Monday, April 30, 2012

A step in healing.

Sorry, I took a short break. It was hard to type the last entry and I needed the time to think about the next few blogs. They're going to be just as hard and the story is much the same. I think that was one of the worst things about the bleeding. It was always so unexpected. It happened when I was doing absolutely nothing and came with really no warnings. I thought that this would haunt me and well, it did.

This weekend and even today, I had a breakthrough. I was busy running around this weekend. Noah and I went all over town Saturday! We went to Lowes, Target, the Mall, the pet store! We were travelers. Sunday I did a lot of laundry, cooked snacks and dinner, we traveled to Babies.R.Us and finally found a new car seat for Noah and then grocery shopped. Noah is finally in a front facing only seat. It makes me sad. He was rear facing for the longest time and even after he forward faced there were many times that he requested to be turned backwards and ride rear facing. He was last rear facing about 3 months ago and he had been that way for about 5 or 6 months. Now, he is in a Trendz by baby trend car seat that forward faces with 5-point harness to 70 pounds. I think I'll do a post all about the car seat in a couple of weeks, just to let you know how it's going.

After being so busy Sunday, we finally made it home! I put the groceries away, wrapped up dinner, watched a movie with Noah and got him in the bath. By the time I finally got a minute to sit down and relax (who am I kidding, I relaxed all day!!) it was about 10 or 10:30 pm. I pulled out my journal and went to write and it hit me. It almost took my breath away. Today I missed something. I didn't know how to feel. Was I a bad mom?! Was I forgetting?! How could I forget?!

This Sunday, April 29 was baby Clara's 5 week birthday. It was the first Sunday since her birth that I wasn't sitting at home staring at the clock. I was anxious and sad anticipating the timeline that I had relived every Sunday since March 25. I was out, having fun. I can even remember doing a time check and it was 3:14pm. That was one minute before the time of her birth. How could I forget, or better yet, how could I not remember. I think this is part of healing. I didn't dwell on her loss all day Sunday as I had the previous Sundays. I didn't count minutes or stare at the clock to remember the time I called Chris to come home, the time we made it to the hospital, the time Dr. C said she could see her heart beating on the ultrasound and the time she was born. Everyday this controls my life less and less. In some ways I feel more free but in some I feel more lost.

Today I had another moment of healing. It was more a moment of panic, sadness and healing. I woke up with my period. At first I panicked. Oh.My.Goodness! Why am I bleeding?! Where is it coming from?! Is it heavy enough to go to the hospital?! Am I going to be okay?! Then, I remembered that it was okay to have this bleeding, in fact it was normal. I haven't felt normal since Clara's birth but this, my period, is natural and normal. Then, I was sad. Sad that I had a period and was no longer pregnant. Now, I wasn't even really postpartum. Now, I was just a person with a period. The next time someone asks me when my LMP was they will have no follow up questions as to why it was so long ago and why I wasn't pregnant. Now, I wouldn't get to share Clara's story and let everyone know that even though my story super sucks that I survived it, that I am okay. I am normal. I am healing and I will continue to be a better person because of my experiences.

Friday, April 27, 2012

This isn't normal.

I was 18 weeks 5 days. It was a normal day. Monday, March the 5th. I went about my normal routine. I got Noah ready for school, made his breakfast, packed his lunch, fought with him over what he was going to wear to school. It was a regular, normal, boring Monday. I dropped Noah off, went to work, sat at my computer answering messages and processing paperwork. I don't think I did too much patient care, well not anymore that usual. Lunchtime was coming up and so I started chatting with Jen about that. We were trying to come up with a great plan because lunch is the most coveted time of the day! We get to leave the office and hang out, say the things that have been on our mind the entire morning and plan on how we will survive the afternoon.

