Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Good bye 2008. What a year, I remember last NYE, I was pregnant, over the 12 week safety mark. I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of our baby.

Yet, even though Ethan was born still, I say good bye to 2008 with a heavy heart. 2008 was supposed to be our year, our year to welcome our baby. Jason was finally going to be a big brother. In ways I can't articulate well enough, I am sad today. I feel as though time is passing by and leaving my baby Ethan behind. Sometimes, I just want to go back to May 23rd 2008. To the day he was born. Because even if he wasn't breathing, I had him in my arms. I remember that day as being the saddest day and happiest day of my life. I finally got to meet my baby Ethan. I marveled at his beautiful face. His tiny ears folded over, just like my nephew Vinnie. And here we are saying goodbye to 2008 and it feels as if though we are in a sense saying goodbye to Ethan. But, I know in my heart, I will never ever be able to let go of my Ethan.

I wish all of you a peaceful entry to 2009. May we all have peace in our hearts tonight. Be safe. You are all always in my thoughts. Every time I hear one of your baby's names, I think of you all. Peace be with all of you tonight.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Third pregnancy

I've been pondering this for a while. This is my third pregnancy, yes I was pregnant before back in 1994. I didn't know it at the time, I was in college and just remember having very sore breasts. I sorta thought, maybe, but I already knew I had PCOS. Then one night, while we were getting ready to go out with our friends, I had my now husband, take me to the ER. The pain was intolerable, excruciating. I remember thinking, if this is what labor feels like I don't want to ever have a baby. I thought I was just having one of my really heavy periods and very bad cramps. Actually, I was having a miscarriage.

Hours later, I finally had pain relief. The "products of conception" had been expelled. The pain was gone, and I hate to say this, I was relieved. I was too young back then to have a baby. I thought "it's for the best".

I remember the ER doctor telling me, that it was a good sign that I was able to get pregnant on my own with my PCOS history and that miscarriages were common and most women went on to have normal subsequent pregnancies. But, since then I've often thought of my baby. Was it a boy or girl? Was there a chromosome problem? Of course, I don't think they even tested my baby. But, I wonder. I could have a 14 year old now.

Here I am now, pregnant for the third time and I wonder will I have a baby at the end of this journey? Will it end with a live baby? I hate that I've had 2 previous pregnancies and no living baby at the end of those pregnancies.

Ethan, I miss you more than ever. I wish you were here with us. You're brother has been asking about you quite a bit lately. I know he wishes you were here to celebrate your first Christmas.

We love you!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Neonatal Resuscitation Program

Thursday I took a class, the NRP, at the women's hospital near where I work. It was one of the hardest classes, not the material, I've been an ED nurse, for some time now. But, the whole thing. Being in a classroom right next to the NICU. Knowing that some babies are in there and are fighting for their lives, thinking of how many babies have died in that NICU. Thinking of their parents, their grief, their loss.

Well, I passed but not with flying colors. I was there as a deadbabymama and not an experienced pediatric ED nurse. I couldn't think, my mind was foggy, I was hit with a large dose of grief, right there during my class. We watched a video going over the main points of NRP, and they talked about end of life care. I wanted to vomit. I could feel myself holding back my tears. This was just too close to home. I've been on the receiving end of that care. I've had the bereavement nurse and chaplain at my bedside. Back in May, the bereavement nurse held my hand and told me what to expect. Because, I was there, pregnant with my deadbaby. I was being induced to deliver my deadbaby. I had no freaking clue what to expect. I had never delivered a baby before, and the event I had been anticipating for months was there, too soon and I was totally unprepared. I had no fucking clue on what was to happen.

Fast forward, the video is over. Now we've moved on to the simulated baby in the NICU. I see them there, the ossilators, the ventilators, the incubators. I almost walked out, luckily the room we were in was separated from the NICU with a partition. We are now being evaluated, we will be given a scenario. It's my turn, my scenario, a full term baby delivered via C section. Mother was at OB's office and no heart beat was heard, she had an emergency C section. I almost couldn't catch my breath, this could've been me. Only my baby didn't have a chance, he was already dead when we had the ultrasound. He died during the night.

Like I said before, I passed but barely. Then there was the written test, one of the questions was how long would you "code" a baby with no heart beat after an emergent C section.
A. 20 minutes
B. 10 minutes
C. 30 minutes
D. 60 minutes

My answer was C. 30 minutes. I was wrong. The correct answer was B. 10 minutes
My brain knows this, but my heart, the heart of a deadbabymama says 30 minutes.

Now, that I've taken this re certification class, I'm good until 2010. And by the way, I almost did vomit, I was going through the motions, drying off my 34 week plastic baby, and I gagged right there. I told the instructor, I had not ate breakfast and had a drink of Coke on an empty stomach. Partly true, the real truth was my grief was ever so consuming.

Friday, December 12, 2008

There is a heartbeat....sigh

Yes, the heartbeat was there, tiny, but there. Beating away at 120.6 bpm. At first, I couldn't see it. I saw a black hole, it appeared to have nothing in it. My doctor was quiet, I asked is there something there. Then the nurse pointed out the heart, flickering away. Ahhh, a loud sigh came out.

The CRL measurement is 4.7 mm. My cervix looked good. And yes, my left ovary was huge. No wonder, I've been having twinges of pain.

