Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Shoulders We Cry On

I am haunted. Haunted by the day I gave birth to a dead baby. Every single night, when I close my eyes, I see the eyes who entered that room. Just their eyes. It's like a really horrible slide show. I see B's eyes. So, so red. So swollen. I see my handsome young Doctor's eyes. So dark brown. So helpless. I see B's cousin's eyes. She was the first one to get there after B that morning. She was so, so sad. I'd never seen her so sad. I see my MIL's eyes. So bewildered. So helpless. I see by best friend's eyes. So strong, so caring. I see my friend N's eyes. She started to walk in the room while I was pushing and I motioned for her to leave. She looked so worried. Her eyes so wide. It was obvious she had rolled out of bed and come straight to the hospital and sped the entire 45 minutes to the hospital. I found out later that she had, and when I had waved her off, she stood outside the door and sobbed.

I'll never forget the hugs each of those people gave me, as I laid in that bed, trying to get my 23 week, 5 day baby out. My mom was en route from Southern California the whole morning, so having all of those people there for support meant the absolute world to me. They cried with me, comforted me and also distracted me enough so that I could make it through. Two of my best friends from childhood had been planning on driving up to visit with me for that weekend. I texted them not to come, and now I kind of wish I would have told them to still come up. It would have been really good to have them there, but I just felt bad having them come up to such a traumatic scene. They were both on pins and needles trying to decide what to do. I found out later my mom had also called and told them she didn't think they should come up. So many people around us, holding us so close that day. I'll never, ever forget that morning in the hospital. Even when I try, not a day goes by that I don't relive that awful slideshow.

Then we were home. And my mother in law and her husband had gone to our house several hours before and cleaned the place from top to bottom. She changed my sheets. She straightened the towels. It felt amazing to come home to. And my best friend stayed. And went and got dinner for everyone. And she distracted me. She let me cry. We went out for breakfast with my mom and B the next morning. I'm so glad she stuck around. Without her the three of us would have never stopped crying.

I try not to be really personal on facebook. I have so many "friends" that I don't really talk to, and don't really want knowing my business, but I just had to announce our loss. I had to get it out there in one fell swoop...so I posted about losing Bremy.

Then I got emails, texts, facebook comments. From so many. I heard from people I hadn't talked to in ten years. I heard from my college roommate-even though we now rarely speak. And she told me how sorry she was. I got flowers from B's boss, from a girl I hadn't seen since 11th grade and some friends we just reconnected with. I got a giftcard for a dinner out from a friend I never see. We received the most beautiful flowers from a friend of a friend who had recently had a baby girl. I found that most of those people who really reached out, were moms. Everyone knew I was hurting, but the friends I have who are moms, really knew I was hurting. I had strangers messaging me on facebook, telling me they also went through this, or they also had an incompetent cervix and they shared their stories of grief and shared their stories of success. And I hung on every word. I can't describe the level of comfort each message, each flower, each card meant to me in the weeks following that day. I was so, so weak and broken and knowing that anyone was thinking of me, made me feel less so.

I'm so thankful for every single friend in our lives. It was so hard for me to be so weak and to depend on friends to get me through. I'm much more comfortable at being the shoulder that others cry on. And I could tell some of my friends struggled with how to be there for me, since I'm not usually the type to ask for help or seek comfort. I'm usually the one giving it. But they found a way. It continues to be a struggle for me to really reach out, but I still have friends checking in on me, and just knowing that they understand how hard I'm taking this is bringing me some comfort. I'm so grateful to have so many I can rely on at this point.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Girl Time

I got a good dose of girl time this past weekend and it was just what I needed. Thursday night I went solo to our neighbors house for some wine, cheese and laughs. I stayed there til way too late laughing until my belly hurt. S and I went through decorating blogs and laughed and poked fun at some of the before and after pictures. We each had our comments and had each other rolling with laughter. We woke her hubby up (B's best friend) and he wanted to know what was so funny. It's hard to explain to someone why chevron print curtains and aqua painted patio furniture is cause for squeals at midnight! Just a girl thing I guess!

Friday was a holiday and I met some co-workers to celebrate one of their birthdays. We ended up chatting for a couple hours. I headed home early, knowing I had to get up early to go wine tasting on Saturday.

This was our second annual Winter wine tasting trip. Three of my girlfriends from B's hometown have late December birthdays, so we picked an earlier date to get together and celebrate. B's hometown is just over the hill from the Napa Valley. We had a big van and a driver (one of the girls boyfriends :)) and headed out for a full day of wine, laughs and general tipsy fun. It was a blast once again. A few new girls joined us and it just amazes me how much fun we can have. Everyone in this group just gets along so well.

I was definitely feeling the effects the next morning. Luckily Sunday was just me and B doing our Sunday football routine. I planned meals for the week and took a long bath. It was amazing to really take my mind off things, if even for a couple days.

It's been hard to get back on track this week with my healthy eating after this weekend o' fun, but I'm determined to stay on track. After all, December is just around the corner!

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Friday and My House is Clean!

I would seriously give up almost any of my monthly utilities to keep my housekeepers. I've had my housekeepers for a year and a half. I'd never, ever had one before in any capacity. Even though I do not work long hours, and it's just me and B in a modest 3 bedroom ranch, I felt the need to have one. I hated that feeling of always needing to clean. I never felt like there was a day when the entire house was clean all at once. Sure the bathrooms and kitchen would be clean, but I'd have piles of laundry to fold, sheets to change, duvets to wash. It was just never ending and so unsatisfying. So I went on our neighborhood website and read reviews of local cleaning companies. I decided on a family run company (3 sisters) and called them up. My Fridays tend to be flexible, so I had them come do an initial cleaning and then hired them to come every other week.

I'll never, ever forget the feeling I felt when they left after the first cleaning. I felt like weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, I felt giddy. It was seriously one of the best feelings ever-it pretty much had the same effect as a massage does. I look forward to those Fridays So much now.

Having them in my life has made me SO much more on top of organizing and picking up. I know they are coming, so surfaces have to be cleared (ie no mountain of clean laundry on the guest bed) so that they can actually clean and do their work. I now see what our house looks like when it's *sparkling* and that encourages me to keep it looking that way at all times. So on the weeks they don't come, it' still pretty easy to just tidy up quickly and have a 100% clean house.

I can skip the really yucky and really difficult stuff. I haven't gotten on my knees in the bathroom since I hired them. I just do a touch-up toiled clean on the weeks they don't come-and that does the trick! I have them clean my fridge about every other month--and y'all--it looks brand new when they are done. I don't think I could match it if I tried! They do windows--they do it all. Yep. I'm in love.

The weekend is now mine! When they leave on Friday morning I feel like I have the weekend to just relax. I'm no longer waking up early on Saturday to clean the house before we go do what we have planned for the weekend. I wake up and sigh, my house is already clean!!!

They've taught me how it's done. I thought my house was clean before they came-but I see now how to deep clean properly and I love that I've learned some things from them!

Obviously, if money got really tight, I'd have to forego this luxury, but trust me when I say I would give a lot up before I got rid of my girls on Friday! The cost is actually extremely reasonable, and in my mind completely worth it. What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Self Doubt

Lately, I've been realizing how much I doubt myself, and doubt the world around me. I also realized that I've been feeling this negativity more and more, even before we lost Bremy. Tonight, I got to thinking about it more seriously and my mind went on for a while, backtracking through the years, wondering when I let this darker side into my life.

I was never like this as a child. I wasn't like this as a teenager. Sure, I struggled with some issues of self-consciousness, especially with my weight. But, I always thought really highly of myself as a person and always thought of myself as smart, popular and fun. I always knew what I wanted, and never doubted that I would get it. I wanted to do well in school, so I did. I wanted to go to a certain college, and I went there. I wanted to travel, I wanted to be close with my family and close with my friends and I was. I was always dreaming of my next goal. It wasn't an intentional goal setting exercise, it was just my personality. Life was just wide open, in my eyes.

