Monday, February 28, 2011

2.28.11

A little bit proud of myself today

Abigail Rose


Abigail and Ryan


It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Of course.  Most things aren't.  My crazy sister (she had a c-section one week ago) and her husband headed down to their beach house to drop some things off yesterday afternoon.  On the way home they stopped by so I could conquer my newborn girl fear.  Having them come to us helped me immensely because I was able to sit in my safe corner on the couch.

I have no idea where all of my emotions are coming from.  The baby issue - sorted.  I held a baby girl, I didn't kill her, I feel a little less uneasy about newborns now.  Despite that conquered the tears started up again this morning. I have no idea where they are coming from or why.  I feel like a walking commercial for anti-depressants - all gray sweaters, dark lighting, and sad faces.

Yesterday I was making breakfast when a wave of nausea hit me and I had to sit on the floor.  J was puttering around, washing grapes, filling the kettle for tea, when I started sobbing.  He turned, looked down at me, "Oh, wasn't expecting that," and then finished preparing breakfast.  Are my breakdowns really that common?  A year ago he would have flung the spatula down, sat with me, asked what was wrong, but yesterday he just kept going.  And I don't blame him at all. If he stopped what he was doing every time I started crying nothing would get done around here.

I think I just miss Charlotte.  In roughly ten weeks it will be a year since she was born.  A YEAR!  How is that possible?  Perhaps I'll cry from now until her birthday.  Perhaps I'll stay in bed from now until her birthday.  I always thought the first year would be the hardest.  That's what all the books say.  But after the first year a second year without her begins.  And in September of the second year without her this baby will be born.  Last night I realized I don't expect the newborn in my arms to ever be mine.  Even though I'm pregnant right now and everything is fine (knock on wood, cross fingers, say a prayer) I don't feel like September will bring happiness.

This post went from happy to sad rather quickly.  I'll end with three good things: I held a newborn yesterday.  I bought a bird candle at the bookstore for Charlotte today.  I've survived over nine months without her.

 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lullaby Giveaway Winners!

Thank you to everyone who participated.  I enjoyed reading about your favorite memories with your sweet babies.  Please e-mail me at rodman.angela@gmail.com by Wednesday so I can provide you with your code and set you up with the proper parties. 

THE WINNERS

#8: Leslie
#17: Ava's Mummy
#10: Dana
#6: Mommy4boys
#13: Tabatha

Congratulations!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Giveaway!!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a custom lullaby!  You have until noon tomorrow, my time.  I am giving FIVE lullabies away to help launch a new service for parents who have lost babies.

Friday, February 25, 2011

11 week appointment

I had a nice long prenatal with my midwife this evening.  I am so grateful to her for taking two hours out of her life to take care of me.  And yes, I just saw the maternal fetal medicine doctor last week for an ultrasound and prenatal.  I'm high maintenance.  

I cried.  It eased the hurt a little bit.  I've been crying a lot lately.  I cried while cleaning the kitchen today. I cried while preparing lasagna for dinner this afternoon.  I don't know if it's a hormone shift, or my way of working through some things that have come up.

My midwife couldn't find a heartbeat with the doppler, but I feel no anxiety about that.  I'm just eleven weeks, I saw the heartbeat via ultrasound last week, and my babies don't like dopplers.  While she was searching for it my midwife reminded me about how hard it was for her to find Charlotte's heartbeat until she was twenty weeks.  And once she really started moving she would scoot away from the doppler or push or kick against it.  I think Charlotte would have been strong and stubborn like her mama.  

I'm dehydrated thanks to the unwelcome visitor Tuesday night (food poisoning) and my blood pressure is a little low which explains why I feel dizzy every time I stand up.  And I've gained 1.4 lbs.  My midwife said that's more than most people gain at this point, but I'm hungry all the time and I rarely throw up so I'm not surprised.

I feel better after talking with my midwife.  Life has been overwhelming lately and I am having a hard time pulling myself off the ground.  J is out buying sundae toppings and renting a movie.  We had ice cream sundaes at our friends' house last night but I am craving it again tonight.  I cannot get enough ice cream and hot fudge right now and it makes me feel better temporarily.

My next appointment with my midwife is the 25th of March and on the 31st of March I'll head down to the maternal fetal medicine office for a growth check. Having a high(er) risk pregnancy is a new experience for me, and one that has been difficult to adjust to.  I am blessed to have kind caregivers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lullaby

It's giveaway time!

