Saturday, February 27, 2010


Most days do not start out with a knock on the door with a random woman asking if my husband is home. Okay, so no day ever starts that way. Soon after telling her that he was working she told me she talked to him yesterday, she is from the funeral home. We had met with the funeral home earlier this month. The first visit was, much to my surprise, easier than I had expected. At the time we were not sure whether we would cremate or have a burial and we were just getting information for each.
I do believe that we are going to do a burial so the lady from the funeral home was dropping off brochures for infant headstones. Those are papers that no parent should have to look at. How do you pick out the "perfect" headstone for your baby? On one hand, it really does not matter, it is just her body that will be buried in the cemetery. It just needs to have the basic information on it but at the same time cost does not matter. We will never be able to buy her birthday or Christmas presents, never worry about providing a car when she turns 16 or even have to try to figure out how to help pay for college. All we can give our daughter is one outfit, a headstone and our love while she is still with us.
I'm going to call the city building Monday so that we can go look at plots at the city cemetery soon. As hard as this is now, I would much rather take care of all the details before delivering. We still have not decided on a memorial service. Part of me does not want to do it but another part of me hopes for closure by going through with it. We probably will have one, I do not think we would look back and regret having one but would not want to look back wishing that we had done one. There are so many decisions in this process that I would have never even considered.
I have a doctor appointment Tuesday and I am hoping to find out if I am dilated more. This week should be informative if nothing else!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hospital visit

We had our first "scare" at the hospital today. It all started around 3, I was finishing up a lunch date with my old Yellowbook coworkers and went to the bathroom. I noticed that I was spotting and I had also been cramping a little bit. Not wanting to make a scene I did not say anything since we were wrapping up and getting ready to head out. I continued cramping until I left, I called the doctor's office immediately once I got into my van. After waiting on hold for 10 minutes, I talked to a nurse to see if I should come in to the office to be checked. I received a call back about 4:30 that my doctor wanted me to go to the hospital and get admitted to the labor and delivery floor to have the monitoring done.

Lucky for me, Greg was already on his way home so I did not have to drive myself in. I started to cry, only for a minute though because I did not want to go in with my makeup all over the, I am not kidding. I was scared, I knew this could be it. I never had ANY sign of cramping, contractions or spotting with Makayla or Hannah so this is all new for me. "Am I ready for this?" I thought. That did not matter though, I know I have to deal with this pregnancy as it comes. I prayed silently on the way there; "please God, if this is it, if it is her time, give me peace. Help me handle this because I cannot do it on my own." I felt at peace the rest of the drive. I have never prayed this way before, never felt that I needed to be a "needy" prayer. I am so grateful that I have become that "needy" prayer or there is absolutely no way that I would be able to carry this load.

I get to the hospital, go to the registration desk. The girl working there looked me up and down when I told her what I was there for. I know that I do not look extremely pregnant but I do not need to be looked up and down over it. Once registered another woman came in to wheel me upstairs, the wheelchair was big enough to carry 6 people! She also gave me a look and stared right at my stomach, I just wanted to look her in the eyes and say "WHAT?!?!?" Instead I started smiling like a freak since Greg looked like he was going to explode with laughter at the HUGE wheelchair.

Once at the labor and delivery floor the nurse asked what was going on, I explained the cramping, spotting and contractions. I mentioned that Olivia has anencephaly which my doctor had already made her aware of. She first checked for a heartrate. I knew there would be one, Olivia had started moving more since 3:30 than she has the entire pregnancy. Not only that, she moved ferociously the whole time I was hooked up to the monitors. I was checked for dilation, I am currently 1 cm dilated. After getting me hooked up to the monitors, the nurse started taking my health history. The 3rd question in was, "Do you plan on breast feeding or bottle feeding?" I was stunned, we were just talking about the anencephaly! I just told her "uuummm.....neither." I know she felt bad because as soon as I answered she said "that was a stupid question, I'm sorry," and did not make eye contact with me the rest of the time she was in the room.

After she had left the room I started to cry again, that question triggered the right emotions. I had to get the TV on for noise, the silence was too much to handle. I have not been in a hospital for myself since giving birth to Hannah, it took me longer than it should, and I needed Greg's help to get the TV turned on. I'll blame in on the nerves. I'm glad the crying was not much more than a few tears since the nurse came back in shortly after and this time did look in my eyes. I think I would have lost it if she asked me how I was doing, but she did not and I am so grateful of that.

