Sunday, January 25, 2015

First Birthday

Today is Michael’s first birthday. What a milestone, I just never imagined, before a year ago, that I would be celebrating this milestone without my baby. I have anxiously and nervously anticipated this date for the past year, not knowing how I would be feeling, and what my life would bring at the time. But as the past several weeks have passed, I have been pleasantly surprised how peaceful it all has been. And I truly feel this is a gift from God, for he is the only one who can give true peace, especially to a troubled heart.

There have been times of sorrow, especially the last few months with all the big anniversaries: finding out I was expecting, telling our families, opening Christmas gifts that were for the baby, the dates of our four ultrasounds, and then this weekend, the date my water broke, and the next morning, the day I delivered my precious son. These dates have brought many memories and feelings, many that are hard to put into words. But overall, with all of them there is a great sense of peace and comfort.

I never imagined that you could miss someone with every little bit of your heart and soul and still feel peaceful about it all. But that is the best way to describe it. I want so bad to be with my son and to see him as he grows and develops into a great young man, and to be the one he turns to when he needs to talk about his day – good or bad, and be the one who kisses him good night, and hugs him good morning, to teach him right from wrong, and about the love of his Savior. But even though I don’t get those things, there is peace there. I know my son is great and is being watched over by Heavenly Father. I know he is busy working hard under the direction of Jesus Christ. I know he is aware of me as his mommy. I can feel his love for me, as I know he feels my love.

Maybe this sounds crazy to everyone else. But I am just trying to explain something that is hard to put into words. It is hard to explain the feelings I have had over the past year, and especially over the past few months.

Yes I have my moments of sadness, of seeing my friends babies, and thinking to myself “My son should be about that age, reaching those milestones right now.” All the while knowing, to most people who don’t know my story, I am a motherless woman. And even to some who do know, I am still not a mother because I am not raising my son, but in my heart I know the spirit of my son lives and is living with God. I have my moments, as I ponder how my life would be different had my water not broken that night. If I had brought my son home from the hospital. Would I still be working full time? Would I have moved? What would be different in my life? Yes these thoughts cross my mind, but I try not to dwell on them, because it will not change anything. I will not see, raise or hug my son in this lifetime, I will have to wait until I die. But that day will come, maybe tomorrow, maybe in 60 years. But it will come and it will be a joyous day. I will finally get to meet my son, give him a hug and tell him in words how much I love him.

Until that day, I pray daily that God will tell him how much his mommy loves him. And pray that, even though unseen, that he gets to be with his parents for special occasions, like today when we celebrated his birthday, or when we go visit his grave. Or possibly, for the birth of his siblings, if I am blessed with any more children. While I am saying this prayer, I also express gratitude for the peace Heavenly Father gives me in my heart and soul. I know it has helped me through the past year. And it has been the driving force for the growth that has occurred in my heart, life, testimony, marriage and love over the past year. Many things over the past year have not happened the way I would have planned them, but I know they have worked out the way God planned, and with that I am grateful. Because I know God can make more of me than I can make of myself. So who am I to argue with His plan? Thank you God for helping me become all that I am. Thanks you for loving me enough to direct my path, even and especially when it hurts. Thanks you for all you do for me! 

Reflection of this past year

This past year has turned out so differently that I had anticipated. When I think back on the past year, I am in shock as where life has taken me. I know my every step has been directed by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who has helped brighten my darkest moments, lighten my heaviest of burdens, has helped me to learn and grow more in this year than I thought possible.

One year ago today, I gave birth to my son. He was born premature and too early to survive outside the protection of my womb. But regardless of all this, as held his precious body, the spirit of the Lord brought comfort and peace, letting me know I would see my son again, and although he is with God for this season of his life, he is my son and will be mine through all eternity. In my darkest moments, the comfort of the Lord was always there to help bring me back to the light and hope of my Saviors atonement and love.

There have been many moments where sorrow turns to hope, sadness turns to love, and despair turns to peace. I miss my son every day, but there is a connection with him that I feel. I know his spirit may not always be nearby, but his heart and mind are connected. I can feel his love for me, as I believe he can feel my love for him.

There have been many moments where I do feel my son is close, there are moments I feel he is not close, but always aware of me. I am grateful to my Heavenly Father who allows me to feel of that connection with my son and the moments he is near. And over the past year, I have gotten better in tune with sensing those moments, and know that ability will only grow with time.

