My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:15,16

Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
John 11:40
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands… Isaiah 49:16a

Monday, January 31, 2011

Jinaea, our first born miracle baby

In Jan of 2000 we had moved to a new city. It felt like we had been waiting forever for that second little line to show up on the stick. Many trips had been made to the Dr.'s office to have a pregnancy test done and many done at home. The response from the Dr. was like a little knife to my heart every time, "I'm sorry honey, it's negative."
In June 2001, she finally came through the door with a smile on her face and my heart did a little skip. This time her news was the happiest I had heard in a long time! "You are pregnant!!!! Congratulations!"
I wanted to do a happy dance right there in her office, but it probably would have been rather like Kathrine Heigl in The Ugly Truth, so I restrained myself and waited till I left the office. (I imagine they have some hilarious security camera footage from the elevator though!) My first ultrasound on June 19 showed me to be 5 weeks along.
I was sent back to Regina to see the specialist once a month and had an appt with my local Dr. once a month as well. I was monitored through ultrasound and bloodwork. I did have some spotting early on around 10 weeks but it did not last long. I had no morning sickness whatsoever, thank God! I felt wonderful.
I enjoyed every moment of my pregnancy with her. We had decided early on that we did not want to find out if we were having a boy or girl. I wanted to have a surprise. We had a list of names as long as both of our arms put together. We slowly narrowed them down to about three choices for each sex. About a month or so before Jinaea was born, I had a dream about this little baby girl who had dark wavy hair. She was beautiful.
I was determined not to fear. I would not fear miscarriage. God had brought us this far and I would not give up on his miraculous power now. We continued praying the prayers in the supernatural childbirth book and speaking scripture over this little life that was growing inside me.

On Sept 11, 2001 I was about 4 months pregnant. I turned on the T.V. and found out, like everyone else in the world, that life would never be the same.
I sat glued to the T.V., tears pouring down my face as I wept for the lives that were lost that day and for their families. I imagine that pregnancy hormones played a part in it as well, but my tears continued for weeks as more and more was revealed of the tragedy that our brothers and sisters on the other side of the border were facing. There were many stories of women having babies in the weeks following or women who were pregnant, whose babies would never meet their daddies.  It broke my heart to think of these women and men who had such big dreams for their futures and now that future was going to be so drastically different.

At the end of October of 2001 we moved to our current city and settled in. Greg had started a new career, self employed as a Farrier. We came here because the business opportunities were more abundant. We moved into a small two bedroom townhouse and began to prepare for our baby to join us.
About mid November I could wait no longer, I set up the baby's room. I remember going into the room often just to run my fingers over the soft blankets and make sure the little stuffed animals that were waiting in the crib were placed perfectly. I took out all the little clothes I had been storing since our other babies and washed them. I felt joy well up in my heart and tears in my eyes as I gently placed them into the empty drawers again.

December 2001, I was now 7 months pregnant. Yay, we made it this far with no trouble. Our baby was healthy and growing by the week. I was still seeing Dr. A in Regina, now every two weeks.
Little did we know our lives were about to change forever on Dec 12th. I will give you a brief write up here but will share the complete story on another entry. Greg had played floor hockey with a men's group on Dec 11th. When he came home that night, he was in severe pain to the point where he was having trouble breathing.  We thought it was from his shoulder.
We made a trip to the emergency room where they told him it was probably muscle spasms and gave him an injection and sent us home. This was not the first time this had happened so the next day, when he was still in a lot of pain I insisted that we go back to the Dr and see what was going on.
Through the stress of the next few months, I could have very easily experienced complications with the pregnancy, but God protected our baby. I prayed so hard for my husband during those months, but also for our baby. I knew that I could not protect our baby in the way that it needed to be and so I prayed. I could not do this in my own strength, but He could.
Our baby was due Feb 16, 2002. I was supposed to deliver our baby in Regina and so we packed up and headed in to stay at our cousin's house until the baby came. I was as ready as I could be. I didn't know what life was going to look like in the future anymore, but I knew the One who held my future in His hands and I trusted him with all my heart, soul and strength. Don't get me wrong, there were moments that I was freaking out inside, but I knew that trust in Him was the only thing that was going to carry me through.
As the days continued passing by and no sign of our little one joining us yet, I was getting very impatient. I just wanted to hold our baby in my arms and see it's face. It was so hard to wait!!!
On Feb 25th I went to see Dr. A. and he told me they were going to induce me the next day. He did not feel our baby was in danger, however he did think it was best to deliver it as soon as possible. We went back to the house to get things ready and head to the hospital. We were waiting for the phone call to tell us what time to come in, but instead of telling us that, they called to tell us that I would not be getting induced the following day as planned.
I was so disappointed. I was in tears. The head of L&D had overruled my Dr. and said I could not come in. I was mad actually. There was nothing more I could do and so we settled in for another night hoping I would go into labor on my own. The next day I was to go back in and see Dr. A. He told us the same thing again, that we would be induced the following day. We headed back to the house to wait for the phone call the next morning. When they called and they told us the induction plan was canceled again.  My Dr. had tried to convince the head of L&D that there was no concern that our baby was small, it would not need an incubator, but that he just wanted to deliver it A.S.A.P. to avoid any complications. I was now 9 days overdue and the head of L&D said that if by the 28th I had not gone into labor naturally, that he would let me come in for the induction.
Around 4 in the afternoon on the 26th (when I was in the middle of a pity party inside my heart and outside on my face too) we got a call from Dr. A again. He informed us that he had talked with a colleague back in our home town and that if we got there by 6p.m. they had agreed to induce me. We packed up and headed out! I still was praying that I would go into labor on my own and God is faithful. About half way home, my contractions started. We made it to the hospital and got settled into the room on L&D. The Dr. attending the birth was Dr. L. I was not sure what to expect because this was our first meeting. I had built myself up to being ready to give birth with a Dr. in attendance that I had been seeing for years and trusted. I was having difficulty switching that trust to this situation. It was a bit scary for me actually.  They determined that as long as I was progressing at a rate they were comfortable with, they would not turn on the drip. I wish I had taken the time to make a birth plan and talk to more people about their birth experiences before I went in. I had been present at one birth previously, however it was different when I was the one on the bed. If you are reading this and are expecting a baby, particularly your first, please take the time to inform yourself. Talk openly with other women to find out what birth was like for them. Educate yourself and make decisions you feel comfortable with for your baby's birth. If you do this, things will feel more in control and you will have more confidence during your laboring hours and delivery. I would strongly suggest hiring a doula and I can recommend an absolutely wonderful one if you decide to go that route. I wish I had done so.
I did progress for the most part at a rate they were satisfied with and was handling the labor well. I took no pain med intervention and felt good about that. My mom had arrived at the hospital and was walking the halls with me, holding my hand and rubbing my back or getting me ice water. I was so glad to have her there because Greg could not handle all the walking or long periods of standing. (You will understand why in my post later on about his health) When I had been in labor about 20 hours, Dr. L. decided I was no longer progressing fast enough and turned on the drip. Now the labor quickly became much more intense. About half an hour before Jinaea was born, I conceded to the epidural. They called for the anesthetist, but he was in surgery and could not come for half an hour more. The nurse checked me at about 5:25p.m. and said I was about 8cm dilated.  About ten minutes later I told her I felt like I needed to push. She said, "Oh no, you are not ready to push yet." I told her I couldn't stop it. She lifted the sheet and said, "Oh my!" She called for the Dr. I had not screamed or yelled or even moaned loudly up til this point in labor. I pushed once and her head was out. As it came out, I let a small scream out and the nurse beside me said, "Really Michelle. That is not necessary."  I then did something that felt like a completely natural thing for me to do. I reached down to feel the baby's head, only to have my hand swatted away by the Dr. saying "Keep your hands out of here, that is unsanitary."
These are two of the things which I think maybe would have been different had I developed a clear birth plan and shared it with the Dr. when I got to the hospital. I also think that having a Doula there with me would have made a huge difference in my confidence in myself and my body's God given ability to birth.
One more push and she was out. They whisked her away and continued with me. I had to have 1 stitch and there was a little bit of problems with the placenta and bleeding a bit more than normal after. They did have some blood on hand just in case. "IT'S A GIRL" My heart melted.....I couldn't wait to see her and hold her.
Greg was the first one to be able to hold Jinaea. It was a beautiful thing to watch his heart be stolen by this perfect, tiny human being who was part him and part me. She was 8lbs. 1.5oz and 20.5in long. She was born at 5:34p.m. February 27, 2002.
Our miracle baby had arrived.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Trust...Pt 6

