I have been trying really hard to decipher my emotions this week, after miscarrying our third baby on Monday. Phrases that others have said like “it was not your fault” and “something was probably wrong” all echo through my head. My gut tells me that I am somewhere in between acceptance and denial. Accepting that yes, I know I could not control this, but still completely shocked that we have lost another child. Another chunk of our hearts is gone-just like that. A future that we had hoped to share with this new baby, someone for Owen to love and to have when we are gone, has vanished.

Then there was the physical pain that I had no way of preparing myself for. I am livid with the emergency room staff for not talking us through the possibilities of what could happen at home. I will warn you now, I am going to lay this out in hopes that this might help someone else one day going through a miscarriage. If you don’t like graphic, skip this next paragraph. Between having my mom tell me and being able to read others experiences online, those were the only two things that got me through this.

I had been spotting since I was 6 weeks pregnant. Initially going to the E.R. when brown blood appeared. They chalked it up to a bad bladder infection and another bacterial infection common to pregnant women. I went home with a boat load of antibiotics and everything should have cleared up. I was also told that some women just bleed during the first trimester. This has never been the case with my pregnancies. So I found it odd for me to experience it the third time around. After two weeks and all of the antibiotics were gone, the brown spotting was still there, but I had had a successful ultrasound showing a healthy heart beat. So we carried on thinking things were going to be ok. But then on Thursday the 14th, I found that I was no longer spotting brown, but bright red blood. Flags went off in my head and I knew that this was it. My good friend at work offered to drive me to the hospital and fortunately when we arrived, they were not very busy. She stayed with me until my husband got there and we followed the same routine as we did when I first went in for the brown spotting. We had a pelvic exam, blood work and an ultrasound. During the pelvic everything looked good, the doctor did not seem concerned. Then we went for the ultrasound. Now I’ve been through enough ultrasounds to know when things are good and when they are bad. I experienced both cases with Jack and Owen. The ultrasound tech was very chatty and she seemed a little nervous. I knew then that something was not right. When we got back to our little room we waited for the results. The E.R. doctor came in and confirmed that the baby had died, and they could no longer detect a heart beat. He said he was sorry, and that I should follow up with my OB. He went on to say that this would be like a bad period and it should be over within a week.

The next day, I went to work, because I honestly did not know what else to do with myself. I wanted to be anywhere but in my own skin. I wanted out of the situation. That my baby had died and was dead inside of me, kept running through my mind. Fortunately, I have some pretty great co-workers and an even better boss who told me to go home. I did, and I actually went right to my OB’s office. I sobbed and sobbed with the nurses who knew me well enough already. My Doctor was not in, so I saw his counter part who informed me of my options. I elected to schedule a D and C because I wanted some kind of testing done to see what had happened. I also wanted to make sure I would not get a secondary infection. She told me that it was possible I would miscarry at home, and if I did, they would not be able to test anything. She did not mention the process of miscarrying and what would happen physically. And to be honest, I was too numb to ask. After my appointment, I went home and just waited by spending time with my boys. I didn’t know what else to do.

Saturday came and went, I actually slept the majority of the day away. I don’t think I’ve slept that much since before Owen was born. Maybe my body just knew I needed it.

Then Sunday came, and that’s when it started. My body recognized that the baby had died. It was in the evening when the first round of contractions started. Up till this point, I had been experiencing light period cramps. These were completely different and I recognized them because they were coming in waves and lasting for specific times. I knew I was contracting. It dawned on me then that not only was I going to have to miscarry my baby, but I was going to do it at home. I could not take any pain meds, as the doctor had asked me not to ahead of the surgery. So I tried to remember all the baby programs I had watched before about child birth and what you are supposed to do. (I had C-sections with both boys, so natural labor was new to me). My hubby was amazing and he kept reminding me to breathe. After about two and half hours, the contractions stopped and I felt better. No increased bleeding, just back to light cramps. We all went to bed and I fell asleep that night on the couch.

I woke up at about 1:30am to more contractions. Not as intense as they were before, but definitely coming in waves. I did this until about 5am when they finally stopped again. I passed out on the couch and woke up with Owen asking to be rocked. Awesome hubby stepped in again and took care of Owen while I got some sleep.

When I woke up, I felt ok and still hadn’t begun to bleed anymore or less. I thought well maybe I will make it to Tuesday. I was wrong.

