Sunday, August 29, 2010

Butterfly Footprints

This past week I have been quite busy. I have a project up my sleeve. It is called Butterfly Footprints. I was able to launch the site this past Wednesday, August 25th.

Butterfly Footprints creates a special memorial keepsake for parents who have lost a baby. The footprints of the baby's feet are turned into an image of a butterfly.

Here is an example from the site:

If you have a moment please visit the site!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Keeping Their Memory Alive

Keeping Their Memory Alive
I have created a new "spin off" project from Every Life Has A Story. It is a new website called "Keeping Their Memory Alive". It is a video memorial site for parents to come and share their child through video or slideshow. Many families have made their own memorial video and do not need the resource of Every Life Has A Story. It is a place where bereaved parents can come and share their child's story. A place to remember our children together. A place of comfort, knowing that you are not alone.

After we lost our daughter Janessa, I spent endless hours on video hosting sites searching & watching other family's videos of their angels. It was a whole new world for me and even though my heart shattered for each family I also found comfort knowing I wasn't walking this road alone. Alot of the videos led me to some amazing resources that have helped me tremendously. My goal is to create a memorial site that honors each child and brings bereaved parents together.

Please visit the site & leave some feedback!

If you have a slideshow or video of your child you wish to submit to the memorial site please see the video submission tab on the site. You can then email the info to

The site was just a few days ago so any help spreading the word or video submissions would be appreciated to get the site up & running!

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's A ______!

On Monday August 16th we were scheduled for our 18 week anatomy and gender scan. I was nervous & excited about making sure this baby was healthy & also to learn what the sex was. Sunday I ran on high all day staying very busy and occupied. I tend to do this when I have any anxiety. After my husband and son went to bed I found myself wide awake with sleep no where in sight. I ended up in Janessa’s room wrapped up in the prayer shawl blanket I received, sitting by her window looking out and listening to the rain. It reminded me of the many many weeks it rained straight through after Janessa passed away. I wondered if it was a sign of sort. I couldn’t make sense of what that could be but relished in the relax factor it was bringing me. I said a prayer asking that the baby would be healthy and that no matter what the gender was going to be it would all be fine. I know that in the future no matter if this is a boy or girl I won’t be able to imagine our lives without them in it.

When we arrived at the ultrasound room that Monday morning we were only one of two patients there. We usually get called in fairly quickly but this time, of course when we are anxiously waiting we had quite a wait. We finally made into the room with the tech and like each and every single visit I had to explain why I was high risk and about losing Janessa. There are pros and cons with this. We get a little extra care treatment and concern but it is also very hard to tell the story each visit.

She asked us if we would like to know the gender and then proceeded with the scan. I remember seeing this bay’s face for the first time at our 12 week NT scan. The first thing out of my mouth was “It looks like a boy huh?” to my husband. He amusingly said “I don’t know, I can’t tell”. lol She made us wait until she was finished but I was right, IT’S A BOY! When she was scanning we thought we saw his goods and we were pretty sure it was a boy. He of course would not sit still again and the scan took a lot longer than usual because she had to keep trying to get the measurements for each part numerous times. I have to admit of my three children this one is definitely the one who moves the most.

They had found a white spot in Janessa’s heart which led to us having a second level ultrasound. It turned out to be nothing of concern and they believed it to be a calcium deposit. That finding is pretty common. She found the same white spot on this baby. I would be lying if I said it didn’t worry me. As a mother I cannot turn that off. I am scheduled to have many more ultrasounds and I am 100% positive they will be checking the heart many more times.

I would also be lying if I said that hearing the gender did not stir up a mix of emotions that has been quite messy to sort through. There were tears in the office, on the way to the car and on the way home and they weren’t for any particular reason. They were for all that we have been through. They are for the fact the baby is healthy. They were for what lies ahead on the path for us. This post is late because I needed time to digest it all.

We are so happy that the baby is healthy. We also received some great test results from the blood test that was taken along with the NT test. It screens the risk factor for having a baby that has Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18 or an Open Neural Tube Defect. As the doctor stated “We got an A”. Our chances were the lowest possible of 1 in 10,000 for all three.

So here are some pics of our baby boy!