It is so amazing to be writing this out and remembering back to all the times God has seen us through trials and hard times. Sometimes I think we tend to forget all the miraculous things God has done and how much grace and mercy we have been given.  We get so caught up in what is happening now, sometimes losing the focus of where our trust needs to be. He is our sanctuary that we need to run to. We need to abide in Him because if we do, the trials are not so hard.  We have learned and grown throughout the years enough to be able to trust at the first sign of trouble, but that does not mean that the devil does not try to plant seeds of doubt. Our part is to resist.

I was back in hospital for 9 more days after the hemorrhaging. There was still a chance of me needing a blood transfusion if my hemoglobin did not come up quickly enough. I later learned that my step dad had offered to donate blood for me if I needed him to. That really meant a lot to me. I thought it was such a very loving gesture. There wasn't much else he could do for me, but he offered what he could. I love him for that. I spent my days eating iron rich food to try and bring my hemoglobin back up and resting. Each day brought a better report of my levels climbing back to normal. After about 5 days, I had enough balance that I could go to the washroom and shower by myself again. It was a very long haul for Greg as well. He spent as much time as he could with me between sleep and work. He was there by my side through it all.  I am so thankful for him. He helped me so much through those days. Like my brother, he brushed my hair for me, helped me with daily routine things, prayed with me, read the Bible with me, entertained me, brought me yummy food, took me on many walks in the wheelchair to break up the hours. Toasted bagels with cream cheese became my favorite snack! We have some good "date" memories while I was there. He has continually loved me and supported me through many hard situations in life. I cannot imagine walking this road without him by my side.

Another person I need to mention on here is my mom. When I first went into the hospital and they had found the tumor, I did not want to be alone. My mom stayed with me as long as she could in the room and then when the nurses told her she could no longer be there, she slept in an uncomfortable chair in the waiting room, just for me, in case I needed her. I love my mom lots, she has been there by my side through every difficult circumstance in my life, never waivering in her love. She has prayed me through a few near death experiences now! Sometime I want to get her to write about when I was a baby and almost died and I want to post it on here too. I was glad my close family was there with me when I was in that ER room, it brought me comfort. In those scary moments, I knew that should I die there in that room, (other than my brothers and "married in" parents) everyone I would have wanted to see in my last moments was right there with me.

I had many visitors throughout my time in the hospital and to each of you I say a big thank you! Being in the hospital, the days can get very, very long and it was so nice to have it broken up by company.

Dr. A came to see me on the second day after I came back to the hospital to discuss his plan with me.
He told me we needed to keep the bleeding under control for an extended period of time to ensure it would not start again. The medication that he suggested to do that with was called Lupron. It would put me in menopause for six months. I would receive one injection a month for six months. I asked him how long it would be until we could continue our dream for a family. He told me I needed to have 3 normal periods after my last injection before we should start trying again for a baby. (I am grateful to live in a province where I don't have to pay up front for medications. Each Lupron shot was somewhere around $348.00 according to my receipts. Yikes! Thank you province of Saskatchewan)
Well, each of the next six months I faithfully made my way to the drugstore to pick up my Lupron shot and then to my Dr.'s office to have Dr. A. administer it. (It has to be given in a "z" pattern...can you say OWWWW)
After the six months was up, it took me about a year before I had three normal periods. We initiated operation baby Dueck as soon as we could. It seemed it was taking forever for me to get pregnant. I was very frustrated at times, but trying to maintain a positive outlook knowing I just had to trust that it would happen in His timing. I confess I was not always happy and positive though! My friends around me were popping out babies left, right and center. There were young teen mom's around me having babies that they didn't even want, and here I wanted one so badly. I didn't understand.....

Let me back up for a moment. When I got out of the hospital after April died and back to regular life, it was such a whirlwind that I did not really take time to allow myself to grieve properly. I did not even know what that meant. I wish we had found a support group then because physical feelings and emotions would have made a lot more sense to me if we had.  I had no idea what to do with the storm that was inside of me, I didn't know what it even was. I don't think I would have called it grief if you had asked me then. I just thought something was wrong with me and that I was turning into a horrible and somewhat crazy person.
I was happy for those around me having babies, but at the same time was jealous. I wanted someone to understand how terrible I felt. There was this huge emptiness inside of me that, according to those around us, we were just supposed to get over. I didn't want to leave my house, if I was in the mall or at church and someone was approaching with a baby, I had to turn away. I could not even look. If I heard a baby cry, it made me almost physically sick. I had to do some deep breathing and concentration to not vomit. I had dreams where I would see my dead baby. I thought I was going crazy. There was absolutely no way I could hold a baby, being near one made some sort of anxiety attack happen inside me. I was trying to figure out how a person who wanted a baby so badly was feeling all these things.
This was so opposite of the person I used to be and I didn't understand it at all. Before, if there was a baby around, I was usually holding it and it brought my heart so much joy. I didn't have anyone to talk me through this and tell me that what was happening was all normal. Well meaning people said all sorts of things to try to comfort or encourage us, but a lot of times it was insulting and hurtful.
They would say things like, "Well, you can always adopt." "At least you were spared from raising a handicapped child." "You'll have another." "God just wanted/needed your baby more in Heaven." "It was for the best anyway."  None of it made sense to me, and none of these statements brought me any comfort.
This all was brought back to my memory as we sat in our grief support meeting at the beginning of this month. As the leader was talking, I began to have flashbacks of emotions and physical feelings. It all started to make sense to me. I was not horrible or crazy back then, I was grieving.
I started having anxiety attacks. I don't know exactly when they started but they grew so strong that I got to the point where I would have to pray myself to sleep. If Greg fell asleep before me, I would wake him because I couldn't stand to be "alone." He was so patient with me, fighting sleep and praying for me until I would fall asleep. He did not once tell me to get over it or leave him alone, he was just there right beside me for whatever I needed. (Although there were jokes from time to time about buying a rubber mallet to knock me over the head with some nights ;o) ) It got to the point where I had to sleep with my Bible under my pillow in order to get any rest. I didn't know how to fight this fear that seemed to be taking over my life.

A friend of mine had told me about a book called Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize. She told me it had all kinds of wonderful prayers in the back of it that had really helped her through her struggles with getting pregnant. I finally got the book months later and in the back was a prayer to deal with fear. I think it took me about a year of praying that prayer before I felt strong again. I prayed the prayers in it every single night, I had them stored in my memory so that every time I started to doubt or felt fear coming against me, I knew exactly what to do. There is no doubt in my mind that God has delivered me from these attacks. I am so thankful for that. Fear really is torment, but it says in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God has not given me a spirit of fear. I knew that hsi fear did not belong in my life.  1 John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."
My love is not yet perfect!  I have come a long way in being able to resist the spirit of fear when it tries to come on me, but I still continually need perfecting through Him.

