Thursday, November 17, 2016

Looking for a name for Baby #5

Maybe he was napping, cause he was super still yesterday.
Yesterday, I had a second appointment with the OB.  I will confess that I was more than a little nervous, especially as I knew we were having a more in depth screen and at the last minute Gary couldn't get away from the farm, due to a celery trial.  Now that you have had a moment to daydream about a stalk of celery being cross examined by a vigorous prosecutor...

Ultrasounds are just hard now.  This time baby was completely still.  Once he put his chin to his chest then picked it up again, but that was it.  At first he was so still, and at an angle that the heartbeat didn't show up, and my stomach just bottomed out.  It was the most sickening deja vu moment.  After some fiddling, the flickering showed up and I could breathe.  The heart rate was 160.  Raji, the ultrasound specialist, was a little concerned about the measurements for the NT Scan given the gestational age, but said he wouldn't be able to tell me anything till they had the blood test to compare with.  The doctors office called this afternoon, and said they didn't have everything in, but it all looked to be in normal ranges so far, which made me feel better after yesterday.  The main reason for the scan is it gave them an early chance to look at heart and kidneys which can be affected by hypothyroidism.  It was mostly to make me feel better that everything is going as it should and not looking like things did with Abigail.

We have been talking about baby names.  I had a girl's name picked out before we found out we were pregnant.  Katherine Hope.  We had two people that were especially vital in helping me through the last year - Kathy and Kate.  I have long loved the name Katherine, Rebecca was almost named Katherine, Gary and I can agree on Kate as a nickname. ( Thought I'm secretly hoping she'd be like Rebecca and insist on her full name. Rebecca corrects you if you say Becky or Becca.)  This baby has brought a lot of hope back to our lives too.  I no longer feel certain about the outcome of a healthy baby, but I still hope for one I get to keep.  Gary says he'd still like to think about other middle names, but he'd have to make a pretty convincing argument, my minds pretty made up.

We are still working on two boy names.  We still like William David and call him Will.  It's been on the list since Ruth.  I still love it for the same reasons.  I won't rehash them since I listed them with Rebecca too.  I still would like to name a baby after my Daddy.  I'd like to use Lynn as a middle name, and just pick a Biblical name to go with it.  I am pretty sure that I've talked about why we want all the kids to have a Biblical name, but I can't find that post.  I just feel like that are really pretty names, and that even if something were to happen to us, they would know that we chose their name with great care, to be an example for their lives.  The problem though is with our great plan to chose a Biblical name.  You might recall if you've been around that long, just how hard it was to agree on a name to go with Britt, we were so desperate we considered all sorts of awful and obscure names.  Let's just say it's gone alot like this:
Me:  Ok, my top favorites are Jonathan, Nathanael, and Ethan.
Gary:  I hate Ethan.  Don't really like Jonathan or Nathanael.
Me:  Why?  I might could live with Jon or Nate.
Gary:  Just don't like them.
Me:  Ok, What about Michael, Timothy, Samuel, Marcus or Lucus.
Gary:  Can't use Michael Lynn, that's Uncle Michael's name.  How about Tim, Sam, Mark, or Luke.
Me:  You know I hate chopped off names.  What about Caleb?  I might could like Caleb.
Gary: No... not really.
Me:  Ok you suggest a name then.
Gary:  Jacob, and we'll call him Jake.
Me:  You know what I hear when you say, Jake?
Gary:  Yep.  The song  "If I die before I wake feed Jake."
Me:  Exactly.  No, if you want to call him Jake.  That's awful.  We are not naming him after a dog.
 We of course can't use Matthew, Nicholas, Benjamin, or James, as those are the names of our brothers.  Another of Gary's rules.  Sometimes I could strangle the man.  Feel free to leave me some suggestions to try out on him.  Of course if Bro. Randy is to be believed, we are having another girl, so this argument doesn't matter.  But I really am convinced we are having a boy.  He's only been wrong once in the last 20 years, but I think he's about to get another strike.  And on that note, you can go to the side to vote for boy or girl, before we find out in 6 weeks.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Baby #5

My favorite baby picture so far!
I haven't written much yet about this new pregnancy.  I'm not sure where to start, and to be honest I'm finding it a little unnerving to talk about.  So many women after a loss have talked about not sharing till they couldn't hide it anymore, that to talk about the baby would some how jinx it and then they would lose it.  I get that and I don't.  I mean I wanted to share, as soon as we were sure it was an actual pregnancy, simply because I couldn't have gotten through the last loss without support.  How in the world could I get through another loss, while pretending everything was fine and nothing had happened?

