"You get what you pay for, but I just had no intention of living this way." -Counting Crows

Why We're Here...

My husband David and I delivered a stillborn Baby Boy that we loved, and wanted. Our first and only son, Logan, had Down Syndrome. Our daughter's smile is a little light in the darkness. She turned one year old three days after our sweet Logan tip-toed away on January 24, 2009. After 2 1/2 years we found out we were having another baby, whom we affectionatly called Rudy. Just shy of 6 weeks we found out Rudy was Ectopic. Rudy was surgically removed on May 26, 2011 delivering another blow to our already broken hearts.

Pregnancy and all its horrors this time around!

*This post contains talk about my current pregnancy.

I have no intention of turning this into a "rainbow baby" blog, but there are just some things I need to get out, and well...now I'm pregnant, so...

Worry. You know, when you're pregnant there are so many things to worry about. Lump on the fact that you've had a baby die, or maybe more than one (as in my case), and well...there's a whole lot of worrying. Not a day goes by that a pregnant post-dead-baby-momma isn't freaked out about something. I'll be honest though, most days I can pretend everything is normal. I say pretend because if I sit down and give it much thought, I'll easily be in a panic and well, frankly, its easier to cope when I avoid and deny all of the horrors that could or might come my way. Its an exhausting way to live and it makes it hard to bond with the baby. Sometimes denial and avoidance aren't such bad things.

Bonding is really hard. You see, I have trouble with ambivalence during pregnancy for about the first 5 months. I had it with my daughter (who is living) and again with Logan up until about a month before he died. With Rudy I never even got the chance to accept that I was really even pregnant since everything happened so soon and so fast. I have it again now, and I'm 17 weeks along. I'm holding out hope for that to go away soon, though the doc says it may not, given the horrors of the last two pregnancies. The doctors say its not uncommon and is related to hormones. I say its uber confusing to desperately want a baby, and than to feel nothing when you are finally pregnant, or worse yet, to feel like you've made a colossal mistake! Sometimes the guilt is overwhelming.

Fear. I'm afraid of everything. Most of its irrational. I'm constantly afraid this baby will die. That the baby will have some terrible condition. That the doctors will miss something (I have 5). I fear for my daughters life. I fear for my husbands life. I fear for my own. But then, I think everyone must have these fears. Maybe mine are just a little more...pronounced. I fear that I'm not eating enough vegetables, or gaining enough weight, sleeping on my back too much, using the stairs too much. I'm afraid of chemicals in my food, in the cleaning products, in the air. I'm afraid that there is too much stress in my home, and that's bad for the baby. I'm afraid of preterm labor now that the doctors tell me that I shouldn't be having braxton hicks this early, and I get them all day long. I'm afraid of the meds I took early on to combat the plague I got right after I got pregnant. There's just so much to fear this time that I was "lucky" enough to be ignorant to before.

