Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Elias Adam and New Blog Direction

Elias Adam is here :)

After 5 weeks on hospital bed rest, 4 days dilated 6cm and nonproductive contractions, and finally 3 hours of 'real' labor and 13 minutes of pushing, my precious rainbow baby came into the world at 29 weeks and 2 days - screaming, pink and wiggly! He was 3 lbs 6 oz and 16 inches long. He's doing well in the NICU.

I want to now return this blog to baby Brie. It kind of turned into a subsequent pregnancy blog there for awhile, but that's not really what I intended it to be. This blog is a spot to remember Gabriella and my miscarriage baby, and to get out my thoughts related to the ongoing grief I experience after losing them. You may not want to read this blog if you are easily depressed or offended. :) I don't intend to censor to make things 'positive' or make myself look tough. Just FYI.

I just set up these blogs TODAY - so there is nothing on them. But if you would like to follow Eli's NICU journey and (hopefully at some point) see a collection of NICU and bed rest/high risk pregnancy resources, you will be able to do so at http://livingtheniculife.blogspot.com . I also set up a family blog, http://dilsfamily.blogspot.com for the happy, day-to-day, normal family stuff! Hopefully I will get those all going sooner rather than later.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bed Rest and 26 Weeks, Part 2

So I'm posting from my BlackBerry and it told me "field full," so I had to start another post.

Anyway, so I'm still here in antepartum on strict bedrest, with bathroom privleges, but still no wheelchair privileges. Meaning, I can only sit up at more than a 45 degree angle if I'm eating or peeing, I'm allowed to walk myself to the bathroom when I need to, and I'm allowed a quick shower. It is, however, working - my ultrasound on Monday showed my cervix to be much less dynamic and a little less funneling. I was hoping to get wheelchair privileges (they let you go outside for 30 minutes daily in a wheelchair, but no walking, obviously) but I didn't yet. So the only time I'm outside of my room is when I have my weekly visits with my perinatologist. It sounds like I'm complaining but I'm really not.. This isn't the most fun, pleasant, easiest thing I've ever done, but it's about a billion times better than having my baby in the NICU!!! Or dead, to be very blunt. I miss my husband and my doggies and my own bed, though. But better here without them than with them but without my baby boy! There's a small chance that at some point (28 or 30 weeks maybe?) that if I'm stable they might let me go do bedrest at home... But it's more likely that I'll be here for the duration. My peri keeps trying to psychologically prepare me for that - "Now, you know you're not going home anytime soon, right?" - but I still get disappointed after each visit when I'm told I need to stay. I can't help it!

Enough of bed rest though - it's working, and today I'm 26 weeks. That's the same day I went into labor with Brie, although technically she was born at 26w1d since I actually had her at 4:50 am the next morning. So the amazing thing is, whenever this little guy comes, I'm absolutely sure he will be bigger than she was! That's a relieving feeling. Today has been hard though - I'm filled with guilt that I couldn't stay pregnant with her longer, that I didn't do more. I can only do the best I can by this baby now, but I still wish I'd known better last time.

There's much more to say on this topic, but my hands are getting tired of typing on my BlackBerry. I definitely will be posting quite often now that I know how :)

Bed Rest and 26 weeks

I know it's been FOREVER since I posted. I feel bad about that, because I'm mostly doing this for myself to look back on later. I'm not comfortable nor optimistic enough to have an actual pregnancy journal - the last one I bought, I ordered online and it arrived the day after I was told I was for sure having a miscarriage. So it sort of feels like bad karma. And a grief journal is utterly depressing, so that's why I just combine everything here. It's hard to keep it all separated anyway - my emotions are typically really muddled and don't always fit nicely into 'pregnancy' and 'grief.'

Anyway! A lot has gone on. Our precious boy is still indeed a boy, and has clearly been so at every ultrasound :) so that's great. He's doing amazingly well - measuring a little ahead of his gestational age, and is showing no more markers for Down syndrome. Ultrasound isn't particularly good at identifying babies with Down syndrome - it's about 50-50 - but what it does mean is that if he by chance is chromosomally enhanced, he's quite healthy, with no apparent heart issues. Which is what ultimately matters about the whole thing.

