Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Signing off...

After thinking very carefully and considering this over the past few weeks, it has become clear to me that it is time to close this blog.

I have made some wonderful friends during this time and I am so grateful and appreciative for the amazing support system that formed around me; I feel so unworthy of so much love and support, but I am so incredibly happy and feel so loved by so many people.

However, the purpose of this blog was not only to mourn my losses, but to hope for the future. I feel as though God has given us everything we could ever hope for, and I feel as though continuing this blog would just be frivolous. However, some people have expressed an interest in continuing to follow my daily thoughts and ideas. I cannot guarantee that it won't be a blog completely devoted to my love of my daughters, but I will start a new one soon. When I do, I will post the link here so that, if you choose to, you can continue to follow our journey.

For those of you who have stopped by from ICLW - thank you! I could never have asked for a better community of friends and supporters and thank you just isn't strong enough to express how thankful I am that you took the time to read my blog and let me read yours. I see your stories and marvel at the strength and the love that all of you have. Please don't give up - I will continue to read your blogs, think of you, and pray for you every day!

Again, I cannot thank you enough for your love and support. I don't know what I would have done without this blog and the support of the community of readers. Words simply cannot express my gratitude or how much I hope that each and every one of you get every single wish and dream that you have ever desired. I love you all and I am blessed to have you in my life.

And so - unless you choose to join me at my new blog, thank you for all of your kindness, love and support. Otherwise, I hope to see you soon at:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

And God bless each and every one of you. May all of your dreams and wishes come true this holiday season!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I feel I owe it to those reading to keep you a bit abreast of what is happening. I don't know how much longer I will keep this blog going as we have managed to get everything we ever wanted, but for now there are still some things to say. I realized partway through my bedrest situation that I will eventually pull this blog offline and put it into some kind of book format (God bless those lovely websites that do those things for you) because I want my daughters to have some kind of record of the journey we took to have a family. The likelihood of my children having some form of MTHFR or any kind of thrombophilia disorder is pretty good (although they may be lucky enough to have a recessive or single copy, unlike my double dominant copies), and I want them to understand that they can still have a family. I also want them to truly understand the love that brought them both here in the first place. They are both such strong fighters that it continues to amaze me every day.

I sit and hold Hope or I play with Katie and, honestly, the one thing that keeps running through my head is how incredibly lucky we are to have either of them. We fought so hard to keep Hope healthy and to make sure that she was safe when we delivered, but with's so hard to think about now. To think about all that she fought through that we didn't even know about and how little medical support and intervention we had at that time. It's absolutely amazing that we even had her in the first place. It brings tears to my eyes to think about how strong she was to even be born.

Right now, we're settling into life and trying to figure things out. Brian has simply stepped right in and is doing very well. Nothing about having two children fazes him at all. He takes it in stride and does everything wonderfully - it's both amazing and frustrating to watch. I find it a bit overwhelming when it's just me and the two kids (and one of them isn't even mobile yet!), but I know I will start to get used to it. I love to sit and hold them and just watch them together. Katie just adores Hope and it's so wonderful to see them together - I'm so glad they will be able to grow up with each other and have someone else in their lives.

I'm still having a harder recovery than with my previous pregnancy. The good news is that the bleeding from my incision finally stopped a couple of days ago (thank goodness!), but it's still open in several areas so I have to keep it bandaged and change and clean the incision several times a day. I also have to see the doctor weekly until it is fully healed (normally, I wouldn't have to go back until six weeks post-partum, so this is a bummer. The doctor thinks it's funny). The fact that I have to be careful about tearing the incision further makes moving about harder for me - especially getting up out of chairs or bed, and I'm still very slow walking and going up and down stairs, but I'm getting better. I just had such a lovely and quick recovery the last time that it's a bit frustrating to not bounce back as easily this time.

