Monday, February 28, 2011

I Can See The Finish Line

No birth news to post yet I'm afraid. The docs are going to have me go to about 39 weeks and then do a c/section if nothing happens naturally on its own first. I feel nervous about going so long. I want them out and safe now, but my concerns on this have been brought up to the docs and their consensus seems to be that it is better to give the snowflakes a little more time if we can, rather than take them now just because I have passed the 38 weeks mark. One doc tried to reassure me by saying that the chance of something going wrong by waiting was only around 1 in 1000. I told him that numbers like that don't comfort me at all.

So now we wait.

I am having TONS of contractions every day, getting monitored every few days, and had my last cervical check last week (not dilated or effaced yet if you can believe that) and all is looking good. These babies are making it really hard for me to function though. I say that not as a complaint, just as a statement of fact. They are big babies, or so I am assuming based on their size estimates three weeks ago, and I feel them in every inch of my abdomen from my pelvis to my upper rib cage. Sleep has become pretty difficult to come by, but so has staying awake so go figure on that one. I also am feeling a lot of pressure on my lungs which leaves me wheezing like you would with a chest cold. It's all good though, they need the room more than I do at this point, and soon enough they will be here in my arms, and I will be back to breathing and sleeping (well... maybe not sleeping.)

For the most part though, I am just feeling very excited and hopeful, though as you all know from my last post, the moments of fear and doubt still have their ways of creeping in. I don't know what it is about being this close to birth that has brought them to the forefront, but I keep telling myself that Peyton's story is not their story, and saying the serenity prayer over and over, to get me through.

That's really all I have to report on from here. That, and the fact that we STILL have not agreed on names. Who knew that naming two would be so hard!?

I am guessing my next post will be to announce their arrival. Until then, here is the final installment of belly pics taken at 38 weeks. As always, I will put a little space to protect those who would rather not see them.

Please keep my little snowflakes in your thoughts and prayers for a safe arrival and good health.

~ 38 Week Belly Shots ~

~ Front View ~

~ Side View ~

~ Collage ~

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Full of Emotions

I woke up from a nap today completely terrified. I wasn't upset when I went to lay down, so why it hit me all at once upon rising is beyond me.

The facts are these:

I NEED these babies to arrive here safely.
I NEED them to be healthy.
I NEED for us to leave the hospital with them, like a normal family.

I NEED these things, but also live on a side of the universe where I know that nothing in this life is a guarantee. I have seen women in this community do everything right for their rainbows and still have things go so terribly wrong and that scares me. Where is the free pass for the bereaved? Where is the token that says, "okay, you have been through enough, now you are ensured a life of pure joy"?

Please don't get me wrong, I really do spend 99% of my time believing that I have reached the "beauty from my pain" point, and try to focus my energies and attention on celebrating the joys and miracles of these snowflakes, but then there is that 1% of the time, those dark moments of self doubt like I had today upon waking, and the fear is just overwhelming.

I think I am * just * so * close * now that it feels like everything - our hopes, dreams, happiness - is on the line. Part of me wants to call the hospital today and say, "They are good right now. Let's c-section them right now!"

I know I am being closely monitored.
I know these babies are showing all the signs that they are growing and thriving and usually I find all the comfort I need in that.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Keeping Things In Perspective

This isn't the post I was going to put up today. The post I was going to put up was titled "That Little Stinker!" I wrote it shortly after coming out of my first doctor's appointment of the day, and it read as follows:

At today's NST it was discovered that our little boy - Baby A - has decided to join his twin sister and go breech! My dreams for a VBAC are getting further and further away from me. I think that, were it not so laughable that HE be the one who decided to flip at 37 weeks, I just might cry over this news. So much for believing anything in this life is within our control.
For now, all I can do is thank God that these babies are healthy, and pray that their (most likely) c-sectioned entry into this world is not too triggering of painful memories from Peyton's.
Please join me in praying for a beautiful and healing birth experience for us all. It's not the way I would have chosen, but so little in this life is. It looks like we will be scheduled for sometime next week.

It had been a chaotic morning. I had almost gotten into a car accident on my way to the hospital. Had the accident happened, it would have been my fault, not because I wasn't paying attention, but it was one of those situations where my vision on a car got lost in the glare of the sun. I saw it at just the right time, slammed on my breaks, and was able to avoid getting hurt.

After that I headed to the hospital and had my appointment. When it was over, I typed the short post up on my hubs cell phone (texting is not my strong suit) and put it aside to revisit and edit once I got home. I called hubs to give him the news about Baby A, and we decided to meet up for lunch. 

My husband "gets" why I am so sad about the prospect of not getting to VBAC. When we were first told that Baby B had gone breech, and VBAC was unlikely, it was hubs who had tears come to his eyes first. When I asked him what was the matter, he told me he was upset for me, because he knew how hard those words were for me to hear. "I know how badly you want this," he said, "and that makes me want it for you. It just seems unfair that it has to be so difficult."

