Sunday, July 31, 2011

Twelve Weeks

This week has been a week of milestones. Emily's six month anniversary, which I shared about in the previous post. And I am now 12 weeks pregnant. Which means I am almost to the 2nd trimester. The 2nd trimester with Emily was a time of concern and ultimately the end of the pregnancy. I know that the 12 weeks are going to be difficult at times. There are a lot of important milestones to get through with this pregnancy in the coming weeks.

Since we lost Emily I have become obsessed with dates. So please bear with me as I share some crazy information that actually makes me feel better when I think about it. We got pregnant with Maddie around that same time of year that we got pregnant with little peanut. I got a positive pregnancy test 3 years and one day to the date that we got a positive pregnancy test with Maddie. And my mom was the first person we told with both Maddie and little peanut's pregnancies. With all of these dates lining up pretty close, it has actually brought me some comfort, however, strange it is.

A few weeks ago I went back and looked to see when we had our 20 week ultrasound with Maddie, September 30, 2008. I have already decided that I want to have little peanut's 20 week ultrasound on September 30, 2011. I am hoping the doctor will humor me. September 30th would put us at 21 weeks, exactly when we had Emily's 20 week ultrasound. I love the idea of having a tie with all three pregnancies. I know to a lot of people all this date stuff might seem crazy, but it is comforting to me.

So besides being crazy, how am I doing?

The worst of the nausea has finally past. However, the last two nights nausea has set in after dinner. Not really fun to keep wondering of dinner is going to come back up. So far it has not. I have been starting to get some energy back. Not enough that I can skip my afternoon nap and not feel awful a few hours later, but I am able to get a bit more done each day.
Last weekend I spent two days making cherry and apricot jam and drying a bunch of fruit. I was super tired by the end of the second day, but I love that I can finally get things done again.
I defiantly have a tummy and I am wearing maternity pants, though to be honest I have been wearing maternity pants since before I found out I was pregnant again because I had just not lost enough to fit back onto my old pants. I had my husband bring the box of maternity clothes in from the garage, but I have not yet gotten them out of the box. I am not sure when I will feel ready to get the clothes out and hung up so that I can wear them in a month or so. I still have time so I am being patient with myself.

Up until last night I would say that I am emotionally doing really well. Then last night I has a little break down. I was sad about forgetting Emily's six month anniversary, but I am also getting nervous about my next appointment. Because everything looked so good at the last appointment the doctor decided to wait a month to see me again, which is fine in a normal pregnancy, but this pregnancy is anything but normal. I really need to see, or at least hear the heart beat again. I have read about several women who at 9 weeks the baby looked good and then at the 12/13 week appointment they could not find a heartbeat and it looked like the baby had stopped growing at 9 weeks. I know I really need to stop reading these stories since they are making me crazy, so that is my goal this week, stop with the insanity.
I know in my heart that everything is okay, but my head sometimes does not get the message. And it is because in my heart I know it is okay I am not going to be "that women" and call and bug the doctor. My next appointment is a week from Tuesday, so I think I can stay sane for a week and a few days.
Though I have already decided to ask the doctor if he would be okay with seeing me every three weeks instead of four weeks. I think under the circumstances he might just agree to that. At least I hope so.

Friday, July 29, 2011

6 Months

Can it really have been half a year since we lost our sweet Emily Faith? It does not seem possible that so much time has passed. In six months it will have been one year. July 26th came and went without much thought about the day, in fact it was not until the next morning that I remembered that yesterday had been Emily's six month anniversary. When I remembered I got really sad that I had let the day go by and not really spend time thinking about six months ago. I shared this with my infant loss support group that night (July 27th). The facilitator of the group said she understood why it made me sad that I did not remember, but she also said it is a sign that I am healing. I will never forget Emily, but I have to go on living for our other children.

It has taken me a while to write this post because I was still processing how I felt about not remembering on the day. Last night I actually cried for the first time in several weeks. Part of it is hormones, but the other part is a sadness that I am moving on. Life keeps going and sometimes gets so crazy that important things get forgotten for a moment. I know that I will never forget Emily or the 26th of any month, but I feel really good about where I am; I am processing in my grief.

