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Friday, March 30, 2012

Even Shopping Makes Me Sad.....

I needed to buy some new clothes before going back to work on the 9th, and so husband and I went shopping this past weekend.  Wow, let me tell you how much that sucked!!!  I hated every minute of it and didn't even buy anything (which is practically unheard of for me).  It wasn't anything that husband said or did, its just that I should be shopping at the maternity store.  I'm not supposed to be buying normal clothes yet.  And then, there is my body, which for the most part has gone back to its original size (I'm about at the same weight, which I will admit is still over weight but oh well) but my stomach is bigger cuz it got stretched out.  I don't think I've ever hated clothes shopping more than I did that day.  I felt like I didn't belong any where.  Plus, I don't even know where to shop any way.  I mean Im too big for Abercrombie and the old lady clothes in the petite section at Macy's are so not my style.  Plus, since money doesn't actually grow on trees, its not like I can just go and blow $300 on a super cute pair of jeans.  Yet another reason why I miss being pregnant....I didn't have to think about where to shop (not to sound stupid, but this made me cry) I would just got to one of the maternity stores and buy what looked cute.  Also, let me tell you how much I HATE buying jeans.  I need the ones that are short (cuz Im only about 5'2) and they are hard to come by.  The ones that fit my hips are normally 6 inches too long and the ones that are the right length are normally the opposite of low rise and go half way up my stomach.  And, since I like the flared jeans, even if I bought the ones that were 6 inches too long and had them hemmed the only part that would be cut off would be the flare and then Id just look stupid!!!   But, what do you know, the second that I needed maternity jeans we went to the nearest maternity store and the first pair of jeans I tried on fit perfectly.  Anyway... I went to Kohl's today because I have had luck there in the past and bought 2 pairs of jeans and a cute shirt.  I didn't cry this time while trying on clothes.  I didn't even cry when I returned the Coach diaper bag that I bought a few months ago.  Nope, I made it almost all the way home when (in a stroke of pure genius on my part) I decided it would be a good idea to change the radio from talk news to country music.  And what should be playing....nothing but Butterfly Kisses.  Yup, that sent me into tears instantly.  But hey, at least this time it wasn't the mail that made me cry!!  Now I just need the warm weather to come back.....

**Random Story**
About a year ago, after some long shopping days with my husband that consisted of me going to a bunch of stores and trying almost every pair of jeans they had in stock on, he had a brilliant idea......why don't I try on the jeans from the girls department at Kohls.  Well, I thought it was nuts but I decided to humor him. I never would have guessed that a girls size 16.5 would fit me :)  I just have to take out the elastic sizing thing inside the pants cuz its annoying. PS~a girls 16.5 is about equal to a ladies 11 or 12 :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The View from the top..

"Ok, its not really the top so much as the view from the upstairs bathroom window at my parents house but still....

I remember a time many years ago when my best friend and I (Alyssa, the doctor friend previously mentioned) were at my parents house (I think we were 18 and in our senior year of high school).  We were sitting in my room talking about our up coming tests and boys.  She had some crazy math test in a few days that she was stressing out over and I was upset cuz Id just had, yet another, fight with my boyfriend.  We talked for hours about how we couldn't wait to grow up because then our lives would be simpler with no where near the problems we were currently facing.  Wow were we WRONG!!!

We went into the upstairs bathroom at my parents house, took out the screen, and went and sat on the roof to smoke (because clearly my parents had NO idea what we were doing).  We talked for a long time about our dreams that day.  She wanted to be a doctor and, though I had no idea what I wanted to be, I knew I wanted to be married to a wonderful man with a few kids.  I just kept thinking that, at that moment, if we could know how things would all work out that it would be ok and we would make it happily through our senior year.

I remember the two of us talking about the view from my parents roof.  How the grey squirrel and the black squirrel were chasing each other.  How the tall trees just seemed to go high into the sky.  How my one neighbor had a trampoline that we wanted to jump on.  How there were way too many leaves that had fallen and that my parents really needed to hire a company to rake them up cuz there was no way in the world Id be picking them up.....

Well, I was at my parents house today to drop off a fabulous meal that I had made the day before and I wanted my parents to try it out.  While I was there I had to use the bathroom.  So I went upstairs and did my business.  Before I left I stood at the window and looked out....the view hadn't changed much over the years.  The houses looked the same.  The trees looked the same.  Yea, the neighbors trampoline was still there too (though now Id fear jumping on it for I don't want to break a leg).  I just couldn't help but think that while the view was the same so many things had changed for us.  Alyssa is a doctor now and Im married to the man of my dreams.....but we are not the same people we were back then.  And the problems then that seemed so large now seemed pretty small...

"Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


You know, its weird.  I've been waiting for my period to start ever since this mess started.  Once I get my period then we can start trying at home (without the help of our fertility doctor).  A new beginning of sorts...I was almost looking forward to it (which is weird, cuz for the last almost 3 years I prayed it wouldn't come).  So I've been eagerly awaiting it and then today, when it shows up, I can't stop crying.  I wasn't expecting to be so sad...I guess it just is another reminder that my baby is really gone and that the process of trying again has started.  

Forgive me for saying this, but I am not looking forward to the process of ttc again.  Its like a big grieving circle for infertile couples.  You start your period and you are sad because this cycle has failed and you are not pregnant.  By the time your period is over you have started to feel a little better and are not as sad.  You track your cycle and start to have hope that this cycle could be the one.  You take your temperature every day, use OPK's, and have scheduled sex every other day (after which you lay in bed with your legs up in the air for an hour). Your hopes get up even further.  Your temperature starts to rise as does your hope.  And then BAM, one day you wake up with killer cramps and your period has started.  The grieving starts all over again.  

Last year about this time I was having a conversation with my mom who was reading a book by Laura Bush.  She told me that they had suffered from infertility too and that she talks about it in her book.  The quote below is from her book and I think it speaks volumes as I journey back into the world of infertility and TTC...

"George and I had hoped that I would be pregnant by the end of his congressional run. Then we hoped it would be by the time his father announced his presidential run, then by the presidential primaries, the convention, the general election. But each milestone came and went. The calendar advanced, and there was no baby. The English language lacks the words “to mourn anĂ‚ absence.” For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful, some not. Still, we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only “I am sorry for your loss.” But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture the particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent, ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?"

**Funny side note:  I sent my husband a text telling him that my period had started (he likes to know these things).  We discussed that I shouldn't use tampons this cycle (even though the dr said it was ok).  I told him that I didn't have any but I was gonna go to the store after dinner.  He then told me that he had some at work...they were given to him for me at the hospital but we accidentally left them in the car and then I already had some.  He didn't know if I was going to eventually need them so he didn't want to throw them away but he also didn't want to bring them in the house cuz he didn't want to upset me.  So, he took them into work and put them in his desk.  Now, in the midst of my tears mentioned above this made me laugh.  To envision my husband take a bag of pads from the hospital and put them in his desk at work....mind you he works with 3 guys and one girl.  Yup, the picture is still making me smile.  I <3 you sweets!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

On My Own

Wednesday was Brian's first day back at work.  I set my alarm early and got up and made him a coffee for him to take.  Then I crawled back in to bed and held him close.  I didn't want to let him go.  It was a weird feeling, I was afraid he wasn't going to come back.  I watched as he got dressed and tried to hide my tears from was going to be a long day without him.  I walked him downstairs and held him tight before he left.  Then I watched from the window as he drove off.  I went back to bed, turned on an episode of Law and Order SVU and cried myself back to sleep.

I woke up about 10:30am when the phone rang.  It was Brian.  He was on his way to a clients house and he was calling to see how I was doing.  He was super sweet.  He was really worried about me being home alone after everything that happened so I think he called me every chance he got.  He called me again about 11:30am, again about 1:30pm, again about 3:30pm, again around 5:30pm, and then on his way home at 6pm.  I don't think Ive ever talked to my husband on a work day that much.  I think that was the first time I smiled in almost a week...when he called me the last time and told me he loved me.  

I felt terrible for him that he works in a small business where everyone else there has a kid under the age of 2.  It must have been really hard for him to walk into the office where everyone has baby pictures on their desk.  And Im sure that at lunch thats what everyone talks about (which is understandable but has to be really hard for my husband).  He's an amazing man though, he has been going through that for years and he doesn't talk about it much at home cuz he knows how hard it would be for me to hear...that must be a tough burden to bear on his own.  

