Thursday, April 23, 2015

Five Years Past Due

I remember the first one, the original day that Emilyn and Hailey were supposed to be born on.  I had been preparing blankets and tiny hats to donate to the local hospital for other families who, like us, had to say goodbye to their babies.  Molly, our nurse who helped deliver the girls, happened to be working that day and it was to her we delivered the special packages right outside of the room that my world fell apart in.  Praying that they would sit on the shelves unused.  I should have been in the exhausted bliss of caring for newborn twins, instead I was reliving the memories of holding them in their last moments four and a half months prior after being born too premature to even make it into a NICU.  I was unbearably lost, I didn't know who I was anymore.  I had always wanted to be a mother, but my first chance had been ripped away from me, and I wasn't sure I would ever get another chance given the fertility challenges we had faced.  I remember blogging every single day back then, it was the only way that I survived, it was the only place that I felt normal.  
Almost five years have gone by since their first due date and my life has changed in so many ways, I've come so far.  I read those words I wrote in the aftermath of my world imploding and am shocked that I survived.  How can anyone survive saying goodbye to their child or children?  I still don't know, and yet I did it, am doing it.  A little over a year after we lost them their brother Elim was born at an amazing 38 weeks gestation after sixteen weeks of bedrest and two hospital admissions for preterm labor.  Then one week shy of my girls' fourth birthday their little sister Isla was born after a pristine pregnancy at past 40 weeks gestation, I never would have dreamed I would get a 40 weeker after what I went through with my first two pregnancies!  They are my life.  Motherhood isn't always pretty, but it is always amazing and always cherished because I know what it is like to lose it all, how quick things can happen.
In two days my girls should have been five, if they had been born on their due date instead of four and a half months before.  I had wanted to finally get my memorial tattoo for them  but the artist was already booked.  Instead something better came up, a chance for me to let their voices be heard.  I had intended to go to Advocacy Day at the state capitol a couple of months ago but a winter storm delayed it and it was rescheduled to April 15th, Emilyn and Hailey's due date.  I don't think it's a coincidence, yet another "hey mommy" from my girls.  It couldn't be more clear what I have to do, for them, for me and for every other mom that I hope will never follow in my footsteps.  I'll be their voice, to show how much more work has to be done to one day end premature birth, to ensure every baby is born healthy and on time.  
Two weeks after Advocacy Day I'll walk for the fifth year in a row at March for Babies.  It's my constant, something I will always participate in.  By showing up I raise awareness about the devastating effects that prematurity has and showing that no one is immune.  I raise money to help research ways to end prematurity.  It's a day that I am always recognized as Emilyn and Hailey's mom too.  I walk in the hopes that one day there won't be a need to walk anymore because maybe one day prematurity, birth defects, and infant loss will be a thing of the past.  Until then, I'll be there.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Bed-Sharing Scare, Never Again

I've been waffling back and forth about going public with this since this morning but I think I would hate myself if something happened to a friends little one and I hadn't gotten this out there.  So I think it's worth the flak I might take to share my experience if it will save another little one.  With Elim we occasionally had him sleep in bed with me after Charles went to work so I could get some more sleep, we followed all the "safe cosleeping guidelines" and nothing ever happened.  With Isla she's basically slept in bed beside me exclusively, only spending a few nights away from our bed in her ten and a half weeks.  I had researched and found that there were studies that showed if you followed a list of guidelines, you could safely bedshare with your little one.  So we followed everything, no heavy blankets, not overly tired, not under the influence of anything, etc.  Below is the link to the mother-baby behavioral sleep lab that has outline all of these guidelines.

Until last night we were incident free, everything went perfect.  We put Isla in bed and put her snuza hero movement monitor on that we've had since she was first put into the hospital for what ended up being laryngomalacia.  Went to bed, and got up and fed her at one and right back to sleep.  About five am her monitor started buzzing and alarming that she wasn't moving, which means she wasn't breathing.  I had rolled over on her and she couldn't breathe because of that.  Thankfully when I moved she took a deep breath and kept on sleeping, waking up about ten minutes later to eat.  I got lucky, I could very easily have been planning another funeral today.  I'm horrified, I couldn't go back to sleep after that thinking of what easily could have been had her monitor picked up my movement as hers.  I didn't feel her, she wasn't struggling she was just laying there sleeping.  She won't be sleeping in bed with us again unless we're awake, that's not a risk I can take, I can't bury another baby, especially not one that is being buried because of something I did.

Bedsharing is never safe.  You can make it safer by following the guidelines, but it's never truly safe.  You can't know what you're going to do as you're sleeping or if you're going to know if you're getting dangerously close to cutting off their airway, or worse actually doing it.

So glad this little girl is safe, she's got angels watching out for her for sure.  She'll be sleeping (I hope!) safely in her arms reach cosleeper tonight, in her own area separate from us from now on, until she transitions to her crib in her room.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Three years

