Sunday, February 22, 2015

An unexpected hard day

I wrote this first part on January 27th, just never published it.
Why does it seem like everyone else gets to have healthy full term babies and I don't?

I know it's not everyone, I know way too many mommas that have endure as many or more trials and difficulties than I have. But sometimes it feels that it's everyone but me.
On facebook I just saw two beautiful brand new babies from two different people. Not people that I'm close with or have talked to in a long while. I may or may not have even known they were pregnant (and if I did know, I didn't remember) when bam, Facebook makes sure I see those sweet babies.

And it stings. It still stings. I hate that. I hate that it hurts when I see pictures of other peoples newborn babies. I hate that my initial reaction is envy and the pain of my own experiences. I hate that sometimes I think "if they only knew..." but I don't want them to know anything different. And I don't know them well anymore, so maybe there was struggle before that beautiful baby came along. I don't know. But to me it just feels like it was so easy to them. So easy for everyone else.

"Hey let's get pregnant and have a baby! It's easy!" and for some, it is. The getting pregnant is easy, the staying pregnant is easy, the having a full term healthy baby that comes home from the hospital (or birth center or born in  your home or whatever) is easy.
But for others it's excruciatingly difficult to get pregnant. And there's heartache after heartache after heartache. There can be so many obstacles to overcome. And what I struggle with is why so much for some people while others sail through it??? Why does struggle not seem to be equally divided. Why do some go through so much, so so so much and others don't even have to try and everything just falls into place so damn perfectly?!?!?

Yeah, I know, a part of my consciousness I need to work on (I'm reading "The Conscious Parent"). I don't want to think and feel these ways, but for now I do.

So in that first part I wrote about how hard it was to still see pictures of brand new babies on Facebook. I came to sit down to write now because I just found myself crying over pregnancy posts. Seemed fitting to put them together. Damn you Facebook! I have mixed feelings about Facebook for various reasons and have considered getting rid of it on multiple occasions. But we live far away from family and it's an easy way to share what we're doing, especially with Ethan. And I have some awesome groups I'm a part of that I don't want to lose the online connection to.

I have really been doing well lately. I was even thinking about writing an "I am happy despite..." type of post. But then I just now I broke down a little. The other day I saw a pregnancy announcement for someone that has a little boy Ethan's age, she's due in August. Lark was due Sept 5th. Cue heart breaking and instant jealousy.

Then a couple of days ago I met a woman whose kids are about 14 months apart. She made a comment, "I wouldn't have them so close together if it was my choice." I don't understand how it wasn't her choice though?! I suppose she could have gotten pregnant while trying to prevent and I can only imagine what it's like to have two children that young (the oldest is 20 months). But then my heart screams, I want to know! I should know, my boys were born 13.5 months apart. The difference is my "oldest" is dead and that the youngest was supposed to be born 16.5 months after his brother. A dead son and 10 weeks in the NICU, now those weren't by choice.

Just now I saw pregnancy progression photos of someone else who is around 15-16 weeks. She also has up a picture of her little boy (younger than Ethan) in a brother shirt. I saw that and my eyes welled up, lump in my throat...and there they are, the tears. I guess each of the above encounters triggered me enough that with this last one it's all coming out.

I would be about 12 weeks pregnant with Lark. But I'm not, instead I just got my first cycle since having the miscarriage. Marcellus would be 3 years 4 months old. But he's not, instead his life ended at 12 days old.

I miss Marcellus. I miss what should be. I miss what I don't know I'm missing. I miss being pregnant. I fear we'll never have another living child. Ethan's going to get squeezed even tighter tonight because I know just how truly truly blessed I am that he is even here. How fortunate we are to have made it through those ten weeks and have them be relatively uneventful. My amazing little rainbow boy. But he does not erase the heart ache. He does not take away the grief nor should he. That is not his responsibility.

My grieving momma heart feels heavy tonight. Today turned out to be unexpectedly hard.

Marcellus, if only I had you here with your brother to know how crazy it could be to have children so close together. I would welcome that craziness, I want that craziness. Instead there is only one little boy in this house. And what an amazing little boy he is. While I am so so so thankful for your little brother, my heart forever aches for you. For all the days I live, I will yearn for you. And right now I am also yearning to be pregnant with Lark and the pregnancy milestones we'd be reaching soon. I miss you. I miss you I miss you I miss you. I love you. I love you I love you I love you. Oh baby boy, I wish you were here. xoxox.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It just seemed so perfect

When I found out I was pregnant with Lark, the timing just seemed so perfect.

