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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

First Trimester Ultrasound Screening

Yesterday was a big day for Joseph, myself, and our fourth baby Finchum. Once again, I didn't sleep prior to my doctors appointment. I get so nervous now... I get so scared.

As we were driving to Knoxville for this appointment, I realized the closer I got toward Knoxville (where I had all my appointments with Wyatt just at a different hospital) the more physically ill I became. I didn't realize how much driving that hour drive would effect me. It all felt too familiar for my comfort. I had myself convinced they would find something wrong with my baby simply because of the fact that we were having to drive to Knoxville for an appointment during this pregnancy. I am 100% positive I made the best decision for me by choosing to see a different doctor at a different location for this pregnancy as opposed to returning to my old doctor. That drive alone convinced me.

I didn't eat anything before my appointment because my stomach was already doing flips. I already felt like I was going to be sick... I didn't need to encourage my stomach! Besides, my appointment was at 8:30 in the morning. I would be in and out by getting such an early appointment. I could get food when we got done. HA! I didn't even get in to do my ultrasound or see the doctor until after 11:00! Nerves, nausea, low blood sugar... I'm surprised I didn't pass out on anybody.

I felt so much better after the ultrasound technician started the scan and I could see the baby's heartbeat. Everything looked perfect! She even told us "Don't go stock up on blue just yet, but I am pretty sure you are going to have a boy"! Hurray! She also said he was moving around A LOT! Without thinking I said "That's great", which she quickly replied "Great for you... not so good for me". Well, I thought it was wonderful regardless. My favorite part of the scan was when she took a good look at the baby's arms and legs... they were LONG! I could clearly see skinny but proportionate arms and legs with fingers and toes. What a relief.

I also had blood work done that will rule out some of the other fatal conditions baby's can have. I wasn't too thrilled about having this done because I would still carry to term, but my doctor seemed confident that it would rule out these diseases early and give me peace of mind. I should have the results back within a week, so until then I will be freaking out!

Speaking of freaking out... I did something stupid today. I had Joseph pick up my fetal heart rate doppler from a friend I'd lent it to so I could check the baby's heartbeat like I did with Wyatt. Now, I knew the placenta was blocking my angle to the baby, but I figured "Hey, they heard the heartbeat yesterday... I'm sure I can pick it up today with my doppler"... No such luck. I sat there for a good twenty minutes trying to pick up anything! And mind you, my doppler is medical grade equipment. So yes, I managed once again to freak myself out. I should have never tried until I was a little bit further along to allow the placenta to move out of the way a bit.

I'm sure all is well. I just has to be. I just saw my baby yesterday as he was trying to attack the doppler every time the technician had to push down on my belly! It was quite hilarious to watch him jump at it. I saw a heart beating strong at 163 beats per minutes. I saw perfection... just like my three babies before this one. If this baby has an ounce of fight in him like Wyatt did, and is as healthy as Ansley and Eli were... he's set to do great things in this world. I just keep praying Gods will for our newest addition is in line with what I hope it will be.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

I Need Will Power

For being so worried about this baby being healthy, I'm not doing a very good job with my "diet". Chalk it up to nerves, but the only way I am watching what I'm eating is as it goes into my mouth! Mashed potatoes, hamburgers, french fries, cookies, potato chips, pasta, breads... everything I should be limiting. I am utterly disgusted with myself.

But no more. I draw the line that should have been drawn a long time ago... I am making an effort to eat healthier as I try to say good-bye to my comfort foods. I want to know I've done everything I could possibly do to ensure this baby is 100% healthy. I have already gained 7 pounds and I'm only 13 weeks along! My goal was 20 pounds, 25 at the most... I'm getting there faster than I'd like to.

I'm simply writing about this problem so I will have someone to be accountable to. I want to do better. I want to be healthier. I want this baby to be healthy! Starting now, I will actually watch what I'm eating and make sure I'm putting foods in my body that will benefit the baby and I.

I guess this in tales a trip to the grocery store bright and early. I will have will power. I will have will power. I WILL have will power. And yes, I'll leave those chips ahoy chocolate chip cookies I've been craving right on the shelf on isle three where they belong!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Leaving the First Trimester...