I know that there are going to be many set backs in the months and years to come, but today I am doing well. I can now talk about Emily to people and not cry every time I say her name. I am also more comfortable saying that I lost a child. It actually amazed me how easy it was the other day to share with a group of ladies that I lost an infant child 6 months ago. I did not go into detail, but just being able to share without caring what other people thought was a huge thing for me. Emily is my child and when I share about my children she is included.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Eight Weeks (7/5/2011)

This is the third and final catch-up post. After this post, when I write about the pregnancy it will be actually happening. I know that the way I have posted has kind of thrown a few people off, but the confusion will stop after this post. I just really wanted a detailed account of the pregnancy and could not really do that if I did not include the first few weeks. I will post again in the next few days regarding how I am doing today and the past week or so.

8 weeks (7/5/2011)
We have been holding off announcing the pregnancy mostly because of fear of what could happen and then having to go and tell everyone that we lost another baby. There is no guarantee, at any stage in the pregnancy that everything is going to be fine. I am at a point right now where I need to write about how I feel and I really want to share it with everyone who has been such a support to me since we lost Emily.
I still have to talk to my husband, but I am ready to announce this pregnancy. I have decided if my husband is okay with it, to announce on my blog that I am pregnant after our next appointment; which will be next Tuesday, July 12th. Since I was measuring a bit behind at the last appointment I want to see and hear the heartbeat again and get a more accurate measurement and then I think I will feel better about sharing. The stats say that after you see a heartbeat there is only a 10% chance of miscarrying, so while we are not out of the woods, I will feel better.  I am also hoping that announcing the pregnancy will make it feel more real.
I know I am pregnant but part of me is still in denial. I recently read “Pregnancy after a Loss.” It is a really good book and helped me to think about things that I might not have thought about before. The author talked about in the book that if this pregnancy is soon after a loss it might seem like you have been pregnant forever. I totally understand that feeling. When we finally have this baby it will almost be like I have been pregnant for over a year. That is such a long time to be pregnant and not have a child in your arms.  I am so ready to have a baby in my arms.
There has been a lot of talk over the last few months about not holding a baby until you hold your rainbow baby. I am not sure if this is what I want to do, but so far I have not felt emotionally ready to hold anyone else’s baby. I may or may not be ready before our baby is born, but I am open to it if the chance arises.
I am still super tired. I have also had a cold for the last three days. It has knocked me down. I have spent most of the last few days on the couch sleeping in between taking care of Maddie. She has watched a lot of TV. She has enjoyed it and I have started to feel a bit better. I have had nausea on and off most days. The last day or so it has been better though. I am not very hungry in the morning and nothing ever sounds good. However, I make up for it in the afternoon when all I want to do is eat. I have a huge craving for tuna sandwiches and since I cannot have tuna every day I have also started eating canned chicken, which tastes the same to me. I do not eat it every day, but I sure could.
I also feel like I have already started to show a bit. I think I will show a lot soon with this one than with the other two. I think that is pretty normal for a subsequent pregnancy and one so soon after my last pregnancy
 This has been kind of a hard week or so. Maddie has been sick, so besides taking care of myself I have had to take care of her more so than usual. She ran a fever for 6 days before we finally took her to the doctor. It turns out she has an ear infection. This is her first ear infection and also the first time we have given her antibiotics. I think that is pretty good considering she is almost 2.5 years old. She is taking her meds like a champ.
I honestly think that as we get further into the pregnancy I might have some more emotional days and weeks, but right now I am doing fairly well. One reason I think that is, is because like I mentioned previously, I am still a bit emotionally detached from this pregnancy and the fact that I am actually pregnant again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

6 Weeks (6/23/2011)

I am trying to get caught up so that I can write in "real time," But I have been so tired lately that it is all I can do to get through each day and take care of Maddie, myself and the house (and pretty much in that order too.) I am starting to feel a bit better and my naps are getting shorter, so I am hopeful that I will be getting some of my energy back soon, but until then here is the 2nd part of what was going on before we announced this pregnancy.