Mike and I were wanting another baby, even in the trying stage. But we had accepted that it probably wasn't going to happen anytime soon. I'm nursing Ethan and that has affected my cycle. Just the month before we had a conversation about how as much as we want another baby, we weren't in as big of a rush to get pregnant as we had originally felt.

One reason I felt that way is that if the next baby has a NICU stay, I think for our emotional well being we'd have to be done having babies. With that realization, the next baby we have could very well be our last. I can't imagine never being pregnant again. So, for the time being I was happy fantasizing about the future. For the time being, a large family is still possible. If the next baby is born full term, we will most likely continue to grow our family. But again, there's that chance that we won't have that opportunity.

But then I found out I was pregnant on December 26th. Honestly, I was prepared to get my period. I felt like I was getting my period. I just was okay with the fact that I wasn't pregnant that month. But then my period didn't come and positive pregnancy test!

We were at my mom's when we found out. Mike was giving Ethan a bath and I took the test. I watched the lines appear. Yes, lines...two lines!!! I said to Mike, "There's two lines! Look, two lines!" He was happily surprised as well with an excited reaction "Really?!?!"

Yes, really! We got pregnant before we got that desperation feeling we had with Ethan (and even Marcellus). That feeling where it is so heartbreaking each month to not get pregnant. We had avoided that with Lark. That seemed perfect. But now, when my body is ready, I will have that desperation feeling again. Being pregnant with Lark sparked an even a stronger desire in me to have another baby. To have a growing round belly, to give birth, to have a squishy newborn baby. Each month of not getting pregnant will be crushing.

Lark's due date was Sept 5th. That seemed perfect too for multiple reasons. I would have ended this semester of teaching around 21-22 weeks, before I get into the "risky" zone of pregnancy for me. I then would have had the summer off. With Ethan I went on modified bed rest around 24 weeks. I was teaching two classes as an adjunct at the time. The doctor said I was okay to keep teaching and just to take it easy when I wasn't. Well Ethan was born three weeks later, so if I would get put on modified bed rest again, I'd have a hard time feeling okay with teaching. It would maybe be more of a mental thing, but it would be there. With Lark's due date, I wouldn't have had to worry about that.

It was perfect that I also wouldn't have had to be pregnant in October. When I was pregnant with Ethan I was 20 weeks around Marcellus's birthday. It was so hard. I actually spent the day before Marcellus's birthday in the ER. I'm sure it was stress, anxiety, grief causing physical symptoms, but I was a wreck. Now if I were ever pregnant with a baby that was supposed to be born around Marcellus's dates, then I would be okay with it if the baby came around those dates. It's the idea of being at risk for premature labor around Marcellus's dates that is terrifying to me. And now, being realistic, I think the earliest we would end up having a baby due is maybe December? Who knows, but that's my best guess if things go easily for us to get pregnant again. So yeah, a December due date would put me in prime preterm labor time around Marcellus's birthday. His due date was January 15th.  

The age gap between Ethan and Lark seemed like it was going to be perfect as well. I always thought I would have kids close together, 2ish years apart or so. But that obviously didn't happen. Being such a risk for premature birth, we had to make sure Mike would be graduated before we could possibly have another baby in the NICU. It's something I had been struggling with, seeing other people's pregnancy and birth announcements that have new big siblings Ethan's age or younger. I wanted that close age gap in my family too. But when my pregnancy with Lark came and the estimated age gap was 2.75 years, it just felt right for our family at this time.

Perfect. It just all seemed so perfect. We talked about how 2015 was going to be an awesome year for our family with Mike graduating and having another baby. How perfect. But it turned out to be not so perfect. Quite the opposite and instead 2015 started with miscarrying Lark.

Mike graduating will still be awesome and I can hope that 2015 will bring growth to our family. I just don't know if it will feel quite as perfect as it did for those 13 days all was well with Baby Lark.  

