May 28, 2015

Thoughts & Nursery

Tomorrow is the big day!!!  At 7:00 am, we are getting up, heading to the hospital, and having a baby around 9:00.  

I'm trying not to think of the million things that could go wrong.  I'm trying not to think about the last time when we walked out of that hospital, broken, without a baby.  I'm trying to have hope and faith.  I'm trying to constantly remind myself to give this awful, extreme fear to God.  

It's very hard, you guys.  It really is!  I wish I could explain it, or describe how this feels.  But then again, I don't want you to feel it!   I want you to pray for me, and have tons of hope and faith and love for me!  

I'm leaning on my own tiny string of hope and faith, and my strong and optimistic husband, and my beautiful and faithful friends and family...but mostly God and His power and LOVE, to get me through this.  

If I think about what I have to go through tomorrow, I become incapacitated with fear.  Panic, anxiety attacks, tears, etc.  

I know that it's the devil, trying to get me down.  I know it's evil forces, trying to steal my joy in this SHOULD BE happy event.  It's a raging battle.  A crazy, scary storm.  Jesus calms it down, but then it starts to rage again.  I really want to have joy.  I really want to be over-the-moon excited.  I really do!!  But the thoughts of all that could go wrong...ugh.  The curse of pregnancy after loss.  It's going to be a long, long night...

Then, I think about the end result.  I think about the prize I have waiting for me at the end of this journey.  I think about Zachary, and the fact that at this time tomorrow,  I could actually be holding him!!  I could have a healthy, happy baby in my arms!  Surrounded by friends and family.  Oh my goodness, what a beautiful picture that is!!  I want it so badly.  I am praying so hard that I get that miracle.  That beautiful blessing.  I hope that at some point in the last year, I've done something good, somewhere, to deserve it.  I pray that this is our abundant blessing!

Today we have filled our day with last minute things.  We had our pre op visit with Dr. Bellantoni.  He was so calming and so reassuring, and that was very helpful for me.  I'm so nervous about having a C section, but I know millions of woman do this every day, and I know it's the healthiest way for Zachary to come into this world.  I trust God in that, and I trust my doctors, and my own gut feeling.

We had another non stress test at the office today, which Zachary passed just fine.  He's alive in there, and doing well.  We did some running around, and we ate lunch and dinner out of the house since we will be in the house for a long time after we bring him home.  We got some cleaning and organizing done too.  

Tonight, we will pack our bags and get things ready for our time at the hospital.  I'm cuddling with Frodo, because although Dave will be here on and off a lot over the next few days (my family and his family too) to be with him, I will not be.  He will not like that!  This cat has no idea what is about to rock his world;)

Finally, I wanted share Zachary's nursery.  It's not completely done yet, we still have to add a few things here and there, but it's as done as it's going to get for now.  I am so happy with how it turned out, it is just perfect!!  So here you go...

As I have said before, the "theme" we wanted was vintage travel/little explorer.  We chose this because Dave and I have serious wanderlust, and want to see the whole world together.  We want our little guy to have the same craving for travel.  We are going to take him everywhere!

The world decal was a pain to put up, but we love it.  I ordered it off Easy.  We are going to add some words to this wall too, we just have to pick the perfect things to say:)

The chest of drawers is from IKEA and let me tell you, it's the best thing we bought for this room.  The drawers are roomy and big, and there is tons of room for diapers and clothes and all the millions of things that babies need.  I'll share pictures of my organization of that when we get home.  The top we will use as a changing table.

The crib is a hand-me-down from my sweet friend, Janet.  I love it, and I love that we didn't have to pay for a crib!  They are expensive!!

These suitcases are from my Mother in law and Ashley.  The globe is from my mom.  The little chest on top is from a dear friend, Emily.  I love the "travel pizazz" they add to the room.  One day, they will be useful for storing things too!

The plane hanging from the ceiling is from one of my BFFs, Katie Mac.  I built the little white shelves, and filled them with sweet things that friends gave us, books, or pieces we found for the room.

Here is the changing station.  We are going to probably do mostly cloth diapering, but we received a TON of disposables at all of our showers, so we intend to use them all up too.  I hear that newborns don't fit in the cloth ones right away anyways, so it all works out!

