Learning to breathe again after the deaths of my twins, Nicholas & Sophia, my son, Alexander, and 6 miscarriages... and finding joy on the journey with my sweet preemie twins, Bobby & Maya, and our miracle TAC singletons, Michael, Lucas, and Ana.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
First Prenatal Yoga Class
The car fairies must be ticked at us because both our cars failed inspection (Peter’s needs a $900 catalytic converter, so far mine has $1200 in repairs and they haven’t even figured out yet why the “check engine” light has come on). When he told me yesterday, I just about fell apart and decided I couldn’t spend $144 on 8 yoga classes when we were going to need $2000 and possibly $3000 to fix our cars. $2000 is my entire month of paycheck! And we need half of that to meet our expenses. With helping family financially (an entirely different story and one not for my blog…), we have given away our savings and not had a chance to rebuild it because of the continued economic issues going on. So that means I have to work up some magic and pull the money out of thin air! Truly, we will just have to tell folks we can’t help them the next few months, because the next 3 months of our “spare” (which isn’t really spare) will have to go to our cars. Perhaps I’m being too hard on the car fairies… At least this happened while I have a job and we can, somewhat, make it happen. We need our cars, so they have to pass inspection, and better now than in the spring. But still, it kills our plans to visit Tennessee and to buy a freezer for our joint Christmas gift to the house. Oh well… Something will come up.
Anyway, Peter told me that I should at least take the class to see if it was something that could help and that, if it could, then that would be money well spent on our little one. So, Zoë and I went and had a wonderful time, full of relaxing music, a gifted instructor, and much needed relaxation & meditation. There was time where we just held our babies and focused on sending them our love and nurturing energy. It was perfect.
When I told Peter about it, he said, “This doesn’t mean we aren’t going to have mommy/daddy/baby yoga, does it?” How cute is that!!! I told of course not, that we’d continue to do that during the week and then I’d have my once-a-week class. It was such a gift. I am so glad that our OB and Bradley instructor encouraged it and that Peter convinced me to go!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Peter is tall, 6'2", and lanky. When I taught yoga, he would occasionally come to my classes, but he struggled because he is so inflexible. We'd be reaching for our toes and, even with his long arms, he'd barely have his knees. After many classes, he was a hand passed his knees, but it really wasn't his thing, so he never kept up with it. I, on the other hand, love yoga and love writing about yoga. Except now. I am so terrified of doing anything that might "hurt" the baby, that even though I have touted how safe yoga is during pregnancy, I'm horrified of trying. Our doctor and our Bradley teacher have both encouraged it; Dr. B. even wrote me a note for a class! I went looking for teachers and no one wanted me once they heard my history. (But, as things would turn out, several studios recommended a teacher and I (along with my doctor's note!) are meeting with her tomorrow night for discussion and her weekly prenatal class.) I think all the "no" answers made me think "Oh goodness, I really SHOULDN'T do yoga!" But finally, yesterday, something inside of me said "try". I think it is an after effect of our Bradley class last week with Lisa said "There is no reason why this pregnancy can't be normal". Hearing someone say that has really helped, and I have repeated that phrase whenever I start to loose it. So, long story long, I decided I would try some yoga. After all, I've taught it and have information on yoga in pregnancy.
I get home and Peter is already there. I invite him to practice and, even though I can tell he's thinking "oh no", he says "sure." I go into the library and we lay out our mats and start some music, beautiful bamboo flute music. Then, I grab my prenatal deck, which gives asanas and the correct trimester for them, and organize a routine. As I'm looking, I see that each card has a beautiful meditation on it for the pose. So, I turn to Peter and ask if he would prefer to read the meditations for the poses instead of doing it, then I don't have to really think, I can just flow. He agrees and we start, me on the mat, him in my chair at my desk. The music is flowing, his voice is barely above a whisper and was like listening to an angel... It was so soft and gentle. He would repeat the meditations (one-two lines) as I moved into the asana and repeated. Then we'd move to the next pose, which he would announce, and then another meditation. At the end, I had selected a longer meditation, which he read once I had assumed the pregnancy relaxation position (on my left side, using a large body pillow for support). The most beautiful part came at the end. In the darkness, he spooned up behind me, and repeated the meditation, then we lay on my mat, intertwined, for 6-7 minutes, in relaxation, sending our warm thoughts to the baby. At the end, he read the meditation one last time, and we sat up.