Marcellus, the thought of possibly having a due date near what yours was is terrifying to me. At your birthday and anniversary to be around the gestation you were born is scary. Of course, I know I have no control over these things. I should know more than most that as much as we try to plan and do our best, we don't have control. Life is what it is. It comes as it comes. So, I will need to work on letting go of those fears before we get pregnant again. Oh, Marcellus, I miss you so much. I also think of how perfect your pregnancy seemed. How perfect it felt to become a mommy, your mommy. So many perfect moments with you my baby boy. And those moments are locked forever in my heart. They make me forever your mommy. Forever and ever, I love you! xoxox.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

How am I?

"How are you?" might be an innocent enough of a question in casual conversation. But when you're going through something difficult in life that question may sting. How am I?! Do you really want to know how I am?!? Even the phlebotomist that took my blood on Tuesday morning asked how I was. I wanted to look her in the eye and tell her she was taking the blood that would most likely (and of course now we know it did) confirm that I was miscarrying and then ask her how she thinks I'm doing. But I didn't. I had Ethan with me so I managed a half smile and said "okay."

And then there are the people who really do want to know. "How are you doing?" They know you are going through heartache and pain. And they genuinely care about your well being. They genuinely want to know, even if the answer is uncomfortable.

So, how am I doing? Honestly, I don't know right now. How am I supposed to be doing? I'm trying to sort it out. At first I was feeling very very angry. Incredibly angry.  As soon as things started on Thursday and through Tuesday, anger was my biggest emotion.

Then Tuesday the physical process really started. As my womb started to empty, so did my being. I feel empty, distant.

Ethan brings us so much joy. He really does. And I'm still feeling that joy. I still laugh at his silliness and am still warmed by his sweet hugs. But right now it just doesn't permeate my soul like it usually does. I know it will again, but for now it's like there's a shell even he cannot crack. I do not feel fully present with him and I hate that. I hate it so much. For me and for him. I can tell he feels it. I need to get back to being fully present with him. But at the same time I need to grieve for this pregnancy, for Lark. I need to grieve for Marcellus. I just need to grieve. I will find balance again.

And I still am angry. I'm angry about this miscarriage, I'm angry about Marcellus dying, I'm angry that Ethan was premature and in the NICU. And most of all I'm angry all of those things are true for me. All of them are my reality. And that's not even including the emotions that I deal with from placing Angela for adoption. I won't include that here because in a way I chose that grief. I made the decision to place her for adoption. Yes, I grieve not having her here. But again, I chose that, so it's different.

All my planned babies. All the ones I longed for before I even got a positive pregnancy test. Something has gone wrong. Marcellus's death being the most terrible, awful, horrific of them all. And now this. Now another baby gone. Who would have thought that my least traumatizing pregnancy and birth would be the one that resulted in two days of extreme measures to slow labor, a 2 pound 5 oz baby and 10 weeks in the NICU?!

I guess one reason I'm not entirely sure how I'm feeling or how I should feel is because of losing Marcellus. Yes, I am incredibly sad right now, yes I am angry, yes I feel empty, yes I am grieving. But when Marcellus died I literally could not function, I could not sleep, I could not eat. I almost fainted a few times. I sobbed and wailed and cried and cried and cried for whole days and days and days on end. My arms physically ached for the baby that was supposed to be in them. We spent days in the funeral home holding our son's dead cold body as our last physical moments with him. We planned a funeral, came back to an empty house with no child to care for. I didn't know how I would live. I thought my heart should stop when his did. I didn't think there was a chance to be happy again. It was dark. Very very dark. Very dark.

Miscarrying Lark sucks. It truly does. But for me, it does not come close to touching the intensity of Marcellus's death. And I think in a way that is preventing me from properly grieving this loss.

I need to grieve for Lark, for the dreams and hopes that started as soon as we saw that positive pregnancy test. It's going to look different than my grief for Marcellus and that's okay.

