One foot in front of the other

I think I have been trying to distract myself as much as possible lately, I haven’t really thought about the upcoming holidays too much but here they are. Halloween is the first one down and I didn’t think it would sting as much as it did, I think the hardest part was passing out candy to Trick-Or-Treaters last night and seeing all of the babies dressed up. This was one of the holidays I had really looked forward to celebrating with Harper, and I honestly had thought about it but hadn’t dwelled on it. Until looking on social media and seeing all of the pictures my friends were posting of their babies dressed up, it was just kind of a punch to the gut. I did have one friend reach out to me last night to see how I was doing with everything and that meant the world. But no one else thinks about these things I think. Everyone else has been able to move on, and still Brian and I get emotional and cry about it. I think it’s normal, but according to some people I need to move on and move forward. Until they have to make arrangements, and sign their Childs death certificate, and pick up a little box of ashes I frankly don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks about our grieving process.

Everyday is different, and as the Holidays are quickly approaching I’m dreading it this year. Especially Christmas, and when the time comes to put up our Christmas tree. I know deep in the box of carefully wrapped ornaments there is one that has Harpers ultrasound picture and I’m dreading finding it. I thought this year for Christmas we would be celebrating with Family and Friends, and taking Harper to sit on Santas lap and have cute little winter outfits picked out for her. Christmas was always my favorite holiday, and I’ve always tried to go over the top when it came to gift giving, tree decorating and baking treats for family and friends. This year, theres a part of me that wants to sleep through the entire thing. But I know it wouldn’t be healthy or conducive to moving forward. As much of a Scrooge my Husband can be during the Holidays I know he really loves it all.  So the plan I’m making for us, is to stay put in Texas this year, and start our own traditions while bringing in some of our past traditions. I’ll frantically finish all of my shopping and ship gifts off, I’ll still do my Christmas cards, they’ll just be the same simple ones from Target instead of the family picture ones I had dreamt of, and we will spend our Christmas pigging out, with a fire going and watch holiday movies and get drunk off of eggnog.  And through all of this I can still try and look forward to 2018 and what it might bring us, the potential of us moving to a different city, new jobs and who knows maybe we can start trying again for another baby.

Beautiful Dream

It’s become even harder to sleep soundly and without thinking about Harper. I think after we lost her I was afraid to sleep. I always pictured my perfect little baby, I always dreamt that everything was picture perfect, I had my amazing Husband and we had our perfect little baby girl in all of my dreams. I think I was just scared to sleep and see her and wake up and like a ton of bricks fell on my chest the moment I woke up and realized she was gone. This is still how I feel every morning. I wake up and for a quick minute I feel like everything is fine, then I look across the hall and I see the nursery packed into boxes, and I realize my hand is on my stomach every morning and I don’t feel her kicks. Its like a stab to my gut and it makes me feel sick for the first ten minutes I’m awake. This shouldn’t be my life, I shouldn’t be writing a blog about my loss, I should be changing and bathing and feeding my daughter. I should be experiencing milestones with her, watching her smiles and hearing her laugh. Instead I avoid my pregnant friends, I avoid newborn babies and I fear the future. Will we get another shot at being parents? Will I be able to become pregnant? Will I have a healthy, normal pregnancy again and deliver a live healthy baby? All I can do is hope, and try and remain positive. I think one of the hardest things is having people that have never experienced this kind of loss give me advice, or tell me stories about their cousins friends sister that lost her baby like I did and now she has three healthy kids. It’s a nice concept and maybe they think they are being kind and trying to uplift me? I’m happy for their cousins friends sisters aunt but I want my baby, I wanted to raise my daughter, my Harper Grace.  I don’t think a lot of people realize that just because time has passed this gets any easier. I still have moments where something on TV or something on the radio will hit me like a ton of bricks.

Before all of this we lived a normal life, we prepared beyond belief and had everything set and ready to be parents, and we were fucking robbed of that. I had blood work done at a Prenatal specialists office after we lost Harper, they had her Autopsy results and we were given no real answers. I didn’t have any sort of blood clotting disorder, and nothing showed up in her autopsy to give any answers. She had a abnormally long umbilical cord and three blood clots in the cord. We got zero answers as to what could have caused this, as to why this happened in the end of my “picture perfect pregnancy”. The only answer or suggestion I received from the Dr’s was to take a baby aspirin a day in the future if I were to become pregnant again and that I would be considered High Risk so they would monitor my future pregnancies more carefully and frequently.

All I had ever wanted in life, was to be a Mom. When I was pregnant all I could dream of is what my daughter would look like, would she have a ton of hair like I did when I was born, would she have her fathers features? I used to talk to my parents about Harper and the future, she would have been their first Grandchild and all I could picture was seeing my parents playing with her, and celebrating holidays and birthdays with her. I feel so incredibly broken as the holidays are quickly approaching. Walking through Target last week, past the Halloween decor and costumes I glanced down an aisle and saw the Baby costumes and I felt like I was going to be sick. Thats all I dreamt of, having little outfits for holidays for her, taking her trick or treating, having her at my parents for her first Christmas. But instead my Husband and I are going to stay in Texas and avoid the holidays and our families. We just can’t do it. I can’t imagine being at my parents house in Arizona without our daughter there. My daughter should be here, I should be a stay at home Mom and should be celebrating and loving all of the milestones. Instead my daughters ashes are in our Safe and were dreading the holidays. Still I have to keep reminding myself to stay optimistic and positive towards the future, I have to try and not be nasty and spiteful or rude to anyone and I have to be happy for people.

Here’s to hoping.

