Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ultrasound Appointment 12/29/2009

I thought this was a follow up *doctors appointment* turned out to just be a cervical length check...

Here are the ultrasound photo's that were taken... the tech said that Squish was not cooperating so she couldn't get any good shots, I guess position wise baby was not behaving. Actually had me get up and move around and then bounced the ultrasound thingy on my tummy trying to get Squish to a better spot and baby wouldn't do it. She actually had to put in her notes that the baby wasn't behaving.

December 29, 2009 Squish Ultrasoun

December 29, 2009 Squish Ultrasoun (2)

December 29, 2009 Squish Ultrasoun (3)

I did sort of force getting a few answers, like I said I thought this was a doctor appointment, and had questions from the cerclage. The tech went and grabbed a doctor for me to ask a few questions really quick.

I am still on bedrest. However I am allowed a total of one to a max of one and a half hours on my feet each day. She said it would be preferable to stick to that in small groups, like ten minutes here, and fifteen here. Which means at least I can do some things.

I was told, and I'm not sure what this means, to take it easy because my "cervix is not as long as it could be". Meaning it's short to start with, which means if it tunnels or shortens a little bit will make a huge difference, I think. Again, I wasn't given a length or any real answers, which is sort of irritating.

My cerclage is holding good, baby is fine, and quite the mover. Squish was dancing during the ultrasound AND had the hiccups. At least I know I'm not the only one who deals with them all the time.

My next doctor appointment with my regular OB is on Monday. Dr. Edwards doesn't have a lot of answers as far as the cervix issues though, which is why I'm seeing the high risk OB. Then on the 8th - Friday, is my next cervical length check. I was told to expect a cervical length check every two weeks, unless it shows signs of shortening at which time they'll go to weekly, or even twice a week. When they do the cervical length checks they will also check on Squish. Measuring baby's head, stomach, and thigh bone to get a guess on weight to make sure Squish is progressing along.

I'm hoping on the 22nd we'll find out what we are having, and the rest of the world will too, if Squish behaves. (Given the lack of cooperation with ultrasounds so far I'm not holding my breath.) That's when they tentatively have my Level 2 ultrasound scheduled. I'll be one day short of 19 weeks so we should be able to figure things out if baby will spread em.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cerclage is done!

Well, it turns out that with me, if it can go wrong, or cause issues, it will. Sometimes I wish I could change this.

The cerclage itself went well, I'm doing okay. It was just, well, an experience to say the very least.

We left the house about 7am - to get there by 8:45am. Traffic was scarce so we made good time. Got to the hospital, walked in, signed ONE paper and was told where to go. Hit the nurses station and was put in a bed right away. It takes longer than that to check into a hotel. Very surprising.

The first thing I worry about when they tell you to strip is 1) will my butt be shown off to the world and 2) how much of my body am I going to lose to frostbite due to being covered by paper and nothing else. I guess in the surgery area's they have what they call "Bear Hug" gowns. It was awesome. Insulated and warm, with flaps. I found out later that the flaps are so they can hook you up to a blow dryer (seriously) - it was basically a blow dryer that they hook you up to so that you don't freeze I got to wear something that made me look like the marshmallow man - but it was warm.

At about 9:30am the Women's Surgery people came and got me where I was taken to that area. The nurse comes in verifies my history, that I haven't eaten or drank anything since the night before, my allergies all that fun stuff. Once again I was told that I was "too young" to have had 3 major surgeries and a back that wishes I was dead.

Before and after surgery they always check on the babies to make sure they are okay. So they tried to get the fetal heart beat several times and couldn't. Of course as a pregnant mommy I'm freaking out thinking something happened to the baby. Then the nurse whispers "I've got it" - then it's gone. I guess Squish was doing sommersaults in my uterus and moving too much for them to get a heart rate. SO the brought in an ultrasound machine and we got to see Squish dancing in there. They didn't get the heart rate exactly as baby was moving too much, but they saw a good active baby and a strong beating heart - so I was cleared for surgery.

Then the anesthesiologist came in and spoke to me. She was wonderful. Basically went over my history of my back, and decided that she was going to do the spinal, if she didn't get the spinal then they would do general (where they knock you out) but the spinal is much safer for both baby and I. The baby doesn't feel a spinal at all, and I quite literally "don't feel" it either once it's working. Rather than doping both baby and I, putting the baby to sleep, risking blood clots and lung problems she felt that the spinal would be safer if they could do it.

I guess the woman that did my anesthesia is the head of pediatric anesthesia at Tucson Medical Center - Dr. King - she ended up VERY upset with herself and amazed at how calm I was when she messed up the first attempt at the IV, then the second, and the third. She said the third was "in" but she didn't want to trust it with my low blood pressure and the fact that if it dropped that would be the way they would give me the meds to bring it back up. So she went for #4 and got it in perfectly. Her biggest issue with herself was that she "put's IV lines in day old babies" and couldn't get a good stick with me.

Dr. Strauford came in to talk to me and go over the surgery and answer any questions. She also asked my permission to have a resident do the surgery with her watching and helping. I was very okay with that. They have to learn somehow.

Now when I got wheeled back, lets just say that if you HAVE to be awake for a surgery they really should not make the operating room so scary. Seriously. It looked like something out of a horror film where they cut people open and video tape it or something.

Dr. King went to put the spinal epidural in and my blood pressure went through the roof (which is not good for someone who's blood pressure is normally 90/50ish). So I was told to calm down several times, and told her "that's easy for you to say your not getting a really big needle shoved into your spine". Which got grins and laughs all round, I was told I had a good point The epidural wasn't as bad as it could have been, by any means. She went in at the L3-L4 level and didn't get that in, she said the space was just too narrow to get the epidural in. So she went up to the L2-L3 level and had a little bit of trouble due to it being narrow also, she poked me twice at that level, but got it in. She didn't want to any higher than she had to as the higher she went the more of me got numbed. Once again, she was upset with herself over it and hated the fact she had to poke me three times.

This is where things get interesting, and I almost wish I had someone taking pictures because they really should have good images of this up somewhere for women who are getting cerclages to view. My feet started feeling funny first, not completely numb, but definitely not there. It worked it's way up my legs and to about just above my belly button. I guess the stuff takes about 20 minutes to fully kick in. There is nothing quite as weird as having your legs almost completely numb, but not, and having people touching them.

So here is a fun picture for everyone - me, in just a hospital gown, with my legs about three feet up in the air. Their stirrups make the regular yearly exam type stirrups seem like the kiddie rides at the fair. Add on top of that I can't feel everything - then comes some women I've never met before in my life standing between my legs telling me she's going to wash me now. Uhm yeah. Not exactly something I ever expected to let someone else do down there. So I can sort of feel the cleaning stuff hit me and her hands, but mostly not. Then comes the fact that I'm spread WIDE open for the entire world to see, bright lights shining down on me, and a bunch of people in the same room.

Finally I'm cleaned, I've completely lost feeling from the belly button down and they tell me they are going to start. I can FEEL them putting pressure on me down there because my whole body is moving, but can't FEEL what they are doing. Then it occurs to me that they are doing enough down there it's moving my entire body. Talk about weird.

The next fun picture is me with my legs wide up in the air, everything exposed, three people standing between my legs with who knows what instruments making noises and because of my BP getting so low I have to take both my arms and lay them out to the sides... the only thing I can imagine being close to it is a frog when you are getting ready to dissect them. Which I say out loud and I was promised they were not going to be taking any parts of me out to see what I ate the day before. I have no idea what they were using, but it sounded at times like someone reeling in a fish, at times like a small hammer, stuff like that. Not really sounds you want to hear and know are coming from inside what used to be your private parts. (I can't even think of them as private now as 1/2 of Tucson Medical Center has now seen them.)

My blood pressure then gets to around 75/30 and they get REALLY worried. I think I would rather not know how worried they are, I mean isn't that the reason you are asleep for surgery? I don't NEED to hear, "we have to something about her BP and quick it's dropping fast". Then to be told it's okay, they expected it since I warned them about how low my BP got. It took two doses of whatever it was to get it up to 80/40 and they were happy with that, but keeping an eye on things. The anesthesiologist was awesome, talking to me and helping keep me occupied the whole time (as much as you can when someone is displayed that way). She also let me know what SHE was doing for my BP and what she was monitoring.

The next fun thing is me hearing something about "you're doing it right but the needle isn't sharp enough" and Dr. King (anesthesia person) telling me it was okay, not to worry about it. Then some clinking noises, like silverware jingling, them getting another knife, my whole body being moved some more by whatever they were doing.

Dr. Strauford and the resident started whispering quickly, and Dr. King had started playing with her phone to give me something to watch. (She has an Iphone too, same case as Kelley just a different color.) Then tells me not to worry if they were worried there would be more nurse movement and people coming in. I still don't know what happened, but wonder.

When they were done I was told that my cervix was "very posterior" and father back than normal so I should expect more bleeding and discharge than normal. I was also told that it was shorter as far as she can tell than normal, but not super short, not enough for her to worry about it. She said she got a good and tight cerclage in, but that again, it took a bit more effort than normal so I can expect a lot of cramping. She said that she didn't see anything to worry about there at all.

