celebrating the lost babies

First….a 42 second video for you to watch. Sorry that I couldn’t figure out how to embed it into this post-you’ll have to click on the link to watch it.

WATCH VIDEO HERE

She asked us if we wanted to be invited to the memorial celebrating all of the babies lost that year. She was a member of the pastoral staff that came to pray with us before surgery after we lost our fourth baby, Lainey Lynne’. My first response was “well, what about last year? What about Noelle?”. Our baby’s were sent to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for testing but were brought back and buried with all of the other babies lost at this hospital. The hospital does this annually and celebrates the hope of life that once was by having a memorial service at the grave site. Somehow, we didn’t receive our invitation in 2014. But, we did several weeks ago for this year’s memorial.

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We had the perfect dress for Lainey to wear to celebrate her sisters and brought two gerber daisies, my Nana’s favorite flower. The memorial was right at the edge of what they call “baby land” in the cemetery. There were wind chimes hanging from shepherds hooks at so many of the baby headstones and it was breezy-you can hear it in the video….a delicate lullaby that plays 24 hours per day for all of the babies in baby-land. They sang a few songs and although done by a Catholic priest, the service was essentially nondenominational.

There was a somewhat nondescript headstone there that you can tell has been there for quite some time. Little toys, flowers and other what-nots have weathered the elements and lay at the base of it. This is where everyone was standing….After they sang, the priest asked everyone in attendance to come forward towards the burial site. I can honestly say that prior to him saying this we didn’t even see it. It was covered with sod. The place where all of our babies rest was barely visible. I don’t know what I expected but seeing that patch of earth that I knew was disrupted (for at least Lainey Lynne’) was upsetting. Noelle had to have been nearby as this whole plot is where they bury these babies every year. For the first time in months, tears ran down my face for a different reason than happiness. It was like all of that grief we went through just flooded back into me full-force. Adam was holding Lainey and she began to fuss every so slightly so he left my side to walk with her. We had decided before we came that we definitely wanted to go to this as a family but if she cried he would go to the car with her as undoubtedly there would be other parents there that are not as blessed as we are. Hearing a child cry is such a beautiful sound when you never got the chance to hear it.

The priest asked the parents that were there to acknowledge the lives lost by saying their baby’s names out loud. No one said anything. Adam nudged me. I said both girl’s names. Noelle-and-Lainey. Several parents were crying when they said their baby’s name aloud. Every name was beautiful. As they said during the service, each life that was lost took a little bit of hope with it. I know we had none. Hope, that is. So much was restored to us on January 22, 2015. Praise God for this!

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They then invited all of the parents to take a pink rose and move it from the vase on the left to the vase on the right with the baby’s breath, which was to be left at the grave site after the service. Everyone was also given a rose when we left.

We are so thankful for this experience. It was just another step in the right direction of the grief process. Having a “place” to go, a “place” to perhaps bring a flower to our babys is priceless and just knowing where they lay means more than I can put into words.

Thank you, thank you to Good Samaritan Hospital for giving us this gift.

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Being in family practice and infertile

Rose-bud lips, beautiful dark eyes and a head full of hair….just a few things that immediately jumped out at me right after the delivery. The sweet babe quieted as soon as it was put on Mama’s chest. All was right with the world in that perfect moment.

Was this it? The last one? My last delivery?

Last August Adam and I discussed my involvement with obstetrics. We decided it may be a good idea for me to stop taking new OB patients at least until I made it into the second trimester of our next pregnancy. I was scared a patient of mine would have a problem while I was in my first trimester, making me worry that it would happen to me too. Strange, I know….but perhaps for some odd reason I thought if I didn’t take care of any patient’s that had pregnancy difficulties, maybe I wouldn’t either. My partners were very supportive of my concerns and my OB practice was essentially put on hold-at least I stopped taking any new pregnant patients.

Fast forward to my final delivery. Everyone is healthy. It was a “good one” in the grand scheme of things-I commented to the nurses that I was glad all went well as it might be my last. I remember when I came to this practice, my practicing obstetrics was a somewhat difficult transition for all of us. You see, in the state of Nebraska Nurse Practitioners cannot deliver babies…and rightfully so! We are not trained in this sufficiently! It is actually very rare for an NP to do anything really with obstetrics so my asking four Physicians to work with that passion of mine was a big step for them. They have been amazing since day one, allowing me to provide prenatal and postpartum care to my patients and letting me play an active role in the management of their labor as well. I have been doing obstetrics now for 11 years and the thought that the sweet little babe with the head full of hair is the last one is difficult. I just don’t know if I have it in me.

It sounds selfish, I know, but I do not know if (or even if I want to) take care of women getting the one thing it seems I don’t get to have. The one thing my Husband and I want. It’s a very odd feeling, though as this has by far been my favorite part of medicine for over a decade. It’s crazy to think that in a few month’s time the one thing I looked the most forward to on a day-to-day basis became the thing I was least looking forward to. I haven’t decided if this is for good or not. If I stop doing obstetrics, this is likely something I’ll never be able to “pick up” again. It isn’t like crocheting or riding a bike. As I said, it is rare for someone like me to even be as involved as I have been in the past, let alone stop and then just start up again someday. Obstetrics is the most legally challenged type of medicine. Experience, experience, experience is what it’s all about. Once you don’t have that experience, you should stop. This is in the best interest of the patient and the provider.

