So this is Christmas

I haven’t been looking forward to today at all. I expected a sad day. What I didn’t expect was for this Christmas to be worse than last Christmas. I thought that was one of the worst days of my life. Turns out Christmas Eve 2010 was worse.

Nothing bad happened, except for me having a total meltdown in the grocery store and leaving without anything. I went out to the car and cried harder than I have in months while Dave went back in to pick up my prescription. I sobbed the whole way home, screamed at strangers who hopefully couldn’t hear me, and thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t driving, because I’d probably be in jail with a vehicular homicide charge or six against me. All the rage that I used to feel but haven’t felt in quite some time returned to the surface. I wanted to smash anything and everything.

I tried to stay calm because I know feeling like this isn’t good for the little dude, but for some reason, it all became too much in the grocery store. I fell into that black hole that’s never going to end, and I became so exhausted at the thought of living the rest of my life with so much sadness that I just wanted to give up. I didn’t want to buy groceries because I didn’t want to eat again. I didn’t want to watch these people fill their carts with food for what will probably be one of their happiest days of the year, while I struggled to come up with something I could bear to swallow, just to sustain myself through one of my saddest.

I eventually stopped crying, like I always do. I realized that this Christmas is 900 times harder than last Christmas because last year, I could barely remember my own name at this point. I was an empty shell just going through the motions, and because I was barely functioning, it was easier. The rest of the day sucked. Today has been fine, I guess. It just feels like a normal Saturday so far. If I start thinking about it, I’m sure I’ll lose it again, so I’m just not going to think about it. Dave is going to start painting the little dude’s room, which is something happy, and I’m going to get started on his crib skirt. All we can do is keep breathing and trying to live our lives. I couldn’t be more thankful that we have something positive to look forward to – our sweet baby boy. I already don’t know what I’d do without him.

I hope everyone is having a good Christmas, and I’m thinking of all of you who may be struggling for any reason.

Everything is fine

But what a 26 hours we’ve had.

I was out running errands yesterday. While I was out, my doctor’s office called to tell me that the round of antibiotics I had recently finished had not cleared up my group B strep infection. I needed to pick up my new prescription and decided to drive there because I was already in the car, it was snowing, and I just knew that if I attempted to walk the few blocks to the pharmacy, I’d end up falling.

Guess what I did walking from the car to the pharmacy. Yup. I don’t know what really happened because it happened so fast. I landed on my hands and knees, but I have no idea if I hit my belly. A man tried to help me up and offered to call me an ambulance. I told him I was fine and that I’d get up in a minute, but thanks anyway. My knees hurt so badly that there was no way I could stand yet.

I called my doctor’s office and they had me go straight in just to be safe. They hooked me up to the monitor and planned on keeping me for an hour. The little dude was doing great, but the monitor was picking up some contractions. Because I couldn’t say for sure if I’d hit my belly, they sent me to the hospital to be monitored for four hours.

I was started on fluids after we got settled because the monitor was still showing contractions, then I started to feel them. The doctor checked my cervix to make sure I wasn’t dilating, and in the process, she saw my knees. She then decided I needed an ultrasound, mainly to check on my placenta, because my knees made her think my fall was harder than she’d realized. Fortunately, my cervix was still closed.

The ultrasound was fine and our little giant’s weight is an estimated 3lb 8oz. He’s obviously still tiny, but for someone whose first baby was 1lb 9oz, he’s the giant dinosaur baby I’ve been hoping for. As my contractions continued, they decided to keep me overnight and start some medication. The contractions still didn’t stop, so overnight turned into 24 hours. The contractions have continued, but I’m not feeling them 99%?of the time. My cervix has held strong, so I was eventually released. They’re thinking my infection is causing the contractions, but who knows, seeing how I didn’t feel a thing before my fall.

This kid apparently thinks the hospital is the coolest place in the world and didn’t stay still for more than a minute at a time. Actually, I think he thinks the fetal monitor is the worst thing in the world and he was doing whatever he could to get away from it. Nurses had to adjust the monitor more times than I can count, and every person who came into our room informed us that we’re going to have our hands full. I am looking forward to that.

They’ll obviously continue monitoring me closely, and I’m surprisingly not as freaked out as I would have expected. The nurses kept assuring me that we’ll make it to February, and if for some reason we don’t, we will most likely be fine because there is such a huge difference between 24 weeks and 31 weeks. Hopefully we won’t have to experience those differences first hand.

Now if you’ll please excuse me so Dave can duct tape me to the couch…

30-ish weeks

We’ve hit another milestone that once felt very out of reach. It’s been two weeks since my last ultrasound, and I’m actually not completely freaking out. I feel good, aside from having a cold, my back killing me, and feeling like somebody is trying to shove a wrecking ball up into my ribcage. It’s a wonderful problem and as much as it hurts, I kind of like the pain.