About the end of April or beginning of May 2001 I got pregnant again. WOOHOO!!! Thank you Jesus!
Our miracle baby was on the way. My heart was so very full of joy and anticipation to see this miracle happen before our eyes.
Jerimiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts and plans I have for you says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
I did not know what the future held for me, but I knew I could trust the One who did, no matter what.
The day that we found out, we went out for supper with friends of ours to surprise them with the news and celebrate. We ordered our food and told them we had a surprise for them. We told them our good news and Dawnell squealed with delight and ran around the table to give me a big hug. It was an awesome reaction. Barry had one of the biggest grins on his face and promptly said that it must have been due to the kiss he gave me on the cheek a few weeks ago, what a guy.
And so our journey of parenthood continued.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Trust...Pt 5

Con't......part 5

Every time the nurses would come in to check me, they would massage my uterus, to try and make it shrink, by pushing on my stomach. Each time they did, more blood and the clots were now getting larger. I thought, man, how much more of this stuff can be in there! I guess my body was making them continually, trying to stop the bleeding on it's own.
They wanted to get a catheter started. This is not usually a problem. (Insert embarrassed face here) However, I had been bleeding so much and was being pumped so full of fluids, that I was too swollen and they could not get the tube in. There were about three nurses down at the bottom of my bed peering in my "under region" trying to find this elusive ureter.  I promised them that I did not lose it on the ambulance ride in!
There was much pressing on my stomach, and many attempts but none of them worked.  I was very uncomfortable to say the least, though it did bring some humor as we all laughed about how difficult this normally simple procedure was being.  Finally Dr. A came through the door and within seconds it was in. Yay, I don't think I had ever been so grateful for a catheter.

I stared at the ceiling and listened to all the beeping, whooshing and movement around me. The oxygen hose kept moving so it was crooked on my face, the blood pressure cuff was going off every ten minutes or so.
The I.V. pump was working hard pushing fluids into both my arms, they were so cold from it running into my veins. I started to feel a lot more pressure again, this time more than ever. I started to sit up more so I could check if I was bleeding a lot again because everything felt very warm....the effort I exerted pushed out something warm that covered the bed from the top of my thighs almost to my knees. I looked down and the white sheet was getting redder by the moment. I lifted the sheet and saw the clot and fear came on me. I started to hyperventilate as my mom ran to the door to get the nurses. They all came running into the room and yelled loudly for Dr. A to come in. He must have been able to see the fear in my eyes because he came in the door, his eyes in contact with mine the whole time as he crossed the floor towards me. He put his hand on mine and said "Do not fear Michelle. God is with you. Do not fear."

So many times throughout my life, God has given me the message, "Peace, be still." In my humanity, I guess I still have not learned it completely even now. I try hard to trust completely, but I still fall short of that.
As soon as those words were out of his mouth, I felt another wave of peace come over me. I cannot thank God enough that he orchestrated all of this before one moment of my time here on earth came to be.  Even in the last six months He has reminded me again and again whenever I start to lose my way, "Peace be still, I am here with you."

I was laying on the bed in the ER trying to wrap my mind around all that was happening and what it could have/might mean for my life and my family.  Tears started to pour down my cheeks as I thought about how broken my parent's and my husband's hearts would be if I were to die.  I don't know why the sorrow of that thought came so heavy on me but I literally felt weighed down by it. I wasn't scared to die because I knew exactly where I was going if I did. I knew that I would be in the arms of my Heavenly Father in the blink of an eye and dealing with sickness no more. I just so badly did not want to cause that kind of pain to the people I loved very dearly. Maybe the reason it was so heavy is because I was comparing it to how lost I knew I would feel if any of them died.  Maybe it was silly of me to put those emotions onto them, but for whatever reason I did.

My mom had arrived at the hospital just before the whole catheter fiasco. I could see their pained expressions on the other side of the room.  They gave me pitocin (for those of you who do not know what it is, it is a drug used to induce labor, or in my case, to induce contractions) by IV and by injection to try and shrink my uterus faster. Smaller uterus = less area to bleed from.

Side note: the Dr. informed my husband that there are two places on a woman's body from which she can bleed to death the fastest. Her head and her uterus.  Greg says, "Phew, that cuts my chances of bleeding to death in half!"  Only my husband....what a guy. Glad he can bring some laughter to situations that are heavy.

The pitocin kicked in very quickly and my goodness, was it intense pain. I had never been through childbirth before so I had no idea what to expect. I asked Greg to sing to me so that it would distract me from the pain. It worked for a little while. I remember hearing my mom praying hard and my dad praying, holding my hand and trying to use pressure points to relieve the pain. I coped for as long as I could on my own and then they brought me demerol and put it in my IV.  I was out of it in no time.  My body was still hurting a lot, but I could not make my mouth work to tell them I was still hurting.  I felt like I was one of those people who is awake during surgery, in pain but no way to communicate it. The coming hours were brutal....

Dr. A. decided that the bleeding was under control enough for me to be moved to a ward for the night so the porter came to get me. My mom and dad said their goodbye's and promised they would be back the next day. The porter came to move me up to the ward. I was still not able to communicate and was very glad Greg stayed with me. I was hoping that in some way I could make him understand that I was hurting still. The porter started to wheel me through the doorway of my hospital room. The handle of the door came out making an h shape with the door. She did not notice that my arm was up on the rail of the bed as she pushed me through and skin of my arm became caught between the the handle and the rail. It took my brain a moment to register this crazy pain in my arm was different than the other pain and I cried out. Greg made a quick survey of the situation and noticed my arm was caught. The porter backed me up apologizing profusely. It has cut my arm and so she ran to get some gauze for me. She came back and taped it to my bleeding arm and with more apologies, left. (In the morning when the nurse came in to give me a sponge bath, she said I should have had it stitched it was that deep, but it was already healing so there was no point.)

Greg waited till I was settled into the room and then left to go home to our house and gather some things for us. His cousin's wife Wendy came to the hospital to be with me while Greg was gone. I have vague memories of her sitting in the chair. My cheeks are a little red thinking of what she must have witnessed that night.  Delusional from the demerol, I was later told, I kept trying to pull out my IV's and the catheter. (I would have thought that with all the trouble they had getting it in, that I would have just left well enough alone!) I kept ripping off the oxygen hose and the blood pressure cuff. I am sure Wendy must have had her work cut out for her that night trying to convince me to stay in my bed.  I felt like I had to pee and wanted to go to the washroom, but knew I couldn't with all this stuff on me. I remember the nurse trying to explain to me that I had the catheter and didn't need to get up to pee. I just knew I had to pee and didn't want to pee the bed.

By the time Greg got back to the hospital, they must have given me another dose of demerol thus making me calmer physically, but still unable to communicate the pain. I remember seeing Wendy sitting by the bed and then the next time I looked, it was Greg. The next morning, I thought I had been hallucinating and Wendy was never there. Greg told me she had been.  Greg says I thrashed my head from side to side until about two in the morning. At that point he said he was starting to get frustrated because he had been praying and praying that God would ease the pain I was in with little to no difference. At about two, he says I spoke. He told me that I said, "Jesus please help me and take away my pain." Immediately I lay still and the pain seemed to be gone. He said he sat there not knowing what to say, all his prayers that he prayed and what it took was me asking for myself. I have no recollection of praying that night.