Speaking of work, I think I should digress for a moment.  I would like to say that my employer and my coworkers have been super amazing.  The day after we got home from the hospital we had a meeting that everyone was required to be at...about 5 minutes after the meeting was over I got a text message from my boss, it was a video message from the entire staff saying, "We love you." to me.  Yup, it made me cry.  And then the next day I got another text from my boss asking me what I would like them to say to the staff members who ask questions about what happened to me.  I told him that he could tell them the truth, that our daughter was stillborn.  He called me almost right away because he wanted to talk to me, but I let it go to voicemail.  He left me the voicemail almost a month ago and I still have it saved on my phone because it really made me feel like a lot of people cared.  In the voicemail his voice is shaking and you can tell he is upset.  He says that he doesn't know what to say but he is really sad for us.  He said that a lot of people care and wish they could give us a big hug.  He also said that he wished he could give us a big hug too.  He ended it by saying that I could call him at any time if I ever needed to talk.  I called him back a while later.  I think we talked for about 20 minutes...I don't think I've ever cried while on the phone with my boss before.  I told him everything that had happened and about how we got to hold her and that we had her baptized.  He asked me if we had a name for her and I told her we did.  We cried together for a few minutes.  I feel really blessed to work for a company that really cares about its employees.  

I spent most of that first Wednesday in bed.  I think it wasn't till Brian's call at 5:30pm that I was finally out of bed.  When he came home from work that day he had purchased a new light for our kitchen (something he'd wanted to do for a while).  He was excited but I was skeptical...the light looked really nice and would match our other ones but what he said would be a "30 minute project" usually turned into at least an hour....we always encounter some random problem that should exist but it does.  I told him I was timing him this time and I wasn't helping cuz that would be cheating.  I set the timer and then I watched.  It only ended up taking about 34 minutes...and then we had a good laugh.  Yup, guys grieve different than women.  But the light looks nice.

I started doing a lot of reading the day we got home from the hospital.  I've read Heaven is for Real, Tender Fingerprints, Ill Hold You in Heaven, and Grieving the Child I Never Knew.  They are all religious type books and they have helped me a lot.  Though I must admit, sometimes I am mad at God.  But Im working through it...and I felt a lot better once the deacon at the hospital told me it was ok to be mad at Him.  I try to pray but sometimes its harder than others, though I think God understands.  The prayer that I found in the book, Grieving the Child I never Knew has been the closest to home...

"God, my arms are empty.  I have nothing to show for my loss and it seems so unfair.  I didn't expect things to turn out this way.  You could have saved my child but you didn't.  You are the One who understands and sees the big picture, even if I don't.  Please take my cup of suffering and walk with me through my pain.  Wrap your arms of understanding and comfort around me.  Fill my empty arms with Your hope and salvation.  Amen."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Our New Life

The first week home from the hospital was the worst week of my entire life!!!  My lady bits hurt, my hormones were all over the place, I still looked pregnant, and the worst part of all was that I had phantom movements....false feelings that Bristol was still moving inside of me.  I didn't want to get out of bed....and I don't think I did for that long.  I just wanted to cry...and cry I did.

Brian had a friend over that Sunday.  They played video games and then decided they were going to install an 8 camera security camera system in our house (which is his way of coping...improving our house).  They worked on the camera system for a while but it ended up being too time consuming with the craziness of our house.  Next time we will be buying a wireless system.  :)

We watched the first Lord of the Rings movie that night.  To be honest, I really didn't want to watch it but Brian wanted to so I did it.  I remember watching it but not really "watching" it.  I mean I was there physically and my eyes were staring at the screen and every so often Id have a question to ask about what was happening...but I really wasn't watching it.  I just remember staring at the screen and wishing I could just crawl back into bed and cry some more.  Before I knew it, the movie was over.

We didn't do much Monday or Tuesday.  We slept a lot and ate a bunch of the junk food that we bought on Saturday.  I felt like a zombie just going through the motions.  On Tuesday night we were invited over to a friends house for dinner.  I went upstairs to get dressed before we left and I put on a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans...just putting on the jeans made me cry cuz I had still wear maternity jeans.  When I came down stairs my husband and I had a disagreement regarding my clothes.  He would normally never say anything but he wanted me to dress up a bit more.  It sucked cuz the only things that I could fit in, besides the sweatshirts were maternity clothes.  That was really hard....I don't think I've ever cried while getting dressed before!!!

They took their 3 year old son over to a babysitters house cuz they knew it would be hard for us to be around small children.  I was very thankful for that...I've found it really hard to be around pregnant women, babies and small children since we were going through our infertility journey and few people have taken our thoughts into consideration.  Dinner was really nice and it felt good to be around caring friends.  I cried a few times but I laughed a few times too.  By the time we left, I was feeling a little bit better...a little bit more normal.

Brian had to go back to work on Wednesday, so I was gonna be on my own the next day.......

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Im Still Weird.....

