Friday, October 30, 2009

4 Weeks

4 weeks ago today Gabriel was born.  I really missed him today.  It was hard for me at school because we were moving all sorts of desks and chairs from the old school building into the new one, and I knew that if I was pregnant I wouldn't have been doing that. 

Josh found out today that one of his co-workers is having a boy.  He seemed really sad about it.  When Josh is sad, it makes it harder for me.  He came home and rubbed my stomach and told me that he wants a baby really bad.  We are going to start trying next week, and I just pray to God that it happens as quickly as the first time.  I want to give him a healthy baby really bad....I want to make this hurt disappear for a little while for both of us and bring in some joy.  Please God, let it be like before. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

There is always something there to remind me....

Or someone...

Last Friday, I went out with the other teachers from my school after a LONG day of moving building, and their meeting place of choice was a bar downtown.  I was fine with this, and I went in and ordered my standard malibu and cranberry and sat and joked and thought I was having a good time.  

I immediately became the one everyone was worried about.  I got the sad looks, the arms around me, asking me if I was doing okay, like being in the bar was supposed to make me sad.  I was acting fine...and maybe that scared people.  I finally wound up leaving early, because quite frankly I was getting sick of people treating me like I was going to have a nervous break down when I was just trying to laugh for the first time in weeks.  They reminded me that I was damaged.  They reminded me that I am no longer pregnant...the bar or the drink had nothing to do with it. 

Then of course when we were moving boxes all week into the new school building, no one on staff wanted me lifting anything.  At first, I thought that this was pretty darn nice of them, and then I thought about it more, and got mad...stop reminding me of my loss.  It's not like I don't think about it ALL THE TIME anyways. 

Today I think I got my period back...which is right back in sync with when it came before, at the end of the month...its more like spotting, which is weird because I am having regular cramping, but from what I have read, its normal after a miscarriage or a delivery.  I wish I knew it was my period or not for sure.  If the baby dying wasn't bad enough, the thought of my body being screwed up and my ovulation and cycles being messed up is really hard on me too.  I want to be able to try again without wondering if everything is back in working order.  I am scared of infertility right now. 

On Friday it will be 4 weeks since Gabriel left me.  I can't believe its been that long.  And I want to be pregnant again so bad it hurts. The weeks of waiting is feeling like YEARS.  I keep thinking, if I get pregnant right away, I could have my baby in August...

But I don't have control of anything.  I wish I just knew if my body was returning to normal....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Patience is not one of my virtues...

I think one of the major reasons I am having such a hard time accepting this is because it screws everything life plan (hence the title of this blog). 

I was supposed to have 2 kids by my mind I was supposed to anyway. 

I hate having to wait to get what I want.  I feel like that has been the theme of my life in terms of major life I had to wait to get married...wait to get a teaching job...wait to get here I am, waiting again. 

I am in the anger part of my grief, for sure.  I really don't have any nice thing to say about what happened right now, whereas a couple of weeks ago I was trying to shine light on the positives and find the meaning behind all of this in a hopeful way.  Nah, not this week.  This week I am downright pissed, and to tell you the truth, I can't tell you who I am mad at...I am just mad.   Furious.  I am INCREDIBLY ANGRY that I had to lose my baby.  Why me?  Why my first baby?  Why do I now have to be scarred for the rest of my reproductive life?  I am not being dramatic, but now I know that there are about 150 million ways a baby could die, inside the womb and out, and now I am a paranoid freak.  And that pisses me off.  I have been looking forward to pregnancy my entire life, especially since I met Josh, and now, it will never be like how I want it to be.  

Am I angry with God?  Yes, I am.  And with that admission, I then fear God.  Both feelings towards God I know to be wrong...but I feel them anyway.  I am mad that He felt that my baby was better off with Him than with me.  FURIOUS. 

Cause now where does that leave me?  It leaves me like this...I have to numb myself throughout the day just to get through work, and by the end of the day I am so exhausted from pretending to be fine that I just fall apart when I get home.  I don't want to talk to anyone.  I don't want to go anywhere.  I sit by myself and drive myself crazy with worry that I won't be able to get pregnant right away again, or that my baby will die again, or that I will never have kids and become the crazy lady down the block that drove her husband away and talks to herself....

Why would God want that for me? 

I am so angry.  So angry.  I thought I was improving my relationship with the Lord, and now...I don't want a relationship.  I want to be apart for awhile. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good Friends and a Glass of Wine...

Yesterday I had dinner with my friend, Jenny.  I ordered a glass of wine. 

