December 29, 2010

Christmas in the Southwest

Miles and I spent Christmas in Arizona with my side of the family (sans sister who was greatly missed). Arizona, at least Tucson, doesn't really have the Christmas-y feel. There's never any snow and most days it was above 60 degrees. But that never bothered me growing up (I suppose since it was what I was used to), and it didn't bother me this year. In fact, I think not being in a Christmas-y setting was probably good for me. Christmas was a happy day for us. We went to the late night Christmas Eve service with my parents. They aren't Catholic, but Episcopalian which we joke is "Catholic-light" and Christmas morning wasn't spend being sad about what (or who) we don't have. Nor should it be. We enjoyed the company we did have - my parents and brother. And while Cale certainly crossed our minds throughout the day and throughout the trip, it wasn't as sad as I thought it could have been. Sure, Miles and I both had thoughts of how the trip out here should have been - Cale's first visit to Grandma and Grandpa's, or about how fun it'd be to bring him to meet my friends and family here in town, but those thoughts are expected and I think totally normal to have - especially during what would have been all our "firsts" with him. I know this time of year can be very tough for people, especially those missing loved ones, but it still can, and fortunately was, a special time for us to celebrate and be thankful for what we do have.
While the city of Tucson may not have the Christmas feel, my mom transforms our home into a beautiful Christmas setting. But it wouldn't be classic Mom without some patriotic flare to it. And I mean all of it. My mom is a great American. And boy does she love her some America.

Never was there such a patriotic tree.
Ever seen a patriotic nutcracker?   Or an Uncle Sam styled Santa?
I put all these pictures in a "winterized" look, but really that makes me and even Miles just look more pale than normal. But I figure you may think it's just the coloring and people won't realize how pale I actually am!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas as well!

December 22, 2010


I started to title this blog "I heart Ultrasounds," but then I realized that would be a lie. I have a love/hate relationship with them. Right now I love them. June 28th, I hated them. With this pregnancy I am getting much better care than I felt I got last time around. While nothing dealing with my care had anything to do with the unfortunate events that took place, I was just "another patient" in the eyes of the Army medical system. I had a beautiful, complicated-free pregnancy. There was never a need for extra monitoring. But there was also never a need, in my opinion, to make me feel cared about. I wasn't even seen at the OB clinic until I was 35 weeks - I never had a regular doctor. I was just another person having a baby.

This time is totally different. We have a very sympathetic and understanding doctor who, bless his heart, is patient with the millions of questions I have at every appointment. And at every appointment, we've gotten to see our little baby-to-be. That might not continue (getting an ultrasound each time), but for now it gives me such peace of mind and for that I'm so very thankful. I wanted to share US (ultrasound) pictures thus far. These cover a span of only four weeks and yet you can see (well, you can kind of see) how much changes in a short amount of time.

Ultrasound 1 (9 Nov 10) - First Appointment. Baby was the size of a grain of rice. 
Measuring right on track and we could see the little flicker of a heartbeat. Wonderful day.

Ultrasound 3 (19 Nov 10) - Second Appointment. We skipped US 2 as that was done in the ER when we had a little scare. Everything was fine, but no pictures were printed. This was the follow-up appointment to make sure everything was still on track. Baby was the size of a blueberry.

Ultrasound 4 (6 Dec 10) - Third Appointment. Baby was the size of a large kidney bean and we saw the little arm/hand and foot/leg nubs. The little arm/hand was wiggling too - probably saying "hi guys." These pictures are so tiny so it's hard to see, but to the right is the little noggin and to the bottom left (of the circle) are the little foot/leg nubs.

The photos are all the same size, the circle gets bigger each time because the baby is filling up that womb more and more. And that's the part about all this that gives me hope and excitement (the good emotions that battle it out with the not-so-good emotions) is that each ultrasound picture gets bigger, more clear, and more awesome. I can't wait to share more!

December 21, 2010

Rainbow Babies

Well most of my Christmas cards have hit the mail. In the next few days they'll all be delivered. And then our news is really "out" there. In our cards I included a brief explanation of what a rainbow baby is. When I first heard the term myself, I needed an explanation (in fact there are lots of terms and abbreviations that I've learned through the baby loss community - most dealing with trying to conceive so I won't get into that :) But I loved the meaning of a "Rainbow Baby" - it could not be more fitting. Rainbows appear after a storm. After something scary and dark. But they give light and beauty in the midst of that darkness.

