Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wiggly and Jiggly....

...that's the baby and me. Baby is wiggly, wiggly, wiggly (and like mama, talks using his or her hands!) and my stomach is jiggly, jiggly, jiggly. Not very pregnant looking, but jiggly nonetheless.

Monday was 11 weeks. 27 weeks to go. Monday was also 7 months since Matthew breathed his last breath. A hair over 30 weeks ago, he was with us and then wasn't. It's hard to believe that I have less time left with this pregnancy than has passed since Matthew was born and died. Like I said the other day, time is a very, very fickle and surreal concept.

Baby had a wonderful ultrasound and at first, was all curled up and didn't look like s/he wanted to be bothered. I laughed or something and it seemed as if I startled the Wiggler--because then the arms went flapping like a screeching baby bird! Lots of movement and I loved it! Heartbeat is good and strong in the upper 160s and John got to hear that little train chugging. Next Wednesday is the 1st trimester screening and neuchal translucency so John will get to see the baby again. He hasn't seen him/her for a couple of weeks and I think he's going through withdrawal! It's funny--we had TONS of ultrasounds with Matthew and yet, now, every two weeks seems to drag.

The going OB/nurse theory is still girl, but all readily admit it's too early too tell. At 12 weeks, one of Dr. Sweeney's partners predicted Matthew was a girl, and I had to sort of giggle inside as I thought, "'ve predicted pink, but I think you're wrong!" Dr. Sweeney said he'd take a gander and make a prediction at 12 weeks, but I don't think we'll really start buying for Team Pink or Team Blue for a few more weeks--maybe week 15-16.

In the meantime, here's what's going on with our Wiggler this week....

Week Eleven: Neurons multiply

You are 11 weeks pregnant. (nine weeks after conception)
  • The fetus CRL is about 1.5 inches (35mm) in size.
  • The fingers and toes have completely separated.
  • The taste buds are starting to develop.
  • Baby has tooth buds, the beginning of the complete set of 20 milk teeth.
  • Baby can swallow and stick out his or her tongue.
  • Whole body except tongue is sensitive to touch.
  • Cartilage now calcifying to become bone.
  • If it is a boy, the testicles are starting to produce the testosterone hormone.
10 weeksThe baby has an upper lip, toes and ears and twenty little teeth are now forming. The brain is growing rapidly and producing more than 250,000 nerve cells a minute. The heart is almost completely developed and very much resembles that of a newborn baby. An opening the atrium of the heart and the presence of a bypass valve divert much of the blood away from the lungs, as the child's blood is oxygenated through the placenta.

The eyelids have fused shut and will not open again until around week 27. The wrists and ankles have formed and the fingers and toes are clearly visible. Genitals have begun to form, but it is too early to tell the sex of the fetus. By this week of the pregnancy the placenta has developed enough to support most of the critical job of producing hormones.

By the 10th week of pregnancy, the crown to rump length of your growing baby is about 1.5 inches (35mm). The baby weighs close to 0.18 ounce (5g) and is the size of a small plum.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Perspective..., we had a secret in our family. Well, lots of them, I guess, but one that I knew was touchy--iffy to talk about and really one of those events that happens in a family that once swept under the carpet, is not really talked about much.

My mother had four children. Only three are alive today.
Only three were ever really acknowledged; only three are thought of as her descendants. Even in a genealogy book my mother wrote, only three children are listed.

Before Matthew died, in honesty, that seemed pretty appropriate. I mean, she had three live births. She raised three of us as we lived and breathed. She took pictures of three of us. She reveled in the accomplishments of three of us. The three of us attended her funeral.

But there was a fourth. I am the oldest child and my sister is three years younger than I. When I was five, my mother went into labor at 39 and a half weeks. The baby she carried to full term died during delivery and my mother never got to see her or hold her. I don't really know the details of what happened, and as my mother is dead, I doubt I ever will. In asking my father, it's obvious that he's put on some kind of blinders to that whole time period--probably his way of dealing with his grief. My sister has told me that she had talked about what happened with my mom but it so greatly differs from what my dad 'remembers' that I'm just resigned to the fact that I'll never really know. I just know that my mom was devastated...HATED her doctor and often said her doctor killed her baby, and that it was some sort of cord incident (which is yet another reason I was always terrified about cord issues with Matthew) and she was never the same.

A lot of that, I believe, was because she was not allowed to grieve. At all. Angel was born still, and the doctor whisked her away from my mom and under direction from my dad and grandma (who felt it best my mother not see the baby), did not allow her to see or hold her daughter. Nor did my father or grandmother think it was in my mother's best interest to go to the funeral. I can recall one picture--with my dad looking anguished and aggravated by the camera in front of a casket.

In our family, Angel was more often known as 'that baby mom had who died.' Never talked about or acknowledged, and if so, always as 'that baby mom had who died.'

Yes, this obviously breaks my heart as I now realize what an unbelievably difficult situation my mother was in and with no help or support...and two little girls left living that needed to be raised.

Growing up, it was just accepted that we really didn't talk about her. Out of sight, out of mind. For my sister and me, and certainly for my brother, Angel wasn't even really real.

So, so, so not what my mother needed. I remember my mom taking my sister and me to the cemetery and taking pictures of us there in Babyland. I don't remember this happening more than once.

One of the very few conversations I remember having with my mom that involved Angel was so contentious and makes my heart just weep thinking about it right now.

As my mom was aware of the fact that she was dying, we one day were talking about her 'final wishes' and she told me that she wanted to be cremated and have her ashes spread over Angel's grave. This made me SO mad and I told her could she DREAM of having her ashes spread over the grave of a dead baby when she had THREE living of whom moved Heaven and Earth to try and please her and make her happy. How could she be SO disrespectful of us? Of me?

I'd give anything in the entire world to take those words back. I had no way of knowing how I was crushing her soul. She wanted that because her heart, still, 28 years later, grieved the loss of that precious baby--HER precious daughter and not *a* dead baby--and she FINALLY wanted to be able to be with her. It didn't mean she loved us any less...just showed how much she still loved her baby daughter.

I don't think my mother ever had any problems getting pregnant. Heck, NO one in my family ever had problems getting pregnant but me, and then in typical 'me' fashion, I have problems AND good. Two years after Angel was born still, my brother was born and I remember some of the mother I used to know coming back. She smiled more and laughed more and my mom and dad didn't argue as much.

Growing up, my brother was SPOILED ROTTEN. I'm talking REALLY spoiled...and it always drove me nuts. Not materialistically--but in treatment. He could do no wrong. Nothing was ever his fault. He was never, EVER made to take responsibility for anything and my mother hovered over him like nothing I've ever seen.

This childhood did not serve him well as an adult. Unfortunately, my brother has issues and demons that stem from not knowing what real consequences mean. To this day, he will still say stuff like, "It's not my fault my parents didn't raise me right." Many, many, MANY times did my sister and I have conversations with my mother about the need to show him 'tough love.'
She just couldn't do it.

The last words I had with my mother were angry. She had called me to ask me to borrow money. She said it was for her medicine (she was on a new type of chemo) but I knew the sound in her voice. It was yet.another.thing for my brother. After rifling through the details, the bottom line was that my brother's girlfriend had done something to land herself in jail and my mother needed to borrow the money to bail his girlfriend out because she was afraid HE'D do something crazy if his girlfriend had to stay in jail.

I had some hateful words. I've worked hard my entire life and could not believe that I was being asked to bail my punk brother's girlfriend out of jail. That she would try to use my love and concern for her to get money for HIM. WHEN WAS MY MOM GOING TO MAKE HIM TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND LET THE REAL WORLD HAPPEN?

The conversation was heated, she started to slur her words and I told her I'd call her later when her medicine wasn't making it so hard to understand her.

She died that night.

My point in this story is that I never, ever could understand what drove her to let him get away with any and everything EVER, while I'd always had such stringent rules and responsibilities.

When Matthew died, I finally could.

My brother was her hope restored. Her miracle who lived. She could not FATHOM anything happening to him in any way, shape or fashion. She fought his battles like a mama bear and hovered over all of us in a way that the term 'helicopter parent' can't even come close to matching.

And while I still believe that my brother would have been far better off in his adult life if he'd ever had to have any real consequences growing up, I can completely and totally understand why my mother was like she was. Why she was "THAT" mom--the crazy one who would tear anyone apart if they threatened her children and fought every thing from the school system to various church groups to her own family members--including my dad.

