Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Milestone 4

Monday was my latest appointment. It had only been 6 days, so I was doing pretty well anxiety -wise. Most of my questions today revolved around the impact of my detached retina situation on my pregnancy. It felt a little presumptuous (could I really look ahead all those months to November) to ask about potential implications for delivery, but ask I did. Happily, the nurse who (without me asking) told me I would have to have a c-section was wrong.

Once again we did an ultrasound to check on the little one, and everything checked out. New this week, we could see arms and some wiggling. With this positive news, loss milestone 4 is behind us. Now it is a long 8 week wait until the stage of Olivia's loss.

8 weeks

The next appointment will be Tuesday. For the foreseeable future, we'll be maintaining a weekly schedule to hopefully minimize my anxiety and stress.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Loss Milestones 2, 3, 3.5

I've been wanting to write since a week ago that I had passed my second loss milestone. At 6.5 weeks, we learned definitively that my 6th pregnancy was ectopic. I wanted to write that I'd passed that milestone but I couldn't due to fear. What proof did I have that this baby was still alive at 6.5 weeks? None. And so my writing ceased for a week while I was frozen in fear.

I couldn't write yesterday that I'd passed the third loss milestone either. At 7 weeks +2 days, I lost my 3rd pregnancy. But again, I had no proof that it hadn't happened again.

So, I'm here today able to officially say  that these two milestones are behind me. The ultrasound showed a baby measuring exactly on time at 7 weeks +3 days and a heart beat at 153. I'm even going to take a leap and call it .5 of the way past the next loss which was discovered at 8 weeks but showed that baby (pregnancy 5) only measured 5 weeks.

***Thanks to those who have sent Olivia's name in the sand!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Yesterday was Olivia's due date. It's pretty much the reason we decided to go away for spring break. We figured it would be easier if we were busy and a bit removed from those thoughts of what should have/would have been.

We kept ourselves busy going in the shops in Gatlinburg, playing Hillbilly Golf down a mountain, and going swimming.

We also took time to remember Olivia. We bought pink gum cigars for the girls and me and Troy bought a real one. He was wearing his Coffman sweatshirt that said Shamrocks, so the old man in the store asked if the cigar was to celebrate St. Patrick's day. Troy went with that because it was a lot easier than explaining that we were commemorating the due date for our dead daughter.

While we played putt putt, there were pretty purple flowers growing wild on the hillside. I'm no plant expert, but they looked close enough to violets that I felt comfort in coming across them.

Photo Credit (as demanded by the photographer): Troy Dramble 3/16/15

Overall, the day was a good one. We remembered but we didn't dwell.

***If you are currently on Spring break in a sandy spot, I would still really appreciate pictures of Olivia' name in the sand.***

Monday, March 16, 2015


Today we should have a 2 and a half year old.
Today we should have a 13 month old.
Today we should have a newborn.

Today I am 6 weeks pregnant.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Dr. L responded to my message last night at 10:17. She says not to worry because it is so early that sometimes an embryo isn't even visible at this point. In her words, my "baby is very photogenic." She also agreed to another ultrasound on the 24th.

Despite her reassurance, I still didn't sleep well last night. But this time it had nothing to do with me and my anxiety. Ella was throwing up all night long. I hope it ends with her but I won't hold my breath. Luckily she bounces back really quickly and is already back to her regular self.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I Prayed

I prayed. For a week I prayed that this ultrasound would be reassuring. Specifically, I prayed that I would see the embryo had implanted in the right spot and that there would be a heart beat. At 5 weeks and 6 days, it would be right on the brink for this ultimate sign of life.

In case I would get what I prayed for but nothing else, I continued my prayer, hoping to cover all my bases. "Please let the baby continue growing until I deliver him or her, healthy in November." But I didn't stop there. "And let us raise him or her so he/she can grow until old age."

When I went to the appointment, the pregnancy was in my uterus! And there was a newly beating heart! I should have felt relief. And I guess I did for a few minutes. But I found something to worry about. In fact, I would almost call it to fixate on. The embryo measured 2 mm, which seemed small for the age. The ultra sound tech didn't express concern but I left worrying. I worried last night and did some Google searching (never wise). I worried during the night and struggled to sleep. I woke up worried today and hoped I'd have a reassuring message from my doctor after she analysed the images. I waited until noon and then I decided I'd better contact my doctor myself to get her take before I let the worry eat away at me any more.

So, if you're praying, please focus on a continued strong heartbeat and some growing!

Thursday, March 12, 2015


March 11, 2015

I can't help but notice the timing of this pregnancy. I found out I was pregnant at the very end of February, just days before the calendar changed to March. And I'll be honest, March seemed like a daunting reality since with it came the month Olivia was due. Now, I have renewed hope as I approach the 16th. The day will still have thoughts of what would have been, but now I will also think about what might be.