Stress. I keep hearing how stress is bad for a baby. For the most part the stress that I get is from the pregnancy or my five year old. My five year old is a challenge. There's nothing wrong with her, she doesn't have special needs and she's not a bad kid. She's head strong. She argues about everything. She ignores me, and she throws tantrums to rival a two year old. I love her and thank God for the blessing that she is in this house every time I pray, but lets not fool ourselves or anyone else...kids are hard. She is hard. And most days I feel lost on what to do. I even took the parenting class "Love and Logic". And I'll be honest, I'm the problem, not her. I made her this way. I mean granted, God gave her a strong will, but I have been the one that has yet to find a way to tame it and to help her reel it in. Lately my biggest issue is exhaustion. I'm tired. I'm 36, overweight, out of shape, perpetually sad, pregnant and I. Am. Tired! And sometimes I just stare at her. I can't even discipline her sometimes because I just can't muster up enough energy to deal with it. This morning I grounded her for the first time. Usually she looses a privilege, sometimes more. Today I told her she was grounded, and that meant no toys, no friends, no TV...just chores, all evening. BTW, this elicited a tantrum on a grand scale. Today I lost my cool. Today I did a lot of screaming. I'm not proud of that. I hate that. I grew up in a house with a screaming mother and I swore I would NEVER be that mom. The screaming is stressful, it solves nothing and frankly usually makes things worse. Today has been a very stressful day. I was cleaning for the impending visit of my brother and his girl friend, hoping for a grand announcement of some sort. But then I got word form the GF that my brother has been committed yet again. My brother is young, only 26, a psyche major (if you can wrap your head around that!). But he has a lot of demons, a lot of sadness, a lot of anger and a lot of right to be. BUT, he drinks when those demons show up, and his drinking negates the affects of his psyche meds (for depression, I believe). And then he gets stupid. And all we can do is stand in the shadows and gape in horror at what used to be the worlds sweetest little boy. It makes me feel helpless. It makes me sad, knowing his demons, knowing I can't do anything to make them go away, knowing all I can do is stare at the train wreck that he has become. And I have an immense amount of shame and guilt that I want to run and hide from him. I want to not know. I want to protect this itty bitty baby that is growing in me and I want it to be born healthy, and living and normal. I don't want ANY stress. I feel like I walk a fine line and that it wouldn't take much to push me into the abyss of grief, and THAT would definitely not be good for the baby, or anyone else.

Sadness. I feel like I have been perpetually sad for a little over four years now. Granted, things are way better than they used to be. And I get that I have a right to be sad, two great reasons really. Their names are Logan and Rudy. And I knew that this baby wasn't going to take that sadness away. I did, really. I guess what I wasn't prepared for is the sadness that this pregnancy would add. I'm sad for this baby now too. I'm sad because my daughter is aware that babies die, and she prays in class every day for this baby. I know she is nervous, she's said as much. She's five. She shouldn't have to fear such things. I'm sad because I can't bring myself to buy anything for this baby just yet. I'm sad because I'm haunted with thoughts that it could be too early, what if... I'm sad that this baby has such a gap in age with its sister, and that it will grow to know about the two other siblings, before him/her, who died. I'm sad to think that Logan and Rudy had to die in order for this child to be. I'm sad that I fear a boy, that my dh fears a boy.

Pregnancy post-dead-baby is full of things I didn't quite expect, and lacking some that I did. And I know in the end this will all be worth it...if I end up with a living baby. I know that ten years from now I'll look back with a completely different perspective. But when you're pregnant everyone expects you to smile and love every minute of it. No one really knows about the haunts of this reality. People keep saying for me to have only good thoughts, and that God came through for me. And I just don't get it people! I am 7 weeks away from the point in which Logan died in utero, and with out a hint of a problem. And babies die ALL THE TIME!! For good reason, for unknown reasons, for no good reason. Babies die in spite of happy thoughts and prayers. And when they do, it isn't because God didn't come through, or there wasn't enough faith or hope or desire or whatever. Babies die. They just do. Its an ugly part of life.

Celebrating Pregnancy Again - a Book

Celebrating Pregnancy Again - a Book

This is a link to a new book about pregnancy after a loss.  The book is about her personal journey.  It is available for the Kindle free until tomorrow (Feb 13th) otherwise it is $3.  It is also available in paperback through Amazon for $8, and for PDF download for $3.  I haven't read it yet, but I did download it.  Thought I'd share it.

Another pink line...I should be smiling, right?

