Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Some weeks later.

This is a quick catch-up post - mostly because I don't want to leave the last post as my greeting-blog for another few months!

It's been three weeks and two days since we lost our little one. I'm doing pretty well. Monday nights and Tuesdays are oddly difficult. I'm sure it won't take much longer to feel completely at peace with the way things are, but like I told Brian - for a month I had two babies: one here and one on the way. Now I don't. So it's taking some getting used-to. That's all.

One more thing before I move on - I have really appreciated having friends and family ask how I'm doing. Usually I answer, "I'm doing well, thanks," and move on to the next subject. But it really, really helps. Something so simple has shown me that people remember. I've had a few folks brush over it to avoid causing pain or discomfort, and I get that. I probably would have done the same thing. But I'm surprised by how comforting it's been to have people ask about the baby: "How are you doing?" I'm going to remember that.

On to different things.

Will turned a YEAR old last week. I am so, so grateful to have had this year. What a tremendous miracle a baby is! We celebrated with a low-key party after church on Sunday.

Over Memorial Day weekend, his learning has exploded. He's saying (or trying to say) car, block, clock, and light. He's signing please and more and he's not only high-fiving but also fist-bumping, thanks to his uncles. : ) He just generally seems more aware and curious. I am surprised by how amazed I am to see him learning. I knew it would be cool, but this is COOL.

We are STILL - yes, still! - on the house hunt. We put in an offer for a grand, enormous house on over a hundred acres. We'll call it Rustic Mansion. It was at the tippy-top of what we could afford, PLUS it needed a ton of updating and the house itself was enormous so maintenance would have been quite the cost as well. It was a fabulous house with a ton of character, but after we put in the offer I began to feel a pit in my stomach whenever I thought of it. I chalked it up to anxiety about whether our offer would be accepted, but I was surprised to be relieved when we were turned down without a counter. I had begun to wonder if we would have been slaves to our home - all our money and work and time going into a place to live.

Two or three weeks later we found another house. We'll call it Cozy Brick Ranch. It had been on the market for months (odd in this market), and when we went to see it we were surprised. It was pristine inside, with an awesome finished walkout basement which made up for the fairly small size of the house. However, it was on a fairly busy road, located pretty much within the city, and we discovered it was being sold due to a cell tower that had been approved to be built on an adjacent lot. Still, we submitted an ambitiously low offer, hoping that their desperation to sell and the length of time it had been on the market would cause them to consider it.

Where Rustic Mansion would have sucked up all our time and effort and money, Cozy Brick Ranch would have been a financial breeze. We fell in love not so much with the house as much as with the idea of having such a low payment and a shorter drive to church.

Well, the weekend passed and no word on Cozy Brick Ranch. We began to wonder if they were seriously considering our offer. Brian was ready to counter-offer higher if needed. On Tuesday, the listing was suddenly disappearing from the real estate sights (or going "Pending"). We wondered - could it be? They've decided to accept our offer with no counter?! NOPE. Turns out another buyer put in a higher offer the same weekend. The sellers of Cozy Brick Ranch decided not to counter anyone but just to accept the higher offer.

We had asked God to close the door on Cozy Brick Ranch if it wasn't his will for us. Truly, through this WHOLE process, we've been asking for God's direction and guidance. He knows we may make mistakes, but we've diligently asked for His will. We prayed that He would close doors if we moved the wrong way. And this may sound odd (because I really, really want our own house!) but I'm SO thankful He's been so faithful to close those doors.

We found another house last night that we love. It's not PERFECT - it's a long drive from church and it's only got three bedrooms. But I walked in and just felt like I could stay there forever. I'll call it Hickory Creek House. We've put an offer in on it today. It's a new listing (four days old) and already has an offer, so we may not get it. If God wants us to have it, we've prayed He'll show us what to do. If we don't get it, I know there's a place for us and we'll be there eventually.

