Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Memory Boxes

In one of my online loss groups, we've started talking about how to help others.  I've already got 3 others helping me make angel baby clothing and blankets, but the idea expanded today.

The hospital where I delivered Seth had next to nothing, especially in his 3oz size.  So, I want to start making memory boxes for angel babies to be donated to hospitals.  Another friend's angel baby was over 9lbs when she delivered, so these babies can be any size.  If you would like to help, here is a list of items I'd like to include:

the box - various sizes, not all will get pictures, but at least large enough for 4x6 photos or a photo cd would be preferred

tissues - two personal packets

a disposable camera - not everyone thinks of taking pictures of their angel baby, but no one will regret taking them, only not having them months and years later

album - either a small photo album with room to write notes, or a small 8" mini-scrapbook with pages all ready to have pictures glued into place

a blank journal with a poem inside

note card - handwritten with love from another babylost mama

two identical stuffed animals - one for the casket and one for mom to keep

two cards made to hold two sets of hand/foot prints

outfit for pictures - the easiest being a hat and gown that opens in front, perhaps a bow for girls
(the pattern in the link needs a few adjustments - on the paper, cut 1/8-1/4" off the fold line & straighten the curved front panels and hem for easier sewing and proper fit... the only one I've done so far is the XS, other sizes will still need adjusting in the same manner for proper fit)

burial outfit - perhaps another hat and gown so mom can keep the other outfit, perhaps a bow for girls

blankets - various sizes for tiny to large babies (in the link, click on patterns, blanket size is listed for each gown size A, B and C)    (we had a tiny "transfer" blanket because Seth's body was too fragile to move often, so it kept him stable, then a handkerchief sized soft blanket and a regular baby blanket that we used for pictures - I didn't want to give up either of these for his casket, and only the smaller one would have fit anyway, so I'd like to include an extra handkerchief sized blanket for the casket)

books - there are various books about loss, one that I liked was What Happens When People Die?
another that has been suggested is Empty Cradle, Broken Heart

jewelry - perhaps matching bracelets for mom and angel during pictures, or remembrance jewelry

The heart charm on Seth's "bow" and on my bracelet matched each other.
As I had been anticipating a baby girl, she'd made an amazingly small bracelet that matched mine perfectly.
On the boy version, blue beads are used around the heart charm, pink on the girl bracelets.
For anyone interested in helping, I'll take donations of completed items as well as materials to make these items.  I'm not experienced with making jewelry, but stringing pearl beads and charms onto fishing line and tying a clasp on surely can't be too hard.  If you'd like to sew/knit/crochet any items, here are links to sizes:
Gestation Size Chart  and  Here for a gown pattern and baby/hat/bootie/blanket sizes per pattern size

Please let me know if you're interested in helping!  If you have donations, I can email my address.  Or, use this as a guide to starting up a similar project in your own area.  Not ALL items are needed for each memory box, but these are ideas of what COULD be included.  13 items is a lot for a small box.  Not all will need a camera as some will have contacted NILMDTS.  Not all will need blankets as some will make their own or buy their own.  Journals and books aren't always needed, but I'd like to include one or the other for each.  This is just a place to start.  When asking my other loss-mama friends, these are the items they said meant a lot to them, the things they keep in their boxes or wherever they've dedicated space to remember their angels.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to anyone and everyone who chooses to help!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Questions concerning Miscarriage

One of the amazing women in one of my online loss support groups posted a link talking about her 5 (yes, FIVE) miscarriages.  She's compiling stories of miscarriages for a book and had some questions at the end of her post for anyone who felt up to contributing.  If anything, I want to be able to help others after my experiences, so I'm going to post my answers here.

Suzanne asked -
In your experiences with miscarriage:
What happened? How did you feel? How did you grieve? How did those around you feel and grieve? How did your experiences affect you spiritually? What was your greatest challenge with miscarriage? What, if any, was your greatest gift or life lesson?

Let's go through them.

What happened?
Rather than type it all out again, I'll just direct you to my posts about what happened.
Taylor - Background Post
Taylor - Birth
Seth - Background Post
Seth - Birth
Seth - After Birth

How did you feel?
I had lost one very early between Keith and Mitchell, back in February 2007.  Around 5-6 weeks, I started bleeding and knew something was wrong.  I finally got someone to listen to me and do an ultrasound at 7 weeks.  They said my 5 week fetus was just fine.  Except I was 7 weeks.  They insisted my dates were wrong.  A few days later, I passed a little gray "blob" that was my baby.  I had never really felt like a spirit was connected to this body, so I was sad at the missed chance at parenthood but was overall fine.  It was in the ensuing 15 months to finally conceive again that I had emotional issues.  I felt like I must have been such a horrible mother to Keith that I wasn't going to be trusted with another of Heavenly Father's children.  It hurt.  But finally, with some help, I had Mitchell and then Kiersten.

I was so thrilled to be pregnant again in November 2011!  I hadn't started taking supplements to help me get pregnant yet, so it was a bit of a surprise!  People called me crazy for spacing my kids only 18 months apart.  And I was nervous about a summer delivery (I'd previously had Keith in February, lost in February, had Mitchell in February, and Kiersten in January - love my winter babies!).  Then, to lose her, and not see her tiny body...  I was crushed.  I hurt.  I felt like a terrible mother for not finding her body in the toilet before flushing.  I was drained.  I cried a lot.  But I received comfort quickly and it helped a lot.  I looked to the positive.  I had a child waiting for me, a perfect child, and I would get to be a mother during the Millennium, and that was amazing!  So I focused on the good and continued on, remembering and loving, but not being overwhelmed.

Then came Seth.  He was a first-try baby, just as my early loss between the boys had been.  With that tidbit plus being so soon after Taylor, I was nervous.  VERY nervous.  But even when pregnant with Taylor, I envisioned that this new pregnancy would be a boy.  So, I had hope.  I was fearful as I came up on 5 months since Taylor was born at the same time as I hit my mark in my new pregnancy when Taylor had died.  I had a quick-peak ultrasound in between my monthly prenatals just to make sure all was well.  When it was, and it was still well at my regularly scheduled appointment, I decided I needed to not be the crazy lady who was constantly fearful and asking for quick-peaks to make sure all was still going well.  After that 15 week appointment, I wanted to check in again so many times, but I was trying so hard not to be obnoxiously scared.  So I waited it out until that 19 week ultrasound when I found out that Seth had died at 16 weeks.

