Thursday, May 12, 2011

16 weeks, 0 days

I cannot believe how time has gone by. And, I am super-duper excited about Baby Plato. She/he is fluttering a little that I notice a couple of times a week. I can't wait for the daily movements to come. Ah, the life of having life within me. Pregnancy makes me feel younger while infertility continued to make me feel older.

This week was Mother's Day. All in all, it was a good day for me, I don't yet consider pregnancy being a mom for me to be honored, so no celebrations took place. Since my mother died in October of 2000, I have not really celebrated this day. Shaun's mom died in July 2003 and so neither of us hold any special significance to this day. In 2005, I barely knew I was pregnant with Ethan and was experiencing bleeding so I didn't think to call myself a mom that day either. And then after he died in 2006, that Mom's day was the worst.

I remember a couple of weeks leading up to it when I was having counseling with one of the pastor's at my church. I noticed the Projection board in the corner of the room with the dates on it and there it was. "Y'all are doing a baby dedication on Mother's Day?" I asked him, annoyed, seeing as though they had never done a baby dedication day in this church as long as I had attended for 4 years.

"Well, so far," he said, "that is the tentative plan."

I looked at Shaun who was sitting silently next to me on the soft plush couch and threw gritted teeth proclaimed, "we are NOT going to go that day!"

My pastor assured me that God was okay with me skipping out on church that day. He recognized that I was in the Anger stage of Grief and needed to set boundaries with certain situations in life. "Over the next year you are going to experience life differently than what you had expected and that is sure to cause you more grief. Give yourself permission to go and cry throughout the whole thing if you want, or stay home and cry too. Anything you choose to do will be the right option for you. But, remember, you will eventually have to face this. You probably don't want to skip Mother's Day every year, do you?"

That sounded like a good plan at the time. Why shouldn't I skip it every year? I don't have moms and I don't have kids. And, at that time, I wasn't planning on EVER having children. It was too scary that I could stare death right in the face again. If it's gonna make me cry each time, I thought, then why bother?

Those next few weeks slowly passed by. Shaun and I discussed whether to go or not to go all the time. The anticipation of it was driving me insane. I finally decided the day before that I would go. I can't hide from my grief and tiny purpose moms told me that usually the anticipation of the event is usually worse than the event itself.

We arrived at the church and I was sad when no one wished me a Happy Mother's Day. Didn't I in fact give birth to an 8 pound, 9 ounce baby boy just 4 short months earlier? But, since my delivery was church wide public knowledge, I knew they were just trying to spare me of being sad. We learned from the church bulletin that the baby dedication was postponed for another couple of weeks and wouldn't be held at the same time as regular church. What a relief, I thought.

The sermon was on What Makes a mother's day? It was tough to listen to. I wrote in my notes, I wonder if I can even have any more kids. I wonder if God thought I wouldn't make a good mom. I wonder if my body will ever get back to normal. I don't remember the details of what the pastor taught, but I remember the prayer.

I was so excited that I made it through the entire service without crying. That was my hope for the day. And then the prayer just before dismissal.

Pastor asked us all to bow our heads to pray and then he invited all the moms, to be moms, and grandmoms to stand up. I was comfortable with my decision to sit. I didn't feel like a mom. I had earned no right to be honored in that way. And when I didn't stand, two women sitting behind me put their hands on my shoulders. Just having the touch me showed me that they acknowledged that I was in that room, hiding from my thoughts, painfully enduring the worst year of my life. And the tears. Would. Not. Stop. I will never forget those two ladies and their kind gesture. And as I write about them, my eyes are filling with tears even now, 5 years later.

Once I gained my composure, I left the auditorium and was greeted by a woman I met and knew only during Ethan's short life. She had come into the hospitals and prayed over both of us for each of the five days we were there. That mother's day, she gave me a gift, telling me that even though I do not have my child here with me, I birthed him after nine long months of pregnancy and she was recognizing that I was a mom, too.

Later that evening, I was asked to speak at my cousin's wedding coming up the next week. I agreed and he and his fiancee had left an envelope with the passage in it. I opened it up and it was a dedication to their mothers. It said something like, nothing is greater in this world than to hold your child against your chest and feel his/her warm skin against yours and watch the tenderness of your child sleeping, etc., etc.

I was appalled! I cried some more even when I thought, surely there are no more tears to cry after having cried all day. And moments later my cousin's fiancee called to see if I got the passage. "Is this a sick joke?" I asked her, almost yelling. "You know that my baby just died and it is mother's day. Do you really think I should be the one to read this at your wedding? I cannot believe you would do this to me. No! I will not speak at your wedding." And I hung up.

Although, I now know that there was no bad intention, it was just terrible timing and a terrible oversight on her part. I cried and yelled and screamed the rest of that night. Too bad my cousin had to deal with his fiancee's reaction to my overreaction, because in her eyes, I was ruining her wedding day. To me, they were desecrating my first mother's day without my son.

The rest of the mother's days after that have been a blur. I knew what to expect and just rolled with the fact, that I know that I am a mom, but others may not recognize me. That's ok to me, most of the time.

So, at 16 weeks pregnant, and having lost 3 babies total, I didn't feel comfortable proclaiming that I was a mom. Because if I end up losing this child, next year, I will not be able to again claim to be a mom. So, once this baby girl/boy is in my arms, breathing, full term and healthy, then I can call myself mom.