We had an appointment this morning that went well. My belly is measuring 31 1/2 weeks. The little dude wanted no part of the doppler. My belly looked like somebody stuffed a cat in a duffle bag and it took forever because he kept moving, plus his heart rate kept getting really high because he was moving around so much.

We discussed the “after” part of the pregnancy at this appointment. Our nurse practitioner suggested a parenting class, but I shut down when she recommended the “first time parenting” class at our hospital. I don’t have to explain why the title of that class stings. We picked our pediatrician while we were there. It wasn’t quite like throwing a dart at the wall, but it was pretty close. I know a lot of people like to interview pediatricians, but I figure we’re not going to know how we like someone with our kid until the kid is here, and if we have to, we’ll just switch then.

We ordered the little dude’s furniture this week, along with every other baby item we could possibly need. We originally thought we’d wait until at least 32 weeks, but I was ready around 28 and Dave was ready closer to 30. It feels very optimistic, but it’s not scaring me. Well, the pile of cloth diapers in our current guest room is scaring the crap out of me, but not in the “oh my god I’m going to jinx it” kind of way. It’s more in the “oh my god we’re having a baby and we might get to actually bring him home” kind of way. It’s another wonderful problem to have.

One year

One year ago today, our world was turned upside down. The morning started out as normally as it could at that point: waking up with worry, pumping, going down to the NICU to say good morning to Jillian, going back upstairs to pump, and so on. I have no idea what time we found out about Jilly’s hemorrhage. We had no sense of time while we were in the hospital.

I’m feeling pretty okay today. It’s a very sad anniversary of course, but it’s not even close to the saddest day we’ve had since she died. I’m feeling pretty peaceful at the moment. Every book I’ve read and everyone I’ve talked to who has been through this has said the first year is the hardest, so I’m feeling optimistic that things will get a little easier. I think once we get past Christmas and out of 2010, I’ll feel like the worst year of my life is over. Obviously we lost Jillian in 2009, but we were in such a fog after she died that I don’t think we really knew how bad things were. 2010 has been filled with so many things that should have been and it should have been the best year of our lives. We’re obviously excited about our son, so it hasn’t been completely awful, but this year was not what we expected.

I’ll probably have a rough time tonight as we approach the time that Jillian passed away, but I have to admit I’d have to look at her death certificate to know the exact time. We’ll go to sleep with her on our minds and in our hearts, like it’s been every night for the past year. All I can hope is that she can still feel how much we love her, and I hope she knows that will never change.

Happy Birthday, Jillian

Dear Jillian,

Happy Birthday, Monkey. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since you were born. In some ways, it feels like yesterday, but like I said to Daddy the other day, I can barely remember life before you.

Even though I’ve been planning to make this a nice day, I know it’s going to be hard. I know that all day, I’ll be reliving everything. In the late afternoon, I’ll remember that it’s about the time that my water broke, and later in the night, I’ll be thinking about the moment you were born, and the three tiny cries that came from you. I’ll remember being wheeled into the NICU to visit you for the first time and being so scared that I would hurt you. I’ll be reliving your entire life in my mind over the next few days – the moments when you made Daddy and me so proud, made us laugh so hard, the fear we felt, and of course the moment our entire world crumbled into pieces around us.

I am still so heartbroken, stunned, and angry about losing you, but I’m trying to focus on how fortunate we were to get the time that we did. I’ve said this before, but if I could choose between never having you or this pain, or having things just the way they are, even with all the heartache, I would choose you every time. I wouldn’t trade our time for anything. When I’m feeling really down, I remember how lucky we were to have you, no matter how briefly. As scary and sad as they were, those were the four most important days of my life and I will cherish them until I die.

Last night as I was making cookies for your day, the fact that I was making cookies for my dead daughter’s birthday hit me like a ton of bricks. Either way, I would have been making cookies, but I would give anything for them to be for your first birthday party instead of a day of remembrance. Suddenly, I found myself trying to figure out if the past year had really happened, hoping that I would wake up, still 24 weeks pregnant, living the blissful, happy life that I had taken for granted. Obviously that’s not the case. Instead, I’m 28 weeks pregnant with your little brother, and I still have a wonderful, happy life, but there will always be something missing. I will always wonder how things would be if things had gone the way the wanted them to and I will always wish that we still had you here with us.

We’ve received some gifts and cards for you, which means more than I can express. Everyone remembers you, little one. It makes me so happy to know that Daddy and I aren’t the only ones remember what a beautiful, strong, little girl you were.

We love you and miss you so much, Jilly Girl. I could write that I love you a million times and it wouldn’t be enough. Happy birthday, love.