Friday, April 30, 2010


Last Friday Chris and I went to Aruba for six days. It was originally supposed to be a babymoon - our last vacation with just the two of us, a time to relax and enjoy quiet before the baby came, a place for me to rock a bikini without worrying how my stomach looked in it.

After my water broke, we thought the vacation would be canceled. I was more than okay with missing our vacation. Keeping the baby safely inside me until at least 24 weeks was my only concern.

After Caleb was born, we still weren't planning on going. I didn't think I'd be up to it and I wasn't sure if the doctor would clear the trip. While we were still in the hospital, my mom and our doctor conspired to convince us that it was exactly what we needed, and that it would be healing. I still wasn't sure about how it would go, but I figured that mourning and being sad on a beach beat being mourning and being sad at home, so I agreed.

In the end, I'm so glad we went. It did allow me to forget for the longest stretches of time yet. I was forced to interact with so many babies and pregnant women than it pushed me through to the next stage of grief, and I'm now just sad and wistful when I see them rather than angry and bitter like I had been. And when I remembered, it tended to be the more sweet moments, and Chris and I were able to talk about Caleb like he a normal part of our family.

It did bring up questions, though. We're supposed to go back in January 2011. When we went last January, in 2009, our friends who went with us talked about buying a timeshare there, and earlier this year they did. (Do I need to say that I'm jealous??) Before, when we talked about returning in January next year with them, it was with the idea of bringing a five month old with us. Our friends have two kids themselves, so it'd be a great family vacation for all of us. However, now we won't have a baby (oh, god, here come the tears!). Now, we're just hoping to be pregnant again by that time. And knowing what happened last time, are we going to want to travel during our next pregnancy?? No. And yes. And definitely not. But yes. But mostly no. I don't know. We were unknowingly at risk for pPROM because of my bleeding (thanks, doctors, for not making me aware of that). So if the next pregnancy has no bleeding, maybe. But Chris and I have already said that if there's even a drop of blood next time, no matter the color, I'm immediately putting myself on bedrest and not moving. Hell, I'll even get a bedpan. Anything to help keep the next baby.

So this trip was bittersweet. It was wonderful, but also so sad to think that I should have been that darling pregnant lady rockin' the baby belly. And difficult to think that I might not be able to go next time (not that missing the trip is difficult - I'd miss a million trips to have a baby - but that we should have been going with a new baby and that if I do get pregnant again, it will be so fraught with worry that we won't be able to do anything like that).

One of the things I did do, though, that brought a lot of peace to me was writing Caleb's name in the sand. It's so gratifying to see something physical with his name on it. It reinforces the idea that he really WAS here, no matter how fleeting his time on earth was.




Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm not always sad.

I had to defend my blog today from someone who said it's unhealthy - reminding me of my loss and forcing me to focus on it, rather than allowing me to begin moving on.

Know that this is not the case at all. I have very normal hours and even days. I don't think about it constantly. I have laughed, I've enjoyed many things, I have been happy.

I come here when I am already sad, to let my feelings out.

So no, it's not unhealthy. Quite the opposite.

(And can I just say? It's been less than two weeks. You're saying I should already be moving on and not sad anymore??)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Questions not answered

"How are you?"

Barely hanging on. Today at the grocery store I saw a pregnant woman, about as far along as I should be, and it was all I could do to turn away. I wanted to go up to her and tell her to enjoy it, because it could all be taken away in a second. I cry every day. I sleep with the blanket he was wrapped in, because if I don't, I will wake up thinking I am still pregnant. I sit in the grass in the backyard reading, and absently stroke my belly, before remembering that it's now empty after it was full of possibilities for five entire months. I go on a walk, and I imagine pushing a stroller. I hear tiny children giggling on the other side of the fence, and my heart seizes. I can barely choke down the prenatal vitamin, which I still have to take, because it reminds me of what I don't have. I count the days since it all happened. I smell the flowers that people have sent the instant I walk in the front door. I will never think of lilies the same way again. I get the mail and dread seeing condolence cards, but I fear the day they stop coming because that will mean they forgot. I hate looking in a mirror because I no longer have a pregnant belly...just a fat one, and I hate it. I'm hurt that Chris doesn't feel the same sense of loss and pain that I do. I worry that I will never feel truly happy again. I can't wait to be pregnant again, but I'm terrified to be pregnant again.

