Chase’s first Zoo trip.

Chase had his first trip to the Zoo this August! I wanted to take him last summer but due to bed rest that wasn’t possible. I am actually glad it worked out this way. We went with my dear friend Teri and her daughter. So the cute little girl you’ll see with us in Chase’s pretty little friend Kate (3).

I thought it was super adorable that the two of them starting “reading” the maps as we began our venture into the Zoo.

Our first stop was the elephants. This photo captures the {exact} moment when Chase first saw a real elephant. His expression says it all. Complete awe. (I just love, love, LOVE these two photos!)

He had a really hard time leaving the elephants to explore the Zoo.

The giraffe came in second to the elephant for Chase’s favourite animal.

It was {incredibly} hot on this day, so the kiddos played in some water to cool off. I kind of wanted to join them :)

A huge highlight of the day for Chase was this train ride. He just couldn’t believe it. We were going to ride a train, a “Choo-choo”.

waiting in line.This photo of his cute little face says it all. He enjoys every second and to this day asks me to go on a choo-choo ride! And proceeds with “Chugga chugga Choo-choo”.

Unfortunately the train ride was literally maybe 5 minutes. Waaaaay too short for a 2-year-old boy who loves trains.  Should I mention here that Chase threw a huge tantrum as we left? And that while he was throwing a fit in the stroller he knocked our Canon 60D from the top of the stroller to the cement ground. (Camera ended up okay. Lense, not so much but thankfully we have a warranty)

No, I won’t mention those things ;) but instead leave on a good note saying it was a really great time (it truly was) and I can’t wait to take both my boys next spring and summer!

3 weeks.

I’m not really sure where to begin today. My heart is so full of emotion and aches as we begin to reach weeks that last year, were of the most painful weeks and days in our lives. I guess I’ll begin with a bit of what happened on this very date last year.

August 23rd, 2010, I went in for another check-up on our Eisley-girl and instead of releasing me to go home, they put me in the hospital to be monitored and to be on strict bed rest. I was already on strict bed rest, but being home with a 1-year-old (at the time) “strict bedrest” wasn’t as strict as it could have been. Being hospitalized, I was only up to use the restroom and shower. I’ll never forget that first night in the hospital. They put me in a labor and delivery room for the night, until they could ready a room for me, as an antepartum patient. They hooked me up to a monitor and immediately began checking on our Eisley-girl. As Ted and Chase arrived, I could see the fear written all over his face. We both felt so helpless.

Ted had just begin his fall semester load of classes that very day. I had called him as he was leaving the college to tell him I wouldn’t be coming home anytime soon. It felt as though everything was slowly digressing and going downhill. We held so tightly to hope amidst this chaotic journey we were on for our daughter’s life. Ted and Chase weren’t able to stay with me and had to head back home, 1 hour and 15 minutes away. I wept when they left and then found that I couldn’t breath. That was the moment I had my first (of many more to come) panic attack. My nurse Lindsey (whom I love and can’t wait to see again) put me on oxygen and calmed me down and comforted me.

I don’t think I slept but maybe an hour that night. I looked around the labor and delivery room and couldn’t help but think that I shouldn’t be there in such a situation like we were. I saw the little area in the corner where they put your newborn infant to clean and measure, etc. I just felt so sick and terrified. The memouries still haunt me from that night. The only window I had in my room was a sky light that was way up high. I felt hopeless and oh so weak. I just cried out to God. Not even aloud, just within my heart. The most desperate cry from the momma heart in me.

The very next day I was moved into a room with a window and a view. I was so grateful for the sunlight. I felt something change within my heart and decided then that I would make the most of my time with my Eisley-girl. I am so thankful that I did that. I wrote her notes and read them aloud to her everyday.

 I sung and sung and sung to her. I prayed for her. I watched Gilmore Girls “with her”. I always held the palm of my hand on my belly and savored her every movement within.

(“143” was Ted and I’s silly way of saying “I love you” when we were dating. When I saw her heart rate at 143 repeatedly one night, I couldn’t help but think she was saying she loved us and snapped this photo for Ted and I)

I cherished my time with her and I often wonder if that change in my heart was actually something that was preparing my heart for September 14th. I missed my Chasey-boy and my Ted but I am so thankful for those last few weeks I had to focus on just her.

Today, August 23rd has arrived. I’ve sent my hubby off to his second fall semester of college and we’re 29 weeks pregnant with our Boy S who is growing and thriving within me. I feel hope, but I also have this constant ache, an Eisley shaped hole in our family remains. I long so much for her to be here, even still and I feel like I’ll be one of those momma’s who always ache. I read that happens with some and I really feel, that’s me. Maybe it’s because it was our girl, our precious Eisley-girl, who I’d dreamt of since I was a teenage girl. She’s captured a place in my heart that will never ever be the same again.

