Saturday, October 25, 2008

Episode 29- The Morning Of (Part I)

All the preparations were done. The house was clean, bags were packed, meals were sitting in the fridge. I put Ethan to bed and sat in the darkness and starred at the clock. Cody's plane would be in shortly and I prayed that everything would go smoothly. We had both been apprehensive about him making a trip so close to the delivery, but there wasn't much he could do about it. He had to go, so we did a lot of praying that he would make it back in time.

I watched the weather and constantly checked his flight status online and although everything was going as planned, I still felt apprehensive and scared. The moment Cody walked through the door I breathed a huge sigh of relief and hugged him tightly. It was almost midnight and we had a huge day ahead of us. So I popped several pills and tried to get some sleep. Again I hadn't been aloud to eat anything and empty stomach kept me awake.

At 5:00 the next morning I got ready and went out to shovel snow. I had so much adrenaline pumping through my veins and I needed to release it. Aunt Lyn arrived to stay with Ethan and Cody and I gently kissed him goodbye as not to wake him, and then we crept out the door.

I was delivering the baby at 38 weeks and 5 days. Draper had a policy where he would not electively perform a c-section before 39 weeks without doing an amnio first to check for lung development. I guess he had seen his share of 38 weekers with immature lungs, so he insisted on checking that before beginning the surgery.

The amnio was quick and almost painless. The tech was guided by ultrasound and we were able to watch everything on the screen. "Your baby has hair," she said to us. She pointed it out and sure enough, we could see tiny wisps floating around in there. As I looked at her I suddenly felt excited. That was my baby and I would meet her shortly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Episode 28- Our Last Day Together

The next few days were hard. Cody had to go out of town to Philadelphia and I was left alone with Ethan. I had never been left completely alone with him over night. To the normal person it would not have been a big deal...but I wasn't normal. So it was hard.

The day Cody left I sat alone in the living room and felt so small. He had made some casseroles and easy dinners for me so I didn't have to do anything, and I was grateful for it. But I felt very small, very alone, and very scared. There was a terrible snow storm that week that never seemed to let up. And apparently it was really bad out east where Cody was.

I kept myself occupied during the day making final preparations for the baby's arrival. The day before her birth I took Ethan out to drive around the University hospital. This is where I would be in a few short hours. How would our lives change? We then went to Baskin Robins to get some ice cream (even though it was January and 20 degrees outside). We sat there together and I tried desperately to take in the moment.

As I gazed into his sweet face covered in chocolate, I wondered how I would ever love another child as much as I loved him. It wasn't possible and I didn't see how it would ever happen. Feelings of anger ran through me as I thought of how our time was short. Soon there would be another person vying for my attention. Ethan would inevitably get the shaft and there was nothing I could do about it.

That night I let him stay up as long as he wanted to. We cuddled on the couch and watched American Idol and then Bob the Builder until he drifted off to sleep in my lap. I stroked his soft blond curls and sobbed. I did not want this time to end.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I've had many people ask me how I remember so many details and how I'm able to write it all in story form. I have always been a serious chronicler and documenter, so obviously I kept a journal through this event. Some people have said that they would have blocked most of this from memory of it had happened to them. Well I feel that it is a gift that I remember the details so vividly. And as I sit and write, it amazes me how the memories come flooding back as if it were yesterday. When I get to the episodes surrounding my second hospitalization, I will likely take pieces directly from the journal because I don't think I'll be able to reenact that kind of drama. Some of those entries are extremely ugly and terrifying.

I know it is a gift from God that allows me to remember, because through writing it out, I am helping people. I can't count the numerous emails I get from strangers who say this story is helping them. Either they themselves have/are experiencing something similar or someone close to them is going through it. So I feel that the Lord is blessing me as I write to be able to conjure up feelings and emotions that I otherwise would try to suppress.

I've also had people ask me if I would consider writing a book. The answer to that is- I don't know. Draper and I talked about it on a few occasions, but I never thought anyone would be interested in publishing anything like this. Who would read it anyway? So that is why I decided to start the blog a few months ago. Maybe one day it will get turned into a book, but for now I'm slowly chronicling it this way. If anything, I want my posterity to be able to read what I've written.

