Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tante's Beautiful Girl

Thought I'd share a picture of Tante's beautiful baby girl, Hailey. I visited her in the NICU yesterday, and I'm quite proud because I didn't freak out while I was there. She is simply gorgeous, and I've fallen in love with her already. I can't wait to watch her grow up and out of the NICU.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Angel in Disguise

I'm suffering from NICU flashbacks ever since my good friend, Shanna, gave birth to her beautiful daughter, Hailey, at 28 weeks gestation. Little Hailey's birth has brought up a lot of what I thought were long gone memories. As such, I'm thinking through what my preeclampsia and NICU expereinces taught me. Here is an essay I wrote about how life can send you an angel in disguise:

When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, Grace, I developed severe preeclampsia. A c-section later and a few days post partum, I was still being treated with a life saving drug called Magnesium Sulfate and a narcotic for pain relief.

I'm not certain which medication gave me halucinations, but I had them. Visions of baby faces, foot prints, and bugs...the creepy, crawling version. Needless to say, I became quite distraught at what was appearing before my eyes. It was 2:00 AM, and I was not sleeping. My husband, Charlie, was stretched out on the equilavent of bamboo mat passed out. I started freaking out, and he didn't wake up. I called the nurse and explained the creepy, crawlies and baby faces/foot prints. All the while, I'm thinking: "Am I insane?"

Soon after, Dr. Giles, a second year resident, walked into my room. I asked him if I was going insane. He said, "I don't know you very well so I can't answer that question." Dr. Giles then turned to the sleeping hump also known as my husband and said, "Hey, is your wife insane?" In his sleepy stupor, Charlie grumbled, "Yes, very." To which, I became a crying ball of post partum emotions, high blood pressure, and tears. The doctor didn't seem too impressed by my description. Dr. Giles discontinued the magnesium sulfate and my PCA for pain relief. By morning, I became a normal emotional post partum mommy, but I didn't see any more visions. Hooray!

The next morning, I remember thinking that doctor was a jerk. He seemed annoyed by being awaken at 2:00 AM and dealing with me, an "emotional" mommy. (Looking back on it, I can see how he was tired, and had probably been on rotation for more than 24 hours.) For quite some time after, I replayed the scene in my head. It was a low point for me in my preeclampsia and NICU journey.

A little more than two years later, I was inpatient in the hospital again pregnant with my second daughter, Meghan. I was almost 27 weeks along with soaring blood pressure, a baby that was too small (IUGR), about 40 pounds of swelling, and the worst headache of my life. Preeclampsia was back with a vengence.

It was day 8 of bedrest, and I noticed that my baby had not been moving around as much. It was a Sunday, and there were several mommies on my antepartum floor whose pregnancies were giving the nurses and doctors much to do. Well, it took what seemed like forever for my nurse to come. She finally came, and hooked me up to a fetal heart monitor. Within two minutes, nurse Yulia was watching and listening to the monitor with a concerned look on her face. She quickly left the room, which gave me some anxiety. When she returned, she walked into the room with Dr. Giles, who was now the chief OB resident.

Needless to say, I was none too happy to see Dr. Giles. I'm not sure what experiences Dr. Giles had been through in the prior two years, but he was a completely different man. His dedication to his chosen profession, desire to answer my questions, and general bed side manner were exceptional. He explained that my baby was experiencing heart decelerations, which meant fetal distress. I would need to be sent to Labor and Delivery to start the dreaded Mag. This also meant that my baby would be coming 13 weeks too soon. 13 weeks! Crap!

I had been trying to prepare myself for this reality all the while on bedrest, but it hadn't quite sunken in yet. I had been a NICU mom with Gracie, but she was only 6 weeks early...small, but mostly healthy. This baby would be around 1 1/2 pounds and need immediate ventilation support. Her chances of survival within the first 4 days would only be 75%. There were so many risks to my dear sweet baby still growing (albeit quite slowly) inside of me...too many to comprehend completely.

For twenty minutes, Dr. Giles sat down in a chair while carefully, quietly, calmly, and lovingly walking me and my husband through what was about to unfold. He also explained that I'd probably have preeclampsia with any future pregnancies. Before he left the room, he walked over to my bed. While touching my hand, he said, "I hope this turns out okay for you Jennifer. Good luck."