So it's finally here... the last week of my first trimester! I can hardly believe I already have a third of this pregnancy down. It seems like the days are crawling by and flying by all at the same time.

Studies show that your chances of miscarrying plummet to about 1% after you make it out of your first trimester. You would think this statistic would make it easier to breathe, but it really doesn't. I seem to win the jackpot in the unlucky lotteries that nobody really wants to win.

One example would be that our family was hit with the lightning strike of Thanatophoric dysplasia... a 1 in hundreds of thousands chance of such a spontaneous genetic mutation occurring.

Or how about the fact that I'm one of the .02% of women to get pregnant on birth control when I'm not on antibiotics or missing a pill?

Or even getting pregnant this time using a condom perfectly because we we were worried about getting pregnant on birth control... and finding out (after the fact) that 3% of woman still get pregnant although this form of prevention was used perfectly...

Having a narrow chance of something happening seems like an invitation for these weird, unpredictable, "That won't happen to me" things to bulldoze their ways into our life!

However, having this type of thinking won't do anything but freak me out more than I am already! On that note, take a look at these illustrations of what a 13 week old "fetus" baby looks like... I was thrilled to see our little peanut finally looks more like a baby than a butter bean!

I like to think that Wyatt has God's ear on this baby's behalf... doing the work of a big brother from heaven of all places! At least, it makes me feel better to think this could be a possibility.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

It's hard to be as "bah-humbug" as I've been feeling lately when I remember the true reason we celebrate this day. How devastatingly hopeless my life would be right now if God had not sent Christ to earth on this special night so many years ago. In the form of a tiny, prefect baby, Jesus took his place here on earth with his only purpose being to die for our sins and the sins of our children. I truly am thankful for this day. Without this particular event taking place, I wouldn't be able to say my son is in heaven celebrating Christmas with Christ himself!

As I sit here and think about what God really did when he sent Jesus, his only son, here... knowing the persecution, pain, and heartache his son would endure... to know how ungrateful and undeserving we really are... I utterly boggles my mind. After going through the loss of a child, I can't image what it would be like to allow my child to walk a path that would certainly lead them to a horrible and slow death. I'm sorry, but in my imperfect humanity, I could never sacrifice my matter how many other people it would save. I'm just not that strong of a person. Losing Wyatt has really put what God did for us into perspective...

As I sit here and think about what God did for me, for my son, on this magical night... I can truly be thankful that we are able to celebrate this day. Merry Christmas everyone. Let's celebrate and spread the word of the day heaven sent hope to our undeserving world.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

12 Week Ultrasound

I had a really great visit for my twelve week appointment and ultrasound. You have no idea how wonderful it is to say this. The best news of all is that "the baby's arms and legs look like they are growing perfectly in proportion with the baby's body", as Dr. G informed us! He also said the baby's head looks like it is forming absolutely normal. Horray! As many of you know, Wyatt's skull never hardened so that has been a constant worry for me as well as Thanatophoric dysplasia. It was a relief to see the baby and a healthy beating heart.

I didn't sleep the entire night before my appointment because I was silently dreading going into my appointment and finding out my baby died right after my last ultrasound. It was a ridiculous fear considering the fact that my waist is doing a steady disappearing act...

My doctor also addressed some of my fears without me even mentioning I was uncomfortable.
The biggest being that his office sends all the expectant mothers to the perinatal unit in Knoxville (the office we found out Wyatt would die) for all of the 18-20 week anatomy ultrasounds (the same time frame as with Wyatt's diagnosis). I have been freaking out about stepping foot back in that office since I found out this piece of information.

As I was laying on the table waiting for my doctor to start my ultrasound, he was looking over my medical records which I brought in at his request, and he said "I notice you had a lot of your ultrasounds done out of the perinatal unit in Knoxville... Would you be more comfortable if we sent you to UT instead of Fort Sanders?". I started shaking and crying with relief at the idea of truly never having to go back to that room again. I didn't realize until that moment how much I was truly dreading it. What a blessing.

My doctor is sending me for a detailed first trimester screening on the 28th. They will do an anatomy ultrasound and blood panels. This IS NOT the quad screen... I refused that particular test because the results often come back as a false positive. The doctor said he is very confident this baby is 100% healthy and that he is ordering the test simply to give me some much needed assurance. I couldn't ask for a better doctor. It's hard not to be joyful when he's around. Joseph calls him Dr. Joy! As a matter of fact, I think that is what we'll call him from now on (on here at least).

