Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's hard to believe it's been 3 years since we said hello and goodbye to our stillborn daughter, Rachel. So much has happened, mostly all good, but my heart never forgets. It never forgets how it felt to learn that she was gone, how I felt when I endured the long labor to bring her earth side, how sweet it was to finally hold her and look at her pretty little face, and how crushed and brokenhearted we felt to have to lay her to rest. You just don't forget those kinds of things. They mold you and shape you forever. When people ask me how many kids I have, I never quite know how to answer it. I don't want to leave Rachel out, yet sometimes I don't want to have them look at me like I've just told shared way too much info with them. I usually just leave it at 3 and not go any further. She's our little secret.

So many things have changed in those 3 years. Olivia came into our family on October 8th, 2010 and has healed our hearts so much. Nothing can fix the hurt, but she sure is a great band-aid. We love, laugh, and live again. She really is the proverbial rainbow baby, bring light and joy to all who meet her. She's so much fun. Nearly 2, and full of spunk, she is the typical toddler, getting into everything. Keeping me on my toes, for sure.

The boys are each in various sports and activities. Nathan is in middle school this year, in band and shooting club, and plays baseball as well. It's kinda neat, because he's playing my clarinet that I used all through high school and afterwards. Makes me really proud. Zach is an amazing athlete. He plays football for the Heritage Indians, and is 2nd string quarterback, and 2nd string outside linebacker. He loves football. It's what he lives for in the fall. In the spring, he plays baseball for the outward program as well, and now this year, he's decided to try out for the elementary school basketball team, so will be doing that in the winter months. No down time for this mama. Haha. It's awesome though. It's what I live for, to be a mom and take care of my kids. Which leads me to the question I get asked often. Will we have any more? To which I say, I'm not sure. We haven't closed that door, so maybe. If so, hopefully next year we can get the ball rolling with the fertility doctor again. Until then, we are loving life with our 3 kids on earth, and 1 in Heaven. They are my heart and soul. <3

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A hodge podge of happenings around here

So much has happened since I last blogged. My heart is healing, albeit very slowly. We have answers now as to what happened with our precious daughter and why we lost her.

The autopsy revealed a congenital heart defect called ventricular septal defect. It was greater than 50% of the septal wall, which is huge in the medical world's eye. We searched for reasons why this defect would have occurred and found out that she was genetically perfect, but further testing on me revealed a couple of things. I have 2 blood clotting disorders that I had no idea I even had. One is called MTHFR for short, or methylenetetrahydrofolate for long. Haha. The other is lupus anticoagulant. The MTHFR causes 2 things. It causes me not to metabolize folic acid like a normal person, which not only leaves me deficient, but also is detrimental to a growing fetus. It also causes blood clots. I am on a prescription type of folic acid called Metanx, and also baby aspirin and an injectable blood thinner called Lovenox every day. The blood clotting more than likely caused placental issues and inefficiencies during the pregnancy. The lack of folic acid likely played a part in the hole left in Rachel's heart, so hopefully the Metanx will protect the baby I'm carrying now.

Yes, I'm pregnant again, thanks to my great fertility doctor Gayla Harris. We got pregnant on the 3rd month of trying with Bravelle injections and IUI. It has been a very scary road so far. My nerves are absolutely frayed on a daily basis, but I'm dealing the best I can. I'm trying to remain positive for this baby. We have affectionately named this little miracle Skittle. I am currently almost 13 weeks pregnant, and due October 15th 2010. So far, baby is checking out fine on all ultrasounds, but I am being followed closely with weekly OB appointments and ultrasounds. My OB is very cautious and is doing everything he can possibly do to make sure this little one arrives safely and alive. I will have a fetal echocardiogram around 20 weeks to take a good close look at the heart and placenta, since these things were the cause of Rachel's demise. I'm praying that comes back good so I can finally relax just a little bit during this pregnancy. It's been a stressful roller coaster but we are thankful for each day with this day and pray all goes well this time. Here are a few pictures of our newest little baby.











Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All about Rachel

Who was Rachel? Rachel was a dream come true, the answer to many prayers, a daughter, a little sister, a grand daughter, and now an angel in Heaven.