I think the world crashed in on me a little in college. I had never attended private school before, and I was not prepared for the true culture shock of a "rich kid" school. My hand-me-down Honda Accord was perfectly fine in high school, but suddenly it was the hoopty amongst the brand new bimmers, land rovers and lexus. I also caught on quickly that I wasn't the only over-achiever in my class and that not every accomplishment would come as easily as it had in high school, where, whether it did or not, I assumed my reputation as an excellent student and mature young woman preceeded me. I was schocked that there were sororities that didn't invite me back to their preference night. I felt my self confidence slowly slipping. I ended up having a great group of friends and a lot of fun and success in college, but I don't think I held my head as high.

Then, there was law school. I walked through those doors feeling as though I didn't belong. In my mind I barely even got in to this top school, and I felt the need to hide rather than shine. Law school itself is based on a method of breaking you down. They call it the socratic method, meant to make you think better on your feet, but it could not have been any worse for my self esteem and learning ability. My once outspoken, confident, joyful self could barely drag myself to class, much less participate and defend myself to an esteemed professor or self-righteous classmates. I think I hated every single minute of class in law school, except for my Criminal Procedure and Evidence classes. I knew in my heart that I had found B at that time so that I could actually make it through. I made very few friends in law school and needed a friend and shoulder when class was done, and that was B.

While I made it through law school with no problems academically, I was not at the top of my class and wasn't earning any awards or recognition. It was so foreign to me to be in the middle of the pack and I just could not identify with my so called "place" in that environment. I just hated it. I'll never forget, right around graduation, the assistant dean of the law school scheduled meetings with every student who was not at the top of the class. It was a meeting to discuss our bar study plans. I naively scheduled my meeting and realized very quickly that this meeting was meant to remind me that I'd probably have to work extra hard, as my law school performance was a great indicator that I probably would not succeed in passing the bar exam on the first try.

I cried the whole way home from that meeting. B was ready to drive down to his office and punch him in the face. We both just could not believe that they thought this negative reinforcement would help me pass the bar exam?

But it did, my mantra during my whole bar study was "F this school" I'm going to pass and show them! And I did. And I seriously felt like marching in there and telling them that their lack of faith in me was obviously misplaced. But I never did, I was too busy working, being the lawyer they weren't sure I could be. That was a definite confident booster, but still. I didn't feel all that successful.

I was lucky enough to have a boss that summer who saw promise in me. Even though I had passed the exam, I still had a hard time believing that I was smart enough to practice law. I had been so incredibly broken by law school. I questioned everything I did, but my boss always told me I was good enough, and he hired me on as an attorney as soon as I passed the bar.

You'd think that would give me some confidence, and I'm sure it did a bit. I'm proud of myself. I know I'm a good lawyer for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes I know I could work harder and give more effort, but for the most part I feel like I'm good at what I do, and I love what I do. But when I think back to that high school girl. The girl who always knew she would be a lawyer, the girl who did everything she set out to do and was always dreaming, I realize I'm not that same person. The reality of finances, life plans, age, disappointed, loss, the real world have set in. They've set in so much that I find myself worrying more and dreaming less.

I dreamt of finding B, and I found him. I dreamt of my wedding, and I did feel like it was everything I had envisioned and was so happy to see such a fun project come to fruition. I dreamt of my baby and was so happy she came to us so easily. I was so excited to start dreaming of our life with her and everything that came with my pregnancy and family. And it was so suddenly stolen from me that I feel even more out of touch with my dreams now that I have so much fear of my future.

I know that we change and evolve and grow. I know that life makes us stronger and smarter, but I'd be lying if I said I don't want that old girl back. The one who saw life as being wide open. As if the world was hers for the taking. The girl who never doubted she would become an attorney, get married, have children, decorate a dream home and have a lake house. I feel like this girl is being chipped away at. Like my spirit is just fading. I am determined to get her back, I can't let this year steal my spirit.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Grams

On October 26th, I lost my beautiful, inspiring Grandmother. My mom was very, very close with her mother, so in turn, I was extremely close to her as well. I talked to her every week and relied on her for all of my domestic-related questions. She was so strong, so loved, and so beautiful.

I hadn't talked about this with anyone, but when my Grams became sick last December, I felt a need to get pregnant. I felt ready, and also felt an urgency to have a child before my Grams was no longer with us. I never told anyone, because I know that's not a real reason to start a family, but it most definitely played a role in my enthusiasm for getting pregnant. I was so hopeful that my baby would meet her great-grandmother. In my mind I envisioned how awesome it would be for her to hold my baby, and sew her blankets and bedding and all that good stuff. I envisioned the photos of the two of them, of the three of us. I just wanted that to come true.

When I lost Bremy, I knew that this dream would not become reality. My Grams' health had deteriorated quite rapidly over the summer, and I knew there was no way she would make it to see our next child. That day, from the hospital bed, I wept and sobbed to my mother and told her how sad I was that Grams would never know my children. It broke my heart into a thousand pieces, and still does. The thought that my child will never meet my Grams is very, very hard on me. My Grams is so, so important in my life and such a guiding force in my future as a mother.
The don't make women like my Grams anymore. Women who live completely for their family with absolutely no concern for themselves. Her joy came completely from her family (and maybe from a Bingo game or two).

I am having such a hard time remembering she is not here. She got very sick last December and had been having complications since then, but it really only affected her body. Her mind was always 100%. I still called her every week. I still dialed her number in the middle of a recipe with a question.

So, this week as I prepared a pot roast, which isn't something I usually make, I started to dial her number and shed some tears when I realized I couldn't call her to ask her how she did it.

Thanksgiving will be so hard for me, as it was always a time when we would either cook together or have phone conversations about techniques and recipes. I have perfected her stuffing and always let her know how great it turns out. I'm really going to miss all of our little traditions.

But, I'm so thankful to have them. I'm so thankful for her leadership and guidance in being a woman, a wife and someday, a mother. It's so hard to find the words to describe how I feel about her and how important she was and will be to me throughout my life.

To say the last few months have been hard would be an understatement. I can feel life chipping away at my spirit, but I'm trying so hard to be strong and to find happiness and joy in the people and love that is around me everyday. I know for certain there are good things to come for me and my family. And am so thankful that I've had 28 years of love and memories with my beautiful Grandma.

The Good News is

I was feeling overwhelmed. Thinking about getting pregnant again, thinking about what it would take. I was overwhelmed thinking about money, the bigger picture of our finances and how we would manage. B saw me starting to get upset and he asked what was stressing me out so much at that moment. I told him. "Babies, money" and started to cry. He hugged my shoulders and with so much hope and love in his eyes he said, "The good news is we can make more of both". My heart absolutely melted. While it may not always be, or seem that easy. It's the truth. I have to remember to keep perspective.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

When Gallbladders Attack

One of my first nights out, post-losing Bremy, I met up with some girlfriends and enjoyed enchilada soup and salad at Chili's. Had a wonderful time getting out and about, came home and found myself hovered over in severe pain. I was practically screaming in pain and B had no idea what to do. I felt nauseous, and eventually threw up and instantly felt better. Was it food poisoning? Wasn't sure...all I knew was that it was over.

The next day we headed out early to visit some friends. I had about three sips of B's frappucino and was again, doubled over in pain. I excused myself to their bathroom and felt like I would throw up again. No such luck. My friend came into the bathroom and saw me, beet red and sweating and was so worried. Ten minutes later, I was fine.

Since giving birth, my body was on a roller coaster ride. My sleep, my skin, my bowel movements, everything was out of whack. I also had a horrible bladder infection a few days after delivering. So, I just chalked this up to another post partum issue.

A couple weeks went by. Our friends came over to watch football on a Sunday morning and brought breakfast burritos. I chose a spicy, chorizo variety and was again doubled over in pain for about 15 minutes. Nothing would relieve it. But once it was gone, I was totally fine.

Again, on our anniversary we went out for mexican food and had to leave right after finishing because I was in so much pain.

I'm not sure what I thought it was, or why I wasn't more worried about it, but when I casually mentioned to my mom that we'd had to cut our anniversary dinner short, she was concerned. I described the horrible sharp pains that were really high in my abdomen, under my right boob and she practically screamed, "That's your gallbladder!!" I was actually walking into the gym as she told me, so while on the treadmill I googled and saw that I had every single classic sign. I made an appointment with my doctor that afternoon. I didn't want this to become as issue with me getting pregnant or in my next pregnancy.

My primary doctor scheduled me for an ultrasound and it was confirmed. Just over a week later I was scheduled for my outpatient gallbladder removal surgery.

