Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Tale of Week 25


     It just doesn't seem possible, but we are in fact over 25 weeks along!  Taking things day by day, but somehow the weeks still fly by.  We have officially graduated from weekly appointments, other than injections, and are being treated like everyone else with dr appointments 4 weeks apart!  I can hardly believe it, and quite frankly think I'm going to miss my nurses over the next few weeks!  They seriously have become like family, and they are all pulling for this baby boy.  I have never felt more at home in my office than I have over the past few months.  I no longer feel like they think I am completely insane for wanting to try again, but that they are standing beside me anxious for his safe arrival.  They even give me hugs and high fives as we pass our weekly milestones!  To be quite honest, I feel like a bit of a celebrity there.  A couple weeks ago a NEW nurse called my name from the waiting room, and immediately another nurse pointed out Audie's birth announcement to her on their bulletin board.  She walked me to my room, and we could over hear two more nurses outside the door talking about me before coming in just to say hi and see how I was doing :)  The new nurse threw me a weird look, and I just giggled to myself.  Such a nice change to those hard days after each loss.
     Anyway, being pregnant after loss is a bit of a juggling act- being overcome with hopeful thoughts and trying to not let the negative ones take over.  For me, a day is considered a good one if I can make sure the positive thoughts out weigh my worries.  But without a doubt, it is a daily struggle.
     Lately, I have begun allowing myself to nest, slightly.  I will admit, I have had to talk myself through a lot of my purchases.  Literally, combating my own thoughts that try so hard to convince me that any day things could take a turn for the worse.  I online shop, put everything in my cart, and then the items sit there for hours or sometimes days.  But, I am proud to say that the first purchases have been made!  I ordered a few items for the nursery and even some clothes.  I had a goal of getting most of the big things done by 30 weeks, just in case.  I'm not sure I'll reach that goal, but never the less it has been my motivation to get things moving.
     With the twins, I had very little purchased prior to their arrival.  I had the nursery furniture and a handful of clothes bought by me and some family members.  Our baby shower invitations had been designed, ordered, and arrived within days of the twins' birth.  Therefore, they were not mailed out, so we were spared the piles of pastel goodies that would have flooded the nursery.  Prior to adopting, we did box up what we did had for them, and I pulled out a few of Hadilyn's things for Audie to wear once she came home.  It was so special to see her in those clothes, I am so glad we kept everything.  Yesterday I looked through the box again at the boy stuff.  I pulled out a few items for this little one to wear.  And every time he wears one of these outfits I will spend the day dreaming about his brother in heaven.  This little nameless guy definitely has an army of older siblings in heaven, and I like to think of them as the ones who sent this angel down to earth for us to enjoy!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Waiting Room

     As I sit here and write this post from the waiting room in my OB’s office, I can’t help but remember all that has happened here. The hours spent waiting for dozens of appointments, leaving countless times in tears after devastating news, returning with high hopes of a new viable pregnancy, appointments to make a new game plan to change the outcome of any hopeful future pregnancies. With this waiting room comes emotions that change sometimes on a minute to minute basis. I used to experience extreme anxiety driving to this office, sick to my stomach for the entire almost hour long commute. There were even times when I was let in through the back door as to avoid the waiting room all together. I couldn’t stand seeing all those pregnant bellies, as my womb awaited it’s tenant.
     Well, today of all days, there is a mother here with her infant boy/girl twins discussing with a near by mom their birth weights, which one came out first, who is more active, etc. I couldn’t help but picture how different life would be like if I just gave birth to healthy living twins 4 years ago. The similar conversations that I would have experienced with other moms, but would I be here now pregnant with this little boy? Most likely not. Would I have my beautiful and a bit on the wild side daughter, Audie, definitely not. Although this office brings back a host of emotions and feelings, I am sitting here feeling quite blessed and exactly where I need to be. I can honestly say my hope has been restored by this baby boy. I belong here, these doctors and nurses have become my family, celebrating along side us with each passing week. Today’s ultrasound completes the 9th and final weekly ultrasound appointment! This is HUGE! I am officially over 24 weeks, which is THE longest I have been pregnant! God is SO good! Each day and week that this little boy can continue to grow inside of me is a sweet and tender blessing!  
     Breathing a little easier today!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Tale of Week 22