I should have gone in sooner.  I should have listened to my instincts.  As I was thinking all week how, if Seth had no heartbeat I would not be going on our weekend trip to see family, I should have realized that those thoughts were not mine, but inspired thoughts.  When I went in for the ultrasound, she checked the cervix and such first, then went toward the baby and I asked if there was a heartbeat.  She was shocked, especially as there wasn't one.  I held it together well, though I asked Ben to take the kids out of the room.  They were still excitedly asking for a gender and I could tell it was upsetting the ultrasound tech.  I was surprised at myself for breaking down against the wall of the clinic.  I was both surprised AND not at all surprised.  I had envisioned my baby boy for MONTHS but I had also felt like he wasn't going to live.  I didn't ever actually THINK "why did you do this to me twice in a row and so quickly" but the feeling was underlying.  I've never been angry with my Heavenly Father.  In fact, I continue to pray asking that He lead me to what is best (as opposed to good or better, I want best) and I don't question if this is part of leading me to that "best" because I know it is.  But my arms sometimes literally ache for my babies.  I'm comforted that Taylor and Seth are together, or I at least assume they are.  I'm just very sad that I don't have them both with me.

I still hurt that I never got to see Taylor.  And that neither baby is in my home or my belly.  But, I'm mostly okay.  Life continues on for the rest of us, I'm just sad that I can't get to know my children right now.  I know it's selfish because they are in a much better place than this crazy world, but that doesn't make me miss them less.  I'm not a horrible mother, despite the days that I feel I might be.  All of my children know I love them.  I just have this lingering aching pain/hurt.  It's something that I don't anticipate will ever go away.  And I don't want it to because the lack of the lingering pain would mean I'm not remembering my children.  Anytime love is taken away, pain lingers.  A love that's as pure as a mother's love for her children lingers longer than I think any love/pain could.  I don't think it matters how old your child is, you still miss your children every single day.  You miss what they could have been, you miss what they were, you just miss them.  Age and accomplishments have nothing to do with it.

How did you grieve?
Mostly, I grieve through pictures.  I take the few images I have (whether Taylor's ultrasounds or Seth's NILMDTS pictures) and edit them into collages or add words of remembrance.  I speak a LOT about my experiences because other people speaking to me has helped me a lot.  I choose to take these sad experiences and find something worthwhile to make out of their lives.  Their lives cannot be meaningless.  I've started making angel clothing for other stillborn and miscarried babies.  I even have a few others working on angel clothing, too.  Someone mentioned making mini-scrapbooks and donating them to hospitals.  I absolutely love the idea.  The hospital I delivered at had nearly nothing for angel babies.  No memory boxes.  They had a couple blankets and bracelets.  No hats.  No clothing.  So I plan on taking items to hospitals.  If I can get full memory boxes made, that would be amazing!  I just keep talking, keep crying, keep looking at pictures, and keep trying to do whatever I can for others in such a sad point in their lives.  Doing things in their memory and honor makes their short lives have meaning and purpose - and expanding it to more than just meaning and memories for ME makes me feel even better.  I should say that, just because I can type out positive stuff today doesn't mean that every day is positive.  Some days, that lingering pain just doesn't ease up and I cry at the tiniest little things.  Some days are still very hard, but it's only been 3 weeks since his birth.

How did those around you feel and grieve?
I know that others have been effected.  My mom was saddened, as was my sister.  For some, it stirs up painful memories of their own loss.  For others who have lost, they take the opportunity to help me to return the favor of being helped by someone else during their first days and weeks.  Some are inspired to help me as I try to make clothes and such.  Some prefer to ignore the whole thing.  I had an amazing outpouring of love and help like I had never experienced after Seth was born.    Other than that, I'm not really sure.

How did your experiences affect you spiritually? 
I think many who know me need to read this part.  I feel like my losses continue to bring me closer and closer to my Heavenly Father and my Savior.  My prayers change.  I pray more and more to know how to help others.  I pray for chances to serve others.  I pray that He'll tell my children that I love them and miss them.  I pray more fervently than ever that He will lead me to what is best.  I'm more likely to cry when praying than ever before.  In fact, nearly every prayer includes tears now (or, at least in the last 3 1/2 weeks since we found out Seth had died).  My faith has not diminished at all.  It continues to grow and strengthen.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me.  I know it.  With no doubt.  And I recognize in prayer that I am just sad for my own loss, but that I am grateful for the chance to know them and raise them later.  I may not focus on that on my bad days, but on my good days (like today) those thoughts are very prevalent.

What was your greatest challenge with miscarriage?
Maybe the people who know me should stop reading now.  It's hard to see how miscarriage affects a mother and a father differently.  Ben hadn't yet bonded with our children.  He thought it was sad, but he's overall pretty fine and not in any stage of grief or mourning.   I'm sure he'll not be pleased with me sharing this online, but those going through miscarriage should know - I had my NILMDTS photographer take a picture of Seth in the same pose as each of our children have been photographed in.  I intended from the beginning for it to be hung on the wall with our other children, which happens to be in the dining room.  I chose an edited picture so that Seth's eyes were closed so the kids wouldn't be confused by his opened eyes.  I chose black and white rather than color to be a little more kind to anyone who came to our home.  Ben took it down a couple days after I hung it up.  I let him know that him removing the photo was like him rejecting Seth as one of our children.  He said it grossed him out to see a picture of a corpse when sitting at the dinner table.  A picture of my son should not "gross out" my husband, his father, and should not be referred to as a picture of a corpse.  That hurt me SO MUCH.

Also, others telling me in their kindest words that I needed to stop being sad and get over it already is amazingly difficult.  Every birth day and due date is going to be hard, and there will be random hard days in between.  Imagine losing your child.  You don't just get over it.

So, it wasn't the physical stuff that was hard.  It wasn't my own coming to terms that my child would not live in my home.  It was that others move on more quickly than I am.

What, if any, was your greatest gift or life lesson?
My greatest gift is my faith and devotion.  I have a Heavenly Father and Savior that love me and comfort me.  And they guide me to where I can help others.  I try to look at my losses as a way to show me that there is a great need that isn't being met, and I'm being entrusted to help meet those needs.  So I will keep making angel clothing and other items.  I will keep telling my story.  And I will keep holding nothing back in the hopes that someone will be helped by my experience.  I may have severe heartache every single day as I sew these tiny little clothes, but Christ comforts me as I follow His guidance.  How could any gift be much greater than that?

