The life after

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on here, but i’m hoping I will be able to find some time to post more often.  However, while mister is getting in a quick snooze, I wanted to post something that has been on my mind a lot lately.

About a month and half ago, I was asked by a friend how it was being pregnant and having a baby after loosing our twins.  Then, on one of our Sunday trips to the cemetery to see our boys, I made a statement to my husband and I was shocked by his answer.

Lets start at the beginning.

Deciding to try for another baby after we lost our twins was the most terrifying decision we have ever made.  For us, its not “Oh, we decided this, lets give it a few months and hopefully it will happen!”  It’s more of a call to the fertility clinic, go through lab draws, ultrasounds, injections, surgery, a few thousand dollars, an embryo transfer, and a whole heck of a lot of prayers that it all worked.

We lost our twins the last day in January and the first day of February.  In March, a nurse from the fertility clinic called to “Check in and see how the pregnancy was going”. I bluntly told her that we had lost the twins about a month ago and i’m sure made her feel utterly horrible.  We then had an appointment to see our fertility doctor in a few weeks to discuss our options.

After talking with my doctor, discussing it together, saying lots of prayers and MANY trips to the temple, we decided to go ahead with an embryo transfer.  Luckily, we were blessed to become pregnant.

Three days before I was to have my blood drawn to tell us if I was pregnant for sure or not, I took a pregnancy test at home.  As the two lines appeared, the fear, anxiety, worry, and grief washed over.

When I was pregnant with the twins, I did it all that a first time mom does, especially one who is a planner like myself.

I started stocking up on diapers, wipes, clothes, planned out the nursery, started painting the nursery, bought furniture for the nursery, everything you can think of.  When we lost the twins, my mom and niece went to our house while I was still in the hospital and put anything baby related into the nursery and closed the door.  That door stayed closed for a good two months.

With my second pregnancy, EVERYTHING was different.

We didn’t tell hardly anyone but our families for a good little while.  We didn’t announce on social media until we were reassured for the umpteenth time that things were going great. We didn’t take weekly bump pictures.  We didn’t have a gender reveal party. I didn’t buy anything baby related until I was 24 weeks. I listened to his heart beat every night with the doppler that we had purchased. We happened to move while I was pregnant, so a nursery wasn’t put together until right before he was born. A hospital bag was packed when I was discharged the first time for pre-term labor.  EVERYTHING happened differently.

Now, I’m sure I sound utterly crazy to you.  However, I’ve been reassured by my doctor that I am NOT crazy! Ha.

Grief is a funny thing, and every one grieves differently.

The entire time I was pregnant, I was terrified.  Terrified that I was going to give birth and only hold my little peanut for a short time before he returned home.  Terrified that one of the ultrasounds would show that his heart had stopped. Terrified that I was going to have to bury another child.

Basically, what i’m saying, unless you’ve been through a loss like this, you don’t really fully understand.  And if you have been through a loss like this, I’m sure some of this sounds all too familiar.

Luke is now four months old.  We lost the twins over a year ago.  And guess what?  I still grieve them.  I still miss them every day. I still occasionally find my self sad, and sometimes shed some tears for them.  I worry frequently that something is going to happen to Luke.  But, as my doctor has told me, He would be more concerned if I didn’t have these fears.

Going back to what I stated earlier.  When my friend asked me, I told her it was hard, because it was.  It’s the hardest thing we’ve had to do. I told her I still grieve, because I do. I wish that it was a walk in the park, but it isn’t.

Alex’s part of the conversation that day as we were driving through the cemetery is what has stuck with me the most.  He told me that if we hadn’t experienced that, we wouldn’t nearly be the people that we are today.  We wouldn’t have the faith that we have.  We wouldn’t have the understanding of the atonement that we do.  We wouldn’t have met the amazing people that we have, and we wouldn’t have grown to the better people that we are.

So, there you have it.  The truth of what its been like living the life after loss, and moving on.

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Welcome to the world little one.

Monday January 30th started out like any other day.

