Friday, July 29, 2016

Finn--the Fast and Furious!

After a heartbreaking miscarriage exactly one year ago, and what felt like the longest pregnancy ever, I'm so excited to share Finn's birth story with you.  Also SUPER excited to have a story to share that doesn't start with a scheduled induction!

One day old

Even though I was only 38 weeks, I was convinced this kid was never going to come without some force.  I was actually supposed to be at my final prenatal appointment, scheduling my induction just 5 hours after he was born.  After months of contractions, I had still made no progress at my appointment the week before. Not dilated, baby still very high.  Quite discouraging news--even if it doesn't really mean anything.


Tuesday, May 31st, however, I had probably the fewest consistent contractions that I'd had in months.  That morning, I took Jack and Lucy out to run errands.  We went to Home Depot to get plants for the garden.  We went to a local nursery to buy more plants when Home Depot didn't have what we wanted.  


This particular nursery has several large fish tanks, a gold fish pond with turtles and a bunch of people exotic birds.  We walked around a long time and the kids had a blast. Since they had been awesome little assistant shoppers (and because it was the one thing that always sounded good--and because they have diet Dr. Pepper), I took them to Chick-fil-a for lunch. 


Watching the fish and turtles

 After lunch, we came home.  I was apparently feeling ambitious, because I let the kids eat ice cream on the porch--which resulted in an impromptu bath time.  


Later, when Kate got home from school, I took her to Walmart and Target to get some supplies for a school project and a new bottle of insulin.  While at Walmart, I texted Kraig, "Maybe we can just go to the hospital tonight." Haha. I even called my mom and told her I figured I'd go into labor after using the new bottle of insulin once.  It's not cheap, so I had put off getting a new vial until the day I needed it!



Walmart selfies!


After putting the kids to bed, I decided to go for a walk.  I walked 5 laps around the church parking lot, having my normal, occasional contractions.  After I came home, I bounced on my yoga ball for a few minutes and we went to bed around 11:00 (after taking my insulin from my new vial, of course!).  I was having basically no contractions at all--very unusual for me.  

I woke up a little later, at 12:30 a.m. on June 1st, to a really strong contraction. It surprised me, but I fell back asleep. Ten minutes later, another contraction hit. As soon as it was over, I sat up.  I knew if another contraction hit that I wouldn't handle it well in that position. After the inital two contractions, they were coming every 2-4 mins apart and lasting up to 2 minutes each. That left very little time in between. 


I tried every position possible to get comfortable, but the pain was barely manageable. I was still convinced the contractions would stop, so I decided to give it an hour before waking Kraig. In hindsight, this was just stupid!  This is my fourth baby, but my first where I wasn't induced. I truly didn't think my body was capable of labor on its own! 



In between contractions, I sat on my ball, playing Mahjong on the iPad and using a contraction timer app on my phone.  I was in severe denial. Haha. 



After an hour, and literally being on my hands and knees to get through each contraction, I woke Kraig and told him I thought it was time. He called in help for our other kids at 2 a.m. While waiting, I decided I'd be more comfortable laboring outside, where I could be a little louder without waking the kids.  Nothing like being on your hands and knees on the blacktop driveway!  Our fabulous help, Winnie, arrived around 2:30 a.m. and we headed to the hospital.  


I was getting nervous about having Finn in the car at this point, so I was trying to hurry Kraig along.  Stop signs aren't necessary at 2 in the morning, right?


We arrived at the ER and I had two contractions before even making it into the building. Another one hit about as soon as we got to the registration desk, and without hesitation they grabbed a wheel chair and quickly took us up to L&D. The girl pushing the wheel chair was basically running with it.  She did NOT want to deliver a baby in the elevator.  


I was "checked in" to the hospital computer system at 2:48.


After the ridiculous check in process, where I was on my hands and knees moaning in the thankfully empty lobby, I was taken to a triage room and asked for a urine sample. They were clearly not sensing the urgency of the situation!  


