Saturday, April 25, 2015

26 wks with Charlotte & People are kind

With everything that's going on in this world, I sometimes feel hopeless about life, about people more like it. There is so much crime, so much hate, not enough kindness and no where near enough respect. I look at the news long enough to be informed about what's going on in the world and then I turn it off. It's getting too depressing and I honestly can't add any more sadness into my life right now.

Then I have my own trials that leave me feeling hopeless. This little girl of mine is consuming my world. She is all I think about, all of the time. It's rare that I get a five minute train of thought without her in it. I am constantly thinking about the "What if's?" I am constantly having an internal battle of whether I should be hopeful or not. Whether we should look forward to her arrival or not. Whether I should plan for her coming to live with us or not. It's pretty depressing. Luckily Owen keeps me busy and thinking about other things.. sometimes. Bedtime is not easy for me.

I also have an incredible support system. I have family close and friends that make me feel loved and thought about. Since announcing all of the details about sweet Charlotte, I have received numerous amounts of letters, notes, Facebook messages, packages, gifts, and lots and lots of hugs.

Going through times like this people always want to do something but they never know what that "thing" is. I get it. I wouldn't know what to do for a girl who just lost her baby, or who just found out devastating news about her current pregnancy and baby. After we lost Conor, friends tried to say anything that would make it better and nothing worked. It just takes time and to be honest, confirmation that he was okay to make it better. I still appreciate it though.

So my point, you know when you feel like the world is just an ugly place and then you see a video of a couple who struggled with infertility for years announce they are expecting? Or a husband and father coming home to surprise his kids at school after being overseas in the military for months?

That's what these last couple of months have been for me. Complete reassurances that people are good. That this trial of mine will work out in whatever way God wants but that I have support.

One morning I woke up to a box like this on my doorstep from a friend who was in Young Womens with me. We haven't talked in years and yet, she sent me this whole package. It made my day. She wrote me a beautiful letter telling me how sorry she was for me but that she hoped this little box would brighten my day. Words can't even describe how much that meant to me.
(This isn't the exact one. I forgot to take a picture of it)

Then a dear friend made this beautiful quilt for Charlotte. She put so much work into and you can tell.

And another dear friend of mine, who has also lost a sweet baby, made this quilt for Charlotte. She hand stitched flowers and Charlotte's name in a heart at the bottom. When I saw the package on my door from her I got excited. She is such a talented friend so I knew she sent me something handmade and that took a lot of time and love. As soon as I rolled it out, I just cried. Sometimes, especially being a mom, it's hard to feel appreciated and loved and she made sure I felt both. I love everything about this quilt.

Her name :)

And then a friend who admire more than anything sent this to me. It was the perfect gift. It actually fits perfectly with Conors necklace. I thought that was pretty ironic and perfect.

Every time I opened up one of these gifts, I just cried. Cried in gratitude for friends that go above and beyond. Friends that are doing everything they can to make this burden light. I can't say enough how grateful I am for support. For the calls, the texts, the letters, the words of kindness. I have so much to be grateful for and friends and family have made it easier for me to focus on that instead of everything else. 

We had our 26 week appointment yesterday. Things are looking alright. It's hard for me to say "good". Nothing about this is "good".  Well except seeing her perfect little hand.. 

She is actually measuring 27 weeks and 4 days which is surprising to everyone. We (my doctors) thought because of this defect she would be measuring small but she is proving us wrong. That means she is 2 pounds and 6 ounces as of yesterday.  That's a lot bigger than my last baby so I'm happy with that number. Anything over 8 ounces is amazing. 

Everything is measuring right on. The only thing Dr. Gainer was worried about is her liver. It has moved, close to the hernia is what it looks like. This could potentially be really bad news. She wants me to get an MRI done in about a month when Charlotte is really big. She said it looked like the liver is still below the diaphragm but it has moved and that's making her worry. If even a little piece of her liver is sticking through the hernia it can be a problem because that makes it even less room for her left lung to develop. 