Unfortunately, while he's doing great, his 'home' is sort of giving out. The hubs insisted that I call the on-call OB this one night when I was feeling an unusually high number of Braxton Hicks contractions. I put him off for awhile, knowing that 'drink water and lay on your left side' was what I would probably be told if I hadn't already tried that before calling. An hour and a liter of water later, it wasn't really helping, so I went ahead and called, even though I was totally sure everything was fine and we were just overreacting. The doctor told us to come in to be on the safe side given my history, but told me she wasn't really concerned so not to freak out. We get to L&D (thank goodness we even knew where it was - we had been on the hospital tour literally like 4 days prior or something, just because I had a feeling we should!) and I'm told to change into a hideous hospital gown, and they put me on the contraction monitor (the hospital lingo is 'toco' for future reference) and it's not really picking anything up, so everyone's feeling pretty good about things. The doctor decides to check me for dilation, just to cover all our bases... And lo and behold, I'm a centimeter and a half. At 23w4d. Not cool! My heartbeat (which is also being monitored) flies off the charts, which gives me away, as I had been trying to be cool, calm and collected. So the doctor tells us she's going to admit me, and writes down an estimated length of stay of six weeks. We then start talking about the implications of severe prematurity (oh thanks, I really had no idea! *eye roll*) and lets us know that before 24 weeks, depending on the condition of the baby they often won't attempt to resuscitate at all. Of course I knew this, but it's quite different reading facts and statistics versus being told "FYI, you're dilating - if your baby comes tonight you're just gonna have to watch him die - there's not too much we can do." Of course she was more sensitive about it than that, but that's what it boils down to. So anyway I'm admitted and get to do all this fun stuff like be hooked up to an IV and given every antibiotic on the planet through it - just in case, as the cultures wouldn't be back for 48 hours - and started on indomethacin to stop my invisible contractions. And the first dose was given rectally - is that a word? In my bottom lol.. It was awful!! And for the first 24 hours I had no bathroom privileges... I had to use a bedside commode and I wasn't allowed to shower! Not fun. The next day I saw my perinatologist and got an ultrasound, where we learned that my cervix was dynamic and funneling.. Opening and closing from the inside. It measured a wonderful 4cm when closed, but would open up and only measure about 1cm. The baby's head was down low but thankfully not engaged or anything. So things were not good, but not as dire as we thought they might be, and I got bathroom privileges!

So, I was on strict bedrest with bathroom privileges and on indomethacin and a variety of antibiotics, as well as continuous toco monitoring (24/7) for 72 hours... And then they switched me to taking Procardia for the contractions instead, since indomethacin can decrease the amniotic fluid level. It turns my face *bright red* and gives me a headache about an hour after I take it, but it seems to be working fairly well and has the fewest side effects for mom/baby of the available medications used to treat PTL, so it's all good. After that things are kind of a blur... I'm not really sure how many days I was in that hospital, but when the Procardia didn't help how dynamic my cervix was, my peri decided it would be better to transfer me to a hospital with a level III NICU. I had no idea he was planning to do that, so I totally panicked when they told me.

They transferred me by ambulance, although not a speeding, blaring siren ambulance, just a calmly driving one :). It was still scary. I was having mild contractions every 2-3 minutes according to the monitor during transport, and they took me to a LDR room as opposed to an antepartum room. I was totally freaked that they did this. As it turned out, they were just being extra careful until the doctors here had a handle on what was going on with me, but they didn't tell me that, so I thought that they thought that delivery was imminent. Luckily that wasn't the case, and I'm still here in antepartum!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I'm feeling so heartbroken right now. For a number of reasons.

First, my good friend Katie is in her first trimester and just found out she lost one of her twins. She has been through so much and being the wonderful mother that she is, she fell completely in love with both of her babies as soon as she knew they were both there. I can only imagine how the rest of the pregnancy will be for her - I hope she is blessed with one beautiful, healthy baby. But it will never, ever take away the pain of losing the other - and she'll remember and miss that baby for the rest of her life. It's not something you forget - it doesn't matter how far along you were in the pregnancy.

