Saturday, May 12, 2012

Adjusting to life after arrival

Our not so little Piper will be 8 weeks old on Monday!  She weighed 10lbs and 3oz last week at the doctor, and I'm pretty sure she's close to 11 pounds now.  I can not believe how unbelievably fast time has flown!  It's unreal!  I only have a couple of days left to be off of work before I get back to the "grind".  It's really  not so much of a grind, because I really enjoy what I do and I only work 16 hours a week.  I will miss my days home where it's only Piper and I though.  It's been kind of hectic with both girls home.

There have been a lot of illnesses floating around through our home and our baby's immune system has gotten a ridiculous workout in her first 7.5 weeks.  I guess that's what you get with a big sister who's exposed to all kinds of cooties at pre-school.  First it was, what I thought, a simple case of the sniffles.  I wanted to get it checked out so I took her to the doctor.  She was only three weeks old at the time.  Our pediatrician is awesome and knows what we've been through. She did a total work up on Piper.  Her nose was swabbed to check for the flu, a chest x-ray was done to check for pneumonia, they checked her temp, her oxygen saturation, etc.  I thought, it's got to be just a cold.  Lilli had chest cold the week prior to Piper getting a runny nose.  Then the nose swab came back positive for Influenza A.  I was shocked.  What did this mean?  I know how crappy I feel when I get the flu.  Plus, she's so little!  Not even a month old yet.  The pediatrician ordered us straight over to the hospital. After a full 24 hours of in-patient monitoring we were discharged.  That was scary for me!

The next week Piper was completely congested so back to the doctor we went.  She had a sinus AND ear infection.  Wow, can this kid catch a break?  She was put on her first antibiotic.  Lilli was still coughing and congested too, but her ears looked really good at the doctor so no medicine was ordered for her.  Piper finally seemed to be on the mend, and so did Lilli, but now mommy had the cooties.  A few days later Lilli was coughing and congested again, and so was Piper.  Back to the doctor they went.  This time, Piper's oxygen saturation was much lower due to how congested she was.  An antibiotic was ordered for both girls.  We are just about through with those meds now and both girls seem to be doing great.

I have so many people asking me if Piper is sleeping through the night and all I can do is laugh.  Mainly because  NO, she's totally not sleeping through the night, and also because she isn't quite two months old yet.  I know it happens to some lucky parents out there, where they have a baby sleeping through the night at barely two months old.  But not in this household.  Lilli didn't sleep through the night until a year old.  We just got used to it.  The feeling of walking around like zombies became our norm.  We are hopeful that doesn't become the case this time around, but I know (eventually) there is light at the end of this tunnel and she will be sleeping through the night.  I just can't predict when that will be.  I don't even try to think about it.  It will happen when it happens.

When I was in labor, I was told that we (Dave and I) would have some adjustment periods, sadness, depression, etc. hit us at some point because of Everett not being here.  I have been worried about when that might hit me and how it might hit me.  I put some precautions in place for myself in anticipation of that happening.  I met with an amazing aromatherapist at the hospital where I gave birth and she "prescribed" a couple of different blends for me to help me through any rough patches, and some aromas that also help with grief issues.  I also continue my grief work with an amazing therapist I started seeing soon after Everett died. She helped carry me through my intense grief, our fertility issues, my pregnancy with Piper, and my post postpartum period.  That woman is amazing!  So far, I have not had anything out of the ordinary "hit" me pertaining to Everett.  I'm not sure if it will later on down the road, or if it's that I've worked my butt off ahead of time to get where I am.

I do not find myself looking at Piper and thinking about what might have been with Everett.  I feel at peace with where Everett is and how he fits into our lives at this point.  Of course we miss him like crazy and wish we were the ones taking care of him, but that's not how it worked out in our life.  I look at Piper as her own person, a person who is here because of our love for each other, our children and our family.  She is an amazing gift, and blessing.  We cherish her, and Lilli.  I don't feel sad when looking at her or spending time with her, I don't look at her milestones and think about what they would have been like with Everett, I've already walked that road before she got here.