"I'm okay."

My new normal

I've been reading a lot of blogs written by amazingly strong women who have lost babies, and in doing so I stumbled across an essay on what the definition of normal is after you've experienced such a loss.

I found it at Butterflies for Alexandra, but the author is unknown. It made me think of what MY new normal is - some of these are from the essay, and some of them are my own.

Normal is having tears hovering behind every smile.

Normal is wishing that all pregnant women and babies now have a "Trigger Warning" sign flashing above their heads.

Normal is reliving his birth and death continuously.

Normal is waking up every morning, wondering if this was all a nightmare.

Normal is wonderful dreams where I dream that I have a happy baby in my arms, and being crushed when I wake up to realize that I'm
living the true nightmare.

Normal is knowing that something is missing from every holiday and family gathering.

Normal is looking at every baby who looks like he is my baby’s age, thinking of the age he would be now and not being able to imagine it...then wondering why I even try to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is no longer taking comfort in statistics. How can you, when you were part of "less than 1%"?

Normal is deciding how to honor my child’s memory and his birthday and how to survive these days.

Normal is catching a glimpse 0f your no-longer-pregnant self in the mirror and hating the sight of it.

Normal is my heart skipping a beat when I see something special that my baby would have loved, but then remembering he is not here to enjoy it.

Normal is having some people afraid to mention my baby.

Normal is making sure that others remember him.

Normal is realizing that after the funeral is over everyone else will go on with their lives, but I will continue to grieve my loss forever.

Normal is listening to people try to compare situations in their life to my loss, but unless they too have lost a child, nothing can compare.

Normal is trying not to cry all day, because I know my mental health depends on it.

Normal is realizing I do cry every day.

Normal is wondering what you did to deserve this, because you have to blame something.

Normal is wanting to punch that pregnant, smoking teenager in the throat.

Normal is second guessing every decision you made and wondering if doing something differently would have changed the outcome.

Normal is wearing a mask and telling people you're okay, when you feel like you are going to break apart at any moment.

Normal is wondering how to answer the question, "Do you have any kids"?

Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.

Normal is knowing you will never be excited about a pregnancy in the same way again, and that you will never be able to let your guard down until you have a healthy, living baby in your arms.

Normal is wondering whether you'll ever feel like yourself again.

And last of all, normal is hiding all these things that have become “normal” for me, so that everyone around me will think that I am normal.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Birthdays not celebrated

Happy one week birthday, little guy. I miss you.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

One week ago

One week ago I was happily pregnant, sitting in our recliner on bedrest, POSITIVE that I would be one of those lucky people who had their water break early but made it to full term. Of course I would be, why on earth wouldn't it be me? I was doing everything right. Only getting up to pee, drinking tons of liquids, eating healthy, staying positive, repeating my mantras and positive affirmations, taking loads of vitamins. We had brand new sheets on the bed, washed everything we owned, had hand sanitizer at every turn, and I'd nabbed a few boxes of those infamous mesh panties from the hospital so I could change them every time I went to the bathroom. The house has never been so clean and there was no way infection was coming anywhere near me. I'd already passed the critical 48 hour mark and was half way to the 10 day milestone. There was no way I wouldn't make it, right?

Little did I know that in just three short hours I'd start to feel contractions (which I would initially pass off as indigestion).

In seven hours I'd be firmly in the throes of labor.

In eight hours I'd be in the hospital.

In twelve hours Caleb would be born.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Is there anything I can say other than UGH?

Today wasn't a great day. I don't know why. Yesterday was surprisingly good and I felt very peaceful and calm.

