Thursday, March 9, 2017

Update: 25 weeks

 I never really know how I should start these updates, I get so caught up with everything at once it is hard to put them down into word format. So I will just start from my appointment.

Last week, I had my first follow-up with my doctor since we found out about our sweet Eva. I knew it was going to be a long day and I was lucky enough a friend was able to watch my two kids so I could go without having to drag them around. TJ had to work and couldn't take it off so I was on my own. Typically this wouldn't be an issue. I always went to my appointments by myself and then eventually with Marley in tow. It wasn't anything big happening, just the normal 'appointment'.

This time I felt different; I was anxious, nervous, and sad all wrapped in one. Mind you- my doctor is an hour and a half away, and without kids in the back seats to try and calm down I really had lots of time to think. I kept thinking that I was going to have a positive attitude today, that I was going to go in and not cry. I was tired of constantly crying and my eyes have a constant ache because they shed so many tears lately.

I went in for my ultrasound first thing, and I was happy to see that the same ultrasound tech came to greet me. It was weird for sure to say I was happy to see her but it was nice to have someone I was familiar with. Because the truth is, I will never forget her face. She changed our life with her saying "I will be right back".

We talked about how things were going and I was able to be honest and not just say 'good', she knew. She had told me she kept thinking about me and we talked about the specialist I went to see. She seemed to be more talkative which I was grateful for. To not be left alone in my thoughts.

I asked a lot of questions, basically what we were looking at and she told me everything on what she saw, every detail. I know I already said I was grateful for her talking in general but I was again grateful she told me everything she was looking at- this gave me the chance to get to know Eva more- get a better description so I could picture what she looks like. Because she is bigger than the first time they saw this.

I stated last time that Eva has what they think to be a cleft palate. We were able to look more and see that we believe it is to be on her upper lip. I know it sounds crazy, but I am glad to know exactly where so I can picture her better in my head. Then I asked the hard question of where does her head stop.

Even as I type this my heart just aches and I cant help to have tears, because I know that this is not a glitch on the monitor. This is real. This is who our Eva is. She is perfect to me, but not perfect enough to live a full happy life here with us on earth. It pains me to my very core that this is our reality now. I wish I could fix this, I would give anything to just be able to make her whole and healthy.

When we went to the specialist they gave us a disc of pictures of Eva, and I still haven't looked at them. But this time I asked so that TJ could see more of Eva since he wasn't with us. And I have looked at them, because the truth is, this is all I will get. I wont get to have photos of milestones like crawling, or first food, first steps, first hair cut....I only get few ultrasound photos and 'bump' photos we take because those are the only milestones we will get with her. She is growing, we just don't get to clap for her, or hug her sweet little face and tell her how happy we are she is doing so great.

We were still taking all the pictures needed for sending to our specialist, and we couldn't help but laugh. Eva is stubborn. Just like her big sister. She would NOT mover her hands away from her face. We would try different angles and still, her hands were covering her face as much as possible. This just made me laugh because I was learning more about Eva- and that she is ever so much like her big sister. So stubborn and probably just as sassy too.

When I met up with my doctor we briefly talked about what our next appointment was to look like. I didn't want to go into detail as TJ was not there to be apart of it. We just talked basics on if I can travel far distances and when the hospital would give us the okay to induce labor.

This was only my second time meeting with my doctor as we had moved and switched things around, but I feel so comfortable with her and I feel that she is our best doctor that we have for our situation. She has only had this happen once and that was in residency. BUT I feel she is doing great amounts of research and calling fellow colleges to help us with the best care. And for that I am so grateful for. I am still a 'normal' patient but also feel like she is going above and beyond to help us.

At our next appointment we will be going over to the hospital to take a tour and meet with the staff to start our birth plan. I wont go into much detail but we will be making the decisions of how our 'birth plan' will go and the 'after' as well. This is an area I struggle with. Because of TJ's work schedule we are trying to coordinate this to happen on his week off. Not only that but we have a busy month, full of wedding anniversaries and birthdays.

