Sunday, May 31, 2009

Diary of a Chronic Procrastinator

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow. ~Mark Twain

14 Easy Steps to Avoid Writing a Paper:

1. Have coffee and cinnamon buns with father. (Ok, ok- 2 cinnamon buns, you food nazis!)

2. Drive around town in a futile attempt to find FAVORITE energy drink...then settle on a BOGO Diet Peach Snapple. (Learn female kangaroos are called flyers)

3. Have a text-a-thon with best friend for at least 1 hour. (Recalling inside jokes from 7th grade is optional)

4. Check mailbox on a Sunday.

5. Get stuck behind someone driving 40 mph in a 55 mph zone(which everyone knows really means 65)but never utter so much as 1 swear word.

6. Tempt fate by taking self-portraits in said 55 mph zone. (never know when a future Facebook/Myspace default image may occur)

7. Make no real attempt to avoid red lights.

8. Play Hide and Seek in friend's Pole Barn.

9. Watch first episode of the new season of VH1's Charm School and for the first time really appreciate the importance of a positive male influence in a young girl's life.

10. Discuss procrastination issue and desire to complete homework in a timely manner with 2 family members, 3 friends, and dog.

11. Upload 4 months worth of digital pictures to Photobucket account.

12. Watch last 1 hour of Austin Powers Goldmember with husband while begging and pleading for a Frosty Float.

13. Devour Frosty Float in less than 4 minutes, causing 1st degree Brain Freeze.

14. Spend 30 minutes creating elaborate blog about wasted day, while blank Word Document causes extreme guilt which leads to a headache (possibly left-over Brain Freeze) and the declaration that the paper isn't really due until Tuesday anyway so it's not like there is any need to hurry.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

In the Beginning...It was dark

I stumbled across this today. This is my first entry on the Stillborn support board I'm a member of. I posted this on October 11th, 2008- 9 days after I gave *birth* to Caleb. It was a dark time and I didn't sleep much. I basically spent all day and night chatting with these remarkable women who helped me the hardest thing I've ever been through. Without them I'm not sure where I would be today.

I've been reading some of the other posts for a while and think that maybe I am visiting this site too soon. I just gave birth to my little angel on October 2nd- he was 26w1d. I have an amazing bunch of family and friends but I just can't open up to any of them. I feel so alone right now. Caleb was due on January 7th. He was in a breech position and because I have a didelphys my OB was planning a c-section for late December. I was planning on having my baby in my arms when we rang in the new year. 2 months ago I couldn't wait for every holiday decoration makes me sick to my stomach.

My fiance and I have been together for over 5 years and I've never had so much as a late period. I always assumed it was due to my uterine problems and doctor's assured me that when I was ready, there were options. Then it happened. He came into my life and gave me the hope of something that I never knew I wanted so badly. My last period was around April 3rd. Around the start of May my aunt became really sick (cancer) and we drove out to Iowa to visit her. With all the concern over my aunt I guess I didn't realize that I hadn't had a period in almost a month and a half. Then the symptoms started- getting sick when I brushed my teeth, sore breasts, that run down feeling- was I getting the flu? I was talking to my boss one day and she told me to go to the drugstore ASAP and get a HPT. Off I went, never expecting it to be positive. How could it? But there it was. 2 pink lines. The most amazing thing I've ever seen. The next day I bought a baby book and the rest is history.

I've never loved someone so much. I didn't care if it was a boy or girl. I just wanted to hold the little piece of me in my arms and never let go. I wanted to have the 'perfect family' that I didn't have. We were so excited. We did a 3-D/2-D ultrasound at 17 weeks just to find our the sex. A little boy. A perfect little boy. My fiance was so excited. He would have loved a girl he said, but boys are so much easier. Plus, who could handle a little me running around? I am a bit of a princess. The only problem was that we could not agree on a name. We had 3 pages of girls names. Girls can have adorable names but boys have to have something strong. It took us a while but we finally decided on Caleb. Caleb Patrick- Patrick after my grandmother Patricia. She raised me when my mother couldn't and has been the strongest influence in my life.

I made up little songs to sing to Caleb. I would talk to him in the shower every morning, on the way to work, on the way home, and my favorite time was right before bed. I would lay there before falling asleep, rub my belly and talk to my son. I would tell him how much I loved him, talk about things we would do when I he finally arrived, sing him songs, teach him how to pray. I loved knowing there was something growing inside of me. It made everything else seem so small and petty. Oh how I loved my little Caleb.

