Here we go again... journal entry 11-30-09

If I only would have realized what the hell I would be putting myself thru every year I may not have opted to wait so long to give birth to Charlotte after she died. Every stinkin' year since, I have had a really crappy first week of December. A whole week that sucks.

There is the 1st, which is the day she died and then the 7th, the day she was born. So which do I mourn for? Both.

I remember sitting at the funeral home telling the Director that I wanted to have her buried quickly because I didn't want it to drag into the Christmas holiday and forever have the attachment to Jesus' birth as being the day of my daughters' burial. I just didn't think thru that part of the suffering at that point. I was a little shell shocked.

Over the past couple of months, I've had the urge to come and update or write about the little things that reminded me of Charlotte, but I was able to resist it. A marker of *growth*, of moving on, or so I thought. Three years has come and gone and it is not nearly as difficult as it used to be.

Truth is, I didn't even want to come on tonight. I didn't want to hop on and hear that song or see those tiny fingers on the screen. It is still hard. I'm still hurting. Not wretching in pain like before, but a dull ache. I can take a deep breath now, but I also notice little girls often.

So the month of November is a big blur. I seriously feel like I have lost yet another chunk of my life. Poof! It's gone. And I can never get it back.

When I was pregnant with Charlotte, I was 31. It was a rough year. I finally came out of my fog at 33, almost 34. That's two whole years I feel like I just floated right thru. I remember some things that happened in the 2 years since she has been gone, but for the most part, I feel like I'm just now picking myself up and dusting my ass off. I was stunned. I guess that's the best way I could put it.

This month, my oldest daughter became very ill. So ill that she'd spent almost 2 weeks in the hospital. The doctors didn't know what was happening with her and one doctor rold me that they didn't know why she hadn't died. It was that serious. They considered leukemia, and drew out some of her bone marrow. It was a very scary time. They have since determined it to be a blood disorder (possibly hereditary). And although I'm relieved to know what it is.. so many emotions have washed over me. She seems to be healing really well now and I'm so thankful for that. So there is no logical reason for me to be freaking out. But I do from time to time.

She was in the hospital twice. Once for a week and the other for 5 days. The doctors sent us home on November 11th, at that time without a proper diagnosis. (We didn't get that until later). And the sad thing is.. all I could think about was how on November 11th (2006), I was sent home from an ultrasound appointment with hopeful news that Charlotte would be ok. That all of her problems had *cleared up*.

Then she died on December 1st.

When *A* and I left the hospital on this November 11th, I was terrified of the next 2 weeks. And tonight, I'm afraid of tomorrow morning. Maybe I'll pull an all nighter and not go to sleep. Then I won't have to wake up to December 1st all over again. I've got 6 minutes to go....

Finally figuring things out...

Ok, so it's taken me a while to figure out how to do this.. but I'm attempting to link my two blogs together. Let's see if it works.

Journal Entry: July 26, 2009 Undeniable Kisses

Today the family made the drive out to the Bay to meet up with our old home church. They were hosting a conferece and *B* and I both felt the need to be washed in the Word again in the way that only Pastor Joe can. Words don't adequately describe the feeling of being back with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Those that were there in the early years, and even later, throughout our ordeal with Charlotte.

The people of Christ Bible Church are like family to us. For a period of time, before we had any of our blood family living near us, our church family was our all in all. It really felt like aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters would gather every Sunday, and even mid-week for Bibile studies, to study, and pray and worship the living God. And on the holidays like Thanksgiving and Easter, it felt weird to not be with them for our holiday meals. We've really missed them since moving from that church to our new home church. But we still keep in touch via a webserver and emails and even phone calls >>gasp!<<. These people will always hold a special place in our hearts.

They all marveled at how much the boys have grown and were introduced to Lucas for the first time. *B* and I were both so proud to show him off. But once the semon was starting, I retreated into the nursery with the baby. In ther was a small framed woman I had never met. I wasn't sure who she was or who she may have been with, but she had the cutest, chubbiest baby girl on her lap. Come to find out, the baby was her neice and only 10 months old. The woman herself had big puffy, puckered lips. The kind that hide a mouth with no teeth. She was pretty quiet, except for when she would lay a big kiss ontop of the baby's head, or on her pudgy cheeks.

I later realized who this woman was. The wife of a very kindhearted man, whom we as a church had prayed for years for. If I recall correctly, this woman had issues with drugs and alcohol and sexual promiscuity and had been estranged from her husband and children for a very long time. But her husband was faithful, and fervently had been praying for her to return to him and God. I was pretty excited to see her sitting there at church after all these years, but I didn't dare tell her that I already knew her. She made it clear to me that she wasn't a member of the church and only there visiting with her husband. But hey! She was there... WITH her HUSBAND!!!

Anyway, throughout the sermon, she would touch the baby and speak to her in a non-motherly way. Kind of abrupt, not mean, but just not tenderly. "Don't touch this, put that down, go to sleep..." But every so often, I would see her, out of the corner of my eye, bend close to the baby and kiss her on top of her head. She never said "I love you" or "Pretty girl" or any of the things you say to an adorable baby. Rather, she would just give a quick smooch to her without any emotion. It was kind of odd, and she did it a lot. I was almost like her lips were magnets and she couldn't help but be drawn to the infant.

I spent most of the hour in the room with her, and while she sat rocking the little girl, I sat rocking my little boy. At one point, I caught myself gazing at Lucas and wondering if Charlotte would have looked much the same as him. They had similar hair and his nose looked a little like hers. I hardly ever do that... compare the two. But Pastor Joe had said something and I was caught in a reflection of the time "back then".

My thought were suspended by a "smack" sound of yet another kiss from the woman to the baby. And in that moment I realized that we ARE drawn to kiss babies, and that I was just as drawn to kiss Charlotte even though she was dead. I was able to kiss that sweet little girl on the face and the top of her head and I couldn't help myself. She was still warm after she was delivered, almost like a living child, and I touched my face to hers.
I now regret not staying in that moment in letting my lips linger on her, but honestly, she scared me. Afterall, she was gone and her condition wasn't the best. But today I started to feel so bad that *B* never kissed his daughter. Hello or goodbye. He really missed something.
So that memory came up out of nowhere, but it was a good one. I could almost feel her again. And it was all prompted by little kisses.

