Sunday, October 28, 2018

7th birthday thoughts

On October 28th, 2011 at 10:01am a 3lb 2oz and 16in long baby boy came into this world without a name. He was whisked away to the NICU before I could even see him. But my heart swelled with pride. "It's a boy!" the most beautiful words I have ever heard. (We weren't leaning one way or the other, I was just so happy he was okay.) The look of joy and pride in my husband's eyes is something I will never forget. The beaming smile on his face as we were in awe that our son was born. Not under the circumstances that we had hoped, but we still felt on top of the world to have welcomed our precious baby boy. Through the fear and the unknown of the NICU we loved on that baby boy fierce. We named him Marcellus Robert. Marcellus after my grandpa and Robert after his daddy's middle name. A strong name. A name we felt was meant for big things. And I guess in a way that name is still doing big things. Just not here on earth like we had envisioned, like we had hoped and dreamed for. 

I'm still so proud to be that sweet boy's momma. Marcellus's mommy, an honor that belongs only to me. A part of me for the rest of my life and beyond.

That little baby should be turning 7 today. My first born son that I will never get to watch grow up. And I have to admit that I'm tired of the grief. I'm tired of the hurt. I'm tired of the longing. I'm tired. It's been 7 long years without him. But at the same time it's only been 7 years. I'm in my 30s, it could be another 50 years of life without him. And that blows my mind.   

Every year it's a new grief. The grief of what should be. The grief of missing a child that was here for only 12 days. We only knew him on this earth while in utero and as a preemie in the NICU. We never got to know him as an infant, toddler, little kid. We'll never know his 7 year old self, never know his interests, dislikes. I often think of what he would be like. And I always come back to the same feeling. I have a strong feeling he would be very thoughtful. Not just thoughtful as in considerate to others and to nature. But thoughtful as "in his thoughts", introspective. He'd be quiet, but have deep questions. Living in such a loud household with 3 younger siblings would probably be hard for him, but he'd be an amazing big brother.

And while having such a strong feeling of him brings me some comfort, comfort that his energy and love are with us in a way that we can't understand, I want to know my child I have these visions of. I want to know him physically on this earth. I want to hold him, to smell him, to kiss his owies, hear his laugh, answer his questions. And I know if he were here he wouldn't just be this perfect kid with no faults. He'd have his faults and I want to know what those would be too. So no, he wouldn't be perfect, but he'd be amazing. I'd be in awe of him and who he was.

But all I can do is speculate, focus hard in those still moments and feel his energy, visualize where he should be in every family picture or picture of his living siblings. I want to know him as I know them. So while I am so thankful and will forever be thankful to be his mom, to have felt him grow in my womb, to have birthed and brought him into this world, to have had 12 days to physically love on him, to feel the incredible softness of his hair, see his deep dark wise eyes, to have smelled him and felt him in my arms....while I will always be thankful for will never be enough. I will always long to hold him just one more time, to lay eyes on his beautiful little self just one more time.

Happy birthday Marcellus Robert! You would be 7 today and I wonder what you would be like. I have a feeling you wouldn't want a big party and instead would rather do something special with 1 or 2 friends, or even just with our family. We went to Hillridge Farms the other day to celebrate your birthday. Fall is your season, and it was a way for us to celebrate this beautiful time of year. We had fun, but I ached for you at every moment. I smiled watching your siblings, but then my heart would drop wondering what you would be doing. It's so hard having a heart that's so full, but hurts so much. I miss you love. I miss you so much. But I am so thankful you chose me to be your momma. I will always be your momma. I will always always always celebrate your life. I love you!!! xoxox.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

I cried for you today

I cried for you today.

It had been awhile since tears flowed just for you. There have been times I've cried and pure overwhelm, when many things have bubbled up at once. But today I cried for you. I cried because of your absence.

A friend came over to help me organize a closet. A closet that holds many of your things. But you see they're not really you're things. They are things that we have because you died. The Marcellus's Marchers shirts, the clothes we wore the day you died...that we wore as we held you while you took your last breaths, totes full of sympathy cards, keepsakes gifted to us in your memory, but nothing of yours.

And I started to feel angry, angry that we have this stuff in our house. Angry that it's stuff we have because you died. Your death taking up space in our house. I want your life taking up space here. I want you and your clothes and your toys and your books. I want you.

So I cried, for you my sweet boy. But it wasn't enough. There are more tears hidden there in my heart. I let out just enough to ease the heaviness in the moment and push through. I wanted to get done. I needed to stay present for your siblings. But it was a glimpse at how my heart holds the ache of your absence. How it is always just right there ready to bubble up.