6 weeks (6/23/2011)
Today is my first doctor’s appointment. It is also a month since Emily’s due date. I sure did not plan it that way. It was the only appointment available so soon. At my doctor’s office the appointments are booked months in advance, so the fact that I am even being seen as a new pregnant patient a day before 7 weeks is amazing. I need the reassurance that everything is going okay so far.
I have been a nervous wreck the last few days. I can’t really explain it though. I also have a peace and a hope that everything is going to be fine. Explain that, nervous wreck, peace and hope…can they really all be in one person at the same time. Well it is for me.
I did not sleep very well last night. I am nervous, excited, and so many other emotions that I am not even sure of.
I am not sure if I mentioned it or not, but we have decided to stay with the same doctor who treated me when I was pregnant with Emily, he also delivered Maddie. I do not blame him for anything that happened. The truth is that in that last week, it was not him, but always the on call doctor that treated me. I don’t blame them either, I just wish my symptoms would have been taken more seriously and I will be much more proactive this time and not just let the doctors brush me off as if it is no big deal. It may not be a big deal, but to me, this time IT IS A BIG DEAL, no matter what it is.
I am soooo TIRED. I tend to think back over the day in the evening and remember what I did and the last few days I have done almost nothing. I did not even make dinner last night, just warmed up left overs and I was still in bed at 9pm. The last three days I have been incredible nauseated most of the day. While I was super hungry last week, this week I am not really hungry, but when I finally eat I am starved and eat a lot. I have only gotten sick one morning. I was getting sick and Maddie is standing there like what is wrong mommy. She had this look on her face like she just did not understand. I kept telling her mommy is okay, I just have an upset tummy. She understood that, but was still worried.
Over all I would say emotionally I am doing okay. I mean for being 6 weeks pregnant and only three days until Emily’s 5 month anniversary. The last few days have been a bit emotional for me. Yesterday I was reading through Emily’s story. I am being spotlighted on another blog and I am sharing Emily’s story, but complete with all the details it is 10 pages long so I had to shorten it a bit (just take out some of the details). It is still 5 pages, but that is a bit better. I did not realize how much it would impact me. I have not cried much lately, but yesterday as I was reading it, tears started streaming down my face. It was good though, a healing kind of tears. I had actually forgotten a few things that had happened and I think those things will be helpful when talking to the doctor today.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Insomnia is one symptom that I have had with all three pregnancies. Usually it starts a bit later into the pregnancy, but still there were many nights when I was pregnant with Maddi and Emily that I would spend on the couch catching up on a show or two and eating in the middle of the night. I had not really expected to have to deal with the insomnia so soon, but here it is. And so I will make the most of it.

As I lay in bed trying to fall back asleep my mind began to drift back to the day that Emily was born and all the happened in those 10 hours of her life. Sometimes I am amazed at the details that still sneak into my thoughts, things that I had not thought about since that day. One of those details that I had forgot all about came back as I lay in bed this morning. I just felt like to needed to write it down, for fear of forgetting it again. That is one thing I love about this blog; it is a way to document those little memories and then I don't have to drive myself crazy remembering every detail. They are here to help me remember.

That little detail I was talking about was breast milk. Shortly after I was moved to my post-partum room, after Emily was born, a lactation consultant came down to talk to me. Even with the odds so low that Emily would survive everyone at the hospital treated us like she was going to survive and make sure that we were prepared to care for her. This included getting me to start pumping and producing milk for when Emily would need my breast milk. I pumped twice before Emily died that night.

In those first few days the body does not produce much milk. Initially colostrum is produced. They call it liquid gold, and the name really fits since it kind of looks like gold, AND it takes a lot of work to get just a little bit that it is really valued. Since the amount is so small I was given tiny syringes to collect those few drops of colostrum. I remember feeling so proud of those few milliliters that I was about to take down to the nursery when we went to visit Emily. That night, after Emily died those two syringes were left in the refrigerator. I wonder what happened to that little bit of liquid gold? I imagine that it was thrown away when everything was cleaned up, making that space ready for the next baby that would need the care of the NICU. Thinking about that makes me sad. I worked so hard to get those few drops and they were never used.