He actually gave me a due date of Aug. 6. I can't even think that far in advance. Will I make it. I pray that I do, that my baby does. PLEASE!

I have one more appointment with him, my exit appointment, then I will move on to my OB and the MFM doctor. And now I'll be taking Lovenox instead of Heparin. Go figure. I don't really care as long as everything turns out OK.

Thanks for ALL of your well wishes and support!

Monday, December 8, 2008

PTSD

Yesterday, we had a lazy Sunday. I took a long nap, and while I was napping I had a dream. I was in my RE's office for my viability ultrasound and there was no heartbeat. Then I was transported back to May 21st, I was in my OB's office and it was happening again. NO HEARTBEAT! I woke up in a panic, in a sweat. I told my husband I'm terrified of having an ultrasound. I'm terrified of not finding a heartbeat.

I had many ultrasounds during my IUI and injectible cycle. Heck, I had them every other day. But, they were safe ultrasounds, looking at my ovaries, looking at my follicles. Not looking for a heartbeat. I'm terrified.

I'm trying to imagine it, walk through the steps in my mind. Then I tell myself if there is no heartbeat, it could still be fine, it just might be too early. Gosh, will I survive this pregnancy? Is it still a pregnancy?

I'm freaking out. Even at work, at times when I pass by the ultrasound rooms I get chills, I have to look away. I think of how I was there on the table, looking at the screen and I couldn't see the heart rate thingy work on the ultrasound machine. I knew then, Ethan had died.

I remember last time with Ethan, we told the key people in our lives that I was pregnant. I think I was barely 5 weeks. Pretty cocky of me, don't you think? I was so naive. I was so sure we would have a baby. And boy was I wrong.

It's Monday, we have our ultrasound Friday. In the meantime, I think I will try to clean the house and even go the gym. The gym helps clear my mind, it centers me. But, wait I really can't run or anything. Well, I will stroll on the treadmill. I need to distract my mind and maybe I need to get a therapist for my ultrasound phobia. I think I'm losing it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The latest news...

My initial HCG was 108. Adequate, I think. Of course, I keep comparing with my last pregnancy, with Ethan it was 129.

I have to stop doing this.

Today I had my second HCG and progesterone. HCG 218.5 and progesterone 60.2. It doubled, yay. Still can't call it a BFP, in my mind, I will jinx this pregnancy. I know I'm totally crazy, but I can't celebrate just yet. I don't get it. But, this is how I feel, I'm holding my breath, waiting to exhale a breath of relief. Unfortunately, I know this will not happen until I have a baby in my arms, my baby in my arms.

So, we have our first viability ultrasound Dec. 12th at 1:15. Another wait.

In the meantime, I will just try to take care of myself and try to maintain my "sanity".

Oh yeah, and I have started taking heparin. 2000 units SQ every other day. And still taking my progesterone IM injections. Yay, I'm a pin cushion.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I want to thank all of you in blosphere. Honestly, I don't know what I would've done had I not found this community, this "club". I remember feeling isolated, depressed, desperate. Wanting to find "survivors" of this terrible tragedy. And I did, unfortunately, more than I would've liked. However, by reading your blogs, by hearing your stories, by hearing you talk about your babies, I slowly began to find my way. I was no longer alone. There were people whom had survived and I was learning survival traits.

Today on Thanksgiving Day I want to thank you all. Thank you for your support, thank you for being my "friends" and thank you for hearing my story.

And of course, I'm thankful that I was able to get pregnant with Ethan. Up until then, I thought pregnancy was something for others, not an infertile like me. He restored my faith that I was able to get pregnant. I'm happy I was able to hold my baby in my arms, to see his beautiful face, to see how he had both my physical traits and my husband's. I'm thankful for all of his kicks, his movement in my womb. This of course, makes me miss him more. Today he should be here. Awaiting for the arrival of grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Ethan I'm thankful that I was able to meet you, and I'm thankful that even if you're not here physically present you will forever be present in my heart. I love you Ethan Andrew!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

14 dpo

I took another pregnancy test Monday, BFN. It was 12 dpo.

This morning, I have one stick left. I wake up and think what the heck, next time I'll start off with a new pack. I take the test. In between sleepy eyes, I look down at it. My husband is in the shower, I show it to him. Yes, a faint second line.

I got a positive home pregnancy test.

One day at a time, or one hour at a time. I can't even bring myself to call it a BFP, not yet. I'm off to get my beta HCG level drawn.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

10 dpo

It's 6:22am, I've been up now for 25 min. I woke up this morning thinking "maybe it will be positive". Who did I think I was? Seriously. No, not me. Of course, it wouldn't happen, things like this just don't happen to me.

Warning: SELF PITY PARTY IN PROGRESS

I tested with first morning urine and of course, it was a BFN.

My flicker of light has just been turned off.

We don't have the money for another cycle, we don't have insurance coverage, I'm turning 36 years old next month. It sucks.

And tomorrow is Ethan's 6 month anniversary. 6 months that my precious baby was born still. We were so close. I could almost feel him, I thought we were in the home stretch. Fool. I'm such a fool. I wish I could go back to that day, if nothing else, to have him in my arms. My arms ache for him. I want to feel him, I want to cry my eyes out without stupid people telling me "he's in a better place". I want to hold him all day.