The next morning I woke up feeling very, very weak. I was still in pain but no longer was it from the contractions. My head was pounding like crazy because my iron was so low. The Dr. had written instructions for me to have iron shots for five days which left painful baseball size lumps at the injection sites in my hips. I was on Tylenol 3 for the pain, which didn't really help at all. The second night back in hospital, I was all but begging the nurse for some more Tylenol.  Greg had gone home because he had to work in the morning and was already running on very little sleep. It had been 5 hours since my last dose and the headache was full force. The daytime nurse had been giving me the Tylenol every four hours if I needed it, but the night nurse apparently didn't think I needed it that often. This night would be a night my brother melted my heart with his love for me.  My brother worked nights and called me a couple hours before he had to go into work. I was crying on the phone and explained why. He told me to ask the nurse again. I did and she still would not give me the Tylenol so he said he would be right down. Now my brother lives about 13 blocks if not more from the hospital. He did not have a car so he walked in record time to the hospital, an hour and a half before his shift at work, even though his work was in the opposite direction and he would not have much time.  He had tears in his eyes as he hugged me when he walked in the room and then he went back out to find my nurse. He came and talked to my nurse politely and was able to convince her to give me the pain meds. He told me he loved me and he would be back when his shift was over. The next morning he came back as soon as he could and sat with me for the morning. I was so thankful to have him there when Greg couldn't be. We were not extremely close before this point (we had been closer as kids and then when the teenage years hit, look out!) but when one of us needed the others defense, there was not a moment's hesitation.  He did all the things that morning that brothers don't usually have to do. He held my gown closed for me as he helped me to the washroom (the catheter was out), he held me upright on the toilet with his head turned and eyes closed so I could maintain my dignity. Most touching to my heart of all, he sat behind me on the bed and brushed my hair(which was about half way down my back) for me. Now normally this is no big feat, however with all my thrashing the nights before and the length of hair I had, I managed to create the biggest rat's nest ever and it was residing on the back of my head. He patiently brushed until there were no more tangles at all. I love my brother.......

To be continued in part 6.....(I promise, one more post and that should cover it!)

Trust...Pt 4

Part 4.....

I started praying asking God to help me just get upstairs. I now was starting to doubt the wisdom of my choice to leave the hospital.  I made it to the upstairs washroom and my pants were again partially soaked in blood. I had clots coming out that were almost as large as a baseball. In the hospital they had told me to keep any clots that were coming out so they could monitor them and so I grabbed a bucket from under the sink and gave up sitting on the toilet and held the bucket under me. I didn't know what to do anymore. I tried to put on a new pad thinking if I could just get laying down, this would stop. It was soaked in moments. I changed it, again the same thing. At this point the washroom was starting to look like a crime scene. The bucket was now about 1/4 full. I held it under me and started calling for my mom. No response. I looked down and the blood was now a constant small stream. I called again, nothing. I got out a towel and held it under me and tried to walk. My legs were so shaky, I couldn't let go of the cupboard.  My ears were ringing very loudly by this point and my eyes were getting black spots in them. I screamed for my mom, praying that God would make her hear me. I remember praying "Jesus I don't want to die, help me!!!" My mom came running up the stairs as the room was spinning around me and my knees were buckling. She held me up and helped me to my room and put me on the bed, towels packed against me to soak up the blood. They called an ambulance and the first responders showed up. Now that I was laying down, the bleeding had slowed somewhat and my head was not ringing so much. The first responders were so nice. They talked to me and kept me calm while we waited for the ambulance to drive from Regina. (They got to the farm in about 25 minutes, it usually takes about an hour)
The storm was growing.....
They loaded me in the ambulance and started off to Regina with Greg hot on their heels in our car. The paramedic in the back with me, Kurt,  was trying to start an IV.  My veins were not cooperating and the road was so bumpy. They pulled the ambulance over to the side of the road about a 1/4 mile from the farm. I heard the driver say, "I think I better go talk to your husband, he looks really worried." Greg had hopped out of the car and was running to the ambulance, he thought something was wrong. The driver assured him I was okay and we would be on the road soon. Kurt was wonderful and I hardly felt the needle at all. The IV was in in moments and we continued on our way. The driver and Kurt were in communication with the Dr. at the hospital the whole way in. They updated him as we drove on what had happened and what they had done so far. The Dr. said that because of the amount of blood lost already, he wanted a second IV started so we pulled over again. The wonderful driver hopped out quickly so Greg wouldn't worry! We drove fast on the way to Regina, but once we hit the city  it felt like we were driving a whole lot faster! They put on the lights and sirens and we flew. The driver chuckled at one point and said, "Man, your husband is a little crazy! He is keeping up with us no problem."  Because of the sudden change with the lights, sirens and pace of driving in the city, he thought that I had died. I felt bad for him once we got to the hospital and he told me that. He was so worried. At times I almost felt that I didn't need to be concerned anymore with living through this hemorrhaging, through the ambulance ride!
We pulled into the ambulance bay at the hospital and the first face I saw was my dad's who was waiting there for me. did my heart good and was a comfort to see his face. (I guess being an almost retired paramedic gets you certain privileges in certain restricted areas ;o) )
They wheeled me into the ER and what Dr. walks in the room????? Dr. A. THANK YOU GOD!!!
I had an immediate sense of the peace of God as he walked in.  He brought such an air of peace into the room, fear had no place there. Greg and my dad followed us into the room and stood to the side as they worked on me. They hung IV bags on the poles and were injecting me with things trying to slow the bleeding and get it under control...I still had a lot of pressure off and on and each time, more large clots would come with another rush of blood....this was not going well.  They called for 6 units of blood to be on hand. They checked my hemoglobin and it was down to 69. (which meant not much to me at the time, I had no idea! Later on it meant a huge, constant headache and dizziness with light headed feeling) I did NOT want a blood transfusion, I prayed God please help me again!!! My Dr. came in to talk to me about the transfusion and said if the bleeding did not slow down very soon I would have to have one whether I wanted it or not. Normally he would give the blood if a person's hemoglobin was around 75.
To be continued.....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Trust...Pt 3

Con't....Part 3

I remember one day I was given an injection of some type of gravol substitute medication. Whatever it was, I had a bad reaction to it. I remember feeling like I had to go to the washroom and throw up, I sat up on the edge of the bed to get up and the whole room started swirling. I really needed to get to the washroom because I had nothing to throw up in out in my room that I could reach. I could not figure out what was happening but I tried to stand and call for help but my voice wouldn't sounded so loud in my head but was making much sound. I stood and fell back on the bed, I stood again and fell over sideways onto the bed. I tried once more and by this time I must have been making quite the commotion. I hit the chair beside my bed and fell to the floor and let me just say I did not get to the bathroom before my stomach decided it would not hold it's contents any longer. I was hardly feeling conscious anymore. My roommate called for the nurses and they came running. I only remember snippets of things from that point on. I could hear them but could not put my thoughts together enough to talk or keep my eyes open.  They got me onto the bed somehow and were rubbing my sternum painfully trying to get me to respond.  They kept calling my name and were checking me thinking I had started to hemorrhage again. Finally they decided I must be having a reaction to the medication and from that point on I remember nothing until the medication wore off.

The morphine that they were giving me was causing me to hallucinate and I was so jumpy. Every little sound, even a pen dropping in the hallway sounded so loud to me, like someone banging cymbals together. I remember one time I woke up and looked over beside the bed where the chair sat. Greg was sitting there next to the bed and smiled at me when I opened my eyes, I talked to him for a few minutes and I think he even answered me back.  I thought it was strange that he was there in the middle of the day when he should be at work. Then he showed up later on after supper to visit me. I told him it was sure nice to see him earlier and he informed me he was never there! I must have sounded quite strange to my roommate having a conversation with myself..

I had been in hospital for about nine days when they did another ultrasound to check on the tumor. The tumor that was supposed to take two to three weeks to see noticeable improvement, had shrunk to almost nothing in the 6 days since the injection. The progress was miraculous. The bleeding had almost stopped by this point and I was feeling good. God is so faithful. There is not a doubt in my mind that God intervened on my behalf, giving the Doctor wisdom and also by speeding the healing process. I was so excited. I was starting to get very bored of seeing the same walls all the time and was looking forward to getting out. I asked Dr. A. if he had any idea when I would be able to go home. He told me that it was not time yet, he wanted to monitor things a bit longer. Then the weekend came. I did not see Dr. A. on Friday and another Dr. was making rounds for him. I was trying hard to be patient.....I asked this Dr. if there was any indication of when I could go. My grandparents anniversary was that weekend and there was a big celebration out at my parent's farm.
I so badly wanted to go.