This isn't a great pic, but here is another white shelf that I built on the other side of the window, filled with books.  Dave and I went to Goodwill yesterday and spent $6 on about 20 books for Zachary.  We have Disney stories and Bible stories and train and travel stories, we are all set!  Why buy NEW books, when you can get so many for way less than the cost of one?!?!

The photos hanging over the crib were a gift from my mom.  They are pictures of vintage planes, boats and balloons.  I bought IKEA frames and painted the mattes the same blue as our accent wall, and I love how it helps the prints pop.  Perfect!

Another shot of the crib and prints.

Accent wall with plane and shelf.

This closet gave me a ton of trouble.  It has this weird slanted floor, because of our stairwell being underneath it, so a regular closet organizer didn't work here.  I think I tried 3 or 4 organizers before I found one that worked.  This is an IKEA one, and when I found it and got it to work, I cried.  The closet is stocked and ready to go for Zachary!

Another shot of crib.  The wall looks yellow here, but it's really a cappuccino creamy vintage color.

Closet up of the crib.  The bear (which will come out when Zachary sleeps in there) is our Jackson bear.  We are giving him to Zachary as a sweet memory of his older brother in Heaven.

Sorry for the bad lighting, but here is the view from the door.  The glider is from Target.  The curtains, which were sent to me straight from Heaven, are from Home Goods.  I looked and looked and looked for these exact curtains for months.  They had to be the right color blue (deep navy to match the wall) the right length, and I didn't want to spend too much on them.  We miraculously found them at HG for $30.  Yes!!!!

So that is Zachary's sweet little nursery.  It's small, but it's perfect for him.

Thank you to all who are praying for us and sending us good and happy thoughts tonight and tomorrow.  You all are carrying me through this, I couldn't do it without you!!  We'll post updates and pictures as soon as we can!  


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May 21, 2015

37 weeks plus: Baby updates!

This week has been an emotional roller coaster!  Zachary is already keeping us entertained and on our toes, so I wonder at what his little personality will be like when he arrives.  

I guess I should start with our appointment last Thursday.  I go in twice a week for non stress tests, and fluid checks.  Last week when we were at the office, we found out that Zachary had flipped into the breech position since the week before.  This is unusual, for a baby to be head down that late in the game, and then flip himself back up.  But...nothing is normal with me, so I just went with it.  It made the decision of "how" he will come into this world a little easier, we were looking at c section.  They gave us the option of trying to turn him, but the docs say that the procedure is not always effective, is extremely uncomfortable, and usually ends up in a c section anyways.  We weren't interested.  I've been saying all along that if a c section is the way to get him out to my arms safe and healthy and happy, then let's do it.

Monday we went back for our tests, and he was still head down.  My BP was a little elevated, and my fluid level increased quite a bit since Thursday.  Neither situation was an emergency, but signals that an earlier delivery is going to be better for everyone.  My docs want 38 weeks, the high risk docs say 39 weeks, but there are all these variables that everyone has to take into account: borderline BP, the diabetes, the fluid levels, his position, the extreme anxiety of the mom...etc.  At that appointment, my doc told me it was time to stop work, and to get some R&R before baby gets here.  This was a little bit of a shock, because I really wanted to make it through this week to prepare, but oh well.  It's actually surprising how easy it's been for me to "check out" and just focus on getting ready for Zachary.  I am getting extremely tired each day too, so not working helps me get more done around here!

At that Monday appointment, they ordered some tests to be done to check to make sure all was totally good, and told me that they wanted me to come back on Tuesday for another BP check.  All the tests came back ok, all organs and systems functioning well, no protein in urine, all good signs.  Then, when we went back on Tuesday, my BP was still a little elevated and I anxiously shared with them that I hadn't felt as much movement from him that morning.  Well, that got us sent over to L&D quick!!  I think I was just overly nervous on Tuesday, both Dave and I had let him move around 5:30 am that morning, but sometimes I get in my head and worry myself to death, and the doctors don't take that lightly.  For which I am very, very glad.  They sent us down for more monitoring, and that was a blessing in disguise because we got to see Dr. Bellantoni, and he walked us through all their thoughts about our case and what to do about delivery.  I can tell he really wants to get this baby out of my asap, as soon as we are sure it is safe for Zachary and for me, and in the best way possible for both of us.  There are so many factors to take into account, and he told us that once again their team would be discussing our case at their Wednesday meeting.  He was very sweet, and always knows how to calm me down.  He told us that Zachary looked great on the monitors and my BP came down a little, so they sent us home.