How Dr. Giles morphed from "that jerk doctor" into a genuine caring human being I'll never know. But I do know that I'll always remember his kindness and concern. So, Dr. Giles, I pay tribute to your growth and how in the end, all became right in my world. I delivered Meghan Rose the next day weighing 1 pound, 9.5 ounces. She was cared for in the NICU for 79 days, and then came home to our loving arms. Meghan is our living, breathing miracle.

Submitted to Wrapped Emotions for the Gift of Every Moment, Week 4:

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cough, Cough, Cough

As I write this, Meghan is gleefully playing inside our brand new, Santa delivered Disney Princess play hut tent. As she does every day, Meghan is humming her way through her imaginary world of the kitty vets office. Her newest family pet is a Fur Real Friend orange and white kitty. Grace's kitty is also visiting the vets office.

While I'm thoroughly enjoying the sounds of the girls playing together even if there is the occasional whining and whimpering, I don't like one sound I'm hearing over and over again. It is the sound of Meghan's cough, which resembles the sound that a curdled jug of milk might make if you shook it. The "chunk, chunk, chunk, gag, gag, gag" sounds are driving this Alpha mom a little bit crazy.

Once again, I'm standing here wondering how much damage Meghan's former micro-preemie and Alpha-1 deficient lungs are sustaining. Will it be 1% lung function or 2%? Or none? Who knows? Sheesh! I'm hoping and praying that the denial fairy will grace my presence, but today, she isn't coming.

Zithromax is currently battling it out with Meghan's bronchitis infection, and this mommy is willing it to win, win, win quickly.

Hopefully Meghan's health will improve in the new year, but I do know one thing. My Alpha girls are blessed even with their former preemie and Alpha-1 status. We are blessed today, and that is what I need to focus on.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Today, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Grace & Meghan sang happy birthday to him earlier today.

There is much to celebrate, but I'm blurry-eyed right now. Off to bed.

God bless my family and thank you for my blessed life. Merry Christmas!

PS: Tante came home from the hospital today. Hailey is hanging in there, which we are so glad to see.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Congrats to Tante

Tante Shanna had her babies last night. Little miss Hailey Elizabeth came early at 28 weeks. She weighed 2 pounds, 13 ounces and was 16 inches long. So far, she is doing well in NICU and has some breathing assistance.

Angel Mary Carol was delivered right along with Hailey, and we'll miss her forever.

Congrats Tante! Welcome to the parenthood club, and sorry you joined the NICU club with us.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I'm feeling sentimental as the year winds down to an end. I'm grateful for all of my blessings, and this letter I wrote to Meghan when she was 1 year old really and truly recaps how I'm feeling, which is incredibly blessed. Some of you may have seen this already, but it bears repeating. I hope Meghan cherishes it when she is older.

Dear Meghan,

When your sister was about 15 months old I was having so much fun being a mommy, I began to have what we, mommies, call baby lust. Your big sister, Gracie, was at a very fun age filled with exploration and inquisitiveness, but she had Alpha-1.

Your daddy and I eventually decided to add to our family, but that was not without reservations. We discussed having another baby from a risk benefit perspective. After all, I had a high risk pregnancy and birth experience with Gracie because preeclampsia reared its ugly head. My life and Gracie’s life had been threatened by my high blood pressure, seizure risk, and kidney dysfunction. In addition to preeclampsia, we also carried the Alpha-1 genes. It was a confusing and stressful time in our lives. We weren’t sure we wanted to inflict that possibility on another child by choice.

In looking at it in terms of benefits, we were normal adults who wanted to grow our family and cultivate the love we had for one another in our children. It wasn’t fair that preeclampsia happened to me. It wasn’t fair that we both carried the Alpha-1 Z gene. It wasn’t fair that we had no control over preeclampsia or our genes. I knew in my head that I didn’t ask for preeclampsia or Alpha-1, but somewhere deep down inside, I felt like I failed as a parent. I wallowed in the guilt, but somehow, somewhere I eventually found the strength to pull myself out of the darkness and be there for your daddy and Gracie. I’m so happy that God helped me because that led me to you, my baby girl, Meggie.

