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Friday, July 29, 2011

My First Letter - July 29th, 2011

This letter was written in my Journaling class at Partial Hospitalization; it's inspired me to start -and hopefully continue- this blog.

My dear angels:

It's been rough. Next week I have looming the due date of you, my first, while still mourning you, my second. I had such hopes and dreams for both of you, visions of being a family, plans for every holiday and the future. Your daddy was so excited too; though we won't know you, hold you again, or even really know "boy or girl" until we meet you in heaven, we love you both so very much and miss you every hour of every day. Our lives are better for your short time with us, and we will always love you.

I am so sorry I was unable to give you both the burial and memorial you deserve. I feel guilty, and and to think about it breaks my heart. I feel that my body failed us both, and I pray you were at least happy while you lived within me. I never felt your kicks or saw you suck your thumb, we will never get to see you grow and learn, but you were still so loved by your daddy and me. You had wonderful grandparents that would have spoiled you rotten - grandma had even bought a rocking horse, blankets, and fabric for baby quilts and outfits. You each touched the lives of everyone who was lucky enough to know about your short lives.

The days I lost each of you are the darkest days of my life. Nothing compares to the pain of losing a child, even one you never knew. My heart shattered each time, and a small part of died with each of you. I know you both are safe in heaven, playing with your grandma and uncle, but mommy and daddy miss you very much here on earth. My heart aches for you. Though we may someday give you a brother or sister here, you will always have a special place in our hearts. No one can replace you; you were our babies too.

As the years go by, I will wonder what you would have been like. more like mommy, or more like daddy? Or perhaps you would have been a completely unique, confusing little person! Who would get your first smile? What would your first word have been? Blonde with blue eyes, or brown hair with dark eyes? Would you have become a doctor, lawyer, preacher or psychologist? Every day I wonder.

I don't understand why we lost you. I will probably never understand. I want you back more than words could ever express, and both your daddy and I mourn daily. As time passes, we learn how to make the pain more bearable, but it will never go away. We have learned how to function and go about life, while the grief remains just below the surface. You were loved from the moment we knew of you, and will always be loved till the moment we die.

Your Mommy.

A Little about Me

I guess I should start things off by talking a little about me. I think I'm going to mostly tell you about what's going on currently, what led me to start this blog. My name is Angela, I'm twenty one years old, and have been married for just over a year (June 19, 2010). I have one dog (Ellie Mae - Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler) and four cats (Hobbes, Alice, Fancy, and Gizmo). They are my babies; I love each of them dearly. I am bipolar, not a lot of people in my personal life know really; I've also had an eating disorder, and been a cutter. At this point in my life, I'm very depressed. Why? Well, that's why I'm starting this blog. I am a mother, but not to everyone; I have no living children, but I've been pregnant twice. I've experienced the horror that is miscarriage not once, but twice over the last six months. I have the due date of my first angel looming - next Friday, August 5th. I am also mourning the loss of my second, as I had the D&C last Tuesday (July 19).

Children were never in my plan. Marriage, actually, wasn't even originally in my plan. But through a lot of craziness, both have happened. My first pregnancy was as big of a shock as it could be; six months after my wedding, on Thanksgiving Day 2010, I went to the ER due to extreme back pain after wrenching it when a horse I had been riding earlier in the week spooked. The doctor asked me, "Could you be pregnant?" as they wanted to do an x-ray. My response? "Probably not." We were not preventing, but I had no reason to think I was - no symptoms aside from my normal period symptoms, which was due the next day. I had packed all the necessary female products needed, I was prepared. She decided it was better safe then sorry, and did a urine test. My husband and I joked during the 10-15 minutes that she was gone about it being positive, but we were both POSITIVE it wasn't. However, when she came back in, she paused a moment and then said... "you're pregnant."

Both my husband and I were completely shell-shocked. What, pregnant, me?! I'd never even been to an OB, I hated doctors; I didn't think this would ever happen for me. That day I told my parents and grandparents, and began to try to wrap my head around what was happening... I didn't want kids! But a baby - aww, babies are cute. They make messes, you're gonna be pregnant on your 21st birthday! If it's a girl, you can put dresses and bows on it and have lots of pink! ... I had every single conflicting thought and emotion you could possibly have over the next few weeks. I'd veer daily from excitement to despair about my life changing so much without my 'permission' so to speak, without a chance to prepare. My emotions and mood swings were up and down constantly; but when we heard that fast heartbeat in January, at 10 weeks 3 days pregnant, I knew I loved it. That made it so much more real! Though I still had my lows, I began to grow excited for the gender ultrasound; we were going to schedule it at my new appointment, which would be occuring when I was just over 15 weeks pregnant.

However, it wasn't to be. Friday, February 11th, 2011, my world came crashing down. We had a LOT happen to use in that first year of marriage, but nothing compares to that day. I had a small amount of blood the night before, but thought nothing of it (besides a little panic) because I'd had NO spotting before, and there was no cramping. Around 1 am, after falling asleep at 11, I awoke to cramping. It wasn't painful, just... uncomfortable. I couldn't get comfy for the life of me! After several hours of fitful sleep, I was up at 7, intending to head to the ER to get an ultrasound to put my mind at ease. Instead, around 7:30 am, my water broke. At first, I thought it was blood! It was horrible; a sudden gigantic gush of liquid. But when I saw no blood, my heart completely dropped as I realized my water had broken; I knew it was over. I ran to the bathroom, and there I lost my tiny baby. It wasn't 15 weeks, it appeared to have stopped developing around 11 - a mere week after hearing what we thought was a perfectly healthy heartbeat. I screamed for my husband, who called our pastor and my parents, and helped me get the baby out of the toilet (I still feel guilty for that being where I delivered it).

