Category Archives: Pregnancy After Loss

Due Date | 2

Dear Enzo,

Your shirt says Brave Little Man. And that means more to me than just a common nickname preceded by a trendy adjective.

You are 19 weeks old today. Your sibling might have been 1 year.

Brave’s heart beat before yours. A strong flutter that was here then gone, that’s all we got to know of him or her. And yet from it we learned so much about God and love and the sanctity of human life.

When I wrote about our first baby’s due date last year, I had just recently found out I was pregnant with you. And I was terrified. Of more pain. More loss. Unknowns and inevitable hurdles. But I didn’t want to be consumed by fear. I wanted to honor Brave and show God gratitude for you. By having courage. Being brave. 

I did my best and my best was wobbly…yet resolute. Because I felt them with me. They held me up and helped me through. And I pray you will always feel them too. That you will walk in calm assurance, knowing wherever you go, whatever you do, God and Brave go before you.

Love,
Mom

Due Date | 1

Enzo Alan: Birth Story

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Enzo Alan Frederick was due September 17th, but I always felt he would arrive early. Even with all the anecdotals about how the firstborn is typically late…I just knew. That said, the closer we got to his due date, the more I hoped he would be late so we could finish the paint and carpet, if not the nursery. The way it worked out, we had 3 contractors scheduled to be at our house the morning my OB said I needed to be induced. (straight lipped emoji)

As I got ready for my appointment that day, I considered doing my hair and makeup, and taking my go bag…just in case…but there had been 0 dilation the week before and I felt nothing so I showed up with wet hair, no makeup, no go bag, and no clue of how my whole life was about to change.

After my weekly NST, the doctor came in and explained that I was contracting (I wasn’t feeling it yet) and each time I did, my cord became compressed, causing the baby’s heart rate to drop. It wasn’t an emergency situation yet but she didn’t want to take the chance of sending me home and having it become one. Especially considering I wasn’t feeling the current contractions. By the time I could feel them, the baby could potentially be in serious trouble. So she felt it would be best to induce and monitor both of us.

She gave me instructions on what to do next, then told me to eat breakfast since it was the last meal I’d be able to have for awhile. When she left the room, Ron and I looked at each other…stunned. We were having a baby. Like, soon.

Oh Jesus, take the wheel. Father come near. This is NOT what we expected to hear.

Ron went home to let the painters in (they were standing at our doorstep at this point) and wait for my older brother (who was conveniently in town from out of state, with nothing pressing to do that day) to come babysit the rest of the contractors in case he needed to leave in a hurry to get to me.

Meanwhile I went to the cafeteria and choked down a muffin, too nervous to eat more (unfortunate at the time, tragic many hours later). I called and text friends and family, then went upstairs to be checked in, at 11am.

By 12pm I had signed all the paperwork and been hooked up to all the machines. The nurse placed my first round of cytotec, an induction drug.

At 4pm, I had not dilated any further, so a second round was placed. After the second round back pain began. Our precious little babe was head down but facing the wrong way. A “stargazer” some call it. That is what caused the back labor and eventually lead to a variety of interventions to try and get him to roll over.

At 8pm the nurses said I still hadn’t progressed. They called my doctor for next steps. Meanwhile the back pain intensified, as did my hunger.

At 9pm my new nurse took pity on me and brought me chicken broth, jello, and water since I was nowhere near active labor or potentially having a c-section. I swear to you it was the BEST meal of my entire life. Not even kidding. I was that hungry. I hadn’t had a full meal in over 24 hours at that point.

At 10pm the doctor came in and said I had progressed to a 2 and was able to break my water. The nurses began aggressively pushing pitocin to try and speed things along, and I went ahead and got my epidural in anticipation of everything moving very quickly going forward.

Except it didn’t. Move quickly. It didn’t move at all.

From 10pm-5am the nurses rolled me into various positions in an attempt to get the baby facing in a more optimal delivery position. They also inserted a special device to monitor my contractions because they weren’t being picked up consistently by the outer machine.

