Sunday, September 30, 2007

Our Little Angels

There are lots of thoughts on creating a blog for my angel babies……but it’s only my thoughts that matter. I’m sorry if you find this offensive or creepy in any way. It has been an amazing source of healing for me to write about my loss. We all mourn and grieve in different ways ~ this happens to be mine.

I’m not writing this for sympathy. I don’t need to hear how sorry you are for my loss. Any human with emotions is sorry for another when they lose a child. Again, I wrote this to help myself heal and move on. We are ready to try again and I need to find an end to my sadness in order to allow a beginning of new happiness. Hopefully sharing my story may help someone else ~ should they ever have to endure such a loss.

Our story……………

We found out we were pregnant on Monday, May 21st. I had some very serious suspicions before that, but kept telling myself they were just PMS symptoms. I caved and bought a pregnancy test on Sunday, May 20th after we got home from Charlie’s college graduation. I only caved and tested because I was just about out of my allergy medicine and needed to refill it. It was quite expensive to refill each month and I wouldn’t be able to take it while pregnant. So it seemed economical to purchase an $8 pregnancy test before the $25 allergy medicine! I read and re-read those directions at least 3 times Sunday night. Why?!?!? It’s not that difficult! You pee on the stick…….that’s it. But I read those directions at least 3 times anyway!! I decided I would wait until morning for my “first morning urine” as suggested on the package, although in hind sight, my pregnancy hormone levels were probably already so high it wouldn’t have mattered!

I woke up early on Monday May 21st. Before showering, I nervously opened that package. Why was I nervous? This is what we wanted, right?!?!? But I was so very nervous!! I was supposed to pee on the stick and then wait for 3 minutes before checking for a second line. Well, let me spare you the details and just say that there was a visible line in about 30 seconds!! I was shaking. Couldn’t believe it!! I cried through my shower, tears of joy and fear and every other emotion you could imagine. Charlie was still sound asleep.

Why I didn’t wake him up I’ll never know! But at the time, I decided to go a different way! I went and got our digital camera. I took a picture of the test. Went to the computer and typed up a sign that read “Shhhh…It’s a big secret” and then another with the picture that said “I think I’m pregnant!”. When I made the sign, I originally wrote “I’m pregnant” but then convinced myself that I had done something wrong and went back to change the words to “I think”. How could I have messed up the test? Who knows, but at that time….I was sure I had!!!

I left the signs on the bathroom mirror for him to find when he woke up and headed off to work. I had an email at work before I ever got there and I called him at home right away!! We had been saving a bottle of wine for our first night in our new house – two days from this day – and we laughed that it would have to sit in the fridge for a long time! Oh well….we didn’t care! We were pregnant! It was the second most amazing day of our lives!

The rest of the school year dragged on. Mostly because I was so very tired by the time I got home each day that I could fall asleep at 5 or 6 and sleep through the night. I knew that early pregnancy brought exhaustion, and I paired that with moving and the end-of-the-year and decided I was lucky to be able to walk at all!!! It was interesting to hide the big secret from everyone! We wanted to tell, but had decided to wait until about 9 weeks when my family would be in Kansas for a planned visit. We wanted to tell everyone at the same time. So we just giggled about it at night and loved our little secret.

On Monday, June 4th I woke up to some light pink spotting. I was totally freaked out. According to my last period, I should be about 6weeks 4days along and I was thinking the worst. I had a scheduled appointment two weeks later with my doctor but called them hysterical. The nurses were fantastic and got me in later that day for an ultrasound to see what was going on. Charlie was not able to come with me because he had just started his new job and couldn’t get off. They took lots of blood to measure my pregnancy hormone levels, as well as a million other levels. I also had an ultrasound to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. During the ultrasound, the tech found a small empty sac that was measuring 5weeks 4days. That was one week less than what I expected. They said that maybe my dates were off and scheduled me for another ultrasound the following week. If my dates were off, we should see a heartbeat at the next ultrasound ~ although I was told to be “cautiously optimistic”. It was a VERY long week to say the least.

