Thursday, April 30, 2009

Could I have a comment card?

So, I often find myself, out of nowhere, just bursting into tears.  It'll take one flash of memory, or to see something or think of someone, and that strange, horrible sound comes and I realize I'm making it.  During these times, I'm also usually saying "It's not fair."  Well, it's not, but who am I actually complaining to?  I"m thinking there's no comment card that I could fill out talking about my problems with life at this current time.
I spend my days reading blogs of people who have stories like mine, or kind of like mine. They are heartbreaking, horrible stories.  I read them with dry eyes.  I am numb.  Before, if I read something like this, I would have cried for hours (I mean, really, I am a crier, let's admit that!).  But now, I read them and just think, Oh.  That sucks for them.  Just like it sucks for me.  
I don't want to be a member of this club.  It's one where they force membership on you.
I also have found a listserve for people who had PPROM, which is when your membrane (water) breaks early.  Some of the people have just lost babies like me, some of them are currently PAP (pregnant after prom-you have to admit that makes you chuckle), some of them are struggling/scared/don't know if they want to get pregnant, and some of them have had more that one PPROM.  I check my email very often.  Every time I see one from the list, I get super excited.  I send the list 3 emails a day.  I tell them things that I am afraid to say out loud.  I tell them how terrible I feel about thinking some of the things I do.  I tell them that I'm sick of explaining, "My babies died."  Complete strangers, some from halfway across the world.  They , however, share something with me that bonds us.  I know they completely understand when I say things, and most likely have had the same exact experience.
I know most people in real life, unless they've read this blog, don't really get what happened to me.  I think it would be really hard to imagine birthing, seeing, holding, hugging, singing to, reading to, a tiny, tiny baby and then watching it die.  Twice.  I don't blame them.  But I know they don't get just how awful it is. How I am in this Hell that doesn't seem to have a way out.  That I feel so awful about myself-my horrible stretchmarks, the huge black rings below my eyes, my split ends and dry skin, the fact that I can't fit in any of my stupid clothes but wearing maternity clothes feel so fake.  I put them all away in a bin today, actually.  I see them and it's one more thing I don't have anymore.  I was so frickin excited to buy those damn maternity clothes.  As a person who always struggles with weight, I didn't have to "suck it in" anymore.  I felt beautiful for the first time in my entire life (outside-wise).  I would walk around, people would catch my eye and smile at me.  That look that said, you are about to experience something amazing.  I walked with my head high and my stomach out and hard and I loved every second of it.  After my water broke, when we were driving to the hospital, I reached down and felt my stomach.  It had already deflated, it felt soft on half.  This was when I knew that things were NOT going to be ok.
And they're so, so not.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Um, hello universe?

So, I read too much on the internet.  I'm always convinced something is wrong once I read about it online.
Lately, though, the only thing I can do to distract myself is to read-I read blogs of people who are babylost like me, I read message boards about stories similar to mine, I read how in time, I won't be in this much pain.
Lately, though, I've been concerned about bleeding.  My "lochia" (big fancy word for all the crap that comes out of you after you deliver) has stayed bright red, and it's over 2 weeks later, and according to SEVERAL very trusted sites (hello,!) it was time to perhaps tell your doctor.  So this morning I was sitting here and felt something weird....ya know, down there...and, well, I was a little freaked out.  So I got up to go to the bathroom, and there was a LOT of blood. Wayyyy more than normal.  So I thought to myself, I'm going to take a shower, then I am calling my doctor.  Well, I get into the shower, and the blood (sorry to be so gory) literally starts gushing out of me.  So disgusting, but moreso, pretty freaky.  Of course, I've already looked up "bright red lochia postpartum" and have read that you can totally hemorrhage and then have an infection which could lead to a hysterectomy.  So, I'm a huge mess, somehow I call Brian who races home from school to take me to the ER.
We hate the ER.  Mainly, because of the little triage room, where there are horrible, vivid memories of Brian's dad sitting in there when he was finally fed up with the VA and how they were treating his cancer and decided to switch to Gundersen.
Anyway, we were at the ER forever.  It turns out in the end, my uterus just isn't getting small as quickly as it should, so it's bleeding.  I got some pills to make the bleeding stop.
What gets me is that I think I need to wear a giant sign on my forehead that says "MY BABIES DIED."  Can they workers simply not look in my chart/file that's on every single computer to see my situation?  I can't tell you how many times today I was asked how my baby was/was I breast feeding/am I getting enough sleep.  One doctor, after I told them that my babies died, he asked me "How long did they live?"
Do I need to answer that question.
Overall, I think the worst part of today was that I needed an ultrasound to make sure I hadn't retained pieces of my placenta.  I freaking HATE the ultrasound room.  I HATE the pregnant people.  I HATE that I can hear little tiny babies crying and they are not mine.
I hate that the u/s tech was one my student's moms.
I hate today.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Memory Box