Three years ago I lost my daughters.  There are times that it feels like a distant memory, or even a dream and there are other times, like tonight, that it seems like moments ago.  I can remember Dr. Sheldon's voice as she told me that my chances of making it another three weeks and two days to viability were slim to none.  I can remember the contractions picking up in intensity until I couldn't take them anymore and requested pain medication and then Molly, my nurse, giving it to me while I was on the phone with my mom and I started slurring my words and couldn't even lift my hand to take the phone off of my ear.  I can remember my eyes rolling into the back of my head at the peak of my contractions and the nurse and Charles telling me to breathe because my oxygen saturation kept dropping.  And then my water broke and shortly after my sweet Emilyn was born.  They whisked her away to clean her up and it seemed to take an eternity for them to bring her back to me.  They told me that she may move a little, but I only ever saw one tiny movement out of her.  I wish they had just laid her on my chest right after she was born, I often wonder if I would have seen her move more had she been handed to me right away.  I cradled her awkwardly as I was still tipped with my head below my feet hoping to keep Hailey in.  Hailey was still kicking away inside me, probably disoriented by the sudden increase in the size of her living quarters after Emilyn was born.  Every kick was crushing to me, knowing that she was probably going to be born soon and then be still.  Forever.  I remember shoving Emilyn to Charles as another contraction came on and called the nurse in the same movement and my water with Hailey broke.  Charles handed Emilyn to one of the nurses, and she was pronounced dead.  Moments later Hailey was born, and again they whisked her away.  What I wouldn't have give to have had her handed straight to me in that moment instead.  For the next few hours we held our baby girls saying our goodbyes.  If I close my eyes I can remember their smell, remember what it felt like to kiss their soft cold noses and to touch their tiny hands.  Happy birthday my sweet girls, I love and miss you with all of my heart.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Eighteen Months

What he's been up to:

* Visited Little Rock and ate at all the yummy places mom and dad used to love eating at.  Also went to the Little Rock zoo, it was hot but really fun!

* Said goodbye to daddy as he left on his first deployment since Elim was born.  It was a sad day and we really miss him a lot!

* Ninth tooth broke through on June 7, it was his fourth tooth on the bottom left up front!

* Tenth tooth broke through on June 13th, it was his second molar on the top right.  This one was pretty nasty and he had a rough time with it coming through, poor baby.

* Eleventh tooth broke through on June 20th, this one caught us by surprise!  It's his bottom right molar which means he's got a matching top and bottom tooth and soon he'll be able to eat a wider variety of things with his new chewing abilities!

* Twelfth tooth broke through on July 10th, his bottom left molar!

*Thirteenth tooth broke through, his upper right canine on July 25th.

* Got his first brain freeze eating baskin robins sherbert!  He was none too happy, poor baby.

* Flew to Philadelphia to visit mommy's old friend from Elementary school.  We went to many places like the adventure aquarium, Elmwood Park Zoo, Philadelphia zoo, Central Park zoo on a trip up to New York City too!  It was a fun little getaway to take our minds off of daddy being gone.

Inside a Teepee at Elmwood Park Zoo!

Fun at the zoo playground!

Playing piano with Mrs. Jaber

First taste of Rita's Water Ice!!

He seemed to like it, the custard at least.  Lemonade was the only flavor of water ice he liked

Giving a guy at Arby's the "what are you looking at" look that he perfected on this trip.

Trying to drink a little pool water, it was hot out!

Helping mommy pack!

 I just want a little kettle corn!

 Giving daddy kisses on Skype

Being traumatized by anti-semitic Elmo in front of the Central Park Zoo

Train ride home with Auntie Kaity!

* Went to his first fourth of July parade in downtown Edmond.  We were missing our soldier but had a great time watching all the people and animals in the parade!

His expression after throwing down a pop-its (things that snap when you throw them on the ground) 

Is this how you eat corn?

* Peed on the potty for the first time on July 25th!  After flushing the toilet he wanted up, so mommy put him up there and told him to go pee pee and he did!  Not anywhere near potty training yet, but hey, we'll let him have some fun!

* Traveled to Little Rock and stayed overnight with our old friend from Guam, the Graaks!

Saying bye bye to Grammy before the long road trip!

And we're ready to go!

Saying hi to Dave and Eva Graak

* Traveled to Columbus, Mississippi to visit a fellow angel momma, Katie!!  So good to finally meet her after years of talking to her online!  We had a blast hanging out at Wally world picking out a crib for her diamond baby, then meeting chickens at her house and the feeding the geese at the state park!

* Traveled to Pensacola Florida to visit another friend from Guam, Dawn and her son Xander!  We spent a day at the beach!

What he can do

* Eat with a fork!  He's learning how to eat with a fork.  He's not perfect and has to improvise sometimes, but he's getting there!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fifteen Months

What he's been up to:

* Seventh tooth broke through on Easter Sunday, it was his bottom front right!

* Eighth tooth broke through on May 3, it was his first molar on the top left!

* Still chewing on anything and everything he can sink his little teeth into!

* Got tubes put in on April 13th, sadly we realized too late it was scheduled for Friday the 13th!  Thankfully, all went well and he was back to himself by the time we got home!

* Loves giving his puppy dog all kinds of love and hugs.

*Singing with daddy

* One of his favorite games is to open up the bread drawer, grab a loaf out and run off giggling his sweet little head off as he goes.

* Got his first haircut on March 25th, not one tear was shed!

* Visited the Oklahoma City zoo, and pet the goats.

* Celebrated Easter with an egg hunt over at his Great Grandma Horn's

* Hung out with Grammy and Grandpa while Mommy and Daddy went to an awards banquet.

What he can do:

* Drinks milk like a pro from a sippy cup!  Straw sippys are his favorite.

* Climbing everything that comes in his way, and other stuff just for fun!

*  Says doggy consistently when he sees Molly, or any other dog, or any other animal for that matter!  Still no Mommy, but possibly a daddy.  Though since doggy sounds like "dah-dee" it kinda sounds like daddy.

His Stats: 24 lbs 9 oz, 31.75 inches