I miss you Ethan. I love you so much. You will forever be in my heart.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What did you do?

Last night, I took a pregnancy test. I reasoned that it would be too early to test but if I got a negative then I know the HCG is out of my body. I took the HCG trigger shot Monday November 10th. The test was negative. Exactly what I was hoping for, at least for now.

So, now I've established there is no extraneous HCG in my blood and I plan to cheat and test Sunday or Monday. I'm scheduled for my beta HCG level on Wednesday, before Thanksgiving.

This wait is pure torture.

I did get my P4 level yesterday and it was very good 44.78. After I heard the message from my REs office, of course I started to google it. Well, it is a good P4 level and I found one study that looked to see if there was an association between high P4 levels and pregnancy rates. And they found it not to be statistically significant. Oh well, I guess I'm not the only one to think there might be. So, after my high from my elevated P4 level I crashed with the realization that this might not be the case. I might not be pregnant, it didn't work. And because of our financial situation right now we will have to postpone. And postponing is not really that great of an idea because next month I turn 36 years old.

You get the picture, it's a downright spiral. For the meantime, I will try to relax and hope this week zooms by.

In the midst of all of the fertility stuff, I miss Ethan more than ever. I want him to know that I am not trying to replace him. I feel guilty sometimes for TTC again. Then I get angry and hate that we are trying again. I shouldn't be trying so soon, if he was here. But, he isn't. My dim reality.

Sorry guys, I know this post is all over the place. Welcome to my fertility roller coaster.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Seriously???

I worked yesterday, we have to work every 3rd weekend. Yesterday I get to work and one of the night shift nurses approaches me and asks me if I ever want to leave early for me to give her a call. She's used to working tons of OT and lately we are well staffed and the OT is almost nonexistent. So, I began to tell her that yes I would love for her to come in early for me (working 12 hours shifts) then my "friend" interrupts our conversation and asks her to come in early for her, because her husband is going out of town and he needs to pack, etc...

I let it go, I think to myself, I shouldn't be leaving early anyway with all of the infertility bills and all. So, I go on with my day. Then the charge nurse asks if I would like to stay til 10pm because we are now short 2 nurses . On a Sunday evening, that can be very risky, we tend to get very busy in the Pediatric ED after all the Sunday football games are over. So, I consider it, thinking maybe I could stay. After all, we do need a little extra money to cover our expenses. I call my husband and he tells me it's up to me, to go ahead if I'm up to working 15 hours. I contemplate and I agree.

Immediately, after I hang up the phone my "friend" responds, "I can't stay til 10pm because I have a baby at home". Now she didn't tell our charge nurse, no she said it directly to me. And this after, complaining about how little sleep she got and how he's up all night because he is now teething. I would do anything to be sleep deprived with Ethan. Anything.

I respond, "Well, unfortunately I don't have my baby at home, I don't have living a baby". My tone was flat, matter of fact. Melancholic.

She looks at me and pats my leg and says, "That's not what I meant, I'm sorry".

Seriously, she was at Ethan's mass. She was one of the readers of the liturgy. Seriously. Has she already forgotten that we were pregnant together, only she was able to bring her baby home in April, I gave birth to my baby and buried my sweet baby, Ethan, in May. Only 1 month later, my world shattered. It's still shattered, I'm still trying to pick up the pieces. Some days I do better than others, other days I don't know how I make it through.

She doesn't get it. And she may never get it. I hope she never has to go through what I did. But, for my own sanity, I will distance myself from her. I'm happy at least, I did say something, at first it just came out. Automatic. Not out of anger or rage, no that came later. Once I processed the whole thing, then I thought the audacity of her. She's notorious for walking through the ER and saying "Look isn't he beautiful" and insist that I stare at this perfect, little, living creation that is in our emergency department because of diarrhea or some other ailment. I will acknowledge and all but I will not go over and coo over something that causes me so much pain. Why is it so hard to get? Why?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The deposit has been made...

Well, this is how my husband refers to our IUI. We went ahead with the IUI yesterday. Now we must wait for 2 looonggg weeks before we find out if we're pregnant.

Ah yes, how could I forget. And we are now doing the progesterone IM injections. But, I don't care, stick me with all the needles in the world as long as I get pregnant.

So, today I'm off to have a nice relaxing lunch with my DH. We are having restaurant at a new restaurant in town. Gosh I hope it all works out. In the meantime, I'll just try to relax and pray that it works.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Green light...GO!

Yay! I got the green light, we will do our HCG injection tonight and our IUI Wednesday morning. It feels so good. I have 1 mature follicle and 2 follies measuring 16 mm.

I went to Costco's to buy pregnancy tests. Yes, I am a total freak and don't have the patience to wait for our bloodwork. So, I think I will test 9 days after our IUI. I did it last time. We'll see. Please, keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer for me.

Ethan ,
Baby, I miss you. We are trying to have another baby, hopefully we will be successful and you will get to be a big brother along with your brother Jason. Doing all of this, the injections, the ultrasounds, all of it reminds me of you. I remember last year, I only had 1 follicle and guess what pumpkin? That was you! You were Mommy's little miracle baby. I was so proud to tell that story and I still am. I love you so much my little angel. I miss you!