Sucking his thumb

A pic of his face

The top of his head and arms

Unfortunately the new hospital we go to does not allow children in the exam rooms so we were unable to take JJ with us to find out if he was having a little sister ort brother. We were a little upset because he was able to be there when we found out for Janessa. Since he could not come we wanted to do something cute to tell him. He was at my mother’s home while we went. When we went to pick him up we had a baby blue balloon waiting in the car for him:

Here he is learning he is going to have the baby brother he has always wanted!

He is so excited.

We also went to the store and picked out an outfit and little toy for this little guy.


Sunday, August 15, 2010


I have noticed & read a lot of posts recently from fellow bloggers who have been answering some of their readers questions. I decided to write a post similar to that idea. This post will list the most common questions I have recently been getting since announcing this new pregnancy. I usually get the same questions in different forms. I don’t mind them. I understand how curious people may be & so many people have been keeping up with this journey since losing Janessa. I chose to open a blog so people could get a better understanding of this world of grief. It has now also turned into shedding some light on pregnancy after loss. I love talking about my daughter & this new pregnancy!

Was this pregnancy planned?

Yup. Believe it. I’ve been asked this. No really. I’m not lying.

Yes this pregnancy was planned. In fact all 3 of our children were. We’ve got the baby making process down pretty good now lmao.

I’m not sure if people think that its too soon. Or maybe some think we shouldn’t have anymore. I’m honestly not sure what would prompt this question but there is the answer in case anyone else was wondering ;)

Are you glad you waited to get pregnant again?

We were told to wait 6 months. I was almost 8 months pregnant when Janessa died so my body needed some time to recover from the pregnancy. My body also went through a lot with the placenta abruption & the high blood pressure. I was not ready physically or emotionally until the month we tried, which was this April.

To answer the question, yes I am glad we waited. It was the best choice for us personally. I needed time to sort through a lot of my emotions & grief. This new pregnancy has brought on a slew of new emotions & aspects of grief that I know I couldn’t of handled on top of the initial intense grief. They are still very much intertwined but I allowed myself time to work through some parts of my grief separately that I hope will help me deal with these new waves easier.

This choice is very different among other “baby loss mommas”. Some have chosen to get pregnant again soon after. Some even a year later are no where near being ready to conceive again. That is what they feel is best for them. Each person is very different and everyone handles things differently.

Could you have another miscarriage?

Well I never had a miscarriage. I was days shy of being 8 months pregnant with Janessa. She was stillborn. I did not “miscarry” her. I gave birth to her. A miscarriage is before 20 weeks pregnant. I was in labor longer with her than my son. A lot of people have assumed she was delivered via c-section. That is not the case. Very shortly after we found out her heart was no longer beating I was induced with pitocin. Once again my epidural did not take and I gave birth naturally without any pain relief and with additional brutal pain from the abruption. I cannot explain in words how painful the abruption & labor was.

Are you considered high risk now?

Yes. Due to the placenta abruption & the high blood pressure that was discovered the day Janessa died, I am now a high risk pregnancy. Everyone’s risk of abruption, even without high blood pressure, is 1%. I was that lucky one. Since I have had one my risk is now elevated to 15%. Please remember that I did not have a history of high blood pressure previous to the abruption. It was discovered when I went to the hospital that day of the abruption & it has never regulated itself back to normal. They believe I developed what they call PIH, pregnancy induced hypertension. I may now have chronic high blood pressure but only time will tell that for sure. I have been taking medication to regulate it since losing Janessa. Having high blood pressure puts me in increased risk for developing preeclampsia.

What will be done differently with this pregnancy?

Quite a bit. I will only be seen by a high risk ob (perinatologist). I will be seen more often than usual. I have had and will have 24 hour urine tests (PIH labs) done to establish a baseline & then to determine any changes. I will have many ultrasounds & non stress tests probably starting in my 6 month. This will help monitor the baby’s growth & to check on the heart rate & especially the blood flow from the placenta. All this extra monitoring of the baby & myself is done as a precaution to catch anything that may be going on before it becomes too serious.

I am hoping to receive the progesterone shots throughout my pregnancy and if problems arise I will be given the steroid shot. If my blood pressure rises to a level of concern or I develop preeclampsia there is a chance of early delivery. I will be delivering at a hospital with a level 3 NICU.

Will you be induced?