Today, not so much.

I don't want to be alone. I don't want to be with people. I don't want to think about it. I only want to think about it. I want to be anywhere else but here. I just want to curl up in the chair. I want to stare at his pictures all day long. I don't want to look at them. I want to remember. I want to forget.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Today should have been 20 weeks. The half way point. This morning, at 9:45, we should have been laying in the ultrasound room, eagerly awaiting the news that we were having a boy. A son. A perfect, healthy son. We'd call our families and share the good news and later, we'd go home and pour over names and decide on Caleb.

Instead, today at 2pm, I had my first postpartum follow up appointment to check on my empty uterus.

We didn't learn much. There were no abnormalities anywhere that they could find. Everything looked perfect. No visible obvious reason for the bleeding, which is what they suspect caused the water to break. In a small way, that's good news and a blessing - we can have a healthy baby; we can have a healthy pregnancy. On the other hand...we DIDN'T. We don't have a baby. We didn't have a healthy pregnancy. But we should have. There's no reason that they can give us for why this happened, and I wanted a reason so badly. Something we could FIX for next time to ensure that this doesn't happen again. Because oh, no. I could not do this again.

Considering the importance of today to my pregnancy, I did shockingly well. I only cried once...and it was when I watched/read this story, about a family who found out their son had Trisomy 18 at 20 weeks and chose to carry him to term. Believe it or not, I was actually jealous of her story, because she got five full days with her beautiful son, and I only got a few minutes. Isn't that horrible? Regardless, there were several very poignant quotes that really hit me. At one point she says something about going home "with an empty belly and empty arms," and oh, man, did the sorrow of that statement hit me. I could empathize with that feeling entirely, and it's exactly why this type of situation is so heartbreaking. The other thing she said was more comforting. She mentioned that in a way, her son was lucky, because he'd never know hate, he'd never have his heart broken, he'd never feel pain. In his entire, brief life, all he'd ever known was love. And it's so true for Caleb as well. In the 20 minutes that he was here, he knew total and complete love, from his mom and dad, grandma, and hundreds of friends, family, and strangers who couldn't be there in person but were thinking of him. That was an extraordinarily comforting thought that brought a huge smile to my face.

Love you, little guy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Random thoughts and jerkfaces

Someone asked me where I came up with the name "Heart in the Clouds." I didn't, even a little. I blatantly stole it from the name of this blog background. When this was a simple pregnancy blog (that was supposed to turn into a baby blog and a mommy blog and all that), I had a darling owl background. I had to change it in order for me to continue posting was far too cheery, far too attached to my pregnancy, and far too...alive for me to use. So I went to to find a more appropriate one. I debated between a few different options, but when I saw this one and saw the name of it, my heart caught in my throat. "Heart in the Clouds." That's exactly how I feel. So I not only used the background, but I kept the name as the name of the new blog.

Today started out pretty rough. Chris and I fought a little. I'm the queen of sarcastic comments, and sometimes since this all happened really awful ones slip out. Example: He handed me some papers, I asked if they were trash, and he (very) jokingly said, "Yes, I wouldn't give you anything important to hold!" Note that this is referencing my well-known and acknowledged habit of doing things like losing the remote while watching TV without having moved even an inch. I refuse to hold tickets to movies, even if I only have to walk five feet from the counter to the ticket guy for fear of losing them in those 10 steps. So this was not a mean comment and something we've joked about many, many times. This time, though, my response? "Yeah...I wouldn't either. Look what I did with the last important thing you gave me to hold onto."

Yeah. That's rough and truly not helpful to either of us. I'm trying to catch them - I know it hurts him when I respond like that, and it certainly doesn't make me feel better either.

Is anyone else just not sure how they are supposed to grieve? Obviously being a "snarky bitch" (as it's been called) isn't conducive to a healthy grieving process. I kind of want to go break some plates or shoot a gun or smash up a car or something. That'd be something - a demolition derby full of moms who lost their babies. Lots of anger there...we'd kick ass.