On a minor note, I found out I tested positive for Beta Strep. Let me just say I was shocked considering I've had this test done for THREE different pregnancies, MULTIPLE times each, and have always received a negative! Dr. Joy told me that Beta Strep is something that comes and goes, and although a woman tests negative for it, she can be positive for it later. So that raises this question for me... Why don't they just give everyone the antibiotic for it if there was the possibility that even though they tested negative for it, they could be positive for it when they deliver?

I feel it was a blessing to know this in advance. It's one more thing we can be prepared for to make sure this baby enters the world as healthy as possible. On the note of the baby, here are a few pictures from my ultrasound. Notice that you can clearly see ARMS and LEGS... especially in the second picture!


Trying Harder

Joseph and I had a conversation a while back where he voiced some concerns about how S-L-O-W-L-Y I'm moving through the grief process. His opinion was that I wasn't handling losing Wyatt very well, if at all... As much as I disagreed with his latter statement, I had to take it at face value. He is my husband after all, and knows me better than any other person possibly could.

I'll be the first to admit I haven't handled losing Wyatt well at all. But I have been making an effort. Most days, I don't even want to get out of bed. It seems like I am spending most of my energy by simply breathing. So, to get out of bed and plaster a smile on my face for the kids takes a lot more out of me than most could possibly understand.

I've started small. I can't handle doing much, but I'm attempting to do something the old Danielle would have done at least a couple times a week. I'm not going to set myself up for failure and say I'll do it everyday until I get more comfortable stepping out of my comfort zone.

For my first act, I made homemade pancakes for the kids Friday morning with butterfly, ladybug, snail, and heart shapes. They absolutely loved the neat shapes. Ansley actually pouted a little bit when I made Joseph a plate of the leftovers and took them up to his work so he could enjoy some pancakes too. She wanted me to save them for when she was hungry later.

And today, I planned a girls day with just Ansley and mommy. She's been asking to see the Princess and the Frog movie, which was really cute by the way. I think the villain of the movie was a bit scary for a three year old, but besides that it was a pretty sweet movie. When Ansley realized what movie we were going to watch she wrapped he arms around me and and yelled "Thank you for taking me to see Princess and the Frog mommy! I love you!"... Talk about melting my heart!

I also took her to get her very first manicure and pedicure. She picked out her own color. Of course,... she picked out the brightest, shiniest red paint she possibly could. It was adorable to watch her be such a big girl. She thoroughly ate up the attention today.

We wrapped up our day together by heading to the store and letting her pick out a toy. Of course, she had to get something that was Princess and the Frog!

Don't worry, poor Eli and daddy weren't left out! Joseph took Eli to an airplane museum and I can imagine Joseph was about as captivated by the old planes as Eli was. Joseph said they had a great time and Eli got an airplane toy and shirt...

They also went to Chick-Fil-A and had lunch together. Joseph said Eli barely touched his food because he was mesmerized by a train that kept going around the ceiling of the dining area.

To finish our evening, we came home and made ice cream sundays for dinner! Yes, that was seriously our dinner unless the kids get hungry before bedtime... And no, I don't feel too awfully guilty. It's not like we do this all the time... although we really should do this more often!

So see, I'm trying. I'd still rather be a hermit and lock myself away in my house... but as Joseph pointed out, I'm not just locking myself in the house. I'm doing it to the kids too. I need to make myself get out of the house more, even if I only do it for the kids. It's hurts to admit that I've been neglecting my kids, even if I didn't realize I was doing it. I was spending time with them here, but it must have felt like they were in prison here with me never leaving... All I can say is that I will strive to do better than I have been. I need to not only for me, but for my children and my husband. They deserve a better me than I've been giving them.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas with Our Family

I have a bit of a confession to make,... not that you'll be too terribly surprised! As you know, I've been struggling a great deal with the holidays. My tree has been up for what? A little over a week? Well, I'm ready for it to come down! I've been ready for it to come down...