Their relationship was never, ever the same after Angel died. I don't think her relationship with anyone was ever the same.

I understand so, so much more about my mother now. I am heartbroken that our family was not one where that sweet little baby sister was remembered and honored and counted as a 'true' family member. I feel like memories and stories I SHOULD have were stolen in the name of 'moving on' and 'not dwelling'.

My baby sister was a week and a half younger than her nephew was. Those lives MATTER. They count. And they are part of our family's story.

I of course am just devastated that it took something like what is my life right now for me to gain this perspective. I wish I had more compassion and understanding for my mother when she was alive--it was just not the way in our family. I can't tell you how often I long to have a conversation with her now...knowing she knows what my heart feels like and that we could grieve together.

And through this perspective, I have insight into what I do and don't want MY family story to be...Matthew will NEVER be 'that baby mom had who died' nor will his brother or sister be so smothered with my fear of danger or responsibility for him or her that he or she is not able to have failures in life and learn from them. I know myself well enough to know that I have the tendency to hover anyway, and those feelings are SO innate and strong right now with my sweet little one.

We learn so much from our parents. While I am just brokenhearted that my mother's suffering is so rich in lessons, I am grateful for the perspective.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Time... a really funny thing...always has been. When you are a child, you cannot WAIT until you 'grow up' and get big enough... ride a bike ride in the front seat go to school ride that roller coaster watch that tv show work drive get out of school get a real job get married

And it seems like the time in between those things happening just draaaagggs.

Until they happen. And then you look at them and wonder how in THE WORLD so much time in your life has passed???

It's with that same wonder that I think of today and realize that it's been 30 weeks since Matthew was born. Monday will be the 7-month marker.

How is it possible that so much time has passed? How is it possible that so many changes in my life have happened in that time?

How is it possible that people can believe that I would have moved on by now?

Every doctor and nurse I know is very (sweetly) apt to remind me that I am technically considered post-partum for a year...that I need to be gentle with my body and that healing will take a good year, if not more to be accomplished.

And yet, I had a precious human being--a miracle that I loved more than life itself--ripped from my body and was NEVER able to hold and in 7 months or less, I'm supposed to be over that? Moved on so I don't somehow dishonor or disrespect my second child?


That math doesn't make sense to me. Yes, "life goes on"...but grief lasts awhile.

But no matter...

I've really, really, REALLY tried to hold my tongue in words these last few days.

I absolutely will pop, though, if I don't write a few things.

Most importantly, (and thank you, A, for allowing me to, in a round about way, remember this!) I want to reiterate my original purpose in writing on a blog.

My mother died 7 years ago, and far too prematurely. I miss her every day. About 3 years or so ago, I was really missing her and decided to Google her name. She wrote various things, and I thought maybe I could stumble across something new and that would make me feel close to her that night.

Imagine my surprise and joy when I found a blog SHE had kept!!!! I had no idea! It was seriously one of the best presents I had ever, ever received and I wished there was more! Truly, a gift of God.

So, when we decided to adopt, I again googled and came across several blogs of others who had adopted or were in the process. I thought, "Well...maybe I should start something--I know nothing about adoption and this will be a great way to network. PLUS, I will be able to leave with my child one day a better way to know her mother."

And Lori Does Maryland was born. I really, really cherished just the ordinary and mundane things my mother had written (along with her wonderful and precious thoughts on family and life) and thought that maybe one day, my little girl might appreciate that in me. At the time, I guess I planned to just network some and print out various posts for later reference.

Then I found out about Blurb (it was either Maria or Mala, I think, if I remember correctly) and was PSYCHED!!! I could just upload my writing and pictures at the end of each year, and voila! A semi-yearbook for my little one, with little work on my part involved!

Of course, it grew. Things changed, plans changed and I still chronicled life because some day, by golly, a child of mine was going to read about it.

And I admit it--I met a lot of really wonderful people in doing so. I enjoy the interactions and I really enjoy the prayers and support. I'd be lying if I said I didn't.

So, all in all--a win-win. A way for my child to know my heart and mind and a way for me to enrich my life with new people, encouragement and support.

I'm not really sure why others start blogs but it makes no difference...they are, for whatever reasons, putting their thoughts out in writing. In their own space and requiring NO ONE to read them.

I'm really, really humbled that there are over 100 people who have chosen to 'follow' what I write, but please remember I wrote when no one followed...and still would.

Last I checked, there was no sure-fire way to make people read, save a gun to their head. And that's not my cup of tea.

Nor am I required to read others' when I do, if I disagree or don't like what's written, I leave. Simple as that.

I have to admit that I have really been praying that God would just take the anger out of my heart right now. I'd like to be praying for Ms. Anonymous more, but I can't because I am too angry and need to work on that more.

Several have written me and said that maybe she meant well.

Maybe she did, but frankly, I'm getting a little bit tired of always trying to see that angle in people so that their comments don't hurt me as much.

And honestly, I don't see any way telling me I enjoy being depressed because I like the attention could be well-intended. Nor do I see how telling me that it seems like it is all about me could be well-intended. For the record, as per the title, it IS all about me. And my life. And my husband. And my children. And my thoughts. And my words. Just saying.

Regardless...there's a lot more I'd like to say, but I know I'm angry and don't want to.

I DO want to say, though, to MY CHILD, that you will forever be the brother or sister to my sweet son Matthew. Your father and I made such heartfelt pleas for you both. We begged God to bring you into our lives, just as we begged to Him to bring Matthew into our lives.

And you WILL hear me compare you because you are SIBLINGS. Just like your aunts compare similarities and differences (even with pregnancies) with your cousins, so will your parents with you and your brother.

But make no mistake--those comparisons do not mean you are any less loved for the unique and amazing God-given characteristics and qualities that make you YOU. You are precious in our sight for all that YOU are and will be...and we have so much hope and joy in the thought of you being born in a little over 27 weeks. (God willing.)

Why am I not allowed to compare the genetic or otherwise attributes and qualities of my children simply because one of them is dead? Does the death of my child take those rights away from me?

I'd bet I'd be hard-pressed to find the mother who doesn't or hasn't. "Clark loved peas when he was a baby but Sarah won't have anything to do with them!"

It's as simple as that and no deeper (I wish you were your brother) message intended.

I did finally block anonymous comments. I hate that I had to do that because really, I know how sometimes you want to leave a little comment or something and you either aren't signed in or don't want to or have the time or whatever...and feel like I really shouldn't have to.

But, since I have enough on my plate as it is, the last thing I need is to have more things that upset me.

I'm pretty much an open book, though, and very easy to reach with email (Contact Me or if you want to say something to me.

All I ask is that if you do, please don't presume to know anything about me just because you read some of my honest and sincere thoughts. I promise you, even my words on this blog are just a small, small portion of what goes on in my head. And in my life.

Sweet little MJ or SL, you are so precious in our hearts. It is because of the depth of love for your brother we have that we so eagerly anticipate your birth and life to raise. You are our new hope and our new dreams and will never be anything less than an amazing rainbow after the storm for us. I know that as you grow and learn about how much your brother is loved, you will know just how intense our love for you already is and always will be.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dear Lord,

Please forgive me for the angry words and thoughts I have had in my head this evening. Please take them away and help me to remember that only YOU know my heart and only YOU know my every thought. Please help me to honestly and truly forgive the person who felt the need to leave a very mean-spirited and judgmental comment to what I last wrote. Please help take away the biting, sarcastic words I want to throw back with lightning speed. Please, please, please, let these words simply disappear from my memory as I forgive the person who wrote them. Please help me remember that she truly cannot believe that I enjoy feeling depressed and want attention, and that though her saying so is cruel and unwarranted, you know the truth of my heart.

Lord, please bless “Anonymous” as she must have some intense hurts and issues that she felt the need to project to me. Please remind her, gently, that she has no idea what my relationship with John is like, nor has she EVER been in my shoes as I am the only one who walks them each day. Though she and I may share something similar in life experience, Lord I ask that you gently remind her that was she actually to walk in my shoes, she’d know just how cutting and undeserved her words were.

Lord, you know how grateful I am for the miracle of a new life you have again entrusted to me. I pray that I will never let the words of others prevent me from sharing my thoughts and my heart with my child.