I also want to share one of my new favorite songs. I love this song. I loved it the first time I heard it - before I really listened to the lyrics. After Cale died, I joined an online support group (more later on the amazing people I've met through that), but I found that a lot of other baby-loss-mom's really liked the song as well. For me personally, I don't listen to it and get sad. I listen to it, I think of Cale, I think of how much I love him, and that makes me happy. These are the lyrics that stand out the most to the baby-loss-momma community:

"Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother
She'll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and
Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
ain't even grey, but she buries her baby"

It's as if our babies are asking for a brother or sister. And it's true that when I  am holding Cale's sibling, I'll think of him. I will know he's safe and in a place where he's loved and happy all the time. And I'll know that the little miracle, the little rainbow, I'm holding is because of him. I guess that's part of what warms my heart about the song.

December 14, 2010

Emotions Run Wild!

Little by little we are letting the cat out of the bag. Last week we shared our news with the family. Over the weekend I went up to Atlanta to visit one of my closets friends. My two dear friends Anna and Deborah I met in 2002 when we all went to Prep School in California. Over they years, we've only grown closer. They are the definition of "friend" and I'd do them injustice by trying to explain how wonderful they are in this little blog post. But we decided that I'd share my news with them. I called Anna and told her as she's back home in Kentucky. I told Deb in person when I arrived in Atlanta.

And just today I shared our news with two other wonderful friends. I told them that we aren't sharing this with everyone just yet, so not to go broadcasting it. And then when I got off the phone I realized I probably didn't sound that excited. I think I just sounded factual - blunt even. I tried to explain all these crazy emotions I'm feeling, but in the process I don't think I put enough emphasis on the happy emotion that I DO have.

Last week after we told our family I was talking to my sister and trying to explain this all to her. I was telling her how I'm just nervous someone will say something along the lines of "everything will be ok." I don't want anyone saying this. I don't know how I'll respond. We certainly hope that everything will be ok, but we don't know that it will. No one does. And in telling her this she started to say, "I think you just have to. . ." and I was afraid she was going to finish that sentence with " . . .understand that they don't mean anything bad by that," or something like that. But she didn't. She said "I think you just have to realize you're going to have lots of different feelings, but it's OK. And don't ignore them." I don't think she realizes how glad I was to hear that. It's OK to feel all the different things I'm feeling!

I do realize that people probably will say something like, "everything will be ok," and yes, I know no one means any harm by it - just the opposite in fact. But that kind of statement doesn't mix well with the nervous/scared/terrified emotions I have.

But on top of those feelings, I really do have lots of optimism and hope about this pregnancy. I think that's part of the reason I love this baby so much already - he or she is giving me something to hope for, something to look forward to. And when you're only 5 1/2 months out from suffering a terrible loss, emotions of hope and excitement are WONDERFUL emotions to have.

But as we slowly let more and more people know, I'm finding myself a little more nervous as well. I think it's because I just want people to understand how complicated this is for us. Wonderful yes, but complicated none-the-less.

I think we'll share the news with a few more people face-to-face over the next week and then "announce" it in our Christmas Card. Just like we did last year with Cale.

In closing, I've only shared this blog with family thus far. But I've realized that it's probably very depressing to read some of the posts. Granted, at the time it wasn't a shared blog, so it really was just me journaling my thoughts, but Miles made a comment that "Happily Hidalgo" is more like "Sad and painfully pregnant Hidalgo" and it made me laugh, but also made me realize that now that I'm sharing this little blog, and my crazy feelings/thoughts/emotions, maybe I should also make more of an effort to be a little more up beat. Oh, and I don't want it to be a boring blog with non-stop rambling. So I'm including a picture. Something I plan to do more often.

 Yes, Jenny - I've copied yet another one of your ideas. This time with the cropped corners. 
Stop having good ideas, and maybe I'll stop copying you. Maybe. :)

The picture is how I told Miles I was pregnant. I took the test one morning he didn't have to be into work until late, so was still asleep. I just knew it was going to be positive and was SO excited when it was. I had the same anxious and happy emotions getting ready to tell Miles that I had when I found out I was pregnant with Cale. I'm thankful for that. Anyway, back to the picture - Miles and I are big fans of Eggo Waffles. Yes, I know - we're twelve. But I put two Eggo's in the toaster and put some scrapbooking letters on a plate so it read "I'm Pr "Eggo"! I then brought that up to him and woke him up telling him I brought him breakfast in bed. It's a little silly, but I want to tell him in a special or at least unique way every time I'm fortunate enough to be carrying our baby.

So there you go. . .there's a little dose of optimism for the night!