CD 15

I am so over this cycle. I had 4 follies Saturday when I went in for my follicle scan. It's been a rough one this time, our insurance isn't helping any either. We don't have coverage for the IUI or the follie scan, but we do get coverage for the medications. I'm glad about this, but on Saturday after my RE increased my dose to 300 iu of Menopur we had to rush to the pharmacy and my insurance made us jump through hoops. At the end, we ended up paying for the medication on our own. Apparently, now my insurance needs preauthorization to fill this rx and so on. So, $325 later we drive home with our 5 vials of Menopur.

I hope today we get the greenlight to go forward with the HCG shot and then we can do our IUI on Wednesday. I hope it works. I keep telling myself we only need one mature follicle. I got pregnant with Ethan with 1 follicle.

On a side note, we have finally begun to move forward with picking out a headstone for Ethan. We've delayed it for a bit, almost 6 months now. November 23rd will be his 6 month anniversary. It was something I couldn't bring myself to do initially. I feel as if it's the last thing we will do for him, it's the finality. I wanted to delay it for as long as I could. Also, I didn't just want to put any ole headstone there for him. It's a sacred place for us, and we must chose wisely.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Infertility, injections, ultrasounds, blood work, etc...

Updates:

We went and met with the MFM doctor. The genetic counselor was great. Very attentive, caring and most importantly she listened. The doctor was good. She was patient and answered all of my questions about a subsequent pregnancy.

There is just one thing, she said it was a "fluke" accident and highly unlikely to happen again. Strike one.

Then she referred to Ethan's death as "fetal demise". I quickly corrected her and stated his name was ETHAN. Strike two. I know the medical term is accurate. But, to a grieving Mom this medical term is very impersonal, and sterile. My son would've had a great chance for survival if he would've been born alive. He was a fully formed baby.

There is no strike three. So, we'll see what happens and will decide whether to consult with her if and when I become pregnant (fingers crossed).

This takes me to my second update. Yes, we have begun the fertility treatments again. I am currently on CD 9. I had my ultrasound yesterday and I had 4 follicles. So, my RE has increased my dose to 150 IU of Menopur. I hope they grow. I remember with Ethan I only had 1 mature follicle and that turned out to be my beautiful baby boy. So, I was a bit down because 4 follies is not very good and also my E2 was only 74. Up from 24 on CD 3. I have to remember all I need is 1 follicle. I hope this works. Please keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer for us. We return Thursday to see how my follies and lining are doing.

I was also informed by my fertility doctor that I will have to be on heparin if I get pregnant. Apparently, I have lupus anticoagulant present. This puts me at a higher risk for clotting. I also have one copy of the MTFHR gene mutation. I'm OK with this, I would rather know this now than later. I will do whatever it takes to maintain a healthy pregnancy and at the end hold a living baby in my arms. More shots, sure bring them on.

Also, I am not telling anyone about our TTC journey this time. I want to keep it to myself. I'm not sure I want other's to think I've "gotten over it". Some people at work think as soon as I have or begin trying that I'm all better. I'm not, I miss my baby more than ever. I will never be over it, and even if I have 10 more babies after Ethan it will never replace him. I will always be a Mommy to a baby boy that died. I don't cry as easily anymore. I've noticed I try to control it a bit more. Actually, I can control it. Especially at work. But, also this TTC journey is harder, there are times I don't even know if I can go through this again.

And finally, we had a wonderful time in California. It was beautiful, the weather was perfect. Disney and Universal Studios were great. And of course, we went to the beach. We were in Malibu and we actually saw a couple pairs of dolphins swimming pretty close to the shoreline. It was beautiful. I will post some pictures, if I figure out how to do it. And Jason picked up some rocks for Ethan. He started this right after Ethan died. He will collect rocks and write Ethan's name on it and take it to his grave. We have a whole vase filled with rocks and messages for Ethan. At one point he said, "Mommy, Ethan would've had fun with us if he were here".

Missing you Always, Ethan. We love you!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"El dia de los Muertos"

The day of the dead.

Being of Mexican descent, I am well familiar with this holiday. As a child, I don't remember celebrating it all that much, unless we were in Mexico. Sometimes our customs are washed away in an effort to assimilate into American culture. But, now as an adult, I really want to embrace this holiday, this day of celebration. After all it is a day of celebration, a celebration of life. It is a day of remembrance. A day to remember those who have died.

Last year, we went to the Arts Center here in town. There is an annual celebration, filled with exhibits, altars, crafts for the kids. We were there last year. And the year before, we were in Mexico during this time. Lil Jason was able to participate in all of the festivities. It's as though we were being primed for our own day of the dead. I've exposed him to death from the beginning. I never sugar coated death, I never told him the all too common phrases to describe death. I have no regrets about this. Death, the word in in itself is not a dirty word yet in this culture, we often find other terms to describe it. As if doing so, will make the pain less.

I've taken him to cemeteries, to visit our family. His great grandparents are buried in a beautiful, serene, quaint cemetery in Mexico. At times, I've asked myself if all this "death exposure" is healthy for him. I've concluded, it is. Death is a part of life. Death surrounds us. We can't escape it. We can try to pretend it will not happen, but I don't want this for him. I want him to know yes it happens, and yes it will happen again in our family. And yes, we continue to live. And we actually do survive. Death and life are intertwined. By confronting death we can learn to live and value life. Life is fragile, and by recognizing this we can learn to see the beauty of life.