Little signs

I think the true realization as to what happened really set in on my due date. May 22 would be the hardest day, I woke up feeling sick because it was the day I had counted down to, it was the day I had been dreaming of and looking forward to. But the minute I woke up I had to deal with the hard realization that I didn’t have a baby kicking inside of me anymore, I was completely empty. I couldn’t feel her move, or wiggle when she heard my husbands voice, I just felt empty.

At my baby shower we had little packets of wildflower seeds to give people as party favors. When I got home from the baby shower Brian had planted them into two pots and he watered them and babied them daily. Up until this point they looked like weeds and hadn’t bloomed.  So May 22 rolled around and Brian, my Mom and I were sitting out on the back deck just all kind of crying about the day when we noticed our first bloom. On one of the plants there was a single purple flower. It was the most beautiful and delicate flower and it was the first bloom. Of course we all cried even harder and took pictures. The plants eventually had more blooms, but we cut that single flower and pressed it among the other baby keepsakes we had. 18582608_10210846529972159_1565035825962122752_n.jpg

I think one of the hardest things I had to deal with was packing up the nursery. Every little perfect pink thing, every little outfit that had been washed and hung carefully in the closet. The nursery was overflowing with the pack n’ play, the stroller and every single baby item that had been around our house. Brian wanted to leave the nursery untouched and just keep the door closed. But I couldn’t stand it, it was torture to have this perfectly set up nursery and have it missing our baby girl. So I purchased 4 huge storage tubs and went in, closed the door and took a deep breath. I carefully folded all of the clothes, headbands, blankets and organized all of the little shoes I had picked out for her. It was absolute torture and I wept through it. I think the absolute worst was finding the little stuffed lamb. When I had the Ultrasound to determine her gender I had them record her heartbeat and put it inside the lamb. Not even realizing it I accidentally put something on top of the lamb and I heard it. Her precious little heartbeat, the same heartbeat I had prayed, begged and would have given anything to hear when I was in the hospital. At this point I was throwing everything around trying to find this fucking lamb. It was complete torture. Once I found it I buried it in one of the bins and to this day I haven’t seen it. I can’t. That’s still the one thing that I can’t get rid of, but I can’t even see it. Looking back I can take it as a sign, but it still kills me.

Delivery and homecoming

Throughout the day of the 17th I kept feeling like it was all just a bad dream. That this wasn’t real and that someone was going to say they had made a mistake and our daughter was fine. At this point I had received an epidural, and I was thankfully numb, the Doctor had started me on pitocin and had explained that a normal birth would be better than a C-Section at this point, she said I was already going to have enough scars she didn’t want me to have a C-Section scar and longer recovery. I agreed, but I was honestly horrified. She asked me if we were religious or a certain denomination, I said Catholic because that is the only religious influence I had growing up thanks to my Grandmothers. She asked if we wanted the Chaplain to come in, and what our plan was for after the birth. I explained I had a friend experience a similar loss many years ago, and she wasn’t as far along but the hospital had her hold her baby and it was very traumatizing for her, and for me as I visited her and saw her son. I explained to my Husband that I couldn’t see her, I couldn’t hold my baby, there was absolutely no way in hell I could hold my baby and see her and love on her when she was dead and then survive leaving the hospital alone and empty handed. My parents supported my decision, and as hard as it was I had to focus on getting through this. My Husband told the Doctor he wanted to see her, I supported his decision and I thought he was so incredibly brave. All I could think of was this perfect image of my daughter that I had in my head since the moment I was told she was a girl. I didn’t know what to expect, or at this point what had caused her death and the last thing I could handle seeing was her hurt or something really wrong.

As this was all unfolding I was getting text messages and facebook messages asking if we had our daughter yet, this was all happening 5 days before my due date so all of my friends were on baby watch, anxiously waiting for us to post pictures of our daughter. I deleted my facebook and all social media temporarily. I couldn’t handle it, I replied what was going on to some friends, some I ignored. I couldn’t really grasp what was happening, or what was about to happen. I will mention during this time we had a shift change in nurses, and we had the absolute worst nurse imaginable. She walked into our dim room as we were crying and preparing for the inevitable and she started making jokes and kept referring to me as an “Angel Mom”. I wasn’t ready for that, I was still trying to process what happened, the last thing I wanted or needed to hear was that the “Hot nurse was here”. It was utterly fucking disgusting and I will at some point when I’m ready and a little less mad, be contacting the Hospital administrators about this nurse in particular. The last thing I wanted was some lady I don’t know telling me how she “deals with this kind of loss a lot, and requests Angel Moms”. It was flat out unprofessional and fucking sick in my opinion.

Around 5 p.m. my Mom’s plane landed and she hopped into an uber. At this point I told the nurses I felt a lot of pressure. I was checked, my water had broken and I was dilated and ready to push. My Doctor was stuck on the other side of town with car trouble so one of her partners from her practice was going to be handling the delivery. At this point I kept asking everyone to wait for my Mom, I couldn’t do this without my Mom is all I kept thinking.As they placed my legs into the stirrups and the Doctor was getting ready my Mom walked in.  She put her suitcase down and grabbed my hand and it was time to push. At this point it was a total out of body experience, I didn’t feel the pain because I was running off of pure adrenaline at this point. I think I was in complete and total denial of what was really happening, the nurses kept telling me to push when I had a contraction, and I just kept hoping and praying they were all going to be wrong and Harper was going to come out screaming. About three pushes in they realized I was zoned out and not paying attention to them, they placed an oxygen mask on me, and my Husband realized I was just focusing on him. Thank God and everything in this world for him because he talked me through it all. After a few pushes the Doctor said she was out, and all I heard was total silence. I just sobbed, apparently she looked so perfect the Doctor kept checking her for a heartbeat. Her cord was wrapped around her neck, but the Doctor said it wasn’t tight enough to have caused this, something else did. Brian followed the nurses over to the bassinet and cried as he looked at our daughter. I just held onto my Mom and wept. They brought my daughter out of the room and Brian followed, they were going to weigh her and clean her up while I just wept with my Mom.