By this time, I was starving (what else is new) and, in the pouring rain, my beautiful, sweet husband drove to our favorite Thai restaurant and picked up dinner. It was delicious. I'm a huge fan of tofu lemongrass soup, which is awesome at Nadia's in Lansdale. We shared an order of Nadia's rolls (crispy veggie egg rolls), and then our own curries. I had massaman curry (tofu) and he had red curry with veggies. Wonderful. We watched a little TV, then went to bed.
He is such a wonderful husband and father; I feel so blessed and lucky.
Monday, October 27, 2008
It's been a year...
But the anniversary is hard. I think I've known getting to this point would be rough, but I didn't know how rough it would be. I remember sitting on the couch last Halloween, getting up to give candy at the knocks on the door, and thinking "I'll be trick or treating next year with twins! They'll go as 2 peas in a pod..." No joke, I'd already picked out the costume. And now... I'll be sitting on the couch, talking to Zoë, hugging Peter, mourning Nicholas and Sophia, and handing out candy... again...
But, there are positives this time around as well. I adore our Bradley instructor, who last week said the most amazing words, words that have become my mantra this week. "There is no reason why this pregnancy can't be perfectly normal". And she's right. I think the fact that I didn't find open arms waiting at the variety of prenatal classes really made me think, wow, I must be really, REALLY high risk if no one wants me in their class, instead of, hey, maybe this is the Universe telling me to find the right teacher, who has more than just a simple prenatal certification. So, I've found a teacher and I hope to meet with her this week. I'm really trying to hold onto Lisa's words when I feel especially down and scared. So far, every ultrasound and every test result has been positive. There is no reason to believe that could change. We are doing everything we can. I'm taking progesterone now and I'll take the P17 shots, starting in 3 weeks. Not to mention, I'm being so carefully watched. Whatever we can do, we are doing. That does bring some comfort.
And, on a cute note, Peter's mom has finished the lining of the coat for the Christening gown! It is beautiful! Peter and I were admiring her handiwork. She is an amazing seamstress. She has cut and pinned the embroidery for the coat and Peter is going to iron it on (it's a group project!), then I will embroidery it... Hopefully! She's going to show me the correct stitches. I'm really excited. It's such a beautiful pattern. I can't wait to see what it looks like when it is complete. And the bamboo is a gorgeous fabric... So soft. Even the lining is soft, and it is just a cotton! It's gorgeous. I'll also have to take pics of the sweaters she's made. They are adorable as well.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Thank you, God!
After Friday, while I wasn't terribly nervous because her heartbeat was so high (okay, I was nervous- I'm always nervous), it was a little rough not seeing her move. So, yesterday, after a 2 hour wait (someone is always having a baby somewhere and it seems like they all use Dr. B.! LOL), I was taken into the ultrasound room and Dr. B. came in. He always starts and ends with conversation, another reason I adore him, and we talked about my fears. He never seems to tire of listening and responding. It's really nice to not feel placated or talked down to, but rather having a doctor acknowledge how I feel and that it's okay and that we'll work through it and do our best to make sure Zoë is as protected as she can be. Then, we had our u/s. A healthy, bouncing baby! And do I mean bouncing! She was up, down, and all around, legs up here, arms up there, rolling over. It was wonderful to see. Her HB was 150 bpm, well within range, and her umbilical cord has high placement, putting us in the lowest risk group for possible cord issues. The placenta is still fairly low, but migrating at a good pace. My cervix measured 3.6, but is still in a closed, "T" position. It seems to be dropping .1 per week, which would mean 28 weeks when I hit "2". Since that is too late for surgery, it would most likely mean constant bedrest. There is still a chance of course that it will never drop below 3. Fingers crossed, many prayers said.