Today at lunch we had much the same conversation. With each cosmic blow to my plan of VBAC-ing these babies, I have learned to become more accepting of the reality that when the time comes, I will be wheeled not into a delivery room, but an operating room, and my children will be removed from me by an obstetrician, rather than birthed by my will, blood, sweat and tears. It's not what I would have chosen, but like the many other twists and turns that have come along this journey to motherhood, I will learn to roll with it.

When lunch was over, hubs and I headed out to the parking lot so he could go back to work. My mind was still swirling with the mix of emotions of the day: the joy at hearing once again how great the babies are looking on NST, mixed with the disappointment at realizing what a small miracle it would take at full term to get both of these babies to flip so that I could VBAC. All of the sudden my train of thought was broken by a loud screech, and crash. A car went tumbling end over end in front of us, before landing roof down against a pole. At the other side of the street, what remained of the car that had hit it sat smoking. The site made us stop in our tracks. We just knew that both drivers had to be hurt badly, or worse. The accident was one of the worst I have ever seen.

There was a police officer not even a hundred yards from the scene of the accident, standing near a work crew.

"What's that cop doing?" I kept asking hubs. "Why is he just standing there? He should be running over to help them." Drivers from other cars had come pouring out into the street to attend to the wounded, but the cop stood still. Even now, a few hours later, I still can't make sense of his actions. After an eternity, or a moment, rescue vehicles were on the scene.

"Makes you count your blessings." I said holding onto hubs, still unable to process the devastation we had just witnessed.

"Yes," he nodded, "it sure does."

As we left the scene, I told hubs about my near-accident of the morning, and how a split second of reaction time had made all the difference.

And that's just sort of how life is sometimes. 

Out of our control.

I guess as long as we recognize that, it is easier to accept those moments that feel full of disappointment.

I won't lie and say that I am not still sad that I can't have my choice when it comes to how these babies are going to be brought into this world, but so little that happens in this life is by choice. 

So little is within our control. 

So I am choosing to do the only thing that STILL IS within my control. 
I am choosing to keep things in perspective.

Yes I am disappointed.
Yes I know that having a c-section is going to be more triggering for me than vaginal birth would have been.
Yes the thought of it scares me.

But I am okay.
My husband is okay.
These babies are okay.

At the end of the day - whether things go the way I had hoped or not - what else really matters?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The Spring Issue of Exhale is up!

I encourage you to check out all of the wonderful essays, poems, and artwork that this issue has to offer. I am sure you will recognize many of the contributors' names from this community. 

If you are interested in reading my essay, Sharing My Fears on Grief's Roller Coaster, you can click here.

If you haven't done so already, please consider "liking" Exhale on FB, or following us on twitter. Links for both are at the right side of the Exhale page. 


Sunday, February 13, 2011

36 Weeks Today

I am 36 weeks along today.

Almost there...
Almost there...

Dear God, universe, etc. - please bring these babies to us healthy and whole and happy. Please keep them that way so we can watch them grow and learn and love. Please allow us to be what we have striven to be for the last 4 years - a normal, healthy family.  

Both excitement and anxiety are running high, and also, in a very strange way, being this close to delivery feels surreal. That's something I can't quite figure out, since we have been trying to bring home healthy babies since first getting pregnant in 2007, but surreal is the only word I could put to adequately describe this feeling.

* We * Are * So * Close *

I am attaching my latest belly pics. As always, here is a little space for those of you who stumbled onto this post and want to avoid possible triggers...


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Feeling a little robbed.

Here is a short update. I have a lot to say, I am feeling many different emotions right now, but exhaustion is winning in the battle for my attention, so my words might be a little limited.

I am feeling a little robbed.
I'm sorry.
I just am.

Please don't get the wrong idea, the snowflakes are growing beautifully - today's ultrasound has Baby A measuring at an estimated 6 lb 5 oz and B at 5 lb 11 oz - but it confirmed something else too - Baby B has gone breech. 

I know, I know. There are so much bigger things in this world to worry about than the method of delivery of these twins, and even I feel a little silly after all the heartache it has taken to get here, to be admitting how disappointed I feel by this (Lord knows I am so grateful that these snowflakes have continued to thrive and be healthy and grow, grow, grow) but I have always wanted to birth a baby, and it is a chance I see slipping away and that hurts.

People love to tell me how a c-section is "simple." How it's "no big deal." They love to tell me how its "in and out in 40 minutes" and blah blah blah, but I missed Peyton's birth. I was there, in the room, but the drugs, or my reaction to them, had me somewhere else. I was too exhausted. I didn't get to kiss her face, to count her toes. She was whisked from my body, and then from the room, and the experience of birthing her was like being a drugged up spectator to what should have been the biggest moment in my life. 

I have always had these images of how I wanted to birth my children. In my mind, I saw myself pushing them out into this world, then having them placed onto my chest and cleaned off. I envisioned myself crying, and holding them near me, and just the amazing experience of being in that moment, me - hubs- our children - pure joy.

What I got instead with Peyton was a fogged up hour, followed by a nauseating ride down the hall back to my room, a terrible diagnosis, and shivers and vomiting that came so violently post anesthesia that I hardly even saw my daughter's face before she was taken away to another hospital.