There's a hallway that I've been meaning to decorate ever since we finished the basement, and I decided to go ahead and do it for a little area for memories.
We went and found an accent table that we both liked, and Brian put it together.  This was the hardest part-brian is so good at putting things together, but he really thought he'd be putting a lot more things together for the babies. Also, the last thing he did right before my water broke was finish putting together all the furniture for the nursery.
We also went to hobby lobby and got a beautiful lamp as well as a very nice wooden box.  The memory boxes they gave us from the NICU were nice, but they were big and bright purple :)  There's also a sign that says Mother: a mother holds he childrens hands for just a short whie, but holds their hearts forever' which is so fitting of our situation.  I will always and forever remember both of them wrapping their little tiny fingers around mine.
Inside the memory box I have pictures, their wristbands and ours, the clothes and diapers that they wore, two tiny little teddy bears, and some other misc things.  When we get their ashes back (shouldn't we have those by now?) they will go there too.  


I've gotten about 10 letters in the mail so far from WEA, my insurance company.  I always open them to gawk at just how much it costs to be in the hospital, to have a sonogram, etc.  Usually, I just announce how many thousands it is to Brian and throw the things away.  The last letter we got from WEA was new insurance cards.  I thought..hmmm...maybe we are on a bad list or something now that I spent so much time in the hospital, hahaha.  Then I looked at the insurance cards.  It said:
Brian W
Christine W
Aiden W

I just about lost it.  What in the world?  I was SO MAD, but all I could do was cry.  How could the insurance company not know that he died?  Yet they knew Sophie had?

I miss my baby girl and my baby boy :(

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Postpartum Dr. Appt

So, I met with the doctor today.  I had a lot of questions, but sort of lost them when he sat down, looked at me with a tilted head, and said "How are you doing?"
There's nothing worse for me than crying in front of a doctor!
Anyway, he started out by telling me that they had sent my placenta to pathology and it was "very, very, very infected."  It had the same bug that Sophie had (and probably Aiden, too, but I didn't ask).  He then added, "If this were in the old days, you would have died."
Hmmmm.  I'm not sure if it's supposed to make me feel better, or what?  But ok.
He said that he's sure that the infection caused my water to break, though he can't prove it.  I asked if having an infection like this gives me a higher chance of having another one next time I'm pregnant, and he said actually I have a lower chance of getting one. So that made me feel better, though I'm not totally convinced.  I asked if he'd be my doctor again, next time, and he said he would.  I was sort of just asking if I would be high risk, but he took it as me asking would he be my doctor, please?  It was cute.  I really like him and I trust him.  It doesn't make me any less terrified to get pregnant again someday, but it helps.  And I want a family, darn it!  
He also said he won't release me back to work for at least 6 weeks, which puts me pretty close to the end of the school year-close enough where it's not really worth me going back. This is a huge relief at one end, and sort of scary at the other.  I know I need this time to take care of myself, but I clearly cannot lay in bed and read the internet for much more time or I will turn into part of the bed.  I need to get some projects.  I wish I had the motivation. Grief is hard to understand, and everyone tells me just to do what feels right. At the support group we went to, a girl that is about 3 months out from her loss told me that the fog will lift.  I just have to trust that!  
I know I've been keeping myself to myself and if you're reading this, you're one of my dear friends, and I love you and I will be reaching out to you soon.  Promise.  Just need some time to feel this through on my own.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sophie Mae

Saying good-bye:

Just minutes after she was born:

Some photos of Aiden James

This is minutes after he was born.  He's very red in color, and his skin was super sensitive because he was so severely premature.  He was almost 11 inches long!

Above is Aiden right before he was baptized.

Below is me holding him.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

All night long, we got updates on Aiden.  He needed a chest tube; his air was leaking.  He needed another, the first one didn't work.  He needed a blood transfusion-he only had a little blood but he was losing it fast.  This probably meant he had bleeding in his brain.
A doctor came to tell us that Sophie's cultures had come back and she had a horrible bug.  Since Aiden was her twin, there was an 85% chance that he had it, too.  But he was still doing ok.
We decided to go down to visit since we had the ok.
Within seconds, it was if the world had stopped.  I couldn't believe it.  Aiden had fluid.  Aiden had the steroid shots.  He was strong.  He was a squirmer!  He was going to make it.  They had an ultrasound machine in to see if his brain was bleeding. The nurse came to us.  His heart rate was dropping.  Did we want to recussitate(sp?) him?  How many times.
We made the absolutely heartwrenching decision to take him off his machines.  His brain was bleeding, he probably had this bug.  He was too little to fight this.
Again came out the dividers and the rocking chair and the kleenex and the cameras. Someone came to baptise him.  They put a little gown on him that seemed so small and so fake.  He had blond hair.  He looked like Brian.  Sophie had my nose (poor little girl).

