Atticus at 2 months

Whew. Where has the past few months gone? Between preparing for Atticus to arrive and adjusting to our new family of five, it has just flown by.

And now here we are…Atticus is 2 months old. Well, 9 weeks old on Wednesday.

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I thought I would be real slick and take real pictures on my real camera with the 35mm lens for a change. And then both laptops stopped working and I couldn’t figure out how to get the pics off my SD card and onto the iPad to write in WordPress. Damn technology was trying to hold me back!! But now, I’m writing on Michael’s laptop, and everything is weird cause it’s a PC, but oh well.

But y’all, my baby is already 2 months old. ::sobbing::

And yes, that's Fred and George. Cause the Boy Who Lived just had to have Harry monthly stickers, didn't he?

And yes, that’s Fred and George. Cause the Boy Who Lived just had to have Harry monthly stickers, didn’t he?

He’s wearing mostly 3-6 month clothes with a few 6 month pieces creeping in. And is it just me or does Carter’s run REAL small?

Atti is just the sweetest and silliest little guy. And forever chill. Like only cries when he’s hungry, tired or has to fart. Otherwise? Chill.

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Mid photo shoot starving

He’s awake more than he’s asleep these days which is fun and exhausting in it’s own unique way. I am definitely looking forward to the school year starting (in more ways than this one) because hopefully, he will settle into a nap pattern that will allow me more of a chance to get stuff done while he’s asleep so I can hang with him and his sisters while he’s awake.

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Sticking out my tongue is my favorite

A new favorite is the baby gym play mat thingy that Josie is too big for (thanks Leslie!) and anything that makes music or noise.

While he is all giggles and coos and silly sounds these days, his funny little piglet snorting when he’s hungry or becoming upset, is still going strong too. If you haven’t heard it, imagine a baby pig. That’s him. We should really call him Piglet.

Who you callin' Piglet, mama?

Who you callin’ Piglet, mama?

Atticus loves nothing more than taking a nap in a wrap or carrier and that’s often the best way to get him to sleep. He managed to sleep for three+ hours at the DIA yesterday in the carrier. Just snoring away like a little old man.

And though Michael may be in denial, I think the first stages of teething have begun. Lots of gnawing on his hands and any object he can manage to get in his mouth, the incessant drooling and a sigh of relief when I massage his gums. So he is now sporting a sweet new amber necklace and I’ll be busting out the bibdanas shortly.

He really is just such a good baby. We love him so much more than we ever dreamed we could. And can’t imagine how he has only been here for 2 months, and yet it seems like that was just a second ago.

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Our Rainbow of Hope

It has been a long, tough year for our family. One full of tremendous loss and heartbreak.

One year ago today we lost our 14 week pregnancy with baby Miles. The trauma of that event echoed yet again last March when we lost our 8 week pregnancy with baby Boo.

And just as we were getting to our feet and attempting to get to some kind of new normalcy and acceptance we were rocked by the loss of my Grandmother Rose, my FIL Larry and my Grandfather Verlin, all gone within 6 weeks of one another.

To say the last 12 months have been difficult is an understatement. It has been a constant lesson in how to accept and manage grief while getting up every morning, putting one foot in front of the other and moving on. A lesson in living in the moment while acknowledging the accumulative pain of the days before.

But get up every day I have. Staying strong and positive for these two amazing girls that we are fortunate enough to be responsible for.

And there have been wonderful moments throughout the past year.

Our first family trip to Disney World with Grandma Linda and Auntie Kylara.

Finally buying our family cottages in Oscoda and spending nearly a month on Lake Huron, relaxing and enjoying family time.

Starting two new schools this fall and having two children in love with school and learning.

And now, the most joyful experience yet, becoming pregnant again.

That’s right. PREGNANT. AGAIN.

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I’m 12 weeks along now, and this past Wednesday we had our first appointment with our midwife Audra (also the midwife who caught Isora and carried for us during both Miles’ and Boo’s pregnancies). And while we went into the appointment very guarded in our optimism, we were absolutely blessed with the most amazing experience. A immediate, loud and reassuringly steady heartbeat.

It was the moment we have been waiting for. The moment we knew that this little life was in fact the rainbow we’ve been waiting for. It was the moment we knew that it was time to tell the world.

The moment that our rainbow is materializing and growing stronger and more vibrant.

For those that haven’t heard the term, a Rainbow Baby is a baby born after the pain, or storm, of a loss. The saying goes “After every storm, there is a rainbow of hope” and this baby is indeed our great hope.

It was a real struggle for me to decide whether or not to share this information right away or to wait until now. Our families have known since the beginning but we haven’t told everyone yet because in a way it felt right to hold this little flame of hope ourselves and nurture it within our family.