I would guess, around 11:30, while sitting at my desk, I felt like I had a braxton.hicks contraction. It was just a slight feeling of tightness that encompassed my entire belly. It wasn't painful nor was it uncomfortable. I didn't really think much of it. I figured it was either just from the baby shifting or maybe it just was a braxton.hicks contraction. Several minutes later, I decided that since I had not made a trip to the ladies room yet this morning I should make a pit stop to get ready for, what was going to be the best lunch break! I did my business and upon wiping I noticed but it wasn't just on the paper, it filled to toilet and I was staring at a sea of red! I think that's every pregnant woman's worst nightmare. I tried not to panic. I continued to wipe and wipe and wipe and the blood seemed to just always be there. After what felt like 10 minutes and was probably more like 2 or 3 the bleeding seemed to be easing up. So I tried to relax and headed back to my desk. I was shaken, a little worried and definitely NOT going to lunch now. I stepped outside and frantically tried to call the nurse in my OBs office. I called at least 3 times and got her voicemail each time. I did leave one message but decided to not wait for a callback. After sitting for a while I decided to go back to the ladies room for round two. I had to check to see if I was still bleeding. I went back to the bathroom and again, there was blood. Okay, now I was really panicking!! I opened our two-way specimen door and hollered at Jen to grab me a pad. After several more minutes I came out and she just looked at me. She asked if I was bleeding or spotting or what the heck did I need a pad for?!?! Being the secret keeper I was I desperately wanted to just keep this to myself and pretend it wasn't happening but I mustered up the strength and said, "I think I'm going to head downtown to get check out. I am bleeding and I'm scared.". I grabbed my keys and was getting ready to leave since it was now my coveted lunchtime. The office manager asked where I was going and I just told her that I thought I would go downtown and see the doctor on my lunch. She laughed her smug laugh and replied good luck with that. I got a little angry at that point and told her that I was actually going to go downtown to labor and delivery triage because I was bleeding and I was worried that something may be wrong. I'm sure she still didn't care but she wasn't as cocky and rude after I shared that information. So off I went.

The drive downtown seemed to take an eternity. The whole time I just prayed and rubbed my belly. I talked to my little baby and cried about how this wasn't fair and that I would do everything I could to fight for her. Eventually I made it to the hospital. I parked in the parking garage on the second floor in a familiar parking space that I frequented when I was downtown. I grabbed all of my important information and started my walk to the hospital. It wasn't far. Once I started walking I had this feeling. Ladies, you know the one when you feel like you're going to leak or have a little discharge. Well, I figured that's just what it was, probably a little more blood so I shifted, while walking, to let it pass and Oh.M. Gee! It was like a flood! Once it started it didn't stop. For a second I thought I was peeing myself! Now, I was walking near other people and in the event that I soaked through the pad I had on I didn't want to create a scene or draw attention to myself so I walked over by a car look out of the parking garage as if I was searching for something. I was! I was searching for a hole or a closet to lock myself in! Quickly the pad was soaked and whatever kind of bodily fluid it was started running down my legs. I just prayed Oh God, please don't leak onto the ground, please let this stop so I can go inside! Please baby, hang on, we're almost up there!  I guess I was lucky and it ended up just leaking into my sneakers and then it was over. At that point I was so thankful that I had worn my black scrub pants today instead of my royal blue ones. I was still keeping a secret from the world as I was fighting this internal battle.

So, I waddled myself, in my now soaked pad, undies, pants and shoes down the rest of the parking garage and into the hospital. I kept checking the ground to make sure I wasn't dripping or leaving bloody foot steps behind me. I finally made it upstairs to L&D triage. My pants were cold and sticky from all the wetness so I stood and waited. I filled out all my paperwork and multiple times, explained my situation to the non-medical people who probably didn't care less. After 30 minutes of waiting and praying to not have another flood. I was called back by a lovely nurse. I explained my situation and events of the morning to her and she took my vitals and put me in a room. She told me to change into the gown and sit on the bed. For the first time since the flood I was going to get a good look at the damage.

