Monday, July 6, 2015

4 years...

It's been 4 years.  On one hand, it seems like forever ago since that day we met.  On the other, it feels like yesterday.  I still remember all the raw emotions and feelings as if I'm in that moment.  The fear and terror. The anxiety of what I was going to see and if I would be able to handle it.  The thoughts of the future and how this would affect me, Doug, and the kids.  Would I be able to go on and would I ever find happiness again?  The 3 years prior, I was on autopilot with all my losses.  No answers from the doctor other than  being baffled and chalking it up to "shitty" luck.  I still remember her telling me that.  She was so professional and awesome, so to hear her say that and to see her speechless was quite shocking.  I had had every test under the sun, some of them repeatedly, and I was fine.  When they tested Lily, she was genetically fine.  I just couldn't believe I was in that position, again.  Again at 14 weeks.  

I remember the moment I saw you and saw instantly that you were a boy.  It hit me how much you looked like Trevor and I couldn't believe how REAL you were.  Those tiny fingers and toes, fingernails...they would never grow bigger.  Those fingers would never grasp mine.  My heart broke.  My heart ached.  It still does.  Just a few days before, I saw those little feet wiggling away on the ultrasound.  Now they were still and would never grow or wiggle again. They say time heals, and it does.  I don't wallow in grief every day.  But the hole in my heart and the pain of losing you will never go away.  I've learned to live with it.  I work around it, but you are never far from my heart.

I know all my angels above had a hand in sending Emily to me.  She is just too "perfect" in every way (even though she can be a little rascal).  She's so cute, sweet, smart, funny, and everything in between.  She is very special.  She says things that make us all look at each other and I know we are all thinking the same thing...that she just "knows" something we don't.  She has someone whispering in her ear that we can't hear.  Someone puts these wild and crazy things in her head that are way beyond her 2 years and the irony never escapes us.  We all smile in agreement.  When she was 11 months old and said, "Happy Birthday, Daddy," clear as day (and we all heard it) was very chilling and surreal.  We all stared at each other in shock, as she went back to cooing and being a baby.  I will never forget that moment.

I always cringed and would seethe when people would say that everything happens for a reason, but as time passes, I am starting to believe that this may actually be true.  Without all my losses and without being in the darkest of places for all those years, I wouldn't appreciate all the blessings and beauty in my life.  I have always been an empath and have always felt more of a connection with everything and with emotions...but now I truly relish every moment.  I skate through the bad times much easier now, because no matter how bad it gets, I have so many blessings that far outshine the negative.  My kids are always mine and they are far more important than any negative that may present itself.  I have been through the depths of Hell and back.  I am a fighter.  Nothing and no one can keep me down.  I know my angels were an integral part of this realization.  I am blessed to have several looking over me and watching out for their brothers and sisters.

Happy 4th birthday in Heaven, Andrew.  I wish you were here, but I am so glad I got those moments with you, even if they weren't what I envisioned or longed for.  Saying goodbye to you was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but being able to hold you and spend time with you helped bring me a peace like I never knew from my previous losses.  Knowing I would have you home with me was reassuring and I am so glad I have you to hug and hold whenever I need you close.  I love you, my son.  I will always love you from the depth of my being.  Even though you are not here, physically, your memory is always in our hearts.  My sweet, sweet boy.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

4th of July 2014

It's been two years since I came to this blog.  Not because I've forgotten my sweet boy, not at all, but because I don't associate everything in life that reminds me of my losing Andrew to negativity.  I remember Andrew and we talk about him in a happier way now.  Every time we talk about him, we don't tear up and feel depressed.  Instead, we think of all he's brought us.  We think of him watching us from above.  We still talk about him and bring his huggable urn down from his seat on the shelf.  We still play with him, talk to him, love on him...he's here.  We believe that he brought Emily to us (sometimes we even wonder if he IS Emily).  We believe that he has made us better.  Made us appreciate things in life, down to the small stuff that most people don't think twice about.  Through our grief and despair of losing him, we have learned how to love and appreciate each other even more.  He is our angel.  

No, I'm not perfect and I don't go through every day chipper, with bluebirds hovering around my shoulders and bunnies hopping along my feet.  I have a horrible temper...I admit it.  I have MORE peeves now than I ever did, but they are things like reading Facebook posts saying things that start with "FML..." or whining posts about breaking up with a significant other AGAIN, etc.  I get irritated at the stuff that irritates other people.  :)  The stupid things they get mad about.  It's kind of the "You want something to be mad about...well, try a day in my shoes..." mentality.  Of course, I wouldn't wish my bad experiences on anyone.  The FML posts kill me, though.  Is life really so bad because your nail broke or you got a stain on your favorite shirt?  Sheesh.  What I wouldn't do to have a life that deems such little inconveniences as a big enough deal to just throw in the towel.  I have been through a lot of things that at times I was sure would break me, or at the very least give me a heart attack, but never once have I said FML (F*&% my life!). For all the bad there is also good.  I didn't always think that way, but I know now.  I love my life. 

I've even begun to enjoy the 4th.  I was sure my 4th of July was forever tainted with the memory of losing Andrew, but even though I get overwhelmed at times, it has become almost enjoyable.  I have to admit that the 4th of July is also the day that started my horrible panic attacks over 15 years ago that made me agoraphobic for many years, so it was already tainted before my loss.  The loss, itself, just sealed the deal.  My oldest son was missing for a few minutes at a crowded fireworks show and I panicked and continued to panic the entire time, stuck in the car in traffic, with no AC, in the 100 degree Texas heat.  I was sure I would die at any moment.  I didn't care for fireworks or the associated traffic after that.  BUT, now I have been partaking in the 4th festivities the last two years and enjoying it.  Now I see the fireworks as a celebration for Andrew.  I know he is sitting with my other kids and enjoying the show...happy that I came around.  

Yesterday was the 4th, so at some point between last night and this morning is when Andrew's heart stopped three years ago.  I was awoken this morning around 3 a.m. to Emily's potty playing music in the living room.  It made me wonder.  Then when Emily woke up this morning she pointed right to Andrew and wanted him down off the shelf.  "Get Andrew."  I handed him to her and she held his hands, bouncing him:  "Andrew is jumping!"  I have his pictures up on the dresser, so she knows about him.  It may be disturbing to others, but he is part of our lives and they are the only pictures we have of him.  We love him.  He is forever ours.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A year....

It's been a long time since I posted.  Not because I've forgotten...not at all.  I've tried to move on.  It's not that easy.  I'm 8 months pregnant with your sister, Emily, and I still talk to you all the time, but right now there are just some things I need to say because today has already turned out to be really rough...this WEEK has been really rough.

I hate the 4th of July.  I relive that moment last year over and over again.  The anxiety and feeling of dread I had when I went to bed the night before, listening to your heartbeat race.  No matter what I told myself, I couldn't calm down.  I just knew.  I kept telling myself that it wouldn't happen again.  I wouldn't lose another baby, and SURELY it wouldn't happen twice at the same point in my pregnancy with no reason.  We had just seen you a week before on ultrasound and you were perfect!  Plus, my first loss had been gone two weeks before we found I was past that point.  I remember waking up and grabbing the doppler and convincing myself I was being silly...but there was nothing buy emptiness.  No clicks, no heartbeat.  Nothing.  A part of me died.  I knew you were gone, but I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that it happened...again...and I had KNOWN that it would, somehow.

There are no words to describe how I felt.  The ache in my heart, the pain in my chest, the confusion in my mind, or the breathlessness that consumed me.  I was no longer striving to meet my healthy, little baby...I was going to have to go through delivering a baby, a stillborn, saying goodbye, and then somehow going on with my life as if nothing had happened.  The only way to cope was to shut down as much as I could so I didn't go crazy.  It's hard to go through that and no one really gets it or understands.  It's a very alone and secluded still is.  I remember walking into the hospital's L&D and the nurses welcomed me.  "Are we going to have a baby?"  "Yes.  Just not quite the way I planned.  Not alive."  I remember their faces.  They took me to a room at the end of the hall where I wouldn't have to hear the happiness going on around me.  They closed my door and put up a sign on my door with a leaf and a teardrop to signify to everyone that entered my room, so they knew not to come in boasting of babies...this was not a happy occasion.  I remember hearing the Brahm's lullaby play over the speakers to signify every time a baby was born...a life was born.  There was no lullaby for you, Andrew, although I like to think you were greeted with much greater fanfare where you went.