I need a little joy.  I'm coming off either a short round of flu or a short round of food poisoning and all I can do is eat bread, lie in bed, and try to rehydrate.  I was up all night last night, slept for the majority of the morning, and now think I may live through this.  To help me through I'm going to hold a giveaway for my fabulous readers.  Well, my readers who have lost babies.

Some time ago I received an e-mail via Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope about a new service for baby loss parents: custom lullabies.  Todd and his wife have been working on lullabies for babies who live at home with their parents, but he wanted to do a little extra and provide a wonderful, unique forever memory for baby lost parents.  Here is what Todd has to say about Lullaby of Love: (Warning: website has many triggers).

The first lullaby I ever wrote was for a still born baby.  The baby wasn't mine, but was the baby of a friend of a relative.  I was inspired by the mother's pride as she described her baby's beautiful features.  She knew from early in her pregnancy that the baby was not developing critical organs, and that even if she kept her full term (which she did), the baby would die.  I was moved to write a lullaby using the words she wrote in the birth announcement.  Unfortunately I was afraid to give it to her as I didn't even know her...the lullaby is lost now.

My wife and I have always had a dream of helping mothers bond with their children through music (my wife is a Music Therapist, childbirth prep teacher and a doula who specializes in Music Birth).  We started a site called Lullaby of Love a month ago.  Part of the motivation came from my regret that I didn't give the lullaby to that mother.

Todd and I have been e-mailing back and forth for a while now about how to provide this service for parents.  We agreed that a separate site is essential as most who have lost babies would find it difficult to see pictures of living babies and read testimony of how enjoyable the lullabies are for the entire family.

This is where you lovely readers come in.  I'll let Todd step in once more here and explain what he is looking for:


What we would really like to do is use our alternate home page to show how parents who have lost children can use a lullaby and slide show to celebrate, grieve and share with family in a beautiful and positive way. As I mentioned initially, the mother who inspired this service sent out pictures of her lifeless child to announce her short life. As painful as it was to witness, we feel that this can be a beautiful thing. Pictures of the new born, ultrasound pictures, family pictures, pictures of the parents with their child, or anything else that could go into a visual memoir like poems, messages from family members, etc. can be used to create these. 


Todd and his wife were kind enough to provide FIVE codes for me to share with you all.  I was going to give them out on a first come first serve basis, but that didn't seem fair to readers outside the States.  And like I mentioned above I need a reminder that the sadness I can't seem to shake right now won't last forever and giving gifts always cheers me up.


I am really excited about the opportunities for this website.  I have a code to use to make a lullaby for Charlotte and I can't wait to put together her song.  I also have one more free code, but I'm going to hold on to that one for a while. Maybe it will be my giveaway when/if I reach 200 followers ..........?


The Rules:


1. Giveaway is for parents who have lost babies only
2. Leave a comment about a favorite memory or special moment you remember with your baby (babies).  Even if you lost your baby at 8 weeks I'm sure you have a memory or two tucked away.  How you told friends and family.  How you found out you were pregnant ... 
3. Giveaway closes Sunday at noon (my time)
4. I'll pick five winners using random.org
5. I'll announce the winners Sunday night 
6. Winners must contact me at rodman.angela@gmail.com no later than Wednesday with their e-mail address so I can pass it on to Todd and his team.  I will provide winners with their code and Todd's contact information, but I need to pass yours on to him so he can help you circumvent the site's shipping fee and explain his vision for the alternate site.
7. If winners fail to contact me I will pick a new winner, or winners, Thursday morning. 


Love to all of you.  Life has not been easy of late and your support helps me through. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mercy?

Never going to blog again.  Pshaw.  I can't stay away.  Life has been HARD recently.

My sister's baby was born yesterday and while I am thrilled that baby is healthy I'm not coping very well with it all.

I stayed in bed from Friday to Sunday.  I raised my head above the parapet today and nearly lost it.  I went out to lunch with my dad this afternoon and ran into one of the regulars from the bookstore.  Our conversation lasted thirty seconds and in those few seconds she managed to get this out: "Well, obviously you're over it now."  Said while staring pointedly at my belly.  My dad was being seated by the waitress so I turned to follow him.  She was walking ahead of me and turned back to say, "Well, maybe you never get it over."  I shook my head and said, "No, you don't, but I am blessed to be pregnant again."  I wanted to drop kick her across the room but she is elderly and my mama raised me better than that.

