Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Perinatology, take 2

Today we met with the perinatologist again. The appointment was overwhelming, emotional and full of scary statistics and information that didn't exactly make me feel better. As the perinatologist pointed out, we're in the roughest month of this pregnancy so far, with the 24wk5d mark coming up, and we'll leave it even more worried than we have been so far.
Before today's appointment, I looked up fetal anemia. The following website explains it, what you do about it, and the risks involved with the treatments:

http://childrens.memorialhermann.org/services/fetal-anemia/

All of this info was confirmed by the perinatologist. We of course had many more questions, and the bulk of the consult was going over them:
Is the progression of my antibody levels what is normally seen? As in, are mine rising too quickly or more slowly? The answer, they're basically right on track.
What are the odds of needing the blood transfusion? We're told less than 50%, however the office we're going to saw 6 others with this issue in the past year, 3 of which needed transfusions.
Does one transfusion do the trick? Nope. We may have to do multiple ones, each carrying the same amount of risk.
What blood is used? The mother's blood type with antigens and antibodies the baby needs for survival once born. This still doesn't make sense to me, but I can ask at my next appointment in two weeks.
The risks of the transfusion? It's like an amnio, but goes straight into the umbilical cord, and can cause cause bleeding at the site of injection. It can also cause preterm labor. And we didn't go over this, but death is also a risk....
So what do we do now? Monitor.
Starting with today's appointment, here is our current plan:
We'll see perinatology for all of my ultrasounds as they are much more high tech and can monitor blood flow. What is being looked at specifically is the blood flow in the brain (an artery I believe). If the baby becomes anemic, the brain says it's need more oxygen and so the blood pumps harder and faster through the brain. The number we want to be below is 1.5, and with today's ultrasound, it is currently 1.16, normal.
We'll have these ultrasounds every two weeks and then see the perinatologist to go over any new questions. If the number goes above 1.5, the transfusion is scheduled immediately. However, they've noticed that the steroid shots given to help Baby Boy 2's lungs develop (just in case we have to deliver early) actually deregulate everything including the antibodies and anemia, but only for a week or two.
If the anemia does not resolve with the transfusions, which would be every two weeks, then delivery is set. If a transfusion is not needed until 34weeks, Baby Boy 2 is delivered early to avoid transfusions as his survival is greater outside of the womb than within it with the risk of a transfusion.
So what can we do? Watch and wait. Hopefully for nothing to happen, but with odds like 50%, I'm not feeling so lucky....
And so we go to the hospital for compensation for all of these appointments as this is something we should not be dealing with (and therefor paying for) in the first place. We should only have to worry about getting to 36 weeks. Not about whether Baby Boy can survive inside of me through to 36 weeks.
I'm grateful the perinatologist recognized the 24th week coming up for what it's going to be for us. Emotional, stressful, scary. And I feel like she understands that a whole new and unnecessary layer of stress and worry have been added to our load to bare. Yet this time when we left she sounded more optimistic, focusing on getting to 36 weeks without any other issues, even scheduling the c-section once February hits, even though anything can happen in the two months between. She even encouraged us to find a pediatrician, something I thought was still months away.
I guess we only have 14weeks to go to hit 36weeks, just a few months really. But every day drags on as I sit waiting for kicks, wondering if my cervix is okay, and now if Baby Boy 2's blood is fine still. Two weeks between each check feels like an eternity right now.
But I just want everything to be fine, and truly do hope that nothing more happens.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas in Loving a Memory of Korbin

This year we adopted a 1.5 year old boy for Christmas named Said. He is severely ill, and has been in and out of the hospital many times already for heart surgeries. Though selfishly I wish we were shopping for Korbin, I do enjoy being able to brighten this little boy's Christmas morning.


The gifts are things he needs and hopefully some fun toys he'll enjoy playing with for a very long time. And I loved seeing Ryan getting into the giving spirit with me and being so picky about whether or not the toys would be good enough for Said.
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fucking Antibodies

Excuse the title...but that's exactly how I'm feeling. We found out yesterday that my antibody levels are above the threshold level and it's time to worry about watching for anemia in Baby Boy 2. Joy. Thank you, hospital staff, for forgetting my Rhogam shot. As if we weren't stressed enough in this pregnancy already.
Two weeks ago my levels had remained steady, no need to worry yet. I cried I was so relieved. And just prayed and hoped and wished they'd stay this way till maybe 28weeks, and at least till after 24weeks. I really needed to get past 24weeks without any major hiccups. It will be a hard enough week to get through as it is.
Now I'm just waiting for an MFM to call me to schedule a consult and the first of many ultrasounds specific to monitoring Baby 2's blood flow. We'll need to do that within the next week. So much for a joyful and stress-free Christmas.
I had many questions for my OB. Would I get to see her still? Will she be able to deliver this little guy when the time comes? How much of my care switches now? What's next? What are the odds of needing a transfusion?
Thankfully, I can stick with her for my basic pregnancy management. I really need her by my side through all of this. If anything, all of my following ultrasounds will be with the specialist that way I don't to do two separate ones each week or every two weeks. We still don't know how often Baby Boy 2 will need to be checked, that will be up to the MFM specialist and whatever they suggest is best for our case. It might be weekly, or just every two weeks like what we're doing right now.
What's really getting to me now is the mention of possibly delivering earlier than 36weeks if things aren't looking good. I thought that the only thing to fear was a possible transfusion into Baby 2. But I guess if he's not doing well, my OB will do an even earlier c-section and he'll hopefully so better on his own. Last night I slept horribly, thinking only of extended stays in the NICU and whether or not I'd be able to breast feed this one, or just pump and bottle feed, or will they only allow their own formula (which I am so against as I've heard the horror stories of the necrosis in the intestines causing death and the only possible link so far being hospital feeding versus breast milk). What if my milk doesn't come in again? What if he doesn't latch because he was bottle-fed in the hospital for too long? How long would he have to stay? For whatever reason it had never occurred to me that we may not be taking him home when I am discharged. Could I leave the hospital empty-armed again? Even if I knew this one is alive and being cared for still? I'm just exhausted today.
We have so much to figure still. And again, just so much to wait and watch out for. It's really becoming exhausting, and difficult to keep a positive outlook. Just when I start to feel excited, something else creeps in.
I need some sort of hope to keep looking forward to this new little guy.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Triage

Well, it was bound to happen, especially now that we're at the one-month-till-the-time-we-had-Korbin mark. I had a strange tightening/pressure throughout my belly, and so I called the on-call doc on Saturday evening just to hopefully get some reassurance. Instead of simple reassurance that what I am experiencing is normal (I still don't know if it is or not) she said I should come right in to get get checked out due to my history.
Ryan was out with a friend getting take-out for the evening. When they got back, I did my best to remain calm while saying sorry we couldn't just watch a movie and hang out but we actually needed to head straight to the hospital. I probably wasn't as calm sounding or looking as I had hoped, and I definitely felt some panic from Ryan as he tried to rush us all out the door without locking anything up.
Once we got to triage, I was hooked up to a monitor that detects contractions, listened to Baby Boy 2s heart beat and had my blood pressure checked. Everything looked fine, even my blood pressure despite the stress of the evening. We had to wait for the ultrasound tech to get my cervix checked (she was monitoring an earlier patient still), and time just felt like it was standing still.
When we finally got in, everything looked normal, again. My cervix is just how it is supposed to be. Baby Boy 2s heart beat looked great, and There is a normal amount of amniotic fluid still. So what the heck do we do? After two hours (felt like way more) we were discharged with instructions to not change a single thing that I'm doing. Eat the same, exercise activity level the same. Work.
I'm relieved, and glad we just went in even though nothing was wrong. What I really need to work on is not feeling like I'm just being crazy or paranoid. I am being realistic as all I know is loss, and we most definitely don't want that again. Better safe than sorry, and we've been sorry one too many times before.
Also, the stomach tightening thing was a major trigger for me to start to panic on Saturday as it was a symptom I had written down to ask my OB at my 24week appointment. The very same appointment that turned into an emergency c-section and the loss of Korbin. All I could think was, 'was this a sign that I completely missed last time?' How could I be so clueless? I can't make the same mistake twice. I just CAN'T.
But that was apparently a nothing symptom that they weren't even worried about. More questions for my OB Wednesday at my actual appointment.
But this time I didn't just wait it out. I got checked out, even if it was all for nothing.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Half way to goal!!

