Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections - 2012 edition

As I see and hear everyone talking about the highs and lows of 2012 I often find myself melancholy and sad about what 2012 was and what it wasn't.  I had some great events and memories from 2012 and for those I am thankful - but one event that casts a shadow over so much is the loss of our Wren.  This time last year I was cautiously optimistic that our first loss had been a single, awful incident.  Though I was obviously heartbroken I still felt that next time things would be different and I really expected to be holding and loving on our baby on the eve of 2013.  And when we got pregnant last January and things appeared to be going well, we got past the first trimester, I told work, etc, etc, etc I REALLY thought we had made it and we were going to welcome a baby during 2012.  Of course that was not meant to be.  So as I reflect on 2012 I think a lot about the loss of my innocence and naivety.  I have definitely grown in compassion and understanding but the costs of that growth was high. 

I am normally an optimist and I would love to think about the coming year with blind optimism but if 2012 has taught me anything it is to not assume or take for granted.  I am almost afraid to put high hopes on 2013 right now - so right now as I look to the coming year my hope is to live in the moment and enjoy and be thankful for the blessings I am given. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Is it Christmas Yet?

I want to bottle up all the excitement, fun, laughter, and love from this Christmas season so I will never forget it.  From making Christmas cookies, to an awesome visit with Santa, to driving around and looking at Christmas lights at every opportunity - I know that this Christmas will be one that I cherish and remember fondly. 

I am so thankful to have these experiences with Shawn and Fisher.  We have had a rough year in so many ways and I love that we are ending it on a high note!   Losing Wren brought so much sadness but it has also made me really appreciate the "little things" so much more.   I have really lived in the moment this Christmas season more than ever before and for that I am thankful.    I don't think I will ever forget Fisher asking to go to bed at 2 pm on Christmas Eve so Santa can come.   Or him running around screaming "Happy Christmas!" and then singing Jingle Bells very off key.  While I will always miss our little girl I am thankful for the lessons and the perspective she taught me this year.  I am off to spend the rest of the day with an excited three year old and cherishing every time he asks me "Is it Christmas yet?"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Heavy Heart

The nation is mourning.  The events of last Friday were unimaginable until they happened.  And now we are left trying to wrap our heads and process these horrific acts.  We put ourselves in the shoes of the victims, the parents, and the teachers knowing that while we feel pain, we can't really imagine what they are going through.

And then I found out about another unimaginable event that happened this weekend.  A mama died after having her first child.  I don't know this mom but my heart aches for her.  It aches for her family, her daughter, her husband.  I do know many of her coworkers and friends. My heart aches for them.  Again, I am putting myself in each of their shoes, but I can't really imagine what they are going through. 

With a heavy heart we go on.  And in the case of the Connecticut shootings - the outpouring of love and compassion is memorable and beautiful.   The shooter was filled with hate and anger but that is not what persists.  His hate and anger brought an unimaginable amount of love and compassion to that town and those families.  Does it replace what they lost?  No way.  But hopefully it will help the healing begin and will eventually bring some peace to those affected. 

With a heavy heart I was reminded by a friend that Ina May has another square on her quilt.  Ina May has a Safe Motherhood Quilt with a square devoted to each woman who has died from pregnancy-related causes since 1982.    Again - the love and compassion for this woman, her family, and her friends is memorable and beautiful.  I am thankful to live in a community that loves each other and holds each other in unimaginably painful times. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Whole Woman: Healthy Woman

Today I went to the first workshop in a three part series called "Whole Woman: Healthy Woman."
We focussed on leadership - how we were leaders in our respective groups, how we can improve our leadership skills, and how we can empower others while leading.
After introductions we spent about an hour doing yoga.  That was the first time I have done yoga in a group setting and I really enjoyed it!!  It felt great and I look forward to doing that again soon.
The second part of the workshop involved thinking of a few of our weaknesses we see in ourselves as a leader and work to rephrase those perceived weaknesses in our thinking.  We did this by creating a collage to help us rephrase and work through some of our negative feelings.

One of my weaknesses I chose was the self doubt and regret that creeps into my thinking at times.   I looked through many quotes while making my college and one that I found really spoke to me.  I wanted to put it here in my blog so I can look back to it when I need a reminder.

"Oh soul,
  you worry too much.
  You have seen your own strength.
  You have seen your own beauty.
  You have seen your golden wings.
  Of anything less,
  why do you worry?
  You are in truth
   the soul, of the soul, of the soul."  - Rumi 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 15: Wave of Light

Candles for Finley, Wren, my friend's baby that she lost today, and all the other babies that are loved but not held.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 13: Signs

Today was Wren's due date.  Oct 13th.  I have mixed feelings about today. Some ways it is hard.  But honestly it isn't harder than the last few weeks.  I don't put a lot of emphasis on "due" dates in pregnancy - because I know that a baby is due when he or she is fully cooked and ready to make an appearance and a particular date doesn't mean much.  So I think more of a due month.  Two weeks prior and two weeks after the due date.  So the last few weeks have been rough as I have been going about the motions of my normal, non 9 month pregnant life.  Prior to losing Wren I had made many work plans thinking I would not be working at this point in the year.  There have been many reminders the past few weeks that my life is not as I had thought it would be right now and those reminders have been hard to deal with at times.

In many ways I am relieved that her due date is here.  I have been avoiding the calender and dates since May.  I hate thinking "I would have been X number of weeks."  So that is behind me and I am grateful. 

