Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Baby Layla's Siblings

My name is Vanessa Pollard and my husband is Steven. We have 4 children: Adam, Cayla, Marley and Layla. Layla is our only child we get to raise today, but one day we will be united as a family.

We got married in 2002 and started trying to have a family a year later. We struggled for over a year to get pregnant and eventually did. I would miscarry that baby at 9 weeks. We switched doctors, made some better choices with my health and after just one round of injectable medications we found ourselves pregnant again. We went in at 6.5 weeks to find out once again I would miscarry. After almost 2 years of infertility treatments you just think that is the worst pain and the feelings of guilt, jealousy and loss grew and grew.

On our 2nd attempt at infertility treatments with injectable medications we found out that we were pregnant. Due to testing after the 2nd miscarriage we knew I had a few blood disorders and I began taking 4 shots a day to prevent my blood from clotting and to keep my progesterone levels up. My first ultrasound at 6 weeks was perfect. it was the first time we had ever seen one of our baby's heart beat. We began to see my OBGYN and everything was progressing nicely and from 6-18 weeks I really loved every minute.

On December 17th, 2007 my 18 week ultrasound was scheduled to check the health and sex of the baby later that afternoon. I woke up to some back pains, but knew that was totally something I would have to get used to. I went into work and within an hour of being there I knew something just didn't seem right. I went to the bathroom and discovered I was bleeding. I called the doctor and they told me to come in ASAP. After meeting up with my husband on the way to the doctor's office I became extremely worried. I had never heard of anything like this happening to anyone I knew. After being taken right back and undressing my doctor came in and examined me. She informed me of a condition called an incompetent cervix. She explained that our baby was protruding in its amniotic sac past my cervix. She speculated I was 3 cm dilated. We were numb. They sent me up to the local hospital to be admitted and see a specialist. After being registered, checked in and placed with my head down with some hope gravity would move the baby back into my uterus I went in for an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a happy, healthy 18 week 2 day old baby who just happened to be in the worst position possible. The prognosis was not good, but the doctor seemed as positive as he could be. They put me on medication to lower the level of amniotic fluid and hopefully make it so they could sew my cervix shut with a "cerclage". I was admitted to the hospital at 1:10 pm and at 12:10 am on December 18th, 2007 I rolled over in my sleep and my water broke. 5 short minutes later my world came crashing down with the birth of my baby boy, Adam Paul Pollard.

We were beyond devastated. We had no clue what to feel, what to think about, how to act with family and friends. The hospital was amazing and after talking to angel moms as much as I have, I learned that not everyone gets the attention and care that I did. My doctor encouraged me to hold him and love him and make what few memories I could in his short time on earth. I didn't want to at first, but I am so happy the nurse and doctor pushed me to do it. He was tiny and very fragile, but I loved him and kissed him and whispered what I wanted him to take with him in his ear. My husband's family lived within a 20 minute drive and they came and saw him and held him and began the grieving with us. My family lived almost an hour away and wouldn't be able to make it until morning. I wish they had made the drive. I wish they could have seen him when he was still warm, still pliable. They saw him after he had been in the morgue, he was ice cold and almost ashy colored. I think it freaked my dad out more than anything. After he was born and I got 30 minutes with him I had to have a D&C to clear the placenta out of my uterus. I don't remember anything. I sit here today and wondered how horrible that must have been for Steven. We had just gone through the ultimate horror of the birth and death of our son and he was left all alone in the room not knowing if I would even come back. The next 3 days after that were horrible. Horrible is actually putting it lightly. We made the decision to bury him and do a small grave side service for family and friends. I remember counting the very small number of people who saw him living, after he was dead and after he had been to the mortuary. There were only 8 people who actually saw him. I kept thinking no one is even going to believe he existed. No one is even going to believe he was here. I would cry myself to sleep, I would sit staring off into space for very long periods of time. The world kept going and my world had stopped. Christmas was a week later and that still stings a little. It is still hard to put those two holidays so closely together.
Over time it got easier to go to the grocery store, to do the everyday things again. I of course wanted to talk about it and Adam all the time. Steven didn't and everyone around me tried to understand my need to make him exist even though they never knew how much that was all I wanted. Four months later we were back at my infertility doctor's office getting a consult. He and my doctor fully supported the diagnosis of an incompetent cervix and wanted me to consult with a high risk doctor before conceiving. I saw a doctor for a consult and he gave me a little faith that everything would work out if I could just get pregnant with one baby and get a stitch (Cerlcage) placed early enough in pregnancy to give a baby a chance and to fully develop. We did one infertility treatment and were pregnant 3 weeks later.

6 weeks in we found out it was twins. My doctor was scared, but hopeful still. The one thing they didn't want is more than one baby in me and that is what they got. They were fraternal twins and we were lucky we didn't have to have even more issues with an identical twin pregnancy. 8 weeks in I was spotting and diagnosed with a placental previa on twin A and I was put on bed rest. 2 weeks after that I went into surgery to get the stitch placed and we were hopeful once again. A week later we saw that my cervix was starting to shorten and open. We watched it for the next 6 weeks get worse and worse. At exactly 18 weeks I had a doctor's appointment and I was excited to see what pregnancy was going to be like after that point since that was the farthest I had ever gone. I never got off the table. They transferred me to labor and delivery on a gurney for another stitch to be placed because the first one was not doing it's job. I would end up spending 4 weeks in the post partum part of the hospital on bed rest. Every day was a miracle I made it to the next. I feel fortunate that I had already had the experiences with my last pregnancy. I was a little bit more aware of the realities of premature births and babies. I was aware things didn't always work out the way we wanted them to. It tried my best to be positive, but things were always pointing to a very very long road for me and for the babies. I loved laying there and feeling them and getting to know their personalities. I loved calling them by name and singing them songs and telling them stories about us. I tried to stay positive. I tried.