I've also had people ask me how I'm able to write about this and not get sucked back into depression. Again, I think the Lord is helping me and shielding me at the same time. And I decided when I first started writing that I would only allow myself twenty minutes at a time to blog. I have a timer here on the desk and when I sit down to write I set it for twenty minutes. When it dings, I have to stop. Then I pick right back up where I left off. So that's one way I don't get sucked back in.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Episode 27- The Day of Decision

I laid in bed that night and starred at the ceiling. There was a possibility that we would hear bad news at the appointment the next day and that we would deliver a baby that day. What would be wrong with her? Why was she so little? So I didn't sleep much. And the sleep that did come was very restless at that.

We dropped Ethan off at Lance and Courtnee's that morning. It was wonderful knowing that he was in good hands with his Aunt and Uncle and they were more than accommodating in the chance of him needing to spend the night. Then we were off to the hospital. I was in agony as we waited for our turn in the ultrasound room. I had been instructed not to eat anything after midnight the previous night. Obviously my hunger pains contributed a little to my lack of sleep that night. Here it was almost lunch time and my poor belly was empty!

I held my breath during most of the test. We were again assured that our baby was in fact a girl and that everything was perfect. They took very detailed measurements and that looked good too. From what they could tell, she was right on target and in perfect health. So we then went in to see Draper down the hall. I sat there in the exam room and felt so relieved. I told Cody that when we left there I wanted to get a big fat cheeseburger. "What makes you so sure that you are going home? You don't know that Draper is going to be happy with the results." Then a pit formed in my stomach as we waited for him to come in.

It turned out that according to the test, the baby was measuring in the 60th percentile for size. Draper was in fact happy with the results and we were given the okay to go home. We were instructed to be back there in one week for her actual delivery. I wanted to jump for joy!

Cody and I immediately dashed out of there and headed for TGI Friday's. We had eaten at this particular restaurant several times while dating and before having children. It brought back so many fond memories of when life was simple. As the two of us sat there and ate (and while I wolfed down any parcel of food in sight) things felt safe and for a brief time, I felt happy.

Episode 26- The Dream

I barely slept at all that week, even less than I normally did. The pills kept coming and I did my best to make final plans for our girl's imminent arrival. My feelings about her were so torn. On one hand I wanted to pretend like she wasn't going to be born and that the whole pregnancy had been a terrible nightmare. I was sure I would wake up any minute.

But on the other hand, I was looking froward to finally meeting her. Draper and Schneiman both felt confident that things would get better once she was born. They thought that the majority of my problems had been hormonal. Little did they know that it was largely due to the poison I swallowed on a daily basis, poison which I had grown terribly dependent on.

As I sat on her bedroom floor folding tiny little onesies and receiving blankets, I thought about what the next few weeks held in store for us. What really would take place once she was born? How would I feel about her? Would I ever be able to love her? Would I love Ethan less? How would I share the love?

I began having a reoccurring nightmare that week, which was a large reason why sleep wouldn't come. In my dream, he and I are sitting on the living room floor playing with blocks. Then I hear him say "Mommy..." in a far off way. So I look up only to see him dissolving into thin air. I yell his name and he only gets farther away until he is gone. I then look down and in my lap is a baby swaddled in a pink blanket. And then I wake up.

Schneiman said it was my fear of losing Ethan when the baby came. I was worried that she would steal my love and attention away from him. She would take his place, I suppose. It was a terrible dream and one that I couldn't shake when the light of dawn hit my face. It made me hold Ethan tighter and longer during the day because it was, after all, the only precious time I had left with him.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Episode 25- A Hard Realization

The holidays came and went. I spent most of the days around Christmas with my feet up because I was contracting constantly. But the baby never decided to come early and I was grateful.

Cody had a company party at a hotel downtown the first week of January and my little sister came into town to babysit Ethan so we could have a night off. To say I felt miserable the entire night was an understatement. It was horrible and I was so swollen. Ironically, I gained the least amount of weight with Hailey and she was the smallest baby yet, but I was the most swollen by far. My fingers and toes looked like sausages and I could barely bend my wrists and ankles.