And most importantly, Lord, if this is NOT a stranger…as I somehow suspect because I can’t imagine how she can say she can look into John’s face and see his hurt, or see that I am hurting him because I am all about me….I pray with every inch of my heart that if they have the courage to present themselves to me that I will immediately and sincerely embrace them in forgiveness.

This is not an easy prayer for me to make, Lord, and one I make in faith that you will take the hurt in my heart and use it for your glory in this person’s life.

Lord, thank you for the gifts of gentle people in my life...and thank you for helping me realize that if I DO radiate happiness, it is only through your grace and your mercy.

In your most Heavenly and Precious name I ask these things,

A gentle word turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Love your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Well, as said yesterday, this is my life. Every day. In all things.

Even the grocery store.

And no, being pregnant again does not make it easier. Children are not replaceable. Being pregnant again makes me hopeful.

It's nowhere near easier.

So, even in this horrendous heat, I decided I needed to venture out to the commissary. I'm quite surprised by this, but I have had the insane desire to cook meals.

Not eat them, mind you, and GOD FORBID smell them....but to make them for John.

He's been working very, very hard.

So, I gathered my coupon book, printed out all my coupons, printed my menus and shopping list (Nanci, Maria--aren't you proud of me?), put on a breezy sundress and some strappy sandals and set out.

Still not feeling great, but sitting around doesn't help much either.

Today was a GREAT day to go shopping--commissary was dead and John wasn't with me, so I could take all the time I wanted--comparing prices, deciding what meal I will make, rifling through coupons, etc...

I was standing in front of the soups with my binder open and my menu/list out and I was about to decide what soups I was going to buy. (Campbell's Chunky, take $1 off two, you know.)

Throughout the aisles, I had seen a nicely dressed woman with a cute little girl roaming and had assumed that it was either her granddaughter (and she was a VERY young grandma) or her little girl but through an international adoption. Yes, I realize that's an assumption based on looks, but one I've lived with and also pondered while we were trying to adopt from Kyrgyzstan...and I always smile at the hope that they are a forever family somehow.

Anyway, as I was about to pick out soups, this lady stopped by my cart and saw my whole set up (in the front seat, of course, because I had no baby sitting there) and smiled at me.

"WOW!" she said. "I'm impressed! Do you have any children?"

(Now, I realize she's asking me this because truthfully, there's no way that if I had a child with me I could POSSIBLY have had that whole set up going and been taking all that time.)

YES!!! I'm expecting!!! Praise God!!

YES!!! Praise God!!! I had a miracle in November, but he's dead.

While both are true...what in the world was I supposed to say?

So, I said, "I'm expecting."

She then went on and said, " wonderful for you...I'm just so impressed with all of this (my coupons/menus/lists) and just imagining a family you are doing this for. I have a 17-year old and my little 4-year old here and would love to do this." (I'm pretty sure I was right that her little one was adopted and so flipping adorable!_

I smiled (crying inside thinking that I shouldn't have that time...shouldn't have that ability....SHOULD have a nearly 7 month-old babbling at me and her) and said, "Thank you...I'm trying to get it all together."

She asked how far along I was.

I told her, "Ten weeks."

She then sweetly and sincerely said, "Well, congratulations!! You are just beautiful! You glow! You just radiate happiness."

I radiate happiness?????

She was so, so kind...and so sweet...and heck, what pregnant woman doesn't want to hear that they are beautiful and radiate happiness (even if they aren't!)????

This one.

Because it cut my heart in two.

How can I be radiating happiness when my son died not even seven months ago? I'm happy about many things...this baby, my husband, my family and friends and amazing support and that God sees me through each day.

But to hear her speak of me (which again, was so kind), you'd think I didn't have a care in the world and that I was the me I was a year ago---excited about being a mommy, loving the domesticity I FINALLY got to rightfully own, blissfully ignorant....

I'm not that me.

And it hurts me to think that others see me that way.

I know that's crazy--who wants to be seen as a mourning, depressing, grief-stricken mother of a dead baby????

That's not the identity I want and several months ago, that's the identity I said I didn't want to define me.

So why does it hurt so much to know that that's not how a complete stranger saw me? That she saw me as happy and joyful and hopeful.

How FAIR is it that that HURTS me and makes me feel so far from Matthew?

I know, I's not fair.

Ouch. All I can say about today is OUCH. One living...promising. One dead...unspoken.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Missing my boy....

...and just aggravated in general that people feel they have the right to tell others where they 'should be' or 'are' in any process...especially the 'grieving process.'

I've often said I hate that term because it is not a PROCESS. It's a new way of life.

Most days now, I am able to see losing Matthew as my cross to bear.

I know we all have ours.

I just wonder why mine seems so much heavier than others? Why does mine seem like it's made of concrete and others are tissue paper? Why does mine have to last THE REST OF MY LIFE and others are temporary?

If you know of anyone who has lost someone precious in their life, and are grieving, please, do them a favor....BACK OFF telling them what stage they are in or where they should be.

EVERY SINGLE DAY I go through:

SHOCK--HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN with all the monitoring I had?
DENIAL--This CANNOT be my life.
PAIN--Physical and emotional. Heart-stopping and blood-curdling.
GUILT--WHY did I change my mind????? WHY didn't I think about what if we needed a NICU?
ANGER--WHY make me wait patiently for over 10 years, get me to the finish line and THEN break my heart???????
BARGAINING--I will raise this child to be a pastor if you just let THIS ONE live...
DEPRESSION--Every time I look at his bedroom door. Or visit the cemetery. Or look at his pictures. Or remember him wiggling after chocolate shakes. Or think of his daddy holding him as he died. Or regret I never saw his face alive. I could go on and on and on....
REFLECTION--What has become of me? What will become of me? What if something happens to John? How will I survive losing this one?
LONELINESS--Who wants to constantly talk about dead babies? It's much easier to just tell me I need to move on.
TURNING UP--This new life is so joyful for us.
RECONSTRUCTION--How do the old me and the new me fit together?? Who even wants to know or cares?
ACCEPTANCE--Matthew is dead. He's not coming back. Got it. Still kills me.

I will never, ever, for the rest of my life, have another PERFECT MOMENT...One where I wouldn't change a thing.

EVERY DAY I go through those things...often multiple times a day.

And will for the rest of my life.

And am pretty sure any mother who has lost a child does also and will also.

And that's OK because it's reality.

It's not something that a textbook can tell one how it ought to be and "POOF" it's all eventually worked out.

It's what I and many others wake up to and deal with and fall asleep to every single day.


So please, give some of those poor mothers a break...

Judging from some recent blogs and FB statuses, they could really use it.

Some days, so could I.

Every day...missing my son.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ten Weeks and A Million Bucks....

I'm sure I've written it before, but it bears repeating again. We love pretty much anything that Dr. Sweeney tells us but one of my favorite Dr. Sweeney-isms was to hear that Matthew looked like a million bucks.

So, though Little Bit is still just a Little Bit, I was hoping we'd hear that (s)he looked like at least $250K!

I was not disappointed! The heartbeat was 167 (Matthew's heartbeat was always in that range too--think my children just flutter quickly!) and flickered beautifully. We measured right on track for 10w0d, which is exactly what we are today and Dr. Sweeney said that the baby looked like a million dollars--and just like me!

I told him that I keep telling John that the baby looks like me, but I was glad to have it medically confirmed.

Baby was wiggling this morning too, and I am glad to know that already (s)he is a wiggler. Matthew was SUCH a wiggler and I found that so reassuring. I hope this sister or brother will be too and I hope that the last two ultrasounds are indicative of a wiggler. A really active wiggler.

Y'all are going to have to send me recipes for goodies to take to my doctors because even though I think everyone loves brownies, they can get boring. I shook it up a little today with black forest cherry brownies, and I think I'm going to make some fudge for my appointment with Dr. Shonekan on the 29th. I think one of the things I can do to keep busy in between appointments is try to come up with new goodies to take.

Here are the stats for 10 weeks. Still pictures and video follow:

Week Ten: Embryo is now waving!