This is the part when the epidural/spinal almost made me throw up. There is nothing like not being able to feel your legs and watching someone move them. My legs were way up in the air, they grabbed them, and lowered them to the table and I felt NOTHING. As far as sensation it still felt like my legs were swinging from the rooftops. That almost made me sick. Then feeling my legs being down with my hands, but feeling them sensation wise up in the air was WEIRD to say the least.

I get wheeled into recovery and am just sort of there. I ask if Kelley can come sit with me and they let him until their next patient arrives.

They then need to get my fetal heart rate again, which they try for and can't get. I'm excited thinking I get to see another ultrasound, but no, someone else tried and got it. I don't think I like their doppler machines either - instead of broadcasting the heartbeat it goes to ear pieces. Very selfish in my opinion. At the same time they were nice enough to get it in a good spot and then move the ear pieces so I got to hear the heartbeat. It's incredible to hear. An adult heart beats sooo much slower and if you listen sounds different to me. The baby's heart rate was 155 - a good number, but sort of sounds like wub wub wub because of the fluid around the baby. I also got to hear the baby move away. Nice to know that after all the numbing and other random things they did down there baby was still active.

This is when I'm informed I don't get to go home until I pee for them. I have enough trouble peeing when there isn't that sort of pressure on me, and now they mention I HAVE to pee to go home?

It didn't quite work as planned. The spinal took much longer than normal to wear off, the anesthesiologist felt that was because of all the problems and scar tissue in my back.

The reason the peeing is so important, I was told, is that your body is still making the urine while you are numb, so your bladder could get full and explode and you wouldn't know it. OR some people actually lose the ability to urinate for a few days after a spinal so it has to be manually drained until they can do it. The bladder also sits right on top of your cervix, the part they just strangled and they can't have that extra weight and pressure pushing on it irritating things more than they have.

They had me try to pee at 2pm, didn't happen. How do you make yourself pee when you can't feel your butt or your girly parts? Then they gave me a 3pm deadline to pee, or they would have to do a bladder scan and then catheter me.

The bladder scan thing worried me, I mean if all it's doing is measuring for liquid wouldn't it pick up the amniotic fluid also? They said no. It showed that my bladder was at around 500 whatever they measure so they cathetered me to drain it and only got like 200 of it out. Which puzzled them. So then it's "well maybe she didn't have to pee and the scanner was off". Well now my bladder is empty, I'm giving a 3pm deadline to pee or I get admitted and probably have to stay overnight. I was NOT happy about this.

I end up admitted, and taken to another area of the hospital. I start getting feeling back in my girly areas and my butt. Kelley tells me he's going to go grab himself some dinner since I'm liable to be there awhile. That was about 4:45pm - I start feeling like I can pee around 5:30pm call for the nurse (I'm not allowed to get up, even more so by myself since my lower half was just numbed). She helps me into the bathroom and I pee. YAY! I told the nurse that meant I got to go home and she was shocked. She asked her boss, who called the people who made the pee rule, who tell her to bladder scan me again to make sure my bladder was empty. Which pissed me off, they didn't say my bladder had to empty, just that I had to pee. Well the nurse goes to grab it, and I tell her I don't think it's reading me right. She asked why and I told her that I thought it might be picking up amniotic fluid too. I was asked "you're pregnant right" - yes, that's why I got the cerclage to STAY pregnant. So she gets irked at stupid people (and says so) then goes and tells her boss she refuses to bladder scan me, I'm pregnant, it DOES pick up amniotic fluid. Thank goodness she knew what she was doing.

So I get told I get to go home. Took Kelley till about 6:15 to get to the hospital and then a bit for them to get a wheelchair to take me out, but I did get to come home last night. *YAY*

The ride home was rough, I was/am very crampy from them shoving things around that don't like being shoved around. On top of that I have three holes in my back that went to my spine - so my back isn't happy.

It's all worth it though. Squish is now on lockdown, quite literally tied inside of me. I'm on strict bed rest for 3 days (what they told me verbally) to 2 weeks (what is written on my papers). I'm not supposed to any bending for awhile and have to take it easy from now on. I feel pretty good other than having a train crash into my uterus and someone stab me in the back a few times. Just tired and worn down.

So that's a cerclage in a rather long nutshell, at least my experience with it. I'm waiting to hear back on making an appointment to get seen within a week to be checked and then after that it'll be every 2 week ultrasounds to check my cervix. I'm 14 weeks, 4 days right now.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cerclage tomorrow.

I meant to post this much sooner. I found out late Friday via a message on the machine. We had a really really busy weekend so I didn't get around to posting this.

Anyways my cerclage surgery is scheduled for 10:45am tomorrow morning. They said to expect the surgery to last about 45 minutes and that's it. They were unable to give me any clue as to how the anesthesiologist is to do his job, except that he'll probably come in and spend some time talking to me and going over my back history and discuss it with me. They said that barring any complications I'll be home tomorrow night, and to expect to spend about 3 days on bed rest after. They will also be letting me know when I'll start getting my bi-weekly cervix checks and stuff.

I'm nervous, but also happy to be getting the cerclage placed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

NT Scan results

For those who were wondering I received the results of the NT Scan today - the results are the same as they were with our Christopher. Squish has a less than 1 in 10,000 chance of having any of the things that the test checks for, such as Down's. This doesn't mean that the baby absolutely does not have any of the things, it just means that based on age, the measurement of fluid, and the blood the chances of Squish having any of them is pretty slim.

Monday, December 14, 2009

NT Scan

I know I posted at some point about the NT Scan that I was having done. The scan indeed was done on Friday - and went well. Or as well as I figure it can go.

Squish was not cooperating in the beginning. I was being threatened with having to go drink a liter or two of water and then coming back in a bit later to fill my bladder. Because of the fact that they have to measure the thickness of the skin on the back of the baby's neck, they have to be able to get a good scan of the neck. (Go figure, right?) Squish didn't want to cooperate.

The ultrasound tech checked some other things, my ovaries and other things, and then went back to trying to get her measurement. After a lot of prodding Squish decided to play nice and cooperate. (Yay for my bladder!)

My due date was changed back to June 19th. I was told that was probably even a little later than Squish was measuring. Again, back to the uncooperative child, baby wasn't cooperating with her. I guess to get a "good" crown-rump measurement (what they use in early pregnancy to give an age to the baby) the baby is supposed to be flat out, Squish was having none of it. (Imagine that, baby already misbehaving, I blame it on Kelley). So - the tech went with the best measurement she could get where Squish was still curled up a bit and put me at 12w6d's on Friday. I was supposed to be 11w4d's so Squish had a tiny growth spurt in about a month. So - this might be a big baby, we shall see I suppose eh? Anyways she said that age was even putting Squish a little small since baby wouldn't stretch out good for her. Squish was also doing quite a bit of bouncing and tumbling in there, being good and active. Sort of explains the nausea, knowing that someone is doing gymnastics inside of you.

What else - I was told I would get the results of the NT Scan within 7-10 days, I'll post those when I get them. Let's hope for numbers like we got for Christopher, meaning that baby has a small chance of the problems the scan would pick up.

I do not yet have a date for my cerclage. I'm hoping to hear any day now about that - again as soon as I know I will let you all know. I still also have a million questions that I want answered prior to the cerclage - poor doctors are going to hate me. Other than that, things are good here. Excited for everything to be done and for us to get into June.

Here are the ultrasound photo's:
December 11, 2009
~Whole body shot of Squish. The thing that looks like a tail is in fact baby's legs sticking out. You can sort of make out a shoul
derish thing, and an arm. It's the bright white spot towards the lower part of the picture... and of course Squishes head.~

December 11, 2009
~head and shoulder photo of Squish. It simply amazes me to know that you can make out baby's nose already. The thing just in front (and slightly above) of Squishes face is his hand and arm. ~

Sometimes I wonder...

Sometimes I wonder why it is that I can't seem to lead the plain ol' ordinary boring life that imagined I would have as a kid. Then I look at who I chose to marry and realize that while I might have THOUGHT I wanted boring - I never would have chosen it.

Once again, time has flown by since my last shown post. I have another post that I've wrote, I'm still in the debate of whether or not I actually want to post it though.

Anyways what has gone on - not a whole lot.

I was in a very very minor fender bender (really minor) on Thursday. Kelley says it's more like a small paint scratch - it wasn't even my paint. Anyone who knows what I've had to deal with because of my back knows how pissy it can be, and in turn, how pissy it can make me. Right now my back and I are not on good terms. I've had problems with my back for 9 years now, most of it I'm used to. Poor Kelley has to listen to me whine over it all the time - I simply cannot imagine how tired of "my back hurts" he must be. Anyways - I took the same drive I've made a million times over the railroad tracks to Walmart - it just wasn't like it always was. There is a small speed bump like bump, that's not a speed bump, just before the railroad tracks. I go pretty slow over the bump as it tends to jar my back. This time I go over the bump and my back takes it personally - like this is a new bump installed just to irk it off. Well, irk it is what it did. A couple of sharp back pains and pains down my legs, no biggie I've dealt with this a million times. I can't even remember if these felt any different. Anyways I get to the tracks, there is a line waiting to get onto the road from the stop - I never pull forward on tracks (yes even if I know there is no train coming) until my entire car will fit on the other side without being on the tracks. (I put my seat belt on to back up my car out of the driveway, I'm that bad.) I wait for room for the car, slowly pull forward with my foot on the brake to keep the car slow. I'm approaching the car in front of me and go to push all the way down on the brake to stop and NOTHING. I don't mean the brake didn't move, I mean my foot and knee didn't move. There are positions that I become incapable of moving my left leg, it's hard to explain to people who have never felt this, but I literally cannot make my leg move. This is what happened here except for the first time it was my right leg. So I "bump" the car in front of me. It wasn't until I grabbed my leg with my hands and shook it and tried again that my legged move because I was telling it too. The only damage that was done to either vehicle was a slight imprint where my license plate holder left a black mark on the other car - so barely anything.

