hey, postpartum.

It’s no shock that hormones are alllll over the place after you deliver, right? But some how it seems like it just sneaks up and smacks you in the face! I know that my hormones are going to be crazy for an undetermined amount of time, yet somehow I allow myself to feel guilty over the things that do not matter.

I’m gonna be sad. I have a daughter who died and now I have two living daughters…and no Kenley.

I’m gonna be happy. I have a beautiful new addition to our family.

I’m gonna be tired and anxious and stressed. My newborn is adjusting to life outside the dark womb. I’m anxious because I want my baby to stay alive and that’s a lot of pressure (even though it doesn’t seem like it to “normal moms”). I’m stressed because no one sleeps at the newborn stage and my nipples fucking hurt like hell because they’re both cracked from breastfeeding.

I have a giant bruise on my right arm from my IV. It continues down my elbow almost. It doesn’t hurt but dang.

I was given IV fluids after I went to recovery because I was so sick (puked up an entire puke bag of fluids lol) so I’m extremely swollen….look at this cankle. My toes and fingers are even swollen and it’s super uncomfortable. Some people say it takes 10 days for your body to get rid of IV fluids. Ugh.

I also have these weird new stretch marks on my stomach. They are above my belly button, go horizontally and they are about “—–” this big each. It’s the weirdest thing. I don’t care about having stretch marks, big fucking deal, but it just blows my mind the way they look.

I’ve also had my tubes tied. This has given me a bunch of mixed emotions. We spent so long trying to get pregnant on our own, and we knew it was possible because that’s how Landon (and surprise! Rowan!) was conceived, but now…now it’s not possible. Which is fine, rationally, because I’m done having children. 4 is enough for my body. 4 c-sections are plenty. 4 full term pregnancies. 3 living babies. It has been a long 3 years and I know that this was the best choice for us, but it’s so final.

The postpartum period of time is so awful. I’m pretty sure being a loss mom coupled with PP is just a cruel sick joke. There are so many things you feel guilty for, and about and still in the back of your mind you’re grieving your missing child. It’s awful; everything is amplified and exaggerated.

And, sometimes the baby you have…looks very similar to the baby you lost. And that is a whole other can of emotions.

Tomorrow Rowan has a weight check at her pediatrician. I’ve never been able to exclusively breastfeed any of my children, and this time…it’s working out that I can. She didn’t need NICU time and she latched like a champ in the OR while I was being sewed up! So, I want to try. If she has lost too much weight, though, I might throw in the towel and switch to formula because I’m pretty sure I will have no time to constantly be breast feeding. I don’t know. I’m not sure yet.

I feel proud of my body for producing milk this pregnancy and so far it seems to satisfy this cute little loaf of a baby girl. Tomorrow will tell what the plan is.

I love my children. I love Rowan. I am so thankful she is here alive. All that being said, life is unfair. And honestly pretty fucked up.

last one.

As I sit here at my last NST, listening to Rowan’s beautiful little heart beating away, I can’t help but feel some sadness. Sadness that Kenley never was given an NST and that had I had one, she may have been saved.

It’s always going to weigh heavy in my heart that had we just gone in on the 26th and had an NST maybe they could have saved her. The guilt, the anxiety over not going, it’s all still really prevalent in my brain and I don’t think that’s gonna change ever.

Alden’s NSTs were always so perfect and for the most part Rowan’s have been too. Of course we would be given super awesome monitoring when the babies are perfect. It’s so frustrating. I wish all patients would have NSTs. It doesn’t seem like something that should be skipped. I’ll never understand.

I can’t believe she will be here in two days. Then I will have two children under the age of one for 12 days. It’s insane to think about. My little Irish twins. We’ve planned out Alden’s first birthday party, and I’m pretty sure I have everything I need at the house for it.

This is just a jumble of thoughts while I relax and enjoy hearing her.

Two days. I just can’t believe it!