Signs is the topic of the CarlyMarie Project today.  Since we lost Wren I have always imagined her in heaven being rocked by my Nana.  I can see Nana and Grandaddy on rocking chairs rocking their three great grandchildren in heaven.  On hard nights that image has been a peaceful and comfortable image.  Last July I was driving in the mountains alone for work and I had my ipod on shuffle.  I was thinking about Wren, Finley, and Nana and then the song that always reminds me of Nana came on my Ipod.  It was kind of weird - since I have so many songs on my ipod and that song came on at that moment.  And then the next song that came on was a song about miscarriage that obviously reminds me of Finley and Wren.   Just too weird to be a coincendence. :)  It was a sign to me that they are all together in heaven. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 11: Supportive Family/friends

Today's subject is about supportive friends and family.    I have been overwhelmed by supportive and kind words after both of our losses.  I was taken aback by so many people who reached out to me and told me their own stories of losses.  It was shocking and sad but comforting at the same time.  This  is one reason that I talk and write about what we have been through and what we are going through, because I know I am not alone and I want people to feel comfortable talking about their grief and journey with me and with others. 

The picture that I took for today's entry are items that two people who have been very supportive of me gave me in memory of Finley and Wren.  My super sweet friend Rachael has been amazing throughout the last year.  After our first loss last September she sent me the blanket pictured to honor our loss.  I love Rachael because she is comfortable enough to talk about Wren and Finley with me.  She has sent me random texts and messages throughout the year when she was thinking of one of our babies.  She is someone that I can always call or email or just tell her I am sad. 

My mom gave me the remember bracelet after we lost Wren.  She has always been supportive in every aspect of my life including the losses of our babies.  She wears a neclace that has a charm for each of her grandchildren which includes a charm for Finley, Wren, and Lucy (my older sister Shanna's baby that died in pregnancy). 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10: Symbol

This is my favorite post so far!  The topic for today is symbol - and it is not suprising that the symbol that I associate with my losses are birds.   More specifically wrens.  As soon as I knew our baby had died at 16 weeks I knew I was going to name him or her after a bird. It just made sense to me - I can't really explain it, but I just knew I had to.  I thought up boy and girl names that were bird related, but during those long weeks while we were waiting for the results of the genetic testing, I was already calling the baby "Wren" in my head.  I just knew.  When my midwife called and told me the baby we lost was a girl - it was almost anticlimatic, she was telling me what I already knew, we had a genetically normal daughter...Wren. 

So obviously a wren is the symbol I associate with Wren.  But even before her - I already associated birds with our first loss - Finley. 

I love the excuse to buy bird paraphanelia actually.  But I also spend a lot of time outside- and I love when I have a special moment with any bird.   It is just a second where I can remember and smile to myself 

Day 9: Special Place

I already used this picture in Day 5 of the CarlyMarie Project.   However, Day 9's theme is "Special Place" and this is it.  Actually anywhere I can get outside and be in nature.  Being in the woods has always been a special place for me - but now it is a place where I can slow down and breathe in the amazing world around me.  It allows me to remember, reflect, and connect. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 8: Jewelry

Today's picture is of jewelry that represents my two angels.  I ordered this necklace as soon as we found out that Wren was a girl.  Unfortunately, the chain broke a few weeks ago and I just have the pendant with me.  It also has a little F disc for Finley and a W disk for Wren.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 5: Memorial

Today is Day 5 of the Capture your Grief project and the topic is Memorial.  I love the idea of planting a memorial garden and trees for each of my angels, but since we are currently renting I don't want to do that at this time.  However, the place that feels most like a memorial is nature.  I love when I have a few minutes alone in the woods, prefarably by water to reflect and be present in the moment.  Listening to the trickling water, feeling the moist breeze on my cheeks, watching the birds flicker around is the place I feel closest to God and the babies we have lost. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 4: Treasured Item

As I said in my last post I am out of town, so I don't have access to all my normal things but I do have a picture of one of my treasured items. 

I ordered this bracelet just a few days after our first loss.
"I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)"

 I love it the simplicity of the words (from a E.E. Cummings poem) and the bracelet.  I never thought when I ordered it and then wore it for months that I would be carrying 2 hearts in my heart. 

Day 3: Self Potrait After Loss

I am traveling right now for work so I don't have access to all my files and pics.  Today I spent the day at the Greeneville Airport coordinating volunteers that are helping with our project.  I had many hours alone at the airport, which is always nice.  I don't spend enough time in solace and I am always grateful for those rare times.  As usual, I noticed the natural world happening around me while hanging out at the airport all day and at one point I thought the sky looked gorgeous.  It was so blue and the clouds so white, just a gorgeous sky.  I spent some time watching the clouds and sitting in the silence. 
I snapped a picture of myself looking up at that gorgeous Tennessee fall sky.  It represents me after loss because I am more weathered but also more attuned to the world and what happens.  I live in the moment a little more than I used to and try appreciate the beauty around me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 2: Self Portrait Before Loss

Day 2 of the Capture Your Grief 2012 project is Self Portrait Before Loss. 

This was an easy one for me.  I was 15.5 weeks pregnant with Wren and I had just gotten comfortable with my pregnancy and wanted to document it.  We lost Finley at 11 weeks - so I was very very nervous the next pregnancy until I had a good ultrasound at 12 weeks.   When this picture was taken I was starting to feel flutters and was counting down the days until we found out if we were adding a boy or a girl to our family.  I really thought we were "in the clear" at this point in my pregnancy and I was starting to feel better from the morning sickness.  Only a few days after this picture was taken I went to a routine appointment and found that our little baby had passed away.

Capture Your Grief 2012

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.  Though people who have lost a child need no reminders of what they are missing - I have found that it is nice to have a specific time for people to reflect, connect, and mourn. 

Carly Marie is an amazing photographer that has helped many people in their journeys to healing from losing a baby or a child.  You can see more about her awesome work here. 

