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Friday, September 26, 2014

Making it to the 3rd trimester

I've been pretty quiet on this blog since I found out I was pregnant. I think that is mostly because I have not even been sure how to describe this journey.I thought I was doing really well on my grief journey, feeling better adjusted and getting back to normal. Looking to the future and dreaming about giving Peter a little brother or sister. Then I got that positive pregnancy test and I was suddenly awash in the grief again.

Any pregnancy is going to be full of emotions and hormones, but there is no way I could have prepared for the onslaught of emotion I would experience. Happy, sad, excited, terrified...all at once sometimes! Losing my son Peter is the hardest thing I have ever had to face, but this pregnancy has been the second hardest. My unborn son David has wrapped his tiny arms around my heart, for better or worse. I have no idea what to expect, but I choose to love him with all my heart.

It was difficult getting to the 22-24 week mark, where I was hospitalized and had Peter in my last pregnancy. I developed high blood pressure and a nasty headache at 23 weeks that sent me to the hospital for a couple days. Talk about having triggers! But we held it together and rejoiced when I was allowed to go home on modified bed rest. Getting to week 25 was such a relief, and everything since then has been new to me.

As I begin the third trimester, there have been a lot of checkups and tests. Considering my history, this is not too surprising. It started with a visit to my high risk doctor every month, then it was every 2 weeks, now I'm in there every week. I am keeping track of my blood sugars, blood pressure, food diary, amount of water (a gallon a day), taking 2 different shots, getting blood drawn every 2 weeks, doing 24 hour urine collections and waiting with bated breath for the call when they tell me something has gone wrong.

I'm also feeling strong kicks that shake my belly, and watching my belly grow far bigger than I thought it could. I'm rejoicing each time I see my little son on the ultrasound and he's growing up big and strong. I'm trying to stay positive that there are no signs of preeclampsia yet and my blood pressure has been amazingly good. I'm eating everything in the house and then some, and trying to get all my baby gear together.

I'm also trying to figure out how to keep Peter special in my life while keeping my focus on David. I know it's not healthy to stay so attached to the past, but it hurts to think I may have to let go of him some. David needs me, and he needs to feel special, not overshadowed by his big brother's memory. I'll always love and miss my firstborn, but I know that he is safe in the arms of Jesus. I still cry and acutely feel the pain of losing him, but I know he wants me to live in the present moment, not stuck in the past. I so wish I could have both of my boys with me, and it pains me that David will not get to know his big brother. That's the paradox of pregnancy after loss, the past and the future are constantly tugging at you for your focus, when you know that the best place to focus is in the present.

As for me, I'm choosing to live in the present because it is all I have right now. I will update more as I get closer, but barring any complications, David will be born in late November/early December around 36-37 weeks via c-section. When that happens, all the pain, frustration and discomforts will be worth it and he will finally be in my arms. Any prayers you can send our way would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sweet Dreams!

I have to share with you the most amazing gift I was given last night. As you read in the last post, I have been having some trouble lately having hope for this new baby and some of the grief over losing Peter has come back. It hasn't been horrible, but I've been in a bit of a funk. Well last night I received the most precious gift I have received since losing Peter. He came to visit me in my dreams. I was having another dream and all of a sudden this dream interrupted the other one: I was lying in my childhood bed (a cast iron daybed) and he was standing next to it near where my head was. In the dream, he was about 6-7 years old and he was wearing a white robe. His brown hair was somewhat long, but I knew instantly it was him. He had the sweetest smile on his face, and I told him that I really missed him. He said he missed me too, but not to worry because we would be together again. He said some other things that I do not remember, and then I blinked and he was gone. Then the rest of my other dream continued. I really believe that this was my precious son visiting me and not just a dream. There was something ethereal about him and he just seemed so beautiful and holy. Just last night I was thinking about how I was starting to move on and didn't think about him as much anymore. It made me feel kind of sad, but I am taking this dream to mean that he's really okay about it and wants me to move on and love this new baby. When I woke up, I was in tears and feel emotional every time I think of it. This just proves what a sweet boy he is. I love him so much!

Monday, June 30, 2014

2nd Trimester Begins...

As soon as I finished the last post about trusting God to take care of us I knew there would be a point where I would come back to reality and to my fears. That time has come. The thing about trusting God is that it is a daily, hourly or even by-the-minute decision to push out fear and let in hope. You do not just make a one-time decision and that's it.

Suddenly more triggers have come up for me. I just hit the 14 week mark in my pregnancy, which means I am officially in the 2nd trimester. The second trimester also happens to be the time when my preeclampsia came on, which led to losing Peter at 24 weeks.

Suddenly things are not so far off. Just about 2 months until I can get preeclampsia again. Just about 22 weeks until baby will be here if they deliver me at 36 weeks as planned. Not really things that I should be thinking or worrying about, but here they are in my mind. These are just the kind of things I have been trying to stop thinking about.

On top of it, my parents came and helped us move some furniture into our spare room to make it more guest-friendly and storage-friendly. The talk turned to where the crib will go and I realized very quickly how not ready I am for all of this. Can we just push the pause button and take a break?

