Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baby Update: 3rd Biophysical

Last Tuesday, November 16th, my husband & I went to our weekly biophysical ultrasound and monthly growth scan. The little man (who finally has a first name! Still working on the middle) passed with a 8/8. I was 31 weeks 2 days based on my LMP but was measuring a few days ahead at 31 weeks 6 days. Baby boy weighed in at 3 lbs 15 oz. He is growing at a good rate and the doctors are liking what they are seeing. He is definitely ahead of what his sister weighed at this point. She weighed 2lbs 14 oz at 31 weeks 4 days. He has a whole pound on her! He falls in the sixty something percentile. (I glanced over his growth chart but did not get the exact reading.) Of course the weight calculation isn't 100% accurate but gives us a very close reading.

The technician was able to get us a couple 3D face shots.

Afterwards I had a 2 week check up with the doctor. Blood pressure was ok at 124/74. I asked her about any effects the labetalol (high blood pressure medication) may have on the baby. I have been on it since before he was conceived and I wanted to know if once he is born and is no longer exposed to it if there were any side effects. She told me he is exposed to a minimal amount and they do not see any problems with the babies of mothers who have taken it. The pediatrician will be made aware but she did not express any real concern for his health. I had asked this because if & when I am taken off the medication I will have to be "weaned" off slowly by reducing the amount over time. If not there could be strain on my heart. I found it odd that the baby can be exposed it to for 37/40 weeks and then in one day stop completely. I don't pretend to have any medical knowledge but I thought it may have to be the same. I am glad to hear that no problems have been detected in babies exposed to it in the womb. This was something that was always in the back of my mind. I do not like being on medication while pregnant but in this case it is definitely necessary to ensure both of our healths.

I am worried about him getting here safely and now the worries of all the things that could happen once he is here is starting to creep in. Everyday is a mind game with myself on what I choose to focus on. I refuse to let all the joy be sucked away. Its emotionally & mentally draining but I am taking it a day at a time and each day is closer to him being in my arms.

I have another biophysical today to check in on this little one so expect another update soon!

Friday, November 19, 2010

31 Weeks 5 Days

As of 4:24 am this morning I am now farther along in this pregnancy than I ever was with Janessa. She passed away when I was 31 weeks 4 days & was born the following morning.

Yesterday it ran through my mind a few times early in the day. I thought to myself "If I was pregnant with Janessa right now she would only have a few hours left to live." I wondered how I would have felt knowing that. How if only I knew something wasn't right we could have saved her life. I went on about my day but as late afternoon came I caught myself glancing at the clock. I would think what I was doing at that time on the day of her death. Around 4 pm I was taking our son to his after school activity...At 5 we were heading home...This went on until 7 p.m. when I realized that this was around the time the abruption occurred. Around 8 we were at the hospital & since I am not really sure of what time everything happened I got a flood of random flashbacks. I thought of the nurses trying so desperately to find her heartbeat & them lying to me about her possibly being in a tough position. But they knew. I knew. I remember the doctor finally getting there to do the ultrasound. Seeing our daughter so very still on the screen. Looking at her heart, motionless. The doctor not speaking just looking at us and shaking her head "no". My husband sobbing in his chair. The pure shock I felt after. The physical pain. I don't talk about the abruption pain very much because it was truly indescribable. I can't find the words to do it justice. The rest of the night played through my mind as well. But that is nothing new. I still occasionally wake up in the middle of the night & have the flashbacks play before my eyes. I still have some residual effects of post traumatic stress syndrome. It almost destroyed me in the beginning. It continues to fade over time but can easily be summoned back.

I did not do this to myself on the one year anniversary of her death. I think it was because I was so preoccupied on planning for her memorial that weekend.

I have made it past this mile marker. Now what? Nothing has changed. I never really thought it would. I'm not in a safe zone. I never will be. No one ever is. I sometimes just cry because I am tired of the panic feeling. Tired of the worry, of the stress. Of the "what ifs?".

The baby has been somewhat "sluggish" these past few days. I lay down quite a bit & make sure he is doing ok. I constantly worry that something is wrong. I also know he is growing and from what I have read their movements due slow a bit. He was so active I was hoping that it wouldn't happen. He has been active enough to pass his kick counts but the stress toll its taking on me is huge. I wish I had some type of monitor strapped to my belly all day checking on him.

I have anywhere between 5 & 7 weeks left of this pregnancy. To the old me that would seem like nothing! To me now it feels like an eternity.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I've been struggling lately emotionally. Each and every day is a challenge to get through. I actually just vented to a fellow baby loss mama & real life friend about this a few days ago.

Half the time I cannot figure out the exact reason I am so upset. I have not been extremely pleasant to be around lately. I find myself in tears almost everyday. Showers full of tears, middle of the night sobs that I worry will wake my husband or son.