I wrote before about infertility turning me into a nut...I think I have become even more nutty since we lost Bristol.  I've noticed I cry a lot more...which is normal (whatever normal means anyway), but now I cry at totally random times that I would never expect to cry.  When I walked into Meijer for the first time and there was a big bulk stack of diapers in the middle of the cleaning isle....when I went to grab carry our for dinner one night cuz the place that I was going to was right next to my work and the last time I was there was when I was pregnant...when the weather got warmer and I kept thinking that our daughter was supposed to be born once it got warm out...and when I go to my mail box and find advertisements for baby stuff.  So yesterday, I went to check the mail and our new neighbor (that I have not met yet) was walking to her box (which is right next to mine).  I opened my box and grabbed the mail.  As I stood there going through it I saw an advertisement for a baby store and one for a cord blood banking service....I started to cry.  What I way to meet my new neighbors, huh???  Luckily I don't think she noticed.  Then today...I thought I was safe when it was just a bunch of advertisements to make me cry.  Then I saw it...a card from my OB's office (the first office, not the high risk one, and they knew Bristol was born with wings cuz the NP had called me to see how I was doing and I told her what had happened).  I opened it up and there was a nice letter from the NP and it was signed by her and the doctors.  There was also a beautiful charm with two small babies feet and the following poem...

An Angel never dies!

Don't let them say i was never born,
that something stopped my heart,
i felt each tender squeeze you gave,
i loved you from the start,
although my body you can't hold,
it doesnt mean im gone,
this world was worthy not of me,
God chose that i move on,
i know the pain that drowns your soul,
what you are forced to face,
you have my word, i'll fill your arms,
someday we will embrace,
you'll hear that it was 'meant to be,
God doesn't make mistakes, '
but that wont soften your worst blow,
or make your heart not ache,
i'm watching over all you do,
believe me when i say to you,
that i am always there,
there will come a time i promise you,
when you will hold my hand,
stroke my face, and kiss my lips,
and you'll understand,
although i've never breathed your air,
or gazed into your eyes,
that doens't mean i never 'was, '
An Angel never dies! ! ! 
Emma Jane Rae
Yup...I cried when I got the mail today too!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Our New Reality

"There isn't a word or a sentence in the English language that can take away the kind of pain that they are dealing with..."

As we pulled away from the hospital the normal-ness of the day struck me, it seemed like a standard Saturday evening.  We were in a college town and everywhere I looked there were people out on the town.  I just didn't understand how everyone could be out enjoying their day when my life felt like it was crumbling down around me.

Our first stop after leaving the hospital was to the pet store (yes, I know a pet store is not a place to buy a dog, but we were desperate).  We looked all around and held a bunch of cute puppies.  Now, had it been up to my husband we would have come home with at least one new puppy.  I however, just wanted to get home, hug my puppies (who had now been home without much supervision or someone to give them love for about 72 hours), take a shower, and crawl into my bed with Brian and sob.  We decided it would be best to wait a little while before buying another dog.

Our second stop was to Meijer (a grocery store).  We needed to buy a few things and figured some junk food might help.  I was still in a lot of pain and having trouble walking so Brian decided that I needed to use one of those motorized scooters that they have available for customers to use.  Well, I hadn't ever driven one of those things before and it took some getting used to.  I think I almost crashed about 4 times.  We must have looked like a strange couple could tell we had both been crying and hadn't slept much and every minute or two something new would elicit a crying response from me.  We ended up buying mint Oreos (my choice), white cheddar cheese popcorn (my choice), fig nutons (Brian's choice), Ritz Crackers the reduced fat kind (Brian's choice) with spray cheese in a can, and about $100 dollars in additional junk food.  Ohh, and we also had to buy the Lord of the Rings trilogy on blue ray (Brian's choice).  We also stopped and bought McDonalds on the way home for dinner.

On the rest of the way home we talked...Brian told me that he wanted me to remember that her room was still there, still decorated in pink with everything that we had already bought for her waiting there in anxious anticipation of the day we would finally bring her home.  He had closed the door when he had been home earlier that day and he also told me that we didn't have to open that door until I was ready to. I think that was when it hit me....this beautiful baby that we had been praying and hoping and wish for would never see her room that we had been working so hard on for so many months.  The crying started again...

When we finally got home that evening and I walked in the door the first thing that I noticed was that my house looked exactly how I left it about 72 hours earlier.  It felt strange because our world had been turned upside down but everything else around us continued on as if nothing had even happened.  I went downstairs to get my dogs...I don't think I have ever been so happy to see them before.  They licked me and loved me up....I do love our dogs.