Eva is due on our wedding anniversary (14th of June), and our sweet, stubborn, and sassy 3 year old turns 4 on the first of July. We want to give us enough time to grieve a little before we celebrate 4 years with our first born. Because that is a miracle in itself- we have almost survived 4 years of this sassy person! And we want that to be joyous and celebrate even though we are missing a piece of our heart. There is no easy answer to say 'okay lets do this day' because in reality we are saying 'okay, this is the day we will say goodbye to Eva' . No easy way. And because all of this is a gamble, we have no idea if she will be stillborn or if we get a few minutes with her. Our chances of stillbirth increase as we move closer to 40 weeks, but do we risk it to spend 5 live minutes with her and loose potentially 3 weeks with her in the womb kicking away? The only safe place for her is in my belly, and I can't say if I want to be selfish and keep her those 3 extra weeks or give us-her parents- the chance to meet her alive if only for a minute or so. Bring back the scoop of sucks and load it on the plate again.

I want to do a quick update as well so this isn't so gloomy. I have a picture of our sweet Eva, and because of circumstances I want to share this picture because it is what we will have of her.
This is a side 'profile' of her entire body. it shows her body and legs curled up real snug, then you can see her head as well as her little nose. She has the same nose my kids have! We are currently 25 weeks in the photo but measuring at 23, so she is still behind on growth but the good news is- she is growing! She is about 1 pound 4 ounces of kicks and punches, and I am enjoying each one as much as I can.

Eva loves it when TJ rubs my belly. She starts kicking and moving around if he stops rubbing, and this is something he is already used to with me! So, once again we have another mini-me who just loves to have her back scratched and rubbed ;) Poor guy will never get a break!

We finally got our little representation of Eva- a lamb!
When we spoke with the child counselor, she recommended us getting something to have to represent Eva. While she is still here with us we can create memories of Eva with this lamb. We adore our lamb and she is very much loved on. We all give her hugs and kisses but my favorite is at any given point the kids will go pick her up from her special spot in our living room and give her a big hug and kiss; sometimes even a snuggle while watching a show or reading a book. They tell Eva lamb how much they love her. This has helped with the 'dealing' portion of grief as we know Eva will always be with us. Maybe not in person but she will always be our little lamb!

Image result for christ holding a lamb greg olsen

Greg Olsen has always been my favorite artist and TJ and I both LOVED this picture of Christ holding a lamb. To me it is Christ holding and loving our little Eva.

There are so many specific people who have helped with this time of hardship, and I want to thank those who have been so wonderful and supportive to us. Those who have answered the phone no matter what they were doing to listen to me cry and just to talk about what I needed to--Thank you. And to those who have reached out with comfort and support and prayers, we appreciate them--Thank you.

Those who text and call me just to check how I am doing and if I need anything--Thank you. My new ward has been phenomenal and I am so grateful to be in such a loving ward.

To all those who have donated to our youcaring fund--Thank you! We are so grateful that there are so many willing to help those in need. I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude as my brother updates me with the support we are given. We really appreciate it all!

Along with the youcaring I know there were so many that reached out on Facebook, I may not personally reply (as this is still a hard time) but I appreciate your kind words and thoughts to us.

So to end the thank-a-monies ;) I want to share with you our song for Eva. Marley is the one to ask for it in the mornings during breakfast- I feel music is a 'relief' from all the grieving and this song is so dear to us.  We know this to be our 'baby Eva song'

Sunday, March 5, 2017

My dear children

A letter to my children:

I hope one day you don't remember the bad days that happen more frequently. I hope you know that even on my hard days I enjoy your laughter, smiles, and humor that without a doubt you got from your dad.

Even though I probably seem so distant -which is, without a doubt, the biggest truth- I love to see that you two are so kind to one another, that you play so well together, that you are so smart building puzzles all by yourself without help. I notice on these days that I have less patience and can barely get up off the couch to take care of me let alone you. 