Monday afternoon my body decided it was really time to let things go. The contractions came fast and hard. I was besides myself with the pain and my poor husband could only watch me in horror as I walked throughout the house, just trying to ride out everything. Owen thankfully was oblivious and he actually laid down for a nap just at the right time. At about 2pm, I sat down in the bathroom and felt a tremendous gush. All the pain stopped, the contractions stopped. I just felt empty. And the bleeding would not stop. The main clot that I could see was the size of a soft ball. I knew our baby had to be there somewhere, but there was so much blood, I could not tell. I passed a few more clots about the size of baseballs throughout the afternoon. And I just kept bleeding. I was so sad that we would not be able to do testing after all, but I was also very relieved that the physical pain was over. I sang “You are my Sunshine” to our baby as it passed through me, just as I sang to Jack the night he died. I asked Jack to watch over this baby and to keep him or her safe for us.

The next day, we had our D and C scheduled. I told the doctor what had happened and he said that sometimes there is still enough material left inside of the uterus that you can still do some testing. I told him if he could find anything, to please do it. He said he was sorry, and I can genuinely say, I think he was.

The procedure was not bad at all. The doctors and nurses were very kind and gentle. They had sympathy for why we were there. When I woke up from being under, they brought Dustin back and he told me the doctor was able to get a tissue sample. This made me happy that at least we could get something.

Since then, my physical symptoms are steadily improving. Like I said before, I am still in a limbo place emotionally. I think when we get the test results I will be a little more unstable. Our experience with Jack really gave me coping skills that I did not have before. So I know kind of what to expect. I anticipate what people will say, and try not to take it personally when they say something out of their own nervousness. And I am sharing my story here because I know someone else along the way, maybe years from now, will be searching just like I was for some guidance on what to expect.

I cannot say that we will go on to have more children. At this point, I am willing to accept that there are things we are all good at. And for me, being pregnant is just not one of my talents. I am very, very, thankful that we have Owen. For now, I take comfort in that.

-Emily

(Thank you to all of our family and friends who have stood by us throughout this week. You are all wonderful and we could not ask for better people to be in our lives. xoxoxo)

I’ve not written in a long while, largely because I have not felt compelled to do so. My blog has been a source of comfort to me in times when I have needed it most. And tonight, I return to this comfortable space to sort through the many emotions that I have been flooded with this weekend. I’m sure you’ve guessed the source already, the tragedy that everyone is either talking about or trying to avoid because of it’s overwhelming sadness. The loss of so many innnocent lives, in one of the places we felt safe–elementary school.

I cannot claim to understand why this young man decided to hurt and kill these innocent children. There was obviously something very wrong with him emotionally that this horror was how he felt he needed to express himself. And I am not looking to get into a gun control or mental health debate. My last thoughts on this young man are that, there seems to be an alarming trend with the people who commit these crimes and we as a society need to take a deeper look at each of these situations to see if we can determine some common ground or symptoms. Then we can work towards a possible solution to stop future mass murders.

At my core though, I am not routinely thinking about the man who caused all of this heart break. No, my attention and my heart has been with the parents and families of the young victims. That is the part that I am having the hardest time coping with. What these kids went through, and what they endured in their final moments just takes my breath away it hurts so much.

I just want to scream “WHY?” why did these poor kids die? And I know that there is no reason, that this was a random event, but the question is still there pounding in my heart and mind, WHY??

My heart aches for their parents, who instead of finishing Christmas shopping and wrapping gifts, they are tasked with picking out coffins and burial plots. They won’t get to see their child opening gifts next week. Instead they will bring them flowers.

When the media finally stop talking about this, when something worse or something they deem more interesting occurrs they will move on. But these families, they will remain devastated for years to come. And eventually, people will stop coming around and offering help, they will assume that after an “acceptable” time that these families will work past their grief and move on. Society is funny that way…..

Out of all of this, I have decided that the best way for me to honor the victims of this event is not to remember the name of the man who killed them. But to remember one child’s name for the rest of my life, that when I am doing something I will include a special thought for him so that he is never forgotten. Jack Pinto is the little boy I will always remember.

I hope you will join me in choosing to remember this event differently than the rest. Don’t just focus on the killers and the hell that they have ensued upon the innocent. Remember the ones that they affected, the people who should really matter. Maybe if we took this approach, more and more the media wouldn’t glorify such tragedy and maybe the occurance of these things would go down…. just a thought.

