April 30, 2011

Sunny Weather

Today I went to the post office to mail a few things before heading over to a friends house. I go to our local post office pretty frequently so wasn't surprised when this conversation took place today with one of the employees:

Sweet Old Man: Didn't you just have a baby about a year ago? {he said it as I'm very obviously pregnant again and I think he was just surprised to see me pregnant so soon after being pregnant the last time}
Me: I did, but unfortunately he passed away.
SOM: {eyes widen} Oh I'm so sorry.
Me: Thank you.
SOM: I'm sure that's just been really hard.
Me: It has.

He then asked me about Miles and how he's doing (he can easily tell what line of work Miles is in from the type from the boxes I send him). But it wasn't one of those moments that I left and got really sad or upset about. And I realized that's because he handled it like I hope most people would, but some fail to do. Basically he wasn't a social retard. He seemed very genuine with his condolence and he didn't ignore what I said or try to focus on something else. And that meant a lot to me.

After leaving the post office I went to meet a friend at another friends house. If you don't live near the ocean, the I highly recommend making friends with someone who has a pool! Plus, I will only brave wearing a bikini at almost 8 months pregnant when I'm with the comfort of friends and not out in public! The weather was beautiful and hopefully I got a little color on this sad pale, pale body!

Yes, I have the greatest dog ever. At least the most patient.

April 26, 2011

Guilt

I didn't go to church on Easter. There, I said it. I know, worst Catholic ever. I mean, lots of church go-er's are CEO's anyway (Christmas and Easter Only), but I would like to say I attend church on a somewhat regular basis. But when Miles is gone, it's harder to go by myself. Church sometimes brings out emotions I didn't know wanted to come out right there and then. And I don't like being unprepared for that. I'm very type A. I like to plan. I like to prepare. And if nothing else, I like to have my husband there to hold my hand when I can't get through the first verse of "Be Not Afraid" or "On Eagles' Wings" (those get me every time).

As a side note as I was google-ing (what is the verb form of google?) the lyrics for "On Eagles' Wings," there was a link for a YouTube video which is a memorial for all babies who have died prematurely. Seriously!? Now I definitely will never be able to make it through that song!


 This is why I should have gone to church. There probably would have been something that just seemed like it was meant for me to hear. I think that's part of what is comforting, albeit emotionally gut-wrenching, about going to church. Sometimes the service just seems as though it's made for you and you alone.

My fellow baby-loss-blog-never actually met in real life-friend Brandy wrote a really great post on her experience in church. (Hope you don't mind the shout out Brandy). And I thought it was worth sharing. She had one of those experiences in church where it's as if the service was made just for her.

But I knew that this Easter in particular was one that I was particularly vulnerable for. I knew I would look around and see all the sweet kids dressed in precious outfits and dresses and my mind would wander. I would wonder what we would have dressed Cale in, wonder what kind of basket I would have gotten for him even though he would have been too young to really think anything of it. And I would think of Daren and miss him and wonder what it's like to spend Easter in Heaven. I mean, I'm pretty sure that Easter and Christmas are pretty sweet holidays to celebrate in Heaven. And while I did still have these thoughts, I avoided thinking too much about them, or at least getting too sad, by avoiding going to church where they would have been brought to the surface to face. And I felt guilty for it. Good Catholic guilt, I suppose. I should have gone. So by the early evening, I said some prayers and I did some soul searching. And I I did a lot of thinking about God, about the meaning of Easter, about my relationship with Christ and my faith in general. And I thought about my beautiful baby and his uncle Daren, who are in Heaven looking down on us. And all this thinking actually brought me comfort. And I'm guessing the same would have happened in church . . . it just may have been with lots of tissues and runny mascara.



April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

I'm not really in the mood to type much as I just feel like it's be all over the place and I'd go off on random tangents. . . so I'm just going to post a lot of pictures and give my updates in captions. . . Enjoy!

My in-laws drove down for a couple of days. I love having visitors as it helps pass the time and well, it beats being lonely! Having visitors who clean and cook is just icing on the cake!

We recently purchased a new car with the assistance of my father-in-law. I shouldn't even say that he "assisted" . . .I mean, he basically did everything. I signed some papers that came in the mail, I got a new car delivered to my door (literally), and someone came to pick up my old car that we traded in. Roscoe and I are very pleased with the new ride!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I spent part of my Easter Sunday with my friend Jodi and her daughter Katelyn. I've known Katelyn since before she was born and somehow she just keeps getting cuter and cuter!
 
 Speaking of cute! . . . Don't worry, he's used to it by now. Trust me.

 Not sure who was hunting for Easter Eggs.

30+ weeks.

