Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ultrasound Part III: My Reaction

If you missed it, read Part I and Part II of our ultrasound experience.


As I mentioned before...It was wonderful to see our little baby. It was incredible to see how much our baby had formed and so reassuring to see that our baby looked healthy and normal.

Trevor covered his face so he couldn't see the screen and I covered my face so that if Trevor glanced at me we wouldn't be able to read my expression.

And it was a good thing I did, because I think my jaw dropped in surprise when the ultrasound tech put the words on the screen "It's a BOY!"

I was definitely surprised! I, along with so many friends and family members (Trevor included) thought we'd be having a girl. I still feel strongly that we will have a girl, but who knows when that will be because this little one is definitely a boy! It looks like no ones intuition was very good this time around.

We took video footage of Trevor opening the envelope with the results. Because it's on his brother's camera, I haven't been able to see it yet --to see what his reaction was in the moment.  I was there but I don't exactly remember how it was. Nevertheless, Trevor was obviously thrilled to be having another boy! Not only does he really want a son to spend time with, he also had explained that it would be a lot more simple--"we already have all they boy stuff." Oh the practicality!

On our way home Trevor asked if I was disappointed. "No," I replied, "just surprised." I also explained how it's hard for me to be having another boy. This child as we've known all along, is not a replacement for Luke and having a boy may make it harder for it to not seem that way. Now that we know the gender we can get things like the nursery all put together, but I can't go home and just put up everything I have. That was Luke's nuresry. I can't just put the same pictures on the new walls and put the quilt over the rocking chair. That's Luke's quilt.

I have a friend who boxed up all of her son's items and has no intention on using them for her other children. Of course, that's probably been easier because her other two children are girls.

We do have so many wonderful baby boy things and I've always felt that it was most practical to use them again. But now that I'm placed in that situation it feels different than I thought it would. It's hard. It's hard to picture our new son wearing the outfits that I had picked out for Luke.

There are things that I may never dress our new baby in--perhaps they will seem too much like Luke's for me to do that.  For the items that we will use, Trevor suggested a way of looking at it that I really like. He said that anything that we use for our son that had been Luke's we'll call "hand-me-downs," because that's what they are. They belonged to Luke and now they're getting passed down to his younger brother. Perhaps they are all still brand-new, but they are nevertheless hand-me-downs. That seems to settle well with me for now.

As for the nursery. It won't be the same. I'll think of something different and probably make a new quilt that will be just for this baby. It would have been more simple to make something different if this baby had been a  girl. I'm not sure what I'll do or what I'll change, but I know I want to put together something that will be special and unique for this child.

As we were driving home, we continued to talk about things on our mind now that we knew our baby is a boy. We discussed how we'll be having a boy who will feel like he's the oldest in our family, yet he will have an older brother. Reflecting on our day that we had spent with Trevor's brother and remembering silly comments like "My brother drives more like me than I realized"  and thinking about what an example Trevor's older brother is to him I started crying. I was heartbroken for our son. He has an older brother, but he will not have him as an example, a friend, a confidant or any of the other wonderful things that Trevor has in his older brother.

I told Trevor that I hoped they know each other even if they won't be living together in this life. Not knowing exactly how things work for our loved ones that have gone on, I told Trevor I hoped Luke could be a guardian angel for his little brother. Perhaps Luke will offer help and protection in our new son's life which we may only know about after this life. I don't know, but I can only hope.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ultrasound Part II: Gender Reveal

And here's the answer that I've wanted to know since March when I found out I was pregnant! 

If you missed it, read about how we randomly decided to have an ultrasound done to find out our baby's gender. 

And I'll be back later to share more on my thoughts and response to the exciting news. 

Ultrasound Part I: An Unplanned Outing

On Saturday, June 16, we decided to go get an ultrasound and find out the gender of this baby. It was totally unplanned and last minute.

We had spent the morning with Scott and Maryanne's family at the "truck touch" an event with all sorts of cool construction, military, and other vehicles that the kids (and adults) could climb in, on, and over and even honk the horns and press and pull any lever or switch we could get our hands on. After doing some Father's Day shopping at Barnes and Noble Trevor and I had lunch at a little burger place called Boardwalk Burgers in Alexandria.

Toward the end of lunch we had the idea to go have an ultrasound done. I'm not sure whose idea it was. Perhaps I suggested it. Trevor wasn't sure about it, but he looked up a place on his phone to see if it was even a possibility. He gave them a call and, sure enough, they were open! If we left right then we'd be able to make it in time for the last appointment of the day at 4 o'clock. I got a milkshake (something I'd usually avoid consuming during pregnancy) in hopes that the extra sugar would get this little one moving and give us something to see for the ultrasound.

We had a navigation mishap and ended up in the middle of Falls Church when in all actuality the location of the ultrasound office was in Fairfax (about thiry minutes from where we ended up!). We called and they told us they'd stay open for us. What kind souls! And a good thing because by now we were getting pretty excited to know the results!