As I was sitting on the toilet, my water broke--which sounded like an explosion. It was so loud, my husband and the nurse heard it through the closed bathroom door. The nurse rushed in and helped me out to the bed. I had no desire to lay down, but they insisted that I must so they could check me. Laying down was NOT comfortable.  At. All.  


As one nurse was checking me, two more were undressing me and I was suddenly wearing a hospital gown. The nurse announced that I was 10 cm and I felt SO relieved. I was afraid that she'd say like 3 cm and I knew I couldn't manage this level of pain much longer. They immediately called my doctor and wheeled me across the hall to a delivery room, which they were still setting up as I was moving onto the bed. They quickly tried to attach monitors and put in an IV in between contractions. 



I was pushing almost immediately and the hospitalist came in to attend the birth. He had sleep lines on his face, which was hilarious. Before long, a doctor from my practice came in, and Finn was born quickly after that. 



From the time we reached the registration desk to when Finn was born was 27 minutes. 







He was born at 3:15 am, after a labor that lasted only 2 hours and 45 minutes. 



It was completely shocking, but awesome. Once he was out, I realized there were nearly ten people in the room.  Apparently, the speedy delivery was their entertainment for the night. L&D was VERY quiet at that particular time.  



I was so thrilled to have my second unmedicated birth. Even better to not tear and need stitches.  I was GBS positive, however, and there was no time for antibiotics during delivery, so we had to stay a full 48 hours for observation.  But he's perfect!


 Little man was already above his birth weight at day 5 and clearly is nursing like a champ. So thankful to have him in my arms and not my belly! And even more grateful that we made it to the hospital and didn't deliver him in the car!

Meeting the rest of the crew:)


Eight weeks later...


We're settled in pretty well and even getting some sleep!  He weighs around 13 pounds and is starting to smile and coo like it's his job.  He's getting too big too fast, but we are so in love with him!

One month old

7 weeks old

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Rainbow and the Rain--Pregnancy After Miscarriage

I've started writing this post a dozen times, but I keep putting it off.  Writing is a good outlet for me.  It helps me "talk about" things that are on my heart that I would have trouble expressing in person to someone.  And the whole miscarriage thing is awkward to bring up.  Other people don't want to bring it up because they're afraid they're bringing up something you might be uncomfortable talking about or that they'll make you cry.  And you, as the one who's been through it, sometimes assume that everyone around you is done hearing about it and you hesitate to bring it up again--if you even had the nerve to bring it up in the first place.

Today was a much needed reminder that I'm not alone in this.  That people haven't forgotten our loss.  That people still think my grief is valid.  And I needed that.

My sweet, sweet friend gave me this at church today.  Well, not this exact one...mine has four turquoise beads and one pearl.  The four turquoise beads represent our living babies, and the white pearl represents our little one in heaven.  It's so perfect.




The card with it said this:

Stacy,

I feel like no matter how hard I try, I'll never have the right words to say so I hope this gift shows you how much I think about you and pray for you.  Even if you don't wear this, I hope you can enjoy it in some way to celebrate all your sweet babies, both here and in heaven.  There is a special place in our hearts for you all and your kiddos!  We love you!

And I cried, of course.

Pregnancy after miscarriage is definitely different.  I was never really concerned about miscarriage before I had one, but the fear definitely loomed through most of the first trimester.  I was thrilled when I found out I was pregnant again (in the bathroom at Target!), but the excitement quickly turned into anxiety as we got closer and closer to my first appointment.  I dreaded walking into that office.  I dreaded being taken back to an ultrasound room where I might get bad news.

There was a definite emotional battle off and on throughout the entire pregnancy.  It took me until after our 20 week ultrasound before I felt comfortable going to appointments without Kraig.  Even then it was hard, but by then I could feel that he was alive in me.  The rest of the second trimester and most of the third were much less anxiety-filled, but my emotions have definitely been on high alert lately.  

