Thursday, October 28, 2010

That time...

I told my sweet friend Nanci that this time of the month comes whether I want it to or not.

The time when another marker for Matthew is here.

I'd have an 11-month old. If he was like his mommy, he might even be walking. I walked at 9 months. Places to go, you know.

I bet his hair would be long enough to see little curls at the bottom. He might have some teeth. I bet I'd melt when he cried because that little dimpled chin would probably quiver like crazy when he did...mine does and he had my chin. I have no doubt that he'd giggle all the time at his silly puppies. Well, Sammy. He might not giggle so much if Dixie snarked at him.

My back would probably hurt like it does now, but only because I doubt I'd be able to put him down--I'd want to snuggle him all the time. We'd have had pictures in the pumpkin patch and in the fall leaves and we'd munch on the baby apple fritters I'd make him. Rather, he'd munch on them.

We'd be getting him ready for his first fall festival and costume. We ALMOST bought it last year when John saw it in Babies 'R Us after Halloween--it was a sweet lobster outfit and I just loved it. I loved that John loved it even more. I told him that we should hold off because buying stuff like that almost a year out was a bit risky since we didn't know sizing. (Writes the woman with two huge tubs of baby boy clothing sized 2T in the basement.)

We didn't buy it because I didn't know how big (or little) he'd be.

Not because I thought he'd be dead.

I went to the cemetery after Bible Study yesterday, something I pretty much do anytime I have a doctor's appointment or study. I wanted to bring some fall flowers. I finally broke down and got a silk flower arrangement so I don't have to worry about the fresh flowers we bring dying and just looking pitiful. When I got there, the pansies I planted not too long ago were blooming nicely, and they were red and gold--beautiful for fall. I was so glad to see them.

As I stood there, I prayed. I prayed for God to keep reminding me He exists and holds my heart. I gave thanks for my sweet, sweet little one whose precious body lay right there under my feet. I thanked God for the amazing miracle of the wiggly little brother who was squirming around telling me it was time for lunch.

I stared at his marker. Gift of God. So, so, so, so true.

I thought about how children truly ARE gifts from God. Miracles. Blessings. Amazing displays of God's grace and mercy and love.

And then I got bitter for a second. You shouldn't have to give a gift back.

I think this time is just harder now because it's so close to his birthday. I've had John go on enough deployments and trips to know that the anticipation/lead-up to him leaving is WAY worse than him being gone sometimes. I think that's what's happening now...I imagine the lead-up is going to be more difficult for me than the actual day.'s that time. It hurts every day, but some days more than others.

Missing my sweet little lobster....

This was the was not included, of course.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Third Trimester Is Here!

I have no doctor's appointment until Thursday, and even then, it will be just checking to make sure I have no infection, my stomach is growing, Luke's heartbeat is strong, and to bring my OB's office some goodies. Luke is moving a great deal still and definitely growing as I feel him going further and further on my sides, so I think all will be well Thursday. We'll see Dr. Sweeney a week from now and then from that point on, every week until we get even closer. Which is not too far--10 more from today. Very, very hard to believe.

Google Reader HATES me. It told me it was going to drop me because it was getting tired of keeping track of the posts I need to read. Last night, when we got home, the count was 492. I am trying, trying, TRYING to keep up with blogs, but I don't like just doing the cursory reading and moving on...I get a lot of support out of comments, so I try to give it. Therefore, I don't read posts when I don't have the time to comment as I might like, and I've just been overwhelmed with so many other things I have to do. Or want to make baby hats for our my hospital and Georgetown for Matthew's birthday. A sweet friend taught me how (who knew?) and now I'm a baby hat fool! Of course, it's just on a loom, so there's not TOO much diversity, but I have to say that even I am impressed with myself and my ability to make something that actually could be used.

In any event, I am so, so, so far behind in blogs. I think I am just going to have to schedule a day this week and just catch-up. Trying to catch up on a couple a day is still not working because there are so many and I just want to read them all. Thank goodness for Facebook--it at least helps me a good bit--so, if you are a blogger AND on FB, please let me know so I can somewhat keep up!

I'm still about 38 inches around, and 113 pounds. That's 13 pounds and I'm fine with that...think the doctors wouldn't mind seeing a few more on me, but if you actually see me in real life, you can see it's pretty much all baby. And baby food, if you know what I mean! I'm about 7 pounds less now than at this time with Matthew, but I attribute that to the fact that so far, still no swelling. Hooray. I'm trying very hard to keep that down! Luke seems to love the right side of my body (so did Matthew!) and I can feel body parts moving further and further around my side each day. This is something I really remember vividly with Matthew--I of course had no idea of how long he actually was, but I could certainly tell he was getting bigger because body parts seemed to just wrap from my belly button (which is still half-in/half-out!) all the way to the middle of my back more and more each day. Luke is following suit.