April 18, 2011

Weekend Recap

This past weekend I had some very wonderful friends in town for a visit. It's so nice to have visitors when Miles is in Disneyland as it really does help the time pass and gives me something to look forward to. I wish I could give you a recap of all the fun things we did or share pictures from all the neat places we went to, but unfortunately I was a pretty lame host. Seriously, we didn't even get pedicures - the ONE thing I had planned to do.

We did attempt to get a 3D/4D Ultrasound done of the baby, but he didn't want to cooperate and kept his legs and feet in front of his face pretty much the entire time. I went to the same place when I was pregnant with Cale and he was equally difficult, except instead of his feet he kept his hands in front of his face. I was able to go back a few days later and get some great images though and hopefully that will be the same with his stubborn brother. Here are a couple adorable ones anyway :)


April 11, 2011

The Baby Loss Community

In one of my recent blog posts I mentioned how I feel like an outsider in the Mommy world. And to be honest, even when we do one day have children we get to raise, I think I will always feel like a bit of an outsider. (side note - it took me a second to decide how I wanted to word that sentence - saying "if" we have children seems so pessimistic, but saying "when" almost sounds too confident, but at the end of the day, someway, somehow I am confident that we'll have kids). Anyway, I digress. . .

While I may not feel that I totally fit in with the rest of the Mommy world, there is this whole other community in which I do fit in. I'm part of the Baby Loss Community. I had to pay the steep cost of admission to enter the club and it's a club I can never leave and never wanted to join in the first place. But as much as I hate that I'm in the club, I feel a strange sense of pride being a part of it.

Yesterday I was with two other club members, Rhiannon and Priscilla. We were out enjoying some frozen yogurt (something we need to make a regular occurence. . .hint, hint!), and I was thinking how fortunate I am to have them to talk to, especially when it comes to all things baby-loss. They get it. They've been there. Rhiannon's daughter Harper was born three days before Cale. Rhiannon had gone into pre-term labor and unfortunately Harper passed away just shortly after she was born. Rhiannon and I met through a gift exchange back in December and through her and the blogging world, I met Priscilla who also lives nearby. Priscilla's baby-loss experience is especially sad as it's not just limited to one baby. Her first son Jacob was born still at 21 weeks after her water broke unexpectedly. After Jacob, she endured the pain of a miscarriage, and then in December of 2009, her third pregnancy ended when her daughter Olivia was stillborn at 36 weeks for no known reason.

 It is a very tragic blessing that I have people close by to navigate my way through life after loss, but especially pregnancy after loss. All three of us are expecting our rainbow babies in the coming months. And I would love nothing more than to get to experience the joys of parenting with these two ladies. After our mid-day treat, I was thinking about all the other members of our club and that's when I felt a sense of pride in my membership. Don't get me wrong, I would give up that membership if I could, but I can't. And neither can any of the other amazing women I have met since joining.

Right after we lost Cale, a friend of mine sent me a link to a support group specific to stillbith. I was a little skeptical at first, but joining it has been one of the best things I did for myself. I was able to talk about the vast range of emotions you experience after suffering a stillbirth. And I was able to cross paths with people who were further along in their healing, people who were able to help give me hope when hope seemed like such a far-off concept. I remember reading a post by a woman named Lisa. She was sharing her one year post-stillbirth story (this was not even a week after I had lost Cale that I was reading her story). Her first son Daren was stillborn at term and she found out the same day we had, June 28th, only a year before me. She delivered her son on the 29th and was writing to reach out to all of us who were new to the group. At the time she was pregnant (she has since given birth to Daren's beautiful baby sister Zoey) and she was so willing to open up about her experiences - both in grieving for her son and with the emotions that accompany a pregnancy afterwards. Lisa was the first person to give me hope. Hope that one day I would be pregnant again, that I would slowly by surely find peace, and that I wouldn't be in that terrible dark place forever. Then I met Janie (also through the support group). She was also a little further along in the baby-loss journey than I was, but like Lisa, was just so willing to open up to me and share her experience, listen to me, and just comfort me. Janie's little boy Sam was stillborn at term as well. A few months after connecting with Janie, she introduced me to Amy, mom to Jacob, who made that sweet little ornament for me I posted a few months back.

Next I met Abby. (And I say "met" but I have never actually met these ladies although I certainly feel like I've known them forever).  Abby had recently given birth to her rainbow baby Darus. She was the first person who I connected with who had already gone on to have a successful pregnancy and delivery after stillbirth. Her first, a beautiful little girl named Nia, was stillborn for unknown reasons, possibly a cord accident. It was as if Abby knew what to say to me and when I needed to hear it. She would continually check in on me those first few months and it always seemed to come at the right time - when I was having a tough day or week. And she's been a huge source of support during this pregnancy. She's given me advice, listened to me vent, and just been a very dear and very genuine friend to me through all of this.

