Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

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Tonight, Peter and I spent the evening at Mass. It was a beautiful service, full of beauty and hope. But to me, there was something missing... Three someones... As we sat there, together, holding hands, all I could think of how much we have gained- and lost- this year. What an amazing and beautiful year. 3 babies... 3 beautiful, precious babies who chose us to be their parents. And the losses... It hurts too much to even think about at times. Most times... Right now...

And so, as we prepare for bed, I'll lay awake again, I'm sure, as I have each night for the last week or so. And then tomorrow, I'll get up before the sun to get to church and get it unlocked for the Christmas Masses. I'm the Sacristan for 7:30am, and then after breakfast with Peter's parents and my dad, we leave for Tennessee. We're gone through New Year's. We needed to get away, but at the same time, I dont want to be anywhere else.

Today, it's just what it is. Half an hour til Christmas. Christmas. I cant believe we are here.

Mother Angelica, in a replay of one of her shows, asked "What are you going to give Jesus on his birthday?"

O Master grant that I make seek to console, rather to console. To understand than to be understood; to love rather than to be loved.

Merry Christmas, as much as it can be merry for all of us.

Alexander's Memorial Mass

Monday, December 22, 2008

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We had Alexander's service on Saturday, December 20th. It was a lovely service. The pastor of our church was the celebrant, and our parochial vicar concelebrated with him. Our music director once again played and a dear friend of ours once again cantored. The music was beautiful: verses 2 and 3 of The Name of God; Remember Your Love; Now We Remain (the only shared song of the two services); and Prayer of St. Francis. Each song was special to us for certain reasons, even though most would be considered "Advent" or even in the correct liturgical position.

The refrain to The Name of God (David Haas): "I will take the cup of life, I will call God's name all my days." It's normally a communion song, but it is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard and, as we were selecting music, the second verse really touched us: "The dying of those who keep faith is precious to our God. I am your servant called from your hands, you have set me free." And then, the third verse, just spoke to us as well. It was as though the second verse was telling us that Alexander's life and death were precious to God, and then our son telling us "I am (God's) servant; I am free". In feeling his peace and his happiness that he is with God, the third verse was our words to God. "To you I will offer my thanks and call upon your name. You are my promise for all to see, I love your name, O God!"

Remember Your Love (Mike Balhoff, Darryl Ducote, and Gary Daigle) is a Lenten song. Lent is a time of penitence, a time when we recall our sinfulness and our allientation from God, when we feel that perhaps God has abandoned us and we beg Him to forgive us and take us back. In a time of grief, I think we feel that we have been abandoned too. I ask everyday, "Why, God, why?", knowing that the answers will never come, that they couldn't possibly be good enough... This song was that. It was that plea to please not have been abandoned. It was the reinforcement that God is still there, the telling yourself so that you can believe. The prayer that God will hear and make His presence known. "Remember your love and your faithfulness, O Lord. Remember your people and have mercy on us, Lord." I wont quote every verse (there are 5), but some of the lines are: "The Lord is my life and my refuge, when I call he hears"; "O Lord, hear the sound of my call and answer me. My heart cries out for your presence; it is you I seek".

Now We Remain (David Haas) is the only repeat from Nicholas and Sophia's service. Had anyone asked, I would have said it would have been "You Are Mine" also a David Haas song, that we have sang to all the children. ("Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me, I will lead you home. I love you and you are mine.") It's a special song to us. But, Now We Remain... That too is a special song. That is the song that I think defines what Catholics think about living and dying. "We hold the death of the Lord deep in our hearts. Living, now we remain with Jesus the Christ." While the refrain symbolizes being physically alive and having just received the Eucharist, as a funeral song, it symbolizes eternal life and being with Christ. We chose to have only verses 1 and 4 sang (had the church been full, we would have done all four, but with a smaller group, those two were the most important to us). "Once we were people afraid, lost in the night. Then by your cross we were saved; dead became living, life from your giving..." "We are the presence of God; this is our call. Now to become bread and wine: food fort he hungry, life for the weary, for to live with the Lord, we must die with the Lord." Wow. I am crying now and it's just me writing the words. I dont think there is anything else I can say except that my children are with God and as sad as that makes me on earth, my heart knows that they are at such peace and are happy.

