Monday, December 23, 2013

*Trigger*: Baby Girl Stine: Concern for Pre-Term Labor

Following multiple losses, it is difficult to relax and enjoy a pregnancy. I just over 22 weeks pregnant and doing my best to enjoy the amazing wonders of growing life inside of me. Up to this point, things have gone pretty well, but today I had a bit of an alarming appointment with my OB, and I am back to limiting my activity, and we had to cancel our travel plans.

Although I would do anything for this little one, it is hard to sit still and wonder how things will play out. I have been having braxton hick contractions quite frequently, and some have been painful. I called my doctor on Friday and was put on a medication to help. The contractions have gone from about 4/hour to 4/day, so they are helping. My lavender essential oil has helped in between doses of medication.

We had an ultrasound today that shows our little girl is growing like she should. They looked closely at her heart as well and everything looks great! My fluid levels are perfect as well. These are all things that make me smile. They checked and said that I am 1 cm dilated and combined with the contractions, they are treating me to prevent pre-term labor.

I am all too familiar with the complications that can arise from an early delivery. I researched micro-preemies with Wyatt's pregnancy. Although she is already bigger than Wyatt was, her lungs are not developed enough to survive outside my body. Typically at 24 weeks they consider a baby viable. I have 2 weeks to go. That is a close goal I can focus on although I know that delivering at 24 weeks is not a good thing. I did also learn that girls tend to do better in the NICU. I am hopeful we will not have to find out.

So now I sit and try to relax. I am thankful our little girl is such a mover. Each kick, wiggle and roll lift my spirits. Although I hate admitting I need help, I will likely be asking for some help in the next few weeks. I am supposed to limit my activity as much as possible. That can be a difficult task with a 3 year old running around.With the holidays ahead, we should be surrounded with family, and I am thankful for that!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

***Trigger*** An Honest Post about Mental Health

Today I feel depressed......

Throughout my life I have been told, "You are so strong." Somehow I got it in my head that I had to always be "so strong," but what does that really mean? To truly be strong a person needs to be honest and real, so hear goes.

Anxiety and depression have plagued my life for years, and today is no exception. Although I know that everything in my life right now is pretty fantastic, I can't shake these awful feelings of hopelessness and fear. Some days are better than others, and I am pretty good at putting up a front. Part of my intention with this blog is make pregnancy and infant loss less of a taboo subject, but there is one other subject that is often just as neglected, and that is mental health.

Each day I question my desire to put up such a front. One is a valid reason. If I try to seek the good out of everyday, I do feel a little better. If I allow myself to drown in these thoughts and feelings, I fear I will never climb out. But there is a difference in trying to pull myself up and trying to ignore the truth. The other reason I push these feelings aside is that I feel I don't have the right to feel this way. Although I have gone through some extremely challenging events, right now things are good. It feels wrong to be depressed when I have a healthy baby growing inside of me and a healthy son by my side.

Whether I should be allowed these feelings or not doesn't really matter. The fact is this is how I feel, and now I need to figure out what to do about it. In the past I have become so depressed and/or anxious, that I needed medication, and I am thankful that was an option. Since I am pregnant, I am going to try to avoid that option for now. I know exercise has helped me in the past, so I have signed up for a prenatal belly dance class. Today I am trying some Doterra essential oils as well. I am trying to think of things that sound fun or at least interesting, but I am having trouble thinking of anything. My therapist has reminded me that sometimes going through the motion of a "happy" person can help remind me of what I find good/fun. It's important to make yourself do things that were once fun and eventually these things will be fun again.

I wanted to be sure to post about this issue because so often people are afraid to talk about it. My therapist also pointed out that I am walking a difficult road right now. She said that most people following a traumatic event try to avoid anything that might trigger those memories. In my case, I am living those reminders everyday. This is actually a more healthy way to deal with trauma, but it is not easy. On top of all this, I am a hormonal mess and I am exhausted. I don't mean to sound ungrateful because there are many things about this pregnancy that are healing, but it does help me to understand where these thoughts and feelings are coming from.

So, there is an honest blog for you all. I hope it helps someone else out there. I know writing it has helped me.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

****Trigger**** Parenting after a loss

Parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I have ever experienced. In my case, before getting the opportunity to raise a child, I lost 3 precious babies due to miscarriages. I struggle trying to explain how that has altered my parenting. I read a blog the other day that was titled, "I love my children more than you." The parent was trying to explain how after a loss, one is more likely to not take things for granted when it come to the joys of parenting. I don't completely agree with this statement though. I often say something similar. I am a better parent than I would have been if I had never lost a child.

Our situation is so much more complicated though. Hunter is technically a middle child and an only child all at once. I lost 3 babies before him and 2 babies after him, and I am now carrying  another brother or sister. One thing Hunter has gained from these experiences is the ebb and flow of real life. He has seen genuine emotion in our home. He has a strong bond with other people in his life especially grandparents and his Daddy.

