Diaper Shower?

A kind fellow teacher (who is also the parent of a student in my class, so I’m so glad she likes me) asked me today if she and my aides could throw me a “diaper shower”.  I had to ask what that is, although it’s pretty much just what it’s called–a shower at which you get diapers.  I feel conflicted.  I am so appreciative that they want to do this.  I love parties.  I love presents.  I know we will need tons of diapers.  I think I could emotionally handle it.  But…the people at this job already gave me a lot last year for Luke.  I never did thank you cards, since we lost him before I got to it and then I just couldn’t.  I have felt guilty, like they might think their money was wasted.  One of my first thoughts about having another boy was, “Oh good, people will know their gifts didn’t go to waste.”  It’s silly, I know.  Most people probably understand. They also gave us a ton of gift cards and a nice card that everyone signed when we lost him.
But I don’t feel like they should be asked to give me anything else.

They want to do it in 2 weeks, on a Thursday after school.  I expressed my concerns.  I asked if we might wait until the baby came and then do it after, so that people would know they weren’t “wasting their money”.  She said that doesn’t matter because it’s honoring a life no matter what.  I like that.  I agree.  I don’t personally feel Luke’s gifts were wasted at all as I treasure them.  They are his and I will enjoy sharing them with his brother.  She said she didn’t want to wait because they know I may not be back next year and there will be some different staff here next year, etc.  She said to just think of it as an opportunity to have cake.  She was going to do it as a surprise and someone told her she better ask me about it first.  I appreciate that.

I didn’t expect this.  What do you guys think?

It’s a….

It’s a Boy!

Our 20-week, level 2 detailed anatomy ultrasound went well.  I was relieved to have a kind and positive ultrasound tech, since it was someone we hadn’t met before.  She was great.  She looked carefully at each part, measured and pointed them out to us.  She made me start to relax. We saw all the limbs, both hands and feet with tiny fingers and toes, the stomach full of amniotic fluid, the kidneys, the bladder, the heart, the brain with the central dividing line (I forget what that’s called) and so on.  He moved and wiggled the entire time!  Very active.  With Luke at the anatomy ultrasound, he was sleeping much of the time, so we didn’t see as much movement as this time.  I’m a little concerned he may come out and be very hyper, but oh well.

She asked if we wanted to know the sex.  At first, he wasn’t showing the goods, but about 2/3 of the way through, she said “Oh yes, it’s definitely a boy!” She pointed out the cute parts to us.  It was very obvious.  But I still had to ask, “Are you sure it’s a boy?”  She said, “Well, I never say 100%, but I would say 99%.”  I said, “That couldn’t be a hand or something?” (I know, so silly, but I just needed it to be very clear.)  She said, “Not unless it only has one finger!”  Ha ha!:)

After she was done, the doctor came in to look also.  It was the doctor I saw at this office last year with Luke, the two times I saw a doctor there.  This was the first time I’d seen him since.  He came in and said, “I don’t know if you remember me.”.  He then joked, “I had red hair then” (he is gray).  He cracked a few other jokes too.  I think that is a good quality in a high-risk pregnancy doctor.  Sometimes there needs to be some levity.  He didn’t say sorry for your loss or mention Luke except as a piece of my medical history that he is obviously aware of, but maybe this was not the time for that.  He picked up the wand and went through the organs again and pointed things out with good detail and explanation.  He was very encouraging and said everything looks really good.

Toward the end, he said he was looking for one more thing he hoped to see, but wasn’t finding it.  We were having a discussion about when to deliver while he was looking.  But then he paused and said, “Here’s what I was trying to see!” with excitement.  I said, “Oh good, I’m glad you found it…Now what is it?”  It was the umbilical cord in detail.  He said that as part of his research, he is studying umbilical cords in relation to stillbirths.  He said he thinks that in the 50-60% of stillbirths that are unexplained (such as our Luke), he thinks many may be due to unseen chord accidents.  He said when the umbilical chord is formed in a straight, linear structure, like a garden hose, it can be easily compressed.  He said they only can prove a chord accident when the baby is born with the chord is still around the neck or something of that nature.  He thinks that babies sometimes get into positions where they wedge the chord somewhere (against the placenta, under a limb) and compress it, cutting off the supply of oxygen, blood and nutrients, and causing their death.  But when they are born, this is not visible.

He said when the umbilical chord is formed in a spiral fashion, like a telephone chord, it is much harder to compress.  He told us to go home and play with the phone chord and see how resilient it is.  It resists being squished flat.  He feels this is a safer chord formation for the baby, although there is no way to control how your umbilical chord forms.  And obviously, many straight umbilical chords are fine too, since stillbirth is pretty rare.   But, I was very excited to see that this baby has a spiraling umbilical chord.  The 3 parts of it wrap around and around each other.  Hooray!