On this particular night I sat through dinner and the performance just counting the minutes until we could leave. About half way through the evening I started contracting again, but this time they didn't let up. They worsened and finally I told Cody we needed to get going. I wasn't due for three more weeks, but maybe the baby had other plans.

I remember having a hard time breathing while I waited in the lobby for Cody to get the car. I had to breathe through the contractions and I felt certain that the baby was on her way. But by the time we got home and I got into a warm tub of water, I felt much better and the contractions stopped.

A few days later I had an OB appointment and Ethan went with me, of course. My c-section had been scheduled for January 19th which was still two weeks away. I was Draper's last patient of the day and he did all of the standard measurements. It was nice that he wasn't rushed to get off to another patient because we were able to sit there and talk. I had grown to like our weekly visits because I felt like I could unload on him in a way that I couldn't on people who were closer to me.

As he measured my belly, I mentioned to him that I was concerned that I wasn't very big. People were always making comments to me that I was tiny for being so far along. Underweightedness was a possiblele fetal side effect from all my medications and that was always a worry in the not so back part of my mind. Draper and I talked about it and he said that I was in fact measuring small. So he scheduled an ultrasound for the following week.

He said to come to the hospital that day with a bag packed and arrangements made in case I needed to deliver. I was so confused! I assumed that if she was too small, then they would want to let her cook a while longer to ripen more. But he said that if the ultrasound suggested she was measuring below a certain point, he would want to go on an deliver her because that would signal a possible problem and she would need to get out right then and there, but he did want to give it another week to see how things progressed. So we made the appointment and I left the office.

The moment I got in my car I began sobbing in deep heaves. I cried the whole way home and when I walked in the door I was met by Cody's concerned face. I relayed to him what had taken place with Draper and I cried "Cody, this is our last baby for sure. I just can't do this again. My heart can not take anymore!!!" We had been going back and forth about our family size. Were we done? Should we chance it one more time? Should we go on and do something permanent upon delivery? But at this point my mind was made up. So the two of us sat there on the couch and he let me cry it out as he held me. The dream of our big family had been shattered.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Jumping Ahead- Why I Love Hailey

As I sit here and read what I have written, I am distraught to see my feelings toward her so long ago. But in my defense, they weren't my real feelings at all. They were the feelings of a deranged, addicted, sleep deprived, disconnected, crazy, and overly emotional person who had taken over my body.

I am writing this so that my readers don't become too disheartened. I want you to know how much I love, adore, and cherish the sweet person who lived with my through this ordeal. As I tucked her into bed tonight, I was overcome with such deep feelings of love that my heart almost burst from my chest. We have gone through so much together, and I'm very thankful that Heavenly Father trusted me and loved me enough to assign me to be her mother. It is a task that seems daunting on an almost daily basis, but what mom doesn't feel that way about motherhood, right?

Hailey has an incredible life force about her. Her spirit is so strong and she has an awesome mission to fulfill in this life. How lucky am I to be such a huge part of her life, and to able to raise her and love her day to day. I know that one day she will read this and she will be saddened by my harsh words. So I say this to her.

Hailey, my sweet angel.
You were sent here to teach me lessons in life that I could learn no other way. I often wonder if maybe we were friends in the life before we came to earth. I wonder if we made a pact to love each other, help each other, and look out for each other along the way. The circumstances surrounding your entry into this world were likely not what we had in mind, but I wouldn't change it for anything. The things I have learned because of our experience together are priceless and they were necessary. Hailey, look at how far we've come. I love you more than you will ever be able to understand in this life. There is nothing I wouldn't do for you, no price high enough, no sacrifice too great, if it means that it will ensure your happiness and your eternal salvation. You are my precious girl and I don't know what I did to deserve the honor of being your mother. I love you.

Episode 24- The December Illness

I believe it was the second Friday in December 2005. I went to bed that night feeling very sick to my stomach but I had no idea what had caused it. By this time I had added 50 mg of Benadryl to my nightly cocktail so I downed my meds and tried to sleep.