I'm sorry that I get so tired and just want to lay down and sleep. I notice you seeing me drifting into sleep and you go grab a blanket and tuck me in and lay with me. At three years old you are so aware and kind to know how to help.

I know this is all affecting you two, being the big sister it seems you have learned the roll of caring for your brother with helping him get drinks of water or helping him with some cheese when he gets hungry. 

I wish I had more energy to go do fun things like going out in the snow, coloring, or working on the alphabet for preschool. I know I am struggling, but I also notice you struggling too.

I see the hurt in your eyes when you stop during playtime and come to sit with me. Telling me you are sad about Eva. I ask you if you want to talk about all you can muster up to say is why does Eva have to die. I wish I had an answer for that, a good one. I wish she didn't have to die. I wish that we got to bring her home and you got to play the big sister roll of helping me with changing her clothes or holding and burping her. Teaching her how to crawl and walk, laughing with her. I wish SO much that we didn't have to say goodbye at the hospital instead of hello. 

I hope you know without a doubt this is not your fault. After talking about it the first few times when you were still so confused, I saw the sadness in your face and tears like you did something wrong. My sweet Marley, you did nothing wrong. I wish I didn't have to bring such hard reality to you. I wish we didn't have to talk about death, and know that it is so real, and happening. To us. To you. I see the fear that you think mom is going to die too. Which in a hard truth, part of me will die. When Eva dies, a part of mom and dad will go with her. Just like you. 

I wish that I could take away the hurt you feel knowing that this baby we have wanted for so long is no longer an excitement for you. You no longer ask me when Eva is coming because you know that as soon as she comes, we have to say our final goodbye to her. 

I want you to meet her, but I am also fearful as well. What if she passes away in your arms? This is a hard truth that we have to deal with and face. Every mothers worst nightmare is having to say goodbye to a child. But I am sure it is your nightmare too, saying goodbye to a sister you have wanted to see grow. 

But during the meantime while we sit and we wait, I love having the happy memories. The ones where you sit and read to Eva and tell her all about Star Wars. I have memorized the book because its what you want Eva to know about you. And I believe one day you can sit with her and have in depth conversations with her about why Darth Vader is the best while doing her hair. When I think about this, I cant help but smile and laugh. Because you really have this huge obsession with Star Wars. And really, when we ask you what you want Eva to know and learn about you....of course you pick Star Wars!

Even during my hard days you still like to have tickle wars with Eva, and sit and put your ear to my belly. Then laugh because you say she farted. This also makes me laugh you find it funny you think she farted. 

I try to have you put your hand to where she is kicking and get  to feel that special bond with her, but you get so annoyed because she doesn't like to move right away or moves around so you miss it. This makes me laugh and know that once again, I have a stubborn girl just like you. 

I love that every morning you ask if we can listen to 'baby Evas' song and we sit quietly and listen to her song and then a few more songs like it so we can feel her close by. 

I love that even though it is hard and sad to hear you say it, that you pray for Eva. This is something you come up on your own and have no help from us. You ask Heavenly Father that Eva doesn't have to die. Oh my sweet Marley, how I wish this was true. I wish and have asked the same thing. I hope that the doctors are all wrong and that she comes out perfect and can live a long healthy life just like you and me. 

But once again, this is our reality. In June we have to say goodbye to something we wanted so badly. In June, we will have to watch a part of us die- and I hate to bring that sadness on you my sweet children. Because I know you will be hurting too, along with us. Though it will be different for you, I know it will still be difficult knowing that our lives will not be the same. 

As much as I want you to always remember your sister, I don't want you to remember the pain this has brought into our lives. Because I promise, one day we will start having more frequent good days, and maybe even go on some crazy fun adventures. These things I want you to remember more than anything! 

In my prayers I ask that this doesn't ruin you, it doesn't take away your sweet innocence, I wish that this didn't have to happen so you didn't understand how real death is. That it just happens to some people when they are old or get sick or something sad happens. THIS is our 'something sad happens', and it is so real. 


And for that, I am sorry.