Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday! Three days of non stop action has left us all a little tired and grumpy, but it's all worth it to see your children smile.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Time Flies...

6 years ago today Matthew and I had our first date. If you would have told me back then what we as a couple would go through until this point, I probably would have quickly run in another direction. But looking back now the good times definitely outweigh the bad, and I would never want to experience anything in life with anyone else. Even though there are times that I would like to throw him out to a pack of wolves, I love him, we were meant to be together, and going through what we have has only made us a stronger couple. I know that I truly have a partner in life, and together we can make it through anything.
Happy "anniversary"

Friday, December 14, 2007

The story - Part 2

So it's safe to say that my body went through alot that day. Once again, induction had brought on fast and furious labor, something that this time I was thankful for.

Matthew came in just in time to see the aftermath and talk to the doctor, and then we were left alone in the room to digest what just happened. We had decided that we did want to see her, hold her, and tell her goodbye. Once she was delivered she was taken away to be cleaned up, dressed and to have her picture taken, just like they do with regular newborns at this hospital. We just sat there, acting like nothing had even happened. We laughed, talked on the phone with friends, I begged and waited for food (I hadn't eaten in what seemed like forever). At about 7:00, the nurse walked in and we just stopped talking. She brought our precious baby to us and at that very moment in unison we sobbed. I never imagined to have that wave of emotion hit. I had never felt so hopeless in my life. I studied everything about her. To me, she looked perfect. She was small, but perfect. And then I noticed her lips, and how they looked just like Ava's. She was cold, and her body was rapidly fading as the minutes passed. We both held her, and kissed her, and I told her how sorry I was that I couldn't protect her, but that it was her job to go to heaven and be with God and her sister.

We called for the nurse to come and get her, this was to be the last time that we would see our baby. Matthew stayed with me for another 30 minutes or so, then they came to move me to my new room. I was moved to a room far from the mother/baby unit to recover. I had no baby to take care of, but my body had still been through hell. It hurt like hell to pee from having the catheter, I could barely sit up because of the pain in my back from the epidural, and my right leg was still numb. I sent Matthew home, and my mom came and sat with me for a while. She desperately wanted to be there for me during the night, but my dad had just gotten home that same day from having heart surgery and she needed to be with him. I was in good hands, and honestly, I just wanted to be alone. I was desperately trying to digest what had just happened, and just like how it was before they brought her to me, I sort of acted as if nothing had happened. I turned on the TV, and tried to rest. I don't know what made this trip to the hospital so different, but I literally was getting woken up ever 30 minutes. Blood pressure check, blood taken, more antibiotics. It was insane. Not to mention the urge to pee every 30 minutes or so due to the massive amounts of fluids that were being pumped through my body. I had to pee in a measured cup, and I had to call the nurse each time I went so she could measure and dump it out. I also got the lovely uterus massage every 2 hours or so to check for bleeding. Some things I definitely had forgotten from Ava's birth, and I WILL NOT forget them next time, if there is a next time.

Morning finally came and I could not wait to see my Dr. so I could get the hell out of there. He came, gave me my marching orders (no sex, tampons) for 2 weeks, and business as usual. By this point, I was feeling much better and really felt as if nothing had even happened. Again, where were my emotions?? Why wasn't I more upset? Was I setting myself up for a delayed reaction? I could tell he was worried that I might fall into depression, but I wasn't worried, I mean I am a strong person right?? We had a brief talk with the bereavement counselor, we were given a bunch of information on websites, we were told how to go about retrieving her body, and then we were given the all clear. And instead of being wheeled out in a wheelchair, we were allowed to walk out. Apparently when you give birth to a dead baby you are allowed to do whatever the hell you want. As I walked out the doors, it hit me. This was really over, we were leaving the hospital without our baby.

Instead of a baby to take home and feed, I was sent home with Ace Bandages to wrap around my chest so my milk wouldn't come in. Instead of a baby to bring home I was sent home with a keepsake box of pictures, a pillow and the blanket where she was laying when she had her pictures taken. Instead of a baby to bring home, I was sent home with a broken heart, an empty belly and a confused soul.

The rest of that day was spent together, trying to laugh, but not trying not to cry. We cried, we hugged and we did what I didn't think I was ready to do. We opened the box and looked at her pictures. I took out the blanket and I smelled it, it smelled like her. I slept with it that night and it has not left my bed. I put everything back in the box, along with all of our ultrasound pictures and sympathy cards, and I closed it. It hasn't been opened since.

Two weeks ago I went for my follow up visit, and was cleared to resume all activities. I was also sent home with 3 sample paks of birth control pills. It's reality and reality sucks. Instead of getting to enjoy, or not enjoy the last three months of pregnancy, I am now back on birth control, trying to let my body and my mind heal in case I want to jump on this roller coaster again.