My back isn't hurting quite as much as it did with Matthew, but the round ligament pain on the right side, coupled with my scar pain on the right side are REALLY hurting. What's worse is the sacroiliac pain in the right side of my hip. I hobble like I am about 100 years old and hope that the chiropractor and acupuncture this week help some. Like my chiro says, it's all damage control because I just fall out of adjustment the minute I walk out the door, but it helps for a few days, so I'll take it. I had a lot of Braxton Hicks on Saturday (it was a busy day!) and think I really just need to monitor how much I attempt to do. I WANT to do tons, and actually have the energy to do so...but the body is not cooperating as much so I have to just stop myself from trying. I think I'm starting to worry John some because he sees me hobble or wince (or even cry) and tells me to sit down/stop doing whatever I'm doing/take it easy/etc....

He's usually NOT like that!

I'm getting up in the mornings with John (my effort to get more done with the day, but unfortunately I just tell myself that I have a little more time, so I can catch up more on the computer. Oh, the things we trick ourselves into believing....) so I'm falling asleep fairly easily at night by 11 at the latest. I wake up, however, about every hour and a half turning from one side to the other, and each time, Luke bounces around to see what's going on. He still likes the 3:00-4:00 am time period and I stay awake the most during that. It will be funny to see if he sticks with that. Well, maybe not funny, but interesting!

I tried a hamburger on Friday night. I was a hamburger-a-holic with Matthew. I have not wanted to LOOK at one since April. But John wanted to try the new Red Robin here, so we went. I asked for well-done, got raw, and basically don't want hamburgers anymore/still. They were very nice about it all, but it just killed an already weakened desire for a hamburger. Different pregnancies are SO VERY DIFFERENT. Everyone says it, and it's true.

We had a great day yesterday! A sweet friend and sorority sister is an amazing photographer in Charlottesville and was doing some shoots in NOVA. We went out to Meadowlake Gardens (beautiful) and couldn't have ordered a better weather day for pictures. John and I are SO NOT the "Look at each other lovingly" couple but that turned out to be just fine because in our attempts to do so, we laughed and laughed. Laughing has always been one of my favorite things, and it's so nice to be able to do so. I miss laughing without feeling guilty and yesterday was a day that I had lots of that--a day to remember our blessings and enjoy the sweetness of Luke. To feel guilty about that is just not fair to Luke and certainly not disrespectful of Matthew.

If honest, though, those are not easy words to say or type.

No pictures today, but I have two from the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Walk we went to on Friday. It was really a sweet, sweet event and for it being the first one in our area, was a good turnout. Which is sad, isn't it? There was a reading of the names of babies lost and remembered, and I didn't know that we'd be asked to go up to get flowers when our baby's name was called. I was doing ok for the most part, but when Sherrye said, "John Matthew Ennis," I just lost it. Sort of like I am now in remembering. I just did NOT WANT TO BE TAKING THAT WALK.

I know I wasn't alone.

Before we began the walk, we had a beautiful balloon release and they played a song that made both John and me cry. John and I have been 'together' since May of 1993. That's over 17 years! One of the sweet and endearing things from our early dating days was John either singing or leaving me the words to "You Are My Sunshine." Throughout the years, that's been a special little song between us. When we were adopting, the day I sent our dossier off, I bought a little sunshine crib toy. The toy has a pull-down that plays "You Are My Sunshine," and I couldn't wait for our little Emma to hear that every morning.

When that fell through, it went with all the baby things waiting....and when learned of our Matthew, I decided that HE would hear that song every morning....any and every child we held in our hearts was like sunshine to us.

It still is attached to his crib. I just pray every single day that his brother will get to hear it.

The song that they played as the balloons were released was "You Are My Sunshine."

I can't describe my heart.

I brought the camera, but really couldn't take pictures--John took a couple as we walked. It was two miles, but I only did about one because I didn't want to push it. Here are two he took...they aren't great belly shots, but they are with Luke at 27w4d:

You can tell my photography class is teaching me something because I am totally aware of the difference the lighting makes in each picture--the tones (again, who knew I could use that word with photography??) are very different and it's obvious one is facing sun and one is not!