If you’d like to be interviewed, please email tuckersuzanne @ sbcglobal (dot) net, or feel free to comment on the link to her post provided above. You can see the videos from other moms she has talked to on Hopeful Miscarriage.

And as she ended her post, I would like to end mine the same:
Blessings to you on your journey, and thank you from MY healing heart for listening.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2 Week Follow-Up & Testing

Yesterday was 2 weeks since Seth was born sleeping.  Today is 2 weeks since the horrid D&C.  I found out at my follow-up yesterday (with my midwife, NOT that horrendously rough and angry doctor) that after a D&C, even though the wounds are on the inside, they still "scab" over.  Not the hard scabs like after you scrape your knee or elbow, but more of a soft, slimy type of scab after scraping the inside of your uterus.  Interesting thought, internal scabbing!  Anyway, so I was afraid that I had been over working myself because after a particularly long, eventful day, I would find that I bled all the next day.  Sorry if that's TMI but someone is likely going through all of this and may need to know (which is why I journal all of this publicly to begin with).  Anyway, so I go for a walk, bleed, and think to myself "c'mon already, I can't even WALK without hurting myself?!"  But now I know that it was just the internal scab sluffing off.  Which means I get to walk without fear!!  WALK! 

Anyway, so I also saw a doctor yesterday.  Again, not that horridly rough doctor from 2 weeks ago, but someone else.  This guy is apparently THE top doctor in the COUNTRY when it comes to recurrent pregnancy loss and stillbirth (check out his 221 publications!!).  Were you aware of the study going on using baby asprin during pregnancy?  He's at the center of that study.  I remember hearing about that just after Keith was born!  Anyway, so I went to see him.  He ordered some blood tests and it'll be a week or two before the results are back, but based on my pregnancy history, he ordered one for APS (where antibodies attack "pregnancy products") and a panel of thrombophilias (various clotting disorders - where you clot too quickly, hemophilia is where you don't clot quickly enough and then bleed too much).  After that, he'll do a sonohystogram to check for abnormalities with my uterus (if the placenta attaches to a regular portion of the uterus, the pregnancy can progress normally whereas if the placenta attaches to an abnormal part, complications can arise).  If all of that comes back clean, and if our insurance will cover it (it's super expensive) then we'll do genetic testing on both me and Ben.  And if THAT comes back clean, he said we have three options:  1) decide not to risk losing any more and be done with pregnancies.  2) try again anyway, with my current stats of 3 living full-term babies, 2 second trimester losses, and 1 early loss, I have about a 75% chance of having another full-term healthy baby.  Or 3) try again, but with some help to improve my odds of having a full-term baby.  He said that about 1/3 of pregnancies end in a loss.  About 3% of those are later losses like Taylor and Seth (or even later like some of my loss-mama friends).  And an even tinier percentage have two later losses in a row like I have experienced this year.  So... do I want to risk continuing down the path of recurrent pregnancy loss?  Or not?

Right now, I am ready to rest.  I can't get pregnant again until I am ready to possibly face another loss.  I don't know that I could mentally/emotionally handle 3 losses in a row.  It scares me to think of another pregnancy.  Needless to say, I'll be scared out of my mind the whole time.  I was already fairly nervous throughout my pregnancy with Seth after having lost Taylor already this year.  Nervous is going to be an easy day if I ever get pregnant again though.  Terrified will be more like it.  However, the thought of my family being complete how it is right now just doesn't feel right either.  Ben has never been into "trying" or "avoiding," he's more of an "it either happens or it doesn't" kind of guy.  So although adoption would be a lovely option, I don't think Ben really wants to.  At least it's probably not important to him right now.  I need to wait at least until after all this testing to see how things go before making any big decisions, but I still need to contemplate how I will feel about the results.  Will I want to have another pregnancy if I have to have three shots in my stomach every day in order to deliver a healthy, full-term baby?  If it's just a pill or 15, I know I'm fine with that.  What if it's abnormalities in my uterus?  Will they be reparable?  Or will I just have to hope for a good implantation spot?  What if all these tests show NOTHING?  (Ugh, talk about a let down - something fixable or treatable is acceptable to me.  Nothing, no conclusions, just a random "well, that sucks" just isn't okay for me.)  I need to plan out my feelings.  Yes, I really said that.  I need to determine what I'm willing to do in order to carry more babies, and what is more than I can handle causing me to call it quits.  I need to imagine receiving each diagnosis so I can work through the emotions now so that I can choose how to feel about it rather than letting my emotions get the best of me, bringing me down, or causing me needless worry.  With 3 living children and 3 losses, how much am I willing to endure?  How will any of it effect my children's daily lives? 

Lots to consider.  Hoping for a fixable, treatable diagnosis.  Hoping to not be headed into a dark tunnel with no flashlight.  A diagnosis of absolutely nothing is more scary than any of it.  A reason is good.  Oh please let there be a treatable reason!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Holy Cow! 

So, (I mentioned before that I always seem to start off with "So," and here I go again) I decided I needed to try today to go out and about.  I went to Wal-Mart yesterday and did fine, though I'm still a bit tender and sore from the D&C.  So I figured today would be alright too. 

Not so much.

It was a cute little boutique held in the home of a neighbor and friend.  Most of the people there I knew.  Perhaps that is where I went wrong.  As a few more people came, I started breathing more and more heavily until I realized I was fighting back tears.  I'm not sure why.  No one was talking about anything sensitive.  In fact, I was leaning against a wall quietly in a corner.  I wasn't even part of a conversation.  But feelings kept growing and growing until I finally had to leave.  I had to walk a few houses down to drop something off anyway, so I did. 

Then a very kind lady expressed to me that she was sorry for what I am going through again so soon and tears began to well up.  I hope I didn't rush away too quickly.  She was being so kind and thoughtful and I really appreciated her sweet sentiments.  I may admit to crying here, but I HATE crying.  I hate for people to see me cry.  It's like it erases any illusions of strength, including the one I hold for myself. 

I am now kind of scared to go to church again this Sunday.  I skipped the last two weeks, which I rarely if ever actually do.  But I was too much of a mess to go be with a dozen 3 year olds, so I skipped.  If that 30 minutes amongst neighbors brings me close to hyperventilating, what would three hours do?!  I know I need to go and be uplifted and take part in the Sacrament.  Not to mention, it's not very fair of me to not be doing my share with my class of 3 year olds.  But if I can't hold myself together very well in such a small group of people I know for 30 minutes, how will I do with a whole church full of people I know?  How will I contribute positively to a group of toddlers?