And then there was the really bad news from today: my dear friend went in for an ultrasound this morning and learned that her baby had died three weeks prior.  A has pulled me through some dark times. She is my light through this journey.  Her dear babe died five years ago this May and she has been so kind and loving to me on this journey.  This babe is her third rainbow.  Dear mama has two babies in her heart and two in her arms. Where is the sense in that?  And to be completely selfish about it, we were a week apart and I was so looking forward to the next few months with her.  

The tears seem to be never ending.  The pregnancy hormones amplify everything which doesn't help at all.  I've actually wondered if all the tears that have been falling on my slowly growing belly can be good for little spark.  Charlotte knew my voice when she was born.  This poor babe will only recognize my tears.

I'm in the dark place, and like I told J the other night, you have to respect the dark place.  Back to bed for me for the next few days.  Life feels safer there at the moment.

But first!  A little brightness in all the gloom: I saw three rainbows today - one was this double rainbow.  The picture is not great as I took it with my cell phone, but two rainbows are visible.


In memory of a much loved sweetheart who sits with his or her sister in heaven tonight

2.21.11

Surfacing for a moment to announce that my dear sister's Abigail Rose is here and healthy!  Mama and baby are doing well.

I have yet to see the little darling as they are still in hospital and a labor/delivery ward is not where I want to be at the moment.  Hoping to find the courage to meet her soon.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2.19.11

I am exhausted.  I haven't bothered to move from this bed for a couple days now.  Of course there's trips to the bathroom and kitchen, but now that it's the weekend J is nice enough to make the kitchen trips for me.  I haven't been here in a long time; too sad to move, too disheartened to make an effort to shower, or wash my hair, or care about much at all.

I am tired of defending this pregnancy, Charlotte's birth, Charlotte's death, our choices as a family, the choices we may make in the future.  I'm tired of being treated like a child who is unable to make smart, wise decisions based on facts.

It feels to me as if I've spent most of this pregnancy backed into a corner defending myself and my choices.  Little spark's life is important and I will do anything in my power to preserve the heart that is beating away inside my womb right now.  But what about me?  What about my feelings?  In the rush to protect little spark my mothering capabilities and instincts seem to have been forgotten.

We - our little family, our team of two that should be three - will do what's right for this baby, but we wanted a little more time to work through a few things.  Everyone is running about flapping their hands - strangers, family, friends - about birth when I'm only ten weeks pregnant.  I want to focus on making it past the first trimester.  I don't want to put so much energy and tears into unnecessary conversations.    

Living an open life has consequences and I seem to be suffering from them.  I don't hide the fact that Charlotte was born out of hospital.  If someone asks for the full story, they receive the full story. I'm not ashamed of where she was born, but including all of the facts has led to me shooting myself in the foot twenty times over.

I'm tired of people thinking they know me from my blog.  Recently I've begun wishing for a private blog.  I always thought privacy was not what I wanted, that living this honest grief filled life was all I had to provide, and that maybe, just maybe, spilling it all here would help one other person.  But now I think that was just pride, a desperate attempt to prove that I'm not useless, not really, even though I couldn't keep my baby alive, haven't work since she died, and am now stumbling through a second pregnancy I desperately wanted but was ill prepared for.

I just want to be left alone.  And I'm not sure how that relates to this space.  I don't know if I can give up writing.  I'm sure I'll be back and feeling better in a few days, but right now I feel like I did in late spring/early summer: I don't want to talk, or interact, or answer the phone, or be nice, or please anyone but myself.

I think I'm in the midst of a transition, but from where I'm sitting I can't see where I left or where I'm heading.  I think I just need some quiet time, a few minutes, or hours, or days where I don't have to talk about Charlotte, my midwife, my choices (OUR choices), little spark, our choices surrounding little spark.  I feel like I've lost all boundaries, and I don't know how to go about rebuilding them.  I thought I was doing the right thing when I began writing about life without Charlotte.  Now I just feel lost, unprotected, unsure.

It's time for me to curl up, focus on little spark, focus on me, believe in myself, have faith in us as parents.  I have to stop trying to please and placate everyone around me.  I want little spark to thrive and that won't happen if I walk around stressed out with my hackles raised all the time.  I am determined to create a space of understanding, love, kindness, compassion and respect around our family of four.      


