Monday, February 27, 2012

One Year Ago

A year ago today Jason and I experienced the worst day of our lives. We went in for my 20 week ultrasound, excited to find out if we were expecting a little boy or girl. Our little baby was due July 15th and we were both thrilled for our little family to grow. We never found out if it was a boy or girl that day. In the middle of the ultrasound, the sonographer, who had been very quiet, got up and said she was going to get the doctor. We had never done an ultrasound before so we didn't think anything of it and kept excitedly chatting about what we thought the baby was and how cool the ultrasound looked. Little did we know we were looking at a baby that was no longer alive.

The doctor came in and very matter-of-fact told us that they couldn't find a heartbeat. The doctor sat down and looked at the ultrasound herself and confirmed that there was no heartbeat; the baby had died at some point in utero. Writing about this a year later I still vividly remember the emotions I felt those first few moments after the doctor flatly broke this news to us. It seemed like time stood still and as I looked around the still dimly lit room, I felt like I was in a horrible nightmare, except that I knew I was awake and there was no way to get out of it. I was in shock. This didn't happen in the second trimester. I was supposed to be 'safe.' I didn't cry right then, that would come later, I just looked back and forth between Jason, the doctor and the ultrasound that was still showing the black and white form of our lifeless baby. Ultrasounds still scare me today.

So followed all the professional, medical "how do we proceed from here" talk. They took me into another room where a nurse came in to take my vitals. She had no idea what had just happened and casually chatted with me about the rainy weather we'd been having.  Then the doctor came in and spoke to me about going upstairs to a specialist and having to get the baby out as soon as possible, and, oh yeah, she was sorry for my loss. They couldn't make the appointment with the perionatologist until the later afternoon so they sent us home. That's when I started bawling. I had kept a solid face on while in the doctor's office; I didn't want the other pregnant ladies to see me and wonder what was wrong. But I sobbed the whole way home and as soon as we got home I climbed into bed and continued to cry and sob with a grief and sorrow that I had never felt before. Poor Jason had to call the family members who had eagerly been waiting to hear what we were having and break the news to them.

The perinatologist confirmed the death of our baby with an additional ultrasound that afternoon. The measurements of the baby were that of an 18 week old so they assumed the baby had probably either just stopped growing or had died a few weeks back. I thought I had felt the baby kick once, but hadn't felt anything after that. I had also thought that me not showing at all was due to my "strong ab muscles." I had never contemplated that my baby had stopped growing.The thought that I had been carrying around a dead baby horrified me and I felt like a human tomb. They did an amniocentesis, which hurt like heck, and they took about 20 vials worth of blood to see if they could determine the cause. They were looking to see if I had blood clots in the placenta. All the results came back normal. We still don't know why it happened.
This is the only picture we have of our little "blasto", as we called it, at 9 weeks.

What happened to me was labeled a 'fetal demise' because I was well into the second trimester.We had to fill out a bunch of paperwork as they prepared to remove the baby from me. I had the option to be induced but fortunately enough I was at the point where they could still put me under and perform  a Dilation and Extraction (D&E). I chose the latter option. Two days later I went to the hospital for the surgery. Everything went very well and I was blessed to have a wonderful doctor, nurses and staff who were very compassionate and sympathetic.

 It was a little girl.

When we came home that night and the drugs had worn off, I wept bitterly. I think I understand that phrase in the scriptures now. It was a cry I would cry again many times over the next two months. It is a cry that springs from the deepest part of your soul that feels like it has been ripped in half and it can't be healed. It is a cry that comes from not having any hope and feeling completely, utterly alone and forlorn. I had never experienced a grief so painful and deep before. But I felt that now and there were many sleepless nights I would cry that cry.

But I also knew that this life has a purpose and that my experience was not needless suffering. I knew that I had a Heavenly Father who loved me deeply and had a plan for my life. So, for purposes unknown to me at that time, my Father had chosen to take my baby. I made an effort to listen to uplifting hymns when I couldn't sleep. Sometimes it was all I could do to make myself listen to music. I also knew that I needed to turn to prayer when I felt so alone and upset. Sometimes it was difficult to do this, but I knew that this is what would keep me remembering the Lord's will and not my own. Another thing that I found to be very helpful was to constantly count my blessings. Some days it was easier than others. I would write down all the things I had been given and what made me grateful and I realized that during this hard time the Lord had already blessed me tremendously. From having a wonderful, supportive husband, family and friends, to the great hospital staff, my health and modern medicine, I saw the many blessings the Lord was pouring out over me as I struggled through this sorrowful season of my life.

And the Lord's will was that I grow and be happy. I do feel like I have grown and learned a lot from this experience and I like to think it has helped me become a little more compassionate towards others experiencing hardships. My loving Heavenly Father also wanted me to be happy and He knew what I was capable of handling. Three months after my surgery  we found out that I was pregnant again. I must admit I wasn't overly thrilled. In fact, I was probably more scared than excited. I don't think I allowed myself to truly get excited until I had passed  24 weeks. And going in for ultrasounds ( which I had more frequently this pregnancy) were terrifying. I would always hold my breath until I saw that little heart beating. But I had a very healthy, normal pregnancy this time.