Journal Entry: April 8, 2009

"You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land which
the LORD your God is giving you..." Deut 25:15



"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave... be strong.
Let all that you do be done with love..." 1 Corinth 16:13,14

"Rejoice, O young man, in your youth and let your heart cheer you..." Eccl 11:9

I really don't know how such tiny and fragile bones can withstand so much pressure. My hugs and kisses on this child have got to be heavy. But he humors me. Allows me to brush my lips against his cheek and bury my nose into his neck. He snuggles in close and releases a sigh as if he knows. He just knows.

I didn't know how much I would marvel.
Or love.
Or cry over him. But I have.
And it feels good.

I wondered if I would ever have that feeling again. Of it feeling good to cry over the beauty of God's creation. I've spent 2 years crying over the beauty, but it didn't feel good at all. So many things have just melted away. I don't even have the words to describe what those *things* are. They're just gone though. I don't know if they'll come back someday, or if they are gone for good.

After we came home with Lucas, I found myself nuzzled up to him one evening in my "mama-bear" chair settling in to nurse him. *B* and I had already gone thru each child, parent, aunt and uncle, customarily compairing them to Lucas, he has the forehead, the dimples, the sideways smile. All attributes of someone else. But the only thing we could see that he has of Charlotte's is her hair. She had a lot of it too. But this night, I was determined to find more. Not so much to link him to us.. but to keep her linked to us.

I'd reached over to the shelf behind me and started thumbing through her book. Looking at each picture, I was secretly hoping to recognize the smallest of details, to see them in living form on Lucas. *B* was sitting across from me, I thought just watching the game, or whatever was on. My scavenger hunt was interrupted by him saying that he looked through the book the night before.

I was busted. But so was he. Funny how our pride got in the way for both of us. Neither one wanted to admit that we still miss her. But at least we are on the same page about it. We haven't forgotten.

So now I've been tossing around the idea of moving onto another blog page, just to continue my writing. This one is too familiar to me. Raw sometimes. Emotional. My electronic diary of sorts. Which is still ok, but this page is outgrowing it's original purpose and there have been plenty of growing pains along the way.

It's original purpose was to document things pertaining to Charlotte. I don't want to now clutter it up with random postings about my day to day life; that's not setting it apart for her. So I think I will revert to my old blog... "Full Circle". But this will be my safe place to come to remember Charlotte, or to write about her.

I feel like I'm folding away a blanket. Something warm and safe that I've used to wrap myself up in for security. But I know where to find it if I need it. Sitting on the shelf right where I'm leaving it.

Journal Entry: March 23, 2009 I don't even know what day it is

I had to check the date as I sat to type tonight. All of my days have seemingly run together, or should I say seemlessly run together. All I know is that I had one heck of a week starting last Sunday, which hasn't left me with much expendable energy, but a very full heart.

As I mentioned on my last post, the boys got sick and subsequently pulled a number that required a trip to the ER. After that, I thought all I had to do is prepare for Tuesday's doctor's appointment and relax as much as possible. I double checked my bag and started a load of laundry.

Tuesday morning rolled around and after I took the boys to school, I came come to take a shower and get ready for my appt. As I pulled into my driveway, I noticed that my neighbor was outside leaving for work himself. This is the same neighbor that I saw at the doctor's office when I was pregnant with Charlotte the day she died. I looked over my shoulder and walked as fast as I could into the house. I didn't want to linger or make conversation, we were too close to bringing home baby to mentally *go there*. But I did notice.

I ended up being late to my pre-op appointment, so the NST nurse called me in the back to get that started insted. I was hooked up for about 20-25 minutes and things were great. Baby's heart rate fluctuated but was at a normal pace. I was daydreaming about labor and delivery, just waiting for the doctor to come in and say that I could go into the hospital when ever I was ready and that they would start the induction when I arrived. The nurse Sandy and I chatted about the contractions I was having and how it was strange that I could barely feel some of them. But they were becoming regular at about 3 minutes apart. It was getting exciting. Maybe I wouldn't even need pitocin? I was going on my own. Then, literally all of the sudden, Baby's heart rate plummeted. I had been trying not to look at the monitors because of the uneasy feeling it gives me (I get to stressed with every variation, so I just don't look). But Sandy was looking. Then I was looking.

Sandy was really quick to get me to shift to my side. But the monitor kept sliding. It went from the 160's to around 112 then 98 then... bleep. Nothing. I shifted again. Still nothing. She left to get the doctor. Ok, now I'm nervous. More shifting, more silence. Three minutes of total silence to be exact. Looking back, I had no idea it was that long. A moment later he came back. His heart rate steadily climbed back up to the 120's, then the 150's then he was cruising at 163 for a while. Dr. T came back in and said that there wasn't anyway that we were gonna mess around, she was going to order an ambulance and I could call *B* and tell him to meet us at the hospital.

Oh my gosh, not again!

When I called *B* his buddies from work were whoopin' and hollerin' in the background thinking that wah hoo... I'm having a baby! But nope. I was making a call to tell him that the baby crashed and he needed to come home. again. I'm going to the hospital to have a an ambulance..again.

I think it was at this point that I began to pray. I asked the Lord to give me peace, the kind that surpasses all understanding and to hold this baby in the palm of his hand. That you Lord, are the One whom I trust, and I am not going to even entertain the thoughts that something bad will happen. Nope. You have this undercontrol and I trust in You.

The ambulance arrived and off we went. I didn't get the full monte of the sirens 'n stuff, but that was ok. We didn't really need 'em. I just knew we were going to be ok.

I was admitted, *B* arrived and I was started on pitocin. By this time I had texted a few friends asking for prayer and got settled into my bed. Lori texted me to say she was at the hospital and waiting in the lobby. She came in and sat with us for a while, it was nice to have a friend there. She was so helpful. By this time it was about 2 o'clock, the boys were being picked up by my sister and *A* was on her way home from school. Lori ended up driving to the house to let *A* in and on her way back, she picked up a pizza for *B*. Meanwhile, I realized that it was kind of uncomfortable kind of reclining in that position, so I decided to stand. I felt so much better! I stayed that way for a few hours. I would sway or arch my back for relief, but then back to standing. Becky and Kim also arrived which made the time pass much quicker. I thought I was making progress being dialated at 1-2 when I arrived to maybe a 2-3 by 6pm. But then a new doctor came on shift and said that I was really only at a 2 and not effaced very much.