How am I going to move through this?  How am I going to find my new normal?  What do I do now?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Poems - part 3b

This is the poem that was read during Seth's memorial service:

What Makes A Mother?

I thought of my little one

and I 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 deep breath and cleared His throat
and then I saw a tear.

"I wish I could show you

what your little one
is doing here today.
If you could see [him] smile
with other children and say..."

"We go to earth to learn our lessons

of love and life and fear.
My mommy loved me oh so much
I got to come straight here."

"I feel so lucky to have a Mom

who has so much love for me
I learned my lesson very quick
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 OK.
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." 

And these are the ones I would have liked to have read, if only I had the voice:

It must be very difficult
to be a man in grief,
since "men don't cry" and men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.

It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test
and field calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.

They always ask if she's all right
and what she's going through,
but seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"
He hears her crying in the night
and thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But "stays strong" for her sake.

It must be very difficult
To start each day anew
and try to be so very brave
He lost his baby too.
Eileen Knight Hagemeister

They Say There is a Reason (Author Unknown)
They say there is a reason,
They say that time will heal,
But neither time nor reason,
Will change the way I feel,
For no-one knows the heartache,
That lies behind our smiles,
No-one knows how many times,
We have broken down and cried,
We want to tell you something,
So there won't be any doubt,
You're so wonderful to think of,
But so hard to be without.

Little Snowdrop (Author Unknown)

The world may never notice
If a Snowdrop doesn't bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.

The little one we long for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.
And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
Every beating of our hearts
Says that we love you.


Funeral & the aftermath - part 3

Friday,         03 August - I found out via ultrasound at 19 weeks that Seth had died at 16 weeks.
Monday,      06 August - I finished off all the arrangements I could prior to delivery
Tuesday,      07 August - Seth Micah Harvey was born
Wednesday, 08 August - D&C, released from the hospital
Friday,        10 August - Seth's graveside service
Saturday,    11 August - sat in bed recovering and crying all day
Sunday,      12 August - went to see family, realized I can't be with people for long before breaking down.

Friday was the funeral.  It was a very small but sweet service.  Brother Smith conducted since our Bishop was out of town.  I looked over the blogs of all of my loss-mama friends but didn't see a "program" so I thought I should share mine in case anyone needed an example later on down the road.

Opening Prayer...............Kathryn Harvey (Ben's sister)
Opening Remarks...........McKay Smith (bishopric)
Name & Blessing............Ben Harvey (didn't know this was an option, but it's a name known in the  records of our family, not on the records of the church, since he never took a breath)
Poem...............................Lee-Ann Luke (mother of a loss-mama friend)
Dedication of Grave.......Jerom Becar (bishopric)
Song................................I Am A Child of God (I don't recommend this song, I don't get to lead and guide and walk beside to help him find his way)
Closing Prayer................Denise Curtis (friend)

After talking to other loss-mamas, it seems most people have grandmothers of the child(ren) speak but my mom is out of state and Ben's parents were out of town that weekend.  Some people sing songs, others don't.  I thought the poem was appropriate and helped make it feel more like a funeral than a gathering to watch a burial.  The Name & Blessing isn't needed, but it was an amazing blessing and it made me feel better that it was done.  For LDS families like ours, you don't HAVE to dedicate the grave, you can say a little graveside prayer instead if you have people attending that don't understand our faith.  Everyone there was LDS and I preferred the Dedication.
Kimberly (a dear loss-mama friend) and Melissa
Ashley & Jerom Becar

Tiny little 12" casket

with Lee-Ann Luke, who read the poem
with Denise, my amazing friend who was with me through it all
Angel Garden is the infant section of the Provo Cemetery.

as people left, I sat trying to prepare for Seth to be put into the ground
Ben let me hide my face for a while.
In the ground.
Good bye, sweet Angel boy.
The service was supposed to begin at 1pm, but Seth and his tiny casket didn't even arrive until just after 1pm.  I was a bit disgruntled about that, of course.  Then, even though Ben had asked them that morning if they were bringing a table and table cloth, they didn't bring either.  Once everyone gathered around for it to begin though, I no longer had room in my emotions for being upset about these things.  Someone asked if I wanted a picture holding or touching the casket, but I couldn't do it.  I asked them to take a picture of Seth inside his casket for me, since they said he was further discolored now (Ben said he looked about the same though), so they asked if I wanted to see him inside his casket.  I couldn't do it.  To see him or even touch the casket would mean having to give him up again.  And I couldn't give him up again.  Once was enough.  I shook and shook and tears just poured.  I do want to see the picture of Seth in his casket though.  I just couldn't do it then.  

Since the funeral, I think most people think that's the end and now it's time to get back to normal.  Except, what is normal?  Of 6 pregnancies, 5 have names, I have pictures of 4, and I only get to hold 3.  I am a mother to Keith, (baby 2), Mitchell, Kiersten, Taylor, and Seth.  Only Keith, Mitchell, and Kiersten are in my home.  What is NORMAL when you only get to mother half of your children?  I'm still healing, and I suffered the consequences of being overly active the day of the funeral, so I'm still not allowed to pick up Kiersten to climb the stairs often, or even stand in the kitchen to wash dishes or cook food.  I can't care for the children living in my home.  How is anything supposed to be normal.  It's almost like, "okay, burial is closure to the whole entire topic, it's time to move on and forget about it now."  Not that anyone has said that, but it feels like that's the expectation now.  

I tried to go out Sunday to see family that was in town after another funeral.  After a couple hours, I tried to leave the room to use the bathroom, but grief overcame me and I nearly collapsed in the bathroom from the overwhelming grief.  I wanted to leave, but Ben grieves differently and wanted to stay with his family, so I went to the car for nearly an hour while I allowed the grief to pour out and then tried to use makeup to whiten myself up again.  With a house full of kids (13 of them), I didn't want to let my sadness hurt them.  I'm glad I didn't try to go to church.  The sadness on people's faces weighs me down, but seeing carefree faces hurts too.  I know, catch-22, right?  I should say now:  I am not angry about anyone else's happiness, not upset that anyone else is pregnant, I may be a tad jealous of healthy, happy babies and pregnancies, but I am still not upset about anyone else being happy or pregnant.  Got it?  I am happy for you, just sad for me.  Promise.  

I'm going to do a part 3b with the poem read at the funeral, and two that I would have read if I'd had a voice.