Its been driving me so insane to look at it, I informed Joseph that Santa was running ahead of schedule this year and would be coming to our house early! So Wednesday morning, the kids got up to find all the toys that Santa brought them wrapped and ready for them to tear into under the Christmas tree. I would feel more guilty about this if the kids were older, but really, I'm just happy to have Christmas "Over" with. Here are a few pictures of the kids with their favorite toys!

Eli LOVED the kitchen we got for the kids as their "together" gift... He's already spent hours cooking mommy all kinds of yummy food!

Ansley was more interested in the baby doll and the doctor set we got her. She was a "Mommy" and a "Doctor" to her new baby Abigail!

Eli was equally as happy with his big boy tool set and his "Air pain"!

I also wanted to share a few gifts I've received from some sweet bloggy friends, as well as how they helped me do something very special for Wyatt at Christmas.

From Karen I received a sweet card that included a beautiful "W" ornament. I just loved it and it came to my doorstep at perfect timing for what I was trying to do for Wyatt... Thank you Karen!

And so did my other gift from a sweet woman, Sarita... A gorgeous elephant pin cushion! How unique and absolutely perfect! Thank you so much Sarita.

So you can probably guess my project for Wyatt involved sewing... And you'd be right!

I made Wyatt his very own stocking! I've looked around for months trying to find the perfect stocking for him only to be severely disappointed with how impersonal they all seemed. So, I took matters into my own hands and was determined to make one that was as unique as Wyatt. I included blue, stars, elephant... and this is what I came up with...

And did you notice the "W" ornament? I hung it around the top of his stocking and LOVE it! I also bought another "Wyatt's elephant" and stuffed into the stocking.

Here's a closer look at the elephant and some of the embroidery I chose to add to the stocking...

And here are some cute pictures of the kids as we were just playing around with a new christmas backdrop I got in...

It's hard to be sad when I have those faces grinning back at me!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winner to the 25 days of Giveaways

As always, I had my handsome husband (Whom I just celebrated 5 years of marriage with today!!!) randomly pick a number. He chose #18!

Congratulations to Kat from In Dylan's Memory for winning a beautiful custom necklace made by the ever talented Kati. I will have Kati be in touch with you very soon. Merry Christmas to everyone, and I wish you tons of luck on the many, many more giveaway's Tina has to host!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

25 Days of Giveaways

Tina from Living without Sophia and Ellie is hosting the 25 days of giveaway. It is open to all baby loss momma's as a way of making the holidays a little bit more bearable...

For my giveaway I have decided to let someone else be creative for me. Kati from Ladybug Mama of 2 makes some adorable necklaces. I have arranged with her to purchase a gift certificate for a custom handmade necklace to be made.

I will simply put Kati in touch with the winner so you can let her know what kind of necklace you would like made. Or, you can just pick one that she's already made! It's that simple.

Simply leave a comment and I will post a winner sometime Saturday morning. Good Luck everyone!


Birthday Blues

I have a really good friend that I got pretty close to before I had Wyatt. We went to the same school for the most part, but I guess we never really took the time to get to know one another until we started getting pregnant together (Two different pregnancies, Wyatt was one of them and Eli was the other). Anyways, she sent me a message today asking me why I was so sad on my birthday this year (I posted a comment on my wall on FB). I can completely see why she would be confused. Birthday's are happy occasions, aren't they? Well, I feel kind of bad, because I unloaded on her. I just let it ALL out.Italic All my hope, despair, peace, heartbreak, secrets... All in one letter.

The letter I sent to her did a really good job of describing the battle I'm fighting right now. I've been trying to write a post about it for a while now, but nothing ever came out right... So I'd like to share the letter I wrote to her.

"All I could think was how unfair it was that I was "celebrating" my twenty somethingth year here on this earth and that Wyatt didn't even get a day.

I'm just so exhausted from being heartbroken all the time. Wyatt is ALL I think about... It's not something thats getting better, I'm simply mastering the mask I put on in front of open doors. I don't think this is something that will EVER get better. Beneath my smile is a face flowing with tears... Behind my laugh are the sobs I hold in... And every time my heart beats I can feel the stabbing pain of the piece missing. The piece I gave to Wyatt when he went away.