The grief, the agonizing pain. It is still here, it is more controllable, but is still here. Quietly awaiting it's unleashing.

I went to Mass with Jason on Friday, 10/31. And when I looked over to the right of the altar there was a cloth scroll hanging from the wall, it had all of the names of the deceased for our parish this year. Ethan's name was there. I immediately felt that familiar pain. The sorrow, the grief. The scroll read, We remember in Prayer. It hurt, but it also was comforting to know that I am not the only one remembering my precious baby. Our pastor said that 7 of the 32 names on the scroll are of babies and stillborn babies. 7. It should not be.

Ethan should be here. Alive and kicking right now. But he's not, he's dead. He's buried in a cemetery.

I miss you so much Ethan. There are no words to describe it. Oh the agonizing pain. How can anyone go on living after their baby has died?

However, today I will remember, I will celebrate his life. He was alive for 32 wonderful weeks. He kicked, he moved, he reacted to my voice, to my touch. He reacted to music. He would move all over whenever I played Jennifer Lopez or my favorite Mexican singer, Juan Gabriel. He was alive. And I will remember and celebrate his life. He has touched my life and the life of many during his time here.

Ethan, Mommy misses you so much and I love you with all of my heart and being. We love you so much. Your big brother asks about you constantly. You are alive in our hearts. Sweet baby boy, Mommy and Daddy love you so much. We want to thank you for coming into our lives, even if it was only for a brief moment. The time we had with you, we will cherish forever.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

California...Here we come!!!

Yes, we are leaving for California tomorrow. We are taking our 6 year old to Disneyland and Universal Studios. Vacation, yay. We decided to do Disney during his fall break. Spring break is usually a very busy time in the hospital where I work, and trying to get time off during this time is almost close to impossible.

I was pregnant this past spring break and promised Jason we would take him somewhere for his spring break next year. I remember telling him, "We'll take you and your brother to Disney."

Right after Ethan died, Jason asked, "Mommy are you still going to take me to Disney?"

Me: "Of course, Jason, why do you ask?"

Jason: "Because when you were pregnant, you said you would take me and the baby, but now that Ethan has died are you still taking me?"

So, yes we're off to California. Ethan is not here anymore. But he will be with us, in our hearts, while we are in Disney. Now and forever.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"The Mecca"

I have an appointment tomorrow with a maternal fetal medicine physician. I'm excited, I want to be proactive with my next pregnancy. Not that I wasn't with Ethan, but this time, I want a physician who will not overlook anything.

When I got pregnant with Ethan, my fertility doctor released me to a high risk doctor. He recommended one of the doctors at the University high risk practice, his wife delivered with one of the doctors. So, I went there, feeling confident. I arrived and it was not what I expected. It was a very busy practice, it's at one of the teaching hospitals. I should've ran as fast as I could when I arrived, but I didn't. I waited forever to see someone, finally I meet with the nurse who does an extensive history and then tells me to make another appointment to actually meet Dr. Y, I was supposed to see Dr. X. I tell her this and she assures me that maybe next time I can switch to see Dr. X. But, she doesn't have any openings. She proceeds to tell me that over the course of my pregnancy I will see various doctors but Dr. X will be my primary MD.

Fine, I stay I make another appointment. I make it to my next appointment. Dr. Y walks in to my room, she's very soft spoken, meek, nice enough doctor. Again, I repeat my history and stress that this was a much anticipated pregnancy, a miracle baby for me. When we did IUI, I only had 1 mature follicle, and I thought it wasn't going to work. Only 1 follicle, well it turns out that's all I needed. And that 1 follicle ended up being my precious Ethan. She assures me she will do everything in her power to help me maintain a healthy pregnancy. She proceeds to do her exam (for a small woman she's kinda rough) and obtain my history, after a 2 hour or so appointment I leave there feeling confident. I am after all at the "mecca" of high risk pregnancies, and they got in under control. I will continue to take my blood pressure medications and so forth and they will do their job and monitor my precious, miracle baby.

Fast forward a couple months, all is going well, I'm still frustrated when I go there because it takes so long for me to actually get into my appointment. I arrive early every single time but still have to wait forever until I'm actually seen. But, I don't want to come off as pushy so I say nothing. After all, I'm pregnant nothing else matters. I've made it past the much awaited 12 weeks, I'm walking on clouds.

I have my first ultrasound there, I had a couple ultrasounds with my fertility doctor. All appears well, the subchorionic hematoma that was present at first is now gone, reabsorbed. I am told I can now exercise moderately to help control my weight, I have hypertension so weight control is an important measure to ward off preeclampsia. I'm at higher risk for preeclampsia since I have preexisting hypertension. But can you believe it my blood pressure is better than ever. Perfect. All seems to be well.

My pregnancy is progressing nicely. Week 29, I fail my glucose tolerance testing. I get a call from the clinic. I'm told to meet with a dietitian, I do as I'm told. Follow my diet, check my glucose 4 x a day. All is well. I have an appointment with my doctor, I go in, I have an ultrasound at 30 weeks. They are concerned about IUGR since I have hypertension. All appears to be well. They send me over to the clinic again, I wait almost 3-4 hours to be seen. This is really starting to piss me off. WTF. But, then I remember I'm pregnant, I shrug it off.

