Monday, September 27, 2010

Hard to Believe

It's hard to believe it's been 9 weeks ago today since we found out we'd lost our baby.  Hard to think that we'd know the gender by now, and be able to start picking colors and bedding and all that good stuff.  We'd have a name...and a whole new set of hopes and dreams for that baby.

We went back to the doctor for my check-up after the loss and asked them to do some fertility testing.  They ran a TON of bloodwork, tested my thyroid and a bunch of other things.  I go back next Friday to get the results.  Hopefully they find something out from the labs and I can start doing something to help increase our chances at conceiving and KEEPING another baby.  If they don't have any answers from the blood tests, then they'll start doing "invasive" testing.

John is thinking about joining the Army.  It has been his lifelong dream, and I'm finally getting on the bandwagon.  It's terrifying to me, but there are definitely a lot of pluses to it.  They'll pay for fertility treatments.  John can sign his GI Bill to Charlee, so her college will be paid for when she's old enough to go.  We'll get to see the country, and possibly some international can be an exciting thing, even though it'll be scary at the same time to do so many changes at a time!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"A Silent Love"

There were so many parts in this book that just really brought me comfort, and I would like to post them here...either to help other mamas who have been in this situation, or just to be able to come back to later for comfort.

Excerpts from "A Silent Love" by Adrienne Ryan

"When a baby dies, whether it is in the early or late stages of a pregnancy, at birth, or shortly after birth, we are left to cope with a multitude of emotions, all of which threaten to engulf us with grief.  The emotional distress is compounded by the fact that there is often a lack of understanding by those around us, an almost incomprehensible questioning as to why, when we never knew our child, we should be feeling the overwhelming sense of loss that we do.  The loss of a child is one of life's greatest tragedies.  ...  It is an all to frequent tragedy and one that is too infrequently discussed.  We need to allow ourselves-and be allowed- to grieve openly, because this is no less than we deserve."

I think the following part was one that hit me the most.  It amazes me how we can talk freely about the death of a loved one, but somehow people act like our baby should not be afforded that same grievance.  People get uncomfortable around us when they know that we've lost babies...some people even act like it could be 'catching'.  There was a woman at my OB's office one day who started talking to me while I was waiting to get my lab work done.  She was waiting for an ultrasound, she'd told the woman next to her, and when that woman left, I asked her how far along she was.  She was about 14 weeks, just a week further than I would've been.  We talked for a few minutes and she asked how far along I was and when I told her that I was no longer pregnant (those were my exact words) she immediately turned in her seat, placed her hands so protectively around her belly and then did not speak to me the rest of the time.  It crushed me.  Miscarriage isn't contagious...and as common it is, you would really think people would be a little more understanding.  But I guess every woman has the "it can't happen to me" mentality, and facing someone with a miscarriage makes that fear come back to the surface.

"A child created through the love of two people is indeed a precious gift.  From the moment of conception, each of our babies offers us a potential for the future - a potential for OUR future, promising fundamental changes to our lives that, while in many ways unimaginable, are also absolutely imagined and extraordinary.  For the majority of prospective parents, that potential is realized when their child is born and grows to become an essential member of their family: a child, an adolescent, and ultimately an adult who contributes to the richness of the lives he or she touches each day.
"But for others, sadly, the potential is never realized, and a future is lost.  So far-reaching are the implications of that loss that it cannot be dealt with as an isolated incident, but this is usually what we try to do and, moreover, what others expect us to do.  Yet the loss remains an intristic part of our lives, the ramifications of which reverberate ever after.
"With each day and with each event the surviving family members enjoy, there remains a constant vacuum, a space that was reserved for a child to fill or at least partly fill.  We remain constantly aware that, while our child would have said and done many things to alter our lives, our lives are instead altered by the things that child hasn't said or done.  It is our future that has been affected, not our past. When a parent or other relative of our past dies, we have tangible memories of that person and of the contribution he or she made to our lives.  If we have happy times to remember, for the most part we can ultimately come to an acceptance of his or her death.  Btu when a baby dies, no memories exist to help us reach such an acceptance.  We are not able to look back and remember things about our own child that might make us smile, and it is this fact that is fundamental to the explanation of our grief and makes it a grief unlike any other."