Mentally, I'm doing pretty well. I have a bit of the weepy-ness that comes after birth, but mine isn't sadness. I look at Hope and I look at Katie and I realize how quickly the time will go, so I'm really forcing myself to stay in the present and to enjoy each moment. I seldom put Hope down during the day because I know there's only so long that she will let me hold and cuddle her, so I'm going to enjoy each moment. There is a bit of a sense of loss that comes with the realization that my tubes are tied and I'm really completely done having children. I know that it was the right choice; the doctor was concerned that a future pregnancy would not only be hard on the baby but could be life-threatening for me after these complications, so we knew we had to do it. It's just hard to know that that part of me is done (isn't that weird - I don't like being pregnant at all, but I mourn the fact that I won't be pregnant again? I'm a very strange person). It's just a very...I can't think of the right word...hard? Strange? Conflicting? thing to think about. But then I cheer myself up by thinking we can always adopt if I really need more children :)

Katie is very happy to be back to her regular routine of school and dance classes. She did very well on her progress report and loves to dance for Hope whenever I hum or sing for her. On weekends, we let her sleep in our room and "help" with Hope at night (she never wakes up, but it makes her feel important), but I think she's really just ready for Hope to get up and play with her. That'll happen soon enough.

Hope is still quite mellow and even-tempered. She has periods of being extremely fussy and it's difficult to figure out what she wants, but I find that I'm a much calmer parent the second time around. With Katie, I would panic when she cried because I didn't know what to do. Now I know that we'll figure it out or she just needs to cry. She's slowly opening her eyes more each day and starting to get her days and nights figured out (thank goodness!). Brian is back at work, so I'm starting to figure everything out on my own and so far, we're doing well. Thankfully, she enjoys listening to me read People magazine to her :)

To make a long story short, we're doing well. We are happy and healthy and I couldn't ask for anything more. I feel like I'm living in some kind of fairy tale where the heroine's wishes all come true - what more could I want? I'm blessed and thankful for all we've been given and all that we've survived this past year and I'm loving every minute with my family.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Precious Girls

Just to celebrate reaching Hope's official due date - today was the day she was supposed to be born, but we are so thankful to have had two extra weeks loving and holding her. She had her first doctor's appointment this week and everything was looking very good. Although her weight dropped to 6lbs 8oz leaving the hospital and then to 6lbs 5oz two days later, this week she was up to 6lbs 11oz - very close to her birth weight, which made the doctor very happy. She is now allowed to sleep through the night until she wants to wake up and we have been ABSOLUTELY BLESSED because since then she has been sleeping seven hours a night. I'm sure that will change in the next two weeks as she starts to be awake and alert more, but right now we're loving it! Everything checked out wonderfully - she's grown to 20.5in. and is already lifting her head to look around at everything. It seems like she's trying to grow up too soon (the doctor said she's just a bit stronger than a normal newborn due to the fact that she had to fight contractions for several months - they really worked her muscles).

Katie is the best helper in the world and can't do enough for her little sister. We all feel so very happy and blessed!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hope's Birthday Story

This may be a long one - feel free to tune in and out at will :)

Wednesday was a very long day but a very hopeful one. We were almost certain that the doctor wouldn't warn us to prepare for surgery "just in case" and then send us home afterwards. Of course, that's not 100% certain, so it was nervous energy. We tried to do all we could to stay busy and to prepare - buy final things at the store and things like that.

Well, that night was a long one - I was way too excited to sleep. Same with the next morning. We dropped Katie off at preschool and made our way to the doctor's office. However, then things took a scary turn. I had been told that we were coming in solely for a NST to determine what we would do. Instead, we were taken back to a regular exam room with no monitors and they had me get undressed and draped. At this point, everything caught up with me and I was so emotionally exhausted I started to cry (I was doing that a lot by this point) because we thought that there had been a miscommunication somewhere and this was just going to be a standard, day before surgery pre-op appointment.