This is the first possible medical explanation for Luke’s death that to me could really fit.  It makes a lot of sense.  We had an autopsy and tons of test.  He was fine, I was fine, nothing was found.  Maybe when he was big and things were getting tight in there, he just got into a position that clamped his umbilical chord.  Maybe it was just an unseen chord accident.  I find this very comforting.  That would be an explanation that makes sense.  It also would not be likely to reoccur and would mean there is not something wrong with me that they just didn’t find.  Most importantly, this baby appears to be guarded against that same issue since he has this “spiral chord” that I now love!  I mean, who knows really, but it’s a nice thing to have in my pocket anyways.  Josh felt the same.  We were both excited to share that new revelation with our families.  I am really thankful God gave me a high-risk doctor who happens to be researching that so that he could tell us about it!  I know that is not an accident.  We left the appointment relieved and a little worn out, but happy.  Thank you, Lord!

To share the news with my family, I filled plastic Easter eggs with little blue candy-coated chocolate eggs, since it was Easter.  I had them open them all at the same time.  Here’s a pic:

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Here’s a 20-week belly pic. I’m not very good at selfies, so sorry my head is cut off in this one.   I am bigger than at 20 weeks last time.  I guess there’s something to it that once your body has stretched and moved organs once, it does it more quickly and easily the second time.  Or it’s that I have 2 pregnancies 7.5 months apart and I started this second one 5 pounds heavier and with a different belly that had pretty recently had a baby.  I am a little scared of what I’m going to look like at 9 months.

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I hope you are all doing well.  I am praying for all of you every day: for the grief, for the TTC, for the rainbow babies, for all the hopes and struggles.

 

 

11 Months

On Monday, it was 11 months since Luke was born.  I am getting increasingly anxious about his first birthday approaching.  Time has been moving a little more quickly lately, which is nice, but it also means that it’s really time to figure out how to mark his day.  For awhile, I had thought I wanted to do a big public thing like a balloon release and picnic with a table displaying his pictures and belongings. We never had a memorial or funeral, so there was no public thing for him, which now bothers me.  But Josh did not want that and it began to feel silly, so far past his loss.

Now I have been considering some kind of thing with immediately family when my sister is visiting for Mother’s day, which will be 3 days before his birthday this year.  This seems appropriate, but what to do exactly?  And it’s also awkward because Mother’s day is usually all about fun for my mom.  Is it okay to take some of that away from her and ask her to share the day with a sad thing?  I’m hoping it can also be a happy thing because he is not gone.  We can celebrate his life in heaven, which is ongoing and beautiful.

Mother’s day is a weird thing for me and definitely a trigger.  Last year, Mother’s day was the last day I felt Luke moving.  We went to church as a family and had a big dinner at my parents’ new house.  I remember feeling a little miffed that I was not totally included in being a mother that day.  The boys who handed out roses at church gave me one at the prompting of my husband, but that was about it.  No cards or gifts.  I wasn’t excluded from food prep or dishes like my mom was, although I didn’t do too much as I was tired and had swollen feet.  Even more so now, I feel that any woman who has carried a baby any length of time IS a mother and should be celebrated on Mother’s day, as well as called a mother in everyday life.

Our 39-week appointment was the next morning, Monday, 5/13.  That’s when we found out he was gone.  I didn’t realize beforehand that I hadn’t felt him move that morning. When I was asked, the last time I remembered feeling him move was around dinner the night before.  So, he either died on Mother’s day or on 5/13/13–lots of 13’s in that date, which is a silly thing to notice, but I can’t help notice it.

That morning was horrible before we even found out about his loss.  I was very anxious about discussing induction with the doctor and Josh was unusually cross too.  We got in a huge fight on the way to pick up my mom about which route would get us to the office most quickly, of all the stupid things.  He used curse words and yelled right in my ear.  I did not respond well.  I actually smacked him in the back of the head, which I’m still horrified and embarrassed about.  Then we were tense and quiet the rest of the drive and during the wait.  The day started out bad and got much worse.  None of it is a good memory.

Luke’s birth can at least have some joy in it because he was so beautiful.  I’m afraid I may never think any baby is as beautiful as him ever.  And my family was all there sharing our sorrow and surrounding us with love.

So if we do the family something on Mother’s day for his birthday, that still leaves the actual day.  I don’t know how to mark it.  I put in to have the day off work.  I think I will look at his things and watch his ultrasound videos (I have not watched those videos since his death).  I want to feel close to him.  But then what?  I feel like Josh needs to be in on a part of it too.  Maybe we can just go out to dinner?  I know people sometimes have cakes, but I don’t know if I can handle that and Josh will likely think it’s silly as that’s not his sort of thing.  If anyone has any good ideas, please share them.  I feel like the extreme importance of his first birthday is a huge responsibility that I may not live up to.