Living with the loss of stillbirth and learning to live in the sunshine of our new normal.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Seventeen days ago, our son was born. Right now, his daddy is feeding him a bottle, slowly. Little man has been spitting up for a few days. I think his tummy is upset right now. I'm trying to remember what I ate that would have made his tummy hurt. I have no idea. But before I forget more than I already have, this is his story.

   Mike and I got to the hospital at 5:45am on Thursday, December 5. I was there for prep at 6, surgery at 7:30. The receptionist was nice. That has nothing to do with anything, but it's true. We got into a room a few minutes later, and I got my beautiful gown on and we got the tv turned on to the news. The nurse came in and asked the question we would hear at least 30 times that day, "does this little one have a name?" He didn't yet. I signed all of the hospital forms, answered a million and one questions, some more than once. The nurse explained the process we were heading for. My doctor came in and said hello. I got my IV started, and I think the anesthesiologist came in and explained his part. I got up and walked to the OR. I thought that was crazy, having to walk to the OR. Mike got into his "bunny suit" and we went to the OR. When we walked in, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" was on the radio. I think that helped me calm down. I got up on the table and the anesthesiologist had me lay on my side so he could start the spinal. I asked for some acid reducer because I've had such bad reflux the past few weeks. It tasted like.. nasty. The doctor put in the spinal block, and it hurt. I started freaking out a little, but nothing compared to the panic I had with Sophia's c-section. As soon as the spinal was in, he had my lie down and they started getting everything ready. The anesthesiologist was amazing. He explained everything to me every step of the way. He told me if I felt like I couldn't breathe, to look at the monitor. I wasn't on oxygen yet, but my O2 was at 98. The spinal just made me feel like I couldn't take breaths. I stared at that monitor a lot. They checked my numbness, and put up the curtain. The doctor said she was starting. I had a warming blanket on my arms, and Mike was holding my hand. I kept an eye on the clock, because my doctor had told me that the surgery would last about 45 minutes. My doctor told me at one point that it was taking a little longer because of my scar tissue. Finally, they opened up and saw the baby. They started trying to get him out. And they tried. And they tried. They were joking about how he didn't want to come out. At one point, I felt someone pushing hard on my upper belly. I asked if someone was sitting on me. My doctor said, "it probably feels like that, but no." Finally, finally, they pulled our baby boy out and handed him to the nurse. She said he had red hair, and I almost jumped off the table. They took him to the warmer and started to clean him up. I honestly don't even remember if he was crying. Over the speaker in the OR, someone came on and said they needed the anesthesiologist in anther OR (I wish I could remember his name, because he was amazing!) they said that the "31.5 weeks twins were coming." It was a few minutes before he came to where I could see him and apologized and said he needed to leave for an emergency, but that if I needed anything at all, to let someone know, and he would be back. I told him no problem, I was fine! They wrapped my baby up and brought him over to Mike. His apgar scores were 9 and 9! Mike showed him to me, and I kissed him. Mike got to hold him the entire time they were tying my tubes and sewing everything up. All of the sudden, we were done and it was time to go. Our son was born at 8:05am. He weighed 6lbs, 2.6 ounces. He measured 20inches. The doctors/nurses got me onto another bed and handed my son to me. I held him on the way up to the room. My baby boy. Safe and sound. Mike told me they had to use a vacuum to get him out, because he was so stuck. The nurse said we would have to measure and keep an eye on his head because of the vacuum. But his head was fine. A small bruise, but it was gone in two days. My dad arrived and took some pictures, but I wouldn't let him hold the baby. We had promised Sophia she would be the first one to hold the baby. Mike's parents arrived shortly after, with our proud big sister. She sat down and held her brother. She glowed. She hasn't stopped glowing.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I'm in bed still, waiting for Sophia to wake up. She was so crazy last night, I hope she sleeps for another hour. This is our last big family day before our family grows. We are going to surprise her by taking her to see a movie (Frozen) and hopefully just spend the whole day smiling. The rest of this week is going to go by in a flash.
I'd almost forgotten to worry again. My ultrasounds and non-stress tests have gone so well that I just started assuming everything would be fine. Such a dangerous assumption. I worked a lot of hours this weekend for Black Friday/Saturday. I'm in a bit of pain (back and leg cramps mostly) because of it. Baby's been moving a ton when I get home though. Its thrown off his schedule, I think. I've woken up in the middle of the night to wait for him to move. I remembered this morning that the doctor said the cord could become a problem later in pregnancy. Now that he's so big, what if it can't sustain him? What if he doesn't get enough oxygen from me? Thankfully, I'm done at work, so I can stay home and "relax" for the next 3 days. I also have to pack for the hospital and clean for Christmas decorations. But I will take it as easy as I can. Thursday, we are having this baby. I hope to come home on Sunday. I'm trying to think positive thoughts and not freak out about kidneys and cords and surgery. I need to get through 3 days of kindergarten drop off and pick up. And a huge snow storm. And the Thanksgiving leftovers being gone. One thing at a time.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It won't stop

