Well it is hard to believe that I haven't posted on this blog since last October. So much has happened since then. It always amazes me how I can go so long without posting, yet when I do post it is quite therapeutic for me. So beware, the last months of my life have been full of Joy, challenges, accomplishments, great loss, and sadness. I probably feel the urge to write again, because well, I emotionally vomit sometimes when writing. It is a release for me. So if you want to join me in the emotional journey.....Keep reading.
January 2, of this year was my husbands and I's 14th wedding anniversary. I am a bit of a nostalgic person, and as I looked back over our 20 plus year journey we have had together, and the trials of life, joys of life, and all the things that brought us there, I was overcome with love for him. We have been through a lot in our life.....I believe most married couples have, but when I look back, and I see how whenever their are MAJOR challenges for us, we always pull together. We lift each other up, we support each other, and despite our many differences, we really do complete each other. Needless to say we Celebrated our anniversary..... a lot :)
I find out a few weeks later, that I am pregnant. I was filled with joy, yet much apprehension. I lost a baby last year during Steve's dad's funeral....that was the fourth miscarriage I had. The thought of being pregnant and possibly facing another loss, was terrifying to me. My miscarriages have been incredibly painful, lonely, and have left a part of me longing for the babies I never got to hold. After I had lost Gabriel(the most recent miscarriage) I truly felt in my heart I was done having kids. My Dr. had done some testing as to why I keep miscarrying and he said I had something called a lymphocyte compatibility disorder, he said it was easily treated with steroid during pregnancy.
As soon as I got the positive test (which was four days before my missed period), I already knew I was pregnant, I was at the Dr. office. We started the prednisone immediately and then did blood work. My progesterone level was low, so I started daily IM injections of progesterone. Yes I was giving them to myself. Steve helped me a lot as well. It was less painful, if given in the rear, so Steve would often give me the injections. If he was gone, or unable to help, I injected myself in my upper thigh.
Before I knew it, we were past twelve weeks. At this point the DR. said I could stop doing the injections. I have to say I was relieved. I was covered in bruises and still to this day, have huge knots on my thighs. I have never lost a baby after twelve weeks, so some of the anxiety left me. I was a little frustrated, because due to the prednisone, and progesterone, my weight gain was enormous. I had worked so hard to lose 55 lbs. the summer before, and had already gained most of that back in 3 short months.
Overall, I felt ok. I am always queasy during pregnancy....with my other four kids, I puked all nine months. Pregnancy is hard for me, but I would gladly puke for nine months if it meant the baby was healthy. With this pregnancy, I was very queasy all the time, but I was not puking as much as with the other kids, so that was good.
As time went on, I became more relaxed, and actually allowed myself to daydream of how things were going to be when baby comes. What names do I want, is it a boy or a girl. My kids were so excited for this little one. Always wanting to touch the belly(which was quite huge) Talking about when the baby comes, and who gets to hold him or her the most.....and of course which one will be stuck with the poopy diapers.
I began feeling the little one move. I swear the kid was a future Olympic swimmer. It felt as if I had a pinball bouncing around in there! I would lay in bed and smile as I felt him or her moving around. That is one of the greatest joys for me. Being able to feel your baby move. I had no doubt that this little one was going to have no trouble keeping up with his/her older siblings.
We reached 20 weeks, and then it was time for the ultrasound. Finally we get to find out what we are having. I can tell the kids, so they stop betting and fighting with each other over what we are going to have. Although according to my 4 year old, it was a girl, and her name was Abby, and she was sleeping with her (Sarah).
The week before the ultrasound, I had some anxiety creep back in. I don't know why, I just kept telling myself that is probably normal. So they morning of the ultrasound, we head in. Steve and I decide to bring Sarah with us. We thought it would be really nice for her to see her baby(as she referred to him/her). The ultrasound begins, and we see the baby. I tell the tech, I want to know what we are having, and she smiles. I of course, having had many ultrasounds, know what I am looking at, so after a minute, I say..... "Where is baby's heartbeat" That is always the first thing I see with my other kids, and I didn't see it. The tech then became very quiet, and is looking frantically. Moving the wand over my belly. She won't look at me, she wont say anything. I ask is everything okay? and she just keeps looking. What seemed after about 5 minutes. She places the wand down and says "I'll be right back" She leaves the room. Steve and I sit there quietly for probably 5 minutes, and then I tell him. " I didn't see the heartbeat, I always see the heartbeat." He scoots his chair closer, and holds my hand a little tighter. Sarah at this point, begins saying she is scared. We try and comfort her, and soothe her the best we can, but she can sense the fear in our hearts, and it is in hers too.