I think my milk is coming in. Yay! Milk for a baby that isn't here! (Eeek...there's that snarky bitch!) My boobs hurt really bad yesterday and seemed to get even larger, so yesterday and today I'm wearing two tight sports bras on top of each other and trying not to touch them. Between this and the bleeding, it's like my body is doing everything it can to keep my mind firmly on our loss.

Another bit of awesomeness? I made my follow up appointment yesterday, for tomorrow. This morning I realized that tomorrow I would have been 20 weeks, exactly, and it was when our big, exciting ultrasound was originally scheduled for. So instead of a happy, thrilling visit to the OB to find out if we're having a boy or a girl, I get to go to the same office to make sure that my uterus is properly contracting down to size after delivering our son. I have a feeling that tomorrow at 2pm I will be having my first public meltdown at the doctor's office.

I left the house for the first time today. We've been doing some spring cleaning to help keep busy and keep our minds off everything, and we managed to fill up six bags full of clothes to go to the Goodwill. Of course, once you start cleaning your house, you start seeing everything that needs to be replaced or updated, so we went up to Home Depot to check out new windows and some storage systems. I was totally fine, and the BOOM. In the checkout lane there was a mom and dad with a 7ish month old baby...AND she was heavily pregnant. Seriously? A baby AND a pregnant lady, all at once? I'm proud of myself that I didn't burst into tears, but it definitely ripped something loose in my heart. It seems like there are pregnant women and babies everywhere - all over the TV and even the super mindless celebrity gossip sites I visit sometimes (okay, almost every day. But...don't judge me, okay?). But at least with those, I can close the site or change the channel. What can you do in the middle of Home Depot? It's like life from now on needs to come with a giant, flashing TRIGGER WARNING sign.

So, all around me life goes on. There were people shopping at Home Depot, people driving down the street, neighbors coming home from work, and none of them know. I feel like shouting to them all, "MY BABY DIED. I DON'T HAVE A BABY. I LOST MY SON. MY ONLY CHILD. I HAD A SON NAMED CALEB."

I'm sure eventually I'll forgive people for not knowing, but right now it feels like they're all jerkfaces.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Caleb's birth story

Every Sunday for years, I've had Sunday dinner with my family. Always mom and dad, and whichever of the four children can make it. Usually at least three of us are able to get together at my parent's house. I look forward to it every week.

Since I was on bedrest, this particular Sunday they opted to come over to our house. I had been feeling kind of crampy but blamed it on gas. I was barely able to eat because of it, and shortly thereafter I went to the bedroom to lie down. I wasn't sure what was going on with me, and hoping it was still just gas and being overwhelmed. After a little while, I had to acknowledge that the pains seemed to be coming in waves, regularly. It was a low pain, though, so I still wasn't convinced it was contractions. I thought I'd be able to feel it throughout my entire uterus, but this was low, at my underwear line. My uterus, to my touch, still felt nice and soft and relaxed. I listened to my new Hypnobabies track called "Baby Stay In," and that actually seemed to help the pains a bit, but didn't stop them. At some point my family left. Chris was worried, and as they started to get more painful, we timed them. I knew the second I looked at the timer and they were three minutes apart and lasting about thirty seconds each that this was it. I called the nurse's line at the labor and delivery unit and left a message, and before they'd even called back, I'd made the decision that we needed to go in. I think it was about 8pm.

As we were in the car driving there, the nurse called back. She agreed with our decision to go in, and we continued on our way. We entered through the ER, and I was immediately put in a wheelchair and wheeled up to labor and delivery. I was placed in a birthing room, which was emotionally hard, what with the baby warmer and other "normal" pieces of equipment I knew we'd never be using. The contractions were coming harder and longer, but a little further apart at this point. The nurse checked the baby's heartbeat, and it was still there, pounding away strongly. That was probably the hardest thing at that time, knowing that the baby was alive and well inside me, and the second that I pushed, he (though we didn't know it was a he then) wouldn't be. I just wanted to keep him inside me as long as I could. Chris called my mom to come up to the hospital, and she arrived about this time.