She is heading up a 31 day photo challenge during the month of October.  I have never partcipated in anything like this before, but I really do love the idea of taking a little time each day to reflect, connect, and mourn for my lost little ones.  As Wren's due date gets closer and closer I have been on a roller coaster of emotions and I love being able to channel some of the energy and thoughts into a project.  So here we go.  Excuse the quality of pics - I am far from a professional photograher,just a mom who wants to work through some emotions and feelings. 

Day One - Sunrise

I actually found out about the project after sunrise on day 1 and it was cloudy in Knoxville, so I went out behind my office and snapped a picture of the flowers and trees.  I will probably try to get a different sunrise another day :) But this is my official start. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Checking out this week

This week is proving to be a very hard week for me.   There is so much to it.   First - as much as I love Fisher I have bad memories associated with his birth.  How I wish I could forget the bad memories and only remember the good.   Those memories alone have put me into a little bit of an emotional tailspin the last couple of years but this year things are much harder.

This time last year I was pregnant with our second child.  I was so happy and excited and had visions of our family of four.  Everything seemed to be going well, I had had a couple of different ultrasounds and saw an adorable moving growing baby.  I had told my work I was pregnant and went through all the crap that came with that.   And then I started miscarrying the afternoon of Sept 15th while I was in Nashville for work.  And then things got worse the next morning and I ended up with a D&C to stop the bleeding.    There are just so many bad memories from a year ago. 

I have these reminders that my life is not what I thought it would be a year ago.    I have now had two losses within the year - both of which were very hard physically  on top of the emotional impacts.  I don't have much hope currently in having another child.  I am not ruling it out, but it isn't an exciting thing anymore - it is scary.

And put that all on top of the fact that my son is turning three and I don't want to overshadow the joy that we have in celebrating another year with him.  It is a rough week. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19th, Day of Hope

One year ago August 19th was just another day.  This year it is a day where I reflect, remember, and mourn my two babies that I died before I was able to hold them in my arms.  Finley and Wren.

I am afraid to speak about my babies that died honestly.  The feelings are so strong, raw, and painful.  It is hard to share such strong powerful feelings with anyone and even myself sometimes.  I am thankful for the Carly Marie Project for starting the August 19th Day of Hope and for helping me say things that I have such a hard time expressing.  

I hope today is a day where all of us (and there are so many!) can work through our grief just a little and acknowledge the pain and the love we have in our hearts. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Birthday reflections

Today is my birthday and it has been a day of reflection on the past year.  My 32nd year has probably been the hardest one for me yet both physically and emotionally.   I have grown spiritually and emotionally and for that I am thankful.  I feel much wiser, more cautious, and weathered as I enter my 33rd year of life.   In a lot of ways I am more calm and even tempered now.  I feel like I am just starting on a path of growth and change and I am looking forward to seeing where it takes me.
Thinking ahead to this next year is a little scary for me.  I like being in control and having a plan.  I realize now that I am not in control and plans are laughable and that knowledge is a scary place for me right now. 

Another year in the books. And many parts of this year that I happily leave in the books but there are definitely some parts that I will never leave that I will carry with me forever.  And for that I am also thankful.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The First Birth Activist Retreat at The Farm

I feel very privileged to have been a part of the First Birth Activist Retreat at The Farm. It was such an awesome experience that I am still having trouble wrapping my brain around everything.

Here is a quick recap by Rosemary Senjem -

"The First Birth Activists Retreat was held June 22-24, 2012 in Summertown, Tennessee at The Farm. More than 75 were in attendance.

The Birth Activists Retreat was amazingly productive and members and representatives of Birth Network National, BOLD, CAPPA, ACNM, MANA, DONA, Where's My Midwife, Improving Birth were there. The people are uniting and organizing to Tell the Truth about Birth!
Who else was there? Pregnant Moms, Moms with babes in arms, Dads with video cameras, university researchers + grad students, doulas, childbirth educators, midwives of all stripes and work locations, massage & CranioSacral therapists, labor and delivery nurses, legal representatives from L.A.B.O.R., political activists and experienced lobbyists, and a young fellow named Bo who is going to organize his boy scout troupe to raise money to Tell the Truth about Birth.
What did we accomplish? This very diverse group came together and did the hard work to find common ground around messaging and coordinated actions. We want everyone to have equal access to evidence-based maternity care. It is a human right.
Our initial focus is on rallies on Labor Day (and the week that follows), actions during National Midwifery one month later, and informing people for Election Day. We want to make it easier for everyone to Tell the Truth about Birth!"

First of all - I will tell you what the retreat was not. It was not a bunch of women sitting around complaining about our maternity system. Instead we started Saturday morning with success stories. Women told about how they lit a fire in their community and got things done! Women are demanding evidence based care and it is time for hosptials, health care providers, and insurance companies to listen to their consumers!

We broke into 6 groups - each group focused on one piece of the bigger picture of starting a birth revolution. There was a group that focused on the politics and political action that will be taken, a group that focused on education, one on how the many different groups (ICAN, women’s rights groups, holistic moms network, etc) can work together, and more. I felt called to the Public Action group. So in our group we brainstormed and eventually set up a timetable of ways we will engage the public.

I could seriously write a book about what all happened this weekend and what I took home from it.

· In several areas midwifes have lost privileges at hospitals. When the consumers came together to share their concerns and question why the change - the consumers prevailed!!! For more info on this check out the Where's My Midwife? page.

· Normalize the midwife. When someone is pregnant instead of asking who their doctor is - ask who their midwife is.

· Political -

oWe need to contact our state representatives and introduce ourselves. When we have a concern or a suggestion, we need to let them know. They are there for us.

oWe can work to get birth and other women's issues on local planks and platforms. *This to me was such a great idea!

· I got some great ideas for fundraising and engaging more and more people in ICAN and other groups that I work with.

