Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ugly Grief Spiral

Anyone who has ever lost a baby knows all about the ugly grief spiral that you can get completely wrapped up in. Well that was me this past weekend. Of course having your husband gone for 2 weeks for work and then dealing with my own first week back to work wasn't helping neither. Now I grieved and cried and was super depressed after Liam passed but I am pretty sure this past weekend I hit an all time low. The grief spiral started and it got ugly, very ugly.

First off, I have been thinking and researching so much lately about the gestational carrier stuff just trying to find some hope to help me through this dark time. Sadly, I got so wrapped in it that I went from having a tiny bit of hope that we could have baby next year to this is never going to work. I was researching insurance for our carrier, which I learned is going to be the most expensive part, and it could end up that we have to be completely self pay. I convinced myself that if the first IVF cycle fails that we will be too broke to do another, the carrier will get pregnant and then it will end in stillbirth and by then we will be too broke and so brokenhearted that we will not be able to try again, that we will transfer 2 embryos that will end up splitting and we will have triplets or quads that will put so much strain on our carrier she will be bed ridden and then lose the babies anyway, and in the end we have no babies but still be left paying hospital bills for the rest of our lives.

I had a long talk with the hubby about this, thank god one of us is the voice of reason, and I have since calmed down quite a bit in regards to that. He had to remind me that I shouldn't be stressing about insurance since we still don't even know what Jessica, our potential carriers insurance status is yet, we might be just fine. We also don't even no for sure if she can be our carrier yet. He also said we will find a way to get this to work for us and that we might not have much, but if we have a living baby in the end, that's all that really matters. All valid points. I guess there is plenty of time to start stressing about all of this once we actually know we have a confirmed carrier and can move forward.

So that is what started it.

By Sunday, exactly 2 months since we took Evelynn off of life support, I started getting into the blame and guilt again. Why didn't I go into Ob Triage that weekend? I complained all weekend to Dereck that my belly ached but what did I do, I wrote it off as being 9 months pregnant, and kept on cleaning and doing other things than thinking about the fact that my baby could be in trouble. What the hell is wrong with me? Especially since I knew I was at an increased risk for a rupture. Why was a rupture the farthest thing from my mind? I should have went into the dr. immediately. I should've been more proactive for her. I had a good reason, I had lost a baby before. What the F is wrong with me?

This started a whole other chain of events that lead to me feeling like every decision I have ever made for my babies has been the worst decisions of my life. That stupid fetal surgery! That's right, I call it stupid because I hate it for what it did to my family. It took Liam's life, it took Evelynn's life, and it is continuing to fuck me! I can't make a good decision for any of my babies and they have to die because of it. I question daily if I will ever have a healthy living baby in my arms but I am now questioning even more if I deserve to ever have a living baby because apparently I haven't done that great of a job with the first two. I have made horrible decisions for them both. I couldn't protect them, keep them safe, or alive.

And yet, even though I am so scared and hate my life so bad these days, all I want is a baby in my arms to love. Having my own family is all I ever wanted and my life means nothing if I can't ever have that. There is a lot in my life that I feel I will never be accepting of, but never having kids, well that I will never, ever, accept.

I found this quote, it kind of fits perfectly:

It's hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but it's even harder to give up when you know it's everything you want. 
-author unknown-

I love you Liam and Evelynn

Friday, June 22, 2012

2 Months

My little beauty, I miss you so, so much. Two months ago you were born and even though it wasn't the birth I had wanted for you I was still so happy to know you were here. There is so much I want to say but really it all amounts to the same thing. I love you, I miss you, and I'll never undestand why life had to do this to me, to your father, to your brother, and now to you. You should be two months old today.
Your momma is in a very bad place these days and she just doesn't know what to do with herself anymore. I have heard people say that if you could die of a broken heart, they surely would have. Well I am wondering if that is possible because this is destroying me and I just can't wait until the day that I get to be with you again baby girl.
Love you forever, Mom

Finally got these done

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So Fricken Angry

And so pissed!!!!!

I hate this, I hate the world, I hate life, this is so fricken unfair!!!!!!

How dare the world do this to me again.

Day 2 of work sucked. I was in a complete pissed off angry mood all day. Only about a zillion more of these to get through. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

I decided to call Dereck's grandma because she is such a wonderful person to talk to, and it had been since we were back in ND since we had last talked. She ends up telling me that the angel and metal flowers that Dereck's mom bought and had put out by our babies graves were stolen about a week and half after Memorial Day. That angel has been there since Liam was buried. Why now did someone take it? Who would do such a thing? It is horrible enough hearing that someone would steal something from a cemetery anyway, but from a couple of babies graves. What the F is wrong with some people?

I just want to cus and swear and scream about what bullshit this all is. F-------------ck!!!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fathers Day and Back to Work

A father and his daughter the day after she was born.
Another Father's Day gone by, but his daughter is no longer in his arms:(

Hopefully next year on Father's Day, and Mother's Day, our carrier will at least be pregnant and maybe in 2014 those days will be the way they always should have been.

Last year on Father's Day Dereck, a good friend, and I did a March for Babies walk. We got shirts made to represent Team Liam AK and raised a ton of money. I had wanted to do another walk again this summer in memory of Liam, but this time I had hoped I would have had his baby sister along.

That same walk was again on Father's Day, but I didn't end up doing it this year and don't really plan on doing any of the others either. It's a great cause and maybe one day I'll do it again, but for now it just doesn't seem right. Maybe one day, when I have a take home baby that can walk with me. Suppose I'll need to get some new shirts made though, since next time we would be walking in memory of Liam and Evelynn.