I switched doctor's around 20 weeks. My old OB was awful. My new doctor was amazing. He immediately had ultrasounds done on my cervix (pre-term labor is a common risk for women with uterine anomalies). Everything looked fine. My amniotic fluid was a little low but this could be because my uterus is smaller than most. They checked it one more time- still low- and scheduled me for a Level 2 Ultrasound with a high-risk doctor. Nothing to be worried about the nurse said-it's just lower than they like to see. No, nothing you can do to increase the fluid. Just stay calm and see what the high risk doctor says. Sadly, we never made it that far.

My appointment with the high-risk doctor was scheduled for Friday October 3rd. My baby shower was supposed to be October 4th (early so we could have it outside). Sunday September 28th I started cramping a little bit before bed. Nothing really bad, actually it felt more like heartburn in a weird way. I went to work on Monday the 29th and made it through the day but didn't feel right. I still had heartburn and now I had strong cramps in my side. When I got home they were so bad I couldn't sit up. I called my doctor right away and he told me to go to the hospital to get checked out. As soon as we got there I knew something was wrong. They couldn't find his heartbeat. He's little-sometimes they can be hard to find the nurse suggested. I started crying- I just want to go home I said about a million times. I think I said about a hundred Hail Mary's. Please just let him be ok. They brought the doctor in to do an ultrasound- no heartbeat and very little fluid. They wheeled me into a private room. I broke down. What a cruel joke the universe is playing on me. What kind of God takes someone's unborn baby? They induced me Tuesday night and I delivered Thursday morning. 36 hours of labor and for what?

Here I am almost 2 weeks later. Trying to stay strong but how can I do that? There is baby stuff every where. I hate seeing it but I can't manage to move it. I find myself rubbing my belly and humming a few bars of a song- only to realize I'm singing to myself now. People are supportive and I know everyone means well but nothing helps. Sure, I can try to get pregnant again. Maybe I'll even be a mom one day soon. I read a stat that said something like 60-70% of women are pregnant within a year of losing a baby. I don't know how accurate that is. No matter what I can't help but feel that it will never be the same. How will I ever love someone the way I love Caleb? How will I ever have another baby without feeling like I am replacing my little boy? How will I ever make it through another 9 months without wondering everyday if this one is going to leave me too? I feel like my innocence is gone. How can I do this again? Will my body even let me do this again? How can I be hurting so much for someone I only knew for several short months? Why my baby? Why can't I hold him and love him the way I want? I just want to scream!!! Maybe I'm being selfish but I just want him back. I really don't know how I can move on.

I Had a Dream Last Night...

Pay attention to your dreams - God's angels often speak directly to our hearts when we are asleep. ~Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman

I've never had a dream about Caleb. Other mother's often say that their departed children visit them in their sleep- but not mine. I wish he would though, just once. I would love to see him again even if it was for just a fleeting moment in the middle of the night.

I DID have a dream about another baby last night. The baby was mine but he wasn't Caleb. He was premature and Brandon and I were visiting him in the NICU. He was very sick but I knew he was going to be ok. I knew this baby was coming home with us. But we didn't know when...

I read the autopsy report again the other night searching for some clue as to why I don't have an almost 6 month old baby boy in my arms right now. I Googled every word and phrase again. Scouring the internet for a website to finally just come out and say what I feel inside "You killed your baby." I looked for hours but I never found that one.

This is what I did find:

Placental infarcts, thrombosis, oligohydramnios, stillbirth

You'll be happy to know that other than the placenta basically being a useless piece of dead, clotted tissue, my son was perfectly healthy. His internal organs were either "unremarkable" or "glistening" and "as expected for this gestational age". He was doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing but my crappy placenta failed him and no one can tell me why.

Did I eat the wrong things? I know my addiction to the soupy combination of a Wendy's Frosty and french fries mixed together with a dash of salt probably wasn't ideal baby-growing food, but I ate really good food too! Fruits and veggies everyday.

Why did my body fail me?? I'll admit I didn't always treated it with the highest regard before I was pregnant but to retaliate by letting my innocent son die while I was left clueless for days seems a bit harsh. And why won't my body work with me now? What was so different a year ago that can't be recreated now??

I think it's pretty clear that the baby in the NICU sums up my feelings about becoming a mother. I pray that it will happen just at parents of preemies pray their babies will come home healthy. But just like them, the ride getting to that point seems to be a never ending roller coaster of sadness, pain, guilt, but most importantly...HOPE.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Really Trying This Time...