I don't know why I tell you the truth, I have been wanting to get wasted since this whole mess with Gabriel happened.  Drink myself into a coma. 

But as I was sipping it, it felt bad.  I don't think I was ready to go back to that kind of normalcy. 

Speaking of normalcy, I went back to work today after my doctors appointment.  Basically, it was a good appointment; they have no pathology reports yet on Gabriel but they said I looked very healthy and my uterus is pretty much back to where it should be and my cervix is about closed.  Yay. (sarcasm).
They still want to know if its genetic, but honestly, I think everyone will be shocked if it was.  The way my doctor is treating this "rarity," I bet I will end up in a medical journal.  Yay.  (sarcasm.)  Now they think that it may be a cyst on the bowel or abdominal wall, and not the bladder.  But again, waiting on pathology.  They did tell us that barring any genetic complications, Josh and I can start trying again after one cycle. 

I wish someone would tell me if that is the right thing to do...Some people when I say that Josh and I want to try again asap, look at me with a very shocked expression on their face.  Other people are telling me to go for it.  Then there is the panicked voice inside of me that screams, "IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN!!!"  or "IT MAY TAKE YOU A LONG TIME!!!"  and I shut down.  The anxiety of becoming pregnant again takes over.  I don't know what to think about it.  I do hope I am one of those fertile myrtles that can get pregnant right away...I ask for God to tell me what to do...but I can't hear His voice...

Today, after the doctor, I went back to work, and my students threw me a welcome back party.  God bless them, they are awesome kids, and I felt so much love.  A lot of my colleagues also came, and I don't think I ever got so many hugs in one day.  I was moved, and would have been to tears had I had any left.  I was in very good spirits when I left, and then decided to go shopping, because since I am no longer pregnant, I don't need any of those maternity clothes that I was just starting to wear. 

I actually was doing well, and having a teeny bit of fun spoiling myself til I saw Steve.  Steve is a pal from all the way back in elementary school, junior high, and high school.  I don't keep up with him much, but since we are on Facebook together, I knew he just had a daughter with his wife not too long ago.  After making small talk for a few seconds, his wife brought the stroller over.  His daughter was gorgeous.
I felt like I cut him off as I wished him a good weekend and jumped in my car, but I was starting to feel depressed.  I was on this high (probably a sugar high from all the cake my students fed me) and then I felt I hit a wall...SMACK.  I had to get out of there. 

I drove away telling myself, "So what if Steve has a new baby.  I have new pants." 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gabriel's Story

When I found out I was pregnant, I think I was about 5 weeks or so.  Our first doctor's appointment went well, it was actually just a nurse visit who gave me lots of nutritional information, but she got me even more excited because she talked of touring the maternity ward at the hospital, and taking lamaz classes, and all of the stuff that I couldn't believe I was finally going to get to experience. 

I counted down the days until my first ultrasound, which was scheduled for the end of August.  I work as a teacher, and got to leave school early to meet my husband at the doc's office.  We were both so excited.

In the ultrasound room, the ultrasound tech wasn't saying anything, but we were seeing our tiny baby!  I was 11 weeks then, and he was a definite baby shape, and when the ultrasound tech finally did speak, she said, "The baby is very active!"  Our baby was waving his was the coolest thing I have ever seen.  She gave us three pictures and told us to wait for the doctor, since my regular appointment was right after.

Those few moments in the waiting room before I saw the regular doctor were the last moments my husband and I had to completely have a relaxed and happy pregnancy.  We gushed over our pictures, and secretly, hoped he was a boy.  It would have been awesome to have the first grandson on both sides. 

When the doctor called us back, she immediately said that my ultrasound was abnormal and that she saw 2 cysts, one on the umbilical cord and one in the baby's abdomen.  She had no further information for me, just that I needed to see a maternal-fetal specialist at the hospital.  My mind was in a whirlwind....immediately I was sad, angry, and panicked.  Why couldn't I have the normal pregnancy?  Everyone else I knew could have one...

When we finally saw a specialist a week later, my husband had convinced ourselves that this "cyst" was really nothing.  Plus, the baby was so young, things like this tend to resolve...atleast that is what we told ourselves.
The specialist was not pro-life and told my husband and I that there was really nothing good to tell us about our baby.  He believed the baby's abdominal and umbilical cord cyst were a chromosomal abnormality and with an obstructed bladder, there could be a variety of problems.  The only course of action that was discussed with me was termination or a CVS procedure to rule out chromosome problems, even though the doctor was pretty convinced it was one. I got the CVS right there on the spot.