When we lost Everett, we knew immediately what we were and would be missing with him.  We knew because we already had an amazing child we got to experience those things with.  I still know what we are missing.  I just try not to dwell on it because I might go crazy.  I remember driving past a soccer field with Dave, not long after Everett died, and crying hysterically thinking about how we'd never get to experience that with him. I've had a lot of those moments, and processed through them.

We are in heavy planning mode right now for Run 4 Everett.  It's in just 3.5 months!  That will be here very soon.  Sponsors were extremely difficult to obtain this year.  I've been hearing that's been the case across the board for everyone.  We are so grateful to those sponsors who did donate to our cause this year!  We are still trying to secure a few more before brochures, flyers, etc. get printed.  Dave has been working hard to lay out a problem free race course and I think his hard work will pay off.  We already have quite a few folks signed up for the event and are hoping for a whole lot more!

These blog posts are getting fewer and farther between due to lack of time and well, the fact that it's taken me three days to complete this one!  Until next time...

Steph

Thursday, April 5, 2012

She's here! Our baby's birth story.


It's been a while since I've written, and with good reason. Our beautiful little miracle, Piper Louise, arrived at 5:41pm on March 19, 2012. She weighed a whopping 8lbs 10oz and was 20.5inches long. What a big, healthy girl she is!

I was doing well, for me, up until the night before my induction was scheduled. I was feeling soooo anxious that entire day, not to mention fairly regular contractions to contend with. I felt fear grip me that night. I was scared something would happen to our baby while I slept. I dreaded hearing the same words we heard just 19 months prior. I cried, a lot, the night before delivery. I felt horribly anxious and didn't sleep much at all. I loved feeling every last kick, and movement throughout the night. It gave me reassurance that our baby girl was doing well. She sure liked to keep me on my toes during the pregnancy and the end wasn't any different. Just four days before my induction she decided to do a forward flip (according to my OB) and turned herself breech. I felt panicked about the possibility of a c-section. That entire weekend, I had really big movements, like she was trying to turn, but felt like she was still breech. When I went in for monitoring that Saturday, my OB was on call and did an ultrasound to see what position she was in. She was still breech. She said we would try to turn her Monday morning, if she hadn't turned back herself by then. If it was unsuccessful,, I would be sectioned. I tried to mentally prepare. I'd never had surgery before, except for dental, and that's just not the same.

Sunday night I had a terrible emptiness feeling in my arms. I was missing our Everett something fierce. I was reliving everything we had been through with him. I was a complete mess. All I could do was get in the shower and cry long and hard. Monday morning finally came and I was still an anxious mess, driving my husband crazy by asking him a million times if he thought our baby would be OK. We got to the hospital and got registered and my heart was beating a million miles a minute. I walked into my room and there was S., the super awesome grief and loss nurse who helped get me through this pregnancy, ready to get me all set up. I couldn't help but cry again. I didn't feel any less anxious until she hooked up the heart rate monitor to my belly and I got to hear that beautiful heart, beating like crazy. I got through this first step of the induction process. I told myself, it's going to be so different this time.

S. got my IV hooked up quickly and only had to poke me once. Again, much different than last time around. Much more pleasant than being stuck and veins blown out multiple times! My OB came into my room. She was dressed in her scrubs and was wearing her pearls. I was told she wore pearls in the OR, she's a classy lady like that. That made me nervous that maybe I would be taken into the OR for delivery. She got the ultrasound out to check Piper's location and low and behold, she turned back to head down! I couldn't believe it. However she was not engaged in the birth canal. Pitocin was started to get her moving in a downward direction and engaged to come out! My OB checked me and I was 4cm dilated already and over 50% effaced. It was Piper time! Pitocin was started and the labor process had begun.

I stayed on the pitocin for many hours, with my OB occasionally checking me to see what progress I had made. It was slow progress. I was handling the contractions well, and so was Piper. I told myself that maybe I could do this without an epidural, which is what I preferred this time around. After about 6 hours S. was getting ready to turn the pitocin up to a much higher level where contractions would be getting more intense and it would be more difficult to get the epidural placed due to pain. I decided to go ahead an have one placed, just in case. My epidural experience with Lilli and Everett was less than ideal. This made me very anxious. The anesthesiologist came in and was very nice. He spent about a half an hour trying to get it placed just right. The entire time S. kept us laughing and the mood light in the room. Next thing I knew, it was placed. No issues, no spinal fluid leaked out like last time. What a relief!