I really have been trying to have as much faith during this as I can, but it's hard. I'm so mad that they were both taken away from me. Two babies, I lost two babies. I will never get to see their first smiles, hear their first laughs, hear their first words or watch them take their first steps. I'll never send them off on their first day or school, watch them go off to college, dance on their wedding days or become mothers themselves. These are the things that hurt so much.

I dealt with the first one better because there were obvious things wrong. This last one? Makes me sick sometimes to think about it. It still sometimes feels like a dream. She was perfect. And from what we know right now, she died because of what happened to the first one. I keep hearing people say that they were meant to stay together, they weren't meant to be separated...blah blah blah and I know they are probably right but that means nothing to me right now. I just want my baby girls back. And I'm constantly asking myself why/how didn't I realize something was wrong?? Our job as parents are to protect our children and I was the only one who could and I didn't. I know it wasn't my fault and I know there wouldn't have been anything else I could have done. And the scary thing is, that hypothetically if either myself or the Doctors would have noticed my water broke after we lost the first baby, chances are this pregnancy would have ended much sooner, my parents would have taken off for Florida, and then who knows what would have happened with my father and his heart problems.

I could NEVER, ever wish this to happen to anyone, not even my worst enemies. I have such a new found respect for women who have suffered losses and I have found/met some amazing people in the past month. It's absolutely unfair that any woman would have to suffer through something like this. I never thought I would be turning to grief support groups for this, I never thought this would or could happen to be, and I never thought that because of this situation I would become a grim statistic. But I have, it did, and I am. And I will deal with it.

We buried Anna Grace last Tuesday, December 4. It was a small graveside service with our parents, Ava, and our minister. Matthew and I decided we didn't want her buried alone, so we purchased our burial plots, and she is buried where my feet will be. The days are getting better. I'm taking it one at a time, and that's all I can do. I let myself cry when I feel sad, and laugh when I'm happy. I still have a family to take care of, and a love able, high maintenance toddler who needs my undivided attention. The pain is fresh, and I know over time it will ease but it will never go away. They will always be a part of me, and knowing that we have two angels that we will meet again someday makes it easier to move on. In life I have been a very lucky person, and I still feel that way. I just had some unfortunate things happen along the way. And because of these I will come out a stronger person.

Rest in peace baby girl....

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Long overdue - The story part 1

First of all I wanted to say that, again, I was BLOWN away at the response and the support that I have received. You all are truly my bright spot through all of this, and I can honestly say that each and every one of your comments brought tears to my eyes, and each one of them was exactly what I needed.

I've been trying for over a week to get this post out, but we were all sick last week, Ava wasn't sleeping, and then Saturday I strained all of my lower back muscles bringing Christmas decorations up and was flat on my back in bed on muscle relaxers for 2 days. It's just been one thing after another. I'm breaking this into two parts, because let's be honest, I have alot on my mind, I have alot to say and I don't want to forget a single moment of that day.

It all started on November 13. I started having some more bleeding, and had been having light contractions for a few days. I paged my doctor and he told me that he wanted to see me the next day. I didn't sleep that night. Somehow I just knew that this was the end, and I wanted to cherish every last minute that I had with my baby. Wednesday rolls around and when I get into his office he does an exam, and realizes that YES I am indeed leaking fluid. This was both good and bad news. The good news was that they now had a reason to admit me to the hospital to induce labor, the bad news was that even though I thought I had prepared myself for this, I would be losing my baby the next day. I still look back and wonder how I didn't know this was happening. I was NOT ready, at all. We did everything that we could. This baby just would not make it without the fluid, and as much as we wanted this baby, this pregnancy, we didn't want for her to suffer. If we would have made it to 26 weeks they would have considered it a viable pregnancy and the baby would have been born and would have struggled to breathe without the lung development. I was not willing to let my baby suffer and at this point the Doctor told me I had no other choice. They diagnosed me with fetal demise, sent me home with a prescription of Cyto.tec and told me to report to the hospital at 6:00 AM that next morning. I should also mention that this same day (Wednesday) my father was in the same hospital have 3 more stints put in. Who would have guessed that my dad and I would be patients at the same hospital at the very same time.

Walking into labor and delivery brought me back to the day when Ava was born, but this time we knew we were not going to have a happy ending. We knew we would not be bringing a baby home with us, yet I still had to put my body through the whole labor process. I got to my room, looked at baby warmer and all of it's surroundings, looked at the heart monitor that wouldn't get used, and realized this was going to be even harder than I had imagined. My nurse came in at that point and right away she put me at ease. She answered alot of questions we had, and she had some tough ones for us. Did we want to see the baby, did we want to hold the baby, were we going to name the baby, were we going to bury the baby or did we want the hospital to take care of it for us. Alot of questions that up until then we really hadn't thought much about. She also mentioned to us that she put a sign on our door with a purple heart, an indication for all staff that this was a dead pregnancy. As horrible as it was, it saved alot of grief we could have encountered if someone came in and tried to congratulate us. We continued through the 8000 questions and then at about 8:00 came my first cervical check, and another round of Cyto.tec. At this point I had dilated enough for her to determine that the cord was actually pushing through my cervix. She told me that if this was a full term pregnancy I would been rushed straight to the operating room for a C-section.

