Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Liliana's Story

It took a while to feel even a little better after losing Maya. I would say after Christmas - so maybe 2.5 months - I started to feel ready to move on with my life. As if losing a child isn't hard enough, losing one through pregnancy means your hormones are crazy. That didn't help at all. But alas, we found ourselves ready to go on and on January 24th, we got another positive pregnancy test. It was an interesting reaction. I was very relieved - but not exactly the light feelings of happiness you hope for. I now had a heavy weight - extreme caution and hesitation to believe this would work out. I felt hopeful about the future finally. But even tho the docs said there was nothing to worry about, I just didn't believe them. I have seen too many stories now - women who have lost 5-6 and more babies. And knew too much about how little the doctors know or try to help.

Regardless, we went to the doctor for earlier ultrasounds this time. At the first one we saw the heartbeat. I was the first to find it. And I can't explain the rush (literally) of relief that ran through my body. But even though I felt good at that moment, I knew all too well that it didn't guarantee a tomorrow. We were planning to go visit my mom and dad in Florida at the beginning of March and wanted to tell everyone at that point rather than lie in their presence - so the day before we had another US. It indicated 8 weeks 5 days and again - a good heartbeat. This time they actually gave me my "welcome to pregnancy" package which I hesitated to feel good about. I didn't like that the 8 weeks 5 days date was the same day I Maya's heart stopped beating. But onward, we told all the family. It was actually hard to tell them. I knew they felt good and now thought we had moved on. But I had not moved on. I had not forgotten Maya, and I couldn't even feel good about this new baby. But I spent lots of time talking to "it" and coaching "it" to stay with us. I didn't want to have to go back and tell my family it wasn't going to make it.
I had my docs schedule one more US for what should have been my 11th week. We went in and I will admit, I was starting to feel hopeful. One more week and I was going to let go of the fear. One more week and we'd be in the 2nd trimester. I even started shopping again for bedroom options. I really wanted a girl so she and Kaelyn could be buddies. I was ready for the heartbeat.

But nothing. And this time we had the technician lady who is like a cold Nazi - she's aweful. She said nothing and we knew exactly what was happening. One frame showed the baby, so much bigger than last time, with it's arms and legs outstretched. But not moving. No movement. No heartbeat. She brought in the doc and it was confirmed - it was over again.

All I could say was - "I can't do fing do this again, I can't do it again." I didn't want to go back to that sad place. I didn't want to be all absorbed in this. I just wanted to be pregnant dammit. And I wanted to meet another little baby with little Kaelyn cries. How can I NOT GO THRU THIS?

I was angry. And so was Mike. We withdrew. We went thru another D&C. I didn't feel good about doing another medical intervention after a Csection and a D&C already. But I wanted the baby to be tested and this was the only way to be sure.
So four days later, it was all over. But this time I was not ready to move on. And I was not going to do this again until I had answers and a promise that this would not happen again. I can't believe women go through this so many times. It is a great waste of life - both of the babies who die as well as the families who are left to struggle through this grief.

So I started the testing. She ran a standard "recurrent pregnancy loss panel." It consisted of 12 vials of blood. I told my doc I wanted everything. And I wanted referrals. I got a referral to a geneticist, a fertility doc, and a perinatologist. Then I started researching. I made an additional appointment with an accupunturist and a holistic doctor (MD). And I continue to research.
She called 3 weeks later with the results of the recurrent pregnancy loss panel. I have MTHFR and Prothrombin Factor II. Both are genetic mutations that increase the chance of a bloodclot and can threaten pregnancies in several ways. They can't draw a line and say this was the cause of this second miscarriage. But it is a good possibility. So that was the start of my answers. And I will continue to get more information as I meet with these other doctors. In the meantime, I am still sad.

Oh. And it's a girl.

We knew we would name her and we decided on Liliana. I found it in a book I was reading and really really liked it. When we found out it was a girl, it just fit. It is nice because my grandma was Lila, and I have an aunt Lilian and Lilah, plus a niece Delilah. Ana links to Mike's mom's middle name Ann as well as my good friend Marianna, who is walking this path to wellness with me.

Here is the only photo of me pregnant with Liliana - in Florida.

Here is a picture of our memorial garden that we planted for Liliana.