I will cry for you again. When will it come out? I can't say. But the tears will need to escape sometime.

I will cry for you again and again and again and again. I will cry for you until my last day on this earth.

I love and miss you more than even those tears can ever express!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Big personal pregnancy milestones

27 weeks 6 days. That's the gestation Baby Sola is today. That means we're two days past the gestation that Ethan was born at. It all seems so surreal. That here I am chugging along with this sweet girl tucked safely inside my womb after those incredibly frighting weeks of leaking amniotic fluid. We were preparing for her to be born even earlier. We were clinging to hope that she would at least make it to 27 weeks. Our big goal was 27 weeks and now here we are back to "normal" with no reason to think she'll come anytime soon.

It's surreal though because we've been there. We've been there with a 27 weeker. My E. My sweet sweet E, born at 27 weeks 4 days, 2lbs 5oz, 15 inches long. He didn't get this chance. He didn't get this opportunity to stay put. And so while I'm incredibly thankful beyond words that Sola is staying right where she needs to be, I am also so sad for my E. So sad for the NICU stay we all endured.

In a way it's a little different with Marcellus. We had no way of suspecting preterm labor would be an issue. We just didn't know, so how could we prepare for it. But with Ethan we knew there were risks. We knew we needed to take precautions. So I did the progesterone shots weekly from 16 weeks on, but we opted not to have a cerclage. Cue momma guilt. Lots and lots of momma guilt. Now that we know the cerclage helps keep my babies in, I can't help but feel guilty I didn't get one during Ethan's pregnancy. If I had maybe he would have been full term too. Maybe he wouldn't have had to go through all that. To be away from his mom, to live in an incubator in the NICU. To not see his home for 10 weeks. To go through all he went through as that itty bitty vulnerable baby. Knowing how it was with Weston I am so sad that Ethan and I didn't get that. I am so sad for him. I can't help but wonder if some of his struggles are due to his prematurity and NICU stay. It has had to affect him. How can something like that not affects a child? Would he have asthma? Would he have SPD? Maybe. But being born at 27 weeks definitely put him at higher risk of those things. And while I wouldn't change who he is in a heartbeat, the thought that life could be easier for him if only I had gotten a cerclage is a bit heartbreaking.

We'll never know though, will we. And I know...I logically know that we made the best decision we could with our doctors at the time. Yes, we discussed a cerclage, but my case is not typical. After Marcellus it wasn't clear why I had him early, so at the time it was labeled as "idiosyncratic preterm labor," i.e., no one knows why. It was Ethan's pregnancy that gave us more information. The cervical shortening with funneling starting at 24 weeks 4 days and him being born 3 weeks later. That was our evidence to know that in the next pregnancy(ies) a cerclage was worth any risks that came with the procedure. But as any mom knows, mom guilt really is a strong thing. So, while my head tells me that we did the best we could, my heart says I could have done better for him. I could have made different decisions that would have kept him in longer.

On Friday when we were right at 27 weeks 4 days gestation I got tears in my eyes and looked at Mike asking, "Can you even imagine having her now? Can you even imagine being in the NICU? I know we did it. I know we were there 10 weeks. I know we were preparing to do it again. But now, I just can't even imagine going through that." And there's another aspect. We did it for 10 weeks. My first 10 weeks of memories with E are in the NICU and yet I can't imagine the NICU. It was survival. It was hard. It was so so so hard. And I cry, I cry for that time. I cry for my EE. I cry and wonder how life would be different for all of us if we hadn't had that NICU stay. Would I have PTSD the way I do? Would I have needed to go on Zoloft this pregnancy if we hadn't had that experience? Would Ethan have fewer struggles?

But she's safe. Sola is safe. Each day in utero is a big deal. Each day she's closer to being born without issue. And for a pregnancy in which we spent some time thinking she was going to be born before viability and getting to 27 weeks was (in our heads) at the time our best case scenario, this is all a really big deal. I am trying to savor in that. Savor in the miracle that is this baby girl. She's strong, she's a fighter. She's so meant to be here in every way possible.