  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ten week appointment

Little spark gets an A+ from mama today.  The darling squirmed around, waved its little arm buds, had a good strong heartbeat of 176, and posed for a fabulous picture.




I also heard the heartbeat for the first time!  I love that beautiful, reassuring sound.  Little spark is growing as expected and the original estimated due date of September 15th has now become definite.  

Other good news: my thyroid levels are under control!!  I am so excited to have everything functioning well as the pregnancy progresses.

I love the doctors at the maternal fetal medicine clinic.  I rotate between Dr. K, Dr. Ba (another Dr. B so have to toss in the a) and the midwife M.  Now that my thyroid is under control I can see my midwife again which means less traveling to the clinic, which is just over an hour from here.

My next appointment with the specialists is set at the end of March.  It's hard to believe that I'll be sixteen weeks at that appointment.

I am a very, very happy mama.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Baby Loss Resources

After receiving a few e-mails asking about resources for those who have lost babies I decided to create a resource page.  I'll post here and then make a permanent page over on the right there.  I do not like the reason behind the e-mails, but I LOVE being asked.  Those who ask always apologize for asking, or bothering me.  It is never, ever a bother.  I am glad to help in any way I can, but this way people don't have to ask if it makes them uncomfortable, and when I do get the e-mails I have a response ready to go.

All of the websites I've listed have excellent resource pages, but most can't remember the names of the websites, or how to find helpful websites.  If you search for "dead baby" the first few sites that come up are for dead baby jokes. That's not very helpful, or funny.

I felt alone and very much like a one-woman freak show when Charlotte died. Finding websites, connecting with other mamas and realizing I wasn't the only lost one made those first few weeks - which are so awful as to be indescribable - bearable.  I hope these resources help you, or someone you love, feel less alone and scared.


 Websites:

www.glowinthewoods.com - Absolute lifeline for me in the beginning.  I love this page for including information about how to dry up milk when it comes in. Postpartum care and resources for women who have lost babies is seriously lacking.  

www.facesofloss.com - A place for people to share their stories.  Searchable database, by state, by situation, etc.  I've made many friends through this site and connected with others who had similar situations to mine. 

Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope also has an incredible resource page, a forum, and local support groups. There are TONS of ways to memorialize your child and the list provided is extensive: 

http://www.facesofloss.com/p/resources.html

The family and friends page is also very helpful:

http://www.facesofloss.com/p/for-friendsfamily.html

www.mollybears.com - This site creates weighted bears for those who have lost children.  I love my Charlotte bear and cuddle it often. The wait list is long, comfort won't be immediate, but the wait is worth it.

www.namesinthesand.blogspot.com - The wait list only pops up for twenty-four hours at a time so I recommend finding the facebook page as well (there is a link on this site) so you have a better chance of knowing when it opens up.  Once you get on the list it doesn't take very long to have the name written as long as weather conditions are good.  Be sure to check out the connected site www.thegriefeffect.blogspot.com too.

www.grieveoutloud.org - Another site with lots of helpful resources and links.

Books:

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken: Beautiful book, but she does talk about her second child. 

They Were Stillborn: Personal Stories about Stillbirth by Janel C. Atlas: Just published in December.  Haven't read it, but heard great things. 

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner: This book was recommended to me shortly after Charlotte died.  I highly recommend it for religious and non-religious folk.

Blogroll: 

There are blogrolls on many of the sites listed above, but one of my favorites is over at The Stirrup Queen as it breaks everything down into categories:

http://www.stirrup-queens.com/a-whole-lot-of-blogging-brought-to-you-sorted-and-filed


Postpartum Care:

As I mentioned above I feel like a lot of women navigate the first few weeks after their baby dies without help.  Who wants to return to their OB's office for a check-up one, two, or six weeks after their baby dies?  Earth Mama Angel Baby has a fabulous postpartum line for mamas who have lost babies (and they have no idea I am promoting it).  


The boxes come with "heaven sent" stamped across them which can be a little annoying, but if you can get past the packaging the products are thoughtful and provide healing and comfort.  If you don't know what to do for a mama who has lost a baby buy her the "Healing Heart Comfort Kit," add a box of sage tea, an Ace bandage or two for binding, a box of disposable nursing pads and leave it on her doorstep.  It is heartbreaking to experience the physical discomfort that comes after birth without a little one to snuggle and a little kit like this can help a tiny bit.