On the other hand, it's hard to talk about.  People expect you to be excited (even when they are thinking what nut job has 5 kids on purpose), and it's a little hard to be excited.  It's also hard to know how to answer questions.  Let me give you a brief list of some of the things I've said or done, and then either gotten weird looks, or thought to myself "idiot."
  • Lady asks when we are due. My response, "We are cautiously optimistic for May 2017." (stupid, Danielle)
  • Aunt asks if I'm having much morning sickness.  My response, "No, but I feel better when I do."  Weird look, so I make it even worse by trying to explain, "We didn't have much with Abigail, but I had lots with the other three, so I don't worry as much when I do."
  • Nurse asks how I'm feeling, probably meant morning sickness.  My response, "Stressed out.  This pregnancy is more like the last one than the first three."
  • People notice I'm not as excited, and ask was this planned.  Luckily I saved myself from saying, "Yes for 13 months and 11 cycles."
  • The icing on the cake, the doctor saying he noticed I was nervous and wanted to encourage me not to worry, because elevated cortisol levels aren't good for the baby either.  My response, "I know worrying doesn't help, but it's a little easier said than done."  Go home, and now worry about worrying. (Really, stop it, Danielle.)
All that said, I do want to talk about this baby, I do want to record things, and believe me I want everything to go well.  I don't want to stress and worry.  It's just hard.  Abigail was gone for weeks, and we didn't have a clue, I have no way to know if this one is still alive.  I find nights are the most difficult.  I'm busy during the day, but at night, with Gary snoring away, I am laying awake for an hour or more.

7 wks, 1 inch long, head to tail
We had our first ultrasound the evening we announced.  Baby was measuring right at 7 weeks, which was 2 days behind.  If you look at the photo the head is to the right and there is still a bit of a tail toward the left.  The heartbeat took a bit to get, since it's a tiny target on an ultrasound at that stage.  But it was 146.  I felt much better after we saw that.  And I was good for that day, and maybe the next, but after that it was back to, I know the baby was alive, I don't know that it still is.

7 wks, heart rate at 146
Yesterday, we had our first OB appointment.  I choose him, because he had really good reviews.  Over and over they said that he was very compassionate, and good to work with.  He wouldn't write a prescription for a Doppler, but said if I decided to buy one anyway, that he wouldn't fuss at me.  That he thinks too often women stress if they don't hear a heartbeat, and it's often 12 to 14 weeks before they are easy to pick up.  He did offer that I could come in any time I wanted for heartbeat checks or ultrasound scans, if it would help me to relax and not make me stress out more.  I appreciate it, but since it's a real drive, I don't expect to take him up on it too often.  And we went ahead and bought a Doppler tonight.  I'm not even going to try to use it for a few more weeks though.
10 wk, 3 days, between this picture and the next we caught baby waving.
We ended up and had an ultrasound yesterday.  I thought I did very well even though Gary wasn't there.  At first I couldn't see the fluttering of the heart and was worried, then I saw other movement.  I wanted to ask the gentleman if he could just skip to the heart rate first, but I refrained.  I got to see our baby pull up his feet and kick with both together, and then what him move his arms alot.  The heart rate was 168.  Very busy, lots of movement.  It helped me relax alot, after I saw all of that.  We decided to do the first trimester screening blood test with ultrasound this time.  My Hashimoto's increases the risk of a few different birth defects most of which they can see between 11 wk 6 days and 13 weeks 6 days.  So we go back in 2 weeks to look at that.  After losing Abigail, I think we'd rather be mentally prepared than completely blindsided again.