Well that was awful. (PTSD trigger warning)

Yesterday Landon had his last Basketball game, but before we went I noticed Rowan wasn’t moving very much. I woke Shane up and told him he had to scram out of the bedroom so I could lay down and do a kick count and use my doppler. I couldn’t find her HB with doppler after trying for about 15 solid minutes and I knew I needed to stop. I then laid there and only felt one REAL movement in 30 minutes, and even that movement was super light and not normal.

I just kept telling myself I was over reacting because yesterday was Saturday- 36 weeks- One week from my scheduled c-section date and that is the same date that Kenley died. A week from her c-section date. I calmed myself down enough to feel ok to go to his game. We went and he did so well. Then after the game they had an award ceremony. After that Shane had to leave to go to work, but my dad was there so he helped me with the kids and we drove back to my house. When we got there I told him that I was going to lay down and do a kick count and try to use my doppler one more time.

I laid there for 45 minutes and did not feel one kick and was unable to get her HB on the doppler. Done. I was done. I text Shane and said I was going to L&D and asked him to meet me there. I then left my dad with the kids (lol cue the nerves) and headed to OSU. I text my Doctor about what was going on, and told her I was headed in. She told me she was on call this weekend and that I was doing the right thing. When we got there the nurses told us that my MFM had called to alert them that I was coming in and told them our history ( thank you Dr. Frey. It is so difficult to repeat my history while I’m struggling with new anxieties each and every time….).

The sweet nurse told me to relax and asked all the standard questions which I really hated because I just needed to hear her heartbeat please and thank you. She started placing the monitor on my belly looking for Rowan, and after 3 tries I said “just fyi I don’t know how much of this I can take” to which she replied “I’m going to try 3 more spots then I will get the doctor and the ultrasound machine”. We couldn’t find her. I was in full on PTSD mode. This is exactly how we found out that Kenley had died.

She left the room, and came back a few minutes later with the doctor and an ultrasound machine. I am crying. Shane is holding my hand. I just KNEW they were going to tell me she was dead. I knew it. I felt so terrible and scared and I was reliving Kenley’s death ALL over again. It was AWFUL. Thankfully they literally touched the wand to my belly and we heard her HB almost immediately.

With Kenley, I had no reason to worry. I had no reason to ever suspect she was gone, so I just figured she had rolled weird and that we were just having a hard time finding her HB. Now, with Rowan, I have every reason to be worried and scared and I was absolutely positive that she was dead and I would hear those awful words again. But, thankfully, I didn’t.

The tried to hook her up on NST but the position she was in made it extremely hard. We would get her on tracing fine and then bam she would move ever so slightly and we’d lose her. We ended up getting her for 10-15 minutes and she was at 150 bpm, but wasn’t showing any accelerations. The nurse came in and said “I’m going to go get someone to do a BPP” and she took me off NST. We sat there for an hour waiting. Then, the doctor came in and pretty much told us that they had forgotten about us and that now they didn’t think we needed a BPP.

I don’t give a shit what you think we need, just make sure my daughter is alive please? Not a hard concept. I ended up texting my Doctor. She informed me that she was pissed they let me sit off the NST for so long and told them to hook me back up. To which I replied “Please take her while I know she’s alive”. We hooked back up to NST, but the same thing kept happening. She would be on for a few minutes then move and we couldn’t keep her on. Every strip was broken and I didn’t feel confident in what was happening at all. Once she finally got back on, she had zero accelerations again for a long period of time, so much so that the Nurse came in and pretty much told me that I’m the patient and I should say that I’m not leaving the hospital until this baby is born.

I text my doctor again. She said that she understood, and that now that we were tracing well she wanted to get a good solid 20 minutes on NST to see what happened. Low and behold Rowan must have woken up because she started going crazy kicking all over and accelerating like crazy. I think she had 7 in 10 minutes. My doctor called and I said I still wasn’t satisfied because she had been nonreactive for so long that I was super nervous. She asked if a BPP would make me feel better (NOPE) and I said not really, but it would help a little I’m sure after everything was said and done.

The BPP checked out well and she scored 10/10. I told the nurse I was not leaving the Hospital if she scored less than that, so I kind of wonder if I made her lie to me about it. I dunno.