Rachel Marie was born at 26 weeks gestation, on September 19, 2009 at 4:20pm eastern time. She was 1 lb 8 oz and 12 inches long. She had reddish brown hair, and long arms, legs, fingers, and toes. She is named after her grandma Marie, and her great great grandma Rachel.

There's a lot I don't know about her, that I'll never know. Like what her favorite color would have been, what her favorite food would be, how tall she would be. The list goes on and on. What I do know is that she has left a mark on my heart, on her family's hearts, and on the world even though she never took a breath. Her legacy will live on. I will make sure of that. I pray that her grandparents are holding her tight now, and will keep her safe until I get to Heaven to hold her again. Until then, I have some photos, momentos, ultrasound pictures and memories that will have to last me a lifetime. I will share some of those with you.


Life altering experiences

Well, it's been a while since I blogged about my life. Since the last post, our world has changed dramatically.

The new doctor that I started seeing was a God send. She along with the Great One, allowed us to conceive at last. On 4/4/09 I had an IUI and became pregnant with twins, due Christmas Day. An early ultrasound showed one baby wasn't making it, but the other was growing just fine. It was an amazing blessing to finally be pregnant!!! The baby grew and developed, and I was plagued with morning sickness and loving every minute of it.

The OB sent me for routine first trimester screening, all of which came back completely normal. Thank you God!! The weeks went by, and the baby grew and developed nomally, despite me having caught Fifth's Disease at 15 weeks. Finally, at 18 weeks we learned that our dreams had come true. We were indeed expecting the daughter of our dreams!! What a glorious day that was!! The boys and I celebrated with a trip to BabiesRUs to get their new baby sister a coming home outfit. They chose a cute pink outfit with polka dots, and a little lamb on it, along with the blanket to match. How very fitting this would turn out to be, since her name is Rachel Marie. Rachel, means female lamb in hebrew.

Rachel grew, and I grew, and every visit with the OB was great, although my blood sugars were creeping up, and soon I would likely go on insulin to control it. I saw the doctor at 22 weeks and the ultrasound was great. She was head down now, although she liked to move and groove, so I knew she likely wouldn't stay that way. The OB visit was good, and I was set to take the glucose tolerance test at the next visit on 9/28. Little did I know that I wouldn't have that visit, nor would I need to drink the disgusting orange drink.

Friday September 18 was a normal day for me. I took the kids to school, came home, went back to bed, got back up, and waited on them to get home from school. It occurred to me around 3pm that I hadn't felt Rachel moving that day. I chalked it up to my anterior placenta, and pulled out the doppler for some reassurance. Only, there was no reassurance, just silence. I searched frantically for about 30 minutes trying to find my baby's heartbeat, to no avail. I phoned the OB, whose nurse told me to come straight to labor and delivery and they'd find her for me. I hurried to get myself put together, not even bothering to take a shower, and drove to the hospital as quickly as I could. I barely remember the drive over, despite talking on the phone to my friend Brenda. Royce met me at the hospital, and our friends Vito and Jessica came to take the boys back to their house while we were trying to see what was going on with the baby. I was admitted and taken to triage. The nurses tried to get her heartbeat, all while trying to reassure me that they often had trouble with anterior placentas. I knew better. I already knew what they were going to tell me. The chief OB doctor comes in with an ultrasound machine to have a look. I knew before he said anything that she was gone. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! How could this be happening? She was fine the night before. How could my baby have died? Why did she die? Why did God take my child from me, the one I'd tried so hard to conceive, the one that we had dreamed about, prayed about, the sister my boys prayed for every night before bed? How could He do this to my family?

My OB was called in, and when he got there, he was so upset for us. He is the nicest, most caring, genuine man you'll ever meet. Not only that, but he's a Christian, and I'm so thankful God led me to him when I had to find a new OB back in 2007. He sat and cried with us. He did another ultrasound to try to see if she had a cord around her neck or anything abnormal. She had some swelling/fluid in her brain and her belly, but everything else seemed fine. I would have to be induced and deliver her. I had heard of these poor women who suffered 2nd or 3rd trimester losses in the past, and they'd had to deliver their dead babies. I felt like this was the cruelest thing any mother could possibly go through, and now I was one of them. I was facing my worst fears.