The first few months of Hunter's life, I was plagued with extreme postpartum anxiety. I know hormones had a lot to do with it, but having previous loses played a major roll as well. I feel like I missed out on those few months, but I feel comforted knowing that he was always taken care of and loved by family as well as myself even on my most challenging days. 

After getting a handle on my anxiety through medication, therapy and tremendous support,  I began truly enjoying being a Mommy. I weaned myself off the medication and continued to love this new role. I took pictures constantly, (Still do.) I set up activities and joined mommy groups. We went on lots of amazing play dates and just soaked up life together. 

Anytime I felt exhausted or frustrated I would sing that "You're Gonna Miss This" song to myself. Just as any parent, I have times of total melt down and freak outs, but I think these times happen less often because I know how precious every moment is.

A whole new wave began when we decided to try again for a child. I had just had blood-work and even an exploratory surgery. The doctors told us that this was a great time to try again because everything looked perfect. The stress of trying again changed the dynamic in our house. Once I was actually pregnant again, the symptoms interrupted Hunter and my normal routine. Very early in this pregnancy there were problems and I was put on bed rest. I was told I was carrying twins, but one was tubal, so I had to have surgery. 

I was stuck in bed or on the couch for quite a while. Hunter didn't understand this and didn't transition well. He began acting out. I did my best to spend quality time with him, but it wasn't the same. This is when my amazing family and friends stepped in. Although my time with him had drastically changed, he was once again filled with love and attention by other amazing people in our lives. He bonded even more with Daddy too. 

I feel Hunter and I grew further apart during the ups and downs of this pregnancy. After losing Wyatt, I went through a period of depression. We decided it would be best for everyone to have Hunter in a preschool a few days a week. He loved it and it gave me time to take care of myself. As time passed and I went through many stages of grief, Hunter was a great encouragement. I wanted to feel better for him, and then eventually for myself as well.

It's been just over a year now since we lost Wyatt. I am pregnant again and things are going well. I recently realized though that we are still not anywhere close to the place we were before. I still do activities with him and go on play dates, but something is just different. The piece that is missing is that I don't actually fully enjoy these times together the same way I did before. It's been especially challenging lately. I couldn't quite figure out "what was wrong with me" until my appointment with my therapist today.

She reminded me that we just spread Wyatt's ashes a few weeks ago and that dealing with that anniversary is probably more challenging for me that I realize. I am just on another dip of this roller coaster of grief. Knowing this is actually encouraging. Because I know I have been here before and I made my way back. Another encouraging thought is how resilient kiddos are. Throughout all of this, Hunter seems happy, confident and loved. My plan is to take care of myself, so I can get back to the Mommy I want be. 

So long story short, every life experience truly effects anyone's parenting. Loosing a child can make parenting more challenging as well as more enjoyable. Life teaches us to not take anything or anyone for granted.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Wave of Light Honoring all our Babies

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. This evening at 7pm in all time zones around the world, people will be lighting candles in honor of babies lost. Last year this day came only a week after we lost Wyatt. It provided us with an opportunity to grieve a little more publicly than we may have with out it. I invited others to light a candle in his honor. I was overwhelmed with the photos and kind words that came flooding in.

We lit candles for our 5 precious babies as well as a larger candle honoring the babies of friends and family as well as those I don't know. 

At this time, I remember feeling like I was just going through the motions, and in a way I was. I remember asking myself, "Why do we use flowers to help people who are grieving?" "What is the point of these ceremonies and candles and such?" A year later I have an answer to those questions. It's because we feel it's all we can do. It's because a year later, a calming thought goes through your mind that "I honored those lives the best I could at the time." It's more for the people going through grief than the ones lost. It's all an important part of the healing process.

Following my earlier losses, I worked hard to push feelings away. I made a point to forget dates and stay away from anything that might trigger a tear. I did my share of crying, but I never really let myself feel the true feelings of the loss. I was scared that I wouldn't be able to handle it. I was scared that others wouldn't understand. I was scared that if I allowed myself to sink so low, I would never get back out. Those fears were around with Wyatt's loss as well, but I had a different approach with his loss. I surrounded myself with people I love. I allowed myself to sink so deep into my grief that I scared my self, but I did get out! I came out stronger and with a fight and a mission.

I love this song. Re-arrange Again

"Let it all out; let your guard down; let it fall down, and Re-arrange again."

No one should have to grieve in silence. No one should feel alone during a time like this. I will talk about my babies. I will live a life that honors them. I will reach out to others in pain and be that shoulder so many amazing people have been for me.

For more information about the remembrance day as well as the Wave of Light event tonight at 7pm check out this link.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Honoring Wyatt

Today I woke up, and it felt like I was going through a crash version of each phase of grief. From denial to anger to questioning every impossible decision we were faced with. My main concern was figuring out a way to truly honor Wyatt. I worried that if I didn't do things exactly right or feel the "right" emotions I would be somehow letting him down.