At the end after the BPP, my doctor called one last time and told me that based on the NST and the BPP she didn’t feel comfortable and had no medical reason to deliver a preterm baby.  I understand what she means, but I know that if Rowan was born today she would be fine. In my head it feels like she would be safest outside of my body because my body already killed one of my babies and I CAN NOT lose another one.

So needless to say last night was terrible, and today I’ve been watching movement like a hawk. She was not moving as much this morning as I liked but I gave her an hour to prove me wrong and she ended up kicking like crazy so I feel “ok”. I don’t feel safe, or anything at all obviously, but I know that tomorrow I have an NST at the dr’s office and that if it’s slightly off AT ALL I will be heading to the hospital. I don’t care. I’ll camp out. I will stay until this baby is brought home alive.

I was doing so well, but it just goes to show you that any pregnancy after loss is a mind fuck sooooo hard.

6 days. I can do 6 days right? HA.

Pressure.

When I was pregnant with Alden after Kenley’s death, I never felt “pressure” about my pregnancy. I know that probably doesn’t make sense to most people but the mothers who have lost babies will understand it.

I thought in my head (very naively) that the universe had done me wrong enough by taking my perfect daughter that I was pretty much guaranteed to take Alden home. That awful awful thing couldn’t happen twice in two years to the same family right?? I mean looking back I know that I had and continue to have zero control over the “universe”, and while I say I didn’t feel pressure to keep her alive that’s probably false as well. Alden’s pregnancy was the most mentally taxing thing I think I’ve ever done.

I was just focused on getting her here alive. I felt we were monitored wonderfully, which we were, and I felt confident in her living. It was still very scary but it was different than this pregnancy.

This pregnancy, however, I feel something odd. And I really don’t know what else to call it except for “pressure”. Pressure to make sure that Rowan is born alive. Pressure to make sure I’m very conscious of her movements, pressure to remember her every pattern. Everyone’s excitement is overwhelming and I’m so thankful that she is so loved already and people can’t wait for her arrival, but shew.

I feel like the universe gave me my “freebie” and now I have to work for this one. My brain is overwhelmed constantly and I feel like I’m second guessing everything. Our care protocol is identical to that if Alden’s so I know I’m being monitored well, and I’m on lovenox again so I know that’s helping as well. I guess I don’t really know how to explain it.

Pressure is the best description I can come up with I think. I feel like if I were to lose another baby people would think I was unfit to be a mother (more than some of them probably already do…). I feel like I would hear “how did you not feel her moving-AGAIN”. Or similar things that you just know people are thinking and saying behind your back.

I need to get this baby here alive.

She has to survive.

11 days.

routine.

Rowans pregnancy has been pretty much routine aside from the fact that she’s a complete miracle. I do however have a fear that she will die, just like I had the fear with Alden, and just like Kenley did. I don’t care how many precautions we take, or how many NST’s I have, I will just always be fearful because of our past.

That being said I believe in my heart that we will bring her home alive. I trust my MFM and I am so ready for her to be here. I had an NST on Thursday which ultimately went well, but Rowan was just doing whatever she wanted to do….

I got there, hooked up to the monitors and immediately found her heartbeat. Then, within 5 minutes she rolled into some weird position and we couldn’t find her heartbeat for approximately 20 minutes. I felt her moving around a ton, and we would get a bunch or random heartbeats but nothing solid enough for her to pass the NST. My favorite nurse Cathy sat with me, constantly moving the monitor trying to find her heart rate and I know she could just see the fear in my eyes. She called the ultrasound tech down and had her scan to see how Rowan was laying. It turns out she was head down like always, but then flipped her spine up and at a weird angle. She was able to listen to her heart beat via ultrasound and we were able to see her moving around.

I don’t care if I could hear her heart beating or not, it stressed me the fuck out. PTSD. I mentioned it to the nurse and she asked why I was feeling that why. I told her that at the hospital this is how they couldn’t find Kenley’s heart beat– an NST. It was the first time I felt real fear during this pregnancy. I felt concern on 12/30 which prompted me to go to L&D to find out if she was moving ok.