The lady I bumped was incredibly nice, I was simply amazed. I can't tell you how scary it was for me to know that I hit another vehicle - I've never so much as gotten a speeding ticket, never been in any form of accident. For me, I would have preferred to have been daydreaming, texting, talking on a cell phone, just not paying attention rather than having my leg not work. All I can say is I'm still freaked out about it. I'm scared sick at the thought of driving because I know it could have been much worse than what it was. I could have seriously hurt someone, or the baby, and that freaks me out to say the least.

My back is still pissed off from it. I don't know if I did something on the bump before the tracks, or if the jar from hitting the other car hurt me, but my back and I are no longer friends. I'm having lots more fun with the sharp nerve pain, my right leg is now occasionally being weird (that's the best I can describe it), and I'm waking up every morning feeling like I was the take-off zone for an airport runway. The awesome thing is that Dr. Halter has managed to squeeze me in on Friday to see me. I'm very thankful for that - I'm hoping he might have some answers, but I'm scared there just aren't any other than "your back is messed up, we both know this". We shall see...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

NT Scan info and date change

The date for my NT Scan has been changed. Not sure if I've mentioned this so far with Squish. The date was originally set up for this Friday, December 4th. It's been moved to next Friday, December 11th.

I wrote about the NT Scan with Christopher. NT stands for Nuchal Translucency screening. The reason the date had to be changed is that there is a very small time period that the test can be done. It has to be done between 11 and 13w6d, the day you turn 14 weeks it's too far along to get it done and your results will can be inaccurate.

The test can only be performed by ultrasound techs that have to be specially certified to do the test, and in fetal medicine, and the machines have to be sensitive enough to measure accurately. The test is performed by the tech measuring the thickness of the skin on the back of the babies neck. Babies with abnormalities tend to have more fluid built up in the back of their neck. They measure that (isn't it cool that we have the ability to measure the thickness of skin on the back of a 12w old babies neck?) and take some blood and that's it. If nothing else it's another excuse for an ultrasound (yay).

With Christopher they called a few days later and let us know the results. The test will pick up things like Down's Syndrome, Edward's Syndrome, Turner's Syndrome, and Patau's Syndrome. Okay I have no clue what the last three are - but it picks up a lot of things. It will also show if you are a low risk, or high risk. The results are not 100% accurate - you can get false negatives or positives, as well as be told that you are super low risk and still have a baby with a problem.

The reason that I HAVE to have this test done is that there are abnormalities that it will pick up that will keep Dr. Dickson (the high risk OB) from doing the cerclage. It picks up things that will show whether or not the baby can survive outside of the womb, and things that will show if the baby won't make it past 20 weeks and such. They will not put the cerclage in if they are 100% certain that any of the harsher abnormalities exist. The reason being that if some of them exist my body will end up aborting the pregnancy anyway - and the cerclage could end up holding an aborted baby. I know that sounds really bad - but it does make sense. If my body were to decide to abort the baby shortly after one ultrasound to check my cervix - it could be 2 weeks before the next and the risks of me ending up dangerously infected are extremely high. It could be deadly to me.

As I understand it I'll be finding out about the cerclage when they do the NT scan. If nothing else I'll get a date when the results come back. Dr. Dickson told me that he wants the cerclage in by 14 weeks. That puts it being done right around Christmas time - they may push it later because of the holidays but we will see. I'm also curious about what his plans are for my time in the hospital, and stuff after that.

Once the cerclage is in they will be doing cervical checks at least every two weeks. Which will mean lots of ultrasounds. When I spoke to the ultrasound tech at my last ultrasound she said that since I will be getting the scans so often they probably won't do much other looking at the baby.

For those asking - it probably will not be until around 20 weeks that we find out the sex of the baby. There won't be a lot of extra looking because the ultrasounds are going to be done so much.

Not much going on...

I've had a lot of people asking how things are going lately. The answer is - they are going. Life is good. Don't have anything to complain about.

My bleeding finally stopped. *yay* Dr. Edwards is pretty sure it was just a cyst that ruptured. Having the doctor tell you that things "look" okay when you are pregnant and bleeding doesn't help much. There is nothing as not reassuring as bleeding while pregnant. As I said though, that's over with. YAY!

I still have occasional cramping but that's because Squish is dancing all over my uterus. At least this way I'll know that Squish will pop out ready to do the tango and win Dancing With The Stars. Can't help it if baby is starting their talents early, I blame that on Kelley - the "show off" gene must come from his side.

What else - I figure on Monday I'll start doing weekly belly shots - courtesy of Kelley. I'll make sure they are taken after I eat something when I turn into pregnant Tammy. It's amazing how a slice of toast can turn me from Tammy to super pregnant Tammy. I'm also hoping to talk some cash out of Kelley for warmer maternity clothes. I live with a polar bear - which means frozen Tammy. Good thing he's warm and cuddly.

As far as the morning sickness - it's still here. I've had a couple moments of not feeling yucky - and there were two hole days where I ate a whole bagel and kept it down. (No small feat let me tell you.) Then there are the times when the idea of food is just ucky. I think I'm craving strawberries - which is not good with it being December and all. They sound really good though.

I'm also really tired all the time. Sort of like a walking Zombie most of the time. At the same time, it's worth it. I'm thinking this is sort of like preparation for the no sleep you get when the baby gets here.

I feel very lucky that I don't have morning sickness as much as some people. I figure compared to others I've got it really easy. Plus if the outcome is a baby in 30 more weeks it's a price I'm willing to pay.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It shouldn't happen to anyone. . .

One of the things I decided after we lost our Christopher was that his death would never be for nothing. I chose to reach out and do my best to help others who lose their babies, it was the smallest thing that I could do. I know the pain in a way that someone who has never felt this loss knows it. No one out there who has not lost a child, a baby, knows how it feels the way those that have experienced the loss do.

There is a woman I met who lost her baby very close to our loss of Christopher, and we supported each other through it. Her loss was her second loss, but I can't imagine that the pain gets easier the second time around. We both ended up getting pregnant again, and were both due in June together. I really hoped this would be it for us, we would get to bring these babies home. I can never regret losing Christopher - not knowing that his death lead to this life growing inside of me. Not knowing that Christopher changed my life and that losing him has helped me to help others.

I found out today that she lost her baby. She was supposed to be ten weeks, the baby was only measuring around nine, and there was no heart beat. It seems such a cruel thing - I don't know that I have the strength in me to lose another baby, and to know that there are people out there that go through one loss after another hurts my heart in a way I can't describe.

No one should lose a baby, I just can't even think of the words to say to explain how much this hurts me. I know there is a chance this baby won't get to stay, but I try not to think about that. I've decided to love this baby even knowing Squish might not get to stay. I plan on loving Squish every second that they are here - however long that is, because I know that I don't get to choose how long that is.

I just ask that for those that can, say a small prayer. Say a prayer for those who have lost little ones, because that is a pain that never goes away. Pray for those who are pregnant and that they get to bring their babies home, happy and healthy. Pray for those who God is going to chose their babies time here is short - pray God gives them the strength in both heart and faith to make it through this.

I know my faith was questioned, and we just suffered one loss, I can't imagine where my heart would go if I have to deal with more than one.

I don't know if this makes sense to anyone - I just wish there was more that I could do, or say.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Updates on Squish and I

I've been intentionally not blogging about the baby and I for the past little bit. Things haven't been 'peachy' and there have been a few issues.

Last Sunday just before church service I experienced very sharp pains that felt like someone was taking a knife and stabbing me. No big deal. Then Monday I had some bleeding, the same with Tuesday AM so I went in to see Dr. Edwards. Dr. Edwards did an exam and said that everything looked good internally - that my cervix was closed up good. At the same time (and I HATE this word) he was concerned about the 'viability' of the pregnancy. He was glad they had been able to pick up the heartbeat at my visit with the high risk OB. At the same time he said that doing an ultrasound that day wouldn't show enough of a change to be picked up. He said the growth of the baby would be what helped show the viability. So I had to wait and hope and pray that the dark brown blood that was still going on was nothing. He did see me again on Monday and ordered and ultrasound then.

Let me just say that the ultrasound definitely made me feel better. Squish is measuring fine. They did get a much more accurate measurement after doing an internal ultrasound - I was measuring 7 weeks exactly on the 9th. It moved my due date to June 28th. They did say that would change as the baby grew though. But June 28th went exactly with my dates (off 8 days from the doctors dates).