Marcellus, miscarrying Lark not only brings grief of another baby lost, but it also brings up some of the grief and emotions surrounding your death that I have not felt (or let myself feel) in awhile. Some of the same rawness is there again. Some of the deep deep anger. It's not fair all of this. It's so not fair. I want you here with your little brother. I want to be 7 weeks pregnant with Lark like I should. I want you and Ethan to both be waiting for the arrival of a new sibling. But we're not. You're not here. Lark is gone. Only Ethan is here on earth with me. And while I am so so so thankful for him, I miss you like crazy. Every day I miss you and long for you. Every. Single. Day. And now I long for Lark too. I wonder if you two are together. Are you? A younger sibling on earth and a younger sibling with you. I don't know that I necessarily find that comforting because really you should all be on earth with Daddy and I. I love you all so much! So so so so so so so much!!! xoxox. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Goodbye Baby Lark

For 13 joyous days we got to dream of you, anticipate you. But almost as quickly as you came into our lives, you were gone. Or were you never really here? We never even got to see you, I never got to feel you. Many didn't even get to know about you.

Medically, you may not have been considered a baby. But to us, you are our baby. As soon as we found out about you on Dec 26th, our family view changed to include you. Even with our fears (of premature labor, how Ethan would do, etc.) our hearts instantly expanded with love for you.

But something went wrong and you didn't grow. We will never know why. Your short existence did bring us joy and excitement. I was so excited for you. And now you're gone. We have had to say goodbye. I miss you already. My heart yearns to have you safely in my womb.

Goodbye Baby Lark. I love you.

We found out we were pregnant on Dec 26th while we were in MN at my mom's house. We were trying, but honestly didn't think it was going to happen that month. So, we were excitedly caught off guard to get a positive pregnancy test. We told a lot of our family and some close friends in person while still in MN. We nicknamed the baby Lark after enjoying a fun trip to Lark Toys.

Of course the first trimester is always a little nerve wracking not knowing what's going on. But I've never had problems in the first trimester before. In fact, I was trying to ease any first trimester fears by telling myself that between all the pregnancies my mom, sister and I have had, there has never been a miscarriage. Well, I guess there's a first time for everything and if it's something bad it seems I'll be the one to experience it. So here I am, having the first miscarriage in my family.

Earlier last week I would mention that I didn't feel pregnant. My exhaustion (an early pregnancy symptom for all of my pregnancies) seemed to go away. Something just felt off. Then on Thursday, Jan 8th, I had some bleeding. I went to the doctor and they didn't see much of anything on the ultra sound. The doctor said he maybe saw the start of a gestational sac, but that it was too small for the computer to even measure. He said at my suspected gestation, about 5.5 weeks, that they would expect to see a more defined gestational sac. He listed 3 things that could be going on, 1) Chemical pregnancy where the baby never develops, 2) Ectopic pregnancy or 3) I'm just not as far along as I thought. While I wanted to be hopeful, right away I didn't think 3) was very likely. I had my blood drawn and my hcg levels were checked. The number on its own doesn't give us any new information. I get my blood redrawn tomorrow (Monday, I'm writing this on Sunday) to see if they are going up as they should, decreasing (chemical pregnancy) or leveling off (would then suspect ectopic pregnancy).

Yesterday (Saturday) I started to get my hopes up. I hadn't had any bleeding since Friday morning. This whole time the "waiting game" has been awful. I already missed work on Thursday with everything going on. I didn't want to get my hopes up just to have them smashed early in the week. I don't want to have to miss more work. So with it being the weekend, which gives me time to process, I took another pregnancy test last night.

I took one Thursday night too (the nurse at the OB said my test earlier that day was faint and this was before I had my results from my first blood draw). The one I took last night is lighter, a sign my hcg levels are going down. That this is really happening. That there is no hope. Some people have said to hold on to hope until I know for sure the results of my blood draw. I'll let them hold on to that hope. Is it fair to say goodbye to Baby Lark before we are 100% sure? Maybe not. But for me I need to start this grieving process now to be able to function during the week.

So today, I say goodbye, yet again.

Marcellus, when we were in MN visiting your spot we talked to you about how you were a big brother again. Another little sibling we hoped to have in our home. But unlike Ethan, that little sibling is not staying here with us. And we grieve. We grieve not only the life we anticipated, but never got to know, but we grieve everything we've been through. We especially grieve you. I do have to say this is nothing like the intensity of losing you. But it still sucks. It still hurts. I still and will grieve. And all this grief is intertwined. Intertwined with the daily grief of you not being here. Of having to say goodbye to you when you were 12 days old. Of knowing I carried you safely until 28 weeks gestation, but that still wasn't enough. This baby didn't even get to six weeks. We never saw his or her heart beat. For you, we held you as yours stopped. It's all very different and it all sucks. I miss you my squirmy wormy. I miss you so damn much. Loving you always and forever. xoxox.