Monday, April 13, 2009

I finally woke Brian up at about 5 a.m. I'd been having weird pressure and pains down low and while at first I tried to tell myself it was nothing-maybe a little indigestion-I finally had to admit to myself that it was more than that.
We called Labor and Delivery. At first she said she thought I should just wait until 8:00 when my doctor's office opened and go into see him. She called back about 10 minutes later to say that I should come in-I was already getting ready to leave.
I was terrified all the way to the ER. We hadn't been able to take any classes about childbirth. I thought maybe since I didn't have an infection, they'd be able to stop labor. I thought maybe we could still save baby B. I just kept hoping.
We got to the hospital and I remember being angry because it took them forever to find someone to take me up to labor & delivery. They said it had to be medical staff in case I had to deliver in the elevator. Well, I suppose that's not much worse than delivering in a wheelchair in the middle of the ER waiting room.
Anyway, they strapped me in and I was, indeed, having contractions. The monitor was picking them up strongly and they were getting more painful by the minute. The OB that was on call came in and did an exam-my cervix was still nice and shut, so this was good news.
I just laid there, praying that somehow they could stop this. The next doctor came in and said the number, "24,000." This, I knew, was bad. It was my white blood cell count. It shouldn't be over 20,000 when you're pregnant.
Finally my doctor came in. He checked my cervix, which hurt really, really badly, and announced that I was 2 or 3 cm dilated. He informed me that they couldn't stop labor because I was getting the infection. He told me they couldn't leave Baby B in, because he would get the infection, too. I was going into labor because my body wanted to get rid of the "bad" to save me. My body wanted to get rid of my babies. I asked if I could have a c-section. Not that I wanted a huge surgery and a lot of recovery, but I couldn't bear the thought of delivering these babies naturally to have them not live. He told me I could have a c-section-but I should know that because the babies were so small, they'd have to make the incision the opposite way, and I'd never be able to have a vaginal birth. Not only that, but the c-section would probably have to be early the next time. I wanted to be selfish. I wanted to have the c-section anyway. But the look in Brian's eyes told me I had to do this.
I have never felt so awful in my life. I wanted to just lay there, to refuse to give in to the labor, to keep those babies inside of me. But the nurse kept telling me I had to do this. The contractions made me almost throw up, almost pass out. I was in so much pain. The man came to give me the epidural around noon. When I sat up, I thought I'd die. He came too late for the epi, and he had to push 3 vials before it even worked a little. I could move my legs the whole time-it didn't work all the way.
Soon they came and I was over 7 cm dilated and so it was time to move me into a different delivery room-the one right across from the NICU so the babies could get right there.
Brian had to wear a pimped out little cloth jumpsuit, which made him look awfully cute. This should have been the most exciting day of our lives. Instead, it was filled with dread. I pushed out our little girl, Sophie Mae, at 12:54 pm. She weighed one pound, 7 ounces. She was immediately whisked away. A few minutes later, during a huge contraction, someone came to tell me that Sophie was failing, did we want a baptism. I don't even remember what we said-I couldn't believe she was dying so quickly. At 1:17, out come came our little boy, Aiden James . I couldn't believe how big he was for being so, so small. They let us see him before they took him away. Someone commented on how squirmy he was, how that was a good sign.
A few nurses gave us the obligatory, "Congratulations." It felt SO horrible to think that our babies had come so soon. Too soon.
After a while, someone from the NICU came to tell us that Sophie had rebounded, and while she was critical, she was still alive. I laid there, hoping I could go see them. They wouldn't let us go until about 5:00 pm. My mom and I went. I put my hand into little Sophie's incubator. I touched her hand and she immediately curled her little hand around my finger. I will never, ever forget that. We stopped to say hi to Aiden, but they were working on one of his tubes. Later, Brian got back and we went down to say hi to the babies. It seemed like the second we got there, everyone started gathering around Sophie. I freaked out and had Brian push me out. The doctor followed us and told us we needed to come back if we wanted to hold Sophie before she died. I didn't want to. We went back. They put up dividers and got me a rocking chair. She was hooked up to so many machines. We held her as they took pictures. It felt so surreal. I truly hope that no one I know ever has to feel that kind of pain. Just the look in Brian's eyes was enough for me-I can't imagine what my own looked like. After that, we were told to go back to our room, to get some sleep. Yeah, right.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I'm not feeling super well today.  My cheeks are red-but I don't have a fever.  My stomach has been upset, and I'm watching closely as this could be a sign of labor.  I'm so praying that it's not.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Doctor Update from Wednesday

