Saturday, May 8, 2010

The whole story (sort of)

I think I need to write this. I've been forcing it to the back of my brain for the past 11 days, but I know I need to deal with it. It's effecting me more than I probably realize and I hope that this helps.

The last few weeks before Hannah's birth, I had been burdened by a lot of worry and fear. I couldn't shake the feeling of something being wrong. I think I wrote about it here a few days before she was born.

I went to the hospital on the Saturday before Hannah Mae was born because her movements felt different to me. She was still passing her kick counts, but the forcefulness and strength seemed different. It was like she was tired and groggy all the time. Chris and I had a big day of nesting planned, but after breakfast I decided that it wasn't worth the worry so we went in for a NST at L&D. She looked great and produced a good strip (there were a few variables, but her recovery was good). My doctor came to the hospital for a delivery and stopped in to check on us. I think the look on my face said it all and after talking for a bit he said that he was beginning to think that delivering her at 36 weeks might be best for everyone. We were shocked, but pretty excited. He felt my belly and decided to do an ultrasound to check her positioning. She was breech. All this time she had been head down and we just had to laugh that the little squirt had turned the week before delivery. He said that her movements probably felt different because she had turned and told me to come back again the next day for another NST.

Sunday's NST showed her still doing well but she did have more variables and I think I saw concern on the nurse's face when she told me (but I could be making this up... there was definitely concern on my face and in my heart). My doctor told me to call the high risk doctor in the morning to make an appointment to get his opinion on delivering her at 36 weeks.

Monday was ... I can't even find the right word to describe Monday. I emailed a few friends and asked them to pray because we were going to decide when to deliver Hannah Mae. I was pretty freaked out, but honestly couldn't begin to imagine what would actually happen at that appointment.

My mom was in town because my dad had been admitted to the hospital on Saturday morning with arterial flutter, so she came with me to the appointment. I don't know what I would have done if I had been alone. Chris couldn't come with me and I honestly thought that if he came then something definitely would be wrong (what kind of logic is this? very very screwed up logic, not to mention theology).

The ultrasound tech checked all her measurements and as I've have quite a number of ultrasounds, I've learned to look at the week that her head, tummy, arms and legs measure and can get a sense of what's going on from my very limited knowledge. I knew something was wrong from the beginning. One weird thing was that she had turned and was now head down again (the little stinker!). Her overall growth was now below the 10th percentile and she was mostly measuring around 31-33 weeks. There was increased  pressure in her brain which was an indicator that she was having to work too hard to get what she needed from the placenta.
The high risk doctor came in and checked her over and got a really concerned look on his face. He spent a good 5 minutes looking over my history and hemmed and hawed over everything in my chart. At this point, I was crying and feeling completely broken. It was happening again. My baby was struggling to get what she needed, just like Owen.

The doctor told us to come with him to his office and we'd call my doctor to consult over when to deliver. All this time, I hadn't been able to look over at my mom. I knew that once I did, I wouldn't be able to hold the sobs back. I got off the table and my mom took me in her arms and told me I was doing so well... and that's when I lost it. I almost collapsed in the hallway. I haven't been been that out of control (outside of when they told us Owen had died) in public and as embarrassed as I was, I couldn't stop the sobs or the words coming out of mouth. I can't do this again is all I could say.

Both my doctors decided that the risk of something happening in the span of a few days wasn't worth it the benefit of her lungs getting a few more days of maturity. We needed to deliver her now. For the first time, I saw compassion and empathy in the eyes of the high risk doctor (whom I not so lovingly have called 'Dr. Poor Bedside Manner'). He mentioned the words 'recurrent' and 'growth restriction'. Three words I would pay to never hear again- but there they are and there is no denying that something was happening to cause her growth restriction. And that the same thing happened to Owen. I think I remember the high risk doctor mentioning something about the placenta, but I was so distraught so there's no telling what all he said.
I hope to have some answers one day. I hope to get a bigger picture of how and why my body has now twice caused my babies to have growth restriction.

I could seriously punch a hole in the wall.

We are overjoyed OVERJOYED that Hannah Mae is alive and healthy, living on the outside where we can hold her and stare at her perfection and hear her unbelievably girly squeal. But I won't lie and say that the past two weeks have been easy. Her birth wasn't what I expected... I didn't think (I feared it every day) but I honestly didn't believe that we would be staring at the same situation that caused Owen to die. I feel... I don't know what I feel... but the emotions of the past two weeks have been hard to process.