As with multiple other things right now, I am not even sure how to actually make this decision. After Noelle I knew then that I needed to decrease my involvement with obstetrics at least a little and actually put teaching Lamaze on hold. My Births R Us program has been a big part of my life for over six years. I loved educating and empowering women to be active participants in their labor experience but just couldn’t do it last year. Maybe I should resume teaching and stop obstetrics so at least I am doing some of what I love(d). As a side note, I think part of what made my classes as good as they were is that I am involved with the whole pregnancy/delivery experience. This allowed me to really relate to the couples and use my experiences to really educate them well.

And, I know I need to be realistic also. This is my career so maybe I should just suck-it-up and move forward with everything I have done for years. Perhaps it will work out in the long run. Perhaps I will once again become comfortable with the exposure to pregnant women and sweet newborns. I can’t take away all of the awkward situations after all. There will still be the kids that are brought to the clinic who’s parents act like they are a “nuisance” or a “bother” to them. These times are so frustrating. Why, God, when it seems that they don’t even want their child, can I not have a child when I would definitely cherish it?

I pray God helps me to be more understanding, more empathetic, less jealous and less judgmental….and as with everything else that He helps with this decision…

 

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L is for Lainey

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We got wonderful news yesterday. My DNA does NOT match the fetal tissue UNMC has, which means Lainey was for real. And, she was normal.

We are thrilled to be able to move forward with a little more clarity. We still do not know for sure what path is the correct one, surrogacy or adoption. One day I feel like one is the right choice, the next day, the other. Both options bring with them their own set of circumstances. We are adamant that we definitely want an “end-point” to this journey and we want to go into the next step knowing what our end-point is. For example if we do surrogacy we will need to determine if we are going to use our own goods =) and try for our own embryos for transplant into a surrogate or should we use donor eggs, etc. Due to the testing being done on Lainey our appointment with our specialist in Denver has been postponed twice and is now scheduled for this Thursday. We are sure he will present us with multiple options….nothing can be easy, of course!

Deciding where our end-point will be with surrogacy is difficult. Many women need multiple IVF attempts before achieving a successful pregnancy with IVF and of course, miscarriage is always a possibility. These are all things we will need to decide as to how far we will allow ourselves to go.

We have decided to move forward with the home study process for adoption. We most certainly haven’t ruled adoption out. We have narrowed down to some of the things we would request but still are unsure on others. Where would our end-point be with adoption? After a certain amount of years without being chosen? After a failed adoption? From what we are told approximately 20% of adoptions fail. Maybe we will shoot for our endpoint to be if there are two failed adoptions? Again, not easy decisions but they are necessary. This journey we are on is all-consuming and therefore we need to know when we will stop if not successful.

We did make a decision this week, though and that is that regardless of which one of the above we chose we need money. A lot of money. I don’t know if I know of anyone that has the type of money that we need just sitting in their account, us included. It is important to us that we remain financially stable and therefore, going into huge debt to have a child is not an option for us. We have decided that we want to sell our home and move into a cheaper rental. This will allow two things. First, whatever equity we have in our home (albeit probably not a lot) we can save and secondly, our monthly rent and utilities will be undoubtedly lower than for our (large) home. We don’t need this big of a home…we love our home and the thought of selling is not a fun one but we believe is a smart move. We have (tentatively) set a goal for ourselves to have our home appraised within the next 6 weeks so we know where to start from. So, if you know of anyone looking-spread the word!

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Stuck

Our appointment with the fertility specialist last Thursday was postponed until the correct chromosomal testing results on our baby from December are back.

As we wait to find out if we really had a Lainey, or perhaps rather a son, I feel like we are in an alternate universe of some sort. We are stuck in the middle and the world is continuing to go around us. I wish I had it in me to just jump and join everyone. I wish I had the emotional energy.

We have had a couple of people mention that perhaps we just need to stop and breathe for a bit. Four babies, all lost in 2 years is difficult. Emotionally on both of us and physically on me (the hormones alone!). The problem is that I cannot seem to go on with life simply putting all of this aside “until we feel stronger” and more ready to cope with things. It feels like if we know what we are going to do with our future that we can maybe heal quicker, or at least move forward with other things in our life. I want us to soon be able to make the decision as to if we are going to adopt, go down the surrogacy road or remain child-less forever. This is actually something that we both agree on. We need to move forward on this decision soon.

If we are going to adopt we have a lot of work ahead of us and the wait will likely be long as we would be more picky than what others have recommended.

If we do surrogacy….well, that is for an entire different post. What type of surrogacy? Do we make an embryo out of my eggs and his sperm or do we adopt embryo’s? My guess is this is why our appointment with the fertility specialist last week was put on hold. I imagine if we didn’t really have Lainey-if it was not a normal little girl or boy-that the specialist is going to recommend against using my eggs…and perhaps Adam’s sperm as well. Then what? If it isn’t even a child of our genes, why not just adopt? That brings us full circle to how fearful we have been previously about our (albeit minimal) education on adoption we have had so far.

Finally, we could choose to remain child-less. This is an option I cannot even imagine but we are discussing it every day. We’ve discussed changing our lives drastically enough to do mission work in other countries to fill our time that way instead of with a family. Perhaps we could open an animal shelter and devote our days to saving those innocents (we love our fur babies so very much). Maybe we could just travel the world….plan one or two big trips per year and do this every year until we are too old to travel any longer. These are all things we talk about but none of them seem fully satisfying to both of us. None of them will be with us holding our hand saying they love us when we are old and gray….

For now we will stay stuck while the world goes ’round until we know more about the baby we lost on December 2, 2014. We will continue to thank God for the blessings He gives us each day and pray for guidance in the coming days.

I, personally, am also looking forward to the first day I make it without crying.

 

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