So, we had several appointments this morning.  The first was the ultrasound.  It confirmed that Baby A still has little to no fluid.  This fluid doesn't necessarily mean her survival in the womb, but she needs it for development of the lungs, which is the big deal for when she comes out.  She could stay in there for weeks and keep growing normally, but she doesn't have room to move and is getting kind of stuck in a corner, while her brother just keeps swimming away, oblivious to the whole ordeal.
The doctor talked us through a bunch of stuff.  He basically said at this point, even though Twin A is in a dire situation, there is more good news than bad news.  It looks like I'll be pregnant for a while, and each day is so important.  There's nothing I can do in the meantime except rest and take care of myself and keep drinking a lot of water.
We also met with a neonatologist from the NICU, which was a very hard thing to do.  The way I see it, her job is to let us know that having a preemie (2 preemies) is a serious situation and we need to prepare ourselves for the fact that little baby A, even if she stays in there for weeks more, could come out and just plain not be able to function her little lungs.  She talked about how we may eventually have to make a decision - if A were struggling, we totally have B to consider to.  I have to say, as a parent, which I already feel like one, I have no clue how anyone EVER could make that decision, even though I know that they do.  She explained that a dr from the NICU would be there at the delivery and the babies would immediately whisked away, I probably wouldn't even get a glimpse of them.
I guess I'm already mourning a little bit of the way you think this will all go down.  Family in the waiting room, excited to see the little baby.  You get to hold it on your chest.  I guess none of this matters anymore-and when you really put it into perspective, just having a little bit of hope that these babies might survive makes all of that stuff incredibly irrelevant.  We are praying and hoping that these steroids help and that somehow this little tough girl can get her lungs working and hang out in there long enough for her little brother to get his stuff together, too.
We pray and we wait.  :)

Friday, April 3rd-Tuesday April 7th

The doctor came in and told us that he was pretty excited that we had made it this far without going into labor.  He basically felt that I was going to still be pregnant for a while, at least.  I think his words were, "I could be wrong...but I'm usually right."
We packed all our stuff up and the anxiety hit me a little, but I missed my bed and my doggie, with whom I've spent a lot of time since then!  Brian has been absolutely amazing (as if you expected anything different).  My friends and colleagues at work are simply the best.  After all that has happened to us this year, you'd think they'd just write me off as too much work!!!!!  Our families call or stop by all the time and are so supportive, even though you can tell they struggle with this nearly as much as we do.
Our next goal was to make it to Wednesday, when I would go into the doctor to get the first of two steroid shots.  Not the muscle building type, but the lung developing type for the babies.  On Friday we would be officially 23 weeks, and once you reach that point, every single day counts for the babies outlook.

Wednesday, April 1st

We were greeted this morning by our doctor who all of the sudden seemed a little more optimistic.  He explained that, while there is no way to predict what is going to happen, it was a great sign that we hadn't gone into labor yet.  He took me off the IV and put me on antibiotics in pill form.  He also said something completely shocking: If by Friday, things were still nice and boring, I could potentially finish my bedrest at home.  This excited me but terrified me at the same time.  While no one wants to be laying in the hospital, I felt safe knowing I was right around the corner from labor and delivery.  I liked having Brian right with me-my biggest, biggest fear was that something would happen very quickly and he wouldn't make it in time from wherever we was.  
We were cautiously optimistic as well, and my spirits began to raise a little. We were praying so hard and I swear we have every person we know and every person they know praying for these little guys.
We couldn't believe that we were hitting the 72 hour mark, and I believe we celebrated with our favorite things, those little $2 crossword scratch off lottery tickets :)