The recessional hymn was sort of the ode to little Alexander, our little "Paz", our peacebringer. We've taken to calling him Paz at home again, and for Peter, who doesn't like nicknames, I find it so amazing that he says "Paz would have been his nickname". It's really sweet. We chose the Prayer of St. Francis, as arranged by the Sebastian Temple. It's really just beautiful. It turns the prayer into lyrics (the prayer can be seen in the sidebar, on the reverse of Alexander's prayer card). We chose it because this prayer has been speaking to us since Alexander's conception and we really feel like our son had a connection to St. Francis and this beautiful saying. Perhaps he would have chosen "Francis" as his Confirmation name... Who knows...

Both of our priests really made the service so special. Our pastor's homily was spoken directly to us. We used the readings of the day, which meant the Gospel was the Annunciation. Peter and I feel closer to the Blessed Mother than we did before because she walked this road too, this road of losing a child... No matter how old your child is, they are still your baby. I'm sure cradling him, she was cradling her little boy. I can't see the Pieta anymore without getting so upset that I have to leave. It was always upsetting but never like this. Anyway... Father talked about how this young girl had plans, plans that seemed to be falling into place when suddenly everything changes. I can't type all that he said, but it was comforting and sometimes that is all you need to remember... Our vicar had actually come to the hospital and he helped make the church so lovely. One of the sections he read was part of the Eucharistic prayer, when we ask the Saints to pray for us. When he said "St. Alexander", I just burst into tears. My little boy... my little saint in heaven... The other part that was so touching was how often our son's baptism was referred to. It makes me so happy to remember those moments, how he moved, how he squirmed at the water and cuddled into his father's hand just a little closer. How he put his little thumb in his mouth before drifting off to the sleep where he met his brother and sister, and saw God face to face...

It was a much smaller service than Nicholas and Sophia's. The weather here (we are near Philadelphia, north, in Montgomery County) was nasty on Friday which made traveling not so great, but also, we scheduled this one much sooner (3 days before vs 3 weeks before) because of the holidays. Instead of 110, perhaps we had 25? So, it was a more intimate gathering, but was just as beautiful. Folks came back to the house for lunch afterwards and it was nice to see folks looking at not only little Alex's pictures, but those of all three of our precious little saints. His baby book was a big read, as was the book I had picked up at the bookstore called "Mommy Dont Cry: There Are No Tears In Heaven". People talked and hung out, and we were so tired when everyone left around 5pm. A small group, but still a treasure.

Tomorrow, our son would be a month old. I really can't believe that a month has passed... A month... It sounds so long, but it isn't when your life doesn't move on like the hands on a clock... Fruit Loops for breakfast, PB&J for lunch, tuna sandwiches and tomato soup for dinner. I would have eaten this menu everyday. I don't even like Fruit Loops! But my son did... For whatever reason, I craved this food like nothing else. So, tomorrow, this is what we'll eat, and we'll remember. We'll have a little candle on a dessert and we'll sing "happy birthday" and we'll remember that, one month ago, this special little boy, this instrument of God's peace, this beautiful child that we are blessed to call our son, came into our lives.

I Can't Believe I'm Here Again

Thursday, December 18, 2008

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I'm planning another child's Memorial Mass. I can't believe this. My baby son... My little boy... The little one whose Christening Gown sits half finished across the room. Instead of his baptismal party, I'm ordering food for the "light luncheon" aluded to on the notice of when his Mass will be held.