I remember seeing you and first realizing you were a boy.  Then when the nurse brought you to me in your little knitted blanket, I looked at you and couldn't believe that you already looked just like Trevor.  No one else may know just how real you are, but me and Daddy do.  You were a real little boy...just a tiny one.  You had a life.  You had a heartbeat.  You had tiny fingers and toes, complete with nails.  You were perfection, aside from the fact that you were gone.  I miss you so much.  It still hurts more than I ever thought it would.  The kids still talk about you and hug your little lamb with your ashes.  I slept with it last night.  I will get out your keepsakes later and cry some more, but it's all I have to feel close to you...those and your ashes.  While everyone else celebrates the holiday, I will probably lie in bed and wish the day away.  The month really.  Of course, I can't do that because your sister has a birthday next week.  The first in three years that I am not going to lose a baby.  After losing you last year, she had a really tough time, so I have to make this one special for her.  She deserves it.

Well, I miss you little man.  I miss you more than I could ever express.  I hope you will look out for your sisters and brothers here on Earth.  I know you are our special angel and you will be helping Emily arrive safe and sound in a short while.  Mommy loves you so much.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

How things change...

It's been a while.  I've been living in a fog, unsure of how I've felt, unsure of what is real, what to think, or if it was okay to be happy again.  Also...I'm pregnant.  I guess a lot of the feelings above can be contributed to that.  My prayers were answered.  Something clicked one day and I just started praying.  I just thought it was worth a try, I guess, to REALLY try and have faith.  What could it hurt?  To believe that there was something out there that might really hear me and be on my side, instead of it being easier to think that surely there is nothing because if there WAS something they must really hate me.  I don't know what happened, but I just had a turnaround.  I prayed to please let me be pregnant by Andrew's due date because it's the only way I felt I could get through it.  I started meditating (or trying...basically for me that equalled to just slowing down in the quiet and relaxing and stretching, lol) Somehow, it worked.  Not only did it happen, but my entire cycle was shifted.  I ovulated a week or more earlier than I ever have...and it was THE ONE.  I didn't do anything different, so I have no idea why it worked in my favor, but had I not had this happen, I wouldn't have been pregnant by Andrew's due date.  I found out the day after Christmas.  It brought to me a realization that maybe something mysterious was out there and working in my favor.  Maybe there was more to it than chance and there was something out there that knew I had had enough pain and despair and that I DESERVED a chance to be happy again.  There just isn't any other way to explain it.

The first several weeks, I didn't believe it...I still don't, really, even after weekly ultrasounds showing my little one growing and flourishing.  I didn't get attached or believe it since my losses were up to four in a row in the last three years.  The wall was up.

I will be 15 weeks tomorrow.  I haven't been 15 weeks since I had Trevor in 2005.  This pregnancy has gone perfectly (knock on wood).  I am even finally starting to feel human again.  With all my losses, I never made it to the part where I felt decent, it was just the stuck in bed, trying to keep food down and eat, part of the pregnancy.  Now, I feel...well...alive again.  It makes me nervous to feel okay, but thankfully I pull out my doppler and hear the heart galloping away.  I hear the swishing, swirling, and knocking of my little one doing gymnastics in there.  It's starting to be real.  I'm starting to believe that this time I will actually come home with a live baby.  It's still hard to picture it or imagine it, though, don't get me wrong.  I can't imagine my almost four-year journey of depression, obsession, and being so absorbed in the whole process, coming to an end.  Not to mention, it won't hurt my feelings one bit to never pee on a stick again.  I swear I could build a house with all the ovulation and pregnancy test strips I've used in that time!

Anyway, not only have I found a bit of faith, but I believe that I am blessed to have several little angels watching out for us.  This is my time.  This is my rainbow.  I miss Andrew so much and wish that he was here, but since that didn't and won't happen, I know I am blessed to have this little one growing inside me.  I am starting to see the rainbow at the end of the tunnel...finally.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's / Andrew's Day

Happy New Year.  Those words feel so hollow to me now.  Fireworks make me ill.  I lost Andrew on the 4th of July.  He was due today.  I should be holding my little guy by now, instead of his ashes.  This will forever be your day, little man.  New Year's is just another day.  I love and miss you so much every day.  I dream of how different things should be and why my life had to take this path at the fork in the road.  I wish I could be ignorant to this whole suffering thing, and just have you here with me...never even realizing this path of pain, loss, and suffering.  Why couldn't my life have went down that OTHER road? didn't.  You aren't here.  It won't change.

Even through all the horrible emotions, I feel an odd sense of ...peace?  Understanding?  I have accepted that I don't have control over anything.  I can only do so much to affect the outcomes of anything in my life, so I will just try and be as positive as I can, do the best I can, and try to build my faith that I'm not cursed and that things will happen in my favor.  I am not some pawn in a cruel game of life, used for the God's amusement (was that Jason and the Argonauts or Clash of the Titans?).  I just have a feeling this year is going to be better. I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying so, but I have a feeling.  Things have been working out really strangely lately, and seemingly in my favor, so I hope my life is starting to come together.  I've had enough of the bad.  It is my time to shine.  I deserve it.  I believe that now.  I can't change it, regardless, so why add the stress and all the negative energy...I'll just try to stay positive.  I guess what I'm trying to say is no matter how I feel or react, negative or positive, the outcome will be the, I'd much rather focus on the positive.  I have learned how precious each day and each moment are (even though I thought I learned this years ago with other bad experiences).  I have learned that I can't control things and the outcome in life, so what will be will be.  I might as well try to enjoy the ride while I'm on it, even if it ends with the cars flying off the tracks.  No need spending my whole life dreading that one moment, and missing all the good things in the meantime.  

I love you, Andrew.  I miss you more than anyone will ever know and my heart hurts inside, even when I outwardly hide the pain.  I won't deny the pain or grief, but I will focus more on the things that are great in my life.  I have so much to be thankful for.  Being happy about those things won't take away from your loss.  I realize that now.  It's not disrespecting you if I focus on the positive things, and in fact, I'm sure that's what you would want.  So, my New Year's / Andrew's Day resolution, is to focus more on the positive, don't dwell on the negative, and take things as they come.  I will try my best to relax and stress less, and hopefully be a happier person in the long run.  I can't promise a happy me, every day, but I'm sure going to try.  2012 is a new year....let's see if we can make it a good one.  I know I have an advantage with all my angels watching over me.  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas without you...

After a rough year all around, financially, medically, emotionally, and every way possible, we pulled off a pretty good Christmas after all.  I am sick, of course (I mean, what would Christmas be without the overwhelming stress and me being sick!?!), but woke up at 5:30 and jumped in the shower, relaxed for a minute, and then started waking up the kiddos to get the party started.  This is my favorite part of Christmas.  I love watching my kids open their presents.  I love seeing the things I had totally forgotten about since I had wrapped them a month before.  I love the joy, the excitement, the love.  I love the family and fun.  I cherish these moments, I truly do.  

But, what was missing this year, was my Andrew.  I feel he would have arrived by now, today actually, even though he was due on New Year's Day.  It's hard not to think that I should be in the hospital, home with a newborn, or anxiously awaiting the moment I meet my little man and reclaim my body as my own.  Instead, I am just me.  I am empty.  Andrew is a little baggie of ashes in a stuffed lamb, sitting on my bed.  It still hurts, just like yesterday.  I think the only difference in the pain is the way other people perceive it.  I think people assume that since time has went on, if they just don't mention him, then I won't hurt or remember.  I always remember.  It still hurts immensely.  I miss him so much and think of the what if's every day.  I just wish other people didn't forget.  What hurts is that others do forget.  The world will never know how special he was and how much he meant to me.  The world never got to meet him, and though I only met him for a moment, I knew and loved him for months.  It's not easy to turn that off or have it taken away.  He should still be here.  

Mommy loves you, Andrew.  My Christmas wish didn't come true.  Earlier this year, I was certain that this Christmas would be the most memorable yet.  It was in a was my first Christmas without you.  Sure, I may have more angels looking down on me, but I would much rather be holding you in my arms.  I love all of my angels and hope Santa made a stop in Heaven and spoiled you since I couldn't.  

