Tuesday, July 26, 2011

32 weeks & 1 day

I still have to pinch myself daily when I think about how far we have come in this pregnancy.  We are getting so close to having this sweet baby in our arms and somedays I still can't imagine it.  I am feeling good, well except for the normal third trimester bothers which I gladly endure as it means that I am WAY more pregnant than I have ever been and that our Pooh is growing big and strong.  Pooh has been doing very well at our weekly NST/BPPs!!  Yesterday the nurse, who was so compassionate and actually read my chart before she came out to get me-what a concept, told me that she wished all of the NST strips looked like ours.  That made this momma VERY happy :)  

Even as things are going seemingly great physically, my brain gets in the way most days and I give in to worry.  I constantly worry that something is going to happen to Pooh and that instead of bringing her home in September, we will be leaving the hospital empty handed again....another memory box, another urn...blah.  I hate thinking this way and I just wish I could let it go, but as much as I try, I can't.  But as my nurse from yesterday said, "you have been through a lot and nothing will reassure you until you have that sweet baby in your arms." So true, I loved this woman...she gets it!  I would love to have my innocence back...to be naive again and I envy those who are.  

But as I worry constantly for the life of my sweet growing girl, I relish every kick, every roll, every time I feel her sweet little bum or feet poking though my tummy.  I love it...all of it.  Every moment of this pregnancy is a gift for which I am so very thankful.  I am trying to soak it all in because I know that the future is unpredictable and that we never know what is around the next corner.  

Here are a few pics, the last two are from our BPP ultrasound yesterday, they don't normally take any extra time to look at the baby but like I said above, my nurse was wonderful and we tried to sneak a little peak.  Pooh was being shy, though, and kept putting hands and feet in front of her face.  I love seeing her though, any little piece of her that I can.  So in love with this girl!!!

Harper's Garden- those tall stalks are sunflowers (not weeds) that we are hoping will bloom soon.  The brass dragonflies were gifts from my mom and the sign was a gift from my dad, that Chris did a wonderful job staining. :)

32 weeks with Zeus, he's thinks that the shade I am making with my belly is rather convenient! 

Sweet foot :)  

Pooh turning her head and putting her hand up, I love this little girl so much!  She is already full of personality!  

Friday, July 15, 2011


I had my first NST (Non-stress test) and BPP (biophysical profile) today.  I will be having them bi-weekly from here on out.  Which is fine with me since it is just more reassurance that Pooh is doing well and an excuse to see her in action.  I don't mind camping out in the Dr's office if it brings me some peace of mind!

Clinically, it went well.  Pooh aced  it!  Her heart rate reacted just as it should, she was active, she was practicing her breathing and her fluid levels looked good.  They wanted to get a good look at her making a fist to check her muscle tone but she wouldn't move her fist away from her face so hopefully we will see that next time.

Bedside mannerly (not sure if that is a word), the appointment could have used some help.  The test was done at the local MFM office who we are not big fans of anyway and I am so accustomed to being treated with kid gloves at my OB appointments that I left feeling disappointed.  My OB office knows me, I even have my Dr's cell number.  To them I am a real person with a real child growing, not just a patient or a number.  I know I am a hormonal, brat needy pregnant woman and I have been spoiled but I have expectations and I feel like I am entitled to a little special treatment considering all that we have been through in the last year.  I just felt that I was rushed through the assembly line.  I wasn't given an explanation of what to expect or what was being done to me without asking a ton of questions and some of the staff was a little gruff.  But as long as our girl is doing well, that is all that matters and I can get over the rest.

Sorry for the little rant.  I guess I needed to get that off my chest.  The most important news is that we are almost 31 weeks and we are doing well, all of us!  I am so thankful for every week that we get to mark off the calendar as that is a week closer we are to meeting our screaming, healthy baby girl face to face!  I have spent a lot of time day dreaming about that sweet day!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Garden visitor

When doing a little gardening this past weekend, this little lovely stopped by to say hello.  She stayed close to us for a good 30 minutes, not even moving when we approached to snap a photo.  A couple of times we tried to get her to fly onto our finger and even though she didn't, she didn't seem bothered by us being so close either.  I love it when Harper sends us little signs like this, letting us know that she is near and always with us.  <3

Friday, July 8, 2011

The last two weeks

The last two weeks have been a blur.  Harper's birthday definitely stirred up a lot emotions and opened my wounds a bit more than I had anticipated.  I am not sure what I was expecting to happen after her first birthday and honestly, I have found that the second year has been much like the first.  Still missing, still loving and grief is still unpredictable and comes in waves -- I suppose it always will -- not as raw as it was in the beginning but it is still there.  This June has been a lot different from last June and it is so hard reliving those early days and remembering our life as it was.  It is hard to believe that we made it through our first year and we are still standing, barely at times but we are doing it.

Three days after Harper's first birthday we had the honor of celebrating Cale Harrison Hidalgo on his first birthday in Heaven.  We went to a balloon and butterfly release that Cale's mom, dad and his little brother, Finley, had in his honor.  As we watched Cale's balloons soar into the sky, much like Harper's, I got very emotional and just kept imagining his blue balloons joining Harper's pink balloons in Heaven.  Such a bittersweet thought.  Cale's life, though brief, has touched the hearts of so many, mine most certainly included.

It is officially July and I am still pregnant!  I have had times when I really doubted that I would make it this far.  It is so hard to imagine a happy outcome from pregnancy when all I have ever known of it is devastation and heartbreak.  But I am trying to stay positive, I know that our little girl is thriving and getting stronger by the day and she reminds me with her daily kicks and nudges :) Love, love, love her so much!

