One Month

  
You would have turned one month old today.We would have celebrated your little mile stone in the NICU, just as we would have celebrated each week before.

I would have been at the hospital every day the past 30 days, changing you, dressing you, feeding you. 

The kids would have helped me to decorate your incubator with photos of your daddy and I, drawings from your siblings, a pretty sign with your beautiful name on it. (A very special name that daddy and I took months to come up with)

Not too long ago I would have started kangaroo care, holding you against my bare chest, your little curl covered head resting over my heart, comforted by each beat. Reminding you of the warm and cozy time spent in mommys belly, when you heard the same pulsating rhythm from inside of me.

The doctor and I would be discussing the things you would be working on in order to get you home in the next couple weeks. 

Suckling, maintaining body temperature, jaundice. But I know you’re strong, a fighter, this would be nothing for you.

Your room would be ready for you when you got home. All your blankets, and stuffed animals from your brother and sisters, your art work and pretty crib would be the same place it was the day you were born.  Instead of now being stowed away in the dark and dusty attic.

I miss you every day, and while this past week has been especially difficult I can’t help but think about how our lives would be so different if you were still here with us. What our schedule would be every day, the things you would like, the sound of you cooing, the sweet way you would cuddle curled in my arms sleeping with me, and how cute you would look while you slept.

I know this will continue and possibly get harder sometimes, especially when your birthday comes around. I’ll try to hold back my tears baby girl, but that is something that I’ve never been very good at. Just know when you see me cry, my tears are my love for you. 

And they will never run out.

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Beautiful Things

 Today was bittersweet.

A mix of emotions.

Sad that she is gone but glad to have her home.

She near us for me to talk to when I think about her, for her brother and sisters to talk to and hold. Today I have her home, near us every day, while it may be on our mantel and not safe in her bassinet like I would like, I have her home. It’s the path we’ve been given to walk and no matter how bumpy and broken and terrifying it is, we must walk it.

So today I’ll take my baby girl into my hands and smile knowing though her body is with me, her beautiful soul is in heaven waiting for Mommy to come take her hand so we can continue the walk down our path.

 

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Smiles and Sunbeams

  
I wish I had done more for her, seen the signs, spoke up. It’s my job to protect her, that’s my only job. Sometimes I feel like failed her, her father, her siblings. But I know I can’t think like that, it will get me nowhere but a deep and dark hole. 

I know we miss them terribly but we can’t beat ourselves up. I like to think that they are smiling down from heaven happy that we can be strong, happy when we smile thinking about them, happy when we reminisce on their ninja kicks in our belly, happy that even though we would have liked for their time with us to be longer, meeting them was the best day of our life.💗

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I Grieve Because I Love You

  In the short three weeks since I lost the most precious piece of my heart I have learned a bit about grieving. I have learned that it’s a long road and it changes daily. That no one grieves the same and that it can creep up on you at any moment. But I couldn’t have explained it as well as Pastor Bob Guffey Jr:

Grief Has No Rules: Some Sentences about Grief

Robert W Guffey Jr

April 20, 2016 

I wrote these sentences to share in closing at a funeral recently and was asked to pass them along. You’ve likely heard something like this but, if you are like me, reminders are helpful. Grace and peace, 

As you go from this place, please remember that grief has no rules, and that is okay. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. You will read about cycles of grief and phases of grief, but, in practical reality, there are no rules. That is the truth. There are many different feelings that will pass through you, some more intense than others, but just because you have felt one way for a while, then feel a change that prompts you to think, “Oh good, I am done with that,” do not be surprised when, on her birthday, or yours, five years from now, you feel odd and unsettled. Just as you wonder what is going on with you, your soul will remind you – “Oh, yes. Hello, Grief.” Grief will be, as one of my pastor-friends wrote in the season after both our mothers had died, your “most unexpected companion.” 

Grief is real and a sign of love. Most of us do not grieve those we have not loved. Because that is true, perhaps we can see grief as a gift as it reminds us, sometimes gently, sometimes fiercely, of love. 

Grief, because it is a sign of love, can become a cause for gratitude for it prompts us to remember what was best about the person’s life and to thank God that her life continues in manifold ways in God and in those who loved her. 