On Sunday, September 20th, 2008 I had just had visitors leave when I got up to use the bathroom and my water broke. After, I was moved downstairs to labor and delivery and put on monitors as they prepared us for the worst. There were never any signs of labor at this point, but they started me on all types of drugs. The next 3 days were filled with neonatologists and "what-if" scenarios. They told me heroic stories about women whose water broke, but they managed to carry the baby another 3 months, etc. I tried to be hopeful, but I am a mom and I knew it was going to be a rough On Thursday, September 24th Cayla (baby A) couldn't handle staying in there any longer and delivered past the two stitches placed for her to stay in. Nine hours later and on Friday, September 25th Marley was born.

We knew quickly after seeing them that they would not have the opportunity to be helped by the medical staff and we decided we wanted our girls with us the entire time they were alive. From our experience with Adam we knew what to expect and how to handle everything. We invited all of our families in and even some friends. It was sacred. Humbling to feel the love that 2 small 14 and 15 oz babies could bring the heart to feel.

I continue to try to explain in words how sacred of an experience it was. I try to help people understand how much different losing the girls was. Adam was always a hero to me. He came so I could find out that my body was not strong enough. I always kept his "sacrifice" as a positive, not a negative. The girls were different. I knew them, their personalities, their spunk. I was broken. Shattered. I didn't want to wake up or eat or drink. I didn't want to talk to anyone like I did before. I just wanted my babies back. Sometimes I wonder if I am even healed now.

Two years later and a gorgeous baby girl with me everyday and I still don't think I am healed. I have tried to be an advocate for angel moms and I have tried to be there to answer all the questions they have when they are going through or are going through such unrelateable losses. Everyone loses a grand parent or older family member or friend. Some have the horrible experience of losing a child to a terminal illness or an accident. Somehow people can relate better to a person that made memories and lived a "full" life. Talking about the passing of a baby is never easy for anyone, but I always tell people that the only thing I ever wanted to do was talk about my kids because they existed and to not treat them like they didn't.

Layla came along December 4, 2010, just 14 months after her sisters. She was a month early and tiny as a button. They performed a procedure on me around 10 weeks where they did a c-section incision, pulled my uterus to the surface of my abdomen and placed a stitch in the bottom of my uterus. It is a radical procedure that only few doctors in the world do. My sweet Doctor is one of them. He and his partner took care of my every need. They saw me weekly and watched my cervix shorten, but never disappear thanks to the stitch. They were there the day the c-section was performed and a beautiful little blonde haired and blue eyed beauty snatched a hold of all our hearts and I can never repay them.

Some people think that you are healed when the joy of a living child comes into your life. I always say I am eternally empty for the loss of my child, but what hurts even more is the pain I feel for the loss of opportunity to raise them. We don't have the opportunity to pick out a prom dress, braid their golden locks, watch him play football with his dad or show them all the things your life has taught you. A loss of opportunity is the loss of a child.

Layla has my heart, but she doesn't fill the holes left in it. That is not her purpose.

To my sweet hero Adam, my girly girl Cayla and my spit-fire Marley I am eternally your momma.

Story provided by: Vanessa Pollard

Monday, October 17, 2011

Baby Addison

My name is Casie and my wonderful husband is Zac. We had our first daughter, Avery in 2005. We decided when she was 18months old that we wanted to have another baby. We got pregnant right away, we were so excited when we went to my 20 week appointment and found out we were expecting another girl. I knew her name was to be Addison. I said from that point on that Avery was our "Princess" and Addison was our "Angel". Addi looked perfect in the ultrasound and we got her nursery finshed soon after. The pregnancy was without complication and i felt really good. I went to my 33 week appointment and i was told everything was ok. My Husband, Daughter and I, along with my Dad, younger Sister and Brother went to Colorado Springs to visit my Aunt for Christmas. I felt huge pregnant but i felt fine. The night of Dec 15th, Zac and I stayed up laying in bed because Addi was kicking around even more then normal and it was so cool to see her moving my belly around and to see little kicks from her tiny feet. I woke up the next morning on Dec 16th to head home and I did not feel well at all! I had a headache and nausea and i just wanted to go home. We packed up said our good-bye's and headed out for our long drive home. We stopped in Grand Junction, CO for lunch and gas. I was having quite a bit of braxton hicks at that point and was still not feeling well. Addi was still moving around and i kept thinking i want to lay down on my couch a do nothing. After we ate and got back on the road i was getting worse. I was thinking to my nieve self ,"Everythings going to be fine. Im just over reacting". Around 2:30pm i was in ALOT of pain. Zac was driving really fast trying to find a hospital but we were in the middle of nowhere. I was screaming in pain, Zac and driving like a mad man trying to get me somewhere, while my daughter was in the back seat crying wondering why i was crying. By the grace of God, there was a Highway Patrol on the side of the road. He called a ambulance to meet us at the Moab Airport. We followed the officer and i was put into the ambulance and was taken to the hospital. I was begging for pain medication but they couldn't give me anything until they knew what was wrong. I was still thinking to myself that i was over reacting. A lady comes in a puts a doppler on my belly and there was no sound, I got very nervous but i wouldn't let myself think that this was real. They bring in a old ultrasound machine and it was right over her heart that was no longer beating. I couldn't understand what was happening, I was just watching her kick my belly and now she's gone! My heart shattered in a million pieces. We decided to do a repeat c-section and i remember them waking me up and telling me that they are giving me blood transfusions. Addison had passed away in result of a placental abruption. I was told if i didn't get to the hospital when i did i would have bled to death within 5 mins. I was able to hold my beautiful angel, but i don't remember alot. I was life flighted to IMC in Murray as my family drove with my 1year old home. I was in Shock Trama ICU for a week and recieved MANY blood transfusions. We were able to get beautiful pictures from NILMDTS. Addison was born Dec16, 2007 at 5:00pm. She weighted 4lbs 4oz and was 14inches long. She was beautiful just like her big sister. We miss her more then words can express and we can't wait to hold her in our arms again.