They were able to pick up Squish's heartbeat again, another great relief. Squish was measuring at .97cm - it's amazing to think that the baby went from less than a pinhead to almost a centimeter already. The ability of the human body to reproduce astounds me. Even more so knowing that it's the love between Kelley and I is what has created this life, it's incredible to me to know that once again there is a little tiny person inside of me that is part Kelley and part me.

Here are the ultrasound photo's.

November 9, 2009
If you look at the picture closely you can see Squish's head all the way to the right. Wrapping under and to the right of him is the 'fetal pole' - if you look at it just right you can see the beginnings of Squish's legs, more like little flippers right now. Squish also had little fins of arms there too.

November 9, 2009
Again, Squish. The two little star thingies are the points that they use to measure the fetal length - basically the length of fetal pole - to determine how old the baby is and get the measurement. This is the length that gave Squish the length of .97cm

November 9, 2009
The other ultrasound image. At the bottom - the lines - the line that is intermittent is Squish's heartbeat. I'm technically not supposed to have the heartbeat on paper - something about people suing the hospitals over it or something.

I'd also like to add that it was quite the reunion today. The first woman who was going to do the ultrasound and got called away was the woman who did the ultrasound of my gallbladder back in May when I ended up needing the stomach surgery.

The woman that ended up actually doing the ultrasound - and giving me images they don't normally give out - ended up in tears. When she walked in to do the ultrasound I remembered her, and she remembered me. Her first words were 'so how did you get here today?' I asked her what she meant - and she asked if they had managed to do a rescue cerclage - and wasn't the baby due around now. She thought I was in there to get my cervix measure and that this was Christopher. She ended up crying when she realized that we'd lost Christopher and that this was a different baby. She said that she had hoped there would be a different ending for us. At the same time she revealed to me that people don't understand how she can do what she does - she miscarried 9 times and was unable to ever carry a baby to term. She also hoped that she would be the main one measuring my cervical length every few weeks once the cerclage is put in. Once she found out I was there for bleeding and scared to death she was as nervous as me, and as happy as me when Squish was doing fine.

She did see some fluid in there - she said probably blood - that might signify having a cyst that ruptured - which would explain the sharp pains before the bleeding. At the same time she couldn't tell me much, I have a follow up appointment with Dr. Edwards tomorrow so hopefully he'll be able to tell me more.

Regardless, knowing that Squish is measuring fine, the heart is beating great is such a huge relief. I'll deal with whatever God sends my was if it means bringing a happy, healthy baby home in June. I'll lay in bed for the next 7 months if I need to in order to bring Squish home.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not just us.

So one of the things I'm learning lately is that while this year has been hard for Kelley and I it's been just as hard for so many other people this year. We've dealt with losing our child, losing my grandpa, lost jobs, car accidents, house fires, car robberies, one thing after another.

In our own pain it's so easy to just sit and stare at the broken pieces scattered all around us, trying to figure out what glue will even begin to put the mess back together. Sometimes we are so preoccupied with putting our lives back together that we never stop to look around. It's so easy to see our lives in wreckage, and wonder why.

It's so easy to never look up, never look around, never look very closely at the lives of those around us. Sometimes, if we do manage to look up, we notice that there are others who lives are broken. Sometimes if you look close enough, if you take the time to care when YOUR world has crumbled, you'll notice theirs shattered. Your pieces are HUGE compared to what's left of theirs. How could you be blinded by the mess of your life, and never have seen the moment when theirs came falling down too?

I've learned in my life that there are times when prayer fixes everything. There are simple times when you beg for God to fix things, and He simply does. There are times when all God want's is us to come to Him in prayer, times when He wants to know that WE KNOW He can fix it.

Then there are times when God doesn't want us to wait for the fix. There are times when God won't "make everything better". There are times when what God want's from us is to hit our knees. That's just what we need. There are times when we forget that God knows what's best in our lives, and what our purpose here is. Sometimes what God wants from us is simply to say "God I don't get it. God I may never understand why you've brought this upon me. God, this hurts, and I can't see the other side of the storm my life is in, but God I KNOW there is a reason. God I'm on my knees, and I can't see the solution to what's going on. God I'm going to praise You anyway. God I'm lifting my heart to you, and if this is what You ask of me, then God I'm going to accept it and know you'll carry me through."

One of the things I've learned this year is that it's true - God won't give you a cross to heavy to carry. At the same time, there are moments I wish He didn't have so much faith in me.

I've said this in so many places, to so many people lately. It's so easy to thank God when our lives are great. It's so great to tell others, "God has a plan" when it's their life that's hard. It's so easy to give thanks until God tries our hearts and our faith. Sometimes I think it's the moments when our lives are in ruin that God shows us the truth of our faith. Faith isn't praising God when times are good. Faith is praising God when times are not just bad, but miserable.

I've learned this year that yes, Kelley and I have had a really crappy year in some places. In other places the both of us our still standing. Kelley has a job, we still have a place to live, our friends are still there, we still have our car to get from point A to point B, we have yet to go hungry, we may have lost our son but we will get to see our Christopher again one day, we may have lost our first baby but God has given us another life and shown us there WAS a reason for losing our Christopher.

Life hasn't been easy this year for us, but for some the fire we've been walking on would feel like sweet cool grass after walking barefoot through hell.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Perinatal Visit

Today was my appointment with the Perinatal Specialist - Dr. Dickson. He's a doctor that specializes in high risk pregnancies - which I am. As if the gastric bypass surgery, the back surgery, the back pain medications, the second stomach surgery weren't enough, my body added in the incompetent cervix with Christopher. So I'm one fun risk after another now.

Squish 10/30/09 5 weeks 6 days
(This is "Squish" at 5 weeks, 6 days. This is my uterus. The white "V" is pointing down to the white spot that is his heartbeat. The round up in the upper right hand side is the amniotic sac - it sort of makes up that whole upper right area.)

The good news is that there is in fact only one baby in there. I asked the ultrasound tech to make sure because my mother-in-law had a dream that we were having twins. The tech looked around and said there was only one baby in there. I was also right in that squish is only measuring at 6 weeks, not 7. I spent enough years trying to get pregnant that I know how to find out when you ovulate. Most women ovulate on the 14th day of their cycle, I ovulated on day 22 - so I'm measuring a week behind based on the first day of my last period, which is what they normally go by. Right now squish is due around the 26th of June - I was told to expect to deliver early.

Dr. Dickson did say that our loss of Christopher was a pretty 'classic' case of incompetent cervix. Except for the fact that I caught the issue before the baby was born. Dr. Dickson did tell me that had he been my doctor at the time he would have probably forced the issue on delivering Christopher as soon as they saw the sac outside of my cervix and the liquid level in the amniotic sac. At the same time, he said that not many people would have been willing to do all that I did to try to save Christopher. That is one thing I have a lot of trouble accepting, it's hard for me to imagine that people wouldn't be willing to do whatever it took to possibly save their baby, but Dr. Dickson made it sound like most women wouldn't risk it.

The plan right now is that I see Dr. Leeds (my second OB at Sun Life) a week from Monday. She will probably schedule a visit a month from then to see me. I'll see Dr. Dickson in six weeks. At the six week visit - 12 weeks gestation - they will do a test called the "NT" test - Nuclotransulency test. (Around the first or second week in December). The test is one they do to check for birth defects and things like Downs Syndrome. They will do a thorough ultrasound at that point, checking my cervix then, and will schedule me for my cerclage.

I was told the cerclage would be done between 12 and 14 weeks gestation, right around Christmastime. What the cerclage is basically the doctor going in surgically and putting a purse string on my cervix. They pull the string tight to make sure that the cervix doesn't open. Kind of like the pull ties on a trash bag.

When they perform the surgery they normally do an epidural block to keep the patient from feeling what is going on down there while they perform the surgery. Dr. Dickson said that for me they would not do it that way. There is just too much damage already done to my spine to risk it. So they will do general anesthesia for me instead.

The risks with the cerclage are infection and miscarriage. Infection is an issue any time any part of you is exposed to outside elements. They normally put you on antibiotics at the hospital to prevent infection, and keep it in check in the off chance it happens. Miscarriage is another risk, when they go in to do the cerclage they use a needle, which can poke the amniotic sac and cause it to leak, which could cause a miscarriage. Also all that activity and them messing with your cervix could cause you to have contractions - the contractions if they get bad enough could cause the baby to be born, or even rip the area the ceclage is stitched too. Dr. Dickson said he's never had a case where that happened.

Once the cerclage is in place I'll have ultrasounds done every two weeks to check my cervical length, and look for funneling. What happens with incompetent cervix is that the weight of the baby puts so much pressure on your cervix that it starts opening up the top, as the top widens, the length of the cervix shortens forming a cone. The ceclage's job is to make sure that your cervix cannot funnel past that point.

IF my cervix starts showing signs of funneling or shortening I'll be put on serious bed rest, or hospitalized depending on how bad it is. If they are worried about the stitch holding they may go in and place another cerclage but that is highly unlikely from what Dr. Dickson said.

I was told right now to take it easy, and start getting used to making sure to get in some time each day with my feet up. Dr. Dickson said to expect some sort of bed rest, probably about 4 hours each day of laying horizontal with no pressure on my cervix. I was told to start working at not staying on my feet for long lengths of time, because once the cerclage is in place he won't want me on my feet for more than two hours at any given point. I was told get all my walking done prior to the cerclage placement.