The doctor came and checked me out and found I was a fingertip dilated. Not much at all. I passed another blood clot as I was being examined, and for a second I was instantly buoyed - I had been a fingertip dilated last time I passed a large clot, and the cervix closed up after that! Maybe this was all just to pass the clot! But then I remembered...I hadn't had contractions that time. This really was going to be the end of my story. Of my baby's story. Of my family's story, before it had even really gotten the chance to start.

The doctor gave us some grim statistics and possibilities if the planned vaginal birth didn't go well, ranging from having to have a D&C (D&E? I don't remember) to an emergency C-section with a vertical incision (which would mean that I would always have to have C-sections from then on) to blood transfusions. Chris was rightfully terrified at that point. The doctor asked if his residents could come in, and I said yes, figuring this might be their only chance to see someone in this situation and if my experience could help them be better, more caring doctors to someone in the future, I was all for it. So he brought in a team of students and had one of them give my some Cytotec to dilate my cervix (because I was passing so much blood, they, um, put it somewhere else down there. It was rather embarrassing and I'm rather embarrassed to say I cracked a joke to the poor mortified resident about taking me on a date first).  He said they'd check me again in four hours to see if they'd worked, and give me another dose then if necessary.  At this point I was expecting this to take a long time. It was about 11pm.

Shortly after, our spacey anesthesiologist came in to do a consult about the epidural. I'd originally wanted a natural, relaxed birth, but I couldn't wrap my head around going through the pain of labor and childbirth without that prize at the end, without that happy goal to look forward to when it was all over. I felt like the baby deserved to have the best birth - our original birth plan - but emotionally I just couldn't do it. I don't regret the decision, but my epidural experience did cement my desire for a natural childbirth for future pregnancies. He had me sit up and lean over, and pressed extremely hard on my hips to find my hipbones. I'm an average sized girl - it seemed so excessive and was insanely painful. He found them and used them as a marker to find the appropriate place to insert the catheter (after giving me the local and disinfecting everything, etc.), and I started to get very nauseous. I couldn't hold it in, and started throwing up. Getting a shot, having contractions, throwing up, emotionally spent...I was absolutely miserable. It took seemingly forever, through more contractions and more vomiting, before the epidural was finally in place. I lay there waiting for it to take effect, and it did...on one side. My left leg started to feel a bit tingly, but my right leg felt exactly the same. He did a few tests a few minutes apart (poking me with a toothpick and wiping with a cold wipe) to check the sensations and increased the dosage. Every time it was the same story - I couldn't feel pain between my knee and hip on my left side, but could feel everything on my right. I could feel each contraction (which continued to get more and more intense) on the right. It didn't lessen the pain at all, just made it more concentrated. They had me lay on my right side to try to use gravity to get the epidural going, and they adjusted the catheter a few times. FINALLY it started to take effect on both sides...but they'd had to use so much of it that my legs were completely dead. I couldn't move them at all. At some point I threw up again. I'd also started to shiver uncontrollably, and that lasted for hours. Throughout this time, Chris was amazing and so strong. I couldn't have done it without him. My mom, too, was a rock of strength for both of us.

As I lay on my side, I went a few moments without really being able to feel any contractions at all. Very shortly, though, I could feel them again, albeit lightly and not painfully. I brought this up to my mom, and she said it probably wasn't the epidural wearing off already, but the contractions just being that much stronger. Almost immediately after that, I felt something slip between my legs. It felt virtually identical to the passing of blood clots that I had previously experienced. I let Chris and my mom know what had happened, and called the nurse to let her know that I'd passed a blood clot or something. In back of my head it occurred to me that it might be the baby, and I mentioned that out loud, but didn't really think it would be. When the nurse got there, though, she lifted the sheet and confirmed. "It's the baby." It was 1:55am on Monday, April 12.