About an hour later, my OB came in and broke my water to try and get Piper to move down further in the birth canal. It felt like a tidal wave, there was so much fluid! S. had Dave, my sister and I make guesses what time she would arrive and how much she would weigh. It was kind of like a game. I made my guess based off of what she was measuring the week before which was 6lbs 4oz.

After about 9 hours of being on the pitocin, my OB came in to check me, it was after 5pm at this point. I felt like I would be in labor forever! She was very calm the entire time, feeling to see where I had progressed (only 6cm). She then calmly told me where I was with dilation and then calmly told me that she felt some cord, and felt it wrapped around something as well. The cord had prolapsed out. I started to feel panicked. S. let me know that at no point was the baby in any distress, but they would have to stop the pitocin. Next thing I knew, my OB was telling me they were taking me back to the OR for a c-section. I had a look of panic come over my face and I saw my sister look at me and tell me it would be OK. I think I told her I didn't think so. In a matter of seconds my room filled with all kinds of people prepping me for a c-section. I wanted to cry. I was scared. Dave was taken out of my room to be prepped as well. In a matter of minutes I was being wheeled down the hall to the O.R. I couldn't believe this was happening. My nurse was so excited because this meant we were about to meet Piper now!

There were so many people in the O.R. I remember a big sheet being pulled up to block my view, kind of like a tent. Dave was next to my head and S. was smiling like crazy. They did a test on me to make sure I couldn't feel anything and next thing I knew, I was being cut open. What a strange feeling that was! It wasn't very long and I could hear my OB remarking about our baby girl we'd waited so long to meet. Next thing I knew I heard our Piper's screams. What an amazing and beautiful sound that was! She screamed like crazy and I was so unbelievably happy! I started crying. They briefly brought her by my head so I could see her. She is so beautiful. They got her cleaned up and she continued to scream and they brought her to me again to give her a kiss before she was brought up to the NICU for observation. We opted to have her delivered early to try to prevent another loss from happening. I found out her cord was not only prolapsed, but wrapped around her neck. I was told it was not tight, but she would have experienced distress had they not sectioned me. I sent my husband off to be with our girl while they finished closing me up.

Our amazing girl only spent 4 hours in the NICU for observation and to have her blood sugars monitored. She was brought down to my room after that and I really got to have my first good look at our new beauty.

Our baby girl will be three weeks old on Monday. We are exhausted, but so relieved and happy that she is here and in our lives. Lilli is such a proud big sister and has been very helpful with her baby sister. She has commented to me several times that she is so happy her sister is out of my belly and at home with us. We are too Lilli!

Love you Piper Louise, Lillian Violet and Everett Eric!

Steph

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Sweet Boy

Dear Everett,

You are going to be a big brother in just a couple of days! I know you already know this little girl, because Lilli told us so. You have been doing an amazing job keeping watch over your little sister and we are so grateful for that.

Your sister has been stressing me out a bit lately and just last night she decided to turn breach, again. I normally wouldn't be bothered by this, but I am so worried that every time she does this, she'll get caught up in her umbilical cord somehow. She's a little big at this point to be flopping around so much (6lbs 4oz on Tuesday of this week). Can you please keep an extra close watch over her these next few days and help her to arrive safely into this world? We are looking so forward to meeting her and want her to be healthy and born crying.

We love you so much. We hope that somehow you will be there with us when I deliver your baby sister. I need to feel you close to me and you always seem to know the right times to do that for mommy. We wish you could be there in more ways than spirit, but I know that you love your sisters very much and they love you too. Daddy, Lilli and I will teach the baby all about you and what an amazing boy you are. You will always be a part of our family and will forever hold places in all of our hearts.

Lilli and I went to "see" you yesterday at the cemetery. I hope you felt the big hugs and kisses we sent up to Heaven for you. I did much better with the visit than I thought I would, until we got back in the car and Yellow by Coldplay came on the radio. I think you would have liked their music. Lilli certainly does. Listening to the lyrics, "look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and all the things you do..." made me go into full blown tears. You will forever be our very bright, shining star Everett. We love and miss you baby.