Dear Marcellus, when I was pregnant with you we had no indication that we should be worried about preterm labor. It doesn't make your early arrival any easier, just a different set of emotions than when your first brother. We didn't know we needed any intervention to keep you safe. We didn't know. But with Ethan we did know and we didn't do enough. And it's so hard to know that my body failed you both. That my body couldn't keep you safe. I am beyond thankful for the medical resources that kept Weston from being premature and that's helping Sola stay put. Oh how I wish I had known it was needed for you and Ethan. Tomorrow will be 28 weeks, the third trimester. I remember those last few days of your pregnancy so well. Getting into the third trimester I had no idea you would be born 5 days later at 28 weeks 5 days. So, yes, it's also very much on my mind that Saturday is your gestation. When I unexpectedly woke up in labor with you. It just doesn't make sense my love. None of it makes sense. But I will continue to be positive for your sister, to be hopeful the rest of her pregnancy goes as your littlest brother's did. And I'll think of you and your 3lb 2oz little self and how amazing you were and are. I love you my little mister! I love you so so so so very much! xoxox.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The day we thought she would die, part 1

Where do I even begin on the emotional roller coaster that has been this last month. If you don't know me personally or haven't been following my posts here's a quick summary of what's been going on in our life. I'm pregnant with our fourth child, due April 30th. I had my cerclage surgery on December 6th. The next day it was discovered I was leaking amniotic fluid. At this point the leak appears to have resealed and I'm ready to start processing what happened. This might take multiple posts or this one post might end up ridiculously long. I just know I need to get started.

Cerclage surgery went smoothly. I mean, it's not fun. At all. But everything went as well as it could of and seemingly very similar to how it did during Weston's pregnancy. Mike couldn't be there with me because the kids had a stomach bug we didn't want to expose anyone else to, but I have an amazing community and a friend came and stayed at the hospital with me all day. I was nervous and a little worried, but nothing too bad. I was 19 weeks 2 days the day of the surgery. I had started Zoloft three weeks prior after having some panic attacks (probably something I should write about as well). It's really made such a difference in how I've handled anxiety inducing situations.

The following day I felt as expected. Sore, but better than the night before. I was taking it easy on the couch. My spotting from the surgery (which is normal) was already pretty insignificant. At one point I noticed a small gush. Not anything that ran down my leg, but enough for me to wonder what it was. At first I brushed it off...I probably just peed myself, right? I mean that happens to pregnant women and everything in that area was a bit off from the surgery. Then I figured I should tell Mike. I asked him to look over the discharge sheet on what to do. It definitely said to call if there was fluid leaking. I still thought it was nothing. The surgery went so well, I have a skilled doctor that specializes in cerclages. I have since learned he does 40-50 of them a year. The risk of amniotic sac rupture during a prophylactic cerclage is super low, especially when there is no funneling of the cervix and the length is over 2cm (which mine was at least 2.5cm). So when I called my specialist to ask if I should be concerned he wasn't alarmed at all. He thought it was probably nothing, but did say it should be checked out that day or the next to rule out amniotic fluid.

So I called my primary OB practice and got in for that afternoon. I went solo while Mike stayed with the kids because hey, we all really thought this was nothing and I was just taking a precaution getting checked. Well when I was examined the OB saw pooling of fluid and when tested the PH it came back as it would for amniotic fluid. Heart dropped. No, no way this was actually amniotic fluid. No, f'ing way. It couldn't be. I was only 19 weeks 3 days, I couldn't be leaking fluid. The surgery went well. He said the surgery went well. He wasn't worried. I wasn't worried. How did this happen?!? There's another thing they check for, which is called ferning. That takes time as the fluid needs to dry. So while it dried I had an ultra sound to check the fluid around the baby. Turns out fluid level looked normal, so that was a sign of relief.

Back to the room to talk to the OB. I know in the meantime she was on the phone with my specialist. She told me no ferning came back, so I wanted to believe it wasn't really amniotic fluid. But she said they look for 2 out of 3 of those things (pooling, PH, ferning) to be positive and if they are they consider it positive for amniotic fluid. She told me about a more accurate test that can be done at the hospital, ROM test and asked if I wanted that. I did. She was calm, she was trying to be compassionate, but she basically implied there was no chance for my baby if it came back positive. She made me think my baby for sure was going to die. That we were for sure going to have to make the decision to induce labor because the risk of infection for me was too great.

So I sat there, by myself, losing it. Bawling. Wondering how the hell is this happening to us?! I remember saying things like "How can I handle losing another baby?!? I can't lose another baby!!! What do I tell my son?!" Everything was spiraling and at no point to she provide hope or imply there could be another outcome.

I called Mike trying to figure out what to do. We were able to get in touch with another amazing friend that could take the kids. And it took one more friend to pick them up because of car seat arrangements. I don't know that I could have driven so Mike came and picked me up. One friend met us at the hospital to get the kids and take them to our other friend's house. I felt numb. I didn't know what to say to the kids. I kept crying and my sweet sensitive E rubbed my cheek before he left and said "don't be sad, Mom. Just remember what I always tell you, I love you!" He didn't yet know exactly what was going on, just that there was something to be checked out for the baby.