If stopping the milk supply is not right for you let it dry up naturally, or donate to a milk bank.  Below are three of the many options for milk donation.

http://www.hmbana.org/

http://www.helpinghandsbank.com/index.php

http://www.nationalmilkbank.org/

I am sorry you find yourself here.  Love, peace, and strength on the journey.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nine

Charlotte,

I have few words today, dear girl.  Life is precarious and all too often sad.  I imagine you sitting on a cloud, little spark next to you, holding hands, sibling love.  Two babies, one very full heart.

Mama loves and misses you.

ETA: Little one is fine. I just imagine him or her spending time with sister until it's time to join us here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2.12.11

I haven't bothered to get out of bed today.  I've been curled up with my Charlotte bear watching television online.  Next week is a big one.  I'm hoping it won't happen if I stay tucked up in bed, all cozy while the rain pours down outside.

Monday is her nine month anniversary.  Tuesday I see Dr. B.  Thursday I see the maternal fetal medicine specialist, followed by the midwife who practices there.  I cannot see my midwife for prenatal appointments right now as my thyroid is uncontrolled and she is not a certified nurse midwife.  I'll have a blood test on Tuesday and hopefully my levels will be sorted out so I can see my midwife again. I'm dreading the appointment on Thursday as it involves an ultrasound and the thought of one always makes me feel anxious and a little crazy.  

I'm very emotional and not feeling well.  I briefly got up to help with dinner, but I think J would've preferred it if I stayed away as I mostly stomped about and vented frustration.  I think J deserves an award of some sort for putting up with me when I'm pregnant.

We talked for a while last night and I explained to him that I didn't expect to be this crazy stressed the entire pregnancy.  He said he was prepared for a long and difficult pregnancy, emotions-wise, and he's really not surprised at all.

We've been at odds this entire pregnancy.  I'm trying to change my attitude so there's less friction between us, but my efforts have failed so far.  He expects to buy clothes, decorate the nursery, plan, plan, plan, while I'm pulling back and attempting to convince him that we shouldn't buy anything before thirty days, or whatever a store's particular return window is, so we can return all clothes and any extras we buy if the baby doesn't live.  It upsets him that I don't expect little spark to live.  I think I'm being wise, practical, but he thinks I'm being negative.

And then we talked through the issue of birth, where to, etc., and stars that is a mess and I'm really having a hard time coping with it all.  I feel like the worst mother in the world as I cannot surrender comfortably to the hospital process.  If one more person says, "A healthy baby is what matters," I'll scream ...

(This topic is huge ... I could go on and on about it.  I'll focus on it some other time if I feel brave enough.)  

I'm sick and sad and dragging around the pre-anniversary blues.  I know Monday probably won't be all that bad, but I remember feeling relieved when the doctor office switched my appointment from Monday to Thursday as I could not stand the thought of receiving bad news on one of her days.

Friday, February 11, 2011

2.11.11

I'm pregnant and grumpy.  Here in no particular order are a smattering of the phrases and comments that have come my way lately.

- Don't stress

- Relax

- Be calm

- Stress isn't good for the baby

- You have morning sickness?  Every time you sneeze it feels like your pelvis is trying to detach from your body and walk away?  You're only nine weeks and having back pain?
- It will all be worth it in the end 
- Strong symptoms, healthy baby (NOT true with Charlotte)

- I feel like this baby will be fine (I feel like it may rain this Sunday, but I haven't watched the weather channel, or checked the paper, or checked online.  I'm just standing outside, staring at the sky, and basing my feeling off that)

- Be positive

- Our thoughts become reality.  Think about this baby living (So I could've prevented Charlotte's death if only I had thought about her living & coming home with us??  Thanks for clearing that up for me)

- You're seeing a doctor, right?

- You won't birth out of hospital, right? 

- Please, have this one in a hospital

- Is this your first? 

- How old is your first?

- At least you are pregnant again

- How far into your second trimester are you?  You're only 8 weeks?!?!?!

- Don't stress

- Don't stress 

- Don't stress 

People don't understand that if they have not been pregnant after a loss I don't want to hear their well meaning advice.  I want hand holding, and encouraging words, and support for any and all choices we make.  Please sit with me and say, "I know you're scared, that's perfectly normal."  Please don't tell me to stop feeling the way I feel.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2.9.11

I'm sad tonight.  One of the little ones with us this week loves J.  I love hearing her little voice, "J, play, J hide."  She knows J is always up for a game of hide and seek, or running around at the park, or playing with her animals.