I went to change and my legs were covered in red, sticky stains. My socks were wet and red. My panties damaged from the flood. The pad was useless and soaked. Even my new white shoes had red blood on the mesh part of them and on the inside there were stains too. I couldn't believe that it was all just blood and it was everywhere.  I tried to clean up as much as I could and then I changed and waited for the doctor. A nice 3rd year med student came in first. I told him my story and a few nervous jokes. He left and came back with the doctor. Dr. Knowlton was a good guy. He checked my out, asked questions, ordered blood work a pelvic exam and an ultrasound. He looked at the ultrasound screen for a while. He said that my baby looked good, my placenta was nice and high and the my cervix was closed. He also made sure to note that the ultrasound machines that they have there in L&D are not the best machines. They are best used to look for the baby and the fetal heart tones. They are not the best machines for diagnostic purposes. He ordered a bag of fluids since I had such a good bleed and he wanted to make sure that he could help replace some of the volume lost. An hour and a half later my blood work came back fine. My hemoglobin had dropped a little but I wasn't anemic or even pretty close to anemic so that was a good thing. He told me that all he could say at this point is that this is a threatened abortion. There was nothing significant that pointed to why I was bleeding. He said that it was probably from my placenta but that it was probably just from it forming, maybe trying to form on or around the scar tissue I had from my previous c-section. He said it probably wouldn't happen again and to follow up with my doctor. I thanked him for, what I considered, good news and they processed my discharge.

I arrived back at the office that afternoon and shared as little information as I could. I hated having to share any because while Jen understood and trusted Dr. Knowlton's exam and diagnosis, the office manager said he was stupid and that I needed to be home on bed rest and I was going to hurt my baby by being here at the office. I hated having to share anything with her. This held true throughout my pregnancy and loss. I quickly realized that, even though we had worked together for five and a half years we were not friends. She has not one ounce of concern for me or baby Clara. She's just cold and mean. Anyway. I continued to work until 5:30 and then I went home. I told the hubs about all of it when he got home but he didn't seem to completely understand so I picked up a journal and started writing. I had some bleeding over the next couple of days but it was more like a moderate menstrual cycle. My uterus was a little tender but it was from the trauma that the bleed caused. I had a doctors appointment on the 8th so I knew, if I could hang on until then, I would have more answers. Answers that I hoped and prayed would be positive and comforting...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Continuing my pregnancy.

My pregnancy continued beautifully! I let some of my closest patients know and while Jen did a great job at not telling or discussing my pregnancy with the ladies is the office she slipped a few times with several patients who I wasn't particularly interrested in sharing with.

I remember when I was pregnant with my son. It was an easy, beautiful pregnancy. I never had morning sickness. I mean, I guess it wasn't that amazing that I gained about 60 pounds but I felt great. I thought I looked great but jeez! Looking at some of the pictures from that time I looked so rough. This pregnancy, I knew would be great and a breeze. Everytime I saw my doctor and they asked how I was my response was always my best one-liner "I'm fantastic! I handle pregnancy like a horse." I thought it was hilarious and we would all have a laugh. Thing went really well.

One morning around 9 or 10 weeks, I don't really remember, I woke up and went pee as usual but when I wiped I noticed some light brown discharge. Around 5-7 wees along in my son's pregnancyI had some brown and light pink spotting that scared me but this time I just figured that as long as it wasn't dark pink or red it was no biggie. It continued almost daily until 13 or 14 weeks. I remember telling my temporary OB about it and she said it was probably implantation bleeding or bleeding from the placenta taking over for the yolk sack. I didn't really believer her. I thought it was from my prenatal vitamin because I was taking some vegan, all natural prenatal so I switched to an all-in-one DHA and prenatal and 4 days after, the spotting stopped. I moved on and continued to enjoy my pregnancy.