UPDATE:  My Christmas wish did come true!  I got my positive pregnancy test the NEXT morning!  <3

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's been a while...

It's been a while since I've posted.  I'm fighting the depression, I guess, trying to stay strong.  Instead of getting easier, in some ways it's getting harder.  Instead of having more normal days, I have more days of tears.  I think about my babies every moment.  It's hurtful that people don't mention them, even though I know they are worried that it will bring up bad memories or something.  The bad memories never go away, I'd actually appreciate knowing that I'm not the only one that knows my babies are missing and who misses and loves them.  I know they are gone.  I don't forget...ever.

Luckily, I'm staying busy with the holidays coming up.  So much hustle and bustle, stress, shopping, and everything in between.  Trevor's birthday just passed.  My baby turned 6.  I can't help but think that instead of being my baby, he should be a big brother to at least one sibling.  Lily should be here pulling herself up on things, grabbing ornaments off the tree, ripping my perfectly wrapped gifts under the tree....literally driving me crazy!  Since she's not here, couldn't I at least have Andrew, still in my belly?  Couldn't I be miserable and achy, whiny and irritable, but anxious for him to arrive so I can see him and cuddle him, smother him in kisses, and see him interact with his brothers and sister?  Couldn't I have him moving around in my belly to his siblings amazement and giggles, with their hand on my belly?  No...I can't.

How do I get through Christmas, knowing he would probably have arrived on Christmas, even though he was due on New Year's?  I really thought Andrew was God's apology.  His way of sharing His son's birthday with mine.  His way of saying, "You know what?  I want you to have this baby.  I want you to know that I'm NOT punishing you and you DO deserve your child."  I thought Andrew would be my Christmas blessing.  I not only lost him, but lost him on the very day that I had dreaded and wanted to get past so I could start to let my guard down.  Just let me make it through this final night and I can relax.  The one day that coincided with finding out I had had my first missed miscarriage at 14 weeks.  It happened that very night.  I was almost to the goal line.  I could taste victory...almost.  The jokes on me...again.

Why can't I at least have answers as to WHY he can't be here instead of a healthy healthy baby...gone.  No reason.  Just because.  I am left empty and grasping at straws to try to keep functioning when some days it feels like it will overwhelm me.  It truly knocks the wind out of me.   I hug the lamb with his ashes.  My perfectly healthy baby who died for no reason.  I sleep with him.  I talk to him and hug him.  He is the only one who sees my tears.  Why is MY son reduced to ashes?  MY little girl gone?  Why do I have to be mommy to all my angels that I never got to see or hold?  I don't want angels.  I want my babies.  Call me selfish.

I wish I had something good to say.  That "Hey, it get's easier," but it doesn't.  Sure, I function, but not wholly.  I will say that I am thankful for my earth living children.  They are my heart and soul, my reason for getting up in the morning.  Sounds cliche, but it is 110% the truth.  They keep me going and give me purpose.  One good thing that has come from my losses is that I love and appreciate my kids to the fullest, as if I didn't in the first place, but I am painfully aware of it every moment.  I know I am truly blessed to have them. I knew they were miracles before, as every baby is, but after four losses in a row, I know what miracles they truly were.  They are all awesome kids with great, individual personalities, kind hearts, and loving souls.  I couldn't ask for more....except to have my angels here with us.

I also have my Baby Loss Mom friends that have helped me through the tough times.  They understand like no one else does.  They are there for me like no one else is.  They comfort and support me more than anyone else could.  It's so crazy to think that women I have only met virtually are like family to me, but they are.  I have been on a journey with these women and will continue to do so.  I am so thankful and blessed to have found them.  I honestly don't know where I would be without them.  Christmas isn't just a rough time for's a rough time for many of them as well.  I'm hoping that we all get through and actually find a way to enjoy it, instead of just trying to survive it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The last two weeks...

These last two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions.  Happy, sad, depressed, elated, distraught, hopeful, name it, I felt it.  It started with my first month of being cleared to try to conceive again.  Lo and behold...we did.  Of course, after a few ups and downs, it's already over, but for a moment I actually thought things were going to go my way.  I mean, the first try!  Due in July for Hayley's birthday!  Perfect!  But then...guess not.  So, here I am still wondering why it is the world seems to think it is so funny to let me hit the jackpot, only to snatch it away after a few days for some unknown reason...again.  Four in a row now.  Fifth time's a charm?  Yeah, well...I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I don't mean this rude or disrespectfully, but I do mean it very literally:

For those of you who have conversations with God, please take a moment and ask him what it is I've done that makes me such a bad person.  What have I done that my prayers continue to go unanswered or almost as if they are answered in brutal retaliation.  There has to be something because it's like my life is His joke.  I don't feel His help as I work day in and day out to climb out of the abyss.  I have done this of my own will and strength.  It's not easy.  I convince myself that things will change.  I am NOT cursed.  Things WILL get better.  Through the physical and mental pain, the depression, the anxiety...I keep telling myself it WILL get better.  I get to an almost "normal" level of functioning and then have something really awesome thrown my way, boosting my "faith" that things are indeed looking up for me and I will actually be happy again, I am not alone, maybe He really is on my side and doesn't enjoy my constant suffering....only to be chewed up, spit out, and trampled on, as if to say, "Did you REALLY think things would go your way....BWAHAHAHAHA!"

Again, not meaning to step on any religious toes or start a religious tirade here, but I truly feel this way.  I would love answers, real answers.  Save your breath if you are going to tell me to quit being negative or I bring this on myself because if you really know me, then you know it is actually quite the opposite.  I think I handle the cards I've been dealt quite well, all things considered.  So, if you do talk to God and he talks back...please take a moment and ask him for me.  Maybe he will answer you.  I ask and pray...he just doesn't answer.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I never knew lighting a candle could be so hard...

In memory and support of all the angel mommies and their angel babies, I lit my candle, as did many other mommies around the world.  I never thought it would be so emotional.  If I'm being honest, I never thought much of it at all.  I knew I would do it just because it was one more thing that I could do, even though I didn't see that it would have much effect, aside from making me feel good inside, knowing that I was honoring the angels.  It was the principle of feel like I was doing something. 

I lit my candle, sat Andrew in front of me, then added the urn.  Though Andrew's ashes are in the lamb and not the urn, the urn still represents the babies, our angels, taken to soon, but being cared for an loved at the feet of beautiful angels that will hold them until we are able to ourselves.  The more I sat, the more it hit me.  It is so hard.  To say I cried is an understatement.  The wounds are still fresh.  

I went online and shared my pictures with the other angel mommies who are my greatest support system.  They have become a family, even though I've never met a single one of them in person.  We share the good, the bad, the graphic, the a way we are bound together by a connection so strong that I have no explanation.  I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, but I'm sure glad that having to go through it I have found these wonderful ladies.  I wanted them to know that I, too, was burning my candle for them and theirs, just as they were for mine.  A very strong and courageous woman, Nikki, has went above and beyond trying to spread awareness for lost angels.  She has shared pictures of balloons with all of our babies' names, as well as a t-shirt with all the babies' names.  Too many names.  Too many. 

Looking at the picture and hearing the feedback on how beautiful it was sent me overboard.  I know that my emotions are raw and show very clearly in the photo.  It's not staged or fake.  Looking at the picture hits me because I feel the pain and see it in myself.  I only wish I could plant a kiss on my baby and not a stuffed animal that now holds his ashes.  I am thankful to have him here with me, though.  I am so glad that I fought for that in the hospital and didn't just let them lead me along.  I wish there was a way to spread more awareness to women that they have more rights than they may think.  While I was in labor, I was on the computer researching other women's stories.  Researching my options.  When I found out that I had the choice to go out on my own with my son's body and not just have a community scattering of ashes that occurs once a month at the hospital's butterfly garden, I knew I wanted him home with me.  I hope that a woman in a similar situation may happen upon my blog and fight for her own rights and that they may learn something beforehand, before the chance is taken away from them and it is too late.  It's hard enough when you are in that moment to think at all, but it is so necessary to how you heal, I think.  I keep being so open and honest in this blog for that very help others that may find themselves frantically searching for the same kind of information I was.  

In memory of all our babies gone too soon, too precious for this earth, and all the mommies who will always love and miss them.  I love you all. 