And then on top of it, we realized that yesterday in the Catholic Church was the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Apostles. It took me back to our honeymoon in the Vatican where Nick and I ended up in St. Peter's Basilica celebrating Mass for the very same feast. And afterward, as we walked in St. Peter's Square, Nick asked me if we could name our first born son Peter. There it was, we had named our first child that we would not even conceive until 3 months later, and that we would get only 2 days with in this life. It was the emotional equivalent of being knocked down by a huge wave.

Anyone who has grieved a loss will tell you that there will be times when you are doing so well and then out of nowhere a huge wave of grief will overcome you. It felt like a punch to the gut, and I just wanted to go home and curl up in a ball.

I pulled it together enough to make it out to dinner with some friends from church and there was a couple there about 8 years younger than us. I ended up telling them about our story and about how God kept calling us to trust him more. So despite my total weakness I was chosen to witness about God's love. That has to count for something, right?

 I'm not sure what the purpose of this post was except to update where I am at the moment. I made you a promise to keep writing whether the news was good or bad, and I will keep that promise. At the moment, I know I need to fill up my emotional tank and then maybe I will be able to spell it out a bit more. So until then, see you on the web!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Letting love in

I have changed since I started this blog over a year ago. It is much harder to write now than it used to be. I used to be very open about my grief, mostly because I had no choice. It was there constantly, and the only way to alleviate some of the feelings floating around in my head would be to write about them. Now that I am pregnant again it seems that I have been much more private about my feelings. Perhaps it is a defense mechanism, but it does not mean that I will not write. Even if I have to start the blog several times before I like it, I am determined that I will get my story out there for other mommas who need the encouragement and for others to shatter the silence there is around this subject. It took a lot of courage for me to announce my pregnancy. I have not been able to celebrate too much until recently. My fear and anxiety nearly got the best of me. No one could really realize how different pregnancy is after you have lost your baby unless you have lived it. Thankfully, I have a few friends who have been there, and one who is traveling the road with me step by step. The thing is, when you get pregnant for the first time, there are so many expectations, hopes and dreams. When you lose a baby or a young child, it is a loss unlike any other because you not only lose them, but you lose all your hopes and dreams for their future. You lose the chance to know them, and as you go along there is an almost palpable feeling that a part of your life is missing. Part of your heart is missing and nothing, not even other children, can fill that emptiness. When I found out I was pregnant this time, it was almost a feeling of shock and numbness. It took weeks before I could accept that I was indeed pregnant, and my first feeling was fear, not hope. Fear is a feeling that has followed me the whole time. What if I have a miscarriage? What if I get preeclampsia again? What if God takes this baby, too? I have allowed myself to feel, but not necessarily dwell on, these questions. It is hard to get emotionally attached when you are not sure if your heart will be broken in two again. As I move along, I have come to realize that God calls us to live in hope and not in fear. Love is not just a flowery feeling for Valentine's Day. True love chooses to keep loving even though there is a chance of getting hurt again and again. This child inside of me does not need my fear, he or she needs my love. So I have chosen to take the risk of loving he or she even though I know that things could go wrong again. God's grace has helped me to come to this decision. Our ultrasound pictures included one that looks like our baby is smiling at us, which I took as a sign that it was time to move past the fear and step out in faith.
Such a sweet smile captured my heart! I know it will not be easy, but this child deserves my love and my devotion. Even if the unthinkable happens, I know that I will feel so much worse if I did not let this child into my heart. And that is enough for me :)

Friday, June 13, 2014

I'm still here!

It's been almost 3 months since I've published anything. It's not that I've been unwilling to write. I've written this post at least 2-3 times. I've felt the need to protect and insulate myself for a little while. We've got a game changer, a beautiful, unthinkable gift from above that we've been praying for and afraid to accept for at least a year! I'm PREGNANT!!!! God let Peter help pick out a little brother or sister from Heaven to send us. And our sweet little son gave his sibling a kiss on the cheek and sent him or her down to us. We found out Easter weekend, and I am now almost 12 weeks along. They call the child you bear after the loss of a baby the rainbow baby. This is because you have lived through the storm and God gives you a rainbow when the sunshine comes back out. Our rainbow is on the way, due December 28, 2014. Because of my health issues, they will deliver at about 36-37 weeks, so sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hallelujah! I was not ready at first to say anything about our gift, for fear of losing this one too. It has been a very anxious, emotional journey so far, and I am sure it will continue. At first, I was not ready to believe it; for I was sure that I would miscarry and we would be left alone again. Then we could tell close friends, but now I'm finally ready to shout it from the rooftops!! Things have been so completely different that I almost don't recognize it. Last time, I was sick, swollen, and had moderately high blood pressure the whole time. This time I have lost 5 lbs, barely had morning sickness, and my blood pressure has been low at times. It has led me to be slightly nervous at how well things are going. I'd say at the moment we are cautiously optimistic. You may have noticed that I changed the blog name back to just "Tears for Peter". I did that because I will be focusing more on the issue of pregnancy after a loss. Some healthy things may make their way into the blog, but I feel the need to write more about this. That's all I have time for right now, but there will definitely be more writing coming soon! Just wanted to share my wonderful news!!!! Take care, Lauren <3