Her first birthday is coming up so quickly. I feel like I’ve barely been able to catch my breath since she passed away and now the date of her death (September 14th) and the date of her birth (September 17th) are arriving ever so swiftly.

I am so thankful for a Father in heaven who reaches our hearts with comfort and peace amidst the aching. And the most incredible thing is that even as He is comforting our hearts, I know our Eisley-girl rests between His strong shoulders.

Around 3 weeks from now, we’ll be both grieving and celebrating our Eisley’s life.

Oh my heart…

Pregnancy After Loss {part 3}; Facing Fears, Finding Hope.

I’ve been doing what you could call a series of my journey through pregnancy after loss. I often wonder why I’m even posting such things because I wonder who’s even want to read this kind of thing. I guess I just want to share about pregnancy after loss and how I am doing for those curious, but I also really hope this “series” will help another momma who might walk this road.

In case you missed it, here is Part 1 and Part 2.

(As I was looking back in my journal, I re-read this quote I’d written down and it seems to fit this post perfectly. Maybe it will give a glimpse into why I sometimes fall back to fear instead of hope.)

We left off with me 12 weeks pregnant, about to head back to see the specialist that I saw in my entire pregnancy with Eisley.

So, there I was, 12 weeks pregnant, making the dreaded elevator ride up 4 floors to our Fetal Medicine Specialist’s office. You might remember me talking about these trips in my pregnancy with Eisley. We saw her almost every week to check on our Eisley-girl. She was incredible at her job, but her job doesn’t leave much room for optimism. If someone was seeing the FMS, that usually wasn’t good to begin with. The day before Eisley’s death was the first time she had ever been optimistic about Eisley’s life and the chance of her survival. So, with all of that said…. the thought of going back and seeing her was almost unbearable.

I walked in with a racing and fearful heart. I knew that they’d be doing a lot of testing (blood work and ultrasound screening). What news would today bring? Ted wasn’t able to be there (not his fault, just fyi :)) so my mom came along for support. The checkup began and we waited as the ultrasound technician went over baby #3’s body. She’d explain along the way what we were looking at and I felt small relief with each positive comment. The amnionic fluid was great, the blood from the placenta through the cord to the baby was great, the placenta has no clot or abruption, etc. Sweet relief. But my mind kept falling back to fear; I also knew that I hadn’t begun bleeding with Eisley until week 13 and I knew that at any given moment, things could take a turn for the worse, no matter how great everything looked just the day before.

After the ultrasound technician was finished, she called in Dr. Daye. I hadn’t seen Dr. Daye since the day of Eisley’s birth and was kind of worried as to what she’s say about me being pregnant only 5 months later (only for safety reason for this baby, not at a matter of opinion.) She came in smiling and told me she was excited to hear that we were pregnant again. What? Smiles and excitement. I felt as though I was looking at a different doctor. Remeber, I had said her job doesn’t leave much room for optimism so imagine my surprise and honestly, my relief. She looked over the scans of our new little one and then did her own thorough checkup to again confirm, everything looked awesome thus far.

She did go on to warn me that mother’s who have had a placenta abruptions, have a 10% chance of reoccurrence. My heart dropped. Even just 10% terrified me. She went on to say that mother’s who’ve had such a severe case like ours, usually don’t have as severe a case again, if at all.  I tried to find hope in that but then again, we were always on the bad news of the percentages with Eisley. We were the small percentage that ended with devastation.

She asked me personal questions about how I was doing. I told her that I just really wanted to get past 13 weeks. She told me that I was almost out of the 13th week. I was so confused and told her I was only 12. She showed me that the day of my last period and where I was currently was indeed 13 weeks. (it’s a long story, but the OB/GYN office had their records wrong of when my last period was which confused the information that was sent to Dr. Daye’s office).

I felt hope in hearing that I had made it to 13 weeks and there were no problems. Bittersweet “milemarker” number one.

In the beginning of this pregnancy I found that my fear far outweighed my hope but as each week passes, I find myself hoping more than fearing. Little by little…

This very trip that I’ve just written about, was also the trip that I spotted a little something that gave away baby #3’s gender. Part 4 will be a post {just} about what I hoped the gender would be from the beginning and what I felt when I learned this little one’s gender… This post I am a little worried about sharing publicly however, the question of what I feel regarding having a boy comes up a lot and I really do want to share my feelings and thoughts about this…

part 4 coming soon.

Pregnancy #3 {Part 2}: Paralyzing Fear.

If interested, you can read  part 1 here.

The very moment we found out we were pregnant with another little one the fear set in. Every day I was a wreck. My fear was paralyzing me, almost quite literally (with the major exception of a super active boy) and the anxiety within me would ruin any hope that my heart wanted to have. Ted would come home from work or school to find me… and our home… a mess.