After Nicholas and Sophia, we waited 6 weeks to have a service. Part of that was the utter shock and despair- neither of us was even able to talk to our priest. He was our parochial vicar (asst. pastor) and we had gotten close to him with our RCIA work (he ran the RCIA program). He was okay with letting us wait and, because of the Easter season, we ended up pushing it back to the week after. He is no longer at the parish, and we've been talking with the pastor about the service. It's Saturday. As in the day after tomorrow. There are two reasons for this. It's more "correct" to have a service right away. We aren't doing a burial, so this isn't all that important to us, but it is more "the right way" of doing things. Also, Christmas is soon, and then we are away the week after, and then in January, there are things planned on the weekends (for the church and for us). I'd prefer not to do a weekday because of work and family travel. Which leaves booked weekends. And I dont want this in February. Nicholas's Mass intention is scheduled for the 31st of January since Feb. 1st was taken, and Sophia's is scheduled on her birthday, on the 16th. I don't want something else in there, and I don't want to wait until March to have Alexander's service. Sunday will be 4w since he was born, and Tuesday will be the full month mark.

This is rough because our family is spread out. So, combined with the holidays, we've already had a huge number tell us that they can't make it. Which is okay. The service is to celebrate him and is for us. But still, it saddens me that folks will miss out on his gathering. Especially because there isn't a chance to make "the next one". It breaks my heart.

I can't believe I'm in the place again... This place where you are trying to make everything perfect because you know there won't be a second chance... This place where you have one moment to share the life of your child in a fleeting instant...

I ordered the food. I'm meeting with our pastor this morning. I'll start cleaning the house tonight. I have to finish working on the Mass booklet. I need to mail the Christmas cards. All these peripheal things... All the things that don't matter because the only thing that matters is my children. The ones whose stockings hang on the wall, who have gifts under the tree. The ones who wont rip the paper off and stumble from person to person. The ones that my arms are empty of and long for.

Lack of Wisdom

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

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So, last night we traveled to Allentown to have my last two wisdom teeth pulled. I really love the dentist and, if we lived closer, he'd be our "real" dentist. As it was, we have only seen him to have my wisdom teeth pulled, and now I'm all done! It's kind of bittersweet in a strange way... He is awesome and QUICK. By the time you start to think "this is going to hurt", it's all over! So, he pulled both and wrote me a prescription for pain, which he recommended filling ASAP and taking one before the numbness wore off. So we went to a local CVS and filled it, so by the time the numbness did fade and the inklings of pain started, the vicodin kicked in. I'm actually remarkably awake and alert (more than I would think) and the pain in low. I was able to eat dinner last night, although I have been taking the vic every 4 hours. He recommended that for the first 24-36 hours, then said to try and let it go a bit and see how it hurts. I remember doing that last time as well, and by the 2nd day, the pain wasnt that bad, not even like a tooth ache. Tonight, I have to start the salt water rinses, and from there, I remember it really fixing itself. Waking up, though, wasnt that bad (of course, I woke up in the middle of the night and had to medicate) and I feel okay now. I still have the cotton wads for bleeding, but two isn't any worse than having one removed, LOL. There really isn't swelling, just soreness.

Dr. Bailey called this morning. My glucose and diabetic screening all came back negative, so that's awesome! That means 2 less pills each day! No more Metformin. And the other clotting test came back negative as well. So no genetic predisposition to a clotting disease that could hurt our babies. That's at least one relief.

Today, as I sit at my desk and look out the window at the snow covered world outside, I feel almost empty... My heart hurts. The good thing about physical pain, I suppose, is that it doesnt even compare to the rest of me. So screw it!