Light a candle on Oct. 15 for babies lost to miscarriage or stillbirth

Friday, October 14, 2011


Yesterday was both the anniversary of the day when my husband and I first met...and never separated.  For 15 years, I can count on one hand the nights we have been apart since.  He is my other half.  We are basically one, as cliche as it sounds.  We just ARE.  I could not imagine life any other way, even when it gets a little rough. :)

It was also the 7-year anniversary of my first loss.  At 14 weeks I began spotting, went to the ER, and learned there was no heartbeat.  I had never even heard of this happening this far along, or a heartbeat stopping while the pregnancy continued.  I can still remember the surrealness.  The feeling that I was going to die right then, as if an atom bomb had just exploded in my face.  I didn't know how I would survive it, and had I not gotten pregnant a few months later and had my rainbow, Trevor, I don't know that I would have survived at all.  Trevor didn't replace my lost baby, but it helped feel that emptiness in my heart and in my arms.  It helped sugarcoat the pain of grief a bit.  It helped me believe that the missed miscarriage, along with being in my second trimester, was a less than 1% occurrence.  It sucked I had to be in that 1%, but SURELY it would never happen again.  I had another baby...everything was good, right?

Now, here I am with three more losses, more emptiness and aching in my heart and in my arms.  No answers as to why....I seem to be perfectly "healthy."  Who knew within seven years time I would become a mommy to four angels that were just too beautiful for this earth?  I never would have imagined, though it is always a fear.  What will the next few years bring?  I hope it is happiness.  I hope that the depression, the losses, the hurt, the pain, the PHYSICAL ailments that go along with all of it...I hope they are gone and I will be looking back and thinking, "Wow.  I remember those days.  So crazy how hard everything was, but I'm so thankful now."  I HOPE that everything will fall into place and I will be able to put this all behind me, in a sense, and it will just be a memory of all the bad luck.  I've been waiting to move forward for so long...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The heartbreak of infant loss

The heartbreak of infant loss
By Community Columnist
Oct. 6, 2011 | (9) Comments
Did you know that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month? I'll bet not. Despite the infant mortality crisis that's been at the forefront of Milwaukee's public health news for months, the only people who have more than a cursory comprehension of what it means to lose a baby are those who've lived it.

Infant loss is nature's cruelest practical joke. It's investing all of the required time and effort into pregnancy, only to be robbed of the result. It's cradling a body that grew within your own and trying to reconcile the cold, lifeless form in your arms with your memory of the baby who turned double flips in your womb.

It's worrying that you'll forget what your child looked like and snapping an album's worth of photos that no one will ever ask to see. It's sobbing so hard you can't breathe and wondering if it's possible to cry yourself to death.

Infant loss is handing off a Moses basket to the nurse who's drawn the unfortunate duty of delivering your pride and joy to the morgue and walking out of a hospital with empty arms.

It's boxing up brand new baby clothes and buying a 24-inch casket. It's sifting through sympathy cards, willing your foolish body to stop lactating, clutching your baby's blanket to your chest in hopes of soothing the piercing ache in your heart.

It's resisting the urge to smack the clueless individuals who compare your situation to the death of their dog or who tell you you'll have another baby, as if children are somehow replaceable.

Infant loss is explaining to your 7-year-old that sometimes babies die and being stumped into silence when she asks you why. It's watching other families live out your happy ending and fighting a fresh round of grief with every milestone you miss.

It's being shut out of play groups for perpetuity. It's skipping social events with expectant and newly minted mothers because, as a walking worst-case scenario, you don't want to put a damper on the party.

It's listening to other women gripe about motherhood and realizing that you no longer relate to their petty parental complaints because, frankly, when you've buried a baby, a sleepless night with a vomiting toddler sounds something like a gift.

Infant loss is pruning from your life the friends and relatives who ignore or minimize your loss. It's recognizing that, while they may not mean to be hurtful, the fact that they don't know any better doesn't make their utter lack of empathy one whit easier to bear.

My baby girl would have been 5 years old this month. I don't know what she'd look like, what her favorite food would be. I've never had the privilege of tucking her into bed, taking her to the zoo or kissing her boo-boos. I will never watch her graduate or walk down the aisle.

Infant loss is more than an empty cradle. It's a life sentence.

Laura Schubert of New Berlin is a mother, teacher and two-time breast cancer survivor. 

I Would Die For That

So emotional and powerful.  So sad that so many of us can, and have to, relate to this, but it's nice to see someone out there spreading awareness and talking about it.  <3

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Three months later and they still don't get it...

Am I really still having to dredge this up and try to explain this to these people?  I don't care if this is customary...I WON'T pay it.  You can't just have two options and lump everything into those two categories if it doesn't fit!  It is so ridiculous how much those of us who have lost our babies have to fight to prove they were real, to grieve alone because our babies were lost to us but hard to envision for others, and we have to feel isolated in it all because others' think that life goes on and do not understand the constant daily struggle, not only with the emotions and the loss, but with all the medical and physical issues, as well as the decisions regarding future pregnancies.  It never ends.  I hope that someone else in my position will read this letter and stand up and fight for their ridiculous charges as well.  Just because it is commonplace does not make it acceptable!  It is fraud, there just aren't enough of us with the strength to fight it when we are so beat down by it all!  Funny how the consumer is always right, until it involves something serious, and then we are just crazy!  

Baylor Healthcare - Garland
Account #4768022

Amanda Cannon
601 Meadowcreek Ln.
Garland, TX. 75043

Baylor Hospital of Garland

To Whom It May Concern;

In response to the letter I received from *********, I wanted to address my issue in writing
so that maybe it will be understood more clearly.  I can only gather that obviously the issue is not translating well over the phone and through the billing specialists to the Grievance Committee; otherwise, I do not see how there could still be an issue.  There is no question on my part that I am being charged for services that do not apply to my somewhat unique circumstances.  I have worked in doctor's offices and understand how there are specific fees and charges, codes for procedures for the purpose of billing, and sometimes nothing fits so it just goes with the next closest thing.  My charges are not appropriate in the fact that I am being charged for a procedure that is either related to a "stillbirth" or "term birth," as those are the only two options with which were available to choose from (as was explained to me over the phone).  It's funny how everyone I have spoken to is so quick to tell me how it is in the room and what goes on and that the universal charge still applies...yet, I was there.  I know what went on and what did not.  The definition of what went on, does not even come close.  I don't care what the bill says.  I WAS THERE!

My case is not the norm, as far as stillbirth is concerned.  My son's heart stopped beating at 14 weeks.  In most cases, a D&C is done.  I was induced to have less complications than a D&C would risk because of his size.  In medical literature, an "aborted" fetus before 20 weeks is called a miscarriage, even though I was induced and "delivered," making it a thin line between miscarriage and stillbirth. Nevertheless, that line does exist.  You cannot classify the procedure I had in either category any more than you could charge someone that had a toe amputation the same as someone who lost an entire limb.  The difference between what occured and what I was charged for are as different as night and day.  I cannot imagine that my fees equal to someone who has had a long, drawn out and difficult labor, resulting in close monitoring of both mother and child, and resulting in a live birth.  It is not a matter of opinion, it is what happened.  I, having been there, can explain to you much better than what was written on a paper as a billing or diagnosis code.

The problem I have with being charged for a typical "Vaginal Delivery" is that there was no delivery, aside from what my body did on it's own.  I have three full-term children.  I completely understand this charge for a full-term birth scenario,or maybe even more so for a loss that was further along and did require assistance during labor and delivery; however, I did not have a physician checking on me intermittently, nor did I have monitors hooked up to me to monitor mine and the baby's vitals, hoping for no signs of distress, heart rates, etc.  I did not have an IV, nor did I take any medication, other than the pills that were used for induction.  I did not have to be checked on throughout labor and afterwards to make sure I was healing properly, nor did I need assistance with the baby afterwards.  I had a nurse (and she was amazing!) who checked on us a few times to make sure we were comfortable and to bring in my pills and a cup of ice.  My doctor came in once in the morning to set up my care plan.  She came in once a few hours before my son was born to see if the pills were working and I was dilating after I felt my water break, and again an hour after he was born to "deliver" the placenta.