It breaks my heart to see him with her.  Charlotte should be nine months on Monday.  Valentine's Day.  The day of her baby shower a year ago.  A few days after we found out her heart was functioning fine despite a bit of concern.  I felt like something was wrong the entire pregnancy and when she cleared that appointment with flying colors I thought we were home free.  

From peaceful to uncertain in one day.  At lunch J said something about the baby and I interjected with, "If the baby comes home."  He slapped a plate down on the table.  "You know I hate when you say that."

I can't stop the worry.  I feel like I have to say 'if' before I say anything about this baby.  If we make it to ten weeks, if we make it to the second trimester, if, if, if.  Sometimes all of those if statements stack one on top of the other and tower over me.

Tomorrow marks 9 weeks.  I don't want to think about how many weeks I have left.  I shouldn't be pregnant again.  I should have a nearly nine month old snuggled upstairs with the rest of the kids.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2.8.11

I am in Sunriver this week.  It's fabulous. I'm curled up in a big chair by the window with a fire nearby and little flakes of snow drifting down outside.  The men are on the mountain, the little ones are napping, the women are reading, or in my case blogging before reading.

I was planning on skiing but Buttercup came along and changed those plans. It's 9 degrees and snowing on the mountain today.  I am grateful for the little ball of sweetness that is keeping me off the mountain and next to the fire with a good book.  I'm terrible at skiing so avoiding humiliation is fine by me.

The peace that crept in and wrapped itself around my soul on Saturday is still present.  I wish I had gone to the birth center before last Saturday as this feeling of peace has been lovely but I don't think the time was right.  My midwife wrote, "It's time," and I cried as soon as I saw those words on my cell phone screen because the fear of that place was overwhelming.

After spending a long stretch of time there talking about Charlotte, this baby, and any random thing that came up in conversation, I remembered that the birth center is a place of hope, love, joy, and birth.  It's okay to cry there while remembering the best, and worst, day of my life, but it's okay to laugh there too.

I don't know how long this peaceful feeling will last, but I feel calm about this pregnancy and a bit proud of how far I've come.  I don't know what will happen tomorrow, or the next day, or in September, but right now the house is quiet, the fire is flickering, the snow is softly falling, and all is well.

I hope all is well with you too.  I know how difficult it can be, especially in the early months.  And it's not all smooth sailing and the wind at my back here either, but life doesn't feel completely overwhelming anymore.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

2.6.11

"Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always try to be a little kinder than is necessary?" J.M. Barrie

I've never had a negative comment on this blog before and it's left me feeling a bit shaken. I have noticed that one comment often leads to two, then three, then ten, which causes the blogger to make their blog private. It would break my heart if I had to make my blog private. I appreciate all of you who have supported me through this journey but a few rules must be followed:
  • Respect Charlotte
  • Respect her birth
  • Respect her death
  • Respect our family
  • Respect my midwife/any midwives who cared for us before and after she died
  • Remember that I am a grieving mother
I will defend my midwife, I will defend Charlotte's birth, I will defend the birth center and any other midwives present at her birth and/or resuscitation if anyone dares to say she was improperly cared for.

Would I keep my midwife in my life, and ask her to help protect my emotional state throughout this pregnancy and help watch over this little spark if I thought she did not do all she could to save my Charlotte?

My midwife is kind enough to let me write about our relationship here. She has never asked me to censor what I write, or how much I share.  I do my best to protect her privacy, but many know her name, and I know the name of the birth center is floating around this blog somewhere though I try not to use it. Please remember that her life and perspective were altered when Charlotte died, and that our bond stretches a little wider than the typical one between client and care provider.

I am upset that a negative comment was left on a post about healing and growth. The rage (yes, rage. I'm pregnant and very rage-y, wonder if this one's a boy) I feel about the comments directed at the midwives far outstrips the hurt I feel about a negative comment dropped like a boulder on a very positive experience.

It saddens me that her birth and what happened after probably would not be questioned had she been born in hospital.  I have lost count of the times I have had to defend Charlotte's birth.  Whether a child lives or dies the mother who labored to bring her child into the world should not have to stand before that sacred memory, arms spread wide, and deflect criticism.