But I guess as far as charities go, I may not be walking or raising money for the March for Babies in memory of my sweet babies, but I am donating all of Evelynn's breast milk. That in itself is even more rewarding to me, just like when I did the Kupple Korps program a few months after Liam passed away. Emotionally speaking, donating breast milk is a lot easier though.

First day back at work, again.

Wearing my scrubs that just 2 months ago weren't fitting very well. The tops were getting pretty tight and you could see my baby belly pushing against the front of them. The pants I could no longer wear as they were way too tight around the belly, hips, and butt region. They fit just perfectly now.

The first patient of the day has to say, "A different girl x-rayed me last time, you were out on pregnancy leave I guess. Did you just have a baby?" Of course no first day back at work could be complete without hearing a patient make a comment like that. So now who was the one at my work that actually told a new patient that I was on pregnancy leave?

Like last year I tried to prepare myself for how to respond to theses types of questions or comments. It never works though. All I could get out was a "ah, ah, ah, left knee okay, lay on the table". This time, like most things that are a repeat of last year, I just laugh about it. Laugh because this is my life and what I have to deal with, again, and it really sucks. But of course these things are going to happen, why would I expect things to be any different.

By about 3:00 I was beyond done with the day. It must have been bring your baby or your little girl to your appt with you day. Then one of our reps came walking in, who by the way is pregnant and showing quite nicely. That finally did it for me. Tears and more tears. I am really starting to regret that I got a job in the medical field. I really need a job where I work with one or two other people, preferably males, and have little to no chance of interaction with pregnant people or babies.

You know what is the worst thing about the first day back at work after you lost a baby, other than the obvious of course? It's the fact that it's the. first. fricken. day. The first of so many. It took a good 8-9 months last time for me to finally be more sociable with even my coworkers. Coworkers that I had worked with for the past 3+ years. The biggest reasoning for that even was because I got pregnant again and had something to feel hopeful about. We have to wait until January to even do our first transfer. Sorry coworkers, especially you two new people, don't expect much excitement from this girl. I'll be the one hiding out at my desk all day trying to avoid all social interaction except for when I have to x-ray a patient, and even then the less talk the better.

Also, is it bad that I am already thinking about what I will do with my job if the carrier gets pregnant and it seems things might actually work out?

Dereck had wanted me to completely quit my job and be a stay at home mom. I kept making excuses as to why I didn't want to do that. Excuses ranged from me being bored from always being home, that I needed more adult interaction, the extra money would be nice if daycare wasn't too expensive, worried about finding work when I did decide to go back. and so on. So I had it set up with my work that I would return mid-August.

Truth is that I would have loved to stay at home with my little girl and can guarantee I wouldn't have gone back. These excuses were crap. The main reason I didn't want to quit my job is because I was so worried that things were going to go bad again and if they did I would need my job to go back to..... and what do you know, I did.

So what do I do in regards to my job if the carrier gets pregnant? Most likely if it seems things are going to work out I will want to stay somewhere near her that last few weeks before she is due. That way I'll be there for the birth. I know this is too far in advance to be thinking about this but do I quit my job and hope to god that things work out or do I talk to my work and see if they will hold my job. They might think I am crazy if I ask that but it has happened to me twice now.

At least day one is over with.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happiness and Hope

It's hard to believe that just under two months ago I was filled with so much happiness. Happiness, joy, and excitement for my little girl.

I often wonder if I'll ever be truly happy again.

It's easy for everyone to say that they know it will happen for us or that next time things will be just fine, but how the hell the do they really know? Don't get me wrong it's good to be optimistic. The last couple months of my pregnancy I was. When I woke up in recovery I was. I was so happy to have heard that my daughter was still alive. I actually got to hold my living baby girl in my arms. I was so happy and so hopeful that she was going to pull through.

I want that happiness back, I want the hope back.

Grief sucks!

I have had quite a few days this past week and a half where the grief was really getting the best of me. I hate it when it consumes me to the point I can't even think straight and want something that will just take all of my pain away. I don't handle stress well, so what do I do? I turn to my husband and take it out on him. I expect him to be there to comfort me and make me feel instantly better, not thinking once about how he must be feeling. I get angry because I assume that because he isn't grieving the same as me that he just wants to forget Evelynn and move on. I also get angry when he tells me that he doesn't know what to do for me and that maybe I should see a counselor, take my Xanax, or get on antidepressants. Hearing that makes me even more angry. I even got to the point that I felt that maybe the best thing for me would be to just check myself in at the mental hospital because I am sick of feeling this way and feeling so alone. Or just feeling that maybe meds wouldn't be the worst thing because I could just numb all my pain away. Fear was even setting in that maybe we aren't strong enough as a couple to get through this a second time.

Grief can be so hard on a relationship. We got through it last time and I know we can get through it again. We have since had a really good talk about everything. I am going to try and get in with a new grief counselor or even just start seeing my grief group coordinator once a week because she said she would be willing to talk with me as well. I have also decided that once he goes back to work I will try to be less stubborn with the whole taking meds if needed thing.

I know I need to get a handle on it because the oh woe's me pity party I keep throwing for myself isn't going to get me anywhere.

This quote seemed quite fitting to how I felt this past week:

"The tragedy of life is not death...but what we let die inside of us while we live."

I wrote that first half a few days ago. I was clearly feeling really pathetically sorry for myself. 

Then Thursday happened:

First, a blm friend texted me to let me know she was still thinking about me and that she is always there for me if I ever need someone to talk to. She has her rainbow now and I honestly thought that she moved on and forgot about me. I really thought that since she was finally in a better place in her life that she didn't care about me, my babies, and the heartache I was feeling. What a crappy friend I am. Kristin if you read this-that text meant so much to me.

Second, my friend, my coworker, who was due 4 days ago, also texted me saying that she was just thinking about me. That's always nice to hear.