You are 10 weeks pregnant. (eight weeks after conception)
  • From this week until birth, the developing organism is called a fetus.
  • The fetus is now the size of a small strawberry.
  • The feet are 2mm long (one tenth of an inch).
  • The neck is beginning to take shape.
  • The body muscles are almost developed. Baby has begun movement.
  • While still too small for you to feel, your little one is wriggling and shifting.
  • The jaws are in place. The mouth cavity and the nose are joined.
  • The ears and nose can now be seen clearly.
  • Fingerprints are already evident in the skin.
  • Nipples and hair follicles begin to form.
8 weeks  feet8 weeks  hands The unborn baby is now called a fetus. Though the fetus is constantly moving, you will not be able to actually feel fetal movement for several more weeks. All of the organs, muscles, and nerves are in place and beginning to function. As the hands and feet develop fingers and toes, they have lost their paddle like look. The touch pads on the fingers form and already have fingerprints.

During this week of pregnancy the crown to rump length of the fetus is 0.9 inch to 1.2 inches (22 to 30mm), weight 0.07 ounce (2gm). They are now on the way to forming their testicles or ovaries, getting ready for the next generation. Until the ninth week of fetus development, the fetal reproductive apparatus is the same one for the both sexes. The head is still large and curves into chest.

Each week your uterus grows larger with the baby growing inside it. You may begin to see your waistline growing thicker by this time. A pelvic exam will detect that your uterus has grown from it's normal, size of your fist, to a little bigger than a grapefruit.

Of course, my uterus was not really cooperating so much so Katy had to really push down to get the baby to show him or herself. I hope this doesn't meant that I'll have to wait even longer to feel movement.

Here are a couple of still shots--getting bigger and soon we'll really be able to make body parts out!

Zoomed In profiles....

Profiles right after waves!

I got a really, really great deal on a Flip UltraHD to take with me when John can't be there (like today) and tried it out today. Not too bad, especially considering the deal I got. Gotta Love Amazon and Swagbucks!!

And yes...I know I ended it with, "So, she's ok?"

My apologies in advance, little one, if you are are another sweet baby boy. My guess is that since I'm feeling you're a girl, I'm probably WAY wrong and will have to keep making those apologies once you're born and can read!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dear Precious Little One....

Mommy's been busy. I'll tell you more about it later, when I have more energy and time, but I could not let this day end without letting you know what an amazing daddy you have. I used to tell Matthew all the time, and honestly, once Matthew could hear our voices, I have no doubt that he (literally) leaped for joy when he heard your daddy read to him. He'd bounce and kick and a few times, he'd even kick right at daddy's ear or mouth (if he talked really close to my tummy) and it would just make daddy giggle.

Your daddy was very, very excited about your brother coming into our world and I'm only half joking when I say that if he could have carried Matthew, he would have.

You should know that your daddy already loves you very much and is so, so hopeful to meet you and hold you and raise you. If you are a girl, he wants you to have a destination wedding. If you are a boy, he wants you to find a girl who wants to have a destination wedding.

That's how far he's planning for you. Heck, he's even planning how things will be when you have a little boy or girl of your own.

Your daddy is desperate for you to come home, and so am I. Every morning, the first thing I do is thank God for a new day and beg Him to keep you safe and alive. Before I go to sleep, the last thing I do is thank God for another day and beg Him to keep you safe and alive.

So does your daddy.

Your daddy will do whatever he can possibly do to make sure you never suffer or hurt. He will cheer you on in your every endeavor and he will read to you and tickle you and teach you how to fish and how to talk mommy into more ice cream. He will be your biggest champion and he will also be your softest touch when you want something.

He would give his life for you.

And if it is within his power, you will never be alone at your weakest. He will hold you in his arms until your dying breath, if he can and the situation arises. He's already shown the strength of his love for his children with your brother, and you are no less precious and loved in his eyes.

You are his new hope and you are his prayer for restored joy answered.

You are a very, very lucky little boy or girl to have a man as wonderful as daddy to be your daddy, and though today was a very hard day because we missed your brother, we are so grateful that on a special day like Father's Day, you were with us and give us hope for new days.

Your daddy loves you more than you can possibly imagine, and so do I. I can't wait to see you tomorrow.

Much Love,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Miney's First OB Visit...

...went very well. (S)he had an ultrasound (Seriously, if I had an extra $8K and a license to use one of those handheld ultrasounds, I'd be ON THAT!) with Dr. Polko and baby was waving!!!! It really is amazing to see the growth in just a few weeks...from a little diamond ring to a little gummi bear to a little gummi bear that waves at me!! Miraculous, pure and simple. The heartbeat was good and strong and all looked great. Miney's measuring maybe a day or two behind, but that doesn't stress me anymore. I'm small and in looking back at most of Matthew's ultrasounds, he was measuring a week or two behind constantly. How that was happening with those long legs of his, I don't know, but he was...and he was perfect, so this little one measuring a day or two off is not a big deal.

I loved seeing this baby wiggle around. I cannot wait until I can feel that wiggling.

I miss Matthew wiggling like that.

It was so bittersweet to see his picture on the wall, but I was glad it was there. He really was a beautiful little boy, if I say so myself.

Seriously, I just wish I had a way to express to the people who take care of me how much I appreciate them and love them. I spent the entire night threading conversation together in my head to have with Dr. Polko as I explained what a basket case I was and solicited suggestions. She anticipated my basket-case-ness and said it was fully expected, but that she was not worried. I used to think that doctors who didn't worry would not necessarily be prepared to react appropriately when the need for worry popped up and have since learned that is NOT the case--they've just learned not to worry until they have to...and then to spring into action with full force. Lessons I need.

We talked about how I really am very, very lucky in my "What ifs?" in that I really only have two--What if I had stayed with the C-section plan and what if we were in a NICU and Matthew could have had a transfusion sooner. She agreed that those were both "what ifs?" they they too have pondered.

No difference...those questions, like so many others I have, are futile.

I'll see them every two weeks and Dr. Sweeney every two weeks and with that schedule, I'll be seeing someone every week. I feel very comfortable with that and will be even more comfortable when the heartbeat is easier to find and I can do it more at home.

She wants me to take care of myself and do things to try and relax me and keep me happy. I think she's worried about depression, and I can see why since I cried and cried there.

I have to say, most days, my life has lots of depression. I am sad. I am heartbroken. I miss my baby and waver back and forth between realizing that this is the cross I have to bear and begging God to let me wake up and this was all a dream. My heart is heavy with grief for the precious little boy I long to hold but never will.

And I know I have to press on. It just takes a lot of energy to do and I've been short on that lately. Dr. Polko's not worried about my weight loss (down to 95--5 pounds lighter since I've gotten pregnant) but said if the nausea got worse, she could always prescribe medicine. I'd really like to stay away from any unnecessary medicine, so as long as she's not worried, I'm not either.

All in all, as lovely a visit as could be. I brought fresh white chocolate chip macadamia cookies but see Dr. Shonekan next time so I'll have to bring something even more chocolatey! All is well with little girl or boy and he or she was moving all around. (Probably wondering why I hadn't eaten breakfast!)

Thank God for the people who take care of us.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Miney's Nine(y) Weeks....

For 38 weeks and 4 days, I lived for Thursdays. Thursday was a new week, Matthew was doing something new and great and I loved every new Thursday. During the last 5 weeks of my pregnancy with him, I loved Mondays and Thursdays--Mondays were our visit with Dr. Sweeney (pictures and hearing he looked like a million bucks!!!!) and Thursdays were with Drs. Shonekan or Polko (hearing he was nice and comfy and planning on December, oy!). Mondays and Thursdays made the weeks go by faster and I was just so excited and SO ready to meet that precious boy!

I look back at this time last year with Matthew and am just so wistful. It was our first OB appointment and even then, I was pretty sure it was a c-section for me. Why, why, WHY didn't I trust MY gut? Why didn't I trust MY instincts? Even if they were for TOTALLY different reasons, why didn't I stick to my guns???? In that post, I went on and on about how *I* was the most important person on Team Baby and while I'd certainly take all expert advice and suggestions into great consideration, ultimate decisions would be mine.

And I caved. And he's dead. And I just have to let that go.

Working on that.

ANYWAY--so Miney was 9 weeks yesterday and tomorrow is his or her first appointment with Dr. Polko. I haven't seen her since our post-partum on January 17. It was very, very hard--but she was so wonderful--compassionate and caring and taking Matthew's picture for her wall and giving us his baby spoon. I know tomorrow will be emotional.