Story provided by: Casie Johnson

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baby Nicholas

My name is Sara Storms. My husband, Sean and I were married on June 8, 2001. We were both in school, but after just a couple months, we knew we wanted to have a baby. It didn't take long to get pregnant, and we were so excited! I was due June 23, 2002. Everything checked out well when we had the 20 week ultrasound and we were ecstatic to learn we were having a BOY! (I grew up in a family of 8 girls and 1 boy, and all grand babies at that point had been girls: 4 and 1 on the way!) Everything seemed to progressing well, although I tended to measure a little big, but the doctor was never concerned. We chose to name him Nicholas, after my husband's middle name.

When I was 32 weeks, I started to have contractions. I tried to take it easy, but they weren't slowing down, so we went to the hospital. They gave me fluids and a shot to slow down the contractions. They hooked my belly up to the heart monitor and Nicholas was doing fine. At that point, I wasn't dilating or thinning, so things were looking good. They kept me for a while, and once my contractions seemed to be gone, they released me from the hospital. The next day or so, I continued to have contractions, but I took it easy, and they went away.

About a week later, on the evening of May 3, I started to have contractions again. Again, I took it easy, and slept through the night, but when I went to the bathroom the next morning, there was blood. So, Sean and I headed to the hospital. My doctor came to check me and I was dilated to a 3 and about 70-75% effaced. They kept me in the hospital for about 24 hours. I was on an IV for fluids, antibiotic for Group B Strep, and I was attached to the fetal monitoring machine. They were also giving me terbutaline to stop the contractions. Everything seemed to be going okay, and there were no concerns with the health of Nicholas. I was released for the hospital on Sunday morning and put on strict bed rest. And the doctor wanted to see me on Wednesday morning to see how everything was going.

I remembered commenting to my husband Sunday evening that Nicholas wasn't very active, but I didn't put much more thought into it. I took my strict bed rest seriously and took it easy. Wednesday came around and I hadn't been having contractions. I was also taking terbutaline every 4 hours to keep the contractions away. Sean and I went to the doctors office. I am so thankful that Sean was able to be there with me! The doctor was listening for the heart beat, but heard nothing. I started to feel nervous, but it still hadn't hit me that it was a possibility that my baby could have died. We even had a tape to record the ultrasound; if they happened to do one. Since he couldn't find the heart beat, he did take me in for an ultrasound. I handed him the tape, but he didn't put it in. We could see on the screen that there was no movement in my belly, and there was no heartbeat. The doctor told us that our baby had passed away. I was shocked; in disbelief. How could this happen?

The doctor sent us to the hospital to deliver Nicholas. I was dilated to about a 5 or 6 and 100% effaced. But, they still started me on pitocin. I got an epidural, but I was still in a lot of pain. It was so hard to think that I had to go through all this pain and I wouldn't get to have a healthy baby boy, alive, in the end. I got to the hospital about 10am. I was fully dilated and ready to push about 12:30pm. And after 3 hours of pushing, my sweet baby boy was born still. Words cannot express how thankful I was for the hospital staff. They took care of the necessities, and then they left Sean and me alone with Nicholas. They were kind enough to take some Polariod pictures; which I treasure. My parents arrived about 10 or 15 minutes after Nicholas was born. It was a very sweet time, and the Spirit was so strong.

The doctor did comment that he believed Nicholas had died at least 24 hours prior because his skin tore a little bit while they were cleaning him off. It is hard to think of the what ifs, but I have taken great comfort in my testimony. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father, and I am humbled to be chosen to be the mother of such a perfect spirit that only needed to come to Earth to get a body. I know I will see my baby boy Nicholas, again.

We buried Nicholas in Utah. There was room for his small casket to be buried near where my Grandpa was already buried and where my Grandma would be buried several years later. My husband also comes from a family of 9 children, and we were blessed to have everyone in our families, plus more relatives and friends come to a memorial and a graveside service.

A few weeks after Nicholas was stillborn, we got some results back. We were told that Nicholas had Down Syndrome. The doctors believe that is why he passed away; some complication due to Down Syndrome. Somehow, having a reason did seem to help. We are coming up on 10 years since Nicholas was born. It is so hard to believe that it has been so long, but the memories, some days, feel so fresh.

We have since been blessed with 4 healthy children; 3 boys and 1 girl. Each year we celebrate Nicholas' birthday by sending balloons with messages to heaven. It is a tradition that my children love.

Story provided by: Sara Storms

Monday, October 10, 2011

Baby Jocelyn

This is Baby Jocelyn's story. Though I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting her mother, Heidi, face to face yet, I hope to some day soon! Jocelyn is one beautiful baby! Thank you so much for sharing her story, Heidi!