Third, talked for 2 hours on the phone with a girl from Illinois who has been a gestational carrier 3 times, twice with a singleton and once with twins. She was so awesome to talk with. Definitely the type of person you want to have as your carrier. I learned so much from her and not just about the law, money, ins., and medical side of it, but also about her relationships with the intended parents. I want to be able to have a good relationship with my carrier so it was good to hear about her experiences with each couple she carried for. She even told me she would get in touch with her friend who went through the gestational carrier process a couple of years ago and see if she would speak with me about her experience as an intended parent. Erin if you read this-you totally made my night.

I also got mine and Evelynn's medical records. I tried to make sense of them the best I could. Wouldn't say anything about reading them made me feel "good" but glad I have them now.

Then Friday happened:

I finally made it in to see my Ob for my c-section/uterine rupture follow up. I was really worried about it. It sucks to go back to your Ob's office, for the second year in a row at that, after you lost a baby and have to see other pregnant women or babies and know that should be you.

I had a lot to talk to her about. I needed to get on birth control. I had to tell her about our visit with the fertility clinic in MN, that she most likely can do all my pre- egg retrieval stuff, that we have a potential carrier, and that if everything goes as planned we can do a transfer in January. I asked her about my rupture. I have been talked to about it several times but don't remember much of anything that was said. Then I had to ask the big one, the big "how do you truly feel about me getting pregnant again?"

I had asked my Peri here in Alaska that question the other week and she still highly advised me against it. My Ob on the other hand said that my Peri from the fetal surgery really thought I could have a good outcome with a pregnancy after rupture(PAR) and she thought so as well. She was so optimistic about it. She really thinks that if I were to wait 2 years, be on hospital bed rest at 28 weeks on, and deliver no later than 34 weeks, that things will work out. 

Just hearing her say that she truly believes we could have a successful PAR work out made me feel that even if I never get pregnant again it will be because I made the decision not to, not because the doctor told me not to.

We are still going to go ahead with the gestational carrier though, it truly is the safest route.

So even though my husband had to leave to go back to work yesterday, the stream events that have occurred the last two days have somehow left me with this sense of hope, maybe even a little happiness. Not sure how long it will last, but I'll take it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Baby Via Gestational Carrier Journey Update 1

When we were still in the hospital with Evelynn the doctors had already informed me that I should never use my uterus again. If hearing your child isn't going to make it isn't devastating enough adding that you should never get pregnant again on top of that will.

After Liam passed one of the first things I thought about was how I wanted to get pregnant again right now. Since that was no longer looking like an option for us we started thinking immediately about surrogacy and adoption, with surrogacy being on top because we really wanted our own biological children.

A friend from work had came to the hospital and saw me and Evelynn in the NICU that next day after she was born. She stayed a bit and then had to go to the dentist and would return after. It just so happened that her dental hygienist had already tried to be a carrier once for someone else. She gave my friend her name and number and wanted me to call her when I was up to it to see about the chance that maybe she could be our carrier.

We couldn't believe what we were hearing. Was there really someone just willing to offer to carry a baby(s) for us. Could it be that easy? Is there a chance we could actually start this process sooner than later. There was some hope in this and we became more less obsessed wanting to learn everything we could about the process so we could start it as soon as possible.

I called that lady I think a day or two after we left the hospital and she agreed to meet with us that next week and tell us what she has been through and knows about the process.

April 30th, 2012
We met with that lady, we will just call her Sally, at a local bookstore. She brought all of her attorney documents so we could have an idea what was expected of us as intended parents and what was expected of her as the surrogate. She explained to us that she had been through all the screenings; a huge psych eval. for her and her husband, tons of u/s and other lab work, and also doing all of the hormone injections to prepare her body for carrying a baby. She was trying to help her friend who also could not carry a child, but unfortunately every time they went to do the embryo transfer the embryos would die. After that she thought that since she had already been through part of the process before she could maybe continue to look for someone else who was in need of a carrier and help them. We talked for awhile longer about things pertaining to cost, how many embryos she would be okay, views on abortion, and so on. We did have a couple concerns though. She was almost 45 and also Alaska law would consider her the mother, Dereck the father, and I would have to go to court and adopt my own baby(s). Other than those few things she seemed perfect and we were excited that we might already have a carrier.

Both Sally and our grief group lady had given us a number to a doctor in town who does a lot of work with patients who have infertility problems and need to do IVF. It just so happened to be the same doctor. In Alaska there is no place to do IVF and so anyone in need of it has to go out of state and this doctor worked a lot with Pacific Northwest out of Seattle. When I called that doctors office she talked to me immediately. Apparently she was already told by the grief group lady about me and that I might be in need of her services. She explained a little bit to me over the phone about using Sally as our carrier. Sally had gone to this Dr. when she was trying to be a carrier for her friend so she already new a lot about her. She talked briefly about what she could do for us in Anchorage and then how we would have to go to PNW in Seattle for the egg retrieval and transfer. She also told me that we couldn't do anything until I was at least 3-6 months post-op so that my body was healed and healthy enough to take on all the hormones so we could get the best possible egg retrieval.  She then gave me the number to one of the best surrogacy/adoption lawyers, in the country.

I called that lawyers office immediately and set up a phone consult.