  So how do you honor such a short life when that life made such a huge impact upon everyone one us? After many tears and a great appointment with my therapist, I realized that today was just a small part of a huge goal. I also realized that part of the advice to "take care of my self" is to allow myself to feel what ever I feel without judgement. This is something I will have to work on.We decided it was time to spread Wyatt's ashes. I had this beautiful plan in mind that we could spread his ashes at Galena Creek . I liked the idea that no mater where we are, I could find water and remember him. For so long I was worried to let go of the ashes. I felt like it was one of the last final things I could have a sense of control over. I have come to understand that control is only an illusion.

We took a few of his ashes and put it into a special memorial necklace. I put that necklace around the neck of a build of Bear that I made last year in his honor. The bear also has a sound recording of his heart beat. Although I know there is no way that bear could even come close to replacing our sweet Wyatt, I have learned that simple gestures like this are a healthy part of coping with grief.
On this beautiful crisp morning Brook and I took a walk and talked about our time with Wyatt. We took some flowers from our yard and let them float down the creek along side our precious Wyatt's ashes. It was a peaceful intimate moment that was perfect for us.

On October 13th, we will be participating in  A Time of Remembrance local event. During this time is when I will feel like I am truly honoring him. I am sharing the song I wrote, and giving a brief talk about our experience. I will be talking about the Spread the Love cards I created and some about a support group I helped to start. Northern Nevada MISS. 
I am going to honor Wyatt by creating a legacy for him. Because he was here, I have been changed. Because he was here, others will be comforted. Because he was here, random acts of kindness will be spread around the world.

**Trigger** Dear Wyatt: Happy Birthday

Dear Wyatt,

I awoke this morning with a broken, yet thankful heart. Today we should be happily celebrating your 1 year birthday. Today I should be hiding gifts around house, so you don't find them to try to open early. I should be making sure my camera is ready, so I can capture all the amazing memories of the day. I should be anticipating how you will react to a whole delicious cake sitting within reach.I should be able to hug you tight this special morning and tell you,"Happy Birthday! We all love you so much!" Even without all the things that should have been, I am still thankful for you and thankful for surviving a whole year with out you.

I am thankful that I was blessed with the opportunity to carry you for 27weeks and 2 days. I am thankful I was given the chance to love you, fight for you and be your Mommy. I am thankful for the amazing people I now have in my life because of you. I am thankful for how much I learned about my family and friend's love for me and for you. I am thankful for how you make me want to be a better Mommy for your brother Hunter.

Today we honor you, but that will never stop. Today we talk about you and remember you, and that will never stop. Today we celebrate you, miss you and love you more than you could know, an this will never stop.

My little fighter, my sweet precious boy, Happy Birthday! We all love and miss you so much!

With Love Always

Friday, October 4, 2013

**Trigger** Pregnancy following a loss: The roller coaster ride continues

At almost 11 weeks along, I feel like any pregnant Momma does. Constant nausea, migraines, exhaustion, and mood swings are all a part of the experience. I keep reminding myself that these are all good signs, and that I am blessed to have the opportunity to feel this way as a life grows inside of me. The trouble is, I am also coming upon the one year anniversary of losing our Wyatt.

When ever I begin to think of the memories of last year, I allow fear, and guilt to sneak back in. These are battles I thought I fought and won. I guess I will always question our decision to not deliver Wyatt early. I have repeated a phrase in my head for the last year trying to remind myself,
"We did everything we could for him and made the most difficult decision of our life based on love and research." Although I still know that statement is true, it is not making things easier as his birthday approaches.

One year ago today, my heart was filled with such HOPE. We had fought and won approval from our insurance company to fly to Illinois to meet with doctors who said Wyatt had a chance. On October 4th of 2012, I listened to Wyatt's heart beat and felt him move inside of me. We flew to Illinois and sat in our hotel waiting. The next day we were to meet with a THE doctor who delivered 2 of the smallest babies in the world. Those babies grew up to be healthy and happy adults.

The next day, October 5th, we met with the doctors. They told us that because he was so small, and because I was so low on fluid, they couldn't find his lungs. They also discovered that he was extremely anemic. That was in addition to the fact that he was so small he would likely break a record if he was born alive. They informed us that if he did survive he wouldn't be able to breathe on his own and that the interventions that would be required, would likely cause him to be blind. There were many other complications they discussed with us as well.

One thing they did say that will stick with me forever was something like this,  "What ever you choose, we will fight with you." At that moment I felt like I could let go of my Momma bear feeling and really think. I thought about what this would mean for Wyatt. He would be alive, but would likely suffer. I thought about Hunter and my marriage. I even thought about myself. I realized that although all I wanted in that moment was a live baby, that watching that baby suffer just so I could hear that precious cry, is not what I really wanted. We decided to fly home and allow Wyatt to pass peacefully in my womb.
Here is the post I made that day.....