Right now, her right lung looks good enough for surgery. Her left lung is not developing due to lack of room; her bowel is in the way. Dr. Gainer took measurements of her right lung and it is in the 52nd percentile, which is good. Anything above the 25th means more of a chance of survival after surgery. She would like to see it around the 75th percentile but that's not happening. So 52nd is good. And I get a break from appointments. I don't have another one until I'm 30 weeks. That's a whole month off! To be honest, I'm nervous about that. I feel like the appointments are a reassurance for me. "I'm still pregnant, she is still alive, things are good". 
At 30 weeks I will have the MRI done and we meet with the Pediatric Surgeons to talk about what will happen. I can't wait for that. I think it will be so good for us. 

This is 26 weeks but.. I look the same. Big. :)

She is so active. All day and all night. Anything and everything makes her move. She's just like me, she seriously cannot hold still. When I sneeze, I laugh, I blow my nose, I yell, I have the hiccups, anything and she has a little freak out. She is already a drama queen which is good. We need a stubborn fighter.  

Her favorite spot to sit is where my gallbladder was and it's pretty dang uncomfortable. I push her over and she just moves right back.. My body feels hammered. My sciatic nerve is killing me. I have actually fallen over a few times because of it. Luckily I was close enough to my Costco cart to have something to grab on to before I fell to the ground. It's awful. Sleeping is not happening anymore so that's fun..  This pregnancy is seriously kicking my butt, which makes it really hard to enjoy. I'm trying to soak this all in. I'd like to think that if I hadn't been pregnant now for almost a year it would be easier to enjoy. 

Can you believe that? I have been pregnant since last March. Like March 2014.  Now, don't get me wrong, I know I am not the first to go through this, in fact, I know women who do this on purpose. (Not the losing a baby part). But women who get pregnant as soon as the last one was born. That's crazy. I'm dying over here. I'm so ready to just hold a baby, my baby. 

I'm so ready to squeeze her face. Kiss her cheeks. Burp her over my shoulder. Let her sleep on my chest. Lay on our big bed. Snuggle her with my boys. I want her so bad it's killing me. I need this girl. Prayers seem to be working. And I have you all to thank for that. I can't believe how many people we have petitioning for her to live, for her to be a miracle. I hope that if God feels like we need her here, He will let her. I know we are begging. 

Anyway, that's the update for now. She is doing well. Her numbers are good, not great but good. Again, thank you friends and family for the love, support and encouraging words. I know I wouldn't be this okay with the situation without you.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Random ramblings (Family and Charlotte)

Owen and I were looking at old pictures and videos this morning.  I really don't appreciate how fast my baby has grown up. Although he is the best ever right now, I miss him being little(r). My theory is that I wouldn't miss him being little so much if I had another baby to occupy myself with. Maybe I would, I don't know. Either way, I really hate it. 

We went shoe shopping for him a few weeks ago and I found him some shoes. I have come to love Converse. They are a bit pricey but they last forever and I can wash them over and over and they still hold up. Anyway, as we walked past my size in shoes Owen saw a pair of Converse and said "MOM!! Look, just like me! Let's match!". I felt like my heart was going to explode. I needed the shoes, I just had to "match" him. I knew this was probably going to be the first and last time he would want to match me. So I got them and we have received several comments on them. 

I guess my point to this post is about our children. Now, given that I only have a three year old, I am not claiming to know everything or really anything at all. Except that our families are forever. Our babies are meant for us. Our babies and children make us who we are. If you had known me three years ago, you would have never guessed that I liked kids at all. That was my perspective then. And this is it now, that families are forever and families are important. Sometimes families are hard to make, like really, really hard to make. 

I loved that this last General Conference seemed to be all about the family. Whenever I hear the prophet and apostles talk about families, I have a sense of pride in mine. I don't feel sad or guilty that I have not been able to keep my family here on Earth. I feel grateful that Conor is just as much a part of this family as Owen is. And that Charlotte, whatever the outcome be, is part of our family too. 