Here's what's new with Luke this week:

Week Twenty Eight: May recognize your voice

You are 28 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 26 weeks)
  • The fetus has its own regular intervals for sleeping and being awake.
  • The weight has increased to 1000 grams and is 37.5cm in length.
  • 2.2 pounds weight and is 14.8 inches in length from head to heel.
  • The feet are just over 2 inches (5.5cm) long.
  • The hair on the head is now clearly visible.
  • The milk teeth have developed under the gums.
  • The eyes are starting to move in their sockets.
28 weeksBrain waves show rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which means your baby may be dreaming. Eyelids are opening. Eye color may change within the first six months of life especially if your baby's eyes are blue or gray-blue at birth. Remember to talk to your baby often; reading stories, singing songs has been seen to slow the baby's heart rate. He or she can recognize your voice now and will often calm to it later after birth.

Your uterus will be about 3 inches (7cm) above your bellybutton. During this time of your pregnancy, your belly will grow about half an inch (1cm) each week. If you have been following a nutritious, balanced meal plan, your total weight gain is probably between 17 and 24 pounds (7.5 and 10.5 Kg).

Branches of lungs are quite developed now, so there is a good chance that baby would survive if born prematurely now. If your baby is born this week, the chances of survival is now at least 90 percent. However, some complications are still possible.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Walk To Remember....

Boy, do those words mean so many different things.

I love Nicholas Sparks. I can't read any of his books any more because I cry at enough just in my daily life, much less by purposely adding something, but him.

The first book of his I came to know was A Walk To Remember. I actually heard it as an audiobook, in 2002. John's dad was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2000 and my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. Dad's cancer had been treated fairly successfully for 2 years and then we learned that it had metastasized and he had to have another surgery. This was right on the heels of my mom's diagnosis...and John being gone for what seemed like the millionth military exercise. I was living in Jacksonville, NC and my mom and dad were in Savannah and John's mom and dad were in Northern Virginia. I was smack in the middle--about 6 hours north of one set of parents and 6 hours south of the other. I essentially spent the weekends either going north or south, depending on whether or not John was home and/or who seemed to be doing the worst. I went up to help out after dad's surgery (though I'm not sure I helped that much) and got A Walk To Remember to listen to on the drive up (every Cracker Barrel between Fairfax and Savannah on 95 was like a second home to me!).

I cried and cried and cried and cried and cried. And cried some more.

Oh, and I CRIED.


As October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month (yes, along with many other worthy causes month), walks and remembrance ceremonies have taken place all over the world all month. Last Friday was a special night where people all over the world lit a candle at 7 pm in whatever time zone they were in to remember all the babies gone too soon.

Tonight John and I will walk in a different Walk To locally, as we remember our sweet Matthew and the little ones of so, so many others we have come to know and love and miss.

Some days, I just cannot believe how much my heart just misses my sweet boy. How so much love and joy and hope for his brother can coexist with that heartache.

Some days, I just cannot believe how many miracles I've had in my life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

27 Weeks Have Really Gone By?

Apparently so!

Yesterday we hit 27 weeks. John has a little countdown calendar that he scheduled for 38 weeks. I think it had a number in the low 70s as of yesterday left. 11 weeks. So much going on in those 11 weeks, they will really fly.

Although I have to say, and I predicted it, I am getting more and more nervous.

Yesterday I reminded Dr. Sweeney of something he told me about 3 weeks before Matthew was born---I was worried because he kept going further and further down in the growth percentiles and everyone said it was just because I was small. I felt bad because I was being so overly worried and I didn't want to be a pain. He told me that he was very, very familiar with a group of 1st-time moms who worried about things that were a little less than perfect with their babies, and we were NOT bothering him at all with our (or my!) anxiety. Oh how we loved Dr. Sweeney even then!

So I told him now I was in a different group---second time mommies who had their first perfectly healthy baby die after a full-term birth and are terrified of something happening again. And bless that man's heart, he reminded us that our doctors are just as antsy as we are.

I know. It's because we all know that though everything looked GREAT yesterday, it can all change, for NO REASON, at the drop of a hat. It's not the things that I KNOW about that worry's that one, crazy, odds-of-happening-are-nearly non-existent thing that has rocked my world before.

He told me I can't cry wolf too much. There's nothing they won't consider doing for my mental health. We'll go again in two weeks and then from that point on, weekly until about 36 weeks. Then every other day/daily to monitor development. (We're not doing an amnio to check for lung maturity before delivery.) Dr. Shonekan said I can start non-stress tests here at 32 weeks if I want. I do. It's going to be a lot of appointments and a lot of check-ups, but they go a long way for my peace of mind.