The bold part of that is the part that affected me the most.  It is so true.  When we lose a family member, we can always remember things they've said or done that made such an impact on us.  When we lose a baby, there are really no memories.  My memories of this pregnancy are the absolute high of finding out we were pregnant again...and then the crushing pain when I started to bleed so heavily, and then laying there on that ultrasound table when she could only find that empty sac.  I remembered the pain and the 'empty' feeling from the previous losses, and I had very strongly suspected that we were no longer pregnant by the time we got to the office, but I still prayed so very very fervently that God would answer our prayers and that our baby was still safe and snug inside of me.

".....when a baby dies at a time when its dependency on the mother is absolute, many women subsequently feel that they have failed their child and failed in the most basic function of womanhood.  The feelings of guilt and failure can often be so intense that they risk falling into an abyss of self-doubt from which some become incapable of returning."

This was another thing that really hit home for me.  A woman is MADE to have children, and it killed me each time my body would fight against my baby and then force it out.  Why couldn't I do something so simple, something that I was MADE to do.  It was hard enough watching friends and family have children, some of them having 2-3 in the space of time that we waiting to conceive and carry Charlee...our only viable pregnancy.  The thing that hurt me was that people who really had no business having babies were able to have as many as they wanted, with no complications or ramifications...and yet John and I, who so desperately wanted a baby and could actually provide for it....couldn't carry a child.  My sister would tell me of all these 13, 14 and 15 year old girls in her school having babies, some of them graduating with 2 or 3 kids.

****I'm not trying to offend anyone.  I know lots of very young mothers who are AMAZING mothers, just the child was a surprise and happened sooner than it should have.  It just hurt me to see these young girls, so many of whom were single, still living at home, and some of them not even hold enough to get a job....having these happy healthy babies when we couldn't.****

The part that hurt the worst though, was hearing about these girls getting pregnant, or ANY woman getting pregnant, and because it was an unplanned or unwanted baby...having an abortion.  They had a discussion one night on the news about some girls using abortion as a form of birth control and I sat here and bawled through the whole segment.

In my opinion, if you think you're old enough to play the game, then you're old enough to understand the consequences.  If you can't face the possibility of a baby, then don't have sex!!! No birth control is 100% effective!  Even when I was on the pill, it would've been a shock to get pregnant, but a very welcome one.  We knew from the beginning that there could always be a baby, no matter the precautions we took...and we were prepared to take care of that baby if it ever happened.  For those that go into sex willingly, then abortion should not be knew the risk when you took that action.  Just because you don't want that baby doesn't mean someone else wouldn't love that child.

My mom and uncle are both adopted.  Their mothers were either too young, or unable to afford them, or maybe just weren't prepared to take care of a child.  But they didn't kill their babies when they learned they were pregnant.  They carried them in their bodies, and then gave my Nana the greatest gift one person could give another, the gift of a child to love and call her own......twice!!!

Okay, I guess I'll get off my soapbox's just a subject that gets me riled up!  Even more so after the miscarriages....a life is a life, no matter one else may know your child within your body, but YOU do.

A Lot On My Mind

It's 1:30 in the morning and I absolutely cannot sleep.  I've tried laying down twice, but all I can do is toss and turn and so I wake up John...who has to get up in 3.5 hours for work, so I thought I would be a nice wife and let him sleep. (Please don't sue for the MASSIVE run-on sentence!)