Our little one had her legs open and in the air, and thus far, there was nothing to suggest she is a he. So, at this point, we are still going with our initial feelings of girl. If little Zoë Anastasia turns out to be a little Nathaniel Alexander instead, then so be it! That's what yellow and green nurseries are for (and actually, since we are using unbleached organic fabrics, they are more of a beige anyway, so they work for everyone!)
We have decided to stop the Metformin I'm on for possible insulin resistance at 16w and to do a fasting blood test for diabetes at 18w. If that is clear, then I'll stay off the Metformin until retesting shows it needed. Also at 16, I will start the P17 shots. I'm nervous, but there seem to be no side effects and, if they work, they can help stop preterm labor. They are weekly shots in the bottom until week 36. Peter will have to give them to me. And, on a shot note, I also got my flu shot before leaving the office. Always fun.
Our doctor's office called this morning with our risk factors for Downs Syndrome and Trisomy-18. DS: risk 1/520. (1/50 is considered bad, get an amnio/cvs, avg is 1/250); Tri: risk 1/10,000 (1/100 is considered bad, get an amnio/cvs, avg is 1/8000). I have a repeat bloodtest in a few weeks, in early December. I'm not planning on an amnio or CVS regardless. I love our baby no matter what and wouldn't put them at risk, just to find out something I can't change.
Peter's mom is still at work on the christening gown. She's working on the coat first, so that I can do the embroidery. Yes, you read correctly. I will be embroidering. She tells me it is easy and that I will be fine... I hope she's write! Apparently, you transfer the pattern onto the fabric and it is just a stitch-the-dots sort of thing. I'll make sure to have Peter take pics and post them.
She also finished knitting her second baby sweater. I'll have to take pics of them. The first is a green, overhead sweater (that matches the one she made for Peter, how cute!) The second is my favorite shade of blue with gray stripes and elephant buttons! It's a cardigan style. So adorable! It will go great with the little elephant onsie we bought Nicholas and Sophia.
Sunday begins month 4. Thank you, God, for getting us this much closer to our little one. Each day is such a blessing. My first prayer in the morning is "thank you for getting us through another night together and for letting us start this morning"; my last prayer at night is "thank you for another day together; keep us safe tonight." So far, all is well. And I am so thankful for the blessings we have.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
High Resolution Ultrasound
At 8:45, the high risk doctor called. The u/s images looked, in his words, "totally normal." Amen! We are now waiting for the blood test results. They are doing whatever genetic tests they can do using just my blood and the u/s images. In December, I have to go back for more bloodwork and then another high resolution u/s later in the month.
I have a doctor's appt with Dr. B. on Wednesday, but Peter can't come. :( Sadness. An emergency meeting has been called and he has to be there. Rescheduling- not an option b/c Dr. B. is away Monday and Tuesday. Oh well. :(
I really dont feel well. I've been fighting a cold and I think it is getting the best of me.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
My little girl
This pain doesn't go away, even as a new life grows inside of me. And I feel so terrible. I am so thankful and grateful for this pregnancy and this beautiful baby. But at the same time, my soul aches for the babies who have gone on without me. How I miss them.
Last night, Oct 15th, was infant loss awareness. The idea was that everyone would light a candle at 7pm their own time and let it burn until at least 8pm, so that there would be a wave of light around the world. We lit 5 candles, not all for our own babies but also for other babies who have gone before their time.
My beautiful Sophia... She'd be 8mo today at 6:08pm. Please say a prayer for she and her brother...
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Mom, ironing the bamboo fabric for the gown and coat of the Christening Gown.
Yesterday, my mother-in-law visited and after ooing and ahhing over the Christening Gown patterns that Peter and I selected so many months ago (no one had seen them but us, and now her!), went shopping with me for fabric. For those who may not know, my MIL is an EXCELLENT seamstress. Her mother was one and she learned her awesome skills from her. She made her own wedding dress (with Abuelita), made my wedding dress (it was a 95% her/5% me split, LOL), and now our Christening Gown... She also made clothes for Peter and his brother, and Peter's Christening Suit. She really does beautiful work. She knits and does crafts as well. Peter and I (and baby!) have sweaters, scarves, Peter even has socks! Needless to say, one day I hope to do as well! At this point, I can sew a button and make something VERY basic.