I'm on cloud nine that she's in our arms. I'm exhausted by her sweet newborn perfection. I'm exhausted from an emergency c-section (this is a whole different story) and recovery. I'm pissed that my baby girl could have died. I'm crazy with hormones and postpartum emotions. I'm frustrated that my body AGAIN couldn't provide for my baby. I'm crazy in love with this little girl and terrified all at the same time.
I am struggling fiercely with not guarding my heart against her because I'm afraid of losing her. I'm dealing with all the feelings of incompetency and insecurity of a first time mom BUT I'm not a first time mom and I'm pissed that I don't know what I'm doing. I'm so angry that Owen isn't the first baby I'll care for. I feel robbed.
And about all the negative crap I'm feeling- I'm completely burdened with guilt over.

Why can't I just enjoy my sweet Hannah Mae? This is what I've been waiting for and I feel so guilty that there's so much crap swirling around in my head. I feel like a failure. I feel unworthy and ungrateful.

I know I'm safe and secure in the Lord Jesus- this is what my ever steady husband tells me everyday, but I don't feel safe. I feel crazy.

And I feel SO bad that this post is so negative. I'm sure this is not what everyone is expecting and for that, I'm sorry. Thank you all for praying for us and for covering Hannah Mae with prayer. The Lord is faithful and even though life is not what we expect and sometimes not what we ask for, He is still loving and faithful. You have pointed me to Jesus and his love more than I can say. Thank you.

I didn't want to publish this right before Mother's day but my hands and mind keep coming back here to write and I just need to post it.

I will remember all your precious children tomorrow as I remember mine... the ones we can't see or hold as well as the ones we have in our arms.


Tonya said...

I'm so glad you posted this. The truth is the truth. I love your raw honesty. In my opinion, I think you're dealing with normal postpartum emotions but not a normal postpartum situation, considering all that you went through with Owen and events/emotions leading up to Hannah's birth. For what it's worth, I have felt time and time again that my body has failed me. We can talk about that more in person. It's not a great feeling, especially when pregnancy is so easy for others. Even mothers who have never lost a child struggle with guilt and negative feelings. Give yourself some grace. Feel the emotions as they come. For even among the negative thoughts/feelings you are trying to process and work through, I know without a shadow of a doubt that you love that sweet precious girl that you hold in your arms. And I believe she feels it too. I wish Owen had been the first baby for you to physically care for outside of the's not fair and it pisses me off for you too! You are NOT a first-time mother, but you ARE a first-time caregiver to a newborn; and loss or no loss, it is a gloriously beautiful and stressful and exhausting time. I feel that I'm starting to ramble. I want to talk to you in person when you're up to it. I want to see and hear you with my own eyes and ears. I think of you all the time. Pray for you often. Love you so much. Thank God for you. Here's this kind of (((HUG))) until I can give you a real one in person.


Sara said...

I right away thought the same thing that Tonya did... I am so glad that you posted this... you needed to get it out. I think letting out all of those emotions that are so overwhelming is the only way we can process things sometimes. Your feelings are real and valid...

You are an amazing Mommy to both of your kids... you honor Owen is such wonderful ways, you love him deeply from so far away. And I know you are a great mommy to Hannah Mae as you care for her here on earth. Ebe , you are beautiful, and I love that you don't sugar coat things. We need more honesty, even when it is gut level difficult.

I continue to pray for you Ebe, that the Lord would help you to find a way to balance all you are feeling. Praying for you as you celebrate your Mother's Day with Hannah here and Owen with Jesus... and Grady... and Samuel... and so many more.

Sending Love Ebe!

Post Tenebras Lux said...

One sentence in this post jumps out at me. "Why can't I just enjoy my sweet Hannah Mae?"

It seems to me that it would be irrational to expect yourself (or for anyone else to expect you) to be 100% enjoyment. Even mothers of newborns who don't have loss and trauma surrounding pregnancy and birth are unhappy in the first weeks.

Your body is healing (and would be even without a c-section; the c-section ups the ante). Your hormones are out of whack and make you feel lousy physically and emotionally. You're tired (which makes everything look worse regardless). Having a baby is a big change even if everything goes exactly as you'd dreamed it would!

You don't need to feel crazy. The things you mention are *all* normal things to feel, particularly when you remember that you are also dealing with losing Owen, Sunshine, and Chipmunk, and with a traumatic birth experience.

Hugs to you, and prayers.

Ashley said...

Be gentle with yourself! You can not help feel what you feel. Postpartum emotions can be very tough to get through but also you have been through so much and Owen changed everything for you guys. He made fear real. He made fear so, so scary because what you feared most for him happened.

Hannah is here and healthy now! That is amazing! Your body grew her and made her strong! Strong enough to live and breathe at home in your arms!

I hate that you and I have all the questions of "why"? I cried through reading when you talked about where you lost it at the hospital and where you said "I can not do this again". I remember with getting Hodges amnio results and then all 14 months of his life that was my heart's continual cry. I am so glad you shared all of this. It makes me and all my thoughts seem normal!