This last trimester and the quickly approaching birth has brought up a lot of the pain and anxiety all over again.  The fear of this one not making it either.  The fear of the emotions of labor and delivery, as I will inevitably remember the baby that we lost and the hospital experience of my D&C.  The guilty feelings of being happy about the baby that will soon be here.  There are a thousand feelings, really.  

My friend was definitely following the Lord's leading to gift me with this right now.  I don't even think I was aware of how much I needed that reminder that the life that is gone was precious and has not been forgotten.  I needed that reminder that I'm not alone.

Having a reminder of all 5 of my kids on this necklace is perfect.  It's a way to carry them all with me, and it creates an opportunity to share my story if anyone should ask.  And I'm so very thankful for that.  The silence does no one any good.

If you're in my shoes, know that these feelings are normal.  I pray that you'll have someone who will show you that your loss isn't forgotten--that your pain is still very real and recognized.

If you're a friend of someone who's in my shoes (pregnant or not), don't be afraid to reach out.  I'm sure it's awkward.  It's definitely something that's so terribly hard to understand if you've never been through it, but just acknowledging someone's loss can mean the world to someone like me. And it doesn't have to be in the form of a gift.  A simple card or even a text can mean a lot!

I'm very thankful my awesome friend didn't let the awkwardness get in the way of her ministering to me.  And ministering to me is exactly what she did.  :)

Hoping my next post is a birth announcement!!


**These beautiful necklaces 
and other similar jewelry can be found at www.rachelle-isms.com 
She has a lovely Etsy shop.  The card that came with the necklace says, "Miscarriage is a silent pain. My hope is that each nest encourages mothers to share their stories and heal."  My feelings exactly!**

For more posts about miscarriage, check out the My Miscarriage Journey page for all my posts.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

To The One I'll Never Hold



The past few weeks have been up and down.  I've been thinking about you a lot.  Missing you.  Crying for you.  Remembering you always.

I knew February would be hard.

I sat in church today and realized we probably would have been meeting you in 6 days or so.  I probably would have had gestational diabetes and, given my experience with your brother and sisters' births, would have been induced early.  You weren't due until the 20th.

I should be meeting you next week, though.

But I'm not.

Someday.

But not here.

And it all feels so wrong.

I'm so happy that you're getting a little brother, but he'll never get to meet you either.

It's always sweet to feel him kicking and squirming in my belly, but then I remember that you're not there.

That I never felt you move.

And it's JUST. SO. HARD.

Feeling happy feels wrong at times, because I'm sad, too.  I'm not replacing you.  I'm not forgetting you.  But there is so much good to be happy about, too.  God has really blessed our family.  You would have loved being with us.

And we would have loved so much to have you.

And I'll never understand why.  

But I am thankful for the way God has used you, even though you were never here.  He's used you to help me help others who have little ones in Heaven, too.  He's used you to remind me to enjoy every single second I get with your siblings.  He's used you to remind me to lean on Him.

And without you, we probably wouldn't have this little guy I'm carrying now.  And I'm sure God has big plans for him, too.

I'll never forget this pain.

But I'll also never forget the joy you brought me and your daddy.

You will forever be loved.

So, I'll let the waves of grief come again as we approach your due date, because you were a life worth mourning.

Missing you always, little one.

Love,
Your Momma


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Because Hope Grows

Everyone has a different timeline for their grief.  We certainly are not "over" the loss of our baby, but we did decide we were ready to try again.

And it worked.

Very quickly.

So quickly that it was hard to even begin to process.

But seeing God's hand in this so far has been pretty astonishing.

For the whole week before we found out, Jackson kept telling me, "Mommy, I told God to put another baby in your belly and He did. There's a baby boy in there right now. And I asked Him not to take this one away."

And I'll admit it--the first time he said it, I had to sneak away and cry.

But he just kept talking about it.

After a week, I realized that maybe he was right.

I secretly bought a pack of tests and took one.  It was faintly positive.  I couldn't believe it.  So I waited four hours and took another.  Then another in the morning.

