It's been a little over two weeks since my emergency room visit, but it feels like so much longer. Such a scary day for us.
I was fine while getting ready for school. I felt fine. Hackett and I walked into his school. The students are not released to their classrooms until a certain time. We were waiting in the hall, Hackett had me walk just a few feet to look at a bulletin board, and I felt a "whoosh". I was carrying some ice cream for his Valentine's party. I didn't know if it was fluid or blood, but I knew it wasn't good and I knew I needed to escape the sea of kids in case it got worse. I quickly handed Hackett the ice cream and told him to go to his classroom when they were released. I bolted to the bathroom, scared to see what I would find. As I sat an the miniature elementary toilet my heart fell to the floor. It was blood and there was a lot. I cleaned myself the best I could I knew I needed medical attention, but was unsure where to go - ER or Labor and Delivery. I walked down the hall and Hackett rushed towards me in tears. Me bolting from him was scary and he didn't know where I had rushed to. I tried to explain that mommy had an emergency and needed to get the bathroom. He buried his head into me and I felt lost. I wanted to care for him, but needed to care for me. My tears started. His principal is the sweetest and saw there was a problem. She knows my history, I just mouthed "I'm bleeding". Her eyes filled with tears and she assured me she had Hackett. I walked out the doors crying and was met by another angel at the school. who got me to my car. My hands were shaking as I called the after hours number and learned the ER was my destination. (I realized later that our Little Pumpkin was not viable yet, so until that date I will not go to Labor and Delivery). The amazing staff at Hackett's school called the high school for me, offered me rides and prayers, and even text me pictures of Hackett safe and happy.
I called Kevin and drove away in tears. I knew the bleeding was not caused by a subchorionic hematoma. I had one of those with Koen, they can see it in the ultrasound. I had confirmed just weeks before that I did not have one present. I thought our baby was gone ... again. At a stoplight in town, a small silver car pulled up next to me and the driver sadly waved. It was Kevin. We drove in tandem to the ER, unsure of what we would learn. They struggled getting my blood pressure, because it was so high. They did an exam, blood work, and a urine sample via catheter. We then waited to be taken to get an ultrasound. It was all so similar to the events with Koen. Waiting for an ultrasound machine to tell us if our baby was alive or dead. While we waited we talked and I told Kevin that I was done. I can't go through this again. I can only bury so many babies. We asked God, "why?". We hope that God wants to show just how many mountains He can move to get Little Pumpkin safely in our arms. We just sat, waited, and stared.
I looked away at the ultrasound. Unable to watch our fate. She was gracious and quickly turned the screen towards us so that we could see Little Pumpkin wiggling and that beautiful heart blinking. We had not lost our baby. We both broke down in sobs of relief.
The ER doctor came in later. He told us that all lab results looked normal and the "fetus" was alive. We needed to go see my OB that afternoon where he would explain more.
It started last night a little bit and more this morning ... I am bleeding again. Not like last week, but it is scary. I spoke with the doctor this morning and unfortunately nothing can be done. I must lie low and wait. I have to wait to see if it gets worse or if severe pain sets in. I am finding it hard to pray as I sit in fear and am asking that you raise me up.
Today has been emotional for us. I began to research antiocardiolipin antibodies, which is the the autoimmune disease that I tested above normal for. What this means is I am more susceptible to blood clots. A large risk when positive for this is miscarriage and/or still birth. This could have been to blame, in part, for yesterday. My doctor has spoke with our specialist. Having this condition alone would put make me a high risk pregnancy. Add in my history and I am at even more risk. I was already high risk and under close monitoring, so that will not change. In 6 weeks they will retest my blood to see if my levels are still above normal. I will also now be seeing the specialist at 24 weeks, something that hadn't been planned before. My doctors have advised me to take a medical leave of absence from work, and that process has begun. I am not on full bed rest, but limited activity to reduce any chance of the placenta pulling away from my uterus - which they believe is the real cause of the bleeding yesterday that put me in the ER.