I was very emotional on Tuesday.  Tears came as we left the hospital.  I felt scared and overwhelmed, and very nervous about every little thing.  I want to know that Zachary will be ok, I want to know when he will get here, and how.  I am afraid of giving birth again, I guess because last time was so sad, and so painful.  I am afraid of pain, I'm afraid of having surgery.  I am actually afraid of having a live baby, even.  I have no idea what to do with a live baby!  What if I am a terrible mom?  What if I can't bond with him, because of Jackson?  What if...what if.  I want to be brave, I want to have faith, its just so difficult for me.  I am scared.

Yesterday, I started feel better.  I prayed a lot over the past two days, and I know that whatever I can't handle, God can get me through.  I know that most moms feel scared their "first" time around.  I am convincing myself that worrying about the baby dying or something going wrong does not HELP anything, so I am not allowed to worry about it anymore.  I have to believe that this time will be different, and that we will have a happy ending.  If I keep my mind and heart on that track, I'm not so scared.  

Today we went in for our testing again, and Zachary has flipped back to head down!  Can you believe it?  This kid is all over the place!  Our regular OB nurse just laughed.  Apparently, yesterday in the meeting with docs, they decided to go ahead and schedule my C section for Tuesday!  38 weeks!  But now...that he is head down, that changes everything, again.  Zachary is keeping life interesting for all of us.  My fluid is still a little high, so he could flip back to breech.  They want us to come into L&D on Saturday for another check to see where he is, possibly do an internal check to see what my body is doing, and do the non stress and BP checks too.  I am very glad they want us to do this, because going into the holiday weekend, I am worried that a lot can change in 4 or 5 days.  I'm used to getting seen every 2 or 3, and going in on Saturday will keep that schedule up.  

Depending on what they see on Saturday, they will either schedule the C section for Tuesday, or let me keep all my regular appointments for that day.  I see the docs in the early am, followed by a non stress test, followed by a trip down to St. Joes for a growth scan.  Depending on how all of that goes, we will schedule either an induction or a c section for that week.  Possibly that day.  Possibly Wednesday.  

No matter what, it looks like we are going to have a baby by next week...

That is still sinking in!

I am going to have a baby by next week!?!?!

Oh, how our lives are about to change and turn upside down in so many ways!

I am so grateful to be here, I am so thankful that we have gotten this far.  I am so thankful for my docs and the team of people trying to figure out how to deliver this precious baby into our world as safely and as quickly as possible, and as healthy as can be.  I have been blessed by my sweet family, and all of our friends and acquaintances and all the prayer warriors out there.  What a ride it's been!  I am most grateful to God for getting us here, and keeping me as sane as possible throughout the process - when I can get out of the way enough for Him to work His love and good and peace in me.  Sometimes, if I really concentrate, I can hear Him telling me that everything is going to be ok.  That Zachary and I are healthy, and he will arrive happy and whole, and that we will be blessed.  

I am hoping that is His word in my heart, and not just my own nonsense.  I think back to when I was in labor with Jackson, at the most painful part before they talked me into the epidural, and how I heard God telling me over and over your blessings will be abundant...I remember how loud and strong that voice was, and I am praying that this, a happy and healthy baby boy, is what He meant.  

We will keep everyone updated, for sure.  I'm going to try to get everything done in the nursery so I can share that post.  It really is the sweetest room in our house, I am so happy with out it turned out!  I have to hang some shelves and pictures, and I need to buy some books for him, but it's 90% done.  I can't wait to share it!

Thanks for all the love and prayers and well wishes, we love you all! <3

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May 9, 2015

Mother's Day

To all the moms out there, whether your child is here on Earth, or waiting for you in Heaven, Happy Mother's Day!