I was told it's extremely common in women, although the exact cause is unknown. Fatty foods tend to trigger the attacks, and for the most part the issues don't go away without surgery. The surgery was laproscopic and within about four days I was feeling well enough to work. I took a light schedule this first week back, but felt completely 100% fine six days after the procedure.

I'm rockin' a few little incision marks, but overall it was a piece of cake.

I'd never, ever had surgery before, so this was another first for 2011. Fun times! But I'm just glad it was so "easy" comparatively!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Little Things

I feel the need to share this necklace with you all. I purchased it at Forever21 recently, and wore it for the first time today. I received three compliments on it, including one from a man. It's always nice when people notice things you wear. It's called the black/gold flower and leaf necklace. And for $6.80, I figured I'd share in case you were looking for a little something to spruce up an outfit on the cheap. It has a nostalgic feel to it, and also reminds me of the famous van cleef clover necklace (which I've always wanted!).




I typically wear black every.single.day. Yep, it's just the way it is. Since I'm in and out of jails, I don't wear anything too fancy. So I always try to wear some jewelry so I don't look too drab!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 15th is Miscarriage and Infant Loss Awareness Day

These are Bremy's perfect footprints.

I never would have understood how much this type of loss hurts before I felt it myself. I hope those who continue to suffer find some peace today and I hope those who know someone who has lost a pregnancy or a baby will reach out and let those people know they care an that they remember. For some reason this is still a taboo, but it's the worst thing I've ever felt and I'm not afraid to talk about it.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Like a Smack in the Face

We were having a great weekend. I had a girls night out last night and we stayed out way too late. B hung out with his friend (I was out with his wife) and he drove us home after we all had too many drinks. We slept in this morning and headed out to Ikea to look at some kitchen cabinets we have been eyeing. We were having a great time strolling around, coming up with ideas, looking at all of the display rooms. B has only been to Ikea once before, so he was taking it all in with me. As we made our way past the dresser section, I stopped at the hemnes dresser in white and casually mentioned that this would have been Bremy's dresser. I'd always planned on getting it and using it as a changing table for her nursery. I said it in passing, not giving it a ton of thought, but I looked at B's reaction and knew I'd upset him. He stared at the dresser for a long moment before joining the crowded shuffle following the arrows of the showroom floor. I rubbed his shoulder, gave him a sad face and apologized for upsetting him. We turned the corner, and were suddenly in the kids section. We both looked at each other with watery eyes and clasped hands as we briskly strolled by the pink butterfly room, perfect for a little girl. Around the next corner was a very pregnant lady, I dropped my eyes to the floor. Wow. It was hitting us from every angle. My eyes still down, I almost tripped over an abandoned city select double stroller, the sound of a laughing toddler in the background. I took a huge, deep breath. We couldn't get to the lower level fast enough.

We didn't spend much more time in the store. By the time we made it outside to the sunshine, we both were fine. But, it had been a tough moment. Even though we mention her name often, I think when B saw that dresser, he realized all of the plans we had had for her, for her room and for our future. It was a sad moment for him, and the bombardment of reminders that followed were almost laughable. But we weren't laughing. A friend of mine who lost her 20 year old sister a few years ago wrote to me after the loss of Bremy. She said, "it will never get better, just easier to cope with" and that is just exactly how we feel. We will never feel better about losing our first daughter, but recently, it's been getting easier. A month ago, that moment in Ikea would have broke me. I would have had to run out in tears. I know this. We are healing, but we'll always carry this scar. There will be more moments like this. But we know we are strong enough to handle what we're hit with.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday

So Pioneer Woman's Italian Chicken Soup was a definite fail last night. Such a bummer because it created quite the mess, took a lot of work, and made a ton of soup. It was edible, but not enjoyable. Not the result you want when you've worked hard in the kitchen.

I ate on plan all day once again! I've realized my "witching hour" is 4pm. I'm getting hungry, not ready to make dinner, don't want to eat a lot, but need to have something. That's when I'm typically craving a salty carb. Luckily I don't have much in the house to get me off track, but I've got to make sure to plan ahead for that snack.

Today is a grey, rainy day. I took advantage of my late start work day and slept in a little, enjoyed my cup of coffee and headed to the gym for a nice walk while watching house hunters! Now it's off to work and hopefully home early. I love, love my job!

Here's my meal plan today:

Bfast: coffee and greek yogurt with fruit
Snack: granola bar
Lunch: leftover soup(hoping it tastes better today!)
Snack: apple with peanut butter
Dinner: Pioneer Woman's Sour Cream Noodle Bake ok so this is not the healthiest meal, but it's easy and it looks like it can't go wrong. The secret will be sticking to an appropriate portion. My trick has been loading up a tupperware for leftovers prior to dishing out our own dinner. It's been working!

I have to say, it's been 2.5 days of being on track with food and I feel really, really good. My mood is awesome, my energy is good and I feel in control of things, which is always a good feeling. I'm ready to make it 7 days in a row!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday

So I successfully went to the gym yesterday! Just a brisk walk on the treadmill, but it felt good to get sweaty. I also ate perfectly yesterday! I might have snuck in a little too much ice cream for dessert, but it was delish!

Here's today's plan:

Bfast: coffee and bowl of Special K cereal
Snack: string cheese and dried apricots
Lunch: leftover grilled chicken breast from last night, broccoli and 1/2 cup mac and cheese
Snack: granola bar
Dinner: Italian Chicken Soup from the Pioneer Woman. I've never made this before so I hope it turns out. It's been raining off and on here so it will be fun to have soup for dinner! I'll make a veggie as well.
Dessert: ??? hopefully I will be full but if not I'll probably have some frozen berries with whipped cream :)

Feel free to share any diabetic friendly recipes!

I don't think I'll have gym time today, but most definitely have to go tomorrow! Hold me to it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall Shows

So, I decide to DVR a couple of new shows. The promos for the new Fall programs were pretty intense, no? I gave in and decided to check a couple out.

My favorite so far is Hart of Dixie. Not joking. It's been a while since I've tuned in to the ol' CW, but I have to say I like this fluffy, girly show. I think Rachel Bilson is adorable and the male co-stars aren't too shabby either! And, since I've always wished I were a Southern belle, the setting is right up my alley. I'm going to keep watching for sure.

I've also been watching Pan Am. I don't know if it's going to be a keeper. I love the style and the dreamy quality of the cinematography, but the story lines are just ok and the characters aren't that love able. Not sure if it will stay on the DVR.


Whitney. They promoted the heck out of this show, so I decided to watch. I haven't watched a show with laughing in the background in years. Like can't even remember the last time I watched an actual sit-com. This show is not good. Sorry. The first two episodes were both involving role-playing because Whitney was self-conscious about whether she and her boyfriend had a strong relationship. I seriously could not believe the second episode was all about role playing just like the first. No thanks!

Up all Night. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to watch this one. I was SO looking forward to watching it while being pregnant, so I didn't know if it would be hard to like since I lost Bremy. But, I decided to tune in. I really loved the pilot episode and I think I'll keep watching. I love Christina Applegate, and well, I love that the baby's name is Amy. It just makes me happy. No one names their baby Amy anymore! It's a cute show and it makes me laugh.

I'm still all about my reality shows and right now it's Bev Hills housewives, Rachel Zoe, Project Runway and whatever Teen mom/16 and Pregnant train wreck is running on MTV. Oh, and as previously mentioned, Sister Wives. Love, love! Wow, that's a lot of shows!! And somehow I've managed to squeeze in 2.5 seasons of Mad Men. Where have I been with this show? SO good. So behind, but I love watching it on Netflix so it's all good. Any recs?

Tuesday

I didn't do so well with my "healthy eating" plan this weekend. And with an anniversary dinner out last night, complete with an ice cream sundae, it's time to get back to reality.

I have a late start for work today, so I'm off to the gym. I should have left 30 minutes ago, but my google reader an pinterest were calling! I thought if I wrote here that I was going to the gym, I would most likely actually go!