Then I began to think about that room. The room I was taken to after Emily was born. The room that was on another floor away from all things maternity and post-partum. I am so thankful for the foresight of the hospital staff to place me away from new mothers and crying babies. I was placed in room with two bed. I remember the first thing I asked the nurse was, "will I have to share this room?" She told me no and that they just did not have any rooms with single beds. The two beds ended up being a blessing, as my husband was able to stay in the room with me that night and was able to stretch out. Neither one of us got much sleep that night, but at least there was an option for him.

When we walked back into that room after Emily died that night there was one thing that effect my husband and one thing that effect me. For my husband it was seeing Emily Faith written on the white board in the room. I immediately erased it. Not to erase her from our lives, but because the pain was so intense that it hurt to look at her name in the moment. For me it was the breast pump and all the supplies. The nurse came in a few minutes after we got back and I asked her to please get everything out of the room. She was wonderful and got everything moved out while I was in the bathroom.

The next morning, really early, my doctor came into check on me. No one had told him that Emily had died and so it was put on me to tell him. That is one thing that I wish had been handled differently. He should have known, I should not have had to tell my doctor that my baby died. I also wish he had come to see my later, before I was discharged. I had so many questions, but when you are woken up from sleep often the brain is not working fully in that moment.

I do remember asking him what had caused Emily to be born so early and he gave me a simple answer, but I wish I could have asked more questions. Questions that I now know to ask, but had no idea that I needed to ask at the time. Maybe it is better that some of those questions went unanswered, but now with this new pregnancy and the thoughts that go through my head about it happening again, I wish we had more answers. But the truth remains that there are just not very many answers for why it happened.

I think the last question I asked my doctor was, "when can I leave?" I really did not want to stay in that hospital for any longer than I had to. I wanted to be home. To be surrounded by things that were familiar and to be able to care for our living child again. It has been almost two weeks since I had been able to actively care for Maddie and I wanted to be with her again. My doctor told me that he saw no reason why I could not leave that day if I wanted to. It seemed to take forever to get all the final paper work finished. We had to meet with a social worker about what we wanted to have done with Emily's body, and the nurse had a bunch of paper work and instructions for me. On the wall of my room there was a sign that said discharge was at 11am, so I figured I would not get to leave before that, and I was right. Just after 11am I was finally done with everything and allowed to leave the hospital. They even let me walk, no wheelchair, which I am grateful for. As we left the room, floor and finally the hospital I felt like crying, but held it together. I held it together until after lunch. After lunch we stopped at Toys 'R Us to get Maddie a special toy. She had been asking for a ball popper for several weeks. (We don't have a Toys 'R Us near us, so while we were in Seattle we decided to stop.) I was still holding it together, after all I wanted to be as normal as possible for Maddie since it had been a rough few weeks for her too.

As we were leaving the store I knew I needed to go to the bathroom so I walked back into the store alone to use the bathroom. The bathroom that was at the back of the store passed all the baby stuff. That was it, I lost it. I remember walking through Toys 'R Us with tears streaming down my face. I am sure people thought I was crazy, but I just could not stop the tears any more. I slept and cried most of the way home.

This next memory is a bit out of order, but it came to me after all the others, so I am keeping them in the order that I thought about them this morning. I remember being moved to Labor and Delivery on the day that Emily was born. As I think about it now I was probably in shock. No one plans to deliver their child at 23 weeks. I remember shaking and feeling cold; a warm blanket was placed on me to try and warm me up. When a women is in labor her senses are heightened. For me that is so true, especially my sense of smell. All though labor I kept smelling something, something like bad body odor, and in my crazy brain I was sure it was the blanket since I only started smelling it after the blanket was placed on me. I remember wanting to tell nurse to get me another blanket, one that did not smell, but I was so focused on the contractions that it just never came out. The smell drove me crazy. Well it turns out that it was not the blanket at all. Emily was born on Wednesday and my last shower had been Sunday, and I don't think in all those days I ever had deodorant, so that awful smell I had to endure all though labor was me.