After they cleaned her up and told Brian her weight 6 lbs even, 19 inches long the nurse grabbed her with one hand and tried to pass her to Brian with such carelessness that her head fell back and her mouth fell open. He was utterly horrified and heartbroken. Yes our daughter was dead, but did this fucking nurse have to handle her like a bag of potatoes. Brian couldn’t even hold her at this point. Her eyes were closed but her head had fallen back and her mouth was open. It was just sick how careless the hospital staff was about it.  Brian didn’t tell me this for months, he shielded me from knowing how traumatized this really made him. They kept my daughter in the Bereavement room down the hall and just let me be. Brian decided he needed a break from the hospital and he drove home to take care of our dogs. An hour later he called me sobbing, he had taken the car seat out of the car, and taken all of the baby things around the house and put them all in the nursery. He went through the entire house taking the pack n’ play out of our bedroom, the diaper cart from downstairs, and put them all in the nursery and closed the door. He didn’t want me to come home to a house full of baby things, and I couldn’t have been more grateful. I hadn’t asked him to do this, he was just strong enough and knew it would have fucking killed me. He sobbed and just kept saying He wanted his daughter, this wasn’t right. I told him to stay at home that night, he hadn’t really slept the night before and he wasn’t in any shape to drive, I kept assuring him my Mom was here for me, and we would see him in the a.m. The original nurse from my intake came in, she was a sight for sore eyes, she was kind and sweet and didn’t bully me or treat me rudely. She had hugged me and held me during my epidural and she was the familiar face I wished was there during the delivery. She started taking out my IV’s and she helped me to the bathroom slowly and started to instruct me on care after birth. She was kind and knew the loss I had endured. She was an absolute godsend and I couldn’t have been more thankful to have such a compassionate nurse.

The next morning as I was being released, the nurses stopped Brian before he reached my room, and they expressed the Doctors concern and confusion and that she had suggested an Autopsy. I at this point fully understood what an Autopsy entailed and I couldn’t imagine them doing any of that to my little baby. Brian saw it as an opportunity to get answers, and that maybe by doing this autopsy they could find some cause, or reason and prevent other parents from experiencing a loss like this. Once he explained his reasoning, I stood behind his decision 100% At this point the Chaplain came in and asked if we would like her Baptized, and if I had changed my mind on holding her or seeing her. I still couldn’t. I just could not see my baby like that. I had a perfect image in my mind, and my heart was broken, all I could think of was keeping that perfect image. The nurses kept coming in and trying to persuade me into holding her, and having my picture taken with her, or changing her diaper or “pretending to feed her”. It was fucking horrific to me to even imagine. It might work for some mothers going through this loss, but it seemed morbid and I couldn’t do it.  At this point two volunteers came in and explained they were going to take pictures of Harper, and dress her up and asked if we wanted our pictures taken with her or holding her, or of her holding our wedding rings. Would this ever stop, at this point my Mom even had enough. I was being bullied by every person in this hospital, and being made to feel like I was doing something wrong. I absolutely could not do it. They explained that they would take these pictures and that they would put them on a USB drive, and it would be included in the box I’m sent home with and if I decided to look it was up to me, but they would also have some of the pictures professionally photoshopped and emailed to me at a later time. I thanked them, but that was the last thing I could handle or even process at this point. I just wanted to go home.  Once all of my release paperwork was done, and I was dressed in a robe and sweats I was ready to get the hell out of that hospital, they loaded me into a wheelchair and Brian went to get the car. My mom held my hand as they started pushing me out of that room, away from that white rose on the door, away from the sounds of crying babies and all of those memories. We went by a room and the sign on the door caught my eye, “Bereavement Room” I asked the nurse if my baby was in there and she replied yes, she asked if I was ready to go and I just wept as we got into the elevator.

As my Husband pulled the car up to the curb it hit me like a ton of bricks, I started sobbing as I stepped into the car and it was the most empty and heartbroken feeling. I was leaving the hospital not as I had dreamt of or had planned for, I was leaving empty handed. It really was harder than I had imagined. On the way home I heard a song come on the radio “I Could use a love song” By Maren Morris. I looked out the window and wept as it came on. I have always loved music, and its gotten me through a lot of tough times throughout my life, and this song came on the radio when I needed it. It’s actually played quite a bit randomly on the radio as I’m driving and I’ll be thinking of my baby girl, I’ll take it as a sign, shit at this point I’ll take any kind of sign.

Walking into my house I was greeted by my dogs, I saw the diaper cart was gone from the living room and it all came rushing over me, I ran to the bathroom and I got so sick, and I just fell to the floor sobbing. My Mom came in and washed me up and just hugged me. The doctor had told Brian and my Mom to make sure I got plenty of rest and to sleep as much as possible and take my medications on a strict schedule. The last thing I could think of was sleep, because I knew when I went to sleep I just dreamt of my baby, I dreamt that everything was fine and she was perfect and healthy and here with me.  God I dreaded sleep.

Third trimester and delivery pt 1

Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness day, week, month is here. It was something I honestly never knew about until we lost Harper, and as much as a painful reminder as it really is, I feel a sense of peace about it. It really was one of my motivators to start this blog, that and the fact that there really isn’t much out there about loss. I should rephrase that as when it came to my loss. Our daughter was perfectly healthy, there was no reason as to why she died, no cause as to what created three blood clots in her umbilical cord. But our perfectly healthy baby was stillborn. I think this is one of the posts I knew I would be making, but I was scared. So I’m going to rip the proverbial bandaid off and get on with it. The third trimester and delivery blog post.