· My bottom line - we can make a difference. People care about the state of maternity care in the US. The weekend allowed for many people from different agencies and walks of life to come together and work towards a common goal. It is happening.

Being in the company of so many strong, intelligent leaders was a powerful experience. It was a very healing weekend for me personally. I thought back often to the weakness and the fear that I felt after I had Fisher. I knew our system was so, so flawed - but I felt powerless and alone in those feelings. This weekend at The Farm allowed me to realize that I am not powerless or alone. On the last day of the retreat one of the organizers spur of the moment asked willing people to go on camera and say "I am a birth activist because...." My initial reaction was that I would not partcipate. I mean, I am not a birth activist. I don't work in the birth profession. No one cares to hear "my story". After I realized how I was avoiding my real thoughts and feelings I took a few minutes and walked away and let the emotions and feelings wash over me. Shaking and scared I walked in front of the camera and said

"I am a birth activist because my son was injured at birth. I refuse to let any other woman or child go through the traumatic journey we have been through the last three years."

And then I walked away from the camera feeling more at peace than I have since Fisher was born. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Farm Here I come!

I am buzzing around my house this morning packing for my weekend trip to the first annual Birth Activist Retreat that is being held at The Farm in Summertown, TN.  As I am buzzing I have been thinking about how I came to be going to this retreat and why it is so important to me.  Me, the person that didn't even put much thought into having children until about two weeks before I was pregnant with Fisher.   Me, the person that used to think I would "have the baby cut out" because it seemed like the easier thing to do.   My focus used to be on what wildlife conference I would be going to next.  And now I am going to a hippie commune this weekend to discuss what can be done to improve maternal care in the United States.  What?

It is for Fisher.  It is for me.  It is for all women who deserves good, skilled, compassionate care.  I can't sit back and let  what happened to Fisher happen to other children.  It breaks my heart to think of other mama's going through the emotional journey that I have been through the past three years.  I have to act.  I have to.  It isn't about interventions, c-sections, and injuries.  It is about listening to moms, supporting them, informing them, and empowering them.   It is about having options and access to those options. 

I am excited and a little nervous.  Three years ago when I was pregnant with Fisher and reading every Ina May Gaskin book I could find, I would have never imagined I would be actively involved in something like this and going to The Farm for a retreat!  What a long, strange trip it has been and continues to be.  I will continue this trip and see where it takes me.   

Friday, May 25, 2012

Our daughter, Wren.

I haven't had my phone out of my site in four weeks.  For the past month I have been expecting the call that held the results of our genetic testing on our baby that we lost.  The call came this afternoon and I honestly knew what my midwife was going to say. I knew it in my heart this whole time.   Our sweet baby was a genetically normal baby girl. 

Though the results of the tests can be summed up in just a few words "normal baby girl" those words have a huge impact on me, Shawn, and our future.

First - we had a daughter!  How cool is that?!   I hate so much that we never got to hold her and tell her face to face how much we love her and how much we wanted her.  I keep thinking about how FREAKING excited Shawn and I would have been at the gender ultrasound.  We would have been bouncing from wall to wall!  That is how we felt when we found out we were having a boy the first time and I know we would have relived that awesomeness on Tuesday, May 1st had our baby lived.  And I totally would have gone on a cute hippie baby clothes shopping spree!!   I wonder what she would have looked like?  Would she have looked like me?  Would she had been like me?  Or not like me at all?  So many questions that will never be answered in this world. 

We named our daughter Wren.  We have been thinking of names for the past several weeks.  I have been focusing on girl names because I just knew our baby was a girl :)  Go Mother's Intuion!  I have been having strong feelings that I wanted to name her after a bird, I am not sure why - but I just felt that it was right.  So we named her Wren.  I personally love wrens - they are saucy little birds that don't realize how tiny they are!

Finding out that she was a normal baby girl has big implications on our future hopes and dreams for a family.  I was honestly hoping that we would find out that our baby had chromosomal abnormalities. If that was the case then there would be a really good chance that we wouldn't experience yet another loss..   But the testing and trying to answer some questions will come later.  For tonight I am just thinking about and mourning for our little girl. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Today I was told that Fisher was a little genius and that I shouldn't give up on having more little geniuses in the future.  All of that and I went to the library, took Fisher to the park and met Teresa for dinner.  Quite the day!

A month or so ago Fisher's daycare told us that he never talks there.  Ever.  He talks at home sometimes more than others - but he definitely talks at home.   But at daycare, nothing.  One day he said "duck" at daycare and they were so excited.  This was concerning to Shawn and I so we started paying attention and noticed that Fisher didn't talk too much around people other than the two of us.   We decided to take Fisher out of daycare for the summer to save money and to work with him more one on one.  We also had him evaluated by his pediatrician and while the pediatrician didn't think anything was wrong, he said we could get him evaluated by the speech therapist, just to make sure.  We scheduled the speech eval, took Fisher out of daycare and then Fisher had a language explosion.  He started talking more and more and in longer sentences to Shawn and I.  And it seemed that he was becoming more comfortable talking in public and with other people, but that was hard to judge because we took him out of daycare.  I am not sure if the daycare and speech explosion were coincidental or not, but both Shawn and I felt that the class he was in was not a good fit for Fisher and we are both glad that we decided to take him out.

Anyway - prior to the speech explosion we had scheduled Fisher a speech evaluation with a speech therapist.  I wanted to keep the appointment because I wasn't sure if Fisher would talk to the therapist and was curious if she had any ideas on how we could get him more comfortable talking with other people.   So today was the evaluation and Fisher shocked me!  He warmed right up to the speech therapist and talked and talked!!  I was amazed and sat back and watched him sail through all of the tests.  I have never seen him interact with someone other than family like this.  The therapist said that he was a "little genius" and that he was on a 3 and 4 year old level on many things.  She sees no need to do any therapy at this point.  She agrees that the daycare was not a good fit for Fisher and gave us some suggestions on his next daycare.  She also said that if he doesn't talk at his new daycare then we can reevaluate him.

