Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dear my sweet girl...

It has been quite some time since I felt the urge to sit at this computer and share my life, but it dawned on me that I could use this as a time capsule of sorts...
to look back on my life and what I have been through with my husband in the early stages of our marriage and our journey to parenthood.
I haven't read my past entries in months and months. I think I wasn't ready to relive the tragedy that we endured, but today I was. So as I sat here, sobbing of course, I realized how overwhelmingly thankful I am for the experiences that we have gone through. We are different, better, happier people today and I love that my baby girl, Finley, played such a big part in that. I may have never gotten to meet her, but she impacted my life so greatly. She is with me every day. And she is with her baby sister every day!
Yes, baby sister! A lot has changed since the last time we spoke, internet world.
Today, I am 26 weeks 5 days pregnant with a beautiful, HEALTHY baby girl.
(More about her later...lots more!)
We also adopted a very happy, very crazy puppy to be friends with Meeko.
Little Kanga. She is so sweet, but really knows how to test me!
But we love her and she is a part of this crazy family, so we are learning how to roll with the punches...and by punches I mean torn up furniture, shoes, yard, and everything else...
And we bought our first home!
I think that covers all of the bases.
We have been pretty busy over here.
I think it is only right to create some sort of "blog closure" before I jump right into the next chapter. So, now that you're all updated, I thought this would be a good place to write a letter to Finley. I have wanted to do this for a while, but could never find the words or an appropriate outlet for them. Mom, get some tissues.... :)
Finley June,
My sweet girl, where do I even begin?
I wanted you so badly. More than you will ever know. I love you with all of my being. Most people know that there is no love like a mother's for her child, but I don't think many people realize that this applies to children in heaven, too!
I have SO much to thank you for.
Thank you for watching over your baby sister...because I know you are.
I can't wait to tell her all about you...her brave big sister. She gets to have a guardian angel forever, and I bet that she will think that is pretty cool.
Thank you for teaching me lessons that I was too stubborn and selfish to learn before you came along. I am so much happier now. I am a less stressed, more free version of me. I really know now that life is too short to complain all the time! Of course I still have my bad days, but I don't let them get to me now. You gave me the perspective that I didn't even know I was missing, but I so desperately needed.
Thank you for showing me how much my family supports me.
Even if your Papa and Uncle Jake don't know how to show it always, I know that they do.
And your Nana...she is amazing, isn't she? She would go to the ends of the earth for me...I appreciate her so much more now. I see her as a human, not just a mom. I think she really deserves that and I know that she is grateful for you showing me that. I never realized how strong she was, but now I know it must have been so hard for her to see her daughter in so much pain, because the thought of you being in any pain breaks me in two! I hope that you are at peace now that you aren't struggling in a body that just wasn't strong enough for you.
Thank you for showing me what a strong, caring, and wonderful man your Daddy is. I took him for granted at times, and now I know that I couldn't live without him. I know he thought that he needed to be strong for me, but would cry when I wasn't watching. I know he still gets sad about you, but doesn't let me see it. I know that he had big plans to take you to USC football games, try and intimidate your future boyfriends, and someday walk you down the aisle in a white dress. And I know that he was just as crushed as I was when we found out that our dreams for you wouldn't become reality, but he didn't let me see that. He puts my happiness and comfort before his own and I really couldn't ask for anything more. I can't believe I never realized how much he loved me before, but thanks to you I see it now. And I still can't believe that someone loves me that much! We are closer now than ever. He still drives me crazy sometimes...like when he leaves the cheese on the counter, or when he puts his dirty clothes on the floor next to the hamper, or when he forgets 2 out of 3 things that I ask him to help me with...but I LOVE him and I respect him. And I know that he thanks you for allowing me to see him this way, because I am a better wife because of it!
I hope that you know what an amazing soul you are. I am so proud of you. You brought our little family closer together and we are all better because of you. I hope you got your birthday balloons! We celebrated for you, and I know that you were there because I felt content and peaceful...that's how I know when you are with me.
Thank you for changing my life.
I love you forever, sweet girl.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

The past week has been as good as can be expected.
It has helped that I'm not working and can focus all of my energy on healing.
Life slowly seems to be getting better...a "new normal".

Saturday night I became a part of society again and went out in public!
I put on some new clothes and heels for the first time in about 6 months.
If you know me, you know how out of character it is to go that long without heels!
We went to a really cute little restaraunt in Corona Del Mar. It was so nice to feel normal again!