After being hooked up to monitors for 2 hours, having my urine tested (no infections!) I was sent home with no restrictions. I am happy that I do not have to sit in the hospital bed all night but I still have no explanation about my contractions/cramping that have not entirely let up. I was told that I am not in labor or prelabor so that is some consolation, not much though.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My feelings up to 22 weeks

The night we found out Greg and I discussed how I did not want this to change my life. I knew that it would, no matter what choice was made but I still wanted to live, have joy and give the girls everything I could. I thought terminating the pregnancy was the best option to move on. Thankfully, I changed my mind from that. I would NEVER judge a mother who decided to terminate but I cannot thank God enough that I had enough time before seeing the specialist, enough time to help make the most difficult decision of my life. After meeting with our specialist, he took us to a desk, out in the open, and said we needed a list. The list he was referring to, with about 6 nurses standing around casually, no privacy to be had was a list of abortion clinics. Not only would I be terminating my pregnancy, I would have to sit in a waiting room with teenagers and women who did not WANT their children. Never in my life did I think I would be 26 years old, happily married and looking at a list of clinics that could rip my own child from my body. The child that we had planned, the child that I cried for each month that I started a period.

One of the first questions that I am asked when people find out is "did you have to carry the baby?" No, I did not. I could have aborted "safely" up to 24 weeks. I could not, under any circumstance imagine actually going through that process. To lay on a table and have my baby vacuumed out of me is absolutely nauseating. Like I have said before, I would NEVER judge a mother who chose that road. Unless you have been in those shoes, to even have to take that into consideration, there is no way to understand what they are going through.

So why do I continue this pregnancy? Aside from being scared of an abortion, I only have 9 months to give my daughter life. I have heard her heartbeat, I have felt her kicks. I am a mother, the baby growing inside of me is my daughter. Who am I to decide how long of a life she will have? If she makes it to term and she is born alive, I will have time with her. Time that I would never have a chance to have if I would have chosen to terminate. All I have to give her in her lifetime is the time inside of me. I will cherish these months, no matter how painful some days can be. Every flutter and every kick is so beautiful. I cry when she stops, I pray to God, please let her move more, I need to know that she is still alive! I look forward to the doctor appointments, never have I NEEDED to hear a heartbeat more than this one.

Tomorrow I will be 22 weeks pregnant. It has been 10 weeks since we have found out that if our baby is carried to term, makes it through delivery, she will die in our arms. I cannot even begin to express the pain that I carry daily. Never in my worst nightmares would I have guessed this would ever happen to me. Miscarriage seems painful enough but to find out 6 months before you give birth to your own child, that you will not get to bring her home. Right now I should be setting up a nursery, filling the closet with more pink clothes than any baby would ever need. Instead I spend my time on support groups with other mothers, ones that are going through the same horrific journey, others have already said their goodbyes. One of the most difficult things for me right now is trying to find that one outfit, most likely the only outfit she will ever wear. I look for it when I see baby clothes. So many adorable onesies and dresses, but none of them good enough. How do you pick out just one outfit when you are planning for your baby?

December 12, 2009

The day after we found out, I woke up feeling completely empty. My neighbor, Lisa, came over early since Greg had to go into work. We talked about the day before. I was still convinced at that point that I could go through with an abortion.

I had a lunch already planned with a friend that day. She still did not know that I was pregnant so I got dressed, did my hair and makeup and was determined to have one last "normal" day before the sympathy looks started in. I was not sure I would even be able to walk out of my house, let alone drive across town and eat out in public. On the way to lunch I called Greg telling him I cannot do it, I just want to go inside and not see anyone, ever again.

My biggest fears in the beginning was giving up on my life, not being there for my girls, letting myself go. I knew that I could not do that to myself or my family so I drove on. I had a wonderful lunch, talked about my business, her business. Just really enjoyed being out. My father-in-law had pulled up to get gas at the gas station next door. I was so nervous he would see me or walk in, but he didn't so I went on with my day.

I went to my grandma's house after lunch. I had never been so happy to see my children as I was at that moment. What better way to really appreciate life and all that has been given to us than to see our girls just happy to see their mom and dad. I could have hugged them forever if they would have let me. We took them home that night, I did not want to be without them.

The next day was church, the word was starting to spread through the prayer chain. It was not clear to all people what was going on but most people knew there was something wrong with the baby (most people did not even know I was pregnant yet!) I used my children as shields. I LOVE that people care but absolutely cannot handle the look....the sympathy look. It does not make me want to cry but instead I put up an immediate wall. Could there be anything more awkward than somebody looking you in the eyes waiting for you to cry or breakdown? But we made it through that first week and we take everyday, one day at a time.