I love you and try to rest your heart and mind dear friend!

Candace said...

I found your blog through a mutual friend and don't know you - but am so thankful for your honesty. It is refreshing and makes me feel less alone. I'm currently at 27wks w/ our second (our first we lost at 11wks). I can't imagine what your family has gone through - but in some way can understand and identify w/ your emotions. Thanks for being courageous enough to share your thoughts, fears, emotions, and most of all - your story.

Mrs. MK said...

I don't know if it helps, but this post is almost exactly what I expected. The pain doesn't go away just because she's here. Oh, it's a whole lot better than if she'd gone, but there is still mountains of pain left to walk through. I understand feeling guilty, but just want to say that it's OK. You are walking through one moment at a time, and Jesus is with you. He is with you. He is healing you, even in the moments of deepest pain. I know it, beacuse He's doing the same in me.

There is no right or wrong way to do this, Ebe.

Love and prayers!

Freya said...

Particularly because this is so closely linked to grieving for Owen, I think you are probably (and very understandably) cycling through a lot of emotions, all the time. Totally feel them and go through them--and blog about them and don't worry what your readers were expecting, but remember, Jesus has given you your own story, unique from mine and everyone else's. It isn't fair--at all--and it never will be, God isn't fair, He's just, and His ways are not our ways. If it were me calling the pregnancy shots, no one would ever have miscarriages or still borns--EVER. But it's not me, it's Him, and this is a particularly refining and difficult time for you, and also a totally wonderful and joyous time--He gave you a daughter. He answered your prayers and opened your womb and made Hannah Mae grow until it was time for her to come home with you! I totally empathize that you feel betrayed by your body, but I encourage you to rest in knowing that G-d willed that it would happen this way and He's doing this for your good, and for your Husband's and Hannah Mae's. Try to trust Him because He's right there waiting for you to ask for help and to help you--He is gentle and kind and very very good, Ebe, even when we feel like crud, He never changes. I'll pray that you get some time to think things through more. Take Care.

Cecilia said...

I'm glad you posted this. We don't have any babies on earth, but I can still identify with many of the emotions you mentioned. I truly appreciate your willingness to be open. Know there are people out here praying for you.

Zil said...

First, she is a beautiful little girl with a loving and wonderful mother. Second, I hope you do not put too much blame on yourself. My body failed me through miscarriages, infertility, a 32 wk delivery and then the most recent fiasco. I have spent a lot of time hating my woman parts for their inability to do what they're meant to in a successful way. Even with kids, I still look back and ask "why". I know that there will never be an answer for me - the doctors never had one. I hope that you are able to find an answer. In the event there isn't one, I wish you peace as you should not feel guilty at all.

fawne said...

hi. you don't know me but i found your blog through a friend. as i read this post it evoked so many emotions. familiar emotions. painful emotions. beautiful emotions.
familiar because i know what it is to lose a child.
painful because i remember full well the days, the years, of turmoil and sorrow.
beautiful because it was that very sorrow and agony that brought me to see the Father's deep, deep overwhelmingly strong and passionate love for me. it was those months of questioning his fairness, His willingness to allow me, his daughter, to suffer so terribly that brought me to the place of joy so deep that i can hardly bear the beauty of it.
and this is what makes me happy for you. because through your greatest pain you will discover your greatest beauty. i know it seems impossible and certainly i could not see it for many years as my son struggled through his short three years of life but don't give up hope.
i love your honesty. that's all God really wants anyway. realness. He already knows i'm but dust. He understands that i'm weak and unable.
pain brings out what is real in us and it's good. because until we know what is truly in our hearts we cannot change.
i have told many friends that i would want anyone to go through what i did if in the end they could see the love of God as i see it now. and that is why i'm happy for you. not for your pain but for the joy it will bring to you. do i ever want to go through such pain again. i hope and pray i never have to. but i am delighted that my Father can work miracles through pain. and certainly His plan was never for pain. he created a perfect world....sin causes pain and suffering...not the Father. and some incredible way He is able to take all the ugliness and create a glorious masterpiece.
i pray He will do this in your heart as you work through your pain.


Miranda said...

Praying for you Ebe. I have so many things to say to you but all I can say here is that I felt and still feel the same way. I can't wait to see you and talk in person and to get to HOLD beautiful, sweet Hannah Mae again!

Love you,

The Blue Sparrow said...

I would have been a total mess too at that appointment too. I know how unfair this all is, and what you said about being an insecure first time mommy but not really a first time mommy is so true. Its not fair. Sending prayers your way! *HUGS*