I had been to L&D the previous night for consistent contractions. My cervix never changed after being monitored, so they sent home home with an increase in my medications.

I woke up Monday and planned my day. Gilmore girls, a nap, a little more Gilmore girls, send Alex to work, another nap, maybe a movie. (Bedrest life is rough, let me tell ya! 😂)   My contractions were pretty steady, so I stayed on top of my pills, taking them every 4 hours.

By noon, I was contracting three hours after taking my pill. This was a little worrisome to me, but I didn’t want to go back to L&D, to be sent home again. So, I got in the shower to see if that would help. It calmed them down a little bit, and I returned to bed. Alex went to work (he just so happened to switch to a swing shift schedule this day) and I did my usual. Around 5:00-5:30 I could barely keep my eyes open, so I took a little nap.

Alex had messaged me and told me he was going on lunch at 7:00. So, I woke up at 7:00 and waited for him to call me. He messaged me again and told me he got stuck on a long phone call and it would be closer to 7:30. So, I decided to get up and get ready for bed. As I sat up on the side of the bed, I had a small gush of water. Alex happened to call about 2 minutes after that, and at first didn’t believe me that my water had really broke! It took some convincing 😬

I headed to hospital and met Alex there. They confirmed that my water had broke, and as luck would have it, my contractions had stopped at this point. I was actually feeling really well! They gave me some antibiotics and told me they were going to try to keep me pregnant until at least 34 weeks.

About an hour after getting to the hospital, the contractions started back up. They were about every 2-3 minutes apart. Since my water had broke, they didn’t want to check my cervix because they didn’t want to risk introducing bacteria.  My nurse just told me to let her know if they changed at all or I felt like I needed to push.  About a half hour later, I had her check me because they were getting stronger and a lot closer.  I was dilated to a 6+.  After she checked me, I had a huge gush of water (my water had slowly been leaking the entire time I was there.) I got up to use the bathroom and change my gown.  As I was walking back to bed, I had a lot of pressure with my contractions, so she checked me again when I got back to bed.  I was then a 7+.

Now, at this point, it was around 10:30.  The nurse went to adjust my monitors on my belly, and was getting concerned when she was only finding a heart rate of 77 for the baby.  She quickly put me on an oxygen mask and a pulse ox to make sure she wasn’t finding my pulse. After confirming it wasn’t my pulse, she then went to check my cervix again, and discovered that little misters cord had prolapsed.  She quickly shoved her hand up into my cervix, climbed on the bed with me while two other nurses  were unhooking me from everything wheeling me out of the room. I was now having an emergency C-section, right then.

They left Alex in the room, and told him that someone would be by to get him in just a few minutes and help him get dressed and bring him the O.R.  I was wheeled in, quickly moved to an O.R. bed, and draped.  My doctor was right there, scrubbed and ready to go.  I was quickly prepped, and the anesthesiologist was in there prepping to intubate me.  The nurses continued trying to find little misters heart beat, and I remember them saying they couldn’t find his heart beat at all.  Because there was no time, I went under general anesthesia for my C-section.

According to when my doctor came by later and told me, and according to my family, from the time I was asleep, they had little mister out in less than a minute.  My doctor also said that before anybody in that O.R. could take a breath, little mister was screaming his head off.

Because I went under general anesthesia, Alex was unable to be in the O.R. with me.  He was however able to be with out little boy shortly after he was born.

Alex informed me the next day that all he could do was pace back and forth in the room sobbing.  He was so scared about both me and the baby.  I remember being completely panicked and feeling so helpless towards our baby. I also remember praying and begging that he would be fine, and that they would find his heart beat. It was one of the worst things we had both gone through so far in life! And, its something that I hope we never have to go through again!

Little mister, AKA, Lucas, is doing quite well.  He was born at 10:41 PM weighing 4 pounds 4 ounces and 17 inches long.  He was born at 33 weeks and 4 days.  He’s currently in the NICU learning how to eat, and dealing with some kidney issues.  I’ll do a better post about our NICU journey so far soon.