If you are a Tiny Purpose mom, I hope you had a gentle Mother's Day. And if you want to share a story here about how your day went, I would love to read it. And look back here to a post about becoming a mother.

Father, I thank you that you are wise enough to know that our emotions are ever changing and that you love us no matter what mood we are in. I praise you that you continue to breathe life into my little one's heart and I ask that you keep him/her safe until delivery day in October.

I pray for my friends who are following this journey, whether they are TP moms, are infertility buddies, are pregnant friends, are male lurkers or female followers. I ask that you bless them, continue to help them to see you through their circumstances and that you love them the same as you do me. I pray that you continue to keep me honest while writing this blog, so that you are glorified. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

15 weeks, 0 days

Time has flown by these last few weeks. I have been meaning to update all of you but the fatigue is kicking my behind. Plus I am still feeling a little nauseous!

Last week, when I was 14 weeks, 1 day I had an ultrasound. Unfortunately, the doctor was called out on an emergency, so I didn't get to talk to a doc, but that is why I got to come in today for a meeting with him. My scan went wonderfully. Baby is looking great, growing as he/she should be and heartbeat is strong and 158 beats per minute. It measured 8.58cm and that is a couple of days ahead of what should be and my cervix is the right length at 3.44 cm. I asked about my placenta and it appears to be growing normally along the right side and back of uterus with no potential weak spots visible. My left ovary is still enlarged and has multiple follicles on it, but they are decreasing in size. I asked the tech to make an educated guess about gender but she would not, saying that she feels she must be 99% sure of it before she says anything and at this age, no one can be that sure. I am so relieved that I made it through the first trimester without any problems. The doctor says I am out of the woods for an early loss and thinks that I still have only a 3-4% chance of placental abruption throughout the entire pregnancy. WHEW!!!Aww! Look how cute she/he is! I am in love already!!!! That white mark above her/his head is the baby waving...yep that is the hand! Hi there baby Plato~!

My weight has increased by 10 pounds since before pregnancy and I expressed my concern. The nurse didn't think this was a big deal but offered for me to speak with the dietitian. I accepted. Today I spoke with her and she set me on a plan that would be similar to if I in fact has gestational diabetes. I think I was doing fairly well anyway, but she gave me some materials and plans to follow which will make it easier when I want to eat more than I should. At least I will know that I am getting enough food for the baby without causing me grief. The dietitian reported that it was refreshing to her to see someone concerned about weight gain in pregnancy because she finds that most women don't seem to care and some even come in saying they've gained 70-80 pounds.

After the dietary consult, I was able to have a checkup with the doctor. Again my BP was low, 98/52 and the nurse listened to the fetal heart tones instead of ultrasound. 160-165 and she let me listen to it for a good 60 second. Smiling, she said, "isn't that the greatest sound in the world?!" I smiled back saying, "More than you know, after two years of trying, two miscarriages and 5 years after the death of my newborn."

Once the doctor came in, he said that my Nuchal Translucency results were negative. I have a very low chance for Down's or Trisomy 18, 1:26,000 for Down's and 1:14,000 for Tri 18. YAY! He explained that all is looking good and sent me on my way. I will have my next appointment June 2 at 2:40pm and that will be our anatomy ultrasound. I will know if he/she is one or the other! I cannot wait. I am not sure how I will be able to go 4 weeks without hearing little one's heartbeat, but I am hoping I can start to feel something more regularly soon. Oh, by the way, I am feeling the flutters a couple times a week now. Especially when I wake up on my belly. Must be he/she is trying to wake me up and tell me to get back on my side. It is so uncomfortable in my bed. And, I get my new, super-soft, (and medium soft on Shaun's side), King sized bed delivered tomorrow! I am so excited to spread out and be comfortable in my bed.

Anyway, being 15 weeks brings a bit of a relief to me. I got passed the first hurdle of loss. And I feel fairly confident that I can bring a live, healthy, term newborn home in 5 1/2 months. It seems so strange that everything is going well. I expected to have such adversity after all that I have been through. I wonder when the fear will return. I thought I would be so scared of a subsequent pregnancy. So far, I feel carefree. I am once again in awe of how God creates life within a human. It is utterly amazing when I look at the ultrasound pics and think that is my child I helped to create along with my husband and the LORD. I feel assured in God's provision and trust His plan. I am not a victim of my circumstance, I am a survivor of horrific things. I am here and I am able to tell about it. Oh, how I long to share success with all of you in months to come. Oh, praise His NAME!

Father, I thank you so much for continued good news at each visit. I pray that you continue to bless my child and me and give us strength to withstand this pregnancy. I pray for continued health and favor among us. Help me to show others who YOU are through this period in life and teach me to follow your ways.

I pray for my friends and family members who are pregnant. I pray for the one who is experiencing pain in her back and ask that you heal it with minimal intervention, so she can enjoy the pregnancy and do it again some day. I pray for the one who is also 15 weeks that her Gestational Diabetes is taken care of by diet and exercise alone, with no more need for medical intervention. I pray that her heart is healed too as she sometimes fears another loss. I pray for the one who is due in a couple of months, that she will have a swift, painless delivery and her little guy will be healthy. I pray for my friend who just found out she is having a little girl that her pregnancy continues to go smoothly! For all my other pregnant friends I pray for blessing. And for those still trying, or grieving the loss of their babies, I pray that you fill them with your love, your grace and your spirit. I ask all these things and more in JESUS' name, AMEN!