Tuesday, December 23, 2008

An Elephant Never Forgets

The other day, it happened. Something that I've been dreading for some time, but also somewhat expecting. It happened with someone I am very close to.

We were standing around,chatting amiably as I juggled Eden in my arms while doing several other things. She remarked laughing, "You can tell she's your third baby, can't you?"
"Fourth" I replied softly, sort of half under my breath.
"What?" She said, looking at me blankly. My heart sank.
"Owen. Owen was my third baby. Eden is my fourth." I responded, trying keep my voice light.
"Oh, no, I just.... I mean... I didn't..." She stammered. "I for-"
And then, blessedly, Eden vomited down my front allowing me to escape the inevitable.

I think if I had had to stand there and listen to her finish her thought, if I had to listen to her say she forgot about my son, I would have been the one vomiting.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Silent Night

I come here all the time, intending to post. Instead, I'll sit for awhile staring at the blank screen and then go do something else. The truth of it all is mothering afterwards is not easy, but I am afraid to complain. I don't want to tempt fate to take her from me. I would not survive.

Friday, November 7, 2008


The silence over here has been deafening, hasn't it? The fact of the matter is I've been avoiding this blog, avoiding this space. After all, I've had my happy ending, right? This should be where the story ends. If this were H.ollywood, then the credits would be running right now. Some cheerful ditty playing interspersed with shots of me smiling and playing with my now complete family; J & K dancing around Eden while she smiles and coos angelically.

But that's not life, not reality. Reality is, as much as I love Eden (and oh god do I love this little girl), as full as she makes my heart, I still miss Owen with same intensity. I'm still grieving. I guess I always will be. Its a strange and guilt-ridden place. How can one person be so lucky and so unlucky at the same time? So blessed and so bereft? I feel guilty even writing this when so many of my deadbaby mommas want to be right where I am. Sometimes I feel like I'm lost in desert with all of you, only now I have a bottle of water. I'm grateful for the water, its life saving, but being lost in the desert still sucks.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Perfect Family

I have a friend (well actually more of an acquaintance if I want to be specific) who also gave birth to her fourth child in August. Her son was born the day before Eden. Her family goes girl, boy, girl, boy. Mine is boy, girl, boy, girl. The difference is all of her children are living.

Over the past two months, I have listened to various people talk about how she has "the perfect family." It makes me sad to realize how few people are open enough to see that I have the perfect family too.

This past weekend we took Eden to the cemetery for the first time to meet her brother and last night we lit candles for Owen and for all of your babies too. As I watched those candles burn, I felt lucky for the first time in a long time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Year Later

A year ago today, I started writing this blog. I remember sitting on the floor sobbing as I typed my first few words. I had no idea the journey I would go on. The journey I am still on. I smile more now, cry less and still miss my little boy. I guess that's really the best I can hope for.

* Today we finally got the results we have been waiting for- after six long weeks, Eden has a normal platelet count. And now, I can exhale.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Born and Reborn

They came and drew blood for my twice daily platelet count around 7:30 pm on the night of August 13th, and as soon as they left, J., who had been my night nurse for the past few nights, started placing bets on what the results would be. She was hoping for anything above 30,000, but I had a feeling and said I thought it would be 40,000. About an hour or so later, as I was watching the Olympics, she came back with a big grin on her face. 47,000. More than either of us had thought. You know what that means? she said. I knew.

As long as I reached 50,000 by morning, then tomorrow would be the big day. I called JD and told him not to count on it but to be prepared. Then I sat and talked to the baby. It was a pep talk for both of us. I was frightened but excited. I got ready for bed early thinking it might be a good plan to try and get some extra rest. Nurse J. promised not wake me for vitals if I was sleeping. I tried to sleep.

The morning of August 14th came early. They brought my medication around 6:00 am as usual, but 7:30 am came and went and no one had come to draw my blood. I was getting kind of anxious. Of course, the one day I wanted them to be on time, they were late. JD called around 8 to see what the results were and still no one had come to draw. Finally, the tech rushed in around 9:30 am. I spent the next hour watching the clock and wondering. At 10:30, a new nurse came in. She introduced herself as K. and said the she worked over in Labor & Delivery. Then I knew.

"Your platelets are above 60,000. We're having a baby today."

I could do nothing but grin. "I should warn you though," she continued, "its a little crazy over there right now. We'll get you over as soon as we can."

I called JD and told him to come up to the hospital. Then I took a nice long shower. I tried to memorize my pregnant body. I tried to enjoy it, knowing that this was all coming to an end. I promised the baby to do my very best to bring him or her here safely. I begged him/her to stay with me. I cried for Owen who had not.

Then I busied myself packing up my room. JD arrived around noon. Sometime around then K. came back and told me it would be a little while longer. As I was beta strep positive, I needed to have antibiotics prior to beginning the induction. Of course, nothing had gone easily for this pregnancy and this was not straight forward either. I am allergic to penicillin and the strain of beta strep that I carry is resistant to clindamycin (the usual alternative for those with penicillin allergies) so they had to get the antibiotic they were planning to use cleared by Infectious Diseases. JD and I just laughed. It seemed like for par for the course at this point.

JD and I sat and chatted for awhile. We both had a ton of nervous energy. Around 1:30 pm, K. came back and asked if we were ready to move over to L&D. We pretty much ran out the door. As we walked away, JD said "Just think when we come back, it will be with a new baby." I held my breath.

K. got us settled in Room 3, which happened to be the one L&D room I hadn't been in yet. Some time after that, she came in, started my antibiotic and put me on the monitors. JD and I watched Food.tv and listened to the baby's heartbeat on the monitor. I was feeling some contractions already. Around 4:30, Dr M. came by. She explained that because of the potential for complications, I was not going to be allowed to eat other than clear fluids and would have to stay on the monitors for my labor. I was not thrilled and joked that perhaps watching Food.tv was not the best choice. She checked me and said I was around 3 cm dilated. She asked about when I wanted my doula to come. JD and I had discussed it and decided that because we knew the doulas' shift changed at 6 and I wasn't uncomfortable yet, we would wait until after 6. Dr. M was fine with that and said then she would come by after 6 and see where we were.

She started the pitocin at the lowest level possible because I was already contracting fairly regularly. Then everyone left us alone. I was contracting about every 2-3 minutes and needed to breath a bit through them, but still following what was going on around me. The next hour or so passed this way and our doula, G. arrived around 6:30 or so. She was wonderful, a grandmotherly type and she actually reminded me of my mom some. Especially, when she told us a slightly off color joked and then proceeded to blush and apologize for it. We chatted with her for awhile and my contractions started picking up. Around this time, I asked JD to turn off the TV as I was started to be really annoyed by P.aula De.en's voice. He put on some music and he and G. started helping work through contractions.

Between 7:30 and 8:00, Dr M. came back and checked me again. She said I was 4 cm (which disappointed me some), but that my cervix had moved all the way forward and was "melting away" under her fingers. She didn't think it would be a long induction and didn't see the need to turn up the pitocin. My water broke then and there was a ton if it. Immediately the contractions became very difficult to get through. I was starting to have to moan through them and not just breathe. During the contractions, I had no idea what was going on around me. In between I could still talk with JD and G. but I wasn't in the mood for joking anymore. Time got pretty fuzzy around then and I remember hearing Bob M.arley singing. After a trip to the bathroom, I remember sitting in the rocking chair and being hit by a contraction unlike any other. In hindsight, I must have been entering transition. I started shaking all over. I opened my eyes and said to G. "I cannot possibly do this without some drugs." She half-smiled then and said "I'll get Dr. M." I remember thinking that she was nuts and possibly evil for smiling at me just then. JD told me later that she knew that I was almost there at that point and was getting Dr M. in preparation to deliver, not for medication. Dr. M came in and checked me and said there was just a lip left and she would hold it back and I could push past it.