Today marks the halfway point to goal term for Baby Love 2. It's exciting to be at this point, and continue to see this little one grow. But the changes in Baby 2 also bring new paranoias. Joy.
I do have to say that each week we reach is like a huge milestone. And though the excitement grows, I still find myself comparing how far along we are to how far we got with Korbin. Time is flying by too, which probably good because each new week in this pregnancy brings on normal changes in Baby 2 and my body that I question constantly.
Is that ache really normal? The twinge I just felt? Yes, Baby 2 was actually literally punching me in the cervix at 16 weeks, and I freaked out that the sharp pain meant my cervix was shortening and I was going into labor. Still too early for that, realistically. But I'm paranoid about every little thing and need constant reassurance now. Normal symptoms may not be so normal if they could mean preterm labor, or that my cervix is weak. It's enough to make me feel crazy at times, even when I know things are just fine.
I did do a Facebook announcement, despite countless times saying how ridiculous it is for people to be so public about pregnancy when so much can go wrong. As my mom says, the more people who know, the more people we have praying for us, sending love and positive energy. I need all of that that I can get at this point!
Though I try really hard to be excited about this pregnancy, it is such a struggle when I feel fragile and others treat me like I'm fragile. It is so frustrating to have to feel like I need to slow down a bit, sit down more, pass off tasks to others and hope/trust things get done the way I would do them (we're all perfectionists at my work, and it is so hard to pass off a project to someone else when you know you've got it down). Really, I thought I had more time before the fragile aspect came into play. Like at least six more weeks. That week will be hell to get through and I'll be on the biggest emotional roller coaster yet. But we have to get through it. And I have to remain as calm as possible through it all.
Hopefully all the love and prayers from others will help carry us through this pregnancy.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

So much to take in

Yesterday we had the big anatomy scan. The appointment went well, and Baby 2 is doing great so far according to measurements. And we found out what this little one is! Lots of good news and excitement, but it comes with more information that can be difficult to digest. I'll start with the good, touch on the not so good, and hopefully be able to come back around to the good.
Before I go into it what Baby 2 is, I first need to go over feelings about having a girl versus another boy. Having a girl would be exciting, and as much as I just really want to raise a boy, I actually felt excitement in thinking that Baby 2 is possibly a girl. This surprised me, as not having Korbin with us still leaves me desperately wanting to raise a boy. I remember going through members of support group to see the odds that we could have another boy after losing one. If anyone was having or had a girl after losing a boy, I felt so completely helpless. But then I'd feel guilty because I don't want just any boy, I still want Korbin. And a boy to raise. I didn't think it was possible to want a girl after losing Korbin.
And yet, would having a girl be easier to handle after losing Korbin? I believe so. Everything about this pregnancy could be so different. I fixated on this and could only imagine frilly things, bows and flowers and purple and pink. I was 100% sure Baby 2 is a girl. Until we saw this first thing yesterday:


Yup, another boy! I have to say, I was so shocked that all I really absorbed for the remaining hour of the ultrasound was that everything looks normal. (And that my cervix is even longer than previously measured, how does that work?!? But I'm totally okay with that.) A boy. A little brother for Korbin! And yes, I'm thrilled!
So, lots of exciting and good news. Longer cervix, healthy baby boy 2. 
But, we did get some news that I was really in denial about being true. Turns out Baby Boy 2 is Rh positive, and therefore can be affected by the antibodies I am producing against him if they surpass a certain level, which we're already nearing. At this point, I can't stress about it. I just don't have the mental or emotional capacity to stress about it unless something more actually happens. Which is frustrating.
But we're still monitoring everything. I had another blood draw yesterday to recheck antibody D levels. In two weeks we'll recheck both D and antibody C because though C is still in small quantities, it too can affect Baby 2. If D does in fact surpass the threshold level, which seems inevitable at this point, we switch to a different ultrasound facility with special equipment that monitors Baby 2s blood flow. We'll also be getting a second opinion from a different perinatologist (at least a different office that doesn't think double billing for an appointment is okay and standard practice). What worries me most about this is that this is less time with my OB. I think she is my security blanket in all of this, and I rely completely on her abilities for my care and Baby 2's care too.
Now, I know that everything is being done in the best interest of Baby 2, and seeing a perinatologist will be done if Bsolutely necessary. But with so many appointments already, going elsewhere for parts of them just sounds so stressful, when I'm struggling to not stress these days.
In a nutshell, I'm really trying to be excited for all the good that there is right now. As time keeps moving us forward, I know there going to be more difficult moments ahead, and things will be even more stressful. So, focusing on the good. Baby 2 is a boy!! Here's the announcement I posted on Facebook:


I seriously felt so clever, haha. And here's a beautiful profile shot from yesterday:


With so much to mentally and emotionally prepare ourselves for, it's time to be excited while we still can.
Because we are excited for this next little guy, and love him so much already.
And we got a lotta love to give.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hallucination

This one is difficult for me to admit and write about. I mean, when I think of people who hallucinate, typically those with some sort of mental disorder or even those on drugs come to mind (as with many things, it's typical to make an association like this one, until you live it yourself and realize how wrong you've been all along). So then where did mine come from last Saturday morning? Maybe the stress and anxiety from this pregnancy is giving me my own mental issues to deal with now.
Last Saturday morning I looked down at my supposedly growing belly after my shower, and seriously I swear I watched myself suck it in and it just deflated like nothing was there. Empty. I panicked, touched my now flat stomach, and then ran into the bedroom (I had been in the bathroom when this happened), telling myself that this cannot be real. That didn't just happen. No way. Yet I touched my flat stomach, I can still see it deflating. How could that not have been real?
Here's my bump pic taken today for reference:


Hard to the touch, and I can't even begin to suck it in. So whatever happened Saturday morning had to have been all in my head, and even now it feels like just a dream. But it was so freaking real in the moment.
And this happening reminded me of a horrific nightmare I had about losing Korbin, about a month before we actually lost him. It left me empty, and aching, and completely foretold what was to come, despite many around me saying it's just my attachment to baby creeping into my dreams. This memory of course only added to my growing panic over the whole weekend.
Back to now: I feel like I'm going a bit crazy. The paranoia, stress and anxiety are really adding up. Maybe I'm reaching a breaking point, who knows. Either way this hallucination left me so panicked I asked one of the ultrasound techs I work with to please just show me Baby 2's heart beat. I just had to know this one is still with us. Sure enough, kicks and movement and flips and a perfectly beating heart. Nothing to worry about, except everything that could happen and go wrong. It's enough to make a person go crazy!
Seeing Baby 2's heart beat is really the only thing that soothes me now. But, I can't exactly just see it every day. So I need to do more to try and calm myself, especially since I still can't feel a lot of the movements happening inside my belly just yet. The chats with Baby 2 help (we had an uber long one Friday night when I went to bed), but I definitely need more. And since I find it hard to sit down and be still when at home or work, I finally signed myself up for acupuncture at a friend's clinic. She's familiar with high risk mom's-to-be, and I got the okay from my OB today too. If all it does is make me sit and not move for 30min or an hour, I'm still okay with that. Maybe that's all I need. The less stress my body feels the better, for me and especially for Baby 2.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Antibodies