Dr. Vu told me that this wasn't like a normal birth or delivery and explained that "it" would just come out.  I wouldn't be pushing or anything.  So, I just sat, waiting, for my son to basically slide out, which is what happened.  My son was born to a quiet room, with just my husband and I.  There was no team of doctors, nurses, neonatal staff, etc.  No monitors chirping or IV lines to tangle.  It was my husband and I.  When I felt my son, we called the nurse.  She came in, picked him up and situated him in a little pocket, made sure we were okay, and left the room.  That was my "Vaginal Delivery."  There was no pushing, no epidural, no IVs or comfort measures taken, no close monitoring.  It was basically a rented room for a miscarriage.

In my case, there is no black or white.  It is not technically a stillbirth, nor is it a full term delivery, as I have tried to explain to the billing specialists.  In this case, there needs to be a gray area.  I'm sorry if there is no billing code for what occured, and it is either one or the other, but that is not acceptable. They tried to say that I had to have a physician's assistant or doctor there at all times for my care...but there was not.  There was no hustle and bustle or team of people for me and my son.  There was no chaos and ongoing work for anyone involved, other than myself.  It was my husband and I.  I understand there is the room...that was broken down into it's own fee, as were the other charges for which I have no issue with.

I have an itemized statement listing the charges.  I understand the labs, the medications, the room and board, the supplies used....all should be applied. However, there was not much else done outside of the room board, the supplies and medications used, and the labs.  I would agree to paying for the hour my doctor was there and the nurse who cared for me.  What I do not agree with is the charge for a "Vaginal Delivery / Delivery Room."  If that is the case, then maybe it should be I who is paid since I did the work myself?  There was nothing that should even come close to a $2,673.82 charge for the "Vaginal Delivery" alone.  Besides the fact, the doctor never even touched my son, but in fact asked if I wanted to set him aside and then flinched and went to put on gloves when I tried to hand him to her.  How is that a delivery?  What did she deliver?  She never even acknowledged that my son was a human being and it took a month of the funeral home arguing with her to finally get her to sign the Death Certificate.  So...I was charged for a Vaginal Delivery of what?  Tissue?  I see on my statement that I am also billed this for the second time I came in, but it is listed as "Delivery Room."  That was for a D&C, but identical charge.  How do the two have the same charge when they were two totally different circumstances?  For the D&C, I was indeed taken to a different room and a lot more care and involvement occurred...I HAD a procedure, was put to sleep, and then had a lot of trouble afterwards.  How do the two equal the same when one was an hour-long surgery and one was me, alone?  How does my Room and Board and Delivery Room fee both occur on the same bill for my initial stay, when I was only IN one room the entire one bed, no procedure.  Nothing changed.

I do want to thank the nurses who we came in contact with during both of my stays.  They were fantastic, as was the chaplain.  If it weren't for the issue of the hospital bill and having such a hard time talking to someone who knows something other than billing codes and what they see on paper, or even just someone who would address the issue seriously, instead of just writing me off as someone trying to get out of paying my bill, I would have loved to experience a future childbirth at Baylor.  The care was adequate on the nurses part, the hospital, however, is another story altogether.  I am tired of having to repeat this story and get through to people with automaton responses who only know one thing to say and loosely, if at all, listen to what I am telling them.  It is painful to relive over and over again, but I will not agree to this charge.  This bill is wrong.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month - October

We don't have to remember our babies,
We will never forget. 

One thing positive that has come from my losses is the wonderful support I have gotten, not only from friends and family (even those who I rarely spoke with beforehand), but from an awesome group of ladies that I have come to know and hold dear to my heart.  We've never met outside of the Internet, but they are my family now, as we share a bond that not many can understand....we are mommies to sweet angel babies.  It's not a group anyone would chose to belong to, but it sure is helpful and inspiring to know these women and they have become my greatest support.  We can talk about anything and everything for weeks, months, even years, and we understand each other's pain.  We know that months down the road, we are still healing, physically and emotionally.  We all know the pain is still there no matter how long ago the experience.  We all know that there are days that seem better... and days where you somehow relate a car insurance commercial to the loss of your little one and fall to pieces.  I could not be happier that I found the wonderful group of women that I have to go through the journey with, but at the same time, it is really sad that broken women, women who are hurting and struggling to make sense of things, women who are grieving, women who are trying to get their bodies medically back on track....are the ones who have to band together to support each other; to give themselves when they need giving.  This subject needs to become much more talked about and out in the open.  The loss of a baby is just as hard, if not more difficult, than the loss of a parent or friend, in that we have to go through the physical healing.  We have to go from being with, growing, and loving our children 200%, counting down the days until our face-to-face meeting, dreaming of our lives to come, which have changed forever with this little blessing - to being empty, hollow, heartbroken, overwhelmed, grief-stricken, and struggling to find a way to accept that which we cannot change.  The constant reminders, the worry, the fact that there usually are no answers, the fact that OUR bodies did this's a long road.  We need the support that anyone else is afforded from the death of a loved one.  We want to talk about our babies and know our babies were cared for and loved by not just us, but by everyone.  They were real, precious angels.  

Friday, September 30, 2011


I had the hysteroscopy this morning.  I was worried about seeing my womb/uterus empty, but after the initial pain of the insertion of the camera, I was drawn to the screen.  It was really engaging to see a part of my body that, granted, lost four of my babies, but also bore me three of the most amazing children a mother could ask for.  To see the two holes that are the entrances of my fallopian tubes into the uterus, it hit me that this was where my three children's lives had began.  19 years ago an egg actually came out of one or the other, and I became a mother.  It's surreal.

The good news is that everything was beautiful.  There were no issues that should cause a miscarriage.  The bad news is...still no answers why I've lost my babies.  The more we talk, the more it seems like a chromosomal issue had something to do with losing Andrew, since his heart rate was high up until he died on the 4th of July at 14 weeks.  Maybe due to distress, but we'll never know.  I also found out that there were only 8 out of 23 chromosome tests done because of an issue with the machine not reading the rest of the slides or something.  Of course, my old doctor never had the decency to tell me this herself, even though I was calling every two weeks to inquire about the results.  When they finally had them, she didn't even call me, I called her.  Her response was that "everything was normal."  Her time will come.  I'm still waiting on my reimbursement and then I will start fighting.  Anyway, my previous loss, Lily, was tested for all of them and all were negative, so it was the bleed that caused her loss, which is unrelated.  They all seem to be just luck of the draw-type issues, so hopefully this will be the end of it and I will have a decent shot next time.  The doctor sees no reason why I shouldn't because we can't find anything wrong to begin with.

I did get to come home with copies of my insides.  I threw the doctor off a bit by asking if I got copies, but she was thrilled that I was as interested and amazed as she was by it all. No one had ever asked for pictures before.  Leave it to me.  It was also nice that for the first time in a long time she called me "normal."  We both agreed that is rarely a word used to describe the uniqueness and complexity that IS me.  It felt good. :^)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Roller Coaster of Emotions...

I've been doing better...on the outside, anyway.  I'm keeping it together more, holding back the tears, not feeling such a sucker punch when I see pregnant women or babies...I'm getting there.  Don't get me wrong, I still have days where all I do is cry every time I have a moment alone, but the pain is lessening to an extent.  Today, however, has already been a tough one, and it's only 10 a.m.  I hurt my arm yesterday and can't move it, so the stress and strain of that makes my emotions that much worse, I think.  I had an appointment this morning with Dr. Thomas.  I was in the exam room, alone, staring at the ultrasound screens and I couldn't breathe.  I had numerous ultrasounds done of both Lily and Andrew, expecting them to be okay, watching them grow and flourish....I'm going to be sick.  I still remember through the bleeding episodes with Andrew, everything seemed to be fine and we couldn't find the source of the bleed.  I remember the day that we hugged and teared up because I was graduating from her office to my regular OB at 10 weeks.  Now, I am back to that room...back to the beginning.  Trying to find answers.  Trying to understand.  Dreading what is about to be shown to me on the screen now.  An empty womb.  The baby is gone.  It is like an echo of my heart right now...empty, black, hollow...staring back at me from the screen.