I cannot tell you the stress and anxiety that comes with the last 2 weeks of a pregnancy after loss. Tomorrow, I’m 35 weeks pregnant. 35 WEEKS. again. I can’t believe that I’m here again. It’s a serious mind fuck honestly. All of these crazy preparations we did for Kenley, then again for Alden, we have done NOTHING for this baby except we have a dresser. I feel guilty honestly, but we don’t have a bedroom for her, so I mean I don’t know what were supposed to do. Ugh.

Tomorrow my Mother in Law is throwing me a “diaper party”.  I didn’t really want one, and I don’t really know how I feel about it honestly, but it is what it is…Having a baby shower for a baby after loss is weird anyway, and this is my second baby after my loss. I dunno. I obviously will appreciate everything we receive and I am grateful that she wasn’t to throw one for us, it’s just weird for me.

14 days to go.

growth.

Today was our final growth scan! Possibly our final ultrasound ever, honestly! We will probably have one at the hospital before the c-section, but this was the final big one. She of course didn’t cooperate at all, and we weren’t able to see her face. We did see everything else that we needed and she is now (34 weeks) measuring in the 83rd percentile at 5 lbs 15oz! I wanted to see her face so badly, but she’s just nestled in so tight that it was impossible.

She passed her NST as well. I love listening to her heart beat on the monitor. I could listen to it all day; as long as she’s moving its very relaxing to me. After everything was done, I met with my Dr for a little bit. There’s nothing to really talk about when we meet, so just a formality really. So we have 6 NSTs left; 21 days.  I can’t even believe it.

I ordered a few things for Rowan the other day. I bought her a onesie for the hospital, a hat that is adorable, and a blanket that has her name on it. I bought a newborn insert for the halo bassinet as well. Alden hated sleeping in it with nothing around her; I think it wasn’t “secure” enough for her. Too much wide open space and she wanted to be cuddled up.

I cannot believe there will be another baby in our home so soon. It really doesn’t even still feel real. I’ve been feeling really guilty about Kenley lately. Just the would have and should haves that I’m sure most mothers feel after their child dies. It’s like with each subsequent pregnancy I thought maybe it would feel different, but I was way wrong. It still feels like I’m leaving her behind.

weekend review.

Landon’s birthday party was this weekend. On Wednesday he will turn 7! I can’t believe it; how in the world can he be that old already? Ugh. The party went well and he seemed to have a great time. We rented a video game truck to come sit in our drive way for 2 hours so the kids could go inside and play a bunch of different video games. After everyone left, Landon’s cousin from Norwalk spent the night and drove home with my mom the next day. It was a great weekend.

On Friday, before Shane went to work, Rowan was moving all over like crazy. She was moving so much that it actually made me feel nauseous. I kind of felt scared because I’ve never had a baby move that much and as strongly as she was so I laid down for a few minutes and she sort of mellowed out. Well, the next morning was Saturday and I usually take a belly picture because that’s my “new week”. So, 33 weeks, and Rowan has dropped SO much. I’m not sure if it was from all the moving she was doing or what was going on but shooooo. So now I’m feeling tons of pressure in my lady bits, but I can breathe so much better. This has never happened in any of my pregnancies so I’m kinda freaked out. If you google it you can easily find that when a baby drops labor could happen soon, or it could be super far off still.

Mind is in overdrive about it obviously. I’m having a scheduled c-section so I do not want to go into labor, but I’m only 33 weeks…I don’t think I have anything to worry about but who knows.

Today I have an NST @ 2:45, and I’m planning to talk to the nurse about it. You know, cus anxiety overload is gonna happen any way we slice this…ugh.

Landon’s birthday was the last “milestone” before Rowan is born…I can’t e even believe it’s going to happen so soon.

25 days.

 

NST 3

Today I had my third NST. Everything looked wonderful, and Rowan was very active once hooked up to monitoring…

Yeah. Once we hooked her up, I felt less crazy. Let’s start from the beginning…

As I’m driving to my appointment it hits me that I can’t remember when the last time I felt her move was. I thought hard about it and decided I felt her move this morning around 6:30 when Landon woke me up. I rolled over in bed and she started kicking- I’m pretty sure that’s the last big movement I felt from her that I could really be positive about.