May 10th, 2012
The day after arriving in MN we had our consult. It was a 2 hour consult where we discussed the law side of using a gestational carrier, what to look for in a carrier, and also the financial side. We learned how important it was to know which states were the best for having a carrier reside. Alaska was definitely out. It would have been nice to have a carrier right there in town and I didn't think Sally would've tried taking my babies from me, but it seemed there were other states that were definitely better options. That lawyer also didn't like the fact that she hadn't carried a baby in 15 years, so Sally was out for sure. Since we are from MN and even have family in ND we thought we would ask about those states since if we had a carrier from either of those at least we could be near family when we came back for the births or even an u/s or two. Minnesota's laws were okay. The day the baby(s) were born the attorney would file the paperwork and the baby(s) would be ours, but if they died inutero they would never be legally ours. North Dakota was definitely a better option. In ND the baby(s) would always be ours. Now in ND surrogacy is considered illegal, even calling it gestational surrogacy is, so going through ND meant we would always have to refer to whoever was carrying our baby(s) as our gestational carrier. Surrogacy, is technically what you call a carrier who also uses her eggs, and that is not what we are doing.

This attorneys office had its own agency for finding carriers if we couldn't find one on our own. She told us what to look for in a carrier and also all the things a person and there family would have to go through to be considered. She explained to us that if we did find our own carrier and she worked out it would actually save us quite a bit of money since we wouldn't have to pay the agency for this service. At the end of the talk we had to go through a list of questions of what we would like in a carrier if we needed them to find one for us. These questions revolved around views on abortion, carrying multiples, race and religion of carrier, and if there was a smoker in the house in which she lived.

We then started talking about the financial aspect of all of this. Hearing that the average cost for using a gestational carrier is approx. $60-80,000 made us want to cry. If we went through this lawyer we would have to pay her $5,500 up front and also another $20,000 that would go into an escrow account for the carriers medical bills and other expenses like maternity clothes. How could we come up with that much money in the next couple months if we wanted to proceed with this? How unfair was it that after all we had already been through to know that money could be what was standing in our way of trying to have our own biological children. So we already knew that we would need the $5,500 and that $20,000 the day we signed contracts but then there were the other costs. To go through there agency we would have to pay the carrier a min. of $20,000 up to $30,000 if she carried multiples, we would have to take out life insurance on her, pay for her lawyer, pay for her medical insurance if her insurance wouldn't cover her maternity, pay for counseling, and pay for all the fertility stuff out of pocket because our insurance doesn't cover anything fertility related. IVF is expensive enough and then added the use of a carrier on top of it- Holy shit! We had a lot to think about.

May 14th, 2012
Two nights before Evelynn's burial I got an email from a girl named Jessica. She said she had read Evelynn's obituary in the paper. She went to explain a little about herself and her family, how sorry she felt for us, and that she had always wanted to be a carrier. I didn't even know what to think about this. How did she even get my email? Did she google Evelynn's name, from there find my blog, read my babies story, read that we were looking into surrogacy, and then get my email off of my blog? All I could think was, "who does that"? After emailing her back and asking her that question, sure enough, that's exactly what she did. We emailed each other back and forth a couple of times in the next week and decided it would be good to meet her and her husband and see if this was really something that could work.

The first IVF clinic that I called was in Fargo, ND. I thought this clinic would be perfect since it wasn't too far of a drive for Jessica. This clinic was also recommended to us by that lawyer out of NJ. I called there offices and the lady I spoke to was super nice. She talked to me for about an hour about there success rates, the cost, and how the IVF process worked with a carrier. She also gave me the number of a local lawyer that other couples have used for this process. The thing that I wasn't too fond of with this clinic is that they weren't willing to work with me since I lived in Alaska. They had wanted me to fly back in a few weeks to get an u/s and other lab work done and also wanted me to be in the area during the weeks I was on the hormones through the embryo transfer.

The second clinic I called was down by Minneapolis. They had excellent success rates and had numerous satellite clinics, one being in Fargo and the other being in Alaska. The one in Alaska not only was in Anchorage but also was my Ob clinic, the one I have been going to since I moved there. It seemed perfect. Neither me nor Jessica would have to go to the actual clinic near Minneapolis until the egg retrieval and transfer since we could get the rest of our stuff done at one of the satellite clinics. Dereck and I made an appt. with them for May, 29th, the day before we headed back to Alaska so that we could be established there.

May 23rd, 2012
Met with Jessica and her husband. We got to know a little about each other first talking about our jobs, where we live, and there kids. We then talked about our babies and our situation. Jessica said how she always wanted to be carrier for someone and her husband said that when she read our story she said she knew right away that we were the couple she had been looking for. They have 2 boys, had one miscarriage in between them, had no other pregnancy complications, they don't smoke, she had a healthy BMI, she is a nurse and already had an idea of how this process works, and they just seemed like a perfect, loving, happy couple that just wanted to help us get the family that we wanted. We told them everything that we had learned so far from our research and talks with doctors and lawyers and said we will be able to tell them more after the appt we had scheduled with a fertility clinic down near Minneapolis Then we got into the financial side to all of this. We obviously had to pay for everything, like I mentioned above with the lawyers, the IVF, and ins, etc., but we also had to pay them for doing this for us. Jessica was so sweet, she actually wanted nothing for doing this, but her husband wanted some kind of compensation. We wanted to pay them something as well. As awesome as it would be to not have to pay your carrier, they are giving up a lot to do this for us. Not to mention we would be forever grateful.

May 29th, 2012
At the fertility clinic we met with the Reproductive Endocrinologist first. He seemed really nice. First he talked about how us doing IVF with a carrier is probably the best thing since I had the rupture. Then he talked about how we are good candidates for having this work well for us since he already knows more about us than most couples that come in. This mainly being because he already knows we can get pregnant and carry a baby pretty much to full term. He also said that we have a high probability getting pregnant, about an 80% chance, if we do 2 embryos. Also we will have a 50% chance of twins. We really want to do 2 embryos. Then he went onto explain the process to us.

