"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My side...

I don't think of myself as much of a writer...so for those who actually read this hoping to hear different things from me, don't get your hopes up.  As a matter of fact, my wife is the writer of our marriage, and the reader, organizer, and grocery list creator. If it weren't for her, I don't know where I'd be if I were living on my own.  Ha, if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be writing a "blog" right now (she's been begging me to write another one besides my one and only WHO DAT entry).  For those who read this, be family or friends, know what Jen and I have gone through within the past month.  Hell, probably only a few know what we've gone through in the first 6 months of our marriage!  When we got married on June 12th, 2009, (which on a side note, I'm listening to music right now and it's on shuffle so any song can come up...and "our first dance" song for our wedding decided to start the second I mentioned the date we were married. God likes playing the irony card.) I had no idea that our marriage and lives would be put through so many things that people married 25 years don't even go through in their lives.  Anyway, as you've read from Jen's blogs or had no clue, we lost our first son a month ago.  I've been debating whether or not to share my side of what happened that night.  My version is perhaps the more accurate to Jen's to a certain extent for I was not the one in physical pain.

On Dec. 28th, 2009, Jen and I decided to paint our hallway and giant bookshelf in the house...it was the last thing in the house that needed to be done before our son Levi was to join us in our home.  We had a couple of friends come over to help us paint and later play some games that night.  It was a very normal day.  Jen and I got to bed at about 11:15ish I think that night and Jen had mentioned she was feeling some cramps.  We both figured it could be the cramps that come for some women at this stage in pregnancy.  So we just agreed that she did a lot that day and needed her rest and the next day would be better.  About an hour later, I woke up from a dream to enter a nightmare coming to life.  Jen was in the bathroom and bleeding badly.  We called the ER and they told her just to drink some water and if it gets worse to come in. Five minutes later, we were on the way to the hospital.  I was speeding and Jen was in major pain...something I was expecting to do 20 weeks later.  When we finally got to the hospital, the best the nurses could do was try to ease her pain and stop her from bleeding.  When they examined her more closely, her water was bulging so they leaned her on an incline to prevent that from breaking.  The goal was to keep Baby Levi in Jen as long as possible because at 22 1/2 weeks, that margin for survial is 1%. I then went to call Jen's mom and then my dad. The second I hung up the phone with my dad, I thought I heard someone yelling.  Immediately I thought to myself, please don't tell me that was my wife.  As I got close to her room, I saw the nurses rushing in and Jen was in fact calling my name.  When I entered the room, Jen's water had busted.  That's all she said...she knew it without a nurse having to tell her.  At this point, you can imagine all the thoughts going through her head and mine...(and I know it wasn't my fault but to this day I regret not being able to be there at that moment when that horrific event came upon her).  After she was cleaned and put on more pain meds, I asked her if she wanted me to call her brother and his wife.  So I stepped out the room and called Lindsey, Jen's sister-in-law.  When I started to explain to Lindsey what had happend, I was barely able to put sentences or words together due to an overwhelming emotion of reality setting in.  Lindsey told me she and Mike (Jen's brother for those who don't know) were coming...with their son Max of course.  They arrived and provided some much needed support.  Mike informed me too that I could baptize our son.  They left the room after a while so that Jen could try and get somewhat of a rest with the meds she was on.  