Within five minutes the doctor came in and before even saying hello was asking if we wanted to have our baby that day. I was so happy that I threw my arms around her neck and cried a lot more :) She checked me and I had dilated to a 3, so she said between that and the contractions she could tell the hospital that I was finally in active labor and we could go for it. She had a meeting at noon, but said we could do the C-section right afterwards, so she went to call the hospital. They weren't ready for us until about 10:45am, so we had two hours to kill.

We left the doctor's office and headed home to take care of last minute packing and anything else that needed to be done. Brian had some lunch to make sure he'd be ok, but I still couldn't eat since there was now certainly going to be surgery. We still had an hour to kill, so we went to walk around the mall. My contractions were still every two to three minutes apart, but knowing they were about to end made it much easier to wander around.

When we got to the hospital, we checked in at labor and delivery and were not surprised to find that we knew everyone who was working at that point in time. They were all very pleased to see that we were the scheduled "section" for 1pm and that we weren't back for more preterm labor fun. We got all set up in the outpatient room and prepared for all the fun stuff preceding surgery - it was a very busy day in L&D; there were three other women in there with preterm labor while we were getting ready. I felt a little badly for them because I could only imagine too easily how it must feel to see someone getting ready to deliver while you're worried about your preterm labor. I knew that feeling well.

My contractions were going pretty well at this point, but I wasn't eligible for pain meds since we would be heading into surgery. My parents were on their way and I knew they would be there, and Katie would be there, soon, so we tried to distract ourselves with TV. After going over some medical history (it hadn't changed in the past week), they started to set up all the IVs and whatnot. Unfortunately, my luck took a small turn here as they brought in a student nurse from IWU who had never done this particular procedure before. She stuck the back of my hand and missed, but they were not deterred - the lead nurse tried to help her wiggle it into the vein or whatever it is they were doing. Between this and contractions, I was in tears - it hurt!!! I'm all for teaching - I go to the cosmetology school for haircuts and I know they all need to practice, but let's not practice on the patient in active labor, huh? The nurse took over and got it all set up and started the IV drip (I needed two bags of fluid prior to surgery) and finally everyone showed up and we visited for a while.

After signing all the papers and talking to everyone, we heard the surgery was changed to 1:15pm (no big deal) and before I knew it they had me walking down the hall to the O.R. It was a little overwhelming and terrifying - I had somehow built myself up against the spinal block even though I had an epidural in my first pregnancy and it wasn't that bad. We walked into that really bright and freezing cold room and I sat on the table to get ready for the spinal. Thankfully, Brian was allowed to be in there with me (he hadn't been allowed until the actual surgery before - lots of things were different since this time the baby wasn't in distress). As we went to do the spinal, I was informed that another new person would be performing the procedure (I don't think he was a student, but he was new) and I groaned internally. It took them two tries and I was a total baby - whimpering and sniffling. I felt I had earned that right and just milked it. They put on my oxygen and laid me down very quickly (the spinal works instantly, so my body would have given out if I'd taken my time. It numbs you from the chest to the feet).

At this point, everything started to heat up as everyone was rushing around doing things I couldn't see. I didn't really know what was going on (they didn't put up a shield in front of me like last time, but I still couldn't see anything) and I started to get an anxiety attack because I felt like I couldn't breathe. The anesthesiologist said that was the medication making me feel heavy and warned me that if I couldn't calm down, she'd have to put me out and I wouldn't see the birth. Uhm, that was NOT going to happen. Thankfully, the feeling passed.

They were in and out so quickly, I can't even process it. If you figure that we went into surgery at 1:15 and Hope was born at 1:23, it probably only took them a minute or two to get her out. I could hear them talking about how deep she was buried and that they felt like they were reaching back to my spine but, unlike with Katie, I didn't feel any of the tugging, pulling, or pressure that I felt before. It was easy. They pulled her out, she cried, and it was done. Brian was reassuring me that she was completely perfect and that there was everything that should be there. They wiped her off briefly and then let Brian hold her next to me for a few minutes so we could see and talk to her before she had to take off. Again, this was different; I didn't get to see Katie until I was in recovery due to the distress, so it was nice to have these moments to get to know her.

