Sunday, November 30, 2008

Time Keeps Moving

We're now about a month and a half away from when they'll try to induce me. With my other pregnancies, I've felt like the first eight months go by pretty quickly, but the last month seems to drag on forever! Since I'm inducing a month early with this pregnancy, I wonder if that'll still be the case. I feel like it won't be since most of the time I am just so big I want to be done with the pregnancy. In this case, I don't think I'll be too huge when that time comes and I don't know if I'll have similar feelings of wanting to be done with the pregnancy.

In one of the Yahoo groups that I'm in, two ladies gave birth recently to babies with anencephaly. The first lady was from Ireland. She went in at 36 weeks to be induced and it didn't work, same thing at 37, 38, 39, and 40 weeks! At 41 weeks, her daughter had her birthday, so she decided to skip that week, and then at 42 weeks, after another failed inducement (does anyone know if that's the right word?) she had a c-section done and her little boy Eoin (pronounced Owen) was born! He lived for 12 hours before he died. I guess he struggled with breathing at first, but then he got the hang of it and didn't struggle again until the last hour of his life. I cried when I read her story. I, along with many others in the group, had been following her journey for the last month as she would go in every week and then be back a day or two later saying that it didn't work again. She's the biggest reason why I asked my doctor about what we will do if the inducement doesn't work for me. But he assured me that it would and that that's never happened to him. I was talking to a lady from Switzerland and she said that they probably have different ways of doing things in Ireland and she thinks that they don't use as many different methods as they do in the U.S. to get labor started. I also know from the lady who had Eoin that they (the doctors) wouldn't give her a c-section until she was 42 weeks along. But I'm so happy for her and the time that she got to spend with her little boy.

The other lady is from Indonesia. She didn't find out until she was 30 weeks along that her baby had anencephaly. Her husband wasn't very supportive to begin with and her doctor would not continue to see her unless she was going to induce labor right then and there. She did not want to do that, so she had to find someone who would take her. I guess she had trouble finding anyone at first, but finally she found a midwife from Australia who was in Indonesia doing an internship or something similar. She agreed to see her, but they had to do a home birth because the hospitals wouldn't take her. I'm not sure of all of the details, but the whole situation just makes me a lot more grateful of how understanding everyone here is. I feel like no matter what it's about, everyone just tells us that as long as it is medically sound, they will support us in what we decide. So the lady from Indonesia really needed to get labor started herself. At around 39 weeks they started doing every single home remedy you can think of to start labor. She was even taking castor oil on a regular basis. But nothing was working. Finally, at 42 weeks, they gave her some cytotech to begin labor and it worked. A day and a half later Carmen (a boy) was born. As for the name, I think of it as a girl's name, which is what they thought they were having. But they weren't too positive because when the doctor saw what was wrong, he ended the ultrasound right then and told her that she needed to induce labor immediately. When she said she didn't want to, he said that he wouldn't see her anymore. She asked him what the gender was and he told her it was a girl. So either he didn't really look and he just told her something or he only looked briefly and saw it incorrectly. So she gave birth to Carmen and hasn't posted anything since he was born (which was last Wednesday).

I feel great joy in reading these mothers' stories. I'm so grateful for the time that they got to spend with their little ones and I continue to pray that that might be the same for us. However, I feel like I'm also preparing myself well to accept whatever the Lord's will be. There is still the chance that Emma could die inside of me and there's always the chance that she will die during labor. While I hope that these do not happen, I know that Heavenly Father will help me have the peace and comfort I need no matter what happens.

Once again, I can't end a post without saying how truly grateful I am for the love, support, and prayers that come from so many people. Thank you!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prepping Peter

Before we received the diagnosis for Emma, we talked with Peter all the time about the new baby. He was very aware that there was a baby in my tummy and that it was growing bigger and when it got big enough it would come out so we could hold it. We had fun having him tell us all the time that he thought it was a sister. We didn't think twice about these things.

The day we left for the initial ultrasound appointment, Peter knew where we were going and he knew that when we got back we could tell him whether or not it was a sister. He was a bit taken aback when he saw me come home in tears and sobbing. But he timidly asked, "is it a sister?" I told him yes, but that she wasn't going to live. There was no more to that conversation.

While Tim and I talk about Emma a lot, the only time she really gets mentioned around the boys is when we're praying and she's included in the prayers. I know that Benjamin is still too little to understand, but I'm curious as to what's going on in Peter's mind.

When we've talked with Angel Watch, they've told us about the importance of being straight forward and using correct terms. They warned us about using phrases such as "she's sick" because then Peter might associate being sick (which happens to everyone) with death. However, I also don't want to push the whole situation on Peter too much. So we've approached it a few different times.

One time was in the car. We live near a store that does Mormon statues and they have a statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith on display outside their store. We drove by one day and Peter called out, "Joseph Smith!" I complimented him on his correct identification and then he said, "he's dead." I told him that yes indeed, Joseph Smith was dead. Since we were already on the topic, I decided to ask Peter about Emma.

