I feel better. I needed to write two letters to my Pregnancy groups. Now I've gotten that out of the way, I can move on to something else...like thank-you cards or something.
Here is the letter to my "Normal Pregnant Mommas" from my online group where everyone is due in February:
I wanted to thank each and every one of you for being my friend and my companion through my pregnancy with my daughter. Thank you for the advice, the prayers, the support, and the gifts. You ladies helped carry me through a difficult and uncertain time as Becca was making her transition to heaven.
Thank you so much.
I know some of you are angry and disappointed as well as scared and sad. It's ok. You have all been through a lot with losing so many of this group to miscarriage and infant loss. Stick with each other and never stop praying. What a blessing to have such a close-knit and caring group of women to grow babies with...I am honored to have been a part of this group during my pregnancy with Rebecca. Truly honored.
I know too that some of you will want to spend some time feeling sorry for me.
I know that some of you are angry with God and feel like he did not answer our prayers.
Don't be. He did!
I will be grieving for my babies, yes, but I was given a gift that most people don't get....God gave me two weeks that I didn't have. I should have delivered my baby and had to say goodbye that Monday that I went in to the doctor, but God in his mercy gave me two whole weeks with my darling baby! Two whole weeks where I got to wake up every morning and sing to her, two whole weeks of feeling her wiggle around, two whole weeks of talking to her, rubbing my belly, and feeling her kick me to sleep every night. I cherished every moment. God's plan did not involve my daughter coming home with me, and he did not have to give me those two weeks but he did. God does not owe me anything either. Some of you thought that because I lost Jimmy last year at full term that I was owed a living baby. It's a nice thought, but its just not true. Life is not fair sometimes, thats just the way it is. We live in a world where bad things happen to good people sometimes. Its hard to accept that, yes, but I don't blame God for it. (Blame Adam and Eve...they started this mess!!
God answered our prayers, ladies, he just did it in his own way and I will praise him for it. I pray that through all of this you will grow closer to Him instead of farther apart.
I will miss you all very much. So much!
I hope everyone sails through the rest of their pregnancies without so much as a cough or a sniffle. I expect to see lots of pictures of fat babies and happy mommas when I check back in February.
Love you ladies, thank you so very much for loving me too.
Here is the letter to the ladies from my support group...the "Pregnancy After Stillbirth and Infant Loss" ladies. This letter is a little more detailed...I think that after loss we all want to know all the details instead of just the big picture. I think it helps us somehow. I dunno. I guess I feel like I can let a little more out because since they've all been through it before I don't feel like I am hurting anyone by talking about it:
I can't believe I'm typing this less than two weeks before Jimmy's one year Heavenly Birthday.
It has been exactly one week today since I said hello and goodbye to my daughter, Rebecca Lane. She was born last Wednesday at 5:09pm weighing 1lb 8oz at 23 weeks and 3 days. She never took a breath, but I could see her heart beating through her tiny chest when they brought her to me. I held her against my chest and sang to her until her little body grew cold. I miss her.
I had my 20 week anatomy scan when I was 18 weeks pregnant. A week later, I called the doctor's office because I was having some watery discharge. At the time, Courtney and Stacy were having incompetent cervix scares and I wondered if my LEEP procedure and Jimmy's delivery and our miscarriage had combined to weaken my cervix....I voiced my concerns about the possibility to the nurse over the phone and also the possibility that I still had an infection since I had not finished the oral medication for my BV since it made me feel yucky. The nurse told me that if I didn't get a call back to check the pharmacy for a prescription. I never got a call back and went to pick up my prescription for some vaginal cream from the pharmacy. I assumed the doctor had gotten my message and decided that it was an infection and coming in for an exam was unnecessary. I figured he would know if it was possible to suddenly develop an incompetent cervix after two full term deliveries...I just figured I was being paranoid because Courtney and Stacy were having those problems.
I took all the medicine but still was having a watery discharge and feeling uncomfortable...nothing I could really pin down as a problem though until a couple of weeks later when I woke up and my belly had dropped. I called my doctor's office and he was on vacation but they squeezed me in with the doctor who was filling in for him.