Hearing the heartbeat and knowing that such a good rate, between the 140’s and 150’s, was just what we needed for our guarded optimism to stop cowering in fear about what has happened and stand up and walk into what could be.

This pregnancy has been quite rough. In reality, being pregnant for 9 of the last 15 months has, in and of itself, been horrible. Being nauseous and exhausted for three months now, again, has really taken its toll. And every time someone has said “Well being sick is a good sign” I have to bite my tongue from saying what bullshit that Old Wive’s Tale is, since I’ve been this sick every time, regardless of the outcome.

It’s been hard to express how awful I’ve been feeling without sounding like a constant complainer. But in all honesty, I have only recently felt well enough to be up and around for more than an hour at a time. Previously if I wasn’t laying down I would have been beyond sick and in tears from not feeling well.

And maybe the cruelest aversion of all? I absolutely cannot stand bacon. The smell, the texture, the sight, even the thought of bacon makes me retch. Can you believe it? It’s completely bizarre.

Doing housework or cooking, when its all you can do to stand up with vomiting, has been all but non-existent. Resorting to watching an incredible amount of Netflix and Disney Junior on Isora’s afternoons home alone with me. There are weeks were I haven’t been to the grocery store or put away the laundry because I’m simply not able.

But you know what? This is what it is for right now.

Don’t feel bad for me, or for the rest of my little family. Michael is more than pulling his fair share of the load and the kids are perfectly fine and beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of a new little brother or sister arriving next spring.

And the most exciting part, beyond getting close to my second trimester and potentially putting the nausea behind me?

Thanks to the marvels of modern technology and DNA testing we will know the gender of this little one very VERY soon. And my bestie Leslie is receiving the results and helping to plan a gender reveal party, something we’ve never done, but being as this will be our last baby, we figured why not celebrate every last aspect of this pregnancy, right?

So while today is a day we will never forget, and some tears may still be shed for the lives and potential that was lost, today I want to also be thankful and happy about the little one that potential of what is to come.

From our Broken Hearts

* I don’t normally find it necessary to make disclaimers for my posts. But this is regarding pregnancy loss and I know many friends who may find this upsetting.

It is from the depths of grief and sadness that I write this post. I thought waiting a couple of days would make it easier, but the pain is just as sharp.

I intended to post this Thursday for Thanksgiving how thankful we were for the blessing of our third child, safely into our 2nd trimester at 14 weeks.

Instead I come to you today, having lost our baby, who we have named Miles, this past Friday, November 21st.

This baby was so wanted. So loved. So celebrated. Dreamed of. And now he is gone.

It is fitting that the snow turned to rain as I suffered in the hospital for nearly 24 hours. My soul is full of tears that are pouring like the rain on these cloudy November days.

This pregnancy was so difficult from the very beginning. I felt nauseous from the second I saw a positive pregnancy test back in August. And tired. SO tired all day, every day. I thought it was a good thing. A sign how many awesome hormones were coursing through my body.

But then between 8 and 9 weeks I started bleeding. We spent a harrowing weekend resting and terrified of losing the baby until we went for an ultrasound and were told I had a subchorionic hemorrhage, which is essentially a blood clot between the uterine wall and placenta. I had just months before sat with my friend Jessi in the ER as she was diagnosed with the same problem, but she is well into her 2nd trimester, so I knew it could be ok. Plus we heard his heartbeat. Miles got his first and only picture.

So I took it as easy as I could with two active children to chase after. I scaled back on housework and socializing. I took a nap or rested every single afternoon. I was doing everything right.

Then last Thursday I started spotting again. Heavier. Darker. Scarier.

When our midwife, Audra, couldn’t find heart tones again I tried with all my might not to freak the fuck out. So we scheduled an ultrasound that I should be at right now. The bleeding stopped that afternoon. I felt normal. Thought that I felt the baby moving around.

We were having Nicole and Rola, two of my oldest and dearest friends, over for dinner, to see the house for the first time. We had just finished dessert and I felt a gush. I ran to the bathroom and blood.

So. Much. Blood.

I didn’t even think I could leave the toilet I was bleeding so much. I knew what was happening. I knew he was gone.

So we went to the ER at Sparrow. And after being shuffled around the hospital and being throughly disgusted by how I was treated by the L&D unit nurses, we were finally given an ER room and the most amazing nurse, Carmen.

How do you thank the woman that holds your hand and brings you warm blankets as you’re suffering such a tremendous loss? There aren’t adequate words. She was an angel. Even though she tried to hide it and stay professional, she cried with me.