Me: Peter, did you know that Emma's going to die too?
Peter: No, I didn't.
Me: Well, she is. She's going to keep growing inside of Mommy, but when she's big enough to come out and does come out, she's not going to live very long. And then she's going to die.
Peter: I not like that.

His last words broke my heart. I couldn't continue the conversation from there. That was a few weeks ago.

When Angel Watch came this last time, they left us with a children's book called Lifetimes. Just this morning I read it to Peter for the first time. I don't think the book did much to clear up Peter's understanding or anything like that, but it did get us talking about dying afterwards. So again I brought up Emma.

Me: Did you know that baby Emma is going to die?
Peter: No.
Me: She is. Do you see how you have a nice big head? And Benjamin too? (Then Benjamin pointed out that I had a head too). And I have a nice big head too?
Peter: Yes.
Me: Well, baby Emma didn't get a nice big head. Her head's going to be too small to let her live once she's born. So she's going to keep growing inside of mommy, and then when she's born, she'll only live for a little bit and then she'll die.
Peter: And us too?
Me: No, we'll keep on living. But we'll get to see Emma before she dies and take pictures with her.
Peter: And put them up there (points to the wall behind us)?
Me: Yes, we'll put them up there.
Peter: Okay.

I don't think Peter quite grasps the whole idea of what's going on, but I also don't think it's a traumatizing concept to him, and I think that's what's most important. So I think if it's brought up again, yes, we'll talk to him about it. But if it's not brought up, we just might wait until after Emma dies to see how Peter's doing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Slowly Preparing

There have been so many little things that we've been doing/have gotten done that I think have helped us along in the slowly preparing for Emma. Here's a list of a few of them.
  • Met with a guy from a mortuary (I don't think he was a mortician, so I don't know what else to call him). We really want to have most things done before Emma comes, so that's why we met him kind of early. It was a good meeting though. He helped us understand a bit more about what all happens and what our different options are. They also don't charge us for any of their services. Basically we just have to pay for Emma's casket. We're definitely grateful for that. As far as planning for things, I keep going back on forth and whether to do a funeral service or a graveside service.
  • Received some preemie clothes. I'm a member of a Yahoo group called Freecycle. It's a local group where people post things that they are getting rid of and other people can email them and say they'd like to come get them from them. We've gotten quite a few cool things this way. A couple of weeks ago, someone posted about preemie girl clothes. I emailed her and said I'd be interested and she told me to come pick them up. Now we have a preemie sleeper and two preemie dresses. I wonder if they'll all be too big for Emma still, but I think some of them will work. Also, Heather (the bereavement specialist that we've met with through Angel Watch) said she always has a variety of preemie clothes with her, so when she comes to the hospital if what we have doesn't work, she'll find something else for Emma.
  • We're taking maternity photos on Saturday. I know it's still kind of early, and for those of you who have seen me, I'm definitely not huge (although I do think that I am definitely pregnant looking), but there is still the chance that Emma could pass away any day, so we'd like to get them taken sooner rather than later. We contacted Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (aka NILMDTS), a non-profit photography organization that matches photographers with families who have received a poor pre-natal diagnosis. So she'll come and take maternity photos and then she'll also come to the hospital after Emma is born to take pictures then as well. Then she gives us a CD of the pictures for free. Funny thing, as I've been communicating with her and gave her my address recently (we're doing the maternity shots at our house), we realized that we lived right around the corner from each other. She lives literally a block away!
  • Trying to show Heavenly Father that we are willing to do whatever it takes for the blessing of this little girl. Heavenly Father keeps reminding me that I need to put my trust fully in him and then do all that I can do. It's hard, but I keep trying.
  • Looking at pictures of anencephalic babies. Most especially, I finally looked at a picture of the opening on the head. It wasn't as bad as I had thought, but I also saw the small thumbnail picture before I saw the big one, so I don't know if that made a difference. When Tim and I originally tried to plan out how we imagined Emma's birth going, we decided we wanted her gently wiped off, wrapped in a blanket, cap put on her head, and then handed to us. But I was talking to another mother who had a baby with anencephaly and she said her baby was born with a faltering heartbeat and struggling to breathe. They knew they didn't have much time so they had him handed directly to them. He ended up living for 11 minutes. This experience of this sweet mother has made us consider the option of having Emma handed to us right away and then having her wiped off, wrapped, covered, etc. while holding her. So in order to prepare, I've decided to start looking at the pictures of the head openings.

I'm sure there are more things, but that's what I've got for now. My heart continues to be grateful to all of you for your love and support. It is such a strength to us. Thank you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Angel Watch's Second Visit

We met again with people from the Angel Watch program. It was a nice visit and I really enjoy them coming. However, they may not come again before Emma is born because they said there's not really much that they think they can do for us (meaning they think we are doing really well handling everything and don't need a lot of their grief services/counseling).