Luke WAS doing great! He was moving all around and my stomach just jumped all over the place. He's VERY head down (don't I know that!) and 2 lbs., 3 oz. and measured again in the 51st%tile! No vessels or any surprises between his head and my cervix (which was still long and way closed for business) and my placenta and fluid looked great. Perfectly textbook would be a lovely way to describe it.


I have added another inch so the waist is now 38 inches, but still not much in the weight department. I was 113.6 the other day at the doctor's, but was wearing jeans and a long sweater. My regular nightly weigh-in is pretty consistent between 111-113, so I'll stick with 112 and am fine with that. The only reason I even care about my weight is because I'm just waiting to see swelling develop. I'm starting to have a teeny, tiny bit, but that's more because I need to drink more water, I think...At 27 weeks with Matthew, I weighed almost 10 pounds more than I do now and a lot of that was fluid. So far, so good though with swelling and blood pressure.

Luke has no real 'patterns' for me to do kick counts, though he moves around so much that I feel pretty confident about getting kicks when I need them. I have discovered, however, that one pattern he IS seeming to develop is at 3:30 IN THE MORNING! For the last week and a half or so, I've woken up to him moving around (he's much stronger!) and looked at the clock. The times are always like 3:33, 3:36, 3:34,'s funny how right in that 3:20-3:40 range he always seems to kick because that's JUST LIKE ME--I get into these patterns where I'll wake up in the middle of the night for a few days or so in a row and each time is within a minute of the night's before time. My mom told me that I did the same thing when she was pregnant with me. I'd wake her up PROMPTLY at 5:30 am and she'd have to eat oatmeal and a fried egg to keep me happy. Seems like my apple has not fallen far from the tree. Although, at least I was kinder to my mom with 5:30 and not 3:30!!!

I don't mind one bit though. (Even last night, which had 2:26, 3:39, 4:24 and 5:37 wake-up calls!)

Here are some of the latest pictures. There is one that John and I were looking at and compared to Matthew and we said that if you didn't KNOW better, it could very easily be one of those comparisons where those 3D places use the 3D ultrasound and then compare to the baby after birth to show just how how closely the 3D ultrasound matches what the baby actually looks like when born. Crazy.

Beautiful. Both of them. Just beautiful.

This is the U/S of Luke followed by a sweet picture of Matthew...same chin and mouth and even little noses...eyes/shape is a bit different, but we see so much similarity. Luke's a lucky boy...his brother was beautiful.

Love that little profile!!!

I see so much of my mom and her side of the family here and still so much of John too. Very weird. Of course, everyone always thought John was my mom's son and *I* was the daughter-in-law!
Here's what's going on with Lukey Luke this week...

Week Twenty Seven: Eyes can open

You are 27 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 25 weeks)
  • The fetus weighs almost 2 pounds now and is about 14.5 inches long.
  • Baby now weighs about 875 grams and is 36.5 cm in length.
  • The head is over 2.5 inches (7cm) in diameter.
  • Your baby's hearing continues to develop.
  • The eyes can blink, open and close.
27 weeksWelcome to the third trimester. Congratulations! You have made it 2/3 of the way through. It may be hard to believe, but your baby now appears much like he or she will look like at birth. Baby now has eyebrows and eyelashes and hair is growing everyday. The muscle tone is improving and his or her body is getting plumper.

Your little one's brain continues its rapid growth. Don't forget to share music, conversation, and even books with your baby. Baby may start to recognize your voice as well as your partner, so be sure to say lots of nice things.

27 weeksThe retina at the back of your baby's eyes is beginning to develop. Those beautiful baby eyes can open now, and the baby will notice and may turn his or her head if you shine a flashlight against your belly.

At 27 weeks, your baby's length will have tripled or quadrupled from the 14 week mark. If your baby is born this week, the chances of survival is now at least 80 percent. However, serious complications are still possible.

<<< Week 26 | Month 6 | Month 7 | Week 28 >>>

Monday, October 18, 2010

Can you imagine?

More, I'm so, so sorry if you didn't have to imagine it, but it WAS or is your situation....

Mondays are usually the days I try to mark the week's progress for Luke. There's lots to write about, but we see Dr. Sweeney today and will get pictures (hopefully, and that's another story) so I'm going to update tomorrow.

A good friend sent me this link about a sweet little baby girl, Emma Grace, who died as she was waiting for a heart transplant. That of course is tragic, tragic, tragic.

What's more heartbreaking is apparently there is difficulty in finding the funds for funeral costs.

I cannot even imagine, and yet, know some who read this blog not only can imagine it but LIVED it...and were not able to do what they wanted for their precious baby.