This goes back to the previous question. I will be induced if problems arise. If the pregnancy goes without complications I have made a personal decision to request to be induced at around 37 weeks. After all we have been through there comes a point where I believe the baby will be safer out than in. This is still a discussion to be had between us and our OB. We will cross that bridge when its time. I need to focus on getting to that point.

Are things better now that you are pregnant?

Tricky question. Being pregnant has not taken ANY of the pain of losing Janessa away. This baby will not erase the fact that one of our children lays in a cemetery & is not here with us. Our grief has changed due to time & to the attention & work we have put into to mourning, grieving & memorializing our daughter’s memory and the love we have for her. We have made progress into enjoying life again. Every day is still a challenge and I have to consciously choose to keep pushing on.

I think some may like to think we are “all better now”. I think it helps them feel more comfortable. Nothing will make the death of my daughter ok. This baby is not here to heal us.

What this pregnancy has done is give us something to look forward to. It has given us some extra motivation to keep working on being fully happy again. How can we ever be fully happy again after one of our children died? I am still learning if thats possible. Our son has kept us going & this baby just gives us an extra push. The pregnancy has brought some more joy and excitement into our lives. It has us looking to our future and all the possibilities again. Although our lives will never be what we dreamed it would be, we can do everything we can to make sure it is still all it can be, for us and our children.

Learning to start moving forward without our daughter here is a challenge. Starting that process was hard. Taking those first few steps were scary because it almost felt like we would be leaving her behind. She will always be with us no matter how much time passes.

Are you hoping for a girl?

Please see this post for this answer.

What about Janessa’s room & items?

It still sits in limbo.

It has been cleaned up a bit over the past year. I put her already organized clothes into bins according to sizes. I went in a few weeks ago & dusted the years worth of dust off of all her items. I even steamed cleaned her rug. Early nesting I think.

In the beginning when we lost Janessa I hoped that if we had another it would be a girl so I would not have to get rid of Janessa’s things or have to paint over her nursery. The thought of it would put me into hysterics. As time has gone by I have developed a feeling that it is her room and if we have another girl all those things were not meant for her, they were meant for Janessa. That theme was picked out for her not this baby. I am torn. This baby deserves to have it prepared for as well. Will I ever be able to look at that room as another baby's? I just don't know. I have thought about redoing the room either way if it’s a girl or a boy. In reality most likely I will keep it the same for a little girl. I really don’t think I could handle the destruction of it all. I think that maybe it would be nice that as sisters it would be something shared in a sense.

If it’s a boy I am not sure when any of the changes in the room would be made. A part of me still has a hard time believing this baby will be coming home with us. We were burned once & there are walls up for protection. In the beginning I thought that when we had another baby, and if it was a boy, I would not touch Janessa’s room until the baby was home with us. I do not know where I stand now on this issue.

We find out tomorrow morning the gender so I will leave this decision up in the air until I may or may not have to make it.

I am an open book. Losing my daughter destroyed me & I have had to rebuild myself from scratch. Being this open is new for me. I am glad I made the decision to blog through this. If anything can come from this all I am hoping some understanding and awareness has been shed.

Since I did not take questions as so many other bloggers have, if there are any you would like answered feel free to leave a question in a comment below. Anonymously if you wish ;)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Some Summer Fun

A couple days ago I took JJ & his best friend Dylan to the Ecotarium. JJ has not had a very exciting summer this year. With me being so sick we have not been able to get out and do alot of activities. Lately between the morning sickness & cramping episodes we have been stuck inside & we were both due for a day out. In the next couple weeks I will be attempting to cram in a handful of day trips to try and make up some missed summer fun.

While growing up I visited the Ecotarium quite a few times. It was always a fun trip. Over the years it began to decline in its upkeep. There were less and less exhibits and animals. I was hesitant to make the trip but after some thought I figured we would give it a shot. We picked up the library pass which got us half off admission, packed a lunch & were on our way.

I have to say we had a great day! They have really improved over the past couple years. They have some new animals & some really great hands on activities for the kids. We spent about 6 hours there and every moment was filled. We caught 3 seperate shows. The boys had so much fun.

They enjoyed all the reptiles very much.

They explored some plant life.

We saw some interesting animals.