Also, I was looking back at posts I had made on my favorite message board, and realized that we had Gabriella's big ultrasound at 19 weeks 4 days - and we had an ultrasound today... at 19 weeks 4 days. I don't know why that hit me so hard - it's an odd coincidence, but nothing huge. I guess it's just that I remember how happy I was, I felt 'safe' and like nothing bad would happen... I was so naive. So naive! I had no idea that in 7 weeks I would be holding that little girl while she took her last breath, while her heart beat its last beautiful beat. This time, I hope in 7 weeks to still be pregnant. Today my doctor told me he 'hopes' to keep me pregnant for 10 more weeks, 15 being optimal, but a little optimistic as well. In case you aren't doing the math, 15 weeks would still be a 35 weeker. Technically still a preemie, but I'll take it! 10 more weeks would still mean several weeks in the NICU. But a much lower mortality rate. And that's what counts.

And of course looking at Brie's 19 week ultrasound pics led me to look at her other pictures... and her funeral pictures that I had posted there. Those are so incredibly hard to look at. It's like looking at them, I can remember so vividly how COLD she was. Cold, and stiff, and still. And the way the mortuary smelled, and the utter heartbreak of putting her in her coffin, and having to watch my husband put on the lid. I have no idea how he did that. He said afterward that he didn't know how he did it either, but that he was glad that he did. I don't know how I set her in her coffin for the last time - how someone didn't have to pry her out of my arms. Sometimes I look back and seriously marvel at how our bodies function - that God gave us that wonderful numbness, so we don't have to feel all that pain at once. That He allows the grieving process to take place over such a long period of time. Because if I had felt all the pain of that act at that moment, I surely would have died. I'm not being dramatic either. I really think I would have. I am so grateful that I was numb.

On a non-baby loss topic, I am also so heartbroken for my sister in law and her family. She is in the Navy and just got deployed to Afghanistan. She's going to an area that is known to have a high rate of casualties. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for her to leave her family, how difficult that *last day* must have been. She'll be gone for nine months. She's an absolutely amazing woman.

It's been sort of a hard night.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day and Milestones

I want to write some profound Mother's Day post - but I don't really know what to say. I've already been crying on and off, of course. Some minutes are overwhelmed with grief for my babies I cannot hold.. and other ones are joyful that I have a baby on the way that maybe I will get to keep this time.

Mostly the moments when I cry are right after I think about what my biggest (realistic) wish is today. Of course I wish that none of this had ever happened, that I could have my miscarriage baby, and Brie, and this baby, everyone all together, but I know that's not possible. Realistically, I wish that I could visit my daughter's grave today. And the fact that I wish that so fervently breaks my heart all over again for myself. I realize it's a pity party, but seriously. How awful that I should have to wish that. The best way I can think of spending Mother's Day, excluding changing the situation altogether, is hovering over the place where my child's perfect little body is buried in the cold hard ground. I wish I could put some flowers on her grave. I wish that there was a headstone on her grave. I wish that there was something tangible that I could do to honor her life, because even though she's not here, she made me a mother.

And tomorrow is six months since she was born. Two days ago was a year since my miscarriage. It was Mother's Day weekend in 2008 that I was miscarrying. The 13th is six months since Brie died. So many milestones this week.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Brick Wall

I read this story on a miscarriage/infant loss board. I'm not sure who wrote it, but I thought it was lovely and a very good analogy.

"You are walking along fine with everyone else and the sun is shining and all is well, then you walk SLAM into a brick wall. And it hurts – it really hurts. It hurts your head and your chest where your heart is and your stomach. And it shocks you as only slamming into a brick wall can. It stops you dead in your tracts. And you stand there thinking, "How did I not see that coming? What the hell happened? How could someone just do that to me?" And you look around and everyone else seems to be walking around the wall. They are carrying on like nothing happened and the sun is still shining for them. They don't even see the wall. They don't even know it's there. And you realize you didn't even know it was there until you hit it – you didn't even know there was a brick wall you could hit – not now, not at this stage. And slowly you pull yourself back together. The pain in your stomach has turned to a sick feeling and your heart still hurts, your mind racing with questions about this brick wall – How, What, Where, Why??? Mostly WHY??? Why on earth would someone make you walk into this wall – why did they have to put it in front of you and no one else?