I've decided that Dr. Sweeney and his office need brownies or some other baked goods more often than every other week. Which is code for, "I need more reassurance than an ultrasound every two weeks." I may be cashing in on all the offers to help me with anything or keep me company on those trips to Annapolis because I just need the reassurance. I've been having some cramping for the past few days that I am sure is nothing but growth, but I am still a bit worried. I also am continuing to lose this time with Matthew, I was VISIBLY pregnant and this is my second with still VERY relaxed stomach muscles and nada.

They say call your doctor if there's severe cramping, bleeding or concern that doesn't abate.

Ummmm, I'd be calling the doctor every day. The concern does NOT ever abate. Even in my dreams (which seem to have some sort of miscarrying event at least 3 times a week), the concern is there and vivid.

In any event, I keep my mantra--"This one, she will keep," on repeat in my head and am glad to see the doctor tomorrow. Hoping her doppler will pick up the heartbeat as mine is not yet. Then 5 days later, we see Dr. Sweeney and I will feel MUCH better with pictures and hearing the heartbeat!

ADDED ABOUT 20 MINUTES AFTER I POSTED THIS: Last night, John and I tried to use the doppler. It was very staticky and didn't pick anything up, really...not even me. It was sketchy to say the least, though for about 15 seconds, we thought we caught it and it was around 163.

So, after I posted the above (and below), I decided to see if my full bladder would help make it easier to hear. I tried to look for it in the same spot as last night and today was much better. I'm 99.9% I heard it, though it was hard to find and didn't stay long. It's behind my woosh-woosh-woosh, but definitely a faster little pattern--like a little train trucking along!!

SERIOUSLY, HUGE shout-out to Hi-bebe 2000!!! YOU ROCK!

Here's the 411 on what's going on with Little Bit right now:

Week 9: Fingers and Toes form

You are in week nine of pregnancy. (seven weeks from conception)
  • The embryo has grown to measure 30 mm (1.2 inches) in length.
  • The fingers and toes are well defined. Cartilage and bones begin to form.
  • The upper lip as well as the nose tip is being formed.
  • The tongue begins to develop and the larynx is developing.
  • The eyelids are developed, although they stay closed for several months.
  • The main construction of the heart is complete.
6weeksDuring this week of pregnancy your baby is now swimming round in a little bag of fluid. The arms and legs have lengthened. They fingers and toes are forming, but are still joined by webs of skin. They can flex their elbows and wrists. They are growing eyelids as well as forming their anus. The embryo is protected by the amniotic sac that is filled with fluid. Inside the embryo swims and moves gracefully. The embryo is now about 1 inch long.

During this time of development, the baby's head appears much larger than the body because the brain is growing very rapidly. Brain waves can now be measured. The main construction of the heart is complete. Through its parchment thin skin, the baby's veins are clearly visible. During this week the ears, the teeth and the palate are continuing to form.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I really am not sure of what to say. Rather, how to say it.

I have a lot going on in my head and it’s pretty jumbled.

Bear with me.

I appreciate the comments I get—though the content of this blog is for my children to have long after I am gone, admittedly the comments are for me and I enjoy reading them and hearing validation and support and different perspectives and ways of looking at things.

I’m sorry that some of the last post’s comments got a little heady, but I think that’s indicative of just how emotional mothers are about their feelings and their children and again, I appreciate passion and emotion.

I also just can’t say how heartwarming it is when adults realize that issues of our hearts and spirits often fuel us with strong feeling behind sentiments, and those sentiments may not always be taken the way they are meant—especially in light of them being in a written forum—and are able to extend grace to one another. Thank you, Anne and thank you Tessa—I read your stories and love your hearts and your love for your children and just can’t tell you how glad I am that you both are so cognizant of how fragile all of our hearts are.

I do want to clarify a few things—mostly because I don’t want it out in blog land or anywhere else that I don’t have sympathy for the plight of the pregnant woman anymore because my perspective has changed since Matthew died.

Don’t get me wrong, it HAS changed…. but there are some things I still maintain and did before he died.

Honestly—I’m the first to admit pregnancy is hard. I did with Matthew and have with this baby. But my reasons for pregnancy being hard were NOT because I was unhappy with what it was doing to my body (I didn’t have stretch marks, admittedly, but my skin was and still is a NIGHTMARE---I always joke about how Matthew stole my good skin—and I was glad to give it!)…My complaints during pregnancy were because of pretty intense physical discomfort—whether my back was killing me (since I am not even 5 feet tall and didn’t weigh 100 pounds and I added 50 pounds to my frame) or I couldn’t walk (because I was so swollen) or couldn’t breathe (not a lot of room for his very long body in my very short torso)…I often told John that it was hard to grow a human.

And it is.

But NEVER did I have the nerve to complain about how Matthew was cramping my style or how his growth was making me less attractive…. I have always wanted to be a mother and spent well over 10 years attempting to be so. I had gone through all sorts of physical and emotional hell and I was just too grateful I was going to be a mother to worry about stretch marks or parties or bikinis or not being able to exercise…. and though it hurt when Matthew took that big old foot and gave me a swift kick (which he did often) I NEVER, EVER wanted him to stop kicking!!!!!

I’d worked too hard and waited too long.

So when other women who have worked hard and gone through the trials that come with infertility finally get their miracles (remember, I said it was especially IVF boards that had those complaints that bothered me!) but still moan about superficial stuff—I don’t get it.

And still don’t.

And frankly, don’t have a lot of sympathy.

Because honestly, pregnancy involves risks—whether it’s stretch marks or an empty nursery at the end of a full-term.

And if you are not willing to take what comes with pregnancy, then don’t get pregnant.

I realize there are lots of situations where pregnancy is unplanned, and in those situations, I imagine that there are some facts one has to face that probably are not easy—the realizations of sacrifices to be made for the best interest of the baby and for those who do, LORD KNOWS, I applaud those decisions. I am alive only because my mother was pro-life.

But... I can’t lie and say that I still think that many of those superficial whines and complaints ARE due to ignorance—but ignorant is the word nonetheless:

ig·no·rant (ignə rənt)


    1. Having little knowledge, education, or experience; uneducated; inexperienced
    2. Lacking knowledge (in a particular area or matter)
  1. Caused by or showing lack of knowledge or education
  2. Unaware (of)

I was ignorant. I had no idea of what vasa previa was. I was unaware of the possibility that in today’s world, perfectly normal and healthy babies die at the end of normal pregnancies for horrors that most doctors claim they only read about in medical books.

I don’t believe the use of the word ignorant was inappropriate.

And I’m sorry if anyone got the impression that I think you can’t love your children as much as I love my child if you: A) have never lost a child and/or B) complain about pregnancy.

It was certainly not my intent and I'm not sure what it was that I said that may have led to that, and I don’t want anyone having that impression. I’m a teacher—I’ve been able to see parents’ love for children in some of the most amazing and magnificent ways. Trust me—I know a mother’s love has no parameters or requirements to be deep and unconditional and abiding.

My main purpose for my last post was that I obviously needed a little break from the computer because lots of things were bothering me and I was finding it hard not to be judgmental. It is important the child who reads this knows his or her mother is human.

But I’ll be honest—I was judgmental before Matthew was born and died. Every time we went to Dr. Sweeney’s office, John and I just could NOT GET OVER how some of these people were at a High-Risk OB and yet REEKED of smoke…or talked about joints in the elevator up to his office…

It wasn’t Matthew dying that makes me aggravated with those scenarios or complaints about hating being pregnant or stretch marks…it’s how long it took me to become a mother…how long I desperately tried to get to where these women were and were just taking it all for granted. Matthew dying at the finish line just adds salt to that wound.

And I also can’t stand the add-on of “moan, moan, moan, moan, moan…. but it will all be worth it….” because as I said…he was worth it regardless.

A child is worth it whether they come home or not.

I know that perspective in ANY situation often changes drastically through experience—the executive who’s never pitied the poor because they ought to get a job—until the executive loses his job and realizes that it’s not always that cut and dry...

The colleague who complains about the amount of time another colleague is out of work due to that colleague’s parental illness…. until that colleague’s own parent dies and sees how gripping a situation it is.

And so on….