Our favorite were the otters. They enjoyed chasing the water bottle through the glass.

The boys built a tetris like activity.

They even got to go inside a bubble. Something JJ tells me he has always wondered what it would be like. He wished though they could float in one :)

Haha look at his face!

We saw a polar bear. Sadly the other one that was there passed away a few years back.

And on our way out the boys were eaten by a dinosaur.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thinking Pink

I was almost too afraid to write this post. A part of me feels that if I put it down in writing then I will be acknowledging & validating these feelings I have been trying to deny.

The truth is I am wishing for a girl. I feel incredibly confused about that. I feel sad, angry, & ashamed. Please understand that what matters to me more than anything is that we have a healthy baby. One that is breathing & we will be able to leave the hospital with them in our arms. I am ashamed that after all we have been through with Janessa’s death that it could matter to me what the gender of this baby is.

What this all boils down to is I feel robbed. Robbed of my daughter. Robbed of her life, of the life we would have had together. I had so many plans in my head & heart as to what having a little girl would be like.

This will be our last pregnancy. Making the choice to go through a high risk pregnancy was a very hard decision. We know the risks and they scare me. I carry guilt for putting my health in risk when I already have an amazing child here who needs me. I do not think I could do this twice.

What I am afraid of is never knowing what it is like to have a daughter. If that comes true will I always look at little girls and feel my heart break?

This is all so confusing & it has taken a huge emotional toll on me. I feel that maybe in my heart having another little girl will spare me the extra heartache of redoing Janessa’s nursery & getting rid of all her little outfits she will never wear. The thought of doing those things is so painful.

I am not trying to replace Janessa. This baby cannot do that. That is not why I long for a girl. The above reasons are why. This baby already has to grow up knowing of their older siblings died. I do not want them to feel they are living in the shadow of the baby that came before them…the baby who is “perfect” because she can do no wrong. I will do everything I can to preserve Janessa’s memory & the love we have for her without giving this baby a complex about her.

When I was pregnant with our son I always knew I wanted to have a boy first. It was the way I envisioned my life & future family. I think I wanted a son first so he could “protect” his younger siblings, especially any sisters in the future. Before finding out if I was having a boy or girl I knew I had a longing for a boy but it didn’t consume my thoughts & I wouldn’t of been disappointed if it was girl. I didn’t feel guilty then about these feelings. Now I just have an enormous amount of emotions attached to this pregnancy.

With Janessa’s pregnancy I didn’t go in with any preference. A feeling came over me very quickly and I knew I was carrying a girl. Just knew it. We settled on her name but didn’t really bother choosing a definite boy name. When we found out it was a girl I was thrilled! I didn’t realize how much I wanted a daughter until I was told I was having one!

In the first couple months of this pregnancy I had two dreams that it was a boy. When I picture this baby in my day dreams I almost always envision a little girl. I do not know if I do this out of habit from Janessa’s pregnancy or if that is my feelings coming through. When people ask me what I think I am having I tell them this time I honestly don’t have a guess. I do not seem to have that mother’s instinct this time around. My heart is too clouded.

We find out the gender in 4 days. I will not be upset if this is a boy. All that matters is that this baby is healthy. That is why I find these feelings so hard to deal with. We already love this child. I love this baby individually. Girl or boy. I think any parent reading this will understand the unconditional love that starts during pregnancy. I think what scares me is the events that will have to take place if we must prepare for a boy. Preparing as if this baby will actually come home is already a challenge.

I will continue to work through this. I am not the first to go down this pregnancy after loss path & I know that I am not the only one who has struggled with the many confusing emotions that accompany it.

I almost didn’t write this post in fear of being judged. In fear of someone reading this and not understanding fully or at least not trying to understand the feelings I am struggling so desperately to portray. I still do not understand all of my own feelings on this matter. If this is a boy I do not want him to someday read this and feel as though I was disappointed or that I would have loved a girl more. NOTHING could be more far from the truth. My love grows each day & with each movement I feel from inside my womb.
I am so excited & nervous for Monday’s ultrasound. These almost 18 weeks have really flown by.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Preggo Update

There have been some “happenings” since my last update.