Jocelyn’s arrival into this world:

Friday January 15th,2010, 2 days from Jocelyn's due date and four days from her scheduled delivery, started as any other day for John and I. Get up feed the kids, get dressed, John off to work and meet my mom at noon. But during that time I was having contractions, not too painful or concerned. As the day went on I realized late afternoon early evening that I was in the beginning stages of labor as I was having contractions every 30 minutes. I also realized that I had not felt Jocelyn move since lunch time. I shared my concern with John who asked if I wanted to call the doctor. I told him "Not yet let's and wait see what happens after the boys are in bed when she is at her most active time zone". That time went and passed without her making a move I also was now having contractions every 15 minutes. At this point I knew something was not right. I took a bath which always gets her moving and still nothing. That is when I told John I was going up to the hospital to make sure everything was ok and that I would call once I got there.

I prayed all the way to the hospital that everything would be ok, while feeling that my contractions were still consistent at 15 minutes apart, which had me concerned because she was in a breech position. Once I got there they had me undress and get settled into a bed where they hooked me up to a monitor to hear the heart beat. When the nurse could not find Jocelyn's heart beat my heart sank. In my head I was thinking there has to be a mistake and she is going to be just fine. I prayed again in my heart that this is not happening and this was not happening. That is when they ordered an ultrasound to see what was really going on. Time seemed to pass very slowly. I called John to advise him that my parents are on their way to watch the kids so he could come be with me. Shortly after that my doctor came in with the ultra sound machine. He said he was at the movies and left when he got the message that I was at the hospital and why I was there. I was thankful and grateful to see him because I felt he would tell me that our baby girl was just fine. I watched on the monitor saw her little ribs where her heart should have been beating and was not. I went numb thinking this is not happening I just felt her eight hours earlier how could she be gone. I handed my cell to my doctor to have him call John because I could not. That is when parts of reality sat in and the tears began to flow.

John arrived and came to my side so our doctor could go over what our options were about delivering our sweet little girl whose heart was no longer beating. At first I was like just knock me out and do a c-section, but after some long discussion with our doctor. And praying with John, my mother, my brother Sean and his wife Natalie we chose to deliver her vaginally, which I knew would be no easy task because I am not able to have an epidural.

Jocelyn then arrived into this world asleep January 16th, 2010 at 10:37am. The nurse swaddled her up and gave her to me to hold and love. She was beautiful! That is when the nurse said that a woman from Now Lay Me Down To Sleep was coming to take pictures of our princess. At 1st I was unsure of someone I did not know to come and take pictures and if that was normal. But when she arrived and shared a little about what she does and how it works I quickly became grateful to her. She took Jocelyn to get cleaned up and dressed in a precious white dress that the photographer brought in and gave to us along with a mommy and me bracelet. When she returned with Jocelyn she began taking photos of us and our Jocelyn. She said that it will take a few weeks to have them ready and would be mailed to us, but could have a few ready for our graveside service if we wished.

A few days later I got an e-mail with two of the photos and was just so amazed how well she captured our little Jocelyn. I am so glad and grateful that I have these even when I was unsure and overwhelmed at everything going on. I hope and pray that expecting parents have to never go through this, but life as we know will happen and what these volunteer photographers do for grieving parents is something that they would not have other wise. I will be forever grateful to them and want to share what they do with others, so that they may continue to make these precious moments happen for families that are suffering from a the loss of a child. They have given me peace and have helped my three boys to know that their sister is real and will forever be a part of our family.

The Moments after Jocelyn’s arrival in this world:

As Jocelyn was put into my arms for the 1st time I could not believe how beautiful she was and how much she looked like her brother Joseph. I did not want to let her go as I kissed her little head and cried that I would not be taking her home to share with everyone. There were going to be no late night feedings, cute little dresses, and brothers fighting over her. I felt all my dreams for her shatter to thousands of little pieces. So I chose to live in that moment as though she were just sleeping and would wake soon to be fed.

During those moments after her birth were also very sacred. I cannot describe it, except for it was the closest I have ever felt to being in Heaven. The vial is much thinner then I have ever known. I knew her little spirit was near and that she was with us sharing her love and gratitude for John and I. I in turn was also filled with joy knowing that she is our daughter and that I will get to hold her again and that is a the gift I will hold in my heart until that day comes. I know she is special and that lord needed her back, for he has greater plans for her. So this moment in time is just a small moment compared to the eternities and what is to come in the life after this. That is when I knew I had to survive and hold my head high for Jocelyn. I know this task will not be easy, but with God at my side and Jocelyn checking in with us we can endure and with time be able to heal.

How the day was spent following Jocelyn’s birth:

The day was spent with family and friends coming and going. Which at first I was not sure I wanted anyone to come, because I was so overwhelmed of how my left was and has changed forever. I was in awe of the love people have for John and I. We will be forever grateful to all those who came to support us and no words can even begin to say how we feel for everyone.

I was grateful that the boys were able to come up and see their sister. At 1st John and I were not sure if it would be the right thing to do, but I know that it was the right thing. When they came into the room I was so glad that I am their mother and they are my boys and that I do have them to go home to. I am not sure I would be able to make it through if I did not have my boys to keep me moving forward.

The 1st thing Jarren asked when he came into the room was “Can I hold my sister?” He was so excited to have a sister and I know that it was hard for him to sit there and hold her. I know it was a healing moment for him to be there with her and to know that she is still his sister. Jarren has been so strong and loves his siblings so much. He asks all the time if she can be is guardian angle? I tell him yes and to never forget her.