On our way there I couldn't help thinking about the other angel mommies that I know who had found out at their ultrasounds that something was wrong with their baby and were told that their child would have particular problems or simply wouldn't make it.

What if that was going to be us? Within the hour were we going to find out that our sweet baby has some sort of defect that will prevent us from taking him or her home with us after birth? Were we about to find out that this pregnancy was not going to result in bringing a baby home? I couldn't help but to wonder.

Anticipation, excitement, and concern overwhelmed me.

We concluded that we could handle that sort of news. Nevertheless, Trevor made me pinky-swear that we weren't going to get any bad news that afternoon! As if me pinky-swearing it could change our fate!

Trevor suggested waiting to find out the results. With Luke we had the results sealed in a card that we opened later that evening when it was just the two of us. He suggested it might even be fun to open the results with his family (his parents were even in town).  I didn't want to find out along with everyone else nor did I want to see my baby and not know if it was a boy or a girl. So we decided that I would find out the gender at the appointment and we would seal it in an envelope and Trevor would read the results later when we were with the family.

It was wonderful to see our little baby. It was incredible to see how much our baby had formed and so reassuring to see that our baby looked healthy and normal.

Trevor covered his face so he couldn't see the screen and I covered my face so that if Trevor glanced at me he wouldn't be able to read my expression...

Anyone wish they could see the other picture? You'll just have to wait to see what the second picture tells us about this sweet little baby! Any guesses? If you already know, don't spoil it please! You'll have to check back later to see what the results are. And if you really can't wait and want to try to get it out of me I guess you could try calling, but I have Trevor's phone today. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fighting Fear During Pregnancy

Part of my decision to announce this pregnancy so early was because I wanted to be able to share my experience of what being pregnant is like after experiencing pregnancy loss. I, obviously, have not given very many updates on this pregnancy. In part, because the last two months have been a whirlwind of events--packing up, traveling for nearly two weeks across the country, and attempting to get settled in and all of the odds-and-end yet urgent things taken care of--and partially because perhaps I haven't wanted to write how I've really felt.

When you put your thoughts or feelings into words it solidifies them--perhaps making them a little bit more true and real than maybe you want them to be. I think that has been me lately.

In spite of being committed to loving my pregnancy it has been a challenge. I knew that it might be an experience that is laced with fear --and it has been just that. I haven't wanted to really accept that, so I think that is partially why I have avoided writing about it.

The first trimester was probably easier because I had a constant reminder that I was still pregnant--nausea. It was never too bad (I am so blessed with "easy" pregnancies) and I only threw up twice. And one of those two times I actually thought was quite a comical experience.

As I started into the second trimester the nausea was dissipating, which for most people is a great thing; however, for me not feeling pregnant was no comfort at all. I wrote about wondering if I was even still pregnant just before we heard our baby's heartbeat for the first time in April. In that post I wrote about the peace that I received from Christ's words in the scriptures.

It seems as though my life, particularly this pregnancy, is a continual ebb and flow of fear and pleading to God in prayer for an increase of faith and then receiving tender mercies, experiences and teaching moments which bring me to a place of comfort and then I fall into fear again.

I know some moms feel really connected to their babies from the moment of conception, I can't say that I'm one of those moms. Excited and thrilled and filled with love for this unknown spirit --yes, most definitely! But would I say I feel close to babies early on in pregnancy. Not really. Which is weird because no one else is closer--the child is inside of me!  But that's just the way it is for me. It was that way with Luke and it has been that way again. It's hard this time though because I have a very deep longing to feel close to this baby and to feel it nowWhat if this is the only time I have with this child? I need to love it and embrace it before it is possibly taken from me. So I plead and pray that I can feel close to my little baby.

It doesn't help that my body carries babies in a way that I can see and maybe close family members or friends who are familiar with my build can start to see about now, but to anyone else I don't even look pregnant for a long time into my pregnancy. I, of course, was hoping that that would be different this go-around. You're supposed to show sooner with each subsequent pregnancy, right? Well not me. My ribs widen and my hips widen and everything pretty much stays tucked inside all nice. I'm sure most women would love to carry their babies this way. You don't really feel fat, no bump gets in the way, it's easy to still sleep on your stomach, your regular clothes fit you for most of pregnancy. Sounds great right? Well it's awful!!! I would give almost anything for physical evidence that this little child is still alive and growing.

I am so grateful that I have a loving Father in Heaven that hears the pleadings of my heart and blesses me with sweet tender mercies. Some members of my family have already read this, but I've decided to share a very momentous experience that occured during this pregnancy. I wrote about it in my journal and will include a portion of that journal entry.


May 19, 2012 

This morning I woke up early and prayed and read my scriptures and went back to sleep. (Tired pregnant mamma). The next time I woke up (around 8 am) I laid there thinking about my baby--wondering and wishing for more evidence.