Here's my healthy plan for the day:

Breakfast: Coffee and low sugar instant oatmeal
Post-workout snack: cottage cheese and fruit
Lunch: leftover enchilada and pinto beans from last night with a salad
Snack: dried apricots and granola bar
dinner: grilled teriyaki chicken breasts, steamed broccoli and small yukon gold potato
dessert: scoop of ice cream :)

Looks like a good protein to carb ratio to me! Happy Tuesday, all!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Two Year Anniversary


Today, B and I celebrated our two year anniversary. No trips of fancy gifts this year. We recreated our first date and went out for Mexican food and just talked. There is no one I would have rather spent the last two years with.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

To a Happy Week!

In an effort to keep this blog as more of a journal of our lives as they are, I have been wanting to write more current updates of things we're doing, rather than only the emotions I'm feeling.

After a very long week, be both crashed Friday after work. It was pizza ordered in and Mad Men on Netflix until we both fell asleep. Saturday we slept in until 10am (practically unheard of for me!!). We decided to head to our favorite breakfast spot in town for a late breakfast. We were both rather disappointed with our usual order. For me, a veggie omelet, fruit and toast and for B ham and eggs with potatoes. We weren't sure if it was a new cook or what, but nothing was prepared as usual. Oh well, we were still full despite leaving quite a bit on our plate. Then it was home for a short walk with Maverick, a visit with B's best friend and his family who live around the corner and back home to get ready for our friend's wedding that night.

In an effort to not wear the navy blue cocktail dress I've worn to the past three "dress-up" events I've attended, I dug out an old black wrap dress I haven't worn in years. Despite having more than enough time to get ready, we were about ten minutes late by the time we got in the car. The wedding was downtown so parking was a bit of a challenge. We were sprinting to the venue, hoping we would make it for the ceremony. We made it with about five minutes to spare! The ceremony right on time an was very quick. With the reception right across the hall, we were enjoying cocktails, dinner and dancing for the rest of the evening. I enjoyed catching up with a few girls I hadn't seen in months. B and I danced til the end of the night. It was a fun party. A bit of a mellow crowd, but we had a great time being out with friends (including B's cousin A, who was the matron of honor).


This morning we were both up and online plotting out our fantasy football teams and also making our picks for our pick 'em league. I've always loved watching sports, but never really understood the ins and outs of football until I started dating B. I'm not ashamed to say I'm completely into football now.
At the wedding with A
Our normal Sunday routine during football season is: up, coffee, I make eggs and B makes his breakfast potatoes. We do our last minute adjustments and sit and watch football all morning. Then it's yard work for him and meal planning/grocery shopping for me. Today was a little different in that B's cousin A came over with her husband. Their kids were at the inlaws so they were excited to spend some time with us. So it was up, showers, tidy the house and enjoy their company. They brought delicious breakfast burritos and we all practically peed our pants laughing and rooting the 49ers on in their victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. It was quite a game and all four of us were extremely intense the whole way through. It was so nice to lose ourselves in a pointless game and then celebrate a win. Then it was back to Sunday as usual around our house. Yard work and menu planning. I spent the afternoon watching more of Mad Men, season three and B hung out with his best friend around the corner.

I grilled cheeseburgers for dinner and B is off to bed. I'm sneaking in a new episode of Sister Wives before bed (why do I love this show?). It was a good weekend and I'm hopeful for a happy week.

A Friday Post

This week kinda sucked. That is just the only way to describe it. There were a couple of high points, but man, what a week. Frustrating work days, draining clients, my first post-partum period (aka niagra falls) and two nights of no sleep due to crying all night, missing my Bremy girl. So hard.

Overall I'm doing much better. I don't think about losing her every ten minutes. But this week, the nights were just hard. Hard to fall asleep without picturing the day we lost her. Hard to fall asleep without worrying about the future for me and B. And for some reason on those two nights that I lay awake in tears, I just could not stop. I had to get up and sit in the hall bath so I wouldn't wake up B. This week was the first week I wanted to open her memory box from the hospital and look at the tiny footprints they took of her feet. I needed to feel something of her. I needed the tangible card stock in my hands with her ten teeny toes in black ink. I cried over her little feet and mourned her loss. Those were two ugly nights for me. My eyes were practically swollen shut I was crying so hard. I just could not stop.

Thankfully the last two nights have been tear-free. I've drifted to sleep without being haunted by this experience. This is something I'm learning: grief really comes in waves and is totally unpredictable.

The high point for my week was my 6-week post partum Dr. appointment where we got the green light to start trying for baby2 in December. Even though we had planned on December no matter what, it was very satisfying to hear my Dr. tell me she thought it would be perfect timing and to hear her say how excited she was for us. We all know it's going to be a very, very scary experience, but we agreed it will also be part of the healing process for us. We talked about what we'll need to do next time around and it made me feel so much more hopeful than I had been feeling.
To have your Dr. give you a big, long, tight hug and look you in the eye and be genuinely hopeful for you meant more to me than I ever could explain. I left the appointment on a high, reminding myself that it is possible we will have a baby next year. It is possible we will be very happy at this time next year.

I'm the type of person who loves to day dream and visualize things I'm looking forward to. I want to imagine a child in our lives. I want to imagine how happy we will be at that time. Part of the problem this week was that every time I'd visualize a healthy baby, my mind would just go back to the day Bremy was born. And then those images just can't be shaken. And then I picture Christmas without her, I realize that she is really, truly gone and will never be.I worry about how we would handle any complications in the next pregnancy...and then the tears

But since my Dr. appointment, I've been able to have happy thoughts about the future. I've been able to daydream about being pregnant again. About a successful delivery at full term. I've talked with Bremy without breaking down. I've discussed the future with B without being completely terrified.

This post has taken me so long to write. It's becoming hard for me to express my emotions as they are so all over the place. It's now Sunday evening, an I'm feeling ok. We had a lovely weekend together and I'm ready to have a happy week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Makes a Mother?

What Makes a Mother

I thought of you and closed my eyes.
And prayed to God today.
I asked what makes a mother and
I know I heard him say,

A mother has a baby.
This we know is true.
But God, can you be a mother
when your baby's not with you?

Yes, you can, He replied
with confidence in His voice.
I give many women babies.
When they leave is not their choice.

Some I send for a lifetime
and others for a day.
And some I send to feel your womb
but there's no need to stay.

I just don't understand this. God,
I want my baby here.
He took a breath and cleared His throat
and then I saw a tear.

I wish I could show you
what your child is doing today.
If you could see your child smile
with other children and say,

"We go to earth to learn our lessons
of life and love and fear.
My Mommy loved me, Oh so much,
I got to come straight here.

I feel so lucky to have a Mom
who had so much love for me,
I learned my lesson very quickly.
My Mommy set me free.

I miss my Mommy, Oh so much,
but I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep,
on her pillow's where I lay.

I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
and whisper in her ear,
'Mommy don't be sad today,
I'm your baby and I'm here.'"

So you see, my dear sweet one,
your children are okay.
Your babies are here in MY home
and this is where they'll stay.

They'll wait for you with ME
until your lesson is through.
And on the day that you come home,
they'll be at the gates for you.

So now you see what makes a Mother—
It's the feeling in your heart.
It's the love you had so much of,
right from the very start.

Though some on earth may not realize you are a Mother,
until their time is done.
They'll be up here with ME one day,
and know you're the best one.
~Jennifer Wasik~

To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God

To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God


I heard this line last weekend at a wedding I attended in Santa Barbara. One of my closest childhood friends married her high school sweetheart and I was so happy to be there to witness it. The priest who officiated the ceremony was really great. He quoted that line from Les Miserables and described the sacredness of this, their wedding day. He then turned his attention to the bride and groom's parents and asked them to reflect on the day their children were born. How they had seen the face of God that day in their children. In that love. And now, the bride and groom were seeing the face of God in each other. In that love.

That idea took my breath away. How true.

My wedding day itself was quite amazing and I definitely felt that feeling of being outside yourself, where you can't believe how happy you are and how loved you feel. Luckily, I feel that feeling often with my husband in various moments throughout life. A cute look or simple touch will melt me right back into that feeling of happiness and bliss that is marriage.