At about 7pm, I got another text. It was from *A*. I was torn about not being able to go to the soccer game she was playing in but I ended up not really having a choice. But the game had started at 6:30, so why was I getting a message from her at 7pm??

In her text, she said that she was on her way to the hospital because she thought she broke her knuckle. ugh. Apparently, she slipped on the field and another player stepped on her hand with her cleat. A school administrator was heading to the ER with her. I had to speak with him and ask him to take her to my sister's house instead, as I was in labor at the hospital out of town. He agreed and *A* went to Jenni's house. When they arrived at the hospital, *B* met *A* in the ER and waited with her there. We were directly 3 floors apart. Them in ER and me in L&D. Man! This baby's born into one whirlwind of a family!

Becky and Kim were still there, now so was my sister. It was pretty cool. But I got so discouraged. I thought for sure they were going to come in and tell me that the stress of laboring that long wasn't good for the baby and I would require a C section anyway. We were pushing 10 hours already and I was only at 2cm?? Ok, I suppose I'll take my epidural now. I felt so weak. Might as well. I mean, in case I would have a cesarean I would have to get one anyway, what's the point of waiting? Everyone left the room. *A* and my sister decided to get a soda. When they returned, Jenni said she was gonna leave (afterall, it was surely going to be a long night, it was already about 11:30 or so) but I told her to let the nurse know that my water had just broke. Well then things got fun! Finally.. something was happening!

When the nurse came in to check me I was at a 4 and 80%. Yay! Progress.

So Jenni took *A* to Del Taco. In the meantime, I had two more gushes and 2 more checks. As they walked back into the room with food in tow, the nurse said I was at an 8 and only a lip of cervix was left. She rolled me onto that side and called the doctor. By this point, I was in a LOT of pain. I had a pump for the epidural, but a lot of good that did. I could feel everything in my body EXCEPT the cramping in my belly. All other lower parts were fair game. The nurse Susan kept telling me to wait to push until the doctor arrived, but I didn't think I could. Finally, he showed up but was a little lax in getting over to me. At one point a nurse said "Doctor, you're about to miss your delivery..." then I knew it was close. My time was at hand. He stood in front of me and I was begging Brian to pray. I remember at one point yelling at him to pray and he said he was. But I wanted him to be praying out loud. I looked back at the doctor and said "he's coming... it's so hot.. oh my gosh, I need to push.. this s#*t hurts!" "So push" the doctor said pretty casually.

And push I did.

One big grunt and I heard the nurse say.. "well, there's your son". Apparently *L*'s head just popped right out. There was no one, two, two three... two steps forward, one step back stuff. Right after she said that the doctor said "Stop pushing! The cord is around his neck." (twice, actually). I looked over at my sister, her eyes were bulging as she was holding her breath, tears were streaming down her face. I could feel everyone's tension. I know that it probably wasn't the best idea, and I should have listened to the doctor, but I wasn't about to have another baby die inside of me. I gave it one more big push and he was out. All in all, it totaled just two pushes but it seemed like a long time before everyone was able to take a deep breath of relief. But *L* was screaming, which was music to my ears. They laid him on me and I couldn't believe it. He is here. Alive. Screaming. Looking at me.

He is beautiful. He was so pink and chubby. He has a head full of dark wavy hair.

As the doctor was checking me out and stitching me up, I looked at *A*. It was so sad and so beautiful all at the same time. She was sitting in the chair near my head with her face in her hands, bawling. Inconsolable. She would only acknowledge me by shaking her head "no" when I asked her to come over to me. I repeatedly asked her and every time she said no. I wanted her by my side. But she wouldn't come. I know it was just too much. The memory of her sister, the stress of the delivery, the fear of what was happening to me (because I was in so much pain), the joy of meeting her bother. It all came to a head. She had no other outlet than her tears.

They weighed him and took his apgar scores which were 8 and 9. He was so chunky. He weighed in at 8 pounds and 9 ounces and is 21 1/4 inches long. The longest of any of 'em. Second in weight. He has a head full of beautiful dark hair and a deep dimple in his cheek.

Right away I noticed how much he resembled *A* when she was born. There is such a sweetness about him. I'm in love.

Journal Entry: March 16th, 2009 It feels like Christmas Eve

I remember Christmas Eve at our house as a child. Well, technically, we never held the celebration at our house, we always went to our great grandparent's house where the whole family would gather. Aunts, uncles, cousins. It was usually the only time of the year that we saw some of our distant family, but it never felt like that long had passed since we last saw each other. How funny it is to me now though, there was one cousin in particular that was there every year, that I never knew was a cousin. As a child, he was always "just there" to me. I thought he was a family friend. haha.

But no matter how long we would stay at gramma's house, or how much good food there was or whatever gifts we recieved from our family that night, my sister and I always looked forward to going home. It was when we got home late that night that our parents would let us pick out *just one* present from under the tree to open before we went to bed.

Now, my mom told me, just this last Christmas, that she always orchestrated the gift to be the pajamas we were to wear that night. But I don't remember it that way at all. I don't remember WHAT we got, I just remember the anticipation and excitement of getting to open a gift of our choosing, with the promise of more to come in the morning. I do remember being disappointed a time or two in not getting whatever it was I thought I deserved or wanted as a gift...but obviously it didn't matter what the gift turned out to be... as now I can't even remember what they were. It was always special to pick out that one gift.

My sister and I would have this *deal* every year. We would sleep together in the same bedroom and made a pact that whoever woke up first in the morning had to wake up the other one right away. We couldn't go out and get a jump start on opening presents. We had to wait for each other. The irony in this NOW, as adult women, we seenm to be doing that with our lives still. But now it's with our children. We each have 3 living children right now. Two girls that are 4 months apart and stairstepped cousins. I've got the boys, she's got the girls. Between us we have two 15 yr olds, a 7, 6, 5 and 4 yr old. Then of course, there was Charlotte, and my sis got pregnant and lost a baby right after her. Now I am about to pop and she found out she is alomost 7 weeks pregnant.

We never have planned it that way, it just happens. It is pretty cool though. I'm sure she would agree, this does feel ike Christmas Eve all over again, just like when we were kids. She's going to be in the room to meet little man with me and I know she's excited. It's like peeking into the package a little early for her too.