Brian left with Hope and I was left during the tedious closing up procedure. It doesn't hurt, it just feels like it takes forever and I just wanted to get to recovery to see Hope. When we finally got there, we realized my bed was backwards and I had my head at the foot end of the bed. Not a problem, but it meant we couldn't raise my head up so I could hold her. They propped me with a few pillows, but I wasn't comfortable in that position, so Brian held her and we watched her inhale her first bottle. She was clearly starving - I've never heard someone so little suck so loudly. We were in recovery for about an hour and a half - the whole time my parents waited patiently with Katie in the waiting room. They still didn't know her name or what she looked like. Brian had come in to tell them she was born and had shown Katie pictures, but everyone else had to wait.

I was very relieved when we finally got to our room. I felt like I had been manhandled more than enough for one day. Katie came running into our room screaming, "Awwwww....she's so cute!" and wanted to just keep kissing her face. We gave her some gifts from us and from Hope and she was just in heaven - all she wanted to do was to bring in the rest of the family and tell them Hope's name (we told Katie she could be the one to introduce her sister).

After that, there were visitors and diapers and feedings and lots of walking up and down hospital hallways to ensure that I was well enough to come home. Thanks to the wonders of Lovenox and Heparin, my incision began bleeding severely the day after surgery and continued up until yesterday, which was a bit of a complication. I ended up in the ER on Thanksgiving because it was so bad, but thankfully it appears to have subsided and I will see the doctor again tomorrow to check on it. Staples are out, but there are still some open gaps because of the bleeding (they had to keep areas open to let the blood out, so I guess we'll see how we close them now). I'm moving pretty well and down to Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

Hope is an amazing baby. Although she has her fussy moments (we've had a long night or two), she's been very mellow so far and is content to watch the world around her and snooze. Katie has been a wonderful helper and simply can't do enough for her sister. In short, it might be a bit stressful and we might feel a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out how to work with two kids at home, but it's so worth it. I think we all feel complete and we're all just thankful to have Hope home.

BTW - Katie is now asking when she gets a baby brother. I did end up having my tubes tied during surgery because all parties involved agreed another pregnancy would just be too dangerous for me, so Brian informed her that any children we have from here on in will be named Jesus. It was sacrilegious, but really funny :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful is not enough

I cannot say I am thankful for where we are this year and all that we have, because that word is simply inadequate.

I tried "blessed" or "grateful" and, again, those simply do not do justice to anything.

As I sat in the doctor's office today to get my staples out, I could not help but think about the first time I walked into this doctor's office last year on this exact day because she is the only one who would see and help me with my ectopic pregnancy on the day before Thanksgiving. I called it the "worst day ever" because it had followed two previous miscarriages and so much confusion and stress and anxiety and fear and depression.

One year from the worst day ever, I have a diagnosis. I successfully managed to carry a pregnancy to term at 37 weeks and 4 days. I delivered a healthy, beautiful and perfect little girl who absolutely completes our family. I have experienced more support and love from family and friends than I could ever have imagined and enjoyed all of their joy sharing in our accomplishment. I have been so lucky - so beyond lucky - to have my dreams come true, and I can only hope that everyone who reads this and everyone else who believes that it just can't get any worse or that their dreams are dying can have an experience like this and see their own dreams come true.

So no; Thankful is not what we are this holiday. What we are can never ever be expressed in words - only through grateful tears and laughter, sincere appreciation for everything we have been given, and our deepest thanks to all who helped us reach this amazing and beautiful moment in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope all of your dreams and wishes come true in the coming year!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hope Elizabeth

Hope Elizabeth arrived at 1:23pm on Thursday, November 17. She was 19 inches long and 6lbs 13oz. Obviously, there is much more to share, but right now we are simply in heaven enjoying our amazing new family. Happy Thanksgiving to all!