Friday, December 21, 2012

Approaching Christmas

Christmas is around the corner.  Gifts are bought (still need to be wrapped).  I have a little bit of baking left to do and some house cleaning.  I'm on holidays now until the end of next week.  So exciting!  I love having a 4 year old around at Christmas time.  It brings the magic to our home.

The other morning the Husband and I were talking.  Theoretically we should have 2 four month old babies as part of our family this year.  It's not good or bad... just different than we expected.  We definitely miss them and wonder what our lives would have been like with twins.  It's strange to think that if we had brought them home this little life flourishing inside of me now would be non-existant.

I really should take a few photos of Christmassy things in my house to add to my blog.  Maybe later...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

22 weeks and counting

Somewhere along the way I lost my zest for writing.  The first 18 weeks of my pregnancy I held my breath and watched and waited to lose this baby.  It's a battle with anxiety that I wasn't quite expecting.  I'm a little more uptight this time around.  Natural but still surprised me.  Otherwise I have felt great!  Lots of energy and not sick at all. 


I took this photo earlier this week.  This baby is active and, according to the 4 fetal assessments so far, appears perfectly healthy.  And no, we're not finding out gender.  It's so common these days that people seem quite surprised!  For twins we were planning to.  They take a whole lot more planning for.  But one baby is different for me.  We can't wait to be surprised!  Our boy has named it "Adam" though when he realized a girl would play with girl toys instead of his farm stuff (perhaps) he did ask God to turn his baby brother into a sister.

On we go.  Over the half way hump.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Due date

Today is a special day. It's my due date. I have been mindful of the twins all day. Not in a tragic sort of way, but remembering them and my pregnancy with fondness. How I wish those kids would have joined our family here!  I wonder what they would look like. If they would be in NICU. Or if I'd be getting any sleep. It's kind of hard to fathom what life would be like. I miss them.

In reality they would have been born weeks ago. For that reason I didn't put too much emphasis on this, my due date. I did, however, turn the soil and water the trees we got in memory of them and was mindful of the little people they represented. I walked around the mall and looked at newborn clothes and wished I could have dressed them.  I snuggled my Boy a little more than usual.

But I also did something exciting!  My husband and I attended the fertility clinic for an ultrasound and we got to see our 7 week old baby's heart ticking away!  And that did wonders to turn our focus from death to life. How very blessed we are!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

FET round 1

I've been a bit quiet about the direction of things as far as attempting to expand the family goes.  A week and a half ago we had a frozen embryo transfer done.  Yesterday I learned that this one didn't take.  We will give it another go before the lab shuts down for the summer.

I'm feeling okay with it.  I really didn't think this would be the one, for multiple reasons.  Doing a frozen embryo transfer was a walk in the park compared to fresh!  They timed it with my natural cycle and every step was easy.  Except that it didn't take.

Fingers crossed for next month!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Moving Ahead

I still think of my babies every day.  Sometimes it's a memory of them moving inside of me.  Sometimes it's the tattoo that looks back at me in the mirror.  And sometimes its a loving gesture or comment from a friend that reminds me that they care.

We returned to the fertility clinic a few weeks ago where they determined I should have further testing.  The time frame for the test I needed is one to three months.  I got in the first month.  Although it was much more painful than I expected or remembered from last time I had it done, the results were super!  No further surgery required and the green light to go ahead and give it another go!

Now I just have to put in some time before things are in order to move forward.  Our hopes are high!

Monday, May 7, 2012

2 Months

It has been two months since I went on the roller coaster ride that led to the early delivery of my twins.  Two months since I held them for the first and only time.

I've gotta say, I think I'm doing well.  I feel generally happy and optimistic.  I still think of the babies often and got a pretty tattoo on my right shoulder to be a constant, permanent reminder for me.