But this afternoon wasn't so much fun.

My plan was to take it easy, finish up the laundry, relax and wait for nightfall. But somewhere along the lines, plans changed. *M* got sick at church on Sunday (threw up in Sunday school class) and was pretty lethargic all day Monday. *Z* was also not feeling good so I kept 'em both home with me. I had woken up at about 3am with some pretty heavy contractions, thinking that maybe this was it. After a while, I got out of bed, figuring that if they were the real deal then they would intensify and I'd know sooner rather than later. Well, after doing the dishes, cleaning up the kitchen and folding laundry, the contractions slowed down. By 5 o'clock, both boys woke up and wanted cuddle time. I snuggled 'em and got their breakfast together (well, not *M's* he was still not feeling well) and finished up my chores. By this time it was almost 8am. I was beginning to feel exhausted. I called my mom and asked her if she could either come over and sit with the boys or run to the store for me. We needed more 7Up and crackers. She said she would but it woun't be for a while. >>yawn<<. ok.

Then both boys said they were sleepy and wanted to lay back down. Cool. So they had their blankies and cartoons on low.. the living room was dark and I headed off to my room. An hour or so later, my mom calls back to tell me she's on her way over with the stuff. I sit up and notice my bedroom door is closed. humpf. Just then, both guys came n my room, climbed into my bed and told me that they ate all of the "yummy cherry medicine". I had no idea what they were talking about. I knew we were out of the chewable children's acetominiophen, that's what grandma was also buying... so I assumed they meant they ate some cough drops.

Well, we keep the medicine in the kitchen really high up in a tin box. So this means that they were climbing. And scavenging. Arrgggg...

When I made my way into the kitchen to survey the damage, I noticed they somehow found a box of Childrens Triaminic Soft Chews for runny nose and cough. I didn't even know they were in there! Well apparently, big brother thought these would be good for them and doled them out to his little brother and himself. The problem? I don't know how many were in the box to begin with. It said 18, but there was clearly less than that. When I asked them (meaning interrogated them) as to how many they ate, the older said he had 4 and younger ate 5. Well, I could only find 3 wrappers. So when I asked a second time.. he said he had 2 and brother had 2. Still isn't adding up.

So I kept my eye on them both, figuring they would get sleepy for sure. And like clockwork, they settled down. But while little one was sleeping, he sat upright and spit! I told him to not spit on mommy's couch and he just looked at me funny. Shortly after that he started babbling and not making any sense. He stared off into space. It was creepy. But I honestly couldn't tell if he was still asleep or if he was doped up. So I read the box and see that a regular dose is 2 tablets. But still. I don't know for sure how many he ate.

I couldn't find the number for poision control, and I already have the doctors number memorized, so I just called the advice nurse. I was so irritated by this point because you have to go thru a series of automated responses and verifications before you can actually SPEAK to a nurse. Arrggg... again.

When I finally got a live one, she went thru another series of questions that were prompted by the computer. You can just tell. Well, I was getting really annoyed when she finally told me to hold on. This whole process was taking like 20 minutes. She spoke to a doctor and got back on the phone and told me he said to take both boys into the ER. That's when I lost it and started crying. How the heck was I supposed to carry them into the ER? I'm huge! I called *B* and he said he couldn't get here in time. I had to go by myself. It would take him at least 2 hours to get here. More tears... of frustration mostly, but a little bit of fear mixed in too.

So we made it to the ER. Nurse come out for triage and another takes the box I brought and calls Poision Control. Comes back and says that it would take 10x the amount of medication to have any toxic levels in the boy's blood. They would be fine. Whew! But still, go in the back to see the Doc.

He comes in, does a once over on each of the boys and goes to call Poision Control at the nurse's station. Meanwhile *B* shows up. Doc comes back in and says they will be fine. Discharges us. A receptionist comes in and asks for payment. $100. Just for two freaking phone calls to poision control??? I coulda/shoulda done that myself and saved a penny.. or a thousand!!! I was not a happy mommy today. So much for getting things done.

I capped the night off by heading to Bass Pro Shops to walk around. I'm wanting to encourage this guy to stay head down until tomorrow. But even that has come wth a price. I bought fudge for me and *A* , had a bag of coated pecans, stopped at AM/PM for crunchy ice and Cheetos and grabbed an apple juice too. What a pig. lol.

But tonight I'm feeling that rush of excitment and anticipation all over again as it is the eve of a birthday for my child. I hope that at tomorrow's Dr appt I will find that he is still head down and ready to be induced. And although I am not looking forward to an induction, I am even less happy about the possibility of having a c-section. My life is too chaotic to have to stop and slow down after surgery. Not to mention I'm scared of getting cut open. But there is so much I am responsible for in the day to day running of our household that I think it would make things so much harder on me to have *extra* healing to do. There have been many offers of support and help, but I feel funny having people do SO much for us. Pride? maybe.

So here I sit.. waiting.. just like I used to do for Santa to come. But this time the jolly little man will be much smaller. ::wink:wink::

Journal Entry: March 5th, 2009 A Date with Destiny...

More appointments. Blah blah blah. We've hit the ground running with the non-stress tests (NSTs). They strap me up to a monitor to check heart rate and activity levels. And every other appointment we get an ultrasound to check fluid levels. hummm.... not so much "fun" but reassurance is seldom met with excitement. Usually it's met with fear and/or trepidation. It's kinda like a pass or fail test. Today's visit was no exception. BUT... when the reassurance of a beating heart was heard and seen, smiles ensued. I can't believe I'm still getting worried about this.

I was much more at ease in walking into that room today because I had just come out of my regualr appt with Dr. "T". I really appreciate how she seems to be prepared when she speaks with me. She had already talked with the Perinatologist about a plan of action so I was able to get some questions answered. The last being "NO" to the question if I wanted to have my tubes tied, should I have a C section. Let "B" go in and get snippity snipped. I ain't doing it.

She told me that they've agreed to not allow me to go past 39 weeks. And that if Little Man is still breech that we'll do a C section. A giant wall calendar was hanging directly across from the exam table I was sitting on and it practically glowed for me. Holy Smokes! That's 13 days from now!! Wah-hoo!!

She offered me the option of trying a version before then, where the docs manually try to move the baby to a head down position. Uh, no thanks. I've looked into that on my own and... Too risky, too painful.