Unfortunately, I developed preeclampsia with you too, and this time at 25 weeks gestation. You were born a peanut weighing an unbelievable 1 pound, 9.5 ounces, and stretching out to be 13 inches long at 27 weeks. You were in the fight for your life. We weren’t certain that you’d be okay. Your lungs were quite immature, and your liver was not working as it should. I kept wondering what that meant if you were an Alpha like Gracie. What would it mean if you had Alpha-1 and you were born too early? What would that mean for your future lung and liver health?

After about 2 ½ months in NICU, you had finally stabilized enough to have your Alpha-1 tests. I remember getting a call from your daddy, who was visiting you in the NICU. He was there when they delivered the test results. You were an Alpha, too. My heart sank. I could hear the sadness in his voice. Tears streamed down my cheeks. It was a hard day, but I soon remembered how much of a miracle you truly were. You were not a guaranteed child. You were a gift from God.

So Meghan, I write this letter so you understand that your mommy and daddy didn’t want to take a chance with your life. We just knew deep down inside that we needed to be parents again. You were meant to be. We’re sorry that Alpha-1 is a part of your life, but we want you to know that it should not define you. You are our sweet, inquisitive, joyful daughter who also happens to have Alpha-1. Your mom and dad love you, and, yes, we will probably always struggle with guilt, but we get to experience the miracle of you. That overrides the guilt.


Submitted to Wrapped Emotions for the Gift of Every Moment:

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Saturday, December 15, 2007


Thursday morning, I awoke to the sound of Grace coughing like a barking seal. It wasn't too bad at first sounds, but then rapidly progressed into a series of "arf, arf, arrrrf, arrrrrrrrrrffffff, aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrfffffffffff" followed by a garbled, "Mommy!"

I walked into her room, and she promptly began to bark again. "Hmmm, that doesn't sound good," I thought. As I got closer to her sitting up in bed, I heard what sounded like Darth Vadar breathing, which can be properly labeled as stridor.

"Ah crap!" I thought. I knew that croup is irritation in the upper airway, but wasn't sure what that meant in terms of her Alpha-1. Would this virus be damaging her lungs? Or, could this be something more severe like bronchitis? In either case, it was time to get an appointment with the pediatrician. I then wondered if her former preemie lungs also contributed. It really didn't matter though. She needed to see the doctor.

So Grace was in heaven, home from school for the day with her mommy all to herself. She watched the full line up on PBS kids, and then we went to the pediatrician's office.

When Dr. M walked into the room, he said, "She sounds pretty noisy." Grace smiled and then proceeded to cough, cough, cough for a minute.

"Well, I'd say she sounds pretty croupy. Let's look in your throat Grace."

She said, "Ahhhhhhh!" Then, she promptly started to cough again. "Okay Grace. It looks pretty irritated in there. Let's listen to your lungs. Deep breath, please. Now, say the letter E for me."

"Eeeeeeeeee, cough, eeeeee, cough, cough, cough...eeee."

"Well, that is some pretty loud stridor Gracie. Let's give you some medicine to help you out."

We left with a prescription for oral prednisone, and now Gracie thinks and acts like she is supergirl. It is pretty funny to see her doing things like running in place or jumping jacks just because she can. She got up out of bed this morning, and promptly started running in place. I'd say she has energy in spades from her prednisone. LOL She never rises and shines in the morning. She is my grumpy gus.

Her breathing is still a bit noisy, but that cough is less. She is sleeping well, and hopefully, she is on the mend now. If we can make it through the next 3 days with prednisone Gracie. She is quite the character with a rolling set of emotions and energy. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

NICU Reunion

I grabbed the handle of a large metal door which allowed entry into the hospital. I swung it open, and Grace and Meghan ran through it. The familiar pattern of the carpet appeared. Sage green and lavender geometric shapes splattered across the hallway floor, and a large sign read Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Tan handrails lined the skywalk that led toward the NICU.

Ahead of me, Grace ran her hand along the handrail as she skipped along in her shiny patent leather shoes with a 1/2 inch heel. Her sensory need to touch and feel her way through life is evident everyday. She turned her head around toward me and said, "This feels silky smooth, Mommy."

"Yes Grace," I said as I wondered just how many germs she was picking up on her right hand.

"It feels cold, too."