For the first time in weeks, no one asked about the baby.
As much as I have LOVED all of the support from everyone, it was relaxing to get a break from talking about everything for a little while!
Everyone needs a "breather" every now and then, and we will definitely be making it a priority to take our little "breathers" more often.

Makeup AND hair done?! Holy crap...

Easter was really hard for me.
It was supposed to be the first day all of my extended in-laws saw us since announcing the pregnancy.
We decided not to go to to Easter this year.
I had imagined hearing all of the "Congratulations" on that day, and instead I knew we would hear the "I'm sorry's" and "Are you okay's?"
That would have been too much, too soon.
You never know when the bad days are going to come, but when they do they hit you like a ton of bricks.
I didn't really get out of bed on Sunday. And that's okay...I'm just riding the roller coaster!
But with all the laying around...I got a pretty great idea!

I decided to buy some pink balloons and write messages on them to Finn.
I thought that would be a nice way to feel like I could have some communication with her and possibly even provide a little closure.

So today, we bought balloons and each of us wrote a message on one.
Brian, Meeko and I went to the park and kissed the balloons and sent them up to her.

I loved it and am SO glad we got to do that today.
It was just what I needed.
Watching the balloons float to my baby made me so happy!
I can't wait to do it again on another special day.

I also got back to "work" today and started baking again!
Man, it had been way too long.
Slowly, but surely, starting to feel like myself.

I have a busy week ahead!
I am meeting with a psychic/medium tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited.
I watch all of those crazy shows and totally believe in that stuff!
I know it can be a little nuts, but hopefully this lady is the real deal.

Then, Thursday is Jenna's birthday dinner and the first time I will see her since she has moved home!
It will also be the first time I've seen friends since my surgery.

"To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping."

And not like I'm counting or anything...
but Hawaii in 40 days!!! YAY!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's a New Dawn

Well, I'm sure all of you are caught up on the story by now.
We officially said bye see you again to our baby, Finley, on Friday.
The days before surgery I felt an overwhelming sadness. Sadness isn't really even the appropriate word, but I have no words to describe the feeling. Just completely empty, lost, and scared.
Let's just say that I thought I knew what a mental breakdown was...but I very obviously didn't.
As I was being wheeled into the operating room, I kept reminding myself that I was doing this to save my baby. I rubbed my belly and told Finn, "Mommy loves you more than you will ever know. I'm so sorry, I did everything I could. This won't hurt you, don't be scared. There are people waiting for you in heaven. You will be with Mommy every day, forever. I love you."
That's all I remember.
I imagined waking up from surgery hysterically, but instead I woke up with a great sense of peace. I felt the world finally lifted off of my shoulders. I felt Finn with me and I knew everything would be okay. The hospital was so wonderful and kept me for a few hours until letting me go home. My husband, Mom, and Mother-in-law sat anxiously in the waiting room...and I am so greatful to have had them with me.

I came home from the hospital to dozens of flowers from friends and family.
This experience has really shown me how wonderful the people in my life are.
Again, I am so thankful.
Over the next couple days, the flowers grew and more gifts came.

And just when I thought I couldn't possibly be more humbled, Brian came home last night with a gift from his co-workers.
The sweetest card, with this necklace.

A tiny angel wing.
"May this necklace remind you of sweet Finley, who is now watching over Mommy and Daddy from heaven."
I don't think I will ever take this necklace off. What a perfect reminder that Finn is always with me.
Again, I am just so thankful.

I was very lucky to have an amazing doctor and felt virtually no physical pain through the whole process, and so far I have had a very easy physical recovery.
Emotionally...I'm okay. It's a roller coaster. Sometimes I still cry, but sometimes I can smile and even laugh. Life is moving forward. I'm having a hard time talking with friends, which I think is to be expected.
(So if I haven't responded to your texts or messages, I am sorry...I appreciate all of the kind words and I will respond when I'm ready.)
I'm not sure when I will feel okay being around people again. Right now, I've hit the "pause" button on my life and I'm just letting myself feel how I need to feel. But still, I think I'm doing pretty well considering the circumstances. Yesterday I even went to the grocery store!
These little munchkins have been doing a pretty great job of cheering me up, too!