I remember at my 12 week scan hubs and I took our son with us to the actual ultrasound. I wanted so bad for Noah to be part of this experience and see his baby sibling from the beginning. I wanted him to anticipate and love this baby just like I did! He wasn't interrested. Everything in the ultrasound looked great. Always. Our baby was a cute, stubborn little thing. At the end of the ultrasound our tech even switched over to 3-d and as soon as the image cleared I hollered "look it's baby spiderman!" For me that just congirmed it was a boy. I mean how many girl spiderman's, spidermen?? do you know? From that moment Noah referred to the baby as baby spiderman. At the 12 week ultrasound we also learned that I had an anterior placenta. It really doesn't make much of a difference, I suppose but I hated it. I couldn't feel my baby move and didn;t really have much hope in feeling the baby move until I was over 20 weeks. I still knew my baby was in there and I loved every minute of it!

My pregnancy kept trucking along. My belly started to poke out above my belly button and I thought itwas a little high just because I carried low when I was pregnant with my son. It didn't bother me I just loved rubbing my belly! Around 17 weeks we went for a gender screen and SURPRISE!!! It's a girl! I was so shocked.  I had been pretty sure that I was carrying another sweet boy. I was so shocked, in fact, I told our amazing sonographer to please check again. Our baby girl was stubborn but after about 15 minutes we got the shot we were looking for! Wow!! A baby girl. I started thinking dresses, bows, glitter, cloth diapers, girl baby legs!! Wow. Could I really be having a girl? Once I knew, I decided that I had a new secret. I swore the hubs to keep it and I basked in my baby girl glory!

I had so many hopes, dreams and fantasies about what life was going ot be like with my baby girl. I knew, before I was pregnant, that she would be Clara Lynne. I talked to her all the time. I rubbed my belly. I loved to look at my belly first thing in the morning. I would roll over onto my back and look at the lump. She was usually on the left side of my belly. A squishy ball that would slowly move and shift into more of a flat squishy baby bump. Of course I couldn't feel much of anything because of the placental position but I knew she was in there and she was doing well. "For this child I prayed" 1Samuel 1:27.

All of my happiness and joy was teetering on the edge of something bigger than myself. I never felt the calm before the storm. I sat like a duck in open waters, completely oblivious to the storm that was coming. . .

Happy 1 Month Birthday.

Today, at 3:15pm to be exact, is baby Clara's one month birthday. When I was pregnant, I planned the first 6 months of birthdays. Well, I planned them for my healthy baby Clara. Today, we were going to wake up singing Happy Birthday, take a happy bath in the sink, sing and dance more than on a regular day, do something special like go to the park with big brother or maybe just go for a special walk. I even had a present picked out. It was one of those car seat clip mobiles. It's soft and makes noise when you squeeze it and a crinkly sound when you touch it. It was originally a gift that my mom bought for Noah when he was a baby. She bought it on our first outing at Babies.R.Us.Baby Clara would have loved it!

I also made plans for baby Clara in case she was in the NICU. When I first started having problems in my pregnancy, my mind darted ahead and quickly planned for all the what-ifs. Well, maybe not all of them but certainly for the two courses in which I thought my pregnancy would possibly go. I planned for a happy healthy baby and I planned for a strong, sick, fighting for her life baby. I got neither. However, if baby Clara would have been in the NICU for her one month birthday, today, her little incubator or warmer would have been decorated with lavender colors and pastel pinks! I would have made a pretty sign just to let everyone know how blessed we were to have our sweet baby still fighting and getting stronger!

I desperately want to celebrate. I want to hold her and dance with her but today won't be like that. Today, I will try my best to put on my happy face and go about my day. I long to sing happy birthday to her but all I have are my memories and an urn. Who sings happy birthday to an urn?!? Probably a sad, broken mommy.

I couldn't just let today come and go as so many of her weekly birthdays have. I know I remember them every Sunday. I still know exactly how my day was going and how I felt. I remember everything that happened and no one else does. I don't want her to be forgotten. Ever!