Since the second month of this pregnancy or so, I have been waking up each night and cannot fall back asleep. I make sure to have a bunch of shows dvr'd so I have something to occupy my time. What I quickly realized is that I was waking up at 4 am. Janessa was born at 4:24 am. Each and every night I am awake to bring in another brand new day without her.

Nothing seems very important to me except making sure I get this baby here healthy & alive. It makes any other task seem so minuscule! The weight of having this little baby's life in my hands suffocates me at times. I sometimes do not think people realize how tough each & every day is for me. Its emotionally draining. I tend to assume people think I must be so much better off now. I know there are some who understand and those who try.

Each day there are the intense moments where I suddenly notice I have not felt the baby move for a little while. They send me into panic mode. I prop myself down on the couch/bed & start prodding at him to make him move. I sometimes also do a kick count & when I am feeling very anxious will crack out the doppler to make sure his heartrate is at his normal reading. I also know that no matter what I do I cannot control other things from happening...there are moments when its all too much. I am grateful this pregnancy seems to have flown by. I contribute that too the reality that I am still living in a grief stricken world & time has taken on a new feeling. It blows my mind that in 6 months Janessa would have been 2 years old. Thats insane to me. It all feels like yesterday.

My life seems to be in standstill. My goal is getting to delivery day & everything else is on pause. I try so very hard to stay in the moment for my son but I struggle everyday. Its like I am waiting for our lives to start again. I do not like living this way.

I also can't seem to get motivated about anything. I have a to-do list a mile long and it all seems so daunting. Things around the house have been piling up & keeping house is at its bare minimum. Its definitely not up to my normal standards (which were too high anyway). I can't help but feel overwhelmed almost all day.

We have reached a point in this pregnancy where we should really have more done in preparations for this little boy. Its time to get in gear & that is overwhelming in itself. Everytime I do anything to prepare the thought in the back of my mind of "what if I'm doing this for nothing" creeps in. Its an ugly feeling. It takes all I have to stay positive.

I also worry so much about the mix of emotions that will come with this little one's birth. I know there are so many people that think that once he is born things will be better for us. His entrance will fill our lives with additional joy but he will not be our quick fix to heal our hearts of our daughter's absence. That cannot be fixed. I wonder how being in the hospital with another baby will affect our grief. Some has been worked through but I am sure will get stired up. I know our joy will overpower but there are the underlying emotions automatically attached now.

On top of that I am 31 weeks pregnant this weekend. Janessa passed away when I was 31 1/2 weeks. My stress level has been increasing by the day. The specific week I was in had nothing to do with the abruption but as I approach the time in her pregnancy where my body failed her I am so worried its going to do it again.

I have noticed that nothing around here shows anything past 31 weeks. My calendar is only marked weekly up to the 31 week mark. The kick count sheet is only filled out until week 31. I even made sure we had our maternity pictures done before I hit this pregnancy milestone. I tried to fill in the remaining weeks but couldn't get my hand to move. I have tried to stay as positive as possible. I have made alot of effort into making sure I enjoy this pregnancy in spite of the enormous amount of stress attached. But I cannot help but worry something will go wrong.

I am dreaming of the day we have this little one in our arms. Safe and sound. Alive.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm In Love

with this little boy! :)

On Tuesday I had my second biophysical ultrasound which he passed! :) I brought my grandmother along so she could see him on the screen. She has never been to an ultrasound. I asked the technician after she was finished if she wouldn't mind getting a glimpse of his face in 3D. She got me 4 amazing shots of our little man...

I LOVE having these done. It brings me some temporary reassurance & it lifts my spirits for a few days afterwards. I cannot stop staring at his little face. He definitely looks like my husband!

I keep falling more in love :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Answers, Reassurance & Decisions

For those who read my entry on Progress:

Mission accomplished!


I had a doctor appointment with my high risk OB on Tuesday. Baby Boy's heart rate was 143, his new favorite number. My blood pressure was an amazing 100/60! Lowest its ever been at the doctors. I passed the 1 hour glucose test, yipee! Good thing because I need my carbs and chocolate. My level was 111 mg/dl. Anything under 140 mg/dl is considered passing.

I am now 29 1/2 weeks pregnant. My doctor also requested I go in for weekly biophysical ultrasounds until I deliver. A biophysical ultrasound measures the fluid around the baby, checks the baby's ability to move his chest muscles and diaphragm which shows that the baby is practicing breathing, it also checks for movement and tone. Tone is flexing of the arms and legs. Each category gets a score of 2. A score of 8 is needed to pass. If the baby scores any less than 8 a non stress test would be performed. If he failed the NST I would be brought to labor and delivery to be induced. I was always under the impression that the NST was performed along with the biophysical but apparently this is how this practice does it.

