Friday, October 22, 2010

I understand

My mother died from Cervical Cancer when I was 6 years old. I still remember the night my father came home and delivered the devastating news. At the funeral, I saw my father break down and cry. Over the years, this single father of four kept his children close. Some might say we were spoiled and coddled. I say we were loved and protected.
I remember him coming into our rooms at night. I would open one eye and see him standing at the door, checking up on us before he went to bed. We were not rich by any means, but my father made sure we had all that we needed.

As we grew older, he made sure he knew how much he loved our mother and how much she loved us. Even to this day, he will send us texts (yes, my father can text - hard to believe) on their would be anniversary, on her birthday, on the day she died, and on the day her funeral was held. Even though he is remarried, he has kept her memory alive. Every year on the day she died, a memorial appears in the newspaper. He wistfully reminds us that if she were still alive, they would still be married.

I often found it strange growing up that he spoke of her as if she were still alive. He raised us the way she wanted us to be raised. He kept her memory alive for us. He made sure we had pictures, knew her personality, jokes she told, where she worked, the things she did. He made sure we never forgot our mom.

I understand. I want everyone to remember Alyssa-Joy and Evan. I want to honor their memories. I want their future sibling to know that they are directly responsible for getting his/her here safely. I want them and the effect they have had on our lives to remain and remind others that they mattered. I talk of my children daily with my husband. Their pictures hang proudly on our walls. There names are mentioned in conversation with others, they are thought of with love. I want their lives to matter, just like my father made sure my mother's life mattered.

Awaiting my expected end.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"That Place"

To put it plainly, knowledge sucks. What I wouldn't give to be naive about pregnancies. As I sit here and reflect on this pregnancy, I am brought back to "that place". The place where I gave birth twice. That place where I held a baby who would not go home with me. When I go to "that place" my heart skips a beat, my eyes well up with tears, and fear enters my heart. "That place" is a place of grief, a place of loss, a place of hopelessness, a place I wish I had never encountered. "That place" is the place I said goodbye before even saying hello. "That place" was brought upon me so quickly I barely had time to process it. "That place" where my whole family grieved with me and said goodbye to their grandchildren, niece, nephews, son, and daughter.

Friday the 15th was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day and I proudly wore my pins to work. But do you know what? No one asked about them. No one asked about the significance of those pins. As we lit our candles that night, I broke down. Who would have thought that a few lit candles would incite so many emotions. I cried as the flame flickered in the moonlight. I said to Dh that we should NEVER have to observe a day such as this. No one should. We should be celebrating birthdays and milestones, not a day that we have to educate others about or light candles in memory of. I simply lost it. We sat on the couch and hugged and remembered out babies together.

I want to enter a new place. A place where my shattered heart won't ache. A place where I can smile. A place where I can feel whole (if thats even possible). Will I ever get to that place? Hubby says when we bring home this little one I won't feel whole but I will enter a new place. I wonder how true that really is.
Someone asked me if I am happy about this baby. Truthfully I could not answer. Why? I am afraid to dream, to think about the future, to think of names, to even think of the possibility. I know I have a bionic cervix, but this is what two losses do to you. It takes away your confidence. It takes away your hope. I am afraid to hope. For me its a defense mechanism. I am simply trying to protect my already fragile heart.

What do you do when you go to "that place"? Do you cry? Rant? Rave? Pray? I have tried them all. When I enter that place, I repeat my favorite scripture to myself "For I know the thoughts I think towards you; thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end" - Jer 29:11. Does it help? Not always. I have to shake myself out of it and realize that I am not in control, He is. I am simply a vessel to be used. As hard as I want to steer my own ship, I have to let go of the helm.

I want to enter a new place, and I cannot wait.

Awaiting my expected end.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This Dreaded Condition Known as Cervical Incompetence

I remember the first time I heard the term "Incompetent Cervix". My first thought was, "why would anyone call it stupid?" The poor person who came up with this term was probably so frustrated that they shouted "what an Incompetent Cervix!" and the name probably stuck - ha! At least thats my interpretation of it.

The day we were discharged after giving birth to Alyssa-Joy, I hit the Internet. For those of you who don't know me well, I love researching. If I were not a teacher, I would be a professional researcher. The Dr. who saw me and delivered the devastating news at the hospital never gave me any information, and when I spoke to my OB, I was so overcome with grief that I was unable to pay attention. The net became my friend. For hours, days, weeks, I researched this condition. I read medical journals, articles, web pages, blogs, archived messages in forums, everything I could get my hands on that would inform me about this condition. I think I have mentioned before that I now know everything that can go wrong in a pregnancy, what to look for, every medical term associated with pregnancies, every NICU term and possible conditions, I know statistics, rates of survival, success rates....... you name it, I know it.
I have always agreed with the popular saying that "Knowledge is power". Oh how I would love to be blissfully ignorant. Even though this knowledge arms me with what I need, it can be downright scary at times.

It was through this grief-induced research that I stumbled across some BLM blogs. I read these blogs and could relate, but the conditions that resulted in the losses of these women were unrelated to mine and I felt somewhat out of place. Slowly over time, I found IC blogs, and boy are there many. Below are some of the *few* that I have found so far and read frequently. I have compiled this list in hopes of helping others. If through a Goog.le search they stumble across my page, I want them to be able to find other IC blogs that they can relate to. I am not diminishing the importance of other BLM blogs, but I wanted to devote this post to he condition that I suffer from. Please note that I have not included those who have the TAC and suffer from IC. For a list of those, please see this post.

I am sure there are many more and I will be adding to this list when I find more (hopefully I can put it as a separate page or tab? - any suggestions?), these are just the ones I have found and currently read. I apologize if I inadvertently left anyone out.

Awaiting my expected end.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Don't forget....

Please remember to light your candles at 7:00 pm tonight in memory of all our little ones born too soon.

My candles will be burning bright in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

Awaiting my expected end.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Awareness (link overload!)

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It is a month we all wished we NEVER had to acknowledge. It is a month that we let the world know about the losses many of us experience. It is a month that we let people know, "hey, babies die and it is not always the fault of the mother". Even though it is a month of awareness, I still feel it is not acknowledged enough.
Everywhere I turn, I hear proclamations of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, but the only places I hear about Pregnancy and Infant Loss is in blogverse or on the pages of other BLM's.

I remember when I first started out on this journey. The only place I managed to stumble across about an Incompetent Cervix was the IC Forum (which I found after a random search). There were not many blogs about IC, and I felt like an outsider. Yes, there were other BLM blogs, but there losses stemmed from other misfortunes.
Before getting my TAC, the only TAC blog I knew about was Mrs. Muelly's. After a few months, Alyson got her TAC. Then little by little, I started finding other TAC blogs! As this procedure becomes more popular, more and more women affected by IC are journaling their experiences. I am happy to say that I have found 12 blogs (and counting!) from women who have had this procedure done. I am happy that so many women are contributing to making other women aware that there is still hope, and that our cervix (cervii?) can become bionic with the help of the mersiline band.

A few TAC blogs that are now "around" are:

I am happy to see so many women discussing their experiences with the TAC. The resounding theme from all these blogs is HOPE. We all have hope and our hope maketh not ashamed.

I am so excited to walk this journey with all of you. Tomorrow, I am going to do a post about the MANY IC blogs that I have found, and boy are there many!

Awaiting my expected end.