And you know, I'm not even sad I gave a piece of my heart to him... that was natural. I've given a piece of my heart to each of my children. But it's different when you have that child in your life to fill up the part of your heart they claimed for themselves. Wyatt claimed a huge part of my heart but he's not here to fill the missing piece. My heart feels empty, shallow, and raw. They say time heals all wounds, but how does a wound heal when it's being irritated with each beat my heart takes? I would NEVER wish this on anyone...ever, ever, ever.

I KNOW God is in control. I KNOW he had a reason. He KNOWS I don't understand, but that I'm not trying to anymore. It's not something I am meant to understand and I accept that. I'm trying SO HARD to find the unshakable joy I once had. But right now, I just don't have to strength to look anymore. And when that happens, I stop. I rest. I cry. And I do it in the loving and peaceful arms of God. And when he has renewed my strength, I will go in the way he leads me knowing that, one day, I WILL find joy again. Even if it's something I don't find until I begin my eternal life in heaven.

I've been feeling like I've been so alone. I'd felt like God had forsaken me, because I couldn't feel or see his presence in my life anymore though I was desperately calling out to him. All this time I was expecting God to be behind me every step of the way. But as I looked back he was no where to be found. When I finally started looking around in utter desperation, it wasn't until I looked ahead of me that I saw he had been right there, leading me the entire time. It does me no good to keep looking back on what I've lost. I KNOW this. I KNOW I should be looking forward... I have an eternity waiting for me that includes Wyatt. But my flesh, my heart,.. they get the best of me more times than I care to admit. I rail at God unceasingly for taking Wyatt to heaven when I KNOW I should be thankful he IS in heaven...

You happened to catch me at one of my "crying in the arms of God" moments. It is in these times that I'm my weakest, my most vulnerable. I lay my cross at God's feet because it's too heavy to go another inch without taking rest. However, I am able to take my cross back up and march on because I know if I keep going in the way Christ leads me, I will have Wyatt in my arms again. Forever. The road is grueling and tough as I navigate the uneven terrain, but it will be smooth sailing when I finally get where God wants me to be... where I want to be.

It's so weird that one can experience hope with desperation... joy with heartbreak... Peace with sadness...

Sorry to unload on you. I'm just too exhausted to pretend and keep everything bottled up tonight. But, I WILL be okay. God's promised all his children we will be okay, and I'm taking his word for it... I just doesn't take the hurt out of the present."

So there you have it... that's me right now... All rolled up into one big and messy ball.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Anni-birth-mas Present

Do you remember back a couple months ago when I was desperately looking for an urn necklace I could use to carry Wyatt around in? If you do, you will recall how I hated feeling like a crazy woman for carrying Wyatt around with me in my purse everywhere I went...

Well, I finally found the perfect piece of jewelry! And it's not even a necklace... It's a ring :)
There are a few "catches" to the ring however.

The first being how incredibly expensive it would be to have it done. Try over $700... (gulp) that's a lot to swallow!

Why in the world would it cost that much money for a ring?! Good question.

The ring comes in just about any cut you would want. Radiant, pear, heart, circle... you get the picture (I chose a pear cut because it looks like a tear drop). But the really neat thing about this ring is that they take cremains and actually infuse them into the stone...

I was sold at the idea of someone being able to take my sons once beautiful body, that now sits in an ugly cremated form, and turn him back into something beautiful I could show off to the world!

They also have sixteen different color choices you can choose to have the stone colored as you want. Whether it be a special color for your loved one, a birthstone, or your favorite color...

I chose to do a natural stone because it can vary from clear, to amber, to emerald depending on "the personality of the individuals cremains you send in". How neat is that? I'd have no idea what color to expect my stone to be, but the color it comes back as would be completely and uniquely Wyatt!

Joseph and I have been trying to slowly save up the money to get this ring and I would be thrilled if I were able to get it by the time Wyatt's 1st Birthday rolled around. A year of carrying around an urn in my purse was about as crazy as I was willing to get...

Imagine my surprise when my hubby comes up to me and says "I wanted to go ahead and show you so you wouldn't freak out when you checked our bank statement"... He ordered the ring for me as my Anni-birth-mas (Anniversary, Birthday, and Christmas) present! I was floored. What a sweet and thoughtful husband I've been blessed with. I've been telling him all along there was no possible way for him to get me what I wanted for Christmas... All I wanted was Wyatt... And leave it up to him to figure out a way to get as close as he possibly could to granting me my wish.