Every day I pray for strength and peace. I do not pray for a miracle. I would love nothing more than to give birth and find out that she is perfectly healthy, physically and mentally. I have to be realistic and realize that there is a greater chance for that to not happen. I pray for God to lead our lives by His will, whatever is for the good of us and our family will happen. It took a couple of weeks for the reality to set in. It was after our specialist appointment, still not right away. I almost felt guilty talking to my own husband about it, as if I were gossiping about someone else and their problems. But no, this time it as us. The kind of thing that only happens to other people, we have to learn to go on with our lives and deal with it.

December 11, 2009

On December 11, 2009, I dropped my daughters off with my grandma. I had an ultrasound scheduled, just to confirm heartbeat and due dates. Although this was a routine ultrasound, I did not think my 2 and 3 year old, full of energy would have been appreciated at the appointment. I was so excited, that evening I had a Christmas party to attend and could not wait to show off pictures of my baby (only 12 weeks old!)

The only reason I even needed this ultrasound was because my doctors heart rate monitor was broken at my checkup. He just smiled and said "we'll get an ultrasound, then you can have pictures too."

Once in my appealing white gown with no underwear it was time for the sonogram. Greg had met me at the hospital. The radiologist began and I immediately asked if there was a heartbeat. She smiled, told me yes and showed us and told me I could relax. I was so excited, talking with Greg about how different this pregnancy was and how sure I was that it was a boy. The radiologist joked and laughed with us about my french fry cravings and talked to us about her first grandson being due anytime.

All of a sudden, the mood of the room changed, I just told myself she was doing the boring technical part and was focused. Her face was unusually serious but hey, we saw the heartbeat, the hands and feet were all perfect, the baby was even sucking it's thumb. She then excused herself saying "I have to talk to my radiologist," she patted my leg, "It's not about you, don't worry, it's about another case." Then she was gone.

Greg and I looked at eachother in shock. I told him "she's not checking on another case." Greg agreed and said "she's either lying or she is really rude."

We sat in silence until she came back. She did more tests, told me not to get dressed and go back to the waiting room. That had never happened before, we have done this 2 other times and we are always sent away pretty quickly with a stack of our babies pictures. She gave us just one picture, the baby's hands. No thumb sucking, no long legs that she showed us, no face, just hands. I'm not sure how long we waited when she came in, looked me int he eyes, told me to get dressed and go straight to my doctor's office. I must have started to ask her a questions because she said "I am not at liberty to tell you anything."

I have no concept of time from getting dressed to how long we waited at the doctor office. Greg drove and I called my grandma. We had awhile to wait at the doctor office, we were called back. The office was beginning to empty out for the weekend, happy nurses were on their way out the door. Everything was going through my head. The baby looked perfect to us, it was moving more than our daughters had ever moved inside. I thought that if it was something with me that I would have just gotten a call setting up extra testing, it had to be the baby, but what could be wrong?

We were finally able to see the doctor, he came in and asked us how we were. I wanted to laugh and say "what do you think?" Instead I just said "waiting for you to let us know."

He grabbed a box of tissue, put it by me. Great, that's always a good sign, I thought. He started slowly, "Obviously it's not a good thing to come see me after an ultrasound." His eyes began to tear up, "Your baby has a condition, Anencephaly." He tried to explain to us in technical terms, then I heard "there is no brain, your baby will not survive outside the womb"

My head was spinning, how am I supposed to carry a baby that was going to die? IS this serious? I really have to deal with this? Greg and I had tried for several months to get pregnant, we WANT this baby, can this really be true?

He then went on to say we can carry it to term, some parents find comfort in getting to hold their baby. No way, I thought, what kind of weirdo really wants a chance to hold a dead baby? He told us that medical abortion is another option, he wanted us to see a specialist to confirm and get more information but it would be safest to get an abortion before 14 weeks (if that was our choice). Wonderful, that is a week and a half away, 2 days before Christmas. Before we left our doctor prayed with us. He prayed for a miracle for our baby and if we would not get a miracle for peace for us to get through this. That was the best thing he could have done at that point, nothing he would have said would have changed what we had found out that day.

I could not believe it on the car ride home. I was expected to either abort a child that I wanted so badly -or- carry it to term, get fat, deal with the extra expenses, just to watch my own precious baby die!

My grandmother came over to our house to pick up clothes for the girls. I knew I would have to get my children and they could not be shielded from everything that was about to happen but I did not want them to have to try to comfort their parents when they are just babies themselves.

That night I went to my friend Christy's house so her husband could take Greg to get his car. Greg did not want me alone, which I can now appreciate. As I sat with her, I felt pretty normal, I looked up information on the computer about babies with anencephaly. My mind was made up, I would not carry my baby, I would terminate as soon as possible.