Placenta - part 2

Heidi, the NILMDTS photographer, left around 12:20.  The doctor was just coming into the room then.  Delivering the placenta was the new focus.  This is where we go from good/bad to bad/ugly.  Although the doctor and the nurses all had a nice, pleasant demeanor about them, gentle did not seem to be something they were familiar with... the doctor was most foreign to the concept.  He checked to see if the placenta was detached from the uterus at all.  At this point, nothing had been so painful that I grunted, groaned, complained, or what-have-you.  There were labor pains, but everything had been manageable.  That went out the window as soon as the doctor went to check on things.  As doctors usually do, he did more than he told me he would, and it hurt so badly that I was squeezing the bars on the hospital bed as tightly as I could (I was afraid of hurting a nurse if I held onto one of them as was offered, plus it gave stability) and tears were pouring down the sides of my face.  That was more pain than I've ever experienced even in full-term child birth.  He said that my cervix was closing but he could reach a tiny bit of placenta.  He told the nurse to go get some ring forceps to give it a tug.  (I should mention here:  she brought something, he scolded her saying they weren't ring forceps, she tried to say she was hurrying and grabbed what was labeled as ring forceps, he used them anyway and found that they had been on the table prepared for him right behind him the whole time.)  He spent some time coaxing the placenta out.  He mentioned watching for any retained bits and pieces among blood clots, but everyone seemed comfortable that all was now well.

After a while, once the doctor had left, Denise gloved up and started to inspect the placenta.  I asked to see it, she brought me a glove and the bowl containing the placenta and we looked.  I commented quickly that it was not large enough.  My placenta with Taylor was much larger and she was three weeks younger.  Nurses tried to explain that all placentas were different sizes and that this one was also already deteriorating, so I shouldn't expect it to be like any other I'd ever seen.  The nurses were not at all concerned.  Denise was trying hard to see things as the nurses did, though she had her doubts too.  We searched for the spot where the umbilical cord attached but couldn't find it.  Nurses tried to point out a thick spot but Denise and I were unconvinced.  We were trying so hard to be as unconcerned as everyone else, trying to see the holes in the placenta and cover them with flaps that might have fit, or excusing irregularities due to the deterioration, but it just wasn't right.

Finally, around 2am, everything calmed down enough that we turned off lights to try to sleep.  Of course, the doctor came back in at 2:30 to say that he was ordering an ultrasound to be done in the next hour, just to be sure all the pieces were out, and then I'd be sent home two hours later.  I went back to sleep, though the ultrasound cart came in around 3:15am.  I noticed color on the screen and she spent a LONG time doing it, measuring things, though she didn't speak at all during or after so I had no confirmation for what I was now fearing.  The doctor came back around 5:30am to say that the ultrasound showed that a large chunk of placenta was still attached to the uterine wall and was still circulating blood through it.  -  Even reflecting back, all I can do is release a sigh, close my eyes, and slump into my chair.  I felt defeated.  I should have been up walking around.  More would have come out if I had walked more.  But I was already so physically and emotionally exhausted.  Now I felt mentally exhausted, too.

In the next little while, nurses came in and out, the anesthesiologist came in and out, I signed consent forms, I removed all jewelry and anything that had metal (even my hair clip had a metal spring inside) just in case they had to cauterize the inside of my uterus.  I reminded nurses, Ben, and Denise that my grandma did not do well with general anesthesia and my mom was always slow to wake up from it.  Denise found a couple guys to give me a blessing.  We meant to have them give Ben a blessing too, but things were so hurried that we forgot.  I'm so sorry, Ben.  He really could have used one right then.  The doctor came in and scolded Denise in front of me.  She had been talking to someone who seemed to want the information, so she told them about some things they could do at home to keep from going into preterm labor, since the hospital had just sent them away refusing to stop or help labor at that point.  The doctor gave her quite the verbal lashing right in front of me, saying it was unprofessional to be soliciting his patients from him in a hospital.  He went on and on about how she was not to do it again, how unprofessional it was, how it was the wrong setting, etc.  She tried to apologize and explain that she was not trying to solicit, just be friendly, and how sorry she was.  He would have none of it.  Then he turned to me and said it was time for surgery and left the room.  Ben and I quickly commented on how unprofessional that was and I apologized to Denise.  How dare he treat my support person so UNPROFESSIONALLY right in front of me like that?  If he had a problem, he should have asked to speak to her outside my room, not in front of me.  Now, as they strolled me down the hall, I was fearful of how they'd treat Ben and Denise while I was unconscious and was fearful of how he would treat me and my body while he was angry with my friend and I was not awake to do or say anything about it.

I guess I kind of left something out.  With the placenta still attached, they said I needed to do a D&C.  Since I had not had an epidural, they had to put me under general anesthesia, completely knocking me out, in order to do the procedure.  With this, they would vacuum suck the placenta out, then use a sharp something to scrape the inside of my uterus until it was empty and the lining was gone.  I should also let you know that this is the absolute last thing I wanted done (yes, I expressed that to them several times).  But, since there were no other medical solutions to hurrying up to get the placenta out, this was where I was faced.  I know it is something that lots of women have had done, and many women are as unconcerned about it as the hospital staff was.  I, however, am NOT a fan of scraping out my uterus.  I didn't want to be in the hospital at all, but I was already informed that it was really my only option unless my body decided to kick into gear and delivery Seth on its own.  I feared that this would cause cervical scaring and interfere with delivery later on if we choose to have more children.  D&C's usually leave only minimal scaring, but now with an angry doctor holding a knife, who knows what could happen.

They wheeled me down to the operating room (7:45am as I left the room) and put the mask on my face.  They said it was oxygen but it made me feel like I was getting less oxygen.  The nurse wiped tears from my left eye (nurse on the right didn't seem to notice) several times before I was no longer awake.  Next thing I knew, someone told me where I was.  I couldn't remember what they said when I opened my eyes again.  I had to ask.  A woman told me I was in recovery.  Once I seemed a bit more awake, they found someone to help stroll me down to my new room.  I looked at the clock.  9:45am.  I had looked just before going into surgery so I wanted to know the time now, to see how long it took.  2 hours.  They said the procedure would only be about 30 minutes (which Ben and Denise confirmed it was), so it took me 1 1/2 hours to wake up.  Oh, and I really needed to use the bathroom, they gave me a bedpan (ew) but I could NOT go!  It took probably a good half 20 minutes to finally go... which was apparently a BIG step in my recovery as they won't let you go home until you pee after being put under.  Who knew?