 Wyatt update:
Just made the hardest decision in our lives to let Wyatt go peacefully protected in my womb. It shouldn't be much longer. He has made a turn for the worst and has even more complications than we thought. His chance of surviving birth are extremely low and we have decided to not intervene due to the high chance of suffering. This fight was all about Wyatt, and stopping the fight is for him as well. Thank you all for your support now and the continued support I know you will all be.

 I listened for his heartbeat many times a day the next few days. On October 7th I listened to that heartbeat for the last time before falling asleep. When I woke up on October 8th. I somehow knew I wouldn't find it ever again. I pulled out my Doppler (I-phone app) and searched anyway. I didn't find a heart beat. I called the doctor and headed to the hospital.

So here I am almost one year later trying to enjoy my current pregnancy. I get frustrated with myself when ever I feel like I can't handle these symptoms. Random moments of guilt hit me hard when ever I am happy about this new life inside of me. Although I know nothing could ever replace Wyatt, this new baby makes this upcoming birthday a little easier, yet in it's own way it makes things so much more confusing and difficult as well.

The extra hormones are not helping this roller-coaster of emotions either. I am often reminded by good friends and family to try and take care of myself. I am back to taking things moment by moment. I am going to do my best to allow myself to have happy moments with this pregnancy and forgive myself when I can't.

Friday, September 20, 2013

***Trigger*** Anouncment.....

An internal struggle has me feeling as though I should hold back our excitement. I have asked my self why. I think there is always going to be some fear about another loss, but I realized that my biggest concern is how our news might make other loss families feel. I know people say that it is best to wait to make announcements until a certain point in a pregnancy. The thought behind this is that the risk of problems goes down over time. From my experience, I found it incredibly helpful that friends and family knew about my pregnancies early on. The support I received after each loss was invaluable!

A friend who experienced a loss once told me that she went from almost hating other pregnant women, to seeing it as a sign of hope. I am hoping that my story can provide this sense of hope for others. So after that long explanation, I am here to announce, I am pregnant!  I had my first ultrasound 2 weeks ago. The baby was measuring exactly where he/she should be. There are no signs of problems at this point! I asked about when I will see the high risk specialist and was told, "I don't see any reason that you would need to." I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
I had an additional ultrasound today. Everything was perfect! According to our doctor, I will be 9 weeks tomorrow. As he talked us through everything, he used the word, "normal" repetitively. I am not sure what to think of that word. It is definitely nice to hear. Just a word that will take time getting used to. 

Ignorance is bliss, but a pregnancy following a loss has it's advantages too. Every day as I walk around tired like a zombie and nauseous as a child who spins on a tire swing, I am smiling knowing that each of these unpleasant symptoms is a reminder that my body is working hard to provide everything our little baby needs. Our goal at this point is to enjoy as much as we can about this pregnancy.

Our EDD is 4/26/14

Thank you all for taking this journey beside us. I really don't know what we would do without you!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Our Story: A hint of a second rainbow? *Trigger

I have been admiring the sky lately, and it almost feels like our Wyatt is somehow communicating with me. I took a picture of a cloud thinking that it looked like such a comfy place to rest. Then as I looked more closely, I noticed that it looked like an infant was resting in that very spot. I am still on a journey with my spiritual beliefs, but I have decided to enjoy the possibilities. 

Rainbows are often used to describe a child that is born after a loss. It represents the beauty after a storm. Our Hunter was our first rainbow, and right now we are in the process of trying for our second rainbow. I looked into the sky once again, and saw a beautiful rainbow with a glimpse of a second rainbow trying to appear. Now I am not so egocentric to think this is an actual message to me, but it was a beautiful sight. The last few months have included me staring at the lines of either ovulation tests or pregnancy test trying to interpret that second line or possibility of a line. This almost double rainbow, felt like a gentle reminder to to just relax and enjoy the beauty in my life. 

Trying to conceive after a loss can be an emotionally difficult task, but it is especially challenging when there are additional complications including fertility doctors, medications, etc. I am learning so much from this whole experience though. I am learning to stand up for myself. I am learning how to research, and how to trust Brook and my decisions even if they don't make sense to others.

When telling people of our plans for trying again, I have heard comments such as, "You are going to do that to your self again?" I have also been lectured by medical staff because of our decision to not speed up the process with ovulation medications. At first these things got me questioning myself all over again, but I know that we are making the best decisions based on the (very well researched) information we have in front of us. I ovulate on my own.  My hormone levels have normalized. There is no need for any additional medications that could add risk to our future pregnancy. As far as the comment about us "doing this to ourselves," that is so far from how I feel about the blessing of getting to carry our little Wyatt for those 27week and 2 days. Anything with value comes with some pain, and any true loss can only be possible if a person was first blessed with something great!