Sigh.  Time.  It has a way of creeping by.  January 24th marked four years since Logan died, as well as reminding me that Rudy should've been celebrating his first birthday...and that the Muffin is growing up since she turned five and on that day we discovered her first loose tooth.  Yesterday I pulled that tooth, which was obscenely loose, out of her mouth.  Time.  It creeps by and we take a moment to look up and poof...so many moments and memories have passed by.
Logan.  I can't picture him at four.  I couldn't ever picture him as a baby either, but rather a two year old.  He will forever be two for me.  It makes me sad, not being able to even create who I think he would be.  But lately I haven't been able to feel much of anything other than ambivalence and fear.
Blame it on hormones.
After nine cycles, and on our last try, we became pregnant for the fourth time.  I'll be 12 weeks tomorrow.  I'm safe now, right?  [She scoffs]  I'll be honest, I have always struggled with ambivalence and maybe a touch of depression, during the first 5 months of pregnancy.  But lumping on the tragic circumstances of my past just amplifies it all the more.  Frankly, I'm terrified.  And no amount of ultrasounds and heartbeats and shallow reinforcement from "outsiders" can ease that for me.  I'm twelve weeks, second trimester, past the miscarriage prime...its been confirmed that its alive and in the uterus (bonus!) but then, so was Logan.  In fact Logan was perfect, until he just wasn't, all of a sudden...at 24 weeks.  And I tell you it irks me to no end the ignorance that is spewed at me!!  "God has come through for you!" (Well, maybe, guess we'll see).  "Surely it won't happen again!" (Why?  Because two flukes are enough?).  "Have faith" (Because my lack of it killed my other two?).  "Think happy thoughts!" (Because they are like a magic wand, and poof!?)  And it goes on.  Sadly it comes from those closest to me, the ones who HAVE to believe it'll all end happily.  I dunno.  In the end I feel like they think my concerns and fears are silly and unwarranted.  And really that just leaves me feeling alienated.  No one gets it.  And that should make me happy, right?  Because the only ones who get it have been there, and I certainly wouldn't wish this on anyone.  But really I just feel very alone, and freaking out with out anyone to seriously talk to about it.
I'm pregnant, so I should be happy, right?  I mean, that's what I thought was going to happen.  I thought I would be thrilled!  That's what everyone expects of me, right?  Its what I wanted.  Everything will be better, you'll be happier, get a happy ending (because "You deserve it!).   But I'm just scared, and reluctant.  I'm so much older now, so much time has gone by.  My daughter will be almost 5 years its senior, and I will be raising (hopefully) two only children.  The odds of this baby being born alive and healthy are pretty low.  No, I don't have any moments of happiness about this pregnancy.  That bliss has long passed me by.  I fear the worse, and the just as bad!  I fear a dead baby, a severely handicapped baby, a severely handicapped baby who will die a baby.  I fear what that will do to my daughter who is old enough to comprehend the horrors.  I fear what that will do to my husband who maintained all along that he did not think this was the right thing to do.  I fear what it'll do to my marriage.  Oh, and that's lumped in with all the other fears of motherhood.  What if the baby has colic?  What if I'm too old to do it again?  What if my daughter can't adjust?  SIDS.  Whooping cough.  Chocking.  Falling meteors (or is it meteorite?).  And all of this fear is suffocating.  Did I mention I've been sick twice, once with a fever for 4 days?!  Did I mention that I'm high risk for about four hundred other things.  Oh, and lets take into account my "advanced maternal age" now that I'm 35.  Every day I look in the mirror and ask myself what I was thinking.  In fact, the day I found out I immediately told my husband and then freaked out crying "what the hell did I just do?"  Because this was all me, and only me.
These past 12 weeks have been such a roller coaster.  Most of the time I've been waiting for the other shoe to fall.  Waiting to see if it stuck, waiting to see if it was ectopic, waiting to see if it was viable and now waiting to begin testing for Down Syndrome (since that's what Logan had).  We do that on Thursday.  And I love the ignorant people who like to try to reassure me that having a child with Down Syndrome can be a very rewarding experience.  Seriously?  First of all, who would want that for their child?  And secondly, the average person has no clue about what having DS entails.  How horribly painful it can be for a child.  If that child is ever even born, since 75% of them die before birth, most die before their 1st birthday.  A child who makes it past 5 is rare, and lucky.  Don't preach at me about having a child with Down Syndrome.  I know full well what it entails, down to every gory detail that I could find in print.  That rare door greeter or McDonald's employee you see out and about on occasion, they're the exception to the rule.  They're the mild cases.  No.  I fear DS as much as I fear another dead child (if not more).  Because for me, they are one in the same.
This is it for me.  My last hurrah.  At almost 36 (April) if this child dies, and if I wait the recommended year to grieve, and if I managed to talk my husband into it again (he'd more likely try to snuff me out), and if I managed to conceive quickly...I'd still be 38 before that baby would be born.  And after having my first DS baby at 31...well, I think the doctors would call me crazy for doing it again.  I know what my odds are of having another baby with DS.  They're not great.  I wouldn't risk it at 38.  So this means, living or not, this is my last child.  Which brings me full circle back to the issue of time.  It crept by while I was living and then weeping, and one day I woke up and realized I'd missed my opportunity.  But I still feel like I'm 19.  It was just the other day, I swear.
In the end, I realize, that if this baby makes it healthy and living, I'll think that all of this fear and worry was worth every penny of it.  I've had a living child, I know what is coming my way and how I felt when she was born.  I know that I'd do it all over again.  But I also know how wrong it can go, how unexpectedly and how quickly and how late in a pregnancy.  I know that there are thousands of things that can go wrong between now and August.  I know how fragile life is, and how it is not a guarantee no matter how much you pray and beg and hope and think happy thoughts.  Sometimes it just happens, and there's never a good reason for it.  So right now, I'm so deep in a fog that I can't see past the fear and anxiety.  I can't picture this baby any more than I could Logan or Rudy.
Have you experienced a subsequent pregnancy?  What was that like for you?