Updated Tuesday, 1/13.
I got the official call this morning confirming what I already knew, that I am having a miscarriage. Physically things have really picked up in the process today as well. So today is what we will consider Baby Lark's "birthday."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Little brother turns 2!

Dear Marcellus, 

Today's your little brother's birthday. He's 2. It's a day of celebration. Of course we are so so so thankful for him. And so so so blessed to have him here. But to be honest, his birthday brings up some tough emotions too. Maybe not to the same level and intensity as your birthday, but yeah, some tough ones. 

Because when I remember Ethan's birth, I remember it being scarier than yours. For your birth we were a bit naive, we didn't know. We didn't know you would die. And honestly, at the time, I don't remember thinking it was a possibility. We were scared, of course. You were coming into the word at only 28 weeks 5 days gestation. But my worries were about your life. How long would you be in the hospital? How long until we could hold you, till I could breastfeed you? Would there be lasting effects from your prematurity? 

But when Ethan was born I knew. I knew how scary it really was. I knew all the possibilities and just how awful they were. I couldn't see past them. At 27 weeks 4 days, earlier than your gestation smaller than you were when you were born, I honestly thought he was going to die. So very different than the feelings of your birth. I guess that makes me realize how blessed I am to have those memories and feelings from your birth. The pure joy twinged with just a small amount of fear. The on top of the world feeling I had. 

But not for Ethan. For Ethan it was fearing for his life. Wondering if he was going to make it. How could this be happening again?! I do think we were excited, there was joy in birthing your little brother. But it was so overshadowed with the fear and grief flooding us. 

And all those emotions were one thing while he I was in labor with him and while he was being born. But another when it came to seeing him in the NICU for the first time. Oh that was awful, beyond awful and so hard. To walk (well I think I was in a wheelchair) through those NICU doors, those same doors we last went through after saying good bye to you. Those doors that represented your life, your death, everything. Those doors that we hoped to carry you out of one day only to come through with empty arms. The place that was yours was now housing your little brother. The place where you lived and fought and everyone fought for you. They were now fighting for your little brother. It all became such a blur. Your moments, his moments. 

They knew to keep him from pod 2, your space. Where you lived and died. He was in pod 6. We never went around the corner to your pod. I never even desired to. To see a living baby there. To wish it was you that we were coming back to 13 months later. So pod 6 is where your little brother spent his early days until he was moved to the glass room. But even though it was a different pod, it was so much the same. The same sounds, oh the NICU sounds. Any NICU parent knows them and would jump at the sound even years out of the NICU. The sounds that were associated with you, were now with him too. 

And in that pod 6 I still feared your little brother would die too. I can't say when that fear subsided, but definitely not during his first 12 days of life. 

So while today we celebrate your crazy, fun, happy, awesome truly truly awesome little brother, I still grieve. I grieve because your not here to celebrate with us, I grieve because his birth experience was so traumatic, I grieve because instead of feeling joy when my second son was born I feared his death. I grieve. 

I wish you were here to know your brother and for him to know you. The other night he brought me a "Marcellus's Marchers" March for Babies shirt that has your picture on it. In a way I think he thought it really was you instead of just your picture. He wanted to hand you a car, one that was bought for you. I had to tell him it's just your picture, but that you are not here and never will be again. I told him when we miss you and are sad, we can look at your picture, talk to your picture, or even kiss your picture. So you know what he did...he dove in with open arms and kissed your picture. 

I am so thankful, blessed, lucky, however you want to say it to have your little brother. He does bring us so much joy. But baby boy, he doesn't take away the hurt, the grief, the ache for you. 

I miss you always, love you forever. I love you right up to the moon and back!!!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Coming up for air

I don't know how many posts I've written in the past that say something along the lines of, "I need to write more." But it's still true. I need to write here more. Or write more in general. You can see by the number of posts that I relied on this blog so heavily in the beginning. And how they trailed off drastically after Ethan was born and even more so when I went back to work.

I have more responsibilities than grief now. In the beginning my only responsibility was as Marcellus's mommy and that meant my only responsibility was grieving.