At the mention of pushing, I was terrified. Up until this point, everything still felt unreal to me. Pushing was real and I was sure that it would be like with Owen. I was sure that all my efforts would be met with terrible silence.

"I don't want to do this I said." I started to cry some then. JD grabbed my hand and Dr. M held my face in her hands.

"You can do this," she said. "You are the strongest woman I know."

In that moment, I believed her and let my body take over. I pushed and heard K. calling for a baby nurse. As the baby's head emerged, Dr M. said "Well look at those cheeks, this is not a small baby."

"Its eyes are opening." JD whispered.

I knew that meant this baby was alive.

The baby slid the rest of the way out and JD said "Its a girl!"

"Eden, you're here." They placed on my belly and she looked at me. "Is she ok, is she ok?" That's all I could say. She wasn't crying.

"She's fine." The nurse said. "Let me take her and warm her up."

As she took Eden from me, Eden began to scream. "Shhh don't cry baby," the baby nurse murmured.

"You keep screaming, little one," I whispered. "You have no idea how long I've waited to hear that."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Just a quick note to let you all know that the cardiologist appointment went really well this morning. He thought that at least one of her defects appears to be closing on its own already. He feels fairly confident that she will not require surgery. She currently does not require any medication and has no restrictions. I am breathing much easier today. Perhaps things are finally turning around for us.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Closing the Door

I'm finding that I don't want to finish writing Eden's birth story. Once I do, I'll have to acknowledge that my baby-making days are over. I'm not ready to do that. In spite of everything that I said during my pregnancy about it being my last, and all the trauma that led up to the delivery, it makes me very sad to think I will never do it again.

I think part of the reason I'm having such a hard time with this is because the decision has pretty much been taken out of my hands. One of things that I haven't mentioned here yet is that, over my hospital stay, both before and after Eden's birth, each of the doctors (OB, hematologist, perinatalogist, neonatalogist, midwife, etc.) in turn sat down with me and, gently (or not so gently in some cases) suggested that I not do this again. Before Eden was born, Dr. C., my perinatalogist, reminded me of my promise I was all done and, then by her bedside in the NICU, he again suggested that considering our family complete would be the wisest decision and made me promise if I were to get pregnant I would come and see him immediately.

I think part of me is still hoping that someday I would have that perfect birth. I just feel sad to be closing the door to this part of my life.

* Eden is doing very well. She is just a doll. We see the cardiologist tomorrow. I am very nervous. I really want him to give us an answer to what lies ahead and know that will probably not happen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Isn't she just perfect? I am head over heels in love with this little girl.

I am still working on her birth story and a few other posts, but they are coming along slowly. I work in five minute bursts when things are quiet (which is almost never) and when I'm not busy just marveling at her.

Her platelets are coming up but very slowly. Her h.ematologist is confident that she is going in the right direction, but has cautioned us that it may take over a month for her to get up to normal levels. In the meantime, we have to continue to monitor her carefully. This morning she was up over 50,000, which is a relief as that is really the safe cut-off were she to need surgery for some reason.

We see a new p.ediatric c.ardiologist next Tuesday. What we know right now is she has at least 2 small muscular defects. While small is good, her defects have the hemodynamic significance of a moderate defect. We are hoping the cardiologist will be able to give us a better prediction of what this means for her when he sees her next week. In the meantime, we are just enjoying having her home and trying to live in the moment.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Breaking News!

We have turned the corner- Eden's latest platelet count went up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She is coming HOME!!!

I am elated.

Could that be a tiny exhale?

Treading Water

This will just be a quick update as I am currently too overwhelmed to write the posts I really want and need to write.

I was discharged from the hospital Sunday and Eden has been in the N.ICU. Once again, I left the hospital without my baby and it has been very traumatic. Her platelets continued to drop and while she has been doing well clinically, it obviously has had her doctors concerned. I am pleased to announce this morning's count was almost identical to yesterday's. We are hopeful that this means she has cleared my antibodies from her system and her counts will start increasing. Once that happens, she should not be affected by platelets issues ever again.

There is, however, another concern. She has been diagnosed with a v.entricular s.eptal defect in her heart. Again, clinically, she is doing well and I am praying she will be one of the ones who is able to outgrow the issue without intervention. She will need to be monitored carefully over the next weeks and months. Hopefully, I will get more information after we consult with the ped.iatric cardiologist.

There is so much more to talk about here. But right now the words just don't come. I still haven't exhaled. I wonder if I ever will.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Like Mother, Like Daughter?

I will be working on getting Eden's birth story up as soon as possible, but wanted to update on where things are with us are currently. I am doing very well - my post partum bleeding which was a big concern for everyone prior to delivery, has been only notable by how unremarkable its been, and my platelet count has been rising nicely. Its hopeful that I will be at 100,000 by tonight or tomorrow. Then I can stop the IV medication, transition to oral meds and go home.

Now the less good. Eden's platelet count was measured at just over 100,000 yesterday and has dropped to around 70,000 today. Obviously, not we were hoping for. She is not technically in a danger zone yet, but has to be monitored carefully. She obviously gotten some of my anitbodies and they need to clear from her system. I am clearly very concerned for her and feeling unbelievably guilty.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Paradise Found

It is with the greatest joy that we announce the arrival of Eden Grace. She was born at 9:23 p.m., weighing 8 lbs and is 19 inches long. She and Ashleigh are both doing wonderfully.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

This Could Get Interesting

Well, my latest platelet count is 67,000, so once they have room for me over in Labor & Delivery, I will be moved back over there to start my induction. I am excited and scared. I guess because my counts are still well below normal there will be quite a team assembled for the delivery. I also do not have the option of an epidural. I have gone "natural" before, but not having that safety net is a little daunting.

I'll do my best to either update myself of have JD do it when there is news to share.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Latest

Here's this morning's update for those that are following along:

I'll start with the good news-last night my platelet count was 17,000 and this morning (12 hours later) it was 27, 000. My hematologist is thrilled. I got another dose of my medicine this morning and they will test me again around 6 tonight. They are very hopeful that I will be able to deliver tomorrow or the next day. I cannot, however, leave the hospital until my count is over 100,000 and will stay on medication until my count is around 200,000- once I reach that I will have to be weaned off the medication and monitored carefully.

Something that I've noticed about hospitals that I find a little strange is that they really don't let you know how bad you were until you start doing better. Now that things seem to be turning around, the staff has been revealing that I was really not doing well on Monday or Tuesday morning. Apparently Monday, my platelet count was actually unmeasurable and remained that way after two massive doses of steroids. I had also started having blood at an increasing level in my urine. It's probably good that I didn't know how bad things were going then as the stress would not have helped, but I'm finding it a little disconcerting after the fact.

All in all,though, things are looking up today and I am very thankful for that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Quick Update

I copied this from an email I sent some family and friends outside the computer. Sorry for any typos!