This is my space and I am very open with what I write here and the reason I can be so open is because of how kind most responses to my writing have been.

Respect the rules, please. If you fail to do so I will delete your comments and if you are a follower I will block you.

Love to all who have left kind, encouraging comments. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Return

"Panic at the thought of doing a thing is a challenge to do it." Henry S. Haskins 

I went back to the birth center where Charlotte was born.  After hearing about the nightmares I've been having my midwife said that if I was ready the time might be right.  I gathered all the courage I could find and drove out there this afternoon.  

I think there are moments when it is imperative to lighten the load, to set down some of the fear, to take a tiny step forward.  My midwife pointed out that it had been about thirty-eight weeks since Charlotte died.  I looked at a calendar when I arrived home and realized it was thirty-eight weeks this past Thursday.  I feel a little shiver when I think about how I carried her for thirty-eight weeks and revisited the room where everything changed just over thirty-eight weeks later. I don't think visiting around the thirty-eight week mark holds great meaning, but I wonder if my girl gave me the extra shove to get me there.  

My midwife came out to my car when I arrived and walked me inside, my hand in hers, supported all the way.  She handed me a glass of water and then walked me through the kitchen, across the short hallway, and into the room.  She had lit candles, dimmed the lights, and there was soft, beautiful music playing.

There was a candle on the floor in the bathroom and a picture propped near it.  


I sat on the couch for a few minutes and then we walked into the bathroom.  I was clutching a box of tissues and the picture that had been propped against the tub.  We were standing near the candle, my midwife's arms wrapped around me.  "This is where Charlotte was born," she said.

I often think of the birth center as the place she died as it was the last place I saw her breathe, but when my midwife spoke I was reminded of the beauty of her birth.  She was born.  She lived.  Charlotte was born in that very spot with a tiny cry and a distressed body.  

That room has always been about death for me, but after sitting on the bathroom floor, breathing in peace and calm instead of the chaos of an emergency, I no longer felt haunted or afraid.  Staring at the candle burning on the floor I felt comfort.  That spot is exactly where I remember Charlotte being born.  I felt a mama's pride at being right, at retaining that important memory.

We stayed until I was ready to leave.

I was afraid walking back into that room would leave me feeling desperate for what could have been.  I thought it may be like visiting the place where my former self died; where the me on May 14th was cleaved in two and left wandering a foreign country inhabited with other broken people, but it wasn't spooky, or gloomy, or even scary.  

I feel so much lighter.  I feel like I can take a deep breath for the first time since Charlotte died, like whatever was blocking my lungs, my heart, my soul has come loose a bit. 

My broken heart has a few more stitches.   

Gratitude and love to my midwife for walking this journey with me.     

Friday, February 4, 2011

2.4.11

Last night I went to the bathroom and when I wiped there was a little bit of pink. Lord have mercy, that will stop your heart.  I stared at the toilet paper, looked in the toilet, stared at my underwear, all was okay, just a little on the toilet paper.

We finished dinner while I fretted about the fact that I hadn't thrown up since Sunday morning.  The nausea had been strong, but the throwing up had abated which caused me to panic.  Twenty minutes after finishing dinner I lost it which took care of that particular worry.

I reassured myself with facts: no cramping, it's not bright red, it really wasn't very much at all.  I went to the bathroom again, again a little bit of pink.

I cried, a lot.  J traveled yesterday and didn't stop off at the hospital on the way home so he had his ultrasound machine with him.  I begged for a scan, he said no.  He really, really, really does not believe in unnecessary scans, or renting dopplers, or anything like that so even though there was an ultrasound machine in my living room he refused to scan me.

As the evening progressed there was no more pink and all seems fine this morning.  J said, "Does your horse ever get tired of pushing the cart?"  Haha, he's so clever.

Between J and my midwife I think I'll come through this pregnancy with my sanity intact, but I'm not so sure they'll be fine after.  If I had all the money in the world I would send my midwife somewhere sunny and far away from me whenever/however this pregnancy ends.  Hopefully we'll have a living baby come September and J will forget the tears and panic.

8 weeks 1 day, all is well for now.  This already feels like a very long pregnancy.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2.2.11

I'm sorry to inundate you with posts, but I think my brain may explode soon.