-EH

When I was young, if I thought of the month of May I always got a warm feeling. I could almost smell the Lilac, hear the birds, and feel the grass between my toes. May meant that winter was indeed over, and that while there may be rain and chilly days ahead- there would be mostly sun. I never thought that my view of an entire month and season could be changed by one life event. If I think of May now, I mostly feel a void in my mind where I lost an entire month in 2010. I remember coming home from the hospital, and the few days following but then the void consumes that space. There are snippets of things I can recall. Laying on the couch, not wanting to sleep without the TV on because I kept remembering the doctor saying “I’m sorry but he died”. I remember leaving one night, packing my bags and just walking out the door while Dustin was working because I couldn’t stand to be in our apartment anymore. The sadness of the place was so much that I couldn’t bear it. I wandered our neighborhood for hours, just walking with no sense of direction. Only hopelessness.

When we didn’t know what had happened to Jack’s body, I had nightmares. I dreamt that he was lost forever and that we would never find him. Hence the name of my blog. Searching for Jack. The rest of the month though, whatever happened in between these events are very blurry. There was a lot of crying and pain….so much pain.

During the first anniversary of Jack’s birth and then death, I anticipated what I would feel. Our grief counselor prepared us for it and told us to make a plan. We pretty much did that, and we survived. I thought that by making it through the first year, we’d make it easier through the years to come. I didn’t anticipate the immense sadness and overall depression that this second year would bring. It all came crashing down on Saturday. A real meltdown and Owen was there with me trying to make me smile.

He is the reason I think this year is so much sadder. Now I know the true scale of what we lost when Jack died. We lost the smiles, the laughs, the poops, the gurgles, and the memories that we have so enjoyed with Owen. I think this realization has made this harder to bear.

But in my sadness, I try to hope that Jack would be proud of what we have accomplished in his memory. That we have helped so many families through him. I try to be thankful for him and all that his life has taught us. I try not to miss him too much, especially in front of Owen. I try not to cry.

Everyday though, and every spring, every May will always bring Jack’s Day. And I will always miss him, my heart will always ache.

When I was young, if I thought of the month of May I always got a warm feeling. I could almost smell the Lilac, hear the birds, and feel the grass between my toes. May meant that winter was indeed over, and that while there may be rain and chilly days ahead- there would be mostly sun. I never thought that my view of an entire month and season could be changed by one life event. If I think of May now, I mostly feel a void in my mind where I lost an entire month in 2010. I remember coming home from the hospital, and the few days following but then the void consumes that space. There are snippets of things I can recall. Laying on the couch, not wanting to sleep without the TV on because I kept remembering the doctor saying “I’m sorry but he died”. I remember leaving one night, packing my bags and just walking out the door while Dustin was working because I couldn’t stand to be in our apartment anymore. The sadness of the place was so much that I couldn’t bear it. I wandered our neighborhood for hours, just walking with no sense of direction. Only hopelessness.

When we didn’t know what had happened to Jack’s body, I had nightmares. I dreamt that he was lost forever and that we would never find him. Hence the name of my blog. Searching for Jack. The rest of the month though, whatever happened in between these events are very blurry. There was a lot of crying and pain….so much pain.

During the first anniversary of Jack’s birth and then death, I anticipated what I would feel. Our grief counselor prepared us for it and told us to make a plan. We pretty much did that, and we survived. I thought that by making it through the first year, we’d make it easier through the years to come. I didn’t anticipate the immense sadness and overall depression that this second year would bring. It all came crashing down on Saturday. A real meltdown and Owen was there with me trying to make me smile.

He is the reason I think this year is so much sadder. Now I know the true scale of what we lost when Jack died. We lost the smiles, the laughs, the poops, the gurgles, and the memories that we have so enjoyed with Owen. I think this realization has made this harder to bear.

But in my sadness, I try to hope that Jack would be proud of what we have accomplished in his memory. That we have helped so many families through him. I try to be thankful for him and all that his life has taught us. I try not to miss him too much, especially in front of Owen. I try not to cry.

Everyday though, and every spring, every May will always bring Jack’s Day. And I will always miss him, my heart will always ache.