So, I haven't ever really thought we're in the clear now at any point in this pregnancy yet. And I probably won't at all, honestly. But, I actually was just starting to feel more positive and excited about this baby.
Basically, I assumed that our only real obstacle to be aware of is that we could have Baby 2 too early. We have a plan, and loads of monitoring to try and keep that from happening as much as possible. And things have been looking good so far, aside from my random paranoia at the slightest change in my body. I actually started to relax a bit more and think about enjoying this pregnancy, even if just a tiny bit. Silly me!
My blood antibody levels were slightly raised at 12weeks, so we repeated that blood test this week, 16weeks. I know multiple pregnant people who have gone through this before. They are Rh - (a protein factor that is either present or not present on red blood cells, and when negative, one does not have them present), and their partner is Rh + which makes baby positive. Since baby's blood does get into the mother's blood system, it is then recognized as foreign due to the positive presence of the Rh protein and the mother's body doesn't like this foreign substance and wants to build up antibodies to it to fight it. Probably not the best explanation, but the best I can do. So, to prevent this, mother gets a Rhogam (not sure how it's spelled) shot either later in pregnancy, or for sure after delivery of the first child and then just later in pregnancy for successive pregnancies. And it's no big deal. Unless the hospital neglects to give the mother the shot after delivery of the first child. Guess what happened to me. Yup.
So I honestly could not have been any less concerned about my antibody levels until my OB called to go over this week's test results. I'm producing two antibodies, one called Big C that we will check again in a month (at 20weeks) as it's levels are still quite minimal, and the other is D. Now, D is the antibody against Rh factor on red blood cells, and my body is actively producing it and it has reached the threshold level above which we begin to worry about baby. No shot and everything's fine option for me, it's beyond too late for that to do any good. So what does this mean then?
First off, we need to determine Ry's blood type and Baby 2's blood type. Best case scenario, Baby 2 is actually negative, and we don't need to worry about at all. Thankfully, with Baby 2's blood in my system, we can determine Baby 2's blood type just by drawing my blood. But that takes a couple of weeks, while blood-typing Ryan takes just a few days. If Ryan is positive, then I'm pretty sure that means Baby 2 is definitely positive.
Okay, so then what does that mean?
Basically, these antibodies both have the ability to cross the placenta. If they do that, they then have te ability to cause anemia in Baby 2. If that happens, the only option is to do a blood transfusion directly into Baby 2, which it turns out is just like an amniocentesis and holds the very same risks. This is what I'm most freaked out about right now.
For one thing, what are the odds? Well, when the odds of losing Korbin were only 0.6%, any obstacle with odds even just right at that are huge. So odds don't change how I feel about all of this, or calm me in any way.
Well, what are we doing now and is there anything to prevent this all from happening? As I said before, the shot was te prevention and is not an option any more. But we are doing even more monitoring now. My blood will be checked every two weeks now for the production levels of antibody D. Once/If they cross into the danger zone, we switch to seeing a perinatologist for ultrasounds weekly or every two weeks. These ultrasounds are high tech enough with Doppler to watch Baby 2's blood flow. By monitoring the blood flow we'll be able to determine if Baby 2 becomes anemic whoh means we'll need to do the blood transfusion.
Now, I understand we have a lot to find out and determine before I freak out. But honestly, I've been doing my best to not stress about anything (work, food, bills, the house not being done, etc) as I know I already am on the verge of stressing about this pregnancy. And since I'm already paranoid about every little thing, this was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I didn't need anything more than focusing my energy on keeping Baby 2 healthy and safe inside me through to 36 weeks. And all this antibody business and what it can lead to completely overwhelmed me today.
Thankfully, I have Ryan, who stands next I me and does his best to remain and calm and strong and hopeful through everything. Even making me laugh by pointing out how much white hair (not just grey...) he'll have by the time we have this kid. I also have my OB who takes the time to over things twice with me just to make sure I understand everything and is readily available to me despite her busy schedule. And I'm thankful for the family and friends I have who I can lean on for prayers, positive energy and anything else they think to send our way. It's all needed to get through this without going completely white-haired myself.
We just want to have Baby 2 and take Baby 2 home, because despite the stress of it all we got a lotta love to give.

Monday, November 11, 2013

And it begins...

...I did my first shot just now! My stomach kind of hurts because I amped myself up way to much for it. I mean, I took phlebotomy, I've stuck people with needles before. But when it comes to my body, I ALWAYS look away just before the needle enters my skin. Always.
So here we begin. The first one is the most difficult. And then after a few you become an old pro. I have supplies for 20 shots worth, and that's once a week for 20 weeks. I will become an old pro.


First things first, disinfecting! You wipe down the top of the vial with an alcohol wipe because germs are everywhere.


The first needle is huge! But it's to pick up the progesterone, which is very thick as it's mixed in an oil.


Here it is, however I have yet to master the whole creating a vacuum so that the perfect amount is drawn up. I guess I have a while to practice!


Needle switch! Thank goodness! This one is so much thinner, but still the dreaded 1.5" long, which I'm definitely dreading still at this point.


And...yes, that's my butt. With me holding a needle at ready. And I stood like this for a while. Ryan counted to 3 over and over. Then he said, "on one. One!" And still nothing happened. I looked at my hand holding the needle and could not do anything more than that! But then...


I did it! Holy crap! You have to inject the progesterone over about a minute, which really wasn't difficult as the smaller needle helped control the flow. Did it hurt? Only the initial prick of the needle. Seriously. Then it was just mind over matter as I stared at it until I was done with the injection.


But it's empty! I did it! I'll be honest, I felt a bit queasy about it afterward for a bit. Nothing a few Oreos can't fix!
Thankfully I can switch butt cheeks each week. And tomorrow I'll be double checking with one of the nurses at work that I got the right spot. Even though I did it, I'm kind of freaking out that I didn't really get it in the muscle, and this particular type needs to be injected intramuscularly...if that's even a word.
Anyway, it's done, I did it, and I will only get better at it. And it's totally worth it!
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Progesterone, Part 2


So, this most definitely will NOT be the final progesterone post. But this one is much shorter than my last one, I promise!
I picked up my prescription from my OB's office today. On the way to get it (as I took the elevator up one floor from my work), I imagined it had come in a box kit complete with all the different needles and syringes and alcohol wipes I would need for my injections.
Nope. This is all I got:


Which is great, it's the right medication in the right format. But I asked the receptionist, 'how do I get it in me? Is this all there was?' She have me a blank state and shrugged her shoulders. So I just told her no worries, I have my 16week appointment with Dr. Pray Monday and I can double check everything with her. I'm not going to stress about this. I at least have it in my hands now, there has to be a place I can get the rest of the supplies from.
I went straight to the coordinators at work and man, they are awesome with patient care. I mean ya, they know me, but they were able to take the time to stock me up on the necessary needles and syringes, go over a demo of loading the syringe (I will attempt to capture this next week with injection number one), where to inject it, how to inject, and even gave me a website that has a video of the whole process to walk me through it 'live' with my first few shots.
What I really appreciated was a moment of optimism from one of them. We were going over timing and how often I'll be doing the injections to determine how many supplies I needed. I said that hopefully this will be weekly through to week 36, if we get that far. She looked me straight in the eye, smiled, and said confidently, 'you will make it to 36weeks'. And it wasn't just said like this is what she tells everyone, there was such warmth in the statement I almost started crying. Part if me still strongly feels I need to just be realistic about what may happen because of what happened with Korbin. Essentially, emotionally preparing myself for the worst, even though that is the absolute last thing I want to happen. It's just hard to believe this pregnancy can be any different when all I know is loss. 
I need people like this coworker, their confidence and enthusiasm and excitement. To boost myself up and maybe even start to feel some hope.
I have to say, though this is weird (heck, I'm weird), that getting everything set and ready with my shots actually made me feel a bit of excitement. I think being pregnant right now is still an almost unreal experience that only comes to life when I see Baby 2's heart beat on an ultrasound monitor, and that's only about once a month right now. But next week I'll really be involved in this pregnancy, with weekly shots and ultrasounds every two weeks. I feel like we're headed into the next phase of this pregnancy, where it becomes more of a reality for us. And I need that reality and excitement to continue to build for when Baby 2 is hopefully here next spring.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

P.S. The supplies needed for one injection, a teaser photo:


And yes, that's a 1.5" long injection needle....

