Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Marlowe's Birth Story

I was scheduled to be induced on Sunday, July 16th around 5 pm.  That entire day I was an emotional mess.  I was so worried about leaving Thomas for three nights, how having Marlowe here would affect him, what having a breathing newborn would feel like again, and every other possible thought that could have run through my head.  The day seemed to drag on forever, which was a blessing and a curse.  I was tired, but my mind was too busy to allow me to sleep so I decided to finally pack my hospital bag.  Nothing like waiting until the very last minute.  About an hour before we left both boys and I laid on my bed and talked, and laughed, and laughed some more.  Thomas thought it was funny to tell us that after Marlowe we should have 17 more kids.  He wanted a lot more brothers and sisters.  After we kept laughing his number kept getting higher - all the way up to 9 7 6 kids.  Hearing him laugh and enjoying that last little time as a family of three still brings tears to my eyes.

We dropped Thomas off at my dads house around 3:40, and made it to the hospital and onto the maternity floor by 4:30.  Yes, we were early, but Tom said he'd rather have me there early than run into traffic.  I think he was just anxious to get it all started.  As soon as we dropped Thomas off I started to get excited, and the sadness went away.  Could this be really happening?  Would we bring home a living, crying, breathing baby?  As odd as it sounds, I hadn't let myself believe that was actually going to be our reality during my pregnancy.

We got all checked in and I was hooked up to the machines.  The nurses seemed to be amazing and very nice.  One nurse in particular, Debbie, went out of her way to take great care of us.  It was just Tom and I there until around 6:45 when my Mom got there.  She was going to stay the night and stay until Marlowe was born in case we needed anything.  They started the meds to soften my cervix at 6:30, and told me they'd use that medicine every four hours until I was 2 cm dilated.  Of course, I was only at 1 when we got there.  My OB was on call that night from 6 pm until 6 pm on Monday so I was very excited that he would be the one to deliver her.  It was what I had been praying for. He came in to see me around 7:30 and said he was so relieved we were finally at the hospital being monitored, and he would do everything in his power to get her here safely.

I tried to sleep that night, but no sleep was had.  I was too uncomfortable on that rock hard bed, and nurses came in periodically.  At 2:30 am the anesthesiologist came in to go over all of the risks and questions of the epidural, and the nurse checked and I was 2 cm - I thought things would start moving much quicker and she would be here within the next few hours.  I had no idea. After I hit 2 cm's, they told me they'd see if there were any significant changes on it's own, and if not they would start the pitocin around 5 am.  My contractions were every two minutes at the point, but I wasn't even feeling them.

Pitocin was actually started at 5:30 am.  At 9:15 my doctor came in and checked me and I was between 5-6 cm dilated, and fully effaced so I decided why wait for the pain to get worse, and got the epidural.  That was when my OB also broke my water.  Not sure how after that, but I finally got about an hour nap, which was much needed after not sleeping all night.

Around noon I was checked again and I was 7-8 cm dilated.  They were upping the dosage of my pitocin by 2 every 20 minutes at this point.  The contractions were definitely stronger, as I could feel all of the pressure with the epidural.  Mom and Tom took turns holding my hand during the contractions which was nice.  Not sure I could have done it without them.

At 2:15 I was checked again and I was finally at 9.  That was also the moment I had an emotional breakdown.  We were so close, but I was so afraid something would happen, and we would lose her too.  Tom just held me for what felt like an hour (really only minutes I'm assuming).  My OB came in to see my around 2:30 and said it wouldn't be much longer.

At 3pm exactly my day nurse Kristen came in and checked me.  She said I was at 10, and ready to push.  The next 20 minutes were such a whirlwind.  By 3:05 my OB and two nurses were in the room and I was starting to push.  After one contraction I heard my OB say that she was face up.  Of course any and all of the the horrible possible outcomes came rushing to my mind.  They kept telling me to take deep breaths, but I finally said "I can't get a deep breath!"  I shouldn't have said that because then I had an oxygen mask put on, and I definitely hate those things.  The strong smell of plastic is gross.  I pushed through two more contractions and I could hear my doctor saying stuff but wasn't really focusing on it.  I was turned over on my side, and I had no idea why and didn't push through one of the contractions.  Apparently, (thank you epidural), with every contraction my doctor was turning her around so that she would come out face down like normal.  During the fourth contraction after everything started I heard my doctor say something about a judgement call and he was going to use the vacuum to get her out.  Little did I know that Marlowe's heart rate was dropping with each contraction.  During the fifth contraction (the fourth one I pushed through) she was finally out.  I waited and I swear you could hear a pin drop in the room.  For the first time I looked around and the room was full of doctors, nurses, and two pediatricians.