The good news is, the last of the tissue was gone.  I had 24 follies already, so looks like things are starting to get back on track.  I am going back in Friday for an OH, where they guide a camera up into my cervix and uterus to look for anything structural that could be an issue, or any scar tissue...especially since I had the damn pointless D&C from the incompetent OB.  I also had a bunch of labs drawn, so I'm praying for answers, but at the same time, I'm praying that nothing is wrong.  Do I want answers or do I want nothing to be wrong?  How is that for a decision?  If the house is burning down, do you save your dog or your cat?  How can you possibly choose between those and not be conflicted and stressed?  I swear I feel like God's test dummy.  I see him up there poking needles here and there and just looking down at me quizzically, wondering how much one person can take.  Let's give her money problems here, bill collectors that are screwing her over right there, let's rev up the pain levels a few notches and jack up her arm, make her an emotional mess, throw in some fatigue and more stress, make sure all these extra bills come up so she can't afford a massage to help with the pain, oh yeah and make sure her daughter needs a few shots for school and a checkup with her outrageous insurance co-pays that way she has to figure out how to make that happen...and....GO!  I literally feel like my life is a joke to whatever powers that be have control over it, and no one can change my mind about it.  Unless you have been through this mess that just keeps piling up, then it won't do you any good to try to convince me I'm wrong, no matter how well-intentioned the attempt.

So, I just wait for labs to come in.  Wait for the test on Friday and hope for the best and hope it doesn't hurt too bad since I can't tolerate medications.  Wait for the game plan, then wait....just wait.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One of those days...

Hmmm....I'm hoping it's hormones and my body is finally going to welcome Aunt Flo back and get me back on track, but whatever it is, I don't like it.  Maybe it's the rain.  Today has been tough, to say the least.  I have had some good days over the last few weeks.  My old life seems to be breaking through to the surface and I can hold it together for the most part...most days.  Today was different.  It started with walking the kids to school this morning.  On the way home, I saw a journal on the sidewalk, turned it over, and sure was Hayley's.  She had dropped it on the way to school and luckily it was I who found it on my way home.  I looked through it, thinking it was school-related, only to be shocked that it was a journal, of sorts.  She talked about me being 9 weeks pregnant and how she was so excited.  She spoke of how she hoped that this baby would make it and wouldn't be a "miscarridge" or a "still born."  The next page jumped straight to the loss.  There was a picture of her, happy, holding a baby and what was her "futurized" ideal of what it would be like to have the baby here.  Next, a picture of her crying, the baby next to her, and said:  "The day his heart stopped...mine broke."  O..M..G..

I sat on the couch and tried to gather my thoughts and stop the tears, but for some reason a picture of Hayley when she was 5 popped in my head like someone was showing it to me. In the picture, I had photoshopped a picture of a baby Trevor sleeping, into the palms of her hands.  It stung like a bee because I realized that that was exactly how I had held Andrew three months ago, cupped in my hands just like that.  The only difference was she was so beautiful and giddy holding him....such a happy picture.

I just still can't wrap my head around my loss.  It seems more and more surreal and like it never happened, but then I stare at the last sonogram and remember how big and perfect he was, how active he was, how....he was.  Period.  Then I look at his picture, so tiny, yet so real, looking like Trevor.  I try to imagine that I shouldn't be seeing him at all, but he should be in my belly kicking me, causing me backaches and pains.  I should be wondering who he would look like.  What color would his hair be - blonde like Hayley or brown like Trevor?  Instead, he is REALLY in this stuffed animal that I hold, and kiss, and hug, and sleep with when I need him close.  It's one thing for me to feel this way, but for Hayley, an 11-year-old really pisses me off.  She is truly such a great kid.  I could not have asked for a better daughter.  Why does she have to suffer?  She is so strong, and like me, she hides her feelings well to protect others.  I didn't realize how this all affected her.  I didn't think she really noticed how sucky her summer was, again.  Or maybe I had just hoped that she hadn't.  Finishing off her journal it said she had a sucky summer and she hated it.  So much for that.  I am going to have a talk with her soon when we are alone.  I need to see just how badly she is still affected by this.  She knows she can talk to me about anything, but she is playing the adult role...well, and taking after me by suffering silently so she doesn't affect anyone else.  It breaks my heart.

I don't know what to think anymore.  I think I have adapted a more "take it as it comes" attitude, but it is still hard.  I wish I was still pregnant and all these last three months were just a dream, but it's not.  It's still hard to imagine that I am supposed to be pregnant...because I'm not.  I'm trying to let go.  I'm trying to focus on the future and adapt a more positive attitude.  I'm trying.  When life throws you curveballs....they each hit you in the that how that goes?  It seems that way.  I'm alive though.  I've got a great family, great kids.  I am starting to take better care of myself and see that there is happiness in my life, even through the sorrow.  I know that I can make it through this, and even though it still hurts, it won't keep me down. Maybe in a month or so my body will be worked out and back on will be easier to forget that I am still recovering when I'm not constantly waiting for my body to catch up.  I've been walking and exercising, so I am already feeling physically better.  Now, if I can just get my emotions on track....

On a brighter note, and not to seem like I'm sounding so redundant (it seems like all my posts end up being me rambling about the same thing, trying to figure out how I feel or make sense of everything), the kids are doing great in school.  Hayley's teachers had nothing to say but what a pleasure she was, sweet kid, SHY and QUIET (WHAT!?!), and that she didn't seem to be having attention problems!  Everyone at the school seemed so nice....almost Stepford Wives, Twilight Zone nice.  That's a good thing, though. :)  Hayley still loves school.  Trevor says his teacher is mean, but he has somehow managed to get a sticker on his chart every day of school so far, and that is saying a lot considering his teacher is known as the meanest in the school.  He hasn't given me problems about going or anything, which was a big fear of mine.  He gets out of the car in the morning, yells, "Love you, Mom," in his husky voice, and trots off into the school.  I love him so much.  He puts a smile on my face every morning.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Time keeps on slipping....

Hayley writing Andrew a letter 

I'm starting to breathe again.  I mean, really breathe.  Breathe in life.  Breathe in hope.  I know I will move on.  I have found my smile again.  True laughter.  Though a part of my heart has healed, there is a part that will never mend, but I've accepted it.  I don't like it...but I've accepted it.  There is no lesson to learn from it, other than that life is unfair, no matter how people may say otherwise.  I've realized those people are most likely the ones who have never been through a loss or held or delivered their dead baby, and don't realize that by saying there is a "reason for everything," or that "God never gives us more than we can handle," probably do not realize that even though they are trying to help, that makes it feel like I deserved this in some way or that MY baby wasn't good enough to be born...or maybe that I shouldn't grieve as much as I do because sometimes it definitely feels like more than I can handle, but what choice to I have?  It is there.  I realize, though, that even though it felt like my entire heart was damaged for life and ripped to pieces, it was just one piece (well one piece times four would be more accurate, I suppose), and there is much more left that is full of love and life..and hope.  Much more left for my earth angels who will keep me going.

Each day is a little easier.  Even though I never forget and there are so many times a day when I want to fall to my knees and cry my eyes out, I get through it.  It will be okay.  I can't change what happened or what WILL happen, but I can take it for what it is and move forward.  My babies will always be a part of my life, just not the way I want them to be.  It will always sting to see a pregnant woman or a small baby, but I will get through it.  I may cry or have to walk away, but I will survive.  I even got to hold my cousin's little boy last night and he was so stinkin' cute it's ridiculous.  Her's didn't even bother me as much as the other people in the room with babies...maybe because I know she has been in my shoes and I know that she is a great person that deserves him.  That really does help make it more tolerable.  It may not seem right, or even a selfish conclusion, but it's just how it works.  Granted, I don't know these other women's stories, but I can't help but wonder if they know just how blessed they are or wonder if they are deserving, and what makes them more so than I?  Logically, it may not make sense, but if you have had a loss of your own, than most likely you know exactly where I'm coming from.  It's not just me, it's the way it works for most of us, as I've learned through the wonderful virtual family I have come to know through an online group.  We have a bond that we share...losing our babies, and it makes for a very special and tight bond.  A group that you really do have to be inducted into, no matter how much you wish you weren't.