After a few phones calls to our parents to let them know we made it home ok, we sat down to eat our dinner.  It was almost like any other night, we sat each at our normal seat and turned on the tv to watch Kitchen Nightmares.  We only watched for a few minutes though, as soon as we were done eating we went to bed.  We were both so tired that I think we were asleep within a few minutes.....

You know its weird....the entire time we were in the hospital I just kept praying that it would all be over soon so we could go home.  I desperately wanted to go back home to my own house with my own bed...but once we got home it hit me, this is our new reality.  We are not pregnant any more.  Our baby was gone.  We are going to have to start all over again...more blood draws, more tests, more 6am dr appointments before work, more getting my hopes up if my period is even 5 minutes late and then more crying when my period shows up a few days late.  I thought we were past this.  I thought we were finally going to be a family with a mommy, daddy, and baby...Wow, was I wrong.  At that moment, all I wanted to do was be back in that hospital room where I didn't have to face the reality of the situation.  I HATE MY NEW LIFE!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Final Decent.....

About 6am on the 24th of February I started to have some serious period style cramps.  When the nurse came in to check on me and take my vitals I told her I was in a lot of pain. About that time my husband woke up.  The nurse said that she was gonna send the doctor in to check on me.  I don't know how long it took but the next thing I remember a weird feeling in my lady bits that felt like a tampon just slipped out.  I couldn't move but said, "Uhh, something is happening."  All of a sudden there was a ton of people in our room.  Brian was standing on one side of me and Alyssa on the other...they were both holding my hands.

The doctor took a look at me and said it was time to start pushing.  I didn't necessarily know what that meant as we had never been to any child birthing classes...but I tried.  It happened so fast they didn't have time to give me any edpidural medication nor did they have time to put up a sheet or anything....everyone in there could see my lady bits (though I didn't and still don't care).  It hurt really bad and I was crying (from sadness though, not pain).  I screamed from pain.  Brian and Alyssa cheered me on...they even told me that as soon as it was over I could eat (which I later found out was a lie, but oh well).  Brian watched the events as they happened below and Alyssa kept her eyes on my face....we all cried together.

At 6:53am Bristol Grace was born with her wings.  The doctors and nurses did a good job of quickly getting her out of the room....I wasn't ready to see her yet.  A few minutes later, as the nurses were cleaning me up, Brian and Alyssa went to see Bristol.  When they came back in the room you could tell they had been crying.  Brian told me that he wanted me to hold her.  I didn't think I was strong enough so I told him no.  He told me it was ok to feel that way but that it was important that I see her and hold her.  About this time he called our parents to tell them that Bristol had been born so that they could come down and see her and be with us to support us.

When Brian brought her in to the room she was in a basket.  They had a blanket over her so I didn't have to see her until I was ready.  Brian took the blanket off and showed her to me.  You could tell she had been gone a while because she was already turning purple.  She was so beautiful...her nose looked like a mini version of mine and her face was shaped like my husbands.  I think she had my lips.  She had all her fingers and toes...she looked just like a mini baby.  I would have given anything to hear her look into her eyes and tell her I love her.  Finally they handed her to me.  I couldn't believe how small she was.  I cried and cried while I held her.  I kept telling her I was sorry.  The hospital took a few photos (which I have to admit I thought was weird at the time but I am very grateful for now) for us.  I have never felt like I failed as much in my entire life as when I was holding could my body have failed my daughter so much that she died!!!  Inside my womb is supposed to be the safest place for her...the only place that I can protect her.

My parents got there about 9:30am-10:00am.  I will never forget the sadness on my dads face when he was holding his dead granddaughter.  My heart just broke.  A little while later a priest came in to baptize her.  I know many religions do not baptize a baby after he/she has died but it was very important to me that she be baptized so my husband found one of the hospital priests that would preform the service for us.  A few minutes later the priest came in...I held her while he baptized her.  Brian, Alyssa, and my parents stood and watched.  The priest also said a prayer.

About noon it was time to say goodbye.  I don't think Ive ever been so sad.  They wanted me to rest but there was no rest to be had.  My in-laws got there about 12:30pm.  Shortly after that my husband went home to take our dogs out.  I tried to close my eyes, I don't remember much but dreaming about chocolate cake and pancakes.  Brian got back about 3pm.  Brian and Alyssa called funeral homes to make arrangements to have her cremated.  Brian filled out the paperwork to get her stillborn death certificate and for her to have an autopsy.  About 4pm our parents went home.  About 5pm Brian told me that we had to let Alyssa leave...she looked exhausted and she had to work the next day.  We both cried and she promised she'd call when she got home.