The Dr. asked how my bleeding was, I told him it was almost completely stopped. He said, "Let me go look at your chart and I will let you know."
He came back moments later and told me that I was free to go, I just had to wait for the nurse to come talk to me.  I called Greg and told him he could come get me and we made arrangements to head out to the farm for the weekend. HOORAY!
Well, we had a good visit that night, I took it easy, but the bleeding picked up a bit, I thought just because of the traveling. By the next morning, I was feeling cramping again, but as long as I stayed on the couch and didn't move too much, the bleeding wasn't too bad. We had dinner with a large crowd of family and friends, lots of laughs, it was a great time.  Then after dinner they wanted to take some family pictures.  With so many family members around, it took some time to work through everyone, but finally it was time for our family. I made my way outside and lined up for the picture.
As they said "Everyone say cheese!" I began to feel light headed. I felt a warm rush. I knew I needed to lay down again and was hoping the bleeding would slow down once I did. As I laid down on the couch for a few moments, another rush of warm. I needed to get upstairs.
To be con't....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Trust...Pt 2

Con't..... (I am not sure what is up with this post, but I cannot get the background and writing to match the other posts...oh well, it is what it is! :o) )

Hebrews 13:5 . . . God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

 I felt even stronger that He was with me.  I had renewed confidence that things were going to be okay if I trusted in Him.
Dr A. looked over all my tests results and then came to talk to me.  He said,"I am going to talk with  some other Dr.'s in other provinces tonight, who I think may have some wisdom in this situation, then I am going to go home and pray tonight. In the morning I will let you know what my decision is." 
We phoned family and friends and asked them to pray with us.  I didn't want to die, but I did not want to have a hysterectomy either.  I knew that God knew the desires of my heart to be a mommy. I spent most of the evening and night (well when I could in between Morphine I.V. meds if you know what I mean!) crying and talking to God. He promised in Psalm 37:4 that if I delight myself in the Lord, that He would give me the desires of my heart. To me that meant, I needed to be satisfied with whatever the outcome and know that He knows my future. I needed to find the place where I knew I could be okay if I never had children, and I would be okay if I did.  Either way, I could not let it change who God was to me.  

Honestly, part of me was just crying out "God, I want to live. There is so much more for me to do, I don't want to die so whatever they have to do to fix this, do it."  Then the realization of what a hysterectomy would mean started to come back into the picture for me and I started to cry again. It meant I would never hold my (biological) baby in my arms, I would never hear my (biological) child's first cry, I would never get to nurse them, I would never know what it was like to look at God's perfect combination of Greg and I all packaged in a little warm bundle. 

In the morning Dr. A. came in and sat down on the bed to talk with me. 
"I have consulted with colleagues across Canada and through much discussion last night I believe we have a close guess. There are two things that we have narrowed it down to.  The first is placenta accreta, the other is placenta increta, but neither of these completely match what you have going on. Placenta accreta is a severe complication where the placenta has penetrated too deep and has gone past the endometrium into the myometrium. It happens in about 1 out of every 2,500 pregnancies and is treated by surgery to stop the hemorrhage. The other possibility that we came up with, placenta increta, is when the placenta grows even further into the myometrium. Since you have had two D&C's, the likelihood of either of these things being the problem is not very high or the D&C would have cause much bigger problems when it was happening. That is as close as we can get to a diagnosis on this thing. Sometimes in situations like this we can resection around the placenta in the uterus, however this growth is attached to a large section of your uterus so that is not possible. These conditions usually happen while a woman is pregnant, not weeks after a miscarriage and two D&C's later. Now, I talked with a lot of other doctors last night, in B.C. AB, ON, MB and SK. All of them felt that, given the severity of your case, if we do not do a hysterectomy, we are going to lose you.
Since we cannot do the resection, and I would like for you to be able to have babies, I have an option to offer you.  I prayed about it and I feel the best course of action is to give you a low dose injection of methotrexate. It is a drug that is used in the treatment of cancer and though we don't feel this tumor is cancerous, I think this is the right road to take. Now it may not work in one shot, we may have to give you a second injection. If it does work, it probably will take about 2  to 3 weeks for noticeable improvement. Now, methotrexate is a very strong medication, with some dangerous possible side effects but I feel that the benefit will outweigh the risks. The bottom line is if we do nothing, you will bleed to death. I want you to talk it over with your husband and see what you feel it is you want to do."
 This was so much to absorb. Death if they did nothing, a possibility of never having my own biological children, and I was still trying to absorb the shock that I had a tumor growing inside me. Unwanted, uninvited, unnecessary and unwelcome tumor. I am sure that everyone who hears those words feels the same way at some point. There really did not seem to be that much to discuss when Greg came to the hospital, we both wanted me to live! We would go ahead with the injection. Forms were brought for me to sign, then they gave me the injection.
To be continued in part three...

We need to trust enough be willing to walk on water through the storm...

Those who are queasy about blood or don't feel comfortable reading about "female problems" do not continue reading.

In telling the stories of our babies, I also need to include some of the times in between babies too in order to give you a complete picture.  I love telling about all the amazing miraculous things God has done in our lives. It is only by His grace and power that we are still here because what the devil had intended for evil, God is using for good.  God has a unique plan for each one of our lives and in living that out, we sometimes face things we don't like. If we continue to walk with Him, He will make a beautiful masterpiece of all that we thought was a mess.  God does not just see us in this moment, He sees our entire life all at the same time, and our life is an intricate part of a master plan. Sit back it's a bit of a long read, there's lots to tell and I am so thankful there is! I will have to do this in a few parts...

After April died, I had a D&C on April 27, 1999. I knew some bleeding was normal afterwards but had no idea what the road was ahead.  On May 14th I was still bleeding and went in to see the doctor from the E.R that had cared for me through April's D&C.  I will call him Dr. A.  I was told that the bleeding was heavier, probably because there was a piece of placenta left in my uterus that was causing problems. I was sent for yet another D&C, my third one. I went home from the hospital after and days passed waiting for the bleeding to stop.

On May 27th, exactly one month to the day we said goodbye to April, I drove Greg to work.  The bleeding was still fairly heavy. I said goodbye to Greg and he left to go on a two day trip.  I felt a rush of warmth and knew I needed to go to the washroom immediately because something was wrong.  Thank God Greg's cousin was the only other one working that day, it saved me some dignity! I went to the washroom, my pants were soaked with blood by this point. I tried my best to clean up, but was not getting very far so I made my way back up the hall to leave. The rush of blood had seemed to slow for the moment. I knew I had to get to the hospital quick. Greg was already gone, we had no cell phone at that time, so there was no chance of him taking me, I had to go myself. Looking back this was a very dangerous move and if it were ever to happen again, I would call the ambulance or at the very least, someone to drive me. 
I called and asked my cousin to meet me at the hospital and got in my car apologizing for leaving a mess behind...(I am sure I do not need to elaborate here ;o) ) Greg's cousin was worried about me and was not sure I should drive, but I felt okay so I said I would go straight to the hospital. 
They got me in almost right away at the hospital, though the bleeding was considerably slower by the time I reached the hospital.  I was put in a room to wait for an ultrasound and a few other unpleasant procedures we women endure. The hard part for me, this was a teaching hospital and so being such, I got a new E.R. staff member who did not quite know what she was doing.  The pain of the procedure that followed was immense as they tried again and again to get the specula at the right angle and even when they thought they found it, I was positive they didn't because it felt as though they were trying to rearrange my hip bones.  Finally it was done and I waited a while longer for the ultrasound. I was sent up about 2 hours later for the ultrasound and from that point on, I remember thinking God, this is not where I ever imagined I would be right now!