I have a little more hope now that maybe I'm not doomed or cursed to constantly have the crazy, unbelievable, horrible luck that seems to cling to me no matter where I go or what I do.  The lady who hit my car finally came forward and contacted her insurance.  The day after I got the letter saying they denied my claim...she called, they reopened my case, and now they are accepting liability!  I will be getting my car fixed soon!  On top of everything, I won't have to go outside and feel sick to my stomach every time I see my NEW car with a dent and scratches down the side.  I don't have to worry about coming up with the $500 just to fix my car that another person damaged!  Such a huge weight has lifted.  I am still fighting the hospital on the L&D charges, but they have closed my case and denied that the charges are wrong.  I simply told them I wouldn't pay it and they could either have someone contact me that I could talk to, other than the billing ladies that don't have much sense, or they can take me to court.  I will send every bill they send me right back to them with a big 'VOID' written across it.  Maybe they will finally have someone call me that can fix it or someone that can at least discuss it.  Otherwise, they can take me to court.  I don't really care.  I am hard headed and don't take too well to being screwed over.  Sure, no one does, but I don't give up if I feel I'm being wronged.  I'm not going to stress over it any more.  I won't pay a penny of it.  That's that.

Sweet girls fixing the flowers on other graves
We went to the cemetery yesterday for Granny's birthday.  All mom's sisters were there, and Mel, Hannah, Hayley, and I.  Of course, Hayley brought Andrew along, too. : )  Hayley picked out some little figurines to put on the graves, and we brought two balloons that we attached our letters to.  Everyone else signed one of the balloons with their own messages to Heaven and we let them go.  We weren't sure if they were going to make it above the trees, but they took off at the last minute.  Everyone was cheering them on and coaxing them OVER the trees.  : )  I realized that one positive thing Hayley has learned from our losses has been that she has an empathetic and caring understanding of death.  She has always wanted to put flowers on the graves, but there is just something more mature and understanding now.  Death is not as mysterious.  It's not something you just read about or that happens to other people.  The headstones are not just stones with writing...they symbolize real people that were once living and breathing, with families and loved ones who miss them.  Even babies.  She and Hannah walked around picking up fallen flowers and trinkets from people's headstones and replacing them.  She asked if we could go back with flowers for everyone and put them on all the graves that don't have anything...realizing these were most likely long forgotten and obviously unvisited.  I am so proud to be her mother.  She has such a kind and loving heart.  She is one of  a kind, and she is a big reason that MY heart can go on...even with the small pieces missing...

Sending our letters and balloons to Heaven

Giving Andrew a ride. : )

My mom and aunts
After the cemetery, Julie and I went to Cantina Laredo, a Mexican restaurant, for a friend of ours' 40th birthday.  It was weird being "out" on a weekend night, away from home, AND without my kids or Doug!  I kinda enjoyed it. LOL  I saw some old friends, ate good food, and just enjoyed being away for a while.  Our friend's party went great and she was toasted and honored, as was much deserved.  She is a very caring and giving person, so it was nice to see her getting a little bit of that back, and seeing that everyone loves her just as much as we do.  All in all, it was nice to get out and just be "normal" again.  It also touched me that an old friend made an observation that made me feel, well, validated.  He said that I was doing better than all of them (meaning all our old "gang" from 20 years ago) and that I had my "shit together."  Back then, no one would've thought that I would be the one to pull ahead and get my head on straight, but I did.  He even went so far as to say that I had a lot of people working against me and trying to drag me down back then...people doing me wrong that didn't care about me....yet, somehow I made it and am living the life that we all should be.  I've fought a lot of things in silence and on my own, basically because I've been misunderstood and went through things that people just don't know, and finally, it was nice to hear that someone GOT it and was acknowledging it.  Thank you.  <3

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Two months...

Two months ago today I went to bed cautiously excited that I made it past the date of my latest lost, only to wake up and find the heartbeat was missing.  My little Andrew had died in MY sleep.  I should be very obviously pregnant with a big bulbous belly.  I should be feeling his kicks and ooohhhing and aaaahhhing with the kids and Doug as we watch my belly move.  Instead, I hold my little lamb (I moved his ashes to a lamb stuffed animal), hug him, kiss him, and tell him how much I wish he were here.  I close my eyes and try to imagine that it IS him and he is in my arms, as he should one day be...but it never will be.  A baggie full of ashes are all I will ever know of him...other than those few hours in the hospital that we spent with him.  Thank God I have the pictures of him.

I finally stopped bleeding two days ago.  I think the rest of the "product" has passed, finally.  Now, I can finally begin to heal after not having the constant, gruesome reminder of blood every time I go to the bathroom.  Now, I don't have to constantly worry that I will have to have another D&C.  I'm pretty sure I saw the tissue, so I'm optimistic that at my next scan in a few weeks, things will be cleared out and we can do a few more tests.  We will probably try again in a few months, but I'm just still so torn about it.  I don't know that I can bear another loss, but I don't know that I can end my childbearing years on three unexplained, seemingly luck-of-the draw losses.  I don't think I can feel like my life can move on if I don't have one more baby.  Yes, I am grateful that I have three of the most awesome children a mother could ask for...but there is still a void.  A void that is left even bigger now that three losses have slowly chipped away at it and made it bigger and bigger every July, with each subsequent loss.  The doctor has no answers and does not see why I can't have a healthy baby.  She sees no reason why I shouldn't try again, aside from the taxing toll and emotions that it causes me.  Of course, there's also the stress it would cause, seeing that I will never get to enjoy a moment of pregnancy again and it will be nine months of torture until a healthy baby is in my arms...God willing.  Each of my losses have been so different that there doesn't seem to be a connection, but now that I've had the induction, the D&C, and the two months of bleeding thanks to the retained I wonder if there is a new reason that might cause a future loss due to scarring or something.  It's such a mind game.

I am starting to feel normal again, though.  As in, I am back to my normal routine for the most part.  I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am not expecting anymore and my belly is just fat, not baby.  That baby is gone.  BUT, the hurt is a little less and not as overpowering.  I still cry, pretty much everyday.  I still hate it.  BUT, I am enjoying my kids, back to working, exercising, LIVING.  The kids are doing great in school, and it has actually been nice to have some time to myself for a change.  I've been trying to take better care of myself and focus more on me and getting me happy and healthy.  I had a great massage last week that really helped get rid of some of my pain.  Since the loss, the change in hormones has really jacked up my fibromyalgia to the point where I can literally see why it is one of the leading causes of suicide.  I would NEVER consider it myself, but it is such a hopeless, painful thing to deal with sometimes...I can understand why some people lose hope and end it, just to get away from it.  Again, death is the last thing I want for myself, so no worries.  I am used to suffering and will continue to do so.  That's what my life seems to be about anyway.

Hopefully now I can get back on track and quit worrying about when I WOULD get back on track.  That is a huge stress lifted.  I am still waiting on my refund from the doctor.  That money would really help right now, as we are still trying to catch up from the month of July and how bad it threw us off track, what with being off of work, the extra money spent on us being at home, the money for bills, etc.  It's just one thing after another.  My turn is coming though. I feel deep down that one person can only take so much and then they HAVE to have some kind of luck come their way.  I am sick of hearing that "God never gives us more than we can handle," because honestly, I don't have a choice.  I can't handle any more.  I can't handle what I've been through, I just have no choice.  It happened.  It is.  I can either deal with it or lay down and die.  I don't see that as "handling" it.  I see that as simply being.

Anyway, here's to the new chapter.  The better, healthier me.  The me that is going to find answers for all my questions.  The one who is going to find what I believe in.  Here's to enjoying life more, even through the pain.  Enjoying my children more, my family, my friends.  It's time to start living again.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

First week of school - CHECK!