Although I'm thrilled to be having this ring made, there is another problem...

I have to mail a part of him to the company to have the ring made. I knew I would have to, but it wasn't until I got the box in the mail to send Wyatt back to them in that I started freaking out.

What if he get's lost in the mail?

What if I don't actually get Wyatt back?

What if I walk around wearing somebody else's loved one?

And these are just a few of the thoughts running trough my mind...

I tried to curb my uneasiness by placing some pictures of Wyatt in the box with his creamins, along with writing a letter to the person who will be handling Wyatt. I simply introduced our son and told them that they were not only holding my son every time they did anything associated with his cremains, but that they were also holding my heart. I hope this will have them take extra care of the cremains they will have of Wyatt.

I still couldn't bring myself to mail it. I could clearly see the scene in my head of standing in front of the man at the post office with tears streaming down my face as he tries to pry my fingers from the vice grip I would have on the box... Needless to say, Joseph mailed it for me today, but not before covering every inch of the box with packing tape!

It will be 6-8 weeks before I get my ring back. I can't wait to share the finished result with you... However, to give you a glimpse of the work they do, here's an idea of what the ring should look like when I get it. Mine will be white gold with a surprise color for the stone...

And in case you are wondering where you can get a ring like this for yourselves, go here to see all the products they have to offer. They have necklace's too.


Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, How taunting are your branches...

I finally did it. I beat myself up enough that I finally got my Christmas tree up and decorated. I'm only walking away with a few bruises and maybe a cracked rib so I consider myself successful. Just Kidding! No bruises or broken bones...

I've had it set up for about a week now, but I got so depressed just doing that much I let it sit there undecorated. But just having it sit there undecorated was taunting me. I hate leaving things undone and the tree would call to me throughout the house, "HELLLOOOO. Excuse me. I need decorations. I'm not finished yet..." Anyways, last night I made myself finish the tree and I feel so much better now that it's behind me.

As I was putting our family angels up I noticed that Joseph and Wyatt had the same angel.

It was completely by accident. I literally bought Wyatt's angel days after his funeral and had no idea what our other angels looked like... It gave me something to smile about when I really thought I'd just be fighting tears the whole time. I really didn't want to cry in front of the kids. I focused on how intently the kids were putting the ornaments on the christmas tree and it was easy as pie to find a reason to smile. They truly had a blast "makin' the tree *gorgeous*" as Ansley said so many times last night.

Now, the tree and stockings are as far as I went this year. Normally, there isn't a square inch of my house that isn't covered in holiday decorations... Maybe next year. This is still a little more than I really wanted to stomach this year. Besides, Ansley and Eli decorated most of the tree themselves anyways... I was basically just the supervisor and "top of the tree decorator". I think my kids did a great job for their first time helping mommy, don't you?

So with as much enthusiasm as I can muster... Merry Christmas everyone! Remember Christ is the reason we celebrate Christmas. It gives me comfort to know my son is spending our savior's birthday with Christ himself. I hope this thought brings comfort to anyone who is missing a loved one this holiday season.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Little Bit of Fun

Have any of you seen these nifty little tests called Intelligender? I saw it for the first time when I was flipping through one of the baby magazines the doctors office sent me home with. It states it is about 82-90% accurate at determining the gender of your baby after 10 weeks... You know I had to try it.

And can you guess whats super neat about the day I am 10 weeks pregnant?... It's also my birthday! Of course I got impatient and couldn't wait the two extra days until my birthday, so I took it today...and according to Intelligender I am indeed getting my boy! I can't think of anything (besides having Wyatt here too) that could make this day any better. It is supposed to take up to 10 minutes to read the results and it very clearly said BOY after just two minutes!

[I will keep trying to get the picture of the results to post... I having technical difficulties!]

Of course, I know there is still room for error in the test, but I mostly wanted to document the results so that I could refer back to them after our anatomy ultrasound. I can't honestly say I don't have my hopes up... Joseph and I both were hoping to have another boy. Time will tell! Either way, we'll be happy with a healthy screaming baby we get to bring home with us to keep. I just thought this was too fun not to share.