I am doing well also.  I’m really sore, but I’m reminded all the time that my C-section wasn’t nice.  They can’t be nice when they get your baby out in less than a minute! However, I am feeling better each and every day!

Twenty weeks and beyond

As Alex and I adjusted to the news that we had just found out with our little mister, we still couldn’t be happier with this amazing blessing that we had been given.

We went to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City on a beautiful December morning.  We checked in, filled out all the paperwork, and went back to have our fetal echo completed. Now, there’s something that I have left out about our little mister.  He HATES the littlest bit of pressure on my belly.  Ultrasounds are always super tricky, and so is listening to him with the Doppler.  This echo was no different.  The poor ultrasound tech was getting so frustrated, because she would find the perfect view, and mister would move.  I felt so bad because there was nothing that I could do! Luckily, with a little patience on her part, and lots of re-positioning and a few good stern talks to mister (They never work, but I like to pretend that they do! :D) She was able to complete the ultrasound.  The fellow came in and took some pictures while the tech went and reviewed the ultrasound with the attending.  Shortly after, the attending came in and informed us that his heart looked perfect for his gestational age (25 weeks).  He couldn’t see any abnormalities or anything.  He cautioned us that there was still a possibility that as he was born, one of the holes could not close properly, but we would monitor for murmurs and cross that path if we came to it.

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(I snapped this picture from the parking lot.  It doesn’t do the view any justice.  It was SO pretty that morning!)

We prepped for Christmas, and had a wonderful holiday with our family.  We celebrated New years, even if we happened to celebrate the actual new year in bed as I was fighting to stay awake! We couldn’t have asked for a better holiday season, as not only were we greatly blessed, but little mister was blessed and spoiled as well!

I returned to work (I work for a local school district and had been off for Christmas break.) and was looking forward to our next anatomy scan at 31 1/2 weeks and getting to see our little boy.  I’m not sure I could ever survive a “normal” pregnancy, because I’ve grown so accustom to having ultrasounds all the time and getting to see our sweet precious babies.  The thought of only having 2-3 ultrasounds the entire pregnancy, is mind blowing to me! Anyway, as luck would have it, little mister had different plans for me.

It was a snowy Thursday morning.  I got up, got ready for work, and left early because I had a feeling the roads would be terrible.  I got to work and went about my day.  Around noon, I realized that I hadn’t been feeling mister as much as I normally do.  I had some juice, sat down at my desk and waited to see.  Luckily, he gave me a few good kicks and I relaxed, just a little bit. I went home for the day, made sure I had plenty of water, and rested.  Now, remember when I said earlier that we have a very active baby? Well, as the afternoon and evening went on, he still wasn’t as active as he should be.  I laid down and did some kick counts, and they were down as well.  Alex was at school, so I texted him and told him my concerns.  We decided that I should probably go in and be checked, just to be safe.

When we arrived, they hooked me up to the monitor, and we heard his beautiful heartbeat, and all of his wiggles as he was trying to escape the monitor.  I relaxed as I knew he was okay.  However, also showing on the monitor, were some pretty consistent contractions.  They asked me if I could feel them, and I answered honestly.  The truth was, I had been feeling them all day, and had noticed they were a little more intense than normal, but, I was more concerned about the fact that I couldn’t feel little man anymore.

They did a swab on my cervix that tells them if I am going to go into labor in the next two weeks or not.  It tests for a protein that is excreted around your uterus when you are supposedly close to delivery. My test came back positive,  and with my cervix being dilated to a 1 and 50% effaced, I then received the first dose of steroid shots to help develop misters lungs in case he were to be born soon. They also started me on an oral medication that is supposed to relax the uterus and slow contractions. All of this took place around 11:00-midnight-ish. I was moved to a different room, where I would be staying the night to be observed and make sure the medication was working.