Here is a shortened version of what we will be doing. First the carrier would have to get cleared by her Ob, then by him, and then the 4 of us would have to go through a counseling session. If all is good there we can sign contracts with our lawyers and officially start this process. The carrier and I would need to get on birth control about 3 months before we want to do the transfer so that our cycles will be the same, then we will have to both start our hormone injections. I will do everything up in Alaska and when my follicles are ready I can do my HCG inj. to rupture the follicles, and then hop a plane back to MN to do the egg retrieval. He said we would probably transfer 5 day embryos so 5 days later we would do the transfer into the carrier. Two weeks later she will do a pregnancy test and if she is pregnant she will continue take progesterone, and I think something else as well, through the first trimester.

Dereck had a full physical and a semen analysis done to check for STD's. His sperm was then going to get cryopreserved(frozen) until the egg retrieval. He will have another sperm analysis and STD test done before the egg retrieval to make sure he is still STD free, but the sperm that was frozen will still be the ones we use to ensure the carriers safety. Dereck had to get all of this done today because we have a 180 day waiting period now before we can proceed. I think the clinic said this was some kind of FDA regulation. They had wanted to do an u/s on me that day but since I hadn't been cleared yet by my Ob from my c-section they told me I could just get that done at some point with my own Ob. The purpose of this was just so they know the exact location of my ovaries for when we do the egg retrieval.

We then spent some time talking with the financial dept. about how we are going to be paying for all of this. They will bill our ins. for this consult and the labs but most likely nothing after that will be covered. Everything that they do with carrier, consult, labs, u/s, will get billed directly to us and about one month prior to the egg retrieval we will have to pay a lump sum of $12,000 for just the IVF process. I think they said the whole process with a carrier will be around $20,000. Crossing my fingers that this will all work on the first try, but if not at least if we have enough embryos left over so we don't have to pay for the egg retrieval portion again and just pay for the transfer which I believe was closer to $3,000.

So now we are back in Alaska. We are waiting to hear about how Jessica's Ob appt. went and when she can get in to see the RE so we can hopefully get started.

Friday, June 8, 2012

And Another One

If it wasn't for the fact that the "good days" allow me to feel for the most part "good" I almost want to say I hate them. I say that because I hate this constant going back and forth between this feeling like there is hope and feeling as if things will never get better. I say this because the other day was an incredibly bad day with yesterday being a pretty good day. It was one of those days where I thought maybe I can get through this, but now today and I am up crying already and feeling incredibly depressed. I want hope, I need hope, but it is just so hard grasp.

Why am I going through this again?!

So many people keep telling me how strong I am. Am I strong? Because I feel so incredibly weak. I hurt, it hurts, and I just want this pain to stop already. I want to be with all my friends who have never had to feel this pain or I just want to be with all my baby loss mom friends enjoying their rainbows but always remembering their big brother or sister in heaven. Why couldn't I have either of those?

After Liam died I remember how so many people told me how they didn't think that they would be able to live if one of there babies had died. That continued on through my whole pregnancy with Evelynn. I remember thinking the same thing after Liam died. How I was ever going to make it through this dark time in my life? I knew I had only two options; live or die. Dying clearly wasn't an option. Although there were definitely times I had wished I would've just died with my son or that I could've taken his place, but I made it through. The hope that I had for my rainbow baby is gone and I find myself asking that same question. Do I want to let this tragedy take over my life? Do I want to let it consume me? Do I want to live or die? To continue to try and live the best you can after not one, but now two major tragedies is definitely not the easy option. I am not saying that I want to die but I am once again having the same thoughts as I had after Liam died. Part of me wishes that I would've never woke up that night after the c-section with Evelynn so that I could be with both of my babies again. Part of me also wishes that I would've never woke up from the c-section but that Evelynn would've survived and could be with her daddy. She could be with her dad and I could be with Liam. Thoughts like this clearly get me nowhere and aren't fair to Dereck neither but sometimes it seems that either of those would be better than what I am living with.

I know life is difficult for so many and for all sorts of reasons, but I am so tired of having to put so much effort into just trying to get through a day. I want to feel carefree and joyous. I want back the feeling I had when I thought my daughter was going to be coming home with me. Will I ever feel that way again?

There are a couple of things I wanted to do outside of the house today but I find myself already getting anxious over having to go to a public place by myself again. I hate feeling this way, like I can't go anywhere. I feel trapped inside my house, and my head, and yet too scared to be anywhere else, alone, near people, activity, life. I am not sure if anyone has ever seen the movie The Fear Inside. It was a movie back in the early 90's about this woman who had agoraphobia. She could not leave her house. The way I have been feeling lately made me think about this movie. Am I turning into that lady? Am I going to become agoraphobic?

I don't even want to go downstairs in our house. I have been more less staying upstairs if at all possible. Our bedroom is downstairs and I have only slept in our bed twice since we have been home, so twice in the past 9 days because I just can't handle being down there. I fall asleep on the couch every night watching tv and even when Dereck goes down to bed I prefer to just stay on the couch. I don't know why I can't handle being in my own bed, but I can't. 

I hate this feeling, its as if I am losing all control.

I haven't mentioned this before because it makes feel like I am losing my mind but I swear I am having phantom kicks. I awoke to that feeling again this morning. When I feel, what to me feels just like a baby kicking, it stops me in my tracks. It makes me think of Evelynn and I try to remember what it was like when she was with me kicking away. But then at the same time I feel like I don't even remember what it was like being pregnant anymore and that was less than 2 months ago. How can I not remember what it was like to be pregnant anymore since I more less have been for the past 2 years. I really think my mind is trying to cover Evelynn up. Like she never existed. I have pictures of me pregnant with her, pictures of us at the hospital together, etc., but yet I feel like I don't remember anything. I don't even remember being in the hospital with her and what it felt like to hold her for the very first or last time. Other than the physical items I can see of hers, her life, and the pain I feel in my heart, it seems just like last year and the rest never happened.