I’ve often said it’s a good thing that for the most part, we are able to sympathize but not necessarily empathize because what a crushing world we’d live in if we all knew exactly what we all felt like—our hearts would be so heavy and there’d be few who would be able to encourage and give hope to others.

I know the old saying,”Be careful what you wish for” is popular because we often can’t really know what to expect in a lot of different situations until we are actually in them.

Even with this pregnancy—so desperately wanted and yet so filled with trepidation—yes, I’d give anything to have the blissful ignorance I enjoyed while pregnant with Matthew.

But I’d never have said I hated being pregnant or was mad at Matthew for kicking me or complained about not being able to party because I was pregnant.

And it still aggravates me that others do.

I just don’t tell them. I write it here.

My guess is they're not reading anyway...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Need a breather...

So, my self-imposed Google ban is doing well. I'm Googling less and less and that's just fine with me. My own life is a perfect case study of what every pregnant woman fears--no problems, no baby.

Add in the million and seven other things I now know can happen (and too, too many of them without ANY REASON at all) and the last thing I need is Google to give me more.

I have been feeling really icky. (Please, by the way, do not feel the need to tell me how that is wonderful for the baby--Matthew was PERFECT and I was not sick at all...had tons of energy and some minor food aversion, but that was it...sickness does NOT always mean things are fabulous with the baby. I don't believe in any of the old wives' tales--mainly because Matthew defied them all!)

I can totally get how people don't know they are pregnant for a while and just feel like it's the flu--all day for lots of days! That's how this energy to do anything but nothing makes it better. John is sweet and tells me just to rest and relax, but honestly, laying around is just as nauseating and uncomfortable. I go back and forth between freezing and roasting, wanting to vomit and being ravenous, chills and aches to wanting to garden.

I know...classic pregnancy symptoms and I am grateful for them.

Just very different from Matthew.

So, as I'm pretty much sofa bound for much of the day, and on my Google ban, once I catch up with blogs (and even that I have to sort of limit because every day it seems like there is a new something that breaks my heart), I try to indulge in 'normal' pregnancy things.

Which feels weird, since I was just doing this with Matthew 6 months ago.

In this quest, I just get aggravated.
REALLY aggravated.

Yes, I am uncomfortable, and don't feel well, but seriously--I can't complain. I am not working; my husband is sweet and tells me to rest (and does a great job of helping me with things that I don't feel like or can't do); and really, all I have to do is take care of me and this baby. What a blessing and I know it.

So when I go on 'pregnancy' boards, I just get SO MAD. Especially IVF boards that have now gone to pregnancy...

Complaints, complaints, complaints....

And I'm not talking about complaints about the possibility of something bad happening with the moms or the babies...not complaining about serious things that actually matter...

Complaints about STRETCH MARKS.

Not ever being able to wear a bikini again.

Can't exercise as much.

Babies kicking too much.

Not being able to party anymore.


BUT--here's the kicker...almost EVERY SINGLE POST that complains about something whiny like that ends with this (or something like this): "But, I guess it will all be worth it in the end, right?"

Because those same whiny and superficial (and ignorant) people just assume that the baby will come home.

So, when I read those posts, I want to scream. I just want to say, "OH YEAH? HOW ABOUT THIS? How about having to wrap yourself so much that you can't breathe because you have to PURPOSELY stop your milk coming in and worry about people hugging you--but there's no cute little baby that made it worth it? Or that your OB tells you she may have to put you in the hospital (meaning you can't go to his funeral since you're in the hospital)--but there's no cute little baby that made it worth it. Or how about having to try and figure something out to wear to your son's funeral, and then months later just being miserable as you think about how you didn't even have SHOES to wear to it because you were so swollen--but there's no cute little baby that made it worth it? OR you have lost EVERY single pound you gained (plus two more, which puts me over 50 pounds lost in 6 months) and yet STILL NOTHING FITS YOU and you don't have the energy to find something that does--but there's no cute little baby that made it worth it?"

I could go on and on...but the end result is that all of the petty complaints are somehow supposed to be valid BECAUSE THERE'S A CUTE LITTLE BABY THAT MAKES IT ALL WORTH IT.

And I'm here to say that even when there's no cute little baby 'that makes it all worth it'...when that baby is dead before you ever even see its little face...


He's a miracle.

He's your son.

He's the reason you are a mom.

He's every dream you ever had in the most precious body you've ever seen.


So to all those moms who whine about stupid stuff but justify that their baby in their arms makes it worth it, I just want to gag.

It's worth it even if he doesn't end up there.

My point is that I just need a breather. The computer is a lifeline and I am so grateful for so many people I love dearly just through a computer.

But the scope of which I can use the computer is getting smaller and smaller every day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Miney's Photo Shoot...

Well...suffice it to say that I didn't sleep very well last night. At all. In fact, wide awake most of the night.

I've had a lot on my heart and I've been so, so anxious.

I just knew that we'd get to Dr.K and they'd do the ultrasound and look at each other, then me, and say, "Lori, we're so sorry."

Because it seems that would just be par for the course.

Joy stolen. I admit it. Worry is not something you can just turn on or off and no matter what you do, you can't control (without medicine and I can't do that) the wiring you've got going on in your brain.

So...I just kept praying, "Please just let us get to Dr. Sweeney. Please just let us get to Dr. Sweeney. If we can get there, we'll be in such better shape." Poor Dr. Sweeney. No pressure for him at all.

I was literally sick to my stomach...seems like every time I go into Shady Grove's office, I am on pins and needles!

So...the tears ran when I saw that sweet, familiar little flicker on the screen. I saw little arms and teeny tiny legs (so different than my diamond ring!) this picture, Miney looked a lot like his/her brother and reminded me of my sweet little Gummi Bear.

Dr. K said the heartbeat looked good and I said, "Yeah, well, I'll feel better when you tell me what the heartbeat is...."


Hooray and praise God! Wait...praise God and HOORAY!

All looked great...measuring right on target for a January 17 due date and fabulous heartbeat. Matthew's on this appointment was 162.

Of course, I cheated a bit and had about 10 sips of coffee this morning, so after my initial bliss, I immediately thought, "Wait--maybe the coffee elevated that heartbeat!!!"

That doctor and those nurses think I am a nut. Certifiable.

The proverbial basket case.

They're not too far off base. Dr. K said, "You need to be strong and have to RELAX!"

(Again, add grow in there, because if I could bottle the ability to do either of those, I'd be RICH!!!!)

He suggested counseling.

Check times a few.

He suggested yoga.

Umm, abs aren't going to facilitate that and my mind races too much anyway.

He suggested writing.

Check. Times a lot.

Then he said--"For every bad thought, I want you to write two good ones."

This could take a while.

He then got right to where he knew I felt secure. "When do you see Sweeney?"

"About 40 minutes!"

Yep, they looked at me as if I was already wearing the straight jacket.

And they totally understand.

We got lovely pictures of our sweetheart and were then off to one of our heroes, Dr. Sweeney!!!!

It was hard to sit in that office, if I'm truthful. That's one of my real last memories of Matthew...November 23 (the day before his due date) and seeing him wriggle all over the screen...or try to! He was so, so scrunched. So scrunched, in fact that I think the only picture we really got that day was of his foot...fitting...I remember Dr. Sweeney telling me he looked like a million bucks (my favorite thing to hear)...scheduling for the following Monday but joking about hoping we wouldn't need it!

We didn't.

Matthew was dead before the following Monday.

I didn't think we'd do a scan since I'd just come from Shady Grove, but we did--abdominally Miney looked very blob-like but Dr. Sweeney said the baby looked great. He discussed some proportional ratios between the baby and yolk sac and said that my miscarriage rates just went down looking at those ratios.

Things looked great!

A special treat was hearing the heartbeat! We saw it at Shady Grove, but HEARD it with Dr. Sweeney and it was precious. Music to our ears!! Heartrate of 170 (he said that was the baby's heartrate and the caffeine from earlier in the day didn't make a difference!) and just beautiful. I can't wait until my doppler works.

We planned to come in for observation and checks every other week (unless my sanity breaks and we need to check for viability more often) and he agreed that delivering up in Annapolis was a smart decision, even though it breaks my heart to not be able to be with my sweet L & D angels at our local hospital.

We just can't take any chances.

John said if we ever won the lottery, the first thing we would do is build a NICU at St. Mary's.