And I need to stop here for now, mostly because of bedtime. I noticed that so far this is still void of emotion. I need to dig to process all that. I think the next post will focus on the emotion a bit more. Or at least I'll try to go there. For my own healing and moving forward.

Dear Marcellus, I couldn't fathom losing another baby. How would I survive losing a baby?! But really the question is how have I already survived losing you? How did I keep on living when you didn't, my heart continued to beat and my lungs take in breath when yours stopped? The thought of bearing that pain for another child was too much that day. I thought my world was crashing down around me. One dead baby and a miscarriage was enough for me. How would I manage having two dead babies? Thankfully things turned for the best and here I am 23 weeks 3 days (exactly 4 weeks out from the leak) back to things being "normal" (well, my normal). And I still sit here and wonder how we've lived without you for over six years. I just can't fathom it, and yet it is our life. You my sweet beautiful baby boy. You are not here and never will be. Once we started fearing for your life it never got better. That fear became our daily reality. And we miss you fiercely, we love you immensely! xoxox.

Friday, October 27, 2017



Tomorrow you would be 6.


Tomorrow is the sixth birthday we will celebrate without you here.


Tomorrow  I live through another birthday without you. Tomorrow starts the marking of your time here on earth. Tomorrow we will celebrate, but tomorrow we also grieve. I grieve every day for you. Yesterday, today, tomorrow. But this time of year it is especially intense. Your time of year. Your dates. Your birthday and death anniversary separated by only days.

Tomorrow, I don't want it to come. It always does though. October 28th comes every year whether you are here or not. I just don't want another year to separate us.

Six years my sweet boy, and I still can't fathom how you are not here. How did this happen? How is this real life? How? Why? Why?! How?! The questions that never stop, but will never be answered.

Tomorrow is your day, my love. And while I grieve immensely, I will celebrate that day six years ago I gave birth to the most beautiful 3lb 2oz baby boy with the softest hair. But damn, I miss you so so so much!!!

I love you with all my heart, Marcellus Robert. With every ounce of my being. I love you! I love you! I love you! xoxox.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Next step of pregnancy

I came to write about the anxiety the upcoming specialist appointments and cerclage surgery is giving me. Before I opened a new post I decided to go back and read the post I wrote when I was around Lark's gestation. I'm 12 weeks now and getting out of the "miscarriage danger zone." I know there is no true safe zone in pregnancy. I know too well. I know too many women that know too well. But statistically the chancee of miscarriage has greatly decrease, so my worry and anxiety now shifts to how to keep this baby put until he/she is ready to be born. I remember writing that "Please live" blog post, but I didn't remember writing the following part. And it's so true, so so true.

Once we get through the first trimester and the risk of miscarriage decreases I then start worrying about the cerclage and premature labor. I honestly love love love being pregnant. I love it so much. But the emotional toll it takes on Mike and I is high. It really is. It is so emotionally draining. We are so excited and so happy, but we are also so very scared.
Just the other day I was in tears talking to Mike about that very thing. The stress of all the appointments. The progesterone shots each week (starting at 16 weeks). And the cerclage surgery. The damn cerclage surgery. Of course, it's what I need to keep this baby in. We learned that in Weston's pregnancy. But oh how I do not want to go through that again. How I do not want to question every little twinge and stretch and odd feeling I may have. And every single Braxton Hicks contraction that will happen throughout this pregnancy. To feel my sanity slip when I wonder if I really could be in premature labor and end up in the ED or L&D.

When I was pregnant with Weston we talked about how if he needed any NICU time he would very likely be our last baby. We just couldn't emotionally handle any more than that. Well, his pregnancy and labor/birth went about as perfectly as it could (with all the interventions needed to do so). And so (obviously) we didn't rule out another baby. We thought we would need to wait longer in between to feel emotionally ready to go through a pregnancy again. But motherly urges can get you unexpectedly. We upped our timeline for our hopeful age spacing and ta-da, here I am pregnant. And super happy and excited about it! But really, now that it's getting into specialist and cerclage time I can't help but find the thought "What the hell were we thinking doing this again?!"

I know it'll be worth it. I know when I'm holding this baby in my arms I won't think about what we had to do to get him/her here. And really I do love pregnancy and labor and birth. The normal parts of it that is. Feeling the baby move, the growing belly, the glow, the amazement at how a woman's body labors and births her baby. During pregnancy I feel the most beautiful, I feel goddessy. If I could have normal pregnancies I would have all the babies. I would maybe even consider being a surrogate.

