Thursday, August 11, 2011

Please Be Gentle ~ Jill B. Englar

Please Be Gentle
By Jill B. Englar

Please be gentle with me for I am grieving.
The sea I swim in is a lonely one
and the shore seems miles away.
Waves of despair numb my soul
as I struggle through each day.
My heart is heavy with sorrow.
I want to shout and scream
and repeatedly ask 'why?'
At times, my grief overwhelms me
and I weep bitterly,
so great is my loss.
Please don’t turn away
or tell me to move on with my life.
I must embrace my pain
before I can begin to heal.
Companion me through tears
and sit with me in loving silence.
Honor where I am in my journey,
not where you think I should be.
Listen patiently to my story,
I may need to tell it over and over again.
It’s how I begin to grasp the enormity of my loss.
Nurture me through the weeks and months ahead.
Forgive me when I seem distant and inconsolable.
A small flame still burns within my heart,
and shared memories may trigger
both laughter and tears.
I need your support and understanding.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
I must find my own path.
Please, will you walk beside me?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The results....

Well, the doctor finally called...or should I say, returned MY call.  Looks like all the tests on Andrew came back normal.  He was a perfect and healthy little boy.  Obviously, it is MY body that is killing my babies.  Why?  I don't know, but it comes down to the blood-clotting has to.  My test was slightly abnormal on one of the clotting tests the fertility doctor did on me a year ago, but a hematologist said it wasn't concerning and was "normal."  My doctor gave me the option to take an aspirin a day, but it was up to me and she didn't think it was really I have to kick myself for not taking every possible precaution I could.  If I had just taken the damn thing, Andrew may still be here.  Instead, I have to look at his picture knowing that he was doing his part, growing perfectly, and was healthy...but something happened to end it.  I happened.  It's the only answer that makes sense.  I have to look at his picture knowing there is no reason I should be seeing him like that...he could have survived.  As harsh and as horrid as it sounds, my body killed him. The placenta did show the possible problem (perivillous fibrin disposition), which could point to a clotting disorder, or could be from the fact that he had died almost three days before I delivered.  I think it will be the former.  I hate this.

Now, the question is, do I try again?  Do I risk it again?  Can I live with myself if I lose another?  Obviously, the babies are growing fine and healthy, it's just a matter of giving them the right environment.  If I take medication, will my body do it's part and not fail another precious child?  If they don't find a cause on further or repeat testing, do I risk it anyway without medication?  It can't just be luck of the draw three times in a row, and two 14-week miscarriages...can it?  I really was feeling better about this pregnancy and thought that the first two in a row were luck.  I mean, the early one I had is VERY common, it happens.  The second one was because I jumped and moved wrong, causing the hemorrhage, which then caused the placenta to tear away a week later, expelling Lily and ending that one. But, now there's this one.  Everything was fine.  His heartbeat was fine just hours before he died.  His ultrasound testing a week and a half before showed him to be perfect, as did the blood tests.  So maybe it's not as random as I was thinking...and my fertility doctor was wrong, too.  She had no answers or explanations.  I wonder what she will say now when I go back next week?

If I do get pregnant again, will I get lucky enough to have another healthy child?  I have three already, and now two of the four miscarriages (the only ones that were tested) were genetically normal, so will I be blessed with another healthy baby AND be able to carry to term.  Can I bear to suffer through a pregnancy, physically, mentally, emotionally, knowing the toll it takes on me...AND deal with the constant fear and anxiety that at any moment something could go wrong AGAIN?  Can I live with the fact that I will never have another child, otherwise?  I just don't know.  I just still cannot believe that I am in this position.  My first two pregnancies were hard on my physically, but were so easy to conceive and there were no complications.  I had the 14-week loss where the baby had died at 12 weeks...and at that time I had never even heard of such a thing.  I thought you bled, you lost the baby, and it all happened early on.  I didn't know you could carry around a baby who had died AND go on  with the pregnancy like nothing happened.  That shook my world!  Then, I was blessed with Trevor, so it seemed that the loss was just one of those things after all.  Surely that 1% chance was just a "fluke."  Surely, with having one rare and isolated loss, such as I did, I was good to go. That was the one bad experience I was going to have.  No one can fall into the 1% category over and over again, right?