So now we wait, talk with doctors, stare at lines and have more tests, but we know it is all part of the road we have to take to get to our double rainbow!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

To Try or not to Try again, and with or with out medication???? *Trigger*

Today's post is mainly therapeutic for me. Maybe it will also help someone else; I don't know. Trying for another baby after a loss is extremely challenging, but this time seems so much harder. I was aware that using fertility medication carried its own risks, but I believed that the risks were lower than the risk of getting pregnant on our own. Now I am unsure.

Doctors have said, "You are a mystery. " or "I don't know how that happened to you, " or "at that point in pregnancy your chances of miscarrying should have dropped to 2%." My mom and I joke that I am in the 2% club. I have learned that statistics don't mean a whole lot when you are in that 2% multiple times.

After losing Wyatt at 27weeks and 2 days, I felt certain that I never wanted to try for another child again. Over time, those feelings changed from, "I want to get pregnant as soon as possible!" to "Maybe we can try again." We decided to wait 6 months. We planned to just meet with our fertility specialist and make a decision then.

At that appointment, we planned to just talk and ask questions, but by the end of it, we were scheduling an ultrasound for the next week to see if I could start back on Clomid. I asked for more clarification as to why we needed Clomid since I ovulate on my own and can get pregnant on my own. The first time it made sense to me because my cycle was as mess and my hormone tests came back a mess.He explained that even though my hormone levels were coming back normal, my abnormal cycle put a future pregnancy at risk. He said Clomid will help make sure I am getting pregnant at the right time. We left that appointment excited and nervous.

Our first round of Clomid worked, but I only produced eggs on my right side (no tube there anymore.) This got me worried about all this medication again. The tubal pregnancy that occurred simultaneously with Wyatt's pregnancy is one of the extremely rare situations, but when using fertility medications, it isn't quite as rare. The tubal most likely would not have happened if I hadn't been on Clomid. That tubal pregnancy was missed by 2 different doctors and continued to grow almost to the point of rupture!

I was so disappointed that we couldn't try that month, but I also had a small sense of relief because it all seemed to be happening so fast. The next month I came for my first ultrasound and they said that  my lining was extremely thin, and I had 2 large cysts on my right ovary. So they put me back on birth control. :( I was then told that they would have to switch medications because I had a few of those RARE side effects from Clomid.

Today I sit and wonder if the medications I took to get pregnant with Wyatt might have played a role in his demise? They say his loss was caused by an early blood clot that bled into my placenta causing him to not be able to grow properly. I keep going back to the question, "What caused that blood clot?" They say the tests all come back normal, so it was just "bad luck." I wonder though if having at least 3 mature eggs released by the HCG shot had something to do with that bad luck. So one became Wyatt, one got stuck in my tube, what happened to the other egg? I have read that in RARE situations an egg can become unattached and cause a bleed. So maybe those rare risks were not lower than the risk of trying this with out the meds?

My doctor feels that my cycle is too messed up to safely do this on our own. It has been soooo long since I have not been pregnant, nursing, or on birth control/other medications. I have no clue what my cycle is like. We had decided to take a break from all this and just enjoy the summer. I am reading books about fertility and charting my temps etc. I was very excited about this plan until today.

I am supposed to go in for that initial ultrasound, but instead, we are going to wait. Everything seems different when planning for the future till that point in time comes. I don't know what I want now. I don't know what we should do. If we try on our own and miscarry, I don't know how I will react. If we take the medications and have birth defects or other complications, I will question myself for ever.

So I sit, phone in hand, waiting for the doctor to call........

Friday, May 31, 2013

"My Advice to You....." -Trigger

 People often say that they don't know what to do or say to help someone in our situation. The truth is, there is no one right thing to do or say, but here is some advice given to me by other mothers who have lost a child. The advice was given to me personally about my situation. We knew we would be losing Wyatt ahead of time, so we were able to do some of the things listed here that may not have been possible for another family.

What I would like to express clearly is that these are all suggestions.
Everyone needs to figure out what is best for their own situation. We all handle these things in our own way, but hearing what helped others or what others regret, we can handle this experience with more peace.

"The anxiety was worse than the experience."- This is something shared by another mother that stuck with me most. In some strange way, the day Wyatt was born, was one of the saddest and one of the most amazing days of my life.  

"Enjoy every one of these last moments with your precious little one."- This is something that I strove to accomplish through out this challenging and scary pregnancy. I have learned from my previous losses and my amazing blessings, that I do not have control and that nothing should be taken for granted. I focused on what we did have. I celebrated the life inside of me, and I don't regret a single second of the joy he brought us.

"While there is hope, we hope."- This is a quote from an awesome labor and delivery nurse. Even when the doctors said Wyatt had no chance, she understood the heart of a mother who just couldn't give up. 

"Hold your Wyatt no matter what." - There was no way I could have prepared myself for the emotions that rushed through my heart while holding my sweet boy. I am so thankful to this mother for encouraging me to spend time holding him and admiring every little feature. 

