Saturday, May 28, 2011

First scare

We had our first scare and ended up in Labor & Delivery on Wednesday night.  I had been feeling some tightness in my abdomen and I was worried that it may be the start of contractions so off we went.  Being back in that place was so scary!  My nerves were completely shot by the end of the night.  All I could think about was the last time we were there when I was pregnant with Harper and how traumatic the experience was, I went into L&D pregnant thinking that all would be fine and I left ten days later without my baby and broken. I was so scared that we were going to be back on that road again. I was so terrified for sweet Pooh.  My mind kept going to the bad place where we lose her, too.

We got all hooked up to the monitors and got to listen to our girl show off her kung-fu moves for about an hour.  It was so comforting to hear her being so active and with such a strong heartbeat.  Comforting but still so scary just being there.  I just have so many bad memories of L&D and that hospital in general.  At one point the nurse came in and told me that I have an "irritable uterus" and that if my contractions didn't stop that they would send me into real labor.  That is the LAST THING that I needed to hear at that point or ever, really.  Apparently "nurse ding dong" slept through the part of my history where I told her about our loss of Harper at 26 weeks.  The threat of pre-term labor is not something that we take lightly!!

After we listened to Pooh for a bit and I received some IV fluids, my Dr. arrived.  She came in and put our hearts at ease.  She checked my cervix, which was still looking very good and she sent off a fetal fibronectin (fFN) which thankfully, came back negative!  A negative fFN means that your chances of going into labor in the next 2 weeks is less than 5%.  Talk about a relief, it was only then that I felt the weight lift.  Pooh should be safe in her home for at least the next two weeks, although we are shooting for much, much longer! {do you hear that, young lady?} More good news, the Dr. told us that the tightening I was feeling was just her moving around and getting comfortable and that she saw no real contractions on our monitor strip.  I even had her feel my stomach where I was feeling tightness and she said that I was just feeling body parts.  I guess I am more of a nervous nelly than I give myself credit for. Better to be safe than sorry, in my opinion though.

Thankfully everything is fine, Pooh is good, I am good, and Daddy is good.  We were a little (OK, alot!) shaken at the time but we got to come home, all of us together, and with a good bit of reassurance that we are doing well and that Pooh is staying put.  That peace of mind was worth the stressful, three hour trip to L&D.  Here's to hoping that it will be our last trip there until sometime in September!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

One month from a year...

My Sweet Harper,

I can't believe that we have been without you for so long now.   It has been almost a whole year but it doesn't feel that way in my heart.  I still feel you all around me and I see you in so many places.  I look at your pictures and still marvel at your small, beautiful features -- all of the little features that make you unique and make you ours.  You will always be ours, our Harper Grace.  I love you and I miss you for always.  


As the eleven month mark comes to pass it is so hard to believe that we have spent almost an entire year without our first born here with us.  I remember last July, I was living in a fog, not sure if I would ever smile or laugh again.  I was seriously wondering if I would even make it through the first month...and now, it has been eleven.  One month from a year.  It is so hard to believe and I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it most days.  She lived and then she died just as quickly as she came.  It still sucks, I still grieve, I still get hung up on the  "what ifs", and I still miss her with all of me.  

This past month has been hard knowing that we are getting so close to her birthday.  I want to be ready for it but I don't know if I am.  I am not ready for this year of "firsts" to be over.  I am not ready for the supposed "closure".  I have not lived the year that I had envisioned at this time last year and it hurts.  I wonder if people will expect me to be "better" or "OK" once her first year has passed.  There is a part of me wants my heart to heal by the deadline of June 25th because the hurt hurts so much sometimes...but I know that it won't.  It will never fully heal and that is alright.  Sure, I am happy and hopeful most days but there is still a part of me that aches inside and knows that I always will, I think I would be abnormal if I didn't.  She was and always will be a part of me.  

I think grief forces growth and I know that Harper has taught me a lot in the last eleven months.  I have loved more fiercely and have come to see the world in a more beautiful way.  I have learned that life is short, so much shorter than I could have ever imagined.  There an no guarantees in this life so we must live and love while we can.  I have learned that the love for a child knows no boundaries.  I know that her spirit is all around me and when it is time, she will be waiting for me but for now, I must live.  I know that is what she would want.  

I borrowed this poem from Melissa's blog and I think it is a perfect way to sum up the last eleven months.

You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish your memory, and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she'd want,
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
~David Harkins

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Edit from yesterday...

Apparently my math skills (preggo brain!) were lacking yesterday when I posted, saying that we needed to keep progressing smoothly for the next 18ish weeks.  I am a little over 23 weeks so that would equal 41 weeks and as much as I would like to go all the way to full term at 40+ weeks, I am pretty sure that we are planning on inducing at week 39 which means we need to stay boring and keep baking for another 16 weeks :)

Just a quick side note:  I called the MFM office this morning after realizing over the weekend that our Dr didn't tell us what Pooh's weight was measuring from the ultrasound.  And I guess with all of the commotion of the "keystone cops" trying to get my cervical length I forgot to ask.  I realize that this is not the biggest deal in the world but I wanted to know.  A very nice nurse from their office called back this afternoon to tell me that baby Pooh's weight was 1lb. and 2 oz. as of last Friday.  She is right where she should be...middle of the road at 46 percentile.  Keep growing, sweet Pooh!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Getting Close

Today we are 23 weeks which means we are one week away from official "viability".  It feels good yet incredibly scary to be so close to our big milestones; going into premature labor at 25 weeks and then delivering Harper at 26 weeks and 1 day.  Scary or not, we are getting there and so far things are progressing nicely. Knock on wood!  I just hope that they continue to do so for the next 16ish weeks!