My doctor came in about 8:30 and I could just see the sadness in his eyes. He did another check to see how I was progressing, gave me a hug and told me he would be back around lunch time. From here we just sort of hung out. I had been having contractions since the night before, but they weren't anything to write home about. I assumed this is sort of what it felt like to naturally go into labor. Contractions spaced out, not lasting very long, etc. My labor with Ava was induced and it was fast, hard and furious. Another story, another post. Things started to get a wee bit uncomfortable at about 11, and my nurse all but shoved the Sta.tol in my IV. I didn't think much of it because I had it with Ava and I actually kind of enjoyed. This time IT WAS AWFUL. I felt it immediately, and within 3 minutes I was shaking, sweating and on the edge of throwing up all over the place. I wanted it to go away so badly I started crying. I was miserable. I managed to get them to give me some Reg.lan for the nausea which helped, but then as I started to get more lightheaded my blood pressure machine was going crazy and the next thing I knew she was giving me Ephed.rine as my blood pressure was dropping pretty low. When I finally realized who I was again, I found out it had dropped to 86/50.

It was about this time that she also was convincing me to get an epidural. I went in there telling myself that there was no need for me to have one, I could handle the contractions and it wasn't like I was going to be pushing out a 7 lb. baby. I mean how bad could it be right??? Well what they forgot to tell me was that more than likely after all of this I would be wheeled to the OR for a D&C. Apparently when you deliver this early the placenta does not often detach and that procedure is necessary to get it all out, so I was advised to get the epidural then so that they would be able to do the procedure promptly after the birth while my cervix was still dilated. All I kept thinking to myself was "what now!" The epidural lady came in and it was much worse this time than my last time. I wasn't in a whole lot of pain and I could feel everything she was doing, not to mention it seemed to take forever. I had only had the Sta.tol for about 30 minutes when I got the epidural so at this point I could barely keep my eyes open. I tried and tried to sleep, and every time I would close my eyes I felt like the room was spinning. And it's not like I could use the old school drunk trick of putting my foot on the floor. I was numb (at least my right half was). Once my leg did fall of the side of the bed and it wasn't pleasant. I think my doctor might have come in at some point during all this, but I was beyond out of it by this point.

I managed to sleep for a little while and then woke up when they shift changed for nurses. The doctor had said he would be back at about 5 so I thought we had plenty of time and I sent Matthew off to lunch. I had a nice little chat with my new nurse and after hearing about her pregnancy nightmare, I promised myself never to complain again. She had such severe hyper.emesis that she puked at least 30 times a day. She said she was hospitalized 4 times for dehydration, had to give herself IV fluids on all of her breaks, and literally could not keep food or water down. She lost 14 pounds, had placenta previa early on, and then ended up having to deliver 8 weeks early. Her little boy spent 4 weeks in the NICU but is okay now. She went on and on, I could not believe this poor girl went through that. We kept chatting and it was about this time I noticed I could feel each contraction on my left side, and they were getting stronger and coming closer together. (Something about my left side does not take too well to the epidurals. That happened with Ava too) So I asked her for some more medicine, she went to check and of course the anesthesiologist was in an emergency C-section so I was going to have to wait. No biggie. This was about 3:30. At about this time my doctor happened to peek his head in, and I asked him to check because of all the pressure. He did his thing and at that point he just pulled the baby out. All I could see was a precious, tiny little baby who looked perfect to me, even though I knew it was dead. I knew the exact moment that it died, just something I felt.

It wasn't until about 3 minutes later that they told me it was a little girl. I was crushed, yet somehow I knew it was a girl long before this happened. We had decided that we did want to see her, so they took her for a while to get her cleaned up and pictures taken. He decided at this point he wanted to try and get the placenta out, to alleviate the need for me to have a complete D&C. Lord I had no idea what I was about to see, and feel. I was still numb and I don't want to get into the gory details of it all, but I felt like I was a pumpkin being carved. There was blood and yucky stuff everywhere. Matthew was still not there, he missed the whole thing and as much as I needed him, part of me is glad he didn't have to see me like that. My doctor and I had plenty of time to chat, and I learned some pretty personal things about him that he apparently doesn't talk about too often. I know I've talked about how much I love my Doctor, but hearing his stories about his own heartache brought it to a whole new level. He understands, he's been there and he really was sorry about what we were going through. He went and cleaned up, came gave me another hug and he was on his way.

Matthew got back right before the doctor left, the procedure was complete, yet we still hadn't gone through the hardest part of it all.