I had started to feel physically temperature was going down and my blood pressure was almost normal again.  I still couldn't eat or drink though, which sucked.  My in-laws went to our house and took our dogs out and fed them.  Brian ate dinner.  We then tried to get some sleep.  He fell asleep and slept almost straight through until morning.  I tried to mess with the internet and the tv but it didn't really work much.  About midnight I asked for something to help me sleep.  Whatever they gave me helped for a few hours....I woke up at 3:30am and was unable to fall back asleep.

At 7am they took me off the medicine and told me I could eat again.  I ordered a huge breakfast and ate every last bite.  They wanted to continue to monitor me to make sure the infection was gone and that my blood pressure was normal so we were told we were not able to leave until 5pm that night.  The entire time we were there I just wanted to get out of that room.  I was hoping we'd be able to go home around noon.

The guy from the funeral home got there around 10:30am.  He talked about our options and we decided to have Bristol cremated.  They put some of her ashes in a locket for me, some in a mans locket for my husband and the rest is a small urn.  Years from now when my time on Earth is done I will have her buried with me.

Our nurse that day was the same one that we had at the beginning of our journey and it seemed fitting that she was there for the end.  She talked to me about what to expect as far as my body was concerned.  Brian told her that I was scared because I felt old (from a fertility aspect) and I was afraid that I would never be able to get pregnant again.  She looked at me (and though it took me a few minutes to understand what she was saying) she said, "I've been there.  I get it.  When you are 37 you are considered advanced maternal age...."  When it finally clicked as to what she was saying (that she has experienced infertility too) I asked her, "How in the world can you work here???  I hate seeing pregnant people...its so hard because so many people get pregnant so easy even when they don't want the baby or don't care for the baby.  And here I am trying desperately to get pregnant and then this happens.  I don't understand how you do this."  To which she replied (words that will stay with me forever), "I do it because I still have hope.  The 41 year old who finally gives birth to twins after her 5th IVF finally worked...that gives me hope.  It may not be my time now but it will be one time, and until then I have hope."

A few hours later we were discharged...Brian went to get the car and the nurse took me down to the car in a wheelchair.  Brian put the stuff in the car and I thanked our nurse.  I gave her a hug and told her that one day we'd be back on happier terms and that I wanted her as our nurse then too.....

I will never forget the feeling of utter emptiness as the two of us drove away from the hospital.  We arrived as three and were leaving as two.....

Our Decent into Hell part II

After what seemed like an eternity, a nurse came and lead us to the Labor and Delivery wing of the hospital.  It seemed like a cruel joke...the L & D floor is supposed to be one of the happiest places on Earth, right up there with the Caribbean, Walt Disney World, and Somerset mall.  A place where two become three...where you walk into the room as a couple and walk out as a family.  It is not the place where I expected to be when my world was crumbling around me and it felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest slowly.....

The hospital room looked like an ordinary hospital room in the L & D had a nice flat panel tv opposite the hospital bed, a nice large bathroom, a large chair, and a couch that pulled out to a bed.  It was painted in a cheery yellow color...the room was nothing like I thought it should look as my world was ending...

The first person who came into our room was our nurse.  She was one of the nicest people we met while we were there and she helped to shape our entire experience.  It was about noon and she told us to order some food and have some lunch.  She talked to us about what to expect while we were there, the medicine they would give me, how long induction could take, what the epidural would look like, when we would be able to have sex again and about eating and drinking while in labor.  She also talked to us about what to expect with our baby...that we could hold her afterwards if we wanted.  That we would need to think about funeral arrangements or what we wanted to do with her.  That we would need to decide on if we wanted an autopsy done.  She also told us that our baby wouldn't look like a normal baby because she was only 25 weeks....she would be really small and her eyes would still be closed. I don't think I had ever been so scared in my entire were we going to get through this labor and delivery knowing that our daughter wasn't alive???

While we were waiting for our lunch to arrive, my nurse took my vitals.  I had a temperature, my blood pressure was crazy high, my entire body was very puffy, and I was complaining of a headache and a back ache.  They seemed the most worried about my blood pressure because it was really high, but to me it made sense because I had just been told that my baby was dead...of course my blood pressure was high.  They ran some tests and we waited for the results.  While we were waiting they came with our lunch.  I ate about half of my food but as hungry as I was with every bite I ate I felt like I was gonna vomit.