I was in the exam room and he did an ultrasound and showed Becca happily kicking away and her heart beating...I was so relieved tears came to my eyes! The doctor and I laughed and joked about how I must have just been peeing on myself or something because the baby was fine. I told him to check me to rule out a continued infection so I could go home and have a good laugh at myself.
Unfortunately, when he checked me there was nothing to laugh about. I was 4-5cm dilated and the amniotic sac was so far into the vaginal canal that the doctor was worried I was going to deliver right away. He sent me straight to the hospital and told me I would probably deliver by the end of the day.
What a shock!! I just felt the bottom drop out. This couldn't be happening! This couldn't really be happening, could it? I called my husband and said simply, "I'm losing the baby." He burst into tears and wailed "Noooooo! Not again!!!".....the only other time I have ever heard him cry was when we saw that Jimmy didn't have a heartbeat.
The next day, I was still there and so was the baby. The doctor called Jackson to see if they would take me and he told me that they were better equipped to deal with this situation and that maybe they could perform a rescue cerclage. My husband and I were hopeful...Courtney had just gone through this exact same thing and they had pushed her sac back in and given her a rescue cerclage. Surely we would too! I rode in an ambulance the three hours to Jackson and my husband followed behind in the truck. We had hope!
Unfortunately, once we got to Jackson we were told that it was too late and they would not give me a rescue cerclage because of their policy on infection...they said that once the amniotic sac touches the vaginal wall that the risk if infection from the natural bacteria there is too great. My husband and I were absolutely crushed. We had spent the whole day the day before devestated that our baby was going to die, all day that day hopeful and singing about a rescue cerclage to save our baby's life, and now back to facing her death...the doctor's said that infection and labor was imminent and would likely happen within a few hours to a day.
We were given the option to go ahead and induce to pick up labor and say goodbye or to "wait and see." The doctor's told us that we had less than a 1% chance of making it to viability with the wait and see approach. It was a tough decision. I wanted to get it over with and my husband wasn't so sure. I didn't think I had the strength to go through all the emotional and physical pain and suffering of "waiting and seeing" when we had less than 1% chance and would just lose her anyway. My husband was not willing to give up though....we met with our pastor and we prayed and prayed and prayed and my husband finally looked at me and made the decision for me: We're going to wait, he said. We're going to give this over to God and let him decide what to do...give him the opportunity for a miracle.
We had two weeks....two weeks of me in and out of the hospital, bed rest, check-ups, hopes up and down, good news, bad news....you name it. But we also had two weeks of time with Becca. Two weeks of tummy rubbing, singing to her, feeling her kicks....two weeks of hoping and praying we would still get a miracle and bring our baby home one day.
Sadly, we had to say goodbye.
Tuesday I woke up in the morning to a sudden gush of fluid. My MIL rushed me across the street to the hospital. They did an ultrasound and said the baby's fluid was fine and when they checked me they said the sac was still bulging out. The FERN test came back negative so they said it was a false alarm and sent me back to the hotel. I continued to gush fluid, however, and had a very bad feeling. My MIL had a cold and I used that as an excuse to send her home...called my husband and told him he needed to come. Lucky for me, my husband trusts my intuition and he came right away.
I thought about going back to the hospital that evening as soon as he got there but decided to wait until morning. That night I didn't sleep very well...I was uncomfortable and thought I might be having contractions but I wasn't sure. When we woke up, I was pretty sure they were contractions and we went to the hospital. Once we got there the contractions picked up and it was pretty painful. The ultrasound showed my fluid was low and the sac was no longer bulging through the cervix so they said it had ruptured. (Looking back though, I'm fairly certain I was leaking fluid all along from the top of the amniotic sac and their testing was wrong...the doctor who tried to revive Becca said she had all the classic symptoms of a long term leak...not just a day or two.)
By the end of the day I was 6cm dilated and the doctor's saw signs of chorioamnionitis (infection of the membranes) which they said was the cause of the rupture and me going into labor. Becca was kicking throughout the contractions but as the day wore on I felt her less and less until by the time we went into the delivery room I was not feeling her at all. Apparently her heartrate had dropped to 80.