And they did an amnio infusion because breaking my water without going into active labor was negatively affecting the baby and he needed a little more room to move around.

AND they kept messing with the rate of my pitocin because increasing contractions without an increase in dilation wasn’t helping the baby either.

In other words I wasn’t sleeping, strangers were constantly all up in my biz (literally) and I was once again starving. Also I had chills.

At 5am I began to feel contractions and the back pain was super painful. With each contraction I felt a ton of water leaving my body, until I was laying in a pool of it. I didn’t know if it was amniotic fluid or pee…embarrassing. But whatever. I was just praying it meant that I had finally started to dilate and we could get this show on the road.

At 6am my doctor came in and said I still wasn’t dilated past a 2, which made me want to cry. She said I felt warm so they took my temperature and I had spiked a fever. With a fever, there was a chance that if I continued to labor in hopes of a natural delivery, I could pass it along to the baby and he would have to spend the first two days in the NICU. The choice was Ron’s and mine, I could do a C-section now, or keep laboring. She wouldn’t let me go past 24 hours of my water being broken though so I only had until 10pm to deliver before a c-section would be necessary.

Ron and I discussed it and decided we’d much rather avoid a NICU stay for our little babe, than keep trying for a natural delivery. To be perfectly honest I also had sincere doubt about whether I could labor for an entire day more with no food. (When a c-section is a possibility you are only allowed to have ice chips.)

Once the decision was made, a team assembled and began working quickly to get me back to the OR. In a short moment of quiet, I turned to look at Ron and tried not to cry as I said,

I’m afraid I won’t be a good parent.

He didn’t miss a beat with his response:

You don’t have to be good. You just have to be marginal. No need to be extraordinary. Just keep him alive and I’ll be the good parent when I get home.

That made me laugh, and not long after I was wheeled back to the OR.

In the OR, I couldn’t stop shaking. They covered me in warm blankets but what I could still feel continued to shake uncontrollably. I started crying out of exhaustion and fear. Ron never stopped looking at me, holding my hand, stroking my hair and trying to keep me calm. When Enzo was finally out, he stepped away to take video (which is awesome to have, yet weird to see yourself on a table like that.) but quickly returned to me until it was time to hold our baby and bring him over to me.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016. 7:04am. 6 lbs, 14 oz, 19 inches.

He was here. He was healthy. Perfect, actually. And I couldn’t believe it. It felt surreal then, and it still feels surreal now at times.

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As my OB closed up, she told me my pelvis is very small. She made several comments about it, not believing how little space I had. Apparently it’s too small for childbirth, which is why I never progressed in dilation. If we have more children, I will have to have them all by c-section. That blew my mind, I didn’t know a pelvis could be too small to bear children. It makes me equally sad and grateful. Grateful for modern medicine, sad to think of what would have happened if I didn’t have access to it. Both Enzo and I probably would not have survived. 

I’ll share more about my recovery, these first few weeks, and Enzo’s name when I start the monthly updates. I just wanted to get the birth story written down before I forgot it all. Only two weeks out and I already had to go back through text messages to see what happened when. However, I will say that overall and so far, Ron and I have handled the transition gracefully. I give God all the glory for that for real. Because this parenting business is legit challenging.

We’re learning as we go, taking it one day at a time. We don’t know much right now, but we do know we would do absolutely anything for you, Enzo.

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37 Weeks

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Final baby shower was race themed! <3

How far along: 37 weeks

Gender: BOY!