There is a video I have found (link at the bottom), that I feel explains exactly how I feel, but in a different way than presented in the clips. The video talks about how motherhood is a partnership with the Lord, and how the Lord helps you raise your children and bless you as you do. As I was watching that video today, I felt so blessed to have that same partnership with the Lord with my son. It is different than most mothers, because I am not raising my son, but it is still a partnership as I love my son, and live worthy to be with God and my son again, when my turn on earth ends.

Mothers often say how much they change being a mother, I too have changed this past year. But my changes have been with learning to accept the Lord’s plan for me, especially when it goes against everything I want for me. My faith in God has grown, my understanding of how life after death works in conjunction with family relationships. My love for my son and my dear husband have grown more than I thought possible. My ability to recognize the Lord’s tender mercies in my life has increased, I truly know the tender mercies of the Lord surround us, but often they go unnoticed. I am learning to notice them, and hope to continue to grow in that ability so I can express gratitude to my Father in Heaven for all his tender mercies. I know my journey in life is not over, there is much to learn and accomplish, but I am confident in saying “I am headed in the right direction.”

I am shocked and grateful for how strong my love for my husband has grown and how strong our relationship has grown. I did not think it was possible to grow this much, but it is! And I am grateful to know that such a wonderful man is by my side helping me navigate the challenges that life brings. It is always easier to have a partner in crime…and sorrow…and he is just that. I love you dearly, for time and all eternity!

I love my son! I miss you but know you, and I, are right where we are to be at this time, according to the Lord’s will. My heart aches to be with you again and see you face. Always remember you are loved dearly by your parents. Mommy love you, Michael, and always will! Given Heavenly Father a hug for me!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas time without my son

This Christmas time has been one of mixed emotions. I have been excited for Christmas traditions, and time with family, but while doing all those things, there has been this whole in my heart wishing I could be having my son's first Christmas with him. Which feelings were only magnified each time I had a friend share pictures of their child's first Christmas.

Thankfully, the day after Christmas, I was on facebook and saw a post by a friend with a poem entitled, "I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year." As I was reading it, I knew I wanted to post it on my blog, and here it is.


I see the countless Christmas trees
Around the world below,
With tiny lights like heaven's stars
Reflecting in the snow. 

The sight is so spectacular
please wipe away that tear
for I am spending CHRISTMAS

I hear the many Christmas songs
that people hold so dear
but the sound of music can't compare
with the CHRISTMAS CHOIR up here.

I have no words to tell you 
of the JOY their voices bring
for it is beyond description

I know how much you miss me, 
I see the pain inside your heart
for I am spending CHRISTMAS 

I can't tell you of the SPLENDOR 
or the PEACE here in this place
Can you just imagine CHRISTMAS
WITH OUR SAVIOR face to face?

I'll ask him to lift your spirit 
as I tell him of your love
as you lift your eyes above.

Please let your hearts be joyful
and let your spirit sing
for I am spending CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN
and I’m walking WITH THE KING.
(Author: Wanda Bencke)

Since finding this poem, it seems to have lifted my spirits a little, as I ponder what it would be like to be with the Savior during the celebration of his birth. What an incredible experience that must be. And as the poem says, I truly feel my son is aware of me and my feelings, and there are times I feel him near.

I am grateful for my faith in God and Jesus Christ. I am grateful my son got to spend his first Christmas with Jesus Christ, and other loved ones that too have left this life behind. I thank God for all I have in life, and especially my husband who has been there for me through all of life's challenges, and is always there to listen and hold me while I left my emotions out. This year has been one of sadness and joy. But I sure do miss my boy. Know mommy loves you my dear, Michael!

Friday, June 20, 2014

My disparity of emotions

So I have numerous friends who were due within a few weeks of me in either direction. The first of them started having their babies about a month ago or so. And I am finding it very confusing emotionally, and it seems to only be getting worse the closer to my due date that I am getting.

