Sunday, August 21, 2011

This week, last year

One year ago right now was a pretty emotional, exciting, and happy time.  Mixed in with a touch of sadness, for that's always there, and a lot of fear. 

My sister-in-law was 39 weeks pregnant with my niece. I was freaking out.  Because, as a babyloss mom, I will never take any pregnancy for granted again.  I've learned the hard way that pregnancy, even full term pregnancy, doesn't always guarantee that you're going to bring a baby home.  I wanted so badly to be excited. I was excited, just reservedly so.  My sister-in-law was the first pregnant woman close to me since Landon.  She was carrying the first girl in the family.

They wanted me at the hospital when she was born.  The hospital where my boys were born.  What if she was put into the same room where we learned Landon was in trouble, minutes before my emergency c-section? Could I walk in there, sit with her while she was in labor?  Could I really do that?  I knew I would, but I was so afraid I would lose it.  I wanted to meet my niece as soon as possible after she was born.  I wanted to be in the hallway outside the room, just like I was when they had my nephew.  Just like they were when I had Aidan.  I wanted that.  I wanted to be normal. 

But would I be able to?  How could I walk through those double doors?  The same doors I walked through 14 months earlier, only to be wheeled out with a teddy bear and bereavement literature (while my child was still alive)?  How would I deal with hearing babies' first cries, knowing that my own never, ever made a sound?  How?  Why, oh, why, does everything have to be so tainted for me now?  Why in the world did the thought of celebrating the birth of a baby that I already loved so much, have to smack me in the face with my own grief and pain?  Would the nurses remember me, the one with the dead baby?  Would I get the sad looks, people walking on eggshells to avoid "reminding me" of what happened? 

My sister-in-law and I go to the same group of doctors.  In fact, we saw the same doc throughout all of our pregnancies, but luck of the draw had different docs delivering all of our babies to date.  Would they look at me with pity? I was, at that point, pretty well known around the OB-GYN office.  After Landon, I got pregnant again within 6 months and miscarried.  They knew me well.  I didn't want to be treated with kid gloves.  I just wanted to go to the hospital, meet my niece, and handle it like a big girl.

All that was on my mind that week.  My mom and I had taken Aidan to Gatlinburg for a quick vacation at the end of July, to be back in time for the birth. I remember the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum was supposed to have the world famous fertility statue in August, supposedly those who touch it get pregnant right away.   I wanted to go in August just for that reason, I was starting to get so desparate.   We weren't able to go in August, though.  I was a little bit sad.

On Tuesday of that week, the 17th, I found out I was pregnant.  I was too scared to be happy.  I had been pregnant 3 times, but only had one baby here with me.  I didn't trust pregnancy, didn't trust my body. I had very little hope that I would actually be bringing a baby home with me.  This was the first pregnancy that we didn't tell everyone we knew before the test had even dried.  We agreed to wait til we saw a heartbeat.  After the miscarriage, and Landon, I knew that I would get an early ultrasound.  Then, after we made that agreement, we pushed it a bit further.  Don't tell anyone til we HEAR the heartbeat, which would be somewhere between 10 and 14 weeks. 

So, we told no one.  Wednesday, my sister-in-law had her 40 week OB check, and it was decided to take the baby by c-section on Friday, the 20th.  I was actually relieved.  Like I said, I didn't trust pregnancy any more, and in my mind, the quickest route out was best.  She was happy, too. 

On Thursday, we went to Costco, and I discovered that I was bleeding.  I had my mind made up that  I was miscarrying.  I wasn't even going to call the doctor, was just going to let it happen.  Larry talked me into calling on the way home that afternoon.  The nurse told me to go straight to the lab for a blood draw, and to repeat it on Saturday. 

I broke down and called my mom and told her what was going on.  She was optimistic, maybe it wasn't anything bad.  OF COURSE it was something bad.  It always goes bad with me, doesn't it?  Well, other than that perfectly healthy 2 year old in the back seat.  That turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.  But, everything but him.  It all goes bad.

Costco is about 30 or so minutes from home.  We didn't even go home, just went straight to the lab, gave my blood, and went home and waited to miscarry. 

There was never any more bleeding, at all. 

Friday morning,I woke up in panic attacks.  It was THE DAY.  The day I would force myself to take one step at a time, through those doors, onto that labor and delivery floor.  Onto that floor where my heart was ripped right out of me.  Oh, how I wanted to just skip it.  Just stay home and pretend like it wasn't happening.    Todd and Valerie were bringing my nephew to me that morning, he was going to stay here.  My grandma was coming over to stay with both boys while I went up there.  How easy it would have been, to just stay home and play with the boys all day.  Life as usual. 