I began to bleed, profusely, as my body worked to clear out everything it had prepared for the baby. As it finally slowed, around 8:30 (things happened quickly), we headed to the ER. I spent nine hours in the ER that day, with doctors and nurses expressing their condolences, pelvic exams, ultrasound, people in and out - I was numb, I didn't feel anything. I was told they were going to do a D&C as some of the placenta was still attached though my cervix was closed. I went in; I remember being just as numb when I got out of surgery, wanting to sleep as long as possible so as not to think about what was going on, what had happened.

The doctors refused to do any testing. "It's just the first one, we don't do testing," I was told. I pushed; they said no. While I was in surgery, they took the baby to the Pathologists... I paid (I know by the bill) $225 for them to tell me at my follow-up what I already knew - that it was around 11 weeks and 'looked' normal. I was crushed; I had no way of buying a casket or burying it, they never tested and at 11 weeks gender was not very visible - I don't know if my angel was a boy or girl. I hate referring to them as 'it' but... I don't want to call them by the wrong gender either. I regret greatly not finding a way to bury or cremate the baby, so that I could have a memorial. What really affected me was it's tiny face, though not completely developed I could see it's closed eyes, nose, open mouth; tiny hands, itty bitty feet. It was amazing to see that my body had made that, something so precious... and then lost it. Even at 11 weeks, it was undeniably a human child, albeit very small. I'll never forget what they looked like.

Fast forward to June 16th, three cycles later. I got no form of testing, was given no aide or suggestions. I decided that month that my husband and I would wait for winter to come before trying anymore; getting a negative each month when my cycle was varying would get me so down. However, I decided to test around the time I knew it was due, because I had a weekend of drinking planned. I did the home test, and when it wasn't immediately positive, went back to bed. I came back 20 minutes later to find a second pink line. I didn't know what to think! Was it an evap? Was it really positive? I had my mom get me a two pack of First Response tests. I took one the next morning - there was a VERY faint second line within the time limit. Was it still an evap? It had to be! I had thought we hadn't 'done the deed' at the right time to have a chance that month. Saturday, I took it first thing in the morning... right away there was no mistaking that second line. I was pregnant! I was ecstatic; I naively thought God wouldn't take two away from us. He wouldn't do that, not with everything else we'd been through (loss of jobs, loss of home, loss of insurance, living with my parents, losing our first, etc). I told my husband on June 19th, 2011 - our first anniversary, and also father's day. I was so excited, and so was he! I felt hopeful.

That hope was crushed at the first appointment. I went to a new OB clinic when I thought I was 5 weeks and a few days, coming in for bloodwork. They decided to do an ultrasound; it showed a tiny sac that measured 'perfect' for 4.5 weeks. I worried immediately. They did bloodwork - my first hcg was 1,460. That was good, they said! It matched what they were seeing. The second hcg level came back - 2,096. Not good, they told me; your levels need to double, and they aren't. I researched frantically, trying to find things to reassure myself. I found a little, and tried to calm down. Two weeks later, we marched in there for a second ultrasound. The sac had grown, but... the tech could find nothing inside it. No yolk sac, no fetal pole, and most importantly... no baby. I was devastated; I'd read about and heard of blighted ovums, a fluke miscarriage when something is so fundamentally wrong with (usually) the egg that it fails to develop, though the gestational sac grows. How could this be happening, why?! They took my blood again; level came back at over 7,000. It had been two weeks; it should have been much higher. I knew it. However, the doctor wanted to do one more ultrasound, so a week later I did the dreaded walk back into the ultrasound room, and again - a completely empty sac. I had begun spotting over the weekend before (the ultrasound was Monday) and knew things had come to an end.

The doctor was incredibly sweet. She came in and apologized for what had happened to me, and immediately told me she intended to do testing on my husband and I, and that she would get us a baby. She said we could wait a week and see if I miscarried naturally, but Carl and I decided that a D&C as soon as possible would be the only way to preserve my sanity through this. She got me scheduled for the very next day, July 19th, at 2:30 pm. So I had the surgery again, and once more I came home to find myself faced with the despair and disbelief that this had happened again. Why? What had I done to deserve all that was going to very wrong in my life? I'd been raised a Christian, but I could not forgive God for taking another baby from me.

So here we are, July 29th. I started partial hospitalization at a mental health hospital about 45 minutes from my house on Thursday, starting at 8:30 am - 4 pm, Monday through Friday. Things are bad between Carl and I, I have what should have been the due date of my first angel coming rapidly, and I am still bleeding slightly from the most recent loss. I've been unmedicated for months because of pregnancy and then trying again, and I've never in my life felt as low and depressed as I found myself this week. I got the idea for this blog after a class today on journaling as therapy. I wrote a letter to my babies today, fighting back tears as I wrote for twenty minutes. I felt better afterwards; not better, really, but almost relieved that I had been able to get so much out. I decided that I would journal, but in the form of letters written to my lost babies, as though to let them know what is happening with their mommy and daddy down here on earth. I hope you enjoy, however you can, or perhaps find some sort of hope through my journey. I would love to talk to other angel mommies, read and recommend books on grief and loss of this sort, things like that.