Then the next night, I made an excuse to take a trip to Target after the kids were in bed.  Bought a digital test this time. And there, in my favorite bathroom stall at Target, the test read "Pregnant."

It could not be denied.

So I snapped a quick pic and went to the van, where I sat and bawled.  It was like a sense of relief almost, knowing that I could conceive again.

Finally feeling confident, I came home and told Kraig, who was equally surprised at how quickly I happened.

Good to know Jack was right! For over two weeks, the kids were insistent that I'm pregnant and making all sorts of comments.  It was fun to finally tell them last week.



I guess between this being my 5th pregnancy and having been pregnant so recently, my body is just trained to look pregnant.  Had to get out maternity pants two days ago.  There's no hiding it anymore. Kate actually looked at my belly earlier this week and said, "Is there something you're not telling us?" 

Oh my.

So here we are.  I'm due June 9th, which is also our 9th anniversary and the day before we found out we were expecting this past year.  Seems like such sweet timing.

Sure, there is some fear involved in being pregnant again, but there is also joy and excitement and hope.

I'm positive someone is reading this thinking, "Didn't they learn their lesson last time about announcing so early?"

And the answer is a resounding YES! We learned, for sure.

We learned that had we not told, we wouldn't have had the time to celebrate the pregnancy we had nor the amount of support we had when we experienced the loss.

And, yes, there is always a possibility that we will lose this baby, too.

More than anything, though, I know that IF that would happen, I would need people to know.  I would need the support again.  I truly believe that not mourning privately helped validate my loss and helped me to grieve.

But for now, we rejoice because hope is growing in my heart and in my womb.  And a life should be celebrated.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Because I Understand Now

It's been a good few weeks for me, emotionally.  It's been 11 weeks since we lost Baby #4.  I was 11 weeks pregnant.  I miss that little one.  Not a day has gone by without remembering what we lost, but I hadn't cried in over two weeks.

But yesterday...

I was reminded yesterday that today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day.

And I am SO aware.

Before this year, I had seen posts by many sweet friends who have lost little ones and been sad for them, but this year I understand.

This year I'm mourning--not just for me--but for my friend B , who lost a little one to miscarriage last year.

For my sweet friend T and her losses.  You were my first real glimpse into this pain.

For my friend L, whose loss is more than I can even imagine.

For another L who lost her first and delivered a stillborn daughter.

For D and her recent losses.

For J and her sweet one.

For J and her sweet little girl.

For G who reached out to me because she went through miscarriage over 30 years ago.

For my mother-in-law and my husbands family, who lost a child and a sibling.

For S who lost her first little Peanut to miscarriage.

For S and her multiple miscarriages.

For A who lost her first to miscarriage.

For J and Baby August.


Each of these women helped me in my grief.  They shared their dark days. They shared tears and hugs and words of hope. And I am forever grateful.

The ache is very present today, but we mourn together.

Today, I'm thinking about what I would look like at 22 weeks pregnant. Thinking about feeling all the little kicks and somersaults. And I miss my little one.

If you're struggling with the loss of a pregnancy or infant, too, PLEASE don't carry that weight alone.

Reach out.
Share your story.
You never know who you might help just by not being silent.





Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Call to Love

Life seems just so absolutely messed up sometimes.  Not just my life, but the entire world.

There's more turmoil, fighting, hatred and all out, absolutely ugly, un-Jesus like behavior out there than I even know how to emotionally process.

And that's not just the secular world.

Christians often seem to be right there in the middle of it, forgetting that Jesus taught us to love--that the two greatest commands He gave us were to love God with every ounce of our being and to love everyone else like we love ourselves.  But we don't.



In spite of how evil, perverted, and confusing the world has become, we are still called to love.  God never said we should become an exclusive club and only love our own people. He told us to love--no stipulations.

Somehow we've strayed from "loving the sinner but hating the sin" to hating the sin, the sinner and anything that might possibly be connected.