Meghan's right hand was in my left hand, and as we walked along the skywalk, her grip became increasingly tighter. The blood was leaving my index finger so I jiggled her hand a bit to encourage her to release her grip. She relaxed her hand as she said, "I was born here Mommy."

"Yes, Meghan. You were my littlest baby girl Meggie. You lived here for 79 days, and then you came to our house. It made me so happy when you came home."

Grace inquired, "Mommy, how long did I live here?"

"You stayed here 23 days Gracie."

"How much did I weigh Mommy?"

"3 pounds, 14.5 ounces."

"I was bigger than Meghan. Right Mommy?"

"Yes, Grace. You were bigger than Meghan, but you were still small when you were born. Mommy and Daddy were so worried about you when you were born. Meghan, too. The doctors and nurses here took great care of you, and showed Mommy and Daddy how to take care of you too."

We were on our way to the annual Holiday Party NICU reunion. The girls were excited because I finally let them put their Christmas dresses on. Hunter green velvet adorned their small frames, and red, green, and silver bells jingled in their blonde hair. Earlier when I put Meghan's dress on, she twirled and said, "My pretty dress helps me dance good."

The skywalk smelled like the pages of an old, faded book. It had smelled that way since it was built 4 years ago. I don't know why but that smell brought back a memory I hadn't recalled in quite some time. With Gracie still skipping along and Meghan still squeezing my index finger too tightly, I was suddenly flashing back to that skywalk about 3 weeks after Meghan was born. She was still quite fragile then, and was struggling with her H&H (hemoglobin and hematocrit). In the few days before then, her H&H values were plunging. I had studied the values in her chart, but didn't quite understand them except that the values read LOW.

When I had walked into the NICU that day, Meghan's primary nurse, Kim, greeted me with a sullen look just outside the door of Meghan's room. I flashed her a nervous smile because I didn't want to acknowledge the clear look of concern on her face. She stuttered and blurted out in one long breath, "Uh, you can't do kangaroo this morning. She isn't stable enough. Her H&H fell overnight, and we're transfusing her right now. I still don't like her color, I've turned down the lights, and asked visitors to keep it down. She is really in dangerous territory right now. I really pushed her when I had to find a vessel for the transfusion. She was really mad at me. I blew a vein in her arm so now we're using a vein in her skull. You can sit next to her, but please don't touch her or the tubing on top of the isolette."

She walked me to the isolette, and said, "Here is a chair." Then, she pointed to the bag of blood, and said, "Leave that alone please. Now, sit and let's hope she pinks up with some of this blood."

Panic and fear was welling up inside of me, but I managed to blurt out, "I'll do anything she needs right now. Kangaroo care is the furthest thing on my mind right now. What blood type is this blood?"

"It is O neg. We like to use that type in the NICU to reduce transfusion issues." Why I wanted to know that is not clear to me even now. I also wondered inside what Kim meant by transfusion issues, but my eyes had fallen onto Meghan's shadowy figure inside the isolette. A ventilator was pumping air into her prematurely abused lungs, her foot glowed orange from a pulse oximeter, a temperature probe was stuck to her chest with a shining gold sticker in the shape of a teddy bear, and a thin tube of maroon colored blood was flowing into a venous catheter in Meghan's skull.

"Oh my, my, my God. She is so pale. Thank God for blood donors." I stuttered.

Kim joked a bit with me and said, "Hey, maybe she has your color?"

"Uh yeah, maybe. I know I have red-headed pale skin, but I don't look like death. She does."

"Let's see what happens, and Dr. R will be here soon. I called him. You might want to call your husband."

"Oh." I knew it was bad, but it was all so surreal. I wanted to cry, but it wouldn't come. I just sat there willing Meghan to live with every bit of my being. I kept thanking God for that blood donor, and asking God to help Meghan. Over and over again, I prayed. Meghan hadn't been baptized yet so I held my right hand out, made a sign of a cross with my hand in the air, and quietly said, "I baptize you in the name of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit." Tears pooled in my eye lids as I thought I didn't want her to die without being baptized, even a baptism by me was better than nothing.

Eventually, the donor's blood began to bring the color back into Meghan's tiny little being. It was the longest five minutes of my life as I experienced it in a kind of slow motion sequence. My eyes wouldn't blink. I don't recall hearing much after I sat down next to her isolette, and it seemed darker than usual. I didn't want to leave her, not even to call Charlie. I wasn't sure she'd still be alive if I left to call him.