Anyway... We went to the closest Joanne's Fabrics and spent $75 which sounds cheaper than it was. We selected a beautiful white bamboo for the main gown and coat. For the lining, we selected a lightweight cotton. We picked up ecru embroidery floss (the bamboo is not a "pure" white but isn't quite off either) and winter white thread. We also selected some small, simple buttons, and thin silk ribbon for trim. We want a gown that works for both a boy and a girl, so we decided to modify the patterns and keep it more subdued than lace and ribbon filled. The bamboo was $15 a yard and we needed 6.5 yards!!! That's nearly $100- just for the bamboo! But, thanks to my MIL's mad crazy skills, we got it for 50% off. She is always one to tear through the circular and found a coupon after she saw other people taking circulars to the cash registers. For those who have never worn bamboo, it is a lot like cotton, but is VERY soft and completely sustainable. Peter has several shirts and LOVES them. If I could replace all his shirts with them, I would. They wash and wear great and did I mention how soft they are???
Afterwards, we headed home and had lunch at Nadia's, my favorite Thai place (and a close top on my MIL's list too!) Then, because she is such a trooper, we went back home to work on the gown!
I washed and dried the fabric and she ironed it, after we took a small road trip while it dried. She was trying to get bobbins to thread on my old sewing machine (inherited from Peter's paternal grandmother). I love the machine, but it's from the early 50s and has started to go... Sadness... Long story short, the bobbins no longer spin to load. THANK YOU to my awesome, wonderful friend Sarah for being dear enough to let me barge in on her lunch to fill 4 bobbins. YOU ROCK!!! Even though we weren't able to really do much sewing, this was a life saver because MIL is going to stop by during days when she has time while we're working and cut and sew. Everything is neatly stacked, including my ironing board and iron, in our library (next to the dining room), with the sewing machine (freshly cleaned!) at the end of the dining room table that we don't normally use.
Part of me is terrified that we are jinxing ourselves... But, I'm trying to think positively. we are 11w2d into this beautiful journey with this beautiful baby... Statistically, in 11 days, we are "in the clear". Most losses are the first 12 weeks. Come 13w, statistics are on our side... Which don't help a mother who lost her babies later in pregnancy... But waiting 11 days to start... I dont know. I am trying to live and enjoy each moment and I regret not having started on the Christening Gown before Nicholas and Sophia were born (even though they were baptized as Nature intended- in the buff!!! Little Nick was even baptized with rain water!). So, I think this is the right thing to do...
I'll post more pictures as we take them!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Weekend in MD
Peter with little Rowan on the slide
This gathering started years ago, when Tom and Sarah would have everyone to their house twice a year for a drinking/hanging out party. The men would videogame, the women would gossip, and we'd hang out. It was fun. Well, we grew up, folks had kids, the get togethers fell by the wayside. In March, the gang reunited at Nicholas and Sophia's Memorial Mass and afterward, we all discussed how great it would be to get back together. We joked about whose house would be great for what (our house won summer b/c we have central air, Jason and Stephanie won fall because of the MD Renn Faire, Tom and Sarah won winter b/c they have a fireplace, and then Scott and Bethany won spring because of their large yard and the warmer MD springs (two of us are in PA, two in MD, so it alternates). After the service, Peter and I discussed and decided, since July 19th would be hard anyway, we'd rather spend it surrounded by the love of friends and we scheduled our "Summer Gathering" for that weekend. Everyone came and it was lovely. So, a few weeks later, emails about the "Fall Gathering" were sent by Stephanie and, once again, we reunited for some quality time. Now, it falls to Sarah and Tom to pull together the "Winter Gathering". It'll be nice to continue the tradition of seeing everyone.