So, today, in honor and memory of my sweet baby girl I asked all of our friends and family to wear something lavender or pastel pink. Maybe something with a little glitter!! I know this is something small and, everyone has to get dressed today so, please, if you think about it, help us remember celebrate baby Clara and her one month birthday!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The beginning of my pregnancy.

As my pregnancy progressed, I wrote less frequently to my precious baby and began talking more. I told my immediate family of my pregnancy before Thanksgiving. I always start with my mom. We were making chex mix one evening and we were having a blast spelling things out with the pretzel sticks for my son. I decided to join the fun and spelled. #2 IN JULY. It took her a while but after I dropped a few hints she exploded with excitement. I swore her to secrecy but promised to let my dad and sister know before Thanksgiving. A couple days passed and I continued to bask in my pregnancy secret. It donned on me that Thanksgiving was coming up later in the week but I could not for the life of me figure out how to tell my dad. I remember once hearing some cute riddle so I went with it!! I text my dad and my sister, "I have an amazing present for you but you can't hold it until August." My sister responded with really? OMG!! Yay! She was just as excited as my mom. My dad, being a man of few words text back, Awesome .Questioning whether or not he really understood what I had just told him I started texting my mom and getting her to follow up with him. Yes, he knew and he was, genuinely happy.

A couple days later I was at my parents house and my dad walked over to me and said, "it's a girl." I looked at him like he was crazy!! A girl?!? That's what you think? Hahahahaha!! Okay. I couldn't believe he just said that. I don't make girls. What a nut! He explained. When I told him I was first pregnant with Noah he said he had this overwhelming feeling it was a boy and he swore to it my entire pregnancy. He glowed like a school girl when we did the gender reveal that we were expecting a boy. He said that this time as soon as I text him he has this overwhelming feeling that it was a girl. He was so sure and so excited. He was going to have a boy and a girl. His family would be complete!

Thanksgiving day came and my dad made the announcement just before we all sat down to dinner. He came in the living room, looked at me, and in his loud voice said, "hey! You ready to go feed my granddaughter?!?" My mouth dropped as my grandparents were there and they had yet to be informed of my pregnancy. Well, now the secret was out. My sweet precious secret. Soon everyone would be looking at my belly, asking all the questions and wondering how I was doing. I always hate it a little bit when everyone knows about a pregnancy. Then there are just more people to "keep informed". Shoot! I didn't even tell my best friend until just before Christmas.

Oh, goodness. I think it was the Friday before Christmas or maybe the week before. Jen and I decided that we would take our hubbys and our kids to dinner for a good time and then head to downtown St. Augustine to check out the Nights of Lights. I had never really been out there before and we thought that our kids would have a good time. Well, we got to dinner and had to wait...and wait... and wait. I had planned all day to tell Jen about the baby at dinner this evening and the waiting was killing me!! I get so nervous when making announcements. I couldn't take the waiting any more and I ended up texting her a picture of my positive pregnancy test with the text holy sh!t!! No way! I'll be darned if she didn't check her phone for another 15 minutes, after we were seated and while our hubbys were away on a potty break with our kids. She was ove the moon! We had talked about this for so long! She was excited and I could see the anticipation for planning the perfect baby shower, finding the cutest clothes and spoiling this sweet baby.

I told Jen that I didn't plan to tell anyone at our office and to please keep it a secret. Though many of the people around me knew I still wanted this to be my little secret. After the beginning of the year, I began to tell the people in my office, one at a time. I started with the people who I didn't think would say anything and moved up to the people who I knew wouldn't care about keeping my treasure to themselves. Thinking back on it now, maybe it was a sign. Maybe it was God preparing me. Maybe he was preparing me to take on this journey and teaching me that I didn't need anyone else, that I needed to learn to rely on Him and not the people around me...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Starting from the beginning.