Of course, then there is the perspective from Ben & Denise.  Someone came to tell them that surgery was over and they were waking me up about 30 minutes after it started.  So they assumed I'd be strolled back down soon.  So they waited and waited, asked someone what was going on, were told that they were bringing me down, so they thought another couple minutes but kept waiting and waiting.  An hour after surgery had begun, they moved Ben & Denise from the delivery room to the recovery room.  Of course they thought this was good news and I'd be there, but no.  Our bishop arrived (THANK YOU!!  I think Ben was really in need of a blessing about then) and sat to wait with them in the new room.  Apparently he made a comment that encouraged Ben to get up and go hunt for me since no one seemed to be able to properly communicate where I was and when I was coming back.  Of course, that's when I finally arrived.  2 hours after a 30 minute surgery.

After this, things calmed down.  The bishop gave me a blessing.  My blood pressure was low (it's normally textbook perfect), my heart rate was high, but these are apparently common after surgery.  I was dizzy for a while but finally felt well enough to stand unassisted to shower.  The new nurse, Renee, was the most gentle of all of them.  I'm not allowed to lift anything over 15 lbs for two weeks (and I've seen the ramifications if I do, and this includes lifting Kiersten, which she is NOT enjoying), not even supposed to be up doing household chores for two weeks (this is killing me, but again, I've seen how easily I aggravate the healing process)... and I'm SO SORE.  I didn't expect to be this sore afterward, but I suppose I did have a knife scraping the sides of my uterus, which is bound to cause lingering pain that's just enough to grit your teeth about.

Through it all, we were reminded why we hate hospitals so much.  Communication is extremely poor.  No one seems to understand how to be gentle.  Pain seems to mean "I'll do it harder and faster to get it over with more quickly."  Doctors are awful creatures with no compassion or understanding, who expect to be treated like the knights in shining armor they believe themselves to be due to years of "superior" education.  I hate it there.  Ben hates it there.  Would it have really been so difficult to be a little more kind, compassionate, and gentle with a woman who just gave birth to her tiny dead baby and those there to support her?  Is it too difficult to spend 5 minutes explaining that they can't bring me back to a postpartum room until after I have become coherent so that a man who just held his dead baby could at least be comforted that his wife was okay?  Is it necessary to scold a nurse or a patient's friend in front of the patient who is about to go into surgery, making her fearful that the anger will lead to even less gentleness during said surgery?  I'm not impressed.  I don't expect you to stand there crying with me, but I do expect more than what we received.  I will obviously NOT be going back to his horrid doctor for my follow-up, nor will I ever willingly go to that hospital again.  This was an opportunity to calm and comfort, but instead they made a bad experience even worse.  Just not pleased at all.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Delivery Day - part 1

I know I'm going to have to break this into a couple posts.  There's definitely the good, the bad, and the ugly to be shared.  I thought about starting with the ugly so I could work backward and end on a good note.  But I guess I woke up feeling more generous than that.

I worked hard to get everything done before induction.  A lady in the ward works for an ob/gyn office and helped me set up an appointment to see a doctor who agreed to do the delivery the next day.  A friend who lost her baby a year ago said that someone made phone calls for her that were helpful, so she took on that task for me - calling mortuaries and cemeteries to help us find out costs for caskets, the burial, the plot, etc.  Her estimates helped out a lot, and she found out that there is only one nearby cemetery with an infant section.  I like the idea of my baby being with others of the same age.  Turns out, my baby is just a few plots away from a friend's baby.  I hate it, but it's comforting for me.  We picked out the smallest casket available.  We arranged childcare for induction day.  I packed bags with jammies and extra clothes for "just in case."  I got my hospital bag packed.  I got everything I could done before going to the hospital on Tuesday.  It made me feel like I could mentally be there and aware of what was going on.

We arrived at the hospital on Tuesday at noon.  We checked in at the front desk, then into our room.  It was a huge room.  Ben still needed to go pay for the cemetery plot so once I'd had my first dose of Cytotec, he went to do that (cash or check, no cards) and my friend, Denise, came to be with me.  She stayed until everything was calm and we were just waiting for hospital procedure for me to be released.  She was such a comfort to me.  And she was such an advocate for me.  She helped me so very much.  I'm so glad Denise cleared her schedule, even missed a Scout Court of Honor where one of her boys became a Star, just to help me and help Ben as we managed the hospital, our emotions, our grief, our fears, and so much more.  Thank you, Denise.

It wasn't until about 1:25pm that I had the first dose of Cytotec (which, by the way, is NOT approved by the FDA for the induction of labor... just FYI).  Not much happened for a while.  The second dose was at 5:20.  By 6pm, bleeding had started.  I figured it wouldn't be much longer, considering how things progressed with Taylor.  Something I hadn't accounted for was that, with Taylor I was walking around the house while this time, I was in a hospital bed with a monitor on which made me feel strapped down and like I had to ask permission just to use the bathroom.  That slows progression of any labor.  I felt contractions in my lower abdomen and my upper thighs just before the second dose.  They continued to increase after the second dose.  I got a third dose around 9:15.

Finally, around 10:30pm, I had decided that I just HAD to go to the bathroom.  I got up, got in there, sat down, and the tiniest push caused a bulge to appear.  I put my hand below it, just in case it tried to drop into the water.  Nurses and Denise helped me back to the bed.  Three nurses worked to have me push just a little bit at a time.  I still needed to use the bathroom, so I was afraid to push very hard.  My baby was still in the caul, still entirely inside the amniotic sac.  Once they broke away the sac, they put him on a basic hospital baby blanket/towel and gave him to me so very carefully, at 10:45pm.  I had someone, I think Ben, call the Heidi (our NILMDTS photographer).  All I could do is stare and memorize.

He had toenails.  Yes, HE!  Turns out the ultrasound tech was wrong, as it is very difficult to see gender on a 16 week baby via ultrasound.  We needed a new name.  Isabelle obviously would not be working out after all.  I let Ben take him for a while, and I looked up my name list.  I read them off, Ben said a few stuck out, so I read them one more time.  I already approved of all the names on the list, so when Ben chose Seth from my list, I was pleased.  We weren't sure if we'd give him a middle name.  Taylor didn't have one, which is why I hadn't chosen to give him one when we anticipated him being Isabelle.  But Seth just seemed to need another name.  It wouldn't come until Heidi was packing up to leave.  Someone suggested Michael, but Micah was on my list so we chose that instead.  I've always loved the name Micah!