Did I tell the story of Maggie? If I did, I'm sorry to repeat, but it's a sweet story. On Thanksgiving, Peter was taking my Dad home and they stopped by the grocery store (Dad doesn't drive). While there, Peter said he felt the children leading him to a certain area, where there was a giant panda! They told him to buy it for Mommy (that's me!) and so he did. I can only imagine what a giant panda cost at the supermarket, but I go upstairs that night and, on our bed, is this huge stuffed animal. Well, I sleep next to that thing every night now and last night, in my pain, I cuddled it close on the couch while Peter held me and stroked my hair (what's left of it since I cut it all off last week!). It's funny, I feel them warm and close when I touch Maggie (the name that came to me the second I saw her). It sounds nuts, but I love that stuffed animal. She's actually on the couch, waiting for me to come back and lay down...

Christmas is getting closer... I can't believe it... I really can't...

My little girl

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

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Today, my love, you are 10 months old. How is it that so much time has gone by since my dear little girl was born and then left this world?

At 6:08pm, we were in the car, driving to the dentist. We counted down those moments, talking about your labor and your birth, your beautiful face, all those wonderful little girl things and dreams. Our precious baby girl... We love you so much, Sophia...

And then, last night, Daddy made your birthday meal and Mommy was even able to eat it! And then, we had a raindeer cupcake to celebrate. As we sang "Happy Birthday", the flame on the candle danced, and even in our silence afterwards, as we watched it burn down, the flame moved. And you were with us... We felt you there...

I miss you so much, my dear one. You, who looked like me, who shared my smile, you... my precious daughter... The one who sings the Holy so loudly in church, who never stops talking to me... You, that little imagine of me. How much I love you!

Hug your brothers for me in heaven, dear one. I'll hug all of you forever in my heart.

Postnatal Check-up

Monday, December 15, 2008

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Well, I had my postnatal today. My cervix has closed, my BP was high but stable, and my blood/urine tests were better than before. On a good note, my uric acid dropped to 8 point something (7 is normal) so it is on it's way back if it isn't already. My liver function tests were still high (I forget exactly what) but they are lower than before so they have started their descent as well. The blood clotting tests were all negative, so finally, a problem that I dont have. We spent about an hour with Dr. B. discussing results and what we'll do "next time". Short end of the stick, there's really nothing that can be done about the preeclampsia and I now have a 1 in 5 chance of getting the severe version very early, which could mean delivery at 24w (if I can get that far). Which is upsetting. There's no guarantee, obviously, but a 20% chance is a 20% chance. And, then, there's the cervix issue. He really thinks that a cerclage will hold and get us full term (or as full term as preeclampsia might make possible). I hope that he's right. So, end of 12w, and a stitch. Shirodkar.

I feel so empty inside. Just... Empty. I alternate between sadness and a feeling that has no name. I feel better when Peter is here, holding me or just here. Something. Some reminder of those three perfect people who have made my life better. Some reminder of the right in the world. Someone else to see so that I dont have to see me, the one whose body failed.

I have to do some housework... I have home office hours shortly and I need to vacuum.

Moving Forward, But Not Moving On...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

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As much as it ached and as hard as it was for my fingers to even dial the number, I called Dr. Lee's office this morning and made an appointment. She's in the speed dial, so I didn't have to type in the numbers, just find her and press send. I looked at the number for a long time before calling... Before hearing that familiar message and pressing 3 to make an appointment. When Michelle's pleasant voice picked up, I identified myself and said that I was calling to schedule an appointment in February. I'm still surprised the words made their way out.

She immediately knew who I was (the joy of working with so one-on-one with everyone from the receptionist to the doctor) and said how very sorry she was. Then she asked if there was anything they could do to help us. It was sweet. She asked how we were really doing and we spoke about Alexander and how things progressed. She was so sweet, just talked for a few minutes like we were old friends, then said that the entire office has been thinking of us and keeping us in their prayers. And then we booked our appointment for Monday, February 9th, at 9:30am.

This road has been long and it sucks, but we have been really blessed with a kickass RE and a wonderful OB. Of all the crap, those are two things that we have no problem with. I dread the drive back to Bethlehem, and the familiar territory of the injections and the ultrasounds and the bloodwork, but Dr. Lee is amazing. Not just in that she has truly helped us, but in that she cares. I believe, 100%, that she cares for us as people and parents, not just as patients. And that makes such a difference in a journey like this. Dr. Bailey, as well. He cares. We aren't just names on a file; we are people and parents who are going through hell and are trying to dig ourselves out of agony's grip. And he is there to offer a hand and help. It matters. So much.