The door opens, it's Dr. G. What an ASSHOLE!!!!

The first thing out of his mouth is, "What are you going to do for birth control after this baby?". I go on to explain that this isn't really a problem for me since I have infertility issues. He checks the baby's heart rate tells me all is well. My blood pressure is under control, and tells me Dr. Y, whom by now I've become comfortable with, is no longer practicing. She was also pregnant, and had to deliver early. My appointment last maybe 5-10min. I realize, he didn't mention anything about the ultrasound I just had, or what the plan would be for the rest of my pregnancy. Nothing about non stress testing, nothing, zippo! Now, mind you I now have gestational diabetes and preexisting hypertension. As I'm walking out, one of the nurses tells me I have gestational diabetes I tell her I know, I've been to the diabetic teaching and I am testing as instructed. She is the 3rd person to tell me I have gestational diabetes. I want to scream, "Aren't you guys reading my chart, who the hell is following my pregnancy". Now I'm really pissed, and I have to go through this for the rest of my pregnancy.

I call my husband and tell him the latest. We agree to switch back to my regular OB whom I've known forever. I call her and she agrees to treat me, she also takes care of high risk pregnancies. We finally switch at 32 weeks. My first appointment with her is May 20th, the last day I heard my baby's heartbeat.

We have left the clinic, the mecca of high risk pregnancies, or so we thought. We are so happy, we're almost there at the finish line. Dr. J is wonderful, gentle and her staff is great. She tells me that she will begin NST twice a week. I question why I need this and she tells me even though all is well, she wants to make sure it really is. After all, I do have hypertension and now gestational diabetes, she also tells me she will see me weekly and by 34 weeks twice a week and she will repeat an ultrasound then. She also tells me she will not let me go beyond 39 weeks.

May 20th was the last day I felt Ethan. I remember it so vividly. I came home, happy I was finally getting the care I needed. I put Jason to bed then curl up and begin to read all of the handouts I just received at Dr. J's office. As I look at the pamphlets I run across one for pregnancy pictures. I write down the number, I'm thinking I will do this soon. After all, this might be my only pregnancy. I'm eating strawberries and fruit dip, it's my bedtime snack. I feel Ethan move, boy is he moving. I contemplate video recording my belly as it ripples because of his movement. But, I don't. Our camera needs charging. I sit in bed, and attempt to listen to his heart rate with my stethoscope but he kicks it. I get the hint and leave him alone. I go to bed, happy, thinking "Wow, this is really happening, we are having a baby".

Ethan died that night. This I know for sure.

I wish I would've known about hyperactivity being a warning sign. I'm a nurse, why didn't I know this. I live with this everyday.

I do have a list of questions to ask her, the maternal fetal medicine physician. One of my coworkers, works as a L&D nurse and she recommended her. She told me she's very conservative and thorough. When I called to make my appointment, her receptionist appeared to be genuinely concerned and professional. She explained what would take place during the first visit. She encouraged me to bring a list of questions.

I also had tons of blood work done per my fertility doctor's request. We had an appointment with him last week. He is checking different labs to check for blood clotting problems. He agreed to begin a cycle of injectibles in November. We are going to do Menopur and IUI. I hope it works.

Monday, October 6, 2008

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day: Take Action
October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States.

More than 25,000 children are stillborn in the United States every year leaving mothers, entire families and communities devastated.

Estimates of the rate of occurrence of stillbirth make it at least as common as autism.Stillbirth is not an intractable problem. Greater research would likely significantly reduce it's incidence, but good research requires good data. H.R. 5979: Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act is under consideration by Congress. This proposed bill would standardize stillbirth investigation and diagnosis, thus providing more data for the needed research. Better research means fewer children born still. Lobby your Congressional Representatives to get this bill passed! The government funds research on breast cancer, heart disease, AIDS - why not the death of babies?

On October 15th, remember the thousands of unfinished children lost and the families who remain to grieve them. Honor them by taking action.

Let's help pass H.R. 5979.
Action Steps:

Step 1. Use Your Blog to Enlist Others-Copy the contents of this entire post and publish it on your blog immediately.GOAL: Enlist 10 of your readers to spread the word

Step 2. Use Your E-mail to Enlist Others-E-mail 5 bloggers and nicely ask them to publish these action steps on their blog. Consider contacting celebrity bloggers, political bloggers, medical bloggers, or bloggers who are not part of your reading community. Email friends and family to inform them about this bill and to ask them to honor your baby by participating in the world-wide October 15th Wave of Light.
GOAL: Enlist 3 bloggers outside of your normal blog sphere to spread the word in other online communities.

Step 3. Help Pass the Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act-By October 15th, publish a post on your blog supporting H.R. 5979 Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act. For maximum impact, title your post: "Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act."

Ask your readers to lobby Congress to pass this research bill.

GOAL: 1,000,000 Google results for "October 15th" or "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day".

The MISS Foundation
International Day of Remembrance
Bill H.R.5979
Stillbirth Research

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act of 2008

Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act of 2008.Here is a link explaining the bill at Washington Watch. You can read the bill (it is surprisingly short and straightforward) and leave comments. There is also a link (on the right under Take Action) to contact your Representative.