I had the first biophysical today. My husband could not miss work so I brought my mother along so she could get a peek at her grandson. Here are a few shots from today.

I asked for a 3D shot & she got one for us!
Definitely a boy! I am pretty sure that is his
hand reaching for it *sigh* lol

His face with the umbilical cord in front of his mouth

His cute profile :)

He passed with an 8/8. We watched as he moved his diaphragm and practiced his breathing. He even opened his mouth and we saw his tongue! It was so cute. In addition to the categories listed above they also check each organ in the baby's body. Everything looked great. The white spot that was in the heart at the 18 week anatomy scan is no longer showing. Although those are very common and it didn't require any additional worry it is nice that it is no longer there! She also checked the placenta and she said it looked great. It was attached nicely to the wall and did not show any signs of aging. That of course is one my biggest concerns.

I am grateful for the weekly scans. As I approach the 31 week mark when we lost Janessa I am getting very anxious. Although an abruption is not related to any specific week in pregnancy the further along the higher the risk. If the abruption I had was truly caused by a sudden spike in blood pressure we are hoping that keeping that under control will dramatically reduce my chance of having another. Everyone's risk is 1% mine has increased to 15%. Having the weekly scans will bring some temporary reassurance that all is well. But like the doctor and the ultrasound tech stated, all could be well in the exam room & I could walk outside and start bleeding. It could happen to anyone. This I know. It is a scary reality to live in.

At my appointment on Tuesday with my doctor I asked her what she considered full term. She jokingly said that pediatricians would like to see pregnancy last 48 weeks but went on to say that at 39 weeks induction is safe. I asked if that would be an option. She said yes. She then mentioned that at 37 weeks if I felt that I wanted to be induced they would do an amniocentesis to check and see if the baby's lungs were mature. If so induction would be ok. She told me that I didn't need to make a decision right away and I could think about my options. She understood when I explained to her that at some point I believe the baby would be safer out than in. So we are left with that decision. I will do some research and talk to other moms who may have faced these decisions for themselves. This is ultimately what I wanted for options. Now that they are available I need to make sure we are comfortable and well informed on them. I am hoping within the next few weeks we will reach a decision and be at peace with it.  

Expect a bunch more ultrasound pics soon :)

And now for a cute story that happend this morning.... Before we started getting ready, JJ was laying down with me on the couch. His butt was resting against my stomach when the baby started kicking it. JJ got a kick out of the fact that his little brother literally 'kicked his butt' :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010



I hope everyone had a fun Halloween!

I definitely live a little through JJ as I am sure so many other parents do through their children. I LOVE getting him ready for his annual PTA Halloween party & Trick-or-Treat night. I still get that little excitement I used to feel as a child.

What was nice this year versus last is that the "enjoyment" feeling seemed to of returned. I was still pretty numb last year & joy was not easily come by. I remember still having some fun last year with the day & especially while getting him ready but we were still somewhat in a fog. His costume was pretty cool don't you think?


My husband & I combined our efforts and we did up a pumpkin for Janessa.

I did not anticipate how emotional this would make me. I painted Janessa's while Jayden carved out his.

My mind did the usual wandering to the 'what this moment SHOULD be like'. I am almost used to this by now. To the subtle dialog that plays through my mind during events, special days and holidays. It wasn't until I started to put the white butterfly on did my mood & emotional state take a turn. I used a butterfly shaped sponge to get the butterfly on the pumpkin and when it didn't come out just perfect I wanted to sob. I was so mad at the world that I was making a pumpkin for her grave instead of in a few hours getting her dressed up in some girly costume. I was so frustrated that the one thing I was doing for her wasn't coming out like I had imagined. My husband jumped in and hand painted it to fix it up and while he was trying I started taking it out on him because it still wasn't what I envisioned. I felt so bad. I was literally choking back tears. In the end it came out perfect and beautiful. I was happy we had something to take to our little girl. Something that had a special meaning to it. I then took a shower & sobbed. We have done up many items for Janessa over the past 17 months. None have hit me so hard. The grief can just sneak up on you & drown you within seconds.

Just like every other year our niece came along trick-or-treating.

I love watching them run from door to door getting their candy. It makes me long for the days of my childhood. When life was so much simpler.

All in all it turned out to be a fun night with our son. I am looking forward to next year when we will hopefully have one more little boy to dress up.

Me 29 weeks pregnant with my boys :)

Monday, November 1, 2010


If you entered my home you would never know there is a baby boy on the way. Besides my endless growing baby bump that is.