Brian and I have decided to use the money we had saved for the baby to go to Hawaii, so planning that has been a good distraction. Now I have 7 weeks to lose 5 lbs and get my abs back to be bikini ready again.
Don't get me wrong. I loved my baby bump, and I can't wait to have one again when the time is right. But right now is obviously not that time!
I know, why do I care about my weight at a time like this?
Well, for two reasons.
One being, my weight is about the only thing I can control right now. In a world of uncertainty, it's nice to be able to focus on something that I can change.
Two being, this belly is depressing me. None of my clothes fit and it is a constant reminder that I am not pregnant anymore.
So, operation skinny has begun.

This must happen again. Minus the boobies. Which reminds me, I need new bikinis!

I also ordered a new bedspread and sheets.
Nothing like some internet retail therapy, eh?

I think it freshens things up a bit.
As you can tell, I've been trying to keep some sense of normalcy the past few days. Each day gets a little easier. I know things will never go back to "normal", but hopefully I will be able to create a new "normal".
I was so blessed to be able to hold Finley in me for as long as I did. This has really changed my life and the way I look at things. Things that would have irritated me before, seem so insignificant now. Life is too short!
I am no longer working and I am excited to be able to take this time to focus on myself and get my life back to the happy place that it needs to be.

For now, I will be anxiously waiting for amnio results and hoping for the best news it can bring.
Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Saying bye to my baby.

How do you start a blog like this?
Where can I find the words to even begin to describe what is happening?

Looking back on my last post, I feel bad for that naive girl who thought she could save her baby by eating differently. I feel bad for the girl sitting in the waiting room, holding on to that last thread of hope. Little did I know I would leave the doctor's office defeated and heartbroken.
My one job for four months has been to protect this baby, and I failed. Nothing has ever hurt this bad.
I was doing so well yesterday, and then in the middle of the night I lost it. I've been crying since 2am. I can't believe this is happening to me.

While we waited very impatiently for the perinatalogist (high risk obgyn) to come in, I had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. Just awful. I knew.
The second the ultrasound began I could tell things weren't right.
The doctor looked closely at the baby's brain before telling us "There doesn't seem to be a cerebellum. This structure here may be it, but it is too misshapen to know for sure. If that is indeed the cerebellum, the chances of this baby making it to term are small, the chances of having a successful delivery are even smaller, and if those things defy the odds and go well, this child will have severe brain problems."

Things just got worse from there.
She could not make out the quadrants of the heart.
There was very little amniotic fluid...which is telling of a pregnancy that will not be successful.
The baby was barely moving, unlike all of the other ultrasounds.
The baby is now measuring 10 days behind, whereas last time it was only 8 days.
"The prognosis isn't good." ...she said as I did everything I could to hold my tears in.
It was too much and when I couldn't hold back anymore, she seemed sympathetic and said "I'm so sorry I have to be the one to tell you all of this."

I chose to continue with the amniocentesis, which hurt like hell.
I want to know what happened to my baby and the options were either amnio, or sending her to a lab after surgery for an autopsy. I think this baby has been through enough, don't you? So, I chose the amnio. It hurt...I wish I could forget how bad it hurt. I cramped all night and now it feels like a big bruise. When I started cramping, I got mad. Why should I have to go through any pain at all? Isn't the emotional pain enough? It's a sick joke.
And of course, it gets worse. My options were to carry to term or terminate. I know this is a controversial topic, and I probably shouldn't admit to the public that I chose the latter. But you cannot judge unless you are in my shoes. I know so many women choose to "leave it in God's hands", but I just can't do that. For me, that would be the selfish choice. My baby would be too fragile for labor and if she made it out of the womb safely, she would struggle for her life for minutes before passing. The small chance that she would have to make it through all of that would mean a horrible quality of life and a lot of surgeries. I say with all of my soul and heart that I would rather suffer for the rest of my life than have my baby suffer for one second. This baby has fought enough. She needs to go home now...even though I am heartbroken that her home will not be in my arms.

I also took into consideration future pregnancies. The safest thing I can do for my body and the healing process is a procedure called a D&E. Dilation and Evacuation. It is a two day process, and it isn't pleasant. I will spare you the details, because they're not easy to listen to.

I had thought I would wait for the results for the amnio before having surgery, but I think I might be having a change of heart. The prognosis is fatal either way. Why torture myself for 2 more weeks? Let my stomach get bigger, feel the baby kick more...it doesn't make sense. I don't think I was thinking clearly yesterday and I don't think I was ready to let go. I don't think I will ever be ready to let go, but the sooner I start the healing process (both mentally and phsyically), the sooner I can learn to cope with this and get back to my normal life. The longer I wait for the procedure, the more risky the complications can be. I will be talking to my doctor today about the best options and how to proceed based on what is best for me and what is best for my baby.