I know that in the days (and still now, months later) after Matthew died, the kindness and compassion and generosity of complete and total strangers was such a blessing to us. We were fortunate enough to be able to do what we wanted (which is weird to say, because what DOES one WANT when planning a funeral for one's child?) and have some wonderful things done in Matthew's memory. What a blessing.

I don't know much about this family other than they need help, even if just a few dollars, so I figured I'd see if anyone reading felt moved to do so.

In doing Bible study this morning, I came across a verse again that really, really meant something to me. Zechariah 12:10 speaks of the end days where people will mourn the suffering and death of Christ as one who mourns for an only one who grieves (or weeps bitterly) for a firstborn son.

What I got out of that this morning is that for those of us who are told we should be past our depressions or moving on/forward/over it--whatever--the people who tell us that need to be reminded that the grieving and mourning and weeping bitterly for a child is POWERFUL. It is not some shallow bed of emotion just to be worked through and forgotten. If Christ Himself is comparing how people will feel about condemning Him to death with the bitter grief of losing a child.....well, that seems like He takes that grief pretty seriously and understands it's depth and it's life-impacting change.

And if others don't, that's their problem.

Can you imagine that grief and then the added stress of wondering how you are going to bury/cremate your child?

Again, here's the link. I know that sadly, stories like this are a dime a dozen. I'm not sure why this one just broke my heart this morning. Maybe because it's Emma Grace--and that's the first name we chose for the little girl we wanted to adopt. Maybe because my heart is especially tender today after a very restless night of sleeplessness and worry. Maybe because I realize how really blessed I am and instead of buying lunch on the way to the doctor's today, I can eat at home and send that $15 to this family just to let them know that they aren't alone and strangers care. Maybe it's just God telling me that we are to love them like Jesus, whether we know them or not.

In any's on my heart.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


It seems like October is full of all sorts of significance.

It is. Tangible representations of season change. Anticipation of upcoming events, whether they are holidays or birthdays or deathdays.

What an ugly word. Deathday.

Anyway--tomorrow is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. People all over the country and even world will be lighting candles, releasing balloons or lanterns, taking care packages to hospitals...all sorts of stuff to remember and honor the sweet little lives of babies who never made it home, or who made it home, but didn't get to stay here on earth.

I will light a candle beside my one of my favorite pictures of Matthew, and I will remember with gratitude and love the blessing he was. I will remember the children of far too many women I know and don't...who are no longer on this earth and who are so sorely missed by their families.

I will remember that the only guarantee I've ever had in my entire life was that God loved me enough to send His only son and because of that, I'll see my first-born son again. I admit, that's hard to hold onto sometimes, but even if I do so out of desperation some days, I cling to it.

Of course, October serves as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It seems like everyone and their uncle knows about that. It was 'designated' as such in 1985 by the makers of a few of the breast cancer treatment therapies and picked up steam and adoption by several worthy, worthy, WORTHY organizations. While it does not have the national recognition that Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month has in the national proclamation by President Reagan and congressional backing in 1988, it certainly has not lacked in support and it seems that Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness has been overshadowed.

And I don't know really where I stand on that since I am not only a surviving mother to an infant son who died, I am the surviving daughter of a mother lost to breast cancer. Oh, and the surviving sister of a stillborn baby girl. Which is more important to sponsor, support or tout? They both hold such significance to me. Now more than ever.

So, I'm not picking. I've supported and will continue to support things that are close to my heart. October just holds several of those issues in one month. There are obviously tons and tons of sites that honor and remember these 'causes' and many more, but here are a few...

If you read this blog and are not aware of the I Am The Face campaign, please go here: I am Face #118 and have donated to help fund and support resources for women so they know they are never alone in their grief. For Matthew's birthday, I am ordering postcards to deliver to area hospitals for women who lose their babies. It's a sad but wonderful campaign.

Kelly at Sufficient Grace Ministries has committed to pray for each family that leaves their information here. The prayers of others have really sustained us this year.

If you are local, a friend who lost her precious little girl Faith has done amazing things with her grief and has organized a Remembrance Walk that will be held on October 22. Proceeds from that will go to helping local women who have lost babies continue to receive the support and resources that I've found St. Mary's and surrounding counties to do an already excellent job with--but resources run out and there's always more that can be done, so this walk is more than worthy. To register or help, please go here.

This weekend is also the Avon Walk For The Cure to raise money for breast cancer research. It's going to be in New York and I am just honored to know a few wonderful women who participated last year and will again participate this weekend. It's not too late to support them, and honestly, though my mother died of breast cancer, I can only imagine how the research done with the funds raised by these women may one day save MY life. The link is here.