For a while I told myself and those around me that my reason for not doing much was because I was so sick and exhausted from pregnancy. Yes, that was partly true but I also knew that a lot of why I wasn’t moving, why I wasn’t doing things I love and brought me hope, why I wasn’t even doing things that I should be doing… was out of fear.

At 8 weeks I had to make the trip to Dr. Hill’s office to have the first checkup on the baby. I walked in his office feeling so nauseous, fearful and shaken up. They put me in the room to wait for him and I began to cry and shake. I couldn’t do this. The last time I had an ultrasound, I was a few days away from 7 months pregnant with Eisley (one week away from potentially delivering her) and they showed me the most devastating thing a mother could see. My baby girl’s heart had stopped beating. The memouries came flooding back and I almost couldn’t handle even being there. When Dr. Hill came in he did the ultrasound and I saw a tiny little baby the size of a bean, wriggling around and when he shared the heartbeat aloud. I cried the entire time.

Even after seeing his swift heartbeat, I allowed myself to sink so quickly into fearing for this baby. And even though I had heard and knew this would be “normal” for a momma who lost a child, it was worse than I’d ever imagined.

There was a part of me, of course, that wanted to hope and trust and believe with everything in me that this baby will be in my arms, healthy and breathing. Of course, I wanted to hope for that. However, with everything we’ve walked through, I feel it would be incredibly ignorant to not remember the reality. I can’t even forget that reality that we’re faced with everyday. I began to believe very fatalistically. I’d constantly dwell on the reality that any given moment I could begin bleeding, I could lose this baby, despite how “good” the heartbeat sounded just the week before, despite how everything was going thus far…

When people who knew we were pregnant would hang out with us or talk with me about this little one, I would say things like, “IF we get to November…” or things like “IF we can carry this baby full term…” I remember one night we had a whole group of friends over and afterwards Ted sat me down and had a serious talk with me. He was so sad and weary of hearing me speak so fatalistically. He wanted to see me hope again and believe that this could happen. He felt so strongly that this pregnancy would be just like it was with Chase.

Not long after our talk I had a major breakdown. I was almost 12 weeks pregnant and the fear was unbearable for my mind. I couldn’t move from the couch besides helping Chase or getting him out of trouble. I laid on my left side and drank a ton of water (both of which I did with Eisley because they were what could help her). I never even got Chase out of the house for most of my first bit of pregnancy.  Most days, I couldn’t even get myself to the shower. I was depressed, fearful, full of anxiety and worry. I didn’t believe in myself. I’d, once again, convinced myself that I was to blame for Eisley’s death and that maybe if I did everything “perfectly” with this pregnancy things would be different.

One huge struggle I have had with believing I had failed Eisley, that my body had failed her, was with this little one, not knowing what it was that I really could do differently. They never gave me a solid reason for why my placenta clotted and why it pulled away from the uterine wall. There wasn’t something they could pin point and say “Do this differently next time.” Nothing. So imagine my fear of doing anything.

The road to 13 weeks was incredibly daunting. At 13 weeks with my sweet Eisley-girl, I had begun bleeding. At 12 weeks with this little one, I had to see the specialist I saw weekly with Eisley. Talk about traumatic experiences… I’m still working through my times in her office when I was pregnant with Eisley.

The thought of returning to her office was more than I thought I could handle. Having rarely ever heard or seen our fetal medicine specialist speak positively or with hope, I only feared the worst…

Part 3 coming soon with how it was to walk back into the specialists, facing week 13 and how I felt in learning this little one’s gender.

To my dear sweet Eisley.

 (the letter I read to aloud at Eisley’s memorial)
Dear Eisley,
My heart aches as I write you this letter because the fact that am writing this means you aren’t here with us. I can’t see your little face anymore yet it’s still so hard to imagine our life without you.

Right now we are broken because we hoped you would be in our arms. We hoped your first party would be one where you were passed from person to person as they admired your beauty and life. But even though we don‘t have you (physically) here with us, we are celebrating you today. Our friends and family are standing with us to admire and honour your beauty, your life and the legacy you’ve left behind. You are so loved!

We all prayed for your healing. We prayed for life to your bones and for nourishment …and He did what we’ve asked of Him. You are whole and perfect. You are healed and have more life in you than we could imagine here on earth. You are being nourished by His presence.

It may not be the way we thought or what we had hoped for and it is hard to understand why you couldn’t stay with us, but I know someday we will see you again.

Until then, I will remember the time I had with you and hold it very dear to my heart.

I will remember with joy, the day that I found out we were pregnant with you, our little surprise baby. I will always remember rejoicing on August 8th at our ‘Pink or Blue party’ where we found out you we were our little girl and we began calling you by name, our little Eisley Antalya.