At around 14 weeks I'll start getting steroid shots to help the babies body mature a little more quickly. This was in case squish is born early he'll have a better chance of survival. I was told that the risks of the shot are minimal compared to the chance of squish not making it if he's born too early.

For now I guess that's it. Most everything else is a "we'll cross that bridge if and when we get there". To just take it easy, not out do things, more rules will get put in place when the cerclage is put in, and depending on what my cervix does. Dr. Dickson did agree that avoiding surgeries and house fires during the pregnancy would probably be a good idea. Both of us are hoping for a boring pregnancy other than the frequent check ups.

My goals right now are:
Get pregnant. (CHECK)
Get to see the baby in there. (CHECK)
Get to see Squishes heart beat on the monitor. (CHECK)
Get to the second trimester. (When the chance of miscarriage goes way down.)
Have the cerclage put in place.
Get to the point I can have the shots done.
Find out what we are having, a boy or girl.
Pick a name.
22 weeks - the point when we lost our Christopher.
Hit 24 weeks - the point where if Squish is born early there is a chance he'll live.
Hit the third trimester - most babies born in the third trimester make it.
Hit 34 weeks - the point where hospital stays are minimum and the baby is mostly developed.
35 weeks - the point where they will go in and take the cerclage out.
After that it's keep the baby in as long as possible.
Bring our baby home, and not lose our sanity (okay, what passes for sanity in my world).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The good (great, amazing, scary) news

I really wanted to wait to post this until I spoke to everyone in person, but it appears it's just not going to work out that way. There are some people at church I wanted to tell face to face, not via email, phone call, or blog. At the same time with Kelley and I both being miserable sick (apparently me more miserable, him more sick) I can't promise when we will be back at church. We just aren't wanting to go in and risk getting people sick over things.

Kelley went in on Thursday and was told he has pneumonia or bronchitis. I'm really sick too. I kept telling myself if I'm not better on Monday I'll call and make an appointment. Friday it was like duh, I'm going in for my first OB appointment.

Not a gyn appointment an OB appointment. I'd had feelings for awhile that I was pregnant, not symptoms, just this 'I'm pregnant' seed planted in my head. I told Annette at one point that it was going to suck when my period came because I really felt that I was pregnant. I did something really stupid and took a pregnancy test four days early - I saw a pink line. I've taken enough pregnancy tests to know what a negative test looks like. You would think I wouldn't have quite so much trouble going okay, this is not a negative test, so that means it's positive. Instead I look at a positive test and start thinking I'm imagining the pink line, so I hide it away. I test the next day, and get a definite positive, and once again think I'm imagining things. So, I figure I'm in this deep, I pull out the digital pregnancy that came with my ovulation strips, and sit and stare at the 'pregnant' for about ten minutes before it comes through to me "you're actually pregnant".

So, my husband probably wanted to kill me, but I didn't tell him first. The first person I told was Annette - since we were hanging out all day, and I had to tell SOMEONE. Plus she's my best friend so that helps. I made plans to somehow manage to hold my tongue and decided to not tell Kelley until our anniversary. Lets just say he didn't go to school that night like he was supposed to and it was pure torture sitting there not telling him.

For our anniversary I picked out a sterling silver 1g memory stick key chain. Kelley loves key chains and as you all know he loves computer stuff. Once I found out I was pregnant I had all these plans of taking pictures of letters saying stuff about this year, the good and the bad. I was going to make him plug the memory stick in - view the pictures - and the last would mention the pregnancy. He was so sick though that I didn't have the heart to make him plug the stick in.

Instead, I stayed up till midnight (I couldn't hold in telling him anymore), woke him up to let him know. I told him it would be worth it. I gave him the pen set I'd gotten him first. I could see the look in his face "she woke me up at midnight for a pen set?" I told him that wasn't the good present. Next was the key chain. I really thought I did a good job with the key chain. He opened it up and had the look, he was trying to hide, "this is a little better, but I'm sick as a dog and she woke me up at midnight for it?" He did tell me it was a very thoughtful gift. I feel better about it because he's actually using it, still not sure he actually likes it. It might be a pity thing now, you know, the whole "she got, I might as well make her think I like it". Once again I told him that wasn't the best gift, and promised him it was worth it.

I gave him the anniversary card - I had wrote all the good and bad stuff this year. January - Papa passing away, definitely bad, I still miss him. March - Finding out we were having Christopher - a huge plus. March - Mom and Gino coming to Arizona, fun. July - The house fire, losing Christopher, June -mom and dad being in the car accident, brothers losing their jobs all that. That the year had had it's ups and downs, but I really felt things were starting to look up.

"November - we found out we were expecting another baby." You could see when he hit that point in the card because his whole changed. He sort of shook his head, looked at it again to make sure he'd read it write. Turned to me with this incredible look and said "really?" I have to tell you I'll have a dozen kids if I can keep getting that incredible look from him. There is no greater moment than seeing that type of joy and love and hope all bundled into one look from the person you love.

We are both thrilled. I'm pretty sure we are both also scared to pieces. For me it's a huge batch of mixed emotions that I'm pretty sure I'll have forever. I'm so glad to have this new life growing inside of me. I'm so amazed to know that once again there is a life that is part Kelley, part me, growing inside of me.

At the same time I know that had Christopher lived, this amazing life wouldn't be here. I would either still be pregnant and carrying him, or would be on some form of birth control and taking care of a new baby. There is no way that this baby would be here had we not lost Christopher. I wish that there was some way I could have both of my babies here with me. It's such a bittersweet thing to know that Christopher's passing is what made this life possible. It gives such a huge meaning to losing him, the reason I'd been praying God would show me.

I have my first OB appointment, as I mentioned, on Monday. This is with Dr. Edwards, the doctor that helped me through having (and needing) the stomach surgery while I was pregnant with Christopher. I'm hoping for all my appointments at Sun Life I can have them with either Dr. Edwards or Dr. Leeds (the doctor who helped me through losing our Christopher). I'm not sure how many questions Dr. Edwards will be able to answer, and know they are going to refer me to a high risk OB. I'll put my list of questions on here, tomorrow maybe. Right now I think it's just over 50.

Please keep this new baby, Kelley and I in your prayers. Please pray that God lets us keep this baby with us here. I know that one day I'll get to see dear Christopher again, and spend eternity with him, but I would love to bring a child here for us to raise and love.

Right now it's small goals - making it to the first OB appointment was one. The first high risk OB appointment is another. Getting to see the baby's heart beat on ultrasound is the next. After that making it to the cerclage. Then to the second trimester. Next finding out whether it's a girl or a boy. 22 weeks is another goal, getting past the point where we lost Christopher. 24 weeks was the magic week number the people at the hospital kept talking about, the point where there is a chance of saving the baby if they are born, they use the word "viable". After that it's the 27 or 28 weeks, the point where most babies live if they are born after. After that, the longer the baby stay's in the better for them.

Thank you, to everyone, who has prayed for Kelley and I. Thank you to those who have continued to think of us, it means so much more than any words can say. Thank you in advance for the prayers I know will be said for us and this baby.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Prayers for the family of Jessica Kent please

I'd like to ask everyone to please pray for the family and loved ones of Jessica Kent.

Our pastor at Calvary Southern Baptist Church in Casa Grande lost his daughter-in-law around 3am this morning. Our pastor's name is Sammy Kent, his wife is Marilyn. Their daugher-in-law's name is Jessica Kent, her husbands name is Lawrence. Jessica has left behind beautiful children and her husband who I am sure are having a very rough time right now. Please pray that God gives them the strength they need to make it through this loss, as I simply cannot imagine their pain. I have never had the privilege of meeting any of Jessica's side of the family but I am sure they are suffering a great deal right now as well.

Jessica passed away to severe complications after a tough battle with pneumonia, I am sure she is at home with the Lord now wishing she could comfort her family during this time. I wish that at times like this there was some comfort that would help us through the feelings of loss. The only things that I can say, and in the end it is all that matters, is that through Christ we all will be reunited with our family and loved ones. It is one reason why I find it so important to share my love of Christ, and the belief in Him and the Father. It is only through that love of Christ that we are promised to join our family.

I pray that God will lift up the loved ones of Jessica Kent. I ask God to lay His grace upon them and help them through this troubling time as only He can. I ask that the Father will wrap them in His loving embrace and offer them the comfort and strength to get through these times. Lord please help this family through this, and let them know that one day they will be reunited with Jessica. Father please help Jessica and Lawrence's children through this, let them know that in all things their mother loves them and is waiting to be reunited with them in Heaven.

Monday, October 19, 2009

This year

So many of you know that it has been a very long year for my family. It started off rough - and has it's definite ups and downs.

On January 15th my Papa passed away. My brother's father-in-law (not exactly what I call him technically) was diagnosed with cancer.

In February my baby brother (and yes Joey you will always be my baby brother) lost his job.

March 6th we got amazing news - it was the day that Kelley and I found out Christopher was on the way. Which sort of reverts back to good news on Valentines as the day they say we conceived. March was also the month that my big brother, Bobby, lost his job.