Whether you choose to donate to any of these organizations or just pray for them, it is all appreciated, I'm sure.

If by no one else, certainly by me.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010



That's what happened to last week! I don't know how, but it flew by. I'm grateful, too, because it was a hard one.

We hit 26 weeks yesterday. Luke is moving around so much. My journal said the other night that between 24-28 weeks, he'd seem the most active. Yep. And he's strong. I may have already said it, but Matthew moved all day long, just not as strongly. Luke doesn't move all day long (but often!!!!) and he's strong. His movements are more pronounced and seemingly purposed. Very different but still reminiscent.

We have less than 12 weeks. We're going to have pictures done in about a week and a half. Two weeks after that is the Marine Corps Ball. Two weeks after that is Luke's party. The following week brings family and Thanksgiving and Matthew's birthday. Two and a half weeks after that, Pensacola Girls start filing in for a wonderful visit. The week after that is Christmas. The week after that is New Year's Eve and then a few days later, we'll be delivering Luke.

Makes my head spin. And Luke flip.

All in all, we're doing well. Luke still loves his food and insists I eat a ton, but I have not gained and actually gone back a pound. I'm about 110ish for the most part, but have been dipping into 109/108 all week. Nowhere NEAR the swelling that I had with fact, no swelling, really, except my face is filling out a hair more. Waist holds at 37-38 inches, depending on Luke's positioning and the belly button is more out but still only half-way out. I'm sure it's going to be all the way soon.

Sleep is inconsistent...some nights are better than others, but I'll take any I can get. The worst right now is my hip pain. Sacroiliac to be specific. It's not sciatica, and I pretty much figured that because I don't have any symptoms. It's SI and it stinks because my hips are so stiff and sore, I can barely walk some days!!! My chiropractor and I were talking about the damage control he does, and I wish there was some way to let my hips know there's no need to spread since we are doing a c-section. Alas...not the case. I think it's funny that something called relaxin may make some things relax but it does NOT relax any pain! The cramping from last week was definitely round ligament, and the problem with taking it easy to lessen that is that it makes my hips stiff and hurt more. So, I do what I can, when I can and that's just as good as it is going to be.

We will more than likely be moving back to North Carolina in June. It's about 99% set. I'm excited because there are so many people I still love and miss there....and I've always loved NC. It's just going to be a lot of organizing, a lot of work, a lot of people here in Maryland that will be very missed. (Not to mention, how will I 'do' Maryland from NC?)

Mostly, I'll miss being close to my sweet boy's resting place. And his home. And his room. And everything that pretty much comprised his whole existence.

But I really think God's been trying to prepare me for something and I've prayed, prayed, prayed it was not anything to do with Luke. So, if this is it--well, I'll take it.

No pictures this week of Luke; that's next Monday. Tomorrow is our glucose test but being hypoglycemic, I'm not worried. Here's a picture of us at 26 weeks. The weather is just, just, just beautiful!

This is in front of Matthew's Camellia from his Kyrgyzstan friends. It's getting ready to bloom shortly and has recovered fairly nicely from the deer finding it yummy all summer.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

No Reason and Every Reason....

Sometimes, it may *seem* like there really is no reason for the tears you *cannot* stop to be pouring out of you.

Then you realize that you visited your baby's grave after church like it was a normal part of life and remember that most days, you have EVERY reason for the tears to just do a good job of holding them in and trying not to let them control you.

A year ago this day, we celebrated the impending arrival of my sweet boy. It was a wonderful, wonderful day and though I originally protested the idea of a shower at all, I'm so thankful that my martyrdom was not paid one bit of attention and a beautiful day for me, John and Matthew was forever imprinted as priceless in our hearts and minds.

One year ago today.

I still just do not understand how that is possible.

When looking back for the post about the shower, I came across THIS post...and cried and cried and cried and cried.

And am still crying. Because even now, knowing how it all has turned love and appreciation for that precious, precious baby boy has not waned one bit and though I am hurt and sad and angry and confused and so many other emotions I can't even sticks out and rises above them all.

Grateful. I am so, so, so grateful for every second I was given to carry my son. I am grateful for every intimate and sacred moment only I got to share with him. I am grateful for his life and the lives he has touched in only the few hours he was born. I am grateful for his very existence and I am grateful for every gift and blessing I've known because of him.

No matter what, I cannot help but be on-my-knees grateful to God for giving me the miracle of motherhood to a most precious, precious boy.

Make that two precious boys., I admit is hard. Well, every day is hard, but some are harder for me to contain the emotions than others. This is one of those.