Part of me is super excited for them, especially the ones who are having their first child. While at the same time, part of me is sad because I should be there with them, experiencing the last few weeks of pregnancy, going through labor, delivering a health and full grown baby, learning to breastfeed, sleepless nights, cuddle time, basically all of it. Additionally,  I have feelings of great love and joy over my own son and the love I have for him, intermingled with anticipation for seeing him again. And then I feel guilty because I should celebrate with my friends in their bundle of joy and congratulate them on their safe delivery and health baby. But for some reason I can't seem to bring myself to do so. I just pass up their pictures and status updates about their babies and growing families, while trying to hold back tears.

And this is all topped off with two of my closest friends finding out they are pregnant and both nearing the end of their first trimester. And it takes me back to my own pregnancy and the giddiness I felt about finally being pregnant, and all the anticipation over finally growing my family and gaining the title of mom. But then I remember, I am a mother, just not one that has a baby to show off to friends, family and strangers.

I don't even know if I am expressing my thoughts and feelings very well, it is all just so confusing and unexpected. I feel like emotionally I have taken a step backwards, if not like 20 huge steps back. I feel like I was in a pretty good place emotionally until I started seeing pictures of my friends when they were getting close to the end and looking like they might pop and then a few short weeks later showing off pictures of their brand new babies on facebook. And not to say I think they shouldn't do so, I am just having to learn how to deal with all this.

This is all just so new to me, even when we were struggling to conceive for all those years, I never experienced feelings of pain or avoidance, in any way,over others who could get pregnant, I was always so excited for them and that excitement helped fuel my own excitement for someday when I would be in their same shoes. But now I am feeling things that are totally new and trying to learn how to cope with that.

My due date was two weeks from today. And the closer I get, the harder it is for me. I just wish I knew what to do to get rid of these emotions. I dont like feeling this way. I want to be excited for everyone again and have the ability to congratulate during such a happy time in their lives. But I just dont know how because it hurts too much.

I wish I could just hold my sweet Michael one more time, look upon his perfectly formed body and cuddle him. I wish I could tell him how much his mommy loves him. I wish I could be the mother I have always wanted to be, but I can't right now. And don't know when I will ever get another chance to be that mother.

Have you ever been so emotionally sad, your heart physically hurt? I have, and it is awful. It makes the pain more than emotional, it is now physical. And unfortunately, it seems to be happening more recently than ever before.

But who do I talk to about all this? It is hard talking to people who have never experienced something like this because I feel like they can tell me "I am sorry" or "It will get easier" or "You will get another chance" all they want, but the words seem empty because they don't understand. But I don't want to express these feelings to my dear husband, because I dont want to bring up all these emotions inside him either and reopen wounds that are beginning to heal. But then what if he already feels this way, and is hurting the same way I am. But I just dont know.

I dont know what to do to help myself get out of this rut I find myself in. I dont know if I should talk to my husband about how I am feeling, or figure it out on my own. I dont know how to tell my friends congratulations and that I am excited for them, even though I am. I wish I could wave a magic wand and heal my broken heart. But I guess it will take time, for time heals all wounds, some just take longer than others to heal. And this one I think will take a while, unfortunately.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Michael's Funeral Service

Shortly after Michael was born, our nurse brought in a bereavement packet and blanket set. The blanket set had a hat, blanket and wrap style outfit - all seen in the picture with the last post. The bereavement packet included information about support groups and how to cope with the loss of your child, the book "Tear Soup", a willowtree statue "Remember" -with the caption "I will always remember", information about burial vs cremation, different funeral homes and cemeteries, etc. When she brought in the packet, she spent quite some time discussing our options. She explained that in the state, anything past 14 weeks gestation either had to be buried or cremated. My husband and I instantly knew we were going to bury our baby boy. As we discussed our options together and with our nurse, we learned that we possibly could bury our sweet baby in the same grave as one of my husband's parents, as they have both passed away, we just needed to check with the specific mortuary for their policy on that. The more we talked about it, the more it made sense to try that option first. 

We were discharged from the hospital Sunday afternoon, and planned to go to the mortary Monday morning to begin making all the arrangements. When we woke up Monday morning, we all got ready quickly so we could go by the funeral home. We decided to first talk with the mortuary where my in-laws are buried, although it was a little longer of a drive than other options. We went by and discussed our options, and verified that we could, in fact, bury sweet Michael in the same plot as one of his grandparents. In cases like that, since the infant caskets are so small, they just bury the baby about a foot or so above the adult casket and they share a plot. So we planned on doing that, and decided on the casket we wanted. We set the funeral up for Wednesday morning, to give our siblings time to make arrangements, as they had all expressed a desire to be here for the funeral. We also decided we would just do a short graveside service.