While we were eating my best friend called (our cells worked in our room).  She asked if we wanted her to do anything before coming to the hospital.  She decided that she was going to go to our house, take our dogs out and try to feed them and bring us some items that we might need while we were at the hospital (we were very grateful that she decided what needed to be done cuz neither of us could think at the time).

After we had finished lunch our nurse came in with the results...I had an infection in my uterus and I was preeclamptic.  They started me on an IV medication for the infection and magnesium for the preeclampsia.  And with the magnesium I was not allowed to get out of bed, I had to be catheterized, and I was not allowed to eat or drink...just ice chips from now till 24 hours after our baby was born.

By this point both my parents and my husbands parents had arrived.  There was lots of hugs and crying. We met with a lot of people from the hospital that day too.  More people than I can even recall.  We met with a deacon who prayed with us and tried to answer some of our questions.  We met with a social worker who gave us information on support groups and grieving.  It seems like every few minutes someone new was coming in the room.  An hour or so later Alyssa (BFF who went to my house to take my dogs out) arrived (it should be mentioned that she is a doctor at a different hospital in their ER).

As the hours wore on my condition stayed the same.  I was shaking pretty bad because of the preeclampsia.  My temperature and blood pressure continued to rise.  To make matters worse I was starving and so thirsty.  For the record, ice chips do NOTHING to help when you are thirsty.  Our parents went downstairs to get dinner while Alyssa and my husband stayed with me.  A little while later the doctor came in to get my epidural set up...I didn't want to feel anything.  Our nurse held my shoulders while my husband held my hands and the doctor stuck a huge needle in my back.  Me legs started to feel funny almost right away....I could feel them and I could move my toes but I couldn't move my legs.  When our parents got back from dinner my husband and Alyssa went down to get something to eat.  I remember being super jealous of everyone who got to eat.

The rest of the night was pretty much more of the same.  A lot of crying, a lot of hospital people coming in and out of the room, me being starving and thirsty, and either Alyssa or my husband feeding me ice chips.  Around 7pm our nurse came to say goodbye.  Her shift was over and she was going home.  We had only known her for a few hours but a large part of me wanted to scream and beg her to stay...there was no way our next nurse would be as amazing.

My in-laws left around 9pm...they had a 45 minute drive home and it was going to snow that night.  Around 10:30pm my husband and Alyssa went to our house to take our dogs out again and spend a few minutes playing with them.  My parents stayed with me until they returned.  About 11 that night the doctors came in to check my progress and give me some more medication.  I was only dilated to one so we still had a long way to go.

I tired to sleep that night...but I couldn't get comfortable.  I kept turning my head from one side to another cuz thats about all I could move.  About midnight they came in to give me something to help me sleep.  I think I only slept for a few minutes.  My husband and Alyssa got back to the hospital about 2am (its like 45 minutes from the hospital to my house and it was snowing).  My parents then left and went to a hotel in town.

About 3am Brian and Alyssa decided to try to get some sleep...Alyssa took the chair and Brian had the couch (they thought the chair was comfortable and that is why Brian gave it to her).  I think Brian fell asleep pretty much right away.  Alyssa however did not sleep that night...every time Id look at her Id open my mouth and she'd give me ice chips.  A few times she gave me water.

About 4am the doctor came in to check on my progress.  I had not made much more progress and they gave me another dose of looked like this was gonna take a long time.....

Our Decent into Hell

February 23rd started out like any other alarm went off, I got up, got dressed and put some make up on, took the dogs out.....I didn't realize that our world was going to come to a screeching halt in just a few hours.....

Our doctors appointment was at 10am so we stopped at Panera Bread for breakfast on our way.  I was worried for the appointment (the baby had so many problems that I knew not to take anything for granted) that I couldn't even eat my entire croissant. 

We got to the hospital about 20 minutes early and the wait for them to call us in for the ultrasound was excruciating.  My husband read his book while I played games on my phone.  We kept looking at each other and wondering how much longer it was gonna be.  Finally, about 10 minutes after our scheduled appointment time they called us in.  The US tech lead us back to a room and got us ready.  When she went to spray the jelly on my stomach the bottle somehow got it all over including my pants.....

She started taking a few measurements.  My husband and I knew right away that something was wrong as ever since 8 weeks we could always see her heart beating strongly and this time there was no heartbeat.  The US tech then said the hardest words I have ever heard, "I am going to get the doctor.  There is no heart beat."  

Welcome to HELL....