I worry though. What if something goes wrong right around the same time as Olivia's due date? What if I go to my first ultrasound on Friday and we don't see a heartbeat? (Which, speaking of timing, why on earth did I agree to an appointment on Friday the thirteenth?) Then I'll have to face two losses at the same time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

First Loss Milestone

March 11, 2015

Today I am 5 weeks and 4 days and therefore I have made it to my first loss milestone. The next one is at 6.5 weeks when my ectopic ruptured. We will know this Friday at 5 weeks 6 days if this baby is in my uterus. From what I've read we should also be able to see a heartbeat. I'm worried we won't see one and I'll be left to worry all spring break (and Olivia's due date) about what is going on.

There are times when I feel optimistic and then there are times when I don't. A week and a half ago, just days after finding out I was pregnant, I lost control of my emotions and took several pregnancy tests so I could compare their darkness to my earlier tests. When they weren't as dark as I'd hoped, I started spiraling into more and more worry.

Last Sunday, I had a moment when I realized I felt calm and pretty confident. I had shared about the pregnancy on my blog and knew many people had us in their thoughts and prayers. I wondered if that support was helping me get through.

Today I wore a pad all day because I woke up convinced that I would start bleeding.

The pendulum swings erratically and to extremes. Hopefully there will be reassuring news on Friday so it will swing back to the positive for a while.

When Support Becomes too Scary

March 2, 2015

In my newly and precariously pregnant state, I can’t go to tonight’s support group. I am not in a safe spot in my head, for one. I swing from sort of in control of my thoughts and positive thinking to ruled by emotions and convinced that this pregnancy is ectopic in a matter of minutes. Two, a group of pregnancy loss people can be a scary place. It’s there that you learn first-hand experiences of all sorts of unimaginable ways to lose a baby. It is there that you meet people who have lost babies way past your personal loss benchmarks, making it all the more clear to you that you and your baby are just never “safe.” So, I can’t go to my support group tonight which is sort of sad, because I need a lot of support. It’s not easy being in my head right now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Prayer of Desperation

March 2, 2015

Please let this be a healthy baby.
But if it isn't going to work out, please let it end quickly.
Please, God, don't let this be ectopic.
But even that would be better than getting so far along that I'm actually fooled into thinking everything will be ok and then have it ripped away.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Scared Stupid

March 2

Yesterday I went to the doctor for the first time this pregnancy. I think it's safe to say I was literally scared stupid while I was there. It started with the rising feeling of panic in the waiting room where I strategically chose the seat facing away from the other waiting patients. I was called back very quickly. Then the stupids set in full force. The lab tech gave me directions that I didn't process and had to ask her to repeat. As it turns out, I was supposed to put my things one chair chair and sit in another. She asked a few identifying questions. I did ok with the one about my birthday, but I stumbled over the challenging one about my middle initial. "Um, Jennifer Lynn, so L."  Then the draw happened and I raced out of there.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Looking for Signs

February 27, 2015

I am trying to find positive signs to keep hope. Today when I was trying to swipe the word blogger on my phone, it thought I typed violet. Also, the violet plant I have been nurturing since October just started flowering again a few weeks ago...right around the the time of conception. These signs brought hope.

But as soon as I found those glimpses of hope, I opened a drawer that I apparently haven't opened in years because staring back at me I saw a book about miscarriage that the doctor's office gave me with my second loss. In 2009. That I had completely forgotten about and certainly didn't expect to see while putting away laundry.  Not the kind of sign I was looking for!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I've Been Made

First things first. My post called Cringe was not a pregnancy announcement. I was simply venting about a practice that bugged me when I was pregnant with Olivia and the pregnancy before her because my track record indicates that merely being pregnant is not really a strong indication of anything good to come.

But it has come to my attention that quite a few people interpreted Cringe as a current complaint and therefore thought I was sharing news of a new pregnancy. You all know we are trying to conceive, so it makes sense. So here's the truth: Cringe was not a pregnancy announcement because I wasn't pregnant when I wrote it on February 19th. But in the two weeks between writing and posting Cringe, I found out I am pregnant. I've inadvertently been made.

We are ever so cautiously expecting a baby in the beginning of November.

Please save your congratulations for a MUCH later date (may I suggest when I'm holding a living newborn in my arms in November). Instead, please pray for a healthy baby. Please send me support as I traverse the very scary reality of pregnancy after multiple losses. Please cross your fingers that this time will be different.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Was That You, Olivia?

The grief counselor suggested keeping a list of things I'm grateful for. This is my list:

10/2 Daddy came to the 16 week appointment after all

10/3 The Swarovski crystal Olivia Collection Charm

10/5 The violet adorned keepsake box at the hospital

10/5 "Sleep Baby Safe and Snug" was the book Dr. L found at the hospital

10/25 The shooting star

10/30 The frame I chose for your pictures ended up being only 1/4 inch shorter than you. I like being able to look at it and know how big you were.