I can't believe that I made the appointment. I know that a part of me will never move on, that it didnt move on after Nicholas and Sophia and, although Alexander has been added, I am still there... Still in that place where a parent goes when their child dies. No matter what, you are still the mother of a dead baby (or, in my case, dead babies). You are forever an orphaned parent, regardless of the living children you have or may have. But then there is the other part. The other part that loves her children so much that, no matter how many she has, she will want to have more. Because they give her purpose. Because they were the thing that was missing from her life and have now filled her heart with joy and purpose. That part of me is the one who made the call and scheduled the appointment...

And now the countdown begins... Less than 2 months away until we see Dr. Lee and our journey towards our 4th bundle of joy begins.

Still Breathing...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

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I'm still alive, although days like today I wish I'd died with them... God, the missing is awful. Yet, it's right, too. The missing is a sign of how much I love them, in a way, and I wouldnt give up the missing if it meant giving them up, just like I wouldnt give up the hurt if it meant that... But, man does it hurt... Like a knife that has stripped you up and down and then come back for another pass. But, I'm still here.

Saturday, Dr. B's lab form arrived. Yesterday, after my regular dentist's appointment (and, of course, there are issues because I need one more thing on my plate- I have to go in to have a filling replaced next week and make an appt with an oral surgeon to have my two upper wisdom teeth removed) I went to the Lab. The woman knows me by sight now, never a good sign, and took me back for my urine test right away. I had to fill the cup because he was running 3 urine tests. Then, the blood work... 15 tests. 12 vials. The first stick produced nothing; my vein collapesed right away. I guess after a week of nonstop testing, it just couldnt take it anymore. The other arm was a champ and we got all the vials- full I might add- without any issue. Which is good. I dont think I could have handled another poke or prod. The results for most should be back sometime today and I expect a call from Dr. B. The phleb said that some of the tests have to be sent away for so those might not be back right away. Great... Just something else to wait for.

One of our priests called today to discuss the memorial service. They'd hoped to do it this weekend, but Peter's parents are away (they just decided) so I asked if we could do it next week instead. He's going to consult with the Pastor and get back to me.

I feel so tired and so deeply hurt inside. I had hoped to sit and write for an hour but I think I'll nap instead.

Mother Nature's Guilty Pleasure

Friday, December 5, 2008

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So, yesterday... Sarah picked me up and we drove to the hospital. You've gotta love Philly traffic on the Sku... We must have sat still, for no reason, for 20 minutes before finally moving and hitting the City Ave exit. From there, straight forward. Get to his office and, I shit you not, it is empty- then a woman comes in with her few days old baby and everyone starts to freak (in a good way). I wanted to shrivel and die. Right there. On the floor. Deb, Dr. B.'s nurse, came out and did some freak, saw me there, and took me to a room right away. She hugged me and even cried. That was rough but it also made me feel like she really cares too. She took my BP (high, but not as high as was feared) and gave me a lab slip. Went downstairs to the registration for the lab (LONG) and then the lab (LONGER) but was lucky enough that the phleb got it on the first poke (yay!) Back to Dr. B.'s where there are now 4 folks waiting. Sarah whips out her knitting and, as she's been doing all morning, makes jokes that, for the moment, lighten the mood enough that I'm not ready to shoot myself with 4 happy pregnant women sitting around me. There's another doctor in his practice now, so 2 of them weren't his. When Deb came out to grab one of them and saw me (I didnt have an appt, he had just said to come in and that he'd see me), she took me back next- to the us room, where my entire pregnancy felt like it was spent. That was rough. But, soon, Dr. B. came in and we talked. Truly, I love this man.