Seeing Bremy's face was not something I would describe as happy or joyous, but there was an absolutely indescribable emotion that occurred when I laid eyes on her. You hear it described, you think you know what love is, until you look at your own child. I don't think the feeling can be mimicked, and there is a reason for that. There was so much commotion prior to her arrival, so much crying and aching and pain. But when I finally opened the blanket that enveloped her, I felt a calm, a peace, a silence. It was Godly. I didn't think that at the time, per se, but when I heard that line at my friend's wedding, it hit me: I saw God in my child's face. I saw His masterpiece and that is why it felt so peaceful.

Obviously it was a very special moment that was overall extremely sad. I long for the moment when I look at my child's living face and watch her breath and move. But I will never forget holding Bremy and seeing her perfection and knowing that I helped create it through God.




Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Moving Forward...The Next 90 days

I'm finally feeling like my old self. I'll forever be different, and I might be a little more withdrawn for a while,but for the most part I feel the old Amy is around.

One part of the old me that I wish had not come back is my tendency to overeat, especially in times of stress. I was eating very healthfully while pregnant. I was told I had gestational diabetes at 16 weeks and adhered to that diet of low carbs and high veggies and good proteins from that point forward. It made me feel so good and I even lost some weight, which the Drs told me was great, considering I am clinically obese.

While not one person has mentioned that my weight may have played a roll in the incompetence of my cervix, and subsequent loss of my daughter, I can't help but wonder if this would have happened had I been at a more healthy weight. I'm not looking for an answer to the problem of my cervix, but using the problem as motivation to be at a healthier place the next time I get pregnant.

Speaking of being pregnant, I want more than anything in the world to be pregnant again. I feel as though I'd love to be pregnant right this very moment, but I know in my heart it's too soon and there is a reason we will naturally have to wait a while. My body is not 100% back to normal, and we were told by my Dr. that they recommend waiting the same amount of time that you were pregnant--so in our case, six months, before getting pregnant again. I don't know if I can wait that long, so I'm telling myself four months. I'm telling myself we will try in December, if everything else cooperates.

That is coming up really fast. This whole getting healthier thing needs to happen if I want to see any results by then. I want to see some weight off, I want to see some strength built and I want to see my attitude reflect those healthy things before we try again. So I'm telling myself that by Christmas, I want to have lost about 15lbs and be eating the diabetic diet consistently. That means very few sugars and more healthy carbs. I never felt better, physically and emotionally than when I was pregnant and I honestly feel that all of my hormones were just in balance. And now, they don't feel like that.

My diet was completely regulated while I was in the hospital. I loved their food (so lucky!) and really enjoyed their take on the diabetic eating plan. I got a full breakfast with the correct amount of carbs (around 35 grams), a snack of yogurt and graham crackers (around 20 carbs), lunch was a sandwich or hot meal with fruit, another snack of cheese sticks and fruit and crackers (loved this snack) , a hot dinner usually with brown rice or potatoes and then a nighttime snack of milk and graham crackers. It was so fulfilling and always tasted good to me. It was actually quite a lot of food-more than I usually eat, but I never felt the craving for sweets at all.

Now that I am home, emotional, and trying to get back to normal, my eating has been all over the place. I'm craving sweets each and every night and would rather have junk that a meal. It just has to stop!

So, for the next 90 days plus, I'm challenging myself to eat like I'm still pregnant in the hospital. I've stocked my shelves this week and am hoping for good results!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

About Your Daddy


Dear Bremy,

I wanted to talk to you about your father. He is a wonderful man who wants to be a daddy so much.

If you looked at the two of us on paper, many would say we aren't a match. But even though we come from different backgrounds, I knew the first time I spoke with him that he was the most genuine person I'd ever come to know.


A lot of people think that I "wear the pants" in our relationship. I'm an outspoken, take charge kind of girl. I like to be in control and most people usually let me take the lead. But, your Daddy is pretty darn stubborn and we naturally choose to be in control of different things, and that's why I think we work so well. I tend to be more of a spokesperson for the two of us. People call me to set up plans, and dates. He would rather choose the movie or the restaurant once I've set the plans to go out. I pay the bills and make the reservations, etc. I love doing those things, and your dad loves that I love to do those things because he does not. So when I became pregnant, I wondered how our roles would fit in as "expecting parents" and as "new parents".

I remember worrying that your dad would not be able to speak up for me when I gave birth and I teased him that I'd have to have my mom in the room to help, since he'd probably be overwhelmed and grossed out by the process. I remember worrying that he wouldn't know how to step up for us when you arrived, that he was so used to me being able to do most things, that we'd struggle as a couple when you arrived. I remember wondering if his enthusiasm to be a dad would wear off once you were actually here. We know so many dads who aren't hands on with their kids or their spouses, and I started to wonder if maybe your dad would end up like them?
Bremy, I'm ashamed to say that I ever worried about those things. I guess I was starting to lose faith in the choice that I made in your father. I was letting other examples of not-so-great dads and husbands convince me that your father was just another guy who would let down his wife and child. But those thoughts could not have been more misplaced.

What I love about your daddy is that he allows himself to feel and he is so compassionate and caring and so in touch with his and others emotions. I think a lot of men (your grandpa included) would not have known how to deal with the immense pain and trauma we endured the day you were born. Your dad took my hand and he cried with me. And he talked with me and prayed with me. He never once turned his back on me as I layed in that bed. When I was at my weakest moment, he grew strong, and when he had to bury his head in my shoulder and sob, I grew strong for him. We encouraged each other to be strong that day. When I was in pain as the Dr. examined me and had me push and push, he looked deep in my eyes and gave me strength and helped me. He was the only person in the whole world I wanted in that room, and to think I worried about him being strong for me is outrageous now. He was everything for us that day.

When you came, he was so very upset. We were both just emotionally ravaged and beyond tears. He wanted to protect me from seeing you, but I convinced him it was what I really wanted. And even though I know he wasn't sure it was the best idea, he crouched over my shoulder and we stared at you and admired you. He felt you and he looked at me and we broke down together because you were just so amazingly beautiful. And even though you were so tiny, and didn't have much weight on you, you already looked like the best possible version of both of us. Your mommy and daddy aren't going to win any beauty titles any time soon, but God definitely blessed you with each of our best physical features.


Even though you are not with us, your Dad is still so incredibly proud of you and so proud to be your dad. Even though it's painful, he doesn't shy away from talking about you and who you were and who you would have been. He hasn't bottled up his emotions like most men would.

He's been very protective of me and my emotions. Even though it's been a month since we lost you, he does not make me feel bad for crying each day. He doesn't tell me I should be over it by now, or that I don't deserve to be sad. He holds me as I whimper while I'm trying to fall asleep. He whispers outside my bathroom door, just to check on me as he can hear me crying. I've never had a man like this in my life. And while your grandpa and great-grandpas are amazing men in their own right, your dad is just something special that I never could
have dreamed up. He is a true companion to me, and I know he would have been to you too. Of course I've always thought highly of your daddy (I married him after all) but I could never have known how much he would rise to the occasion and be there for me in this desperate time.

He's now the spokesperson for the two of us. He screens some calls for me and communicates with my family and friends on those days that I just can't bear to talk with anyone. He was the one who wrapped up the arrangements for your final remains when I had to walk out of the funeral home because I was too upset. He chose your little urn with an angel on it. These were things I never could have imagined he would do. But he did, and he has shown me what an amazing father and husband he really is. I can only hope that we have another child, so he can be a day to day daddy.

In a couple weeks, your Dad and I will celebrate two years as man and wife. For the past six, he's been my partner and best friend. Losing you is definitely the hardest thing we've ever faced as a couple, and we hope it's the hardest thing we ever have to go through. But, even if there are more hardships to come, I know we will get through it together, just as we did this time.

Bremy, both your father and I love and miss you so much. I can only imagine how amazing of a daddy he would be right now if you were here and with us. But, we can only hope to be blessed with another child. For now, we are the broken hearted parents who have lost our baby too soon.

Love,

Mom

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Rest of the World

I think everyone knows that feeling, whether you are going through something really great and exciting, or something really horrible and sad-- when you re-enter the real world, it seems almost cruel that everything has been working just fine in spite of your happiness or sadness. Sometimes you wish you had a sign on your back saying " I just got back from my honeymoon" or "I just found out I'm pregnant" or "I just pushed out a baby and she died". And of course sometimes you are glad to be anonymous.