Tuesday, March 31st

We began another day in the hospital.  We got no sleep thanks to a continuous change of antibiotics during the night.  I was showing no signs of labor, thankfully.  The high-risk doctor came in again and told us the same things he had said before-we should be glad it had been 24 hours but we weren't even close to being out of the woods.
I looked up success stories for dealing with prom.  I knew part of it was really bad for me to look things up, but it was my only defense against this horrible situation.  There is hardly any information out there on this.  My favorite website is:
It has lots of stories about prom and it is color coded, so you know that the green ones are success stories, and the blue ones are not.  I found out that a lot of times doctors urge you to terminate the pregnancy.  I was thankful this hadn't been brought up, and part of me knew that it's because it becomes a lot more complicated with TWO babies.  I learned there are hardly any risk factors for this.  The major one is smoking, which I have never even taken a puff of a cigarette in my entire life and have been a total freak about going anywhere where could even be a little bit of smoke.  Mainly, the only risk factor I had going was that I had multiples.  
One of Brian's aunts came to visit this day, and she had a son born at 24 wks like 22 years ago.  Hearing these stories are amazingly helpful.  I know that the NICU has come a long way, but it's still terrifying.  The worst part is that a baby isn't even considered viable until 23 weeks, which seemed like an eternity from that point.
The days seemed very long as I just laid there, waiting.  I paid attention to every little flutter in my stomach, they took my temperature and listened to the babies heartbeats at every shift change and each time I prepared myself for the worst.
We celebrated 48 hours and couldn't believe how lucky we were.

Monday, March 30th

We woke up on Monday morning, and our high-risk doctor came in to meet with us.  He gave us all the same situations as the doctors the night before-the majority of people with prom (premature rupture of membrane) go into labor with 48 hours.  He moved us to a room in the postpartum wing, which was excruciating to see all the happy families and hear their brand new babies crying.  Brian stayed with me but finally had to leave to get us some clothes and take care of work.  I had called my work, and they were SO supportive.  Just leave work to us, they said.  You take care of those babies.
I got wheeled to the clinic for another ultrasound, where they told me, A still doesn't have any fluid.
Again, I was told:  it's a wait and see game.  Just let us know when you start feeling contractions or seeing any bleeding.
My mom came Monday, which was the start of a string of visitors, which helped immensely.  I was a total mess-couldn't believe this was happening.
Against what everyone was telling me, I started looking up a little bit about what had happened to me.  They call it PROM.  It only happens in about 2-3% of pregnancies.  There's nothing they can do about it-there's no seal for it, or a way to get fluid back in.
Monday was a really long day with a lot of crying.  We celebrated at 9:40 when it had been 24 hours and nothing happened.

Sunday, March 29, 2008

This particular weekend had been a great one.  I had spent Sunday in Prairie du Chien with our dear, dear friends Mary Kay and Peg.  We could sit and talk forever!
When we got back on Sunday night, it was our usual routine:  dinner and the Amazing Race :)  At about 9:30 we talked about going to bed-we are early to bedders :)  At 9:40, I got into bed.  I turned onto my right side, which is how I always sleep, and I felt a gigantic pop and instantly I was wet.  I stoop up, saying "Ok, something is wrong, brian. Something is wrong."  There was literally wet stuff gushing down my legs.  Brian rushed into action, grabbed me a new pair of pants and put Louis in his kennel.
The trip to the hospital was the longest 20 minutes I've ever felt.  I kept freaking out and when Brian would try to calm me and say ,"It's going to be ok" I wanted to scream.  I knew my water had broken and at just a little past 21 weeks pregnant, I knew things were definitely not ok.
We got to the hospital and got immediately whisked up to labor and delivery.  One nurse was very hopefully that a baby had just kicked my bladder and I had wet myself.  I desperately wanted to believe her, but of course, I knew that wasn't what happened.  
The first glimmer of hope that we had at one point was a nurse saying, "Honey, don't worry!  If you ruptured, we just keep you here on the floor."  Coming from the perspective that I thought this was all over, I didn't even know if I believed her.
They wouldn't let me get up and I kept leaking fluid, which was awful.  Finally, a doctor came and he really started prepping me for labor: he checked for strep b, talked about moving me to a c-section room just in case.  He also did a horrible test to make sure it was amniotic fluid, which it was (surprise!).  They did a quick ultrasound to confirm that it was baby A, our little girl, who had lost her fluid.  Then they told me I was to just wait; that I'd surely be going into labor within about 12 hours.  They gave me all sorts of different scenarios-they wouldn't stop me from going into labor if it started because I most likely had an infection.  They could potentially try to stop labor after Twin A was born and leave Twin B in there-it doesn't usually work, but they could try.  Basically it was a wait and see game.  They hooked me up to an IV drip of antibiotics and got Brian a hospital bed to sleep in.  We called our mom's, got Louis taken care of, and had a horrible, non-restful night of sleep, thinking that when I woke up, I'd be in labor.