This has been a strange pregnancy. Very different from my girls. From how sick I've been, to the difference in my body. I've only gained 7 pounds, when with the girls I gained around 35. I feel great most of the time, but when I feel bad, I feel awful. I think I'm in more pain, but I think its mostly due to my age and the fact that I'm working part time. And this kid is A Mover. He moves so much, and he has gotten so strong, that it's painful at times. I don't know if he moves more, or if it's just because the placenta is in the back so I'm feeling more than I did when the placentas were in the front with the girls.

I had my last ultrasound yesterday. The baby's kidney issue has not gotten any worse! It's still there, but it's not looking as scary. Also, baby is growing. And growing. He is measuring a week and a half ahead! The weight guess was 5 lbs. 7oz. I know that's usually wrong, but woah.

I still have at least one moment of panic every day. It won't stop. Ever. Is he moving? When did I feel him move last? These last 2 weeks will be hard. I know that, and I know that we will get through them.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Some days, all I want to do is sleep. Today was most definitely one of those days. But instead, I went to work at 6am. After work, my friends and family threw us a baby shower. I have to confess that I was not feeling well. Two 6ams in a row and what I think is the remnants of food poisoning, I just didn't feel well at all. But we have these amazing friends. These amazing families. They came together today to help us celebrate the upcoming arrival of our baby boy. I am humbled to be part of such an amazing group of people. In fact, one of the friends throwing the shower is being induced with her first baby tomorrow. But here she was, throwing us a party. Another friend, the host, just moved into her house two weeks ago. It takes amazing people to do such things, and we know the best.

In spite of my almost overwhelming exhaustion today (hello crying fits over stupid crap) it is 11:30 pm and I am still awake. I've been awake for 19 hours. All I want to do is sleep but my head won't stop spinning. There are so many things going on in our life right now that I am dizzy. Good things, terrible things. The best things, the absolute worst things. Some nights I lie in bed and wonder how I made it through the day without exploding. Crying. Dissolving. I know how blessed we are. I know how much we have. I am grateful for so much. But I am also very angry right now. It doesn't do me any good. It doesn't change what is happening around us. I can put on my brave face all I want, joke about being ready to have this baby in 19 days. I can smile and laugh and joke about hormones. But underneath this, I am a mess. I am dissolving. I am flying apart in different directions and I don't know how much longer I will be able to hold it in. So I will blame hormones. I will joke about insomnia. I will cry for 10 second bursts and change the subject. I will be vague about the disasters that are changing our lives forever (to protect people's privacy). I will pack hospitals bags and wash baby clothes and pretend that this is the life we thought we would have. But underneath that, I know the truth, and even if I could sleep all day, the disasters will be there when I wake up. Luckily, so will the blessings.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

We got some good news today. The baby is growing like crazy. He has more than caught up to his original EDD. The cord position doesn't seem to be affecting him at all. He moves more often now, but is still sneaky some days. The ultrasound showed him with his head under my right ribs, and his feet in his face. I know his feet will be slamming down on my bladder for the rest of the day, because that's my boy.
We also got some not amazing news. 4 weeks ago we were told that his right kidney was "slightly dilated." This is fairly common (1 in 100), especially in boys, from what I learned on Google. We were waiting to find out today if the dilation had gone away. It has not. It has actually increased. From what I gather, between talking to the u/s tech and my OB, we probably wont do anything about it until he is born. then he will need an u/s to find out if there is a blockage. He will then probably need surgery to fix it. As scary as this sounds, we are not overly concerned. We can't do anything about it right now. We can wait and we can see what happens. We can pray and we can prepare for his arrival. That's all. I feel like his kidney issues will be fine. Either they will resolve themselves, or our boy will need surgery upon arrival. Either way, we will get through this. My OB said she will be calling a high-risk OB for advice. Until then, we wait. We're also waiting for my glucose scores. Maybe this weekend we will buy the gray paint for the nursery. I have less than 10 weeks to go. 3 weeks from now, we will schedule my c-section, and we will have a countdown date.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I was going to post a couple of weeks ago about how quickly the fear fades. I've been feeling like everything is fine, this is the way pregnancy is supposed to go. I never had that with Sophia. But here I am, 19 weeks and 5 days pregnant, and it's back. I wake up at 2 am and think, "is he moving? why isn't he moving?" Nevermind the fact that I can barely even feel him most days. I know he will get stronger, and it will be easier to feel him, but I know that the 2 a.m.s wont go away. They're here forever. I feel like I will never sleep again.
Let's add to that. At our 19 week appointment, when we found out that we're having our first son, we also got some not-so-great news. He has a peripheral cord insertion, so we have to keep an extra eye on his growth. This means that the cord is attached to the placenta on the very edge, and at any time, he could stop receiving nutrients, and stop growing. The doctor reassured us, "Usually it's fine. If babies like this need to be taken early, it's not usually until around 37 weeks." Usually. I hate that word. So now I'm freaked out that I'm not getting enough nutrients in the first place, let alone to pass to him through my wonky umbilical cord. I would like to say that his growth now is perfect, he is measuring exactly, to the day, how he was from the first ultrasound at 7 weeks. But at 2 am, even that is not reassuring. At 2 am, all I can think is, "is it December yet? My body isn't a safe place for babies."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