We decided there was no way I could go to the next appointment alone and Charlie made plans to be there with me. When we got to my doctor’s office on June 11th, she had some complications with another patient and was very late. We even left and had some lunch before coming back to meet with her. She said my blood work came back saying that I was definitely pregnant. My hcg levels (the pregnancy hormone) were EXTREMELY high ~ over 12,000 at 5 weeks. Of course, we still thought I should have been 6 weeks so these high numbers combined with an empty sac last week made my doctor quite concerned about the pregnancy. The ultrasound tech at their other office was sick, so this tech had left and gone to the other office. She promised we would not have to wait one more week for answers and called over right away. She told them we were coming and to please get us in ASAP. We were all expecting the very worst. ;o(

That was a short drive that seemed so very very long!! We waited only about 10 minutes for our turn and went back to the ultrasound room. I was so nervous I don’t know how I was even walking. Everyone in that room was just PRAYING for a heartbeat, but expecting the worst. And what miracle should we see on that screen ~ 2 BEAUTIFUL BLOBS WITH HEARTS BEATING WILDLY!!! I remember just crying and crying and crying! Oh my God we were having twins!! This was now ranked up there with our most amazing days!!

Through my sobs I kept hearing her say, “Take a deep breath and be still, I’m trying to measure the heartrate.” All the while she and Charlie were both laughing at me! Baby A had a heartrate of 143 and Baby B 146. Very healthy little hearbeats. They were measuring exactly 6weeks 4days… my dates were off by one week. We were above excited. What a blessing we had been given ~ we were having two babies!

The next few weeks went well. I was crazy hungry, super tired, and became the biggest fan of Tums! We prepared for a visit from my Mom, Dad, and Grandma and talked and laughed about how we would tell them!! It was just a dream come true. Our next appointment was on June 25th. I was really hoping for another ultrasound to ensure everything was going okay since we were planning to tell our families just a few days later. To my heartbreak, it was just a routine appointment and no ultrasound. I cried all the way home. I had an overwhelming feeling that I just needed to see those babies. Maybe it was intuition……maybe just hormones. My parents arrived that Thursday. I remember telling Charlie on Wednesday night that I was so excited to tell everyone but so sad that our little (big!!) secret was about to come out. We all went out to dinner on Thursday night and came back to our house for ice cream afterwards.

Everyone was so excited to hear “Beth is pregnant” but the most fun was when Charlie pulled out the ultrasound picture and kept saying to our Moms, “Don’t you want to see your grandchildren?”. They didn’t catch on at first and just kept saying “Oh, you know I can’t ever see anything on those things.” But he just kept repeating, “Don’t you want to see your grandchildren?” until finally one of them (I don’t even remember which one!) said “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?” and then it was another explosion of emotions! Add this day to that most amazing list!!

I was approaching 10 weeks and already gaining weight!! I went out shopping with my Mom and Grandma for some maternity clothes. It was so exciting to have this experience with them. Even knowing how it all turns out ~ I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. I got a stretchy skirt and a cute top to where to our friend’s wedding the following weekend. It was something I could wear back to work too when I was already dreaming of being big and pregnant.

Mom, Dad, and Grandma went home on July 2nd with specific directions to keep the secret until our 12 week appt. I sent them home with some joyous announcement cards to share with everyone. This is probably my biggest regret.

Charlie and I went off to Indiana for our friend’s wedding on July 7th. I still felt great. We stopped in St. Louis and visited Kevin on the way over and back. It was so much fun to share the news with everyone and celebrate their excitement as well as ours. We told our friends while we were in Indiana. It just couldn’t get any better than this. We were living a dream. A dream that was just about to become a nightmare.

I woke up on Monday, July 9th with some brownish colored spotting. Only noticeable on the toilet paper, but I just had a horrible feeling about it. I had noticed that I hadn’t gained any weight in about a week and my heartburn had tapered off. I tried very hard to stay optimistic but it wasn’t to be. I called my doctor that Monday to let them know I was spotting. They were less concerned because it was brown, but said they wanted to see me the next day for a quick ultrasound check. We arrived at the doctor’s office at 10am on July 10th. We went in pretty much right away. As soon as she found the babies, I knew something was wrong.