I've also become friends with Jodi whose sweet little Emerson was stillborn last July due to placenta abruption. While it was so great to have new friends like those mentioned above, it was also nice to have people who were at the same point in their journey. We could help each other and in the process help ourselves. Jodi also started this great Book Exchange through the website she created in honor of Emerson (in addition to other projects in honor of him). Through this, grieving parents can share books that have helped them, and pass them on to someone else who can benefit. She had sent me a book about Pregnancy After Loss (in fact, I think that is the title of the book), but it was one I already owned. So I was able to send that book on to my sweet friend Lauren.

You see Lauren is someone who I know in real-life (as opposed to the online community). Lauren and I met years ago through our then boyfriends, now husbands.  Exactly three month after Cale was born, Lauren gave birth to her sweet Johnathan, who just like Cale, died as the result of an umbilical cord accident as Lauren was going in to labor (our stories are eerily similar). When Lauren lost John, I had a really hard time as I found myself going through a period of re-grief. Here was someone I know experiencing the pain and suffering I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. But Lauren's experience was the first encounter in which I really saw that good will come from Cale's life. Because of him I was better able to reach out and understand what she was going through and hopefully provide just a little bit of comfort, something I wouldn't have been able to do had it not been for Cale. I'm not saying that I think Cale's death had a purpose. I don't believe that my baby had to die so that I could better understand those who will experience this tragedy, but I do believe that good will come out of Cale's life and it wasn't until Johnathan was born that I was able to see how his life was already impacting others.

Yikes, I just realized how long this post is becoming. And I haven't even mentioned HALF of the baby loss mommas I've been so blessed to meet (online or in "real" life). There's Brooke (mom to Briar) who not only lives close by, but her husband and mine used to work together (small world, right?). There's Nicole (mom to Caroline); Tiffany who is the mom of Julius , a beautiful little boy who died of SIDS at 4 months old, Brandy (mom to Andrew) who has a wittiness about her that I find very refreshing, Molly (mom to Hayes) whose blog I stumbled upon after ready Brandy's, and SO many others who I honestly can say I wish I never knew, at least not under these circumstances. But I'm so glad that I do. I'm so glad that I have these amazing people to turn to when I'm feeling down or vulnerable, people who understand and relate. It gives me strength and helps me not just survive life, but enjoy it . . . because we all know just how fragile life really is and what a blessing it is.

So while I don't want this little blog to just be a baby-loss blog, I also don't want to pretend like it's not a part of who I am. And to all of you who are in this club, thank you - for being there, for being you.

If there is anyone who wants me to take them (or the links to their blog) out of this post, please let me know! And I hope I didn't offend any of the other AMAZING people I've met along the way by not mentioning them - there are so many others I'd be writing for days! So it has nothing to do with how important you are to me, more so that I'm lazy and sick of typing :)


April 7, 2011

NSTs

This week I started going in for my twice-weekly Non-Stress Tests. This is where they hook me up to the monitors and each time the baby moves I click a button. Here's the purpose of the test according to the American Pregnancy Association:

The primary goal of the test is to measure the heart rate of the fetus in response to its own movements. Healthy babies will respond with an increased heart rate during times of movement, and the heart rate will decrease at rest. The concept behind a non-stress test is that adequate oxygen is required for fetal activity and heart rate to be within normal ranges. When oxygen levels are low, the fetus may not respond normally. Low oxygen levels can often be caused by problems with the placenta or umbilical cord.

I'm getting these tests because my pregnancy is considered "high risk." It's not even that the pregnancy itself is high risk, as so far it has been a picture perfect pregnancy and the baby is doing great (thank God!), but it's a high risk pregnancy because of my history. So really all these extra appointments and things to monitor the baby, are to help give me peace of mind. And it does. But I am certainly not naive to the fact that terrible things still can happen. Not that I expect them to, I really don't, but I had a doctor's appointment only four days before Cale was born and everything was perfect. So while these appointments do help give me a little peace of mind, my biggest comfort will come the day I am holding a healthy, breathing baby boy!

In addition to the NSTs, I am having weekly ultrasounds done to check the fluid levels of the baby and ensure there is an adequate amount of fluid. Today I was told that everything looked "beautiful," . . . .words I love to hear!
  
Big belly hooked up to monitors and Jeopardy style clicker for when baby moves.

This machine tells me what the baby's heartrate is and the strips of paper are reviewed by the Dr. after each NST. 