I have to say, though, that living with my family this long has been simply wonderful. It really has. The biggest frustration has just been a lack of space for our growing family's STUFF. Will has a mountain of toys piled up in the family room corner... and my parents don't own an enormous home. They've been so gracious, and I am still loving being with them. It's just that... I'm ready to be on our own. Will is getting used to having people around all the time and I worry that he'll suffer withdrawals from his fun grandparents, uncle, and aunt. What a blessing, though, to be concerned about. : )

Finally, I have to brag on Brian. For most of his life, with the exception of his first three months or so, Will's been waking up once during the night to nurse and fall back to sleep. I had no idea what to do. He could fall asleep on his own with no problems at bedtime. He wasn't a light sleeper. He was eating fine through the day. I didn't feel right about ignoring him, but I also knew that having a broken-up seven hours of sleep was not good for me. Or for him, either.

I began to realize, though, that he wasn't waking up on the nights Brian put him to bed (which were not often because I'm usually home). Turns out Brian was feeding him a bedtime snack and giving him lots of water. I thought an evening nursing session was accomplishing that. But I guess not. I reckon my Little Man was waking up thirsty.

So we cut out the evening feeding (we're actually down to one feeding a day now). I started giving him water and cottage cheese before bed. And for a week straight, Will's been sleeping through the night without an issue.

I realize that in posting that on this blog, I may have jinxed myself. But it's a risk I'll take BECAUSE I am bragging on Brian (NOT myself!) and also offering a potential solution to moms with the same problem who may stumble upon this blog.

That's all for now! I'll keep you all posted on Hickory Creek House. IF it's where we're supposed to live, I fully expect that we'll be living there. Ahhh. If not, then I don't want it. (Isn't it great to trust in the Lord?!)


Monday, May 13, 2013

Our December Baby

I was looking out the window a few days ago at the pink spring trees in the neighbor's yard. And I thought about how they will wither and go soon, replaced by hardier leaves and blown away by summer breezes. Come December, no one will remember them.

I don't want that to be my baby. I know I rarely post on this blog. For some reason it feels like for that reason, I shouldn't be allowed so write about something so personal.

But I need to share about my December baby. I was due December 14, 2013.

On April 7, I took a positive pregnancy test. I was elated. We had wanted babies close together. My heart rejoiced.

For a month I knew about that baby. We told our family - Erin danced around the kitchen with William in his "Big Brother" t-shirt. My parents cried. Brian's family hugged us. His grandma wondered if it would be a "girl this time."

I felt in my heart that we would have another boy.

Was it presumptuous to tell everyone so early? I don't know. I always knew that a baby is a miracle. I can tell you that I didn't take this baby for granted. I loved it, loved it the whole time.

At first I felt sad that my baby would have a December birthday. I was afraid its birthday would mesh into Christmas, an indistinct blend of celebrations. But then my sisters-in-law - both December babies themselves - told me it's magical to have a birthday that month. And I began to anticipate how exciting it would be to have a baby at the same time that we celebrate Baby Jesus.

When I was pregnant with William, I loved my baby but had no idea how madly I would fall in love with him when he was born. With this baby, I knew. I felt bonded to it immediately. I sang to it when I sang to Will. I would nurse William and think about how I was nourishing both my children at once. I thanked God for those moments, for my baby boy curled around me and another growing inside.

I loved being pregnant with this baby.

So I thought I was about eight weeks, but the doctor thinks I was nine.

On Sunday night, May 5, I began spotting, very lightly.

I had spotted with William at seven weeks. Nothing major, but it's terrifying anyway.

Monday morning, May 6, the spotting resumed. We're still staying with my parents, and I told my mom, "I don't want to do this day." I didn't want to struggle with fear about my baby. I scheduled a scan for the next morning. I wanted to go back to bed and sleep until Tuesday.

I didn't want to have to do May 6.

Will had a hard day that day. He fought his naps and flung his food. I was impatient and tired. It's hard to stay positive when everything in you feels like dread.

The spotting would slow down, then grow worse. At some point it became pink, then red. I tried to stay off my feet, but that was pretty much impossible. In the afternoon my mom made me take a nap. I was sure that had stopped the bleeding, until about a half hour after when it started again.

It's a horrible feeling when your body is killing a baby you want so badly, and there's nothing you can do.

In the evening the bleeding grew worse, bright red and heavy. I began cramping. Brian held me and said, "It's going to be okay. It's going to be fine." I told him I didn't know how it could be.