And you can walk again now the pain in your stomach and maybe your legs has lessened. So you slowly make your way around the wall and to the other side. But it doesn't look the same on the other side. It's greyer and emptier. And you know you've left something behind – something very precious and you want it back. So you turn around and there is the brick wall behind you and it seems to hit you with the same force again when you realize you can't go back. It's blocking your path and it will always be there. You pummel your fists on it and cry and shout at it but it's unbreakable and absolute. It won't let you get your precious bundle back – that has to stay on the other side and you must carry on without it. You can't go back to the path you were on before you hit the brick wall – it's impossible. So all you can do is go forward and walk on from it. But it's hard going and your legs don't seem to want to walk away from it. You know when you look over your shoulder it will always be there. It may fade a bit from view but if you look closely you will always be able to see it – even in the distance. And you look around you again and see all the people who never hit the brick wall carrying on too. You tell some of them about the brick wall and they sympathize – it must've hurt they say. You are looking very well despite this brick wall – you have no cuts or bruises on the outside because those heal. So you must be doing ok then now they say. "But my wounds are on the inside!” you feel like screaming. How can you not know about this brick wall – why couldn't you walk into it instead of me? And then you feel bad – you know you wouldn't really want anyone else to walk into that wall.

Some people are ok – maybe they have seen the wall themselves in the past or came close to it – maybe they are really good friends/family who close their eyes and do try to imagine walking into the wall. They are the ones who help you keep walking away from it. People tell you that you'll never hit this brick wall again – it only appears once in your life. And you want to believe them even though you can't ever be sure. Up ahead it looks like maybe your path does cross back into the sunshine again – the same sunshine that everyone else is basking in. And you can maybe just make out another bundle waiting for you to pick up and carry with you for the rest of your life. And maybe if you are strong and keep moving forward then you'll reach it one day. But it's not the same bundle as before – it can't be. That one is behind the wall. The wall that's always there if you look over your shoulder. And written on it forever more is the message in letters a mile high, that only you can see “My Darling Baby...Rest in Peace"

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mixed Feelings

I've had such huge mood swings the last few days.. I think I just might be about to go crazy. Not really. But it kind of feels like it.

I don't think the progesterone shots help. I have been crying over everything. If my husband looks at me the wrong way, I cry. I cry over commercials on the tv and radio, and over random thoughts that come into my head.

Some of the thoughts deserve a good cry. Like, I was thinking about the day when we were at the mortuary, making arrangements. As we were there, Gabriella's body was delivered - she had to be transported from Texas, and you have to have a license and things to transport dead bodies apparently. Anyway. They asked me if I wanted to see her. I said no. Why? Did I not realize that in a few short hours my daughter's tiny, perfect body would be buried in the ground and I would never be able to hold it or kiss it ever again? I know why I said no though - it would have been the first time I saw her after she was embalmed, and I was scared of what I would see. And I was already so overwhelmed with everything that I just couldn't. But I wish I had said yes.

Other thoughts, not so much. Like after squashing a random ant crawling on the wall, thinking that this ant is likely some other ant's mother or father or brother or sister. It's an ant. But I still cried.

I cried in the baby section of Wal Mart yesterday. Just for a minute. I think it was short enough and quiet enough that my husband didn't notice. Or if he did, he didn't say anything. Maybe he was feeling the same way and didn't want to go there. I don't know. I am so excited for our little baby boy. But it still keeps hitting me, every now and again, that I'm having to be excited for a different child. All the girls' clothes that Brie will never grow in to stood out a mile over the boys' clothes yesterday, for some reason. All the little girly things I should have been shopping for that I don't need any more. That she will never need. And it's just... it's just kind of a stab in the heart. I don't feel angry. Just sad. Sad that I will never know my little girl. My precious baby girl.

All these mixed feelings are so hard. It's especially hard because I know that they will never go away. I will always think about what should have been, and mourn that it isn't. Yet I'll always be happy for what is. If Brie hadn't died, I wouldn't be having her little brother. They joys that this child will bring me would never be if things had been different. It's all just very mixed up, painful, joyful, and confusing.