  "Make sure you get pictures and molds of the hands and feet."

This is a photo taken by the nurses that I will treasure for ever!

Here are a few other things I would add: 

Be sure to speak up and ask to keep anything that you want to remember your baby.- The nurses put together a heartwarming box with many items that will help us to remember that beautiful day. A mom had recommended that since I had time, to make him something special. The night before we lost him, I sewed a little blanket for him. It was such an amazing experience to be able to do something so special for him.

Bring some sort of lotion or oil to rub on your baby's skin, so you will always have a special smell to remember you precious child.-This is something I wish I had done.

Be sure to have your own camera for others to take pictures. It may seem like a strange thing to do, but those photos can really help in the grieving process-Photos of Wyatt are some of my most treasured possessions. There is a an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep that was a wonderful blessing for us, but we also cherish the photos we took as well as the photos the nurses took. 

  Here is a good list of things to consider getting photos of: 
        • A picture right after the baby is born
        • Photos of every part of your baby. You don't have to look at them, but you may want to have those photos to look over later and remember every detail.
        • A picture of you holding your baby
        • A picture of other family and friends holding your baby
        • A picture of your midwife, doula, doctor, nurses etc. with you and the baby
        • A picture of your baby's hands and feet
        • A picture of you kissing your baby
        • Your baby undressed as well as dressed if you are able
        • Take high quality photos in a normal setting.-you can always edit later
        • If you are able, a video would be a great thing to have.- I wish we had one
Learn as much as you can about grief as you embark on this journey. 
  • One of the most important things to know is that the timing and process varies from person to person as well as from experience to experience.- We were given a hand out that outlined the stages of grief along with a time line. Thank goodness I new better. That is not how grief works. There are stages that we all go through, but for me it comes and goes in waves.
  • Grief is a very Personal experience. I am still learning to understand my husband's way of grieving.
  • Grief can make you feel like you are going crazy. (I met a wonderful mother soon after our loss. She had also lost her little boy. She came over and just listed to me talk. It was so healing to hear her repeat the words, "That's normal, that's normal. I remember feeling that way or acting that way.")
  • You don't have to grieve alone. I found support locally through a great friend. I discussed my feeling with a counselor. I also sought out support groups online. There are many avenues of support. In some areas it is easier than others, but don't give up.
Find a way to honor your child 
  • I painted a wood box for his keepsakes.
  • I have a special area in my room displaying his photo along with a Candle and Build a Bear made for him.
  • I made a necklace with a picture of his feet and 4 beads representing the other 4 children we have lost.
  • It took me a long time, but I eventually started a blog, a Facebook page and started what I call "Share the Love."
  • I make a point to talk about him and remember him.
  • I wrote a song and put together a slide show
Remember the siblings- Our little guy was pretty young, so we haven't fully explained to him what happened, but he does know that Wyatt is his little brother and that he is gone. We saw some behavioral changes with him, but I think it had more to do with him seeing me crying and the change in my parenting style. We decided it would be best for everyone if he went to my friend's childcare program a few days a week. I wanted him to be able to have fun while I had time to grieve.
  • There are books for siblings.
  • Some children may need to see a counselor of their own.
  • Make sure someone is able to tend to their needs.
Try to remember that most people mean well even if they say things that are not helpful. 
  • I made a point to always hear, "I love you and I care." no matter what was said to me.
  • It is okay to tell someone that what they are saying is hurtful or not helpful.
  • It is also okay to just not respond at all.
  • Everyone one reacts to a loss differently. They may be grieving as well. 
Music and artistic expression helped me in my darkest times.
  • You don't have to be even close to professional; its about the process not the product.
  • This can be something for just you or shared with people close to you
  • Making crafts, listening to music, writing music, writing poems, etc. are all great outlets.
  • Writing in a journal or a blog can be healing as well.
  • String of Pearls is a website that was extremely helpful to me.
  • Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep offered me both support and beautiful photos of Wyatt.
  • Baby Center has a forum, but I would recommend joining one on a site that is just for mom's. who have lost a child. This one has baby pictures all over it.
Songs on my playlist for Wyatt
       (sometimes the songs helped me get my feeling out when I felt numb)


This is my wish. "Maybe some day we can figure this all out." Maybe someday we'll live our lives out loud."

I have decided to live my life out loud today. I hope I can help some others in this journey. Thank you for joining me!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Our story: Wyatt's Birth-Trigger

October 8th, 2012, I awoke with an unfamiliar feeling. Something was different, and I knew what it was. Just like every morning, I searched for that amazing sound of a life inside of me, but as I already somehow knew; there was no heartbeat to be found.

The emotions that flooded my heart surprised me.

Relief was the first emotion. We were told for so long that we were going to lose him, but I never gave up hoping they were wrong. How could I? I could feel him move. I could hear the strong beat of his heart. The last few months had already been full of so much heart break. This feeling was so different. I knew that it was finally truly out of my hands. There were no more decisions to make, and no more wondering if there was something I could do to change his fate. I also knew that I would get to hold him soon.