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I hope I didn't offend anyone with my last post.  If you need to camp out next to an ultrasound machine for your entire pregnancy, go for it.  It's simply not for me as waiting for ultrasounds increases my heart rate and makes me a little crazy.  Just ask my poor mother who had to sit in the waiting room and then the ultrasound room with me for close to an hour before the tech came in at my first appointment.
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For a solid week now I've dreamed of the birth center where I had Charlotte. The size of the house changes, the location changes, but the purpose is always the same.  Earlier this morning I posted about my dream on fa.ce.book.  A couple people commented that my head is working through where to birth this baby.

I think that is an accurate dream interpretation.  I've been trying so hard to focus on today, on making it to eight weeks tomorrow, and then nine, and then my ten week appointment.  I'm trying not to panic about where to have the baby, or how it will happen.  Though I am trying my best to hide these emotions below the surface I cannot bury them deep enough.  My brain is determined to work through the emotions and concerns I have about birth even if it has to do so while I am asleep.

I think the hardest part of these dreams is that I'm not allowed in the birth center.  Whether it's on a mountain, or near the ocean, or in a random suburb the door is closed and no one will let me in.  I pace on the porch, I look in the windows, I see people inside, but when they see me they shake their heads and shoo me away.

Last night I was allowed to go inside.  I went to the bathroom and after I went I saw blood in the toilet.  I yelled for my midwife who met me in the hallway.  She told me I had to leave, that I couldn't stay even though I was scared and bleeding.  "You need to stop worrying," she said.  "We can't help you here."  And once more I found myself standing on the porch, looking in.

I wake up from these dreams terrified.  The people who refuse help, who refuse entry are the very ones who helped me when Charlotte died.  I don't understand why I can't be with them for this pregnancy, for a second birth.  The feeling is so strange and false because they ARE helping me with this pregnancy, but when I wake up I feel very alone and lost.  

I hope the dreams stop soon.  When the birth center dream pops up every night I try to wake up because I don't want to dream about it anymore, but I cannot walk away from that porch.  A part of my heart, or head, or soul, or maybe it's just a random reflex that I cannot control, refuses to stop peeking in the windows and pulling on the locked door.



    

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How much is too much?

I lurk on various pregnancy boards and the number of posts about early ultrasounds and the worry they cause is astonishing.

When my mother was pregnant ultrasounds were rarely done, if at all.  If you were two weeks late you went to the doctor for a blood test to determine if you were pregnant.  There were no home pregnancy tests which cause a bucket load of anxiety in and of themselves.

I had an early ultrasound with Charlotte and this babe because I have dating issues.  But MOST women have dating issues since estimated due dates are based off last menstrual period and a thirty day cycle with ovulation on cycle day 14.  How many women actually follow that pattern?

When I went in for my first ultrasound the tech said, "I think you're 5,4 but I need to do a non-abdominal scan to make sure.  She left the room, I went to the bathroom, and when I came back my mom said, "You're only 4 weeks?"  I explained to her that 5,4 means 5 weeks 4 days.  She looked a little surprised that dates can be so accurate now.  "When I was pregnant you were lucky if you knew you were around three months," she said.  I'm a fan of medical advancement, but a small part of me wishes for that simplicity.

While I like knowing everything is fine with the baby, especially this early on when a heartbeat cannot be detected with doppler or a fetoscope and kick counts don't exist as the babe is the size of a strawberry, I'm not sure it's worth the anxiety.

And there is SO MUCH anxiety.  What can I eat?  What can't I eat? Avoid caffeine?  Avoid deli meat?  What about tuna fish?  What about sugar free gum?  What about, what about, what about????  The anxiety that most pregnant women haul around cannot be good for mama or baby.  And the anxiety that a woman who has lost a baby carries around on top of that is simply staggering.

I will have an ultrasound at my next appointment because the doctor wants to solidify dates and then if he doesn't think another one is necessary until the abnormality/anatomy scan I won't have another one.  I am also a little uncertain as to just how safe they are.  I know, I know everyone says they are perfectly safe, but it makes me nervous.

My perspective may be different from many who are carrying their rainbows as Charlotte died after birth not in my womb.  Labor and delivery may require extreme medical intervention for me.  I hope not, I hope I can find the strength to have a second natural birth, but just thinking about it right now sends shivers up and down my spine.

ETA: I forgot to mention that I will most likely have multiple scans in the third trimester as there is some concern about how small Charlotte was at birth.  I might just grow small babies as J and I are smaller people or Charlotte may have stopped growing and/or struggled to develop.

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