My dear. Sweet baby girl.
   How can it have been six years? Six years since I held your little body in my arms. Six years since we bought a tiny white casket. Six years since I listened so hard for anything, the smallest movement, a breath, a cry. Six years since I held onto hope long after you were cold. How can it have been six years when I can still remember exactly how it felt when you would dance in my tummy. How can it have only been six years since all of the lights in the world went out?

I wish I could find more words right now to tell you much I miss you. I can only hope you hear me when I read your books to your sister. When I whisper your name in my prayers. When Sophia tells the world, "did you know I have a sister?" I can hope, I have that when it feels like I have nothing else. When I know I could live forever if I just had the sound of your voice, if I could put my hands on your cheeks and smell your hair. If I could tell you one more time what a huge piece of me you are. If. If I knew where you are. If.

I love you, my first and always princess. I love you. I need to keep saying that so I can imagine you hearing it. I love you. I can pretend the wind carries it to where you are. I love you. I can close my eyes and believe you are standing in front of me. That you understand. I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

Monday, February 25, 2013

"I'm Sorry"

Six years ago today, Mike and I were driving to the hospital. Something was wrong. We didn't know what. We'd had an easy pregnancy. We'd gotten pregnant on our first "try". It's like, we thought about having a baby, and we were going to have a baby. That easy. We were like a golden family. Lucky. Easy. Simple. But that day, she wasn't kicking like she always did. She was a gymnast, but that day, our daughter was so quiet.

There is this one stretch of road on the way to the hospital. Only a few feet, but every time I'm there, I'm there six years ago. That is the few feet of road where I knew something was wrong. Mike reached over and held my hand, and we drove the rest of the way to the hospital knowing.

How many nurses said, "I'm sorry" that day? How many times have we heard it since?  What else is there to say? I almost feel like I need to apologize to people when I tell them. Because they don't know what to say, they feel trapped. But we're trapped too. I've thought over the past few weeks, that it's been six years. I should be better at this. I shouldn't be on the floor, curled in a ball, falling, falling.. After six years, shouldn't I be able to stand up? How do you do this? When does it become just another day? When will I not have to take time off of work, because this is the day my daughter died. Try writing that on a time off request form. I do, every year.

Sophia and I were out today, and I ended up on that road. I don't know how or why. Suddenly, I was on that highway, heading nowhere I wanted to be. It's almost as though I was forced to drive those few feet again. After I shook it off, we turned around and drove home. We were going to go to the cemetery, because the snowstorm tonight will prevent us from going tomorrow. But we're at home instead. I can't drive to Bountiful, drive up those winding, steep hills, and stand in front of that headstone today. I feel unprepared and selfish. I'm exhausted from the short conversation I had with Sophia about going.

"We're going to the cemetery today because it's going to snow tomorrow." "What's a cemetery?" "It's where she's buried, baby." "Oh! I know! That's how she died. Someone buried her." "No, baby. No."
She wants to know why her sister died, and we will never be able to tell her. So she comes up with her own ideas, and they hurt. They hurt. And now I can't face the thought of going up there. Not now. Later. I'll go later, and trudge through the snow, and place some trinkets on her grave, and stand there feeling useless, like i do every time.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's been 7 years since I've watched the Oscars. 6 years ago when the Oscars were on, I was lying in a hospital bed dying. My daughter was dead. My heart was broken. I could not move. I could barely speak. Our baby was gone, and so was I. We were trying to prepare ourselves for what was going to happen next. Our family was there. I was being poked and prodded and hooked up to machines that would get my body ready to deliver my baby. My dead child. The little girl I had thought we would watch growing up. The little girl we would watch as she learned to walk, talk, laugh, cry. She was dead. Her whole life was gone. Not just the 9 months I had carried her, but her entire life. Gone.
So tonight is Oscar night again. The tv is on and I cannot watch. All I can think about is that Sunday night 6 years ago. I don't care who wins. I don't think I will ever care again.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


This week has been long. I go from calm and reasonable to a raving lunatic just like "that". I can feel, especially today, that my blood pressure is sky high. My whole body can feel it. I'm shaky and dizzy. It feels like someone is sitting on my chest. My head is pounding.