I'm still feeling like I'm in a blur of reality. I drive myself home and can't really remember how I got there, or where I parked or when I even stopped for gas? My mind is just elsewhere. But I've decided to ease back in to work. I have always thrived on routine, so I figured having some normalcy back in my life would be a good thing.

I'm a lawyer and I work with criminals who are incarcerated. I don't really have an office, I practically live in a jail all day. It's not as depressing as it used to be, and contrary to popular belief my criminal clients are quite polite and some seem to be amazing people in spite of their bad choices or bad luck.

But of course, many of them are not the best people, and many of them have ruined their lives as well as their entire families lives. Many have children they don't know and many continue to have children they will never raise. Yesterday I was doing my initial client interviews with several clients in a row. I met with one who told me his top priority was to get out of jail so he could see his baby born. Now, understand this is a VERY common wish of my clients. I'd say over 60% of the time my clients tell me they have a baby coming in the next few months and would like to get out to be there (even if they were not there for the children they already have, or even for this woman who is carrying his next child). But of course, after losing my child, this "wish" hit me differently. As I always do, I then asked when the child would be born so we could do some math and see whether it was realistic for him to count on being out for the birth. This client casually answered, December 5th. It was like a knife in my heart. Bremy's due date. I looked at him for a long second and actually thought about telling him about my daughter. Oh, my I'm so glad I didn't. That would have been interesting...so I brushed it off and continued with my interview, my heart a little heavier. I'd managed to keep my mind off of her for the previous 30 minutes. And there she was. Right back in my mind.

He left and my next cleint walked in. I started our interview . He then mentioned how important it was for him to be out for his son's birth. He had missed his first son's birth because he had been locked up. "Ok, what is the due date?" I asked. "December 5th" he answered. I cocked my head and stared at him. I seriously, honestly thought this was a joke. Did this guy know something? Was he messing with me? He looked back at me, a tear in his eye (he had gotten emotional telling me he'd missed his first son's birth)And of course I realized this guy had no clue I had also been expecting a child on December 5th.

Now, I really just wanted to let it all out and tell him to get over the fact that he mised his son's birth, at least his son lived. And for a few seconds I turned bitter and just wanted to let him have it. He had been selling dope and stealing cars so he missed his son being born. I had been living an honest life and I had to witness my daughter die. My heart turned cold and I just wanted to take it out on him. Ask him if he really appreciated the fact that he would have two children. Let him know not everyone has healthy babies in spite of their horrendous decision making skills. But I didn't. I just went silent, I felt like I was choking. I could barely breath. I acted as though I was furiously taking notes and thinking about his case, but really I was picturing my beautiful girl and having flashbacks of my Dr.'s big brown eyes, feeling my daughter lifeless between my legs, I was hearing the sounds I made, my husband's horrified face, my mom's reaction when she finally made it to the hospital and we had to tell her Bremy was gone. I was reliving the day I lost my daughter. Luckily, I kept the tears in my eyes and was able to finally breath and get back to my client.

The next day I successfully argued for each of them to be released in time for them to see their children be born. On December 5th.

Each day is getting slightly easier, but I'm so tired of these moments. I just want them to go away, I want the painful memories to disappear. I want to feel the way I used to feel. I guess I don't know if I ever will, but I'm growing impatient with myself. I don't want to cry in the car when as sa song comes on or choke up when I see a pregnant woman, or walk by the baby Gap where I bought her first outfit. I just want my brain and my heart to forget.

The rest of the world is still going, and I know my world will slowly grow to a new normal. I just wish I could be at that place already.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Love of a Dog


Maverick will be 6 years old at the end of the year. B and I make no qualms about how much we dote on him and treat him as though he is an actual child. We crate trained him, took him to puppy training school (can't say it worked any wonders!), researched the best dog foods and we also make sure we both try to attend his veterinary appointments together. Yeah, we're those dog people. Many have commented on how poor Mav is going to get a wake up call once a human baby arrives, but we hope we can maintain loving him just as much.
After our loss of Bremy, it was clear to me that Maverick also felt the loss. I had been a little disappointed when I was pregnant and Maverick did not seem to notice and did not seem to have that doggy intuition where he could tell mama had a bun in the oven. He wasn't protective of me and also never seemed to pay any extra attention to my belly.

On the day I finally returned home from the hospital after delivering our baby girl, I immediately sat nose to nose with my pup. He licked my face and nuzzled his big head into the crook of my neck. I made my way to our bedroom where he followed me. I was so exhausted that I plopped down on my bed, one foot hanging over the side and dozed off. B came in to shut the door, which woke me up. I looked down and saw that Mav had been sitting on the floor at my feet, facing the doorway of our room (not a spot he ever sat in). I expected him to follow B as he left, but he didn't. He looked up at me, then turned back, facing the door. Twenty minutes later, I awoke again and he was still there. Sitting up, head to the door. This was not his usual thing. I called out to him and he turned once again and licked the top of my foot and then returned to his position. My doggy knew everything.

Since then, Maverick has been my constant companion. He is normally a stubborn dog who doesn't necessarily come when you call. But since Bremy has gone he has been so sweet and loving to both of us.

A couple nights ago, while at my parents I was just getting into bed when I heard him stirring in his travel crate. I knew he wasn't too comfortable since this crate is quite a bit smaller than his normal bed, so I turned the light on and crouched down to give him a pet. I scratched his ears and rubbed his head until he laid down and drifted off. In that moment I couldn't help but think of my baby girl. And how much I wanted to be soothing her to sleep. As I looked at our pup resting peacefully I thought of how much I wanted to be a mother and how much I already was one. Even with this immeasurable hurt over our daughter, I felt thankful to have the unconditional love of our sweet dog.

I saw this picture today on facebook, and of course it made me well up. There were over one thousand people at this Navy Seal's funeral. And this is his dog. Chills. I love our Maverick so much, and looking at this picture, I'm grateful to be here with him, even if our girl is not here. I am grateful for his companionship.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Missing my Girl

Dear Bremy Belle,

I was finally feeling a little better. We've been going out with your grandparents, trying to keep busy. I have managed to smile and laugh in the last few days. But I still cry myself to sleep each night in your daddy's arms. He has been so incredibly strong and even though we don't say a word as I cry at night, his love is what is getting me through. His fingers on my forehead are what let me finally fall asleep each night.

Today was a hard day. We are home and trying to get the house and our lives back in order without you. The pain is just hurting me so bad. I've never ever felt this way before.

My heart is quite painfully broken. I have no less than one hundred thoughts per second about you, my pregnancy, the birth, your face, all the things I imagined for you, about another pregnancy, another baby, this happening again, miscarrying earlier, or later, not being able to have another baby, your toes, and then all those thoughts seem to explode in my head and that's when I just cry. I cry so hard and it hurts so much. I've never ever heard these cries come from myself. They are cries of real pain in my soul. And I know everyone experiences horrible things, even worse things, but this is a very specific sadness that very few people can understand.

Everyone keeps telling us we now have an angel looking down on us. It should be comforting but it is not. I wish there were a way I could still feel you or sense you. Obviously I miss those physical reminders of your life like your kicking and your bulge and the feeling of your weight in my abdomen. But what I miss more is that emotional connection. You were with me for every single second of my life for five months and I just miss that feeling of you being with me. I wish I could say I still feel you with me or that I sense you looking down on us but I don't. I don't feel it. Maybe eventually we will. Maybe I'm just too enveloped in my own sadness, but I'd love to know somehow that you are around.

There are positives to this experience, and I know I'm a changed person after this. You will have a legacy in this family. And it will be a positive one. I just have to get through this dark time to see that light.

Missing you.

Love,
Mama


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pioneer Woman's New Show!


A friend reminded me today that Ree Drummond's new Food Network show is starting this Saturday. I just watched the preview and I smiled the whole time. I love this lady and her recipes. I've read her blog for a while and really enjoyed her book about her love story.

Setting the DVR right now :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea" ~Isak Dinesen.

We are working on healing. I'm having a hard time. I feel so sad, so cheated, disappointed and traumatized by our experience. The actual delivery and birth were so much more difficult physically and mentally than I could have imagined. And the memories are haunting me right now.
We have both taken off work for now. We just need to digest this and grieve. On Wednesday B said he wanted to drive to see my parents and stay with them. He thought it'd be good for both of us. I didn't want to see anyone at all. I said I didn't want to go. But he pretty much packed the car and said we could just stay for a bit. I still resisted and wasn't too happy to get in the car, but I knew sitting around our house moping around wasn't going to do me any good.