I was scheduled to see the high risk specialist that day, which I was dreading. I worried for that "I told you so." reaction from her. I had it in my calender as "Get to see Wyatt." That was the only thing that made those appointments bearable. I didn't know that I would actually really get to "see" Wyatt that day. It infuriates me now to think that in such an important and difficult time in my life, that one of my first thoughts was about that doctor.

Guilt was the next emotion to set in. I felt awful that it gave me peace knowing he was gone. I couldn't understand how something so terrible could inspire positive emotions. I felt like I was being selfish and uncaring. I also felt guilty thinking there may have been something else I should have done and that maybe we made the wrong decision. Placing blame on oneself is something Mothers do best. Although I struggle with this guilt feeling every once in a while, I do know that it was totally understandable to feel relief and that we made the best decision in that moment out of love.

After telling Brook that the heart beat was no longer there. I called my regular OB. She said if we could get to labor and delivery quickly, she would still be there to do the ultrasound. I wouldn't have wanted anyone else, so we headed over right away. She confirmed that his heart had stopped and began explaining what would happen next.

She gave us the option of waiting for a while, so she could deliver him. (She had been on call all night and had to leave.) As much as I love Dr. Najima and wanted her there, I needed this to be done. We decided to start the induction right away. She was so supportive the whole time, and stood by every decision we made; even when I could tell she didn't agree. In that moment, she assured me that she knew we fought as hard as we could for Wyatt. She hugged me with one of her strong hugs and truly comforted me.

My mom made sure to notify the high risk specialist that I wouldn't be coming to that dreaded appointment. She called Tiffany, my amazing doula, and let her know what was going on. A call was also made to a photographer with the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep organization. One advantage to the months of torment we endured, was time. We were able to prepare for this day. Everyone who knows me knows that I am a planner. I wanted to make this day as peaceful as possible.

With the help of my mom, we tried to make as many arrangements ahead of time as we could. I knew that I would want the day to be about meeting Wyatt and saying goodbye. I tried to see if we could make decisions about his autopsy, cremation, etc. before his birth. My mom left messages with the social worker, and didn't ever get a call back. I asked everyone questions about how all this worked and got no clear answers. I was told that a social worker would come and walk us through all this at his birth. A social worker never came.

I found support online from other mothers who have lost a baby and had to deliver. One of the most helpful quotes about another mother's birth was, "The anxiety was worse than the experience." When the idea first came up that I might have to deliver a dead child, I felt as if I would rather die then experience such a thing. I wanted to know why they would make a mother go through this. I couldn't understand whey they couldn't just take the baby via C-section. I am so thankful now that I was able to deliver him, see him and hold him.

I am particularly thankful to one mother I met through this online support group on Baby Center. She outlined what she thought was really important to know when going through a loss such as this. She passionately expressed the importance of photos, holding Wyatt, and spending as much time as I wanted with him. She told me how scared she was to see her child, and that she had many regrets she didn't want any other mother to have. Others recommended that I make something special for him, and be sure to save anything that would remind me of that day. ( I will make a separate post about what others recommended along with a few things of my own as well as some resources that were helpful to me.)

The night before this day, I decided that I needed to finish the little blanket I was making for him. I am not much of a seamstress, but I did sit and hand sew a little blanket for him. It was an amazing feeling to be able to do something for him. I added the blanket to a box of supplies to take to his birth. In that box there was a little notebook, a photo book, some blankets from friends, a kit to make a mold of Wyatt's foot prints, and Christmas ornament kit. (much of this stuff was from a great organization that supports families in our situation)

There is nothing that will make me understand why it is necessary for a mother to deliver a stillborn child in the labor and delivery unit especially in my case when there was time to prepare. It is cruel to make a mother go through such a thing while hearing other newborns crying. We were told it had to be done this way because that is where the nurses and doctors are and because that is where the equipment is. From what I could see, all the "needed" equipment was on wheels, and I would think that in such a case, a doctor or nurse could walk to anther area of the hospital. They did put me in a room down the hall trying to help avoid me seeing or hearing other families, but they also had another mother close by who had a risky situation, so I could hear her. There were empty rooms on that floor even.

They checked me and let me know that I was already dilated some. They started the induction, and we waited. The nurses gave us pamphlets about grief and a list of resources. We quickly noticed that almost all the resources were not local. There was a support group listed, but we found out later that it didn't really exist. They handed me a list of mortuaries and asked us to pick one out. I couldn't even breathe. It all seemed so final. I handed the papers to Brook and asked him to handle that part.  During this time, I wanted to just have my family around. Brook, my Mom, and my friend Sandra were all there. My dad came later. We also had Hunter visit. He brought me more comfort than he will ever know. We decided to only let him stay for a little while. Everyone took turns walking him around the hospital to keep him busy.