I'm trying to figure out how to do that WITHOUT winning the lottery, since we don't play.

We won't go past 38 weeks (less than 30 to go!), and he's got a plan for who will deliver.

Have we mentioned how much we love the people who take care of us?

So we are so joyful and grateful to God for this little miracle...

We are also very keenly aware of how much the holes in our hearts we ache for our boy and wish more than anything in the world we could be sharing the joy of a brother or sister with him.

I know a lot of people believe that those in Heaven can see us, and are aware of what's going on in our lives. To be truthful, I don't know that that's not true.

Personally, I don't see how it could be...if there are no tears in Heaven, I don't know how anyone there could look at this broken and suffering world and not cry at the state of affairs. I guess I may be in the minority, but I would rather think of Matthew as perfectly whole and happy...which means that he doesn't miss me or see me and my sorrow at all. He, like all my loved ones in Heaven, is blissfully unaware.

And I am ok with that...

One day, all things will be made right.

In the meantime, I am grateful for the joy that I am able to share in the privilege of this new, sweet little life. For Miney's "Trip to Annapolis" item, Daddy decided on a cute sleeper that could go both ways. If she's a girl, we'll give her a green bow or band in her hair (?) and if he's a boy, he'll just be getting ready for the frogs to come! We've always loved frogs here....

Here's the still of Miney. Cute, huh? I know it's impossible to tell (for y'all) but honestly, the baby already looks a lot like me. Really.

There's video--which isn't all that great, and honestly, in listening to it, I cringe. I'll be more quiet at future ultrasounds, especially if John continues to make me out to be the grinch that he does! FOR THE RECORD...there's not a doctor or nurse that has been a part of all of this who doesn't know how stressful this is and how worried I am. Dr. K said I'd worry every second of the pregnancy (and I didn't even take offense to him suggesting counseling!) and Dr. Sweeney said we'd do whatever we needed to do to maintain my sanity. (Again, poor pressure).

This is nerve-wracking...but I'm so grateful. I just keep telling myself, "This one, she will keep."

Thank you so much for the prayers...they are so coveted and so precious to us!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

So much to pray for....

If you read this...and you pray...please just send up a general "Lord, watch over all of those people on Lori's heart" because there are so, so many!

Pray for our sweet church secretary who was in an awful car accident...pray for the mommy who is looking at some very possibly heartbreaking news on Friday...and the mommy who is in the middle (almost at the end, really) of a very confusing and scary situation that she is in--and that it works out the way it SHOULD...pray for the mommies about to deliver their babies any day...pray for the mommies who are praying to get to the point where they are about to deliver their babies any day...pray for the mommies who know that when they DO deliver their babies, they will NOT get to keep them and raise them...pray for those mommies who don't have their children here with them on earth and are trying to bring a brother or sister into their lives...pray for those who are desperately trying to become mommies...pray for those who have just lost yet another baby...pray for those who are being attacked by all sorts of things..pray for my brother...pray for our appointment tomorrow....

Good grief...there's so much going on right now.

Thank you.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Little Sparkler's 8 Weeks...

I'm so, so conflicted these days.

What's new, right?

I TOTALLY get why women whose babies die maintain a 'grief' type blog for their little one (or ones) and then when/if subsequent pregnancies should occur, maintain another...Like I said, I wish I had the time (more like energy) to do that because it really makes so much sense.

It feels like such betrayal to be celebrating the milestones of a pregnancy when just a few months ago, I was celebrating the milestones of Matthew.

I know it's not. I KNOW that's irrational. I know that is an attempt to steal my joy.

Regardless--it's a very, very strong and deep feeling. And much as many mean well in telling me not to worry, that is much, much easier said than done.

I've also come across several blogs of women with infertility that I have cringed at when reading...blogs that say that they as infertile women have a hard time hearing about other women with infertility getting pregnant. I understand that, to a degree, because we live in a world where we so easily look at what others have and we don't, and wonder, "Why isn't that me?" Lord knows I have done it...especially as a teacher who through the years has had the privilege of teaching children that I'd have given my eye teeth to parent.

But honestly, I get (and have been, admittedly) being jealous of women who have NO infertility. I get (and have been) being jealous of pregnant women with no losses--complete and total ignorant bliss. I get (and have been) being jealous of women with one or more children and just wanting to BEAT THEM OVER THE HEAD because they take so much of their motherhood / pregnancy for granted...I tried to go to a few "Due Date" clubs today and in EACH ONE (except, sadly, the pregnancy after loss ones, which didn't have many posts) there was some sort of whiny post (or numerous ones, actually) like, "Anyone else hate being pregnant?" or "Why do I have to lose my body to give it to them?" or "Will this ever end?"

Seriously? Yeah...I totally get being jealous of those women, and sadly, even feeling a bit judgemental toward them.

What I DON'T get is having fertility issues and being jealous of other women with fertility issues who finally are able to get pregnant. I don't understand how some people can look at those newly pregnant women and say things like, "They just don't get IF anymore...they're officially out of the IF club."

Trust me. I get infertility. I realize how very, very, VERY blessed we were that both our fresh cycles worked (ironic to say that) and I OFTEN told John that getting pregnant with Matthew on our first cycle was really beating statistical odds (which I apparently am very good at).

Getting pregnant does not erase 10+ years of pouring my heart out to God and begging Him to be a parent. It does not erase the heartache of every baby shower that wasn't mine or every baby gift bought for someone else or every procedure and chart and medicine taken in hopes that it would finally be our turn. It does not erase the heartache of working feverishly to put together a dossier and falling in love with children of another country--preparing for one of those to be your own and then being shut down--which was traumatic for as at worst but heartbreaking for those children left behind.

It does not erase the fear that since my only and precious little boy died, I may never get to parent another child on this earth.

No--those who suffer IF will ALWAYS get it.

And so EVERY. SINGLE. TIME I have learned another woman with IF issues has been given a miracle, I've rejoiced. Before I got pregnant--I rejoiced in the hope that one day it could be me. After Matthew, I rejoiced in hoping it could be me again. Today--I rejoice because I just see so much suffering in this world and I am SO glad to see SOME sense of fairness in the world.

Just as I've said of women who have lost their children, I say for women struggling with IF--in a world that seems SO unfair, I am just glad and thankful that I get to see some examples of life being more like we feel it ought to be.

I don't even know why I got off on this tangent other than because it's just hard to find my place in the world these days.

I tried to adopt a baby. I didn't. I am not an Adoptive Parent.

I tried to get pregnant. I did. I'm no longer in the IF club.

I gave birth to a baby. He died. I don't get to be the Playdate Mom.

I'm pregnant again but terrified that I won't get to bring this baby home. I can't join any Due Date Clubs because I won't complain about hating pregnancy or petty things like whether I am disappointed it's a boy and not a girl.

I'm a mother who wants to be overjoyed about the precious little life I'm carrying.

I'm a mother who misses her little boy so much that I believe people can physically feel a broken heart.

And I feel really, really bad even writing about how hard this is because I know there are so many women who are trying so hard to bring another baby into their lives.

But I'd be lying if I didn't. It's hard.


I have always been known to love shiny and sparkly I am just pleased as punch that my little Sparkler is fitting in with that trend! Today, Miney is 8 weeks! I didn't do this with Matthew, but figure since it's for his or her posterity, here's what's going on:

Week Eight: Starts to practice moving

You are 8 weeks pregnant. (six weeks from conception)

* The embryo is measures about 18 mm (3/4 inch) in length.
* Their arms and legs are growing and location of the elbows and toes are visible..
* The feet and hand buds have appeared.
* Starts to practice moving (not felt by mom till week 20)
* The stomach is being made from part of the gut.
* The face is beginning to take shape.
* Your baby's mouth and nostrils are starting to develop.
* Teeth begin to develop under the gums.
* The eyes can now be seen as small hollows on each side of the head.

The arms and legs continue to develop - These limbs are stretching out more and more. Later on you will be feeling those feet and elbows up close and personal right in your bladder. The embryonic tail has almost disappeared.

The pituitary gland is also forming and the embryo is beginning to grow muscle fibers. The heart has divided into the right and left chambers and is beating about 150 beats a minute which is about twice the rate of an adult.