After what seemed like an eternity, my Dr. walks in the room, and confirms what I already knew, that the baby did not have a heartbeat. I try to hold the sobs in, I try to hold it together for Sarah's sake, but I can't.....they just come. At this point the Dr. tells me, that since I am this far along, he would prefer to induce labor and that I deliver. He did offer an option of something called a D&E, but the very sound of it made me cringe. I do know that is something used in late term abortions, and I wanted nothing to do with it.....he also said he would prefer not to do it.
So next thing I know I am up in labor and delivery, and they are giving me medicine to induce labor. Steve had called some friends to come get Sarah, and began notifying family. It all seemed to be happening so fast. I began to doubt that they were right, I mean mistakes happen all the time.....what if they were wrong. What if the baby really is okay? I became a little frantic, and insisted that they do another ultrasound. I knew there were a lot of people praying, what if they were wrong? So they brought in the ultrasound machine, and I held my breath. "Please God, Please God, Please let there be a heartbeat?" There was no heart beat. I tried to stay composed, but a new wave of agonizing sobs( a sound I didn't even recognize) began escaping from me. My whole body shook. Steve just held me "I got you, I got you" he said over and over.
Later in the day, Steve's mom and Brother arrive(they were on their way up for the weekend, when we got the news) My mom and sister, as soon as they heard, rearranged everything, and were on their way up. The time was approaching that the kids would get out of school. Steve and his brother went to get them, and tell them what happened. They then came up to the hospital. The pain and worry on their faces, was almost unbearable for me. I hugged them all, told them how much I loved them, and that mommy was going to be okay.
Soon the pain from the induced contractions started really hurting, so I sent the kids home with Steve's mom and brother. I also had a couple of dear friends stop in and see me, and hug me, and cry with me during this time. My husband and my sister had been strongly urging me to get an epidural. I've never had one. I prefer natural childbirth, just cause I worry about the side-effect of the medication for baby, and honestly I don't like the idea of a long needle going in my spine....I'd rather deal with the pain. But since there were no risks to the baby, I agreed to have one. After four pokes and what seemed like forever of me sitting perfectly still and hunched over, I had an epidural. I did not feel any pain.....just pressure, so it did it's job.
My mom and sister arrived, and were there when my son was delivered. Liam George Castle. He was perfect. All ten little fingers and toes. I could even tell he had the same nose as my Mary and Sarah. Steve and I had the kids come up, they all got to see him and hold him. I held him for hours. I had been dreaming of the day I got to rock with the baby sleeping on my chest, one of the greatest feelings in the world in my mind. So I sat there and held his tiny body and rocked him and told him I loved him. The tears fell so freely all day. My cheeks were stinging from all the tears I cried.
We decided to have a full funeral and burial for Liam. I had to honor his life. I had to. It doesn't matter that his life was so short, and that many people did not get to love him and develop the bond with him as I did. HIS LIFE MATTERED. HE WAS IMPORTANT. He deserved a funeral and burial, his dignity, his life, deserved to be celebrated and honored. I found purpose in planning his funeral, and it propelled me forward.
In the aftermath of all of this, I have good days and I have bad days. There are moments when I am filled with such gratitude for my four living children. There are moments I find peace, because I know that Liam, Gabriel, Shane, Ryan and Timothy are in the arms of my savior. They will never suffer, or know any pain. They will only know perfect love. Then there are days, when the sadness and grief feel like they are going to swallow me whole. I find joy in my children, and my work. I can laugh and still enjoy the beauties of this life God gave me. I can also cry and know that my heart is broken, and that it is okay to hurt. In the end, I will honor my children's lives, by moving forward, and living the best and fullest life I can.
I am starting the same diet I did last year next week, and hope to begin training for the half-marathon in Oct a couple weeks after that. I do have some lingering physical side-effects of this, so I am hoping I heal in time to do the training I need to. I am hoping to get Bracelets made up with Timothy, Ryan, Shane, Gabriel, and Liam's names on it. That way when I am running and struggling, all I have to do is look at that and it will refocus me. I ask that anyone who reads this, pray for me and my family. I know we will be okay, we have lost children before, and found a way to move on. I also know there will be a piece of me that will always long for the day when I can hold them, and kiss them, when reunited with them in heaven.