Our routine seems to be falling into place now.  Hayley likes her school.  Trevor wasn't sure if he liked it or not, but hasn't given me any problems with going.  He was mad that they never got to play with the toys in the classroom, but once he found out they would get a toy if they were good, he was set on that darn toy!  He made it through the week and was so happy yesterday (Friday) when he came out and showed me his Monster truck and three pieces of candy he got for being good all week.  He is dead-set on being good all the time, now. HAHA.  He is a good kid anyway and doesn't like to get in trouble, so I wasn't too worries, but then again, he got the one teacher Hayley hoped he didn't get...cause she's mean.  My main fear is that the first time he hears a tone in the teacher's voice directed at him he is going to lose it.  Time will tell.  She wrote "Good kid!!!" on his weekly progress report, so I'm hoping everything just keeps sailing along.  I miss the little toot during the day, but it's been nice to be alone, too.  I'm still functioning on low steam these days, so being alone has given me a little time to try and work my own things out.  I'm still working, too, so it's been rough getting up at 4:30, working until 7, getting the kids up and out the door by 7:45, and then coming home to clean a little or go for a walk before my 10-12 shift.  I'm getting back in the swing of things though.  I get a few hours to myself after work to eat lunch and veg out a bit, which I really need right now.  Then, it's off to get the kids again at 2:40 and 3:40.  The parking issue at the schools was hectic and frustrating the first few days, but we have it down now.  It does suck that I pick Trevor up an hour before Hayley, so we come home for about 20 minutes before we go right back up there to get her.  Yuck.  But, they are happy and liking school, so that's the most I could ask for.  Now to hope it stays that way the rest of the school year. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

The good, the bad, the BS

Hmmmm....where to even begin?  The good?  I was finally able to see my RE doctor, Dr. Thomas, whom I love to pieces.  It was nice to talk to a doctor who genuinely cares, and boy did I talk.  As soon as I walked in her office and she asked how I was doing, I lost it.  She said she could tell that, although I looked good, she could see in my face and demeanor that this was hitting me a lot harder.  She has always admired my strength and the ability to "laugh it off," so to speak.  I wasn't that humorous and entertaining on this visit.  A few days after my previous loss of Lily, she was looking on ultrasound for my ovary and I said, "God, did it fall out too?"  She thought that was hilarious and couldn't stop talking about the fact that I was able to find humor through what I was going through.  Guess it's just my way of coping.  It's either that or fall apart and go into a devastating, catatonic depression...I choose laughter.  Well, actually, I choose my babies and to never have been in this position in the first place, but since I am far from having that power, I will go with laughter whenever possible...but don't be fooled.  I am still dying on the inside.

Anyway, this is the good news part, so let's see.  Um.  There is nothing wrong with me that we can figure out. We have ran the gamut of tests available and there is nothing.  My babies have tested normal.  It is a mystery. My losses are also so different that there is no pattern.  Had it been a clotting disorder, then my last pregnancy wouldn't have ended due to a hemorrhage, which is the opposite of clotting, obviously.  The good news is, and this is my doctor's words, not mine:  "Don't take this the wrong way, but it just boils down to...well, REALLY SHITTY luck."  Is that good news?  I  mean, all my tests are normal...most of them look great, actually.  Doug's tests look great.  So we are great, right?  Having nothing wrong should be good news...shouldn't it?  But then, with no answers, there is nothing to treat.  There is no explanation for WHY my babies are gone.  All the questions I had for her - should I have eaten more, should I have exercised and gotten out of bed more, etc. - were all answered.  She assured me, and made me look at her when she said it, that it is NOT my fault or anything I did or didn't do.  She knows that I will still beat myself up that somehow I could or should have done something different, even though I was overly cautious.  I didn't eat sandwich meat or hot dogs, no baths, took my vitamins, switched to organic cleaners....I mean, I did it all.  She let me know how mad she was that this has happened to me again, and I believe her.  She told me that she believes that we aren't given more than we can handle and that is proof that I am "one tough cookie, Girl.  You are stronger than the rest of us...really.  I don't know how you have made it through and handled all this the way you have."  Thanks.  I guess the fact that I get sicker and my pain gets worse with stress helps turn me off of wallowing too much.  If I cry, I get sick to my stomach for days and ensure that I will have a migraine and my pain levels go through the roof as my muscles turn to stone.  Thank you fibromyalgia for teaching me to turn off my emotions and feelings...for helping me learn to go numb and remove myself from my life. In a way, I feel like an outsider looking in.  My pain is just a way of life.  I've just learned to expect it.  Some people may say that I just think negatively and bring it on myself, but actually, I have tried my best to think positively and give the benefit of the doubt, but it doesn't matter.  It keeps happening anyway.  I've just learned to aim low.  That way, I'm not as devastated and disappointed in the end, and so far, it seems to be the right way to handle it because life hasn't raised the "low" bar yet.  If I don't expect much, it won't hurt as bad when I don't get it. When the monsoon of bad luck never ends, well, if I don't dream of being dry and feeling the sun, then it doesn't bother me as much when I stay wet and cold.

OKAY, the good news...the good news.  Having my doctor back really is good news.  I had such a weight lifted just knowing she is back in my life and it felt great talking to her.  I shared some pictures with her and we cried together.  She was really affected by seeing the picture of Hayley and Trevor with the monkey that holds Andrew's ashes.  She has never seen my kids before and between that and the monkey idea, she was overwhelmed.  She has never seen or heard of the stuffed animal urns, and by her reaction, I'm sure many more women are GOING to hear about them, and that's great.  I think they could help a lot more women and families cope.  Being able to hug and hold something soft and lovable, instead of rubbing a cold, hard statue or wooden box...well.  She is so genuine and really cares.  It's like being with a really good friend, who is also a doctor...what could be better than that?  Especially when you are me, with all my weird afflictions and medical maladies! :)

Aside from that, I had a little occurrence (for lack of a better word) yesterday morning. I had a mini-breakdown after dropping the kids off at school.  I was looking at Andrew's pictures, crying, and talking to him.  I don't know if I specifically said it at that time, but I always ask for a sign.  I always ask for a white feather or a butterfly...a sign from above that life goes on and the angels really are there.  A sign that my babies are okay.  I even wrote it in my letter to Andrew that we attached to our balloons to Heaven before we released them.  I went for a walk to clear my head.  It was humid and I was feeling uncomfortable, so was ready to get back home and relax.  I was on my last leg of the walk, coming up to the last corner I would have to turn and I saw something floating down from the sky...a few feet over my head.  The sky about it was bright blue and cloudless, nothing in sight.  It floated straight down as I continued to walk, and I realized as it came to rest on the sidewalk right in front of me that it was a small, quarter-sized, downy white feather.  There were no trees around within several houses.  There was a man standing there, so I just kept walking, never slowing my pace, but the realization hit me.  A smile crept across my face.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was a small WHITE FEATHER!  I picked up the pace and decided to go back around the block again.  I hoped it would still be there in 15 minutes when I made my way back around, but knew it wouldn't be.  It wasn't.  Still, it makes me smile and I have to wonder.  I'm not totally convinced, but then again...if we always explain away every sign we are given, we may miss a lot of signs.  Sure, anything can be coincidence, but what if it's not?  Damn...why didn't I just stop and pick it up.  Now that will always bug me.

Okay, now on to the bad news...or at least, the consistently bad news.  When I told Dr. Thomas that I was still bleeding, she took me back for an exam and ultrasound.  She was in awe that no testing had been done thus far to make sure everything was healing properly.  My ovaries looked great, 18 follicles on one ovary!  Too bad I can't take advantage of that.  Instead, there is a thickening in the lining of my uterus, connected to a big feeder vessel...meaning it has a good blood supply.  Obviously, this is why I have been bleeding for 7 weeks now.  It's not a good sign.  More than likely there is something left from the pregnancy.  Funny, didn't Dr. Vu tell me that she was positive there was nothing in there.  She was positive that there wasn't even any reason to do the D&C, which was proven afterwards that there had been nothing left (she was sure to tell us this several times how she was RIGHT).  Now, I may end up having to have ANOTHER D&C.  I am waiting on lab results, which should come in this afternoon, and then we will see where we go from here.  Probably, I will first have to have a small camera inserted into my uterus to look and see what exactly this is.  Then, I may have to take medicine to try and help expel the contents (which sounds easy, but this is me.  I don't do medicine well.  I denied any medication during my delivery even though being induced and being in labor was excruciating, but I prefer the pain over the side effects of the medication....even when I feel I am literally being torn to shreds from head to toe...that's how bad I had medicine).  We may wait until I have a cycle and hope that whatever this is is expelled, but honestly, I'd rather do what we can now to get it over with.  I am so tired of it all...I mean, physically and mentally EXHAUSTED.  I am tired of the constant reminder of what I went through and what I SHOULD be going through.  I am tired of the constant worry and wonder, it's just one thing after another.  I don't want to wait and risk infection or scarring.  It's nice to have a doctor who agrees with me.  All she could do was shake her head at my "shitty luck."  She just couldn't believe how these things just keep happening to me.  It's nice to have that validation.  I hate to say anything about my shitty luck because I don't want people thinking I'm a drama queen or just hyping things up, kind of like how I keep my pain levels a secret.  To have the doctor make the observations without ME saying it...that goes in the GOOD NEWS section.  Funny, the things that put a smile on my face these days.  Some ladies like shoes or purses...I just like validation.