Thursday, June 29, 2006

Is it Friday yet?

This has to be the slowest week ever.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Caleb has a new cousin in Heaven

My brother called me Monday afternoon. He said his wife started bleeding Sunday. She was still bleeding Monday morning. They went to the doctor some time Monday. She should have been around 12 weeks pregnant. The ultrasound showed only a gestational sac. The baby died at around 6 weeks gestational age. My sister-in-law had a D&C today. This would have been their 4th child.

Caleb always loved to meet new people. I know Caleb is happy to have a new cousin with him in Heaven. I can just imagine Caleb showing the new baby around. When Caleb died, he already had 2 cousins in Heaven (my sister had a miscarriage a little of 2 years ago and Cary's sister-in-law had a miscarriage last year). Now the 4 of them are playing together.

Monday, June 26, 2006

24 weeks!!

We hit milestone #1! Monster is at the point of viablity! If he was (cover your ears monster) born now, they would make an effort to save him. BUT, he will stay inside for 16 more weeks!

Today is our 2 year anniversary!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Caleb's song

Cary told me the name of Caleb's song and the name of singer.

I'm embarrassed that I couldn't remember this on my own. Preggo brain.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World
by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (that really is his name)
If you go to the middle-ish of this page, you can listen to a 30 second sample of the song. I am trying to figure out how to post the full song here.

Speaking of names...
We picked out a name for monster:
Oh-Oh-E-So-To-Who William Locke
What to you think? It means seven bulls. We'll call him Who for short.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

back from the doctor

Monster now weighs 1 pound, 4 ounces. His size is in the 50th percentile for his gestational age.

Every time the ultrasound tech moved the wand monster would kick. He is very entertaining.

My cervix is still long!!! 38 mm. (avg. is 25 mm). No bedrest for me (yet)!

He is still breech. They don't worry about the baby's position until around 35 weeks. Since he's breech, when they go to check my cervix, the first thing you see is his cute little butt!

I go back to the perinat in 2 weeks. My next OB appointment is next Tuesday.

I'm suffering from a bad case of preggo brain and I forgot to get copies of the ultrasound pictures! Sorry!

Still working on getting the name of Caleb's song...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Belly bump, Father's Day, a wedding, and other stuff in no particular order

Today is the start of the month I never finished with Caleb. I am 23 weeks today. This is the start of month 6. Month 6 ends at 27 weeks. I had Caleb at 26 weeks, 6 days. The closer I get to 26 weeks, the more freaked out I am. Every time I feel something, I start to freak out a little. I don't want to miss the signs of preterm labor again. I don't want another baby to have to go through what Caleb went through.

On to other things...

I thought all of you would like to make fun of my giant belly.

Here's a picture of me with a 22 week Caleb belly bump.

See how I'm cute and thin with a tiny little bump and how my dress fits around my chest?

Now, here's picture of me with a 22 weeks monster #2 bump (please ignore the goofy face).

See any difference? No. I'm exactly the same size - I wish. EVERYTHING gets bigger with baby #2, especially if you're crazy like me and your pregnancies are less than 3 months apart. See how now I'm not so cute, not so thin, and the belly bump is not so little. Notice how my dress fits around my chest (more like doesn't fit)? Notice the giant I'm-not-allowed-to-workout arms? AND I have 17 weeks to go! I will soon be a house – if I keep going like this, I will be a mansion.

Father's Day...
Father's day wasn't good. Father's day was so much harder then Mother's day. It kills me that for Cary's first Father's day his son wasn't here for him to hold. We had such big dreams for our first mother's and father's day. None of them happened. We don't have a baby to hold. We are in the same place we were in last year - pregnant and without a baby at home. Next year should be easier, right?