Around 1:30 a.m., my nurse came into my room and told me that they didn’t really like the fact that I was still having regular contractions, so they would be starting a magnesium sulfate drip.  This drip is given to help the baby, again if it is born premature, with any bleeding that could occur on the brain.  It also could help with the contractions.

This medication, is of the devil.  They warned me that I would feel horrible, and they weren’t joking! As soon as it started going in, I literally felt like I had been hit by a bus! However, the contractions slowed down and things were looking better.  In regular people morning hours, I made the venture downstairs to see MFM.  Everything looked good, Mister still had dilated kidneys, his ventricles were holding which is a good thing, his femurs were measuring about a week behind, and I suddenly had extra amniotic fluid.  Both of these are markers for trisomy 21. Besides those new findings, they suggested we stop the Mag drip (hallelujah!) and I come in for weekly non stress tests just to monitor the baby and make sure he was doing okay.  I returned to labor and delivery, they stopped the drip and switched me back to the oral medication.  My body behaved well, and I was able to come home the next day.

Today, a week and a half later, i’m still at home on bed rest and mister is still inside, happily growing and swimming away in his extra large pool.  I still take the medication every 6 hours if I have contractions (I’ve only been able to space it out while i’m sleeping, during the day, I take it pretty close to every 6 hours), and I feel like a ticking time bomb. We’ve made it to 32 weeks, which is a huge milestone and goal to me.  Now, the goal is to get him to 34 weeks and let his little lungs develop a little bit more.  Really, the goal is to get him to this Saturday, so that I can attend my baby shower! Its the little steps and goals we look forward too!

Where we are now

I understand that there is a lot that has happened in the middle of my story.  Trust me when I say its  A LOT.  I promise I will get to all of it, I really do.  I just feel like I need to get to where we are today. Details might be a little sparse, but again, I promise I will touch on everything.  Alex will make sure of it.  🙂

Fast forward to the end of March 2016.  Out of the blue, my cell phone rang, and as I looked to see who it was, it was our fertility clinic.  Apparently they call around that point to check and see how patients are doing in their pregnancy.  I laid it all out there for the poor medical assistant on the other end.  According to Alex, during this time frame, I was very blunt and honest with people, probably more than I should have been! She apologized and said she had no idea.  She asked if we wanted an appointment to come in and talk to our doctor about what happened.  I agreed, partially because I just wanted to get off the phone with her. Before I knew it, Alex and I were sitting back in the office where it all started, talking to the same man who helped us get what we wanted before.

We planned to do an emrbyo transfer, and set everything up to complete it.  I again needed to have a hysteroscopy.  We completed this in April, they ended up removing a lot of retained placenta, and we were told we had to wait a month before we could proceed with anything.  We waited until school was out for the summer, and we did a frozen embryo transfer.  We transfer one embryo to help decrease our risk of having twins. We were lucky and this cycle worked for us, and we ended up pregnant with one sweet little babe.

I was sick just like I was with my previous pregnancy, and we were being monitored VERY closely.  I started going to the maternal fetal medicine doctors at twelve weeks, and returned to their clinic every two weeks to make sure things were going okay.

As part of a routine pregnancy, my regular OB and the MFM doctors advised me to have the quad marker screen test completed.  I agreed, and the test was completed.  At an appointment to the MFM clinic, the doctor asked me if I had the test completed yet.  I told her that I had, and that I wasn’t sure of the results because I had not been back to my regular OB, and no one had called me the results. She said she would look them up for me after we discussed the ultrasound.  This was a routine visit for MFM.  You have basically an anatomy scan, they scan my cervix and measure it, the doctor comes in and we go over the ultrasounds, make a plan, and I head out on my merry way.