We had our follow-up appointment with the high risk OB (MFM) last Friday.  All went well and sweet Pooh looked great, thankfully!  She was mostly cooperative as they got all of her measurements and she appears to be growing right on track.  She is quite the wiggly little thing, so much that the nurse performing the ultrasound asked me what we had for lunch. :)

The nurse who did our scan apparently didn't get a "nice enough" picture of my cervix so when the Dr came in she wanted another look see.  So much fun, two vaginal ultrasounds in one visit!  *Note the sarcasm*  These two women were like frick and frack trying to get me in an appropriate position and then getting the equipment in a good place to check my cervix.  It was pretty comical.  My cervix looked good, though, measuring right at 4cm.

The other thing we found out is that I have an anterior placenta.  Other than making it more difficult to feel these early movements, it should pose no medical risk.  It could make a c-section more tricky and baby would have a higher likely hood of being in the "sunny side up" position at birth meaning face up instead of face down which could make a vaginal delivery more challenging.  But hopefully in time the placenta will move as my uterus grows and it won't pose a problem.  If an anterior placenta is the biggest of my worries during this pregnancy, I will take it gladly!

Here is a picture of our stubborn little girl...she wouldn't take her hands down from her face and look at those pursed lips, she is primping already!!  So in love with her <3

**edit** Apparently my math skills were lacking yesterday when I posted this, saying that we needed to keep progressing smoothly for the next 18ish weeks.  That makes 41 weeks and as much as I would like to go all the way to full term at 40 weeks, I am pretty sure that we are planning on inducing at week 39 which means we need boring for another 16 weeks :) 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thoughts on Mother's Day

I am not really sure what to say about Mother's Day.  It was a bittersweet emotional day, more emotional than I had anticipated.  Happy and hopeful for a growing Pooh who is more and more active daily but also sad and missing Harper.  It is amazing, this dance between joy and sorrow.

I woke up to the most beautiful, heartfelt card from my husband, at the end he signed it "father of our two girls" and that just melted my heart.   I received texts, cards and phone calls from family and friends letting me know that they were thinking of me on Mother's Day.  It felt good to be remembered and acknowledged as a mother even though one of my children is in Heaven and one grows inside my belly.

I was honored to be a part of a very special project for Mother's Day, The Mama Project.  A local photographer wanted to do something special to honor mothers like me; mothers who have had to say good bye to their sweet babies too soon, mothers who are very much mothers but do not always get acknowledged on Mother's Day. It turned out to be a really lovely day of chatting with other BLMs and getting the chance to tell a few more people about my Harper.

Jessica, the photographer, wanted us to bring something meaningful that reminded us of our angels.  So I chose to bring along Piglet.  After all, she has been my "Harper surrogate" since I came home from the hospital without my baby; going on trips with us, getting cuddled on tearful nights and bringing more comfort than a stuffed animal probably should bring to an adult. :) It was such an amazing experience to be able to sit in a room (without judgement) and just talk about my (our) journey through grief, loss and love of the little girl who made me a mama and who paved and continues to pave the way for her baby sister, Pooh.  Please head over and check out the beautiful photo essay, The Mama Project. 

I hope that everyone had a gentle and loving Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The half way mark!

As of this past Monday, we have made it to 20 weeks, technically "half way" through this pregnancy with sweet Pooh.  Nope, still haven't decided on a name yet but we are going to have another go at the "name game" this weekend :)  Besides, we have grown quite fond of calling our baby girl, Pooh.  I think this one may stick!

Things have been chugging along rather, dare I say, uneventfully at this point.  My weekly 17p injections are going well and it is something I actually look forward to each week to help the time pass.  Yes, they burn and the injection site hurts for days but it is a small price to pay for a healthy, term baby so I look forward to them.  I have been feeling our girl move more and more which is super exciting!  Daddy has felt her a couple of times, too and I know that is really special for him.  We are so in love with this sweet baby already.  

Despite the happy days, I have been having some hard days, too.  20 weeks is only 6 weeks from 26, the point when we lost Harper, so I have been very anxious about everything lately.  More anxiety is to be expected, according to my Dr, I love how she makes me feel so "not crazy".  

20 weeks is a ways from 39, our goal, and I know all too well that lots of bad things can happen between now and then but we are making progress and that is something to be celebrated!  I am just trying to think positive, breathe and take things a day at a time knowing that we are doing everything possible to keep our sweet Pooh healthy and cooking until September.  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Remembering All Mothers

Today is International Babylost Mother's Day.  A day for love and remembrance for those mothers who do not get to carry their children in their arms but only in their hearts.  Sending love and comfort to all of my fellow mamas whose babies are gone too soon, today and always. 

United in grief, we find love and strength