I've always wanted two children close in age, but the way things keep working out, it's just never going to happen.  Taylor is 18.  Hayley is 11.  Trevor will be 6 in December...and I've been trying for almost 3 years, with no luck.  Ages aside, I just need another baby.  I am at a different place in my life right now and I am getting older.  I just need one more.  If I could have five more, I would, but I will settle for just one more. Please God, that's all I'm asking, and then, I can go on with the rest of my life.  Some may say I have three healthy children already, so I should be thankful, and I am.  BUT, that just doesn't fill this need and desire for another.  It's so frustrating to be this person.  One of the unfortunate women who has trouble with pregnancy and carrying a baby to term.  It hurts.  My angels and losses are never out of my mind and I don't know that I will ever move forward without my rainbow baby (a baby conceived after loss(es).  The beauty at the end of the storm).

I moved Andrew's ashes into Hayley's Scentsy monkey.  It's nice to have something to hold, to squeeze, to lay with...Hayley likes it, too.  Even Trevor has come up to hug it.  It works perfectly, and the vanilla scent really helps relax me.  The only bad thing is that it makes me feel bad to walk out of the room and leave him on my desk when I could carry him with me.  I know it sounds crazy, but he is and always will be my baby.  It's strange to sit with him in my lap, knowing he should be just a few inches away thriving in my womb.  Instead, he is a pile of ashes tucked away inside a stuffed animal.  Once the anxiety and hurt heals a bit, I will probably move him back to his beautiful urn, but for now, I just need him close.  Maybe after I buy mine and Hayley's urn necklaces, it will be easier to make that transition since he will always be right by our hearts.  I hope he can feel the love we have for him.  I just wish we could feel his love in return.

I never thought I’d join the “baby loss mom” club.  I sure never thought I’d join the “recurrent baby loss mom” club.  What a cruel joke.  I have had three people in the past week tell me they are expecting.  I try to bite my tongue.  I was expecting too.  So many of us were.  You don’t always get what you expect.  Sometimes, instead of a baby, you get a pile of ashes.  Instead of a birth certificate, a death certificate.  And instead of joy and happiness, heart break and devastation.~ Nikki

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Andrew is home!

My Andrew is home, one month and one day to the date he was born.  Finally.  Such a big weight has lifted, but it still sucks.  What I wouldn't give to have my baby instead of a pile of ashes.  It is what it is.  I can't change anything, no matter how hard I try or want to, so I am happy that he is at least home where he is loved and we can keep him "safe."  He isn't lying around the morgue or funeral home anymore, no more strangers or being alone.  He is home.

It was strange to see the funeral director bring in a big paper gift bag, knowing that he was carrying the cremains of my son.  The temporary plastic urn they had him in was actually quite nice and I was happy to see that he wasn't just in a cardboard box.  It looked like the hands that prepared him really cared and took the time to make everything look nice and show that he was important.  When his ashes were removed there was a gold medal tied around the bag with his ID number.  It took my breath at first to see a bag of what looked like sand, knowing that this was the little boy who was created and grew in my belly, but it wasn't really as morbid as I had thought.  Even the bag looked like it had been handled with care.  I had asked to see the ashes, frankly because I was so worried that he was so small that there wouldn't be anything left.  I think a big part of my fear this last month was that they would call and say they were sorry but there was nothing left for me.  I was shocked at the amount of ashes there were.  I emailed Restland, where he was cremated, to ask if they did cremate him with a piece of wood after all.  I was truly expecting just a pinch of ashes.  As it is, the ashes barely fit in the memorial urn we bought!  I will be able to use some of the ashes in a couple of necklaces for Hayley and I to wear close to our hearts, as well as have him in the urn.  I like that.  If I can't hold and soothe him to sleep on my chest, with him being lulled by the rhythmic drumming of my heart, then I will carry him in a necklace close to my heart where he lives forever.  Again, not what I wish it was, but it's all I can do...all that I have.