Lindsey called Jen's parents with an update and they were going to come down from Madison, MS (3 hours away) when Jen's dad could get off of work.  My parents also came down to the hospital and just took the day off of work.  Their support was greatly appreciated as well.  While Jen layed there, I took some water and made the sign of the cross over her stomache where Levi was and baptized him while I knew he was living.  All of this by the way took place in the early morning hours of course which made the night seem that much longer.  I don't remember what time it was when the doctor on call arrived to see Jen.  She was very sweet and considerate but made it well clear that Jen might deliver the baby during one of her painful contractions and not even know it.  Unlike some doctors, she sympathized with us and really seemed to care.  We were constantly asked too if it was our first pregnancy and when we said yea, the nurses seemed to know where the end result lied.  Sometime after the doctor had left, Jen felt a really big push and she thought she pushed the baby out.  Freaking out, I lifted the towel and saw a huge ball of blood.  I hurried to get a nurse and Jen was pushing out blood clots.  With an hour to go untill our actual doctor arrived, each moan from Jen had me checking her to see if anything had come.  Around 7:15, our actual doctor arrived.  And believe me, it was such a relief just to see him.  I knew he would have a plan on what to do and sure enough, it was one I didn't really want to come to term with.  When he went to observe Jen, he stuck his finger in her uterus, and started to pull out a little foot.  I saw this, and at that time he said she needed to deliver right away.  So they rolled my wife into the other room.  They asked me if I wanted to go with her.  Duh, I said yes...and they asked her as well.  A nurse brought me scrubs and told me the following....she said there was a chance that the baby might not have a heartbeat because the placenta had ruptured.  This is what caused the bleeding and contractions in the beginning.  However, if the baby had a heartbeat, then they'd bring me back there.  To this day, I don't see why I couldn't be there with my wife regardless.  Anyway, they had every doctor there to be ready to treat Levi if it were possible.  However, the result was as you know not the best.  Our doctor came to me and explained all that happened and what he believed caused everything.  He informed me that they put Jen to sleep to "clean" her out to prevent infection.  Our doctor was very sympathetic as well and he did his best to give some hope to the situation from similar experiences he's witnessed.  When he left the room, I went into the bathroom and did my best to hold myself together so that I could tell my parents and Mike and Lindsey.  When I walked into the waiting room, all I could do was look at my parents and shake my head no.  I showed tears that if anyone knows me, rarely sees.  My dad and mom comforted me in their arms and all I could do was cry.  My mom did her best to give me hope and that helped a lot.  I remember thinking during Jen's pregnancy on how I would react to my son's birth...would I be able to show outward love, feel a connection, etc.  From the emotion that overcame me, I knew that I had a connection with my son.  When Jen finally awoke, our doctor explained to her what he told me...and Jen's reaction is what I feared facing the most.  I did my best to comfort her and hold her.  Perhaps the next hardest part was being able to hold our son and see how he looked.  I remember every detail of him....he had Jen's face and nose, my arms, her legs and toes...it was truly amazing.  Like Jen mentioned in her blog, he was born at 7:37 am, weighed 1 lb 3 0z, and was 11 inches long.  He was born on the 29th of December, and my birthday is on the 29th of May.  Later tht morning, a chaplin came and performed a baptism that was truly heart-warming and emotional to say the least.  We had a sense of closure with our son but we both knew it will never fully be closed.