Now my other responsibilities have taken the forefront. And I suppose they should. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't still grief. That doesn't mean I don't need to still grieve. I am very much still grieving. I don't know why I'm saying the word still, I will forever be grieving.

Right now, somehow, I have a moment to come up for air. A moment where I'm not running after Ethan (he's napping) or working (I'm prepped for tomorrow, only give a test on Tuesday and then it's break).

A moment to say hey, how the hell is it the end of November. How did Marcellus's birthday and anniversary come and go and we survived again?!? How have I not written about his birthday or write around his anniversary, how did I just keep on going along?!? How is the holiday season right upon us?!? Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years. The answer is simple, there has not been time. And if there has been time, I honestly haven't had the energy to write. Let it out. Do the grieving that is there to do.

My life right now has almost every moment full of other responsibility. Those responsibilities wear me thin enough that when I may have an open moment, I have no air for my grieving.

Don't get me wrong, I am overall enjoying my life right now. I just need to work on having a better balance. I don't know if that's possible at the moment. And I guess I'm okay with that. I have accepted that. It won't be like this forever. Ethan won't need me so much one day. Mike will graduate in May leaving us both with more spare time. For now, Mike and I work while Ethan naps and sometimes after bedtime to minimize the amount of time he is outside of our care. For now, Ethan wakes at night and needs his momma. For now, the house is in constant need of picking up. For now, the only spare time is spent doing outings as a family. And that's okay.

Part of where I am at in my grief is making sure I am fully present with Ethan. Marcellus has taught me I mus try my best not to let a single moment go by without being aware. Those moments you can't get back. I can't get back any of the time I wish I had been with Marcellus or more present next to his bedside. I will never get any of it back.

My grief will wait. It will wait the six months until life slows down a bit. I'll be more able to deal with it then. For now, I'll try to come up for air just a little more often though.

Marcellus, I hope you don't feel shoved aside. It's not like that at all. You are always there. Always here with me. Always on my mind. Always filling my heart. It's just that other things need my immediate attention. I do wish I had more time to write. More time to actively grieve right now. More time and energy to shed the built up tears for you. More time to do things in your name. Some day my love. Some day I'll have more time. I love you, my squirmy wormy. I love you! I love you! I love you!!! xoxox.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It's her birthday too

I'm typing this on the Kindle as I lay nursing Ethan for a nap. Everytime I've tried to get up he starts to fuss. I think he's sensing all or my emotions. He's probably overwhelmed. He's a very sweet loving child and I'm sure it's hard for him to see Mommy upset along with any feelings of his own he is unable to express.

But laying here with him is giving me some down time. Mike is in class and the house is quiet. Down time to reflect on October 28th.

And some of this reflecting is not just on Marcellus. It's also on the very special little girl born 12 years ago this day at 8:07pm weighing 6lbs 5oz. The little girl I named Angela Mae. The little girl I placed for adoption.

This is the 4th year her birthday has been overshadowed. But that does not mean I have not been thinking of her, missing her, wondering about her and wishing things could have been different. True, grieving for Marcellus has been at the forefront these last 3 years. True, most of the time I try to ignore and put off dealing with the emotions I have of placing Angela for adoption. But it's also true that I love her oh so very much.

It's just too much most of the time though (as i wrote about last year). Too much to balance. I don't have enough emotional energy left over to fill out the card I got her, right a letter, and send off her birthday present. So,'s going to be late again this year. It won't get out today, maybe it will tomorrow. Ill set the goal that by the end of the week it will go out.

I hope one day she will understand. It's not that I forget her on her birthday. It's not that I don't love her enough to get her card/present out. It's just that it being his birthday is already too much to deal with. But I wanted to let everyone know it is her birthday too. For 9 years October 28th was just her day.

Marcellus, sometimes I get so frustrated that you were born on Angela's birthday. That it is now your birthday too. That I have so many emotions to sort out for this one day. But it is your birthday and this day 3 days ago was honestly the happiest of my life. It was scary, but we were so happy to meet you and know that you were okay (because you were at the time. You were born pretty healthy for your gestation). Oh my sweet boy, how complicated this life is. Thank you for giving me the space to tell everyone it's Angela's birthday too. I will write more about your birth later after we get to celebrate you as a family. I love and miss you! Happy birthday sweet boy!!! <3 xoxox