Last night was a long one- i had lots of contractions which was concerning because my platelet count has not yet responded to the medication. As a result, I would prefer this little one stay put for now. It was pretty frightening to hear the doctors on the phone with the blood bank frantically trying to order more platelets, just in case. I would really like to avoid platelet transfusion if at all possible.

Thankfully, the contractions have slowed now. They are trying to keep me super hydrated to stall my contractions as long as possible to give me a chance to respond to treatment. As before the goal for safe delivery (for me- baby should be fine no matter what) is a platelet count of at least 50,000. At 50,000, I will probably be fine. However an epidural is still out of the question- good thing I've done this before!

There is some good news though- apparently I am doing much better bleeding-wise than I should be with platelet counts this low. I have a lot of bruising, but the sites where they have been taking my blood for testing are clotting well. I have had no vaginal bleeding or other internal bleeding (other than a little bloody nose that clotted quickly.) The doctors have joked that the few platelets I do have seem to be super platelets.

Right now I am choosing to focus on the positives.

Monday, August 11, 2008


First and foremost, the baby is fine - that is what's really important (I need to keep telling myself that or I just may lose it.)

I have been admitted to the hospital and will remain here until the baby is born, which at this point, we have to hope will not be for at least a few more days now.

Where to start? Saturday evening, as I got ready to hop in the shower, I noticed all these little purple spots on my abdomen. I thought it was kind of strange, but felt well and the baby was moving well, so I figured I would see what happened the next day. Sunday, there seemed to be more and I noticed there were also some on my arms and legs. I thought they resembled broken blood vessels. I called the midwives and after discussing things, they decided to see me first thing this morning, with the caveat that if anything changed I would call immediately. This morning, as I got ready for my appointment, I noticed some strange bruising that concerned me a little. To make a very long story short, my platelet count is less that 10,000 (it should be between 150,000 and 400,000.) I have seen a hematologist, he believes I have i.diopathic t,hrombocytopenic p.urpura . They are treating me with steroids to try and get my platelet levels up to a point where it is safe to deliver me.

I feel like a bad movie. I just cannot catch a break at all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Not Yet

I'm still here. I'm beginning to think that I've missed my window of opportunity and this baby is never going to come out! Right now, I'm feeling surprisingly at peace about things. While part of me is tempted by induction, there is another large part that is loving the normalcy of waiting for this little one to choose his or her own birthday. Of course that peace changes hourly, but all I can do is hope for the best.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Watched Pot

So here I sit now 38 weeks pregnant. Still waiting... but, actually today I feel pretty good about it. The last week and a half or so has been really healing. The poly.hydramnios while still present, is now in the mild range. My last few NSTs have gone just swimmingly. I'm starting to feel ready to have this baby here and not just because I want it out before it dies. It feels good. I'm trying to eke out any joy that I can. I know that my days of carrying a baby inside are coming to an end. Like everything else on this journey, it is bittersweet, but today, thankfully, it is more sweet than bitter.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Owen, you were born one year ago this morning, shortly after the sun rose on the longest night of my life. You were born into silence. A year ago, I held you and kissed you and gazed down at your beautiful face for the first time. For the last time. I handed you to your father and we lived a lifetime with you in that tiny hospital room.

This morning, I woke just before dawn to find that your older brother and sister had climbed into my bed in the middle of the night. Your new little brother or sister rolled within in me and I once again watched the sunrise. I closed my eyes and remembered how you felt in my arms. Another day, a new day.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One Year

It was a year ago today. Just one year ago, everything fell apart. It was July 29, 2007, when I heard the words that changed everything. "The baby's heart is not beating. I'm so sorry." So am I. I am still so sorry.

Sitting here this morning, I cannot believe how far I've come in a year, and how far I still need to go.

* Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and support throughout the craziness of the past few weeks. I don't really want to get in to it today, but I am hanging in and being monitored very carefully at this point.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Waving My White Flag

OK, that's it. I surrender. I am officially in over my head here and my ability to cope is failing fast. At my bio.physical profile today, we discovered that, over the past week, I have developed moderate p.olyhydramnios. Basically, the universe seems to feel I do not have enough to worry about and now I have an excess of amniotic fluid. Besides making me uncomfortable and contributing to all these non-productive contractions, p.olyhydramnios is associated with all kinds lovely issues. Cord p.rolapse, postpartum hem.orrhage and stillbirth, being my personal favorites.

I feel like I have been trying to stay strong for so long - to deal with everything that has been thrown at me this pregnancy. This may be the last straw.

I give up. I'm not really capable of much else at this point.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Not too worry. I am still here and as far as I know everything is ok. I did end up in the hospital again at the end of last week and they stopped my contractions for what we all agreed would be the last time. Since then I have continued to contract but nothing regular or really worth noting.

Mostly I have been avoiding writing because all I really want to do is whine and moan. And I hate that. What it all boils down to is I am so f&$*ing tired of being scared. The doctors and midwives do their best to try and help, but the reality is they have no idea what this is like.

I have NSTs twice a week and a full bio.physical profile weekly. One would think that would provide some level of comfort. I guess it does, for a few hours anyway. But here's where the trouble lies, the midwife looks a the strip from the NST and sees what she considers appropriate accelerations etc. All I see is that there were far fewer accelerations than last time. We are coming at this from totally different places. My place is dark, lonely and very very scary.

At this point nothing is good enough for me, nothing that is except a screaming baby placed in my arms. And who knows when or if that will happen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Free At Last

Yesterday was a very good day. I had an NST in the morning, that the baby passed with flying colors. And then I saw my favorite midwife who not only let me off bed rest, but also said I can start weaning off the P.rocardia and see how things go. (While the P.rocardia is way better than t.erbutline in terms of side effects, it still gives me awful headaches.) I am scheduled for a b.iophysical p.rofile with Dr C. tomorrow afternoon and another NST on Friday. As we were chatting, she assured me that they will be keeping a close eye on this little one the next couple of weeks and "If anything looks at all funny to any of us, then we'll just go over to the hospital and have a baby."

Have a baby???!?!? Holy Crap, I might actually get to bring a baby home!

* Of course, as soon as I wrote the above, I thought about deleting it- just in case. Don't want to tempt fate or whatever.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Finding Some Peace

Thank you all for your kind words. You have no idea how comforting it is to read your words and know that, although I often feel very much alone on this journey, you are all there offering constant support. I am feeling much better (mentally) today.

The fetal f.ibronectin test was negative, which gave me a huge sense of relief. As i sit here contracting, I know that no test is definitive, but these results have helped me find a sense of peace. I don't feel so much like my every move means life or death for my baby. That alone is a huge sense of relief. I still carry so much guilt for Owen's death, I just don't know if I am strong enough for anymore.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Truth of It All

I left my appointment angry. So angry that I was close to tears and I'm not really sure why. All in all, the appointment actually went pretty well. After they raised my dose of P.rocardia on Friday, I really haven't been having very many significant contractions. I think I had maybe 3 total during my NST, and only one really made me take any notice of it. The baby was reactive and I haven't made any further progress. They did a fetal fi.bronectin and we should have the results in a day or so. I am on bedrest at least until then. I guess that's what made me angry. I wanted some resolutions and didn't really get any. I am so tired of existing in this unsure state.

As I started writing this though, I realized I am not really angry. I am terrified. Probably more terrified than I have ever been. I am so afraid that maybe there's a reason this baby wants to come out early. Maybe by preventing it, I am pushing things too far. This feels like a huge gamble. The 'what ifs' are truly haunting me.