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Progesterone

So, in talking with my OB at my 12week appointment a couple of weeks ago, it sounded like getting my progesterone injections would take a bit of ordering time with the pharmacy, but wouldn't be a big deal. I was instructed to call them to make sure they got the prescription order and that we're set to order for when I reach 16weeks. Everything seemed fine and like nothing to worry about, until I called my usual Safeway pharmacy to check on the status of my prescription.
First, the tech told me they had ordered and received it, but since I had never picked it up they sent it back to the warehouse. Um, what? I never received a call saying I had anything to pick up. Oh, but wait, this is weird, she said, we can't get it any more. What? Like it's delayed because they are out of stock at the moment? You said you ordered it and had it but sent it back. This is weird, she said again, no, we actually never ordered it, and we can't order it. The pharmacist will call you to go over this. Huh? So I get a call from the pharmacist, and sure enough they are not allowed to order that item, but good news, my insurance covers it and it's only a $40 copay (versus $3500 out of pocket if insurance did not cover it...thank God they do!!).
Okay, I can handle this, don't stress. I still have a couple weeks until I have to start it. I'll just ask one of the coordinators at work who our patients typically use. They all take progesterone shots, we have to have that info. So I get the info for a couple of compound pharmacies, one from my OB, and the other from a coworker. The one from my OB gives me no info except that they don't work with insurance and it can take a while to get my prescription set. Okay, stressed. I don't have an extra $3500 a month to pay for this stuff. I'll have to figure out the whole generic thing my OB said we could resort to if needed. But I call the other compound pharmacy and this place is so helpful, and gives me so much more info. They don't work with insurance either, but their out of pocket cost is only $105 for four injections worth of meds, and no cost for shipping if I can't pick it up myself. Okay, we're on the right track, so I give her my info and let my OB office know I may go through them. But then I ask if the $40 copay through my insurance is for four injections as well. Yup, and what a cost savings that is!
So I'm still on the hunt for a pharmacy, one that will take my insurance, and nobody has given me any other names to call. So I just start calling all the pharmacies I can think of. Bartell's. Walgreens. Bartell's is a no go. But I feel like I've struck gold when I hear back from my local 24-hour Walgreens and they say they can get it and they take my insurance. Hallelujah!!
I race over after work, get myself registered, and they're even cool enough to call Safeway to have the prescription sent over to them. I let my OB office know that's the route I'm going and I am so excited. Finally I got this figured out and I'll get it in time!
Until 9:05pm that night (we're at Wednesday now of this week), when I get an automated message from Walgreens saying that my prescription that was ready to pick up tonight has actually been placed on hold. What?!? I quickly call back (for one I knew I wouldn't be able to get it that night, and two, they assured me they could get it!). The pharmacist explains this is actually something that only the Specialty Walgreens Pharmacy takes care of, so it's out of their hands. And no, he doesn't know where the specialty place is located.
Great, I feel like I'm back to square one. I try calling the 800 number I found online for the specialty place, to figure out if they have my prescription and where they are, but they have limited hours. Ugh, I have to wait another day when I feel like time is running out. Stress is back. Ugh.
Thursday (yesterday), I ask the coordinator at work if she knows where the specialty pharmacy location is located. Oh ya, there's only one in the US, and it's in Texas. Great, now I have to pay shipping fees? And I still can't find info on whether this is room temp stuff, or refrigerated, and how long it lasts and if that's just once opened or from the date packed. Yeesh.
Finally I have a moment to call the 800 number again, and oh my God they already have my prescription on stat processing, they've got my info, insurance is confirmed to just be the $40 copay, and they don't charge for shipping! Woohoo! Finally, everything is set with a place that for sure can take care of me. I confirm that they won't be shipping to my home (last thing I need is my meds stolen the day before I need to administer them...and packages have gone missing before), and they only ship to my OB so I'm all set there. They'll call me if there's anything else that I need but it will either ship Friday (today) or Monday. Woohoo! My 16week appointment is the 11th so I can pick it all up then, and I'm all set. Thank goodness!
Now, the next thing is picking the best time to administer this stuff. I'll have to take it at about the same time each week, alternating butt cheeks as it's known to be a bit painful (joy). I think I can do it myself, but the injection needle is 1.5" long!! But that is all going to be in a blog post at a later time...when I do my first injection. There will be pictures!
I did find out that it's room temp storage, and it lasts 5weeks from opening. So I don't have to worry about that any more. Whew!
Still so much to figure out, but man, what a headache! And during a time when I am seriously trying to not stress about anything. A calm body is a happy body that Baby 2 can feel secure in. And I really want, and need, everything to work out this time.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Awkward

It feels harder to tell people that I am pregnant this time around, and yet telling people makes being pregnant that much more real. Which is something I need as I still at times feel like, wow, am I really pregnant? Yah, my boobs hurt and the nausea sucks and we've seen this little one on ultrasound twice now, but I don't feel baby yet, and I'm not showing yet.
I thought that it felt awkward to tell people so early because I was so afraid to lose again, like I was jinxing things. But I do need to recognize this little one's presence in our lives now as it is definitely very real. So then why is it so awkward to tell people at times? I realized at work that what makes it awkward is when people don't know our history. Typically the first question when someone finds out is, 'is this your first?' Well, no. And then I tell them about Korbin and it's as if I have the plague and they suddenly can't get away from me quickly enough. So awkward.
I wish people weren't so afraid of loss. It happens, in many different ways, to everyone at some point in their lives. So really society shouldn't teach us to ignore loss, regardless of whether it's in one's own life or someone else's. Talking about loss when it happens is so much easier than trying to sweep it under the rug, at least for me. I don't expect constant hugs and 'I'm sorry's', just listen and let me get it out. It's even more awesome when people have the courage to ask questions.
Now, I get that it's not that easy to take in bad news from others. Heck, I don't always know what to say right away when people tell me of their losses, especially when it's unexpected. But I certainly won't my hide from them when they tell me.
Okay, rant over. I think I'm ready to start telling more people about our good news, and hope that no one else runs away when they hear what we've gone through to get to this point again. Hopefully I'll be able to continue being patient if people do turn and run the other way. Either way, we need to look ahead and be positive about this new chapter we're in now, this new little one who will hopefully stay in our lives a bit longer.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Keeping Korbin Present

Being pregnant again is most definitely not all rainbows and unicorns. Not only am I a paranoid wreck a lot of the time, but I hold extreme guilt now, as well as an increase in my grief from missing Korbin. This makes being excited for Baby Love 2 difficult as I struggle to look forward to this one while still keeping Korbin's memory present in our lives.
It kind of started with the lock screen on my phone. It's been Korbin's footprints since I went back to work last year, something I want to see and remember every single day. Yet I wanted to put up an ultrasound shot of Baby 2, but I most definitely did NOT want to replace Korbin's foot prints. That would be like moving on, which would be forgetting. And as I've said a million times now, we will never Korbin. But just like any family, you keep up the pictures of your first child and just add to them with the younger ones. I seriously spent an entire evening trying to resize two pictures on my phone (thanks to the new and 'improved' operating system) and finally succeeded. Korbin's footprints remain, but are now accompanied by a picture of little brother or sister.
Getting new ultrasound pictures is exciting, but a feeling of deep-rooted guilt always surfaces when I start to feel excited about Baby 2. Basically, I recognize that I'm thinking of Korbin less, as I concentrate on Baby 2 more. I'm desperate to never forget Korbin, but I struggle with how to remember him as my memories are of just his sudden and tragic end. Especially now that we're in the second trimester. Every day closer to 24wks5days brings more intensely horrific visions of Baby 2's end, and flashbacks to having Korbin for too short a time. At any given moment, I'm struggling to fight back tears as I feel the raw grief I haven't dealt with in some time. Almost daily I have a horrific vision of what we went through, leaving me in tears on my way in to work. The emptiness returns, and I just cry. My feelings of missing Korbin are so intensified right now, and being pregnant emotional just adds to the hot mess.
All of this just pushes me to beg Baby 2 more and more to hang in there, don't give up, please don't leave us. It becomes difficult much of the time now to be positive or excited about the future. Especially since we had a child, but we don't know the experience of bringing our child home, or changing diapers or doctors visits. I honestly can't imagine what it could be like to have a child with us because all I know is being pregnant that leads to emptiness. Plus, I'm paranoid, anxious, scared of what could happen. That every tiny thing I feel means the end again. It's hard to enjoy being pregnant when feeling so out of control. I just can't seem to trust that things are fine until the next ultrasound shows the heart still beating and my cervix fine and no contractions.
All of this is why I continually refer to Baby 2 as Baby 2. Korbin is and always will be our first. No matter what. And no matter what, Baby 2 is our second. Is and always will be. One is not more important than the other, and we are at least incorporating both children into our lives by doing this. Hopefully the next step will be incorporating Korbin into Baby 2's life one day. Hopefully.
In the mean time, I'm far from fine. And yet it feels like people assume that because I'm pregnant, I am totally over what happened last year and pregnant ladies and newborns are my new favorite thing again. That could not be further from the truth. I 'm still jealous. Especially if the person is having a boy or the newborn is a boy. Extremely. It sucks. But it's from how much I hurt inside knowing I'll never get to coo over Korbin in adorable outfits or change or feed him. Being pregnant again does nothing to lessen any of that pain. In fact it's just intensified as I'm just reminded moreso now of who I'm missing in life.
Being pregnant again is no quick fix for grief and loss. I just grieve for Korbin more now.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

The Perinatologist

Yesterday we had a marathon of appointments (that thankfully went more quickly and ended sooner than we had anticipated) in order to meet with a perinatologist to review and discuss our case history, have the Nuchal Translucency Test done, and have my regular 12week appointment with my OB. What I did not expect was how anxious I would feel walking into the perinatologist's office.
Despite my continued near constant nausea and sore boobs and even constant need to pee, part of me was almost convinced this one's heart had stopped and we were going to lose him or her. Thankfully, the ultrasound was first thing, and the heart was beating beautifully!