My third trimester was uncomfortable, I felt huge and gross. My husband was incredibly sweet and told me how I was glowing and looked beautiful, but I felt enormous, bloated, and gross. There was no way around it, for me the final stage of my pregnancy wasn’t beautiful, my clothes were uncomfortable, I couldn’t sleep through the night, I couldn’t get comfortable and I always had to pee. Plus at this point I was drinking milk all the time, I hated tacos and I was just ready to meet my baby, I just felt over it all and ready to be a mom. I had a picture perfect pregnancy as my Dr put it, all of my tests came back negative, I didn’t have gestational diabetes, my weight gain was healthy, I wasn’t overloading on sweets and I even spent the extra money on organic chicken without antibiotics. I had put a deposit down to have my placenta encapsulated, as disgusting as it is the pros outweighed the cons and I was willing to do anything to benefit my daughter.

In March I flew back to Phoenix for my baby shower, my best friend was throwing it for me and I couldn’t be more excited, my Husband was flying in the morning of the shower,  his Mother and Grandmother had driven out from California for it, our families were finally going to meet and I couldn’t be more excited to see everyone. The details my best friend had put into making the shower perfect brought tears to my eyes, everything was calm and laid back just as I had hoped for, it was just perfect. I will say, I am the most awkward person ever when it comes to opening gifts, I’ve always been the person that enjoys giving and seeing the persons reaction, and I’ve always felt awkward being on the receiving end, but I was overwhelmed with the thoughtful gifts our friends and family had brought for us. My Husbands Grandmother made us a stunning quilt for Harper, an extremely close almost second mother figure made a bunch of beautiful blankets for us, and my parents got us a silver Tiffany & Co. baby spoon which was so meaningful because of my relationship with my Dad. The entire day was perfect and I couldn’t have hoped for anything else.

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After I flew home from Phoenix I was ready, her nursery was coming together beautifully, her clothes were washed and hung up, we had the diaper bag packed and my hospital bag was ready. We were so excited to become parents, I had boiled all of her bottles, everything was in place, all we needed was our baby girl to make our lives complete.

On the morning of May 16th I felt a little uneasy, I had a home doppler that I got in my second trimester to hear her heartbeat, I pushed it against my belly and I was worried I couldn’t find her heartbeat, I called my Mom and she reminded me that at my Dr’s appointment on Monday, she too had trouble finding her heartbeat but she told me towards the end of pregnancy some babies move around just enough to not find it. I went about my day and tried not to be too worried. Around 11 that night I started feeling nauseous and a bit of cramping, I assumed I’d eaten something that didn’t agree with my body so I tried to not freak out and just get some rest. Around 11:45 the pain was still coming in waves, so I started pacing back and forth calling my Mom asking her advice, around 12:15 I woke my Husband up and told him it was time to go. Watching him half awake, stumble around getting dressed and grabbing the car seat was the cutest thing. We were both calm and ready, although my pain was getting a bit worse. We got to the hospital and I wasn’t too panicked so I had him drop me off at the entrance while he parked the car.

As I walked up to Labor & Delivery holding my belly, I was trying not to freak out or yell but as I got towards the door the contractions started even worse. They put us in a room, gave me a very flattering hospital gown to put on and began to finish my registration paperwork. The first Nurse placed the straps around my belly with the heart monitor and kept shifting them, then she said that monitor must not be working so she grabbed another. Same problem, so she grabbed another, and another Nurse to help her. Naturally by this point we were starting to freak out. They ordered an Ultrasound and thats when I started praying. I just held my husbands hand and kept crying, just silently praying. As the Ultrasound technician came in and started looking for her heartbeat I just kept hoping. Then we knew it once he turned the monitor away from me, he turned it away so I couldn’t see it and thats when my Husband said to the Nurse “Theres no heartbeat is there”. And she replied no, as she walked out of the room crying. At this point I went into complete and total shock, all I kept asking was why. I was crying and told my Husband to call my Mom. At this point the nurse told me they would be moving me to a more isolated room, so she loaded me into a wheelchair and began pushing me down the hall and around the corner away from all of the other expectant and new moms, away from the crying babies and sound of deliveries.

I was in complete and total shock and panic, I didn’t know what to do, all I could keep thinking was if they got her out now maybe they could save her. Which I obviously asked the Doctor and she replied no. She pointed to the screen and showed me my baby, and pointed to the area where we used to see the most incredible flicker, which was her heartbeat. Now it was all just still. My heart was completely broken. She asked me what she could do for me, and I said just make me fucking numb, I don’t want to feel a thing. At this point they started an IV and ordered my epidural. My Mom had a flight out later that day, and I was told to rest until the morning when my Doctor could come in. All we could do was cry, I kept thinking they were wrong, someone had to be wrong. How could this happen, why did this happen to our baby. This was the absolute nightmare every expectant Mother fears. My whole world was fucking crashing and burning. How the hell was I supposed to survive this?

 

 

No one talks about it.