The baby is alive today. As so many of us know only too well, there are no guarantees about tomorrow.

I really just want this to be over.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Limbo Land

So I'm still here. I had to up my dosage of P.rocardia on Friday evening as I started contracting regularly again, but things seem good now. I am experiencing some of the unpleasant side effects of the drug and having a difficult time staying focused on what's best here. I'll admit there is a voice in my head that keeps saying, "why not just let things happen while this baby is still alive?" But then again, I think of having a newborn in the NICU and I just don't know if I'm strong enough for that.

I go back tomorrow to see what has happened over the weekend progress-wise. I honestly don't know what I am hoping for anymore.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Moot Point?

Perhaps all my agonizing over whether or not to induce at 37 weeks will turn out to be for naught. I spent today in L&D contracting every 2-3 minutes. Fun, fun. After several rounds of t.erburtiline (or however its spelled), they have pretty much stopped and I am home now. I am on p.rocardia and will be on bedrest until at least Monday when I am re-evaluated. So now I have something new to worry about I guess.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Irony or Something Like It

Back in November or December, when we first consulted with our current midwifery practice, they had mentioned possible induction at 37 weeks in a subsequent pregnancy. Without realizing it, I grabbed on to that as my saving grace. Somehow surviving to 37 weeks seemed much more manageable than any other option. However, once I became pregnant, I never actually looked at the calendar to figure out the date.

So at my appointment this morning, I brought it up again just to discuss where I was mentally. As we were talking, C (the midwife) got out her calendar and looked at it. Her face just fell and she reached out and put her hand on my leg. "Ashleigh, I don't think you are going to want to do that." She showed me the calendar.

37 weeks falls on July 30. The same day Owen was born.

How could I have missed that? I know in the grand scheme of things, its probably not as big a deal as I am making it out to be, but it feels like one more blow from a universe that appears not to be on my side at all.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Another View

I went yesterday afternoon to see the pe.rinatalogist again*. Again it went very very well. Dr C. says this baby looks about as healthy as a baby can possibly look. I have trouble believing him. I want to, but I imagine there is some mysterious ailment around every corner. The shadow of losing Owen is always over us. I can see bright times ahead but can't quite believe they're real. Is it even possible that an "easy" pregnancy can follow one where the worst has happened? I hope so but I don't know, so I hold my breath a little longer.

* I put up some of the ultrasound pics here. You are welcome to look if you'd like, but if you are not there, I understand.

Edited to add- I almost forgot we will be away for the next week with limited to no Internet access, so don't worry if things get silent over here for awhile.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

No Laughing Matter

You know what makes me both mad and sad? I have not allowed myself to laugh at this pregnancy at all. I've taken it all so seriously and expected JD to do the same. In reality, there has been a lot to laugh about (the never ending growth of my breasts being first on JD's list, I'm sure.) but, I'm so busy being afraid that I"m missing it. I want that easy confidence that enables you to laugh at the craziness of growing another person inside you. I think I've been mourning this baby before there is anything to mourn. That's not right; not for me, not for Owen, not for this baby.

I have no silly nickname for this baby. I want that to change.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Baby Steps

I took all of your advice (and strength) and talked to my midwife about the dreams I've been having. It was a really good conversation. I was able to talk about a lot of my fears and she received it in a positive way. Most importantly I did not feel like a total freak.

As an aside, I think since Owen died I would rather "suffer in silence" than reach out for support and be rejected. I know in my head that's not the healthiest way to live, but I think its one of the many scars left behind. There were so many people I thought would be there for us (me) when he died that just weren't. Sometimes that hurt almost as much as losing him.

Back to the midwife convo though, I was very honest and explained exactly what I've been dreaming. Her reply was that she would never ever gloss over a mother's intuition. She agreed that even though I had (prior to losing Owen) dreamed of a birth center birth that might not be the best place for me this time. We talked about all the things that are available at the hospital for those kind of situations. I'm starting to feel like there's a "safe" place for us. It was another tiny little exhale moment.

In other news, I'm not sure if I had mentioned this or not, but, up to this point, I have done virtually nothing to prepare for this baby's potential arrival. Well, this week, actually this morning, I was finally able to take a few little steps. I preregistered at the hospital and I bought a hooded towel. I know neither of these is really a big deal but they feel monumental to me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Just how much stock should you put in your dreams?

Before losing Owen, I had a recurring dream that the baby was born before 28 weeks and I left the hospital without him. Of course, at the time I assumed that meant the baby was in the NICU and worried about preterm labor when I wasn't chastising myself for being silly. We all know how that turned out.

This time around, I've been dreaming that this baby is born not breathing and needs some assistance immediately. I suppose the redeeming factor in these dreams is that, in the dreams, I know the baby will be fine in the end. However, I'm conflicted as to what I want to do about these dreams. I hesitate to discuss them with my midwives for fear of being dismissed as a crazy alarmist deadbabymomma. (Not that they've ever given me any reason to feel that way, but all the same...) But at the same time, I can't bring myself to call them just dreams. I mean, what if? What would you do?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Curiouser & Curiouser

Me, that is. I love learning all this random stuff about people so I was thrilled to be tagged by c.

Here are my responses:

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?

I was on my first real vacation with JD. He had just graduated from college and as his graduation gift, we went to Montreal for a week. It was amazing. While we were there, a member of the hotel staff called me "Mrs. XXN." I remember I really liked how that sounded. Less than six months later, we were engaged.

2. What 5 things are on your to-do list for today?
OK, this is going to be really boring-
Trip to Costco
Vacuum the family room- its so gross in there right now
Read at least some of the newspaper
Play outside with J&K

3. List some snacks you enjoy.

Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Dark Chocolate

4. What would you do with a billion dollars?

Anything I damn well pleased! Just kidding, sort of.
I think would donate as large portion. JD and I set up a small charitable giving foundation in Owen's name- I'd love to really be able to fund it properly.
Help my brother and his family realize their own financial goals.
Invest for my kids' futures.

5. List the places you have lived.

Boston, MA
Princeton Junction, NY
Wilton CT
Croton On Hudson NY
New York, NY
Clarksville, TN

6. List the jobs you have had.

Gift Wrapper
Tour Guide
Admissions Assistant
Research Assistant/Coordinator
Validation Scientist
Product Developer

7. List the names of people you want to know more about:

Hmm, how about Clarissa and K@lakly. Honestly though, I'd love to know more about anyone reading this! So if you are reading consider yourself tagged.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

No Man's Land

Lately, I find myself struggling to find a place where I belong. As I get further along in this pregnancy, I'm actually starting to believe that I may take home a baby sometime in August. As thrilled as I am about that possibility, it separates me some from the little community of deadbaby mamas that I've found out here in the blogosphere. I read the blogs and want to comment, but feel so self-conscious and hyper aware of my state that I hesitate. I don't quite belong the way I did a few months ago.

At the same time, I lurk on a few due date clubs and know that without a doubt I don't belong there either. I read their posts about all their grand plans for labor and birth and baby rearing and just cringe. Don't they realize talking about those plans may just tempt the fates to steal it all away from them? At least that's how I feel. I feel like I should start making some plans in case this baby does arrive this summer. Then again, planning anything feels like incredible hubris. I'm stuck here and kind of floundering. I wish there was some guide to follow.

I find myself in this strange no man's land. I don't know what I feel, other than alone.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


I am so touched to have received this rose from C. Her words have touched me more than I can tell her and I have found comfort, company and healing through her blog.