At that point, I started crying and buried my head in Chris's shoulder and said over and over, "I can't do this. I don't want to do this." He held me and told me I could, that I had to, that I WAS. I felt the rest of the baby slip out and called out to the nurse that he was all the way out (she'd been calling the doctor, letting him know that I had half-delivered). And then...then I felt him move against me. I remember crying out, "I can feel the baby move!!" The nurse gently said yes, he was alive and moving. The doctor arrived and asked me to lift my leg but I couldn't due to the epidural (I was still on my side), so my mom came over and helped hold my left leg up. They completed the delivery, and the nurse announced that it was a boy. I couldn't believe it. Somehow, that made it even worse. I thought it was a girl, I bonded with it as a girl, and I'd already grieved for Chris the loss of having a son (I'd been told over and over again that no matter what they say, every guy wants a son as his first child)...and now it WAS a son, what I'd secretly and not-so-secretly wanted so very badly, and all I could think was that this made it even worse.

Through tears I asked my mom how he looked, and she said he looked great...tiny but perfect. As the doctor wrapped up the placenta and took it away, the nurse brought the baby over. I could see his bright red, tiny little head poking out of the blankets and asked them to get a hat to cover it...I couldn't deal with that much reality. She immediately got one and brought him back to me. I'd already decided on the name Caleb, and the middle name Anthony popped into my head, out of nowhere. I have no idea where it came from, but now I see it's the most perfect name we could have chosen.

She handed him to me. He had weight. I was surprised at his heft. He was alive. I could feel him moving slightly. His eyes were still fused shut and he had the teeniest nose and mouth. His hands were perfect; his fingers sooooo long and slender. He had the most insanely tiny fingernails. He was really cute, and I felt shame at feeling surprise at that. His profile was darling. His tiny, perfect nose...

My mom held him for a moment while they helped me move into a more comfortable position and exclaimed over him. I will always love the memory of her holding him in her hands, rocking him side to side, whispering to him that we loved him and that he was so sweet.

Chris wasn't able to hold him...he just couldn't do it. I don't blame him. I wasn't sure I would be able to do it. I will forever mourn the fact that we didn't get to examine a perfect newborn together, our first child, counting fingers and toes, deciding who he looked more like, trying out his name to see if it fit.

At some point, while my mom was holding him, I asked the nurse to check to see if he'd passed away, and she'd confirmed that he had. My mom and I said our goodbyes so that the nurse could take him and get him weighed and cleaned up and hand and footprints made, knowing we'd see him again when she was done. We were waiting for the hospital chaplain to arrive to do a blessing. I'm not a very religious person, but it seemed right. The next hour or so was the worst...I didn't have him and I knew he was just on the other side of the door, and I knew that when the nurse was with me he was in there all alone. She brought me two memory with his foot and handprints in plaster, and one with his prints inked on paper, some pictures, and information on grief. There was a little pillow where they would have attached a lock of hair if he'd had any, and I was so sad he was bald so we didn't have that tangible, physical memory of him to take home.

The anesthesiologist came back to see how I was doing. He walked in, bright and cheery, and exclaimed "Congratulations!" Before I had time to register it, he realized what he'd said and quite literally ran out of the room. He came back a few moments later, repeated his congratulations in a more muted tone, and checked on me. He let me know he'd be in to remove the catheter shortly. When he came back, he looked around and said, "Where's your baby??," clearly having forgotten again who we were and what our situation was. Chris and I both caught it, but he again realized what he'd said and mumbled something to cover. Though ridiculous and unprofessional and bizarre, his was the only "Congratulations" we got and it was appreciated, even despite the fact that it was so clearly a mistake. Just a few days later we're able to joke about him, and having something to look back on and laugh about is a blessing.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the chaplain arrived. They brought Caleb back out, in a "real" baby blanket, and handed him to me. He was still warm. The chaplain, a soft-spoken and sympathetic woman, led us in a blessing/naming ceremony. It was good closure; as good as closure can be when you know you're going to be leaving a hospital after giving birth without your baby, and that your baby will never join you at home.