I have made a little progress in Janessa's room. I got as far as packing up all her clothes & girly items into bins. I boxed up the extra memorial service items and even have those up in the attic. I even steam cleaned the carpet months back & dusted the years worth of dust off everything. The rest just sits there. Still waiting for a baby girl to come & bring life to the space. Projects such as her toy box and her table & chair set sit half painted. Unfinished. Such as her life.

On the door of the closet hangs the one and only outfit & toy we have bought for this new baby. Its the only evidence he is on his way.

Baby shopping has not been easy. I seem to feel like I am suffocating when I am in the baby section of a store. I prefer shopping online. Just recently have I been able to go into a baby section and not feel as though someone is stabbing me in the chest. That is unless I happen to glance over at a pair of pink fluffy boots or an adorable little dress.

The ironic thing about my attachment to her room is it was never really her room. She was never physically in it. Well technically she was when she was safely wrapped up in my womb. But we never walked into our home with her in our arms for the 1st time and 'introduced' her to her room. But what that room holds in it is all of our dreams & excitement for her arrival. It represents the joyful time in our lives when all was right in our world. The room beautifully shows the preparations we were making for her entrance into our family. That room was created with so much love & anticipation. It is one more tie to our little girl. One more piece of evidence that she was here. That she existed.

Whats crazy is the room was also the setting for some of my most darkest moments. It has had more tears shed in there than imaginable. Its held a grieving mother on its floor in devastation, sobbing and screaming until exhaustion. I must have walked around the room hundred of times touching all of her items. Feeling all the soft plush girly items against my skin. Smelling her clothes to get the scent of the room which reminds me of how I felt while pregnant with Janessa.

The room never did take on a gloomy feeling.

I recently redesigned this blog. The design you see is the theme of Janessa's nursery. I know the time is coming where we will have to start making big changes in there. I wanted one more way to memorialize it.

I recently made a huge step on this road of pregnancy after loss. I chose a nursery design theme for the new baby. We even purchased the bedding. I failed at the first attempt back in August. Emotionally just couldn't handle it. About a month later I was able to attempt it again and found one I really liked. Doesn't sound like that big of deal to most and especially to those who have never had to come home to an empty nursery. In fact to most that step was one of the most exciting things they probably did while preparing for their baby on the way. For me it was HUGE and emotional. I had to allow myself to BELIEVE this baby boy is coming home. Alive. I allowed myself for the first time some excitement. Cautious excitement. It was scary but it also felt good. It reminded me of the joy I felt when expecting JJ and Janessa. Although I could never be that naively joyful again I will cherish the moments that the excitement creeps in.

I have been trying to get paint samples for the past 3 weeks. I have gone into the store about six times and have walked out without them. It seems once I am there I remember a bunch of other items I need but somehow manage to leave without the samples. I am not so sure it is completely a slip of the memory. I don't know what is going on. Subconsciously avoiding it? My husband even went with me last week and it was our sole purpose but yet we both left without them and didn't realize until we got home. Our goal this weekend is to pick out the colors...successfully.

On other news we seem to have narrowed down the name to two choices. I am not in love with either of them. Neither is my husband. I like them both. One of the names was one of our choices for a boy when we were pregnant with JJ and the other is the only boy name I liked before we knew Janessa was a girl. We can't seem to find one we both love and agree on.

The other day JJ came over to me and asked "Where is the baby name book? Thats it you guys have had your turn. I am going to find him a name". I laughed so hard. Then I realized how sad it was that even he knows at age seven that we should have a name picked out already!

Here he is looking for a name:

Another ENORMOUS step was creating a registry two weekends ago. I never did a registry while pregnant with Janessa. I was not entirely positive I would be having a second shower. I later found out that one was planned for us. I did have a small inkling though :) It was a surprise shower that was planned for Saturday, May 16th. That ended up being two days after Janessa passed away. We came home from the hospital that day empty handed and distraught to the very spot where there should have been a baby shower hosted just hours before. My mother used all the food she had prepped for the shower for Janessa's funeral the following Monday. Isn't that something.

I wasn't sure how I felt about having a baby shower this time around. I tossed the idea of maybe expressing my desire to have a 'meet and greet' shower after the baby was born. It wasn't until about a month ago that I started to feel that it wasn't fair to this baby not to allow hope & excitement of his arrival. There was shower for JJ and one planned for Janessa. I didn't want to have to explain to him when he was older why he attended his own baby shower. How would I explain that? "We weren't positive you would be coming home son...". I don't like those thoughts. I want to surround myself with some positivity. Some happiness.

Although the progress in preparations has been slow, I am hoping that in the weeks to come that will change. I love the moments my mind and heart allows me to dream of bringing him home. I love to picture JJ with his little brother. To think of the joy having another child around will bring to our lives. The love he will add to our home. I'm clinging to those moments of peace & positivity. Its what gets me through each and every day.

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