The next sound was hearing her cry, and I honestly can't even describe the feeling of relief that overtook me.  She was here, and she was alive.  I did it.  She was born at 3:20 - only 20 minutes after it all started, and pushing through four contractions.  I remember looking into Tom's eyes and saw how happy he was.  The tears were there in his eyes as well, and I could tell he felt the relief too.  My OB asked him if he'd like to cut the cord, and with the biggest smile I'd seen from him in a while he said "Absolutely!"

I asked to hold her, and that's when they told me that due to her being face up she had swallowed some fluid, and the pediatricians were working on her.  I just laid there listening to her crying and thought it was one of the best sounds I'd ever heard.

See, after having and losing Isaac the sound of the room when he was born was silent. Not even the doctor or nurses spoke.  So hearing the room buzzing with people cleaning up, her crying, the pediatricians talking, and my OB talking to me while he stitched me up was a completely different feeling.  That's when I started sobbing.  I was instantly releasing every emotion I had held in for I didn't even know how long.  Tom held me again (our new normal) and kept telling me she was beautiful.  I asked if she had hair and was told yes, but they wouldn't be able to tell what color until after she'd had a bath.  Ha!  Tom went over and took a picture of her so I could see her.

While the pediatricians were doing her vitals I heard one of them say "Boy!"  I immediately freaked out and asked if she had said it was a boy.  The room erupted in laughter.  Apparently she had said "oh boy" because Marlowe was such a big baby.  My OB then says while laughing - "Congratulations, your daughter grew a penis!"   The tension was gone at that point, and within a couple of minutes she was on my chest.

She was perfect.  She was beautiful.  She was everything and more that I hoped she would be.  I didn't see or hold her for 25 minutes after she was born, and that felt like the longest moment of my life.  I held her for a little bit, and then I let her Daddy hold her.  To say we were instantly in love is an understatement.

Thomas came up to the hospital a little bit later, and his face lit up seeing her as well.  He even fed her a bottle - he was so proud!!

Thank you to everyone that prayed for us, checked in on us, and sent well wishes.  Our journey with our precious girl has only just begun, and I can't wait to see where it takes us.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Countdown to Baby, with all of my mixed feelings and emotions

So many thoughts running through my mind. Seventeen hours until we're supposed to go to the hospital to be induced.  It's still hard for me to believe we get to bring a baby home this time. 

I worry about Thomas, and how having a baby at home will affect him. Although, truth be told, he will be fine - he's wanted a baby sister since before I was even pregnant. I worry about him being away from us for three nights or so - the longest he'll have been away from us. I worry about him being jealous. 

I wonder how the delivery will go, and if the memories of giving birth to Isaac will pop up, and make me miss him even more. I wonder if it'll happen faster than with Thomas - good lord I hope so. 

I worry about how things will change between Tom and I. Not that I'm worried it won't be good in the end, but lack of sleep is always hard and tempers run shorter than normal.  This is mainly on my part. He's much better about not snapping. 

I wonder what she looks like, what type of temperament she'll have. I wonder if she'll look like her Daddy, her brothers, or me. In the end it doesn't really matter - she'll be beautiful no matter what. 

Just so many emotions and feelings going on tonight. Every day that I've been pregnant this time I've been waiting for the bad news, for the sad look on a doctors face and the words "I'm sorry." 

We've prayed for the baby for so long. It's just hard to believe it's finally time to accept that it's really happening. 

I've had a perfect pregnancy by the books. No gestational diabetes, no blood pressure issues, some swelling, no weight gain (still down 16 pounds from when I got pregnant), but not enough to worry. I wouldn't have been put on bed rest if it wasn't for the anxiety and stress related to losing Isaac. 

Every day I've still been pregnant since June 10th when I hit the 34 week mark is another milestone I made it past. And, as of now, this is the longest I've ever been pregnant. I had Thomas at 39 weeks at 4:05 am. That was this morning. 

I'm proud of my body for what it has done to bring our girl safe. I doubted my body, I doubted I could safely do this without messing up all sorts of things. 

Will she be the right fit for us?  I admit I didn't try to bond with her as much as I should have while she was still inside. That, to me, was keeping my heart guarded in case something happened again. I couldn't let my heart be broken into a million pieces again. So I've done my best, and talked to her, and loved her from afar. It's all I had to give at that moment. She has deserved so much more.   My hope is that I will  able to give her all of the inner parts of me that I've held in since September of 2015. 

In the end what I want is for my family to be complete, and extremely happy. Our goal over the next few days, weeks, and months is that we all come together and bring our family full circle to where we're supposed to be and life will be normal again. 

People have babies every day, and life goes on. I just need to know that this pain, sorrow, desperation, longing, love, and weakness have all been worth it. 