I feel my posts are just repeats of last year. So much of what I am saying is all the same like I could just copy and paste an old post from this same time a year ago.

I just hate this and am so scared of this person I am becoming.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Rough Day

Yesterday I would say was the worst day I have had so far. Even the night before I could tell the grief was slowly building up and was expecting a really bad day was coming. Dereck had to take a test all day for his job and so I was alone for the first time since Evelynn passed. I tried cleaning, but that was short lived as my mind wouldn't stop thinking about the what should've beens. I did manage to get that post out yesterday, but then just needed to get away from the computer. I went for a walk with a friend for about 45 minutes which was nice. I had wanted to go to Costco after but the fear of going anywhere alone where there were lots of people terrified me, so I had to go back home. Even the radio in the car ride home was driving me crazy and I had to drive in silence, which really wasn't much better. I ate, I pumped, and I tried to watch tv, but my mind just wouldn't stop. It sucks when the one thing that is making you feel crazy is the one thing that you can't get away from.

I decided at around 2:00 I would head to Walmart and try to get a few things I had wanted to get before I needed to go pick Dereck up. I really hate Walmart and questioning why I thought that I could actually go there and not end up bawling. First off the things I wanted to get were a bottle/nipple brush to clean my pump stuff with-of course I have to go to the baby section to get that, and then I wanted to get some little hangers to hang up Evelynn's clothes. So I was kind of setting myself up for sadness. It took me forever to get checked out since the lady checking out ahead of me decided to be a really big witch and was making a scene about how stupid she thought the cashier was. By the time I made it the car I was bawling and it did not stop for over an hour. I tried cooking dinner and the tears just kept on coming. I hate that feeling. I know its good to cry and get it out, but damn does it hurt to feel that way. That feeling like you have no control.

The same friend came over that evening and we went for another walk. Finally then I started to calm down a little. Once she left I started to work on the one project I have been meaning to get done. I needed those little hangers because I really wanted to hang up all of Evelynn's clothes. It was all washed and in bins because the nursery was still ripped up from the water damage we had. I didn't want to leave her clothes in them so that they would just get even more wrinkled so I hung all of her t-shirts and dresses up and laid all of her pants out in the dresser unfolded. I love her clothes, after all I picked them all out for her. I also went on to finish cleaning up the rest of the nursery putting away all the diapers, wipes, toys, blankets, and other baby supplies I had out ready to use. I also went through all the stuff we brought home from the hospital and put it all in its own bin. We have the pink blanket she was wrapped in and also the sleeper she wore the last day in the hospital in a plastic bag to keep it smelling as it did.

In her and Liam's room I also couldn't stop thinking about how just a few months ago I was saying how I didn't care that we had water damage and the nursery was ripped up. The only that mattered was that baby girl was alive and healthy. Fuck:(

I woke up feeling better today. I guess I was just due for a horribly bad day. I was able to even sleep in today, all the crying must have really tired me out. I went into my work today and talked to my boss about coming back. I really wish I didn't have to, it obviously wasn't in the "plan", but I needed to, especially if Dereck was going back to work. I am going to be off for one more week. I made it through it last year and then I was back in 6 weeks, it'll now be over 8 weeks. I am just so nervous and anxious about going through this all again and seeing patients that might have just assumed I was out on pregnancy leave.

I dropped off 144 ounces of milk today for the milk donation program I am in. I have now donated over 500 ounces since I started donating on May 9th. I am able to pump about a gallon a week. It's definitely frustrating at times but it really does make me feel good that all of Evelynn's milk is going to help other babies. My goal is to be able to donate at least 12-15 gallons before I have to quit and start my hormones for the egg retrieval/IVF stuff.

Went back to grief group tonight. It really sucks to be here again when I had told everyone before Evelynn was born how it would be awhile before they saw us again, and there we were. I also feel like if anyone there were to say they were pregnant I could no longer go. I couldn't handle it and would be of no support anyways. It isn't fair to them because they were all there for me through mine.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Evelynn's Name, the Color Pink, a Rainbow, and Some Target Gift Cards

Evelynn's Name
Like with Liam's name, Dereck and I wanted our baby girl to have a name that was not only a family name but also a name that had meaning. From the beginning of our pregnancy with Evelynn we had talked about possibly calling her Lynn. Lynn is my dad's name and I have always liked the name Lynn for a girl as well. Dereck had also liked the name Lynn but had wanted a name that was a little longer and then for short we could call her Lynn. We went through many names and there meanings until we came across Evelynn. When we saw Evelynn it seemed all too perfect, for Evelynn meant both LIGHT and LIFE. How fitting would that be? From that point on all I could think about was how Evelynn's name when thinking about it as meaning light was how she was slowly bringing light back into our lives after so much darkness. When thinking about it meaning life, all I could think about is how she was going to be the one who lived, and also whose life brought me back to life. I have thought about the meanings of her name so much since she has passed away and the hope I held within it. I learned after her passing that my dad's moms middle name was also Evelynn. Her middle name Augusta is a name on Derecks dads side of the family. Augusta means magnificent, so when put with Evelynn, her name meant Magnificent Life or Light.
When we saw Evelynn for the first time after she was born we knew right away that she wasn't a Lynn at all, she was clearly an Evelynn. She was our Magnificent Life(or Light).
When I think about her name I get sad that I didn't announce her name sooner. We told some people but not all just in case when she was born we might have wanted to change her name. I wish would've told everyone in blog land and instead of referring her to baby girl used her name. My chances of writing her name as often as I like are little now, also are the chances of me hearing her name as often as I'd like as well.
I love my kids names.