But I don't have normal pregnancies and it takes such an emotional toll. I'm pretty sure this is our last baby. I don't think I can do it again. I just can't. It's too much. I miss the naivitey we had during Marcellus's pregnancy. Oh how I wish I could go back to that during pregnancy. Fear, anxiety, worry...there's just so much of it now. Enough of it that the question"What the hell were we thinking going through another pregnancy?!" really does come to mind. We question a pregnancy with a baby we love and want and are so happy and excited about. That sucks.

So we'll get through this pregnancy. We'll hopefully have a repeat of how things went with Weston. Will have our sweet baby come April. And in a few years when my ovaries start aching again, someone show me this post. Because I honestly think this is the last time I can do this.

Marcellus, your pregnancy was beautiful. We didn't have this underlying fear and anxiety. The fear and anxiety that at times can override the joy and excitement. I miss that feeling. I miss that pure joy and excitement. I'll never have that again. And because of all that fear and anxiety this is likely the last little sibling you will have. I hate that decision is dictated moreso by the emotional toll of pregnancy than our desired family size. Oh how I love having babies. It's so amazing. So the thought of this being the last pregnancy, the last time I give's a tough one in itself. But it needs to be the last time I deal with this level of fear and anxiety. The last time I do those damn progesterone shots, the last time I get a cerclage, the last time I fear the NICU, the last time I spend months wondering if I'm in premature labor, the last time for multiple ED and L&D visits within a few months. Oh my love, this sucks. Not being pregnant, I love that. But the worry and everything that comes with making sure I stay pregnant long enough. I miss you sweet boy. I miss you beyond words. Love you always! xoxox

Please live

If you haven't heard the news yet, I am pregnant! At this writing, I'm very early and we haven't done a big announcement yet. I'm writing this on 9/2 while I'm about 5.5 weeks pregnant, but won't post it until we've announced. Right now I'm around the gestation that I started spotting with my Lark . Around the time our excitement turned to fear and our hopes started crashing down. We tried to hold on to hope, but a few days later that hope was smashed when I officially miscarried Lark at right around 6 weeks gestation.

And now this new baby, my Sola, is hopefully growing safely. But there's no guarantee. There's no window into my womb to see that development is taking place as it should. And so, I find myself holding my breath as "Please live!" runs through my mind. When I'm trying to fall asleep at night it plays as a broken record, "Please live, please live, please live," over and over and over again.

I want this baby to live so badly. I just want a baby that is not directly a rainbow baby. I think some use the extension of the term rainbow baby to all children born after a loss even when there's not a loss in between. I do feel that way too. The loss of Marcellus has shaped me, has shaped pregnancy, has shaped how I parent. So any baby I have born after him I will consider a rainbow baby. But can I just have two babies in a row without any loss or complication in between? Without going through a period of intense grief over the loss of a child? Can this baby please just live?!?!

I've taken 11 pregnancy tests to make sure the line is continuing to get darker. I skipped yesterday and then felt the anxiety creep in as I am so close to Lark's gestation. It was a big pack of cheap pregnancy tests off the internet. I'll probably take them until their gone. It won't get me to our first appointment on 9/12, but it will get me through this gestation that is Lark's.

The anxiety is real. The fear is real. And it won't stop after the first trimester. Once we get through the first trimester and the risk of miscarriage decreases I then start worrying about the cerclage and premature labor. I honestly love love love being pregnant. I love it so much. But the emotional toll it takes on Mike and I is high. It really is. It is so emotionally draining. We are so excited and so happy, but we are also so very scared.

Trying to take it one day at a time. For today my Sola is healthy.

Note on the nickname: We found out I was pregnant the evening we got back from our trip to SC for the solar eclipse. It was an amazing experience, so we chose a nickname to represent that.

*Finally posting this on 10/20. I am now 12 weeks 4 days. Last appointment was 2 weeks ago and everything looks good. Next appointment I have is with the specialist next week to talk about the cerclage.

Dear Marcellus, another little sibling for you! You are quite the big brother. We had our friend make shirts for all the big brothers to announce this pregnancy. Of course you have one as well. We have it so that it will fit Marcellus Bear. I wonder what size you would have needed and what color you would have picked out if you were here. I wonder if you'd be as excited as your little brother, Ethan, about having a new sibling. All I can do is wonder. Your brother, Ethan, is very excited. And when we told him he started to say "now we'll have 5 people..." and he stopped to really thing. He then continued "Now we'll have 6 people in our family!!!" He thinks of you often, sweet boy. He loves you just as fiercely as he loves his brother here on earth. It's amazing to see his bond with you. I wonder as Weston grows if he will be the same. And this new baby, Baby Sola, I wonder about him/her too. Oh how I love you all so very much! Each and every one of you, Lark too. Oh Marcellus. I miss you so much! Love you always and forever, xoxox.