They found a tumor in my uterus. In the two weeks since I had the last D&C, this tumor had grown to the size of a three month pregnancy.  The pace of the medical staff started to pick up quickly.  There were Dr's coming in and out and muttering to each other in low tones discussing what they were seeing. There were students coming in and out, at least five different Dr's came and looked at the screen and the images.  Then they decided they needed a clearer image and a different view of the tumor so I had to have an internal ultrasound. Again, more Dr's.

I was starting to feel scared but was trying to resist fear as best I could. I knew that God held me in the palm of His hand. "Jesus I need you. You are my healer and this is not too big for you." There are certain character attributes and fruits that only grow through trials. I don't believe God made me sick, I believe that I can learn from that problem though if I have the right attitude when I am faced with it. God has healed me and protected me lots of different times throughout my life and I knew that this was no different. So, even though I felt fear there waiting if I wanted to allow it to come over me, I knew God was with me in that room as well and my life was in His hands. Trusting God has to be a decision that we make for our lives.  Trust does not mean we continue to reason and look for answers to things.  It can drive us crazy. It says in the Bible that we are to PUT our trust in God. We have to choose where we put our trust.

I remember watching the ultrasound screen when they turned on the monitor to check the blood flow and there was a large amount of blood flow back and forth between this tumor and my uterus. The tumor almost filled my uterus and was joined to it all across the top and somewhat down the front wall. 

The Dr. I had seen in Emerg upon arrival decided that my case would best be handled by another specialist colleague of his, so he brought in Dr. B.  Dr. B. was a very sweet lady OB/GYN and I was very thankful to see a kind face like hers.  She was very caring in how she talked to me and tried to explain what she could about the things that were going on.  The bleeding was increasing again.  I was in quite a bit of pain. I was kept in hospital while they did over an hour long MRI and other tests. A couple mornings later Dr. B. came to see me again.  She said they were still having trouble figuring out exactly what this tumor was and how to deal with it.  She went on, "I need to talk to you very clearly and make sure you understand what we are facing here honey, this is very serious. We cannot do another D&C to remove this, you would bleed to death on the table.  We cannot do surgery to remove this because it would leave a gaping hole in your uterus.  The tumor as far as we can tell is not cancerous. We do not know what is causing it, but we do not feel it is cancerous.  We need to get this bleeding under control or you will die. Our other option is a hysterectomy and because you are only 22, I am not willing to do that unless there is no other option. I know you want babies and I am going to do all I can to keep that a possibility for you. We have not been able to come up with a definitive diagnosis yet and so we are going to bring another Dr. in on this because I feel he may have some guidance here for us."  A little later in the day, she returned with the colleague I was being transferred to.
It was Dr. A!!!!  To be continued......

Friday, January 21, 2011

April's Story...part two

The radiologist took a deep breath, looked at me and said,
"I am sorry. Your baby has no heartbeat."
My heart and head felt like they were going to explode. I felt like I couldn't breath, I was drowning in the sorrow that was crashing over my heart. I wanted to tell them to look again, there must be some mistake. This can't be happening again.  The doctor told me everything was probably fine.

They told us to take our time, there was no rush for us to leave. Greg and I collapsed into each others arms and sobbed. We finally managed to gather ourselves enough to head to the elevator. A very pregnant woman was leaving just as we were with a big smile on her face. I stared at the floor of the elevator not wanting to make eye contact. She would hold her baby in her arms soon, and I never will here on earth.  The realization of that hit me like a sucker punch to my stomach. I wished that I had asked for some pictures of our baby before we left the room so that we would have something. I also wished we had asked if it was a boy or a girl, but I was in so much shock at that moment. I felt that the baby was a girl.
We phoned my dad and went to his office to tell him what was happening.  He met us in the parking lot and wrapped me in his arms. Tears ran down his cheeks as well as he held me and let me babble on about how I didn't understand and this can't be real. I don't remember much of what he said to me, but I do remember how tight he held me. We phoned mom and I could hear her crying on the other end of the phone. We talked to friends and our pastors. Our pastors said they would pray because God could restore life into our baby's body. I certainly did not want to go without asking for that if it was a possibility and this walking in faith to this degree was new to us to some extent. The next day I was scheduled for another D&C.  We spent the evening in prayer and reading the Bible to build our faith.
We got to the hospital and I was admitted.  They put me into a room in the E.R. and we waited. We took my Bible with us and read it, finding great comfort in the words on the pages. When the nurse came in, we asked if we could have another ultrasound to see if the surgery was still necessary. She said that there was not one planned. We told her what we had been praying for and why we wanted an ultrasound again.  There was no way I was going in to this surgery without another ultrasound or we might as well have spit in God's face and said we don't believe You would do the miracle anyway....but we did believe He could.
The nurse said, "You can ask the Doctor, but when we have concrete evidence from yesterday that there was no heartbeat, it's not likely to happen. It's a waste of limited resources." Then she left the room.
We continued to pray and read the Bible. Soon the Doctor came in. He introduced himself to us and we did the same. Greg told him that we had asked the nurse about another ultrasound and that she told us to talk to him. Greg said, "We are Bible believing christians and we believe that God can put life where there is none. We also know that if that has not happened, that He will sustain us and carry us through it with His grace."
The doctor turned and left the room!! We were a bit confused and wondered if we had insulted him.
He returned a moment later with a stool. He set it down about two feet from Greg and sat down on it. He took the Bible from Greg's hands and started flipping through it stopping to read a bit every few pages. After a brief silence, he looked up at us and said,
"I believe that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Because I feel you have a balanced faith, I will give you this ultrasound." 
He then proceeded to share his testimony and pray with us for the next half an hour in the emergency room!  It was awesome!
We went for the ultrasound and the result was still the same, however our faith had been strengthened and awakened that day.
I asked if I could just deliver the baby on my own, because I really did not want to have another D&C. I wanted to see our baby and hold it to say goodbye. I was told that there was too much risk of infection or bleeding and that if I bled too much that I would end up in surgery anyway. Knowing what I know today, I would have stuck by my choice to deliver the baby on my own, but being where I was, I did not.
I was sent up to the ward to wait and Greg left to get a drink. When he returned he had a birthstone ring in his hand for the month of April. We decided that April would be a good name for her, Greg put the ring into his hat to keep it close. We cried some more and said our goodbyes to our baby. We told April how much we loved her. I remember thinking I felt her move again, I said something to the nurse and she said that it was impossible. Babies don't move that early enough that the mom would feel it. It was my imagination.
I knew I had felt her kicks before. I put my hand on my tummy and cherished the last moments I had with her until they took me for surgery.
When surgery was done, I remember waking up in recovery feeling incredibly empty and broken. I cried and cried, so hard that I think I had the nurses worried. Everything was so fuzzy from the anesthetic, I alternated between sleep and awake for the next while. I remember rubbing my flat tummy saying, "I just want my baby back. Please give me my baby back, I miss my baby..." I remember the nurse coming and petting my hair and trying to reassure me. She dried my tears and asked if I needed anything, which opened a whole new floodgate of tears.
They moved me to a room on the maternity ward and I could hear babies crying all around me. As we left, that sound was ringing in my ears and I wished desperately that it was my baby, but I knew that it wasn't.
I cannot explain how I got through the next while except by the grace of God. The peace that passes all understanding surrounded me and I felt like I was in a cloud for a few days. When the grief did hit me, it came hard. I felt anger, I felt empty, but through it all I felt love and hope. I had so many unanswered why's. I knew it was not God that I should be mad at in this.
The strength and peace I had could only have come from Him.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

April's Story...part one

"Congratulations!! You're pregnant," our doctor said. It was the beginning of February 1999. I was scared, I was excited. Some fears started to come to about having another miscarriage (because I didn't know any better as far as how to fight it at that point). My doctor booked an ultrasound right away for me to see how far along I was. It was too early to tell.  I went again two weeks later and it was determined that I was about 7 weeks.  Joy once again consumed our hearts when we saw that little heartbeat! Tears filled our eyes when we held the photo of our baby in our hands. Our baby was alive and growing. I found out I was due Sept 23rd, about the same due date as one of Greg's cousin's!