It was a long 22 hour labor, of which I labored unmedicated for 21 hours. I did the best I could, knowing that an epidural for me would be extremely difficult with my bad spine. I used the birth ball, I walked, I swayed, I knelt, I did everything I could to get Rachel to come without me having to have an epidural, but my body refused to let go of this little girl. It knew she wasn't ready to be born, but it didn't know that she was already gone and that it was okay to let go. Finally I decided to consent to the epi, knowing I'd probably change my mind once the anesthesiologist came. He asked about my spine, what kind of surgery I'd had, filled out some forms, and he quickly got to work. At this point, I was 3cm and the contractions were right on top of each other with double peaks at times, and lasting what seemed to be an eternity. He worked for 45 minutes, hitting every nerve, bone, and piece of scar tissue as he tried desperately to thread the catheter down my spinal column so he could give me some relief. I screamed, I moaned, and even begged him to just take a hammer and hit me in the head. I knew he must have been sweating bullets himself. I was a wreck, begging and pleading with the Lord to help this poor man and guide him so he could give me pain relief. I pleaded with Rachel to just let go, and come to my arms. Finally, after what seemed like a million years, he got it in, and was able to give me some relief. I wasn't out of pain completely, because while I was sitting there waiting on the epidural to be placed, Rachel descended and was now ready to be born.

My OB wanted to give me about 2o minutes to rest before we started pushing. So, I tried to catch my breath and rest, but the pain was still enough that I had to moan through it. Finally, it was show time. He broke my water, and I pushed through 2-3 contractions, and out came my angel Rachel Marie. He quickly put her on my chest. She was beautiful, and so very tiny. She had the most beautiful rosebud lips, and light reddish brown hair. She had her Momma's long fingers, arms and legs. She had Momma's button nose that the boys also have. She was absolutely beautiful, just perfectly still. No one prepares you for the silence that comes from a stillbirth. It's deafening. It's not normal, but then, nothing in life will be normal again from here on out for us. The OB had a hard time with my placenta, and it wouldn't detach, so he had to manually remove it. THAT my friends was excruciating!!! I thought he'd pull out my tonsils for sure. Finally, he got it all out, and I was left to recover.

We spent an hour with Rachel, just DH and I. Then we sent her to the nursery to be weighed, cleaned, measured, and dressed before her brothers came to see her. Family came in and gave us lots of love and support. Vito and Jessica brought the boys to us, and Rachel was brought back to us as well. We spent some time just the 5 of us. They wanted to see her, touch her, get a good look at her. Zach just wanted to love on her and pet her. The pain in my children's faces was enough to kill me. As if the pain I was in wasn't enough, I had to watch them go through this too. It just wasn't fair. We took lots of pictures, and the rest of the family came in to meet her. It was so nice to have everyone there supporting us, and loving us during the most difficult thing we have ever endured. We couldn't have made it without them. Finally, as family left, we spent some time with Rachel alone again, and then decided we needed to let her go. It was painful seeing her now, as she was looking rough. I kissed her goodbye, and Royce had the nurse take her. I wish now that I'd held her for the rest of the night or as long as I could. You are in such a fog, that you can't make rational decisions. The few moments you spend with your stillborn child here on earth are all you have with them until you are reunited in Heaven.