Britt and Ruth immediately knew this was a picture of the baby when
I showed them.  But when I asked Rebecca what it was a picture of she
said, "Ummm, an elephant?"
In more normal news, this baby doesn't like a whole variety of stuff - most kinds of chicken, sweet tea, and Dr. Pepper are the worst right now.  He also doesn't like Reese's Cups or most vegetables.  I am loving steak and salad, hashbrowns, BK whoppers, green grapes, and celery with peanut butter.  In fact I'm practically surviving on celery and peanut butter.  At first shrimp tasted funny, but I've had it again several times since then and it hasn't bothered me.  I'm not having much morning sickness, and almost only late in the evening, after supper.  Though I have had some on Sunday afternoons.  I think it's the combination of a big Church lunch and then the long drive in the car.
10 wks, 3 days, the tech pointed out the beginnings of facial
features in the 3D ultrasound
The only consistent symptom, and the one that worries me the most is the extreme exhaustion.  I threatened the kids today, to make them stay in their rooms.  The girls took naps, but I gave Britt the iPad to keep him from getting into anything around the house.  I took almost a 2 hour nap.  That's the kind of thing I did with Abigail, and not the others.  I felt alot better when the doctor's office called this morning, and had my lab results.  TSH was .58, and the free T4 was 1.1, I wish they had run the other numbers too, for my records.  But we did finally get a written referral for an endocrinologist, and I'm hoping to hear back soon on that front

10 wks 3 days, waving his arms, 3D ultrasound

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sunset Reflection

Capture Your Grief - Day 31 - Sunset Reflection

Again we've come to the end of the month of October, and the end of these daily post.  I appreciate all those who took the time to read them, or share them with someone you know who has had a loss.  I hope they help others to remember that grief doesn't magically end, and gives you some insight or ability to better deal with others in your life in a similar situation.

Reflecting back, I'm in such a different place this year than last.  Doesn't mean that I don't miss her, and this new pregnancy is drudging up all kinds of feelings and stresses and worries.  It's not quite the raw and searing pain it was before, at least it's not that way as often.  The story of grief being like waves, has really held true for me.  At first they are one on top of each other and they are 90 feet high, and over time they get more spaced out, and eventually aren't as big.  Though from time to time a massive one will still come along and sweep you under for a little while.

A year both has both been a blessing and a curse. The grief and longing usually isn't as intense, but it's also depressing, in that I get ever further away from her.  I can't see her as clearly in my mind anymore, and our pictures weren't taken right away, and little details had already begun to fade.  Her blanket, I noticed as I folded it up to box up the other night, doesn't smell like her at all anymore.  It's been more than a year since I held her, and I suspect it will be many, many more years till I see her again.  The entire road so often feels bitter or sweet.  And sometimes it's both at the same time.

Gary snapped me a sunset photo from the farm tonight.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Give Away Your Love

Capture Your Grief - Day 29 - Give Away Your Love

Today's topic (well yesterdays, but I moved it to today) was about finding a way to extending kindness and give to others around you, in memory of your child.  There is another loss mom who does this really well, I've enjoyed reading her writings about her son Jensen Grey.  She has done several things, and always gives out cards that share his story.  She even found a way to include him in trick or treating last night, which I loved.

She's given me some ideas, because to be honest I still struggle with just how to include Abigail in our lives.  It's clear that she's changed our family, and it's clear that I want her acknowledged and included, it's just no clear how.  Sunday I did several things, none that I particularly want to share, but we did several things, with her in our mind.  And it was really good.  It was good to know that our love for her and her memory can be a first step in something good.  I suppose in a way it is beauty from ashes.

Forever My Sweet Pea's Luminary Vigil

Saturday, October 29, 2016

My Promise to You

Capture Your Grief - Day 30 - My Promise to You

"I made a promise to my son a few years ago to live my life to the fullest in honour of him. I have succeeded and failed at that promise many time but what matters most is that it has helped me to hold onto love when there is only darkness and to always try my best to make him proud of me. What promise would you like to make to your child?"

I'm not sure that I've ever sat down and really written or thought about this.  I know since you died I've had a number of things I've intended to do better.  Some of them I've had some success with, and some not so much.  I wrote a little about it on Day 2 last year.  Last night, I boxed up your things, for our upcoming move.  I can't tell you how painful that was.  It felt like burying you all over again.  And it came up out of nowhere.  I didn't tape up the box last night, but really I need to today, this is a little ridiculous.  Not that telling myself that changes the way that I feel.