Sarah and I, playing "Gossip Girls"
We left on Sunday morning, around 11:30 and went to church at St. Agnes, where a visiting priest from Haiti spoke via interpreter. Their entire village was destroyed by the hurricanes. It was so sad and I was crying during the speech. Peter gave all the cash we had on us to the collection for their school and for food. It makes you think just how good we have it here. Even on our worst days, we were never homeless and starving- truly starving. At the sign of peace, the woman behind us said "Peace to you, and peace to your baby." It was so kind. The service was small, but nice. They had no organ, only a piano, but the cantor was beautiful.
Then, we drove to DE to see Katie and John. We hadn't seen them since July, so it was nice to catch up. She made a delicious baked stuffed shells for dinner. YUM! We spent the afternoon and evening there, before heading back at 8:30. We got home an hour later and went promptly to bed. We were so tired and Peter had to go to work this morning. (I took the day off because I have to work an 11 hour day on Friday and the Saturday book sale- I'm tired already!).
Well, my mother-in-law is coming over to help me work on the Christening Gown, so I will go for now. I have to shower and get dressed.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Last night in class, Lisa asked me when I thought I'd be able to take a deep breath and believe things will be alright and, honestly, I said "Never". At first, I thought it would be okay once I hit the 20w mark, because that would be the halfway point and the farthest I'd made it. But then you read all the other things that happen. It could be that I make 36w and my baby is stillborn. Or that I could bring a happy baby home who dies at 5w old for no reason... Grief boards and books are great to help you validate your feelings; they also suck because they show you that there are soooooo many other worse things that could happen. And they give you the knowledge that those worse things might happen to you.
I dont want to think that. I want to believe that all will be well. Thus far, all has been well. Blood tests have been high, ultrasounds have shown a bouncing baby, hearbeats have all been strong. There are no reasons why this baby wont be born in another 28-30 weeks, perfectly healthy and happy. None at all. So why can't I get the fear out of my head? Why can't I be one of those normal, pregnant women without any fear or angst? Oh, wait, it's because I know there isn't always a happy ending to the fairytale...
I miss Nicholas and Sophia so much. Next Thursday, Sophia would be 8m old... Nicholas 8.5m old... I want my babies back... I want to have two little ones underfoot and a belly full of another happy baby. I want three breathing, healthy babies, not two gone and one that I'm so fearful for. I miss my children...
Thursday, October 9, 2008
We were running all over buildings and through towns (we were in a larger city at this point) and, somewhere in the dream, I realized there were things on top of this building that she'd climbed on, so I went back and looked. They were metal things and there were 4 of them. I realized then that they were signs that this anti-Catholic but Catholic looking sect had kidnapped my baby to crucify/sacrifice her and that 5 was at the point they did it. So we start running towards this old building, where it's a hotel on the bottom and rented by the "Brothers of St. Francis" (the crazy group) on the top.
At this point, I have a gun and so does Peter, I think. We get to the hotel part and they have a male/female elevator system so we go up to the next to last floor in different elevators. We have to take stairs to the top floor and we get out and there are these thin curtains everywhere, blowing in the breeze and I can see there is this man, leaning over my tiny little girl who is tied to a cross, with a hammer about to nail her hands. I rush in through these curtains and this young priest/monk type turns and tries to stop me, but I shoot "Brother Francis" in the head. He drops the stuff away from Zoë, but isn't dead and starts telling me how they can stop us and stuff like that. There's a room of them, mostly lay people.
Peter takes down the younger monk guy and by this time the cops are there. But then I realize that the cross is gone and I can't find Zoë. I look and look as cops are going all over the place and then, behind this curtain, I find her. But she has this plaster mask on now and I can't feel her arms, so I think they've been cut off. And in the mask, only one of her eyes (blue) is visible, the other is a glass eye so I think they've cut her other eye out and I'm crying because I cant get her out of the plaster.
Finally, she's out and the dreams fast forwards to a few weeks later and I'm holding this curly haired little girl in my arms, and she's fine. But she wants to go back to the "strange church" and, for whatever reason, we are taking her. We get there and the top floor is still police taped off, but there are these curtains blowing and I swear someone is there. She's holding me around the neck tightly and suddenly I wake up.