I kept asking for someone to call the photographers. I really wanted them there right after the birth. I was told it would still be a while and that we should wait to call them.

I was told that there is no reason I should have to feel any contraction pain. We decided that I would get an epidural right away. I started feeling the contractions, and my mom called my doula. The anesthesiologist gave me the epidural. I could still feel the contractions and it made me angry. I was worried that the epidural wasn't working. (That happened with Hunter's birth) I wasn't in extreme pain, but I didn't want to feel anything. I kept asking about it, and they finally came in and gave me more medication. It made my legs really numb, but I could still feel the contractions.

My blood pressure was skyrocketing a this point. Tiffany came in at the perfect time. I was starting to get really stressed. She asked everyone to leave and turned down the lights. She put essential oils on me and did a Reiki session to help me focus just on that moment and just on Wyatt. I let go of any guilt I felt about my earlier losses. She helped me to imagine saying goodbye to them because I felt as though I didn't do enough for them. I had pushed them all behind me because it hurt too much to think of the losses. I remember imagining them all on a bridge. I told them how much I loved them and let them know that I planned to honor them, but at that moment, I needed this to be about Wyatt.

When the nurses came back in they told me that what ever my doula did, it lowered my blood pressure dramatically. They said they were so shocked as they watched the monitor. I was finally starting to relax again.

As I look through pictures of this day, the look on my face showed sadness, but also peace. I noticed that look change in one picture. I couldn't figure out what emotion this face was showing until I saw the next photo. My high risk specialist that I was so glad I didn't have to see came into the the delivery room! She didn't say, "I am sorry for your loss." or any kind word. She had a smirk on her face and said, "Things didn't turn out the way you wanted, did they?" She managed to get that 'I told ya so' in after all.  She left and my family knew exactly what I needed at that moment was Hunter. He climbed up into my bed and gave me the biggest hug. Then we sent Hunter out of the room because it was getting closer to time to deliver.

My best friend from high school was there by my request. She was with me while I was in labor with Hunter and she was an amazing support. I knew I needed her there. She even styled my hair for me.

The doctor came in and said that it was time to deliver Wyatt. I turned towards where I thought Brook was sitting, and he wasn't there. I asked the doctor if we could wait till he came back. I asked mom where Brook went, and she said he had to go run an errand. I felt so angry and betrayed. I couldn't understand why he would leave.

The doctor kept asking if we were ready. I pleaded with him to wait till my husband could be there. He said we could. Finally I was told the real reason for why Brook left. Hunter had a high fever and he had to go get some medication. The hospital shops were closed, and the only way they could give him medication is to bring him to the ER. Hunter has febrile seizures when his temperature gets high quickly. They didn't want to tell me because they didn't want me to worry. They got a hold of Brook, and he came back as quickly as he could.

I almost told the doctor that I would start pushing before Brook came back because I figured it would take a while. I am so glad we waited because Wyatt came out in one push still in the sack! This was a great relief because they warned me that they expected Wyatt to come out quickly, but that sometimes there are complications with the placenta that in some cases require surgery.

That moment was completely different than I could have ever imagined.  I had been so scared about what I would see, and how I would feel. A feeling of pride filled my heart as I admired how perfect he was and how peaceful he looked. At first I was afraid to touch him, but the nurses assured me I could. I made sure to pay attention to every little thing about him. Even so small, he looked a lot like his big brother. I remember he had the most precious little hands and feet. He had his brother's nose.

There was a call made to the photographers, but in the mean time we took photos of our own. After reading other mother's stories, I knew these photos would be so important to me. The nurses wanted to get his measurements after the photos.
They asked if I would like them to bring him back to me. They told me I could have as much time as I wanted. I knew that I may not be able to let him go if there wasn't a reason. We told them that we wanted to say our last goodbyes before they took him. Right before they walked out of the room, I asked for them to bring him back to me because I wanted to kiss his little head.

The doctor said I could go home as soon as my legs were no longer too numb to walk. They wanted me to use the restroom, and then I could leave. They said I could stay the night if I wanted. At first I thought I wanted to stay, but I changed my mind. I knew my home is where I wanted to be. My doula, Tiffany stayed to support me until I told her I was ready to spend time with just my family.

I was pretty thankful that even though I was in the labor and delivery unit, I hadn't heard too many sounds of other families celebrating a live birth. As I was relaxing and waiting for my legs to work again, I heard the dreaded sound. It hit me really hard at that moment when I heard the sound of a brand new baby crying. I realized that I would never get to hear my precious Wyatt cry.

It has taken me a long time to be able to put my thoughts about this day into words. It was a day full of so many mixed emotions, but I would have to say the strongest feelings I had that day were of peace and pride. It was an amazing experience to get to hold Wyatt and say goodbye. He was such a perfect little boy, just too small to make it in this world.

Wyatt Grant Stine 8:10pm October 8th 9.5 ounces 8 inches long.