The lab was backed up so my repeat tests weren't ready, so we discussed what we did know. The previous tests showed elevated uric acid (double the norm) and high liver functions, which while not terribly high, showed liver irritation, which means the preeclampsia has made a mark. He took my BP chart (which I was keeping at home) and was happy no more 100s in the diastolic but they were still in the mid-high 90s, with meds. He didnt want to increase the meds to mask symptoms, since more symptoms mean hospital admittance. We discussed the headaches and pain, and decided at what level I need to go to the ER. Then, we discussed Alexander a bit, and finally our next pregnancy. We talked about the Shirakdar stitch (think basket weave through the cervix) as soon as week 12 ends, which would mean 2w of bedrest and then through 36 weeks on modified duty. He said I could do light housework, light shopping, but no more than 90m - 2h on my feet at a time, with 60-90m off after. I'd have us every 2w again to make sure the stitch was holding up through 24w then possibly weekly until 36w, when it would come out. In addition, some of my results indicated **possibly** Factor V Leiden. Basically, Mother Nature's way of adding insult to injury. He wants to test now just to be sure, but even if it comes back negative, will run again when pregnancy since, sometimes, it only presents clearly when pregnant. This is a clotting disorder, which can cause preterm labor and still birth. I know... Let's see what else Mother Nature has in store.

His hope was that the repeat tests would show a decrease and that we would be on our way back to some symblance of healthy. He said he didnt expect my BP to go back to "normal" for 2-6w. He also said that he thought I should stay home 4-6w from Alexander's birth, not completely for physical reasons, although he said that played a role, but for my mental health. That just because I feel like I should be able to take it because I'm an "old hat" doesn't mean I'm not going to crash when I least expect it. And while there is no guarantee that wont be after the first of the year, at least to give myself the holidays. And he gave me a doctor's note to that effect. I can work from home a few hours to do payroll, etc., but nothing major. I left and gave him a card that included the memorial card for Nick and Sophie, which I hadn't given him when we first started back with him because... I'm not sure why. To say I forgot sounds bad, but it's true... And the one for Alex, which just came in.

So, last night, I was feeling scared (I've read on Factor V, which it was funny, he got a kick that I knew anything about it b/c it is rare and, when he said "how do you know about heparin injections?" (one of the treatments), I actually laughed and said "I'm a librarian", to which he got a kick). But, I felt okay, too. Like perhaps things were going to get better. But, that just couldn't be. We were at Sarah's for dinner and my cell rang at 6:40pm. I recognized the first numbers as part of the hospital. It was Dr. B. He started off by thanking me for the card, by saying that we were good people and that he was honored we had chose him for our doctor and for this journey with our children. I almost cried because what he said touched me so much. But then, the primary reason fro the call... The results were back and they were worse than before. Uric acid went up a bit more and my liver function tests doubled. He wasn't pleased. He hadn't ordered the Factor V panel (b/c he wasn't sure until he reviewed the file that he wanted to test now when it could be a false negative) but based on the other results is sending more tests (including repeats of the ones done) and the thrombosis panel. What made me more sad and scared, though, is that he gave me his personal cell with instructions to call him for admittance if A, B, or C happened with my BP or how I was feeling. He's not on call this weekend and wanted to make sure we could get hold of him. I can't imagine things are great if he felt the need to give me that.
Last night, I didn't really sleep. I held Peter a lot while he slept and mostly just tossed and turned. There's a level of it that is head pain and the feeling that my head my explode under the pressure. But more of it was mental. I'm truly scared. Pre-eclampsia is a problem usually relieved by going into labor. Because of this, there is an even greater risk that I will become pre-eclampsic in subsequent pregnancies. I'm already at an increased risk of preterm labor, which we are trying to stop. Dr. B. says that, best case with pre-e, is that they can get me to 28w-30w. If the pre-e doesn't present until after 24w, best case is 34w. If after 28w, then full term. But, it's a guessing game. No one can give an answer until we are pregnant again and the symptoms start. And right now, the rules are just get to 12w so that we can do the stitch and hope for the best.