Here's a healthy heart rate of 156, yay!

Upon seeing this, I immediately relaxed and just enjoyed watching Baby 2 sleep, suck a thumb, and even get the hiccups during the ultrasound. What really, seriously made me overjoyed was how the ultrasound tech began complaining that Baby 2 was tucked away in a far corner of my uterus, barely reachable by the ultrasound probe. She had me turn from one side to another to try and use gravity to move Baby 2 away from this corner, I then did a set of sit-up-toe-touches as quickly as possibly, and then even had to go empty my bladder to maybe change the angle of my uterus. Baby 2 did not move a bit, and the tech said, 'This is a stubborn one.' I immediately replied with, 'I am okay with that!' She probably didn't appreciate my enthusiasm about her difficulties in getting the proper pictures, but oh my goodness Baby 2 is really paying attention to our plan of action! Being stubborn equals staying in and not wanting to leave my body for as long as possible, and I am completely overjoyed to have that 'problem' as we'll have a planned c-section anyway, and hopefully this means it will be right on time at 36 weeks. That's what I'm choosing to believe.

Here's Baby 2, tucked away :)

The tech told us everything looks totally normal, yay! This ultrasound measures a specific piece of the neck to see if it is too thick or too thin. If outside a specific set of measurements, there is a higher risk the baby has Down Syndrome, but it's never 100% definitive. At this point we could have done all kinds of crazy extensive blood work to go along with the ultrasound, which would also tell us if Baby 2 is normal genetically or not. But for us, as with Korbin, the results don't change a thing about how much we love and want this child with us. With or without Down Syndrome, or an extra thumb digit, we love and cherish Baby 2 and want this one with us just as much. Thankfully the testing has become much less invasive these days, taking the risk of harming the baby out of the equation when deciding if testing is needed. But we still don't need it.
After this ultrasound we met with a perinatologist, who, I have to say, was really great. Here is a medical professional who actually knew the basic details our case and did NOT ask the dreaded question, 'How's your baby doing now?' I can't tell you how many nurses, front desk staff, and MAs have asked me that question since June 1, 2012. So not okay.
Anyway, this part of the appointment left me a bit freaked out. Basically, this doctor pointed out that when I went in for extreme back pain just a week before giving birth to Korbin, my cervix was not checked, and it was dismissed as a pulled muscle. Because of the lack of information from that appointment, we can't rule out a cervical incompetency after all, and that leaves us with a 30-40% chance of needing a cerclage (stitches in the cervix to hold it closed, in which there's still a 20-25% chance they will fail anyway). New studies show bed rest does nothing to stop labor or slow the process, and even hurts the mother with the lack of motion. And if we were to switch to seeing a perinatologist now, we'll probably never see the same doc twice. The monitoring is all the same, reactions to specific info will be the same, but we will lose the comfort of having a regular doc who knows us and can treat as such. At this point, that is really important to us. 
So, we're sticking with regular OB, Dr. Pray, but will switch to a perinatologist if indicated down the road. Thankfully, this doc did say in the end, despite us wanting to stick with my OB, that she expects a normal pregnancy and delivery at 36weeks. I do like that she can leave us with at least something positive after all the scary and emotional dwelling on previous facts and the lack there of during the consult. But, hashing out the details of last time, and the thought that maybe something could have been caught sooner at my back pain appointment, was really difficult and very emotional for me.
After this we met with Dr. Pray and confirmed our action plan. She seemed happy with this as well, and is so positive for us, which I'm just really latching on to right now. Leaving her office I felt a little better, but still had to ask Ry, 'Are we taking a risk in not seeing a perinatologist throughout this pregnancy?' Translate: are we being dumb about this? Whether we see Dr.Pray or a perinatologist, what will happen will happen, and the measures we'll need to take if indicated are all the same, so hopefully not a huge risk at all. And they don't recommend a cerclage right now so either way we're just monitoring often until somethig shows we need further action. Makes me feel somewhat better, but I'm sure I'll continue walking on egg shells until 24 weeks, maybe even 28weeks...or until Baby 2 is home with us...or who knows how long....

Random pic to bring back the positive

At this point, we know Baby 2 is doing great, and maybe even growing fast like Korbin did (he was tall for his gestational age!). This is something I need to focus on and keep in the forefront of my mind, maybe even include in my meditation/chat we have each day. Keep doing great Baby Love 2! We're already a third of the way to our goal (and at the half-way point to when we had Korbin, crazy!!). Let's keep up the good work together!
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Friday, October 18, 2013