There was nothing "simple" about my c-section.
Nothing easy.
Nothing to be desired.

So maybe it sounds ridiculous that this would be so heartbreaking for me, but VBAC was another way to separate this birth experience from that one. It offered the opportunity to be "normal," to do what millions of women have done for millions of years to bring babies into this world. It was a chance at birthing these babies in a completely different way, in a completely different environment, without encountering countless triggers and reminders of all that went so horribly wrong the first time.

VBAC felt like the key to all these things, and I can't help but to feel a little robbed at the realization that my chances at attempting it are slipping away.

Friday, February 4, 2011

When you want to cross that bridge...

I had a nightmare last night.

I dreamt that I came up to a very long bridge over water (think miles long) with my husband. In my dream I referred to it as the Brooklyn Bridge, but it wasn't actually that bridge. Anyway, I wanted to cross the bridge but I was scared. The bridge felt too long, and impossible to conquer. My hubs told me to just do it. He said that he would be running alongside me and he would tell me as I was getting close to the other side. I hemmed and hawed for a while, before finally getting up the guts to give it a go.

I started across the bridge, and he was yelling things like "you're a tenth of the way there, keep going." All of the sudden it became very windy out, and the bridge had no guardrails holding me in from the sea below. Up ahead of me I could see something crossing the bridge and I screamed when I realized it was water. "I'm scared." I cried, "I can't. I don't want to!" But hubs stayed on my heels, pushing me and pushing me and all the while I was terrified.

I told my hubs it wasn't safe, that I had to turn around, and when I went to head back to "safety," I saw that that area I had already crossed was becoming covered with water too. I ran as fast as I could, which wasn't very fast because I was wearing the pink CROCS that I always wear to my doctors appointments (what can I say, they still fit) and they were hindering my speed. The water levels both in front of me, and behind me, were rising. I was panicking. How was I going to get off this bridge?

I passed by someone who had been swept into the sea. I'd like to say that I stopped to help them, but that would be a lie. I wanted to help them, but I was too scared. I was in fight or flight mode. I needed to survive.

The water smelled terrible and I worried about what was in it as it soaked my feet through my CROCS.

When I finally made it off the bridge, I was met with an overpass covered in graffiti. The words that were scrawled on the wall were all scary pregnancy related words, like pre-eclampsia. I bent over to catch my breath and hubs came up beside me.

"You should have kept going," he said, unable to even look at me. "You were practically there."

I felt like a complete failure.

I could give you my own interpretation of what this dream means, but who knows how close I would really be. Despite his role in this dream, my hubs has been nothing but supportive our entire marriage, so please don't get the wrong impression.

I know that when I woke up from it, I instinctively felt between my legs, wondering if my water had broken. Realizing it hadn't, I breathed a sigh of relief and tried to go back to bed, but I couldn't.

The fear had me.

I am scared of giving birth. Not of the actual act of "giving birth," per say, I couldn't really care less about what pain I might endure during a vaginal delivery, and I have already been through a c-section so I sort of know what to expect. No, what I am scared of is actually being able to do it.

Of actually being able to bring living children into this world.

I am scared of giving birth, because I have never done that well.
I have never done it and had a good outcome.

The very worst day of my life, as ashamed as I am to admit this, was the day I gave birth to Peyton. She was taken from my body, then from the room, and by the time I first saw her, doctors were telling me that she would in all likelihood die. To describe the event of Peyton's birth as traumatic, would be an incredible understatement.

What should have been my happiest moment, was one of grief, and panic, and fear instead.

I have spent a great deal of this pregnancy worrying about getting the babies to viability, then to safety, but now, with the carrot of their arrival dangling so closely before my nose, it is hitting me - some way or another, whether vaginally or by c-section, I am going to have to "give birth" to these babies, and I am terrified.

I try over and over to picture a positive birthing experience in my mind.
I try to see them coming into the world, and being declared healthy, and handed over to me.
I try to envision them at my breast, the gratitude I will feel for their safe arrival, and the tears of joy that I know will be streaming down both my face, and that of my hubs.

I try to envision this, but sometimes the fear creeps in instead.

I wish pregnancy didn't have to be this way for any of us loss mommas. I wish that we could be happy and innocent and naive again, because I am looking down the span of this long bridge before me, wanting so badly to feel confident in my ability to get to the other side... wanting to so badly... but not.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A prayer request...

So this post is a little out of the norm for me, as it doesn't have anything to do with loss, infertility, or pregnancy, but I would really appreciate if you could send a few prayers/happy thoughts/healing wishes/good karma etc. out into the universe for my Uncle Eddie.

Two years ago, Uncle Eddie received a devastating diagnosis of melanoma, and in truly miraculous fashion surprised everyone, his doctors included, with an amazing recovery that didn't require any chemo or radiation.

A few weeks ago we learned that Uncle Eddie's cancer has returned - this time to his spine, and he is facing a pretty tough week ahead as he starts radiation therapy. When that is done, he will start chemo.

I truly believe that the more good energy sent in someone's direction, the better, so if you could take a moment to send some in my Uncle's direction, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks :)