It really is. Sure, I've been experiencing some major hormonal shifts right now, but that's a natural part of the postpartum period. The first month after having a baby is NOT fun as far as how my body feels, but it has almost been a month since Julien arrived and that means things are quickly going back to normal! A new normal, that is. No more anxious thoughts about being pregnant and no more poking obsessively at my baby to feel movement. It's freeing. Of course I still worry about my baby's safety and we constantly check to make sure he's breathing, but I think that's a normal "new parent" thing to do.
Julien is very healthy and is gaining lots of weight. He was born 8 lbs. 3 oz, but went down to 7 lbs. at his checkup a few days after birth. Then two weeks later he was at 8 and a half lbs. So he's doing very well.
During the Thanksgiving weekend we went to Sidney and stopped by the cemetery to visit Jonas. It was a quick visit and I didn't bring anything for him. I felt a little guilty about that, but it's harder to do those things with a new baby. My mind is all over the place lately. But of course I'm sure he's forgiving. :) In a few years, my boys will be able to pick something out to bring to their brother. I think they will enjoy doing that for holidays/birthdays.
Josiah loves his new brother! At first he was a little confused and sometimes called him Jonas. But now he's beginning to understand that the painting on our wall is Jonas, and this baby is Julien. I don't think he'll fully understand for a few years, though. Whenever we drive by a cemetery, he always says, "Look at all these Jonases!" haha...it's cute--and funny seeing how a 3 year old understands things.
Well, baby calls so I've got to wrap this up quickly. I'm not sure what direction this blog will be heading in. It is still meant for Jonas, so I will focus on him as much as I can.
Well, he's here! Born November 4th at 9:18 pm, weighing 8 lbs. 3 oz. and measuring 20 inches. He's absolutely perfect, and we can't stop staring at him. He's got light brown hair--my first brunette baby! We'll see if it stays brown. His eyes could possibly turn hazel like Zac's. He's so beautiful.
The labor/birth of Julien was very long and traumatic at the end. Everyone expected him to come quickly, since he's my third. Things progressed slowly, even though I demanded to be able to get up and walk around and move through the labor. That's what helped things go smoothly and easily with Jonas, so I knew I had to have that again. I did move a lot, but I was still uncomfortable. It was a typical hospital birth--hooked up to tubes and monitors and looking like a sick patient. I kept saying over and over that this is just wrong! Births weren't meant to be this way. I just wanted him here, though, so I was willing to do anything. I was induced slowly Wednesday night and was even having regular contractions before they started anything. But we found out later that Julien's head was laying sideways against the cervix, so only part of it was dilating. That's why it was taking so long. When I was about 8 cm, the nurses became frantic and were calling people in. Julien's heartrate was dropping after each contraction. They said it wasn't too serious as long as it didn't keep happening. Well, it did keep dropping and so they actually "refilled" the amniotic fluid inside me, which had broken earlier that afternoon. They wanted to keep him suspended so it would help the heart rate somehow. I'm so glad I refused to have them break the water first thing that morning. Knowledge is power and I knew that rupturing the membranes could possibly slow things down, and in my case Julien could have been in further danger. Then they attached a heart monitor to his head so they could get a more accurate reading. It began dropping lower...and lower...and they were panicking and started moving me around onto my sides trying to get it up again. Zac and I were unbelievably terrified. They put an oxygen mask on me. I came close to hyperventilating out of fear. The sound of Julien's heart slowing down to almost silence was the worst thing I've ever heard with one exception--the silence I heard on the heart monitor when they were searching for Jonas' heartbeat. I prayed and prayed and kept begging God, "Don't do this to us! This was supposed to be a safe and uneventful birth!" (But God doesn't DO things like this to us...that's another topic, though). I begged the nurse to do a c-section--get him out of me! I was about 9 cm and so very close, which is why I think they were waiting. I didn't care though. I prayed that I would feel the urge to push, and God answered me. I felt Julien descending and began to push. I pushed so hard that I almost passed out. I wanted him out NOW because his life depended on it. Finally he was born and when they put him on my chest, I cried out with joy.
Joy! It's something I haven't truly felt in awhile! It's been almost 2 weeks since he arrived (even though the date of this post says the 10th--it has taken me awhile to get this written out!). He is melting my heart. Breastfeeding has gone fairly well, besides the initial pain that comes with it. He has made it way easier on me than Josiah did. He has such a happy look on his face and doesn't cry too often. Not that crying is bad or anything, but this baby seems very peaceful. *knock on wood* Of course it IS only the second week, so we'll see how it goes.
Giving birth again definitely brought back many emotions and memories of Jonas. It's those little things that I remember. The smell of witch hazel pads will always remind me of birth. It has always made me feel sad, but I'm hoping I can now find peace in the memories of all three of my sons' births. I feel sad thinking that Jonas never got a chance at life besides the 9 months I carried him. But then I feel peaceful knowing that he was only making room for Julien's arrival. I see both Josiah and Jonas in Julien's face. He definitely has his own distinct features, though--different from the other two. He's beautiful. He is the perfect gift from God.
I will never be able to say that the hole in my heart has been filled. If Jonas were here, it'd be filled. That can never happen, though. But I can say that God has overflowed the rest of my heart with so much joy and love by bringing this baby here safely. I will always feel sad when I think of my baby boy who was too beautiful for Earth. His coming and going has shaped me into the person I was meant to be. But so has the births of Josiah and Julien. Everything falls into place eventually.
Welcome to our family, baby Julien Reese! We are now complete, and our empty arms are now filled. Just as Josiah lit up when he saw you, I know that Jonas was just as happy to become a big brother. You and Josiah are very lucky boys--you've got your own guardian angel up there.
This agonizing week is officially over at 8pm tomorrow night! I'm so ready. I've got a few nesting urges to clean tomorrow, but other than that, it's definitely time.
I told Zac today that I don't care about the fact that I will be up all night feeding Julien and that sleep-deprivation is right around the corner. Don't care about the poopy diapers. I don't care about the physical pain I'll be in after the birth. I don't care that I gained 40 lbs. on top of the 20 lbs. I wasn't able to lose after having Jonas. All I really care about is being able to hold a live baby in my arms. A pink baby screaming and crying and needing me!
I have been more paranoid the past few days than I have any other time during this pregnancy. I'm so scared. I constantly poke my little guy until he moves. He's probably irritated because I keep waking him up and won't let him sleep. I use my doppler every night just to be sure his heart is still beating. One more day. Just one more day, sweet baby!
My mind is a wandering mess lately. I can't focus on anything. I didn't vote because I don't know who any of the candidates are, which is unusual for me. If any of them could get my baby here safely, I'd vote for them. ;) When I look in the mirror, I can see how much I've aged over the past year and a half. It's sad, but that's what life and death does to you. Unfortunately, it happened earlier for me. I am confident that I will gain my youth back again.
Well, I will keep everyone updated! And I will share a picture of my rainbow baby as soon as I can. Thanks for keeping me and Julien in your prayers.
Also--I had to share these sculptures made by a woman on Etsy.com. They are very powerful and they make me cry every time I look at them. I'm definitely going to collect these someday.These can be found at http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheMidnightOrange?page=1
Well I suppose an update is in order. Don't panic--it's nothing horrible! Most people already know this, but I feel like I should update this anyway. I had the amniocentesis this morning, fully prepared to learn that Julien's lungs are mature and that we could go ahead and induce tonight. Things didn't quite go as planned. We learned that his lungs are NOT fully matured, which is unusual for 37 going on 38 weeks. We were slightly shocked and very disappointed. We have EVERYTHING ready to go for baby's arrival. They scheduled two more NSTs (non stress tests) within the next week and have postponed the induction for next Wednesday evening. I was pretty upset. I am in a lot of physical pain due to Julien being so low and putting pressure on everything down there. I panic if I haven't felt him move in awhile, so I was very much looking forward to getting him here a week earlier than planned. Of course I don't want him to be in the NICU hooked up to machines because his lungs aren't ready, but I also don't want something worse to happen to him in my belly. It's so frustrating. All I could think about was how there was no way I could do this for another week! But I have to--no way around it. There's a reason, right? There's a better time and day for him to be born. God knows what He's doing. I'll try not to question His reasons.
I've got to mention how horribly awful the amnio was this morning! I was nervous, that's for sure. But I did get calmed down enough to get it over with. Unfortunately, that didn't matter. As soon as she got the needle through my belly and it began to poke the uterus, I hunched over and gagged! Every time she tried to get it through, I gagged and eventually started throwing up. Zac got to hold a bed pan for me to puke in, lucky him. They said I have a very sensitive uterus HAHA...they wanted to know if I wanted to stop, but if I stopped then I definitely wouldn't have been induced tonight. So I went to my happy place and they finally got through the uterus to get a sample. It was so uncomfortable and weird. My belly was so sore afterward, and they hooked me up to monitor the baby's heart and my contractions. It's still pretty sore and it hurts to stand up. So after all that, Julien won't be coming tomorrow anyway--of course! haha...So that's my amnio story. It was great fun.
Once again, I'll keep this updated. Thanks everyone for thinking of me and praying for me today--you'll get another chance soon enough!
I had an ultrasound today, which revealed that Julien is doing well, is still a boy (I got to take home a great penis shot! lol), and apparently has lots of hair already! But it also revealed that the placenta is very large and "matured". They said it's a grade 3 placenta and has some calcification on it. So basically, it is almost like it is much older than Julien is. Like it's 40 weeks along and Julien is only 36 weeks. It's very strange--I've never heard of that until now. The problem with an "aged" placenta is that it can begin to no longer function. That's bad, because the placenta is pretty much what keeps the baby alive. If it begins to deteriorate, that means baby isn't getting the nutrients/oxygen he needs.
Soooo since the recommendation was made to this already terrified preggo girl to induce next week, when I am exactly 38 weeks along, I readily agreed. My doctor, who is considered one of the best, if not THE BEST high-risk doctor in Colorado, said they'd need to do an amniocentesis the morning before. It will show if Julien's lungs are fully developed, because if they aren't then we'll have to wait. But at 38 weeks, I'm thinking he'll be ready.
I am so afraid of the amnio! If you don't know what it is, it's a gigantically long needle that they will poke into my belly to extract some amniotic fluid. I've heard that it makes the uterus contract and CAN be painful, although some say it's not so bad. Either way, I'm scared. Please don't poke Julien! That's also a scary thought. They use ultrasound to do it, though...and like I said, they are very skilled doctors. Still.....I always swore I'd never get an amnio. Too risky, I always thought. Unnecessary...but seriously, what option do I have? No way in hell would I risk another stillbirth. I've got to just do what I need to in order to get him out here safe in my arms.
Anyone willing to pray that Julien decides to come early on his own? That'd be amazing....although, not typical with my pregnancies. Time to work on some natural induction methods and make last minute preparations for baby's arrival! Love this picture. It's totally how I feel right now.
From now until I deliver, I'll be going into the doctor's office to have two non-stress tests per week. Basically, I get to sit in this huge comfy leather chair while they strap a fetal heart monitor and a contraction monitor onto my belly. There's a basket full of snacks and juice that I can pig out on, which makes the baby active so they can get a good view of his heartbeat. So far, I've been twice--one last week and one today. The next one is Thursday, and after that it's every Monday and Thursday in October. I actually enjoy going, because it's so calming listening to Julien's heart beat. It can take up to an hour depending on how active he is, but so far I've only had to sit for about 20 minutes because they have been able to get some great info very quickly on how he's doing. I don't enjoy driving downtown twice a week, but that's just because I'm a small town girl trying to make it in the city...haha that's a song, right?
So today I met a nurse who hasn't worked with me yet. She asked me about Jonas and when that happened. She told me how sorry she was, and that she also had a full-term stillbirth 31 years ago. She said she went on to have two healthy children after that. She said there's nothing worse than what we've gone through, and she understands everything I am going through right now in these last few weeks of my subsequent pregnancy. She said she just delivered a stillborn baby the other day at another hospital, and the girl just looked up at her and said, "I don't understand! I can't understand this..." Such a reminder of how I felt when I found out. I was the same way. Questions like, "Why me? Why so late in the game? This isn't happening...how did this happen...what did I do wrong?" I felt like I was in another world. This COULDN'T be my life! Oh that horrible disgusting pain that I only rarely take myself back to these days, because I literally feel it all over again. It's so easy for me to talk about my baby Jonas, but it is SO hard going back to that painful moment of finding out--even harder than the moment I gave birth to him.
She showed me the printout of his heart rate and explained what they look for. Each time he moves, the heart rate should go up just a little bit and then quickly come back down. Julien's heart rate was just like they want it, so that's definitely reassuring. She said that if they move and the heart rate stays the same or shoots down and that happens frequently, then the baby could be in trouble. There could be problems with the cord. She said that if our babies had been monitored like this, then perhaps something could have been done. The sad fact is, Jonas' heart rate WAS monitored for 30-45 min. once a week for about 8 weeks. It's standard practice in German hospitals even if you're not high-risk. It's so confusing to me--why didn't they catch anything? Did they just not know what to look for? That along with ultrasounds every week those last couple of months...what was the point? I know....frustrating questions that don't really mean anything right now. What happened, happened. I don't blame anyone. But who wouldn't think of these things?
Something else stuck out to me that the nurse said today. She said that her sub pregnancies just felt different. This pregnancy does feel different to me. When I was pregnant with Jonas, I really didn't buy much and like I said I didn't have a shower. We didn't take a tour of the hospital. It was an unplanned pregnancy, the result of Zac returning from his deployment. ;) I was terrified of having two boys who would be less than 2 years apart. Zac was scheduled to deploy again shortly after the birth, and I didn't know what I would do in Germany without my family there for support. Lots of worries, but I was still happy about it. Towards the end, I did have that very brief thought that something would go wrong. I remember where I was when I thought it. I was driving in a traffic circle on the base.
But with this pregnancy, even with all my fears, it has been so different. I have bought a lot of new stuff for Julien. The other day I was talking to Zac about it, and we both have a good feeling. We know that he is going to come home with us. I am constantly aware of his movements, but I wasn't with Jonas...I didn't believe that being "paranoid" about kicks would do me any good. This time, I KNOW the paranoia is a good thing. It's good to be concerned and to overreact if necessary. It's better to be safe than sorry. I've had a few instances where I couldn't remember when I felt him last. I poke at him and talk to him and drink water--eventually he starts moving. If I'm REALLY scared, I have that wonderful fetal doppler where I can actually hear his heartbeat myself. It's been great!
So other than the usual aches and pains of pregnancy (heartburn, knee pain, pelvic pain, back pain, insatiable thirst, always being hot, trouble getting comfortable at night and when I finally do having to pee 10 times a night, always being out of breath, stretch marks, weight gain, crazy emotions, big feet), I'm feeling pretty good! I'm trying to update this as often as possible since this week I'll be 36 weeks and I feel like this is a major event that is unfolding on my blog. I know lots of people are praying, and so I want to give regular updates. :)
Just for fun, a picture of me before life got TOO complicated. :) 2006, age 22 And Zac, around 2003 And this is us with Joss this summer. I was about 24 weeks pregnant.
I'm 34 weeks, going on 35 weeks on Thursday! I have been feeling very optimistic lately. I'm getting more and more convinced that Julien will arrive here safely. The clock is ticking, and I've almost got everything ready to go for him. The diapers are washed and the crib is ready to go. Took a tour of the hospital, had a baby shower, packed the diaper bag and hospital bag, and have been organizing the apartment like crazy. Just a few things left to do!
The baby shower was great! Thanks Krista and Brianna! And thanks to all my friends/family who could make it and who gave such great gifts. It was really special. Oh and thanks for the ice cream cake, which added about 5 lbs. to my weight in a week. ;) My sister has some pictures from the shower, so once I get them I will share a few.
I started going to a prenatal chiropractor last week. She is Webster Technique certified. The WT is great for moving babies into the best position for labor, especially if they are breech. That isn't why I started going, but it's a bonus. I've been having some pelvic pain. Things are stretching pretty far and very easily down there. It hurts. It feels like all my pelvic bones are bruised and it's like I've been kicked down there by a horse or something--not cool! So she did a thermal scan of all my vertebrae, and she showed me a color-coded image of my spine and what was out of place. Red is bad, and of course my entire neck and shoulders were red. She told me I have way too much stress there and I need to loosen up-HAHA...I'd have to agree. :) But unfortunately virgin margaritas aren't doing it for me! So anyways, she's been working on all my bones and it's amazing! The WT makes the baby move a lot because she is lining things up in there that are off-kilter and creating more room for him. I LOVE all the movements--it's very reassuring.
The hospital tour really impressed me. There are DVD-VCR combos and flat screen tvs so I can finally watch my Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion VHS! lol...There are jacuzzi tubs in the bathrooms and I'm planning on spending a LOT of time in them. Room service too! I was so happy to hear that I do not have to be hooked up to a fetal monitor the entire time I'm in labor, which will allow me to get up and walk around. I've experienced two types of labor/delivery--the pitocin (induction)-IV-fetal monitor strapped to belly-epidural-lying in bed for 25 hours birth, and the free to walk around-labor in tub-16 hour labor-easy recovery birth. I'm REALLY hoping for the latter type of birth, only shorter since it will be my third. I really don't know how it will go, just as no woman can plan her birth experience. Obviously, I just want him here safely and I'll do anything to make that happen.
The postpartum rooms have beautiful mountain views, which I think will be so peaceful and so surreal for me after giving birth to my rainbow baby. I'll never forget the view we had the day that Jonas was born. It was a typical rainy German day. So cold and so dreary. The curtains opened up to the German hillsides--so green, but surrounded by fog and a gray, wet sky. It looked exactly like the way I felt. Some sun could have done me well, but there was none to be found for at least a month. Such dark days...it's still so difficult remembering what happened and how crushed I was inside.
I find myself begging God to keep Julien safe and to please, please let me get to take him home and keep him and feed him and bathe him and swaddle him...when I think about the worst, I think that no--there is absolutely no way I could go on anymore. This is it. This is my last pregnancy. I can't handle another one. So please God...protect my little boy.
I was in Sidney last weekend for the last time until I have Julien. I spent some time alone at Jonas' grave and decorated it with some Fall flowers and a scarecrow. I told him to watch over his little brother. I told him that he was not being replaced and that we'd always love him. And finally, I told him that the next time we visit, he'd get to meet Julien. :)Joss leaves a pine cone for Jonas each time he visits. :)
Josiah loves to visit his brother at the cemetery! But it's so hard catching him when it's time to leave!
Technically, almost 31 weeks as of tomorrow! 30 is a big one for me. I feel like the countdown is really on now. Since I will be induced at 39 weeks "just in case", I only have 8 weeks left. Julien will be here in two months. I've been nesting like crazy, buying little things here and there. My mom and dad ordered his crib, so that should be here soon. I've been getting lots of nursing supplies together, because I really struggled when I began breastfeeding Joss. I ended up being successful for 14 months, though. I am hoping this time will go smoother in the beginning, and now I will have some things that would have been useful during that trying time with Joss.
My cousin Krista and sister Brianna are planning a baby shower for me in a couple of weeks! I couldn't decide if I wanted/needed one since I've already prepared for two baby boys in the past 4 years, but they talked me into it! ;) I didn't have one for Jonas because we were in Germany and were never able to travel back home during that pregnancy. I always felt a little sad that he didn't get that celebration, which is why I kind of feel guilty that I get a shower for Josiah and Julien. And yet, how difficult would that have been to have had all these gifts for Jonas and not know what to do with them when he passed away? I have a few outfits that were given to me for him and some that I bought, and I still tear up when I see them. So it was definitely a good thing that I did not have a shower for him. I really don't think he minds, anyway. ;) THANK YOU Krista and Brianna for planning my shower! It really means a lot to me, as this pregnancy is definitely something to celebrate!
Okay I've got to get this off my chest. If one more person comments on how big I am already, I will freak out! I mean, it's just rude! Please, just leave the large and uncomfortable pregnant woman alone--you do not want to mess with her! LOL....oh, and while we're talking about comments, I'm also really getting tired of this question, "Is this your first baby?" by complete strangers. EVERYWHERE I go, seriously! Three times just this week. Of course, I'm sure this happens to every pregnant girl, but most don't have to struggle with their answer. I've been saying it's my third, because that's the truth. I know I always talk about this in my blog, but that's because it's the one thing that continuously comes up and that always makes me feel a slight twinge of pain in my heart. It's fine when that's the end of the conversation, but lately it has led to, "Oh, how old are your other two?" (They're 3 and 1 and a half.) "Oh so you're going to be SO busy!" (yep, sure.) "Boys or girls?" (Boys.) I know that people mean well--pregnancy is a great conversation starter. I don't wish harm upon them, don't worry. But honestly, I just really want to be left alone lately. I hate the attention I get this time. Probably because of the fear surrounding this pregnancy. While most people are so happy and glowing, I am a total downer and I know I'm not a joy to be around. This pregnancy has been so demanding both emotionally and physically. I wanted it to be very peaceful and stress-free, but it hasn't turned out that way. It has been the most stressful pregnancy of all three. And that scares me. There are many reasons why I am under a lot of stress, but I don't want to share them here. I wish I could hide under a blanket all day with no one around me and just enjoy complete silence. I need some sort of peace right now, but I don't feel that it will come to me anytime soon. I just want my little Julien to be free of my dangerous body and safe in my arms. Not yet though...wait at least 6 weeks, little guy, and then come meet your anxiously awaiting parents. :)
Thanks for listening...
30 Weeks pregnant with Joss, Jonas, and Julien, respectively
I'm 28 weeks now! As soon as I hit 30 weeks, I will feel relieved. I've said that with many weekly milestones..."as soon as I hit 13 weeks (chance of miscarriage goes down)...18 weeks (my big ultrasound)...24 weeks(the baby has a chance of survival if born now)...and now I'm thinking 30 weeks. Not sure why. Maybe because it feels so close to the end! At 28 weeks, I am getting so close. Just a few more months to go.
I started doing kick counts yesterday, which is exactly when I turned 28 weeks. I printed out a chart to keep track of them everyday. It's nerve-wracking. I never did them with Josiah or Jonas. I always felt that it was silly and that everything would be fine and that it would just make me paranoid. I read a story after Jonas was born about a woman whose baby survived only because she had been keeping track and noticed changes in the baby's movement. She immediately went to the hospital where an ultrasound discovered that the baby's heart rate was deteriorating and they needed to get him out NOW. That baby's life was saved just in time. So now I know that there is a good reason to keep track of baby's movement. I've thought many times that maybe Jonas would be here if I had kept track. But that's one of those thoughts that just can't be in my mind anymore. As overused as this phrase is, I believe it--there's a reason why Jonas came and went through our lives. Something that I've been thinking about as well is that Julien would not exist had Jonas not come and gone. That sounds so unfair for Jonas, though. Although I think he's okay with it. He's safe and sound in Heaven and I don't have to worry about his safety or health. There's also a reason why Julien is coming. He has his own purpose on Earth.
We now have Julien's car seat/stroller! Since this will be our last baby, I wanted to buy a new one. I buy almost everything used when it comes to baby stuff, so I thought I'd splurge and buy this new. My awesome parents are going to buy the crib soon. I've been putting that off the most. Maybe because Jonas' empty crib was the hardest thing to look at. Thankfully our awesome friends Brandee and Chris took it down for us while we were home for the funeral. But anyways, maybe I'm afraid to put it up? The other part of me (the crazy nesting preggo part of me) is telling me to get going so everything's ready! I've still got lots to do.
It's interesting how me being pregnant always leads people to ask how many kids I have or if this is my first pregnancy. Of course those are natural questions to ask, but wow I get so sick of the ongoing battle inside my head on what to say. Last week it happened at the dentist a few times. What I've been saying to people like this, whom I will most likely never see again, is that this is my second pregnancy/baby. I flat out lie. It's easier than dealing with more awkward questions-"How old are your other two?"-Which I've done and it felt so weird talking about Jonas like he has always been here with us--Or telling them that my second baby died, which either leaves them speechless or apologizing thus making me feel pitied. However, I'm hoping that someday I will reach a point in my life where I will say something like, "Two at home, and one in Heaven." When someone loses a parent, they don't deny that that parent ever existed. So why should I hide the fact that I have three sons?Josiah Liam, 2 months
Jonas Elliot 3.12.2009 Julien Reese, due 11.10.2010
Time for an update. Julien kicks all the time--he's even kicking now! It's such a beautiful feeling, and I treasure it now more than I ever did with my past pregnancies. I'm getting so excited about the life growing in me. I know that these months are going to be my most peaceful moments. The last month will be extremely difficult, so I am relishing the second trimester. Here are some fun 25 weeker comparisons of my pregnancies with Josiah, Jonas, and Julien, respectively. The past few weeks have been very difficult in other ways, though. My grandma passed away on July 17th, and the funeral was the following Wednesday in my hometown of Sidney, NE. My grandpa hadn't been doing well for over a month and was in the hospital about an hour away from there, so he couldn't even attend the funeral. It was so sad. Then, two days after we buried my grandma, my grandpa passed away. They died within a week of each other. My grandma had Alzheimer's for the past ten or so years, and it got progressively worse over the last couple of years. I barely recognized her the last time I saw her in the nursing home, which was in June. But now she is freed from that disease! My grandpa's funeral was exactly a week after hers, and it was a very difficult service. I think that because we were still grieving over my grandma, the pain of losing my grandpa was intensified. I hadn't been to a funeral since Jonas's, but I feet like I've been dealing with death for a year and a half already, so I already knew how to deal with this new grief/pain. We have many treasures that my grandpa left behind. He was an amazing woodworker and had given everyone pieces of his art. I treasure them even more, now. I am also very glad that I have a picture of my grandparents holding Josiah. Jonas is very lucky because he has his great-grandparents to play with him in Heaven. They loved children, so I'm sure they're enjoying that. :)
He has a name! We were going back and forth between two names for awhile, but finally settled on Julien. Picking a name is SO hard...seriously...I find it humorous that I had a girl's name picked out for almost 10 years and NO boy names in mind. Now we have all boys! :) Julien means "youthful" and Reese means "enthusiastic". We didn't pick his name based on the meaning, but I'm thinking he's going to be a happy little boy with those meanings. We didn't even know the meaning of Jonas until after he was born--I'm not sure why I never bothered to look! But it was a pleasant surprise in the midst of everything.
Since I'm well into the 2nd trimester, I'm constantly hungry and have started packing on the pounds. I wasn't gaining much at all up until a few weeks ago when my body decided I needed more poundage. I won't stress about it, as the previous pregnancies have taught me that I cannot control my weight and pounds=healthy weight baby. Plus, breastfeeding will do wonders for the extra weight I put on with Jonas and this baby. I didn't realize how quickly it makes you lose weight until I compared Josiah's birth, where I lost 30 lbs. in the first 2 weeks, and Jonas' birth--where I lost 10 lbs. in a month because I wasn't able to breastfeed. So, I'm looking forward to that experience again. Julien moves all the time! It's a beautiful feeling. He's very active, and I'm so surprised how well I can feel him this early. At 21 weeks, Zac could feel him move from the outside. That is WAY earlier than last time! I love it.
I finally began preparing for Julien's arrival. I've been so hesitant. It's not that I didn't have faith, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. One of the most awful experiences was coming home after Jonas was born. That empty crib in a decorated nursery was unbearable. The drawers full of baby clothes that I had so nicely folded for him. Everything was in its place. Everything except my baby boy. He was supposed to be in the "nest" I prepared for him. I remember being angry and crying while taking apart the bassinet in our room. I shoved it in a closet in anger and collapsed in tears. There was so much that I had done in 9 months that had to be undone. Everyone who was awaiting news of Jonas' arrival had to be told the tragic story. My name had to be deleted from "due date clubs" on forums. When WIC called to see how the new baby was doing, I had to tell them what happened. So many awful horrible situations had to come my way! And I had to plan a funeral and bury my son and then leave him in Nebraska while I went back to Germany. This is why it's been so difficult for me to pull out all the baby clothes again and fold them into nice little piles for Julien. In my head, I have more than once asked, "Am I doing this in vain? Are all my preparations going to be for nothing again?" It's such a sad thought, so I try to clear my mind quickly when I think that way. I just know that I couldn't bear such pain again. As the weeks go by, I have more and more hope. Deep down, I know I will be taking my baby home with me this time. :)
Well that's all for now! Here's a belly pic of me at 22 weeks. :)
BLUE! Like I said in my announcement text his morning...So much for instincts! hahaha. I just laughed when the ultrasound tech told Josiah that he was going to have a little brother. She said exactly what was said when we found out Josiah was a boy--"That is DEFINITELY a boy!"
Am I disappointed? Nah. Surprised? YES! I was so sure this was a girl based on how different this pregnancy has been for me. I guess things just change with each subsequent pregnancy. We're super excited, of course. I was so sad when Josiah would no longer have a little brother to grow up with, and now that excitement is back. So what if I already put a ton of pink and purple cloth diapers on my amazon baby registry? I'll just have to change them all to blue and green. :)
So now I must say my goodbyes to the Juliana I have always pictured in my head, and welcome my new little boy into my life! I wasn't meant to have a daughter. Instead I have the wonderful opportunity to raise two boys who will know how to treat women and who will learn to be respectful and grateful for everything they're blessed with. It's going to be a fun adventure!
This photo was taken by the organization "Say it With Flowers", which is very similar to the name in the sand organization. They do this as a gift to bereaved parents. I think it turned out beautiful--I love the white flowers! I also submitted a recipe in the fall for a cookbook being put together by bereaved parents/relatives for the Miss Foundation, which is a grief forum that I have visited since I lost Jonas. It has helped me tremendously, and I thought it would be nice to have a recipe dedicated to him. It's a brownie recipe that I've made since I was little. My dedication says,
Our Thoughts of You Will Always Be Sweet In memory of Jonas Elliot, born sleeping on March 12th, 2009. You were just too beautiful for Earth, our sweet little dove.
It's been a year and 3 three months since our little Jonas came. I can't believe it's already been that long. Zac and I just celebrated our 5th anniversary, and tomorrow we find out if we're having a boy or a girl! Definitely nervous as usual, but tomorrow's ultrasound will be an in-depth look at how our baby is doing so it will give me lots of reassurances. They'll be looking for all sorts of issues, and I expect none. I will always fear that earth-shattering silence instead of a heartbeat, but I am feeling very optimistic. The main reason is because I can now definitely feel some little kicks in there! It began a few days ago. I know I felt some little "bubbles" at about 14 weeks, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. I haven't felt movement after that until now. It's very reassuring. Also, I've been trying to focus on relaxation. I ordered this cd, called "Heartstrings: Visualizations for Pregnancy." So far, it's been wonderful. If I start to feel stressed or overwhelmed, I grab the ipod and listen to this. It's a mixture of instrumental music and affirmations. There's a woman who says things like, "My body is a safe haven for my baby," or "My baby is surrounded by peace and joy." Slightly cheesy, yes...BUT it works. It's what I need, and I'm so happy I bought it. The fears aren't going to go away, but things like this can help calm them.
Well, I'll be updating this tomorrow for sure after my appointment! Once again, please think of me and pray for me. :)
I feel like I'm on one! Some days are so wonderful, but others are so difficult. This pregnancy is so scary. I feel that paranoia until each appointment I go to. It's like I live for the next appointment and I can't breathe in between. I am so scared that my baby is no longer alive, even though very deep down I know she'll be okay. I no longer possess the happy ignorance that most pregnant women have, unfortunately. I long to be ignorant again. This type of ignorance is a good one because it allows you to have a peaceful, worry-free pregnancy because stillbirths only happen to OTHER people. So, since it's already happened to me, you'd think I'd be off the hook, right? I'm hoping so. I'm praying every night and everyday. I pray that I'll go into labor 2-3 weeks early on my own because I hate being induced. But there is no way I'm allowing myself to be pregnant past 39 weeks, because that's around the time Jonas passed away. So if I have to be induced, I definitely will for peace of mind.
There is an organization called Tiny Heartbeats - www.tinyheartbeats.org - that rents out dopplers for free to pregnant women who have lost a previous pregnancy. You have to get a prescription from your doctor, and then they mail you the doppler. The purpose of it is mainly for peace of mind. I can listen to my baby's heartbeat just for comfort. I got the prescription at my last appointment, but I'm on a waiting list to get the doppler. Hopefully I can get it soon. It will especially be needed during the last couple of months.
Well, if you haven't entered a guess in my baby pool, you should do it soon! It's on the right hand side of this page. I find out next Monday (14th) if it's a boy or a girl. I'm hoping the baby cooperates so we can find out. I need to know if I'm on team pink or team blue. :) Oh, and at 17 weeks 3 days, baby is the size of an apple (that's for you, Brianna!).
Memorial Day Once again I am not in Sidney to be able to put flowers on Jonas' grave. I had to work today so it just wasn't possible. I did give him a couple of things when we were in Sidney last weekend, so here's a picture of the grave then. Please pardon the bird doo-doo...my dad always drives out to the cemetery with a bottle of water and keeps it clean, but when I took the picture he hadn't gone out there yet. My mom told me today that someone left a fresh calla lily for him. So sweet! Thank you to whomever did that. I love when others think about my baby boy.
In other news, I am 16 weeks pregnant now. I had my second prenatal appointment on May 19th (Josiah's birthday!). They did a very quick ultrasound just to hear the heartbeat so I got to see my little baby again! Still too early to tell the sex, though. Everything looked good. Zac and Josiah got to see the baby too. I'm doing excellent with my weight gain! The past two times I gained so much weight in the first trimester alone, and I haven't even come close to that yet and I'm in the second trimester. My next appointment is in exactly two weeks and that's when they will do the big important ultrasound where they look very closely at anything that could be wrong. It will be scary, but that's when I will find out if it's a boy or a girl so that's exciting! I'm tired of wondering! Still thinking it's a girl... ;)
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!
Here's a little comparison of my pregnancies: (Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of myself at around 15 weeks while I was pregnant with Josiah) 15 Weeks Pregnant with Jonas
I am wearing a pair of shoes. They are ugly shoes, Uncomfortable shoes. I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair. Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step. Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes. They are looks of sympathy. I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs. They never talk about my shoes. To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them. But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes. There are many pairs in this world. Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them. Some have learned how to walk in them so they don't hurt quite as much. Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes. Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman. These shoes have given me the strength to face anything. They have made me who I am. I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.
That's pretty much my life these days--lots of hoping and waiting. I am hoping this baby stays put and stays alive, and I am waiting impatiently for each appointment where I can hear the heartbeat and also for the next 6 months to pass quickly. My next appointment is on Josiah's 3rd birthday--May 19th. Next week! It's not an ultrasound, but I'm assuming they will listen to the heartbeat with the fetal monitor. I am approximately 13 weeks and 3 days and my baby is the size of a lime, apparently. :) Most sources say that puts me in the second trimester, but some say I'm still in the first. I get a little pregnancy newsletter each week, and this week said that I'm out of the "high-risk zone"!! yay!! haha...that was slightly sarcastic because like I've said before, I'll never be out of the zone!
Lots of baby boys being born on facebook these days!! And I can honestly say that I am so happy for all of my friends! I couldn't say that honestly a year ago, because it was very difficult seeing babies born soon after Jonas. I felt horrible feelings that one usually wouldn't admit to, but I will because I'm not going to hide anything on here. I felt jealous that MY baby did not get to live (for what reason?) and I felt stripped of the joy that comes with sharing photos of new babies. (I felt stripped of EVERYTHING)... I had photos, that's true. But they're photos that make people cry with sadness and they're photos that people are too afraid to look at. A photo of a dead baby is simply morbid, right? Not at all! We cherish the photos we have of Jonas. Though he was pretty bruised up and swollen, he was so beautiful to US. And really that's all the photos are for. The reason I had his picture painted (THANK YOU KELLY KOZAK!!) was specifically so I could share my son with pride just like everyone else. I have come a very long way from those raw feelings of sadness and grief. Grief that is so new is so complex and the feelings that come with it are so confusing. I'm not sure what stage I'm in, but being able to finally be happy for other people is a weight lifted from my shoulders. Being pregnant myself has helped, but my happiness began before my rainbow baby.
Zac and I have been considering names! I've had a girl name picked out since I was in college--I've just been waiting on the girl! Juliana Rose, and also considering Juliana Lorie. Lorie is a middle name that has been passed down on my grandma's side of the family. The reason why we gave Josiah his name is because I wanted all J's since I grew up with 4 B's. So when we found out that Jonas was a boy, we had a heck of a time finding another J-name for a boy!! Sooo....will this be our Juliana? The entire reasoning behind the J's? haha....I'll find out on June 14th! As for boy names, we're considering Julien and Jack. No middle names yet. I do have friends whose sons are named Jack, so hopefully I'm not breaking any rules by using it too? haha...It's super cute, though. I really like Julien also, and if I can't have my Juliana then how about a Julien? ;)
I saw that beating heart today that I've been yearning to see for so long! I was a nervous wreck, but my cousin kept me grounded. She probably doesn't know that, but she kept my mind off of things. For a minute I thought I would throw up right there in the waiting room before the ultrasound! Didn't happen, thankfully! Laying on the ultrasound table with goop being poured on my stomach brought back so many memories and emotions, though. I braced myself as I saw my little baby. I found the little beating heart and all was well. I shed a couple tears but mostly laughed because this baby was so squirmy! She had a beautiful heart rate of 180 bpm. Well now I'm afraid to say "she" because the doctors said with my history of boys it could definitely be a boy! Haha--But I seriously don't care--I was so excited last time to have two boys who could grow up together. So if it is another boy, I'd love it. :) And by the way, I'll find that out on June 7th! They ran a LOT of tests today since it is a high-risk pregnancy medical group. I'm not worried at all about that stuff. They said the baby looked great right now and they have no concerns about downs syndrome or anything. Well that's it for now. THANK YOU so much to everyone who prayed for me and gave me encouragement! I feel so much better today and have a renewed sense of hope.
Tomorrow is my first prenatal appointment. I am 11 weeks and will be 12 weeks on Saturday. You have no idea how scared I am! I think about it all the time and I think how surprised and happy I will be to see a heartbeat. What if there isn't one, though? It's a possibility. I don't THINK it will happen to me, but I still worry. Better now than on my due date, I figure. No signs of miscarriage so far, so I think all is well. I have had many many dreams about miscarrying this baby. I wake up so relieved that it was just a dream! As you can tell, I am very paranoid and very scared. I have so much longer to go, too! God please help me get through this! Pregnancy is supposed to be such a joyous time, but life has tainted me so now my pregnancy is full of fear and "what if"...There is no "safe point" for me in my pregnancy. The books always say that if you get past the first trimester, then miscarriage probably won't happen. Then they say that if you get past 24 weeks and your baby is born early, then there's a great chance she can survive because of medical technology. And then of course once you get into the third trimester...nothing can possibly go wrong except for maybe a premature baby but again the chances of survival are so great at that point. Every book failed to mention how my baby could pass away inside me a week before he was due. I was never warned and I never took kick counts seriously.
So needless to say, I'm so scared! I think that once I see a heartbeat, many worries will wash away. I will be so happy! I will most likely cry. I will probably throw up all morning because of how nervous I will be. My cousin is coming with me and I am SO thankful! I need a lot of support. I will keep you all updated. Please pray for me and little baby Phillips.
Most of you know that I'm pregnant with our third baby. She is due around November 13th. I say "she" because after two boys, it's gotta be a girl! :) Of course I thought Jonas would be a girl and I was wrong, so who knows! I should find out in June.
I would like to start writing about this pregnancy journey because it is already so unlike my last 2 pregnancies. So much fear, paranoia, sadness, happiness, and excitement. Such a mix of emotions. Instead of creating another blog, I'm going to merge both my grief journey and my subsequent pregnancy journey onto this blog. The loss of my 2nd pregnancy has so much to do with this rainbow pregnancy.
"Rainbow Baby": A baby born after the loss of another baby.
It might be a cheesy term, but it's also very fitting. Rainbows are a symbol of God's promises. The first rainbow appeared after the flood that destroyed the entire world except for those faithful to God. I definitely feel like I've been swept away in a flood over the past year. Thankfully, I did not drown. I'm really hoping that this rainbow is meant for me this time.
I got in touch with the best high-risk pregnancy doctors in Colorado. They are a group called Obstetrix/Pediatrix. They work with several hospitals here in Denver, but they recommended that I be seen at St. Lukes/Presbyterian hospital near downtown. I wasn't even sure if I'm considered high-risk or not, so they had to determine that. They decided that they would see me, which was an exception because usually you have to be referred there by your doctor. Since I don't even have a doctor and all this happened in Germany, they made the exception. I'm not sure what they are going to do differently from a normal pregnancy. In Germany, they did an ultrasound at every appointment and did extensive fetal-heart monitoring towards the end (which did no good). They don't usually do that here in America with normal pregnancies. My first appointment isn't until April 28th. I will be almost 12 weeks then.
So you can imagine how difficult it has been not being able to see my baby on an ultrasound or hear her heartbeat. The wait has been unbearable. I know I'm pregnant (5 positive home tests and a blood test say so), but the pessimistic side of me keeps preparing me for the worst. I already know how devastating it is to lay down for an ultrasound and hear no heartbeat. That would be nothing new. I don't know what it's like to have a miscarriage. I have been blessed to never have experienced that. They are more common than late-term stillbirths. I am so terrified, though. I'm afraid that I'll find blood one of these days, and every time I get indigestion I fear that maybe it's cramps and it's ending. My last two pregnancies weren't like this. Of course I worried slightly about miscarriage--every woman does. But now it's like I'm waiting for it. It's awful. I need to change my way of thinking. But I'm also afraid to get my hopes up. I'm trying to just relax and do things for myself--like the pedicure I have lined up (never had one!), facial, etc. I force myself to look at strollers and car seats and cribs. Most of all, I pray. If you pray, PLEASE mention me! Thanks for listening.
~~Just wanted to share a couple photos of us in Texas visiting Zac's family~~ This is Zac and me at Joe T. Garcias, which is a historic Mexican restaurant frequented by celebrities in old downtown Fort Worth.
Joss and me at the park. I'm about 6 or 7 weeks preggo here.
Here's some pictures of Jonas' first birthday in my hometown of Sidney, Nebraska where he is buried. I apologize for taking so long to get these up! Lots of stuff going on in our lives, as usual. It was a very peaceful day, surprisingly! It was so windy, though. We did a balloon release with my parents at the cemetery. We each let go of a balloon, but they all got stuck in the pine trees or popped!! It was pretty funny. I assume that was Jonas' sense of humor at work there since I'm sure he takes after his daddy and brother. :) However, my mom let go of hers last and it was the only one that made it! It was the yellow one, so that must be his favorite color. We were happy that he at least got one balloon in Heaven. :)
This page has been written in loving memory of our baby boy, Jonas Elliot, who was born quietly into the arms of Jesus on March 12th, 2009-a day after his due date-in Wittlich, Germany. He will forever be in our hearts.
Zac and I are also blessed with our son, Josiah Liam, who keeps us entertained and busy! On 11.04.2010, we were blessed with our rainbow baby Julien Reese! Our little comedian. :)