The baby's facial features are visible, including a mouth and tongue. The eyes have a retina and lens. The major muscle system is developed, and the baby starts to practice moving. The baby has its own blood type and the blood cells are produced by the liver now instead of the yolk sac.

Praying for a strong heartbeat on Wednesday.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Really, really bad dreams....

One of the things I've thanked God for since Matthew has died is the lack of dreams. I know, many want to have wonderful dreams of their precious little ones and of course, so do I.

I just don't want to risk the horrible dreams in order to have the precious ones yet.

I'm a chicken. My heart hurts and honestly, I walk a very fine line in trying to make sure I *face* the pain but avoid anything I can at the same time. I love pictures of Matthew but haven't been able to put many up in our house yet because they hurt. His room is precious to me, but it breaks my heart. His lock of hair and little baby things--hat, blanket, handprints, etc...I'm SO thankful I have them, but even typing about them makes me sob and I get really, really overwhelmed when I force myself to go through his boxes and things.

I have enough pain just in day-to-day life. I try not to add any more in if I don't have to.

So, I have been really, really thankful that I have not had many dreams since Matthew died. Good or bad--just dreamless. One I do remember was about a week or two after he died; I was walking around with this 10 pounder plus baby boy (but who wasn't mine) and I put him down somewhere and I lost him. Couldn't find him. Felt horrible for his mother because I had lost her baby. Didn't know what to do for her...but he wasn't mine. That baby that was lost wasn't mine.

I guess that was what made it a dream.

Last night, I had a horrible nightmare. Woke up in the middle of the night crying, "God, please help me...someone help me..." and I even woke John up. It was gruesome and I won't go into details but the highlights were of several dead babies buried under a porch--mine was one of them, and there were a few others--all in plastic bags.

One baby rallied. And was dressed in a very weird, grey sweat jacket--head covered and coming for me. I almost swung a bat at it because I was scared of it and felt it wasn't right, but then thought, "Dear Lord...this is someone's baby," and even though the head was covered, I got the impression that the baby was scared. So...I didn't swing.

And then he came for me. And got me. And pinned me to a wall. And was about to do God only knows what to me.

And that's where I woke up, screaming.

This is why I'd rather not dream at all.

Of course, I couldn't go back to sleep and all of a sudden, I got this overwhelming fear that we are going to go to our appointment next week and they are going to tell us that the baby is no longer there. When I say overwhelming, I mean panic-attack overwhelming. All my chanting--"This one, she will keep," and "Lord, take this from me right now," and deep breathing was doing nothing.

I honestly don't know how I fell back asleep, other than by chanting those things in my head and begging God to take those thoughts.

And I'm still begging Him to take them because they are still here. I'm so glad that it's less than a week until our next ultrasound. I think I will feel much, much better going in then and having a better idea of growth and heartrate.

I know I didn't put it too much out there originally because the last thing I really wanted to hear was the obvious, "You need to stop worrying."

Duh. I'll also push the "Grow two inches," "Change eye color to green" and "Brown hair to blonde" buttons while I am at it.

I know that I need to stop worrying. I've already said it...I try very hard not to but it's just easier said than done.

I so desperately want this sweet little baby boy or girl to be ok. At our 6 week u/s, the heart rate was 88. The average range is 90-110. Dr. K said that was perfect, but to me, perfect is 90-110. Matthew's at that point in time (and I know babies are different; please don't feel like you need to tell me that) was 101.

The crown-rump length also dated the baby at 6w1d. I was 6w2d that day. So, in addition to a tad slower heart-rate, little Miney was also a day behind in growth. Someone told me, "Well, that's why the heart rate was a little's fine for that day's growth."

Which might hold water with me if my baby was not IVF. Not conceived at 1:30 pm on April 26. Not transferred back to my womb at nearly 72 hours later on April 29. There's NO confusion as to where my baby is on dating.'s been a somewhat stressful week. I've been trying with all my might not to worry until our next ultrasound--baby will be bigger, heart rate and crown-rump length will be easier to measure...and I pray that it was just early with the last ultrasound.

Wednesday can't come fast enough. I just hope I don't have any more dreams in the meantime.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Safe In His Arms...

These last few weeks have been very emotional. Last week was Matthew's half birthday--which is why I wanted to make sure I wrote his birth story and John wrote about his life and death--so we could remember. I had always planned that since Matthew had a late November birthday, we'd have to celebrate his half-birthday so the poor boy would get to have a pool party or something fun and summery and not a dreary, cold and crazy-time-of-year party where kids probably wouldn't even be able to come to birthday parties and not a lot of outdoor options.

Last week was very hard. I have a therapist I speak with by phone once a month and just love. Last week was the first time we talked since I'd found out I was pregnant and so we were talking about that. She herself has suffered a 2nd-trimester miscarriage, so she can really understand a lot of what I deal with. We talked about how it was suggested (by someone else) that to take my mind off of things, perhaps I should focus on the new baby's room.

Thank God for this woman. She said, "Lori...dear Lord. I lost my dog two years ago and it took me a year before I could take his little bed out of the kitchen. I CANNOT imagine how you must be feeling as you contemplate what you need to do with Matthew's room and whether or not it is a nursery or Matthew's room."

She gets it. It IS Matthew's room. It is not just a nursery for an unknown baby. A new coat of paint and new bedding will not make that room anything different than what it is--MATTHEW'S ROOM. Maybe had he lived, and we had another baby, we'd have moved him into another big boy room and we'd have redone Matthew's room to be a nursery again, but that's just not how it is.
It's Matthew's room and I'm not ready for it to be anything else.

More, Linda reminded me that I'm in a really, really unique and tough position. Losing Matthew only happened 6 months ago...I am still deeply grieving the loss of my precious, precious boy.

At the same time, I am pregnant again...and trying to build another relationship with a precious, precious brother or sister.

To do both at the same time is hard.

Very, very hard.

And it's not just another relationship I am trying to build--for that just naturally comes along when a mother realizes she's carrying a sweet little life. It's the fear and the sheer terror I have that something is going to happen to this little life that I am already so in love with.

I know too much.

I've seen too much.

I've had too much happen.

The counselor that John and I see weekly talked to me last week and said, "You act as if you expect you may not bring this baby home."

Yep. I may not.

She then went on to say, "Well...what about your faith, though?"

And I said, "What about it?"

Because really, what about it? My faith doesn't mean that I get what I want. My faith doesn't allow me to just name it and claim it.

Crisis and tragedy are often the catalysts for one's faith being tried and defined. I am certainly no exception.

My faith is still being tried and defined, but I have had some proofs given to me thus far.

My faith assures me that I will survive. Whatever happens, I will survive. I am being held and am not alone.

Someone commented the other day that they didn't know how John or I put each foot in front of the other.

It's certainly not us doing it. This is how my faith has been proven. It's only through the grace of God that we breathe...we continue to walk and eat and survive.

I'm praying that my faith will allow me to cherish every second of this sweet baby's matter how long it may be.

But I'm human and am still scared. In Sunday School a few weeks ago, we talked about how many like to claim that the safest place to be is at the center of God's will.

There's no doubt that Christ was at DEAD CENTER of God's will...and I dare anyone to read of what crucifixions were like and then tell me that was safe. It was not.

The glory in that is that He ultimately survived. And that's putting it mildly.

So, when I have little fears (or big ones), I just stop myself from letting it get big and as a friend asked of me, I give it to God. Right there. When stressing about the heartbeat, in my head, I say, "God--take this from me right now." I do this about 4087 times a day.

One day I will share some of the amazing things God has given to me through the words and actions of various people. Right now, I just keep them close to my heart as I feel like they are special for mostly John and me--comforts and reassurances that are priceless to me.

Friday, one of these amazing people told me that she'd heard from God, "This one, she will keep."

So in addition to giving it to God right then and there, all weekend, when I stress, I say in my head, "This one, she will keep."

And as I've been doing this since Friday, it's helped. Like I said, I do that a billion times a day, but it helps.

And the obsessive song going through my head for the last 36 hours?

The chorus from Phil Wickham's song 'Safe'. Over and over and over. In my sleep and every time I wake up as I toss and turn.

"You will be safe in His arms
You will be safe in His arms
'Cause the hands that hold the world are holding your heart
This is the promise He made
He will be with You always
When everything is falling apart
You will be safe in His arms"

I just know safe doesn't always mean safe in the way that I want it.