I can't stop thinking about the color pink.
I guess I never understood why people got so wrapped up in the idea that blue has to be for boys and pink has to be for girls. With Liam I knew right away that I didn't want his nursery to be blue. I wanted all his stuff to be greens and other neutral colors. When I was pregnant with Evelynn I told everyone that I didn't want pink stuff. I have never been a huge fan of pink and just because I was having a girl did not mean I had to automatically dress her in pink from head to toe. Once she was born though it all changed. When the doctors gave her to me to hold they had her wrapped in a baby pink blanket, and she looked absolutely beautiful in it. It was like pink was her color. It complemented her dark hair perfectly. All I could think about is what I kind of a mother am I that I was going to deprive my baby girl of pink. It's crazy how much I think about it. For her funeral and her burial I went all out in pink; pink flowers and pink pots. My house is going to be filled with pink now, pink for my daughter.

Evelynn and Liam's cousins Brady and Noah
Dereck's sister-n-law sent me this Facebook message and also this text shortly after Evelynn passed away. Kids really do say the darnedest things and it really makes you wonder how they come up with this stuff, but both brought tears to my eyes.

 -"I saw that you called Evelynn your rainbow baby. Is there significance in that? I was working with Brady on his therapy and one thing he had to do was draw big pictures using one hand to cross his body. We were outside using sidewalk chalk for this and he asked if he could make a big rainbow for Baby Evelynn. (This was on Tuesday). I don't know why he chose that, but we made big rainbows for her and Liam. "
-"I just wanted you to see this. I saw a double rainbow earlier today, but didn't have my phone on me. Brady and Presley said that Evelynn must be watching over everyone."

At Liam's baby shower I got a $150 worth of Target gift cards. I had never got the chance to use them since he died a week later. These gift cards have been sitting in my purse for the past year and a half now. There is lots of things I could buy at Target, but these were for my baby and I refused to use them on anything other than baby stuff. Through my pregnancy with Evelynn I had many chances I could have used them, but didn't. I had decided that they would be perfect to use on diapers and other baby supplies we would need after she was born. I hate to lose them, but I hate to spend them. They were meant to be used for my baby and it doesn't seem right to use them on anything else.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Back Home

We spent most of our time in North Dakota near Dereck's family and the cemetery. His family has been wonderful support and we also wanted to be able to go visit our babies daily. We went to there graves at least once a day, sometimes twice. I wanted to spend so much more time by there graves then we did though, but I had a hard time even being there. I could handle seeing Liam's grave and could think of him with love, but then I would look at Evelynn's and its like my brain just couldn't register that my daughter was now buried there. I would just stare at it. I was at the burial, I saw her placed there, I put pictures in her little name plate of her, and even spent time decorating her grave, but yet emotionally there was nothing. Maybe it was my brains way of protecting itself.

One day at the cemetery I even asked Dereck what we would do if this happened to us for a third time. Where we would bury another baby? It's his families burial plot, but there is only so much room. Not a beneficial thought but doesn't seem to far fetched since we already have two babies there.

My sister had been up in northern Minnesota for Memorial weekend and surprised me by saying her, her husband, and my nephews wanted to stop by the cemetery and see my babies graves. I was so thrilled to hear that. No one in my family has ever came to see where Liam is buried and I was certain that no one would ever come see Evelynn neither.
Me, my dogs, and my babies. Their graves for Memorial Day.
When it came time for us to leave and head back to MN and down toward the cities it all started to really sink in. How long will it be until the next time I get to see my babies graves? I hardly spent much time by them and now we are leaving. Is it going to be like it was after we buried Liam? Is the next time I make it back there going to be when I am burying another baby? The plan is to use a gestational carrier for the next baby so most likely we will be back this coming fall/winter so we can do the egg retrieval and embryo transfer stuff, but what about after that. I really don't want to be trying to imagine what it would be like to lose and bury another baby so I just need to blocks all thoughts of that, but they just keep trying to sneak there way in.

I also cried over the thought of not being pregnant again. I'll probably be writing about this a lot because it is eating away at me. I know getting a GC is the best, safest, way to go for both me and our future babies, but I just can't let it go. I want to be pregnant again so bad. I want to carry my own baby. I want the delivery and outcome I always wanted. I want, I want, I want!  I talked to Dereck about maybe doing the GC carrier thing now and maybe in 5 years if I still can't get the thought of not carrying another baby out of my head we can try again, because surely in 5 years my uterus would be healed enough, right? Dereck was completely against that idea and I understand his reasoning why. It made me bawl my eyes out, but I get it. If there is a chance we are going to eventually try again then it really isn't fair to have a carrier do this for us when she could be doing this for a couple that doesn't have the option of getting pregnant on there own at all. Plus, if we get one or two babies out of using a surrogate then why would I want to risk my life and that babies life getting pregnant again when I would already have a baby(s) at home that need there mom. There might even be a chance if we have extra embryos and can afford to get a surrogate again that we could have more children that are biologically ours a couple years down the road.

I have expressed my feelings about this with the uterine rupture group. They understand as many of them were also advised to never use there uterus's again. Some have went onto have pregnancies after ruptures(PAR) and have had no issues, while others have had repeat ruptures. Some never even got the option to get pregnant again at all because they had hysterectomies after there ruptures. Some of them lost there babies, while others survived. Some have told me I have a uterus and so I still have that option and should not rule it out. I hate to put off going the surrogacy route and try to get pregnant first because what if I rupture again, lose that baby, and also need a hysterectomy, then having my own biological children is out. I have met someone in the group who has done surrogacy and then a year after that found themselves pregnant. They were told to terminate, but didn't. In the end the baby was fine, born alive and healthy. I have also met someone who has had 2 losses like me and also advised to never use there uterus again. She never did and went on to adopt a couple of babies. I feel whether I do surrogacy or if we decide to one day adopt I will always have this part of me that will wonder what if, what if we did try again. I don't know if I'll ever come to terms with this unless I try, no matter how risky it may be. I hope one day I'll be able to make some peace with it all.