I'm not much of a beach person. My parents live 10mintues from the ocean, and I grew up and went to school on the coast but I'd rather be at a pool or a lake so I can swim and be in a boat on calm waters. But as soon as we reached my hometown, I wanted to get to the beach.
So we went. The two of us and our dog. We walked and we stared and we listened to the waves. We got sandy and gave our pup lots of love. I listened to some music and shed a few tears alone while the boys splashed in the water. It felt cleansing.

I can't say it made me feel good, but it made me feel better.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Last Belly Shots


Here are my last pictures with baby Bremy still inside me. I was over the moon those last two weeks because I felt like I actually looked pregnant, finally.

What I wouldn't give to have her back in there. I am constantly rubbing my belly, forgetting she is no longer there. It's like it's a natural reflex now. Last night I felt a twitch in my lower belly and put my hand down there, without thinking. I burst into tears and cried for a long time once I realized that sensation was not my baby moving. I had been tear-free for a long time all day and that moment just broke me right back into a million pieces. But I'm patching myself back together, just taking it day by day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our Baby Has a Name

Bremy Belle


Bremy Belle is our baby's name. We thought of her first name years ago, but weren't sure if we'd ever use it. When we found out we were having a baby girl, we just kept coming back to that name. Then we started to call her that and it just felt so right. My parents really loved it. We got some mixed reviews from others, but everyone agreed that once they started saying it, it really seemed to fit.

Bremy is a combination of mine and my husband's name. I've always liked "cute" names that end in a y sound, and my husband just thought it was so cool that it had never been used before but didn't sound too off the wall.

Belle is a name I have loved since I was young. I liked it for a first name, but it just seemed to work as Bremy's middle name.

I'm so sad I will never hear this name called from a graduation stage or at her first sporting events. I just love the name so much and could not wait to see it on her monogrammed onesies. Or see her write it on her homework.

But we will always say it. We will always know it. And as B's cousin pointed out, it is a perfect name for our daughter who has passed. She has a part of myself and a part of B in her always, and her name reflects that perfectly.

We miss you Bremy Belle. Words cannot describe how much we miss you.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Everything Looks Different Now

***I sat into the car. The first time I'd been outside in five days. I looked at my hands. They looked like hers. I finally looked up and saw houses. Restaurants. Signs. Things I'd seen before. Many times before. But they looked so different now. They looked so insignificant. So small and unworthy of my glance. I was a mother now. A mother with a dead child who was sitting somewhere in a hospital I had just pulled away from. I had looked into the face of my child and counted her tiny toes. Every other thing on this earth was now being seen through eyes that had lain on my angelic daughter. Nothing would ever look the same***

My doctor took my head into both her hands and told me it was too early. She told me our daughter would not make it, and if she did, her life would be plagued with an innumerate amount of challenges and health interventions. I nodded my head in her hands. "I know" I cried.

Once I knew that we were in "worst case scenario" zone, my thoughts ran quickly. So many pictures ran through my head. " I don't want to make a choice" I kept saying in my mind. Since I had found out I would deliver early, I kept praying the same prayer, "If she is going to go, please go now. If she is going to be, please let her get to a week where her complications would be relatively minimal." When, at 6am I was told we were at worst case scenario at 23 weeks and 5 days, I felt the decision was being made for me. It was just so soon.

B finally got to the hospital. I could tell as soon as he walked in that he wanted to try to save her. I asked the Dr. to talk to him and tell him exactly, word for word what she had told me. He sunk his chin and nodded at her comments. His eyes so puffy and red, trying to stay strong. We looked at each other and cried. We both knew we were losing our daughter today.

My heart was so strong. My heart told me it was too early. That this was happening now, prior to 24 weeks for a reason. But looking at B I wondered if we could try. The Dr. said we could but she was so fearful that we would not understand the survivability of a 23 week old. We contemplated it, but my heart was so strong. I knew we had to get through this and mourn this.

A new OB was coming on shift and came in to get acquainted with us. He examined me and told me I would deliver very quickly. I told him I did not want to have a c-section. My only c-section option was a traditional, or vertical c-section which would mean I could never deliver vaginally afterwards. And it was real surgery I'd have to recover from.

I told him I wanted to deliver vaginally and he agreed it was best, even though baby was breech. We popped my bulging bag and I pushed. I pushed a lot of her body out, but they said my cervix had actually shrunk a bit after the bag was out, and I was not dilated enough to deliver the larger part of her body. I was so overwhelmed and disappointed. I just wanted it to be over.

We tried again but I was so upset I could not focus. His every touch sent me squirming. I just couldn't do it. He wanted me to get an epidural. I did not want one. I just wanted it over. But I got one, and soon thereafter it was over with no more pain.

My tiny daughter was handed to me in a blanket that dwarfed her. She took my breath away. She was so incredibly beautiful. She had his nose. She had my lips.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A letter to my daughter

Dear Baby girl,

My God you are so beautiful. I was not expecting that. I wasn't sure what you would look like. But your perfect rosebud lips, ladylike fingers and button nose were almost too much for mama to handle. Even though you were not breathing when they placed you in my arms, I felt so connected to you. I hear not all moms feel that way when they are handed their babies. Even perfectly healthy babies. I'm so glad I did. I'm so glad I recognized you as the little girl I've been chatting with for five months. The girl I felt kicking her mama every day since week 15. I knew it was you the second I laid eyes on you, my beautiful girl.

It was very hard on Daddy to see you. He thought maybe he didn't want to see you, but he was strong and he looked you over with me. You were so perfect in your miniature way. Your toenails, your elbows. Everything.

Sweetheart, I miss you already. I miss feeling you as I walk. As I sit and as I breath. I miss that hard bulge in my tummy and the feel of your jumping and turning and kicking. I miss whispering to you and singing to you as we fell asleep. I'm having trouble remembering you are no longer within me. You are supposed to still be with me.

But I know you are at peace now and looking down on me and your daddy. I know you know how much we love you and will always love you. I will still talk to you, even though you are so far away now. I will still sing with you.

Darling, you will always be my first child and will always be my mama girl.

Thank you for blessing me with 23 weeks of excitement and joy. I've never looked forward to anything the way I looked forward to you. We will continue your memory, baby girl. I love you so much.

Love,
Mama

Our Worst Nightmare Come True

***The warm air slammed my face. The sunlight pierced my eyes. It shouldn't be summer, I thought. It shouldn't be warm when I leave the labor and delivery floor of this hospital. It should be the chill of winter that hits my face. The icy wind that pierces my eyes. I should have a warm bundle of child wrapped in my arms. Not a bare lap. Not tears in my eyes. I wasn't supposed to deliver my daughter in the summertime. I wasn't supposed to leave the hospital without my daughter.***

Today. I lost my first born child. Today I lost a piece of myself. Today I lost my pride. And my joy. Today it felt as though I lost everything.

At 1am this morning my new nurse entered my room to give me a pill. She was about an hour late. The pill was meant to stop contractions. Contractions I wasn't feeling, the contractions that were very sporadic. Only a couple an hour. I was annoyed she was so late. I was trying to get on a schedule. I held my arm out begrudgingly as she took my blood pressure. I swallowed my pill and turned my TV on so I could find a way to get back to sleep.

I watched an episode of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta. It made me remember what it was like when my weeks revolved around wedding planning. How fun it was. How insignificant it felt now. Now that I was fighting to keep a baby inside me.

The show ended at 2am and I was still awake. Just as I reached for my remote to turn the TV off and head to sleep, I felt something. Something I've felt before. A period cramp. It was in my lower right tummy. I put my hand down and felt the tightening. The feeling everyone told me I'd feel, eventually, but had not felt yet. I swallowed. It's ok, I reminded myself. It wont keep up. Fifteen minutes later, another in the same spot. I called my nurse.

She seemed unconcerned and wrapped my belly in a belt and put me on a monitor. She came back and gave me more medicine and told me it looked like I was having uterine irritability and the meds would make it go away.

It didn't.