New beginnings

This is going to be a long post, a two-parter even, as I have about 10weeks of pregnancy paranoia to catch up on. Yup, I am pregnant with Baby Love Number 2! And with this pregnancy comes a mixed bag of joy, fear, excitement, paranoia, sadness and hope.
We found out the Tuesday before we left for Australia. Even though it still seemed too early to tell since my cycles are usually longer than 28days, by day 28 I knew something was up. My boobs hurt in that different way. I told Ry, we bought a pack of pregnancy tests, and as the two lines showed up immediately (not even a 10second wait!) I yelled out through the bathroom door to Ryan, 'Holy shit! It's positive!'
I was excited, but nervous too. Can I travel? Will I be okay in Australia? Will I be allowed to go to Boston still for my big test and a conference in a couple of months? What if something happens while I'm on the plane, or in the Outback, or during my test? And that's when the paranoia began.
Every single time I go to the bathroom now, ya I have to pee, but really I'm looking to see if I'm bleeding. Every. Single. Time. Did I have a miscarriage last time? No, but I did have spotting the night before we had Korbin. Bright red, a bad sign for sure. I almost expect to see it now because, heck, we lost Korbin, it could happen to this little one too.
I couldn't get in to check for a heart beat till towards the end of about 8weeks. So, for a month I had to do my best to pretend I wasn't about to hurl at work and suppress the renewed excitement I was suddenly feeling. Not knowing if there was actually a heart beat was killer, too. Could we tell anyone without knowing that uber important piece of information? I ended up telling friends in Australia because I was so nauseous and nothing sounded good and I just wanted to sleep but needed food all the time. That would have been hard to explain!
Finally the big first appointment came and we saw it, that amazing first flicker that brings a whole new set of emotions the instant you see it on the screen. And relief, the relief that this one is alive and healthy so far in its teeny tiny little life. But, the paranoia did not go away with this new knowledge. I still check to make sure I'm not bleeding every time I pee. Yup, every. Single. Time.
Why the paranoia? Well, on the one hand there are the statistics. Losing Korbin put us in the 6 in 1000 who lose a child. The odds of miscarriage are 1 in 4. That is huge!!! It could happen to anyone! Especially me since we are in the 0.6%, how could we not fall into the 25% that have a miscarriage? That's the logic in my head at least. On the other hand, we have the tiny bit of spotting I had the night before we lost Korbin. No cramping. Just spotting, and one instant of it and it went away. Supposedly totally fine and no need to get to the hospital. Or so we thought. These are things that can make one go crazy.
And then let's combine them with all of the things I now know can happen because the beautiful moms and dad's in my support group have gone through them. Still birth, pre-eclampsia too early for viability of the child after birth, heart defects. All things I have heard about and skimmed through in pregnancy books completely ignoring the fact that anything wrong could ever happen to us, that we could lose our precious first-born child, Korbin. It's overwhelming to know what can go horribly wrong and rip your life apart when it does. All just as devastating as pre-term labor but the child not surviving. All things no parent should have to go through, ever.
During my 8wk appointment we went over our action plan for this pregnancy. At 12wks we'll meet with a perinatologist to go over our case history and discuss the need for further action with a specialist. At 16wks we'll start progesterone shots that will happen weekly, and ultrasounds every two weeks to monitor the length of my cervix since we don't know if it was a cervical problem last time. And assuming all goes well, a planned c-section at 36wks. I feel secure in this plan and like that we are still seeing my OB, who knows me, and knows Ryan and our situation (read: fears) this time around. Dr. Pray is positive about making it to 36wks. I need that positivity right now!
What's interesting to me is that, I'm high risk but not high risk. I can still travel through to 36wks as long as everything looks fine. Working out is fine, no limit to activities necessary at this point. But, with the close monitoring, if something creeps up, all that can and will change. But we'll be so much more prepared for it.
This past week I went on a work trip to Boston. Still filled with paranoia, I asked every waitor about their cheeses and meats and sea foods, being ultra careful of thorough cooking and heating and processing. If I was tired, I sat down. I checked for signs of miscarriage at every bathroom break. I chugged water and popped mints to try to keep down the nausea following said chugging of water. And I began to worry about whether we'd see a heart beat at our week 12 appointment. Yes, we saw one at week 8. But what's to say that heart beat still exists? I can't feel it. I can't feel baby yet. This can also make one go crazy in early pregnancy.
Here's where I will really make you think I'm crazy right now: Baby 2 and I have chats about our team work. They usually last about 5min, and mostly consist of me saying like a mantra how much we love and want this one with us. I also go over how we're in this together, and so we've got to work together to make this happen. AKA, I'm really trying to take a chill pill and I need this one to just hang in there right in my uterus until week 36, with a strong heart beat and a loud cry at birth. I thought I was so weird for doing this, until a friend sent me an article another mother who lost her first child wrote. In the article she explained the teamwork chats she had with her rainbow baby (a child born healthy and alive after one that is lost). Okay, I'm not so weird after all. Either way I'm embracing these chats. When everything feels surreal and too good to be true and like this isn't really happening (heck, we weren't really trying and definitely did not expect to be expecting again so soon), I take these moments to focus intently on this baby and sort of meditate on how real this one truly is.
And honestly, towards the end of Boston, having finished my test and maybe learned a few things in the conference and even making some connections with others in the field, I kind of felt on top of the world. A feeling I haven't felt since being pregnant with Korbin. Hopefully this is good, and that Korbin is guiding us through this next chapter in our lives, and is Baby 2s guardian angel. Because this one needs him just as much as we do, to make it into this harsh world alive and kicking and screaming.
We really need this one with us.
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Remembrance Day

Wow, we've already come to our second lost baby remembrance day. Wow! Moments like these kind of freak me out as I realize how quickly life is passing by, and how much I feel I've missed in the mean time.
Thankfully it feels like Ry and I are out of our slump. We are trying to truly live life again; seeing friends, going out into the world for adventures, changing things up. And with that we are figuring out how to still keep Korbin's memory alive and with us. Because he is always with us in our hearts and minds.
Although I'm not able to light a special candle of my own tonight and look at all the things we have left of him, I do have his footprints forever over my heart, and his spirit forever with me as well. I can still remember him. Forever my Baby Love NĂºmero Uno.
I got a lotta love to give.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Living Life...

...on our adventure in Australia! Ryan and I had a chat before we left about how maybe we're finally actually living life and not just getting through it. Australia really felt like a huge turn toward a new beginning in our life. Only our second major trip together, and we packed it full of random places and adventure.
We started in Brisbane where we stayed with a close friend and her husband who are currently living there for a few years. What incredible hosts! Every day brought new things to look forward to, from seeing kangaroos in the wild for the first time to even eating kangaroo steak.


We checked out Steve Irwin's zoo, which was so much fun.


Then Ry and I rented a car to venture out on our own for a week, and we ended up driving over 5,300km (over 4,000mi) in just 8 days. On the opposite side of the road!


We stopped at random motels without setting anything up ahead of time, so not like me. But the spontaneity was actually a lot of fun. What will this hotel be like? What restaurants are nearby? Turns out they only have motel hotels, motels with the amenities of a hotel. We totally didn't need to bring more than our toothbrushes and some toothpaste. Everything else was provided! The only booked hotels were for Cairns (by the Great Barrier Reef) and Sydney. The view from our room in Cairns (pronounced Cans):


Which had a huge bat population right outside our room. They are the skunks of Australia, and super loud too. Yuck! I stepped in bat poo. Cairns sucked as we were totally scammed out of our trip out to the reef, and a tropical storm came in keeping us in our room with the noisy stinky bats outside. But we rested up and headed out into the outback:


A whole lot nothing for three days. And yet it was gorgeous and peaceful. We even ran into a couple from Alaska working at a truck stop since they ran out of money traveling the east coast. Random! The names of places were so interesting I had to snap a few shots of signs:


We even drove through a cave at the Jenolan caves:


Really bad pic, but I was juggling my phone and the real camera and obviously not very well.
Anyway, I booked a fancy hotel in Sydney since we've never done the fancy hotel thing. Whew we're we under dressed! But the bed was comfortable and we rested up after touring Sydney for a day.


We are breakfast at the botanic garden, which was beautiful, then took a tour of the opera house:




Then we headed back to Brisbane for a couple more relaxing days with Ari and Matt. On the way we stopped at a coastal town for lunch and then stopped for gas. The gas stations rent out surf boards:


Once back in Brisbane we caught a laser light show as part of the Brisbane celebration, and spent an afternoon with the Mini Man, who invented and builds his own engine system for minis only. Super cool guy, and his place was full of minis and various parts!


It was so nice to have home-cooked meals the last couple of days, and Matt and Ari are fantastic chefs! We enjoyed watching them whip up new things for us to try each night.


*Sigh* Our last morning there, eating Wheat-a-Bix and honey for the final time. Sad, but we were excited to get back home to the pups and work and life.


The trip was fantastic, and I think we did live it to the fullest. It didn't feel quite so bittersweet, which I really expected it to so it surprised that I didn't feel more sadness. Of course it would have been that much more fun with Korbin in tow, and we all talked about him too, but being without him doesn't we can't enjoy ourselves and our time together. I still have bucket list items to check off my list (like shark diving), and I can still do those things while remembering Korbin. He would want is to live life to the fullest. So I have to do my best to do that for myself and for Ry each and every day. Because each day brings new adventures, and because I got a lotta love to give.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Trying again

We get asked here and there when baby two can be expected. Now, we could get mad about being asked about something so personal, but we know that those asking care about us, and just want to see us actually being the parents we wish we were.
I wish it were something we could just jump into with excitement and without care like the first time around. Not that one ever decides to try to start a family without thinking loads of things through first. But, now there is so much more to consider. Instead of just, can we afford this? Can we handle how life will change? Are we ready for no sleep and exhaustion? Now we also wonder, how long till we actually have a family with us here on Earth? Are we ready to go through such a devastating loss again? Can we handle chancing that? There's no guarantee that we'll get to have any of our future children with us, can we risk putting our hearts and our relationship on the line like that?
The excitement is gone, and if anything could replace that, I think it may be desperation. Time keeps passing and Korbin's gone and I still get comments from random parents that, you know, I know what things are like because I'm a parent. Ya, it's great to be recognized. But no, I actually have no clue what it's like to parent a child. I wish I knew, desperately really.
I do appreciate others expressing their excitement for us and the possibilities the future may hold for us. It's amazing support that we need. Especially since we're sometimes lacking in the excitement department. They definitely remind me, when sometimes I've forgotten, that I got a lotta love to give.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Giving Back

