Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Prayers Answered

So after my last blog entry, you might have a clue to the anxiety that has crept in and continues to get worse and worse with each passing week.

It became clear to Dustin and I that going past 38 weeks would be very hard for us since it was the week we lost Claudette. Actually, her autopsy put her time of death sometime within 48 hours of her 37 week biophysical profile.

This is what terrifies the most. That we can perform all the test available but still lose her so quickly after they are normal.

We decided we would ask very direct questions and try to have the docs understand the need to take the baby some where before 38 weeks, even if nothing was showing up wrong. We came up with a script of sorts we would take to our docs at today's 34 week scan. I was anxious about doing this because I didn't really know if it was best to take him sooner. Was I letting my anxiety get in the way of rational thinking?

I grew more anxious thinking about this and decided to bring very direct prayers to God. I prayed all night that it would be clear. That we wouldn't have to make a decision, but it would be made for us. I walked to my car praying out loud like a mad person, not even realizing what I was doing until I got a strange look from the guy walking next to me. I prayed things like, "make her [our doc] answer the questions we don't even know we have."

We went into my weekly BPP not expecting much from him, since he failed last week's for practice breathes. He exceeded our expectations and then some. He was showing offsomething fierce. The sonographer kept saying things like, "you don't want to do a NST today little boy! Wow, you are so active!" It was such a relief. He kept licking his fingers...odd... and opening his eyes...more odd. He was cracking us up and couldn't believe how much he looks like his daddy.

After getting lots of great pics we waited for the doc. Both of us still thinking we need to talk to the doc
about what to do with the next few weeks of this pregnancy. As we were discussing the door knocks, in walks our high risk OB and says, "I need to ask you something. Because of your erratic blood sugars and your history are you open to doing an amnio and taking the baby if lungs are okay at 37 weeks? This would be April 10."

I almost fell out of my chair. I had envisioned this baby being born on April 10th since the day I found out I was pregnant. I knew 38 weeks was too scary, 36 weeks was too early. 37 was what I hoped for. We discussed risk/benefit of the amniocentesis versus steriods ect and agreed this was a good game plan.
So in 17 days we will hopefully meet our son!!

We are still in a bit of shock, in fact Dustin said that is too soon for me. I laughed thinking he was joking. He wasn't! He said no I think that is too soon, I have a lot to get done before that date at work and I don't think I can do it. I ever so kindly, restrained my pregnant-hormonal self and said, "I want you to think about what you just said and then speak to me."

He nervously smiled, kissed me and said, "I have to get to office and get 2 months of work done in 2 weeks."

Daddy's nerves are setting in. I get it, but this momma feels more at  peace and  confident in the first time since we found out I was pregnant. Everything seems to be falling into place. In fact, when I was getting my EKG, the EKG tech and I started speaking and she is a volunteer at Alexandra House, a place for baby hospice and fetal/baby loss, and she helped make the care package I got when we lost Claudie! I mean really?? What are the chances.

So now mommy and nervous daddy have a plan, a date, and serious dose of HOPE!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ramblings of a Pregnant Woman with Dead Babies...and other thoughts on pregnancy after loss

It's 3:30am.
We have maternity pictures in the morning, something I never got to do with the other babies.
I need to sleep, but I am still too anxious.
At 1:30am but was awaken by the lack of moment within my 34 week preggo belly.
It dawns on me I haven't felt any movement since the day before.
This is rare. I am usually awoken with kicks and rolls and stretches within.
I try not to panic and call my husband who is sleeping in the guest room (his turn) since he has been snoring so much it keeps me up at night.
He hesitantly comes to my bedside.
I am glad for his hesitancy. It means I am just over-reacting...again.
He places a hand on my belly.
"I feel a kick," he says tiredly.
I don't.
Get the Doppler from the top drawer of the baby room, I say.
He is getting more grouchy.
If the baby is dead, I will blame this on his lack of attention.
If the baby is alive, I will be thankful for his lack of acting alarmed.
I start to wonder off to when I knew something was wrong with Amelie's leg and he didn't think anything was wrong. He was mad I went to the doctor.
She had two broken leg bones.
I should have trusted my mommy gut then.
Was I ignoring it now?
I am so tired I want to go to sleep. Surely, I wouldn't be this sleepy if my mommy radar was alarming.
We both struggle to find a heartbeat over 80BPM for a long time.
Dustin changes the frequency. 153, 158, 164, 157. Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub.
I breathe for the first time in over an hour.
Wait, what if it is just okay for the minute. We can't tell accels and decels on a home Doppler.
The baby does a big flip within me.
I try to relax.
I look into my husband eyes and ask do you think he is okay?
This will make it his fault this time if he is isn't. I can't handle the guilt of a fourth baby dying within me.
He blankly states, "I think so."
He seems honest. It's not much but it will have to do.
"Goodnight. Want me to stay with you?"
No, I need to sleep, I state through the tears.
He hugs me and goes back downstairs.
But I don't sleep. I lay there and wonder.
Time for another blood sugar.
It's a little low.
Maybe that's why he won't move much.
I drink some juice.
Another 1/2 hour ticks by.
He likes the juice and kicks and kicks within like a little Thumper kicking his hind bunny legs.
I am grateful. But I still can't sleep.