Jacob and Joseph were quiet and timid, but looked upon their sister with great love and sadness. As they get older I know they will come to understand more and know that their sister is with them

Story provided by: Heidi Files

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Disneyland Take 2

It was time to visit Disneyland again since it had already been two weeks. Seriously, who waits that long to go back to Disneyland. Thankfully Ryan had a day off so we thought it would be fun to take a family trip. I had to start off by getting the kids their Mickey Mouse ears. It's just not Disneyland without them. I know Kingston has been wanting some really bad anyway, so I caved in and bought them.... names embroidered and everything! SO CUTE. This is Scarlet wearing Kingston's ears. She does have some of her own. They're pink and super adorable. She would wear them for a few minutes and then decide she needed to inspect them. This would include pulling them off her head, spinning them around in her hands, and then lovingly toss them aside. We also had her try on Alice in Wonderland accessories. As you can tell, she was thrilled. We're so glad Ryan got to spend the day with us! We had a blast!

Is that really?

Yes, those are really pigtails! I'm deeply in love with them too. It was a bit of a stretch, but after lots of hairspray and Yo Gabba Gabba, I got the little piggies. Sadly, they met their demise once we got in the car and she got tired. Apparently she likes to play with her hair when she falls asleep. At least they lasted 10 minutes as the cutest little pigtails in the world!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Babies Isaac and Evan

We had just celebrated our daughter's first birthday when we decided that we wanted to have another baby. Our older son and daughter are 3 years apart and we wanted our next kids to be a little closer together. Plus, our daughter already loved babies so much that we knew she would be great with a baby in the house.

In January, we got a positive pregnancy test and were so excited that all was going according to plan. I anxiously made it through the first trimester. I had had a miscarriage at 10 weeks between my 2 kids, so I felt like nothing is really sure until after the first trimester.

I was so sick this pregnancy compared to my others. I was just nauseous all the time, but figured that my morning sickness was just getting worse with each pregnancy.

I had my first comment on my baby bump at 13 weeks and I was surprised that anyone had even noticed! We ended up telling our family a few days later. When I had made my daughter's birth announcement I had put her birth date as September 16, 2009, instead of November 16, 2009. To announce our newest pregnancy, I replaced her picture with a family picture, crossed out the 2009 and added 2011 and replaced her name with “Baby #3”. We told everyone that we had just gotten the year wrong. It was really fun to have people look at it and try to figure it out and then see if finally click.

After we told our 4 year old son, I kept asking him if he thought we were going to have a sister or a brother. He immediately told me that he was going to have TWO brothers. He was quite insistent on it and would tell people that asked him that he was going to have two brothers. I would then jump in and say that we were just having one and we don't know if it's a boy or a girl. We were planning on waiting until birth to find out the gender since it didn't really matter what we were having.

At around 14 weeks I experienced a ton of bleeding. Of course it was on a weekend, but I had just heard the baby's heartbeat at my midwife's appointment that day. I rested all weekend and went in to see the midwife on Monday to see if there was a heartbeat. Thankfully there was!

My midwife said that I had likely experienced a subchorionic hemorrhage. She said they were common and that things were fine most of the time and to “take it easy”.

I decided that I would try to stay in bed for at least a week and do very minimal stuff. Doing so seemed to stop all the remaining spotting I had and I thought that I was okay being up as long as I wasn't doing much. This is easier said than done when you have a 16 month old that you have to lift into/out of the car/high chair/shopping cart etc. and carry into stores. I didn't think that doing that much lifting would be a big deal and I did try to minimize the lifting/carrying as much as possible.

About 2 weeks after my initial bleeding episode without any bleeding I decided that I may be okay to go out to some furniture stores to look for a sectional for our newly completed basement. I could walk slow, we could have the salesmen take us directly to the sectionals so we wouldn't be wandering, and I would be doing a LOT of sitting. We ended up doing that all day and by the end I was really worn out. I had another bleeding episode and went back to laying around a LOT. I had continued spotting for 2-3 weeks and got an ultrasound scheduled so that we could see exactly what was going on. I wish that I hadn't put off an ultrasound for so long, but I was thinking the whole time that it wasn't that big of a deal.

At 18 weeks, we went in for our ultrasound. We took our 4 year old with us because we thought that he would enjoy it. We got in the room and the tech started the ultrasound. Within in a minute the tech stopped on 2 pulsing things. I was about to ask if one was the heart and one was the brain (haha!) when the ultrasound tech stopped and said, “you guys.... do you see that? That's two heartbeats! You're having twins!”

We were in absolute shock! We had had no suspicions. I had gained only a tiny bit more weight than normal and my belly measurements were always right on. I was a little bigger, but I chalked it up to being my 3rd pregnancy. Seeing those two heartbeats was the most thrilling and wonderful moment of our lives. Having Alex there with us was so fun! He was so into it and laughing. We kept saying, “two babies!?! Twins!?! Whoa!”. Alex really was having 2 brothers.

When the tech came back in the room we told her that twins was surprise enough for us and that we wanted to know their genders. They were both boys and as there was only one placenta (two separate sacks) so the chance of them being identical was high.

After the ultrasound I immediately called my sister and asked if she wanted to go to lunch. At lunch we pulled out our ultrasound pictures and watched her figure it out. When she asked twins we had Alex chime in with, “two brothers!” She was so excited for us! Her husband is an identical twin, so she called to tell him and he was thrilled as well.

After that we went to my parent's house and did the same thing. Then my grandparent's house. Then on Sunday we did the same for my husband Jon's family. We filmed each one and it was so fun! Everyone could hardly believe that we were having twins. WE could hardly believe that we were having twins. Our heads were spinning for a few days as we thought about if we wanted a van that would seat 8 and that we needed to return the stroller that had just come a week or two before since it wouldn't work great for twins. I thought about car seats, beds, baby gear, nursing, sleeping, going places, room situations, etc. All the baby stuff that you have to reevaluate when you are having 2 instead of one. I loved that I would get to experience a whole new kind of pregnancy and childhood experience. Within a day the shock wore off and we couldn't have been more excited to be having twins.