The rest of the story is almost an afterthought. We said our final goodbyes after the ceremony, and shortly after that my mom left. She'd been there all night, and it was now almost five in the morning. The feeling in my legs was just starting to come back. I remember being able to wiggle the toes on my right foot first. To the delight of the nurse, I used a rolling stool to get to the bathroom so I could avoid needing a catheter to pee (after thinking I could stand and having my legs collapse under me like jelly), they told us we were going to be switching rooms, we switched rooms (they put us at the far end of the wing, among a bank of unoccupied rooms, I assume to keep us away from the cries of babies who were alive and mothers who got to actually be mothers). We slept for a bit, we had visitors, we talked to the doctors and to Lydia, the midwife who I'd seen the most. We had the same day nurse that we'd had when I was in the hospital previously, a woman my mom's age named Kellie. She was again amazing. They told us we could leave when we felt comfortable, but that we could stay as long as we needed or wanted. We had breakfast. I could finally feel my legs again. They brought me the blanket he'd been wrapped in and his tiny pink and blue striped hat. I was thrilled to get the news that he'd have a birth certificate, for which I'd been sure he wouldn't qualify. We filled out some forms. With surprisingly few discharge instructions and orders to make a follow up appointment in seven to ten days, we left.

Without our baby.

Without anything but a plastic bag of stuff.

Happy birthday, Caleb.

Life sucks sometimes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tough day

Somehow I thought day two would be easier.

It wasn't.

It might have been even harder.

I woke up crying.

I'm sure I'll go to bed crying.

A box of baby stuff I had ordered online was delivered. I couldn't for the life of me remember what I had ordered, and the box wasn't marked, so I was absolutely not mentally prepared when I opened it and saw a tiny sweater that Caleb was going to wear for Christmas (before I even knew he was Caleb), a onsie, and two pairs of shoes.

In between the crying jags, though, I have moments...even an hour or so...of normalcy. Like watching Lost with my brother. Talking about camping with my aunt. Looking at new couches and deck ideas online with Chris.

The time after those bouts is almost the most difficult, because I feel like somehow I'm dishonoring Caleb by having normal conversations. 48 hours later it already feels unreal. Did I really go through all that? Was I really even pregnant? Maybe this was all a bad dream.

I hope this was all a bad dream.

Hands and Feet

He had the longest fingers. I wish you could see them in these prints.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Caleb Anthony

Our son Caleb Anthony was born at 1:55am on April 12, 2010. He lived for about 20 minutes and was beautiful.

Friday, April 9, 2010


This is the most difficult thing I've ever written.

On Wednesday, April 7, at 2am, my water broke.

I was 18 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

We immediately went to the emergency room, where it was confirmed via ultrasound that there was no fluid left.

The prognosis we received is not good. Most women deliver within 48 hours of their water breaking, and the vast majority of those who don't deliver immediately will within 10 days. Only 1-2% go on to deliver after a date when the baby could live outside the womb. We were admitted to the hospital and placed on bedrest. I received antibiotics for the entire two days we were there and IV fluids the first day. Baby and I were checked out every four hours - temperature, blood pressure, heartrate, etc. We received a second ultrasound Thursday morning. Baby continued to have a heartbeat, and this time they were able to measure fluid at a level of 1.4 (normal is 8-20). The doctor cautioned us that it was possible this was due to a different ultrasound technician or a better quality machine, but that it was something. And at this point, ANYTHING was cause for celebration. After we passed that 48 hour mark without delivering and appearing stable, we were discharged for strict bedrest at home.

I'm now at home counting every day that passes. Our first goal - 48 hours - has passed. Our next goal is the 10 day mark, which will be the 17th of April. After passing that, we'll be hoping and praying that we can make the 24 week mark, when our little baby would have a fighting chance of surviving.