Symptoms: The swelling in my hands and feet is getting kind of obnoxious, especially when I’m laying in bed. Also I have GOT to pace myself better when it comes to manual labor, because hot dang. I paid for all the cleaning I did before last weekend’s baby shower. My body felt like I had run a marathon with no training. Pretty sure I’m still recovering. Granted I took it to a level that far exceeded what’s normal and necessary according to all sane, non-preggo people. For example, I spent Friday night scooting around the main floor on a pillow, dusting then scrubbing the baseboards. By the time I was done I had bags under my red, watery eyes and I felt like my back might snap in half. But that didn’t stop me from then mopping the floor and vacuuming the staircase! All the white trim and doors look fabulous and I feel really good about it but I’m already having anxiety about how long it will last. Like when I pay to have gel polish on my fingers and then my nails grow out sooner than I want and I’m like NO! STOP! You are supposed to last longer than that! I need a baby to distract me from myself.

Cravings: Red Baron 4 cheese personal pan pizzas. I feel like I’m in elementary every time I eat them but man they taste SO GOOD to me right now.

Aversions:  Same.

Workouts: See Symptoms.

Weight Gain: 41 pounds. But still no stretch marks and my belly button is in.

Movement:  It’s like he has toy cars in his hands and he’s ramming them into my pelvic bone. He has yet to kick me in the ribs though so I guess I’m glad it’s not both!

Best Moment(s): Main floor baseboards, doors, cabinets, and windows have been cleaned (I may do the upstairs this week. We’ll see. It’s a little hot up there. We are going to call a heating and cooling person to come check it out.) Hospital bag has been packed. And the final shower was just as fun and sweet as the others. <3

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14067427_10100233203241048_2995549157303462021_nRace themed since it was with my mom’s Speedway card club friends.

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Not My Finest Moment:
Technically not during Week 37 since it happened last night, but whatever. It occurred before this post. So my plan was to make this meal with spaghetti squash and vegan meatballs.

And first I failed to read the directions thoroughly so I cooked the spaghetti squash too early. Therefore it was sitting out while I was still trying to finish up the ball mix, which themselves would need 40 MINUTES to cook. Already a dilemma, then the mix happened to be a lot more time consuming than I anticipated, with all sorts of chopping and mixing and blending and nonsense I was not in the mood for.

2 hours in the kitchen and I was almost done with them when I got out what was SUPPOSED to be ground flaxseed, only to discover we accidentally bought whole flaxseed. So I tried to pound them to a pulp but that didn’t work. Then I decided to try putting them in the mini processor but I couldn’t find the blade to it (Thank God we don’t have kids living in this house yet or that would have been a whole other detour) so I went with the big blender instead. As I was cleaning it out from it’s last task, I sliced my finger and had to run back to the master bathroom to get a bandaid. As I was walking and applying I realized it was the tiniest bandaid ever made and had to go back for another one, which just irritated me all the more.

I finally got the seeds in the blender and of course that didn’t work, they were too small. So then I was like forget it, I’ll just throw them in whole and see how it goes. Except it was supposed to be a powder mixed with water, not seeds, so that threw off the whole consistency of the mix. I tried to fix that with more olive oil and it was just a mess. So I abandoned the entire recipe and went with a garlic butter + pasta sauce situation for the squash, with bread and salad. A recipe that I could have completed in 1/4 the time I’d already spent in the kitchen. By then it was almost 9pm and I was so tired and pissed I started crying. And for some reason when I cry while pregnant, my chin breaks out in hives. Around 9:30 I finally got dinner on the table and Ron walked in to see me bleeding and crying with hives on my face and fire in my eyes.

We sat down to eat and I tried to explain to him why I was such a train wreck, which made me start laughing hysterically (because it was all do ridiculous), while still somewhat crying…and all I could think was Oh this poor kid, getting me for a mom.  

Looking Forward To: Paint and carpet! Not this week but next, for the paint. Carpet is a whole other ordeal I don’t even want to talk about right now, but we are still holding onto a shred of hope that it will be able to be completed just after the paint. So…yeah. At my appointment today the NP checked my cervix and she was like I’m sorry, nothing going on. And I was like NO. That’s GOOD. I need TIME. Lots and lots of time. So please, baby. Make like your parents and be more than fashionably late. 