We did find out that the doctor was refusing to sign the death certificate.  I'm not surprised, seeing that she never once acted as if I were losing a baby.  She was not a caring doctor at all, in fact.  I still see her flinching when I tried to hand Andrew to her when my contractions got so strong that I couldn't hold him any more.  While she retreated and went across the room for gloves, the nurse stepped in to take him from me, telling him how precious he was, and offered to leave him in the room where I could spend more time with him later.  The doctor was indifferent, never acknowledging him or acting as if I were anything but another labor or surgery.  Never an "aww...he was beautiful."  No "I'm sorry."  Nothing.  If I could choke her and get away with it...I would.  Instead, I will wait and handle it as I should and hit her where it hurts.  I will not stand back and let her treat another woman or baby the way she treated me and mine.  I had bad feelings about her from the start.  Too bad I didn't follow my instincts.  I have a long list of wrongs she inflicted on me and I will be compiling them in a letter to send to the hospital, the State, the insurance, and wherever else I can find to send it.  I want it on her record at the very least.  She is in the wrong field to be so uncaring, methodical, and cold.  If I were pregnant, why would I want a doctor that doesn't like babies or at least empathize with mothers?  She may be a great doctor on paper, or for a textbook pregnancy, but she didn't know much of anything about mine, and said more than once that she would have to "look it up" and "study" things for me, from a low FSH in the beginning, to the vitamins that my previous doctor had okayed, and then there was the antibiotics for my UTI that she was unsure of.  She never studied or gave me answers for any of the above.  In fact, she always treated me like I was blowing things out of proportion and thing that I have dealt with my entire life and cannot STAND!  It took my entire life to be diagnosed with hypersensitiveness, anxiety, and fibromyalgia.  To have my pain acknowledged as real, right down to the deterioration and arthritis in my hip, which is very rare at such a young age, I am used to doctors blowing me off.  It took YEARS of fighting and tests before I found doctors who started finding out that not only was I truly suffering with REAL issues, but my issues were very bad by the time they finally had a name.  In a way, I was lucky because I learned to cope with them (what choice did I have), but I do NOT exaggerate my symptoms.  In fact, it is quite the opposite.  I have a high pain tolerance because of my issues AND I second-guess that anything is wrong, usually until it is too late, because it is ingrained in me that I don't REALLY feel the way I feel.  When I say I'm in's BAD pain.  SO, when a doctor acts as though I am a hypochondriac or doesn't listen when I'm giving them the clues they need, it pisses me off to no end.  What's funny is I always get proved right in the end, and then the doctor's have that "Oh.  You were right," or "You really DO have..." such and such.  YES!  THAT'S WHAT I SAID IN THE FIRST PLACE!  FREAKIN LISTEN!  I KNOW MY DAMN BODY!

Anyway, the funeral director was just as sickened by the way doctors treat babies as I was.  Apparently, he had had a similar experience 40 years ago, so he was empathetic and caring.  He understood the need for closure.  The need to protect our children, even when they are beyond protecting.  He understood that above all else...they are OUR CHILDREN.  He pulled the cards with Andrew's footprints on them and said, " tiny.  The doctor should be made to look at these and then say..."

The lady at the funeral home fought for several weeks to get the doctor to sign the death certificate and apparently got pretty "in your face" about it.  I am so thankful that they fought for us and for Andrew.  It's such BS.  Why do we have to fight to prove that our babies were real...they were a LIFE, not just a clump of tissue?  You can see the heart beating on ultrasound as early as FIVE weeks!!!!  You can see little arms and legs, hands and feet...How is that not a life?  They kick and wiggle and suck their thumbs...but if the doctors had their way, they would just use them for lab testing and then dispose of them.  It sickens me.  It would be great if all the people who put their energy into abortion rights would start fighting for these babies' rights.  The whole system is disgusting and people need to stand up and fight for OUR rights and fight for OUR babies.

I'll step down from my soapbox now.  The main thing is, my son is finally home where we can all get a little bit of peace and comfort.  We can begin moving on and learning to live our lives again, without him.  We will search for our new normal.  I will try to find ways to keep his memory alive and make his loss mean something by helping other women in similar situations.  I want to find ways to start bringing awareness and making hospitals, doctors, and states, in general, change their rules and laws.  Andrew's memory will live on in our hearts...never will we forget our precious boy.  He was already such a big part of our lives, and still is.  He is home.

9:30  Well, I love the angel urn, but now I'm realizing the point of the soft, teddy bear urn.  As soon as I can afford it I will buy one of those.  I didn't realize how much I would want to hold Andrew and hug him.  I can't leave this one alone and it's just not good for carrying around or lying with.