My friend Beth Ann lent me a few books on miscarriage today when I took her the afghan she ordered.  I finished one tonight, "A Silent Love" by Adrienne Ryan.  If any of you have had a miscarriage, or know someone who has had one, please read this book.  It brought me to tears more times than I can count, but it was so beautiful to hear other mother's telling there story.  The book brings up a very good, very sad is not fair to those of us going through it on so many different levels.  The most obvious reason is that we are losing our child.  But, second, it is so VERY upsetting that miscarriage is still a taboo subject for discussion.  

Throughout the miscarriages we've been one will talk about it.  When I am upset or hurt, I want to talk...I want to get my problems off my chest.  And yet, when it comes to that subject, no one seems to listen.  We are talking about death, pure and simple.  If it is an adult family member who passes on, people will listen to you cry and console you all day long, but if it is a baby within your body that you lose, somehow that doesn't get the same acknowledgement.

The book raised another good point.  When you lose a family member, at least you have those memories to look back on.  You will always remember their laugh and smile...the holidays, the parties....time you spent with them.  And yet, with a miscarriage, we have none of those memories.  We have nothing to draw on except the hopes and dreams we had placed on that tiny person.  It is so hard to spend so much time fantasizing about what your baby will look like, how it will act, what he/she will grow up to be....and then to have all those dreams taken away from you in an instant.  You're only left with a "what might've been".  No pictures, no nothing....only an aching void that feels like it will never be filled.

This miscarriage has been so very different from the others.  At first, it was easier.  I was amazed at how well I was holding myself together.  I focused 100% of my attention on Charlee and did not dwell on our loss like I did before.  She kept me distracted, and so I didn't really think about the baby we lost.  And then, suddenly, two weeks ago, it was like the ceiling came crashing down on me.  I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep...and when I DID finally get to sleep all I had were nightmares.  Very vivid nightmares of losing Charlee, so real that I would wake up crying or screaming and have to run to her room to check on her...just to reassure myself that she was there, breathing and safe.  I was a wreck...every little noise felt like a threat...someone lurking in the shadows, waiting to take my baby girl away from me.  I honestly thought I was going crazy.

Somehow, over the past week, I've started to feel better.  I know that life has to go on.  I can't let myself freak over every little thing.  This has definitely made me even more protective over Charlee, but I realize that she is here, and I will keep her safe as much as I possibly can.  We hope to have another baby soon, but if it doesn't happen, we have our miracle baby and she is here and she is OURS.  No matter what happens, I will have that beautiful little face looking up at me.  She loves me unconditionally and if she is our only baby, then that means that's just that much more love and attention we can give to her.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Something to take my mind off.......

Only two and a half weeks!!! John, Charlee and I are going to Gatlinburg, TN for our first family vacation!!!  John and I went to New Harmony a few times back after graduation and then for our honeymoon...but those are the only vacations we've ever been on.

So, not only will this be Charlee's first time away from home, but it will be the first time John and I have been more than an hour or so away as a couple :)  I thought it was so great that OUR first real vacation as a couple will be our first FAMILY vacation too!!

We are going to stay at the Greystone Lodge in Gatlinburg, right on the "strip".  We are going down on a Monday night, then taking Tuesday to go to Ripley's Aquarium (Charlee looooooves "bishies") and walk up and down the strip.  We'll stay again Tuesday night, then get up Wednesday morning and check out any remaining places we wanted to see there.

Then we're heading to Sevierville to hit up the Tanger Outlet Mall on our way home.  We will spend the day there going through the mall, and possibly stay the night there, if there are any more stores we want to see after that.

That Thursday is John's birthday, and then it is only 3 weeks until Charlee's birthday.  Still so hard to believe that my baby girl is turning TWO!!  

Hoping that maybe we'll get the news that another little one is on the way before Christmas.  We don't want a HUGE age difference between our kids, so hopefully we conceive soon! Please keep your fingers crossed for us.


About Me

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SAHM to a beautiful, wonderful, miracle princess named Charlee Jean. Married to my high school sweetheart for over 6 years now, and expecting another miracle baby in October 2011