Heidi was there from about 11:30pm-12:20am.  I am so grateful there are people like her, willing to come out at a moments notice in the middle of the night to photograph such sad pictures for a family to have to remember their lost child.  Seth stayed near Ben while Heidi did most of the pictures, and nurses were still working on me, trying to coax the placenta out.  They were kind to keep a sheet pulled to keep me modest, understanding how important the pictures were/are to me, yet also knowing they had work to do.  When the nurses weren't working on me, we were able to get a few shots of me with Seth, and then Seth with both me and Ben.

I memorized my boy as long as I could.  I hadn't eaten solid food all day and had very little juice, so I didn't have much energy and it was such a long day.  I was so tired.  I laid Seth in his blanket on my chest and wept.  Usually, I lay my babies on my arm and curl up in bed with them, cuddling them all night long.  Seth was too little for my arm.  I held very still, cradled him, continued to weep, and thought of all the things I was going to miss with him.  I closed my eyes to recall memories of him, to see what other parts of him I needed to study and memorize.  His ears were tiny little flat buds, still low on his head, but very apparent.  His lips were slightly puckered.  His nose was tiny and button-like, Denise said he would have had my nose.  His fingers weren't able to spread, but each finger was there.  His toes were tiny, all 10 accounted for, each would separate, and each finger and toe had either a nail or a nail-bed.  His eyes were open and dark.  His legs were perfect - tiny muscular thighs, solid bones in his knees and ankles, absolutely perfectly formed.  You could feel his ribs, and his shoulders were slightly askew.  He was fragile, very fragile, but he is mine and I love him.

I noticed that his skin was darkening, so being afraid they wouldn't be able to get footprints if I didn't hurry, I let the nurses taken him for a few minutes.  They brought him back to me and then I had to think of saying goodbye forever.  I cradled him on my chest a while longer, and kissed his little hatted head.  It felt so wrong to let someone take my baby.  He was supposed to stay with me for years and years until he left the house but still came to visit often.  It made me have an even deeper appreciation for those who have allowed their child to be adopted.  Allowing someone else to take your baby, perhaps never to see them again... for me, there was no option to keep him.  It hurt me so much to tell them it was time to let him leave my room for good.  But it had to happen.  He was already gone.

It's amazing how much you can love and miss someone who never took a breath.  But I do.  So very, very much.  I guess I really don't have to explain.  I am his mother.  He is my son.  Whether he is in my home or not, he is still in my heart and in my mind constantly.  I may smile, I may laugh, but that doesn't mean I'm not still thinking of how empty my arms are.  I've been talking to him, joyfully making plans for how our family dynamic will change, and dreaming of him since finding out I was pregnant.  He's been with me for nearly 20 weeks.  Now, instead of carrying him in my belly or in my arms, I will be carrying him always in my heart.   Seth Micah Harvey, I love you.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 2 - again

Well, thanks to some absolutely fabulous women in my ward and that I met after Taylor died, I:
  • have an appointment with a doctor tomorrow, and then I can schedule an induction
  • am in contact with a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
  • know to ask for the benevolent specialist
  • know to use words like "stillbirth" instead of "miscarriage," after all, despite her age, I have still carried her for over 19 weeks, perhaps 20 weeks by delivery and I know that a certificate of stillbirth would be better for me than being sent home with no proof of her existence
  • know that I need to find a mortuary/funeral home so that I can
    •  either get an urn or a casket, depending on cremation or burial
    • get an infant burial plot at a cemetery, if we choose to go that route
  •  have some places to contact concerning a headstone, if we go that route 
  •  got to the Jordan River Temple yesterday - even if I didn't get all the answers I wanted, it was a break from crying and that was nice, my eyes are sore and burn, had to switch to glasses it hurt so much
  • know to have MORE memorabilia rather than a bare minimum - I can choose not to look at too many pictures, hide away the foot/hand castings or prints, make a box for everything so I only have to look when I want to, but I can't ever get more done - more people seem to wish they had more photos and memorabilia than fewer/less
There is still a lot to accomplish, like all those big decisions I mentioned (cremation/burial, cemetery, mortuary, urn/casket, headstone, etc...) but I am working on it.  I talked to my insurance company a few times already.  They'll do genetic testing on me, need pre-approval for testing on the placenta, but will not cover ANYTHING for Isabelle.  No autopsy.  No blood work.  No checking for chromosomal abnormalities.  No searching for cause of death.  No searching to see if this would happen a third time if I got pregnant again.  Any testing has to be done on ME only.  I think it's a crap shoot, but what do I know.  Oh, and the reason they don't cover testing on Isabelle...?  She's not registered under our insurance plan.  There would be no family member to charge it to.   Yes, if you're feeling angry right now, you've got just a taste of my feelings.

How am I feeling?  I got most of the really snotty and loud crying out... for now.  I still cry, though not for a solid half hour of tears streaming down my face.  I'm in business mode trying to get all of these arrangements made.  TV isn't very numbing, but being in business mode is.  My head hurts constantly.  Not sure if it's from crying or from holding back tears, or both, or just the headache that it is to arrange for delivery of my already dead baby and then figure out what to do with my child's body.  No parent should have to do this kind of stuff.  I called the hospital that I plan to deliver at, and they were very UNhelpful.  She couldn't tell me if I'd get a certificate of stillbirth or not - if it's based on how many weeks pregnant I am or the gestational age of the baby.  She couldn't tell me what the hospital's photographer offers for parents of a stillborn.  All she could tell me is that, if I wanted to, they would DISPOSE of the body for me.  Yeah, like anyone wants to hear that.  Sounds like (and they probably do) they just throw the baby in the trash.  This is my CHILD.  She should NOT be in the trash.  I WILL do better this time.  Half of what hurt so much with Taylor was how her body was treated.  Since I never saw it and she was flushed down a toilet, I felt very guilty for mistreating her.  I know I didn't do it on purpose.  I hope Taylor knows that, too.  And I am NOT going to allow such a thing for Isabelle.  Her body WILL be respected and treated properly, like a child, not trash.

So, if anyone has any suggestions or stories of what you/others have done considering cremation/burial, cemetery, mortuary, urn/casket, headstone, etc..., please let me know.  A closer cemetery is probably better so I can visit, should I want to.  Or maybe I should go for the same one that other family is in so that she is properly visited on Memorial Day, though it's a good hour or so from here.  Suggestions??