I need to vent for a moment

There are too many women going through loss, too many miscarriages, too many stillbirths, too many infant deaths. And the really troublesome part is no one fucking talks about it. When I lost my daughter I sat up in my bathroom and cried, I hid, I felt guilt, I was angry and I looked endlessly for answers. What did I find for support? Nada. The only blogs that showed up were from either 2013 or 2015 and were way outdated and never updated, now I am beyond happy they were able to move forward but not everyone handles loss the same. I had religion thrown at me, all of these suggestions given to me, all by people that had never experienced the kind of loss I was dealing with. My daughter was a full term baby, that up until I checked into the hospital in labor had been perfectly healthy. There was no real reason or cause for our loss, we weren’t given any real answers or explanation or a cause as to why we lost her and what could have caused it. And I’ve been searching for tips, or advice and frankly I’m not religious. I was raised with a small amount of faith, but that all left when I lost my daughter. Maybe someday I’ll get my faith back, but it’s incredibly hard to believe in a higher power or guardian angels when I prayed and begged to everything to hear my daughters heartbeat.  So I knew religion wasn’t going to be the road to recovery or peace for me. Group therapy was the other suggestion by the hospital and by my Dr, and once again big, fat nope. Not my idea of healing, I handled my daughters delivery a lot differently than is normally suggested and I opted to not hold her or see her, Yes this might seem cold or horrific to you, but I had a friend go through a similar loss and she held her early term baby and I feel like it really traumatized her, I saw her and her son and the hospital didn’t really give her a choice. So my Husband and my Mom had the option to see our daughter, but I couldn’t face it, call me weak or whatever, but I couldn’t have handled it if she had some sort of trauma or deformity or something wrong, the Doctors still didn’t know what caused my daughters death at this point so I was still in a complete and total state of shock. The last thing I wanted to do was sit around in a circle with a bunch of crying strangers, and listen to them cry about holding their dead babies or having their Childs ashes put into a teddy bear they carry around with them. Yes that’s a real thing, and if you’re reading this and thats worked for you, I’m so happy it offers you comfort and peace, but it wasn’t for me. It seemed a bit morbid for me and I think it would have traumatized me even further.

I mean lets be brutally honest for a quick second here, the fact of the matter is its sad, stillbirth, miscarriages, pregnancy loss of any kind, or child deaths are all sad. And what it really boils down to is its fucking sad, its tragic, its the worst loss imaginable. It really is  horrific and no one wants to talk about dead babies, and that’s what the real issue is. No one talks about it, women feel a sense of shame over the loss so they hide the loss. When in reality people need to face it, and we need to find some fucking cures. I don’t ever want anyone to feel the kind of loss that I felt but it happens to women too often, daily. And don’t quote me, but I’m sure hourly across the world. I’ve read things on different websites and message boards, women wondering how to handle their grief, how long is an appropriate time to wait before trying to conceive again, what kind of medications help, ways to memorialize their lost child. Whatever works for them, or you I couldn’t be happier for you that you’ve found something that works, and offers you comfort, but I’m not the same as everyone else, I can’t even fathom having a doll or a bear made to the same weight as my past child, or having my Childs ashes put inside a doll to sleep with or carry around with me. That to me is not healing, its morbid. To each their own, and if it helps you, I’m so happy for you. I think so far this whole blogging experience has been pretty therapeutic, I just want people to know they are not alone. There is no reason to be ashamed of your loss, I had people reach out to me and it offered me comfort knowing I wasn’t alone. Like I’ve previously mentioned, there is such a stigma attached to this kind of loss, and no one talks about it, the only people that mention it in my life anymore are my husband and our immediate family and a few close friends. But I felt myself angry towards everyone else for moving forward, I had the feeling like my world had stopped turning, why hadn’t anyone else felt this? It’s as if people just expected me to be over it by now. People tend to compartmentalize grief, they are comforting and so sad with you in the beginning stages, and its understandable, not everyone can wake up every morning and struggle to get out of bed. But I think it’s because our loss isn’t spoken about anymore, they were sad for us, but now they can wake up and move on. We don’t have that luxury. Every morning I wake up I have about a minute where I feel like it was all a nightmare, then I look across the hallway and I see everything in the nursery all boxed up. Instead I get to think about my daughter almost 24/7. When I walk into a room, I get to be “The girl whose baby died” and people scatter or get flustered when they try and talk to me, because no one knows what to say. And I don’t blame you, its uncomfortable, its sad but dont not acknowledge it. Yes I get you are being conscious not to upset me or make me sad, but guess what I am always sad. You don’t have to ask questions or be morbid about it, but simply asking how I’m doing is enough.

People don’t realize the triggers that can absolutely tear our worlds apart. When I first lost my daughter I tried to put on a brave face and carry on normal activitites like cooking and cleaning, this was within the first few hours I got home from the hospital and the weeks to follow. I think I was so numb to it all I wasn’t trying to face it, and I was honestly afraid that if I just sat upstairs in my bed all day and rested like the doctor suggested I would just cry and think about my daughter. Not only is it incredibly hard to try and not sob throuhout the day, but your body is a constant reminder of your loss and the trauma you just endured.  I’m gonna be slightly graphic here, but after childbirth you bleed. And boy do you bleed a LOT, for days, for weeks for an entire month. It is the most uncomfortable feeling and its a reminder of what happened. Not only do you get the bleeding, but my milk came in. That was absolute torture. I sobbed when this happened and had a total meltdown. Not only is it extremely painful, but its a harsh reminder from your body that you just had a baby, but you don’t have a baby to nurse. I tried EVERYTHING to get this to stop, I was completely and totally miserable. Having to go into the nursery that was full of everything ready for the baby, but had no baby and grab the pads to put into my bra to absorb the milk was probably one of the worst parts. I literally fell to the floor in there and sobbed. We tried binding my breasts with an ace bandage, my mom showed my husband how to wrap me carefully but tight enough, we googled old wives tales and my brother in law even went out and bought a head of cabbage for us to freeze the leaves and put on my chest with no relief, it just stunk. I tried the sudafed, nada. Finally I looked inside the box the hospital sent us home with, the box contained brochures, a stuffed animal and a USB drive with pictures of my daughter, but underneath it all I found two packets of tea. This tea saved my sanity. It was called No more milk tea by a company called Earth Mama Angel Baby. I drank this stuff three times a day for three days and my milk was finally gone! My doctor had no idea about this stuff so I brought her a box at my next visit to share with someone else going through a similar pain.  I think the worst part about it all mentally was having my milk come in and not having my daughter to nurse, it was a nasty reminder that I had gone home empty handed.  Another painful trigger for me was grocery shopping or going out in public in general. I was doing great walking through the grocery store with my mom until we were checking out and I glanced over and saw a newborn baby girl in a cart next to me. That fucking killed me. Or hearing a baby cry, that was the music to my ears I never got to hear when I delivered, so I definitley cried in my car in the parking lot to my mom about that one. Triggers come and they have thankfully started to subside, but don’t feel crazy, or ashamed about it. It’s natural and it will get better, take it from someone who had her groceries delievered for months to avoid this. Once I dealt with it and faced it, the effect had diminished. Yeah it still hurt, but I don’t leave my cart and go cry in my car anymore, I distract myself and walk away.  It gets easier, and theres no timeline on when I’ll be okay, my heart was broken and I hope eventually it’ll heal and I can feel like myself, but until then I’m just trying to be kind to myself.