So she then said we'll proceed with a planned cesarean but if when we get there we find (via ultrasound) that he is infact head down.. then I'll be given pitocin to induce labor so he won't have a chance to flop again. Sounds good to me.

But if I go into labor on my own.. that's ok too. I'd rather have that happen. Pitocin is like snake venom. Evil stuff. So the plan now is to sit and wait and know there is an end in sight . It's exciting to KNOW I have an eviction date set. I'm still leery about a c-section, but I'll get over it, I'm sure. If not, I'll ask for a sedative. lol.

Last week was the first NST. It came on the heels of the 37 week mark. Ugh. I was called into the same room where Charlotte had died. Strapped onto the same bed. Staring at the same monitor.

I was fine... until the nurse turned on the machine. whomp, whomp, whomp...::sigh:: there he is. Ok. then the tears came rolling. I picked up the lower half of my XXXXXXXL shirt and covered my face. The poor attending nurse had no idea what was going on. I didn't go into hysterics or anything.. but it was hard. Really hard. She asked if I was ok, I didn't want to be overly dramatic, yet I didn't want to be so passe that it may make her think it wasn't important to me. So I just said I was ok, I was emotional because my daughter was stillborn and that testing just brings up memories for me. I dried my face and held my breath until the last hanging tear fell.

On with it.

He had a good/strong rhythm and was moving around a ton. whew. 25 more minutes of it and I could leave.

Now every third day I have to go back.

So anyways, today I had noticed that *L* is more quiet than usual. Even this morning, he didn't greet me with his big rolls, turns and jabs... insted, he'd twitch and bump. But at least there was something. I kept wondering if I was being spoken to. Was the Lord gonna tell me again that my child was going home that day? Or would He not allow me to find that out until I was already strapped in? I went about my day, trying not to pay too much attention to him, trying not to jinx myself. Then a cramp came and stayed for a long while. It wouldn't release, but when it finally did, I took notice of his activity again. Still, little movements, bubbles. Not much else can describe it. But I'll take it.

My appt was late this afternoon.
Note to self: I weigh more at the end of the day. lol.

My fluid also fluctuated by one point or whatever they use to measure it. Good. The whole appointment was just so much more than I wanted to deal with today. I wanted to take a nap.
There was such a mix of emotions. There was excitement. Relief. A little anxiety. Smiles.

So now we have a date with destiny. Can't wait to meet you Little One. I love you more than you know.

Journal Entry: February 21, 2009 We made it to December...

Ever have one of those days where all you want to do is be alone? That's how I felt for the majority of today. It's Saturday and I was really hoping that more house work would have been done. But the whole family has been pretty lazy today.. well, with the exception of the boys. It was the first time in a long while that I let them go outside to play. So, they ran and jumpd and biked their little hearts out.

I was finnishing up with all of the prep work for the baby shower tomorrow. Making dips, cutting bread.. trying a new jello recipe. You know, big stuff. But deep down, there was a part of me that just couldn't WAIT to get to tonight to write out my heart and cry a bit, without all of the distractions of the family. And even now... I've irritated "A" with the ferocity of with which I am typing. She hates when I'm on the computer. I'm annoying her. What-ev. I wish she'd just go to bed so I could be alone.

I decided early on this morning to make today a really kick back day. I've been having contractions a lot and thought it would be a good idea for me to take it really easy and nap and eat when I wanted. So I did.

I woke up around 5pm or so and thought to myself... "We made it to December...we made it to December!!" I parked the car, briskly walked into the doctor's office, checked in, noticed a friend of mine was in the lobby and then my neighbor passed by. He mentioned how pregnancy looks good on me, asked me to let he and his wife know when things start to happen. About 20 minutes later, my world stopped spinning. That was the day Charlotte died. She was exactly 36 weeks along. Tomorrow I will yet again be 36 weeks along.

It's funny, some of the things that get me going. I've know that tomorrow is a mirror of 2 years ago. Even tonight.. I sat folding the laundry for Little Man and began putting it away. Just like I did the night before that damn doctor's appointment. But this time there was a sea of blue instead of pink around me. Last time I had just sorted out all of the pretty little clothes and divided them according to size. I had gone to the mall with Kim and when I got home I figured I should start to get Charlotte's things in order. First on the list was the laundry.

"B" came in just as I was waking up and noticed that I was laying still, staring off into the closet. He aksed if I was alright. I told him that Charlotte died at 36 weeks and tomorrow Lucas will be 36 weeks. "So... you're freaking out a little bit?" was all he could say. I really didn't want him to say anymore anyway. He's not known to be very sensitive.

I eventually sat up and started folding clothes again. I told him that people are going to start forgetting her now. "Who is? Jesus?" No dumbass. He won't. He can't. Her name is punctured into the palms of His hands. "WHO? Are you?" he follows up. (You know.. sometimes I really can't tell if he's asking or provoking me).

Me. Yes, me ok? I am starting to forget! I'm starting to forget her. How she felt. How she looked. HOw she smelled. But what I am remembering is that we FREAKIN' made it to December when no one thought we would. When they told me everything was going to be ok and it wasn't! That's what I do remember!!

I remember taking a shower that morning and the Lord impressing upon my heart that she was going to go to Him that day. I remember that bitch of a nurse in the office that wouldn't get me my juice fast enough so I could get Chralotte to move some more. I remember having to call my husband who was working 60 miles away to tell him our daughter died. I remember the bumpy ambulance ride to the hospital and waiting for "B" to show up at the hospital so I wouldn't be alone...and the STUPID freaking EMT that was trying to make small talk on the way there.

Yeah, I remember.

So tomorrow is supposed to be a good day. But I keep thinking of the verse in Luke 12:20...
But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'

What else is He going to ask me for? Lucas too?? I can't I can't give Him that. Not again. If I just stay up tonight, He can't tell me this in the morning. I know that's not how things work. But I'm just wanting Lucas to be here. Alive. Breathing. Looking at me. Even now.. he's bumping around inside me. Letting me know he's alright.

God, I'm gonna look like crap tomorrow. Deep sigh. I guess I'm off to bed. Or maybe I'll read the Word a bit. I really should get some clarity and peace.