I am now 17.5 weeks. The morning sickness is still present but not as frequent. I can go a day or two feeling great and then the following day I am knocked off my feet for the entire day. I have never had much luck with morning sickness. With my son I experienced it every day until 7 months. With Janessa I cannot even describe in words how awful it was. I was sick each day and there were days I cried because of how ill I was. I could never stay hydrated & visited the hospital twice for an IV. I toughed that out until 5 months. I have to say this time is not so rough. Knowing how much worse it could be helps me get through the bad days.

Things have not been going as smoothly as we were hoping for. With my first two pregnancies I did not have any complications & beside the sickness everything went as typical as a pregnancy could go. That is of course until the day we lost Janessa. This time I seem to be getting all the little scares & worries I seem to have avoided. I spotted at 6 weeks for about 11 days. I remember the feeling that came over me when I thought we would lose the baby. I have not had a miscarriage & the thought of one knocked the life out of me. The thought that we may lose this baby, this much wanted baby, this little life we already loved…I couldn’t imagine how I would deal with that on top of the enormous weight of grief I still feel. I could see and sense the fear in my husband that day. We went in for an ultrasound the day the spotting began & everything was fine. We were extremely relieved when the spotting stopped a week and a half later.

For the past few weeks I have been experiencing cramping. On two occasions they were about 5 minutes apart & I was breathing through them as though they were labor pains. They ended after an hour or so & by the time I spoke with the doctor I was only experiencing slight cramping. I was told to stay off my feet & if the contractions returned to head to the ER. On Tuesday I experienced spotting again so I called the doctor. I had an appointment the following day so they told me to rest for the remainder of the day. I am so grateful to have our home Doppler. It has already brought so much relief when I can check in & listen to baby’s heartbeat & know he/she is ok.

The fear is so very present each day and I am trying to wade through all the emotions that are engulfing me. I am only one person and each day there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to deal with each one. I am amazed at how many emotions one person can harbor at a time. Between taking care of Jayden who is still on summer vacation, trying to stay healthy, dealing with the worry I have found little time to dedicate to my grief. It builds & I breakdown.

The appointment last Wednesday went well. My blood pressure was slightly raised at 130/80 but my stress level was pretty high. I once again had trace protein. The babies heart rate in the office was 154 beats per minute which is exactly what I have been getting at home for a reading.

I explained the slight cramping that comes & go & she inquired about the spotting. She did an exam & stated my cervix “is everything a cervix should be”. That was a relief to find out that the cramps had not caused any dilation. The doctor explained how some women experience mild cramps during early pregnancy. She also went on to tell me how sensitive the cervix is during pregnancy which may explain the spotting of blood. I tried to take some relief in her answers but since these are all new symptoms for me while pregnant I cannot seem to relax. We are already on high anxiety and these occurrences are really taking a toll on me mentally and emotionally.

Due to how worried I was about the cramping & spotting I forgot to mention the progesterone shots she had brought up at our last appointment. I was leaning towards them but now that this cramping has happened I am pretty set on getting them. I do not see her for about 20 days so I may call the office and have the nurse run it by her. The nurse practitioner there gave me her personal email address so I may do that instead.

In the meantime though, we go in next Monday for the 18 week anatomy scan where we will find out the gender!

I also finally received my home blood pressure cup after about 2 months of going back & forth with the medical supply company & my insurance. I do need to have it calibrated because I keep getting amazingly low readings that I could only wish were accurate!

I experienced a small amount of spotting & slight cramping Monday so I took it easy all day yesterday. I can feel my anxiety level increasing & I am scared as to how high it is going to reach in the coming weeks. Scared may be an understatement.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blog Decision

I put up a poll in a previous post to see what some followers thought about me either keeping one blog or creating a seperate one for the pregnancy. Here are the results:
After much thought I have decided to journal about this current pregnancy here on this blog. This was a difficult decision because I know I have readers who are at different stages of their grief. I recognize that reading about pregnancy may be too painful at this time for them. I did not read blogs that contained pregancy news or updates until I was pregnant myself. After announcing my pregnancy here I lost two followers. I understand.

As I stated in a previous post, I find it too difficult to seperate the grief of losing Janessa & the emotions that come from being pregnant. The two are very intertwined. Pregnancy after loss is an emotional & stressful journey. I find that journaling through my grief helps me tremendously & I can only hope it can do the same for me regarding this pregnancy.

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