But I'm not a coward.  I never thought of myself as strong. Til Landon.  The very child who was making me feel all this fear and panic, was the one who showed me my true strength.   I still don't think I'm strong, but everyone else says I am.  I just do what needs to be done, no matter how it scares or hurts me.

There's another reason I was determined to make myself go up there.  My brother.  He was there when I woke up in recovery.  He prayed over me.  He got to see Landon before the mobile NICU took him to Miami Valley.  He went to Miami Valley every single day to see my little boy.  He made sure Larry and I ate.  He brought me ice cream.  He was on my left, Larry on my right, as my little boy died.  He held my son after he was dead.  He grieved right with me.  He led so many prayers.  He took care of getting the preacher to come several times.  He was with us the third night, when they warmed Landon up after the cold treatment.  He. Was. There.    My sister-in-law was there a lot too, but she had to work (Todd was laid off) and also there was no one to keep Gavin.  But, my brother was there for the very saddest, most heart breaking, painful thing that has ever happened to me.  He got to hold Landon. Kiss him. Cry over him. He carried the casket from the hearse to the gravesite.

Todd, Landon, and Me

How could I skip out on his very happiest moment, when he didn't falter through my very saddest?

I couldn't. And I wouldn't.  I went.  It was hard.  Very hard.  My heart stopped when I got off of the elevator at the 4th floor.  But, one foot in front of the other, I walked to the waiting room, where my mom and Valerie's parents were waiting.  Within a few minutes of us getting there, the text came, she was here and fine!  9lbs and something, I think 2 oz, but could be wrong.  A picture came through.  She was pretty!

Todd came out and got our mom and his mother-in-law to go back and meet her.  He showed us video of her crying.  How amazing!!  A baby's first cries are always a miracle, but to me, after Landon, it was like hearing God speak.

Now, keep in mind, I still thought I was miscarrying, and nobody but Larry and my Mom even knew I was pregnant. 

While I was waiting my turn to meet my niece, I got a call from the OB's office with my beta results.  I can't remember now what they were, but it was super high.  I googled beta results, and my numbers were double what the high end of the chart said they should be for my dates.  So, I googled that and learned that it was either multiples or a molar pregnancy. I googled that. Learned that it can be cancerous.  Great.  I figured I was going to lose the baby and die, too.   I kept all that inside.

It was finally my turn to go back and see miss Allyson.  Valerie was in the same recovery bay where I woke up to be told my baby was dying.  I had ONE moment where my knees nearly buckled.   Then I saw her.  She was so perfect, so beautiful, so healthy and perfect.  And looked like Landon.  I had considered the chance that I might someday have a baby who would look like him, but it never occurred to me that Todd would.  She had his hairline,and dark hair like him, his forehead.  And she was beautiful, and I fell in love.  At that moment, my heart made a huge stride in its healing journey. 

I cried, I'm not going to deny it.  I cried for what I had lost, I cried with joy for what had just happened to our family, and I cried with a little bit of relief.  Seeing her, seeing a happy ending to a pregnancy,  I felt like *maybe* I would be OK, *maybe* I would have another healthy baby some day.

One of the nurses, Jenny (I've written about her before) who was with me for Landon's birth, came to his funeral, was just really sweet to me,  was with Valerie for Allyson's birth.  She came and hugged and held me while I cried for a few seconds.  Seeing her hit me pretty hard, but was good, too.  I wanted so badly to tell her that I was pregnant again, but I thought I was miscarrying. 

It was two weeks exactly after she was born that I had my first ultrasound and saw two babies.  No molar pregnancy after all. 

Now, a year later, I have two of the healthiest, happiest, prettiest, sweetest, most wanted and appreciated, loved, baby girls on the planet.  I also have a one year old niece!! The last year has flown by in the blink of an eye. (It didn't feel like that while I was pregnant, that's for sure.  Now, though, looking back, it did fly!)

Todd and Valerie had the kids' birthday party this evening.  I made their cakes.  It felt good to be celebrating.  Allyson helped me so much.  Just seeing everything go right, really and truly helped me to get through all my fears while pregnant with the twins.  Happy  Birthday, Allyson... or "Bee Ally" as Aidan calls her!!!

And, just for good measure:

One last one.. the only kink in a fantastic day:

Yes, that's a Costco size jug of Downy all over the floor.  It hadn't been opened yet.  The spin cycle must have jiggled the dryer enough to knock it off. That was fantastic right in the middle of cake making!!!

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