The Lord hears our pleas and the prayers of our hearts.

I laid on my back and began to feel my stomach--pressing ever so slightly to try to feel if my uterus was actually indeed still growing and getting bigger (in spite of me not really looking very pregnant at all . . . even at 3 and a half months!). I could feel it and continued to press gently, but firmly around feeling things out. I slowly increased the pressure to see if I could feel my baby. Not at first, but with time I could begin to feel what felt like our baby! I thought back to when Brindy (Sherri's apprentice) would press firmly and feel around to locate Luke and recognize what direction or position he was in. I proceeded to do as she had done feeling around and acquainting myself with what has going on inside of me. It felt as though this baby was near the top of my uterus and acquainting is just what happened! As I poked and prodded ever so lovingly I felt a little nudge back at me!

A gasp of excitement and almost disbelief. My heart raced with excitement and joy and gratitude greater than words could express.

"Hi baby"

I continued to prod some more for reassurance that it wasn't just my imagination, even though I had felt it more sure than ever! I felt another movement in response to my nudge and tears were simply flowing from the corners of my eyes as I laid on my back. I have never wept so much from joy and happiness. I couldn't have been more thrilled. I couldn't have--in an instance--felt more connected to my baby. I continued to cry and gently nudged around some more just pleading for a third little acknowledgment that this baby was really here. Really still alive and really still with me.

A third movement! 


After that sweet experience I did not continue to feel my baby regularly. And actually didn't really start feeling regular flutters of movement until this past week. This, in a way, sometimes caused me to allow the fear cycle to begin again, but I have tried to not forget this experience of reassurance which I was blessed with. I have tried to remember it and to share it with others. I have tried to remember that God gave me a sweet gift when I needed it most of being able to feel my baby move and to feel the life that this baby, who is currently in me, has. I have tried to remember that this child's life is in the hands of God and that I need to have the continued faith and trust in His will --the faith that I have had in acknowledging His control and plan for Luke. He has a plan for this child too and I need to trust Him -- even if sometimes I worry and fear and dread His will, because it may not be what I want for me. 

Oh what an increase of faith I still need!  But even though my faith is not perfect I am so grateful that our Father in Heaven loves me enough to bless me with comfort and answers to my prayers. In spite of my weakness and lack of faith He has made His Hand visible in my life. I am so grateful to Him for this!  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

10 Months

10 months.

10 months ago I was faced with that moment of discovering that my son's spirit had already returned to Heaven. 10 months ago Sherri looked me in the eyes, after minutes of searching for Luke's heartbeat, and said "This isn't good you guys." 10 months ago our lives turned up-side-down in an instant as the future that we had anticipated was gone. Just like that. Gone.

10 months ago I was faced with the unbelievable task of having to give birth to my baby. Once a child dies you still have to do that. You have to still get the baby out of your womb where he had been growing perfectly for 9 months. It's almost unfathomable --to sit there in that moment--and realize your baby is gone, but you're still going to give birth to him. How? How do you do that?

10 months ago I got checked into the hospital by nurses who greeted me with a smile and cheerful faces...until they realized I was "Dr. Parker's [unexpected] patient."

10 months ago nothing happened like I had envisioned it would.

And now, here I am, across the country, where no one knows what I really went through ten months ago. Where no one knows that I can still see and feel the details of that day so vividly in both my heart and mind. Where no one knows that I am a mother. Where no one knows that I pressed forward with strength and was blessed beyond belief with an incredible birth because of my preparation, the support of those present (namely Trevor, Sherri, and the great nurses), and many prayers from friends and family members. Where no one knows that my sensitivity to those that lose loved ones has increased ten-fold. Where no one knows that I know first-hand the heartache of pregnancy loss.

Here I am. While part of my delicate and changed self is in Utah. Those memories. The people. The moments that have shaped me into someone new. So much of my life was there. And it's not that it isn't with me, of course it is all still part of me, but it's different now. It's different having to fill people in on who I am and what has molded me when now it seems like it's just a passing fact --a little tid-bit of information about me that I try to share when the moment is right.

"I have a son; however, he was stillborn."

There is so much more to it than that. And it's not a fact of the past. An event that happened 10 months ago. It's a fact that is just as much part of my reality now as it was when we heard the heartbreaking news. It's still a part of my life and it's most definitely still a part of who I am and who I am becoming.

My darling Luke, we may have left your precious body buried in its final resting place, but your impact on my life will not rest. You have given me so much --compassion, empathy, sympathy, strength, confidence, faith, humility.... And even greater than all of those you have given me a strengthened testimony in Jesus Christ. In His atonement for my sins. In His promise of a resurrection that will allow me to see you again --in the living flesh. Oh what a glorious day that will be! You will live again and until then you will continue to change my life, even if the people around me are unaware of this part of my life that could never be left behind. I love you more than ever.