We went back to the fertility clinic to talk about trying again.  I won't lie - I'm eager to try again!  I was hoping we would get the green light right away but it turns out we need to do some further testing and perhaps undergo another surgery before forging ahead.  I was disappointed initially but at the same time I understand the approach from a medical standpoint.  I can't help but hope it happens on our own before we move ahead at the clinic.  What a gift that would be!  That being said, I don't think that "trying" is a great mindset for us yet and so we are just carrying on as usual and whatever happens, happens.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

6 Weeks Postpartum

Today I had my routine post-partum checkup. I had a list of questions for the doctor.

Are the autopsy reports back?

- Somehow somewhere there must have been a miscommunication. No autopsy was done, only measurements and all of those seemed normal although both babies measured small for dates. My doctor was going to check if the bodies were still at the hospital to see if autopsy could still be undertaken but it's unlikely. This is very frustrating for me as we had had serious concerns about our baby girl early in the pregnancy.

Were the babies alive at birth?

- No. The birth process is usually too traumatic for such little ones, mine included. This gives me peace of mind because sometimes at night when my mind would run away with me I would wonder if they had been and torture myself about not holding them as they died.

What did the placenta pathology say?

- Infection found in the placentas and bits of tissue sent after delivery. My doctor is very sure that I contracted a bug which caused my membranes to rupture and delivery to occur. Nothing I could have done differently would have caused a different outcome. "It's a case of really bad luck"

Could the odd shape of my uterus have caused problems and could my cervix have been incompetent?

- Probably not. But next time we'll keep a closer eye on the length of my cervix just to make sure.

Can I be referred back to this doctor sooner than what my family doctor would usually request if we get pregnant again?

-Yes! The second I get a positive pregnancy test a referral should be fired to her office. This makes me happy. She is kind, compassionate, and knowledgeable.

I should hear back yet on whether the babies' bodies are still at the hospital and if autopsy can still be done. I'm expecting a phone call.

But otherwise, I think that kind of sums things up. Hopefully we can move forward from this and give it another go this summer.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Apology

We heard back from the patient liaison on Thursday. My chart was reviewed and discussed with the staff that worked on the night we came. Although it was a busy night they gave no excuse for not having a nurse visible/available at the desk during our wait and stated that they were sorry. That should never have happened and they took ownership for that.

That feels good.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lucky

I get to hear this song almost daily. I'm the luckiest mama!


video

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Update

I've been meaning to write for a few days now and have actually started on multiple occasions with no real direction and no focus to my words. Feels like I don't know where to start or finish.

I'm just coming off Spring Break week. For me that meant a week of holidays and lots of good times with my little guy. We spent time together and with friends. The overwhelming, all encompassing heaviness of sadness has somewhat lifted in our household and laughter can be heard. Isaiah needed lots of "mommy days". It was good medicine for my heart as well.

Tomorrow I go back to work. I'm stronger and more emotionally stable than 2 weeks ago. I may have gone back a bit prematurely...

I am enjoying getting back into shape. Working out at home, in the gym, toning my abs, etc. It has been a long time and is such good therapy for me. I'm also enjoying having a glass of wine with my dinner and carrying my son whenever I want to or he asks me to. These things feel good.

My biggest struggles remain my appetite and sleep. It's hard to sleep. My appetite is improved from what it was, so that's good.

I just can't believe it's almost been a month already...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Patient Liaison

I should be 21 weeks pregnant. But I'm not. It blows my mind that I am mommy to three but only get to mother (verb) one. I am oh-so-thankful for that one though. If I didn't have that memory box and one photo of me at 14 weeks pregnant I could hardly believe it. I am so thankful for the things I have to remember the babies by. It gives credence to how I'm feeling and gives me permission to grieve.

We really felt like we needed to go back to the hospital to talk about our experience. During the time that I was waiting between triage and being seen I was alone (with my husband). Though we returned to the desk multiple times to let them know things were changing/progressing nobody checked on me. At the time I was focused on myself and my distress but in retrospect it bothers me. I felt completely uncared for.

Perhaps because I am a nurse I had conflicting feelings about the meeting. I am overwhelmingly sad that my profession does or can not care for people who are in physical pain and emotional distress. I would hope that if it had been me working that I could have and would have provided care. Emotionally at the very least. Having my vital signs taken would have made me feel somewhat cared for and taken 30 seconds.