Is the price too much?

"Life is both pain and pleasure.  If this is the price you must pay for the hours you enjoy, is it too much?"  -Paolini (Eldest)

We are TTC...again.  In February my DH quietly, and with an overwhelming look of fear in his eyes, relented.  I won.  I guess.  If being granted the right to proceed into horrifying territory where monsters lurk, waiting to trample our hearts again, can be considered a win.

I thought I'd be happier.  I thought I knew what I wanted.  I thought I had it all figured out and under control.  You see though, now that the reigns have been passed to me, I am frozen with fear.  How much of a price am I willing to pay to find that elusive happy place?  How much am I willing to sacrifice, to forgo?  Who am I willing to sacrifice?  Myself?  Absolutely.  Not a question.  I'd do it again and again and again.  Been there, done that, survived...twice, if you can consider what I've done as surviving...I didn't off myself, so...  I know that in the end, if I get a healthy, living baby, its all worth it.  But what if a hundred die and not one ever lives again?  What if the child is so ill that I find myself wishing that the baby would have died.  [GASP!!]  But in reality I know that my two dead babies never suffered, never felt pain.  Is not my wish for their life, even with horrific handicaps and deformations, pure selfishness?  I struggle with this notion.  But, I have learned to disconnect myself from the reality of the horrors.  My husband?  Not so much.  Then there is the Muffin to consider now.  How will by daughter, who is 4 1/2, handle another dead sibling?  She knows of the other two.  It affects her more than I like to admit.  She mourns for them, cries for them, misses them.  She knows they should be here, and she knows she should have living siblings to fight with and to play with.  She knows of the still birth of another very close friend's child.  She was 3 1/2 when he died, she cried.  I believe she understood.  Am I willing to put her through another trauma because maybe, just maybe, this one will work out?

Most days I feel like a selfish bitch.

This past cycle was our first try.  Immediately I got sick.  I had a fever for 3 days.  I was freaked!  A week later my daughter breaks out in this weird rash, Molluscum is going around.  It can last for 4 years.  I freaked again!  Freaked so bad that I had my baby biopsied.  The spots have faded, Molluscum doesn't do that.  The derm is almost certain it was an allergic response.  Almost.  So, I'm still freaked.  Yesterday I started my cycle, 3 negative pregnancy tests later and one day early.  And get this, I was relieved!  Relieved!!  What?!