Journal Entry: February 11th, 2009: Forty Days and Forty Nights

I thought this could be an approproate title as that's what I've got left. *Technically* he is due in 40 days, but I seriously doubt if he'll wait that long. (But don't all pregnant women think they will delivery early for one reason or another?) Forty days as well as high amniotic fluid levels.. hum.. a deluge of torrential waters? This is the mental picture I have of when my water breaks. Partially I think this because of what it was like delivering Charlotte. Her fluid levels were less than what his are now... and there was so much water. Even my midwife joked that rain boots are gonna come in handy for this one. I'm thinking more like hip-waders. This is what I do.. try to make light of the situation, hardy har har. It's not so bad if you can still laugh at it, right?

Fact of the matter is.. I shouldn't be so darn quick to research everthing online. Cyberspace is a scarrey place to be if your not tethered to an anchor. And you better make sure your anchor is heavier than you are so you can't drag it.

My last appointment was kinda weird. Not bad, just weird.

I haven't gained any weight from weeks 31 to 34 (ok, maybe 4 ounces or so... seriously) but I began measuring bigger. Like at 37 weeks. Hmmm... the possibilities are because he was breech/transverse still so that threw things off, or there is a lot of fluid, or he is going to be really big. My anxiety kicked in when I realized that because of his position (laying sideways) there is a possibility of cord prolapse... meaning his umbilical cord could come out first and cut off oxygen and blood to him. And wouldn't ya know it.. having high fluid levels has an increased chance of this happening too. humpf! I think of it like flushing the toilet. Once the process starts, you can't really stop it. And from what I've read.. time is of the essence. Literally maybe minutes before something can go terribly wrong. I really should stop reading.

So yesterday I had an ultrasound to check things out. Good news? His head is down. For how long, I don't know. Hopefully for the duration. But there is a lot of fluid (high ranges from 19-25 and I'm at 24.92) so he could very well swish and slide around some more. But hopefully.. because his head is apparently really big (measuring at 37 weeks) it will plug things up if my water breaks and I'm not at the hospital. But I have been advised that if it does rupture I have to go in immediately. No waiting around to finish up the dishes like I did with "M", I guess. lol. What freaks me out though is how much water there was with Charlotte, and her levels were only at 19-20, if I remember correctly. She shot out like a cannon. I hope I'm at the hospital safely if this should be the case again.

There are more really scarrey things that can happen to me with the fluid being high, but I don't really want to write about them now. It makes it more real and I'm going to keep as positive as I can. I've also read ::blush:: that I peak at 34 weeks with the fluid and there is a chance of it decreasing. I am going to really try to limit my sugars and salt intake, hoping that will make a difference in my retention and release. I don't get it though.. I already have to pee every hour or so. Now.. his big head is an issue. Not that the doctors have said anything yet, but I'm thinking... it's gonna hurt! My midwife said something about having to speak to a Perinatologist. Don't know if that's a good or bad thing. A planned c-section is sounding better and better. I am in no mood to risk anything ever again.

Three weeks ago I was taking a bunch of baby stuff to a buy-back store. It is really insulting to go in there, hand them your stuff and wait as they pick at it to see if it's worthy enough to re-sell. They only give you pennies on the dollar for what you bring in, but I wasn't having much luck with Craigslist and ebay and I wanted this stuff out. Well, they weren't opened yet, so I drove around for a bit. I ended up going to a 4D ultrasound business to maybe get a quick picture of the baby.

I parked the car and began to pray. I knew that the price of a package was out of my league so I was asking God to be merciful and allow me to be bold and ask for a discount. I could pay a little bit, and afterall, I didn't want a full session. Just a picture of his face. Well, when I walked in, there were 2 women at the desk. One was on the phone and the other asked how to help. I told her that I was wanting to get just a picture of his face (I must have said that like 4 times.. "just his face") but was wondering if they could accommodate my budget.

I told her how far along I was and that I don't want a dvd of him moving around, I just want to "see his face", today, while he is alive. I felt salty water filling my eyes when I realized what I was saying and that I had missed the opportunity to do this with Charlotte. The woman walked me in the back room and asked what was wrong. I felt so stupid. I have been pretty good about keeping tears in check when I talk about her, most of the time I'm fine. But other times, it creeps up on me then it's too late. They spill over. Then it's awkward for everyone.

But this woman was very compassionate. I told her that a dvd wouldn't be a good idea for me (I have a tendancy to obsess, oh... really???lol) but I *just wanted to see his face*. She ended up introducing herself to me as the Owner of the place, told me to lie down and relax.

I mentioned to her what Charlottes' problems were (T18 related) and she said her sister in law had a daughter who passed away from that. It was a serene experience to see this little baby boy up on the screen, but even though I was there for that very reason, I was so scared to look at the monitor. When she printed out a few pictures, I felt better, but to turn and look at the screen, it was almost too much. I felt this way yesterday during the ultrasound too. Just one of those things I guess. We talked about the Lord and how He is in control. It was such a blessing to be there that day.

She also said that he has a really thick cord, which is a good thing. And she said his nose isn't as big as I think it is. Yeah, we'll see. After she gave me about 6 pictures she walked me out to the lobby and gave me a little gift/diaper bag with samples and coupons in it. Then she turned to her receptionist and said "no charge". God is indeed gracious.

Jurnal Entry: January 15, 2009 Cleaning out the closet

I figured today was as good as any to get the things done around the house that I had been putting off for so long. I decided it was time to delve into the closet and go thru Charlotte's things.

This closet is big. So big that I had considered transforming it into a mini nursery for this baby. And in it, is housed some things from all of my children. I have *A's* clothes and shoes and junk in there, the boys' tubs for seasonal clothing... as well as special baby blankets, this new baby's bags of wet wipes and clothes.... and about 10 boxes of clothing and bedding that were intended for Charlotte. One of the hardest things about going into that space (aside from the sheer volume of crap that is in there because of *A's* disinterest in keeping things tidy) is the markings of a name of a little sister, by a big sister, that will never be.

At some point during my pregnancy, *A* had written in magenta crayon on one of the shelves where the baby clothes were to be kept the word "Charlet". I hadn't ever considered spelling her name like that, but looking at it that way is so endearing to me now. I've left it there, despite the fact that's now the shelf for the boy's things. Every once in a while I'll go in looking for the next size up in play clothes and come across that inscription. It stops me in my tracks every time. You'd think I would be used to seeing it, but every time I do, it's like the first time her name has been whispered to me. I have to stand still and quiet to take it all in.