This is from Ya Chun's blog (serenityjoy.blogspot.com).
You can use my letter as a template or write your own, better note. It sure would be swell to get this HR 5979 passed by this year:

Dear ,

I am writing to ask you to help get HR 5979 Stillbirth Awareness and Research Act of 2008 through the Committee and passed before the end of this year. ***The longer that Bill 5979 takes to pass, the more children that will die needlessly.***

This bill will legislate the standardized tracking of stillbirth data. This data can then be used to research and attempt to understand why seemingly healthy pregnancies suddenly end tragically. I held my child, a fully formed baby who died in my womb. Neither the doctors nor the autopsy can not explain why or how this happened. A unified reporting system throughout the country can help to track these deaths, in the same way that other deaths are tracked.

Please do everything in your power to get HR. 5979 through Congress. And please think of us, the grieving families around the world, on October 15th, the International Stillbirth and Pregnancy Loss Day of Remembrance.
Sincerely,

Friday, October 3, 2008

One more time

Well, we've decided to try to conceive once again. My 36th birthday is quickly approaching. We need to do this again. I have to muster all the courage and go forward with another round of injectibles and IUI. We have an appointment with our wonderful RE this coming Monday, Oct. 6. I'm excited and nervous. I will walk into his office and remember the last time I was there, I was pregnant with Ethan. I remember seeing him for the first time there, in that office. I was 6 weeks pregnant and I saw him, my little peanut with a wonderful heart rate of 181. Amazing how I remember every single heart rate reading we ever received.

My RE will be changing offices soon, his practice has really expanded and he's moving to a new location. I wish it was ready so I wouldn't have to go there again. It's very painful.

But, we must go forward with another cycle and have faith that one day I will deliver a LIVE baby. I have to try to do this again, for me, for my husband and for both of my sons living and in heaven. My six year old son is mortified of the thought of me being pregnant again, no we don't discuss this with him.

During the summer, we were getting ready to go the gym and my shirt was a bit tight and he looked at me and asked, "Mommy are you pregnant?", I was shocked to hear him ask this. I replied, "No, I'm not. Do you want Mommy to be pregnant again?" and his answer, "NO! I don't want another baby to die". It broke my heart again. My sweet pumpkin, I don't want another baby to die either. But, most of all I want you to know that not all babies die.

He's wonderful, full of energy and full of questions. Every time we see a pregnant woman he will hold my hand and look at me. I smile and tell him, "Jason, it's fine. Say a little prayer for her and her baby". He's very intuitive.

The plan: BCP this month to suppress the cysts, I have PCOS. I hope to begin the injectibles in November. In the meantime, I'm trying to lose weight and exercise. I did begin exercising in the summer. It was my way of coping. I'd get on the elliptical and cry and cry. I'm sure the people there thought I was nuts. And actually I was, I was crazy with grief.

I also made an appointment with a high risk Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor. I'm not using the high risk practice I went to when I was pregnant with Ethan. That's a whole different post. Overall, I'm excited and of course very nervous. I forgot to mention, if we do manage to get a BFP we plan on consulting with Dr. Jason Collins in Louisiana. He has studied umbilical cord accidents. I spoke with another Mom who went to him and she swears by his practice. I'd be interested to know, anybody else out there that has went to him?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Discovery Health's "Birth Day"

Being a nurse, I love watching Discovery Health and especially the delivery shows, they're graphic and are representative of what really happens in hospitals. When I was pregnant with Ethan I often watched "Birth Day", "Special Delivery" and similar shows with excitement, anticipation and sometimes apprehension. After my precious baby died, I could not bear to watch them anymore. I went through my DVR and deleted the series recordings for many of these shows. I just couldn't do it.

A while ago, while reading the episode preview, I saw the episode was about a subsequent pregnancy after a stillbirth. I didn't watch it. I could not at the time. But, since then I've been reading all of the descriptions to see if they will replay it. They haven't, but I did DVR an episode about "Advanced Maternal age and complications". Usually, I fast forward through the episode, stopping only to see the "emergency" and forwarding through the rest. Since I am advanced maternal age, I'm 35, I began to watch it. They were profiling a woman, 37 years old, whose first child was born still at 8 months. Immediately, I was hooked. I watched the episode in it's entirety. I couldn't stop watching, I could relate to everything she was feeling with her current pregnancy. I'm not pregnant, but I have so much fear in just the thought of being pregnant again. Her water broke before her scheduled C section, and she went in to the hospital. As they were wheeling her into the OR, she was cautiously excited. Her apprehension was visible, all she was focusing on was whether her baby was still alive. We all know this can quickly change. One minute your pregnant the next your burying your child. Anyway, as they were performing her C section, she was mortified. Her baby was indeed born alive (exhale) ... breathing, crying and doing all of the wonderful things babies do when they're born ALIVE. I was in tears, the mother was in tears, it was a beautiful moment. I was so happy for this woman, whom I've never met, but nonetheless have so much in common with. She's a fellow deadbabymama. And the birth of her health baby was wonderful to watch.

And for the first time since Ethan died, I watched the show without fast forwarding. I think that's a stride in the right direction.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The elephant in the room

This weekend, as I was channel surfing I watched the commercial for the VMAs. The commercial with Britney Spears and the British comedian, and of course, the huge elephant in the background. I almost cried. No, not for Britney, but for me. Well, actually I do feel sorry for Britney but that's another story.