I keep thinking about Laura. But I make myself stop. I can't cry now, I can't cry now. I feel like now is never the time to cry. So I have this pressure in my chest and in my head and behind my not crying eyes. I'll think about it later. I'll be sad later. I'll miss her later. I've been living my life in laters for 8 years. I suppose that it helped me survive losing my sister and my daughter. I suppose it is the reason I blanked out of reality (and I don't think I've quite found my way back) when my daughter died, less than two years after my sister died, instead of going completely and irreversibly insane. But what happens when my later crashes? How big will the explosion be?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Week. Weak.

This week its the week I dread. My whole life will be spent running away from this coming week. A week from today is the anniversary of Charlotte's death. So it starts today. The countdown of unbearable pain. Laura's birthday is this Friday. And she has been everywhere in my head lately. I'm better at hiding from things than I am at dealing with them. But I miss my sister and my daughter and this week there is no running away.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Falling fast. It started yesterday with an innocent reminder. The kids who she would have grown up with are turning six. My cousin's birthday was yesterday. Its a reminder. He was the first baby I held willingly after we lost ours. He will always hold a special place in my heart. I like to imagine Charlotte and Caleb in heaven before they were born. They would have been friends there. Family. I wonder if he'll ever know that, if he'll ever miss her. He and his brothers release balloons for Charlotte every year. My aunt is wonderful. She was my best friend growing up (we're only 2 years apart.)

But these are the days and the minutes and the seconds and the reminders. Gone forever, and I am falling fast.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Today is one of the days I should have kept driving past the parking lot. I should have turned around and gone home. Back in bed, I could have spent the whole day crying. It's just one of those days.

But today I have to talk to my 5 year old about how/why her sister died. Today I have to explain things that I don't understand myself. She's been asking questions. Every day, she's more insistent. She needs to know. How do I do this?

Friday, February 1, 2013


It's february again. I hate this month.

Sophia asked me yesterday who her favorite kid in our house was. Usually an easy question. But she threw in, "me, or Charlotte?" I said, Charlotte isn't here, sweetie. She insisted. Persisted. I told her I loved them both, she got huffy and kept saying, "me or Charlotte?" I gave up and went mute. I know that she has no idea how those types of conversations hurt us. I know that its not fair to ignore it. I know that she's just being a kid. I don't know how to handle it. You'd think that after 6 years, I would know what to say.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Last night, it finally happened. I had a dream about Charlotte. It's the second dream I've had about her since she died. This one was sad like the first, but it was also amazing.
I walked into a funeral home and some of our friends were standing outside of a glass room. I don't know who these people were. There were four of them, and I remember knowing that they weren't close friends, but they were there for us- doing something great for us. It's like they were standing guard. When we got there, they seemed relieved, because they could go. I was okay with that. I walked right by them without speaking. They asked if we needed anything to eat, and I said, "no, thank you." and walked into the glass room. There were stands with flowers, a plush carpet. The room was only about 12'x12' There were 3 babies in the room, waiting for their families to come and see them. Charlotte was near the back, on the left. She was lying on the floor, with her head towards the center of the room and her feet towards the wall. I thought, "they couldn't even put her in something- a bed?" The other babies were in bassinets (or possibly caskets? I didn't pay that much attention because I was flying to my baby's side.) I knelt down beside her. I knew she was dead, but she was also alive. Her eyes opened and she looked at me. I don't what know I said to her. I know I babbled a little. "It's me. It's mommy. Shhh, I'm here." She looked at me and she knew me.

And I woke up. I woke up and I sat up in bed and I smiled, because I got to see my baby. I got to touch her and speak to her. I tried to stay awake so I could revel in the fact that I had seen her. Then it occurred to me that if I fell back asleep, maybe I would go back to the dream. I didn't, but it's enough. Those few seconds, seeing her eyes, knowing she knew who I was. Two dreams in 6 years- that's all I have of my daughter, but I feel so blessed to have that.