So far this month I have had two appointments and I have seven more this month! I hope that it will help pass the time quickly, but so far I enjoy these NSTs because for at least 30 minutes or so I am just sitting there doing nothing but focusing on my baby, listening to his heartbeat, feeling his movements and taking such great comfort in the fact that he is ok.

April 5, 2011

A {little} Rant

Yesterday I ran into someone I know (not very well) who was with a friend (who I did not know). The person I know (and don't care for too much) is aware that we had lost a child, but not of much else in our current lives. This how the conversation went (Person A is the person I know, Person B is his friend):

Person A: Well congrats on your bundle of joy (pointing at belly)
Me: Thanks.
Person B: Do you have any kids?
Me: (deep breath) No. (realize then he'll think this is my first), Well, our first passed away.
Person B: Oh, I'm really sorry to hear that.
Me: Thank you
Person A: Yeah how is everything. . . .well, are you passed the. . . well are you at the "safe point?"
Me: (oh you idiot) Well, it's pretty scary since our last died nine days before his due date, so the "safe point" for me isn't really until I'm holding him and know he's OK, but so far everything is going well.
Person A: Yeah that makes sense
Person B: Well if it helps, my sister had three miscarriages before having her three kids, so there is hope.
Me: Yeah, that's good. (I didn't have a miscarriage . . .apples and oranges buddy )

And I went to the dentist not long ago and had this conversation (for a second time):

Dentist: So is this your first?
Me: No (I told you this last time, but I get it, you see a lot of patients)
Dentist: Oh so is there a big brother or sister at home?
Me: (here we go again) Umm, well no, my first passed away.
Dentist: Oh that's right, you told me that.
Me: (yes, yes I did.)

Conversations like these are hard. They are hard because I don't always say what I am thinking and sometimes wish I would. But at the same time I understand that people don't understand and so they are bound to say things that are unintentionally hurtful. Other comments that are hurtful include "when you are a mom." I am a mom. I may not be a parent. I may not have a child that I am raising and parenting right now, but I am a mom. I carried a child for nine months and gave birth to him, held him, kissed him and above all else still love him.

My friend Erica is expecting her first baby and is so sweet and makes me feel like my opinion matters - as a mom and as a woman who has already been through pregnancy. She continually asks for my opinion on things from what lotion to use to what kinds of things I registered for. And it means so much to feel like it's OK to have an opinion and one that she genuinely wants to hear. I was telling her that sometimes I feel like such an outsider in the Mommy world. Because I am. I understand that, but it doesn't mean it isn't hard. I hear people talk about things like what kind of stroller they own and part of me wants to say "yeah I have that too" but I can't offer insight as to how it works or how my baby likes it. I can only say I'm pleased with the color or it is easy to assemble.

I feel like sometimes our experiences are devalued or minimized because of the way it turned out. People tell Miles about labor and delivery as if he's never experienced it. One of the most poignant comments Miles made to me after Cale was born was "despite how sad it was knowing how it would turn out, watching you give birth to our son was still such a beautiful thing." That meant SO much to me. And it reminds me that it still was an incredible experience. We experienced the birth of our first child. And while we may not have had the euphoric happiness that should be associated with the birth of a child, it doesn't mean we are new to all of this either.

OK, rant complete. . . . for now :)

April 3, 2011

Rocky Mountain High

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Denver to visit my favorite sister. Kate has lived in Colorado for three years now and this was my first trip out there. I'm a dirt-bag. My mom also flew in for the trip. It was so nice to have a girls' vacation and I think we should start making them annual endeavors. I love my sister. I love my mom. Getting to spend time with both of them was so special.

I was a little nervous about traveling. My doctor said it was fine and I know that most of the time it is fine. I'm just starting the third trimester, so really I have a while before the suggested cut-off time for traveling while pregnant. But still, I worried. When the unthinkable has happened, you worry about all the other unthinkable's. But I took it easy, drank lots of water and arrived safe and sound. 

Part of what was so special about the trip was my mom and sister got to feel the increased movements of sweet baby. It's not just that they were feeling my belly. They were feeling their nephew and grandson. Hopefully the next time we are together they will be meeting and holding and changing the diaper of  their nephew/grandson! Kate visited me last spring when I was pregnant with Cale and got to feel him move a lot, and I think now how special that was. She'll always have those memories of her nephew and I'm so glad we get to create new memories with this baby, memories that I hope continue for years and years and years. . . .

Baby's first Baseball Game (Rockies vs. Diamondbacks)

We went to this great restaurant for breakfast and ordered beignets. There were four massive ones. 
Baby Hidalgo can hold his own when it comes to delicious breakfast pastries.
 
 Pregnant Belly = Ice Cream Table