Grief can become a way we honor those we have lost. Doing the hard work of grieving and not running from it is a way of saying the person mattered, the loss matters, and our desire to heal matters, too. 

Grief tells us we are human, but being human is who God created us to be – and only a little lower than the angels. 
It is okay to grieve as we celebrate. We say THANKS BE TO GOD for the one we have loved. We say THANKS BE TO GOD for the healing that has come to her. We say THANKS BE TO GOD for the gift from God she was, and is. 
We thank God for those we love and have lost.

We thank God for today.

We thank God for the life to come. 
In all things today, let us say:

Thanks be to God.

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Run Away With Me

  

All I want to do is run.

It’s been a long 3 weeks since my beautiful baby girl was born, 22 days to be exact. So I’m not able to run my frustration and anger away. But believe me, when I’m able to get out there to the park and let my feet hit the pavement that’s exactly what I will be doing. I know it will help me so much – time alone, time to think, time to exert some of this energy.  Processing the hurt and releasing some of the pain.

Nothing sounds better then letting all my thoughts and feelings and loneliness drip out through each pore. Allowing my body to cry as my eyes have been, it’s seems they’re never out of tears. The pain in my chest with each deep breath, a constant stitch in my side, the ache in my thighs almost reaching the raw ache of my heart as I finally culminate my run.

 I’m a glutton for punishment so this all sounds perfect to me. Giving me a sense of being alive. But also the feeling of pain much like the feeling of grief we must endure. For we are earthy humans and not yet heavenly angels.

I look forward to this private time with Gianna, with a God, and with nature. I look forward to the healing it will bring me. Speaking to them both, without saying a word. Letting them into my thoughts, letting them speak to me. Allowing me to comfort her, God to comfort me, and letting me find some peace and strength hidden in this loneliness, allowing me to quietly search for any sense hidden within this unnecessary madness. Though mostly peace and guidance to help the others, her grandparents, her father, her sisters and brother. To help guide them, to be their support, to teach them how to comfort and be there for each other. For Jesus himself grieved and responded to the grief and loss of those around him. This will allow me to show strength and help me feel in control again. 

But until then, until I can run, I will write.

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Our Angel Baby

  
After the passing of our daughter late last night I remembered that some of my photographer friends also shoot babies who are sick or have passed.I remembered someone specifically and contacted her this afternoon. Kennisha Fisher came right away to take some touching photos of our little Gianna, something to pull out of her memory box and remember the all too brief time that we held her in our arms. She’s wearing the burial gown and bonnet that was given to us by Threads of Love in the hospital. 

I think she is perfect. Our perfect Angel Baby.

Thank you so much Kennisha for capturing her in this moment, a moment that we will hold forever in your hearts.❤️

To help with funeral costs please visit: http://www.gofundme.com/babygianna

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Gianna My Love

  
Those of you who know me, really know me, were so excited a couple weeks ago when Johnny and I announced that were expecting a child in a couple months.Just entering my 28th week of pregnancy I was shocked when my water broke at Humana yesterday while I was working.

I was rushed by ambulance to Suburban where they almost immediately took me back for and emergency C-section.

She looked great, great color, muscle tone, etc. in fact her 10 min apgar score was 9!

We knew that this little girl was a fighter when we were told she already weighed 3 lbs. 2 oz. And kept trying to kick and push the doctors hands off of her. lol

Johnny and I kept being called into the NICU by the new doctor on shift, telling us that we need to come up to NICU. 

Net midnight our sweet little baby’s heart rate was still booming but her blood pressure (58/23 – 18/9)and O2 saturation (8-51%) was going extremely low.

After being hooked up to numerous medication pumps, blood plasma transfusion, countless jabs, and even morphine that I ask that she not be given. Along with our “pulling of the plug” encouraged. the doctor took it upon himself to pull our daughter’s medicines and o2 himself.

After her brief visit of only 9.5 hours, Princess Gianna Marcelia Marie passed peacefully last night a bit after midnight.

Holding her perfect tiny lifeless body was one of the most humbling experiences I have ever experienced, though it was also the most confusing and painful. This was the first of sleepless nights we plan to endure as we learn to cope with this great loss. My heart breaks this morning as Johnny and I watch this beautiful sunrise from my hospital room, knowing that it’s just one of many beautiful things that our precious daughter will never have the chance to experience with her mother, father, or siblings.💔

Thank you in advance for prayers for our family.