A few minutes later, Kim looked at her vital signs, and said, "I think this is helping. She is doing better right now. Let's let her sleep. Sleep helps."

I thought, "Oh thank God." I began to shiver a bit from the adrenaline.

I glanced back at Meghan, and she seemed very peaceful. A calm came over me, and I had a sudden urge to call Charlie. I quickly left for the family room where the phone was. I don't remember what I said to him, but after talking to him, I found myself on that skywalk to the NICU.

Sunlight was gleaming through the windows. Children were playing on the playground at the school across the street, and I sat down on the green and purple carpet about 1/4 of the way down the hall. I thanked God a few more times, and made a "bee line" back to the NICU to sit next to Meghan. I had nearly lost her. We had nearly lost her. God intervened. A blood donor brought life back to my precious baby as I stood their observing. Amazing. Simply amazing.

The jingling of the bells on Grace's head brought me back into reality. We had reached the waiting area outside the NICU. The party was already in progress, and both my girls were very much alive. They bounced, skipped, wiggled, and jiggled their way through the party.

Neither one wanted to sit on Santa's lap nor tell him what they wanted for Christmas. I didn't care though. They were not guaranteed children. The NICU staff worked hard to save their lives so that they could have lives. Even if that means, the girls act up, misbehave, or allow their sensory issues to overtake what is consider normal childhood behavior. They live, and I live through them. We live through them. We live for them. I live for them.

Submitted for the Gift of Every Moment at Wrapped Emotions:
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Sunday, December 09, 2007


I scooped Meghan up in my arms. She was bundled up in her hot pink winter coat with accompanying pink fleece hat with an adorning white and pink pom-pon a top the hat. As her dress shifted upward, she wiggled and readjusted herself a bit as I took each step down the snow covered front path of my home. Her shiny black patent leather shoes hit my left thigh with each step. I wondered if stains were forming as I made may way to the waiting mini-van. Grace tip-toed her way along ahead of me in her "high heel" shoes, which she adores.

As I inhaled, the wintery air startled me. The temperature had dipped below 20 degrees, and a fresh layer of fluffy snow was under my feet.

"Gracie, please be careful. It is slippery today."

"Mommy, what is that stuff again?"

As I huffed along, I answered, "What stuff Grace?"

"The salt stuff mommy. Can we eat it?"

As the salt crunched under my shoes, I answered, "No, it isn't the eating kind of salt Gracie. That salt is much smaller. This salt melts the ice."

As we approached the mini-van, Charlie opened the side door for us. We got in and drove away toward church. As we drove along, Meghan gleefully cheered. "I'm singin' in choich (church) today!"

"Really Meghan?" I responded to play along.

"Yep! I'm gonna sing Jesus, Name Above All Games."

"Oh wow, you're going to make me so proud. Meghan, are you sure the song isn't called really Jesus, Name Above All Names?"

"Nut uh Mommy! Jesus, Name Above All GAMES! Miss Amy told me," she replied emphatically.


We made it to church on time, and the girls sprinted down the main isle like it was Disney World. "Slow down please!" I pleaded. We took a seat about three rows from the front of the church. As is the usual case, all of the rows in front of us were empty. I thought, "Great! We can easily take a video of Meghan from here."

The service trudged along like our feet on the slippery sidewalk. Meghan and Grace wiggled, squirmed, and jiggled their way through the service. Although, I was quite proud that they were both using their "wisper" voices. Finally, it was time for Meghan to sing with her class.

"It's time for you to sing Meghan."

"Yay!" She wiggled past Charlie's knees out of the pew, and ran up to the front of the church. She found a spot next to Caden, but then Miss Amy moved her down to the front row next to Jason.

As they began to sing, tears formed in my eyes. I was overcome with pride for her as she was singing. I couldn't believe that she was up there singing all of the words one-by-large-one.

Jesus * Name Above All Names
Beautiful Savior * Glorious Lord
Emmanuel * God is With Us
Blessed Redeemer * Living Word

There she was among her friends.

There she stood, singing with her whole heart.

Our beautiful living miracle.

Who came into the world into the hands of a surgeon sounding like a mewing kitten.