What hurts the most is that our child wasn’t buried. He has no final resting place. He was lost somewhere between the shitty L&D unit and the ER unit bathrooms amongst the other tissue and blood I lost. And that pains me to no end. He deserved to be delivered, to be held, to be cherished.

The OB doctors performed an incredibly horrific and painful procedure on me without anesthesia or warning of how much it would hurt.

Then I lost so much blood that I passed out, went unconscious for a bit and had to have a blood transfusion.

All while my poor Michael had the scare of his life, with me every second, holding my hands and trying not to fall apart. He was so strong. He is my rock. I don’t know if I could have survived one second of this ordeal without his strength.

After spending 24 hours in the hospital, I was finally discharged and came home to my girls that I had missed terribly to tell them the news.

Cedella cried with me and told me so wanted our baby back and why was the baby sick. Isora seemed to take it easily and not quite understand. But now she sees me cry and says “Is it because the baby died?”

I know it seems harsh or somehow inappropriate to tell the kids the truth, but I don’t know any other way to talk to them. They deserve to know what happened. Why I’m sad. Why Dad is sad. Why we won’t be having a baby this spring. They have been a part of the pregnancy from the beginning and should be a part of its end. This was their baby too.

And now we have to figure out how to go on. How to get back to ‘normal’. How to grieve and process and try and make sense of this.

And even if I know this isn’t my fault I am so angry with my body. It did this to me. To us. Something went wrong in my body and that is the worst feeling ever.

I know we can try again. But that doesn’t make any of this any better or easier. Because I will never hold this child. I will never watch him grow. I will never kiss him or nurse him or hear him say ‘I love you’.

So while I certainly hope we will have another baby some day, it will never be this baby. And that just hurts.

Just as their aren’t adequate words for the nurses that helped me at the hospital, there aren’t enough words for those that have taken care of us in the past couple days.

To Nicole and Rola. I can’t thank you enough. For being my friends for nearly 20 years. For introducing me to Michael all those years ago. And for taking such good care of my girls while we were at the hospital. I can never repay you but will be eternally grateful for all you have given me.

To my Tribe. My amazing, supportive, incredible friends here in Lansing and all the way from California to Illinois. They sent flowers to the hospital and sent Trisha to hand deliver chocolate to me. These women are the best support system through good and bad and how fortunate we are to have this group in our lives.

To Sudharshan who was the first at our door, despite his wife (my dear friend Maha) and son being in India, to bring comfort and see if we needed anything. He made me a specific healing food and brought food for the family as well. How thankful we are for a friend like him.

To my girls: Leslie, Nicole G, Meghan, Jessi, Nicole H, Ashley, Kristy, Katie and Annie. You talk to me nearly every day. You have supported me throughout this pregnancy. And your phone calls, texts, hugs and gifts have made this just a little more bearable. I know that you all will be there when this still hurts months from now. I know you won’t hesitate to sit with me and cry. For that, I love you.

To Angela, Robyn, Niki, Kristyn, Jen, Natalie and Lucy thank you for your texts and love and for understanding.

To Klisti, Angelica, Desiree and Jessie, who dropped off food, supplies, chocolate and love. You are such incredible friends. I honor you for taking the time to help my family.

But I could not be here, could not do anything without my family and their love. To Mom and Tracey who sat with me for an entire day in the hospital, watching bad TV and eating terrible hospital food. You two are my world.

To my incredible inlaws, my second father and mother, John and Hilda, thank you for taking such good care of the girls and for supporting me, crying with me and loving me as much as your own daughter.

To Kylara and Robbie who didn’t know what to say to make me feel better but called none the less, who cried with me and who suffer this loss with me, I love you guys.

To my mother-in-law Becky, Michael’s grandma Cecelia and my grandma Rose for sending their love and prayers.

To André and Merissa for your love and kind words and beautiful flowers.

And to Sabah and Talia and Diana, my loves, for sending their prayers and kind words and love.

We are so fortunate to have such a big and caring and supportive family. This baby was loved and wanted by each and every one of them. His loss is felt by each and every one of them. Their hearts break with our own.

There is nothing more I can say to you Michael beyond thank you. Thank you my love. Thank you for our life. Thank you for your love. Thank you for walking this road with me. Thank you.

So now we try to go on. Each day will hurt a little less. Some days will hurt more. Today is just one step forward.

Many have asked what they can do for us. The food and flowers and calls and texts are all so helpful in this moment. It is next week and next month and next May that we will need you the most. What I ask is that you not forget us. Don’t pretend this didn’t happen. Don’t hesitate to ask how we’re doing. Don’t forget our sweet baby Miles.

Much love to anyone I have failed to mention that has kept us in their hearts or prayers. Thank you for reading.