I know what Jen and I went through was hard.  I know God has plans for us.  His path for us is not always an easy one.  Your faith gets tested, your love gets shaken, and your hope gets shattered...but I know that God loves us.  God always loves us.  I don't know if Jen and I will ever know His reasons for what we went through, but even if we never find out, I know that He wants the best for us.  It's hard not to forget the smells and actions that took place that morning.  Everything I do can remind me of our son.  His box filled with pictures and hospital clothes now sits on the same bookshelf in the the same hallway that we painted that previous day.  His piggybank, which is more than halfway filled sits there too for our future children if we are blessed to have.  I may have lost a son here on this earth, but I gained a guardian angel in heaven.  I will always be a father and not "was a father."  I love God, I love my wife, I love my son.

Friday, January 29, 2010

29th

It didn't take me long after I woke up to realize that today's date was the 29th...which means it's been a month since Levi died. When I told Logan that today makes a month, he immediately responded, "I know." Sometimes I think our brains are connected. I don't know if it's because of the whole 1-month thing, or if it's just one of those days, but today's been a bit emotional for me (and after having such a good week...dang). All comes with the grief process, I'm quickly learning.

My doctor told me to take some time off work after everything happened, so I haven't worked this entire month. I start back on Monday. I'm a bit nervous about it, even though I love my job, because I've only talked to one co-worker since. Everyone knows, I think, but I just feel weird about it. Can't really explain it. I work at 2 elementary schools, so there's also the fear about the little kids asking me questions. From what the school nurse told me, they've talked to the kids about it, but you just can never predict what a little kid might do/say. I spend most of my workday in a class of 1st graders (one of them is a diabetic that I monitor), and they were so excited about me having a baby - always asking me questions and telling me they couldn't wait until I had the baby. So, I don't know what to think. I just hope I don't break down crying in a corner somewhere. At least the bathroom is always a good escape!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some test results

My OB/GYN called me today. So naturally, I figured he got my test results back and was calling to tell me something came back positive. I had 3 blood tests done 2 weeks ago, all of them used to detect lupus. The first 2 tests came back negative - ANA and something else I can't remember (I do know it had the word lupus in the name though). So, based on those results, I think lupus is ruled out (I figured I didn't have it to begin with - no major symptoms). The third test is called anticardiolipin antibody test. That one came back positive, which happens if you have elevated levels of anticardiolipin antibodies (IgG, IgA, or IgM) present in your blood. I have a moderate elevation of IgM antibodies. My doctor (who is wonderful, by the way) called the perinatologist (she specializes in high-risk pregnancies) to see what she thought about my test results. She said that an elevation of IgM wouldn't concern her if I had a good outcome with the pregnancy. But, since I had a bad outcome, that causes some concern. My doctor said he wants to do a thrombophilia workup, to check blood clotting issues. I wasn't too worried until I started googling all of that (big mistake, but I am glad I have a better understanding of what may happen). Anticardiolipin antibodies are created as an autoimmune response and can cause inappropriate clot formation (which can cause miscarriages and fetal complications in pregnancy - which would make sense with my situation...there was a clot found under the placenta). So I guess they want to look into that more. My doctor said this may be a good thing, because at least there would be a reason that everything happened and we could prevent it from happening it again. My next appointment is in 2 weeks, and my doctor said we would talk more then. And after that appointment, he wants me to see the high-risk OB/GYN. There is some relief knowing that we may be able to prevent problems in future pregnancies, but of course there's still the worry that pregnancy will be a long and difficult road. No need to worry yet, I suppose.

On a completely random note, Logan and I bought a stationary exercise bike. It's the coolest.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Not-so-happy New Year

Logan didn't waste anytime sharing his excitement about the Saints' big win. I have to admit, it's pretty awesome! We witnessed history. But boy, I nearly had a heart attack doing so. That game couldn't have been any closer.

I said yesterday that I would recap our recent experience we had a few weeks ago - it'll be 4 weeks tomorrow, actually. It's been a rather difficult 4 weeks, but we never doubted that God ultimately has a bigger plan for us. I say all the time that "everything happens for a reason," and while I still believe it's true, it's a heck of a lot more difficult to say that when your world has been shaken up. I've struggled a lot lately - physically, emotionally, and spiritually - and I honestly didn't know if it would ever get any better. Being a Catholic, though, I received the Sacrament of Reconciliation (AKA confession) 2 days ago, and the grace that comes with it has been a lifesaver. Yesterday was the 1st day I haven't cried since everything happened, because I finally feel a sense of hope. I don't expect to be 100% better anytime soon (or ever, actually), but at least I'm on the road to recovery. Okay, enough stalling - on to the recap...

It started on the Monday night after Christmas. I was about 5 months pregnant (22 weeks along). After 4 months of a seemingly perfect pregnancy, Logan and I ended up at the hospital because I was bleeding and in pain. We were admitted just after 1:00 a.m. It was the longest night of my life, and since the whole story would take up entirely too much of your time, I'll make it short (I have my own personal journal that I wrote about everything in, and it took several pages). Despite the medical team's efforts to stop my contractions, prevent my water bag from breaking, and to keep my baby in my womb for as long as possible, nothing worked out the way we wanted. I ended up having to deliver my baby at 7:37 a.m., and I distinctly remember the doctor's words after I pushed little Levi out: "There's no heartbeat." Now, I'm a registered nurse, so I was fully aware of the possibility that we could lose our son. Plus, I could see it on the nurses' faces every time they walked in the room - which was several times throughout the night, especially when things made a turn for the worse. Since this was our first child, though, I was still hoping that maybe God would create a miracle. That, however, didn't happen. Immediately after delivery, I was put under so my doctor could perform a D&C to make sure all of the placenta was out. It wasn't until a few hours later, when I was fully awake, that we had the opportunity to hold our son's body. I was rather emotional, as you can imagine - it was just 12 hours earlier that my life was close to perfect (wonderful husband, pregnant, good job, etc.), and now I was holding my dead son. Little Levi, all 1 pound and 3 ounces of him, was perfect. He looked like he was just sleeping, and I wanted more than anything for him to open his eyes. That whole night and the following weeks felt like a terrible nightmare, and up until 2 days ago, I kept hoping I would just wake up from it all and find out none of it happened. It certainly has happened, though, and thankfully, Logan and I have been blessed with some pretty amazing family and friends. And to all of you, we thank you and we love you.