I tossed and turned as the discomfort in my stomach worsened. I threw up many times during the night and had my first night of complete sleeplessness in months. As the light crept in through the window I realized dawn had arrived and I went into hysterics as I realized I hadn't slept at all. 100% insomnia had become my greatest fear because I worried that one sleepless night would send me into another tailspin and that I would start hearing voices again and end up back in the hospital.

I crawled out of bed and went down stairs to wake Cody up. I just needed to be near him and feel his warmth. At this point I thought I'd been food poisoned and that it wasn't a virus. By mid morning I was in serious pain and it was stemming from my stomach. I continued to vomit so Cody called Dr. Draper. He called in a prescription of
Phenergan and Cody ran to the pharmacy to pick them up. At this point we were all worried about dehydration because I couldn't keep anything down.

While Cody was gone, I spent my time on the bathroom floor. I began having what was feeling like contractions, but it wasn't that because it was only on one side of my body. But every few minutes an intense pain would hit and I would scream out in agony. Cody finally got home and I took the medication, only to throw up soon thereafter. Dr. Draper had said that if I continued to throw up I needed to get up to L&D to get on an IV.

We decided that was the best bet so we packed up and left. But I made sure that I grabbed all my meds just on case I was going to be there for a while. The thought of being away from my candy made me sicker than I already was.

I was on an IV and monitored for hours. The pain in my left side had subsided a little, or maybe it was just the drug in my IV that made the pain subside. Late that afternoon they discharged me and we went home. When we got home Cody took Ethan to do a massive grocery shopping trip. While they were gone I wandered into the bedroom, still groggy from the IV medication. I drifted in and out of twilight sleep for a few hours, even after the guys got home.

I got up to go to the bathroom and I noticed that I'd passed a kidney stone. Oh okay, that sure explained it. It hadn't been a stomach bug at all. I'd passed many kidney stones in my adult life, some mild, some that made me want to put a bullet in my head. This one had been one of the more mild ones, but it still made me throw up and hurt a lot.

I tried to relax a little because I knew that I would sleep better that night now that the culprit was no more. Around midnight I laid down and tried to fall into real sleep...but sleep didn't come. The harder I tried, the less successful I was so I finally got out of bed and started pacing the floor. I don't know how ling I paced, but I think I wore a path into the carpet. I then sat back on the bed and starred at the blinds as traces of street lights showed through.

Then out of no where a beast errupted from within me and I began to punch the pillow. I got on all fours and beat the crap out of the thing. I punched and I ripped and I cursed. I remember shouting out "I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!" And I know who I was talking to. The baby. I hated her at that moment. I hated what she had done to me and I hated who I'd become. And it was all her fault! At that moment I wished that she'd never come about. Here she hadn't even been born yet and I wished she never would be. And so I punched the pillow and cried and somewhere along the line I fell asleep.

Episode 23- 3D Ultrasound

My mom had been asking me what I'd like for Christmas and I knew there was only one thing. I wanted an ultrasound session with Fetal Fotos, one of those 3D ultrasound franchises. I knew that she would be our last baby and I really wanted to have this done. I also felt that by seeing her in such a real way, that maybe I would feel more connected to her. So I made an appointment for around 32 weeks (even though it was before Christmas).

During the entire thing I held my breath as I waited to see something bad on the screen. I feared that there would be something wrong that hadn't been caught on a previous ultrasound. The tech looked and looked and only had wonderful things to say. But even as I laid there on the bed and saw that beautiful baby on the screen I still didn't feel the connection that I longed for. Instead, I felt very sad.

Cody hadn't wanted to go with me that day. It hurt so much that he wouldn't be a part of it and his lack of interest made me feel like even HE didn't care about the baby. As I drove home that evening the tears feel like rain. Why was it so hard for us to feel kindly toward this innocent girl? Did we love her at all? She had done nothing wrong, yet she was being born into a family that might not give her the best life she deserved. Over the next few days I starred at the pictures and watched the video intently. I prayed that somehow I would feel that this baby was in fact mine and that I was capable of giving her love.