I need to hear her tiny baby cries and hold her, because i think that's when I'll allow all of these walls of fear and uncertainty to fall down, and I'll be so over the moon that our little girl - the one that was chosen for us from her brother Isaac, will finally be ours. It will be time to relax and know our baby girl has finally safely made it home. 

Sweet dreams baby girl - I'll definitely miss these strong kicks and movements, but I'm looking forward to seeing you on the outside so I can hug, and kiss, and hold you for hours. I'll memorize every little part of you that I missed out on doing with your brother. Rest tonight my love because tomorrow night you and I have a lot of work to do. In the end, I pray it's all worth it. I love you so much already. 


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Choose Love over Fear

It isn’t our ability or our disability that divides us.
It isn’t our gender or sexuality. 
It isn’t our religion or politics.
It isn’t our wealth or poverty.
It isn’t our race or family background.
It’s fear.
Fear divides us.
Fear keeps us separate and alone.
Fear builds a wall but love breaks it down.
Fear stays safely away, but love opens the door and says
“Let’s journey together.”
Love doesn’t have to be right.
Love doesn’t have to be perfect.
Love doesn’t need everyone to be the same.
Fear divides.  Love unites.
Therefore, I choose love.
Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest
of these is Love.  1 Corinthians 13:13

Faith takes the first step.
Hope believes the path leads to healing.
Love makes the journey beautiful.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Another first...

When some of your best friends have a new baby boy, you do everything you can to go show your support and see the beautiful baby. But, what do you do when they had their healthy baby at the same place you lost yours?  

Last night for the first time since leaving without Isaac on September 10th 2015, I faced my fears and went back inside the place I was completely broken apart. And guess what?  I survived. Sure, thinking of Isaac was on my mind the entire time, but I wasn't there for me last night. It also helped that the few days I was there with Isaac I never once saw what room number I was in, or even remembered what floor I was on exactly. 

This was the third baby we've gone to visit at various hospitals since we lost Isaac. And every single time we were back safely in our car I lost it. Not because I wasn't happy for them, (because I definitely am happy for them) it just brought up the "why us" question again. I wouldn't wish what happened to us on anyone, especially those closest to us, but why did they get their happy ending when we didn't?  

Just when I think I've handled every "first" that I'll have to go through as a loss parent another one pops up.  And as long as I keep looking forward, I'll keep going to visit friends and family, and tell them congratulations, even if it still hurts. Because in the end, I'll survive. I have each time so far. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Pregnancy after Loss

Pregnancy after loss.  It’s the one thing I truly want, but am truly terrified of getting. Before I got pregnant I would lay awake at night hoping, praying, and wondering when and if I’d ever get my little miracle.  When I found out I was pregnant I laid awake at night hoping and praying that it won’t end in another loss, and also wondering how I will cope if it does.

The pregnancy test was only the tiny word "pregnant" on a stick, but it was enough to induce the strangest fixture of fear and excitement I have ever experienced.  Will I get to bring this baby home?  Please God, let this baby come home with us. 

I feel like going out in public is comparable to a mine field some days.   Will I see someone who asks Thomas “if he’s excited to be a big brother, when he knows he already is?”  Will I see someone who tells me “not to worry, it won’t happen again?” Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll bump into someone who gives me a hug and acknowledges that it’s both a wonderful and scary time.  I never know what to expect, and sometimes the unknown is hard. 

Ultrasounds are a blessing and a curse.  It’s not enough to feel our girl kick all the time.  I need to see the heartbeat before my own pounding heart will slow down.  During my 20 week ultrasound I felt bad asking, but before she even started I asked if she would show me the heartbeat first.  That’s all I cared about.  None of the other measurements would matter if there was no heartbeat.  Also, instead of enjoying seeing Marlowe on the screen, I found that I spent most of my time praying that each measurement is what it was supposed to be, and there were no red flags that something could be wrong. 

Feeling Marlowe move around brings a sense of peace.  But some days she moves so much that it’s slightly annoying, mainly between the hours of midnight and 3 am.  Sometimes it’s painful.  But I dare not admit that to anyone other than Tom, because I know how blessed I am to even be feeling these kicks again.  The same is true for general pregnancy aches and pains.  The pain that I feel as my muscles and ligaments stretch is legitimate, yet I know I need to be grateful for the pain.  It means I have gotten further in pregnancy than some women do.  The bigger the baby, the better chance they have of surviving, right? 

The knowledge that this pregnancy is a gift, a wonderful miracle, is always with me.  But at the same time, I’m tired of being pregnant.  It takes most people nine months of pregnancy to bring home a baby.  By the time Marlowe gets here I’ll have been pregnant for sixteen months before I got to bring mine home.  Pregnancy isn’t a walk in the park, it’s tough on the body, and I don’t have the baby to show for last time’s effort and strain.  My body is weary, and my mind is hesitant to accept that all will be okay this time.  The simple act of typing that out brings huge waves of guilt.  Don’t I know how lucky I am?  How many women would give anything to be in the position I’m in? 