In conclusion for this post, be kind to those around you that have gone through loss, dont dismiss what someone has gone through or not mention it. That sometimes can hurt the most. Now I’m not saying ask them everytime about their child specifically or ask them in depth questions about it, but just ask how they are with everything. Even hearing my daughters name for the first few months killed me, but now it’s getting easier. Sometimes just having someone to talk to and vent to can help and heal. I did have a child, I did prepare for almost a year to have the best job ever and I was robbed of that.

First comes love, then comes baby.. then Marriage.

Fortunately for us the Second Trimester seemed to come and go and really fly by. I can thank the holidays for this. We had our first Thanksgiving together and thankfully my morning sickness that hit at night had started to get a little easier. I made entirely way too much food for just the two of us, but fortunately for me my late night cravings were satisfied by the sheet pan of stuffing in the fridge. Aside from stuffing my face on Thanksgiving my body had definitely started to change, and the harsh reality of my clothes no longer fitting kicked in, I could still pull my leggings up, but jeans were out of the question. This was a reality I knew was coming but trying to get dressed and ready for the day was quickly becoming stressful. Fortunately Brian still assured me he found me beautiful and kept telling me not to worry, he even took me out for breakfast and surprised me with a little shopping trip to get some maternity jeans.

Now I should mention, when we found out we were expecting we had only been dating 6 months. Most people would freak, which we did but by this point we had already moved in together and exchanged the first awkward “I love you” and gotten into a routine. A big thing especially to my Father was us being unwed. And boy did we hear about it, every chance he got my Dad asked Brian and I about our plans. Now this wasn’t something that was completely out of left field, to be honest while we were visiting my family in Arizona, Brian had asked my Dad for his blessing. But he certainly wasn’t planning on proposing right away, he asked with the intention of proposing down the road. We live in Texas and don’t always see my family so he figured while he had the opportunity he would do it. Now to be honest marriage was something I had always dreamt of, I wanted to be a Wife and a Mother and suddenly I was facing both. We had talked and it was important for us to have the same Last names especially on our Daughters birth certificate. Both of our parents are still married, well over 30 years and we both had a respect for Marriage and what it stands for.

So Brian casually mentioned that he had an upcoming Friday off, why not just do it then. December 2nd. Which was coming up quick! So then the planning began, I was realistic and not expecting some grand wedding. I was 4 months pregnant at this point and definitely showing, I wanted to get married before I was massive and we didn’t have the time to plan something extravagant, not to mention I couldn’t justify spending a ton of money on a wedding when we were expecting a baby.  Our families couldn’t make it out in time, so we decided to keep it extremely small, we each invited one of our brothers to come out to Texas and be our witnesses. That was it. So instead of getting ready on my wedding day with my friends and my Mom like I had always pictured, I got ready solo in a house full of guys. It definitely wasn’t picture perfect but for us it worked. I had purchased a knee length ivory colored lace maternity dress, Betsey Johnson flats with blue bottoms and I made my own bouquet from supermarket flowers. For my  Something old I had attached my late Grandmothers Rosary and ring to my bouquet, for something new I had my dress and shoes, for borrowed my best friend had sent her diamond earrings out with my Brother, & Blue I had painted my toes the best shade of Tiffany Blue. I couldn’t have a big over the top wedding, but I had the perfect touches. It just worked for us, for the three of us. I think getting married and being pregnant actually made it that much more meaningful, I couldn’t feel full on kicks at this point but I could definitley feel flutters of our baby girl.

We had a coconut cake from the grocery store, and as the guys drank champagne I had sparkling apple cider. The entire day just fit us, it poured rain which is supposed to be a good omen for your wedding day, and the minute I saw how handsome Brian looked in his suit I was overwhelmed. I think obviously both of us were freaked a bit, we would have been crazy not to. We got married in a little chapel next to the San Antonio courthouse, right next to the Riverwalk with our brothers taking pictures on their iPhones and a minister who I’m still convinced was drunk. But it was perfect for us, we cried like babies when we said our vows and I think we kissed 20 times crying and laughing we did it.