Love,
Mommy

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Heart to Heart

Alright Sweet P-

Mommy needs to have a little heart to heart with you right now, a pep talk if you will. You have about a week and a half to go before your early arrival is expected. Do you hear me? Only a week and a half. I know you are only a baby, but I'm hoping by putting these words down, maybe your brother can somehow communicate with you as to why it's important for these last days to go by as smoothly as possible.

Mommy's doctor wants to be extra careful that you look good and after I was put in the hospital last week for extended monitoring, and released, she's having me come back daily to check on you. You are probably well aware of this, as you get poked, prodded and hooked up to monitors every day now. When you don't pass your tests in the office, it makes mommy's heart hurt. I was sent to the hospital 6 days in a row because of something not looking perfect with you. You gave me a day off yesterday though and I greatly appreciate that. But we were right back at the hospital today for much longer monitoring. This reminds mommy so much of all your daddy and I went through with your brother and I really can't describe how I feel any better than to say that I worry, and my heart literally sinks into the pit of my stomach every time I get sent over there. I want you here so badly, alive, screaming, healthy. But you need a little bit more time to develop.

They gave you your first dose of steroids today to help develop your lungs. You get your second dose tomorrow. These worked really well with your brother and I am hoping they work just as well with you. We want you as healthy as possible when you arrive, and like I said, you get to arrive early. So, do you think we can make a deal? Do you think that if you can behave a little while longer in there, I'll let you slide on a couple of things (of my choosing) when you are a teenager? We need for you to be OK, we need for you to continue to live and we need you here with us in our home and family. We love you very much. Please hang in there sweet girl.

Love,

Mommy

Saturday, February 11, 2012

18 Months

Dear Everett,

Today you would have "turned" 18 months old. That is so hard to believe! It's hard now, for me to imagine you running around our house, driving your big sister crazy. It's hard to know that if you survived when I was induced, what kind of life you would have had. I have no doubt that you were probably pretty oxygen deprived for a few days. I know things sometimes happen for a reason and I know that you are in the loving arms of God, Jesus, and so many of your daddy's and my grandparents who love on you every day. I have no doubt how much you are loved in Heaven because I know how much you are loved here on earth.

You are going to be a big brother pretty soon, but you already know that. :) I just wish you were here with us to see your little sister come into this world and to be a physical part of her life. I know you will be watching her from above. Please continue to watch over her and help her to arrive safely into this world.

As your daddy and I have been looking around at baby stores recently, we've seen a lot of sail boat themed items. It always makes us think of you, since your room was decked out with sailboats! It makes me smile to see a little reminder of you in unexpected places. We love you so much, Everett. We miss you everyday. We want you to continue to be a part of your sister's lives and promise to teach your little sister all about you and your legacy.

Love,

Mommy

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

R4E 2012

We are well on our way to planning and organizing the 2nd annual Run 4 Everett, set to take place Saturday August 25, 2012. Honestly, we weren't sure if we were going to be able to do it this year, with a new baby on the way. We made the decision to go forward and I think it helped that we've had several family's contact us asking us when this years event would be. It's not just about Everett, it's about honoring all our stillborn babies gone way too soon. It's about giving a voice to parents and thier children they can no longer hold in their arms and celebrating those lives, no matter how short of a peroid they were in ours. All these babies matter so much to so many people.

This gave us a renewed hope to dive in with both feet and just start doing the work. It's working out pretty well so far. We've enlisted a committee and already have many folks on board to volunteer at this years event. We will have a new race course that will be very well marked and defined for all runners participating. We have a new, open location (within the park) with better parking options. We are lining up the entertainment for this years event as well, which I think added a lot to the festive atmosphere last year. The band, That's What She Said, will be performing again and MCing this years event. We are very excited about that! I know how much work last years event was and I would be lying if I didn't admit that I'm a little freaked out by what the future might hold. The bottom line is that we are striving to make this years event better and I feel very strongly we will accomplish that.