I was proud of Fisher and somewhat surprised that he appeared to not only warm up to the therapist but also show off!  For example she would ask him to give the stuffed penguin one block and he would pick up a block and say "ONE YELLOW BLOCK" and hand the block to the penguin.  I just sat back and laughed.  I actually learned a lot from watching their session and got some great ideas on ways that I can play and engage with Fisher that I haven't thought of.

My follow up appointment for my D&E was today too.  I was dreading it and looking forward to it at the same time.  I was dreading it because emotionally it is hard but looking forward to the possibility of answers.  I did not get any answers unfortunately.  We are still waiting on the chromosome tests of the baby.   Beyond that the midwife told me that she thinks Shawn and I should take time to heal emotionally and for me to heal physically before trying again.  I agree wholeheartedly with that.  I feel like all of the stress of the last year or so has caught up with me and I want a break from as much stress and worry as possible right now.  I want to focus on the three of us right now first and foremost and then maybe in the future we will cross the bridge of trying to get pregnant again.  I explained mine and Shawn's reservations and concerns about trying for a fourth pregnancy when we have two losses.  She understood but said that she didn't want me to give up on my dream for another baby yet.  She said that she recommends me taking a baby aspirin as soon as I get pregnant next time and that if I would prefer I could be referred to a High Risk OB  for a full work up when we decided we were ready to try again.  She said that the High Risk OB wouldn't likely do anything different from what she would do (testing and then recommending aspirin, progesterone, etc) but that it was up to me.  I think I will opt to see the High Risk OB when we get to that point.  Though the thought of getting pregnant is terrifying to me right now, the thought of deciding (or being told to) never get pregnant again is worse, so I am thankful for the gentle push to not give up yet. 

An interesting day to say the least.  I will take it, learn from it, and we will see what the future holds for Shawn, Fisher, and I.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Once a Month Cooking

I tried my hand at Once a Month Cooking for the first time...shew, I am tired!  The kind of tired that making 10 breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 16 dinners will make ya. 

I followed Once a Month Mom's Traditional Menu for May and this is what I made today -




Basically, how the website has it set up is you make a double batch of all the recipes and so you each each recipe twice during the month.  I can handle that.    Also on the website, there are month menus for whole foods, diet foods, gluten free, and vegetarian.  I will probably do the whole food one next month.  However, I chose the traditional food this month because when I looked over the menus I realized we had a lot of the ingredients needed for the traditional food menu, which would save us money.  Bonus!!

Speaking of money - how much did this cost me? 
I printed off the grocery list (another cool thing about the site - you put in how many people you are feeding and it adjusts the grocery lists and menus accordingly!) and went through what we had on hand.  I had several of the ingredients (for example I had a TON of frozen chicken and did not need to buy any chicken) including most of the spices and pantry staples (flour, cornstarch, sugar, etc).   I hit up Aldi first and then went to Walmart for everything I couldn't get there.  I spent about $130 on groceries needed to cook this menu (though I am not sure how much it would cost if I had to buy everything).  Not bad at all!

The night before
I followed the instructions on the Once a Month mom website and we grilled the chicken for the Chicken Fajita soup the night before (we were grilling out anyway).  I baked the potatoes needed for the Black bean and corn stuffed potatoes and threw them and the cooked chicken in the fridge.  I also made sure that all of our meat (chicken, hamburger) was in the fridge to thaw overnight.

The big day
I started cooking at about 11 am.  I cooked all day until 8:30 pm following the step by step instructions on what to do when.  It worked really well!  I took a break mid day for a nap and had several times when I stopped and played with Fisher.  I like cooking but I often feel so rushed cooking when I have a hungry toddler and my own stomach is growling.  So it was actually really nice to spend the whole day in the kitchen and not being rushed.  I did make quite a mess and used a ton of dishes!  I ran our dishwasher twice during the time I was cooking and I also hand washed several things that I needed quickly.  When all was said and done, Shawn came in and cleaned the kitchen up.  He spent probably thirty minutes cleaning. 

I feel accomplished!!  Our deep freeze is half way filled with cooked foods!  I am super excited that I have food for the majority of those nights when I come home from work feeling like blah-I-don't-want-to-cook.  I hope this keeps us away from eating out.  However, one thing I like about this plan is that there are still plenty of nights that we can eat whatever we feel like.  I love grilling out in the summer and of course eating out with friends and family - so I liked that I didn't make 30 dinners and would feel like we needed to stick with the menu and eat them so they wouldn't be wasted. 

  I will let yall know how the food actually tastes - but from my taste tests throughout the day, I think it is going to be pretty good.  I have a feeling Fisher is going to love the Chili Dog casserole (one I am not looking forward to myself) and I can't wait to have the French Toast casserole this weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2012

How are you?

"How are you?"