I remember wanting a shower so bad. I think I asked every nurse who cared for me when I could take a shower. The desire to be with Emily in the NICU was stronger than the want for a shower, so the shower waited. I did not finally get to take a shower until the next morning just before I was discharged from the hospital. While it felt good to finally be clean, it was a painful reminder that I had just lost my baby. I stood in the shower and held my belly and cried.

While sometimes it hurts to remember, I am so glad for memories and that they are still coming back to me. I don't ever want to forget Emily.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Five Weeks (6/15/11)

As I mentioned in my last post I had been blogging about this pregnancy from the very beginning, I had just not been sharing those posts, so here is the first of three posts from the first few weeks we knew we were pregnant.

Five weeks (6/15/11)
In a few short days we will be 6 weeks pregnant, but I decided today that I want to keep a weekly journal of the pregnancy, how I am doing emotionally, and physically. I took a pregnancy test on June 7th. I was two days late, and I am never late, but I was still surprised when the pregnancy test came back positive within 20 seconds. I immediately looked up online “what are the chances of a false positive?” Not very likely…So I took a second test just to be sure. And the next day got a blood test done, JUST TO BE SURE. Well they were all POSITIVE. So I accepted that I am pregnant. My first though was, “how can I do this so soon…” I am so excited, but nervous and scared too.
The last week has been a roller coaster. Deciding who to tell now and how long to wait to tell everyone else. We still have not decided how long to wait, but I do know that we will wait at least until our first doctor appointment. So far they have been wonderful at the clinic. They are going to see me next Thursday. I will be almost 7 weeks. I am so excited; next week cannot come soon enough, still over a week away.
There is not much change yet. I have noticed I am hungrier. I am really trying to eat well, and not just eat a bunch of junk. In fact I am trying to be really good and follow all the “rules.” I know there is no guarantee that if I do everything right I will get a healthy baby, but I can at least try. I am religiously taking my prenatal vitamins (I was never very good at it with the other two pregnancies). No lunch meat or hot dogs for me, though the lunch meat is killing me already, I love sandwiches almost more than any other food.  I do not have any food aversions yet. No morning sickness either, though that never started with the other two until about 12 weeks.
I am happy and doing okay one moment and the next I am crying about something. I miss Emily, but it seems as the days go by and this new life is growing inside me, that she is getting further away. I still look at her picture every day and think about her, but it is different. I have heard it said that people find healing though a new pregnancy. I want the healing, but at the same time healing means moving on. Not forgetting her, but not living in the same grief that I have for the past four months. It has only been four months (in 12 days it will be 5 months), in some ways it seems like a life time ago and in other ways it seems like it just happened yesterday. How is that even possible? I have thought a lot about how this pregnancy will affect my grief and how the loss of Emily will affect this pregnancy? I guess just time will show me the answer to both of those thoughts.
I have found out about two pregnancy losses this week, one was at 20 weeks and the other was at 24 weeks. I do not know either of these women, but they live in our city and I will be meeting them both over the next few weeks. I am so sad for them. I wish that no mother had to endure that kind of pain. I want so badly to give each of these women a big hug, and let them know that they are not alone.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So Excited to Share

*Note this post may contain triggers for some readers. Please read with caution*

I have been waiting for 6 long weeks to share the news here on my blog. There are many reasons why I have waited and debated, but my husband and I have decided that now is that time to share. After two wonderful appointments I am happy to announce that we are pregnant. As of today I am 9 weeks 5 days along. Our baby is due February 10, 2012.