When I miscarried the twins, each week my hope and faith grew. Then at full term when all my faith had returned, bam there were those horrible words again, "There is no heartbeat."
It happened quickly. We were told it could happen quickly again.

Each week gets harder and harder. Each day feels as if I am walking further into a fire within my own house, but I must go because my child is within it's suffocating walls. It's my job to save him.

I tell my living children all the time that courage is not the absence of fear, but acknowledging the fear and still doing the task at hand anyway.
My kids have inspired me day after day with their courage.
I need to inspire them, but really what I WANT to do is hide under my blankets and cry until he is born dead or alive.

I read a blog a few days ago that said being a mom is a choice, so basically stop calling it a job or anything else and go about your business.
I agreed with this sentiment in the beginning, but I have changed a bit of my thinking as I lay here now almost 4am.

We like to think we choose and decide all the outcomes of our lives. We decided when we will get married and to whom and how many child we will or won't have. This simply isn't the case. Just ask the woman who has been trying to conceive for years, despite her best efforts.
We use words like we "lost a baby" as if it was game we didn't win but better luck next time. As if the outcome of these children's lives are in our hands. Ask the woman who did everything perfectly during her pregnancy and still has a dead baby with no answers as to the why.
Sure we can use contraception to try to plan our futures, but this is not a guarantee. Ask the mom who finds herself pregnant after a tubal ligation.

The fact is that EACH birth whether planned or not, whether wanted or not IS A GIFT, an enormous miracle of a gift that only happens when a thousand factors align.
We don't have control of whether we win or lose. Not ultimately. This is scary. But this is what ultimately will help me fall asleep.

God is holding my son in his arms as he nestles me to rest. He is has the first, middle and final say on what is and isn't to be. This isn't to say I can't or shouldn't do my part in being a responsible mom and human being, but for now it means I don't have to worry if about whether or not we will meet this baby on this side of eternity.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dead Babies Everywhere

Sorry about the morbid title.
The sad truth is, it is the truth.

When I lost Claudette a little over two years ago, I remember wondering how I could post it to social media. No one could possibly handle that in their newsfeed. But I knew I had to. I was getting text of people thinking I went into labor and I need one broad statement to inform.

My sister, Audra helped me come up with the words to say. I quickly pushed "send" and jumped into the shower. By the time I got out of the shower messages and words of encouragement were pouring in from people close and some I have never met before. It took my breathe away for months and the years that followed I go back to those words for hope and refuge regularly.

I did not realize was the total number of babies that actually die EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE in this country.  It blew me away when I quickly learned of friends of friends who had a stillborn or infant loss, people I walked next to every day walking a similar journey.

In the beginning stages it was helpful to reach out to those who had walked a similar path and hear what helped them. I soon became an unwanted veteran of sorts and the was the go to person for others who had lost a child.  Part of me felt this was my calling. I am a vocal person and felt I could do a lot to help give the voiceless a voice, I still feel this way. But as I go past my two years on this journey, 7 plus months pregnant with an extremely high risk pregnancy I don't think I can hear EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of my life about other baby dying. My newsfeed is filled with support groups of those walking the same journey as us. But it's not just social media. If you have lost a child, then you learn of every other child that dies it seems.

True story:
Me: Hey friend! I haven't seen you in a while.
Friend: Oh man, I am glad I ran into you. I just had a neighbor loose their baby last week.

I get it. I can relate. You need tips and suggestions on what to say. You want me to understand I am not alone. I don't want people to stop coming to me with stories of loss, but it just feels like loss is all there is you know?  It's impossible to not offer some insight or encouragement to heartbroken, but it is wearying on me heavily.

Don't get me wrong I want more than anything as my life's goal to decrease the amount of unnecessary deaths of babies, but I can feel myself going numb to the thousands of deaths that surround me. I feel myself cocooning inside myself as a defense mechanism. I do NOT want to become desensitized to each and every of a human being, but it is just a lot you know?

I think I just need some time. I need some positivity that there are living babies everywhere as well and to hang on with all the limited hope I have to muster.