Exactly one year later from that terrible day, I have a beautiful two month old baby girl and we are getting ready to fly to Florida tomorrow so she can meet her Grandpa and get blessed this Sunday. I love her so much and everytime I look at her I am reminded of how blessed I am!!  The Lord works in His own way, but he does not forget us. We may not ever understand in this life why certain trials are given to us, but we can know that it is not without purpose. Our Father in Heaven loves us and He is always working with our greatest happiness in mind. This I know to be very true.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day As An Afterthought

Every year I work myself up into a tizzy with hopes, high expectations and dreams of a perfect birthday (February 12) followed by a romantic Valentine's Day. I figured that when I got married my dreams of such would always be carried out to a tee now because I had a loving husband who would do anything for me. Now before I continue I must add that I do have a very loving, kind, husband. And he would do anything for me.
Unfortunately, after a few dramatic, tear-filled birthday/Valentine's Days, I learned that he didn't  know what I wanted unless I straight out told him. I, the girly wife, imagined what things he might do for me and he, the handsome husband, frantically waited for me to tell him what I wanted. The results? Disappointment verging on devastation, frustation and drama drama drama. This year, as the notorious birthday/romantic holiday approached, we both joked that it would be a miracle if I didn't cry.

I did cry. But that was only because I cut onions for a soup I made on my birthday.

This year both my birthday and Valentines Day were wonderful and I reflected on why I enjoyed both so much this year. Yes, Jason got me a wonderful gift. He surprised me with a big, beautiful, cozy gliding rocker with an ottoman.

And yet, there seemed to be something more this year. It didn't bother me that I didn't have  the romantic, candlelight dinner with Jason showering me with flowers, chocolates and other tokens of love. It didn't bother me that I didn't have breakfast in bed, or a big birthday cake ( although I did make myself a little German Chocolate cake). It didn't bother me that I didn't have the "ideal" Valentine's Day. Instead, I realized that I already had the best thrill/excitement/joy given to me in the form of my little girl. Nothing could surpass the thrill I had in bringing her into the world. Nothing could surpass the joy I experience every day when I look at her beautiful little face and she smiles at me. Nothing could surpass the excitement I have when I wake up and remember I have a beautiful little baby waiting for me in the next room. Step aside birthday and Valentine's day, I already got my gift this year, and she is the greatest token of love.
And yes, you can say that Jason is the one who gave her to me.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Waiting until the 11th Hour

I am going to get up on my soap box for a minute and ramble about why it is so important to NOT procrastinate and to always be prepared. Ok, I guess I should actually step down from the box now because I am not the person who should be preaching about the evils of procrastination. Procrastinating should be labeled as one of my favorite things to do. :)

Getting ready for Claire to come is one example. I guess you can say I waited until the 11th hour to get her things in order. I was meaning to organize and wash her clothes earlier but I figured I was only 38 weeks pregant and I would probably have her late anyways. So here is what happened:
Let's backtrack a second
Thursday, December 21: Jason and I officially finish the couch we had been working on for 6 months. There was a lot of procrastination and delaying in that time frame.
Thursday, December 29: Jason and I finally go buy a dresser for Claire. Ikea closed at 9 pm; we left our house at 8:30. Last minute people? I think so.
Friday, December 30: We finish puttting together the dresser.
Saturday, December 31: I spend the whole day washing her clothes, cleaning out our bedroom and doing a general cleaning of the house.
Sunday afternoon, January 1: I finish putting away and hanging up her clothes. I also get the stroller and bassinet ready
Sunday evening, January 1: Jason and I go to the hospital. The next time I am home it will be Friday, January 6th and Claire is with us!

Whew! When the nurses and doctor told me Sunday night that I would probably be induced I think I was able to handle the news better knowing that at least her dresser, clothes and general things were in order. But I shouldn't have waited so long! My poor little OCD brain would have been in agony the whole time if things weren't in order. But they were, and I was able to enjoy the idea that I was going to have a baby!!
Moral of the story: you never know when your high blood pressure may put a twist on things in your life.

Here are some pictures I took the night before I went into the hospital.

Friday, February 3, 2012

For Lizzie and Emily...

I dedicate this blog post to my friends Lizzie Jones and Emily Olson who told me tonight that they enjoy reading my blog and that I should be blogging more. Thanks guys! I don't consider myself any sort of skilled blogger. I'm not one of those stay-at-home moms who perfects the art of blogging by documenting their amazing skills at cooking or quilting or sewing or carpentry, dolls it up with incredible photos,gains a following of thousands of readers and ends up making a nice residual income that supports her whole family.

I wish.

Just like it says, this blog is about me rambling about stuff in my life. Rambling. That's it. But it was still very nice of them to compliment me and encourage me to continue. So, Lizzie and Emily, I will continue to blog and this year I will make it a goal to learn a thing or two about the art of blogging, hopefully sprucing up this, my little corner of the internet.

p.s. I think I made the necessary adjustments to the comments :0)