It hurt so much, and Josh said he watched the baby squirm on the monitor as it was being done.  Afterwards, I was a complete wreck.  Luckily we both had the support of all family members, but especially our mothers, who came over that night immediately when they were able to.  Josh's mom brought over a stuffed elephant, we were talking of doing the nursery up in elephants, and that became the baby's comfort thing, even though he wasn't yet with us.  Maybe it became my comfort thing.

It may sound silly, but I slept with that elepahant in my pajama bottoms since we got it.  I would strap it to the elastic waist of whatever I was wearing, so it would be able to stay close to the baby.  Josh and I would pray every night that the doctors were wrong, and that everything would be fine.

In the meantime, even though I tried hard not to, I did research.  I felt that no one was giving me an explanation or even a definition, of what this could mean.  I researched abdominal cysts up and down. 

We got the news of the CVS procedure soon after, and everything was normal!  And we were having a boy!  Josh and I felt so lucky!  And then we definitely started questioning the doctors because I felt that they immediately thought it had to be a chromosome abnormality, and since it wasn't, what was next? 

I waited until my 17 week appointment to speak to my OB about the specialist, but it was there at the 17 week appointment that they could not find a heartbeat on the sound Doplar machine.  The next morning we were sent in for an ultrasound that confirmed that my baby was in Heaven.

Gabriel was born at 11:53 am on Friday, October 2nd, 2009.  He weighed 0.9 oz and was 3.5 inches long.  He stopped developing at the 12-13 week mark. 

At first, I didn't want to hold him, but when I saw my husband holding him, together, it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  I am glad I held him too....I wanted to see the baby who squirmed so much both times I got to see him. 

Tomorrow I go in for my 2 week post delivery check up and they will probably give me some pathology information on my baby.  This makes me extremely anxious, as I don't know if they will find this to just be a developmental fluke or what if, God forbid, this is actually genetic and can happen again....I can't sleep at night thinking about this.  And I can't wait to get this doctor's appointment behind me.  I will then leave that doctor's office and try to find another doctor. 

Gabe was only with me 17 weeks, but wow...I have never been happier in my entire life. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Laugh like it doesn't hurt me...

Tonight I had coffee with a really good friend, and although I was having a good time talking, I realized when I got home that I shrugged off the whole event like it was nothing...

"I didn't get to have him that long, so it really doesn't bother me..."
"I am sure I will be pregnant again next month."
"I knew he was sick for a really long time, so I was prepared."

yadda, yadda, yadda.

It's not like my friend was making me feel like I had to say this...its more like, I don't want to be "the sad one." 

So I tried to be the easy going one.

And then I wished I actually was.  It hurts more to pretend to be something you're not.


I sometimes miss Gabriel the most when my husband and I fight.  I am not trying to air out dirty laundry on a public forum, but for pretty much the entire 17 weeks I was carrying Gabriel, my husband and I barely fought at all, and now in the less than 2 weeks since his death, we have fought several times. Today we were both pretty ashamed at fighting, since we made these plans to build Gabe's memory box together.

We were going to do it at 5:00, right when Josh got off work.  Movie started at 6:40. 

I found myself driving around at that time...I just left a nail appointment with my friend Rachel and even though I was done in plenty of time, I just didn't want to go home.  I knew what was going to happen there.  Closure, at least, tangible closure.

So about 5:20 or so I walk in the house.  I immediately start cleaning.  Josh asked me if it could response was to harp on him about the trash piling up...blah blah blah and it escalated from there.  So instead of the memory box being a cleansing experience, it became an ugly one.  I really didn't care about the trash...or the house needing to be cleaned...I just didn't want to face what was about to happen.  The piling up my baby's things...stuffing them into a closet.  It was like going to a funeral.

We still went to the movies, it was an alright time.  Its just that when we got home, it all starts again.  The constant cleaning, the snapping at one another.  Its like being at home reminds me that a baby isn't coming there.  So...instead of having to be peeled off the couch, I can't stand being in my home, and I still don't enjoy going out, so what's left to do? 

Nit pick about the garbage that I really didn't care about?  And with every stupid harsh word, it just reminds me that Gabriel isn't with me anymore.  I really miss him tonight. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gabriel's memory box

Before I tell you Gabriel's story, I wanted to share what my husband and I will be doing today.  My aunt got us a memory box so that we can collect all of the tangible memories we have of our baby.  Since I will be going back to work at the end of the week, I want to get this all together and put away, so that when I have to establish a new normal, I won't have constant reminders of my old normal.  I can never escape the thoughts in my head that will keep pulling me back to my old normal, but I can put away the constant reminders of a life that will never be. 