After we said our vows, and were officially married we went next door and pigged out on pizza, then I had a shoe change into some flip flops and we decided to go for a walk along the Riverwalk to show our visiting Brothers what San Antonio was so proud of.  We also made a pitstop for some umbrellas and had our picture taken in front of the Alamo.  Later we stopped at a Mexican restaurant and the guys had margaritas and shots while I had a root beer. Thrilling I know, it wasn’t ideal being the only sober one on my Wedding day and it wasn’t exactly fun being sober and pregnant around everyone drinking and singing. So I definitely went to bed before 9.  But the plus was I woke up refreshed and hangover free while everyone else slept till noon.

I can definitley say our Second trimester was easy. Stressful definiley, I got married and we drove all the way to Arizona and California for the holidays. Of course it was stressful, but looking back I wouldn’t change a thing. I had my Daughter with us when we got married, she was with us celebrating the holidays with family, and she was there when we shared our first New Years Kiss as a married couple.

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The first trimester

She was a surprise, and I say this because Brian and I had only been dating a few months when we found out we were expecting. But from the moment I saw the two lines on the pregnancy test I knew everything was happening as it was meant to be. The idea of an abortion never crossed my mind, not even once. Ever since I was a little girl the one thing I had always dreamt of being was a Mom. I just always knew when the right guy came along and it was meant to be it would be. I think the initial panic set in, and we had moments of “this is happening so fast” or my Husbands favorite “We haven’t even been together a year” . But neither one of us ever mentioned terminating the pregnancy, we were in a good place, we loved each other, we had just met each others families for the first time and we faced this pregnancy as partners.

We told immediate family and close friends of our exciting news right away, but I wasn’t prepared to tell everyone or make some big Facebook announcement until I was out of the first trimester, I didn’t want to jinx anything and I was from the start paranoid of every decision I made.

The first trimester came and went so quickly, the morning sickness hit every night around 7 pm, and the craving for tacos didn’t seem to fade away. At my second visit with my Dr I asked her about the  Harmony test, which according to Google search  is:    “When you are pregnant, your blood contains fragments of your developing baby’s DNA. Harmony Prenatal Test is a new type of test that analyzes DNA in a sample of your blood to predict the risk of Down syndrome (trisomy 21) and other genetic conditions called trisomy 18 and trisomy 13″  the other upside to this test is it can see if there are any Y chromosomes present in your blood, which would mean you are expecting a Boy as Women don’t have Y chromosomes.  My Doctor explained the test to me, and I was instantly sold, the fact that I could possibly know what gender my baby was a whole 5 weeks before the 20 week mark? Done. Sign me up. They did the blood draw, and gave me a little card with an ID number to check online in 7 days for my results. I obviously went home and set up an online account and checked the website before my blood sample had even left the lab I’m sure.  7 days rolled around finally and as I kept hitting refresh waiting for my results nothing popped up, So I gave it the extra days mentioned in the 7-10 business days, and still nothing. So I called my Dr’s office and wasn’t given any real answers, so I called the company that did the testing. They told me my sample was inconclusive, that there wasn’t enough of the baby’s DNA in my blood so early on, but we could retest in a week or so. The company was nice enough to send a home nurse to my house to administer the blood draw and I was given a new card with another 7-10 day waiting period. The 7-10 days came around and again no results were posted online. Once again I called my Dr’s office and I was told the results weren’t in. By this time I had thought up every scenario, I was paranoid beyond belief that the results weren’t showing up because something was wrong. Then I get a call from my Dr’s assistant, she starts assuring me the test was fine, nothing came back abnormal and my baby was healthy. I asked her if there were any Y chromosomes present, or if they could specify the gender and she said it wasn’t noted, she gave me some pleasantries and the call was over. But something just felt odd, so I being the pain in the ass I am, called the company again, I gave them my barcode number and they sounded puzzled when I explained the conversation I just had with my Doctors assistant. They told me they were confused why I would have received a call like that because the test was inconclusive once again. I was beyond livid, I called my Doctors office back immediately, asked to speak to my Doctor who was unavailable, I asked to speak to the office manager at this point. I was so confused as to why I would be told everything was fine, when it was inconclusive.

At this point I was hormonal, pregnant and completely confused as to why no results were showing up still. The obvious first question that crossed my mind and tortured me was ” Is there something wrong with my baby” . As someone who had never been pregnant before, my hormones were really all over the place, and my poor Husband was a total champ dealing with my crazy ass. So he’s sitting there looking at me wandering around the house yelling and sobbing on the phone asking the office manager of my Doctors office to give me some kind of explanation and they really couldn’t. I was so confused, I felt like they were being mean to me, I felt like I was going crazy. Finally my Doctor calls me back and explains that her Assistant had read the results wrong and she apologized and offered to order the test a third time, that wasn’t happening for me, so she told me about another similar test by a different company. At this point I was just over it all, I had one week left to find out the gender of our baby and I was just so devastated by being repeatedly told inconclusive I was afraid of hearing it again.  I have to note when I say devastated, I meant it. Pregnancy hormones can make you feel devastated if you don’t get your favorite tacos or if your husband eats the last of something.  Those hormones are a bitch and my husband will attest to that completely.