I also felt badly because I kind of felt that I was going against my own people - nurses. I understand what a busy shift is like. What it's like to be short staffed and bursting at the seams with people who are sick and demanding. To work a night shift and not have slept the day before. The variables are endless.

Walking into the building where I left my babies was almost unbearable. More so that I had even expected. My body had a completely visceral response with back pain and uterine cramps while my head spun. I had to catch my breath.

The patient liaison was very nice. Since the Husband was unsure on the chronological details I had to tell the story myself. It felt like just yesterday. The liaison cried with us and wrote our story down. From here it gets taken to the ER manager who will pull my file and talk to people working the shift that night and determine if anything could have been done differently.

I don't want anyone else to go through what I did feeling like they were alone in a place that should be taking care of them.

The liaison did say that labor before 20 weeks cannot be treated or stopped. Which I knew. I am not assigning any blame for the outcome I had. She reminded us that in a perfect world there are two staff at the desk, one of whom is a reassessment nurse. But that when they're short staffed or busy that nurse if the first to be pulled, etc, etc. I get that. Really, I do.

My Husband asked if I wanted him to spend some time with me after the appointment as we walked out, me with tears I just couldn't stop. All I could say is "I need to get out of here". I went, alone, to the mall for some time alone and permission to buy myself a treat.

It's hours later now and I'm still feeling a bit shook up but mostly better. I have done what I needed to and now I just need to let it go.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Adjusting

I'm enjoying a day off. This morning I brought my beautiful son to pre-school and then went home and did a light workout, started laundry, and sipped a cup of strong coffee while sitting in the sun on the deck.

This week marks my return to work and the two week date since losing the babies. My first day at work was almost impossible. I paced the floor at 6 AM wondering if I should go or call in sick. My heart pounded and tears filled my eyes. I convinced myself to drive to work, comforting myself with the thought that once I walked in the building, if things felt overwhelming I would let myself go back home. Everyone would understand.

I didn't end up going home though I did spend a good portion of the day crying. Just as I would gain my composure another person would stop by with condolences and a hug. I deeply appreciate everybody's expressions of care and concern for me and the shared feeling of disappointment and loss but I am seriously prone to tears. Lucky for me that tendency hasn't scared anybody off.

Two weeks post miscarriage has me feeling a bit better. I'm stronger, my color is better. I'm not as sad as I was. I feel like I'm either completely disconnected, especially in a crowd setting, or deeply sad with very little in between. But I am able to eat more, laugh with my son, and appreciate beauty around me. Sometimes I can talk about losing my babies without bursting into tears.

Progress. Slow but sure.

Some of the books I have read or the websites I've looked through talk a lot about feeling anger in regards to loss. I can't relate to that. As of yet (and I realize it may be kind of early) I have only felt deep, heavy sadness. And perhaps some feelings of guilt thinking of what I could or should have done better. I have yet to identify anger on this journey.

In a month or so I'll return to my OBGYN. I have a list of questions for her. I'm curious as to whether the autopsy and pathology results will give us any more information. Shortly after that appointment we'll return to the fertility clinic and talk about giving it another go. Our dream is still to expand our family and give the Boy a sibling. For now we will pursue that.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ramblings

I'm not sure where to start today...



At around noon I'm heading to work. I'm just going by to say hi and deal with some of the load of emotions I know I won't be able to contain. I want to get over a good part of that before I go in to work on Monday. I left there last week Monday with 2 growing babies and an unmistakable belly. I return with empty arms, wearing my pre-natal jeans.

In the midst of loss, I feel blessed. My grief reaction is always extreme and this is by far the biggest, most personal loss I have experienced. If I didn't have friends and family checking up on me, encouraging me, listening to me and making sure I put food into my knotted stomach... if I didn't have my son to haul me out of bed and go about my day... I think I would curl up and disappear. That is my tendency.

