

She felt like she failed the baby, I felt like I failed her, and three days later when it was all over, we felt empty, me less literally, but still empty. 

The pink room, the beautiful furniture, all useless, all for nothing...

It has been almost four months, and still, I will never forget holding my baby, having her baptized, and then leaving her, only to get her back in a different form, ashes of an angel. 

This blog is my take on everything that happens from this point on.  I want to talk about how I feel as we move forward, what is happening, what trials, tribulations, happiness, sadness and happiness we meet going forward

I want to tell the world that it is OK for fathers to have a voice, it is OK to be sad, OK to cry, and OK to feel helpless.  The truth is that we father's are not helpless, we can be there for our wives, and although it does not seem like it at first, it does not even seem like it to me now, I know deep in my soul that there is a reason for all of this, and that my wife and I will be closer at the end. 

We were going to try to start procedures again this month, we had the green light.

We hit a snag, a positive one though.  My wife and I who waited three years, went through procedure after procedure and still had only one line on the pregnancy test were given a miracle...

She is pregnant (the old fashion way). 

Tomorrow....we find out if everything is going well...

Sadness, fear, happiness, they are all wrestling with each other inside my brain...

Tomorrow, I hope happiness can win this battle, and in the future, this war...only time, blood work, and an ultrasound will tell..."

5.5 weeks.....

I know its been a while since I have written...honestly I still feel like Im in shock at this whole thing and I don't know what to say, let alone think.  We went to the RE's office last Monday and my levels were looking good.  By beta was up to 540 and we saw both the yolk sac and the gestational sac and the RE said they measured about 5.5 weeks.  I go back tomorrow morning for another ultrasound and more blood work.  I am praying that my numbers keep going up and that this baby sticks...I have found a prayer that I say as often as I can...

"This life you have given us is so tiny, fragile, and vulnerable, safe in the womb of flesh and hope, yet subject to danger and death. O God of love, creator of life, hear our prayer.  We want this baby so much.  Please grant this child of ours a full term of nurture, the joy and mystery of life, and the blessing of your love.  Grant us the fulfillment of our dreams, a baby to cherish and protect, a child to teach and to guide, a blessing to our family. Amen."

I am scared to get too excited but I already love this baby more than I can explain.  I am taking my Heparin injections twice a day (though I will admit its hard to give them to myself), taking my progesterone pills twice a day, and taking my prenatal pills and extra folic acid.  My dr said caffeine is ok but Im not having any of that either.  I even started eating salads (which I never liked in all my 31 years) and while I must admit Im still not a super huge fan I will do anything for this baby!!!  I am praying that the next 33 weeks go smoothly and then that the next 80 years of our babies life goes smoothly. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Feather's Story

"Last Thursday, June 21st was DH's 29th birthday.  We woke up early so that we could go get his drivers license renewed.  I woke up with terrible cramps and AF in full force.  I called my doctors office to let them know that AF had showed up marking the 21st as Day One of this cycle, what was to be our 4th IUI.  When I spoke with my nurse she told me to come in the next day for blood work and an ultrasound.  So DH and I went on about our day.

We got to the secretary of states office about 30 minutes after they opened.  We took a number, we were number 29...they were on number was sure to be a long day.  We sat there talking and playing on our phones.  We decided that after we left we were going to go to the scooter store so DH could look at scooters.  After about 20 minutes they finally called number 29.

On our way to the scooter shop we were passing a Chrysler dealership and we stopped and pulled in.  Long story short, we fell in love with a 2012 Dodge Journey and we bought it.  As we left DH said to me, "Well, now you have your SUV is there anything else I can get you?"  To which I replied, "Well, the only other thing I want I have to get at the RE's office so hopefully we will get that next month."  On the way home we stopped at the gas station (apparently only Ford now delivers cars with a full tank of gas) and, after a day of rain and sun, I looked at the sky and there was a double rainbow.

" When feathers appear, angels are near."

I woke up at 5am on the 22nd cuz I had to be at the RE's office between 6:30am-7:30am.  I got up and got ready.  Just before I left I took the dogs outside.  Sitting on the railing of our deck was a perfect feather.  It completely took me for surprise, we don't normally see feathers let alone one set so perfectly that it looked like it was put there just for me.  I honestly believe that it was Bristol telling me that its ok to start TTC again and that she will be with us.  I don't think I have ever been so hopeful or felt such at peace since Bristol died as I did at that moment.  I cried all the way to the RE's office...

So I get to the RE's office and I sit and wait for a few minutes.  They call me back for blood work and then they send me into a room for the wand ultrasound.  **Side note, am I the only one who feels the need to tuck my underwear into my pants so that the DR doesn't see them???  And why does it even matter, especially when she's about to have an up close look at my lady bits???  The ultrasound went fine and the DR said that everything looked good, that I had a corpus leutium on my right ovary and that is where I ovulated from last month, and that I have a beautiful uterus.  I just think its funny when she compliments my uterus.  She told me that they'd call me in a few hours with the results of my blood work and what dosage to start with at the Follitism.

A few hours later I got a message from the nurse at the RE's office asking me to call her back.  So I called her back and left her a message and we played phone tag for about half an hour.  When I finally got to talk to her this is what she said, "Well your progesterone was elevated to 6 so we ran a beta test and your beta is are pregnant."  I said, "What???  I don't understand.  I started my period yesterday.  Im still bleeding and having cramps." She said, "Well, is it possible you could be pregnant?"  I said, "No, I don't think so.  Im on my period and we need a DR to get pregnant."  Finally she asks, "Well, did you have sex at all this month?"  To which I replied, yes...we had sex a lot, especially around the time of ovulation.  She said that they wanted me to come back on Sunday for more blood work.  I hung up with her and my head was spinning.  I had no idea what to say, do, or think.  I called DH (luckily he was able to answer) to which I said, "You will never in a million billon years guess what the RE's office just told me."  (apparently I underestimated his ability to guess) He said, "You are pregnant."

We went back to the RE's office on Sunday for additional blood work.  My beta went up to 36.97.  I also started Heparin injections twice a day on Sunday.  When I went back on Tuesday for blood work my beta had increased to 56.  Beta levels are supposed to double every 48-72 hours.  Mine appear to be doubling about every 72 hours (thats what they did last time too).  I go back on Monday for another ultrasound and blood work.  Im praying my number go way up as they are kinda low right now.  Im trying my hardest not to worry but Id be lying if I said I wasn't terrified of a miscarriage, a chemical pregnancy, and an ectopic pregnancy.

I am trying to be positive this time and I start everyday by saying, "Today I am pregnant and I am going to enjoy every moment I have with my little one."