-Honestly, I feel like I have went through 10 years of emotions in the last two weeks.  I am heartbroken, sad, so sad.  Sometimes I feel a little hopeful that we will get answers and maybe things will be fixable and we will be able to have a baby. But most of the time I feel like I am giving up on adding to my family.  It makes me sad to think that Fisher may not have a brother or a sister because my sisters are so important to me.  It makes me sad to think that I will not have children close in age.  It makes me sad that I don't feel my baby move anymore.  My shrinking belly leaves me feeling empty.  Being back at work is hard.  So much of my job revolves around October- December.  A time when I thought I would be at home with our new baby and now those plans have changed and I have to face that all day, every day at work.  Life is going on, I am going on externally but internally I am a mess. I miss our baby, I have dreams about him or her.  I hate that I don't know if our baby was a boy or girl still.  I have second thoughts on whether I made the right decision to have the D&E because I want to name our baby.  I need to give him or her a name.  I keep my phone close by me at all times because I don't want to miss the call from the doctor's office that might give us that answer.   But I guess I am making it. I am taking it day by day, sometimes hour by hour.-

"I am doing ok I think"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Moving on to Anger

Now I am just pissed off.  I am mad that we lost our baby.  It isn't right or fair.  I know we are good parents. I know we have a lot of love to give and I am just pissed off that we have lost two babies.  I am sad but starting to get angry about it.

And then I ended up in the ER and admitted to the hospital on Wednesday night.  I ended up losing a lot of blood and my hematocrit and hemoglobin dropped like a rock.  I am so upset about this.  I really wanted to avoid losing much blood this time because I learned the hard way with our last miscarriage how hard it was to build back up from blood loss.  I didn't feel up to working out for almost three months after that and I was just getting back to where I was physically when I got pregnant this time.

It is so much harder to deal with the emotional aspects of our loss when I feel so bad physically.  It is hard to differentiate between not wanting to get out of bed because I am anemic and not wanting to get out of bed because I am sad.  I realized that the bleeding was picking up on Tuesday and Wednesday and I realized that I was getting more and more tired.  However, I didn't know if I was feeling worse from the blood loss or from the events of the past 5 days hitting me.  Finally it got to a point where I knew that I needed to get checked out and I am glad I did.    They rehyrdrated me, stopped the bleeding (without more surgery! That is a positive), and got me high as a kite.  I had never had dilaudid before.  And I definitely never had dilaudid with percocet and ibuprofren. Let's just say that forest animals kept me company during the night and I didn't want to go to sleep because I was rather enjoying their visit.  The next day I was rather sleep deprived but thankfully stable.  So after proving to the hospital staff that I could walk around without passing out they let me come home with meds to keep the bleeding down, strict advice to take it super easy, and they
told me that if I lost any more blood then I need to get back to the hospital quickly for a blood transfusion. I was right on the line of needing a transfusion or not and since I seemed to tolerate the low H&H ok (I wasn't passed out in bed, I was getting up to go the bathroom and stuff) they decided not to do the transfusion and let my body naturally build it back up.  I am usually all for the natural side of things - but I know from experience that the build up is a long, slow process.  Grrrrrrrr.

So thanks to my awesome friends I have a list of natural remedies to help my body heal and recover.  I am heading to the health food store shortly with a list of
1. Kombucha
2. Chlorophyll
3. Floradix
4. Nettle Tea
5.  Rose Hips Tea

I am willing to try anything to help me feel better.  I know even under the best circumstances it can take time, but hopefully some of these things will speed things along just a little. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thank you

 I originally posted our loss on facebook because it seemed the easiest way to tell as many people as possible at once.  I wanted to get it over with, let everyone know because at the time I was thinking I could tell people and then go to my hole and be alone.   I actually thought before I posted that I wish there was a way I could disable comments because I just wanted everyone to know and the be done with it. 

And then the messages and comments started coming.  The texts and the phone calls.   And my gosh, the email messages.  If you or your loved ones have never had a loss consider yourself very, very lucky.  So many women (and a few guys!) sent messages and wanted me to know that they have been there.  I had people contact me that have had losses at 6 weeks, 16 weeks, 36 weeks, even after birth.  These women are so awe inspiring and I see their strength and draw upon it.  So many people have said they don't know what to say, but just wanted to let me know that they were thinking about us.  That is so nice.   These last few days have been so, so hard.  Even harder than the last loss - there are so many unanswered questions and if you know me, not having answers is my kryptonite.  But I have really been able to lean on the kind words, the thoughts, the prayers, and just the kindness.

There have been two emails that had parts that really meant a lot to me and I have went back and reread them a few times - the first was from a friend who lost a baby at 36 weeks. She said "The best way to mother that baby is to be the best mother you can to it's big brother and wife to it's dad." I love that because I can DO that. It is something that I can physically act on.

The other comment that really resonated with me was from a great mama and friend. She said simply "I really don't know what you are going through, and I don't really have words to express how I feel. So I'll just say I wish you weren't going through it, and I won't ever forget your baby." That means so much to me.

I am trying to respond to each comment or message or text but I am afraid some might slip through the cracks (you know how you read something on your phone and then can't find it later on facebook on your computer) but I assure you I have read every single comment, message, and text and each one has kind of built a bridge that helped get me through the last few days.  Thank you. 

Boy or Girl?

Today is a hard, hard day.  Probably the hardest on me emotionally so far.  I expected it though.  Back in January we scheduled our gender ultrasound for May 1st at noon.  Since then I have been so excited about May 1st and felt like it was never, ever going to get here.  I had "Big Day" written on my calender and have looked at that entry daily for the past four months with excitement.

Today is the day and it obviously hasn't gone like I had hoped.  Our plans were for Shawn, Fisher, and I to go to the ultrasound - find out if we were having a boy or a girl and then going to lunch together to celebrate.  Then I was going to take  Fisher and Shawn home for Fisher's nap time and then I was going to go shopping to celebrate our newest addition and was so looking forward to having some "alone" time with our new baby buying a few things for him or her.   I had not bought anything for the baby this pregnancy and even though I have been tempted a few times, I was making myself wait until May 1st. 