Since both his parents were deceased, we had to get permission from all my husband's siblings in order to bury Michael in one of their plots. We were so blessed because, in stead of burying Michael with one of his grandparents, they gifted us the remaining two family plots for me and Chase to be buried, and Michael was buried in one of those plots. We decided to bury him in the plot that traditionally will be mine. So when I die, Michael will be unburied, my casket will be placed and then Michael will be placed on top, and then we will both be buried. So we will both share the same plot once I die. And they assured us that we will be able to fit both headstones as well, as long as they are not both full-size headstones.

Going to the funeral home was such a emotional experience. It was one filled with feelings of "I am not supposed to be having to make these decisions", "All I wanted was to bring a baby home", "Why me?", "Things will all be ok, I just need to have faith in God", and many other feelings. In many ways it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but at the same time, I also felt very numb to it all. It was a strange experience, feeling so full of different emotions you feel like you are about to burst, but at the same time feeling emotionally numb. Basically, it is an experience I never want to go through again.

When we got home, my husband and I were so tired we took a nap - I think a combination of lack of sleep Friday night and the emotional stress of the weekend had caught up with us. When we woke, I was shocked how many flowers and cards had come from friends, co-workers, and family. We were also blessed with a few more visits from friends and family to help lift our spirits and help remind us how much support we had during this time. Plus, one of our friends had brough dinner over, which was nice that we then did not have to worry about cooking on top of every thing else. We again felt so blessed for all the love and support we were being shown. That night my mom and I went shopping ot find a special outfit for the funeral; I had decided I wanted to wear white, as I believe it is the color of heaven. However, we were not able to find anything so I ended up wearing something I already had, but we did find a white watch as an accessory. And I do still look at the watch often and wear it occasionally, and in some weird way, it helps me feel close to my precious son.

Tuesday morning was spent plannig the the service, finalizing arrangements with the funeral home and that afternoon we began welcoming our family into our home. It was so nice to have the people we love most with us. We laughed and cried; we ate, played games and watched movies. Tuesday night we met with our spiritual leader, who helped us continue our healing process and try to find faith and trust in God's plan for us. He expressed his sympathy, concern and faith that all things would work out in God's timing and according to God's plan. He prayed with my husband and I, and we felt so blessed to feel so strongly the love of God for us and Michael. 

Wednesday morning was busy getting ready for the service. We had close to 20 people in one small townhome, with 2 bathrooms trying to get ready. At least we planned the service for late morning. For the graveside funeral service, we invited my parents, our siblings, my grandma, one of my husbands childhood lifelong friends with his wife and mother, and one set of close friends. And we were blessed enough to have everyone there we invited. I had to drop something off to our funeral director when we got there that morning, so I followed him and he handed me two tiny, identical teddy bears. He explained that one was for us and the other would be buried with Michael. That way we would have matching teddy bears. I watched him place Michael's teddy bear in the casket with his little body, and it was hard knowing that it would be the last time I would see my son in this life. By the time we got to the graveside, many of our family members were already there. We did not socialize much before the service, I just needed time to prepare myself to say my final goodbye's to my son in mortality.

The final program we decided upon was as follows: 

Song: Be Still, My Soul by David Archuleta
Family Prayer: A. Stephen Farnsworth
Remarks and Dedication of the Grave: Chase T Manwaring
Then all in attendance placed roses on the casket, starting with my and Chase placing yellow roses, and then everyone else placed red and pink roses on the casket.

We chose yellow roses because it was my father-in-laws favorite flower and the one he always bought for his beautiful bride. It was also the main flower at both their funerals. And the flower we had at our wedding. In many ways, it is our flower. It seemed only fitting to have yellow roses here too.

All in all, it ended up being a beautiful, although cold, service, that at least for me provided quite a bit of healing, despite the sadness and emptiness I felt. After the service ended, our family and us lingered in the cold, hugging, talking and occasionally crying. I did not want to leave; I was heartbroken to have to leave my beautiful baby to be buried in the ground. All I wanted was for him to go home with us, happy and healthy. As we stayed back, my sister-in-law started singing a hymn, God be with your til we meet again, as she sang, others joined in singing. It is a very touching hymn, but I could not contain my tears, and broke down. I missed my baby!