My honest truth today is that I am defeated. I am feeling low, sad, and scared. I am upset with my body. I feel my baby move and pray that I won't have to bury our little pumpkin next to our little muffin. At times today I felt physically ill and sick to my stomach. I woke early this morning with thoughts swirling through my head - so much to process. I don't plan to stay in this valley, but today it is where I reside.
We go to bed this evening with very heavy hearts. Today a sweet, loving woman, who meant a great deal to Kev and I, went to see Jesus. She is so loved by us and we will miss her dearly.
This has been a very tough week for our family. The cherry on top was our entire family coming down with a stomach bug. Hackett is done with it, I am slowly recovering, and it hit Kevin today.
I had to take the day off work today and was so sick last night that Kevin had to write my lesson plans for today. He has been a saint. Sleeping in the hall, disinfecting and cleaning everything in an attempt to keep me healthy. When it didn't work he was there to clean up and care for me. Now the poor guy is paying the price today.
I was taking a nap this morning and awoke to the most glorious phone call. My sugar levels are in the normal range! No gestational diabetes for me - Praise God I am normal!!!! I won't know my results to the autoimmune testing until next week, but I have great relief from these results. They will test again at 28 weeks, but I am clear until then. I go for a regular check up on Thursday and am looking forward to hearing that sweet heartbeat. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayer support. Thank you.
Yesterday I went to the lab for my 3-hour glucose test and blood work to test for any autoimmune disease that I could possibly have. I was feeling more at peace (not great, but more calm) with the tests, but I woke up and was having flashbacks to the day of Koen's birth. My counselor has told me that I have post traumatic shock from that day, which is not surprising. The details used to run through my thoughts more frequently than they do now, for months it was part of my day to relive the events. Now when it comes it is emotional and a bit unexpected. Someone at work earlier this week was trying to make conversation with me, trying to relate, but when people work too hard to do that it can have the opposite effect. The discussion was about finding bad news from an ultrasound. It took back to the moment when we saw Koen clearly on the ultrasound screen, but no beating heart. I knew right away that he was gone.
As I was in the shower yesterday I cried, reliving the memories and not being able to shake the visuals. Kevin's car is still getting fixed after his deer incident and we are down to one vehicle. The boys got up early with me and dropped me off at the lab. I had to do a 12 hour fast and my belly was already starting to growl. It took them 30 minutes to call me back. At that time they had to do a blood draw to test for my fasting blood sugar. She informed me that it had to be sent to the lab for initial results before I would drink the sugary syrup to begin the glucose process. She then gathered a very large pile of vials. It turns out that so much blood had to be drawn for the autoimmune testing - if I had known I would have done it on two different days. After a 12 hour fast they took about 12 vials of blood from me. As she was taking vial after vial I flashed back again to the day of Koen's birth. Right after the ultrasound they came in with a cart and literally filled every color vial they had. They did the same thing the morning after the birth as I laid there with tears rolling down my cheeks. Yesterday took me back to those moments and I tried to choke back the tears.
Now after losing so much blood on an empty stomach I had to sit in the waiting room for 40 minutes before I could even drink the sugary syrup needed for the glucose test. I was tired, emotional, hungry, drained, and just wanted to curl up in my own bed and cry. After reminding them that I was still waiting they called me back to drink the syrup and actually just having something in my stomach made me feel better. I was there for over 4 hours, but it felt like an entire day. I am spent emotionally and am very weepy still today.
Poor Hackett came down with a tummy bug last night, but seems to be slowly improving. We are praying that it doesn't spread through the house. We cancelled our weekend plans. I am thankful to be shut in with my boys watching the Olympics; truthfully that's all I can handle for a few days.
I heard this song this evening ... God's timing is amazing. I will be still and know that He is God!
On Tuesday, after we left the funeral home we went to our church and explained our need. The pastor who would be officiating sat down with us, in hopes of guiding us through the hurt. It was very sweet and he prayed. I also remember him asking each of us if we blamed the other and if at those moments was I willing to give my own life for Koen's. It was like a blast in the face. Delivery had happened less than 24 hours before this discussion. We were reeling from what happened and had barely had a chance to process. Of course we did not blame one other, our hearts were broken, but no blame. I wasn't put in a situation to decide if it was my life or Koen's ... he was gone before I even had that chance. As we walked out of the church I remember feeling shock that I was evening walking - my recovery was much longer with Hackett. I was in shock that we were making these sorts of arrangements.