Cary had been working on burning a CD of songs he liked for Caleb. He found this one song that he loved for Caleb. He played it for me tons while Caleb was in the hospital. When he missed him, he would listen to the song. Every time we hear the song, we think of Caleb. We went to a rehearsal dinner Saturday night for one of Cary's friends. They played a slide show of the couple growing up. The first song that came on was that song. Caleb's song. I looked over at Cary about the same time he reached for a napkin to wipe his eyes. We wore both crying. I couldn't wait until the song ended. (I don’t remember the name of the song. Sorry! I have preggo brain. I'm working on getting the name of the song.)

I hurt so much for him. I wish his first Father's Day was different. I wish it was the day he had always dreamed. I wish he was holding his healthy son. I spent most of the weekend crying and hurting for him.

On to the wedding...

While, you know I'm pregnant (if you didn't know, you haven't been paying attention). You know how when you talk to a pregnant person there are a few questions every one asks:
How far along are you?
When are you do?
Is it a boy or a girl?
Is this your first?
That last question is a little tricky. 2 people asked us at the wedding. The first time, I just looked at Cary with the "please help me smile" and he answered "yes, this is our first." We thought that would be the only time we were asked. We were wrong! The second time, I looked at him and he looked at me. We didn't know what to say. We already lied to one person, should we lie again? We did. "Yes, this is our first."

Really, how do you answer that? Do you say "this is our second"?
Then, they ask "How old is your other baby?"
We say “He passed away when he was 6 1/2 months old. He would be a little over 8 months old now.”
Awkward, awkward...
“Oh, I'm so sorry.”
Awkward, awkward...
Then they walk away.

Do we really need to go through that all the time with strangers? It is so much easier just to say "yes, this is our first." But, is that denying Caleb? I want to talk about him. I want to brag about him. He was our first child. He was our first son. He still is our baby; he just lives in heaven now. But, is it worth explaining that to strangers at a wedding who you know you will never see again?

The wedding was beautiful. Cary was a groomsmen and he did a great job. We met some great people there. It was so strange to see Cary wear a yarmulke (it was a Jewish wedding, and we're not Jewish). They did the chair dance thing (I'm sure there's a name for it). It was so much fun to see the bride and groom bouncing up and down in the chairs - just inches from the ceiling. Monster loved the music. He was dancing away.

Instead of favors, the bride and groom donated money to the American Diabetes Association in memory of the bride's dad. I would love when monster grows up and gets married if he donates money to March of Dimes in memory of his big brother.

Other stuff...

I go back to the perinatalogist tomorrow for another of my regular appointments. They are going to measure monster and chart his growth compared to other babies his gestational age.

I love getting to see him every 2 weeks! That's one advantage of being high-risk.

I’ll try to update tomorrow and let you know how the doctor goes.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dear monster,

I love you and I love having you in my belly. You're a very good baby. I'm very excited about meeting you in October.

I know you are having a good time growing, playing, and getting strong and healthy in my belly. I do have one small favor to ask you. Can you please play with another organ? My bladder is not a toy.

Keep growing and hang on for 15 more weeks!


Thursday, June 15, 2006

So what is wrong with me?

There's just no easy way to ask what is wrong with a person and why they have preemies. So, for everyone who wants to ask, but can't figure out how, here is your answer...

First of all, you shoud know I am the queen of "this is rare" and "this isn't common, but it isn't uncommon." Caleb inherited that little trait from me.

I have a bicornuate uterus. Basically that means my uterus is shaped like a heart. The top of the heart is called a horn. The longer the horn, the more complications. With a bicornuate uterus, there is a very high rate first and second trimester miscarriages and premature births. There is only about a 50-60% chance of fetal survival. I have been very fortunate with both of my pregnancies!