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Honest Blue, for the sitting room. It’s currently red, from when it was the dining room. We put an off white slipcover couch and two dark blue chairs in there, with glass coffee and side tables. This color is a few shades lighter than the chairs on the color stick so it should go well. Here’s hoping anyway!

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Balmy, for the nursery. It’s currently greige.

-paints-stains-and-glazes respite

Respite, for the accent color in a little step up area in the nursery. That area is currently chocolate brown.

All these colors look darker on the screen than they do in the room. Hopefully we love them, it was so hard to make a decision!

 

Random

Thanks everyone for the hospital bag advice! Here’s what I have so far:

1. Toiletries
2. Towel
3. Flip flops
4. Slippers (an old pair. I bought a new pair for the house in case the hospital ones get ruined.)
5. Tucks, in case they don’t give me any. I know they will give me a lot but hospitals can differ on what “a lot” means and I’d rather not take my chances when it comes to pain relief items.
6. A perineal spray, in case they don’t give me any. I wanted to get dermoblast but Target didn’t have it. So I went with the crunchy version.

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I was also going to get the cream but I was trying to stick to a budget on that shopping trip. I may still get it soon. But you guys, it’s so hard for me to take this packaging seriously.
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The wings, the nakedness, the clasped hands, the facial expression….STOP IT. I can’t.

7. A perineal bottle, in case they don’t give me one.

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8. Colace
9. Necessary undergarment items.
10. Pajamas (includes nursing bras and tanks, and a robe.) and a going home outfit. (Baby has his own bag with clothing options.)

I’m seriously most excited about these pajamas. I tried on this set from Target and it was the FIRST time I felt comfortable in PJs while pregnant. The material is SO nice, I’m obsessed.

I have just had THE hardest time finding things to fit me without being too tight, too baggy, or too long and I don’t like to wear nightgowns every single night. I love these so much I bought them in black and blue.

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I have pants too, because these may not be cute (or safe) when I’m walking around in a diaper, but they are SO nice for right now and will be for when we come home. I know I may never even get into them in the hospital but it’s worth taking a pair in case I’m feeling bold and want to change. They’re so magical I know they would instantly make me feel good. Or better anyway. ;)

I also plan to take my pillow, phone, and charger. We haven’t packed many snacks yet because Ron works where I am delivering and has access to all the water and snacks in the physician’s lounge. Which is handy. I hadn’t thought of that until I called him for feedback on what type of mini oreos to get lol.

While shopping this week I managed to find polar bear hooded towels, wash cloths, bath toys, etc. I couldn’t pass them up but after receiving some polar bear onesies at the shower I am now banned from more polar bear clothes. Which just means I can focus on decor… ;)

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The goal for this week is to move all my holiday items to the garage and put the baby items in our second pantry (a walk-in closet with lots of shelving. a gift from God Himself, I swear) downstairs so its easier to access the first few months. I don’t anticipate spending much time upstairs for awhile. Once we finish the nursery I’ll put things up there but I still want to use that closet space in the main living area for some of the gear, toys, extra diapers, burp cloths, etc. so they can be quickly accessed or stashed when we need it or are tired of looking at it.

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20 weeks
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18 Weeks
Pregnancy So Far (up to 17 weeks)
God is on the Move (announcement)

36 Weeks

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All that happened last week was a lot of cleaning and some organizing of baby clothes and gifts. I’m getting kind of bored with these, to be honest. I feel like my stomach never looks bigger than the week before anymore. It is, according to the measurements at the doctor. But not very visible in these photos. 

How far along: 36 weeks

Gender: BOY!

Symptoms: In this week’s edition of crazy dreams, I dreamed he was born with very short legs and big feet. I may or may not have started yelling about our baby being a dwarf. Then I apologized to him for his tiny shins and the great obstacle this will be in his life. Quite dramatic and vain, my subconscious. Even if he is a dwarf, he will be a handsome one with a bright future. No worries.