We told our families that we were thinking about just having 3 kids, but this decided 4 for us and it was definitely going to be our last! I couldn't think of a better note to end on. I had always wanted all boys and a girl and the thought of twin boys sounded perfect to me.

I had to change providers as my midwives at a freestanding birthing center could not deliver twins there. I didn't get a chance to call and set up anything before the end of the day on Friday after our ultrasound and was planning on calling on Monday.

On Sunday, I had some bleeding and passed some clots. We went into the hospital where they were able to locate both babies’ heartbeats. They said that everything appeared fine, but to get into my OB on Monday and see if the can do an ultrasound to evaluate things a little better.

I was able to get in on Monday to see the midwife there. She had the OB pop in to do an ultrasound and he saw a subchorionic hematoma and was very unconcerned about it. He said they happen all the time, are usually fine, and that I would probably see clots. He said to take it easy, but bedrest wasn't necessary.

I went away feeling good about things and excited that my doctor was supportive of natural labor with twins and that I could go until 40 weeks if I wanted. The next day I passed a couple more clots, but since my OB had told me it was normal I tried not to think too much of it.

Late Thursday night I started to feel some contractions. I drank a glass of water and laid down to go to sleep. At about 4 am the contractions woke me up and we decided to go to the hospital. I was 19 weeks and 6 days.

Contractions don't really bother me until the end, so I was fairly calm and collected at the hospital. I figured that they'd check things out and give me something that would stop the labor. They gave me a couple of shots of terbutaline that made my heart race, but slowed the contractions down. They sent me home after a few hours with the instructions to drink a lot and lay in bed and come back if the contractions picked up.

After about 4 hours at home the contractions picked up, so back to the hospital we went. More terbutaline, but this time the contractions only slowed for a bit and then picked back up. It was then that I realized that this may not go well. Being only 19 weeks and 6 days, my OB consulted with a maternal fetal specialist who said absolutely no magnesium sulfate before 22 weeks. I was contracting every 2 minutes, but was not dilating. They didn't know what was going on and didn't feel like there was anything that could be done. In those moments I wanted to scream to have everything possible be done that something was causing these contractions and that they could be stopped at least for a few weeks and everything could be okay! I was a day shy of 20 weeks! Certainly SOMETHING could be done! They stop labor all the time!

It is likely that the cause of the contractions was the blood from the subchorionic hematoma/hemorrhage irritating my uterus enough to cause preterm labor. My OB never warned me about watching for preterm labor and how to prevent it. I had 2 factors that made me high risk (SCH and twins), and yet all I was told was that it wasn't a big deal and to take it easy. On top of that, one of the first things done for preterm labor is fluids and I was never given fluids on my first trip to the hospital.

Obviously, my contractions were never able to be stopped. They were going to send me home with Lortab for the pain since I wasn't dilating. I almost cried at that point because I was in pain every 2 minutes. They gave the Lortab an hour and it wasn't even touching the pain. As I was trying to get up between contractions to get dressed to go home, the contractions picked up even more. They checked and found I was dilating at that point after having contractions for about 15 hours. We called our family in tears telling them that I was going to be delivering our boys within the hour and that they should come to the hospital to see them. It was truly one of the most hearbreaking moments of my life to hear my husband sobbing as he told our parents.

Isaac was born at 4:58pm and Evan followed 2 minutes later at 5:00pm on April 28th, 2011.

They were absolutely perfect and identical. I looked at them and they looked just like my other babies. They had little eyebrows that were growing in and teeny tiny nails on their tiny fingers and toes. When Evan was handed to me, I could see his little heart beating and saw him take a breath. I held each one of my boys in each of my hands and just marveled at how miraculous they were. How amazing it was that there were 2 babies inside me. I wept with absolute sadness over what I was now going to be missing for the rest of my life.

I wish every day that something could have been done to give my boys a few more weeks safely inside me. Or that it had happened 1-2 weeks later when more would have been done to stop my labor. I constantly wonder if things would have gone differently if we would have gone directly to the bigger more experienced hospital instead of our local one. It is so hard to not think of all the what if's and should have's.

Losing our twins and our one chance for twins in this lifetime has been absolutely devastating for us. It has been almost 6 months and I still cry almost every day. It's hard not to be angry about what happened. Beyond losing two babies, we lost an opportunity that we were lucky to even get in the first place. Getting pregnant with twins again only happens to 1 in 70,000. Our chances of twins before were 1 in 250.

I hope to find peace one day but there is so much beyond the loss of two lives that I have to find peace with. I am still in the midst of the nightmare that my life has become. I'm confident that I won't always feel this way, but healing from the experience of losing a baby... of losing twins... takes a long time. It's likely that the pain of losing them will always be lurking just under the surface, hidden by the daily routines of life, just waiting for a trigger to send me into tears and heartache all over again. How you ever stop being sad over such a loss is still incomprehensible to me. There will always be a huge piece of our family missing. Isaac and Evan would have been born sometime in the first couple of weeks of September if things would have gone differently. We miss them every day and wish that they could be here with us.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Baby Chloe

This is one story that always breaks my heart. I can't even imagine going through what Adam and Camille have gone through. They have shown great strentgh and love. I'm so grateful to know Camille. I'm not sure the circumstances that brought us together were ideal, but she is one amazing woman who has definitely made an impact on my life! Thank you so much for sharing Chloe with me!

My name is Camille, my husband is Adam. We got married on September 30, 2000… we decided to try to have children right away. It has always been my dream to be a mom, and I couldn’t wait! Unfortunately due to infertility, we were unable to get pregnant, despite a lot of testing, treatments and procedures.. everything failed and we were left with empty arms and broken hearts.