When they were here we talked a lot about our birth plan. It was nice because we had a labor and delivery nurse from our hospital there and we also had the bereavement specialist from our hospital there. They both were able to answer a lot of questions about how things could play out and what not. What's even better, is that the nurse that we've been meeting with checked her schedule and she is on-call for the 15th of January. She said that she'd come in, whether they needed her or not and that she'd be our nurse. So not only do we know that we're getting a great nurse, but we've already discussed the majority of our birth plan with her and she knows exactly what we want and how we imagine things to go and she's in total agreement that we should get what we want, if possible, so she'll do everything she can to make it that way.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

January 15th

When I had my most recent doctor's appointment, we talked more about when I would be induced. We talked about January 15th. He said that he doesn't have his schedule for that far in advance and that the hospital probably doesn't have a schedule for then either yet, but he wrote it down in my chart and said we'll do it.

I've been praying a lot about that day and while I haven't had this overwhelming feeling that this is the day, I've just felt simple feelings that I should keep moving forward and all will be well. I've prayed about a few other days, and every time I get the same feeling - just keep moving forward and all will be well. So we're moving forward with January 15th.

But every now and then I think about how I can't possibly pick a date. Because, in reality, while I'm picking Emma's birthday, it's very likely that I'm also picking her death day. Yes, the statistics in the report I posted do show that some anencephalic babies live for more than a day, but I'm not counting on that being the case with Emma because we know of other problems that her body has.

So at times I think that maybe she can just stay inside of me forever. That way she can't leave me.

But I know that that's not the answer. I guess mostly I am starting to get a little nervous and scared. Time is going by too fast. I'm scared for what it will really be like when I do lose my precious little girl.

I try not to think about it too much, because I don't want to shake myself too much. But then again, I try to think about it because we have been blessed by the Lord to know all of this in advance and we have the opportunity to prepare for it.

So yes, we're planning on the 15th of January. But sometimes I pretend like we're not. Because really, sometimes I just don't like to think about that day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Big Baby

While Emma's not a big baby, I sure am.

Was anyone else like me when they were younger and had to talk to a teacher about something less than ideal and would break down and cry...every time? For example, if I had done an assignment wrong and I went to talk to my teacher about it, I couldn't help but cry. I had left my homework at home...I would cry when telling the teacher. Another kid had pushed me...I would cry when telling the teacher.

Eventually I grew out of this stage (or so I thought).

Ever since we found out about Emma's diagnosis, I can not contain myself when I go in for check-ups with my doctor. Today I had tons of questions to talk with him about and as soon as I started to ask the first question, the tears came aflowing. It's not so much that it's embarrassing, but I can't get through everything I want to.

When I made the appointment for my next doctor's visit, I made sure it was at a time that Tim could go with me. That way if I start to lose it, he can still communicate with the doctor. far as my doctor's appointment today, things are looking good. My blood pressure and weight gain are right where they should be. Emma's heartbeat is still going strong and my uterus is measuring small. My uterus measuring small is a very good thing in this case, considering we already know that Emma is small. If my uterus was measuring normal or big, it would possibly mean that Emma does not have the swallowing reflex and too much amniotic fluid would be building up inside of me. While it's still a possibility that this could develop (and I'm not really sure how or why - maybe she just loses the reflex?), the later it develops the better. I'm at 24 weeks and 6 days and I was measuring 22 cm (a normal measurement would have been just shy of 25 cm).

While we didn't get everything discussed that I had hoped (thanks to my non-controllable blubbering), we were able to discuss the birth plan that Tim and I wrote up. He had some comments on a few of the items, so Tim and I will have more to discuss still. We meet with some people from Angel Watch again next week, and hopefully we'll be able to discuss with them (since one of them is a labor and delivery nurse from our hospital) more about our birth plan.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I've been on the same insurance for all three of my pregnancies. For my first two pregnancies, I went to the same doctor's office (it was a practice of five doctors that rotated). When I found out I was pregnant this time around, I thought I'd take a look again at the list of doctors that I could go to. It wasn't that I had a problem with my first doctor's office, I just thought I'd try something different.

I got a recommendation from a friend and I called that doctor. She wasn't taking any new patients at that time, but they told me that another doctor in their office was. I called my friend back and asked if she knew anything about this other doctor and she said that she had never had him, but she knew people who did who really liked him. So I went with that doctor.

Looking back, I wonder how much was me really just thinking, hmmm, I'll try something new, and how much was inspiration from Heavenly Father.

First, my doctor is of the same faith as me. Second, it's much more individualized care having one doctor versus five rotating doctors. And additionally, the more I learn, the more I'm finding out from others how great my doctor is. I may have already said this, but he used to work at a very high-risk hospital and he handles a lot of the high-risk pregnancies in the area and he's one of the best in the area.

I'm so grateful for guidance from Heavenly Father that doesn't always make itself obvious at first.