Well today I didn't go to that shelf (half way purposefully) but turned my attention to the boxes stacked behind me. About a week after she was gone, I had started to organize everything. I took out what I wanted, little things that were reserved *only Charlotte's*, some that I would love to see another daughter of mine wear, and some that I definitely could part with. Then I folded them all neatly and put them away. Could I really part with any of them? I mean, they've been in the closet for 2 whopping years already!

There were small things I did let go. Some blankets & outfits/sleepers that I gave to my nieces for their baby dolls (who still hold them dear as Charlotte's things) and some I gave to teen moms. But still, there are all of these boxes. At this point, they are taking up a lot of space I am needing to get this baby's stuff organized. So down they came.

I had already gone thru them and sorted them according to size. But today I was going to catalog them and take pictures to place them on Ebay or whatnot. I did it 2 boxes at a time. Layed each little outfit on my bed, starting with the larger sizes first. It was bitter sweet. I remember looking at all of these things for the first time two years ago and getting so excited because (at that point in time) we were told the ultrasounds were all clear. I couldn't wait to put my little girl in some of these outfits. It seemed as though God was reassuring us that everything was going to be ok. He provided above and beyond what we needed for her. I got excited all over again the night before our Level 2 ultrasound with this baby. I was SO SURE he was a she.

I'm glad I went thru them starting with the bigger sizes first, because it was getting hard for me to see all of the small things. The tiny mittens she wouldn't wear, the headbands with little bows on 'em... the awesome red coat. I put away what I could, but there's still more for me to do tomorrow.

I got a little teary thinking about how she didn't get to wear these things. And even more teary as I realized I probably won't ever get to put a daughter of mine in them. The boys would come in and out of my bedroom and ask what all of it was. They kept asking if the new baby would wear them. Uh, no buddy, wrong color.

So as I went in to download the pictures, I took a deep breath. I saw the ultrasound pictures. He is definitely a boy. Time to let the clothes go. But as the pictures were being loaded into the folder, I noticed it said there were 450 pictures transferring. WTH??? I know I didn't take that many!

So as I watched them surface, I was struck by what they were of. They were the birth of my friend's daughter Olivianna. I thought I was certain to have deleted all of the images after I gave them to my friend, so I was really caught off guard at seeing this precious little girl, being cradled in the arms of her daddy.

I, of course, lingered over the pictures for a while. Reminiscing over what that day meant to so many people. I know I haven't really spoken of the Grover Family before, mostly out of respect for their privacy, but also because it hurts.

:~: How it all started :~:
I was involved with a moms group while I was pregnant with Charlotte. During that time, these ladies sustained me. I would write lengthy email updates about what was going on and they all rallied around us with prayer and friendship. Well, there was a friend of mine there named Nicole. Eventually, Nicole left our group and started her own group at her church. One morning. about a year or so after Charlotte died, I got a call from Nicole asking if I wouldn't mind talking to another mom from her group. This woman was pregnant and had found out that her baby girl was very *sick* and would probably not live for very long outside of her womb. I was so scared. What the heck was I supposed to say? Don't get me wrong... I was honored that I was allowed to be able to try to show the goodness of Christ in the midst of my situation, but I was afraid I was going to fumble over myself. I tend to do that you know.. put too much of *me* into things.
Anyway, Nicole had recieved an email from Amber stating what was going on with the pregnancy, and she forwarded it to me (just so I was aware of the situation) and I was immediately struck by the similarities of Amber's writing and my own. Not so much in style, but in the overall tone of the letter as well as the obvious leading and peace given by the Holy Spirit. There were so many times that I would write and not really be aware of what I was writing until DAYS later, when I read it and said to myself "Woah! Did I write that?? I don't even remember where that came from." That's what I saw in Amber's letters too. Needless to say, since I had Amber's email address, I couldn't wait for a formal introduction by Nicole. I wrote to Amber directly.

I really don't even remember what I said at first contact, but what ended up happening was a beautiful and deep friendship was cultivating between Amber and I. We sent letters back and forth. I tried to reassure her, give her space, be a support. But what she may not have known was how much she was helping me too.

I was able to share Charlotte and the miraculous things Jesus had done with someone who "got it". Amber understood what I was saying without me having to explain it or defend it. It was liberating. A few weeks into our correspondence, we finally decided to meet in person. She was amazing. I marveled at her ability to keep herself together. I remember crying a lot while talking to her on the phone and in person. But there was nothing for me to hide behind. Nor did I need to.

I offered to take pictures for her of the birth of Olivianna, and she and her husband agreed. I was so elated to be allowed to be there for this event. I know this sounds selfish, but I got to be a part of a birth AND a homecoming that even their own family was not privy to. They had their family all at the hospital, you could feel the love surrounding them all day... but I got to meet Olivianna. The actual birth was beautiful. What I remember most clearly was Amber calling on the name of Jesus in her pain and the praise she was giving Him as Olivianna emerged. It only took a few moments and He delivered her.

Olivianna lived for a little over 11 minutes. She was held and loved on by her mommy and daddy the whole time. Her father was so strong. At one point it seemed as though the room was silent and all you could hear was loud sobbing. In all reality, it wasn't that loud, but it seemed like it. It was her daddy. The weight of the world was placed on his shoulders as he was beginning to say goodbye. Olivianna struggled to breathe, but it wasn't something that I would describe as pitiful or gut wrenching. It was more like she was leaving this world behind, as her breath was taken away by the sheer beauty of her seeing her Savior for the first time. It was such a peaceful moment. I will never, ever forget it.
I was able to make a video montage for them to play at her funeral. Even that was cathartic for me. But watching Amber go thru the stages of labor and delivery, I had set my mind on the idea that I was not wanting to have anymore children of my own. (It hurts!!) You tend to forget how bad things hurt after you have a child, but watching Amber do it, I resigned myself to the fact that I was done. Up until this period of time (June '08) I had been unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant. For 9 months I tried, cried, and died inside every month I got my period. I reluctantly was accepting the fact that I must make broken babies; as I too, was broken.

I came home that afternoon with my head spinning. I couldn't wrap my head around the idea that the world was still going on around me. Lights still turned green at traffic signals, dinner still needed to be made. Why couldn't the Earth stop spinning for even a minute to recognize what just happened? And then I though of how hard the next few months will be on that poor, sweet family. They are now in this dreadful "club".

