When you have a baby, you feel like you are one in a million- you have a perfect little soul that has blessed you with the happiest moments of your life! When Eva was born she was one in 10,000. A rarer number but special none the less. Now this is where our story changes:
The afterbirth with Eva was fairly easy- I basically buried myself in my bed for 2 weeks so the postpartum bleeding wasn't as bad because I barely got up. My milk came and a miserable week later it started to dry up. This was painful as yet another reminder of my baby not being here and I couldn't help her. And then a few weeks later like I had never even missed a beat I had my first postpartum period. Nothing fancy, but my body was getting back to 'normal' -whatever that was.
We had been seeing my doctor on a regular schedule after for depression and anxiety so I didn't know we weren't going to be stopping that process. Her care for me was coming to an end, she had led me through the pregnancy, the after birth, and now the beginning of moving on. I thought she was going to be my personal shoulder to cry on and my own self counselor. To me she was more than my OB.
A few weeks later I ran into Walmart while the kids were sleeping and grabbed a few items to get me through the next few days- the usual thing of ice cream and candy. I was grieving, not worried about my waistline. But boy oh boy was I in-taking a lot of sugar lately. I even tried stopping cold turkey and I craved that sugar so badly. This was not normal for me. So I checked my app to see if my period was due soon since I was all hyped on sugar- a pretty common factor for women on their period. Sure enough I was due to have my period any day. I went for it.
I grabbed that special test off the shelf and braced myself for both options. IF it had one line, it wasn't a big ordeal- in fact we just had a baby and were not planning on even trying until the new year, my body was still healing! IF it had two lines....we would be happy and embrace this new journey we were about to embark on again.
I am so glad the lined tests don't take as long as the digital but it was still a long wait. I was even doing this in a public bathroom so I felt weird just sitting there and waiting around. I covered the test with toilet paper and decided to clean my purse while sitting there, it was getting a bit full of candy wrappers and other junk from not cleaning it out for months. It was not on my top priority list before.
I braved it up, took the toilet paper off. Two lines. "Okay, wow....oh my goodness." "Are you serious?" "I'm pregnant....again" "I'm gonna have a baby" "My rainbow!" "I just got done being pregnant" "This is going to be fun, I am so excited!" These were the emotions flooding my head. I was excited/panicked/nervous/ full of anxiety....you name it. All from peeing on a little stick. Crazy how that all works out.
I got in the car and I called the person I always told first (if you are thinking TJ, ha!) We cried together, laughed together....it was so sudden, but maybe Eva was sending this baby so soon for a reason to help us heal. I had no clue how to even tell Teej. What a shock!
I went home and didn't really say much but put the pee stick on his lap. Took him awhile to notice but when he did we both laughed about how it all happened, freaked out a bit, and then were overwhelmed with joy. I had a strong feeling everything was going to be perfectly okay with this baby.
A few days go by and after we told a few other people, my emotions started to get mixed. I had some REALLY great responses and some that were shocked and I didn't feel I had much of a 'perfect' reaction to saying we were having a baby. Yes, I know it was so sudden and soon (You don't think we knew that? We got pregnant on the first time back in the swing, we were still coping with getting to a new normalcy) . My emotions got the best of me and I felt we weren't getting the happy responses I thought we would get. I know these people were just very concerned because the risks of getting pregnant so soon after.
But I got to go see my favorite OB again and it was like I never had left (literally, I have seen here every month since February with no breaks....she is making bank off me) and we got the tests to start rolling in. We wanted to take precautions and still celebrate this new life as well as remember Eva. (She is so wonderful to still include Eva and know that she is so important to us). We had our first ultrasound and got the due date of April 16, 2018. This is exactly two months difference of Eva's due date, it was bittersweet seeing that due date but I wanted it changed.
It might seem silly to all of you but I have a weird thing with numbers. Eva was my number baby. We found out about her diagnosis on February 2, 2017 (A day we will never forget) and she left us on June 2, 2017. 'Start' to 'finish' was a total of 4 months even. And here we were having the same date for a due date but 2 months before hers. Weird, I know but lets roll with the punches. It gets weirder but only those super close to me know why and I don't want to freak people with my weird number thing.
Anyways, so we order a bunch of tests....things come back looking low risk. Great! Second round of tests, no sign of any neural tube defects. YES!!!! I remember getting that call and just crying into TJ with joy, we were having a healthy baby that would live!!!! We already knew the gender but we were trying to think of a perfect name for this little rainbow.
A few weeks went by and it was time for our anatomy scan to check out everything else. This date is also a date I will never forget. November 20, 2017. It was 8:30 a.m.