I may be backward in my feelings because I know for a lot of people, getting to 24 weeks or beyond is a really, really comforting place in a pregnancy. It's 'technically' the point where a baby could live; where there's theoretically something that could be done and the baby could live despite issues.

For me...I have to say that I somehow had more peace and assurance before we hit 24 weeks--when it was really out of anyone's control, and if truth be told, if something was to happen to the baby, there's nothing that could be done--there was NO denying that my or any caregiver's actions would be able to give a different outcome.

Because the bottom line is that we made it WAY past 24 weeks. We made it past delivery. We had a 'fighter', as his nurses called him.

And he still died. It seems to me that there's more scariness in theoretically being able to save a baby than there is in knowing that it's truly out of your hands before a certain time.

I just don't know how my heart could bear losing another precious boy. It can barely beat with the one we've already lost.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Only 13 Weeks Left...Really?

Someone's FB (okay, not just any someone... the amazing, wonderful and fabulous gal that makes my hair anywhere near presentable) status today reminded me that there are 12 weeks left until Christmas.

Holy Cow.

As we hit 25 weeks yesterday, we have 13 weeks left until Luke is scheduled to make his arrival.
Again, I say, Holy Cow.

Believe it or not, I have already been working on getting Christmas shopping done...not quite as much on the getting-things-done-before-Luke-comes front. Working on that. Guess I better try and work a little harder.

We saw Dr. Sweeney yesterday and Luke was doing just fabulously. He weighed in at about 1 lb., 10 oz., which put him in the 51st%tile. Dead average. He was in the 52nd%tile two weeks ago, so that seems to be the continuing trend. Near this point with Matthew, we'd dropped to about the 38th%ile (for weight---certainly not for length!) and it kept getting progressively lower in percentile drop from that point on. I remember crying to Dr. Sweeney about IUGR when Matthew was in the 10th%tile (and that scored me weekly ultrasounds just to make me feel better---which is just proof that their office has been wonderful since Matthew died, but Dr. Sweeney was really wonderful throughout Matthew's pregnancy just because he's that kind of doctor).


Luke's doing great. He has HUGE feet, like his brother (and it's been everything I can do not to pick up cute shoes because those are some of the things I didn't really have too many of for Matthew and would LOVE to pick up for Luke, but not until I know what kind of snowshoes that kid's gonna need!) and I love, love, love pictures of those sweet feet. As per his usual, he kept his hands up by his head for most of the picture ops, but we were able to see him do some very sweet things...he yawned SEVERAL times, had the hiccups, was practicing breathing (hooray!) and we got really deep into analyzing his heart (looks GREAT!) and brain. It was a very thorough and long ultrasound and I loved it.

He has hair!!! I don't know that Matthew had hair (that we could see) this early, so maybe that's indicative of another baby boy with a head of hair at birth! John double-checked to make sure he was still a boy (which I found hilarious because we see the proof every time...this time she made sure we got another picture for John's peace of mind!) and all in all, Luke is, "Very happy and extremely healthy!"

Just what we like to hear.

I've not gained anything--in fact for a few days, was a few pounds lighter. The scale said 110.4 last night, that's what I'll go with. I pretty much weigh at the same time in the morning and the same time at night for my book, but really just use the weights at the doctor every two weeks for 'official' purposes. Ha ha. I *have* gained in the waist, though--37 inches. He's DEFINITELY filling out more and is no longer transverse but head down. Of course, he is a little frog, hopping all over the place, so we saw him bouncing all around on my bladder and cervix yesterday like it was a trampoline! Speaking of cervix, they were all pretty impressed with my 4.7 cervical length. Like Dr. Shonekan has always said...Fort Knox.

Last night after my photography class, I had some really, really, REALLY sore/painful cramping that I guess is more round ligament pain. It was better this morning, but then I got all energetic and did probably way more than I should have and could barely walk by this afternoon. Coupled with my hip pain, actually, and I really couldn' I spent a few hours in bed. It's a bit better now, but it's still really painful when walking (or ANY pressure on my stomach, really) so if it's like this tomorrow morning, I'm calling the doctor and see what they say. I'd hate to have to drive back to Annapolis tomorrow after just being there yesterday, so I may think about going to my wonderful L& D here if things don't get better but don't get too much worse. Too much worse, and I'll go to Annapolis just in case.

Luke seems to be just fine, though---moving all around, kick counts done in about 2 minutes and heartbeat good and strong. Just really, really painful and leaves me not able to do much walking. So, we'll see.

Anyway, here we are at 25 weeks:

Another rainy day...feeling like fall!