Many people with this condition have multiple miscarriages before they find out about it (like 5 or 6 miscarriages). I found out about it 2 years ago. Just after we got married, my period started a week early and didn't end for 22 days. When we got back from our honeymoon, I called my doctor. They did an ultrasound and diagnosed me with a septate uterus. They upped the hormones in my pill and told me that when we decided to get pregnant, they would watch and see how things went. The doctor told me that if I had a miscarriage, we would talk. Cary and I weren’t ready to have kids yet, so I didn’t think about it anymore. Then, my body started rejecting the pill. I had every side effect possible, including depression (who knew the pill could cause depression). So, I had to stop taking the pill. Cary and I decided that I would stay off the pill for a few months to let my body adjust, and then I would talk to my doctor about other options. I was starting to feel like myself again, so I decided I would call my doctor after my next cycle. Oops! I never had a next cycle! This is where Caleb comes in the picture…

So, I called my doctor and told her I was pregnant. They scheduled me for an ultrasound within a week to see if the egg had implanted in the correct spot. If the egg implanted close to the horn, I would be at a higher risk of miscarriage. The ultrasound showed little Caleb was in the perfect spot.

At 16 weeks I went to the perinatalogist for the first time. They did an ultrasound and said I more then likely had a bicornuate uterus, but they couldn't tell for sure because Caleb was already taken up so much room. The doctor diagramed out a bunch of different types of uterine anomalies. He pointed to each one - this one has a high rate of twins; this one doesn't cause too many problems; this one can cause some problems; and this one is the worst one to have, it causes the most problems and this is the one you have. Everything looked great at that point, so they scheduled me to come back in 4 weeks. At my 20 week appointment, everything still looked great, so they told me to come back in 6 weeks. At my 26 weeks and 2 days appointment, my cervix was down to .75 centimeters (2.5 centimeters is the average). They sent me directly to the hospital and I found out I was having contractions and I was in preterm labor. They started me on magnesium sulfate to stop the labor and steroid shots to speed up the development of Caleb's lungs. 4 days later, I went into labor again. This time there was no stopping it. The rest is history...

Now that I'm pregnant again, they have told me a little more of what to expect. This baby will probably be breech and delivered by C-section (I was fortunate with Caleb, he was head down and I was able to have a vaginal deliver). Now, my cervix length is checked every 2 weeks. So far, so good. If it starts to get shorter, I will start going to the perinatalogist more. I had a preventative cerclage at 13 weeks. (By the time they found out about my incompetent cervix with Caleb, there wasn't enough cervix left for a cerclage.) This condition (deformity, freakness, whatever you what to call it) can also cause IUGR. Caleb and monster #2 have both measured perfect with no signs of IUGR.

With Caleb, I also had a placental rupture just before he was delivered. This may have been caused by the bicornuate uterus. There is nothing that can be done to prevent a placental rupture. In my case, if the placental attaches to the very top of the uterus, away for the horn, everything should be ok. If it attaches any where else, there is a possibility it can rupture again. There’s no way to determine where the placental will attach. Again, so far, so good.

So, that's what's wrong with me and what makes me high risk and why Caleb came so early.

We are doing everything we can to prevent from having another preemie. I go the perinatalogist every 2 weeks, I go the OB once a month, I get weekly p17 shots, I try to stay off my feet (that was Caleb's doctor's advice), and I get a lot of rest.

Here are the big high risk milestones:
24 weeks - point of viability. Babies born before 24 weeks have such a low chance of survival that most hospitals will not resuscitate them.
28 weeks - babies born at 28 weeks have about an 85% chance of survival and they are at a lower risk for some of the stuff Caleb had and (I think) they are no longer considered micro-preemies.
35 weeks - at this point the lungs are fully developed, the baby is no longer considered premature, and if there are no other health issues the baby should be able to go home from the hospital with us.
36 weeks - the cerclage will be removed (unless I have already gone into labor or if they decide to schedule a c-section.)
37 weeks - term
40 weeks - huge belly full-term.

Any questions?

Look what I just found in my computer! It's Caleb at 20 weeks, 2 days. The ultrasound is from August 26, 2005.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

We have a theme!

