Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Valentine

We moved to this area the month before I turned 14. Shortly after, I met Ryan. He was in the same volunteer fire department as my dad. Pretty much, he was my dad's friend and I was nobody. I set my sights on him and the year and half of stalking began.  =]  In April of 1999 he came over to our house to hang out and things went from there. There wasn't much actual dating for a long time, he would just come over and hang out and we would do things with my sisters or cousins on the farm.  We weren't in any particular hurry, I was 16 and he was 18, but I knew he was the one.  We were together for over 8 months before we kissed and that was AFTER we both said we loved each other.  We got engaged over valentines day weekend my freshman year of college and were married in September 2002, a year and half or so later.  I gotta tell you, I got a good one.  There are so many things I could brag on but the first few that come to mind are: he works hard to give us what we need AND I get to stay home like I've always wanted to, he helps with the house without being asked, he doesn't "babysit" my kids he is their father, he can have the kids alone for days at a time and everyone has a blast and usually the house is cleaner then when I left it. In September we had our 10th wedding anniversary. April of this year will be 14 years that we've been together. We've never had a major fight, we've hardly had what could qualify as a minor fight. We been together for a long time and I not only have enjoyed every moment, I want it to stay that way forever. He's held my heart for a long time.

In August of last year, almost 6 months ago, we went to an ultrasound that told us our baby girl had died. My husband began to hold my heart in a whole new way.  In that room that day watching him with his head in his hands, knowing there was nothing I could do to fix it for him...there just aren't words to express the helplessness. He did not take many of those moments, though, soon my shock wore off and he was there helping me through my pain. He came right home with me that day, he made those phone calls I never could have made, made childcare arrangements. He was right beside me every moment in the hospital, I didn't get any breaks and he didn't take any for himself. In the days, weeks, and months that have followed he has been there even more, gone beyond what I would have asked of him.  I can't tell you how many times I've sought him out or he's just found me curled up somewhere sobbing and he just holds me. Since August I've lost count of how many times he has had to have sandwiches or toaster waffles for supper, or stop at the store on the way home to pick up a few things because grocery shopping was just too much for me to think about. He's picked up more take out then we've probably had our whole married life combined. He's done countless loads of laundry and dishes. He even took over the kids school work for a time because I just couldn't handle it. He does his work then comes home and does mine too. Never once has he complained or even acted impatient. He has never questioned my grief, my need for time, my inability to do even simple things. Never once has he even suggested I should be "geting over it".  He lost his daughter too and in some ways lost more then I did. He never heard her heartbeat, saw her move, or felt her kicks.  I hate that. Being the father every one asks him how I am doing. Not many people ask him about himself. I'm sure he sometimes feels inadequate to help me because he can't fix this, there is no making it better. But, he should know he's done all he could, and even more then he should have had too. There aren't words to express my appreciation, I'm not even sure that what I'm trying to get across is what is being typed. I do know that my feelings concerning him haven't changed though, he's mine, forever.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Soooo....what happened?

I figure there are people wondering what happened to Landyn.

The short version.
We don't know. We won't ever know anything for sure.

I'm sure that brings up questions of, "Well, why not? Especially these days with all the medical technology and knowledge. I mean, people don't just die for no reason!"  When she was born we were offered several options of testing. I decided to go ahead and send out the placenta and umbilical cord for testing. I decided against genetic testing and an autopsy. I knew from other's experiences that even these tests might not show anything conclusive and I was not comfortable with the idea. She was just so tiny, I didn't want anyone taking "just a sample of tissue".  From all appearances she was perfect. No knots in the cord. No visible placental issues. She, herself, was perfectly formed.  The pathology report done on the placenta and cord did show something, but no one knows quite what. It  showed signs of infection, but it is not unusual for infection to develop when that length of time goes by between the baby dying and birth. The placenta also showed signs of fragmentation, this could mean some separating of the placenta from the uterus, which certainly could cause death, or this once again could just be due to passing time.  There also was possible signs of a blood clot, which is why I was on blood thinners for several weeks and still take a low dose aspirin every day. So, really, even though the test results show something it's hard to know when exactly these things happened. Did one of these things cause her death or did they result from it?  Also, given the fact that I've had 4 normal, healthy babies this points more towards "one of those things".

So, that's the dr. tested side. Now for my theories.

What happened, the long version.

Being pregnant again so soon after losing Landyn has had one definite advantage. I can compare.  With Landyn I was having horrible headaches, so bad I was pushing the recommended daily doses of tylenol and still not feeling any better. I also was having very bad leg pains, mostly in my shins.  I actually thought this was my Lyme disease flaring up due to stress on my immune system from being pregnant. This seemed a logical explanation, but I remember thinking that my head hurt in a different spot and it was more my joints then actual bones with the lyme. I also can't believe the difference in movement between Landyn and Ian. I felt Landyn move early, at about 12 1/2 weeks. Just flutters, really, but I knew they were her. I can only think of 2, maybe 3, times I definitely felt her after that and that was in the earlier weeks too. I didn't really think too much of it until later weeks. That is pretty early to feel movement and when they are that small it's more of a wiggly sensation then actual kicking. Plus, it's hard to tell whether it's baby or just digestion and depending on if they are kicking in or out you can feel it more or less. Then, as the weeks went on I just never missed what I never had. Ian, on the other hand, I felt move for sure by 13 weeks and with the exception of a couple days here and there I feel him move several times a day. It really was eye opening to me, and very hard too, to feel his tiny kicks at 16 weeks, the same week Landyn died at. It really showed me how much was not right for her pregnancy. Now, that I've compared the two I really think she was sick...WE were sick.  Between the pain, headaches, and her lack of movement I can see now that something really was not right.  I'll never know for sure what we had, but it really doesn't take much to hurt them. Different mild infections and seemingly insignificant sicknesses for us can be super dangerous to a developing baby. Sometimes I wonder if I gave her something, she gave me something, or if we both just had it....but it was something. I don't feel guilt, I mean how could I possible put together a couple of "normal" things like leg pain and headaches and convince a dr my baby was in danger. But, I do just feel sad over the whole thing. I wonder if she felt badly or had pain. I hate that she was so tiny and had to go through something that eventually killed her. In some ways answers don't matter, they won't bring her back. On the other hand, how can I protect Ian from this unknown thing if I have no idea what it is!?  Even though this pregnancy has been super hard, I analyze every twinge, I know in my heart it's different.  From early on with Landyn I had this feeling, a feeling of something not being right. Really, more a feeling of something bad coming. At one point I wondered if we would be given a baby that wasn't "perfect".  As the weeks went on the bad feeling got stronger. I never seriously considered my baby would die, but I think until you've gone through something like that it's normal to NOT think that way. I felt it closing in on me, I knew, especially in those last weeks that something was horribly wrong. I cried the morning of my ultrasound, before I even knew, because I knew we would be given some kind of bad news that day. My body KNEW.  Landyn's birth weight was 2 1/2 ounces, Ian's estimated weight by ultrasound at the same gestational week was 5 ounces. I asked the dr about this and she said over time a baby that has died will sort of shrink. But, as I think on it more, to lose half your body weight would make you look shrunk...at least I would think. She didn't, she looked perfect. Makes me wonder if maybe she wasn't growing quite right in the those last few weeks. Once again, we'll never know.

And still, even with all  my comparing and wondering, I can't say for sure why she died. There is just no way to prove anything. So, the weeks are long with this pregnancy, the time between kicks sometimes very agonizing. I feel there is no safe zone. I won't truly breathe that sigh of relief until I'm handed a screaming baby. Until then, I do my best to trust, love them both, and miss her more then I can even say.