Funeral arrangements will soon be announced.

Donations to help with her unexpected funeral service/end of life medical care will be greatly appreciated. 

Please Visit: Www.gofundme.com/babygianna

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June 14, 2008 – Birth Story #2

Mikey 6 months

After my incident at 12 weeks every thing, as far as I can remember, went pretty smoothly. At 28 weeks I went into preterm labor (4cm, 100% effaced and bulging sac) and was admitted to the hospital. They gave me Magnesium Sulfate (aka Liquid Hell) to stop labor. That drug was so awful, I was in an out of coherency, vomiting, hot flashes, sweating, everything.

A neonatologist came and spoke to my husband and I – he told us what to expect if our baby was born now.

I remained there, on bed rest, and Procardia until 32 weeks. I was bored out of my mind and had a 9 month old at home. My husband again was out of town so my mother was left taking care of her and bringing her to see me every day.

I begged everyone that I saw to please let me go home.

At 31+1 day I was released.

The following day my mom, Jordin, and I went to Sam’s Club. I was in so much pain, I was hunched over trying to walk. I didn’t think it was contractions. Just thought I was used to being on bed rest and not used to walking any distance. I had to get a motorized cart to make it through the store. When we got into the car I was moaning in main, jumping out of my seat.

When I got home I took a bath in Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) because I read that can stop contractions. It did not work.

We waited for my husband to get home from work so he could watch our daughter. He arrived after 1:00am. We went straight to the hospital.

I was hooked up to monitoring machines and was having hard and long contractions. The triage nurses were horrible. I was told, “You didn’t KNOW that you were having contractions?! How can you NOT know!? Do you REALIZE that your baby is going to be hooked up to all kinds of tubes and could DIE!?”

Yes. I knew.

I kept asking them what position the baby was in as they never performed and ultrasound before calling a doctor (Dr. Scobie – NOT my doctor or practice anymore!) I was told, with a condescending tone of course, “Well, I guess he’s head down, isn’t he?” I told them that he was the previous week but it HAD been a week!

Not me:)

I was told there was no way that they could stop the labor. I told them that I did not want any pain meds or an epidural. I was told that I didn’t have a choice, that the epidural would “keep the baby in” and I was put in a room to labor in a bed with the head slighty down, again, “to keep the baby in”. This upside-down position made the epidural basically go to my head – I was having a hard time trying to catch my breath because my chest and up to my neck were numb. My O2 was fine but it was just the feeling of not being able to breathe. But it freaked me out…bad! A new nurse came in a few times to check my progression. At around 11:00am Dr. Scobie came in and said that we were ready to deliver. (Mind you I had been there since around 1:15am)

He sat down on the stool between my legs and reached up inside of me. He reached up to look at me with a confused and concerned look on his face and said, “What position was he in?”

“The nurses in triage wouldn’t give me an ultrasound – even though I asked them several times” I said.

He seemed annoyed and told the nurse next to him to go get the ultrasound. He told me, “I think i feel a little foot!”

The ultrasound showed that Mikey’s foot was, in fact, pushing through my cervix.

Footling Breech

The doctor seemed to get frantic and informed me (I was alone in the room at this point) that we were going to have to have an emergency c-section. I freaked out and started crying. Not that anyone ever “wants” a c-section but I did NOT want to have a c-section!!

My husband returned to the room and I was crying. I told him what the doctor said.

Within about a minute we were rushed into the operating room.

Everything was going well but I started to feel the pain, not the pressure they told me to expect from pressing on my fundus to get the baby out. So they juiced me up with some extra pain med through my epidural.

The jerk doctor peeked over the curtain and said, “Are you getting your tubes tied?”    I told him that I was not. He chuckled commented to the rest of the crew, “Well, she needs to think about getting that done.”  I guess because I got pregnant with Mikey 3 months after Jordin was born. But whatever.

I heard them chatting amongst themselves and heard them say the baby was out. I remember panicking and asking my husband why he wasn’t crying. I don’t remember much after that.