Our Little Peanut

This is one of the reasons I have been so quiet on my blog lately. I have not been writing because I was sure that I might let it slip out in how I am feeling and dealing with my day to day grief and the apprehension of a new pregnancy so soon after our loss. This pregnancy was not planned, but not prevented, and it is so very much wanted. I have been writing the last 5 weeks, and I plan to share the posts I have already written about the pregnancy in the next few days. The last few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions.

*On a quick side note, those of you who actually know me personally and are friends with me on Facebook, we have no plans right now to post anything about the pregnancy, so we would be grateful if you could refrain from leaving comments regarding the pregnancy. We have no problem with people knowing, we have just decided to wait on Facebook for the time being.*

With all that said I am definitely feeling pregnant. It is safe to say, that no two pregnancies are the same and you really cannot compare. This pregnancy so far is so different from the last two. I am SOOOOOO tired. I actually count the minutes to nap time, my favorite time of the day right now. I have been sick and/or nauseated more often and much earlier. But with all that I am so thankful everyday that I am pregnant.

Emotionally I am doing okay. I recently read a book call "Pregnancy after Loss." It is a great book and I highly recommend it if you are pregnant after losing a baby. It really has helped me to see what I am feeling as normal and it also started me thinking about areas I need to be aware of as this pregnancy progresses. One thing the book talks about is the fact that if the pregnancy is soon after a loss it can feel like you have been pregnant forever. I totally understand that thinking right now. I love being pregnant, but it is a long time to go and not have a baby in your arms. It will make the birth of this baby so much sweeter.

My doctor, the same one who delivered Maddie, and cared for me when I was pregnant with Emily, has been wonderful so far, as has his nurse. The day after my positive pregnancy test I went in to get a blood test to confirm the pregnancy. Dr. P's nurse took me into one of the rooms and spent several minutes talking to me and seeing how I was doing. She then got me an appointment set up for two weeks later. Normally the doctors office does not see a patient until at least 10 weeks, but they agreed to see me at about 7 weeks.

At my first appointment they did an ultrasound and I measured 6 weeks 1 day, a bit behind what I thought, but we were able to see a heartbeat and that is really good news. At today's appointment I measured 9 weeks 5 days, one day ahead now. Such an encouragement.

I have finally begun to hope that everything is going to be okay. I know that there are no guarantees but I feel really good about where I am today. And I am just going to take it one day at a time and enjoy every day that I have with our little peanut.

I will leave you with one last picture of our little peanut.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I am so honored to be spotlighted on Honoring Our Angels today. Several weeks ago Monica contacted me and asked if I would consider letting her spotlight my blog on her blog. It turned out to be the perfect timing, since I had just decided to start the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Blog Directory.

Monica has a beautiful blog and has spotlighted some amazing blogs. Her blog is a great resource for baby loss families.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Animals Mourn Too

Before Emily died I had never thought much about morning and grief in people and definitely not in animals. Then about a month ago I saw this article on another blog. It is about a gorilla who's baby died and how she displayed her grief. It is a touching and emotional story, so read with caution.

There is a bird nest, barn swallows I think, on our patio. It has been there for three years. Each year the birds come back. We had intended to take the nest down before they returned this year because they just make such a mess, but we did not get to it in time and before we knew it they were back. And once they had started nesting I could not take it down. Not knowing if the eggs were there yet. So we are dealing with the mess. The eggs hatched about two weeks ago or so, and from time to time we can see one or two of the babies popping up out of the nest.

We had thought there were only three baby birds but today I discovered that there were four in the nest. I was going to take Maddie outside to play in the backyard and to clean up the bird poop when I saw one of the baby birds on the ground just below the nest. My thought is that there were just too many birds in the nest and one got pushed out. So I got Maddie distracted inside the house and went outside with a paper towel and picked up the dead baby bird. It was really sad. I know it is only a bird and that is life, but we have been watching the nest for months, so I feel a bit attached.

Since this afternoon I have been watching the nest and the mommy bird. I started wondering if she even knew she had "lost" a baby. It is one of those strange questions that I am sure most people do not even contemplate, but today I did. I am sure the in the animal world death is just a part of everyday life, but does that really make it any easier.
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