I don't write this blog hoping for pity. Actually, please do not pity me. This is absolutely the hardest thing I've ever had to do and the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but I am still alive and I am still healthy and eventually I will be okay. Bad things happen to people every day and every day people move on and cope. I have a lot of anxiety about surgery, but I trust my doctors and know I am in good hands.

Oh. And here's the funny part. Everyone that has been following my pregnancy knows that I had a very strong feeling that it was a boy. In fact, I said "I would be shocked if it was a girl".
After 3 different ultrasounds by 3 different people confirmed girl, we were told yesterday it could very well be a boy. It appears that our baby "girl" grew something in the last few days. Of course, we will find out definitively from the amnio results. But man, mother's intuition is a crazy thing.

Brian and I thank everyone for the support. Really, I am still amazed by the amount of people who truly care about us and what we are going through.
We will take the next few days to say bye to our baby, but I will update when I can.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I'm feeling a little bit anxious today. We have been waiting for some blood results for about a week and was really hoping to have them by today...but that doesn't look like it's gonna happen!
I'm sure it's gonna be another long weekend!

So intead of focusing on that, I'm focusing on the positive things that I can control! Like finally gaining a little weight and keeping it on!
So, you probably know that when people say they are "eating for two", that is kind of just a silly saying. Doctors typically tell pregnant women that they only need an extra 300 calories daily. Well, I always knew I needed more than that since I was a bit underweight to start...but I had no idea how much I really should be eating.

I have more than doubled my daily calorie intake and more than tripled my protein and iron. Of course, this isn't healthy for every pregnant woman...but some little babies need a bit of extra help growing and I am willing to try ANYTHING. I am eating so much that nothing tastes good anymore and I have to force every bite down. It's a full time job to remember to eat this often and remember which specific foods to eat at which time. Really, every member of my family makes sure I am eating at least once an hour!

I realize this doesn't sound like an awful problem...in fact, it probably sounds kind of cool...but it's not like I get to sit at home eating ice cream and taco bell all day. No way! I'm eating about 2,500 calories of pure healthy shit all day, every day. And as much as I complain daily...looks like it is working! :)

Four months!

Grow baby Finley, grow!!!!! :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Finley June

Well, it's been quite a while since I've updated. Mostly because I wasn't sure what to say. I've thought for a few days about blogging about my pregnancy journey...and originally decided that it was too personal to share to complete strangers, but after much internet research I have decided to share.
I'm mainly hoping that someone, somewhere in the world is going through something similar and can be educated or gain hope while following in on my journey. I've been getting a lot of texts, calls, messages, and e-mails asking how I am doing. I'm not sure how to respond and I know so many of you are interested in what happened, so here we go. I hope this is the beginning of a very long journey...but we will start here with day one.
I found out I was pregnant on December 28, my husband's birthday. It was VERY early...about 3.5 weeks, so we waited until I actually missed my period to tell anyone...just in case. I was unusally worried and anxious from the beginning, just had a weird feeling about all of it, but I chalked it up to being a first time mom. All those hormones get crazy, right? But as much as I tried to be excited about this new baby, I just couldn't let myself. I felt guilty when I wouldn't let myself connect with this baby that I had wanted for so long, but it also let me know that something was wrong.

January 25th I had my first ultrasound. I was 7w5d and baby measured 7w3d...so basically right on track. I know exactly when I ovulated...so this was very important. I thought I could finally let myself relax and enjoy being pregnant. I never got sick, didn't break out, my boobs didn't hurt...I mean literally nothing except that I was exhasuted. I thought to myself "Well, maybe I'm one of those lucky ones!" Ha! Ya...right.

February 11th is when things started getting hard. I was 10w1d pregnant and I noticed blood. I know it is normal to "spot" during pregnancy sometimes, but I flipped out. I went to the emergency room and she was fine...strong heartbeat and all. But then the tech told me she was measuring at 9w3d. She reassured me that everything was fine, and ultrasound machines aren't always exact. I had a follow up appt with my OB that Monday where I was told that I had a mental problem.
"This isn't medical, it's mental." Were her exact words. She told me I should look into therapy and learn some new coping mechanisms.
Well, I immediately switched doctors. I have a few choice words for her...but we will leave those out for now.
Might I just add that the bleeding is still happening today, more than 5 weeks later, and happens daily. That's obviously a mental issue...right?