I am passing this rose along to two women who keep me thinking and keep me dedicated to walking this path with you all, Coggy and Clarissa.

Now it's your turn. Here's what to do:

1. On your blog, copy and paste the award, these rules, a link back to the person who selected you, and a link to this post. You will find the story behind the Pink Rose Award and other graphics to choose from there.

2. Select as many award recipients as you would like, link to their blogs (if they have one), and explain why you have chosen them.

3. Let them know that you have selected them for an award by commenting on one of their posts.

4. If you are selected, pass it on by giving the Pink Rose Award to others.

5. If you find that someone you want to nominate has already been selected by someone else, you can still honor them by posting a comment on their award post stating your reasons for wishing to grant them the award.

6. You do not have to wait until someone nominates you to nominate someone else.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Sometimes I feel like I leave a piece of Owen with every person I tell our story. I don't tell everyone. I like to hoard him to myself- to make sure that I only share him with people that I feel will appreciate him and all he means to me.

Then again, maybe that's yet another story I tell myself to try to feel better about it all.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Well I did it. I survived. At this point with Owen, I was no longer pregnant. I was officially starting my life as a deadbaby mom. In fact, I was still holding him in my arms. Its bittersweet.

Everyone had told me that once I got past that day in this pregnancy, I would be able to breathe easier. I know it's early yet, but so far that doesn't seem to be true. In fact, right now, I feel even more anxious. I feel like I'm on borrowed time. I had a disturbing dream last night where I was at the perinatalogist's office and having all sorts of tests and I remember saying, its not happening again, is it? The nurse turned to me and said, you didn't actually think you were going to bring home a baby, did you?

I think that might be the source of this new anxiety. I don't want to admit it, even to myself, but I am starting to think I will bring home a baby. Knowing what I do, that seems like a dangerous and somewhat foolish belief. I just want this baby here. How many days until August?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Longest Day

At this exact point in my pregnancy with Owen, I woke up to that terrible stillness. And of course, what followed changed me forever. I can't help but compare. This morning, I woke to the gentle tap tap tap that I've be accustomed to. This baby seems so different from Owen. More active in general (for which I am eternally grateful), but calmer in movement. I can't help but wonder if Owen's periods of intense activity were a sign that something was wrong. Should I have known? Was he trying to tell me something that I couldn't hear? What could this new baby be trying to tell me?

I imagine this will be a very long day.

* I'm going to take Niobe's advice and set up a link to some ultrasound pics for those who want to see them, but our scanner is acting all wonky, so it may be a few more days.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Not long ago, I spent some time with a very good friend of mine and her twin boys. In what sometimes feels like the ultimate irony, the boys were due a week and a half before Owen (in October) and were actually born a week and half before Owen (in July.) Only her boys lived. As we now live half a country apart, this was the first time I had seen the boys in person. I was pretty nervous about how it would feel, seeing these little ones that, in so many ways, were such a stark reminder of what could have been mine. The reality of it wasn't as bad as I imagined, and it got me thinking. Sometimes I wonder if there was a part of me somewhere that knew I wouldn't bring Owen home with me. When I think back on my pregnancy with him, I remember feeling a sense of reserve that I really had no reason to feel. Maybe I'm re-imagining the past to make myself feel better, I don't know. All I know is that while holding those boys, not once did I think "this could have been me." And I really expected to.

Friday, May 9, 2008

So Far So Good

We met with the perinatalogist today for another scan. I am pleased to say that everything looks really good at this point. The baby is appropriately sized and everything seems to be growing and developing as it should. It's also really cute. I have a fabulous picture that I am considering posting, but I'm trying to remain sensitive to those of you who would find that very hurtful. I'll admit there's a part of me that wishes s/he would be born now. I know that's crazy, and anyone who has had an extremely premature baby would like to shoot me for saying it, but I can't help but feel like at least s/he is alive at this point.

The perinatalogist wants to see me again in about 6 weeks to check on growth, development, etc. I wish I had his confidence that we will get that far. I want to.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now

Well, close enough anyway. My eye is much better, thank you all for your kind wishes. They have decided to turn off the respirator for JD's grandmother. That should be happening this morning. So I guess we wait and see. I truly believe that is the kindest decision, but still we are sad.

Tomorrow afternoon, I go back to the perinatalogist for another scan. I am scared, but hopeful. I want to say more about it, but the words just won't come right now. Perhaps I am more afraid than I want to admit to you, or to myself.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

When It Rains

Ugh. This weekend K. was sitting on my lap and turned around stuck her finger in my eye. I immediately thought I was going to die. As the hours passed and my vision got worse and not better, I headed over to the E.R. It turns out I have a severe co.rneal ab.rasion (in layman's terms, she scratched the h#ll out of my eyeball.) It is unbelievably painful*, and they usually give you some kind eye drops for pain but, as I am pregnant, I cannot have those. The eye doctor, looking at my medical history, said "I can tell you are a tough lady. You'll survive." I wanted to bite him.

Then, after I get home from the E.R., JD gets a call from his mother. His grandmother has had a massive stroke and is in a coma, on a respirator. There are a lot of issues within JD's family, but his grandmother has never been anything but kind to me and I am very sad for her, and for her husband. He is having to make some very hard decisions.

Add this to the fact that I am rapidly approaching my 26th week of this pregnancy. Owen died without warning during my 26th week. Needless to say my coping skills are currently stretched to their limits. I want to scream "Enough already!" to the universe. Will you join me?

* I am currently mostly blind in my right eye and will be for a few more days. It took me an embarrassing amount of time to get this typed up, so I will be reading but not commenting on your blogs for a few more days. Sorry, I am thinking of all of you though.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

9 months

It was nine months ago today. Owen was born silently nine months ago this morning. It was a beautiful sunny day like today. I remember wishing it would rain.

There are days when I still can't believe he was here and then gone so quickly. How could I have known how completely this tiny little man would change me? Or the journey he would take me on? I often wonder if I had known, would I have made different choices? Would I give him up to spare myself? There have been many times where, in my grief, I shamefully admitted to myself that I would rather not have known him at all. Slowly, over the last few months, that has changed. Now I can look at myself and feel some pride. I was the best mother to him that I could have possibly been.

Obviously, with anything dealing with pregnancy and babies, nine months takes on more significance than it would ordinarily. However this time, this has been a good thing. Whether it is because it is nine months or just coincidence, I don't know, but I am finally feeling a sense of completion and peace regarding Owen and my time with him. I am starting to give both of us the gift of letting him go. It has not been easy work, but I know in my heart I am doing the right thing. It has been through letting him go, that I have actually started to feel him with me in a positive way. I think we are both happier for it. I gave birth to his body nine months ago, but I am giving birth to his spirit today.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stork Parking

With warmer weather and smaller clothes, it is becoming more and more obvious to the general public that I am an "expectant mother." As our society has lately become somewhat obsessed with pregnancy, I get a fair amount of attention from strangers now. They are drawn to the bump, if you will. What they don't realize is that I am not like all the other mommies-to-be they see on the street. I am not so much expectant as I am waiting.

The Distance Between Us

As much a matter of survival as anything else, I have kept myself somewhat distant from this new baby. It has not been deliberate, but I couldn't help myself. I honestly haven't spend a ton of time dreaming about who this person will be. Probably because I remained unconvinced that this pregnancy will end with me taking home a baby. I still don't say "when", I say "if." I guess this is pregnancy after stillbirth.