Usually she will kick when I shower- I did that this morning and I can’t recall her kicks.

So I’m driving down the road completely zoning out about movement, poking her and begging her to move. Nothing. I wish I could say I believed things would be ok, and I didn’t spiral into crazy town in my head but that’s not the case at all. I turned the music up really really loudly, poked my belly, pushed my belly, drank my cold water, and still no movements.

Then, PTSD kicked in. I had all the thoughts and feelings of when Kenley died. I could just picture myself going to this NST thinking everything was fine only to be told it wasn’t. It would be the same thing- unable to find her heart on the monitor…ultrasound…the world comes crashing down around me.

I hustled to my appt, walked inside and checked in. As I was sitting there waiting I felt her kick. Then again, and a few more hard jabs.

I felt a little relief.

My favorite nurse came to grab me for the NST and I explained what was going on. She hooked me right up and we heard her heartbeat immediately. We watched as she had proper accelerations and eventually the nurse told me to lay back and relax. She was going to keep me on for about 10 more minutes.

I put my phone down, and laid there with my eyes closed, alone in the room with my baby girl. I listened to her heart beating away nice and strong. In those moments I realized (all over again? Had I been pushing these feelings down? Idk…) that I will NEVER be a normal mother again. Ever. No matter what. After what I have endured, nothing will be normal for me again.

As my nurse unhooked us and told me we sounded wonderful and passed with flying colors, she said something that I really needed to hear.

She said “Don’t ever hesitate to call us. Come in, we’ll hook you right up, and you can stay here all day if you need to. Or go to L&D and stay there as long as you need. After what you’ve been through it’s absolutely understandable.”

I’m glad she understands. But, it just goes to show you that the medical field is still a bit out of touch. I know she meant “what you’ve been through” = the death of Kenley, but it’s just like…Kenley is not something we went through. She IS my daughter. She is my every day, my every second, my reality. I’m not going to come out on the other side of her death as the phrase “what you’ve been through” suggests…I will always be in the thick of it.

So today was less than fun…

2 down, 8 or 9 to go.

My first NST was Thursday. Rowan wouldn’t sit still the entire time I was hooked up. It’s like she felt the pressure from the monitors and wanted nothing to do with it. She kicked and moved and ultimately the nurse had to stand with me for 20 mins holding it in position so we could try to get a decent reading. When she had gotten enough accelerations, she showed my MFM who said it was fine and that I didn’t need to have an ultrasound to confirm she indeed passed her NST.

Then, an ultrasound tech came in and checked my amniotic fluid. She was new. She was super sweet, but she had notes with her (I know you have to learn and start somewhere but how about NOT starting on someone who has lost a baby…)

She took forever to get the measurements and when she was done she said I was measuring 8cm of amniotic fluid (average between 25-32 weeks is 14, then it decreases in preparation for birth). Two weeks previous it had been 12.6 during an ultrasound with an amazing tech whom I love/trust fully. So after some calculations she came up with the number 10.

I wasn’t happy and I told my MFM this but she said she wasn’t worried. I trust her. But, it’s so hard to not allow my mind to go there and freak out. Which I proceeded to do from after Thursday’s appt until today at my NST when they measured my fluid again.

Same (new) girl. Same notes. Same length of time to complete the test….13.76 cm.

Seems odd….but whatever. It is what it is. Rowan passed her NST with flying colors today and I feel satisfied for now. Shane was able to come with me today but I could just tell it was so nerve wracking for him. I don’t know if I’m going to let him come again.

Afterward, we went to Panera Bread, without kids! It was so nice to sit with him and enjoy a dinner where I’m not feeding someone else or having to get up to get more drink, a spoon or a napkin for someone else.

Landon’s birthday party is this weekend. I have so much to accomplish this weekend (Shane’s weekend– Tuesday and Wednesday). I’m hoping he feels motivated to help me get it all done cus lord knows I can’t do much of anything with this giant stomach. I am SO ready to be done….I love being pregnant, but nearly 3 straight years is just too much.

4 weeks and 5 days left.

I can do this.