Me and my husband headed home. When we got home, my mom told me she had grabbed the yellow roses for us to dry and put in the shadow box I had been talking about creating of the keepsakes from the hospital. And now I had the yellow roses to add and the matching teddy bear. All things included in the shadow box are the blanket and hat from the hospital (Michael was buried in the wrap-style outfit), the yellow roses and teddy bear, a picture from the hospital, plasters the hospital made of Michael's hands and feet, and silver beads that spell out Adam Michael. It turned out pretty good and is a good reminder of my beautiful baby boy. It is currently hanging in our room with this picture my sister gave us after losing Michael, which I then bought for my Aunt who lost her baby 2 days before me.

I love having these reminders of my son. Most days it is just something I look at to celebrate my sons short existence in this life. It brings happiness knowing that he is watching over and loving us as his parents. I love the idea of Christ loving and watching my son for me while I am here on earth. The other piece of art that I have in my house that I have found great comfort in was a Christmas present from my mom, she bought it for me when I told her how much I loved the saying on it. It says "The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you." Such a profound lesson in a simple phrase. But I love it, and have grown to love it even more since all my experiences with conceiving, delivering and burying my sweet Michael. 

Anyway, back to the story. The day after the funeral service, my husband and I posted identical messages on our facebook pages to let everyone know we had lost our son, as prior to this it had only been word of mouth. Our posts were as follows:

"Our sweet baby boy, Adam Michael, was born Saturday, January 25. He was perfect in every way, but born too early to survive. He was so precious, Heavenly Father called him back to be with Him. In my mother's words, "We will miss you while we are here on earth, but Father sealed you ours at birth." So grateful to have been married in the temple and know that we are sealed as a family throughout eternity."

It seemed like almost immediately we were flooded with even more love and care than we had received already. I was shocked at the out pouring of love, support and prayers. We truly are blessed with amazing friends and family. 

A few weeks later we went back to the funeral home to design a headstone. Here is the design printed on paper,

And then below is the final product, but before they had laid sod back down around the headstone. I think it came out pretty good. I am happy with the picture we chose, and I love the phrases of Forever Together and Born into Eternity. I feel like both have so much meaning for me in the context of losing my son. 

I am so grateful for my knowledge that God loves me, that he has a plan for me (even though I may not always understand that plan or why I need to experience certain things). I am grateful for the sacrifice that Jesus Christ suffered so that I can find support and love through him, and so grateful that He is ALWAYS there for me when I need him. I am grateful for the knowledge I have that families can be forever and that I will see my son again. I am grateful for all I have learned about myself and my husband during these trials, they certainly have not been easy, but we have grown stronger through them. I am grateful for a loving husband that is always a support to me. I truly have been blessed with a man who never blames me for not being about to be father, when it is one of his greatest desires. He just loves me and tells me time and time again that even if he had known all the heartache and pain he would experience wanting to be a daddy and having to wait for it so long, he would still choose me. He even told me, before we conceived, when I started thinking that maybe it would never happen, that he still would have chosen me had he know before hand he never would have been a father. Since losing Michael, he has just loved me, and help me when I cry, and wiped away my tears. And he does all this when I am sure he is hurting just as much inside. I don't know what I ever did to deserve such a wonderful man, but I sure am grateful for the love he has shown me and the man he is. I could not imagine a better husband and father for myself and our son. I have not given up hope, but do need some more time to heal physically, emotionally and spiritually before trying again. Hopefully, I will be able to conceive again, but I guess only time will tell.

As always, thanks for reading, sorry for the novel. Hopefully not too bad, especially since I have learned how to add pictures to my posts. :)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Update for the past several months

It has been a while. I have had many thoughts and feeling that past several months, but did not quite feel ready to write them down. But I am now ready to share my experiences again. And sorry again, but this is going to be novel, as I was writing it, I never could quit find the right stopping point to break this up between multiple posts. Also, I want to include a picture in this post, hopefully it will not be hard to see.

Last October, after a morning blood draw, I got the call from my fertility doctor's office at 5:30 pm October 25th – I was finally pregnant. I was so excited, I could hardly contain my excitement. But I knew we were still very early in the pregnancy, I was only 3 1/2 weeks at the time. So other than my husband, I did not want to tell anyone yet. But my husband and I were so excited, finally we were going to be parents and have all that comes with that, and we were ready to face whatever would come our way on the parent front.