At this appointment, I was 16 weeks along.  We had found out that we were having a little boy! This excited me and made me nervous all at the same time.  The doctor also talked with me about how his kidneys were a little dilated on the ultrasound.  She said it wasn’t something that we should worry about, that boys sometimes tend to have this.  She then left the room to check on my quad marker screen results.  A few minutes later, she returned to my room.  She told me that my quad marker screen had come back positive and was pointing towards trisomy 21, commonly known as down syndrome.  She said this test narrowed it down that we would have a 1 in 48 chance that our baby would have down syndrome.  She then talked to me about what this meant with the kidneys on the ultrasound.  She said that a baby with dilated kidneys is a marker for down syndrome, and she advised me to have further testing completed.  She presented me with two options. 1. I could have an amniocentesis completed and it would tell us 100% if the baby has down syndrome or not.  She also had to advise me that there was a risk of pregnancy loss that can be associated with having an amniocentesis done.  Option 2 was to have a blood test done, a cell free DNA.  The results of that test are 98% accurate and it was a simple blood test on my part. Given our history, she was the least bit surprised when I opted to have the blood test completed in stead.  A 98% answer was surely better than the risk of a pregnancy loss.

The nurse for MFM came in, filled out the packet for me, and sent me to the lab.  They instructed me that I should hear from the specialty lab where my blood was being sent within 3-5 days telling me that it had arrived.  Well, 5 days later, I hadn’t heard anything.  I called the MFM clinic and they looked into it for me.  Come to find out, my blood sample had broken in the mail and they didn’t have enough to complete the test.  I had to go back in, have another sample drawn and sent off.  This would push our test results back.  Oh, and to add to it all, this was the week before Thanksgiving!

Luckily, I had some luck on my side.  The results came back sooner than normal, and we received them before the holiday. The genetic counselor for our clinic called me and told me the results. I had been to MFM just the day before an ultrasound, and this time, our little babe still had elevated kidneys, and slightly elevated ventricles in his brain.  Both markers for down syndrome. When I spoke with the genetic counselor, she told me that the test had come back positive yet again.  She said that with those results, and the findings on the ultrasounds, they feel very strongly that our little man would most likely have down syndrome.

Fast forward to January.  I promise i’ll come back to our findings and give more details. I’m 30 weeks pregnant. Braxton hicks contractions had started back around Christmas. Our little mister was an active little fart who was moving constantly. Everything was going as great as it could.

On Thursday January 12th, I went to work like any normal day.  It had been snowing that morning just like it had many mornings so far in January. I made it to work, and went about my day.  Around noon, I realized that I hadn’t felt our little man move as much as I normally did. I tried to play it off, but i’m never really good at that.  I drank some juice and sat at my desk doing work on my computer trying to pay attention to how many times he was moving.  He gave me a few movements, and I finished out my day a little more at rest.

I got home and tried to take it easy.  I drank a lot of water and laid down to rest.  I still wasn’t feeling him move as much as I normally did.  I checked his heart beat with the doppler we have at home, and he was right where he normally was.  I just had the uneasy feeling into the evening and finally told Alex about it around 7:30-8:00.  He asked me if I thought we needed to go in and get checked, and I told him for my sanity, I did.

We made it to the hospital a little after 9:00. They hooked me up to the monitor and a beautiful heartbeat could be heard, and so could lots of movement! I just couldn’t feel those movements.  Also showing on that lovely monitor, was the fact that I was having regular contractions about every 6 minutes or so.  I had noticed the contractions earlier that day, but I was so worried about him not moving, that that’s all I focused on.

Long story short, they ended up keeping me over night, they tried an oral medication to help calm the contractions, it didn’t help.  I then had to go on a magnesium drip to help with little misters brain and to prevent any bleeding in case I did end up delivering.  They told me I would feel miserable on the drip, and let me tell you, they weren’t joking!  Luckily though, it did help with the contractions and they became less consistent. They took me off the magnesium drip mid Friday morning and switched me back to an oral medication.  They then sent me home Saturday morning with a prescription to take when I had a contraction, and orders to be on modified bed rest for at least two weeks.

So, i’m currently 32 weeks pregnant, hanging out at home on bed rest.  I’m making weekly visits to my OB for a non stress test and an appointment.  Each day is an accomplishment that I don’t go into labor.  I told Alex I feel like a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off!

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