April - okay I can't remember officially what happened in April but I keep thinking this was the month that Keri - my mother-in-law - told me her husband (who I guess would be my father-in-law) had cancer. Not sure but I think that's about when we were told.

In May my mom and dad were in a serious car accident. Both of them had serious problems and my mom is still having problems from it. At the end of May was when I had all the stomach pain, leading to a serious surgery. I was told that I had a serious bowel hernia and obstruction. I had to suffer from very serious pain for a few days because we all wanted to avoid anything serious happening to the baby.

The end of June was our house fire - the worst part of which was that the bacon didn't make it.

July was when we lost our Christopher. The same night was when Kelley's car was broken into and the passengers window destroyed. (I can say that Kelley tried to clean it up well, but when I cleaned his car yesterday there was still glass.)

In August my niece was pulled over for speeding and they found drug paraphernalia in her car. I totally believe this was my niece's fault, but it still sucked. They also found out she'd been doing a lot of serious bad things.

September was when my mom found out she has some sort of serious internal problem. They did some testing and she was told that she had an enlarged appendix. Which we are pretty sure is wrong because she had her appendix taken out several years ago. After reviewing the pictures and such they think they found a piece of unattached intestines in the shape of a candy cane. So they are pretty sure she needs surgery, and is in a lot of pain. They won't give her pain meds either.

October is looking up. You'll have to read my next post to find out why.

One of the things I've learned this year is that everything that we get comes from God. He's also the one that takes things away. It's so easy to praise God when everything is going great, and life is good. It's much harder to give thanks when life is going down, and you can't even see the bottom of the road you're on. It's a definite lesson in humility.

Papa was a sad thing, but I understood it. My prayer at the time was for God's will to be done. I didn't want Papa to spend the next year of his life as he had the previous. I understood when God took Papa to be with him, and I was glad he wasn't suffering anymore.

When we were blessed with a pregnancy it was so easy to thank God for that. It was so easy to be thankful.

I was mad and angry at God for so many reasons. I never blamed God for taking Christopher - but I was angry at him for not saving him. It took me a long time to be able to realize God has a reason for all things. It took me a long time to be able to thank God for giving as well as taking. I did eventually start seeing that even after all the things that happened this year I had a lot to be thankful for.

God did take my Papa, but he's no longer suffering. The car accident my parents were in wasn't good, but they didn't die because of it. We didn't get to keep Christopher, but he was here. My God has promised that I will get to see our Christopher again. Christopher's life may not have been here long, but through the experience with him I've been able to touch other lives because of him. Peoples lives have been touched because of Christopher's life.

I've learned to thank God when times are good, and when they aren't. I'm married to an incredible man. I have two awesome dogs, and one demon cat who cracks me up. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, a car to drive, a bed to sleep in. I have an incredible husband and despite everything he still puts up with me, still loves me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

On another note . . .

This is completely off topic of our baby journey. I figure since I have no clue when God is going to bless us with another child I should find other things to blog about.

Today I am asking for prayers for my mom and her sisters, Pam and Joy.

I'll try to make the rough draft as brief as I can. Pam, as far as I know has never been a major part of Papa's life. I mean, yes she is his daughter, but from what I've known for the past 15 years she never made herself a part of his life for long or in a major way..

Joy on the other hand used to call and speak with Papa daily, and helped him all the time. Joy was always checking on Papa, and doing something for him.

Around 2003 Papa, Pam and Joy had a falling out and pretty much stopped speaking to each other. When Joy and Pam stopped speaking to Papa, so did their families, that left just my mom and us kids speaking to Papa and visiting him.

At some point Papa made Mom the sole recipient of what there was of his 'estate' . There were other things involved, but it boiled down to Papa taking Joy and Pam out of the will because they hadn't spoken in years. When mom found out she took it pretty hard. She told me about it a little while later because she had no one else to talk to about it. The hardest thing for mom was she knew carrying out Papa's wishes would put up a wall between her and her sisters. It was something I prayed about often, hoping the silence would end, they would realize no grudge was worth losing family over.

The hardest thing for me to deal with was that Papa truly felt Joy, Pam, and their families didn't care about him. It killed me knowing that he had family within minutes of him that he never saw. My cousins also lost any relationship they could have had with Papa. I know that it wasn't until I grew up I realized Papa wasn't just a grouchy old man. My cousins, I don't think, ever had a chance to picture him differently. Papa thought they didn't care, my cousins, I don't think, ever had the opportunity to learn they might care.

Most of you who take the time to read this know that Papa died in January of this year. When Papa died, of course the information about the will got out. We didn't have anymore time to try to fix the broken relationship between Papa, Pam and Joy anymore. The wall went up, and I'm asking for prayers that it might come down one day.

It killed my mom, and hurt her, she was torn between not wanting to lose her sisters, and doing what Papa wanted. Papa's wish was that she follow his wants for the will, so she tried to. I wish it had just been about money, if it was just money mom would have just split it and kept her sisters. It was never about the money, it was about what Papa asked be done.

When Joy and Pam found they were no longer in the will, they contested the will. I won't even tell you the horrible things they said about Dad, Mom, and Papa to say why the new will wasn't valid, that's all in the past and can't be undone.

This week Mom called to let me know it was finally over with. She had given Pam and Joy some money, and Papa's car if I remember right. Mom is relieved it's finally over, she hated fighting her sisters, so in one way she's glad. The thing is, Mom feels like she let Papa down in not fighting it all the way, she worries that he's upset with her now for not fighting to the finish over it.

I told Mom that Papa knows she tried. Papa knows she took it this far, and followed her lawyers advice. I can't see that Papa would hold this against her.

I'm hoping, now with the will being over, maybe the three sisters will speak again, even if they can't be friends, maybe they can be sisters again. I ask for prayers asking it to happen.

I hope Joy and Pam see what they lost with Papa, all the wasted years, and how all it did was wreck their relationship with him, and Papa died thinking his daughters didn't care. I pray Joy and Pam can see what happened between them and Papa and realize it just wasn't worth it. They've already lost their father, all three of them, I hope they don't choose to lose each other also.

Please pray for them.

When Papa passed away, the day before the actual funeral service, the pastor that would be performing the ceremony asked the family to meet him to talk to him about who Papa was. It amazed me how different Joy, Pam and their families view differed from our families view of Papa. I was shocked to see that they had no clue who Papa was anymore. Looking back I knew who they thought Papa was, because it's who I thought Papa was before 2000, I called Papa grandpa until that point - Papa didn't become 'Papa' until I finally saw 'Papa'. They saw Papa as a grumpy old man who complained a lot, who said mean things, who drank as soon as 1pm came, who would squeeze every last penny out of a dollar. They saw Papa as a man who didn't have a lot of fun, and always complained about what people did. They saw the guy that said mean things, and no matter what you did he would say you didn't do it right, or at least from what they said that was who they saw.

Joy, Pam and their families weren't there to see Papa give up smoking after 55 plus years of doing so. They weren't there when he started picking up Pepsi's rather than drinking beer all day. They didn't get to see Papa eyes light up when Jessica, my niece would run up to him and hug him and tell him she loved him. Papa would never admit that he liked it, but you could see in his eyes that he did. I don't know if they ever realized that Papa wasn't intentionally mean, he just said what he thought because he didn't lie to people. I don't know that they could imagine Papa driving a motorized wheelchair all around Busch Gardens and enjoying himself. I doubt they ever got to see Papa attempt to bowl, he had a blast at it, even though he wasn't any good. I don't know if they ever realized that Papa never asked for the things that were the most important to him. Papa would complain nonstop about the mess my nephews made whenever they were in his house, at the same time he'd talk about the crazy stuff they did for weeks later, and would ask when they would be back. Papa would complain about how noisy our whole family was when we all were at his place, but he would talk about how quite things were when we were gone. It always seemed to be the things he never said that bothered him. Papa would never admit he was lonely, but he'd ask when you were visiting again.

I cried after Joy, Pam, and their families left. Some of the tears were for missing Papa, most were not. It was at that moment that I realized that their families had no clue what they missed. I cried because of all that they never even knew they didn't have. Kelley didn't have a clue how to make me feel better when I was crying for someone else. They will never mourn the loss of Papa the way we did, because they never knew Papa the way we did.

I hope, and I pray, and I ask you to pray, that the same thing doesn't happen between Mom, Joy and Pam. I pray that at some point they will realize the past is the past, and you can't change it, but you can change the future. I can't imagine they would start talking like nothing happened, but all three of them lost their father, I pray they don't lose each other before any of them are in their graves.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Noah's Ark

Noah's Ark Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah's Ark .

ONE: Don't miss the boat.

TWO: Remember that we are all in the same boat!

THREE: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.

FOUR: Stay fit. When you're 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.

FIVE: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

SIX: Build your future on high ground.

SEVEN: For safety's sake, travel in pairs.

EIGHT: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

NINE: When you're stressed, float awhile.

TEN: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

ELEVEN: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Still missing him...

So many people ask "How you doing?" I'm not really sure who wants to hear the truth, and who wants the easy lie. It's so easy to just say 'fine' rather than admit that it still feels like your world fell to pieces all around you.