While we were away, I sat on the beach and just stared at the ocean for hours. I think, in those moments, I was able to let Owen go some. I imagined him floating away on the waves and felt peaceful. I felt like I was giving him back in a way. As I sat there, I felt this new baby roll within me. His/her movements becoming more pronounced and for the first time, I was able to reach down and rub my belly and smile.

There by the ocean, I was able to let go of some of the distance between us.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Home Again Home Again

We are back. Got in late last night, so forgive me if this is short and jumbled. In short, it was wonderful. I am more and more convinced that, for me at least, there is something very primal and healing about the ocean. I should have done it much sooner. Then again I probably wasn't ready. More later, now the laundry calls!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fun in the Sun

I'm off for a much needed week's vacation someplace warm. See you when I get back!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I had my first real dream about this baby last night. It was so realistic, and in parts disturbing, that even now hours after waking up, I can't stop thinking about it. In the dream, I was in a hospital room by myself. I was in labor. I was concerned and felt like the nurses were ignoring me. So I got up and took a bath. While I was in the tub, the baby, a girl, was born. She was not breathing. I scooped her out of the bath and went sat on the bed with her. I leaned over and breathed into her mouth and she started breathing, but not crying. I was the one who was crying. I felt like I had done something wrong and I didn't want to tell anyone what had happened. So, I just sat there with her, holding her to my chest. Later, much later, a nurse came in and immediately began chastising me for not calling anyone and telling me that she could have died from dehydration. Then I woke up.

I guess it wasn't the worst dream I could have had. However, it's left me with this vague unsettled feeling that I don't particularly like. *Sigh* I wish things were simple again.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Plan

When it comes right down to it, I am still angry about a lot of things having to do with losing Owen. One of these (which I am sort of embarrassed to admit) is the loss of my "plan." My plan for my life, for my family. I really liked my plan. I like plans in general. They gave me comfort, made me feel like I'm in control. Losing Owen was a horrifying way to realize how little control we really have over our own lives. It still makes me angry. As happy as I am to be hopefully having another baby (see, I can't not include that qualifier anymore), this was not my plan and I struggle with it. I was not supposed to be pregnant again this summer. My children were not supposed to be dealing with another upheaval to their lives. This was supposed to be our golden summer. Owen would be growing past infancy, starting to interact with his brother and sister. I would have lost the baby weight and be able to participate fully with the kids in all their summer activities. JD and I would be able to sit out on the patio after they were all in bed and enjoy a glass of wine in the summer night. It would have been wonderful. It really was such a nice plan...what would have been the harm in having it come true?

ETA: Julia at I Won't Fear Love has a wonderful post up that really speaks to me. Go over and check it out.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


The first night K and I were in the hospital, around 7:30 pm or so, I heard the familiar strains of a lullaby played over the PA system. It only lasted 30 seconds or so and was played fairly quietly. At first, I thought maybe it was something they did in the pediatric ward, as a way of soothing the little ones around bedtime. That was a rough night for K and we were up a lot with doctors and nurses in and out constantly. I thought I heard it again around 3 am, but at that point I wasn't really thinking about lullabies too much. The next day, K started to show some improvement and I heard it again around 2 pm. And again about an hour and a half later. At that point, I thought maybe it was a toy belonging to a child in an nearby room. Late that evening, it played again and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. They were playing it when a baby was born. This realization hit me while the respiratory therapist was working with K and so I asked her about. She smiled and confirmed what I dreaded hearing. "Yes," she said, "They play it every time a baby is delivered. The mother gets to press the button as they leave the delivery room."

All I could think was no, not every time. No one played a lullaby for Owen. It made me so angry. It still does. Didn't my sweet boy deserve a lullaby too? Didn't he count?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Breathing a Little Easier

I went to see the perinatalogist today for an in-depth ultrasound. To cut to the chase, everything looked perfect. As he said "Today your baby is as healthy as any baby could possibly be." I know only too well that good ultrasounds are not guarantees, but it was really nice to hear (and see some for myself.)

He also spent some time going over Owen's autopsy report and talking with me about what happened. It was the first time I had discussed everything in detail with someone not associated with the hospital where Owen was born and it was very interesting. Basically, the doctors from the hospital that delivered Owen all said that there was nothing out of the ordinary other than the abnormal bleeding in his brain. The new perinatalogist did not agree. He was concerned by Owen's size (he measured the size of a 32 weeker and had died in the 26th week of gestation.) He seemed to believe this indicated that something had already gone wrong in his development. Especially since I had an ultrasounnd about 4 weeks before he died in which he was reported to be measuring on track for my dates. This perinatalogist basically said, either they did the ultrasound poorly and those measurements were way off, or Owen grew at a decidedly abnormal rate following the ultrasound (he would have grown 10 weeks growth in 4 weeks which is well outside the realm of normal.) Unfortunately, my records being what they are, we will never know for sure. I am surprisingly okay with that right now. Do I wish things were different? Absolutely. But I'm not torturing myself with what ifs anymore. I guess that's progress, right?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Scene of the Crime

Last week, when it became obvious that K needed to be in the hospital, I was beside myself for more than the usual reasons. You see our pediatricians (who I just adore and therefore would not consider switching) admit at the same hospital where Owen was born. I had not been back. To add insult to injury, the pediatric ward is on the same floor as maternity. Just lovely. Fortunately, as we went in, I was so concerned for K that I was pretty much able to ignore my surroundings and rush by the "welcome baby" display that Owen was never a part of. Later in the day as we settled in, they came to take K for some tests. I went with her. As I rode in the wheelchair, K on my lap, I realized that they were taking us right through the maternity ward to get the other department. I held my breath as we rolled down the hallway towards the room where the doctors had told me that Owen had no heartbeat. When we got closer, I saw that they were doing construction in that area. It was all taped off with plastic tarps and yellow tape. It looked like a crime scene. It seemed fitting.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Quick Update

Sorry I disappeared. K has been the hospital all week with pneumonia. We were discharged this morning and I am exhausted. I have a lot to post about though. We were in the same hospital where Owen was born and I have some stuff I want to say about it. For now though, I want to shower, eat a real meal and sleep.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

It Happened

So the thing I've been dreading and hoping for since I found out I was pregnant has happened. Last night as I lay watching TV before bed, I felt the first little bumps from this new person. Right now no one knows. Its my secret...and now yours. It makes me smile, and cry, and miss Owen. The thumps are different this time, gentler, more tentative. It's as if this one wants me to know that he or she is a different person. I appreciate that. I think I'm falling in love. It's terrifying and wonderful.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Tie-Breaker

As most of you know, I have two living children and have had two losses. So this pregnancy, whichever way it goes, will be the tie-breaker.I spend a lot of time convincing myself that I will be okay either way. But honestly, I think the outcome of this pregnancy will be more far-reaching than I can imagine. Should this baby die, I will have had more unsuccessful pregnancies than successful ones and I think that will greatly affect the way I view my body. For a variety of reasons, I've struggled with accepting and loving my body since puberty. I spent many years wishing it was other than it was and working to change it. Then, after carrying and giving birth to J, my oldest, I was in awe of myself. I saw my body as strong and purposeful. I can truly say I was in love with my own body. That feeling only magnified after carrying and birthing K. Since then I have two losses, one very early and then Owen. I no longer view my body with awe. I struggle with feeling betrayed and let down my body. I no longer trust it to do the job I believe it is supposed to. There is a lot riding on this pregnancy- almost too much, and that is very scary.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My Truth

I realized recently that I've been thinking about posting way more than I have actually been posting. The reason for this is that since I've been pregnant I've felt a need to censor myself. I feel guilty (or something like guilty) because I realize that what I post here will likely be hurtful for some other loss mamas to read. I wish with all my heart that wasn't the case, but I know it is. So, the more I thought about it the less I've posted. I realized though that I need this outlet. I can't censor myself anymore. So from here on out I'm going to be honest about what is going with my life and that will likely include a lot of talk about my pregnancy. I'm very sorry to those of you who find it painful to read and I understand if you choose not to read anymore. I hope that you won't though. I hope that some of you will continue to walk this road with me.