Anyway, I had an ultrasound scheduled with my new doctor at 12w6d. Baby again measured small at 11w4d. I was told everything was fine but to come back a week later for correct measurements. At 13w6d, baby measured 12w4d. Obviously...something was wrong, but again I was reassured that things were fine.

I sought a third opinion from a well known OB at a different group. Finally...someone listened to me and shared my concerns. He did an ultrasound that day when I was 14w5d, baby measured only 12w4d. I was heartbroken. She wasn't growing. We were given very little hope and I was put on bed rest and told to return for another ultrasound on Monday.

Well, before my next appt came I got a phone call from the previous OB. She informed me that my blood results had come back weeks before (she wasn't going to bother to tell me the results until my next scheduled appt with her...2 weeks later). The results for Trisomy18 were very worrying to her. She told me Trisomy18 is incompatible with life and there was no way the baby would make it. She told me to hope my baby's heart stopped so I wouldn't have to deliver a stillborn or face the decision whether to electively terminate or not.
I was devasted. I couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, I could barely walk or talk. Nothing made sense...why did no one tell me before? Why was this happening to me? All my friends have happy, healthy babies! WHY ME!? This was awful. I prepared for the worst for my appt on Monday and expected to have to go into surgery in the next few days.
After 3 long, awful days...Monday came. I could barely talk I was so nervous for the ultrasound. Then...there she was. Strong heartbeat, kicking and dancing around. Looking as perfect as ever. The best news of all was that she measured 14w1d! Just 3 days before she had measured 12w4d. She was now only 8 days behind her due date. I couldn't believe it. I didn't know how to feel. You mean there's a chance she will be okay?! It was all so overwhelming, and honestly I was afraid to let myself be happy again.
The OB still had some concerns. Finley's stomach is measuring 2 weeks small, which could mean there is a problem with the placenta. I got scheduled with a high risk Dr. for the next week for an ultrasound and amniocentesis. An amnio will rule out any genetic disorder...but the ultrasound gave NO signs of Trisomy18, or anything else genetic for that matter.
Hm...thanks previous OB for the unneccesary meltdown.

My high risk appt is 5 days away and I can't wait. In the mean time, I am on bed rest, taking iron supplements, taking baby aspirin to thin my blood (to make it flow more quickly through the placenta), eating once an hour every hour, and100g of protein a day...yes, seriously. (And for all of you smart asses, this has NOTHING to do with me being a vegetarian...I would gladly eat meat if it would make my baby okay...but it won't make a difference, I promise). I bought a Doppler so that I could listen to her heartbeat at home to calm myself in between appointments. This morning I found her heartbeat very strong and I could tell she was moving all around. For a baby that wasn't supposed to make it to Monday, she's doing pretty well...don't you think? :)
So...I have been researching like a CRAZY person. I found something called Intrauterine Growth Retardation, which basically just means an otherwise healthy baby that isn't growing as he/she should. IUGR usually starts showing signs in the third trimester. It happens in less than 5% of pregnancies, and even less begin in the first trimester. It is VERY rare, which is why I haven't gotten answers from doctors yet. Most doctors won't ever encounter first trimester IUGR babies, but this is the ONLY thing that matches my story exactly. Of course, I'm not a doctor and it could be something different. But I just know, I dunno, call it maternal instinct! I have read numerous stories that sound exactly like mine...some with bad endings, and some with happy endings. Some healthy babies, some preemie babies, some babies with medical issues, and some babies that don't make it. But the important thing here is that she has a chance.

Just this morning, I got a message from someone with a story very similar to mine...actually, almost exact. She had a healthy, happy baby at 32 weeks pregnant. What a miracle. I am praying that this is what is going on, and nothing genetic...and I will hopefully get answers very soon. But today I have some hope again. This might be okay.

(I am almost 16 weeks now...but we haven't taken any more pictures yet...)
When we named Finley, we had no idea just how meaningful her name would be. It means "small or fair warrior". Today I believe that is just what she is. I've got a little fighter in there! I know this could be the beginning of a very hard road, but I'm prepared for anything now and I won't stop at anything to make sure this baby is okay. All positive thoughts, prayers, and hopes are very welcomed right now!

Brian and I thank everyone SO much for the support and understanding. This is the hardest thing we have every been though, but it's amazing to have such wonderful friends and family around us.
I hope that answers everyone's questions. I will update soon!