10/30 Daddy’s co-worker who has had a similar loss suggested we get together on 
November 6, my first day back to work, without knowing the significance of the day for me--great support that day!

11/23 The weather was wonderful for your memorial ceremony.

11/23 The balloons came with three stars as anchors--one for each of my girls to keep.

12/2 I had the courage to approach another mom at my support group who has a very similar story to mine.  It's unbelievable how much we have in common and can relate!

12/12 My Heart to Hold pillow arrived today. It is two shades of purple without them knowing about the violet being your symbol.

12/21 I learned today from my grief counselor that her research about your symbol, the violet, makes her think that it was no accident that we chose that flower. So much meaning!

2/15 after nearly two months of no flowers, The violet is budding

Thursday, March 5, 2015


February 19, 2015

When I call the doctor's office to tell them I'm pregnant, the receptionist congratulates me and I cringe. I know far too well getting pregnant doesn't guarantee a baby and therefore congratulations seem premature. So many things can go wrong between that positive pregnancy test and delivering a healthy, living baby nine months later.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Link

February 20, 2015

A few weeks ago, I was browsing the internet, and I came across a link that said something about why you shouldn't name your baby Olivia. If I'd seen this just a month ago, it would probably have sent me into a fit of tears. Instead, it piqued my interest and I clicked the link. What I saw was sort of funny and then the ending really made me go hmm...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Proposal

Over the last eight years, I’ve had seven pregnancies. Two ended in the births of my wonderful daughters, Lily (7) and Ella (4). Five have ended in losses between 5 and 16 weeks. Chemical pregnancy, miscarriage, missed miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and late miscarriage are all part of my history. With the most recent loss of Olivia Claire at 16 weeks on October 5, 2014, I’ve turned to writing and art as a way to work through the grief.

I am writing to propose displaying a collection of my writing and artwork on your exhibit wall as a way to raise awareness about pregnancy loss.  In addition, I wish to work in conjunction with Sara to hold a workshop about art and writing as ways to work through the grief of pregnancy and infant loss. I believe this would be an integral part of my healing process as it would give me a chance to help others who find themselves in their darkest, neediest days just as I was a few short months ago. I truly believe that the active grieving I’ve done, primarily through these mediums, is the reason why I am able to be in a position of offering support so soon after the devastation of losing my daughter. Sarah has suggested October 2015 as a target month for this display and workshop since it will coincide with Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This timing would be of special significance to me since it would be an opportunity for me to honor my daughter on the first anniversary of her death.

Thank you for your consideration. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Proposal

February 13, 2015

When I first went to see my grief counselor in October, there was a display of art and memorabilia provided by families who had experienced pregnancy or infant loss. The exhibits change monthly, and since it was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, this fitting exhibit was waiting for me when I came stumbling in on that first day.

Over the last few months, my counselor has mentioned several times in passing that I have amassed such a collection of art and writing that perhaps I could create entire exhibit on my own sometime. I expressed interest a few times and finally at my last session, I told her I really was interested and wanted to talk about how to make it happen.

What she proposed was a bit more than I had in mind. In addition to hanging my art and writings for people to stop and look at while passing by, she suggested we create a workshop for others who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. We would allow time for observing and reflecting on my art. I would speak about each piece and the process and meaning it entailed. Attendees would have an opportunity share their stories and write about which of my pieces resonated with them most. Then there would be an art session in which everyone could create art of their own. It could be modeled after mine or not.

Her plan is to schedule this all for October when Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month rolls around again. How meaningful that would be for me to commemorate Olivia one year later. It’s crazy to think that just a few months after being at my darkest, neediest point I am now talking about how I can support others through the darkest, neediest days of their lives.

The first step in making this happen is she and I each need to write proposals. Hers will detail the event much like I’ve done above. My proposal needs to explain why I wish to hold such a workshop.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

What They Don't Know

February 13, 2015
Tonight Ella overheard me telling my mother in law about another mom who has lost three babies in the last year.

“I’m glad we’ve only lost one baby,” Ella reflected. “But I wish she was still here.”
“I do too,” I wistfully agreed.
“But she’ll always be with us,” she continued.

Ella’s musings about Olivia brought joy to my heart and I leaned over to kiss her on the forehead. It also resulted in a knowing look between my mother in law and me since I’ve actually lost five babies. Lily and Ella don’t know about our other losses though. One was before Lily, so it makes sense that they don’t know about that baby. I actually had Lily announce our third pregnancy to Troy, but when it ended a few weeks later, we just stopped talking about it and since she was only two, it just faded out of her memory. The next two we kept from them out of fear from the previous losses. They too ended early so we never had the chance to be “in the clear” and tell them. This is the only loss they know about, and for now, what they don’t know won’t hurt them.