Major events in life tend to pull a person into action for a cause. Whether it is fundraising for cancer research, becoming a facilitator in a support group, or just trying to spread awareness to the unsuspecting, people suddenly can feel the need to do something more for those around them who may be affected by the same type of life event.
For me, it used to be breast cancer research. I found a lump in my left breast when I was 19 and had to have it removed and then biopsied. The lump was just a benign fibroid, typical in young women. But it was larger than average and the scariest thing I had gone through at that point in my life. I raised a lot of money for breast cancer research, even did the Breast Cancer 3-Day one year, but then switched my efforts to general cancer research and awareness after my aunt died rather suddenly of ovarian cancer. Why should one type of cancer get all the attention when people die of so many different types?
Now I feel such a pull toward the small percentage of parents like me. So what can I do? I'm still too early in my grief journey to offer support as a facilitator or start a support group. Can I spread awareness? How do I do that without scaring new parents into worrying constantly, possibly for no reason?
For example, one couple I met a few months ago just shared they were pregnant, and then proceeded to tell the couple next to them with a new puppy that, so what if they got a dog, they got a kid! They're winning! Only 3mo pregnant. I wanted to yell at them to never ever make a comment like that because they don't know the other couples' history. And only 3mo along...so mucj can go wrong.... What if the other couple had tried? What if they've had repeated miscarriages? What if they can't have kids of their own? Obviously this couple didn't know our back story. And I didn't say anything. I just tuned them out. I didn't want to freak them out when they potentially have nothing to worry about.
And really, I just want to warn people that, even though our society says that when you're pregnant you're for sure bringing a baby home, it doesn't always happen that way. I want to tell them my story. But I want them to take it as a caution that just because you're young and healthy, that doesn't mean your pregnancy will be fine and you can be hands-off about your care. That any little thing you notice is a big deal and should be discussed and checked by a physician. But then do I need to get OBs involved and on board? How the heck do I do something like that? Even at my work we treat pregnancy as, 'yay! You're taking a baby home!' We're definitely trying to be hopeful, but does that ever cross over into being unrealistic?
When i was pregnant, I glossed over the bad things that can happen in pregnancy books with the thought that of course that could never happen to me. I've denied the extra testing because I'm young so why would I need to worry about that? Nothing was impressed upon me by nurses or physicians or people I know who've been pregnant that I needed to worry about, or that anything I experienced was a problem. I think mostly because I'm young and healthy and therefore everything will be fine.
Unfortunately that was not the case for me. Nor does it seem to have been the case for most in my support group. We all seem to report a healthy pregnancy with no real issues. Nothing to worry about and therefore the loss came as such an incredible shock. That's not the case for all losses. Some are definitely due to real health or genetic issues that can only maybe be helped with lots of monitoring. Those losses are still devastating. They are all devastating.
Can we prevent a loss like mine from happening when the young and healthy have such a hands-off attitude?
I know, way too many questions and not a lot of answers! But this is something I think about often. And wonder what I can do about it, and how I can put that into action.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My family, not yours

When people get close I typically see harmless and playful teasing. I do it too, and don't think twice about it because to me, teasing means I know about whatever it is I tease about and I get it. Yet somehow this usual teasing turned out offensive to another who ended up lashing out against Ryan, and we all haven't spoken since.
What really sucks is this came from Korbin's godfather. Someone we have considered family, and that's partly why we wanted him to be someone so meaningful to us and to Korbin. The comment that stabbed me in the heart was: my family, not yours.
Being that this was over texts, I don't know if this too was jokingly or serious, but he also called Ryan a dick, which isn't very teasing in my opinion. So I'm pretty sure it was all serious from him. And I just don't even know what to say to him now because he's just as guilty of this harmless teasing, and we've never lashed out against him for it. I think I'm still in shock by the reaction he had and what he said, as well as disappointed that I thought I could trust this person with so much, with remembering Korbin. And I trusted that he thought of us as family too, but then he basically pointed out that we really don't mean that much to him, which was a serious slap in the face.
At this point I feel I've lost a dear friend, a family member even. Someone who I thought got us, has known us way better than so many others and stuck by us so steadfastly through all of our ups and downs.
I know I'm overly sensitive to pretty much anything and everything, but this has just really bothered me and I can't shake it. I mean, are we bad friends for the teasing, even though it's always been reciprocated? Do we need him to apologize for what he said to move forward? Do we need to apologize to him for touching on a nerve that we'd never known was there in the first place? Is that how people should react when a nerve is touched? What is an appropriate reaction then, if not?
I know friendships come and go, but I thought the people you considered family were supposed to be there forever.
I guess we'll see. I know I don't want to lose a friend or family member, I've lost too much in life already.
Despite that, I got a lotta love to give.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Let's talk about grief

The other day I had a fantastic conversation about grief (the chat where I heard the phrase, 'make room at the table'). It honestly was really nice to just talk about grief in general. There was no mention of Korbin, and that wasn't a bad thing. Not that I don't think about him, because I do constantly. He is always with me. Even today I cried a few times thinking of him, and how excited I was to be having my baby boy. I was over the moon, on top of the world. Life was so perfect and I could not have been any happier. I wonder if I'll ever get to raise a boy, and if I do will I be okay even though he isn't Korbin. I still have so much to work through and grieve.
Back to this talk: it really stuck out to me as, for whatever reason, as of late I have not wanted to be asked about my kids or if I have kids or how I'm actually doing. It honestly just hurt too much to get into, too much to put into words actually. I was really struggling.
Now I think I'm doing better. The ache in my heart is constant, as is the hole that Korbin's presence once filled, but I am accepting it and learning how to live with it. I can talk about my pregnancy, because I was pregnant and I loved every second of it (despite the nausea that never went away). I've made a place at the table for my pain, my grief, for loss, and for Korbin. And I need to give them their time. I may not be able to talk about Korbin specifically at times, but I can talk about my grief, or even about dealing with grief. Maybe through talking about that, the pain associated with talking about Korbin will lessen and I'll be able to talk about him too. Which would be good because sometimes my heart is hurting so much I think it might explode and talking about it may keep that from happening (hopefully).
I got a lotta love to give.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The DBC

Tonight I'm headed to support group, otherwise known as the DBC, the Dead Baby Club. We don't call ourselves that all the time, just when we're joking around a bit. I'm not talking about a funny-haha joke, but a bitter joke's-on-me-actually type of joke.
And honestly, I think it is the total embodiment of my group. It captures the rawness of our emotions and who we all are now; childless parents grieving and trying to survive in a society that doesn't acknowledge the fact that my baby died or that I'm still (and probably forever) grieving. The DBC is in-your-face real when most other names like support group are sort of hush hush.
Once a month I meet with others like myself, though all our stories are very different, and we sympathize and empathize with each other like no one else we know outside the DBC can. Some if these people will become very near and dear friends as we support each other in our efforts to keep living life and trying to have hope for a brighter future. And I sincerely hope I can there for them as they are for me in our times of need.
I got a lotta love to give.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Make room at the table

Today a coworker told me something she's noticed in me that I honestly needed to hear from someone on the outside. She said that I appear okay, better maybe. Not like I'm 100% fine like nothing happened, but just better than the past year. She emphasized that she understands I'll never be free of my grief completely. And I think she was completely sincere in saying what she's noticed.
It was nice to be able to talk with someone about my grief outside of support group. And I realized I don't generally do that now, talk about how I'm really doing outside of that setting where everyone present is going through mostly the same thing. On the outside, it's easy to tell that people want to stay away from that topic. Maybe they feel as though they're tip-toeing around the subject, sometimes dangerously close to the edge of where okay conversation ends and sad topics begin. Sometimes I push them into it, force them to listen. But usually I let them slip by, which kind of hurts more than if we'd just had the talk instead of ignoring it. 
Today's talk was so refreshing!
As we chatted, I mentioned that in group we acknowledge that our pain never fades or leaves, we just learn how to deal with it and continue functioning. My coworker then said that I've made room at the table for my grief. I'd never heard this saying before, but it's so true. You have happiness, joy, love, grief and sadness and any others that all need a place at your table. They all need recognition and to have their own moments to talk, like friends gathered round a table in conversation. This means I acknowledge my grief as ever present, and understand that I need to allow myself moments to grieve, but that I also don't have to focus on just grief all the time.
I've come a long way in my grief journey, but I still have so far to go. A lifetime of learning.
I got a lotta love to give.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Capture a moment