And I wonder.  Do I really want another baby, or do I just want control over the decision?  Was that the bigger issue, that I didn't have control over whether there would be another baby or not?  Am I ready for sleepless nights, screaming, diapers and toddlerhood all over again?  With the Muffin knocking on the door of five, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  The old argument that she needs a playmate is invalid at this point, its been too long, the gap too wide.  They will not be playmates.  But I stand firm that people need siblings  (I have 6).  They need someone to go complain to about their parents, and who better to understand than a sibling?  They need someone they can turn to when they don't feel like they can turn to friends or parents.  They need someone to have when we are dead and gone.  And yet, some siblings hate each other.  Some siblings rarely speak and are like strangers passing bye.  Some siblings die earlier than their parents.  My argument is losing its water...

This is it.  My husband said he can't do it again after this.  Frankly, I wouldn't put him through it a 4th time anyhow.  So, if we don't naturally conceive (and soon), or if another baby dies, I'm done.  We're done.  My DH seems to be in a constant state of panic.  Making babies isn't the innocent fun it used to be.  Fear lays there in the bed next to you, stares at you from the corner of the room.  Anxiety screaming in your ear.  Its a wonder either of us can even perform.  Sexy, eh?  Romantic, eh?  No.  Its not.  Its terrifying when you take that leap of faith.  Its terrifying when you put yourself out there on the limb again, waiting to be knocked off of it again.  Waiting for what surely must be the inevitable.  Outsiders don't get that.  "Try again, surely it won't happen again."  Surely.  But we know, don't we?  How many of us have lost multiple times?  Too many to count.  But the outsiders like their ignorance, and why shouldn't they?  But its huge, and its scary.  And each day of those two weeks are spent in a constant state of anxiety.  Am I?  Could this be it?  Please God, let me keep this one!  The turmoil and anxiety that engulfs us during those two weeks of not knowing is insane.  Then the huge let down when we are not.  The weird twisted and conflicting emotions if we are.  Yeah.  Its scary.  You see, even though this is our first official cycle TTC, there have been a few other times...  Times when I prayed one way and he prayed another.  Times when I tried to hide the anger and frustration and disappointment while he tried to hide his relief.  How are we a comfort to each other?  Luckily I am married to a patient, understanding man.  Luckily he can put aside his fears and comfort me in my disappointment.  Because even though he desperately does not want to go through this again, he wants me to have a shot at happiness, or at least contentment.

Though, we all know, one living baby just does not replace the dead one.  If only it were that easy.

How high of a price are you willing to pay?  How many dead babies can you suffer?  In the end, is all of the anxiety worth it?  Have you had another child post dead baby?  What did you do if you and your spouse were on separate pages (or even books)?

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

Do you fear the death of your living children?  I feel stupid crazy weird odd admitting this, but I do.  It's like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.  And this week it's beating me down.  Next week my four year old, my only living child, my first child, my real fluke it would seem, is having her adenoids removed.  I know, I know.  Simple.  Common.  No big deal.  No big deal, I suppose, if you've never held your dead child.  I'm not even allowed to voice my anxiety over her looming surgery, because no one gets my fear!  And frankly I'm tired of the looks and I'm tired ot the arguments that are supposed to win me over.  You see, its not that I'm afraid of the surgery in and of itself.  I think the doctor is great, he's a pro, he'll do a great job...but...what if she doesn't wake up from anesthesia?  What if she gets MRSA or some other horrible disease while at the surgery center?  What if we find out the hard way she's allergic to some med (like her grandfather who had his heart stop during back surgery due to Demerol, though the doctors assure me this is not hereditary...but what if it is...)?  And then, to add to my anxiety, a fellow BLM sent me an article on this genetic mutation that causes children to over-metabolize Morphine causing an overdose and death.  You can freak yourself out if you want and read it here on Baby Center.  So, freak concerned mother that I am, I called the doctor and asked the nurse to ask him if he's heard of this and can she have something else...you know...just in case.  Shockingly, he called me back and left a message.  Yes, he's heard of it, and yes they can prescribe something else, call him back if I have any other concerns.  Nice of him.  He probably rolled his eyes and cursed Google.  I bet doctors hate moms who call all freaked out about something rare they read on the Internet.  I try to not be one of those mom's, but I couldn't help myself this time.