I woke up in the recovery room and had no idea where I was. Everything was white and fuzzy and I kept falling asleep. I couldn’t say awake long enough to get out the words I was trying to say. I was so thirsty and kept asking my husband for something to drink, some ice or something. I never got a response. I remember crying and falling back asleep many times. My husband was just out of my vision behind my head and I just kept hearing him sobbing. But he wouldn’t answer me when I called. I kept asking him what was wrong. And he just kept crying and telling me “He’s so small, he’s so small”   I remember thinking he was mad at me and I kept apologizing for being so “out of it”  but all I wanted was some ice.

3 1/2 years later – a few weeks ago to be exact – my husband finally told he why he was trippin’ out so bad. He said when they took Mikey out he was blue and limp and that the Doctor picked him up and ran him over to the other side of the room where he began neonatal resuscitation also known as CPR. Mikey had failed to breathe on his own. And was not responding. My husband said that the dr was frantically trying to get him to breathe. And he kept saying, “Come on, buddy! Breathe, come on little guy!” and then going back down for some more CPR.

While everyone else got to see him int he NICU – everyone was very hush and seemed like something was wrong. In my drug induced daze I thought nothing of it, I was just antsy to see him. But no one was telling me anything and the nurse told me that I could not see him until I had feeling back in my legs.

I never saw Mikey until several hours later.

Daddy & Mikey

He spent a month in the NICU and really had no more issues other than trying to regulate body temperature.

I on the other hand did not eat for a few weeks and lost a lot of weight. I drug my husband (to prove that i wasn’t a crazy person) to see my doctor 2 weeks after Mikey was born (my regular OB at the time – Dr.Dorf) He told me, ” Well,  I expected you to have some post-partum depression, I mean you have two babies in the NICU and one at home!”

I corrected him, “I have one baby in the NICU and a 9 month old at home”

“Nope”, he said,  looking at his chart, “Says right here you’ve got two.” and looked at me like I was the one who had lost my mind.

Well, amazing that I lost one at 12 weeks due to vanishing twin syndrome and they couldn’t update their files, huh!?

Mommy and Mikey – Finally home

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March 13, 2010 – Birth Story #3

Mia – 6 months

My pregnancy with Mia was pretty awful. Much different from my previous two where I loooved being pregnant. This time I had hyperemesis and spent my days in and out of the hospital, eventually having a pic line placed. Yes, fun, I know.

On March 13, 2010 I had my 3rd child (in 2 1/2 years), this being my second c-section.

I spent from 28-32 weeks on bed rest in antennal at Norton Suburban Hospital for preterm labor and dilation. After being discharged I had a couple of trips to ER/triage/dr.office for contractions.

On Wednesday or Thursday during my office visit one of my doctors told me that they found from my previous records that I my previous cesarean incision was a low transverse as well as a classical (inverted T) because the previous OB couldn’t get my 32 weeker son out as he was breech and premature and (I’m guessing) did not want to injure his delicate body.   She told me that because of this they could not let me go much longer into the pregnancy for fear that the incision would start to tear (this meant nothing to me) they scheduled my c-section for a week later but if I had contractions over the weekend to come in and they would just go ahead and deliver.

I had contractions on Saturday morning. I called my dr and she said to head into the hospital. I call my mom to watch the kids and then called my best friend from high school because she said that she wanted to be with me in the delivery room, as my husband was out-of-town. After my mom arrived I went upstairs to take a shower. While in the shower I had a sharp stabbing pain in my abdomen. I mean I doubled over and screamed. Just as quickly as it came, it was done. I stood back up and shook my head, confused as to what just happened, I chalked it up to random pregnancy pains and contractions and finished washing my hair.

At the hospital I was examined, I think i was like 7 cm and 80% effaced. I guess non of that mattered since I was going to have a c-section. Everything was chill and relaxed, one of my doctors, Dr. Horelander, came into triage where I was waiting and announced that we were ready to get this baby out! No biggie – right?! Here we go!

I started to get dizzy soon after I entered the OR. I was given a spinal and was having a hard time breathing. I lay on my back with the anesthesiologist over me asking how I was feeling. I’m a slight hypochondriac so,  knowing that it was probably in my head, I replied that I was fine.