Earlier in my pregnancy, we decided that we wouldn't start any major preparations until July.  We just wanted to focus on getting our hearts through June.  We had hoped that by July we would be ready to start really preparing for this munchkin's arrival and the few things that we have accomplished so far have felt really good!  For instance, we bought a travel system and (gasp!) threw away the box.  It still feels like a leap of faith some days.  I know that anything is still possible at this point and that things can still go VERY wrong but we are feeling hopeful that we might actually get to bring this sweet baby girl home.


My mom came into town for Harper's birthday and we decided that we would take advantage of the fact that she is a professional photographer and do a little maternity shoot at our house.  We had a lot of fun :) A few of the shots are below.  I will leave some space for anyone who may find it too painful to see belly shots.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Harper's Blanket Project

For the months leading up to Harper's first birthday, I knew that I wanted to do something special in her name to honor her and remember our first year without her.  One day I was looking through her memory box that we were given by the hospital where she was born.  I blogged about that special box here, here and here. And as I was running my fingers over the smocking on her sweet little dress and feeling the softness of the blankets that she was wrapped in, it hit me.  I decided that I wanted to donate something to the bereavement service in her name, something made by my hands with love that could provide comfort to a family going through the unthinkable...a family saying goodbye to their sweet baby way too soon.  

I started wracking my brain to think of an idea and I decided that I would make baby blankets to donate. The only catch was that I didn't know the first thing about sewing.  I couldn't even sew a button on properly, for goodness sake.  But my mother-in-law is a talented seamstress and I asked her if she would teach me, I told her my plans and of course, she was on board.  

So, I spent the three months before Harper's birthday learning to sew and making baby blankets.  And I really learned, MIL is a very patient teacher and basically let me do everything myself.  As aggravated as I got with myself at times (because I am a perfectionist, especially when it comes to making something in honor of my baby), I felt really proud and such a sense of accomplishment when my special little project was complete.  In all, I made eleven blankets to donate and I think that they turned out pretty darn good :)  

After the blanket making was complete, I was unsure of how to present them.  I couldn't just take a stack of blankets to the hospital and drop them off.  I wanted them to be more special than that, again because they were in honor of Harper they needed to be extra special.  Chris and I talked about it and he had the idea to wrap them up with pretty ribbon and attach a note written by us to the families receiving our blankets.  I loved it and so the next phase of our project began.  

We handmade each card with a butterfly poem and either a butterfly or dragonfly embellishment on the front.  

"A butterfly lights besides us like a sunbeam. 
And for a brief moment its glory and beauty belongs to the world. 
But then it flies once again, and though we wish it could have stayed, 
we feel so lucky to have seen it."

And here is the letter that we wrote (Chris mostly), and put inside the card.  We were both pretty emotional writing the letter, thinking about Harper and how sad it is that more families will go through the pain that we are all too familiar with. 

We wanted to take this time to tell you how sorry we are for the loss of your precious baby.  We are all too familiar with the road that you are about to walk down as we continue to walk it daily.  We lost our daughter, Harper Grace, on June 25, 2010 and a piece of our hearts went with her that day. 

For the parents of a lost child there are no simple words to help ease the grief and pain you will experience over the days, weeks and months that follow the day you said goodbye to your beautiful baby.   The shattered dreams and heartache that began on that terrible day will become a part of who you are forever as you start to live what is often referred to as your “new normal”. The pain will always be there but over time you will learn how to live with it and how to deal with this new reality.

Please know that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and that you should grieve in your own way.  Many people will expect you to  “get better” after an arbitrary amount of time or to “move on”.  The majority of people who have not experienced the loss of an infant will not understand that losing your child is not a curable condition and that even though you will go on living, you will always miss your baby, you will always grieve for the life that was lost, and the dreams that were stolen from you.  Your sweet baby will always be a missing part of your family.

Leaving the hospital with a small box of keepsakes instead of a baby was never in any of our plans, but that special box has become one of our most cherished possessions.  It remains a link to our daughter and a source of comfort.  As we continue to grieve for our own loss and you start your personal journey on this sad and often lonely road, we hope that you can find some comfort in the items found in this box.  Many of the items were donated by fellow parents who also mourn for their lost children.  We were inspired by this generosity and as we approached the one year anniversary of our loss, we have enjoyed the opportunity to also contribute to these special collections with blankets we made in memory of our own angel.

Please know that you are not alone and that even though losing an infant is not talked about much, there are many parents in our sad club. There is support out there when friends, family and faith are not enough.  We found comfort and support on the websites listed below that helped immeasurably and can provide exposure to a whole community who knows what you are going through.  Many other web sites, books and advocacy groups exist as well.


Harper’s parents

Recommended websites:

Recommended books:
I Will Carry You by Angie Smith
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart by Deborah L. Davis, Ph.D.

"What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." --Helen Keller

Here are a some pics of Harper's blankets...

There is a tag like this on every blanket. I always love seeing her name all written out.

Rolled up and ready.

Packaged up in a tupperware bin so that they don't get dirty or dusty.

The front of the card that we made and the inside of the card is off to the right.  

On Friday, the 24th, the day before Harper's birthday we (me, Chris and my mom) took our packaged up blankets to the fourth floor of the hospital....the same floor where we lived for ten days praying that she would make it and the same floor where she was born and our nightmare began.  I still get a knotted up feeling in my stomach walking onto that floor but it actually felt good in a weird way to be back up there doing some good in her name...giving back and donating something made with love to a family in need in honor of Harper.