And then today...

Today Aubrey fell and smacked her mouth on the wood floor.  People, her head bounced!  And I tried to be all cool, shaking like a leaf and trying not to pass out (because though blood doesn't freak me out, HER BLOOD does!) while comforting her and cleaning up the blood, and praying that she still had teeth below all of that blood.  And I spent the entire day running her around.  First stop, pedi.  Does she needs stitches?  We don't stitch.  No kidding, but you'd know if she needs stitches, so clue me in.  Could use a stitch, but better to not traumatize her.  Ok great.  Let's get ice cream. Two hours later, its still bleeding.  Run into nurse, what do you think?  Needs a stitch or two, shouldn't keep bleeding.  Go home.  Call MIL.  She looks, nah, put wet bread on it.  WHAT?!  Seriously?  You should take her to dentist since she is complaining that her teeth hurt.  Ok.  Went to dentist.  DD has a mini melt down and won't allow Xray.  Weird, but ok.  Exam.  Looks ok.  Don't stitch.  Sigh.  Good.  But, she has several cavities!  WHAT?  Sigh.  I need a margarita.  Went for a walk instead.

You see, I know that I'm a freak.  I get that.  I don't live in denial about my irrational fear.  But today I felt like a bad mom.  And not because she hurt herself.  Hey, it was sad and I felt bad for her, but these things happen.  No, I felt like a bad parent because all day I was terrified that this was the beginning of some hideous end to her little life.  That this innocuous fall damaged her brain (which isn't that far out since the poor kid had a concussion at 3 from what seemed like a minor bump to the head and I wasn't even aware of it!).  That the gaping wound in her mouth would fester and introduce some hideous form of bacteria that I can't pronounce, much less spell.  That, if nothing else, her cute little baby teeth would die and/or fall out and it would somehow damage her self esteem and self image before she ever had a chance.  And all of these ridiculous thoughts make me feel stupid and weird.  I can't even be a normal mom to my living daughter anymore because I'm so consumed with terror over what feels inevitable to me.  Her death.  And all the while trying to be light and play it off to her so that she isn't in a panic and scarred for life because her mother is a FREAK!

Feeling like a freak is tiresome.

Being from a Christian family, I asked my brother to pray for my daughter that she doesn't have any complications next week.  My brother texted back "Don't worry sis.  God protects the little ones.".  I mean, what do you say to that?  Because what I wanted to say was something along the lines of "Sometimes, I guess."  What do you say to the moms whose little ones were not protected?  Logan wasn't.  Rudy wasn't.  So why should I believe that Aubrey is?  Because I want it so bad to be true?  What about all of the other babies?  What about all of the kidnapped children, the molested ones, the abused, the murdered, the neglected ones, the ones who get MRSA and die, the ones who get cancer and die, the ones born with holes in their hearts or water on their brains?  Were they protected?  God protects our little ones when it is in his plan and there isn't a lick we can do about it if its not!  What about the 4 children last year who they discovered had this weird genetic mutation?  Three of them died with in 24 hours after having their tonsals removed (another simple, common procedure).  God didn't protect them.  So who am I to believe that I am the special one?  That my begging and pleading to keep my daughter will make a difference this time, when it didn't the last two times I begged to keep my children?  In the end, and I know he was trying to comfort me and be helpful so I take it for what its worth and I don't hold it against him, but its that lack of understanding that makes me feel so alone in this world. 

Yes, I believe God is in control.  That's the part that scares me.

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