So, I guess to fully embrace the story of baby Clara Lynne, we should start from the beginning. It all started back in November 2011. After a summer full of trying for another baby I decided to give it a break and just wait until the next summer. I always wanted spring babies so my prefered time to conceive was  between June and September but since we had been unsuccessful, which was surprising to me, I decided that October would be our cut off date. Well, October came and went and we were not expecting. I was a little frustrated and a bit sad but knew that I had plenty of time to try again in the future.

One day early in November I was checking my email and I had an ovulation notice. I typically swore by them but like I said, I had planned to stop trying until the following summer, so I brushed it off. Well, low and behold hubs and I spent some quality time together over the next couple days. Since I knew I was worried or tracking, charting or trying I didn't worry about being pregnant but then about five days after my projected ovulation date I was waking up sweating and my leg muscles always felt tight. The leg thing I didn't have any ideas about and just kept stretching but I remember when I was pregnant with Noah, I always woke up hot. Since I had a sneaking feeling that I may be pregnant I bought a test and was going to wait to test until a couple of days before my period.

Well, everyone who know me knows that I'm not the most patient person in the world so I waited a day or two and decided to test, in the middle of the day, at work. I was 9 dpo (days past ovulation) and it was actually one of the days that I was taking a class during my lunch so I was preparing to leave the office for a couple hours. I did the test, tucked it in my pocket and headed to class. Once I got on the interstate I pulled out the test and Oh My Gosh!! I swear I saw two pink lines. The test line was super faint but I knew I saw it. As soon as I got to class I pulled out my notebook and wrote a letter to my sweet bean.

I decided that I would keep the pregnancy to myself for a while and just dream and relish in  the happiness that I had just to know that I was pregnant. Eventually I shared the news with the hubs. I planned all day. I put a hotdog bun in the oven and put a new, more clear test in it, just to make sure that there was no mistaking the two lines!! Once he got home I told him I wanted to toast some rolls for dinner and would he preheat the oven for me. He agreed and turned it on. I hollered to him to double check the oven for pans, he did and was excited! Though I told him 4 or 5 days after I found out, I told him mot to tell anyone. I still wanted to keep this precious secret.

I continued to write little letters and noted to the baby in my belly and hold my sweet secret close to my heart. I prayed to God about my baby and talked to my ever growing baby all the time!! Little did I know the wild ride we would take together...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Where do I even begin...

I'm so lost and so torn. I know my blog is outdated and boring but my life has been one wild ride. My goal is to get this thing updated and have a new post daily. I need to write all these things down. My experiences may help someone going through something similar and if they can then they definitely need to be shared.

I am Victoria. My sweet baby girl was born at 22 weeks on March 25. Today is her 4 week birthday but she isn't celebrating it here with me. She's not even celebrating in the NICU. She was born too early for the hospital to do anything to help her survive. She died shortly after she was born. This is the toughest journey of my life and though I have an amazing support system here with me I feel like I carry this burden alone. I hope to share with you all my story and my grief so that maybe we all can heal a little more.

Not a day goes by that I don't think of my baby or miss her. I have good days and bad days. Most days I still cry but there are some days when I don't. Sometimes I feel bad about that, you know, not crying or physically mourning my loss but other times I feel so overwhelmed by the dark cloud hanging over me I think that it will consume me. I also have a 4 year old son who understands to the best of his comprehension the things that are going on. He knows mommy is sad and if you ask him about being a big brother, he'll tell you, he is a big brother but his baby sister live in Heaven with Jesus and not here with us. Some days he still asks about when we will have a baby that we can bring home and I just don't have the answer for that. I don't know if I ever will.

I do want more children but I can't go through this again. I know there are women who have suffered many losses and still persevere, longing for that baby that they can bring home. I just can't be one of them. I don't think I can have another pregnancy and not worry and freak out every single day. If I could have it my way I would jump right back in to TTC (trying to conceive) but then it feels like I'm just trying to replace my baby.

Over the coming weeks I want to share my pregnancy and loss with all of you as well as my new thoughts from the day. Thank you for all of your support.