In October 2009, we received a phone call that changed our lives forever. We were given the chance to adopt a baby (due in February 2010). Of course we jumped at the opportunity. On December 18, 2009 we received the most amazing Christmas gift. It was an u/s picture of our baby GIRL!! They were so sweet to surprise us; I still say that was the best Christmas present EVER!

We were surprised in other ways too, this was the birth mom’s (BM’s) first u/s at 32 weeks and we found out that the baby had clubbed feet, as well as some other worrisome characteristics to her profile. The BM went back in to the specialist at 35 weeks, and we got called to the hospital. There was definitely something wrong with the baby, her hips were displaced and so her legs were laying flat against her body with her feet by her chin and she had clenched fists. At this time, the doctors weren’t sure how serious her condition would be but they were hoping it was just something muscle related and with physical therapy she would be great. We never waivered our love for this baby, nothing the doctors could have said would make us change our mind. She was OUR baby; we were already head over heels in love with her. But this news was shocking, after a lot of tears and tons of prayers we were back, strong as ever. Willing to do whatever we had to do, to make her life the best it could be.

Chloe was born at 37 weeks, on January 12, 2010, weighing in at 4 lbs, 6.5 oz. and as beautiful as can be! It was love at first sight… she made everything that we had gone through with our infertility, all of the tests, all of the treatments and procedures, all of the injections and drugs, and all of the tears that we shed, she made it all worth it! I would do everything over and over again just to see her, my precious baby girl. She was everything I have always dreamed of.

The first 2 days were absolutely bliss, mostly because the BM hadn’t signed over her rights and the doctors weren’t exactly telling us everything they knew. We knew that Chloe had problems with her legs and that her feet were clubbed and would probably need surgery. But her brain, her heart, and all of her other organs (though a tiny bit underdeveloped) were normal and functioning. What we didn’t know, that we found out on day three, was that Chloe was born with two severe muscle conditions. One condition effected her outside muscles (arms, legs, eyes, etc.), while the other one effected her inside muscles (her swallowing, breathing, etc.), and with both combined conditions she was now considered ‘incompatible with life’, she would never be able to breath without the help of a ventilator.

Chloe was such a strong little girl; she had such a fight for life. There wasn’t much we could do, but love her and that we did. On January 19, 2010, the BM finally signed over her rights and we got custody. We took the day celebrating our official day of being parents, as we knew the next day would be one of the hardest days of our lives, and it really was. On January 20, 2010, we turned off life support; Chloe took her last precious breath in my arms and the last beat of her tiny heart in her daddy’s arms. A piece of my heart stopped beating along with hers. I miss her so much, every single day. I don’t think our lives will ever be the same, I guess in some ways I don’t want it to be how it used to be. We are so blessed to have Chloe in our lives and as our eternal daughter, and we are so honored that we were chosen to be her parents.

The first time we got to see Chloe... which doesn't really count, because you can't see her. It was pure torture for the 45 minutes we waited out side of this window, to know OUR baby was finally here... after so long!!

This is my hand, the first time I saw her and touched her. I can NOT explain that feeling! Love at first sight, it took literally 10 seconds for me to fall head over hills, madly, hopelessly in love with her.

It's hard to choose favorites when it comes to pictures... because they are all so priceless... But this is one of my favorites.. I love seeing Adam’s big strong hands cradling here teeny tiny hand.

My brother gave the most amazing family prayer… after this, we sent the family out and Adam and I spent alone time holding Chloe, before we turned off the life support.

Adam and his princess... I love this picture. I love all the pictures with him and her together! He is the BEST dad...

The hospital gave us this hat... I LOVE it!!!! I kept the hat and keep it in her memory box. I am thankful to have it. Love this picture!!

Her coming home outfit...

Getting ready to say goodbye forever....

Me walking to meet the nurse to take Chloe... . Besides actually turning off the machines and not being able to do anything to save her as she laid dying in our arms. This was the HARDEST thing to do! I didn't want to let her go!!

Story provided by: Camille Millett

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Baby Gabe

I'm so excited for the opportunity to share with you the lives of some very important people. These are the stories of our angel babies and the impacts they have made on the world.

Gabe's mom, Cyndi, is somebody who I love dearly. She delivered just one day after me, but we did not meet until January 2011. I will be eternally grateful that God sent her to help me through this.

My husband, Ben, and I have always wanted a lot of kids and have been so thankful for the Chance to be parents, especially after struggling with infertility before we had any. We knew for sure that we always wanted to have at least four, but were always open to more. After being blessed with our first four, two boys and two girls, we really felt like we were meant to have another. We prayed about it and knew it was right and on May 3, 2010 when our pregnancy test was positive after trying to conceive for only a month, we were so excited. We felt so blessed for the chance to be parents again to another precious child.

We always wait until the first trimester is over to spread the news, just in case, although we’d never had any real problems with any of our pregnancies. Our baby was due on January 7, 2011 so we told our kids that we had an early Christmas present for them. They opened up a box wrapped in Christmas paper to show a balloon with an expecting mom on it. We then told them that their Christmas present may be late this year, but it was going to be the best one ever! Their reactions were just what we expected…pure excitement for our new little baby on the way. The day they heard our baby’s heartbeat for the first time was so much fun. It was so wonderful to see the awe in their faces as they heard those swish swish sounds meaning there really was a baby in mom’s tummy!