We anxiously anticipated our first ultrasound, at 7 weeks, with our fertility doctor. We wanted to make sure our precious baby was healthy and strong. Our little baby was so beautiful and loved moving, doing somersaults and kicking and punching the whole time. After the ultrasound, my doctor told us that she was going to move the due date up 3 days because our baby was measuring big. We, but mostly me with my husband’s support, decided we did not want to tell anyone yet, even family, since the change of miscarriage is still so high. So we kept it our little secret.

Over that time, my taste buds changed and evolved. Things I used to love, no longer tasted good, or made me feel sick, while others, helped settle my upset stomach. It was weird, so I ate many pickles and bananas, not as a craving, but just because it helped me not feel sick. Luckily I never threw up though. We decided we would tell our families on my mom's birthday, which was two days after we reached 10 weeks. Our families could not have been more excited for us. Their excitement almost beat ours. But we still did not tell the general public, because miscarriage can still happen up to 13 weeks, which was three days after Christmas.

On Christmas day, we announced our pregnancy on facebook. Here are our posts:

-We got the best Christmas present ever...we successfully made it to the end of our first trimester! We are so excited to announce that we are expecting a baby due in early July!

-Who has got two thumbs and his wife is pregnant? This guy!

Within hours, we both had multiple likes and comments on our posts. We could not be more elated. We were expecting and now our friends and family could publicly celebrate with us! After a little over 5 long years of trying, we were going to be parents! We had desired long and hard, and done everything we could possibly think of to get ready for our family to grow, and now it was happening.

We went to AZ to visit with my family over Christmas, we were there for two and a half weeks. It was such a fun break from life and great to celebrate, Christmas and the baby, with my family. My mom and sister wanted to go buy maternity clothes and baby supplies. They both had wonderful words of advice for about what to buy, what to get new and used, what to avoid. It was great. Most of the time we were there we talked about baby. The excitement was so thick in the house, you could almost touch it.

I was sad when it came time for us to go home, but it was ok, we were coming back in 10 weeks for spring break. And in the middle, we were going to find out the sex. We were so excited. We came home and started thinking about how we would change our house around to fit all the baby stuff, and started thinking about all things baby.

Friday, January 24th, we went to dinner with my brother in law. It was an all you can eat, but I don’t think I ate much, but I drank a ton. We went back to our house after dinner, and planned on watching a movie, or maybe playing games with my brother in law. However, shortly after returning home, my water broke. As a nurse, once I realized my water broke, I knew my baby was not going to make it, I was still too early. I was not quite half way, and before 20 weeks, medically they will not ever try to save the baby. I started grieving the loss of my baby that I had anticipated for years and had finally been able to welcome into my heart and family.

Since I was not yet 20 weeks, I knew Labor and Delivery would just send me to the ER, so that is where I headed. Unfortunately, it was early in the evening on a Friday night, so I knew it would be a crazy night. When I got there, every nurse I talked to scoffed at me when I told them my water broke. One even asked if I was sure I did not just pee my pants. I told all of them I was certain my water broke, and they once again scoffed. After about 3 hours, I finally got back to a room. The doctor came in shortly after, I told him what happened, and he was the first person that admitted it sounded suspiciously like my water did in fact broke. But he wanted to do an ultrasound first to see what my fluid level in my uterus looked like. We had to wait about an hour for the ultrasound tech to come in. She did not say much, but verified she saw our baby moving and the heart was still fluttering away. She explained that it would be about an hour or so for the radiologist to read the ultrasound and write a report. So we waited some more, and a little over an hour later the ER doc comes back and said my fluid level is lower than my last ultrasound I had, and is waiting for an OB consult.

