Wednesday, August 22, 2012

some thoughts

It's been a tough week. Maybe it's because in less than two weeks, Charlie and Sofie will be going to kindergarten and I will be home, alone and by myself. No baby. No one-year-old. Just a desperate hope that we will blessed again soon.

On Sunday we were at my sister's home for my nephew's 4th birthday party. It was a lot of fun and I was so thrilled to see my six-month-old niece. I love her so much and treasure the moments I get to hold her and snuggle with her. When other people held her or rocked her to sleep, however, I felt jealous. I wish my baby girl was here. Then, after baby Addy spit up in her crib and all over her darling, white cardigan, I scrubbed her crib sheet and took her sweater to the kitchen sink to rinse it out. I felt a sad, sinking feeling in my chest. I want to be knee-deep in spit-up, diapers, and drool. I've missed out on the gross baby chores. Oh, how I would love to be cleaning up Mila's messes.

I've been really worried about Charlie. He's very anxious about kindergarten. He has no idea what to expect and I can't seem to calm his fears. He's been misbehaving, regressing back to some toddler-like behaviors, and refuses to talk about what's going on. I wonder, what has the last two years done to my sweet babies?

It's been a long time since I had the energy and enthusiasm to play with Charlie and Sofie. I'm ashamed and embarrassed to say that the television has been on a lot at our house. When I got pregnant in the fall of 2010, I was good and pregnant. I was sick and utterly exhausted for at least the first14 weeks. I had a little reprieve in the dead of winter, but then came the last trimester and I got tired again. I took lots of naps on the couch while Charlie and Sofie watched a lot of Disney and Pixar movies. I still haven't seen the middle sections of Tangled and The Princess and the Frog. Then, I gave birth to Mila. She died, I almost lost my life, and everything changed. Forever. I tried really hard at first to be normal, to jump in and be the mother of four-year-old twins. Then grief hit me like a ton of bricks and I couldn't cope. I turned on the t.v. to quiet the chatter. With the t.v. as the babysitter, I could read, rest, and cry. Charlie and Sofie have started calling me lazy. It breaks my heart. I don't want to be lazy, I want my life back.

We discovered "big kid shows" or what Charlie likes to call "laughing shows" on Disney Channel. The shows meant for kids 7 years and up. I'll admit, they're funny and kinda cute, but the kids on those shows say "dumb", "stupid", "shut up", and they use a lot of sarcasm. Some of the characters are down right brats and I'm starting to see the same characteristics in my little pre-kindergarteners. Charlie got into Star Wars and has decided that everyone is either a good guy or a villain to be battled. I took a good look at my children today and wondered what happened. What has our tragedy and my horrible state done to them? While I'm sleeping on our couch and crying on my therapists', Charlie and Sofie are being swallowed up by television and denied an innocent, nurturing early childhood. I'm still so angry this happened, that I wasn't able to protect and save our babies, and that their lives are forever affected by trauma, grief, and sorrow. God help us.

This week I am wearing a cute, baby doll style night gown that I bought before getting pregnant with Charlie and Sofie. It has a few small breast milk stains from when I nursed Charlie and Sofie.
I wish I had a baby to feed.

Not only am I supposedly lazy, but I feel so out of shape. I am still short of breath when I exert myself due to respiratory distress after Mila was born. I'm a recovering food addict and compulsive exerciser. I look in the mirror and 135 pounds looks like 300. I feel like a sluggish slob. So, I've started exercising, in a healthy way. Some days it's P90X, other days it's a few yoga poses. I feel more energetic and encouraged to keep it up. Yay me!