We went in the ultrasound like pros since we had so many before. We had a new tech so she didn't know we were so experienced and knew what we were looking at. I kept asking questions like" "how is the placenta? Does it look normal?" "Is there a 3 vessel cord or 2 vessels? 3? Okay, great" "how is the brain? and spine? Those look good too" " what about the heart, that looks good too". Everything was adding to look like a normal healthy baby. Then I saw it, and TJ stepped out of the room.
TJ got a call. The worst call on what was to be a happy day. My dad died. My dad suffered from a heart attack on Saturday, and was doing so much better and was to be released that Monday. Except he didn't. He suffered from a Myocardial Infarction and passed away that Monday morning. Same time I was going in for my ultrasound. The reason I couldn't be in Utah with him, because I had an appointment that Monday to check on the baby.
I had just talked to my dad on Saturday, I told him that we were expecting a______ and he was really excited. I was going to surprise him with the name when I saw him in person which was to be the next day or two. But I never got that chance.
My face was black from mascara and was so red from my endless tears and tantrums because I didn't want my dad to be dead. I just said goodbye to my daughter, and now my dad? This wasn't real. My doctor again was my shoulder to cry on and told me that baby was looking good with a small exception (what I saw on the ultrasound) but they weren't sure. She would send the information over to the MFM and get me in and go from there. I wasn't even thinking much about what it could be... we heard 'viable' and 'looks good'. I was out the door and ready to get my bags to head to Utah, I couldn't sleep or eat or do much but I needed to get out.
I spent the next two weeks in Utah taking care of matters and saying goodbye to my dad, I felt and still feel numb. I mean how can you expect to feel? I just started moving forward from the loss of my daughter and now I have to restart the grief process with my dad?
After a stressful trip home we made our way to the MFM doctor (Which is now 3 hours away instead of 6 1/2! Bonus for us!). We got a sitter for the day and we sat there waiting for the ultrasound to begin. It was forever and no game or Facebook could distract my brain from the long wait. I wasn't nervous. I was basically saying okay, if this baby has _______ then so be it, we can't change that fact. I guess we continue to move forward.
We spent lots of time looking at the heart- very detailed ultrasound of each chamber and blood flow. I thought it was a bit cool/ boring because that wasn't the reason we were in there. We knew the heart was good. And next the brain. Again, we knew that was a fully formed head and good. So....why all the detailed half hour look at them?
We met our Doctor and she told us the news. What we had suspected was true. Our baby had a cleft lip and palate but we didn't know the extent of it- nor do we still. She explained sometimes having a cleft could affect the heart and brain, and also some genetic repetitions/deletions/etc., but we did not cause this to happen. It was luck of the draw....again. We wouldn't know the severity unless we got more testing done. We would meet back in a month to take more in depth looks at the heart to check and make sure it still looked good. We discussed the long road ahead of us and the special care a baby with a cleft requires.
We have had some time to process this news and adjust to what our new life will entail. While it be long and hard and scary, we are going to do what is best for this baby. We love this baby but we are still scared.
Scared of the surgeries ahead, scared the baby might not be able to nurse and require special feedings, the possible dental work needed, the speech therapy, the sleep apnea, asphyxiation, the struggles with food and milk/choking, decided the team to go to- do we pick the ones closest to us or do we go with the best? Teams that require weekly visits until the first surgery at 3 months....needless to say our heads are still spinning trying to figure out information and what we should do. We are sitting ducks until we know more from the next months of ultrasounds and waiting to hear back from teams of surgeons.
When I was 19 weeks along with Eva we found out she would not live. This was hard. At our 19 week anatomy scan with this baby was the day my dad died. I am still processing this hard concept. We come home from burying my dad to the difficult news of our baby having a cleft lip and palate but we don't know the extent of it all. And I wanted so badly to call my dad so he could tell me "well, this sucks" just like he did when I told him about Eva. Yes dad, this does suck, but it sucks more that you aren't here to tell me that.
During both ultrasounds we have pictures of our baby signing "I love you" or "Rock on" I am not sure which one but we like to think "rock on" it makes us laugh and to me I believe it. We will rock on, and rock this hard part to give our baby the best we know how. Our baby is one in 700.
While we do not have all the answers ahead of us we are learning as we go. We will 'rock on' and be/do the best we can.
So, without further ado we would like to introduce our Rainbow baby after this incredibly difficult and sucky storm:
Dexter Daniel Carney. Daniel after my dad. He will rock the name.
We have a rough journey ahead of us. We appreciate all your love and support.
P.s. Eva also had a cleft lip and palate (we don't remember which side or how far back it affected) but in a sense I feel like this is a little 'piece' of Eva we get to have as a reminder of her. Our little piece of Heaven.
P.P.S We took this video knowing full blown well how the reaction would go and I am glad I got it on video. Dont worry all is good now. Listen to the very end, I am so glad we got this AFV worthy video to capture the hilariousness it is. #atleastyougotacupcake