When we arrived home my mom was gone and had taken Hackett to the library for a distraction. Kevin and I just sat in the living room making plans to look at cemetery plots and to order food to have at our house after the funeral on Friday. There was a surprise knock at the door. My brother and sister-in-law were sadly in Michigan for another funeral and came to see us. I remember not being able to speak at first. Hackett wasn't around and it was the first time around anyone but Kevin I was free to let my emotions go. We attempted to tell them the story, it had now turned into a story. My son was gone.
Just when I think I can breathe a bit easier, it seems something is thrown in my path. A week and a half ago I went in for some routine testing - urine, blood, and glucose (which they are now testing for earlier). Today I received my results. My glucose levels are just a little over the normal level, so I now need to return for the 3-hour test. The same thing occurred with Hackett and after the 3-hour test my glucose levels were in the normal range. If I am above the normal range after the 3-hour test then I will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This is common and manageable, but it adds more risk. Any time the risk goes up so does my anxiety. I just want everything to be "normal".
This was enough to upset me today, but I also learned that one of the blood tests that were conducted resulted in a false positive. It initially came back positive, was sent for further analysis which gave them the an assured false test result. That seems like good news, but it is not. The fact that I have a false positive can "sometimes" mean that I have an autoimmune disease that I am unaware of. This does not mean this is the case, it is just a possibility. What?!!! My head was spinning as I took this call. It could be nothing or something simple (even psoriasis, which I do have) or it could be something more. I don't need anymore risk. I can't handle anymore risk. I feel like my body has been under a microscope since May and I am tired. So much is weighing on my shoulders.
I scheduled the earliest appointment for the 3-hour glucose test this Friday morning. At this appointment they will take blood for further testing regarding a possible autoimmune disease as well. Prayers have carried us this far and we are in need of more. I know God will hold us through any result, but I am praying for normal ...
Today Kevin and I were talking about where something was. I said, "I think its in Koen's room." On Tuesday I will be 15 weeks pregnant, we have made it past the scary first trimester. My belly is popping out and my regular pants are getting tight. We saw LPS in the ultrasound this week looking so much like a healthy, growing, and busy baby. Reality is starting to set in and my faith is growing. I have to believe that we are having this baby. Koen is gone, but this baby is here and alive and well. I need to start preparing for this baby. Koen's room, a room he never got to see with his own eyes, only to experience in utereral, is no longer his room. Preparing the room for our new babyshould fill with me joy, and while there is some joy present, there is also great sadness. The little corner in our house that was his, is no longer. We will never replace him, but in some ways it feels like that is what is happening. Clothes, blankets, swing, bouncy, and little treasures were purchased for Koen. It feels weird. Difficult to explain, but emotionally it is hard to look at those things without thinking of him.
I am filled with so much love for our little LPS. I am awe of how God has blessed us so quickly with this little babe. I am so grateful that He has watched over me and our LPS, and even during some scares, we are okay. I need to make room in my heart and our home for that joyous day in July when this healthy, breathing baby, arrives in the world. I think about that day. Having a child is one of the most emotional days in your life, but I can only imagine the mix of feelings and relief we will feel that day. Emotional will be an understatement. Today, I made a few small strides to start that process of preparing our Pumpkin Seed's room. So much of the decor I chose was orange ... how fitting. Our next ultrasound is scheduled for March 10th and that day we will learn the gender. Maybe on that day I will be able to switch the name from Koen's room to either Tobin's room or Adora's room. Not sure if I am ready for that step today.
Much of the rest of Koen's story is missing in this blog and continues to swirl through my thoughts. I want to finish writing it, so I can keep it, remember it, save it, and continue to grieve it. I pray that I am able to do this soon. I thank you for supporting me in writing as I use this as an outlet to process my many feelings. It has been a blessing to me and I am thankful that I can shed a light on what so many other parents have gone through. xoxo
I am Jackie.