My mom read us stories online about women who had healthy babies after heavy bleeding. I tried to believe in a miracle heartbeat. It had happened to others, it could happen to me.

I laid Will down in his crib at 8:30 PM. At bedtime, he usually nestles in, but Monday night he started to cry. I picked him up and nursed him to sleep... just this once. I sang him a lullaby and wondered if this would be the last time I'd hold my two children. And I'm glad I did that. Ten minutes later, when I stood and bent over to tuck his sleeping body in again, I felt the most of my pregnancy pass. I went to the bathroom and I held it in my hands for a long time. It wasn't a baby.

You know, I don't know if I found the baby. Whatever I found, I wrapped it in a cloth to bury.

We prayed and worshipped together as a family that evening. Before going to sleep, I told Brian what I had passed. He held me and said again, "It could still be fine."

The next morning I woke imagining a flickering heartbeat on that morning's scan. I didn't think there could be hope, but I was determined to hope anyway.

I filled out the paperwork and wrote "suspected miscarriage" on the form under "Reason for visit". Still, the nurse practitioner entered the room and said, "Congratulations!"

I said, "Thanks." I paused. "But I think I lost it."

I told her what had happened the night before. She jotted down the important details, cramping and clots. She left the room while I prepared for the scan. As I waited on the table, my lower half wrapped in paper, I prayed, "Please, God, just help me hold it together."

She turned on the machine. I watched the ceiling. After a few moments, she said, "Okay... I think that's your uterus." I glanced over and saw the void. There was nothing. I fixed my eyes back onto the ceiling. When she said she was sorry, I said okay. And I did, I held it together.

She wrote me a prescription to visit the fetal imaging center to confirm everything was gone. She drew my blood and instructed me to come back in a week for another blood draw. I'll probably go, but I don't know. Everything seems to be happening normally.

I checked out and walked out to the parking lot and climbed into the truck and stopped holding it together.

I don't understand God's plan - I know there is one - but I just don't understand it and I suppose I never will. I wanted my baby, I still do, and I still find myself planning for it and hoping it will make it. That's illogical, I know. I just don't understand. I suppose it's what a million women wonder. Why is it that the baby I want so badly doesn't make it, and other people have babies they don't want? Or abort babies they don't want?

So it's getting easier each day. Nights are the hardest, because I'm tired at the end of the day and because I lost the baby on a Monday night. And I think, who else will be having a December baby? How will I not be bitter? And I know it wasn't my fault, but I still feel like it is. I feel like I let everyone down... Brian and Will and our families and the baby. And I know that someday I'll be the only one who remembers my baby, and I also know that someday I'll get over it and that feels horrible too, like I'm going to forget my baby along with everyone else. And I keep remembering the night of May 6 and remembering that panicked feeling of horror and grief when I saw those clots... and it just comes back.

So it just sucks. And my heart absolutely breaks for the women who've endured this without a living child to hold and be comforted by.

But I can be practical, too. I'm thankful for the timing. I'm thankful that I wasn't farther along. I'm thankful it happened on its own. I'm thankful for Brian and William and friends and family and hope.

I thought Mother's Day would be very difficult. On May 6 I had tried to distract myself by getting online, and I'd seen a giant banner ad on a website: "What do you want for Mother's Day?" And I'd prayed, please, God, all I want is a healthy pregnancy. But God gave me perspective and grace on Mother's Day. That morning I held Will in bed and felt tremendous gratitude. I am a mother, and that is enough.

On Mother's Day, Brian gave me a beautiful white azalea tree to remember the baby. It's an indoor plant, and if you take care of it it will bloom for a long, long time. I'll be able to look at it, even when the spring flowers are gone outside, and think of my December baby, and know that somewhere that Flower is blooming and praising God.

I loved being pregnant with you, Little One. You were eagerly anticipated and loved. If the love I had for you, and the love your Daddy had for you, and all the love our families had for you, could have given you life on the earth you would have lived here for a thousand years. But God had a different plan for you. I don't understand it and I miss you terribly - and will always miss you. But I believe in my heart you will recognize me in Heaven. 

All my love,
your momma