The doctor told us that if we made it past twelve weeks, we should be fine.  I was so excited!  Soon we went out and bought maternity clothes as day after day  passed and things were going fine.  My tummy was getting firmer and a little more round each month. We talked to the baby all the time, telling her how we couldn't wait for her to join us and that soon we would hold her in our arms.  I was so sick with morning sickness, even soda crackers made me gag, never mind the mere mention of an egg that sent me running to the bathroom.  I was put on sick leave from work right away so that I could rest and take it easy because by about 8 weeks I had a bit of spotting again.

Once twelve weeks passed we breathed a sigh of relief.  My doctor said, "Well we made it this far, we should be in the clear now!" We asked the doctor if I could go with Greg on his road trips in the semi once in awhile as I was getting bored of sitting at alone. She said as long as we were driving on paved roads that were not rough. I remember laying in the bunk one night and feeling the baby kick for the first time.  I would have been about 15 weeks. I had previously thought I felt something a few other times, but this time I was sure!  Wow what a moment.  It was so incredible to feel life inside me. Greg tried to feel the kicks, but he couldn't, it was too early. About a week later we were coming up out of a valley in the truck and at the top was this gorgeous, bright double rainbow.  I had never seen one before in my life.  My heart was reminded of the awesomeness of God's promise to carry me through and his marvelous creation.
On April 25th I started spotting again.  I was scared to go to the doctor, but I made an appointment right away. She booked another ultrasound for the 26th of April. She said, "Just to be sure everything is okay. It is probably nothing, don't worry at all.  Spotting is normal during pregnancy. "
We went for the ultrasound and we were amazed at what we saw on the screen. Tears filling our eyes, we saw hands, feet, arms, legs a little face, a tiny perfect in every way, except there was no fluttering where the heartbeat should be.  I did not notice this right away though.
I asked questions to the girl doing the ultrasound as she took lots of measurements of arms, legs, spine and  head of the baby. She would answer yes or no but anything deeper, she kept telling me that she could not answer any questions, that I had to wait for the doctor.  I had an uneasy feeling because with the other ultrasounds, they had talked me through them, told me what they were measuring, pointed out shots of hands or feet, etc. To me it seemed it was taking a very long time and she was taking so many pictures.
I asked her where the heartbeat was and if we could see it. She again replied that we would need to wait for the doctor to come in. I felt fearful anxiousness welling up in me, I asked, "Is everything okay?"
She told us she could give us no information, that the radiologist would come and talk with us. She left the room and a few minutes later the radiologist followed her back in and put the paddle on my tummy.
I was trying to fight back tears, but my battle was in  vain. I choked out, "Is our baby okay?"

Asa's story...

The making of my memory album has been another step in my healing process.  It has taken me 5 years to be able to take a close look at these memories again, enough to write them down.

Greg and I were married in August 1998.  We wanted to start our family right away.  I did a test every month and the result always came back a disheartening negative.  I know there are many who face this continually month after month, year after year and my heart goes out to them, I cannot imagine the weight of that...
In early December, I went to the Dr for a UTI and she asked if I would take a pregnancy test. It came back positive and I was elated. I was only about 3 weeks pregnant at that point. I was sitting in the chair waiting for blood to be drawn and I put my hand on my tummy and whispered, "Hello little one!" (I whispered because I did not want the lab tech to hear me and think I was crazy talking to myself!)  I wanted to surprise Greg with the results because he didn't know I had taken the test. I could hardly keep it to myself!!
I tried to be sneaky making Greg a card on the computer that night to give to him the next day. In the morning I gave him the card right away. It said, "Congratulations, you're going to be a daddy! We finally did it!"
We started to plan what we would need to buy and started looking at names. We sang "You Are My Sunshine" every day to the baby. This baby was to join our family July 7, 1999.  By mid December I began spotting. The doctor told me she would monitor my hormones for a few days to see what was happening.
On December 19th, when I went back to the doctor, she said I was having a miscarriage and that it was "Probably for the best. Your baby was probably retarded anyway.  That is why most of these things happen." I could hardly believe my ears! How could anyone say something like that. Tears started to pour down my cheeks as I felt my dreams and hopes slip through my fingers.  My doctor scheduled a D&C for me the following day.  We went home and spent the night trying to absorb what we were facing. We said goodbye to our baby Asa on December 20, 1998. I was in shock over everything. People kept telling me, "Don't worry, you'll be pregnant again very soon. After a D&C it happens very quickly again."
I wanted Asa, not a replacement, but we decided we wanted to try right away again.

To my sweet babies....

I have been asked to share the stories of my three other babies in heaven so I am going to type what I have written in their memory album. I also wrote two letters to them in the summer of 2005 as well, the year I made the memory album. I would like to post them too
Here is the first....

To my sweet babies,
Oh how mommy loves you and misses you! My time with you was too short. I was not able to give you even one kiss or hug, but my love for you is still deep in my heart.
Although I grieve our separation, I know that your Heavenly Father is caring for you now in a much better place than here. I want you to know that I think of you so often and I look forward to the day when I will meet you face to face. Your memory album is done in rainbow colors. I chose this because every time I see a rainbow, I think of you in heaven and am reminded of God's promise to me.

You were our first baby born into heaven after being part of our lives for only 6 weeks. You have been in Heaven for about six years now.  At first we called you Sunshine, and we used to sing "You Are My Sunshine" to you every day.  You were named Asa David after daddy two grandpas.  What a wonderful surprise you were to us, in your brief appearance in our lives. Your little sister Jinny now talks about you and knows she has two brothers and a sister in Heaven.  Give them a hug and kiss from mommy and daddy.


Our precious daughter, we were so looking forward to having you join our family.  I found out I was expecting you shortly after your brother went to Heaven. We rejoiced several days later when we saw your tiny heartbeat flickering on the ultrasound screen.  What a miracle. You were alive and growing inside me.
Then we found out you had gone to heaven, I was four and a half months pregnant. I felt as if a part of me had died with you.  You have been in heaven for about five and a half years now.  We named you April Iris. That is the month you went to be with Jesus and the night we said goodbye to you, it seemed to fit.  Right before I went in to have the D&C after we found out you were gone, daddy brought me a little ring from the gift shop that had your birthstone in it.  It was a beautiful, diamond-like stone. I knew you were now in Heaven shining like the brightest diamond.  We chose Iris because it is your Nana's name and also it means rainbow.  I had never seen a double rainbow before in my life and the day you went to be with Jesus, there was a double rainbow in the sky. It was one of the most beautiful things I had seen.  I know that now you and your brothers are smiling on us from Heaven.

Your little life ended only after only eight weeks with us.  It's been three years since you went to be with Jesus. Oh, how deeply I remember the heartache of losing yet another baby, when babies had been my life long dream.  I didn't think there was much more I could handle in that moment.  Your name was given to you after weeks of searching for a name. It was so hard to find one that I felt suited you.  I believe this fits, Kane means beautiful tribute, golden sunset.

I am writing this letter to let you know you will always hold a special place in my heart.  What a wonderful day it will be when I get to finally hold you in my arms outside of my dreams! I feel so blessed to have had you in my life, even for the short time I did.