Who once was a fragile frail skinned micropreemie.

Who couldn't keep her body temperature warm.

Who would forget to breathe.

Who's heart would skip beats.

Who couldn't make enough parts of her blood to stay alive.

Who was transfused three times by a very generous blood donor.

Who turned ashen blue several scary times.

Who scared her Daddy badly when he came to visit her in the NICU as they were bagging her.

Who would cough and sputter as she learned how to suck the milk from a bottle.

Who lay scarily, completely still in her bassinet as a sleep apnea alarm blared next to her.

Who eventually did well enough to leave the NICU after 79 long, long days.

Who ended up in speech, occupational, and physical therapy.

Who trudges along every day like she is queen of the world.

Who taught me that miracles can come in tiny packages.

There she was in all her glory. Singing some very big words making her Mommy tear up with joy. She is a living breathing gift from God, and today, she prooved to me yet again that she was worth every scary step of the way.

She made us all proud, but it made me tear up a little more when Gracie said, "She is singing so pretty Mommy."

"Yes Grace. Meggie is such a big girl now, isn't she?"

Submitted to Wrapped Emotions for The Gift of Everyday

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Preeclampsia and Heart Disease Risk

Frankly, this is not new information for me, but when the American Heart Association sent me an email with this newsblast inside, it was a wake up call. Preeclampsia survivors do not have good odds when it comes to risks for heart disease or stroke.

So ladies, may I issue a health challenge? How about we take the new year to create a better version of ourselves? Whether that is living a happier life to improve your mental health or making your physical health important to you, it is up to you.

Women Who Experience Preeclampsia More Likely To Develop Heart Disease, Study Says

Women who experience preeclampsia -- a condition in which blood pressure increases late in pregnancy -- have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease or stroke later in life than women who do not experience the condition, according to a study published in the Nov. 1 edition of BMJ, the Washington Post/Hartford Courant reports. For the study, British researchers analyzed data from 25 studies that involved more than 3.4 million women, 198,252 of whom had preeclampsia during pregnancy and 21,958 of whom had been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or cancer.

Women who had preeclampsia were four times more likely than women who did not have the condition to develop high blood pressure within 14 years, the study found. The risk of having heart disease or stroke within 10 years nearly doubled for women who had preeclampsia, compared with those who did not have the condition. The study also found that a woman's risk for heart disease increased the earlier during pregnancy she developed preeclampsia. The researchers found that preeclampsia did not increase women's risk for breast cancer or other cancers. The study is available online.

I had Grace 5 1/2 years ago. I guess I only have 4 more years before heart disease or stroke may hit me. Sigh. I'd better get myself to a cardiologist for a work up and figure out how I can live a healthier lifestyle. Life isn't a guarantee, but I know that all of my preeclampsia survivor friends are some of the strongest ladies I know. We can do it ladies. We can!

With much anticipation of a healthier me and you!


Monday, December 03, 2007

Unexpected News

When I arrived home from work, I walked into the kitchen. As I panned the room, I saw them…all the dishes from 3 days worth of eating piled here and there. “Ugh,” I thought. After giving the girls hugs and asking them about their days, I rolled up my sleeves and started my work.

Water was rolling down my arms toward my elbows, but I was finally almost finished with the crusty dishes. After nearly an hour, my feet were beginning to ache, and my stomach was rumbling with hunger. I scolded myself about leaving the dishes for so many days, but we had had such a schedule of events one after another. As that thought was running through my brain, I was startled by the vibrating cell phone in my right pants pocket.

I spun around to find the kitchen towel, which conveniently hangs on the handle of the oven door; however, it wasn’t there. My hands were still wet, and the phone vibrated again. I felt rushed, and said disgustedly, “Why is the towel never where I leave it?” My tone made Gracie turn her face toward me. “It’s right there Mommy,” she said while pointing her finger.

I dashed toward the towel, ran my right hand over it, and then dug my fist into my pocket. The phone vibrated in my hand again just as I was about to flip it open. I noticed the display identified the caller as my good friend, Tante, who was bed resting waiting for a safe time to deliver her twin daughters. I answered the phone with, “Hey Tante.”

She said, “Hi Jen. How are you?”

“Fine. Fine. How are you? How was your appointment today?”