Yesterday I sat with my Husband, my Dad, Sister-in-law, and Brother. We shared our memory box with them. It's so hard for me to open that box. Just makes me so sad. But we talked about the babies, held the tiny bunting bags that they wore. It hurt like crazy but in another way felt really good. I am so happy to have a memory box. It's a reminder that they were real. It acknowledges my grief. I showed Isaiah the outfit his sister wore and he turned away, sad. My dear Mom followed him as he took a girl and boy doll and played with them for a while. It was like play therapy. He was so gentle with the dolls. I hope he can be a big brother on earth one day.




These figurines were my sister-in-law's idea. Aren't they lovely?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fading

Yesterday I put all my maternity clothes in a bin and put them away. I've lost almost all of my pregnancy weight. Feels like even my body doesn't remember my babies. A week ago they died.

I'm thinking of getting a tattoo. I don't want to forget.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dear Babies

My dear, beautiful babies,

Can it be? That only a week ago I heard your hearts beating so strongly, so distinctly different from each other but both perfect. A week ago I laid down and put your Daddy's hands over you and he felt you move. It was the first and only time he got to do that and it made his face light up.

We built our dreams around you as part of our family. We put off vacations and planned to a buy a van. Nothing was more important to us. We loved you as soon as we knew you were going to be part of our family.

I remember how tentatively I held on to you in the beginning. We had worries about you from the start. We worried about each of you individually as well as your effect on each other. We loved you fiercely and prayed for you to be healthy and strong. We went from ultrasound to ultrasound and rejoiced with our friends and families when they told us that both of you looked healthy. It was a different report than our previous scans told us - we were concerned about Baby B.

We were told we would lose one or both of you. Somehow you guys defied the odds. You proved everybody wrong. I got photos of you from the last ultrasound and I showed the world! I was just so proud and excited for you. I couldn't wait to hold you in each of my arms.

Just recently I told someone I wouldn't believe that I could have the two of you until you were in my arms. It must be too good to be true.

Then I got a fever. That invisible bug initiated a process that was unstoppable. I fought back with every ounce of my being. I fought to hold on to you. I wasn't supposed to be in labor.

Daddy and I held you after you were gone. We named you and cried. Baby girl, you were tall and we noticed your eyebrows and full lips. Beautiful boy, you had one hand clasped around the wrist of you other hand. My boy, you had been sucking your thumb. Do you know your older brother does that? So did your daddy. We cradled you. And then we gave you away.

You feel like a dream. A beautiful dream that crashed when I woke up. But you weren't. I didn't imagine you. I felt you move, saw you grow. I watched you living on an ultrasound screen. You were real. You were ours. You are always ours.

My heart is broken, babies. This pain that I feel is nothing you'll ever know. Nothing and nobody will ever make you feel pain or sorrow. All we have left is a box of memories. Foot and hand prints. Pictures. Blankets. I put our ultrasound pictures and the cards people gave us into the box and put it in a safe place.

My babies. I miss you. I can't count the tears I've cried. There is no measure for the pain of your loss. I know life will go on but life will be forever different.

Love,
Mommy

Beautiful

My Name

This song and video is so touching.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Things I Think About

I would say that today was a bad day. Except that I don't think I've had a good day since I lost the babies on Wednesday. At this point my hormones are crashing, I'm quite anemic, and I feel empty.

Today when I was remembering my babies I wondered. Did they know that I loved them? Did they feel it when I placed my hands on them every night hoping to feels them move? Did they know I listened to their heartbeats as often as I could and sometimes just sat for 10 minutes listening to the life within mine? When I see them again will they know that I'm their mama? They never saw me and I never got to hold them, feed them, comfort them. How will they know me?

We've been surrounded by love. Things that have touched us have included notes, cards, care packages for Isaiah, tears, questions, meals provided, flowers, and more. I don't know how I could breathe if others weren't helping me. The pain and the emptiness is nothing I have ever felt before.