Our big hurdles now are to prevent infection and to stay out of labor. I'm doing everything I can on both of those ends - staying laying down, drinking tons of fluids, saying my daily positive affirmations, taking lots of vitamins, and talking to other women who have experienced this who HAVE had a positive outcome. It's hard to stay positive with such slim chances, but we're clinging to that hope.

Be prepared for TMI about bodily functions and pregnancy:

The bleeding WILL stop.
My uterus WILL stay calm and relaxed.
My cervix WILL stay long and closed.
My amniotic sac WILL repair and replenish fluid.
I WILL stay infection-free.
Our baby WILL stay healthy and strong.

Chris has been absolutely amazing. He's taking such good care of me - I could never have imagined. I wouldn't want to do this with anyone else by my side. I'm lucky to have a strong family support system as well.

Anyone who stumbles across this blog, please send thoughts, prayers, positive vibes to me, to our baby, and to our family. I don't care if it's God, Buddha, your personal happy thoughts, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster....we will greedily and eagerly accept and welcome them all.

Monday, April 5, 2010

REALLY, Chewie?

I am sick of writing about blood and bleeding and spotting. So I'm not going to any more. Instead, I'm going to say "daffodils." Because it's spring!

Thanks to a huge gush of daffodils last night, I landed in the doctor's office AGAIN today. Granted, I've had some daffodils on and off this entire pregnancy, and Chewie Optimus Prime has been fine so far (according to that strong heartbeat). However, this was more daffodils than I've ever seen in my life in one big gush, so I was understandably freaked out. I called the doctor first thing this morning (after barely sleeping and many hours spent contemplating an ER trip) and they got us in right away. One concern was that since it was a gush (think water balloon bursting) that my water may have broken. The end result, after much prodding, was that they could definitely see daffodils all over the place (no surprise, since that's been evident for a while), but that (thank god) the water hadn't broken. In order to try to pinpoint a cause of all these daffodils, they moved our ultrasound up from next Friday, the 16th (11 days away) to THIS THURSDAY, the 8th (three days away!). She wasn't entirely happy about the change - they prefer to do the big ultrasound as close to 20 weeks as possible - but really wants to see if they can find out what's going on.

I feel like there aren't quite enough parenthesis in that paragraph.





Ok, done. Out of my system.

Anyway, so big ultrasound on Thursday. Praying that they can figure out where the heck all these daffodils are coming from. Hoping that Chewie is healthy and looking good. And keeping my fingers crossed that baby decides to put on a big show for us and show us that cheeseburger or, um...not cheeseburger.

Friday, April 2, 2010

18 weeks

Well, Chewie Optimus Prime H., we've reached 18 weeks. We're sooooo close to that 20 week mark. I can't tell you how impatient I am to get to April 16! Only 14 days left until we find out if you're Miss Chewie Optimus Prime or Mister Chewie Optimus Prime. And only 14 days left until we've reached the halfway mark! It's really hard for me to believe that the halfway point between December and September is APRIL. April seems much closer to December than it does to September.

I'm still waiting for you to make your presence known to me by giving me a good kick. I know it's common to not feel anything until even 22 weeks, but there are a lot of people on the boards that have been feeling their babies for weeks now, and I want to join that club! I've tried drinking orange juice, pressing my stomach in certain spots, jumping jacks....and the results of that are generally just having to pee. There have been a few times that I thought, "Wait! Was that something??" But I can't tell for sure...and it's hard to enjoy it if the chances are equally likely that it might have been gas!

In three weeks we leave for Aruba. My only hope for that trip is that my stomach rounds out and I start looking actually pregnant so I can be one of those darling pregnant bikini girls. Because if I put on a bikini right now, I'd just be a gross fat chick.

Sunday is Easter (or Zombie Jesus Day) and it will mark the first time most of the family will see me actually looking pregnant (The Belly looks much better in clothes than it does without). Since at least one family member has already told me I look gross (thanks, Mo) it will be interesting to see the reactions.