I have a silver picture frame that says "Born with love" and a picture of Christopher beside the bed. Some days it feels so good to have it there, and other days it's just a reminder of the wound that is still bleeding freely. It still catches my eye and all I can do is sit and stare at the picture and remember all the dreams I had for my little boy.

There are still mornings where everything comes rushing back like a recent nightmare.

A couple people have asked how my faith is doing in the middle of all this. One person even said that this was just more proof that 'my God' wasn't here.

My belief in God never wavered, my faith in Him did. I know that God is there, He's been too much a part of my life, I've seen to many things to ever doubt that God exists. At the same time there was a point when I questioned if I wanted to continue to offer my life to a God who takes a child this way. I was never angry at God for taking Christopher, I am still angry at God for not saving Chris though. I believe in miracles, I've seen them, I've felt them, and I'm still upset that God chose this moment not perform one.

At the same time I know there is a reason, I may never know what that reason is, but it's there none the less. Knowing and understanding are not the same though. I can say I doubt I will ever understand why I had to lose my baby boy. I will never understand the pain that this loss has caused to so many.

I also know that God knows I'm angry at Him, and being the forgiving God that He is, He is okay with that. God isn't going to hold my anger against me, no matter how long I hold Him responsible for it.

There are two things that help bring me some calm from the storm I feel raging inside of me right now. One is my husband, without Kelley I doubt I would be here now. I am so thankful that of all the people in his life he chose to be with me. I hate to bring my pain to Kelley because I know it freshly opens the wound for him, so most of the time I don't, but I know when I do he'll be there for me.

The other thing is knowing that there will be a time when I get to see my son again. God has given that promise. All I can do until that point is live my life to be the type of person my son would be proud of. I wonder what Chris will look like on that day? What color are his eyes? What color is his hair?

The last words of my prayers at night are asking God to take care of my son. To make sure that Christopher knows I love him, and I miss him, and that he will never be forgotten. I pray that Chris knows that no matter how brief his life here on Earth was, that he changed the lives of many forever.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pictures from the house fire . . .

When I first posted about the house fire I had taken the pictures, just not uploaded them. I uploaded some of them and took a quick shot of how the patio looks now. Figured I would share them with everyone.

This picture is of the main area that caught fire. If you look at the left of the photo that is our sliding glass patio doors. Up against that wall was a 6ft five shelf bookcase, a metal smoker, a 4ft long by 3ft high(ish) shelf next to that one. There was a 50 gallon plastic bin that had lots of gardening goods in there as well.

The roof of the patio - you can see the sliding glass doors in this one also.

The patio furniture that is to the left as you face the patio doors. They were about six to seven feet from the actual fire. As you can see the metal wicker part of the chairs is melted - also the planter that was seven/eight feet away had the side next to the fire melted off completely. The pillows that are out there for my back melted also, even from that far from the fire.

This is a picture of the wall, again, that had the 5 shelf bookcase and the other shelf along with two metal smokers. The one smoker was completely gone, the other just melted a bit - you can see it laying on it's side.

A good shot of the sliding glass doors and our Chubbs standing in the doorway. The sliding screen door was melted - it shattered the first pane of glass on each of the doors, both doors were warped, the plastic holding the pane of glass that didn't shattered was melted as well.

A view from the sliding glass doors. That metal piece in the middle is all that was left of Kelley's little smoker - the rest of the metal was just gone.

Another shot from the sliding glass doors out.

And the fixed product:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Follow up OB visit

Yesterday (Friday) was my follow up appointment with Dr. Leeds. I was supposed to return to see her within two weeks, but to be honest just couldn't make the appointment. I finally did, and returned to see her.

Dr. Leeds and I talked about a lot of the questions I've had and it made me feel better that she agrees on most things with me.

She asked me if I was on birth control, as we have to wait two full cycles to try again. I told her that I didn't see the point of starting taking pills that take a month to work, just to stop taking them again. She agreed on that, as long as we used protection.

I asked her about a question I had based on what a nurse at the hospital said. The nurse had said that they would monitor my cervical length weekly, and if it changed they would then put the cerclage in. That wasn't good enough for me. I had an ultrasound Friday showing everything fine, and my cervix had opened by Wednesday. I told her I wanted the cerclage in as soon as possible, I'm not willing to risk this happening again. She said that sounded like a reasonable request given my situation and she supported me in that.

Not sure how many are actually reading this - but another thing she made sure I understood was that the cerclage would not be put in before as soon as we find out we are pregnant. I understand this, but for some it might not make sense. Statistically about 1/3 of pregnancies end in miscarriage - most of those being before the woman has even missed her period, or realized she could possibly be pregnant. 90%ish of miscarriages occur during the first trimester (no these aren't hard fact numbers just guestimates of what I've been told/read). These losses are normally due to their being a problem/birth defect with the baby that our bodies know, not a problem with the mother. Doctors do not want to preform the cerclage surgery on a mother, risking infection and all the risks of surgery, for her body to naturally miscarry the baby. If they do that the mom risks infection and worse from her body holding in a baby that has miscarried, and they won't know until the next time she has an ultrasound done. I'm not sure if I explained that well enough, hope it makes sense.

Dr. Leeds also let me know that at 14 weeks I would start getting weekly shots. The shots would be to help the baby mature quicker. It will help the babies lungs, heart and such become stronger so that baby has a better chance of surviving if we end up giving birth early again.

She also mentioned they have medication I would be given to prevent contractions as well.

I thanked Dr. Leeds, again, for letting Kelley and I fight for Christopher. Even when all the high risk doctors she spoke to were telling her to force us to induce right away, Dr. Leeds let us at least TRY to see if Chris could be saved. Giving us the opportunity to fight, to see if things could get better, helped us more than words could ever say. We know that we didn't just give up, we know we did everything we could to save our son, if she hadn't allowed us that we would forever have been asking "what if". The answer I received was "Those doctors weren't there and weren't the ones that would have had to tell you 'no'. Those doctors didn't see that you weren't ready to give up." She said that she knew that we weren't willing to quit without a fight, and that there was still a very slim chance things could have gotten better. She said she knew that no matter how small that chance we wanted to at least TRY. Knowing that Dr. Leeds realized we would have done anything meant a lot to me.

I asked Dr. Leeds if she would mind being the main doctor at Sun Life in charge of our pregnancy and she said she'd be honored. That she hoped to see me, when we were ready, pregnant again and that she would be happy to help bring that baby home with us. She said that my next pregnancy will mean all that much more to her because of what we'd been through together and that she would never forget Kelley, Christopher and I.

So, that is the latest update on "things". Kelley and I are doing okay still. I've had a few rough days, but I've gotten through those. Kelley has been amazing, always there for me in any way I need him. It's also been great to know that our friends and family are there too. Thank you, everyone, for all the prayers and good wishes you are sending our way, they mean more than words could ever say.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How it feels . . .

This is something I wrote close to three weeks ago. It was a bit of what I was feeling at the time. When this was wrote I had no intention of sharing it with anyone, it was just a way of venting at the time. Someone told me I should share it more, so here it is.

I can't imagine this is just how "I" feel, or felt at the time. I think anyone who has suffered a loss too early feels a lot of the same things.

"You know when you leave the hospital after giving birth to a baby who God took way too soon they give you lots of information. The doctors and nurses, and even well meaning friends and family say lots of different things. The fact is though, no one seems to say it all, or know when to leave well enough alone. People mean well, but if they've never been there they don't get that sometimes the best medicine is a hug, and knowing that they care. Even if they have been there, their three losses doesn't make this loss of yours hurt less. The fact that their mother's sister's cousin's stepfather's monkey lost two babies doesn't make this loss any easier to take.

They tell you that you are going to bleed, you just gave birth. The nurses are as compassionate and as kind as they can be as they give you the pads and tell you that you might have a period for the next six weeks - to expect what seems like a lot of blood for awhile. They don't tell you that sometimes you wish there were more pain to go with the blood, that maybe that pain, physical pain, would hurt less than feeling this pain coming from everywhere in you, and everywhere you look. The nurses tell you to take motrin for the cramping, it will make it a little easier. Don't they get that you want to feel pain, physical pain would be so much easier to deal with. You want a pain that would take your mind and spirit off of the pain that seems to be ripping you apart, one tiny piece of your heart at a time.

They tell you that your body has to go through the natural birth process, and the bleeding is part of that. What's natural about a baby leaving this world before he ever came into it? What's natural about losing a child? What's natural about them telling you that there is no choice, it's either the baby, or you and the baby? They don't seem to understand that sometimes you wish it had been both of you, because at least then you'd be with him. At least if you'd gone with him then your arm's wouldn't be aching to hold him knowing they never will. At least then you could see him open his eyes. At least then your heart wouldn't feel so far away.

Another thing that they share with you is that there is a strong chance that your milk is going to come in. They tell you what to do, wrap up your chest tight, take cold showers, don't let running water run over your chest, don't allow your nipples to be stimulated. The nurses don't warn you that your body doesn't know you've lost the child you've been dreaming of. No one tells you that you'll have to walk through a Target store to get a sport bra, to hold your boobs tightly, to help keep your breasts from hurting from your milk coming in to feed the child that isn't there. The nurses don't tell you that hearing a baby cry will make your chest ache in a way that it's never ached before, a way that is just one more reminder of how you failed your child.