I screamed and sobbed while my  husband held me.  I felt the the walls in that room were closing in on us.  I just wanted to run from that room.  It seemed like it took a while for the doctor to come back.  And when she did the first words out of her mouth were, "Im sorry for your loss."  I couldn't even comprehend those words.  My loss?!?!?!?  I was still trying to digest the fact that our baby had died.  

They gave us the option of going home and waiting for labor to happen naturally or to be admitted to the hospital and then have labor induced.  I didn't want to go home....I wanted to get this process started cuz I just wanted it to be over with.  I wanted to run from the hospital screaming and it took a lot of strength not to run away.  Not that I really had an option, but still.  

They took us to an office room where we were able to use the hospital phone (we didn't get any cell phone service at that part of the hospital) to call our parents, my best friend, and our employers.  Those were some pretty hard calls to make....telling my mom that our baby had died....I felt like I had failed....failed my daughter, failed my husband, failed our families.....failed everyone who had hoped and prayed for this baby right along with us.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Beginning of the End....

I don't even know where to start with this one, I still cannot believe that this has happened.....

It was supposed to be just a routine trip to the OB office for our 21 week ultrasound.  My husband was with me and I was excited for him to meet our doctors and to see our daughter again.  We were even going to grab a nice breakfast after the appointment.  Then our world came apart.....

The ultrasound tech seemed to take a long time and kept trying to get our baby to move so she could "get a better picture."  After about 30 minutes she got up and told us that she was all set.  They moved us to the standard ob office room and I hopped up on the table.  As we were waiting for the nurse practitioner to come in my husband kept saying that something was wrong. He didn't like the questions that the ultrasound tech was asking.  I told him that everything was fine and that he was over reacting.  After what seemed like forever the NP came in the room and said the worst 6 words I had ever heard (up to that point in my life), "There is something wrong with baby."  I don't think I heard much of what she said after that, something about the baby being small, something about her heart and something about her brain.  That was all I heard.  She said they wanted me to see a specialist but that the one at their hospital wasn't in until Monday (it was Thursday).  We then spent the longest 30 minutes of our life waiting for them to find a doctor who would see us that day.  I felt the walls closing in on me....I had to get out of that room.

Finally she came in and told us that they got us an appointment for us in an hour and a half at U of M. My husband drove and I called our parents.  Those were some of the hardest phone calls I have ever had to make.  I don't even remember how we got there, but an hour after we left the first hospital we were at the second.

They took us, almost right away, to an ultrasound room.  Bigger and fancier than the one we were just in and this time we had an actual doctor preforming the ultrasound....we were hoping for better news this time.  They took the most detailed ultrasound possible (for about 1.5 hours) and then broke the news to us. Our daughter had Dandy Walker Varient (a malformation of the vermis of her brain), Inter Uterine Growth Restriction (she was measuring at 19 weeks when she should have been at 21), only one artery in her umbilical cord, and a Velementous Cord Insertion (the umbilical cord didn't go directly between her and I). They told us that she could have Trisonmy 18 which is "incompatible with life."

We met with a genetic counselor, 2 doctors from the fetal diagnostic center, and a few other people who's titles I do not know.  We decided to have an amnio done.  The two doctors preformed it that day.  It didn't hurt, but to be honest I couldn't watch.  I just kept watching my baby on the ultrasound machine thinking that this could be the last time I see her alive...I cried the whole time.

They called us on Monday with the FISH results of the amnio that everything looked good (no genetic disorders).  They scheduled a fetal MRI for that Thursday.  I had to deal with insurance that Wednesday when I got a call from the doctors office telling me that the authorization for the procedure was "pending".  Are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?  PENDING???  I need to know whats wrong with my baby now!!!  Luckily everything worked itself out and our procedure was on for 6:50 the following morning.

We drove to the MRI in almost silence.  I think my husband and I were both exhausted and scared.  They took us back for the MRI and told us that it was going to take about an hour to an hour and a half.  I was terrified!!!  I had never had an MRI before and the thought of sitting in the MRI tube for that long with nothing to do and not being able to move scared me.  As they moved me into the tube I prayed....and I kept praying for most of the procedure.  40 minutes after we started it was over.

 Now, my husband tends to over react some times but he has always been a very good judge of character so when he told me that he was worried because they said it would take an hour to an hour and a half and then it only took 40 minutes he was really concerned.  We went home and took a nap and had our parents come over at 2pm (they were supposed to call with the results between 2:30-4:30).  The 6 of us sat around making small talk till the phone finally rang at 4:40pm.  The MRI confirmed what we already knew but showed no other problems.  We were happy...........