From the time my eyes opened this morning I have been very sad and can't help but watch the clock and think what I had expected we would have been doing at each moment.  And then on top of that the doc's office told me yesterday that they would be calling me today or tomorrow to give us the results of the chromosome studies.  I am nervous about that.  I don't expect to get answers from the chromosome studies, but I do expect to find out if our baby was a boy or a girl.  So it feels like cruel irony that we might find out the gender of our baby today afterall. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Not again.

I honestly can't believe I am writing this.  We lost the baby.  It feels like the cruelest form of deja vu.  There are a lot of similarities between the our first loss we had in September.  In September shortly after I announced I was pregnant to my work, on facebook, and on this blog I miscarried.  And again that has happened.  I finally felt ready to share our joy and excitement with the world and now we have to share our grief.  This is so hard.  Last time I think what got me through was thinking that it was a fluke, that is was "one of those things" and that we would have a healthy pregnancy next time.  This time I am overcome with the realization that it isn't a fluke something is wrong and that is extremely hard to handle.  Earlier in my pregnancy I was scared to death that something would go wrong.  I was so anxious and nervous but when I got past 11 weeks I slowly started getting excited and I really started feeling comfortable with this pregnancy and really thought things were going to go great.   

I had a routine 16 week appointment on Friday.  For the first time this pregnancy I wasn't anxious about the appointment and my blood pressure was perfect (anxiety had been increasing it every other appointment).  When the nurse couldn't find the heartbeat with the doppler I wasn't even that freaked out, they took me to ultrasound and we immediately saw a precious little face.  I said "wow, he has grown a lot since my last ultrasound" and the room was quiet.  It was pretty obvious quickly that the baby was not moving.  The nurse tried to find a heartbeat or look for movement and then the midwife did too.  Then the Dr. B came in.  I knew it was over but I kept hoping that the baby would start moving and then for everyone to laugh.  Obviously that didn't happen.  Our baby had died very recently.  In cruel hindsight I think it probably happened one or two days before the appointment because I had been feeling flutters and I hadn't for a couple of days.  I wasn't worried because I knew that the baby can move positions and make feeling him or her early on inconsistent.  I have also lost some hair the last couple of weeks - which did make me a little nervous because I noticed I lost hair before I miscarried in September.  But again, I chalked it up to this being a "different" pregnancy. 

After learning the baby died the next thing was to learn the options and try to make the best decision for us.  This is something that I have heard other women refer to and it was as awful of a decision as I had imagined.  With our last miscarriage we didn't get to "chose" what to do as I miscarried naturally and horrifically at home and then the bleeding didn't stop so I had to have an emergency D&C to stop the bleeding.  The doctor said that since I had so much bleeding last time that I had to be at the hospital and therefore miscarrying at home would not be a safe option.  After my experience last time this was a relief to me.  If I had the option of going through the miscarriage at home, I probably would have naturally leaned that way but I would also be petrified of losing blood as quickly as I did last time.  So the options presented to me were to have a D&C on Saturday or to check into the hospital on Saturday and have labor induced.  Again - I naturally leaned toward having labor induced for several reasons but actually giving birth to the baby is a little more comforting to me personally and I would have the opportunity to hold the baby and see if it was a boy or a girl.  But the downsides to that is that it could take a long time and I don't think my husband or I could deal with being at a hospital waiting to deliver our dead child for long.  We both have so much anxiety and sadness over Fisher's birth and then the last miscarriage that I was afraid it would be too much for us to handle. The other downside was that there would be a chance that that I would go through all that and still need a D&C due to bleeding.   If I knew that wouldn't be the case, I probably would have gone through induction but since what happened last time I had a higher chance of needing the D&C anyway. 

I made the initial decision to go with the D&C and Shawn called and set it up for early Saturday morning.  Shawn was also leaning towards the D&C because he was traumatized by the last miscarriage.  I can't say I blame him, but he told me over and over that ultimately it was my choice.  The doctor wanted to do what we decided as soon as possible before I started miscarrying naturally and would have the risk of uncontrolled bleeding again.  After taking a nap I started second guessing my decision.  We were going to find out on Tuesday if we were having a boy or a girl and I really want to know, I want to give our baby a name.  I called and talked to the midwife that would have delivered our baby via VBAC.  I explained to her my reservations and she talked me through both options and told me that since Dr. B was ordering chromosome tests on the baby we would find out if it was a boy or a girl from that.  I also explained my fear of being induced and it taking a long time or ending up with the D&C anyway.  She said she understood and talked me through the different possibilities of that happening.  After talking to her I felt better about going with the original decision to do the D&C.  I also talked to my would-be doula and friend who has been through a similar situation at 18 weeks.  And having her support and understanding helped me be at peace with my decision. 

Saturday morning Shawn and I went to the hospital while my mom watched Fisher at our house.  I talked to Dr. B before the surgery and told him that I really wanted to know if the baby was a boy or a girl and he said he understood and would do his best to submit samples for chromosomal studies.   I ended up having a D&E instead of the D&C.  Basically it is a more aggressive procedure they had to do because the baby was too big for the D&C.  I lost quite a bit of blood in the OR (but not as much as last time thank God!) and woke up from surgery feeling horrible.  They admitted me to the Women's hospital and put me on pitocin because they wanted to make sure all of the uterus contents were out and to make sure my bleeding stayed under control.  I was actually glad they admitted me because I don't think I would have been comfortable going home.   While I was on pitocin I had some pretty bad cramping and passed some large clots.  I realized that I definitely made the right decision for me emotionally by doing the surgical procedure as opposed to the induction.  I can only imagine the emotional trauma that would come with hours of that.  After being on pitocin for several hours and being stable, they said that I could go home if I felt comfortable.  By this point I was ready to get in my own house and relax and to see Fisher.  So I jumped on the opportunity. 