Josh and I picked today to do this.  So when he gets home from work today, I should have all of his cards, pictures, appointment cards, his stuffed elephant, and his blessing certificate all together.  We will also have his journal.
I started keeping a pregnancy journal for Gabriel the minute I found out I was pregnant.  The only one I could find that day with an elephant on it was a pink one.  I later apologized to my son for this in the pink journal. 

Josh and I said we would both write him goodbye letters, pack up his box, put it in our closet, and then we are going to the movies...a comedy.  We want to then hold hands and laugh.  Its hard to think of that now, as I sit here crying about putting Gabriel's things away.
But I already wrote my goodbye letter, and thought I would share.  Its short...and I am trying not to feel bad about that.

My baby Gabriel,
    Right now, you are up in Heaven.  Hopefully your eyes are upon me now.  I know you don't want me to cry, but I can't help it.  I miss you with me so much.  I know I need to rejoice knowing that you are with Jesus, and that you are healed, and whole there in a beautiful Heaven, a place that is so beautiful that I can't even imagine it.  But it's hard, my baby.
     You were the best 16 weeks of my life.  As soon as I knew that you were a part of me, I became your mommy and I loved you more than I have ever loved before.  I loved your Daddy more, I loved life more, and before you, I didn't know that kind of love existed.  Mommy loves that you showed her that kind of love, and how to love like that.
     I am so sorry that I could not protect your tiny heart from this, and if I could have stopped that terrible cyst, I would have moved Heaven and Earth.  I promised a few letters back that I would protect you, and even though I am here on Earth strugging with the fact that my body couldn't save you from this, I know that you are protected from everything up in Heaven. 
     I am so proud that I got to be your Mommy, even if it was only for 17 weeks.  You are and will always be, my precious angel baby.
     Mommy will forever love you, and will forever send you her kisses, and forever anticipate the day that I get to hold you in my arms up in Heaven. 
     I love you so much, my precious baby Gabe.  As your Daddy and I always say when we talk about our love, we will love you "Always and Forever." 
Until I see you in Heaven,

My Story

What a process getting pregnant had been!

For me, I knew I always wanted to be a young mom.  My mom was in her early twenties when she and my dad had me and my two sisters, and we are all very close together.  When I met my husband Josh when I was 18 in 2000, I just knew.  I knew we were going to get married and I knew one day we would have children.   It was always in my life plan to become a young mom.  If you would have asked me at 18, I would probably have 2 kids by the time I was 26. 

Josh and I were engaged by the time I was 20.  I was going to be married at 22, so of course, I would have kids according to my life plan.  We discussed having three, but we knew we wanted to be married a little while first.

Well, as young love goes, Josh and I broke up, got back together, broke up again, got back together.  Now as a 27 year old looking back on it, it was all stupid and trivial and embarrassing to even discuss.  When we got back together, we dated again quite a bit before the thought of becoming re-engaged entered our (well, Josh's...) mind.  We had to make sure we built up our foundation again.  In August of 2004, Josh proposed again.  I was 23 years old. 

Because we wanted me to complete school (I was going for my Bachelors degree for Secondary English Education) we picked a wedding date of May 6, 2006.  It was perfect.  I would be just shy of 25 when we got married.

While waiting for the wedding, Josh and I talked about kids.  At the time, since I was so busy and broke because of school and student teaching, not to mention all the relationship stress Josh and I had previously been through, kids were the last thing that we wanted.  We always said that we would be married and focusing on eachother for at least, 3 years. 

The plan was going well....until my niece Scarlett was born. 

I have two nieces, Aurora, who is 3 and a half, and Scarlett, who will be two this April. 

I wasn't there for Aurora's birth, but I was able to be there for Scarlett's.  Just being there for that miraculous event and seeing my sister with her newborn and just myself, getting to hold a newborn so quickly after she was born, was amazing to me.  I jumped into my car at the end of that day (April 4, 2008) and drove the 2 hour ride home to tell my husband, that right then and now, I couldn't wait to have a baby with him. 

The thought of babies infiltrated my brain since that moment.  I was convinced that Josh would want the same thing too.
The shock of him wanting to wait was very upsetting to me.  He had very valid reasons, like finances, and how much time we were able to spend at home, and at the time, I didn't have my career yet and was working retail so he wanted me to have my one year as a career woman, something that I did always talk about.  But since Scarlett, I didn't care about any of that...I just wanted to be pregnant.