Sweet little profile!

Love, Love, LOVE my boys' feet!

There's some hair....don't ask how anyone is supposed to know that...

Pursing those little lips together after a yawn!

Here's what's going on with Luke:

Week Twenty Five: Exploration continues

You are 25 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 23 weeks)
  • The unborn child is 34 cm in length and weighs almost 690 grams.
  • Baby is around 13.5 inches in length and weighs 1 and half pounds.
  • Bones are becoming solid, hands are now fully developed.
  • The brain is growing rapidly, the brain cells are starting to mature.
  • The sexual organs are fully developed.
Baby is now pretty well built portion wise even though it still has little body fat and its skin is thin. The structures of the spine begin to form -- All 33 rings, 150 joints and 1000 ligaments. The tiny brain is growing rapidly, and the baby is starting to fill the space in your uterus. The uterus is now about the size of a soccer ball and mom looks pregnant.

Twins 25 weeksYour baby's hands are now fully developed, although some of the nerve connections to the hands have a long way to go. Dexterity is improving. Your baby can make a fist and clasp objects placed in palm. Exploring the structures inside your uterus may have become baby's prime entertainment. Fascinated by the amount of tactile stimulation a fetus gives itself; it touches a hand to the face, one hand to the other hand, clasps its feet, touches its foot to its leg, its hand to its umbilical cord. Twins will explore each other and begin their bonding.

Blood vessels of the lungs develop. Your baby's nostrils begin to open. The nerves around the mouth and lip area are showing more sensitivity now. Their swallowing reflexes are developing. Baby can hear sounds outside the womb and the brain cells are starting to mature also. Already it can learn and remember and can recognise its mother and fathers voice. The inner ear bones have hardened so hearing is more acute. Baby may hear your partner's voice more easily than yours, as baby is sensitive to a deeper pitch.

Babies born at 25 weeks of pregnancy have about a 50% chance of survival.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Deja New....

Deja Vu: 1. feeling of reliving something: a feeling of having experienced something before, although in fact it is the first time that it has been experienced.

Yesterday was my monthly appointment with the therapist who calls me on the phone. It's a really great benefit of my now dropped insurance, and she said she'll keep calling until I show up as not insured anymore. I figure I've had my last call since it's been a month since I dropped BC/BS.

Anyway, I love her. I've loved her since I started talking with her nearly 10 months ago. She's also in Maryland, and if she was closer, I'd go see her in person. She's suffered miscarriage, challenges me to think about things and go through them even if I don't want to because she and I both know in the end, if I don't it'll haunt me, and she always, always, always validates me and makes me feel so normal, all things considered.

So, when she called yesterday, I had to be honest in telling her the days have been hard. She of course realized a lot of that is attributed to the upcoming 'anniversary of the trauma' and the grief that is associated with that but that the hormones I have going on with Luke just get stronger and stronger as he grows and that it must be hard for me. She then went further on to postulate that this must be like a really sick sort of Deja Vu for me--being pregnant, at this time of year, with a sweet little boy, waiting to FINALLY hold a child in my, so, so many similarities and yet so very, very different. She told me she really couldn't even imagine how hard it must be and that she's just so proud of all the 'grief work' I've put in to be able to cope every day without having a nervous breakdown. (Really, she is just wonderful because she GETS how unbelievably taxing and hard and conflicting and emotional every day is and she gives me so much credit for even the littlest things...well, huge to me and to her, but little to most others who just don't know.)

She's right. If I am really honest, some days, I have some thoughts that are disturbing to me. It's fall...Matthew's season. It's LOOKING like this time last year. It's FEELING like this time last year. I'm doing so many of the SAME things I was doing this time last year. Getting a nursery organized...feeling like I have a million things to do before my life changes (again) forever...feeling a wiggly little baby boy growing in my stomach. Even though at this time last year, I was about 6 weeks further along with Matthew than I am now with Luke, looking at pictures and feeling like I feel--I'm about as big this time as I was then and so I even physically FEEL the same as I did last year.

September 26, 2009--I was 31w5d with Matthew. Carrying lower (much!) but just about as big as I am NOW at 24weeks!

September 30, 2009--My sweet, sweet friends at school threw us an amazing face was starting to fill out (thanks, fluid!) but my belly was just starting to look like it does NOW!

I know this is Luke.

I know it's not Matthew.

But some moments catch me, and I have to be very purposeful in defining the difference.

It's so much the same.

And so won't ever be again.

No, it's not Deja Vu...I KNOW this is a different child and a different experience.

But it sure does feel like Deja New.