My pregnancy went along as smoothly as any of my other pregnancies, filled with my usual major exhaustion and morning sickness. I had some high blood pressure but I did my best to take it easy and get it under control. I knew from the very beginning that I was having a baby boy. It just felt right and honestly, I was so excited to have another boy again since my boys were close in age and I never felt that I got to just cherish each of their babyness as long as I had with my girls. We felt like maybe this baby was our last one, so I really tried to love every minute of my pregnancy. I began feeling the baby move early, before 13 weeks, and loved every little nudge and kick. I think I bonded with the baby much earlier than any of my other ones just because of this. What a blessing that was to really know my baby boy as much as I did.

On August 9 I went in for my usual check up. I was 18 weeks, 3 days. The Dr. measured me and said I was measuring right on and everything looked great. Then he listened for the baby's heartbeat only to not find it. My placenta sounded really good and he seemed positive that the baby was just lying towards the back of my uterus. But just in case, and so I could sleep, he sent me to the hospital for an ultrasound. I called my husband and we dropped the kids off at our friends and headed to the hospital. Even though the Dr. had been reassuring, I just knew then that it wasn’t going to be okay.

The ultrasound technician was just so quiet. I knew that he couldn't find the heartbeat but he still did measurements for awhile and said nothing. My husband held my hand and watched the screen. I never even looked at it. The tech confirmed that the baby did not have a heartbeat and wasn't moving. He wasn’t able to find any conclusive measurement to how far along the baby was when it had died. In that instant, my whole world shattered. It’s amazing how you can go from utter happiness to utter despair with the two simple words….no heartbeat.

The next few days were a blur. I’m not sure if I stopped crying during them. I didn’t sleep much. I didn’t eat much. I just somehow existed in a state of complete shock. The day after we found out we sat down to tell our kids. That was one of the worst things I’ve ever had to do, to tell my kids that the baby that they were so excited for, had planned so much for was now dead. Unfortunately, my kids have already had experiences with death, so when we told them, they knew exactly what it meant. The disappointment in their sweet faces was so apparent that it broke my heart.

Since they couldn’t tell how big the baby was on the ultrasound, my doctor wanted me to wait for a few days to see if my uterus would shrink at all or if my body might start to miscarry on it’s own. It didn’t happen, so my doctor finally scheduled an induction for August 12, the day before my 19th week mark. It was the most awful feeling to have to go to the hospital where we’d had other babies born and felt so much joy to know that this time we’d be going home empty handed and heartbroken. The induction was long and so hard. My body just did not want to give up my baby. It was the most physically painful labor that I’ve ever had and my heart continued to break knowing that in the end, this precious life of my baby’s would be completely over.

At 11:20 pm that night my baby boy entered the world, silent and still. The Dr. knew the cause for his death immediately. It was a cord accident. His tiny little cord was completely twisted at the insertion into his belly. All of those little nudges and kicks I had felt from my active little boy had twisted his little cord until it couldn’t sustain his life any longer. He was teeny tiny, weighing only 2 oz. and measuring 5 ½ inches, just about the length of my open hand, but he was perfect. He had 10 little fingers and 10 little toes with little nail buds forming. He had high cheek bones just like my husband’s, the cutest little nose, and tiny mouth. He was perfectly formed but just so tiny and so very still. The Dr. thought that based on his condition, that he had probably been dead for about a week. I can’t remember exactly the last time I felt him move since his tiny kicks were still so sporadic. I know for a fact that he was still alive when I was in my sixteenth week. I am so thankful for a day in that week that I have a very vivid memory of feeling my baby squirm away while I just relished in his little movements. I felt so incredibly blessed in that moment, loving this new little baby of my mine, and savoring the wonderful feeling of being a mother. I will always cherish that day.

We named our sweet baby Gabriel Benjamin. Gabriel means God is my Strength. We felt his name fit just perfectly because we would have to spend our lives depending on God for the strength to live without him in this life. Benjamin is my husband’s name.

In the end, it was a blessing to have to actually deliver him. As Ben and I sat with our baby and said goodbye to him I really wasn't as devastated as I thought I would be. It was extremely difficult but I knew that his lifeless body was not our little Gabriel's spirit which was already gone, but only his body, and I was grateful to be entrusted to help provide that for him. I know that he is one of our Heavenly Father's children and he needed a body to complete his own little plan. For whatever reason, he was just too perfect to need to stay on Earth, with all of the pains and sorrows we face, and I feel honored to be the mother of such a special spirit. I feel blessed to know that he is back in our Heavenly Father's arms and that through the power of the Atonement that my precious little Gabriel will return to my arms again when my life is through.

Story provided by: Cyndi Jordan

I lost him.

I didn't actually lose Him, I know exactly where He is.

October, also known as what I like to call "infant loss awareness month," is upon us. I guess it's not so much an awareness month as it is a remembrance month.

I believe these little angels bring great blessings along with trials, but the blessings far outweigh the trials.

Throughout the month, I am going to feature stories from my fellow baby-loss mommies in hopes that I can help remember their angels and know they are not forgotten. Keep checking back for stories of remembrance in honor of our angels who were just too perfect for this earth.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's a Chick!

I bought this costume before I was ever pregnant. I think I've had it
for four years or so. Last year, Scarlet was just too tiny to fit in it. This year though, Scarlet fits in it and loves it! She didn't even try to take the head piece off. She wore the costume around the house until I decided it was too hot for her to wear it anymore. Poor thing was sweating to death in it! The saddest part? She's going to be a ladybug for Halloween and not a chick. I'm hoping we can find multiple Halloween parties so she can be both. Maybe she'll still fit in this next year.

It walks... kind of anyway

She's doing so well walking with her little wagon! I love that she giggles in this video. It shows so much of her personality.