     I can still remember the feeling of letting air exit my lungs for the first time when I saw my baby's heartbeat on the screen after I had reached the 12 week mark.   It almost burned my lungs, as if I hadn't truly been breathing for the past few months.  The pure untouchable joy only lasted a moment.  As I drew my first deep breath in, my mind began to focus on the next few months and the obstacles we would need to over come.   This is what pregnancy after loss feels like, with each obstacle conquered there is always a new challenge on the horizon.
     After our 12 week ultrasound, confirming we still had a healthy baby with a strong heartbeat; my focus shifted to maintaining this pregnancy and all that would entail.  Prior to getting pregnant, we were told a cerclage may be needed right at 13 weeks.  After researching and discussing with the doctor the risks involved we chose to take a different route.  We would start a weekly injection routine beginning at 16 weeks, as well as weekly ultrasounds.  The ultrasounds would indicate any changes to the length of my cervix, and at the first sign of it shortening- a cerclage would be put in.  The shots would continue through the entire pregnancy in hopes to keep preterm labor at bay.  I am so HAPPY to say this routine has been working and here we are at week 22...
     Week 22 may not seem like a big turning point for everyone, in fact most women have week 24 as the next big milestone as the doctors deem the baby viable outside the womb.  And yes, I do have that week coming up on my radar but for now making it through week 22 is HUGE.  Probably bigger than any other week in my pregnancy because this week in my pregnancy four years ago is the one that changed everything.  It was that day in May, when we had began to really nest and were clearing out the twins' nursery so it could be painted prior to their furniture arriving.
     So these past couple of weeks as we began to prepare Audie's big girl room, cleaning it out to paint and waiting for the furniture I couldn't help but focus on the similarities to four years ago.  I kept thinking, ok this is the week things will change.  Why should things be going perfect?  I couldn't help but expect something bad to happen and for things to start going wrong.  All I have known up until today is pregnancies not going well, and it is awful that the joy of pregnancy has been stolen.  It is hard to wake up everyday and just breathe deeply.
     I'm beginning to think I won't breathe deeply until this baby is in my arms, but even then will I truly stop worrying?  Most likely not, for the life of a parent includes lots of concerns as they grow, change, get sick, start to misbehave, go to school, and eventually move out on their own.  The concerns of a parent are never done, you never get to check a box and move on wiping your hands clean of anything that your child experiences.  You have a bond that is unlike any other, and no one can remove that from you.  So, I guess I should rest assured that this may be how I breathe for years to come :) Just kidding, well kind of.
     I may not forever live in fear of what ultrasounds show or don't show, lack of kicks and movement I feel in my stomach, and if he will take his first and last breath in the same day; but rather my focus will change on how to raise this little boy into a God fearing and noble man.
     With life, experiences change us and shape us in to a more mature version of ourselves.  The good thing is God doesn't throw us in to the person we will become, over night.  He gives us moments, days, and years to fine tune us from the inside out.  He uses each experience we encounter as a stepping stone to something bigger.  I am SO thankful for a God that has it all figured out.  As I sit here in total trust of His plan for me, I am still aware that today will bring plenty of doubting thoughts that race through my mind.  You aren't truly human if those thoughts don't ever creep in, but as long as we have the tools to over come those thoughts we will be ok.  Scripture is THE biggest way for me to fight the enemy.  It's God's way of reassuring me even though I can not audibly hear His voice, He is behind me, beside me, and often carrying me through.  The doubts and fears are what the enemy uses to try and bring us down, to battle him make sure you have an arsenal of weapons like this verse

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:11-13

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Tale of Fear

     I've been meaning to write this post for what seems like forever, but the reality is fear has kept me from it.  Fear for those feelings I will offend- since this blog was started for those experiencing such raw grief, fear for what may happen after it's in writing, and fear of writing through what I am really feeling.
     However, I was challenged this past week by some words my pastor said at church last Sunday.  He has been battling a life threatening illness for 2 years now, and still manages to look to God in faith that He is in control of every single day.  The statement that resonated with me was, "Fear has no place in our lives, as believers in Christ."  What a simple statement that carries SO much weight.  So to take his words head on and removing fear from my thoughts, it is with great joy that I can announce that we are pregnant with a baby BOY due June 7th.
     I don't want this blog to turn in to a pregnancy blog, but I do want the opportunity to write about being pregnant after loss.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about my twins, but since finding out that we are expecting their memories are overwhelming and consuming.  One of my biggest concerns has been losing their memory, and replacing it with this new pregnancy.  I NEED the opportunity to write about what I remember with them in order to keep their memory alive during this pregnancy.  Those babies will forever be my first ones I entered the 2nd trimester with, the first ones I was able to give birth to, the first ones I was able to hold, dress, and bathe, they were the first ones I was able to kiss and decipher whose hands, feet, and features were like their mommy's or daddy's.  I wouldn't trade those memories for the world.
     I expressed to my doctor a couple weeks ago, that I feel slightly "crazy," ok maybe more than slightly.  He assured me that I am not, but that in a sense I have post-traumatic stress type tendencies.  After all, what I went through is not something your human self wants to allow yourself to go through again.  Therefore, my mind is doing everything in its power to make this situation different as a way to guard and protect my heart.  I explained that I want to do everything in my power to make this labor & delivery different.  That I not only pray for a different outcome, but that God would provide ways and ideas for Ferrari and I to make this experience completely different.  I have vague and muddled memories of the day that twins were born, so I don't want this birth to be one I remember so well that I end up replacing the other memories.
     These concerns of mine seem to have come out of no where, because they are things that I have never considered being a problem before.  However, I will be quite honest I never thought I would be this far in to a pregnancy again.  Not that I didn't have faith that God could bring us to the 2nd trimester, but because I didn't think I would ever have the strength to try again.  Now that I am here some days feel like too much to bear, while others I am completely fine.  Oh the joys of hormones :) The emotions seem to be getting more intense as I approach the 22 week mark, which was the week the twins were born.  I need to be able to break past this barrier in my mind, I need to see what it is like past 22 weeks.  This baby boy and this pregnancy are not the last one, things will not go the same way.  With every pregnancy I have felt completely different symptom wise, so why would all the journeys and outcomes be the same?  I need constant reminders that God has a plan for this baby that has nothing to do with the loss of his older sister and brother.
     I would appreciate your prayers and encouragement, especially if you have experienced a rainbow pregnancy.  I DO NOT want to let satan steal my joy of this pregnancy, I DO NOT want him getting the satisfaction of making me miserable.  I will continue to be positive, keep my chin up and rely on God.  I want to take pictures and remember every milestone.  I want to remember what this pregnancy feels like, and I want to remember what it feels like to rely solely on Christ to get me through yet another situation.  I will be stronger for it, and so will my family.  I can proudly say I am 100% attached to my son inside me, I will not protect myself by not fully connecting with him.  He is a child of mine, no matter the outcome and I will love him dearly and care for him the best ways I know how while he is here with me.