Monster #2's room will be dino-safari land. I brought home some of Pottery Barn Kids' animal safari and dinosaurs patterns for Cary to look at. He liked both of them. So, we are merging them together for dino-safari land. Both patterns have the same colors in them AND the colors match the colors already in Caleb's room (which will be monster #2's room in October).

Monster #2 was in a boxing match today. Fortunately, it only lasted a few rounds. I don't think my belly could handle much more!

I don't have an official monster #2 update today. This is my doctor-appointment-free week!

In the next few days, I will be adding some links to other blogs. I have found some really great blogs out there in internetland. Many moms who have lost babies have blogs. You will all get to meet them in linkland soon.

Thanks for you continued thoughts and prayers. They are really helping us get through this.

Pictures of dino-safari land coming soon…

Monday, June 12, 2006

It's just strange

For 6 1/2 months I had a son. Now I don't.

It's just strange.

Friday, June 09, 2006

random things that have nothing to do with anything

Marie did this on her blog (Becci also did this on her blog a while ago) and I told Marie I would do it over here. So, here are 10 things about me that start with L. It would be easier if she gave me a P, I could write a ton about preemies

1. Lunch. I go out to lunch everyday because I'm too lazy to make my own lunch.
2. Lazy. I can be a little lazy. I really should rest now; you know I am high risk. (isn't that a good reason??)
3. Little. My belly is not little.
4. Loss. All of you know about my loss. Caleb passed away April 24. He was my life, my strength, my baby.
5. Love. (sorry this is sappy) I have an awesome, supportive husband, who I Love!
6. Lucky. I am lucky to have the awesome, supportive husband, and we were lucky to get to know Caleb for 6 1/2 months. And we are lucky that we are getting to have another little boy in October.
7. Loser. I'm not a loser, but Heddda is (and Marie's a loser too for giving me L)! ;-)
8. Last. I'm the youngest of 4. I'm the last.
9. Large. My belly is large.
10. Lost. I'm lost without Caleb. He was my life for 6 1/2 months. Everyday I would go see him (except when I was sick or just too tired). I get home from work and I don't know what to do. I'm supposed to be with Caleb or getting ready to go visit Caleb.

I can't end my list like that.
I'll leave you with bonus word.
11. Laughter. Laughter really is the best medicine.

OOPS! I forgot an L. So, you get one more bonus letter!
12. Locke! Dah. My last name. And I've called our babies lockeness monsters until they get names.

If you want to play, email me and I will give you a letter.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dos and Don'ts (and a monster #2 update)

Here is a collection of Do's and Don'ts of what you can or shouldn't say or do to support a grieving parent or child. I found it online the other day.

DO allow them to express as much grief as they are able and are willing to share with you.

DO allow them to express as much unhappiness as they are feeling and willing to share with you.

DO allow them to talk about their loss as much and as often as they want to.

DO be available to listen, to run errands, to help with the other children, or whatever else seems needed at the time.

DO deal with the grieving individual gently and positively.

DO encourage them to be patient with themselves and not to expect too much of themselves. DO encourage them to not impose any “shoulds” or “I should be” on themselves.

DO give special attention to the child's brothers and sisters at the funeral and in the months to come (they are often in need of attention which their parents may not be able to give).

DO let your genuine concern and caring show.

DO offer specific help such as running errands, helping complete tax or medical forms, or helping to go through their loved one’s belonging.

DO offer to be a friend.

DO recognize that grieving has no time limit and varies from individual to individual both in the way they express their grief and the time required to stabilize.

DO talk about your memories of the deceased child and the special qualities that made the child endearing.

DO tell the family how sorry you are about the child’s death and about the pain they must be feeling.

Acknowledge the death through visits, phone calls, sympathy cards, donations, and flowers.

Remember important days such as birthdays, the death anniversary, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and any other significant day, which may be difficult for the bereaved. A telephone call, visit, or card means a great deal to a bereaved parent.