This sucks on two fronts. Not only am I scared because of how I feel, but it impacts how I mourn. I miss my son. I miss all my children, but right now, the hurt of Alexander's death is more than I feel like I can bear right now. It has cut me to a quick that even Nicholas and Sophia didn't touch- I think because I knew such a deep grief with them. I feel like the focus has moved from our son... our precious, perfect son... to me, this mother who deserves to feel like shit because she's killed another baby. And while we can all argue the semantics of it, my sons and my daughter are dead because my body failed them in the most basic of ways. And while Peter is worried about even leaving me alone to go to work, and while our parents are worried about my health and the whens of when we will try again... I want to mourn my son. I want people to stop thinking about me and mourn him. And I know that they do, but I hate that now my body can hijack even that most basic thing.

And, on top of that, the planning for more kids. We want a big family. Always have. And until we can afford to adopt a brood, our insurance covers what allows us to try for babies just like everyone else (given, a more watched version of everyone else...). We've always planned on trying again soon after the births of our babies, because we both would like closer ages if possible. But there's an added dimension after you suffer a child's death... Everyone else suddenly wants to know your business too. And the things they say... Even our parents have made the slip of "One day you'll have a living child" as though a living child is better than a dead child or a living child replaces a dead one. It isn't like that. It doesn't work that way. And the rest of our family and some of our friends... It's the same or the "why dont they just adopt" as though adoption is some second rate option. I realize that, because I'm adopted, I have a chip on my shoulder about that comment, but still... I feel like responding "why dont you pay for it?". Do they think we havent'??? Do they think that over 9 barren years and after the pain of losing 2 very wanted babies to deaths too early to even fathom for most people that we didnt look into it at some point??? Do they even care??? Or is that the miracle answer to them? Do they know that we've gone through 2 adoption losses? Children that, although we'd never met, we'd fallen in love with, only to have something get in the way of adopting them and seeing them go to other homes (homes, I'm sure, that they were meant to be with and are happy with their parents, no doubt)... No, they don't know that. They dont know that, when we pray for our children, we include two names that no one else ever hears, ever sees... They don't know...

Today is a bad day. I am feeling so low and am trying to perk up, as though that will somehow help the weekend and the repeat blood and urine tests on Monday. I am trying to remember that our precious son's photo album is complete and that I can enjoy that time with him, looking back and remembering. I am trying to remember that there are so many people going through this journey with us, feeling this pain with us, holding all of us close to their hearts that- even though they may not personally know this pain or loss- they are so close to us and our children that they go through this with us, not looking at us. These are blessings and I am trying, desperately, to hold onto these...

PostPartum News

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

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In addition to horrible back and neck pain, my blood pressure has been extremely high (the highest reading was on Monday afternoon, 158/104). Peter called our OB and he faxed over blood tests, which we had done Tuesday morning. Dr. B. called this afternoon and thinks that the issue is postpartum pre-eclampsia. In addition to high pressures, my uric acid results were elevated, along with liver enzymes. He wanted to admit me to the hospital tonight, but I feel so much better than I did even yesterday that I asked him if, assuming my BP doesn't spike again, if I could stay home and come in tomorrow. He said that, as long as that stayed the same (bottom numbers not in the 100s) and that I had no screwed up vision, then fine. But if either of those change, then to the hospital ASAP. I have to go down tomorrow for more testing and a consult, with the possibility of admittance. My best friend, Sarah, is driving me down. It took a lot of convincing for Peter to go back to work today; he accepted several meetings for tomorrow and I didnt want him to cancel. It took hours to convince him of that, but we agreed that, if I have to be admitted, I will call him and he will come down; if Dr. B. wants to talk and consult, then I will call him on speaker. If things start to go downhill, he will come ASAP. But if it is just going to be testing and reflexes, then he will stay at work and we will touch base when I get home.