More meds.

More cramps.

At 5am I told her I wanted a Dr. She told me the Dr. was in a c-section. I was so upset. "Find someone else!" I screamed. I knew this was not good.

At 5:45 am she told me the Dr. was on her way. I called B and asked him to come.

The nurse came back at 6 and asked if maybe I needed to use the bathroom. In my head I knew that being constipated would not cause these pains, but I rolled out of my bed for the first time in 36 hours and sat on the bed side commode. I couldn't go. But something did not feel right.

I took at look at my toilet paper. It was red. I could not help but panic and fall back on my bed. "This is not happening" I repeated to myself, my hand covering my eyes. I looked down into the makeshift toilet and saw a pool of blood.

The nurses rushed in. Moved everything in my room. Moved my bed. No one said a word. They just worked. And rushed.

I felt more cramps. I groaned. "what is taking the Dr. so long". They told me she was wrapping up a c-section. I cried and I shook and I groaned.

Finally she arrived. She tried to be positive. Said she wanted to look. She looked. She felt. "This is the worse case scenario, Amy. " She said, " You are fully dilated and your bag is out." I didn't even react. I already knew.

I called my mom. I called my best friend. I called my amazing OB friend, K. In my heart I knew it was over.

B came. The Dr. came. It was about 7am. They went over my options.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Choices

From the moment I was told I have an incompetent cervix and would deliver early, I was casually reminded that I will have to make "some choices". I didn't like this idea and kept brushing it off. The nurse from the NICU has come to our room to give us some information about how their nursery works, but she reminded us we would need to visit with a neonatologist to go over "our choices". I did not ask her to elaborate.

Since the beginning, I have prayed that if our girl is not meant to be, please take her now. If she is meant to be, please get her to a week where she will definitely make it. I am ok with the challenges she will have, but please don't put her in a position where we have to make choices.

The Neonatologist came to our room yesterday. She was chubby, so I instantly liked her (I don't know why but I just like people with a little meat on their bones. It's like she's actually human). She said she was just coming in to answer our questions, and wouldn't be throwing statistics and empty numbers at us. I liked that. I gulped and finally asked her what everyone meant when they told us they wanted us to make choices.

She explained that since we are here on bed rest, I have the "luxury" or curse of having time to learn and gain information about preemies and about a NICU stay. She also said that our decisions are fluid and most of our decisions cannot be made before we meet me daughter. I was so relieved to hear her say that. i just envisioned me signing on a dotted line, and her coming out thriving and the dr.'s not doing anything because we had signed her life away. She smiled and said that would never happen.

Right now our choice is to give our daughter every chance to live that we can. If we find out after that she will have major issues that will cause her to suffer, we will reevaluate, but for now, I have a feeling no matter when she comes out, she will surprise everyone with how strong she is.

Here is to at least 30 weeks!!

Right now everyone is rooting for us to make it to the 'viable' age of 24 weeks. But I'm still rooting for 30. I want to get out of these scary 20s. I just have to.

Hospital Bed Rest

On Monday night I went to bed uncomfortable. I could feel our girl kicking, but she was pushing and moving really, really low and it was hard to sleep. I kept talking to her and rubbing my belly but she insisted somersaults were essential at 11pm. I then started to worry that maybe it was something else I was feeling. I finally made it to sleep.

I woke up Tuesday morning and found an unsightly amount of discharge. My heart sunk. I called my Dr. and they told me to head to labor and delivery. The pressure and the mucous were things they wanted to check out.

The hospital moved pretty quickly. My nurse in triage was outstanding. They ordered an ultrasound and about thirty minutes later two men entered the room to conduct my ultrasound. They saw my cervix was about 2cm open this time. I instantly burst into tears. I didn't want to hear that anything was worse. The ultrasound tech rubbed my hand and told me in his soft-spoken accent "Amy, please do not cry. You only make it worse for baby". My husband, mom, mother in law had all told me this about 100 times, but for some reason his soft way took my tears away. I let out a huge breath and relaxed.

I was then admitted to the high risk maternity ward. The on call perniatologist came into my room. I had been warned that she could be "cold" by the nurses, so I put my big girl face on when she came in. She told me that the ultrasound tech had taken the measurements differently than she had wanted, and I was really closer to 1cm. I let out a big breath. She was slightly hopeful but warned us that at 23 weeks we were still in a really rough spot.

It was surprising to me how being in the hospital calmed my nerves. They were monitoring me, had me in a deep trendelendburg position and had me using a bed side commode so I would not be walking anywhere. It felt nice knowing that I could buzz them for every single thing I felt and they were happy to check for me.

Wednesday I just laid low. My mother in law stayed by my side and tried to keep me busy. I was getting to know the bedside routine and learning more about how this hospital thing was going to work. I was feeling more pressure wednesday night so they hooked me up to the monitor to see if I was contracting. I had had 2 contractions earlier when they had checked me, but they were spread out and they insisted that was normal. On Wednesday night I was happy when they reported I had zero contractions at that hour.

The Dr. came in to tell me they were putting me on two different medicines. One was to prevent contractions from happening the other was to try to reduce the amount of fluid around the baby to take the pressure off of my cervix. They are only giving me this drug for a few days so they do not reduce the fluid by too much.

Sleeping in trendelenburg (aka on your head) is, in a word, interesting. But I'm pretty sure I would hand by my toenails right now if it meant I'd have a healthy baby.

Yesterday I had a second ultrasound with the perinatologist. Unfortunately I have now dilated to over 2cm. I was seriously so optimistic going into the ultrasound, so when she pursed her lips before telling me the news, I almost couldn't believe it. She did say there was good news. My fluid sac was still relatively high and was not bulging and had not ruptured. I tried to just focus on that news. The Dr. was pretty negative after the ultrasound and made me feel as though getting to 24 weeks would be the best I could hope for.

I was upset. My nurse came in and sat by my side and recited all of the success stories they had seen lately. I instantly felt better, remembering that there are no guarantees, that I can go further. I've made it over a week already and I know I can do more.

The nurses here could not be better. I just light up when they come in the room. So positive and two of them have actually been in my exact situation and ended up with very favorable results. So good to hear.

I have some dark moments, but I'm just focusing on all the great stories I hear. I am obsessed with getting to 30 weeks. Right now, I'm being told that is an unrealistic goal, but I've just heard too many people who have made it there or past. I have to have a goal, and that is it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

22 Weeks

Dear Baby Girl,

This week has been tough. I went in for my appointment on Wednesday and found out that you are perfect, but your mommy's body is not. It was the toughest news I've ever gotten. Ever. It was very unexpected and left me feeling very raw and very shocked.

Instantly, all of our loved ones gathered around us and embraced us with love and hope and offers of support. It was overwhelming but not surprising. We have some amazing family and really great friends. They will love you and adore you so much. In fact, they already do.

You are really kicking up a storm in there. Mommy's tummy is getting nice and round which I love. I really enjoy being pregnant and having others know I'm pregnant. It's such a significant thing. I've heard people call it a privilege and that's really a great word. Not everyone experiences this and I've just loved every bit of it.

The reason our bad news was so shocking is because I've been feeling so great. I have energy, have been getting exercise and eating so well. Daddy takes amazing care of us and is so happy to know you are in there dancing around. I can usually feel where your head is right now, and he loves feeling that little round bulge. He's still waiting for you to kick for him, though!

Baby girl, I hope you continue to grow and grow. I hope mommy's body cooperates and you arrive here safe and sound. We know it will be early, but we're hoping not too early. I already love you so, so much. I talk to you everyday in a really annoying baby voice that I'm sure you will grow to hate. But I can't help it. So far your nickname is "mommy girl" even though I'm pretty sure you'll be a daddy's girl all the same.

I love to rub my belly and feel you move. I love to try to guess which position you are in since you seem to move all the time. Every single doctor has commented on how active you are. Sounds like you will keep me on my toes!

I'm not giving up on you, baby girl. No one is. You are perfect and I just hope I can keep your pretty little being safe and sound for as long as possible.

I know you will be early, but how about you give Auntie K a nice birthday present and come on her November 5th birthday? Boy, that would be nice. Although the doctors don't expect you to make it that long, that's my own little goal for you.

Love you so much already!

Love,
Mommy