I was given an epidural and with only a couple of pushes, she was born. I waited for the faint sounds of a cry that I heard Stacy and Courtney talk about with their little ones.....it never came. They were having trouble stopping my bleeding and getting the placenta out so I couldn't see what was going on...I had a doctor with her hand inside me up to her elbow trying to pull something out and the other doctor massaging and grabbing stuff out.
The doctor working on Becca came back over in less than 10 minutes and said he was sorry but there was no lung tissue at all. He said Becca never took a breath or moved, her heart rate was low, and when they tried to put the oxygen in it wouldn't go anywhere....she didn't have any lung tissue and they said trying to do anything else would only cause her suffering and prolong the inevitable.
A few minutes later I was wheeled into the recovery room and they brought me my baby. She had on her Calvin hat and was wrapped in a white blanket. I unwrapped her and saw her heart pounding in her chest. I laid her on my chest and held her and sang what I sing to all my babies..."You Are My Sunshine." I held her and sang to her until she grew cold. Then I wrapped her up and handed her to my husband.
The next day I asked for her back so I could hold her again and say goodbye and take more pictures. I never got to do that with Jimmy and it haunted me for months so I held Becca and took pictures for a long time. I didn't want to say goodbye, but my husband reminded me gently that it was just her body...Rebecca was long gone and safe in the arms of Jesus with Jimmy. I gently reminded him that God may have given her a soul, and he may have that soul, but I made her body and I wanted to spend some time with it!
It was so hard to say goodbye. Physically I was not in good shape because of the infection...I was put on IV antibiotics around the clock for 24 hours and still had a 100 degree fever when we left. Throughout the whole ordeal my husband and I had a sense of peace and calm...there were so many moments where God's light came shining through and touched us. If any of you have kept up on facebook then you got to share those precious moments with us as we experienced them.
I miss my daughter so much, and my heart hurts. This is completely different than when we lost Jimmy last year though...it doesn't feel as raw or as hopeless as our pain did initially when we lost our son. We don't feel like Becca was ripped away from us like Jimmy was...we got our chance to try everything we could to save her and we got our chance to properly let go and say goodbye while she was still alive. That has made all the difference in the world.
Its still hard to comprehend that we have lost two babies in one year.
At Rebecca's funeral, there was a stand of roses right next to the coffin and right next to Jimmy's grave. A sudden gust of wind that came out of nowhere blew the whole stand over. One of the funeral home ladies picked the stand back up and righted it. I saw a single rose had broken off and was laying on Jimmy's grave right by his headstone. As the lady bent down to pick it up I called out "Don't! Please leave it there!" She looked down and burst into tears as she and everyone else realized what had happened....Jimmy felt left out and knocked over the roses so he could get one too! Just like a toddler with a new baby sister who was getting all the attention! We laughed and joked about it after the funeral and my husband even said "Jimmy! Do I need to get my belt out?" It was such a sweet moment and I will cherish it forever....it cemented the idea for us that our two babies were together and in heaven...and that they were still ours. We are still their parents.
Later on after they had buried her and everyone had left, my husband and I came back to say one final goodbye to our children. We left two little tiny plastic flower pots with colorful plastic flowers in them....one on each grave; one for each child. And we said goodbye.
I miss my babies. Both of them. I get up every day, I eat, I pray, I laugh, I clean, I cook...its hard to cry though. Tears flowed so easily with Jimmy. Not so with Becca. Even when my milk came in, even when I'm on pain, even when I'm so tired and weary and sad that its hard to breathe....I'm not sure why.
I'm not sure how to navigate these waters...I feel for HeatherAnne and Courtney so much more now that I am in the same boat. Losing a second baby is so much different...in many many ways the grief seems less and dealing with life seems easier compared to where we were a week out after Jimmy. In other ways, it seems much tougher.
I don't know what the future holds for us, but I'm hoping it includes another baby. We're going to wait at least a year to let my body heal. I'll hopefully have more answers at my 6 week check-up.
For now, I'm just praying and trusting God to guide us and get us through this storm and hoping my husband and I have the continued strength to hold each other up.
Thank you ladies for being so loving and supportive.