Make specific offers to help, i.e.
i. I am going to the store. What do you need?
ii. Can I take your kids on Sunday afternoon?
i. On Thursday I will be bringing by dinner for the family.
ii. I will take your child to skating lessons on Sunday.
iii. Can I come and baby-sit tomorrow evening to give you a break.
iv. Do you want to get out tonight to talk, walk, or both.

Offer to take the children to schools, birthday parties, and extra-curricular programs.

Immediately following the loss, take charge of the household and inform family and friends of the tragedy, help answer the phone, help dress and feed the children (if applicable), and set up a meal plan.

Call. Call often.

When you call the bereaved, ask, "How are you doing today?"

Appreciate that your bereaved relative or friend doesn't always return phone calls right away.

Appreciate that nothing you say will ever make the bereaved parent sadder than the reality of what has happened to their child.

Talk in your natural tone of voice.

Remember that when you phone, even if it is to only leave a message, the bereaved feel comforted by your efforts.

Tell the bereaved family how much you care.

Remember it is usually the simple little things you say or do that mean so much.


Continue to support bereaved parents well beyond the acute mourning period, even if it means years..

Congratulate the bereaved on good news while appreciating that they still carry a tremendous burden of grief.

Find local support through bereavement groups, church, synagogue, bereavement organizations and forward the information to the bereaved family.

Be sensitive that being in the presence of other children of similar age to the deceased may make the bereaved parent uncomfortable.

Give the bereaved time to resume the activities they participated in before their loss. Know that effort of any kind is appreciated.

Learn how to give good hugs. The bereaved need every heartfelt hug they can get.

Expect your relationship with the bereaved to change. When you are bereaved, every relationship is affected in one way or another.

Share your own good news with the bereaved. They still want to hear it.

Say any of the following:
i. Call me at any time if you ever need to talk.
ii. I can't begin to imagine how you feel.
iii. I am so sorry for your loss.

Feed and walk the dog who has probably been forgotten about.

Talk to your children about the loss.

Talk to your children about death and the rituals surrounding death.

Find the right time and the right materials to broach the discussion of loss and bereavement with your children.

Consult with your libraries and bookstores for bereavement reading materials for children.

Provide your surviving children with a picture of the departed child as a cherished memento.

Give children the option to attend the funeral.

Give children the option of visiting at the cemetery.

DO make comments on the cuteness of the pictures of Caleb screaming. ;)

DON’T avoid mentioning their loss or the child's name out of fear of reminding them of their pain (they haven't forgotten it!).

DON’T change the subject when they mention their dead child.

DON’T tell them what they should feel or do.

DON'T avoid the bereaved parents because you are uncomfortable (being avoided by friends adds pain to an already painful experience.)

DON'T let your friends, family or co-workers grieve alone. There is a tremendous sense of isolation and abandonment during the grief process. You can help by caring, by being there, and by being the best friend you can.

DON'T make any comments which in any way suggest that their loss was their fault.

DON’T point out that at least they have their other children (children are not interchangeable; they can not replace each other).

DON'T say "Your loved one is waiting for you over there," "God wanted him," "It was God's will," or "God knows best."

DON'T say “you can always have another child.”

DON'T say “you should be coping or feeling better by now” or anything else which may seem judgmental about their progress in grieving.

DON'T say that you know how they feel (unless you've experienced their loss yourself you probably don't know how they feel).

DON'T suggest that they should be grateful for their other children. Grief over the loss of one child does not discount the parents’ love and appreciation of their living children.

DON'T tell them not to cry. It hurts us to see them cry and makes us sad. But, by telling them not to cry, we are trying to take their grief away.

DON'T tell them what they should feel or do.

DON'T try to find something positive (e.g. a moral lesson, closer family ties, etc.) about the loss.

Allow your own fears from preventing you from offering support to the bereaved.

Fear that bringing up the dead child's name will create sadness.

Say, "If you need anything call me" because the bereaved don't always know how to call and ask for your support.