We took the competitors test and got the results back in 4 days. In the meantime my crazy ass had already looked up a company that offered 3D ultrasounds, and I was determined to find out if this little baby inside of me was a he or she. My Husband was at work and I hadn’t told him of my new plan, I wanted to surprise him. As they were performing the ultrasound they laughed because this little baby was wiggling about but keeping their legs crossed the whole time, I started rubbing my belly and talking to the baby and then they gave us a clear picture, she was a girl. They printed off pictures and gave me the option of having her heartbeat recorded and placed into a stuffed animal, I picked a lamb and I bought a little pink newborn hat. As soon as I walked out of the office I instantly called my Mom and told her the amazing news. I had hoped for a girl from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I would have been happy either way honestly as long as I had a healthy baby. But in all honesty I wanted a daughter, I had grown up seeing how close my Mother and Grandmother were, and I loved the relationship my Mom and I had and I couldn’t wait to have that with a daughter of my own.  I drove home thinking of ways to tell Brian, when I decided on taking a small gift box and I put the ultrasound pictures inside, with the little pink hat on top. Brian got home and I explained a little of what my day entailed and I handed him the box. He looked at me suspiciously as I started recording him on my phone. As he opened the box and moved the tissue paper away he saw that little pink hat , he looked at me and said “Its a girl?” I laughed and replied yes, and he said “damn’t”.

At this point I was over the moon, I knew Brian was too he was just scared. I think every father that finds out they are expecting a girl is scared honestly. I know my own father was. But I explained to him she would be Daddy’s little girl, and I was sure at some point she would favor him over me. Before we found out we were expecting we had jokingly talked about baby names one night, I mentioned that as a girl, you often think of baby names and call dibs on them amongst your friends, he rolled his eyes, but as soon as I said Harper Grace he loved it. It had always been my “dream” name for a daughter, I thought Harper was a beautiful name, and Grace was my late Grandmothers middle name.  That we could agree on instantly. The boys names were another story.

I had a little onesie with our last name and the due date printed on it, I decided it was the time to make a facebook post. I included the little pink hat and her name in the caption. The minute I posted it the texts and comments started pouring in from both my side and Brians.  Shit just got real.

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Stigma

It’s heartbreaking losing a child at any stage, and I’ve come to look at my loss in a different way. If I can do my little part to raise some kind of awareness and get people to actually talk about it then maybe I can feel like my Daughters life wasn’t a complete loss, that maybe this could offer some slight comfort to someone out there going through a similar loss.

When we face the facts miscarriages, stillbirths, and infant deaths are fucking sad. They are tragic losses and no one really talks about them. Its taboo, there is a stigma attached and so many women hide their losses, so many women feel a sense of shame. When I first had my Daughter I had a few people reach out to me, telling me of their losses and offering me words of comfort. It was shocking because I had known these people either as a friend of a friend or an actual friend and I had never heard they had a miscarriage, or a stillborn child. But they saw my loss, and felt the strength to share their experience and share that there could be light at the end of this tunnel.

There is absolutely, without a doubt no right or wrong way to handle the loss of a child at any stage. So just to set the stage for this blog and whats to come, I will swear, I will use foul language, and I might honestly offend some people. But this is my experience, this is my life, she was my Daughter and this is how I’ve survived so far. When I lost my Daughter I searched endlessly for answers, for guidance, for blogs, for any sort of information or guidance on how the hell do I survive this. And what did I find? A whole lot of dead end answers, I found a lot of religious suggestions, group meeting suggestions and none of that seemed to offer any peace to me. I was literally sitting in my bathroom sobbing, on my phone looking for some kind of answer and the closest I could find were message boards of women that had experienced similar losses, but I couldn’t find anything like mine.

I recently went to see a grief and loss counselor for the first time last week, and she suggested anti depressants, and journaling. I picked the journaling, but as I thought about this I kept feeling the urge to want to help people, I kept feeling the sadness for other Mothers going through this loss and knowing there frankly isn’t shit out there. During my first few months my Best Friend sent me a link to a blog for an amazing lady named Kate, she lives in Ireland and she had gone through a similar loss earlier this year, 2017. She was inspiring, I commented on her blog and emailed her a bit back and forth. She was grieving and going through a similar hell, and I think we could relate to one another because we were both going through a loss, but it felt a little less alone. When you lose a baby its incredibly heartbreaking, and even though I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by family, and have amazing friends during this loss I felt completely and utterly alone. I couldn’t relate to anyone, I felt myself angry when I would see others crying, although I knew they were sad for the loss and for us, I just felt angry. Its okay if you’re experiencing a loss and you are angry, this is something I didn’t let myself believe at first. This is something I couldn’t really find online. The first time I got back on social media after our loss I think I hid every person that popped up with a picture of their baby. Which turned out to be a lot of people. I just couldn’t see it or handle it. I was still just angry, which was okay. I felt so guilty for being so angry but I felt like I had been fucking robbed.

Theres a sound that up until May I had only heard twice in my life, I would describe it as a loud sigh, almost a wailing sound. Its the total release and sound of just absolute defeat and heartache. The first time I heard this sound was after my Grandmother passed away, I heard my Mother crying in the other room and I heard her cry and just let out a sigh. The second time in my life I heard this sound was after my Best Friends Fathers funeral,  her Mother was inconsolable and crying and she let out a similar sigh. The third time I heard this sound was May 17th of this year, When I delivered my stillborn Daughter. Its a sound like your body has just given up, like every breath is out and you are just struggling to breathe through it. Through the absolute and total shock and loss. Growing up I felt like I had experienced loss, and heartache. Nothing, and I absolutely mean NOTHING in my life had prepared me for the loss of my Daughter. From the moment I saw the extra line appear on that pregnancy test I loved my baby. Scared to absolute death of the future I knew one thing, I was going to be a Mom and I was going to do my absolute best at it.

May came so quickly and my Dr told me at anytime the baby could come, she was a healthy weight and size. The previous month I had thought I was going into labor but it was just back spasms so we had prepared our plan. We had the car seat ready, the hospital bag packed with her first outfits, blankets and the baby book for her footprints.  We were ready. Her nursery was completely perfect and set up, crib made, clothes washed and hung up and organized, an entire drawer of bows and headbands I was ready for my baby, my Harper Grace.

 

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