Registration will be up and running sometime in March. We are working on the details of that right now and working to secure sponsors for this years event. We are hoping to obtain a big title sponsor to this years event, as soon as that happens, we will be posting the info with joy

I have my induction date set for the middle of next month and it can not get here soon enough. Not because I am uncomfortable or feeling miserable, but because I cannot wait to hold this little girl, safely in my arms. I've never looked at a pregnancy so differently before. I vowed to never complain about any of the trivial aches and pains that go along with carrying a life inside of you, and I've kept to that vow. The main thing that has had me freaked out during this pregnancy was her lack of consistent movement, and that issue has mostly gone away, thank goodness. This little girl is so loved and Lilli has already vowed to tell her little sister all about their "brother in the sky". I can't wait for warm summer nights to get here as Lilli likes to go outside before bed and say goodnight to Everett and Everett's star in the sky. I'm sure she'll teach her sister to do the same. She's informed me of many things she's going to be teaching her sister. Our newest addition will also be taught about the brother that came before her and how special she, Lilli, and Everett are in Dave's and my life.


~Steph

Friday, January 20, 2012

Some Insight

Being pregnant after a loss is hard. I've said it before, but I just can't describe how much harder it is that I thought it would be. I am not alone in these feelings. Many of my "baby loss friends" who have had a subsequent pregnancy after loosing a child felt the same way. Everyone deals differently and some cope better than others. I group myself in the coping less better than some category. I've also been told there are women who are a lot more of a "basket case" than I am, which makes me feel better to hear! :)

I guess the reason behind this post is I am tired of people who have never experienced what I went through, what we went through, try to give me advice on how not to act or how not to be during this pregnancy. I get tired of people telling me not to be stressed out, not to worry so much. Saying things like, "think about what stress is doing to this baby". Guess what? I experienced a horrific trauma that went above and beyond a child dying inside of my body and not being able to do a damn thing about it. Everett's death was totally preventable. He gave off all kinds of warning signs and none of the "professionals" listened. Guess what else? That makes you loose faith in the very people who are supposed to help you get through a pregnancy safely. You loose faith not only in them, but in the majority of medical practitioners. I really do think it would be slightly different if it was just a sudden thing (still horrible) that just happened. I not only lost our son, I lost my innocence and the other blissful things that make a pregnancy fun and exciting.

People have no right to try to judge or give advice when they have never delivered a dead child. A child you desperately wanted. A child you advocated for before he was even born. A child not breathing, or pink or perfect that you hold and weep over in your arms. A child you have to make funeral plans for and bury. I know people also mean well, but telling me to "relax" or "try to enjoy the pregnancy" just doesn't apply to me. I will continue to be hyper vigilant, I will continue to be on guard until this little girl arrives safely and I hear her screaming, and see her beautiful pink skin. Oh, and it's not affecting my blood pressure. I have to take each day, and sometimes each hour at a time. That is normal. There are also things I enjoy about my pregnancy, like being able to see our little girls sweet face and long legs weekly. She really does have very long legs!

This does not mean there is something wrong with me. This does not mean I don't care about my unborn baby girl growing inside of me. This doesn't mean I haven't bonded with my beautiful child. Because I do love her, just as much as I love Lilli, and just as much as I love Everett. I just don't let myself fantasize about the future because it's uncertain. No one can tell you that everything will be OK, because they don't know that. If there's something I've learned over the past year and half, yes it's been almost 18 months on February 11, it's that nothing in life is certain or guaranteed. You can only hope and pray for the best possible outcome and try to put a little trust back into the profession that let you down so horribly the last time. Things are different this time around and this is a different pregnancy. I'm well aware of that, but I refuse to let my guard down, and again, that's OK. If I went on like nothing happened, there would be something really wrong with me. It's because I love my unborn child so much, that I want what's best for her and want her to arrive healthy and safe.

So please, if you know someone who is pregnant after having lost a child, don't judge them or try to give them advice when you haven't walked in those shoes. They've got to do things the best way they can and get through the pregnancy the best way they know how. It's not helpful to tell them to "relax", or "you really should try to enjoy the pregnancy". There are things about the pregnancy they will enjoy and depending on how they lost their child, there will be aspects of the pregnancy that remind them of a really scary time in their life. Let them talk about it if they need to, let them cry if they need to. You'd be amazed how far a great friend who listens to your fears and worries will take someone during a time of need.

~Steph