Okay, veered a little off of where I was going with this post.

We stayed with one of Derecks sisters who lived just outside of Minneapolis a couple nights before we left to go home. We had a consult the next morning in the area at one of the reproductive clinics to talk about doing IVF with a GC. (more to come on that, I promise). She has a couple of little boys. They are a little older which tends not to bother me emotionally too much since neither Liam nor Evelynn would be there age. What did end up making me sad, which I was surprised that it affected me in such a way, was watching her help one of her sons with his spelling. I couldn't stop thinking about the day when I might finally have a chance to help one of my children with his/her homework. I would love that, I hope I get the chance.

The next evening while sitting at there house before dinner I realized that his sister had pictures up of all the cousins. I saw Liam's picture and then I saw Evelynn's, that made my heart melt. How happy that made me to see that they made it in a picture frame and on a shelf next to all the other kids for everyone to see. My babies pictures not being out for others to see has always been something hard for me to deal with. My family does not have pictures sitting out of my babies for others to see. My heart hurts enough knowing that I will never get pictures of them growing up but then to feel that because they died there pictures aren't good enough to get displayed out by their cousins pics for people to see.

We found out during this trip that this sister is also pregnant. It was hard hearing that she is pregnant. My sister is also pregnant. They both have two boys already and will both have there babies this year. I know they both want girls but I am so hoping that they both have another boy. It'll still be hard knowing that they both have another baby while I still sit here waiting for that chance to bring one home, but if a girl is born I'll be even more heartbroken. I don't know how I'll ever be able to look at them. It's hard enough to see everyone else around me having babies as we speak, but I can't bare to see a baby girl knowing that my baby girl, there cousin, should be here too. Plus, I already feel like my babies are forgotten and everyone loves new babies and loves to share pics and talk about them. No one wants to talk about the dead baby.

The flight home was oh so familiar. Of course there had to be a baby in the seat in front of us, a baby girl at that. Her parents held her up, she was looking at us, and smiling so cutely in our faces. The rest of our flight they had her in there lap listening to something making baby tunes. Even through my ear phones I couldn't drowned the sound of it out.

As I said in my previous post we arrived back home a couple of nights ago after being gone for three weeks. It was nice to be able to spend our days doing more less whatever we wanted, but it was definitely time to go home. I wasn't necessarily ready to begin or even wanted to start this next stage of our lives, but I knew that we had to, and for that to happen we needed to go home.

Coming home to the piles of mail filled with medical bills and sympathy cards. We did get Evelynn's birth certificate in the mail though, just wish it didn't have to be followed by a death certificate. I have also started organizing all of our stuff from the last 3 weeks in MN/ND and everything from before we left after Evelynn passed. Once again I am putting away items related to loss. My house is filled with way too many baby loss mementos. I love having so many things that remind me of my babies, but it really is too much. I am ready for the baby already.

So many things that need to be done and other things that I want or need to do. Need to stay busy because as soon as I stop doing something the grief finds its way in. I swear I am going to drive my husband crazy by being overly clingy, that's why I need projects. I also just hate being alone right now, but that's no different than last time. I don't have anything exciting to say but don't want to be alone either. I am not set to go back to work until the beginning of August. That is what I had set up if I had wanted to go back to work after Evelynn was born, but most likely I wouldn't have gone back at all and stayed home with her. I had been thinking about going back to work after the 4th of July but I am now thinking I may need to go back sooner. After Liam passed I went back at 6 weeks after my Dr. cleared me and thinking that might not be a bad idea again. It's going to suck, just like it did last year, but I might as well be getting paid.

Everything just seems too "normal" but also a weird familiar/different to it all. Not the normal prior to 2011, but that new normal that was my life after Liam passed away. It's all just the same but in a more messed up and complicated way.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer is Here, Whoop-De-Doo

We have been back in Alaska for 3 days now and each day the sun has been shining. Summer seems to be here and everything seems so full of life. It helps me to remember why I fell in love with this place. I think about my babies and how badly I wanted them to be here with me and hoped that they would fall in love with its beauty as I have.

When we left the grass was still yellow, the trees had barely started budding, and the ground was still muddy in areas from what was left of winter. Now it's just so perfect outside. Perfect for stroller walks. I want to go outside and enjoy the weather. It's messed up that something as little as a walk in the sunshine can be so damn depressing.

I am trying to stay as busy as possible. I just want time to pass. just like last year. I had wanted so badly for 6 months to pass so we could start ttc again. This year I not only want the next 6 months to pass I more less want the entire next year to pass as well. I want the gestational carrier stuff to be ready, the eggs retrieved, embryos transferred, the carrier pregnant on the first try, and the 9 month pregnancy wait complete. I just want to hear my baby(s) cry and be to the point that I can hear the doctors say we can take our baby(s) home, and actually do it. I hate all this in between stuff. There is hope in this for sure, but it is still so far away. It looks like even if everything goes as planned the earliest we could have a baby is September/October 2013.

That is such a long wait! So if we could just skip this summer, next winter, and the majority of the following summer, that would be great.

I have started to write about 20 different posts, so much to say, but I just can't seem to finish them. It's easier just to stay moving and try to keep my mind busy. Unfortunately blogging seems to be involving more effort than I want to give right now.

After not looking at Facebook for the past week, I broke down this morning and had to look at it. My friend, the one who more less had the same due date as me, should have had her baby by now. I knew I would cry when I read the news and saw a picture of her baby, but I just had to know. She finally had her baby boy the other night, about 2 weeks late, but he is here and alive, and that makes me cry.
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