Maya's Story

Very soon after Kaelyn's arrival, we decided we not only wanted one child, but maybe even three. I come from a family of 5 and really enjoy having that many siblings. Two feels so lonely and now that I knew I liked having kids...why not?

We wanted to have them really close together, but I just wasn't quite ready till Kaelyn was about 8 months old. We quickly became pregnant again and were bursting at the seems. This pregnancy was a little different - I definitely had morning sickness - I felt hungover all the time. Our due date was estimated at May 13th which was earlier than I thought. Perfect timing though - my dad's birthday is the same day and that was very exciting. Plus, most of my sister's would be done with teaching and we would have plenty of help with the two kiddos thru the summer months. Couldn't have been MORE on plan! I couldn't wait to tell everyone, but our 10 week ultrasound (first one) was scheduled for the week after Kaelyn's first birthday party and two weeks before her actual birthday. So we were going to at least wait till the ultrasound but maybe wait till after her bday - just so we didn't take the attention off of her.

When we went in for the ultrasound, there was no heartbeat. It was devastating but I went immediately into shock. First I rationalized... "I'm so glad I never saw a heartbeat," "I'm so glad I have Kaelyn - she's all I need," "It's okay - it happens alot and we'll just try again." These are all the things you hear from everyone else too. So I went home and had to figure out what I'd have to go thru to have a miscarriage. Well - it wasn't as easy as I thought. I didn't know the cramping was like labor. I didn't want to go through labor. And it might take up to a month to start the process and the process can take days. I just wanted it to be over. So I scheduled a D&C. The doc tells you there are no risks beyond any normal surgical procedure. If they tear the uterus, they can immediately fix it. Sign me up, I thought. So it was over in an hour and I was on my way.

Until I woke up the next day. So sad. For weeks and weeks, I was so so sad. I never imaged it would be this painful - I always imagined you would just move on. But I was no longer pregnant. I no longer had to pee in the middle of the night or felt my growing uterus when I leaned over the counter at the sink.

Luckily because I was curious and asked some dumb questions before the D&C, my doc said that they could run chromosome tests on the baby to see if there were any isses. About 2.5 weeks later, we found out it was Triploidy/Polyspermy. The baby had extra chromosomes b/c the egg was fertilized by two sperm. The doctor made a joke of it and said it would never happen again. Mike had aggressive sperm and two of them "won." And by the was a girl.

A girl.

Upon my late-night chatting with other women on the internet who were going thru this same horrific experience (Thank GOD for the internet), I found that many of them had named their babies. Why in the world, I thought? So I asked, and they explained how much it was healing for them - it just helped to not have to call it "baby" or "tissue" or "fetus" or whatever. So I considered it. And Mike and I agreed to plant an Olive Tree to remember her by. I liked the name Samuel for a boy and thought we'd use that if it was a boy. But didn't have anything in the pipeline for a girl. One day the name Maya popped into my head. I immediately loved it.

And I really liked that it meant May - the month she was due. So we decided on Maya and now we look at her Olive Tree on the hill in our backyard every day and each night before we go to bed we say goodnight because Mike put special lighting on the tree so we can see it sway in the wind so beautifully. I highly recommend planting a tree or creating a space for any lost child. I can go sit under the tree and feel like she is a part of our life in some real way, and we can enjoy her even tho she is not here.

Here is the only photo of me pregnant with Maya.

Kaelyn's Story - Pure Joy!

I always wanted to be married for about 5 years before adding children. I wasn't in a hurry and worried whether I'd like having children or not. But I promised my wonderful husband that I would have at least one child, so finally, after 4 years, we decided the time was right. My pregnancy (I turned 31 before she was born) was so smooth it was unbelievable. No morning sickness, no problems. It almost seemed silly to go to the doctor's each month! Heartburn was about the worst of it. I didn't even have trouble controlling my weight.
Needless to say, we were anxious when October arrived and it was time to meet our little girl. Her name is Kaelyn (after myself and my mother) Isabella (after Mike's grandmother). I had a scheduled C-section because she was late and I didn't want to induce with the possibility of a long labor and then a C. That went fine too - and when we heard her screams (yes - screams!) - we couldn't have been happier or more alive.
I had been afraid of suffering from postpartum depression, but again - no problems. Just elation and no desire to do anything but be a mom to this awesome little girl.
Kaelyn has been the biggest blessing and so much fun to have around. Little did we know that we could grow to love and appreciate her even more.