Saturday is the March for Babies for our part of Michigan and I’m so excited and proud to be able to fully participate this year. After Jack died, I remember finding out about this walk and being so sad it had already happened right before Jack passed. I vowed that I would take part in this event in his memory. Then fast forwarding to 2011, we found ourselves on bedrest due to our high risk and complicated pregnancy with our rainbow baby Owen. From my couch I helped with March of Dimes fundraising by sending emails and telling our story. But, I did not get to walk. Finally, this year we have been so fortunate to be able to raise just over $300 from our friends, family and co-workers in support of this great organization and in support our both of our premature boys. I don’t know if people who have never been through having a child in the NICU, or with a heart defect or other illness can totally understand how helpful the March of Dimes can be. They provide valuable tools and resources along with funding important research to help babies to be born healthy. That may sound cliche or like a commercial but I have seen it. When Jack died we got a bereavement kit that had better information than what we got from the hospital. For Owen, we got a special “Preemie Baby Book” so we could record his milestones that weren’t in his regular baby book (like the date his feeding tube was removed and the day he could finally breathe on his own). I’ve also had many friends whose lives have been impacted by the work of the March of Dimes.

I hope that where ever you are, you can try to take part in this event or help support someone else who is. I feel like there aren’t enough groups out there to speak for babies, so we need to put everything we have behind the few that do.

So tomorrow we will be walking for Jack and Owen and all of the other babies born too soon, who may or may not have graduated from the NICU. For the babies who live each day with struggle and manage to overcome the biggest obstacles. And for the parents who have had to go through seeing their child or children strapped to a gazillion machines.

March on friends…March on.

I love you.
I always will.
That’s why I’m here, missing you still.

Time may march on,
As it tends to do….
But the hole in my heart-still lingers for you.

Your tiny hands,
Your tiny feet,
Your face so small, so delicately sweet.

I held you close,
Within my womb,
And in my arms, when you died too soon.

I want you back,
I want you here.
No more grief, no more tears.

Please come back.
Return to me.
Open up your eyes, so you can see.

I want you to grow,
To thrive, to shine.
I want you live, sweet baby of mine.

You live in my heart.
You live in my spirit.
Your name is spoken to all those who will hear it.

I love you.
I always will.
 

My it’s been a long time since I have sat down to write. Far, far too long. Most of the time, by this time of night, I’m so exhausted I’m struggling to stay awake to see Dustin when he comes home from work. I wait every day for the hour I get to spend with my husband at night. Just getting to talk to him for more than a quick minute, like we do in the afternoon when he leaves and I take over baby care. It’s our night-time chats that lead to decisions and balance in our life. I treasure them.

This night has me up for a variety of reasons. The wide array of medication I’m taking for my Bronchitis isn’t helping. Owen has a cold and has been up and down this evening with a stuffy nose, and of course, it’s the 8th day of April. Which means that the next 8th day to come will be May 8th. Jack’s Day. All legitimate reasons to be sitting at your laptop instead of trying to fold the 80th load of laundry to be done this week.

Today was also Owen’s first Easter and it was by all accounts very nice. He liked pulling things out of his baskets from us and the grandparents on both sides. And just like any typical child, the toys were a hit, the clothes- not so much.

Things have been very busy for us. Owning a house is a lot of responsibility and it’s been interesting so far. It is fun too, and we keep reminding ourselves that we have 3o years to do everything we want to accomplish with this place. That’s a new feeling for us, since we’ve spent the past three years living like gypsies, moving from place to place. It’s hard to actually lay down roots when you keep thinking, we’re just going to have to leave anyways, but actually we don’t! I grapple with this a lot.

Meanwhile, it is our busy season at work. I look at Earth Day as any environmentalists “super bowl” because you get asked to speak, present and attend more things than humanly possible during this two-week window of April around Earth Day itself. It’s pretty crazy sometimes. Then our students big water quality monitoring day is the first week of May too, so we’re out in the field a lot. Which is really nice, to be able to work outside in the spring time. I have to say though it’s been hard finding a balance between motherhood and working. If I could do it, I would stay home I think to raise Owen, to bring him more continuity. But alas that isn’t in the cards for our little family just now and so striving for balance continues. I don’t argue to whole what’s harder, staying at home or working because I think of them both as being challenging in their own ways. And I’m sure that if I wasn’t working, I’d miss it too.

For Dustin, he just got transferred to a new CVS from the store he’s been at now for almost three years. This is a big switch for him that just started, so we’re both hoping that it’s a positive for him. Today was his first day there, so I can’t really report on how it’s been going. Keep your fingers crossed.

And for Jack, well we’re gearing up for a really big donation that our entire support group is helping us put together. We’re donating 60 boxes to Hutzel Hospital right before Jack’s second birthday. It’s an emotional thing that I can’t really adequately describe. This will bring us close to donating almost 200 boxes since August 2010. I’d like to be proud of that, but it’s so incredibly painful to think of that many dead babies. It’s hard. I’m glad we are helping and that the project can bring peace to people. Not only those who get the boxes but to the members of our SHARE group who help to put them together, donate items and make deliveries. Jack’s Day has healed so many and given so much to people who have suffered the worst kind of pain. I try to focus on that.