Be afraid if you make your bereaved friend or relative cry.

Think that good news (family wedding, pregnancy, job promotion, etc.) cancels out grief.

Have expectations for what bereaved parents should or should not be doing at different times in their grief.

Forget the overlooked mourners (grandparents, uncles, aunt's, close friends etc.) who need your support too.

Force bereaved people to talk about their loss. They will engage you when the time is right.

Find yourself saying any of the following:
i. It was God's will.
ii. It was meant to be.
iii. He's in a better place now.
iv. Time heals all wounds.
v. I know just how you feel.
vi. You are still young enough to have more children.
vii. Are you not over it yet?
viii. At least you have other children.
ix. Your child is in a better place.
x. It was for the best.
xi. Now you will have an angel in heaven.
xii. It could have been worse...
xiii. It's been ______ amount of time and you have to get on with your life.

Expect grieving parents to be strong and don't compliment them if they seem to be strong.

Tell a grieving parent how they should feel.

Be afraid of reminding the parents about the child. They haven't forgotten.

Be afraid to cry or laugh in front of the bereaved.

Assume that when a grieving parent is laughing, they are over anything or grieving any less.

Wait until you know the perfect thing to say. Just say whatever is in your heart or say nothing at all. Sometimes just being there is comfort enough.

Underestimate the impact of grief on children. Children understand and retain a lot more than they may show.

Think that children are too young to appreciate loss or death.

Monster #2 update:
I went to the perinat today. The little monster is doing well. His heart rate is perfect. My cervix is STILL long!!! 25 mm is the average length, my cervix is measuring 40 or 41 mm!! He flashed us, like always. I go back in 2 weeks. Next week is my doctor-appointment-free week. The doctor today reminded me again to call if I needed to. I told her how the OB acted very fast when I called. She said that's what they will be doing with me. No one wants us to go through everything we just went through again.

Kind of fun to feel so important. I think everyone should spoil us. Where is my chauffeur? The 10-minute drive home from work is too much for my diva self. I'm hungry. Where is my personal chef?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Cute Caleb v. Mad Caleb

I was going through some of Caleb's pictures earlier. I thought you'd like to see these:

Cute sleeping Caleb

Mad Caleb

"I don't want my picture taken!" (He was cranky when we tried to take a picture of all of us, but he was happy when we took his picture by himself.)

"I don't want my breathing treatment now. Leave me alone!"

These pictures crack me up!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Those pesky ligaments

I went to see the doctor Friday afternoon. I was having strange pains at the bottom of my very large belly. I thought it was just round ligament pain, but I wasn't sure. So, I called my doctor. They get you in fast when you mention you have a history of incompentent cervix and preterm labor.

The doctor examed me. My cervix is fine. There's no funneling. The stitch is still doing it's job. The monster's heartrate was in the 140s every where she checked. She said it was probably just round ligament pain. She sent me home and said to set with a pillow under my knees this weekend to relieve the pain. That's it. I feel fine now.

The little monster has starting kicking hard enough for me to feel him now. He has been kicking me since he grew legs! The first ultrsound we had at the perinat, the little monster was laying on his back kicking and punching my bladder. He was having a good time.

Here are some pictures of Caleb's memorial service:

Family potrait. That's Caleb in the little brown box. His friends Ugly Inguana and Bernie are next to him. The hospital gave us the white memorial box.

Cary giving his eulogy.

Here are some crowd shots. A ton of people came. It was so touching to see so many people who had been touched by Caleb's life.

The place where we had Caleb's memorial service has an area just for babies, Babyland. Share Atlanta donated an angel statue and a bench to Babyland. There are bricks all around the angel you can purchase in memory of your baby. All the money goes to Share Atlanta. Heather and Ken have brick in memory of their first son, Garrett. Cary and I are talking about purchasing a brick in memory of Caleb.
(blogger's acting up again. I'll add a picture of the angel later.)