Saturday, August 4, 2012


It's 4am.  I woke up half an hour ago.  I can't stop crying.  Not even TV is numbing me this time.  How did this happen twice in a year?  In the time it should have taken me to carry and deliver one healthy baby, I've lost TWO in the second trimester.  But why?  How?  I'm still nauseous half the time.  It's a rare day when I'm not.  That's supposed to be one of those comforting symptoms of a healthy pregnancy and it now means nothing to me.  I can hardly breathe.  It feels like my chest is trying to collapse.  I don't know what to think.  I don't know what to do.  All I can do is cry.  Loud.  I tried to eat, tried to pray before eating and it turned into this huge snot covered ball of mess.  I answered the door, saw face, and lost it again.  Tried to sleep and all I can think of is that I now have two angels waiting in heaven.  And it's not fair.  Twice in a year?  Twice in six months?  It's been a solid 12 minutes of huffing and puffing crying and I can't stop.  My husband said the most crass thing a few weeks ago.  I didn't want to attend a baby blessing on Taylor's due date and he said "I thought being pregnant again was supposed to fix things."  I wanted to scream!  One baby does not replace another.  But now I see that I thought the same thing.  This baby was supposed to be born just after Christmas, a few days apart from Kiersten's birthday, just like how my boys' birthdays are just a few days apart.  And it was supposed to make things better.  Instead, I am absolutely shattered.  I'm shaking.  My eyes burn from crying so much.  My "rainbow baby" is another angel, another butterfly that has flown away.  I can't do this a third time in a row.  Technically, this is my THIRD loss already.  We kinda feel like our loss between Keith and Mitchell didn't yet have a spirit attached to it, and that Mitchell would have been that baby, so that one doesn't hurt.  I have that child, just in a different body.  But Taylor and now Isabelle.

Yes, we chose the name Isabelle.  We know that this baby IS a girl.  I say IS because she's still inside of me.  Today I should be 19 weeks.  I went in for that happy gender revealing ultrasound.  The first thing she did was look at the cervix and then went to the baby.  As she did, I said "and there is a heartbeat and everything?"  She said, "why would you ask that?" in a nervous, curious tone.  I said, "because with my last baby, there wasn't."  She said, "I'm sorry, I don't think there is."  Last time, I was alone.  This time, I had the entire family with me.  I had been telling the boys all morning that we were going to go find out if mommy's new baby was a boy or a girl.  Instead, we had to tell them that the new baby died, too.  I had her look for a gender and she was pretty certain it's a girl.  She said that Isabelle died at about 16 weeks, 3 weeks ago.  She said that, just like with Taylor, Isabelle has a perfectly formed and developed body.  There was no obvious reason for either of them to have died.  No cord accident.  No placenta accident.  She even showed me that the placenta was still perfectly attached, though it was in front (something she pointed out before I asked about the heartbeat which had given me a slight hope, since that would account for why I had not been feeling movement).  But no.  Hope apparently doesn't live in my house.  Or at least not inside me.

With Taylor, she passed at 13 weeks, I found out at 13 weeks 4 days, and I was able to induce at home with Cytotec and deliver at 14 weeks.

With Isabelle, she passed at 16 weeks, I found out at 19 weeks, and I am too far along to induce at home this time.  Currently, my scheduled hospital induction isn't until August 21st (Keith's first day of First Grade) when she will have been dead for nearly 6 weeks.  I'm trying to find a random doctor that can get me in sooner.  I can't wait that long.  I can't be my baby's walking tomb that long.  Plus her body will deteriorate the longer she's inside.  I want to be able to see her and hold her.  Call me crazy, but I want pictures of her.  None of the ultrasound pictures are very pretty.  Some are downright scary looking, especially knowing it's not a healthy, developing baby but a baby that has been dead for 3 weeks.  The skeletal images just make me feel more like a walking tomb.

Insurance only covers genetic testing on ME to see if something is keeping me from having full term happy babies.  It doesn't cover any testing on the baby.

I hope to be able to bury Isabelle.  Anyone know of nearby cemeteries?  Do any of them have a section for children?  I want a tombstone with both my babies' names on it.  Taylor & Isabelle Harvey.  I suppose I put their "birth" dates instead of their death dates.  Taylor died 16 Jan 2012, and was born 23 Jan 2012.  Isabelle died (are you freakin' kidding me?) on Friday, 13 July 2012, awaiting her birth date.

It seems my body feels about my babies the same as I do.  It loves them and wants to keep them.  How odd that after 3 weeks, I still have no signs of miscarriage.  None.  At all.  My body is holding onto her tight.

This isn't fair.  This isn't right.  I should, however, qualify that I am not hateful about anyone else being pregnant.  I may get jealous or sad, but I don't begrudge anyone a happy and healthy pregnancy.  Please don't feel like you can't share your happy news with me.  Heck, before I went in for my ultrasound, I got a text that a very dear friend of mine had just given birth to a beautiful baby, her #4 just as Taylor and then Isabelle should have been for me.  We were due together, then I lost Taylor.  But I am so happy that she has her sweet boy.  Another friend and I were supposed to be 10 weeks apart.  I've always wanted to be pregnant with her.  She and I are pretty close and she's been trying for SO long.  I was so excited to hear we were finally both pregnant!  Now it's just her.  But I'm still happy for her.  I'm just sad, again, for me.

Okay, so here are the best of the images of Isabelle that I currently have.  Hopefully (can I still even use that word?), I'll get some better ones after she's born that I can look at to remember her with.  These ones just don't do her justice (can I use THAT word?).  Call it creepy if you want, but I want pictures of my baby.  If I had seen Taylor's body, I would have wanted pictures of hers, too.  They are my children.  I love them.  I want pictures to remember them by, that I can share with others, rather than no one remembering them, and there being no proof of their existence.  I want them to have a tombstone for the same reason.  So there is proof of them.  Full term or not, they are my babies.  And they are gone.  And I want other people to know them, to remember them, and to know how much I love them.  Here's Isabelle:

15 weeks, happy and healthy
19 weeks, stopped growing 3 weeks ago
Crossed legs, female

Taylor Harvey - lost at 13 weeks, born at 14 weeks
Isabelle Harvey - lost at 16 weeks, awaiting birth
I love you both.  Take care of each other.

By the way, finally tally was 14 to 6 in favor of Girl.  You guys guessed right!