Unfortunately just getting home made me feel really bad and weak.  I have been laying in bed most of the evening but have had a little Fisher time here and there.  But so far physically this has been harder than last time.   I am still in shock that this happened.  If the chromosomal studies do not show a problem then we will look at different issues.  It is horrific that you have to go through this at least twice before investigating problems.  I have heard many doctors say they won't look into the problem causing miscarriages until after three miscarriages.  Dr. B. said that since I have had two late miscarriages on babies that appeared completely healthy by ultrasound that it makes sense to investigate further.  I agree. 

I am heartbroken and pretty angry at the world right now.  I love being a mom so much and I have always imagined having at least two children.  I wanted them close in age.  That won't happen now most likely even if we do decide to try again I think it will be a long time.  I am angry that I allowed myself to get excited about this pregnancy.  I am angry that I already felt bonded with the baby and that I had convinced myself that this was going to be a healthy pregnancy.  I hate that I told work and have to go through that uncomfortable situation again. It was so hard on me last time and I can't believe I have to relive that.   I hate that I JUST got passed the due date of the last baby and was past all of those thoughts of how far along I would have been and now I have to go through all that again.  It just seems cruel and unfair.  I am usually such a positive person but I don't want to be that person right now.  I know that life will have to get back to normal and that I will have to carry on but not tonight.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vacuum Injury

Vacuum injury.  That is what it is called in the medical world apparently.  Funny how we have been dealing with this crap for 2.5 years and that is the first time I have heard that term.  But according to an OB that recently reviewed Fisher's records - his injuries are textbook vacuum injury.  He said that the vacuum injury was of course caused by the brow presentation but that even pitocin induced contractions couldn't have caused the amount of damage on Fisher's face.  He said there is no way for a vacuum to cause such an injury except in a malpresentation situation.

I know it doesn't change things.   But having the cause of Fisher's problems laid out so simply, so succinctly is hard.   It would have been so easy to say "No, no vacuum.  Stop." I didn't.  I couldn't.  I didn't have the information and my head knows that I can't blame myself.  But sometimes my heart doesn't listen.  On the other side of the coin - in some ways "vacuum injury" is a little easier to stomach.  In my head I had always imagined Fisher's injuries developing over 22 hours of labor.  Thinking that the majority of the injuries happened over a shorter span is a little better to me.

This has been and continues to be such a long process.  In so many ways it would be easier to stop thinking about it, act like it didn't happen, and move on.  I know that many people could do that and a lot of times I wish I could. But I just can't ignore whatever it is inside me that keeps pushing me forward.  I ignored my intuition while I was in labor with Fisher and if there is one thing I have learned in this whole ordeal is that I will never make that mistake again.

Monday, April 23, 2012

So much to say....

I haven't posted in a long time!  I have had a pretty crazy 2012 thus far and there have been many times when I wanted to write about it, but for one reason or another I haven't. 

The big news - I am pregnant again :)  And SO excited to be into my 2nd trimester!!!!  The main reason I didn't post anything new since January is that we found out we were pregnant in January and it has been such an emotional roller coaster.  Things are so very different this pregnancy than with my first two pregnancies.  Instead of being super excited and bursting to tell everyone - I was scared and wanted to keep it just between Shawn and I for a long, long time.  I did tell a few friends very early and each time instead of being excited it scared me and felt like I had exposed a raw nerve.  Of course my friends are awesome and supportive and loving and just perfect at saying the right things.  It wasn't them, it was me.  We even held off on telling my family for quite a while.  It was just a bridge that was hard to cross this time.  To add to it, the first trimester was anything but easy.  I was sick, sicker than I had been with my first pregnancies.  My amazing team of practioners have been watching things closely and found that my progesterone dropped lower than it should.  So to err on the side of caution I was put on progesterone suppliments "just in case."  I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when I got past 11 weeks, which was the point where I lost the baby last time.  And again - I am so thankful to have an awesome group of midwives and nurses who took the time to reassure me that everything was ok at that point. 

I have survived a couple of big milestones - first I told my work I was pregnant about 2 weeks ago.  I was so nervous about that but it actually went really well.  I can't express how relieved I am.  Also, I made it past the due date of the last pregnancy.  Ironically, I told work the day before that due date and I think the reaction I got at work made the due date a little easier for me.  So in a weird sort of way, I am feel like that little one was somehow connected to this pregnancy and the big announcement. 

So here we are - I am in my 15th week now, we find out NEXT week if we are having a boy or a girl.  :)  Things are going good - I am off the progesterone, past the sickness phase, and starting to show just a little.  It is actually starting to feel real and each day I find myself just a little more excited and bonding a little bit with this awesome little son or daughter that is devloping inside me.

Lots more I want to write about/document.  We found out Fisher has some teeth problems thanks to his birth trauma, I freaking helped plan and pull off what turned out to be an AWESOME Knoxville Natural Parenting Expo and Great Cloth Diaper Change....but that is all for now :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012. Let's do this.

My plan for 2012.  No excuses.  Just do it.
  • Drink water.  Lots of water and no sodas.  Even diet sodas. 
  • Avoid sugar and sugar subsitutes as much as possible. 
  • Focus on eating whole grains, whole foods, and avoid processed food. 
  • Move it, move it, move it.  Continue exercising, running, and fitting in as much movement as possible with a goal of getting at least 30 minutes of exercise in 5 times a week.
  • Run a 5K with Rachael in February.  After that, run at least 1 5K a month.
  • Plan meals better and go to the grocery store less
  • Wear my BodyMedia armband for an entire year and track food for the whole year.  I think tracking food and exercise for an entire year will be really interesting.
  • Do not focus on the scale.  Focus on how good I feel and know that my body is healthy inside and out.
  • Love myself and my body for what it is, what is has done, and what it can do.