We're scared of certain types of sinners and their sin, so we all but condemn them to hell rather than try to reach them and believe that God is powerful enough to change them.

We're scared of people who have a different religious preference than we do, so we're content to let them be homeless, starving refugees or, even worse, dead because they couldn't make it to freedom safely. We certainly couldn't accept them into our country or our homes, because they might have been taught to persecute Christians. Oh wait..remember Paul? God changed him from being the biggest persecutor of the church to being one of the men who is hugely responsible for the growth of the early church. The next Paul might just be seeking asylum in our country, waiting for you to show him what the love of Jesus looks like.

We're scared of investing our time into people we don't already know, because these people
might require something of us. They might be needy. We might not like them. They might not be "our kind of people." So we're content to stay in our comfortable little routines and ignore God's call to share His love with others.

Let's remember this, we are ALL sinners.  I am thankful my sins are covered by the blood of Jesus, but that doesn't make me superior to people who aren't Christians.  It actually gives me an even bigger responsibility to love these people, in spite of whatever is "wrong" with them.

Not only are we all sinners, but we are ALL created by, loved by, and made in the image of God.  These people that we're so scared of are people.  Human beings. Part of our family.  They're all just prodigal children who need to come home.  Who need to be loved.  Who need to see that there is something more to this whole Jesus thing than becoming a superior person who gets to condemn sinners.

Let's not write people off because of who we think they are.  Only God can know who they can become when His love washes over them.

They will never come to know the love of God through our hate, our apathy, our condemnation, our avoidance.

They will know we are Christians by our love.

And that love--the true, sacrificial love that we're called to live out--is a love that turns heads and hearts toward Jesus.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13



Thursday, September 3, 2015

When the Waves Come Crashing In

Saturday marked the one month point from when we found out we had lost our baby.  I keep wanting to write more, to share what I'm feeling, but I've been hesitant.  I'm hesitant, because I've gotten remarks from people that make me think they think I should have moved on by now.  That I should just be able to forget and get over it.  I guess since they've gotten over the initial sadness, they think I should have, too. Or perhaps I'm reading into people or assuming things, but that's what it seems like.   I've tried to be gracious toward people who make insensitive comments, but it's hard.

Most people are truly unaware of the way their words come across. And I get it.  Prior to this experience, I know I have said all the wrong things, too.

All I really want is for you to say I'm sorry.

Maybe to hug me if we're close and not even say anything, because your actions communicate that you still care.  That you're still remembering us in our time of grief.

To tell me that you're still praying, because I need it so much more than you know.

To ask me how I'm doing and be okay with me telling you.

I don't need you to try to fix my problem or psychoanalyze me.

And please, please don't tell me there can always be another baby because I'm still young enough and there's still more time.  You don't know that.  You don't know God's plan.  You don't know how terrifying the thought of being of being pregnant again might be.

And when you say that, it seems that you're implying that this new baby will replace the old baby.  And, frankly, that just makes me mad.  A baby couldn't replace my three Earth-born children, so why in the world would it replace the one in Heaven?

You can be certain that our Heaven baby is one of our children.  That we had already become a family of 6 in our minds. We had planned for where the baby would sleep, where the car seat would go, what we would name him or her.  So many hopes and dreams were held in my heart for this baby,  just like the hopes and dreams I have for the other three.

Every time one of the kids does something new, it's just a reminder that we'll never get to see our Heaven baby do that thing...or anything.

And part of me knows I should be grateful to have a baby who is completely safe from the pain, the hurt, the chaos of this sick world, but my heart aches to have my baby in my arms.

I ache.

Some days are better than others,  for sure.

A friend of mine who's dealing with the same grief described it to me well.  She said that some days she's okay.  She knows what might set her off, but things are manageable.  Other days the grief comes in like a giant wave that you didn't see coming, and it knocks you down before you even know it.

Today is that day for me.



Some days I ride the waves, some days I'm under water.

Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:6-7


Praying for peace!