I've decided that perhaps I'm bulimic and just keep forgetting to
~Paula Poundstone

I've always had a weight problem. Pounds come on and go off. When I was about 19 (and at my heaviest), I went on a strict diet and lost almost 80 pounds. I gained about 20 pounds back and over the past few years I've lost it and re-gained it again. Actually, the day I found out I was pregnant with Caleb I decided to go on a diet. I was on the bad side of that pesky 20 pounds. I found out I was pregnant later that day and of course decided it wasn't the best time to diet. During my pregnancy, I gained about 30 pounds (keep in mind I was only pregnant for about 6.5 months). Since losing him, I have packed on another 10 pounds or so. If you are any good at math you will know that I am creeping very near that "heaviest" weight class again.

The shocking thing to me is that after I lost Caleb my appetite didn't go anywhere. A few years ago, when Brandon and I were going through our issues, I couldn't bring myself to eat. I was so sad and miserable. I lost 20 pounds in about 2 weeks. I thought it would be the same way with Caleb. I was sad and miserable but I was still hungry!

So today I have made a commitment to myself. I KNOW being overweight causes complications during pregnancy not to mention the added challenge it provides when you are trying to get pregnant. I'm also sick of feeling so awful about the way I look. I see pictures of myself from a year and a half ago and it's like looking at a completely different person. So as of today, I am vowing to change the thing that seems to be a roadblock to my happiness in so many ways. My ultimate goal is to lose 72 pounds, but I will take 40. :)

Here goes nothing...

Monday, May 11, 2009


The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives
fully is prepared to die at any time. ~Mark Twain

When I was very young, there was a time period of about 7 months when I experienced 3 very tough losses. I was 8 years old and these experiences were my first memorable encounters with death. In March my grandpa (Pops) passed away. In July, my Uncle Robin died and then in October, we had to put our dog Gretchen to sleep. It was during that year that I really started to understand what it meant to die. Not in the Biblical sense, but in the physical sense. I understood the permanence in a way that I don't think most third graders are able to.

Anyway, about 4-5 months after my Uncle Robin died I had a dream about him. It's a dream I can still remember vividly to this day. In the dream we were in a 2 story house- which is strange because at the time of his death he lived with us in a ranch style home. He was in the living room on the couch and I was sitting on the floor. He seemed very torn- like he shouldn't be there with me. I could tell he wanted to be downstairs, to explain to me what was going on, but that he knew he couldn't be there. He started walking up the stairs and I asked where he was going. He told me his dad was up there.

Of course at 8 years old I didn't really know what to make of this strange dream. I remember talking to a friend about it several years later and she said maybe he is telling you not to worry about him because he is in Heaven with his father. Did my uncle really come to me in a dream to tell me he was at peace?

Years later, a few months after we graduated high school, a former classmate of mine passed away. We weren't close friends but his death really upset me. Maybe it's because just a few months earlier at graduation he walked across that stage with all the potential in the world and now he was gone. I went to the funeral, tucked the obituary and the memorial card away in a high school scrapbook and went on with my life. The following June, I had the strangest dream about him. At the time of his death, his high school girlfriend was pregnant with their baby. In my dream, he was talking to me about his daughter. Again, I had the feeling that he was torn between where he was supposed to be and being in my dream. The next morning I woke up and went through my old scrapbook. I found the memorial card and realized that it was his birthday. I had a dream about him the night before his birthday! I didn't know it was that day and I don't think I ever even looked at his date of birth before that morning, but sure enough another very surreal dream about someone who has departed this life.

So what's my point in all of this? Do I just have an overactive imagination? Am I just overly sensitive? I'm not sure...but what these experiences further reinforce to me is that the loved ones we lose along the way aren't lost forever. We will join them again one day in a perfect place. I can't have a conversation with my uncle, or see my high school friend, or hold my baby in my arms...but I am given something much better than all of those things. I am given the promise that when I depart this life I will be united with all of them for eternity. There will be no torn feelings and no pain. Just peace and love in the glory that is the kingdom of heaven.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

I love this first quote because it reminds me of my Grandma (Nana), Patricia. She is the most patient and caring person I know. She has made so many sacrifices in her life just to better the existence of those around her. She is the one behind all of my successes in life and the one who comforts me in all my failures. Caleb's middle name, Patrick, is in honor of her and of all of the love she has given over the years. I wish her a very Happy Mother's Day!

She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along. ~Margaret Culkin Banning

This second quote reminds me that even though our children aren't physically beside us, we still carry them with us in our hearts. Caleb's memory is with me in all that I do. On my wedding day it was very important for me to have a physical reminder of him present. Nana bought me a beautiful opal necklace (Caleb's birthstone). I haven't taken the necklace off since that day and whenever I need a little comforting, I rub the stone and remember my beautiful son and his loving Great-Grandmother.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's out there. Whether your baby is with you on earth or is waiting for you in Heaven, YOU ARE A MOTHER and today is for you.