I remember on that Friday I invited a few of my friends over to my house. Nothing formal or with an adgenda. I don't think any of them even knew what I had done a couple of days before (taking the pictures for Amber), *B* was out of town and I needed some support. My girlfriends came over and hung out with me and I felt better.
About a month later, I found out I was pregnant. God has a real sense of humor, huh?

Journal Entry: January 13th, 2009 He's in the details

My aunt passed away last week. She had a very aggressive case of breast cancer. I saw her last in October, when we took a make shift Thanksgiving dinner up to my grandmas' house, figuring it would be the last bit of time we got to spend with each other. I'm so glad I did that. She got to sit and visit with my children. I was able to kiss her supple cheek goodbye. At that time we thought she had 6 months to 1 year before she would go. It was only 3 months. Oh how I wish I knew if she were in heaven that I could see her again. That probably sounds horrible, but I didn't know her well as an adult. I never spoke with her about the things of God. I never heard her say that she's trusts Jesus to be her Savior.

All I know about her life is that she was raised Mormon and was married the first time in the Mormon temple. Later, when I was about 5 yrs old, maybe, I vaguely remember going to a church service where she was baptized. I remember her "goin' in the tank." I knew that we weren't in a Mormon church, but that's about it. She was always the ONE person in my family that I felt I had gotten some of my physical attributes from. I may have looked like a cousin or someone from both sides of the family, but I always felt I got my height from my Aunt Barb. Height is a rare commodity in our family. I was taller than most of the males in the family for a long while. I always clung to that with her. And now too, her having two rambunctious boys that she was raising. I think about that all the time when I see my two guys wrestling or needing a trip to the emergency room. But if Aunt Barb could handle it, then so could I.

This is my dads sister. The second one to die, now he is left to care for his mom. His other sister died about 9 yrs ago from a brain tumor. He has had prostate cancer. The pressure must be heavy on him. But he has mentioned several times that Aunt Barb is in heaven. He seems to be satisfied with the knowledge of her trusting in Jesus. So in a weird way, I have to ride on his coat tails on this one.

This brings me to the point that I want to make. I don't want there to ever be a question of whom I adore, of whom I trust. I want to live my life in a way that everyone who meets me knows. It's not fair for there to be questions from those left behind as to where the dearly departed are now. It agonizing. I know that God only knows the hearts of men, and He is the author and finisher of our faith, but there shouldn't have to be the lingering questions.

"Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." 1 Timothy 4:14

I had a doctor's appointment today. I was going to be seeing a midwife for the first time. I was a little nervous about it, seeing a midwife rather than a doctor. But I'm so glad I did. I scared myself pretty good last night. I had started coming down with a cold or flu bug or something a couple of days ago and I finally went to the store and bought some (what I thought would be) relief. I took the medicine as directed and started to feel better. I did get a bit loopy/dizzy from the antihistamine, but my sinuses started to feel better rather quickly. Well, the longer I sat in my haze, the more nervous I got. The baby was bumping around a lot until I took the pills, then about and hour later, he became less active. These are the things you notice when you've had a child die inside of you. Every nuance becomes the most important part of your day. Every wiggle is a reassuring sign that all is well. When the activity changes, you notice.

So all night long, the medicine I took to give me relief and respite only made me stay up and count kicks and rolls. I tried to sleep, would doze off, but startle myself awake wondering if I had killed my baby. He was so quiet. My upper sides were very uncomfortable, I would toss and turn from side to side, then worry that I was tossing too much and laying all of my weight on him. I wanted to lay flat on mt back for a while just to stretch things out, but I wouldn't because I know that can compress things. So back and forth, to and fro, right to left. At one point, I laid on my right side and was pushing downwards near my diaphragm, thinking that his foot was lodged in my ribcage. I rested my hand on my hip, trying to drift back off to sleep and felt a pulsating throb under my thumb. It was the first time I'd ever felt it. Mental note, it's about 4 am and there is still a heartbeat. You know, just in case it stops, I can know when I'd felt it last.

When it was finally time to get out of bed, I sat a little longer just to see if he bumped around. Nope. Not much. I showered, still not much. By the time I was driving and sipping my iced coffee and he wasn't moving, I was getting more and more nervous. I prayed in the car to have God shift him. And he did. He woke up and I could feel him squirm. Whew. But that was a long 7 minute car ride that's for sure!

After I arrived and they took me in the back and weighed me, which to my chagrin, I have gained almost 6 pounds in 2 weeks. Yikes! But it puts me at only 7 pounds over my starting weight (not including what I had lost in the beginning). I'm not usually much of a numbers person, but this just makes me think that he's gonna be a fat baby. I had a dream the other night that he was a 9 lb 3 oz bundle of chub. It was the first dream I've EVER had being pregnant that I could actually see the baby's face. and you know what? It was beautiful. And a girl. hahahaha. Guess I'm still working thru my feelings on that one. lol. We called her Sophie. That's not even one of my favorite girl names. Go figure.

When the midwife came in I was fine. She asked about the baby by name, which is nice and also asked if I was doing ok, all of the typical things. I'd mentioned about my little freak out the night before with the meds but followed up with now he's moving, literally right at that moment, so I knew he was ok. Then with the most compassionate voice, she said "You know it's not your fault what happened right? You didn't make your baby die". I know that. And I'm sure I've heard it before, but somehow, when she said it, it lifted the heavy burden I'd been carrying.

We chatted about Charlotte and this baby. And in that I learned she is a Christian. I cried even harder. What a blessing. She measured me and all is well. Except for the fact that he has moved again into a transverse position. Ugh. Well, that explains why I've been feeling so much discomfort on my sides. I thought so, but didn't think he'd flop over again!! She suggested that if I rub my big toe there is a pressure point that is said to help turn a baby.

After I left the office (with much higher spirits), I stopped by my mom's salon. She kept insisting that I get a pedicure (She gave me a gift certificate for Christmas). I didn't mention to her about the rubbing the toe thing. But I wanted to wait until closer to when the baby is due to get one, but she told me that she'll treat me to another one, but that I should really make an appointment soon. So I'm going on Friday and I'll have the girl really give my big toe a workout, lol.