She sighed, and blurted out, “I lost Baby A.”

Shocked, I said, “What? What happened honey?”

“There was no heartbeat. When I went to the appointment, the doctor tried to find heartbeats on both of the babies. They couldn’t find it with the Doppler so they had to give me an ultrasound. She’s gone.”

“Oh my God, Tante. I’m so sorry this happened to you. It isn’t fair. I’m just so so sorry honey.”

My face and tone must have said it all because suddenly Charlie put his hand on my arm. He mouthed, “What happened?” I cupped my hand over the receiver, and whispered, “Baby A is gone.” He frowned and furrowed his brow as I walked out of the kitchen so I could talk more openly with her. It was certainly a shock.

Tante said, “She was bigger than Meghan. She was 1 pound, 10 ounces.” This sent “shockwaves” through me. She lost her precious baby girl, and that reminded me that it could have easily been Meghan. Meghan was 1 pound, 9.5 ounces. When we were in the NICU, there were several preemies who became angels, and I will never ever forget them or their parents. I vividly remember the days those babies left the NICU. I wanted to vomit, and prayed like crazy for a miracle for my baby. It felt selfish, but I couldn’t help it.

I’ve always known how incredibly lucky we were with both of our girls, but the juxtaposition of Tante’s daughter and Meghan was undeniably horrible and vivid. Why in the world would Tante be denied her precious cargo, and why would I be given such a gift and blessing in little miss Meghan? Why?

Essentially, the shock of the news made me forget the rest of the conversation and its sequence. It is hazy. I know I said I’d pray for her and both the babies, and must have said a dozen times that I was just so incredibly sorry. Tears were pooling in my lower eye lids and beginning to splash down my cheeks. I let out one inhaling sob while I was speaking with her. I felt bad for letting my grief for her bubble up so easily.

I guess my own traumatic pregnancy and birth experiences are still quite fresh in my reality. She quickly decided that she needed to hang up. I know it wasn’t me who was giving her the profound sadness, anger, and bitter reality, but I didn’t want to add to her fresh grief.

In any case, I did feel quite honored that she called me shortly after learning the news. That may sound strange in all of this, but Tante was such a source of encouragement, love, and understanding with Grace and Meghan. I’ve always wondered how I could possibly “pay it forward.” This is an opportunity to do that but dang it, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. She does not deserve this. I’m angry, frustrated, sad, and raw about it all. In its simplest truth, this is simply unfair.

I pray that tomorrow will reveal some of the goodness of life again. I know it is there, but it is masked for today. If you have any spare positive energy or prayers, please send them to Tante who is fighting for the life of her other baby girl, Little Miss B. I can’t imagine what is like.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Three Generations

How many is this?

Meghan's latest fun includes a new game that she just adores playing. It is called, "How many is this?"

She plays it at least 5 times a day lately. Personally, my adult brain is so over this game, but my mommy brain is so pleased to see her emerging into a bright, young learning preschooler. :)

Decorating the Tree

"Mommy! Mommy! When can we decorate the tree?"

"Grace, I told you that we'll be decorating for Christmas next weekend after Tante's baby shower. If we put the tree up, there won't be enough room for all of our guests to sit in the living room."

"Oh yeah, I forgot."

A little while later, I walked into the living room. Grace skipped into the room, and said, "Mommy, how do you like my tree?"

I looked around the room and was confused.

"What do you mean Grace?"

"Here Mom! Look at my beautiful tree. I decorated it."

"Oh, it is gorgeous, Gracie. You really want to decorate, don't you?

"Yes. Yes. Yes, Mommy!"

She certainly has the Christmas spirit in her. :)

Mommy, I drew your picture!

Meghan ran up to me, and said, "Mommy! I drew your picture."

Upon close inspection of the portrait drawn on a Doodle-Pro, I saw what appeared to be a fish. I thought, "Hmm, I think I'll ask her to point out what is what in the picture."

"See here mom! This is your head. Here are ya eyes and mouth."

As I pointed, I said, "Meghan, what is this on the right side of my head?"

"Uh, dats your butt Mommy!"

Guess I'm all head and backside these days. LOL

It's Been a Hard Week

It's been a hard week so I'd like to share some more lighthearted posts. My heart is breaking for some people I love.