It was about 30 minutes for the OB resident to get there. She came in and started talking to us about a few more tests she would run to verify if my water had broken, since fluid level in the uterus can decrease for many reasons. There were a total of three test she needed to run, but I can only remember one specifically - a litmus test. It checks the vaginal pH, since it is usually acidic, and amniotic fluid is basic. However, before running the tests, she wanted to explain some options we had. She explained that some women will choose to try to remain pregnant after their water breaks prematurely, which is possible she explained, as long as the cervix does not start dilating on its own. She explained they do so in hopes of remaining pregnancy at least to where they can save the baby after deliver. She explained the risks choosing to remain pregnant after your water breaks, and if we chose to do that, potentially, the "water" or amniotic fluid could build back up, but until then I would have to be especially careful since I did not have the cushion of protection for my baby...we were starting to get hopeful that maybe we would not lose our baby after all. Once she explained all this, she proceeded to do the last few checks to see if my water had in fact broken, even though I already knew it had. She did the litmus test and explained, “I really don’t need to do the other tests because you are already dilated to almost 3 cm and I can see your baby’s foot. But legally I need do the last two tests to verify.” And with a few words, all the hope I had gained in the last few minutes was dashed. After the last two tests also verified my water had broken, she explained they would admit me to Labor and Delivery, as I would have to deliver my baby. It was about another 20-30 minutes before I was transferred. By this point it is about 3 am Saturday morning.

Once I was admitted,  I was given some medication to help induce labor. In between doses, my husband and I slept. About 8am, we decided to call and let me parents know what was going on, since I decided not to call them in the middle of the night when we found out. My mom said she would be leaving shortly to come be with us. I was looking forward to having my mom come help me heal from my loss.

Shortly after 8am, I delivered my precious baby, he was stillborn. After delivery we found out it was a boy. We named him Adam Michael, the name we had picked for our first son many years prior. He was named after my brother, his uncle, Adam Michael, always with the intent that we would call him Michael. The ironic part is that my brother Adam was also born prematurely and only lived for a few minutes after delivery. 

Anyway, back to our story, the nurse got the on-call doctor, who came in and cut the cord and began to encourage me to push to get the placenta delivered. After about 15 minutes, we were told sometimes in premature deliveries the placenta takes longer to come out as your body tries to figure out what happened, since you should not be delivering yet. So they said they would return in a little bit to check on me. As we waited, we had the great privileged to hold, cuddle and love our son. He remained with us as we took picture and admired how absolutely perfect his body looked. He was perfect in every way! Our son has eyelashes, fingernails and toenails, and muscle definition -- at 17 weeks gestation. As I looked at my beautiful, perfect son, it saddened me that abortion is legalized, and they can continue to get abortions at the stage of pregnancy I was at, especially now seeing how perfectly formed these precious babies are even so early in pregnancy. About an hour after delivery, my brother-in-law came by for a visit. As all three of us admired, we started noticing features he favored from me and my husband – my hands, my husband’s shoulders, my nose, my husband’s feet. It was so fun to get the time to notice those things! The nurse would return about every 10-15 minutes and check on me. My placenta did not want to release from my uterus, in the meantime I continued to bleed with some pretty big clots. After about an hour and a half or longer of waiting for the placenta, the doctor came in and explained that I was losing too much blood and needed to have a d&c to remove the placenta and get the bleeding to stop. I agreed and signed the consent form. I left my precious baby in the capable hands of his father and was wheeled away to the OR.

About 2 or so hours later, I woke up in my room again. My brother in law had left, but had told my husband he would probably be back, and my grandma was in the room talking to my husband and admiring my beautiful son. My husband told me that the procedure took longer than anticipated because even after removing the placenta, they could not get me to stop bleeding and tried various means to get the bleeding to stop. The nurse then explained, they ended up using a bakri balloon, which basically inflates and applies direct pressure on the inside of the uterus to get the bleeding to stop. From my rotation in nursing school, I know that the bakri balloon is used as a last resort to stop hemorrhage, which told me I had lost a lot of blood and they could not get the bleeding to stop any other way, later I found out that I had and estimated blood loss of about 1.5 liters. As I was being told all this, I start to feel aweful contractions and NEEDED pain meds NOW. The nurse was very prompt, but while I waited I looked to my husband and told him if this is what labor feels like I am definitely getting an epidural next time. The nurse returned with some pain medication, and promptly fell asleep for about one hour. When I woke up the pain was gone. And I promptly requested to hold Michael again. I continued to admire and love this little guy, and he was just as perfect as I had remembered. As I held him, I chatted with my grandma. I was so grateful for her loving and peaceful presence.