I have so many unanswered questions.  How can people tell me that everything will be okay this time?  They don’t know that.  Why did losing Isaac have to happen to us?  Why do people expect this pregnancy and baby to “fix” me?  Why do people ask if my doctor is watching me closer this time?  There was zero indication that losing Isaac was an option.  They wouldn’t even have known to look for it. 

And finally, why is it so hard to admit all of this?  Why does it feel like admitting all of this somehow means I am not trusting God with this pregnancy?  That I’m not grateful for this little girl?  Because I do trust Him, and I am forever grateful for this baby girl.

Pregnancy after loss is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  And holding all of these thoughts in isn’t good for me or Marlowe, so as guilty as I feel typing them out, it needs to be done.  I want this baby girl here safely more than anything else in the world right now.  So I’ll continue to lie awake most nights hoping and praying that we won’t lose her as well, and our rainbow baby girl will get to come home with us.  

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fear and Hope

Hope and Fear

Those are the two words that have surrounded my pregnancy with Marlowe.  It’s a delicate balance, and if I’m not careful I’ll allow myself to go too far one way or the other.  Having lost Isaac the innocence of being pregnant is gone.  Just because I’m pregnant and made it past the first scary twelve weeks doesn’t mean I get to bring a breathing baby home. 

If I’m being honest I’ve found it very hard to be hopeful about this pregnancy.  I don’t want to live that way though.  I want to cherish every moment, as I don’t know when or if this pregnancy will end as well.  That sounds pessimistic, but not a moment goes by that I don’t think and wonder how I’ll survive if it happens again. 

After talking with Tom the other night, and a friend via text this week, I’ve decided I will choose to have hope.  I started by buying my very first thing for Marlowe – a simple outfit.  But, by buying this I’m giving myself permission to have hope.  And that is a scary, and exhilarating thing.  I don’t want to be afraid to bond with her while I’m pregnant.  I don’t want to miss out on anything that she has to offer. 

I’ve also been dealing with the fear that being excited for this baby means that I’ll forget about Isaac.  That will never happen.  And this baby won’t replace him in any way.  He was very much longed for and loved just like Thomas and Marlowe.  We’re still making our way through that storm in our lives, but are enjoying the rays of hope that are coming from being pregnant again. 

A rainbow baby is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm.  When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean that the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath.  What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds.  Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy, and hope. 

So over the next few months I will be trying not to live in fear of the what if’s, and know that God has a plan for my life.  Just like He had a plan for Isaac’s and now Marlowe’s life.  I will do my best to not let myself go to that dark place of fear, and stay there.  It’s a scary place, and it’s not where I want to be.  So, fear and hope.  Hope and fear.  If I have to choose, I choose hope.  Hope that someday sooner than later I’ll be holding my living precious baby girl.  

(Marlowe's new outfit)

Thursday, February 2, 2017


Marriage is hard work. 
Even if you're married to your best friend it is hard. So when it seems you hit EVERY bump in the road, you must hold on to each other tightly and fiercely. 

Marriage is amazing. 
You have a partner to travel life's scariest paths with.  Together we fight the grief and the sorrow. We save each other again and again from the pits of despair. And together we keep wishing and hoping. Trying to make each other's dreams come true. You have someone to laugh with, about nothing and everything all at once. 

Marriage changes. 
This isn't just specific to couples who have lost a child. We change every day. For better and for worse. And we flip flop the two depending on the moment in the day. 

I find that I fall in love with Tom over and over. I fall in love with a new person every time. Sometimes it's the young guy I met at the movie theater, who made me laugh. Then it was watching him become a dad. Reading to my belly and talking to our boys, and now to our little girl. 

After Isaac died I needed Tom more than ever. I fell in love with the man that took care of me and slowly helped pull me out of my fog of grief. He tried so hard to make me laugh in those first few months. Even though his heart was broken too. 

How do you continue loving when your heart is breaking? 

We have our ups and downs. And we fall in love with each other again and again. We fall in love with the new versions of each other. 

We are parents. We are partners. We keep growing and changing. Fighting for our dreams, living for both of our boys, and our little girl that isn't here yet. 

Losing a child changed us forever. We had to learn to cope together. We learned how to rescue each other from sadness. And always, always we held each other up. The one thing that could have torn us apart made us stronger. There's no one else I could have gone through this with. 

  • Yes, marriage is hard...but it's also amazing, and I can't wait to see where we are years from now.