I promise to be a better Momma to your siblings.  More patient and less crazy.  While there is so much room for improvement, I feel like I've made huge strides in that area in the last year.  I try to stop and think about their day and what's going on before I start fussing.  I try to be empathetic not just harsh over their failures.  I have made more of a point, to not yell at them, because I'm frustrated and mad about their behavior, something I had been trying to work on for years before our loss, but take more time to let them and me cool down, and then talk about why the behavior isn't God honoring.  I'm trying to find more time to build with them, play games with them, and not just be constantly cleaning and doing.  I hope to improve in that area more, as we move into our own house a smaller house, and really consider what we bring into it.

I promise to keep your memory alive.  To never forget that we have a daughter, that we don't see.  That your younger sibling will know you were here.  Not that we will tell him (or her) when he's grown, as if it's all been some big shameful secret, but that you remain a part of our family that we remember and talk about often.

And I promise to better watch my health, and to be proactive with it from now on, that we will never experience another loss due to negligence again.

I love you, and still wait for the day we will meet.


(I'm swapping today's topic with tomorrow's since I'm not leaving the house today.)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Self Compassion

Capture Your Grief - Day 28 - Self Compassion

"Self Compassion is integral to healing your broken heart. You can start to practice more self compassion by showing yourself a little more love and care. Do you have any self-care practices? What are your thoughts on taking care of yourself."

This is another hard one.  The truth of the matter is that I probably should take out some time on a consistent basis, to get out of the house without the kid.  The year we lived in Gainesville, the biggest life saver in the insanity that was no job, a toddler, a new born, and Gary's insane school schedule - was that every two or three weeks, I took a book and went to Chickfila.  Sometimes I got lunch, sometimes I just came up there and sat there and drank water.  I just had to get out of the house.  I'd go in the afternoon after Gary was done with classes, in between lunch and supper rush, so that I wouldn't be a bother to sit there for up to an hour.

I need to take more time to myself.  I wake up to someone climbing on me asking for food most mornings, we clean, we do school, sometimes we have a little down time right before time to start supper and Gary to come home.  Then it's like pulling hair to get kids to eat, get them to bed.  It's exhausting, and too many days in a row with no break leaves me frazzled and short tempered.  There were times early on, I will confess that I resented the kids always being there.  I had no ability to just grieve and cry in the bed all day.  People still wanted to eat, three times a day.  Oh my goodness!  Why is everyone always hungry?

I try to snag a few minutes here and there, mostly after bedtime to color and de-stress, or journal, or do some weekly planning in my planner.  But it's an area that really needs some improvement.  And I think aside from the benefits to my patience level, it's would be good for the kids to know that everything in my world DOES NOT revolve around them.  I think sometimes, they don't get that reality check, and it's not good for their attitudes.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Family is Forever

Capture Your Grief - Day 27 - Family is Forever

Today, I'm sharing my very favorite family picture.  I thought for a long while about how to take these pictures.  Every year for Christmas we take a yearly family photo, and I just couldn't do it this past year.  Not when I should have been 9 months pregnant instead of having buried a baby 4 months before.  Infact, the only family picture we took between the day we found out and these, was on Father's Day.  I was snapping a few pictures of Gary with the kids, when Bro. Randy walked up and insisted on me getting in, and him taking one.  I suspect he knew I was having trouble with the idea of family pictures.  I really love this picture because you can see the three we have, but we also have Abigail's empty swing in the background, for the one we miss.  And, even better, we just found out that I was pregnant with our rainbow.  I'm so very happy to know that all seven of us are here, even if you can only see five of us.  And I guess, me knowing and seeing everyone there, is what matters.

Rebecca's Dance Moves

So, a couple of days ago, while in the car, I had pulled out the old Alabama cd.  Britt's been asking for it for several weeks, and I never seem to remember to get it out when we are at home.  Gary looked in the rearview mirror, and informed me that Rebecca must get her aweful dance moves from me.  I told him that we'd settle this once and for all.  Mother tell him that I didn't look a think like this nut.