I will remember feeling your little kicks and the rhythmic thump, thump, thump of your hiccups deep inside.

I will remember the very first time I felt you kick from the outside, at the very same time your daddy felt too. I will remember the ultrasounds where we watched you suck her thumb and stick your tongue out. I will remember the daily heart monitoring and hearing your swift heart beat, beat, beat to let me know you were okay.

I will remember the night before you went to be with Jesus, when you reacted to her daddy’s voice as he talked to you. I will remember your final kicks to me the morning you passed away, as if you were telling me goodbye.

I will remember the day we finally gave birth to you, September 17th- the first time we held you in our arms and the peace that washed over us we held you. I will remember how in awe we were of your perfect little Chase-like nose, your beautifully shaped lips and your tiny little hands and feet.…I will remember just how perfectly and wonderfully you were made.

We love you, our Eisley-girl and you will forever be apart of our lives and in our hearts. You will be apart of the steps we take as we walk throughout life. I know my life and the lives of many others will always be inspired by the legacy you’ve left behind.

I wrote you many letters when you were in my womb and this letter was by far the hardest because I feel like it’s another step to letting you go, but when I remember where you are and Who you are with it helps my heart ache a little less. I remember you are healed and that you aren’t suffering and that is what I want for you above all else.

I know you’re loving being with Jesus, as He’s showing you the universe.

Rest peacefully between His shoulders, my sweet Eisley-girl.

One week; wishing time would stand still.

It has been one week since we first held our sweet Eisley and had to say our earthly goodbye. I wrote in my journal of how I wish time would stand still. Time is moving forward a lot faster than my heart is healing. I close my eyes and imagine myself holding her for the first time again. Remembering how in awe I was at her tiny hand between my thumb and finger. I can still picture her tiny little Chase-like nose and her beautiful mouth shape and lips. Her tiny soft toes… everything so perfect.

After she passed away Tuesday and we decided to be induced, they told us that is could take a while for my body to deliver, because it just wasn’t time. They told us that there will be changes her body will make immediately and they prepared us for what we might see. They told us that her skin would be lose and could even be falling off and that her features will have changed. I immediately wondered if we should just do the c-section so things would be over quickly. But they reminded me to think about future pregnancies and also the healing process which would be incredibly difficult on top of the loss of our daughter. I couldn’t even believe I had to face these questions right away and to think about being pregnant again… hours after losing her… it was the most difficult thing.

The 3 decisions to choose from for delivery were; one, a c-section. two, induced labor. Or three, go home and wait for my body to naturally go into labor. I knew immediatley 3 was out of the picture. It had only been 2 hours of knowing she had passed and I ached knowing that she was inside of me, but she was no longer alive. No way could I go weeks of waiting for my body to deliver her. And they also told us that Eisley would have a lot of changes during that time. I couldn’t bare the thought of what we might see weeks later.

We choose to be induced. It took 3 days (72 hours) for my body to deliver her naturally but we don’t regret the decision. We we’re able to see our daughter and she wasn’t anything like they had told us.

When I delivered her (which someday I will share about the actually delivery part and maybe soon) I was terrified to look at her. I actually asked them to clean her and dress her before I saw her, because I was so afraid of what I would see. Ted later told me, he was afraid too.

The nurse I had at the time I delivered her said, “Oh Jami, she is so beautiful.” She paused and I wondered if she just had to say that. “She is so beautiful. I was afraid of what we would see since she passed away 3 days ago… but she is perfect.” I just looked at Ted’s expression as he looked down at our daughter and realized, our nurse was right. Ted’s face said it all. She was perfect.

Even no matter what she would have looked like, she would have been perfect to us. Although, I am extremly thankful that it didn’t end up being what they had told us. Thank you God.

One thing that helps me are the photos Ted took of our little Eisley. It felt so strange to pull out the camera in a time like that, but we knew we would want photos of our daughter because our memory may fail us, although I pray we will never forget.

(I may never share all of the photos, just some for now….)

Ted and I both wish we could have had more time with her, but we agreed that any amount of time with her, wouldn’t have been enough. We were only able to keep her with us for a few hours after her delivery because of the changes her body would go through outside the womb. I’ve already shared, but the time we did have with her were that of peace. We felt complete peace as we held our little Eisley and we knew it was right that she was with Him.

We didn’t get a lot of time with her on earth, but I do believe that I will see her again and I will spend eternity with her. Right now she’s hanging out with Jesus and He’s telling her how much she was and is loved by us and by Him.  A friend gave me a photo last night that made her think of Eisley. It is incredible.

It makes the ache inside a little easier when I think of her in heaven. Healed and whole. In the arms of Jesus, who’s showing her the universe.