One of them was very very small. So small that it was hard to make out body parts. I knew that at 11weeks 5days, that body parts should be very easily distinguished. Tech confirmed that Baby A had stopped developing at 7weeks 6days. There was no heartbeat. At this point, my heart just knew. Baby B was bigger, but very small and not moving around. I knew they should be wiggling. B looked just like a little gummy bear. I could see a head, two little arms, two little legs and I knew just where the blinking heartbeat should be. Nothing. Tech confirmed that B had gone to heaven at 9weeks 4days…….just 4 short days after our last appointment and the day after we had shared with our families. It was the most horrible day of our lives. Our babies were gone. Both of them. Taken away from us and it just wasn’t fair. We sat in the doctor’s office and cried and cried together.

I had what they call a missed miscarriage. My babies had stopped developing weeks ago but my body was still acting pregnant. The doctor said because there were two, and because I was so far along, she did not want me to miscarry naturally. First, it could be a while before my body gets the memo. Second, it would be very hard physically and just way too much mentally and emotionally. My D&C was schedule for Friday, July 13th. Yes, Friday the 13th.

I remember going home with Charlie and just sitting, numb on our couch and crying for hours. It was just all so unreal. Like it was a bad dream we would wake up from…..but we didn’t. Calling and telling others was the worst part. Every time I had to tell someone, it was like I was in that ultrasound room all over again. It all became so real. Telling my Mom was the hardest. I felt like I had really let her down. I know that’s silly….but feelings are feelings and you can’t deny them. She promised to tell anyone else that needed to know so that I did not have to retell my story anymore. I love my Mom and I know how hard it was for her too.

The days between Tuesday and Friday have come to be a complete blur. I remember that we were absolutely showered with love from our family and friends. We got some beautiful cards of support and some gorgeous flowers to help us to smile. Every cramp, every twinge was a constant reminder that I was carrying angels. I was so scared I would begin to miscarry on my own before Friday that I was afraid to go to the bathroom. I’m sure I unnecessarily dehydrated myself in those days, just so I didn’t have to pee. Charlie had to work, but I was hardly ever alone. I learned in those 4 days that I have some pretty amazing friends ~ angels on Earth I might say. They just started appearing at my door to sit with me, bring me ice cream, and bring us food to freeze for dinners. It was overwhelming to feel so much love. Sometimes I could talk and sometimes I even found some laughter, but mostly it was just nice to not be alone. I never would have pulled through those darkest days without them.

I also found out what an amazing husband I have. He never tired of just holding me. Just wrapping his arms around me and letting me fall apart, over and over again. I was going through so many emotions ~ sadness, anger, guilt, you name it! But he made me always feel like I would be OK.

My “procedure” (as the nurses kept calling it) happened at 7:30am on Friday. I’m glad it was so early. I don’t think I could have sit around all day. It was physically very simple and routine, but the emotional healing had only just begun. As I sit here…..nearly 3 months later, I know that I’m still healing. I’ll never ever forget what could have been. I catch myself thinking “We should be picking out cribs right now” or “I wonder if I would have been able to feel them kicking right now” and I have to be careful not to let myself get engulfed in sadness. Sad days sneak up on me out of nowhere, but I have learned to embrace them and work through them. Fighting the grief only makes it worse.

I know that we will be parents. I know that my husband will make the most amazing Dad ever. I know that God has a plan for us. Until then, I will dream of my babies ~ being rocked to sleep in Heaven in the safe and loving arms of my big brother, who arrived 12 years before them. I know they are OK, and I know one day ~ when God says the time is right, Charlie and I will get to rock them also. Until then, we know there is more left for us to do here. Our angels were too perfect for this earth. They will watch over us, and God willing their siblings, forever!