Another thing I've noticed is that everyone wants to know how you are doing; you as in the mom. No one seems to ask how daddy is doing. No one seems to understand that watching dad go through this pain is worse than going through it yourself. Nobody realizes that you would give anything to be able to take that pain away from him. There isn't anyone out there that warns you that you'll forever wonder if dad would have been better off never knowing, never loving, and never having you in their life, because without all that, this pain would not be there for them. They don't seem to understand that you know that without you, he wouldn't have to be hurting this way.

When people ask, and people call,
They ask if I'm alright.
No one seems to notice, or remember
He too lost a child that night..

When you lose a child people don't warn you that you'll feel lost in places that you've been a million times before. No one tells you that you'll never feel so lost, so scared, so hopeless, or so claustrophobic in your entire life. No one warns you that you won't be able to breathe, that the world suddenly will have no air left in it, and you won't be able to move. They don't warn you that all the sudden every store has baby stuff everywhere, and that every single woman everywhere you go is going to be pregnant. Suddenly you feel like the only person out there who isn't pregnant or doesn't have a baby in their arms. Everywhere you look will be a reminder of the child that should still be inside of you, the child that should still be with you.

No one warns you that starting each day is like being shocked awake after a nightmare. That every morning when you begin to regain the ability to think it's like having the nightmare of the past come rushing in all at once. They don't tell you that every morning the pain feels fresh, like it just happened. Each day starts out with tears that you can't stop and you wonder why and what the point is of even waking up each morning. You end up laying there in bed reliving each and every moment all over again, wanting and wishing that the baby that should still be in you was still there. Your hand moves to the round belly thats suddenly flatter, wishing you could feel the kicks and flutters just one more time.

Well meaning people tell you "at least you were able to get pregnant" they tell you "you'll have another baby". They don't seem to understand that this baby, this child, isn't replaceable. It's not like a broken watch that you can just go out and buy a new one - even if this baby never took a breath of air he was a baby. This baby was a person, your child, and you can't just forget him, or switch him out. A new baby might be in your future, but that new baby won't take away the hurt of losing this one. Being able to get pregnant isn't the same as bringing a beautiful life into this world, raising them and watching them grow. All it means is you can get pregnant, it doesn't mean you can bring a happy healthy child home to his nursery, and be there for their first cuts and bruises. They don't seem to understand you don't want a replacement, you don't want another baby, you want the life that was lost.

All of the sudden people don't know what to say when you are around. All of a sudden conversations stop when you get close. Friends who used to call every day suddenly don't. People avoid talking about your baby after you've lost them. What no one tells you, and no one seems to understand is that you wish someone would talk about your baby. People are going on living their lives like nothing happened and all you want is to know that you aren't the only person out there who is going to remember your child. You baby was alive, and real, and you loved him, and it hurts that people won't bring him up. They think they are saving you the pain of remembering him, and yes it does hurt, but at least you know someone else remembers him too. Your baby may not have been here on this earth very long, but he was here. Your baby made an impact on your life, and changed you, how is it that no one else seems to see that? How is it that no one else realizes that someone lost their life, and that someone deserves to be mourned, and praised. Just because he wasn't around very long does not mean he didn't change the world. Sometimes it seems like you and your husband are the only two people who even knew this baby existed, the only two people who will ever care that he was here and is gone. Just so you know that you and hubby aren't the only two people who are feeling this loss.
Sometimes you just wish someone would mention his name just so you know he was real.

No one warns you that you might feel guilty for laughing, really laughing. They don't warn you how when you do finally laugh for real, for the first time, that it hits you like a ton of bricks how long it's been since you really did laugh. No one seems to understand that it's okay to tell a joke, it's okay for them to be happy, you need to see the sun shining now more than ever. Your world feels like you are in the middle of a thunderstorm that's never ending and you need nothing more than that little ray of light.

No one out there can give you the words to explain how you wish you could find yourself doubting God. They don't warn you that doubting God's existence would be easier. While you can't find it in you to doubt God, while you can't find a way to pretend He didn't exist, there were times you wish you could. It would be so much easier to view the taking of this tiny life as an act of nature, than an act of God. It would be easier to say that it "just happened" than to try to figure out why God would allow this to happen. What reason could God possibly have, what lesson could be learned, from bringing a life into this world to take it away before it has a chance to live? You've spent years of your life worshipping God, praising Him, offering Him your life to do what He may, and He chose to take your child? What could possibly be the lesson here? You know that God gave His only Son up for you. At the same time Christ lived, and lives. God was able to see His Son grow, God was able to see Christ no matter what or where He was, because God knows and see's all. God was able to call Christ back to Him, you don't have that option. The only time you've had with your child was the time they spent inside of you. Your child was not even given the chance to live. God brought His Son to Him, God took your child from you. People will tell you that God did not take your child from you, that was Satan trying to pull you from God, and Satan chose to take your child's life. Then you think of the Bible saying that nothing can happen to you that does not go through God Himself. So why would God then allow this? Despite the fact that you wish you you could doubt Him, you wish that you could find it in yourself to pretend God wasn't there, you can't. All that's left for you to do is accept. All that's left is for you to hold God to His promise, that you will see your child again in Heaven. All that's left is for you to continue living your life for God, knowing that God will not lie, and that He keeps His word. People mean well when they tell you "He's in a better place", what they don't know is how you long to be there too. People mean well, but they don't know that sometimes all that keeps you going is knowing that God has promised you a place in Heaven, and it's only there you will see your child again.

Everyone tells you "this isn't your fault". How is this NOT your fault? How do you get over the fact that it was your body that let this child down? How are you supposed to get through the day knowing that it was your body that killed your child? It was your cervix that wouldn't hold on tight enough. It was your cervix that opened too soon. It was your body that let this happen. It was your body that kicked your baby out too many weeks too soon. They tell you that there was nothing you could have done. How do they know? How could you not know that something was wrong, it was your body after all? How come you couldn't feel that the baby's life was in danger. It was your job to protect this child, to grow this life, to bring this baby into the world ready to go. It was your body that let his life be put in danger. It was your body that caused his life to end early. Nobody tells you that if there was anything in this world you felt the need to apologize for it would be the fact that you failed your child when it mattered most.

~Tammy Doern~"

Monday, July 27, 2009

The future...

First, I want to thank everyone for the support you have given to both Kelley and I. While we may not take everyone up on the offers to talk, or for whatever else we need, it means a lot to us. Just knowing that there are people out there praying for us, thinking about us, and there if we need them makes it easier to keep going. It's sort of like a fisherman and the coast guard... they hope they never need the help of the coast guard but it's comforting knowing they are there if they do.

I figured I would let everyone know what the tentative plans are right now.

This blog is going to keep going. When I started this blog it was going to be the story of my pregnancy, bringing my son/daughter into the world, and the ups and downs of raising our baby to be a happy, healthy, caring person. No one could have seen in advance the turns that took place during the pregnancy, or ending the pregnancy. As far as the future, I hope the blog will go the same way, the story just isn't going to be as quick and concise as we'd hoped.

Kelley and I still want a child. Whether that child in the end is borne from me, or we adopt, we will at some point have a child in our lives. Kelley and I have both decided that we would like to try again for a baby when we can. The doctors have given me the time frame for when we can try again, and when we are mentally and physically ready we will.

As far as the reason we lost Christopher, it was due to finding out I have an "incompetent cervix". What this means is that my cervix simply is not strong to hold a baby in. Basically the cervix starts opening and your body cannot hold the baby in. Based on what I've read, and heard, more than 25% of second trimester losses are attributed to incompetent cervix. That number they believe should be much higher as too often babies are lost without them knowing why - and the only way to be sure it's the IC is to do ultrasounds of the cervix. I've also found that about 2% of all pregnancies deal with an incompetent cervix - which to me is a pretty high number.

There has been a ton of research done on incompetent cervix, ways to prevent it, what causes it, and how to tell if a woman is going to deal with it. Research has found precious little information. They have yet to find anything that can prevent someone from having IC, and they have not found any way of telling in advance if or when a woman will deal with IC.

What does this mean for a future pregnancy? What this means is that if/when we become pregnant again I can look forward to many many more doctor visits. From what I've heard I will have at the least bi-weekly ultrasounds checking my cervix, and possible twice weekly visits.

They have something they call a "cerclage" that will be put in place between weeks 12-16 of the pregnancy. A cerclage is basically them tying or stitching the cervix closed so that it cannot open early, it's a small surgery. When I reach weeks 36 plus in the pregnancy at some point they will go in and take out the cerclage. There are quite a few risks to having a cerclage done, but it's positives outweight those by far.

What are the risks? Having the cerclage put in can cause infection, and it can also a miscarriage. I could also go into preterm labor just having the cerclage put in. Later during the pregnancy if I start having contraction that can cause serious problems with the cerclage - and could even cause the cerclage to rip my cervix. So often the woman is given medication, shots or pills, to take if she thinks she is feeling contractions to prevent this.

Depending on how the pregancy goes I may have no limitations extra compared to a "regular" pregnancy, or I could end up on bedrest for most of the pregnancy. It all depends on God, my body, and the baby.

Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers, it's heartening to know that so many people care about us.