As we continue with our hikes each summer, we bring our fancy camera along with us to attempt to capture photos of the amazing sights we see. During our last hike, Ry and I were sitting together eating our lunch over a lake with a spectacular view of the mountain and snow cap before us. I said to him, 'you just can't capture this in a photo.'
Thinking back, this makes me think about the missed photo opportunities we had with Korbin. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is an organization that photographers can join to do sessions with families who have lost their babies. We opted out, not really understanding what it would mean to us to have these beautiful photos, and I have regretted that decision ever since. But really, those photos would hold nothing to the memory I keep safe in my heart of my precious baby Korbin. Nothing could capture him forever for us. And this is why I am ambivalent at times about scrap booking or caring about pictures. Photos are important to me, but they are nothing compared to the pictures in my mind and the feelings in my heart.
I got a lotta love to give.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How To Grieve

It's funny how people around you either let you be, because they know every person grieves differently, or tell you what you need to do to grieve and get through your loss, because they are such an expert on how you are doing right now and know exactly how you're feeling. When I got my most recent tattoo, I received criticism from the likes of the second group, unfortunately.
March first I got a tattoo of an amethyst on the inside of my left arm. For one, it's my birth stone. But to me it's become more than that. The amethyst is a stone of healing to the mind, body and soul. And those three things have all been pretty much broken since we lost Korbin. So instead of wearing amethysts, why not tattoo one to carry with me forever? As long as I live, I will feel the pain in my heart from losing Korbin.
I got my amethyst on the inside of my left arm because of the idea that the left side is more closely connected to the heart, so maybe the blood flowing back to my heart will be 'healed' and then heal my broken heart. I know, I know. Sounds a little crazy, and like a bit of a stretch. But it's something I needed in my healing process, and I absolutely love my tattoo!


Showing and telling all if this to an old friend prompted a response I wasn't expecting, and really didn't need at that point in my grieving process. He told me that he knows exactly how I'm feeling and that what I need to do to feel better and move on is to pray. Then everything will be fine and I won't hurt any more. Sure, maybe I do just need to pray more. But if he knows exactly how I feel he should have known that at that particular point in time I was EXTREMELY angry with God. Don't tell me what I need to do to grieve and heal. My journey is mine, Ryan's is his, and we have our journey through this loss together. No one knows exactly how we feel because they did not live what we did. Every loss is different and impacts people differently. And you know what, I prayed for a healthy, perfect baby boy and Korbin was that but then he died for no reason. Pretty rotten if you ask me, and look where praying got me.
Anyway, rant over. My relationship with God is mine alone and it continues to strengthen and weaken like with any other human being. No one can dictate what it should be.
Today the Molly Bears Facebook page posted a poem that described what I hope every person knows about how to deal with a grieving loved one:


(Sorry for the picture quality....)

And this is where I need to keep my patience. People aren't trying to hurt us, they feel in their hearts they are helping. I know this. But sometimes it just hurts too much to understand this in the moment.

I got a lotta love to give.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Baby Steps

I hated hearing that term from people right after we lost Korbin. I guess more so I hated hearing the word baby since my baby was gone so suddenly. But, despite my pain and anger, life keeps going, especially for everyone else around us. Their world doesn't stop like ours did.
Maybe it's because of everyone else that we eventually just keep going too. They pull us out of the depression, slowly but surely, baby steps.
Some of it is pushing ourselves too. And recently, I have been taking my own baby steps when it comes to other's babies. First, I bought baby boy clothes for a friend who had her boy in June. That was rough. And then I went back recently to buy some baby girl clothes, and that was rough because I found the most adorable race car outfit and it made me think that I needed to buy it for Korbin but then I remembered I can't because he's gone. That was really rough. (I'm sure at this point the people at Target wonder why I'm about to cry whenever I go through the check out with baby items.) And finally, I held a baby. I have steered clear of newborns since losing Korbin, but told myself I needed to at least show up to this baby shower (in Vietnamese culture the shower is when the baby's one month old) and give the gift, maybe have a shot and then get home. Well, the baby was offered to me as soon as I got there. Not simply a 'look at her and how beautiful she is' but right away 'wanna hold her?!?' Who says no to that? A bitch. And I hate being such a bitch in the open. So I said yes. And then I went speechless and almost full on sobbing cried in front of everyone. I think this mom sensed my emotional distress and ended my emotional torment after just a few minutes. Thank God!
Now here's what's weird about losing a baby: I feel so guilty that I held this baby. Ashamed even. Like I cheated on Korbin and my possible future children. Seriously, how crazy is that? But it's really an awful feeling. Even though I literally went numb in the moment and can't even tell you what it physically felt like to hold this baby, emotionally it was still too much. 
What really gets to me now is how my joy for babies and women being pregnant was stolen from me. I used to love even just the idea of people having children, holding babies, seeing pregnant bellies. Now that's exactly what I don't want to see because I am still so jealous. It sucks. It totally sucks. But I guess I need to just keep trying.
Baby steps.
I got a lotta love to give.

Monday, July 15, 2013

We didn't need to hear that.

No, really, we didn't need to hear that.
An old close friend of Ryan's has been calling him and leaving messages a lot lately. Ry's kind of in the I-don't-have-energy-to-deal-with-this-right-now mode so he didn't call back until tonight. I thought I sensed a bit of a sort of chipperness in him saying how he needed to call this friend back. No one really reaches out to him consistently except one close friend of ours (compared to how busy I am keeping up with all the amazing people I am constantly surrounded with). I think he needed to know someone was really wanting to connect with him, to just hang out again.
Wrong. And here's where I'm still a bitch. And I seriously totally knew why he was calling. I said to myself when Ry called his friend, 'they're having another kid.' Yup, This friend called to announce three things: expecting again (stabbing pain in the heart), another boy (twist the knife so it really hurts), and they're due on Ry's and my anniversary (just rip it out already). I mean, isn't that just the best news? For them? (Maybe a bit of sarcasm....)
First I want to say that there does still exist a tiny part of me that smiles (only on the inside these days) when I find out someone we know is pregnant. I know first hand what a gift having your child with could be. But I only know because my beautiful gift was ripped from my life. I'm still angry and ask far too often 'why me, why us, why Korbin?' I waited my entire life for him, could not wait to hold him when I found out he was on his way, and then he was gone. So when people's babies don't just suddenly die in the night, or their heart's don't just stop for no apparent reason a week before their due date, or they're not just born too early to survive, it really is amazing. I can at least see that.
So let me attempt to put my odd reaction into perspective. When we lost Korbin, they said they knew exactly how we felt. Even in support group we don't dare say that to each other, and we've all had similar yet extremely different losses. Now, they did have a miscarriage. But their way of grieving and dealing was to forget and move on and just pray for a child to make up for what they lost. None of that can or will ever happen for us. Korbin will not be forgotten. We will not just simply move on. And I could never pray for a replacement child, because my child is irreplaceable. This is where I get angry because, if they even felt an ounce of what we've felt in our two very different losses, they should have never said a word. People have said the wrong thing even to this day, but not much of it has cut like that did. Especially with how much they needed to show off their first born to us after we lost Korbin. What also angers me is that they have never asked if we are okay, how we're dealing, what did we do to memorialize him. So many amazing people have surrounded us and done this in their own way. But not two of the people that before were so very close. They never even asked us what happened. I guess that's been really important to me. That people know what happened. Maybe it doesn't mean they get it, or know what to say still, but they asked and let me talk. Maybe it's so important because it explains who I am now. And why we react the way we do.
Okay, end rant! I honestly don't have this reaction with every person I know who gets pregnant. I have congratulated people, hugged them in excitement for their joy. But I still get really jealous at times. And certain things are triggers. People having boys are one. Thankfully most have had or are having girls. But when I see baby boy birth announcements I'm put into a funk for a good couple of weeks. To get such an announcement of expecting, sort of a triple whammy to my heart, was truly not what I, or we, needed right now. Hopefully I'm not back in a funk these next couple of weeks.
Thank God for Ryan, the puppy dogs, the gym, my garden, and friends and family and work....
I got a lotta love to give.