We had visitors that night, and I finally cried myself to sleep around midnight. The next day we signed the paperwork to have her autopsied, since until then, we didn't know of any problems at all, and needed answers as to how a perfectly healthy baby could simply just die like that. The hospital gave us a beautiful keepsake box, with her hand and footprints inside, some literature about loss, her gown, and hat that she wore, the blanket we wrapped her in, and a blanket the ladies auxiliary made for us with her name and date of birth. The nurses and staff were simply amazing and we couldn't have asked for better care. We left around 5 pm and headed home, not realizing how much our lives had just been changed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New road to babyland

Some of you may know, my husband and I have been trying to conceive another baby for about 19 months now. We have done fertility drugs Clomid, Femara, and a combo of both, coupled with IUI's. I've been seeing a doctor who specializes in infertility since April 2008. He's recently been really lax about my treatment and downright forgetful on my protocol, so I was fed up when he started pushing me for a laparascopic surgery that I didn't feel I needed. So, I sought a second opinion from another doctor. She confirmed what I knew all along, that I hadn't gotten the best of care from him and now I'm going to switch to her. She's going to monitor me more closely and I'm starting a new protocol including injectible medications this cycle. I'm really excited, and happy about this new road to babyland. I hope and pray it brings us a bundle or two finally. I'll be taking Bravelle along with Femara, and we are doing IUI as well. Wish us luck!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's Thursday!

A week before Christmas. Holy cow. Time sure did fly since Thanksgiving. I can't wait for the big day though. I can't wait to see if the boys like their stuff. I have also bought things for some needy kids this year, and cleaned out closets to give some clothes away, so I hope I'm teaching them a life lesson here.

Yesterday, I chaperoned Nathan's 2nd grade class on a field trip to the McClung Museum on the UT campus and to the Clarence Brown Theater. Everyone had a blast, including me. :) At the theater, they gave us a behind the scenes tour basically. We saw the prop shop, the underneath area of the stage when they do trap doors and stuff, and then my favorite-the costume shop! They had huge dyeing vats, and then in the sewing room, they had about 4 Beninas, 2 Pfaffs and 2 Juki sergers. Needless to say, I was drooling. HAHA!! I only dream of having good machines like that. My little Kenmore will have to do.

Okay, I'm going to give you 3 things that are random, but I think are gonna make you smile.

1) Mint Truffle Hershey's kisses. If you haven't tried them, hurry to your local Walmart and buy a bag. They are da bomb diggity!!!

2) I am making keyfobs for all my female family/friends for Christmas presents. They look like this:

and you can get the instructions here.
They are SO simple to make.

3) Hmm, I'm gonna have to think on this one. I'll be back later with something for ya. ;)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Shame on me

I stopped blogging about this, but should have kept it up. I'll try to post a recap of everything that happened in the past year of my life with Dad.

He was diagnosed 9-25-07 with lung cancer stage 3. He started chemo immediately and had 6 rounds total from october to april. In May he decided to not treat it anymore and stopped all treatments. In August he had gotten so bad with constipation and impaction, that he consented to go with hospice for help. They came in and were able to give him relief immediately, and then continued to care for him as much as he needed, or as little as he needed. In September he started to decline and I could tell he was getting worse. By 9-24 the nurses told me he would live about 5-10 more days. He lived 17 days and died on October 11th 2008. He fought long and hard and I admire him for that. He slipped into a coma 2 days before he died and was no longer in such awful pain. His death has left a gaping hole in my heart. I'm forever changed. I'm happy he's no longer suffering and is reuntited with the love of his life, my mother Marie. But, I sure do miss him. As the holidays grow closer, it's harder and harder to be happy without him here. But, I go through the motions for my children's sakes. They deserve to have the Christmas season be as magical as always.

Then, there's the issue of my ongoing infertility. I'm scheduled for a laparoscopy in January if I'm not pregnant before then. I'm convinced there's something wrong with me, causing the infertility. If it turns out I am wrong, I don't know what I'll do or who I'll blame then. ;)

Nathan's 8th birthday is saturday and we are planning a party for him at a local pizza place. He's soooo excited!! His friends from school are coming and he's very happy about that. I can't believe my baby is already 8!! Time sure has flown by. *sniff*

Speaking of time flying, our 16th wedding anniversary is on friday. It's been a wonderful, hard, trying, loving 16 years. A lot of things have happened in that amount of time. From the death of my mother, to Nathan's birth, then Zach's, and now the death of my father. We have had our ups and downs, but the past few years have been more ups, aside from Dad's death. Our marriage is stronger now than it's been in several years and I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful man by my side who still loves me despite my pitfalls. Love you honey!!