Sometimes, I think that doing this project and other things like the March of Dimes, March for Babies walk are my ways of distracting myself from the real pain that comes from Jack dying. Other times, I feel like they bring me healing. I guess it depends on my mood and disposition. Either way, the pain lingers and I hold Owen at times and just wish that Jack could be there to play with his little brother. To enjoy all the silly things he does and to make him smile with us. The emptiness in my heart that was once gaping, is partly filled, but not entirely. Jack will always be missing. And we will always miss Jack.

I guess that’s it for tonight. It was nice to be able to give a little update on things. I’m sorry I don’t find the time to do this more often these days. I won’t promise to try to keep up on it, but know that I’ll be back again.

~EH

 

I don’t know if it is the same for other people who have experienced traumatic losses, but for me, it seems that no matter what I do my life always comes back to Jack. Not outwardly, to other people, but inwardly towards myself. Whenever I have a rough day for example, I look for signs from Jack that it will be ok. In some cases we take his hat to important things, as a good luck charm, and we thank him when whatever it is goes our way. I talk to Jack in my mind a lot, I try to tell him things, in hopes that he can hear me.

I know it is my way of remembering him and keeping him with me. He has become this sort of untouchable, precious person in my mind, someone I strive to reach even when I’m not so sure that I will ever see him again. Sometimes I think he has moved on to an even higher purpose than I could ever understand and that he was only here briefly to educate us and our family about the importance and fragility of life.

But I think most times, during the darker moments, I remember that he is our baby that we cannot hold, cannot touch and cannot kiss. He is the baby of whispers. The one that is not mentioned for fear of bringing up painful memories. The one we should be “over” by now. But how can that be? How can anyone ever be expected to be over the loss of a child, regardless of their age? You merely grow into being able to carry the weight of your loss. And when you see someone who has lost a child, I think many times, you will see the burden of that weight in their physical appearance. I know I’ve got gray hair and wrinkles I didn’t have before Jack and they showed up not long after he left us. While we carry the weight better now than we did in the beginning, it doesn’t make it any less heavy.

So here I am, sitting at my computer, trying to come up with the best way to approach life with Jack always on my mind. I only wish he could be in my arms and not just in my head.

Today, I was watching a movie while taking care of Owen, not really paying too much attention to it. When for whatever reason, I heard a line from one of the characters that really struck a chord with me. The woman in the movie was talking about how she had just bought a house and had no one to fill it. No husband, no children, basically she was alone. The man she was speaking to told her this:

” Once upon a time, this town did not have a railway. There were no trains. Years ago however, the mayor decided to lay tracks down, because you know what? He knew that one day, the train would come”.

I felt like wow, this really describes the past year for us. After we lost Jack, it felt like life was so empty and no matter what we did, it would never feel full again. And we knew that we should spend time, getting ourselves together emotionally and financially before we decided to try again. When we did decide we were strong enough for trying again, it was very much like laying the track before we knew whether or not there would be a train. We had no idea how long it would take or if it would ever happen. We just knew we wanted to at least try. Especially since having kids doesn’t get any easier as we age. Fortunately, we were lucky enough that our train did make it to our tracks. And he is so wonderful. He looks a lot like Jack, especially when he is asleep. I guess my point is, for those of you who might read this post and have lost or suffer from infertility. There is hope. Keep laying your tracks, keep putting down the rails, because one day your train will find you.

It’s been a long time since I could remember,
The special meaning behind December.
The feeling of joy and anticipation,
The love of giving and decoration.

Last Christmas was a broken dream,
Of what was supposed to come and be.
Of a little child that was meant to enjoy,
The love, the laughter, and every toy.

Instead we opened quiet gifts.
We read letters to someone dearly missed.
Our hearts were raw, exposed and shattered.
But others needed Christmas, so it didn’t matter.

We participated in the holiday cheer,
While Christmas was in no way near.
And looking back at that time now,
I’m sure the pain numbed us somehow.

This year, as time has marched us forward.
And we should have so much to look towards.
I still can’t help but to miss the missing.
I still can’t help but to get to wishing.

Wishing for the little child,
The one who should be running wild.
Wishing for our  life to change its track,
That somehow, we could have him back.