The elephant in the room, well, that's me at work. I'm the elephant. My pregnant co-worker and the rest of my coworkers, well I'm sure they see me as the elephant. She's now 35 weeks pregnant and she's very big and pregnant. She just had her work baby shower last week and I didn't attend. I couldn't. I did contemplate going, but I just could not. We were pregnant together. We shared many times together, both of us comparing our growing bellies together. Only I buried my baby and she's due in 4 weeks.

The gifts are slowly pouring in, and when I'm there I notice some will try to stash the gifts under the counter. This both angers and annoys me. On one hand, I feel as if I can handle it. But, then if they are talking and gushing about everything baby and pregnancy, I just want to yell, "Shut the hell up, you fucking insensitive assholes". I know, I must sound crazy. But it irritates me to no end.

It's hard to work with her. Her life is perfect, she doesn't have a dead baby. Don't get me wrong, I do not wish any harm on her or her baby. But, she's just so fucking happy. I want to yell at her and tell her, this can happen to you as well. I'm not a freak of nature. Although I feel that way sometimes, infertile and the mother to a stillborn baby. It makes me feel ashamed. Ashamed that my body failed me. That my body killed my baby.

I hate feeling this way. I'm not a hateful person. But, lately, I just want to yell at everyone at work. I want to tell them, that they of all people should understand and know that shit happens to people everyday. I'm a nurse, I see how fragile life is. Life changes in the blink of an eye. Yet, I don't want to be a pessimist. But is it pessimism or realism?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Missing Ethan

There are just no words to express it. The pain is so much to bear sometimes. I miss my baby. He should've been here right now. I should be rocking him to bed, cradling my sweet baby in my arms, nursing him. All of this, I should've had instead of sitting here writing about how much I miss him. I should be writing about what milestone he's reached or what his poopy diapers look like. Something, anything other than writing about my dead baby.

I've been visiting his grave a lot more lately by myself. At first, we would go as a family, my husband, my son and myself. As of lately, I've been going there by myself. I went there the other day, after dropping off my son at school. I cried, and cried. Actually, it was more like a howl, I was crying from deep inside my soul. I was reaching into that dark, desolate place in my soul. The place where grief and pain reside. I can't do that, all the crying, with our family there. My 6 year old gets really sad when I'm wailing. Which these days is a lot less than what it used to be earlier. But, I feel like I have to restrain myself, my feelings in front of others. But, there in the cemetery. I'm free to cry for my baby that died. There I can cry him a river. It's a small cemetery, quaint and very peaceful.

When I went there the other day after crying for a while, I talked to my baby, my precious son, my Ethan. I apologized for not keeping him safe inside my womb. I apologized to Ethan for thinking about TTC again. I feel guilty for wanting to get pregnant again. I need to try sooner rather than later. I'm 35 years old, I have PCOS. It took us 6 months to get pregnant with injectibles. I need to try again. But I am so scared. Scared of the same thing happening again.
I don't want to replace him and I don't want my friends to think because I am pregnant that it's a sign that "I'm over it." I also feel as time passes, that I'm further away from him than ever before. I know that's not true. He will always be in my heart.

I placed a picture of him on my dresser. It's the first thing I see every morning when I wake up and the last thing I see when I go to bed. I miss him so much. I LOVE YOU ETHAN!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm back at work

Well, I went back to work after being off for 13 weeks. It was one of the hardest things I've had to do on this journey of grief.

It was at work where I found out something was wrong with my precious baby. I had a very busy morning, it was around lunch time that I began to notice that my baby wasn't moving. I thought to myself, "I've been running around I need to sit and eat lunch." So, I did. And NOTHING, no movement, no kicks. Then after a few minutes, I mention it to my coworker who is also pregnant. I work at a hospital, so she borrows the doppler from the Adult ED. We go into an empty room and begin to check for fetal heart tones. I tell her to go first, it's there, thump...thump... 140 beats per minute. Now it's my turn, I lay down on the cart and NOTHING. Then I shift around the cart and again nothing. We have another nurse check with us and nothing. As I was laying there on the cart, it did not occur to me that my baby didn't have a heart beat I thought it was due to our old dopplers. I get up from the cart, I'm relatively calm. I walk into the break room and call my OB, her nurse tells me to come into the office. Gosh, I don't think I can continue. I can't do this right now. It's a painful trip down misery lane.

The point is, going back to work was very hard. My body was flooded with all of these memories. And yes, the pregnant coworker was there, 33 weeks pregnant. Just a week more than I was when Ethan died. I look at her and think, "Did I look that big and happy". I just want to be there. I never got to be there, 33 weeks pregnant. No, my bliss abruptly ended with immense heartache and a dead baby. You never think you're going to be there, here in our situation. But, it happens. Everyday. It. Happens.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This is my story...

I lost my baby May 23rd, 2008. He died of a cord accident at 32 weeks, double nuchal cord and true knot. He was 4lbs 3 oz, and 18 inches long. He had beautiful black hair, curly just like Mommy's. He had my mouth and eyebrows. My chubby cheeks. His fingers were beautiful and long, he had piano hands. And his nose, unbelievable, the most beautiful nose ever. He is my little angel.

I miss him so much!!!
Sometimes I wonder how I can go on living when my baby has died. I just want to hold him and kiss him and tickle him and play with his little stinky feet. I miss you Ethan!!!