Cravings: Crackers and cheese cubes.

Aversions:  Same.

Workouts: Yoga + Weights. I’m really hoping when the weight starts to come off there might be some new muscle under there. I can do more lunges, squats, and wall sits now than I could before I was pregnant.

Weight Gain: 39 pounds.

Movement:  He gets the hiccups at night and usually first thing in the morning. It’s cute but of course I am all about documenting and watching the clock because I read on Dr. Google they can be a sign of a compressed cord or a cord wrapped around the baby’s neck. His don’t last long enough or occur so frequently that it’s a concern but…high alert just incase over here.

Best Moment:  I didn’t see 1 second of rush hour traffic and it. was. glorious. My back feels better in general because I do a lot less sitting in a desk chair or in my car. I’m usually moving around the house and if I’m not, I can lay instead of sit. Something about sitting up just kills.

Not My Finest Moment: Everyone’s new favorite question is: Is your nursery finished? The answer is NO. Not even close. The second most popular question is Are you ready for this baby to be born? The answer is NO. Not even close.

I won’t get into the details of why this is so, because it just stresses me out. There is one Hail Mary Jesus Hallelujah way that we will have the nursery and guest rooms mostly set up (complete is impossible) before the baby is born, and that’s if he is late and I’m induced at 41 weeks. (My induction date is September 22nd at 7pm, by the way. They scheduled it yesterday in case he doesn’t come before then.) I have felt for awhile that he will be early, but I would not be surprised in the LEAST if he’s late. Because that’s how it works when it comes to me stressing out and trying to rush Ron. He tells me it will be fine, I tell him IT MOST CERTAINLY WILL NOT BE and then it’s fine. We get somewhere late and the food’s not ready or only half the people have arrived and he’s all See?? and I’m all This doesn’t count. But it does count because life rewards the chill far more often than it does the spaz. In this relationship anyway.

And yes yes YES I know. The baby won’t care. We don’t actually need the nursery to be done, or half the items on our registry to be bought. This has nothing to do with the baby and everything to do with ME and my hormones and general wish for SOMETHING IN THIS LOVELY HOUSE TO BE COMPLETE. It’s a process, furnishing a house. I get it. And I completely respect Ron’s timeline because a. it’s his money funding this campaign and b. he is able to afford more than ever I could, faster than I ever could, in much better quality, than I EVER IN MY LIFE could. So I just need to buckle up and hush. He’ll get me there, eventually. And I will be oh-so-very happy with the end product. I always am. Think engagement…wedding…house purchase…

So yeah. It will be fine. Also, on the upside, the longer it takes us the more likely we’ll hit winter season with retail stuff. Meaning we will be able to do a much better job with the arctic theme in the nursery.

In the meantime, if you are looking for a list of (boring, but work with me) things I am in control of that you can ask me about without watching me melt into a puddle of anxiety, here they are:

1. The doors.
2. The cabinets
3. The baseboards.

They’re all white and dusty/smudged and will probably be the death of me with children but I’ve got one shot at seeing them ALL sparkly clean at once and it’s now. THIS IS MY TIME, I WILL SEIZE IT.

4. The windows.

I can’t reach all of them and probably shouldn’t be on a ladder. But what I can get to with my feet on the ground, I will clean. It’ll be more than you think. We have apparatuses.

5, Meal planning.

I hope to start planning ahead with Plan to Eat, and getting a few freezer meals done so we don’t order out every single night.

6. Packing my hospital bag. It’s not done yet but I ordered a special weekender bag and it arrived yesterday so…I’m going to get on it! Help me people. What do I need? What should I leave?

Looking Forward To: I have one more shower this weekend. If you’re keeping count, that’s number FOUR. It’s absurd how loved you are, Little Man. 

 

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20 weeks
19 Weeks

18 Weeks
Pregnancy So Far (up to 17 weeks)
God is on the Move (announcement)