We're in the process of trying to figure out just what went wrong with the pregnancy. My doctor is pretty sure I had a placental abruption (placenta detached from my uterus) because there was a huge clot underneath the placenta. Now we're ruling out what may have caused the abruption. I had a follow-up on the 13th, and I had blood drawn to see if I have lupus or another autoimmune disease, which is known to cause abruptions. I go back to the doctor on February 10th, so hopefully we can rule out an autoimmune condition. Another idea is that I may have an incompetent cervix (dilates prematurely), which then caused the abruption. That would not be good either, because I'd probably need a cerclage (procedure to stitch close the cervix), and even with that, I could end up on bedrest. Regardless of the cause, subsequent pregnancies will probably not be easy. It'd be nice if my case was just some sort of fluke, though. Even if it was, I still can't help but think I'm going to be a complete mess if we manage to get pregnant again. I don't want the same thing to happen, and assuming I carry the next pregnancy to term, I'll probably have flashbacks to my first labor and delivery experience (as a patient), which was not very pleasant. At least I have awhile to get my mind right, because my doctor said to wait 3 or 4 months before trying to get pregnant again - he told me my uterus needs to rest. It's a little bittersweet, because while I know I need some time to recovery both physically and mentally, I really want children. I was supposed to have a baby to take care of in 3 months, and now I have to wait at least a year.

I apologize for typing so much - there's just a lot that's gone through my head the past few weeks that I tried to fit too much in one post. I'm sorry! I hope you enjoy reading my crazy thoughts, though, because there's a good chance you won't get me to say it aloud (which is one of the reasons this blog exists). I'd much rather write than talk...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

WHO DAT?!!!!! BLACK AND GOLD SUPERBOWL!!!!

The year is 2010, and after 42 seasons the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS ARE GOING TO THE SUPERBOWL!!!! I'm 23 years old and growing up, I along with everyone else I've ever known thought that hell itself would have to freeze over before we witnessed the Saints going to the Superbowl. Well, I'd say hell is pretty chilly right about now. The Saints are NFC Champions for the first time after beating the Minnesota Vikings led by BRETT FAVRE!!! in overtime 31-28. This game was so great!!! It was also so frustrating with the penalties and missed opportunities for the Saints...But in the end, Garret Hartley (a 23 year old!) kicked the game winning 40 yard field goal. And man, he kicked the life out of that football putting it right down the middle and through the uprights. The city of New Orleans is still going nuts and probably won't stop until well after Mardi Gras, which is 2 weeks away. Now, the Saints play Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in two Sundays, Feb. 7th, for Superbowl 44. And with all the excitement in the atmosphere around this city and football team, I can't even imagine what it'd be like if we actually win the Superbowl!....man, there's a statement I still can't believe I was able to say. WHO DAT BABY!!! BLACK AND GOLD SUPERBOWL!!!! THIS DAY IS AMAZING.

An Introduction

Logan and I have decided to create this "family" blog. I love to write, and he loves to entertain, so hopefully it'll make for an interesting blog. We recently had a difficult experience, and considering our situation, we feel that documenting everything could prove to be beneficial (whether for our sakes or others - who knows?). But, since this the opening entry, I'm not going to start on a depressing note. I'll do a recap of that whole experience later. For now, though, we're off to cheer on our beloved New Orleans Saints! Who dat?!

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