I've tried to do things today. I worked on Alexander's photo album. I finished updating it with the pregnancy things I still had left and I put his pictures in it today. Now, all it needs is his birth story, why we chose his names, and his little name cards. Once those are done, it is finished. I still havent updated his journal... I just havent been able to...

We put up his pictures, too. Our friend, Chelsea, who made a beautiful needlepoint for Nick and Sophie, made one for Alex, too. We hung that, and we added Alexander's pictures throughout the house. It is so nice to see them... So very nice... I love having our babies' pictures everywhere.

I feel so sad... My head is pounding (like usual) and my back and neck are killing me. That is worse than the pressure in my head from the high BP. It is just this intense pain. It happened post Nicholas and Sophia as well, more post Sophia than post Nicholas. Peter said it probably is the lack of relaxin and that now I am really feeling the "normal" neck and back pain that I have, but am usually used to. It hurts like hell...

People are dumb... This is my belief... They dont know what to say so they say dumb things... The two dumbest things of this week??? "One day you'll have a 'real' baby" (i.e. a baby who lives)... "I told people you'd lost another one" (i.e. they're just like shoes, sometimes you just lose one)... OMG, pissed off doesn't beging to define how I feel at times. I know they dont know what to say... I know that they dont mean any harm, but... I love my babies. I love them regardless of the fact that they have died. If they'd lived months or years, I'd still love them. The only difference is that I'd have more memories. If they were 10 when they died, would someone say something as stupid as "one day you'll have a baby that lives"? Probably not. (Although who knows?) Maybe they could just acknowledge our babies for who they are, say they are sorry (this is a normal response), and not say anything else if they have nothing else to offer. Telling a grieving parent that "one day" there will be a "healthy" baby that lives... Not good. And, point of interest: my babies have all been healthy. It hasn't been their issue... It's mine...

I talked to Dr. B. on the phone today and he seemed, again, so sad. He actually said that he reviewed our case with another doctor, looking for something he could have done differently. But he couldnt find anything. The risk was just so high and our results were also so high and good. The risk just wasn't outweighed and the risk to Alex was so high... We wouldnt have done the surgery with the results we had and the risk to our little low implanter... I told him that today, that we felt we received outstanding care and that he did all he could. Next time, of course, we will do the surgery after the 12w mark, even with all the risks... We all agree on that... But even he said "It's horrible that all I can offer you is next time, when you're going through this for the third time... It's not fair that all I can offer you is the hope that next time we'll be able to save your baby... I'm sorry." It means a lot to hear that he understands. It really does. I'd drive hours to see Dr. B.

I feel so sad inside. I haven't eaten all day, not since yesterday morning actually, but I don't feel hungry. I think Peter is hungry, though. I should make him dinner.

Angels in the Sand

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A beautiful remembrance of our Nicholas and Sophia... http://namesinthesand.blogspot.com/2008/11/peter-nicholas-haytko-iv-and-gaea.html

I'll be emailing her to ask for Alexander's as well. What a beautiful gift she gives us.

10m old boy...

Monday, December 1, 2008

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My Nicholas... no longer my "baby boy" but now my oldest little boy. 10 months have passed since birthing this precious little saint and the moments that went by before he returned to heaven, the same burst of light that created him in my womb... I never would have thought I could feel as sad as I did in the days following his loss, but I am here again... Oh, my little one, you have taught me so much... So much about love and loss, about how our parenting is so fleeting, whether it lasts an hour or a lifetime, how ultimately, we received you in love and then returned you to love, in love.

So, tonight my little one, we will have your dinner and celebrate your ten months with apple pie! Each month seems to be different, but as long as you are giving orders, we'll keep taking them! This birthday is special because you have an extra voice singing "happy birthday" to you. Take care of your little sister and your baby brother, my son... My big boy...