During my pregnancy I took medications as instructed. I had a large bleed that put the babies at risk. I shoveled the car out of the snow, carried my son up the stairs and went to the gym. I went to work and enjoyed hot baths and my heating pad. The babies thrived. Then a virus or bacteria found me and pulled me, and them, under. It just feels like my body betrayed me by going into labor when it shouldn't have. It just shouldn't have. My babies looked perfect. They had so much potential. They were fully formed. All they needed was time to grow and get stronger. Just time.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Not-So-Happy Ending

I had a lovely day on Tuesday. I relaxed alone at home in the morning. Met a friend and her new baby around lunch time. Then spent the afternoon with my sister and in the city enjoying myself.

Then in the evening I started leaking light pink watery fluid. It didn't look quite like the subchorionic hemorrhage material that I was familiar with and that was still clearing itself out of my system. I called the doctor on call and she told me I could go in if things got worse or see her the following morning.

Things did get worse. I started having cramps. I tried to figure out if they were coming regularly or just plain cramps. I lay on my heating pad and shivered. I shivered so hard I shook the bed. I tried to let my husband sleep but woke him shortly after 1. I told him things weren't right. He told me I was burning hot. We contacted my dad who was on his way home from work so he could come sleep here and care for Isaiah.

We got up and got ready to go to ER. I passed a large clot and the cramps increased in intensity. My temp was 38.5C and I took some Tylenol.

Our experience as we waited in ER was less than satisfactory. There were 4 others waiting to be seen. As I sat there, I knew I was actually in labor. Everything about it felt wrong. I breathed my way through contractions and when they were every 2-3 min I told the aide (there were no nurses in sight at the desk) that I was quite sure I was having contractions, not cramps. Nobody came to check on me. Finally I could not get out of the bathroom because of pain and bleeding. My Husband told the staff. They told him that I was next and did not come to check on me. By the time my name was called I could not walk and my husband brought me in with a wheelchair.

Once I was in, the staff were great. I got large amounts of morphine that took the edge off the pain. The gyne resident came to check me and I delivered a tiny baby boy and girl right at that moment. The most painful part followed immediately after as she manually removed the placentas.

After things settled I went to the ward. I got treated with antibiotics and given painkillers as needed. I was able to rest a lot. The nurse who admitted me gave me a long hug that was the most healing thing I have ever felt.

The staff put a memory box together for us. It contains cards with the babies lengths and weights. A ribbon is attached to each that represents the lengths of the babes. Our little girl was a whopping 17 cm long - she was the longest! We got memory necklaces for each of them and little stones we can carry in our pockets to remind us of the babies. It includes the tiny clothes they wore and blankets they were wrapped in. We got a CD of photos of both babies.

My Husband and I saw them when they were cleaned up and dressed, wrapped in hand made blankets. We got to study the eyebrows on her and the fingernails on his hand that he had by his mouth. He had been sucking his thumb. We named them both and said goodbye.

I went home the evening of the following day empty handed. My hormones are crashing and my womb and arms are empty. Nothing feels right and I feel crazy. This, apparently, is normal.

We're fortunate. We have amazing family and friends who are constantly in touch and creative in showing their support. Phone calls, gifts, packages for Isaiah. Meals provided, live plants, notes of love. We have understanding bosses and colleagues who give us as much time away as we need.

We'll make it through. Once we're back on our feet we'll try again. We'll never be sorry that we conceived and carried those babies. And we'll never forget them even as our family grows and life returns to normal.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thoughts on Assisted Reproduction

I just finished reading the following book:



I often keep details of the assistance we received private, saying only that we got some help to conceive this time around. We tried for 3 years and have often longed for a sibling for our Boy who is growing up so fast! The journey we found ourselves on was painful and personal. Being surrounded by mainly Christian identifying people, we learned to be careful. I asked around before we started treatments to see if I could figure out the flavor of opinions of people around us in regards to various fertility options. I am sad to say that Christians were generally the most closed minded and judgmental of those I spoke to without understanding of the ethics and processes involved.

I appreciate Dollar's account of their own story and the honesty with which she writes. I like that she comes to no real conclusion except for this... there is no easy choice in the context in which we live these days. And the right answer isn't the same for everybody. It's complex and mufti-faceted, personal and heart-wrenching.