The surgery began.

I must have been showing signs of distress, the anesthesiologist kept CALMLY asking if I was okay. I finally gave up and started to tell him that I was going to pass out and I couldn’t breathe. There were beeps and alarms coming from the machines behind me. Each time the he came to ask me how I was feeling, he was calm and composed took one step out of my peripheral and then I would hear him scramble frantically. Quite comical now looking back on it, though I was terrified at the time.

Everyone got very quiet and focused I thought nothing of it, and between the passing out and not being able to breathe My friend, Rhonda, kept holding my hand and telling me that everything was okay but I knew from the look on her face that everything was not.

I remember gasping for air and shaking my head back and forth just knowing that this was it. This was the last day of my life.

I kept asking Rhonda what was wrong…was everything okay…was the baby okay…was she out…why wasn’t she crying??? Rhonda told me that everything was going to be okay and that Mia was so pretty and had lots of curly black hair but once Rhonda looked back over the curtain that the doctors were behind  her eyebrows squeezed together and the worried look came back.

After I had started to stabilize (and before repairing my uterus) my doctor told me, “Jessie, honey, we can’t have any more babies, you’re very lucky that you’re okay. No more okay? We can’t have any “accidents”, your body can’t handle another pregnancy. You’ll have to have an abortion and we don’t want to have to do that as much as you don’t want it! Okay, honey?”  The dr told me my whole front of my uterus was a uterine window. She told me that the parts of the baby that were still in my uterus – it was like looking through a TV screen, like glass, it was that thin.

When they opened me up my uterus was ruptured, the baby had fallen out of my uterus and was sitting on  my bladder, and the cord was around her neck twice. I was also hemorrhaging. My blood pressure kept dropping and that is why I was dizzy, kept blacking out, and was hyperventilating. They gave me a bag of blood and continued the oxygen.

She confirmed the exact spot that ruptured was where I had the sharp pain in the shower. The length of a banana and the shape of a “J’

I did not understand the seriousness of this.

She told me that she was going to try to save my uterus.

She did.

Again, I did not understand the seriousness of this until I got visitors, doctors, nurses etc. Lots of people wanting to meet me…the lady who survived a ruptured uterus. Who’s baby survived a ruptured uterus.  And I really didn’t understand the seriousness of THAT until I got home and googled it.  There’s a 0.07% chance of a uterine rupture. A lot of times the baby and/or mother does not survive. That is due to the extremely small window of opportunity to act.  From the time of diagnosis to delivery, only 10-37 minutes are available before clinically significant fetal morbidity becomes inevitable.

Again, the sharp pain that I had in the shower was at least 2 HOURS prior!

Still worried and unsure of what was happening to my daughter I was wheeled into recover after I had started to stableize. Rhonda called my husband who was 2000 miles away. Told him what had just happened and how serious things were. And that I was okay and Mia would be okay. I now know, according to my OB, this was very wishful thinking. Rhonda and he sobbed on the phone to each other as she told him how beautiful Mia was.

In recovery, where Rhonda and I sat and waited, someone in scrubs came in and asked me if I had been taking any drugs. I had been given vicodin in antenatal every day for my back. So I told her yes, she asked what kind. I told her. She said, “No, Have you been taking any vailum, xanax, etc?”  I told her that I had a prescription and had taken xanax while pregnant and she asked when the last time I took one. I told her when I was 3 1/2 weeks pregnant. The DAY I found out I was pregnant.  She said, “No, nothing recent? Your baby is unresponsive and not breathing. We’ve been pricking her heel with a needle and she is not crying or flinching or anything.”    My mouth dropped open. She left the room, pissed. Because I MUST be a crackhead, right!? lol

So I scheduled a tubal. After several back and forths with insurance (one day it’s a yes, the next they say no – for different reasons) I decided that it was a sign not to get it done. So, I wrote it off…until they said it would be free now lol

I got my tubes tied and immediately regretted it – something was telling me that getting pregnant another child (waaaaaay in the future – hey, i have 3 in less than 3 years!!) wouldn’t have put us in any harm! So I looked it up to see what can REALLY happen.
Very sad that I didn’t come across this info before taking the Dr’s word for it.

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