My grandma left about the same time my husband’s other brother came. I could tell he was visibly shook up over the loss. We talked to him and helped calm his emotions, because as sad as it was, there was a peace that it would all be alright and that God was watching over us. And I knew that if God was watching over us, then everything was happening just the wait it was supposed to, according to His great plan for us. Just after he has been there for about 20 minutes, my sister and niece came for a visit. It was so nice to have so much family support. We all passed Michael around, all admiring how beautiful and perfect he was. My husband and I pointed out all the things we had noticed that Michael had inherited from his parents, and they all agreed.

As their visits ended, I was told my my nurse, that I was stable enough after the surgery that I could not be transferred to the maternity unit. So we were transferred and with no visitors decided to catch some sleep, since neither of us slept more than a few hours the night before. Then one of our dear friends, Karen, came by for a visit and stayed for about 30 minutes and left shortly after my parents arrived.

Once again, my parents admired with us how absolutely perfect our son looked. How his little body was so perfectly formed was and pointed out all the similarities we had noticed. IT was fun to once again share with those we loved our precious Michael. As we admired and talked, our other good friends, Matt and Emilie stopped by. We all sat and talked and admired. It was so great to have so much support during this time of trial and sadness. Having so much support definitely helped my husband and me cope with the loss of something we had so looked forward to for years. Our final visitors left around 11pm. My husband and I finally got more than just some quick cat naps. Early in the morning, the nurse came in and removed the Bakri balloon and said she would keep watching for bleeding. Fortunately, I no longer had any serious bleeding occur. After the balloon was removed, I began to walk around the hall. As I was walking, I ran into one of the OB residence that had worked with me yesterday, and he was shocked I was walking since I had so much blood loss the day before. Honestly, I felt fine, maybe a little weak, but fine to walk. I took the time to ask him a few questions and was grateful for the time to talk to him.

After walking, I returned to my room and woke my husband up enough to convince him to join me in my bed. We fell back a sleep for a bit and then my parents returned to the hospital about the same time the doctor came and told us I would be leaving later that morning. And surely we were able to go home just before lunch. When we finally were heading home, a flood of sadness overwhelmed us because I delivered my baby, but had to go home without him. But that sadness did not last long as we had another slew of people come visit the whole afternoon. And our dear friend Emilie brought us delicious homemade lasagna and went to bed early that night.

As I fell asleep that night, I was so grateful for all the support and love we had received throughout the whole weekend. We are truly fortunate for all the wonderful people that have been there to support and love us throughout our journey of infertility, pregnancy and loss.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Etiquette when Discussing Children with Women

Sorry it has been so long, I have been super busy with work, since I have been picking up at least once extra shift a week. Considering they are 12-hour shifts, and graveyards, it eats up a lot of time, and energy.

But anyway, I was thinking about it at work last night and I think I need to do a post on this topic.

As a women who has been hoping and struggling with starting my family, I hate when I get the question, "When are you going to start having kids?" First of all, that is an extremely personal question to ask someone. Second, when someone is struggling like I have to conceive, it is like a dagger to the heart every time someone asks. Asking someone if they have kids, it totally fine, especially if you are getting to know them for the first time, but then prying when they say they don't have any is inappropriate.

And don't think it is just me, I have talked to my friends that also struggled. The feeling seems to be pretty much unanimous.

Lately I have tried to make a joke out of it. By replying, "Well, we don't believe in kids." Or one I heard from a friend, (but have never had the guts to actually use), "Hopefully 9 months from today." Sometimes, if I feel the person is going to respect my privacy after my reply, sometimes I will say something like, "Hopefully soon," or "We would love to have kids, it just has not happened yet."

Don't get me wrong, it does not bother me when my close friends or family ask me prying questions like that, but I know them on such a deeper level. And most of them ask how treatment is going because they already know what is going on. But I have had some people ask me questions like this when it is literally our very first conversation we have ever had before. REALLY???

Additionally, not that I am in this situation yet, but I feel that same way about asking if someone is going to have anymore kids, or when they plan on having more kids. It is totally personal and between the man and woman. What if they want more, but can't for health reasons, or infertility. Or maybe they are just done with the number they have. Really, it is none of your business to ask a question like that.

At least all of this is my opinion. Hopefully no one was offended by this post. But know I love all of you, just letting you know so hopefully in the future you will be a little more careful!