Lastly, I want to share a bit about our journey to conceive using a gestational carrier. My dear friend and uterus donor :) started taking her fertility medications this week. We will both be injecting ourselves with powerful fertility drugs both morning and night. We've both been there before and it's not fun. The amazing gift I have today is faith and trust. I have faith and trust in my dear friend to do her part honestly and humbly. I don't have to worry that she's forgetting her meds or not doing it right. If it were some stranger carrying a baby for us I would probably be freaking out. I'm not freaking out. I am full of faith in God's plan for our family and I am so incredibly grateful that He brought this amazing woman into my life seven years ago.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


We need a new roof. Badly. All of our neighbors have gotten new roofs in the last year or two and all of them were paid for by their insurance companies because of hail damage. Our roof looks horrible. It was installed one year before we bought our house eleven years ago and now the shingles are deteriorating due to a manufacturing defect. Apparently we do not have hail damage like all of our neighbors so we do not qualify for a free roof. Three contractors have been to our home to confirm this.

We need a new roof, but we want a baby more.
Yes, that's right. We want to have another baby.

Sofie asked me the other day, "Do all babies cost a lot of money, Mommy?" I said, "No, not usually. We didn't have to pay any money for Mila to grow in my tummy. She was a gift from God. But now, if we want to have another baby we need to pay doctors and lots of other people to help us." Sofie and Charlie both agreed that they'd rather have a new baby than a roof. I agreed.

When I first woke from my coma, my OB visited me in my hospital room and described in detail the two surgeries I had after I delivered Mila. The first was to remove my uterus and hopefully stop my body from hemorrhaging. It didn't work, so they could not close me up. My abdomen was stuffed with surgical sponges and towels as well as a drain. This was to remain in place until the doctors could get my infection and bleeding under control. It wasn't until five days later that my OB and a general surgeon could go back in and stitch me up. I was in rough shape. My OB was so kind as to fuse some of my abdominal muscles back together (a lasting side effect from my twin pregnancy), and she made sure my ovaries were intact, healthy and ready to be used when I wanted to harvest my eggs down the road. I remember laughing in my hospital room that day. Yeah right, I don't think I'll ever try to have another baby again. Enough is enough, or so I thought.

My friends didn't know who they were talking to when I said that we were done, that this tragedy had taken it's toll and there was now way we were going to have any more children. They said it wasn't like me to give up. They were right. It wasn't long before my arms ached, not only for Mila, but for a baby. I thought holding my friends' babies would help, but it hasn't. We want more. We want a sibling, or two, for Charlie and Sofie. Adoption didn't seem like the right choice when we knew that there was still a way to have a child that is biologically ours. As crazy as it seemed at the time, we decided to look into the idea of using a gestational carrier.

A lot of wonderful and complicated things have taken place since we decided to begin this new journey. I will save this amazing story for another day. What needs to be said is that we wouldn't be where we are without our sweet Mila, without God's grace, and the support of some very special friends and family members. As of today, we have signed contracts with a surrogacy agency and an incredible woman who has agreed to be our gestational carrier. She is a friend of mine whom I love dearly and is an incredible example of God's amazing love and grace. We are scheduled to begin our first IVF schedule in September and will need nothing short of a miracle. Yes, another miracle!

What we really need is your prayers. 

We pray that God guide our doctors and help us patiently wait for His will to be done. We pray for strength and courage when things don't go according to our plans, and we pray for security when feel stretched both financially and emotionally.

My biggest fear for the coming months is that in all of our anticipation and excitement for new life, our darling Mila will be forgotten or that the tragedy that brought us here in the first place will be minimized. I am constantly trying to fill our lives with reminders of our precious baby girl. Recently, we planted a hydrangea plant and created a Mila Garden in our backyard. It's a place I hope to go to for connection with my baby and and to remember that her life and her love lives on every single day. Mila came and left us for a reason too huge for me to comprehend. I may not ever understand why things happened the way they did, but once again, we are seeing pain turn into joy. We are finally able to hope for better days. Again, we realize that without the heartache of our past, we would not be able to enjoy the blessings of today.

 Each of us wrote letters to Mila and placed them in the ground with the hydrangea plant. My Gramma gave me gardening lime with the plant to hopefully turn the flowers pink.

Mila's garden isn't finished yet. I hope to get a special statue or stepping stone. In the spring, the plan is to plant some pink annuals in honor of our baby girl. 
Here, and everywhere else we share our story, her beauty lives on forever.