Love Mommy

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me...forever

Woman sings during labor....
The Lord is my Shepherd.  He makes me lie in pastures green.  He leads me beside quiet waters that wash over me....Though I may walk in the shadows, Your rod and Your staff comfort me. I will abide at a table in the presence of my enemies......
This is a video of a woman named Temple singing while she is in labor.  My birth plan for Zoe included this exact song.  I loved the thought of another supernatural childbirth like I had with Jaron and I wanted her entry into this world to be filled with so much peace and love that it would follow her all the days of her life.
I sang this song to Zoe lots while I was pregnant with her. I was so excited to sing it to her when she was making her way into this world.
Things did not go as I had planned and so the birth plan I had developed did not happen either, but despite everything else, it was still a wondrous night. It was filled with many conflicting things. Joy and sorrow, frailty and strength, hope and disappointment, compassion and betrayal. Even with those emotions, there was a short amount of time where only the wonder of seeing our precious baby girl filled the room. 
As I said in my earlier post about Zoe's birth, it took awhile for them to get the bleeding under control so we did not get to see Zoe right away.  The nurse kept assuring me that they had her right there and as soon as they could, they would let me see her and hold her. Finally it was time. I felt some excitement building in my heart knowing that I would be holding her soon. My water did not break when I delivered Zoe so the nurse had to break the amniotic sac. I was laid out almost flat on the bed so I could not see what was happening. I looked up at Greg and watched his face.  We still did not know if the baby was a boy or a girl.
I heard my nurse say "Okay little one, here we go."  She opened the amniotic sac and lifted Zoe's little body out. In that moment I saw Greg's heart melt and his eyes filled with tears. Then some of the best words of the night filled the room...
"Oh, she's perfect. A beautiful little girl. Ten fingers and ten toes, all there." 
 She wrapped Zoe up and handed her to my waiting arms. The intricacies of God's precious tiny creation almost took our breath away in that moment.  I didn't know quite what to expect, but I have felt death on another person before and it has almost always been cold. She was still so warm.  Tears of joy and of sadness poured down our faces as we held first one tiny hand and then the other, wrapping her fingers around our fingers. I have never seen such small delicate fingers, such tiny fingernails....a perfectly formed, beautiful little face.
She had the cutest little feet with the smallest toes including little bitty toe nails! She seemed so fragile, I was almost afraid to move her. The nurses and the doctor told us they would leave us alone for awhile to spend time with her.  We spent time just telling her how much we loved her, how sad we were that she would not be coming home with us, how much her siblings loved her, how glad we were that she was with our Jesus, where she will be forever loved and safe.  I so badly wanted to sing the song to her, but could not manage to choke out the words between tears. We cried, we smiled, we marveled. We had about an hour alone with her.  I would not trade that hour for the D&C that the Dr. was offering to make this loss "easier to deal with because it is just done with then."
I am so glad we decided to carry through with giving birth to her. Some things about that evening are just to intimate of a family moment to share on here so I will leave it at this.

God gave us that hour filled with His peace and I know the angels were standing there with us. I have no doubt that there was probably a tear or two on their faces as well. I know that in those moments God knew what our hearts were feeling.
Hebrews 13:5  “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
He understood it as only one who has been there can.  He not only saw ahead in time to when we would be sitting in that room, He also placed that nurse there that night. I believe, specifically for us. He has been with us every step of the way, holding me when I cry, He knows every tear that fell from our eyes. 
Psalm 56:8   You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
 So through all the tears that fall and will fall in years to come, I look forward to the day when I walk into heaven and hear, "Mommy!!!" through squeals of delight.  I will be suddenly wrapped in 4 sets of arms that have been waiting to welcome me home.
I love you my precious babies, Asa, April, Kayne and Zoe.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas 2010

Well here we are, two days into the new year and I am excited for the things God has in store for us and our family.
Some significant dates and events have passed and emotions have run up and down.....I am thankful for the hope I feel and the contentment that God has given me.  Though this Christmas was filled with love, a missing part was felt as well.  There have even been moments I have longed for the missing sleep of those special middle of the night nursing times. I used to love those times with my other kids, in the peaceful silence of night, just me and my baby sharing an experience only ours. Memories of life with a newborn flood my mind.
Hot, happy tears run down my cheeks as I read the status on Dec 19th of a wonderful friend of mine (my doula) who was due the same day as I was:  
cannot find words to describe my yesterday. Last night I had the most amazing blessing of catching my son in my own hands - in my own room - exactly how I envisioned.
Wow, what a blessing and life changing event that must have been.....

As Zoe's due date has passed now, I no longer feel like I am still looking forward in anticipation to something that was supposed to happen.  Instead it is more the feeling of something being missing.  As we opened presents christmas day, Greg and I both found ourselves wondering who would have been holding probably would have been Nana because she can be a bit of a baby hog when it comes to new grandbabies ;o) and how would our morning have looked with her here as well.
Before christmas, I had been on a long search for some type of ornament to represent Zoe that would hang on our big tree this year. We also wanted something special that we could do with the kids to commemorate Zoe's due date.  We had a little white christmas tree that we decided we would decorate with the kids, using little pink and silver ornaments.
Just how does one pick an ornament that accurately symbolizes the love for and sacredness of a baby who has died?  I am not sure there is such a thing......we searched and searched, finding many options of memorial ornaments but none of them quite fit.
I started to try and think outside the "ornament only" box.....what could we use?  We went to the baby section of a few stores with mixed emotions and ended up looking at little socks and shoes hoping to find something.  I was starting to think we were going to have to settle for something that was not "perfect."  We chose to settle on a set of little tiny newborn socks that I thought we could maybe write her name on.  As we turned to walk away I looked over and saw some little shoes that had been hung in the wrong spot.  I showed them to Greg and they were cute but not what I had imagined.  Then as I hung them back with the others of their kind, I saw at the back of the hook a little white, soft pink and purple pair of shoes with a little butterfly on them.  Instantly tears sprang to our eyes and I felt they were as close as I was going to get to what I had been looking for.  The butterfly is used symbolically to represent the short lives of miscarried and stillborn babies and how they will always be a beautiful part of the fabric of our lives.
Our search continued for tiny pink ornaments for our little tree.  We went to 6 different stores that day.  Finally I found some that were the perfect size and color of pink.  We headed home to Moose Jaw and mom (who had kept the kids for us while we had some alone time on her due date) met us there with the kids. (Thanks mom!)
After supper we called the kids and Nana to the living room and gathered around the little tree. I had also found little silver cherub ornaments that were on little tiny clothespins.We took turns pinning them to the tree and then we asked the kids what their thoughts and feelings were. They talked about things like how happy Zoe must be in Heaven and how they missed her and how much they had been looking forward to having her here at christmas.  We talked about how she was probably worshiping God right then.  Then we each took turns praying and thanked God for her.  It was another beautiful celebration of her life.
We kept the tree lit everyday throughout the holidays.
My mom wrote a beautiful letter to Zoe and I shut myself in my room, desiring privacy to read it Christmas day.  It brings comfort to me to know my mom's heart, to know how much Zoe meant to her, and how much she looked forward to meeting her. I stayed in my room for about an hour while the tears first breakdown since just before her due date. Zoe was very much a part of our christmas even though she was not physically here.  I am grateful that she is in my Heavenly Father's care and is hearing the praises of Angels as they sing. Merry Christmas baby girl, we love you forever and always.

I got this beautiful saying from another website but it had no author listed:

Precious Little One, We had you in our lives such a very short time, but we’ll hold you in our hearts forever.  It seemed like only a fleeting moment, but it was long enough to see you, touch you, hold you, love you.  It was long enough to know that your life was indeed a gift- no matter how brief, no matter how fragile, Your life was indeed a gift, and we’ll hold you in our hearts forever.