I was in a cold sweat and just had this horrible panic in my chest. It was terrible! Pregnancy gives me crazy dreams- I had some doozies with Nicholas and Sophia as well- but most of them are almost pornographic (I'm sorry, Daniel Craig!). With this one, they've been absolutely terrifying at times. Very strange...
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
U/S pics from 10/6
This picture shows the baby's head to the right, with both arms visible and, at the lower part of the body, two little feet. Little Zoë was kicking up a storm! Very active baby!!!
This picture shows the head (in the middle) and the body, in shadow, below (middle-left). You can make out her skeletal features, where the eyes, nose, and mouth are. It's amazing to see!!!
I was never pro-ultrasound before. I was much more of a less-is-more type and wanted a less invasive pregnancy. But, I have to say, I look forward to seeing Zoë every 2 weeks and watching how she develops. Seeing her move, hearing her heartbeat... Right now, especially in my fear, this is what keeps me going.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Another positive sign
I called to schedule the appointments and, after a nice long wait, was told that I can't schedule December's appointment until November (they only open up the next month at the beginning of the month prior) and that the woman on the phone doesn't schedule appointments: she only takes messages for the scheduler! Are you kidding me??? So, basically, I had to leave a message and the appointment setter will call me back within 48 hours to schedule my appointment. The two week appointment is listed as "Sequential Screen with Ultrasound, 1st trimester >14 weeks". The December one is listed as "Ultrasound, Detailed Anatomy Survey, Singleton" and requires a perinatal consult. The first test is under "Genetic Testing", since we declined the Amnio and CVS. I'm hoping to schedule it on the same day as my next prenatal appointment, so that I can spend the one day at the hospital, rather than trying to figure out two days in one week that I can take off. October is super busy at the library and scheduling is going to be tricky if I don't have more than a 2 week notice. But, this is priority- nothing else.
I told my boss today and she took it really well. She was very supportive and told me we'd be in her prayers. She also said that I can tell people as I want, begining with my staff and telling the main library folks when I am ready. She was very supportive. It was nice. I was really nervous about telling her, because with my history, I know this puts a burden of stress on her. But she was really laid back about it and told me to take care of myself and to let her know how things progressed at appointments.
So far, a tad stressful of a day, but all is well. We have our final 40 Hours service as Church tonight, and are spending 5:30 on in Adoration, which will be nice. (The service begins at 7pm). Peter had his men's group meeting at another local Catholic Church last night, so I went alone, but it was a beautiful service. I'm looking forward to another lovely one tonight.
Yesterday's U/S pics aren't scanned yet, but I'll post them when I have them!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Our Baby's Face
We have another appointment on Monday and hopefully we'll be quicker with getting the u/s pics scanned in!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
My baby boy would be 8 months old
It is hard to live in a world with the highest high- precious Zoë, the memories of Nicholas and Sophia- and the lowest lows- losing not just one child but two, suffering a miscarriage... Where do we fit into a world like this? How do we mourn and celebrate together, all at once.
As each day passes and we draw closer to meeting littly Zoë, another day passes and we are taken farther away from our time with Nicholas and Sophia. It is a conundrum of the worst... So much of me wanted to die in February; yet, so much of me wanted to live. Today, still, I want to die, but I want to live. To die to be with my babies, to live to be with them... There is no answer. No right one. It is only a measure of something lost, something gained.
Today, world, my son would be eight months old. He would be nursing and sleeping and playing with his sister. His mommy would feel overworked and overjoyed, both with he and his younger sibling and with her pregnancy of his even younger one! Mommy and Daddy would take care of all of them and watch over them as they sleep. Instead, my precious son and daughter watch over us... They hold us in the palms of their ethereal hands and kiss us with the soft drops of rain that fall from home on high. They warm us with their sunshine and hug us in their windy breezes. Nothing we expected but more than we'd ever thought possible.