In October of 2008 I got my first teaching position on contract.  I was finally a high school English teacher.  Josh was really wise about wanting to wait til that first year was over was a hectic one, and if I wasn't at school, I was in my home office doing school work.  But when I went to bed to dream at night, I dreampt of our furture baby. 

It wsa really hard for me to wait for Josh.  And our marriage suffered quite a bit.  After being with me for 9 years, why was he so hesitant to want a baby with me?  I took it all very personally and didn't understand him.  There were constant fights...bad ones.  There were a list of resentments.  I know its wrong to keep records of such, but in my desire to have a baby, I forgot right vs wrong.  I was already going on 27...his making me wait was not part of my life plan.

Then, on Mothers Day 2009, Josh gave me a card with flowers and it said it would be the last Mother's Day without a baby in my arms.  I was thrilled!  He finally wanted to try! 

We started trying the first of June, and I found out I was pregnant by July 8, right before Josh's 30th birthday.  My whole life with Josh I always imagined how I would tell him I was pregnant, what special way I would tell him.  As soon as the line was a faint double line, I called my sister Casey, because I didn't believe it.  I then proceeded to buy about 8 more tests to confirm my results, which all came back positive.

I remember jumping up and down throughout my house.  I was ecstatic.  My dreams were coming true.  I was planning on waiting til the next day, to tell Josh on his actual birthday, but as soon as he came home from work that day, he leaned down to kiss me hello, and I just blurted out, "I'm pregnant!"   
We told our parents shortly after that...and told everyone I think within a week.  We couldn't wait, we were too excited.  I think I was 5 weeks along when I found out. 
The next 11 weeks are Gabriel's story. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why Blog?

I am a writer, and once upon a time, I could fill up hand-written journals like no ones business.  I think I could do that because once upon a time, I could go outside, or sit in my mother's horse trailer like I used to and just....write.  Now that I live in an entirely different place and am not a kid anymore living with the parents (hence, no secret writing spots) I find it hard to write.  I cook dinner, clean house, teach school, grade papers, lesson plan, and on a really good day, I get to check my email.  When I do get on the couch, the television calls my name, and my journal sits in my underwear drawer. 

Now, since my "late miscarriage,"  which, I know was not that long ago, less than 2 weeks, I felt the need to blog for a few reasons.

1) I have been finding comfort in the words of other people.  In print form, I have already read 3 books on loss that completely stem from other people's experiences.  They have helped, but the books were written many years after the loss occurred.  I want to know that what I am feeling right now is probably is, according to these books.  I have also been going online a lot to read other people's stories, as I find comfort in not being so alone.  I thought if I can write what I am going through in the here and now, maybe, just maybe I can provide comfort for one other person, which would make this whole blog worth it.

2)  I think its much easier to journal this way.  Away from the couch...away from the television.  And I do think it is important to journal this heart-breaking moment in my life.  I would like to see my progression one day, from rock bottom to on top of the world.  People keep saying that I will get there...

3)  This blog will get me off the couch, where for the last 6 weeks, its been hard to peel myself off.  Not out of laziness, but from cripling anxiety, stress, and sadness.  Baby steps...

I hope that along the way, I may pick up some readers who may relate.  I don't plan on advertising that I do have a blog, because mostly, this is just therapy for me.  But if I can help someone not feel so alone, then I have done what I have set out to do.  My mother had a miscarriage before she had my older sister...and she said that after 29 years, she finally understood the purpose of her miscarriage:  To help me out with mine.  To be living proof that life can go on after such a tragic loss, and that healthy babies can still be had. 
Today, as I got all of my maternity clothes out of my closet, I thought about what purpose Gabriel's short time in the womb had.   I may never know, or understand it.  Right now, its hard not to be mad and upset about it.  Maybe the purpose was to help others this help others not feel so alone like I feel.  Maybe it was to strengthen my relationship with my husband.  Maybe it was to strengthen my relationship with the Lord.  Maybe it was for no good reason...

My life will never be the same.  And my plan that I had for my life has been altered (more to come on that later...)  and I have to find a "new normal."   I have to surrender to a new plan.  Sometimes, that is the hardest for me to deal with...surrending the control.  I had no control over this.  I couldn't fix Gabriel.  I couldn't make my pregnancy last.

I am hoping to heal. 

This is my story.