So, hey you want to know what sucks about pregnancy after stillbirth? Everything.
There is no winning. If I feel bad (physically) I worry that something is wrong, if I feel good I worry that the baby is dead already. Instead of looking forward to feeling those first few flutters, I dread it because I know once they start I will constantly be waiting for that terrible moment when I realize that they've stopped. I have so much that I could be thankful for; I've found a wonderful new midwifery home with this amazing birth center that could potentially offer the birth of my dreams but I think I am too afraid to try it. They have been amazingly supportive and have consulted with experts to ensure I get the best monitoring etc. and I keep wondering if I had done all this last time would Owen be here?

This is my last pregnancy- no matter the outcome. I should be reveling in it. As it is, I am hiding.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Days and Dates

So something happened this last month that I hadn't really considered. February has less than 30 days, so this month there was no 30th. No anniversary of losing Owen. No seven months ago today I was holding him or kissing him or saying goodbye. While I realize that even though there was no actual date anniversary, the time has still passed, but it felt different. Maybe even...good? I don't know. I still miss my baby, but it did feel nice not to spend another day reliving that horrible, wonderful day.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My list

I've been tagged by c. for this one. If you've seen that episode of F.riends, you are familiar with "the list" of celebrities that you are allowed to sleep with if the opportunity should arrive. I have to qualify though, I've never had this discussion with JD, so really mine is just of famous guys who really do it for me. So here they are (not in any order either)

1. George Clooney - He is just so very yummy and comes across as pretty charming in most interviews.

2. Hugh Grant - I love men who make me laugh and he's good-looking too. Does it get any better?

3. Patrick Stewart - He just has this presence. And the voice....*sigh*...

I'll have to come back to tag people - I only had a minute but wanted to share!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I've been tagged by Coggy I have really enjoyed reading everyone else's responses (and am more than a little surprised by how often I was thinking "hey me too!")

The rules:

1) Link to the person who tagged you (As above).
2) Post the rules.
3) Share six non-important things / habits / quirks about yourself.
4) Tag at least three people.
5) Be sure the people you tagged KNOW you tagged them by commenting what you did.

1.) I can fit my entire hand (up to my wrist) in my mouth. I've been told I look like a snake devouring its prey when doing it. It made me quite popular at fraternity parties.

2.) I taught myself to read at a very early age (like before four). My mom said she wasn't really sure how old I was as one day she just realized I was reading things around me. As a result, I read more like a speed reader than line by line and phonics totally baffles me to this day.

3.) I hate talking on the phone to people I don't know. Even if there were no food in the house, I would rather go hungry than order out myself. And honestly, I don't even really like talking on the phone with people I do know. So, if you are someone I talk to on the phone with any regularity, you can be sure I really care about you.

4.) I absolutely LOVE ramen noodles. I grew up in a very traditional household. My mom was a homemaker in the most J.une C.leaver way and as a result we had 3 homemade meals a day my whole life growing up. I never had ramen noodles until college and I fell in love. I still consider them a "treat."

5.) I have never had a cavity. And no I'm not a freak about brushing and flossing. My dad (who is also my dentist) says I have the hardest teeth he has ever seen.

6.) If it doesn't contain chocolate, I don't consider it truly dessert.

So that's me. Who's next?

I think pretty much everyone has already been tagged or has done this recently. So, if you are reading this and haven't gone yet, consider yourself tagged!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Retail Therapy

One year ago this morning, I got the faintest pink line on a pregnancy test.

Today I went out and bought myself some new maternity clothes. It's silly but it made me feel excited. I'm starting to let myself believe i might actually get a baby out of this. It scares the sh%t out of me.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hope Blooms

* I wanted to put a warning on this post and let you know that is about my new pregnancy. I realize it may be difficult(to say the very least) for some of you to read. I am very sorry for any pain it may cause and truly understand if some choose not to read or comment.

So I went this morning for my F.irst Tri.mester screening. I haven't talked much about it because I really haven't been feeling very confident about things. In fact, I was pretty sure when they started the ultrasound I would see another deadbaby. So sure that I spent the drive there composing a blog entry about it in my head. My new midwives sent me to a major medical center that specializes in high risk pregnancies. In the waiting area, I watched the other women carefully, wondering if there were any other deadbabymamas waiting with me. I decided it was no- no one had that haunted look I've come to recognize in the mirror. After they called me in, the sonographer asked me which number pregnancy this was for me and I told her it was my fifth. She did a bit of a double take (I'm told I look young- I don't think so but I do actually still get carded on sort of a regular basis.) Then she asked how many of those pregnancies went to term. Just one, my first. K was born just shy of 36 weeks, so she's not considered a term pregnancy. I had an early (5 week) loss, and my son, Owen was stillborn at 27 weeks. She noted this all and told me how sorry she was. She seemed genuine which was nice. She asked how I was feeling and I told her I was scared. She patted me gently on the arm and said she would try to help with that. She pulled up the image and there on the screen was a baby. It was recognizable as a baby and I started to cry. She said I think there's something you need to hear and all of a sudden the room was filled with the sound of my baby's heart beating. I swear at that moment, the baby waved at me and hope bloomed in my heart again. The sonographer spent a long time looking over the baby, showing me everything and reassuring me that all looked great. Then she called the doctor in and he did the same. It was wonderful and necessary. Now I know that as the days and weeks pass by I will grow fearful again, but for today I want to grab onto that flicker of hope and nuture it as best I can.

Friday, February 1, 2008

His Name

I have this compulsion to say Owen's name out loud at least once a day. Often, I'll just whisper it to myself, sort of a reminder, I guess. Its gotten so I don't even really notice I'm doing it. Its part of my routine, like brushing my teeth before bed. Last night, I stopped and really paid attention. I love the sound of his name. I realized, though, I always say it the same - like a sigh. I think of all the different ways I say his brother and sister's names- laughing, questioning, frustrated, frightened, joyful. I want to stand in my backyard and call Owen's name over and over in all those different ways. Most of all, though, I want him to come running when I call.

* J. is fine- thank you all for asking. Antibiotics may have changed the fate of many a 19th century literary heroine.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Grief is Funny

I was thinking about something that happened while I was in the hospital after having Owen. After we had said goodbye to Owen for the last time and were getting ready for me to be discharged, I asked the nurse if I could take a shower before we left. I needed that shower for so many reasons. She agreed, but only if I left the door ajar and she stayed in the room while I was in the bathroom. She warned me not to make it too hot and not to let the water run on my chest. She didn't want me to stimulate milk production, I guess. At that point, I so didn't care. I needed that water. So, I got my stuff together. I turned the water on (hot) and stepped in. I stood there, facing the spray, letting the water run over me for several minutes. Then I looked down and realized that I had gotten in the shower with all my clothes on (hospital gowns, bra, socks, etc.) I hadn't even noticed. At the time, I was so humiliated, I cried. Now JD and I can laugh about it, but I always think about it when people talk about grief. It made me blind.