While looking a videos I found this one- This is how we told my family that we were expecting Charlotte. (Please excuse my very "full" face. I think at that point I had gained about 10 pounds after we lost Conor)

I told them I needed a family picture for my brother Jeff who is on a mission in Paraguay. But we tricked them.


Also- We had an appointment for Charlotte again on Monday. She looks good. Her liver has stayed where is should and Dr. Gainer took some measurements of her lungs and her right lung looks okay. I don't really get it because it's all in ratios' but the number needs to be above a 1.4 and it's a 2. And that is good enough to do the surgery with a good outcome. So GOOD news!

At 30 weeks we may need an MRI, she said she doesn't want to put me in the machine if she doesn't have to. But if we do that will give a better look at her lungs. Then only six short weeks later we start talking about an induction. By 30 weeks I will be measured and looked at weekly so she will know if I need to be induced. I'm 25 weeks now, so really, that's SO close. Five more weeks til 30 and then six weeks until I am okay to have her. AHH! It's getting scary now.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

24 weeks with Charlotte Mae

We made it! 24 weeks!!

To be honest, I didn't think I would make it this far. I thought for sure I wouldn't make it. Am I jinxing myself?

Owen and I waiting for the first doctors appointment

The last few weeks have been pretty overwhelming. I've had at least two doctors appointments a week (when you add in the dentist, thank you Pregnancy Gingivitis). I had two today actually and everything is fine. I just had to put that out there so you don't read the whole thing thinking I'm going to drop a bomb on you.. I've never done that right? :)

I had a regular checkup with Dr. Anderson and everything looked great. Measuring right on and her heartbeat is perfect. Then Chris came with me to the Pediatric Cardiologist at Utah Valley Hospital. The ultrasound tech looked at Charlotte's heart for a good forty-five minutes then got the doctor to explain everything to us.

He said her heart looks "fine". Now, if you're me, you're thinking about the definition of "fine". Chris would tell you that when I use that word, it can mean about a billion different things. So before I could ask, the doctor saw the error in his wording and said "Wait, it's good". haha

He said that he saw most of the parts that he needs to see. So, I'm not a cardiologist but I am going to try and explain (mainly for me, so when I print this off I will remember) but there are supposed to be four pulmonary veins going into and out of the heart and he said he could only see one. He also said he wasn't worried about it, so I guess that means I shouldn't be? He said her heart is so stinking far over to the right that it's hard to get a good view of all angles.

He explained to us how worried he is about the lungs not developing and I think that should have made me cry but I didn't. Maybe it's because Dr. Gainer has already told us how worried she is about it and I've already cried so hard that I just don't have any more tears? Who knows? It didn't phase either of us.

This whole situation sucks so bad you guys. I know you know that but I just need to say it one more time. I'm so sick of hiding the girl clothes and baby stuff from myself because I don't want to get my hopes up. I just want to have a baby shower and be excited for our first girl. I want to tell everyone about her. I want her to not have medical problems throughout the rest of her life. I want her to be normal. I want this pregnancy to be normal. BUT- It's not.

I do hide the newborns outfits from myself and I stopped buying girl clothes and blankets. I don't want to have a baby shower and then have to get rid of everything if she doesn't make it. I don't want to tell anyone about her because it hurts. For some eternal reason this is my trial and this is also hers. She will have to deal with this the rest of her life, even if that means not being able to run track in high school because her lungs can't take it.

I'm really praying that something will be said in General Conference that can give me some comfort. Elder Eyring's talk in the Womens Conference was beautiful. It has given me hope.

The burdens His faithful servants must carry in life are made lighter by His Atonement. The burden of sin can be taken away, but the trials of mortal life for good people can still be heavy burdens."

So everything looks good today, other than her heart is in her shoulder and her stomach and bowels are in her chest. :) But really, things look good. Which is good.

I just want to add how much Owen means to me. He has been my life saver. This almost three year old, from what other moms have told me, should be awful and he just isn't. He is amazing. I'm so grateful that one of my kids, so far, decided to stay here on Earth with me.