It's a tough day for a lot of people, and I learned this week that part of the origin of Mother's Day stems from baby loss.  Isn't it a little tragic that consumerism has taken it over, for the money?  Not that moms don't deserve to be celebrated, they totally do, but loss is so taboo and no one wants to talk about's ironic that this holiday may have started because of loss.

There are a lot of things going through my mind as this day approaches tomorrow.  On the one hand, I am very excited to become a mom to a baby on Earth.  So excited.  Well, so nervous too, but mostly I can't wait to meet Zachary and be a mother to a baby that I can hold and kiss and love in person.

On the other, I can't ever forget the babies that made me a mom in the first place.  I can't shake the feeling that something...someone...two someones...are missing this year.  

It's sort of a morbid thought, because of course IF Jackson and Lily were here, than Zachary would not be.  Zachary was conceived before Jackson and Lily's due date, so obviously if the pregnancy with them went well, than this sweet baby boy bouncing around in my belly would not exist.  This thought is bringing up all sorts of weird and hard feelings this weekend.  I am so THANKFUL for Zachary, but to admit that makes me feel like I have to finally be "ok" with the fact that our twins died.  

That makes me feel guilty.  I tell myself I should be ashamed, and devastated about our loss.  I should still be mourning deeply.

Then I tell myself to shut the heck up.  There's really no way to make sense of all of this...the miscarriage of Lily, the stillbirth of Jackson, this pregnancy with Zachary...there is no sense to it.

In the excitement and preparation of Zachary's coming into the world, the grief and sadness of losing Lily and Jackson does seem to be ebbing.  It makes me feel like I am losing my connection to them as their mom, and that scares me.  I remember when I was in the depths of my grief last June after delivering Jackson, that I never wanted to feel "better" because to feel better would separate me from him.  I don't WANT to be sad, or to grieve, but I don't want to forget him either.  I hate this separation, but then if I wasn't separated from him...Zachary would not be here.

It's just hard to wrap my brain around it all.  When I try, I come to the conclusion that I am still just healing one a day at a time, and while the strangling pain and grief of baby loss is easing up on me, it's never going to be gone.  I tell myself I am just getting better at meshing it into my life now.  I am getting stronger.  I can deal with it and it may not hurt as much, BECAUSE I am stronger.  Because I am BRAVE.  Not because I am better or the loss makes any more sense, or anything like that.  

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of them.  Mostly Jackson, of course, because of how long he was with me and the fact that I delivered him and held him.  I find ways to integrate both of them into our lives all the time, and even into Zachary's life.  I have a beautiful story to tell Zachary about his big sister and brother, which I will do soon after we meet face to face.  Some special things are going into his nursery to represent them.  We've planted a rose bush in our garden in Jackson's honor, a pinkish white one, just like the hospital gave to us on the day we said goodbye to him.  In a few weeks I'll be filmed for a documentary about baby loss to help break the silence and stigma surrounding it, all in their honor.  To get their story out there to help and heal and hopefully change the world in a very small way.

I am still their mom, I love them, and their lives still matter.

I have to remind myself that our babies in Heaven are very much a part of our everyday lives.  We've just gotten used to parenting them in this way, this unconventional and unfortunate way.  I have to remind myself that I am NOT forgetting them, and not "moving on" from them, but settling into a pattern of parenting that is very unique.  I am embracing them in this out of this world connection that we have.

As Mother's Day comes around this first year after our loss, I am celebrating in two very different ways.  I'm celebrating the short and sweet lives of the babies we lost last year, and I am celebrating the fact that in just a few short weeks - our Rainbow baby will be in our arms.  Because of them all, I am a mom.  Each one of our children have taught me such different lessons, such different ways to love, and such different ways of being a parent.  I am grateful for each of them, and love them so much.  My heart, while sad and excited and scared, is so big and so full, BECAUSE of all three of them.  

It is an honor to be the mother of three: Lily, Jackson and Zachary.  Well, actually four, because Ashley definitely counts too.  It's an honor to parent all of them in unique and beautiful ways.  I learn something new every day about being a parent from each of them, and I am thankful for the extraordinary way that God has chosen me to parent and how He blessed my life through all four.   

Happy Mother's Day <3
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