Owen has been gone for six months. That's all I can say about that right now.

* Sorry for disappearing for a little while. J, my 4 year old, has had scar.let f.ever. It was all very 19th century literary novel-ish.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I've been composing this list for awhile now, here and there as things hit me. It's a list of things Owen will never do. Some of them make me cry, some of them make me laugh. All of them make me wish he was here.

Owen will never...
smile one of those big gummy grins
wraps his fingers around my pinky in his sleep
pat my face as he nurses
blow out his diaper and his entire outfit just as I am finally ready to walk out the door
call me mama for the first time
wake me every hour all night long
make me rush him to the ER in the middle of the night
taste ice cream for the first time
run with that drunken toddler run I love so much
draw me a picture I can't identify
vomit in my hair
look like such a big kid on his first day of school
cry in my arms when his feelings get hurt
bring me breakfast in bed on mother's day
skin his knee
run naked through the sprinkler with his brother and sister
tell me I'm not his friend anymore
fall asleep in my arms
make a new friend
hit the game winning home run while I cheer in the stands
fail a test
get all A's
kiss a girl (or a boy)
get a pimple at the exact wrong time
keep me up all night wondering where he is and what he's doing
borrow the car without asking
borrow the car after asking but leave me with an empty gas tank
get his first paycheck and spend it on something stupid
go on his first date
go away to college
fall in love
get married
make me a grandmother
tell me he loves me

The list goes on and on. There are so many moments we missed out on.
Everyday there's something new to mourn.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

In the Meantime

Well, as usual, life has gotten in the way of my blog time. K, my 2.5 year old seems to be giving up her afternoon nap (much to my dismay), so there goes a big chunk of my computer time. I've been working on a couple posts here and there, but nothing that I feel like finishing right now.

So, until I can get things figured out again, I thought I'd share something that happened at my midwife appointment last week. I mentioned how I got a surprise ultrasound but I didn't really share the details of how things went down. The midwife very kindly suggested that we take a look to try put my mind at ease for the time being. She rolls in what looks like the first ultrasound machine ever invented. This thing looked old. It reminded me of the old Apple IIe computers from my middle school computer lab (am I dating myself here?). Anyway, she explains that she needs use a transvagin@l probe and starts kind of apologizing for it. I was sort of laughing about it. Once she pulls the image on the screen, I can see the little flicker of a heartbeat and before I know it tears are just streaming down my face. D., the midwife, tries to get a better image and tries to measure the baby, etc. and she's not having much luck.

So then she says, "You know I'm really sorry this isn't a better picture. It's an old machine and I'm definitely not a sonographer."

I laughed and said, "Don't worry, this is already way better than my last ultrasound experience."

Without looking up, she says, "Oh really, how's that?"

"Well, for starters, this baby's heart is beating..." I began.

She stopped and looked at me. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't think..I mean I wasn't...I'm sorry, that was really stupid of me."

"No,no. It's OK." I said still smiling.

And you know what? It really was OK.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Well, How About That?

I had my appointment this morning with my new midwives. After the usual weigh in and pee in a cup business, we sat down for a LONG medical history discussion. They were just wonderful- teared up in all the right spots, laughed at my lame jokes, etc. After all was said, one of them said to me, "Well, why don't we take a little peak in there today." I was shocked and afraid. I did not expect to have a sonogram this morning. She rolled in the machine and I got friendly with the probe and......


It was bouncing around and most importantly had a beating heart. Who knows what the future holds, but today is a good day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Dream Analysis 101

OK, here's one for all you armchair psychiatrists and amateur analysts.

I have been having this recurring dream since shortly before I discovered I was pregnant again. Its pretty much identical every time and so realistic that I wake up completely physically exhausted. In the dream, I am at my high school pool. This is not too crazy as I was a pretty serious competitive swimmer back then. We're in the middle of a big swim meet. All the girls from my junior year are there and they are all the age we were then, but I am me now. I'm assigned to swim the 200 IM (individual medley- all four stokes) which was my nemesis when I was competing. All I can think is "I cannot possibly do this - I have a deadbaby." I swim it anyway and it is hell. I feel like I'm dying the whole time. When I finally finish, I drag myself out of the pool and look around. I've won by a mile.

So what do you think?

p.s I have my first midwife appointment later this morning. Wish me luck or something like it.

Sick And Tired

Sorry I've been so lax in blogging and commenting on your blogs lately. I read along and want to comment, but the fact of the matter is I feel like total cr@p and its hard to get anything done. I don't want to complain too much because I am fully aware of just how many of you out there would give anything to be where I am. Its just that morning sickness is way harder to deal with when you've lost faith that it will all be worth it in the end. I remember my other pregnancies as easier, although if I'm totally honest, I've been pretty lucky this time. When I was pregnant with Owen, I had already been to the hospital at least once for re-hydration by this point, but somehow I dealt with it better. I was able to keep "my eyes on the prize" so to speak. Of course, now that "prize" lies about six feet under in the sweetest little white coffin you've ever seen. This time when I'm sick as a dog and I close my eyes, its that coffin that I see and I just want to disappear for a while.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Giving Up?

I went to see the hematologist this morning for my follow-up appointment. She had all my results from the various tests and basically everything was normal. They could find no reason for the abnormal bleeding found in Owen's autopsy. Based on my history and JD's history, we were pretty sure this would be the case. It was still hard to hear the doctor say "I see no reason to pursue this any further." It feels like giving up.

I guess this is the end of the road. I will never have an answer for why Owen was taken from me. That is very hard for me to accept. In my previous life (before children), I was a scientist, a research scientist. I actually spent a few years in a lab sequencing DNA looking for genetic mutations causing certain neurological disorders. In light of this, it feels especially ironic that science should let me down so completely.

So, Owen, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm walking away from this without an answer. I wish I could do more for you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Where I'm At

First, I wanted to say thank you all for your comments on my last post. I really can't tell you how much they mean to me. I hear hope in your words and feel it too. Then I start to think that maybe I really can do this. You make me stronger.

To illustrate where I am right now, I'll share a story. We ended up telling my dad about this pregnancy the other night. I hadn't really planned on it (in fact I hadn't said the words "I'm pregnant" out loud at all yet), but he kept offering me wine and I was getting annoyed. So I finally blurted out "You know, Dad, I'm kind of hoping not to be able to have another glass of wine until at least mid-August." He was very emotional and thrilled. Later in the evening, he made some comment about us having a baby and I immediately thought "Oh I'm not sure I'm having a baby, I just know I'm pregnant."

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Am I Ready For This? A Confession for the New Year

So, I've been keeping something from you for the last two weeks. Something I am terrified to share. I think I'm afraid that writing it here will tempt fate or whatever to yank it all away from me, again. But then this morning I decided that hiding and pretending its not happening isn't going to protect me. It won't save me from any pain, just from the support of my friends. So here goes- (deep breath)-I found out two weeks ago that I am pregnant again. There I said it. I am terrified, numb, elated and just the tiniest bit hopeful.

I'm not ready to hear anyone say anything that starts with the letter "C" and ends with "tions", so in the tradition of many bloggers before me, let's just stick with "NBHHY" *

* Nothing Bad Has Happened Yet