Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Little updates

First, thank you all incredibly for your kind words. It really means a lot to me that you are thinking of us so much. I don't know what I would do without you. I love you all so much.

Lily and I started our NST's on Monday. Everything went really well but she was asleep and it took longer than they thought for her to accell like they wanted. The nurse put this vibrating thing on my belly and it woke her up. Actually I think it pissed her off...but whatever. Her heartrate started to go up the way it was supposed to and that's all that mattered. If she's afraid of electric razors as a child we'll know why...

At our 29w appointment with the Peri, she weighed 3lbs 2oz and is growing right according to the charts. She's still breech, and her face is towards my back. My blood pressure is still ok for now, but we're still keeping an eye on things. No protein or anything. We scheduled the amnio for September 4th to check for lung maturity. IF the preliminary results come back good that day, and the final results will be in the following day...she could POTENTIALLY be born on September 5th. So in my head, that's how it works. As far as things will go when we actually get there...who the hell knows! I'm holding on for the 8th or the 9th at the latest. I'm afraid of her being born on the 11th so we're just not going to go there. But we're getting there...slowly but surely.

On Monday my aunt went to the doctor and they told her that her liver is failing. The doctor said that she had 'weeks' to go, but I'm not sure it's going to be weeks. My Bro and SIL went today to see her and she was so out of it that she didn't really know who they were. Derick and I are going tomorrow. She asked Heather if her husband was still killed my brother. And when he kissed her cheek and told her that he loved her, she stared into space as if she didn't comprehend what love was. My uncle says that it's the result of the medicine, but she wasn't nearly like that last week. She's still on the same pain meds and the anxiety meds haven't changed...but I guess they gave her stuff for hiccups. If that can make her not recognize people, then maybe. But I don't think that alone would make her forget who my brother is. Any thoughts?

Anyway, Derick and I are headed to my other aunts house tomorrow for a few nights. She's on vacation and we'd be closer if we are needed. I think we'll be there until Saturday and then head back there again sometime next week. The good news is that we'll have cable and internet access since we don't have it at home. If you've emailed me and I haven't gotten back to you, I appologize. But I read everything.

Thank you again. I couldn't imagine facing all of this on my own.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


"How is your day today?" I asked as cheerfully as I could.
"Ok. The nurse came today, did Mom tell you?" she asked.
"Yup, Mom said. What did you think?"
She shrugged her shoulders and patted the bed next to her. I sat.

"Is the baby moving a lot?"
"Yup most of the time."
"Is she moving now?" she asked as she reached for my belly. "No," I said, "But maybe with the right touch she will." No movement, but she rubbed and rubbed. "Tell me her name again." she said. "Lily Rylan." I replied. "Rylan...that's a pretty name. Where did you come up with that?" she said. "Our boys. Dylan and Riley. We put their names together to get her middle name. We figured that we wouldn't have made it this far without them." I answered and there was a short pause. "When I get there, I'll give them a kiss for you."

A moment passes.

"Do you think it hurts to die?"
"I know it doesn't hurt to die. There is no way something so peaceful could be painful."


"Who's going to take care of the kids?"
"We will." I said. "I promise they will be taken care of."
"Sometimes you might get frustrated with Lily," she said, "but try not to scream and yell to much. Think about it before...ask yourself if it's worth the argument. What about Kevin? He's going to alienate himself."
"We won't let him. I promise that we'll help him do whatever it is that he needs."

Silence again...

"I'm afraid it's going to hurt to die."
"Nope. I'm sure it doesn't hurt to die." I said quietly. I couldn't tell her that the cancer is going to be painful. They will make her comfortable, that I know. But there is absolutely no way that the act of dying is painful.
"Just think" I said, "if the girls are dating someone that you don't like you can always show up at the foot of their bed. Just don't show up at the foot of mine!" She laughed a good laugh. I haven't heard that from her in a long time. "Yeah for the first time in my life I'll have complete control of them!"

"I'm getting tired." she said finally.

Mom and I got into the car and cried all the way home. It's going to be soon. She's doing and saying what she needs to do. According to the nurse, we'll each probably get one more good visit before things change drastically. I need to remember her laughter. I need to know that she'll take care of Dylan and Riley there and we'll take care of her children here. We're both mothers, afraid to leave our children. But with shitty circumstances...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rapidly changing

"Will you give Lily a kiss for me?" my dear aunt asked my mother.
"Of course." she replied, "I'll kiss her everyday for the rest of my life for you."

Things are chaning very quickly with my aunt. If you recall, she was diagnosed in March of 2007 with stage 4 colon cancer. It has since spread to most of her organs including her liver. My mother is trying to prepare us. I hoped (wishful thinking maybe) that she would be here to meet Lily. But that does not look like the case.

My mother and SIL threw us a baby shower on Sunday. It was beautiful, and very peaceful. Although I had mixed feelings about it, but that's for another post. Anyway, my grandmother pulled up and my aunt got out of the car. I held back the tears, as I held her and she cried in my arms. She was so frail, but so happy to be there. We helped her to her seat, gave her some lemonade, and she asked if I could open her presents first. She was upset because she intended to make something for Lily, but could not finish it. So instead her daughters went out and bought her some pretty dresses and lots of books. It was perfect. She left about 30 minutes later, and we found out yesterday that she was so exahusted after she left that she fainted when she walked through the door. She's ok, thankfully, but it was to much for her.

My mom urged me yesterday to see her. She said that if there is anything that I need to do or to say to tell her. I'm sad that she won't be here to see Lily, but I'm incredibly happy that she'll be starting a new journey and will be able to hug and kiss Dylan and Riley and send Lily on her way when it's time. So what do you say to someone who is dying? I want to ask her to hold the boys and tell them that we love them deeply. But they know that. You might wonder how I know that they'll be together. If you remember that weird dream I had about my grandmother a few months ago, I have no doubts anymore. I know there is *somewhere* that we go, but we never return. I want to tell her what my grandmother said in the dream. That dying isn't painful and that she will go to sleep in wake up in a miraculous place. I want to tell her these things, but how? What do I say? How do I say it? She's been asking my mom about if she thought dying was painful, and I want her to know that it's not. It can't be. If it was then I'd have to admit that it was painful for the boys, and I'm willing to bet it was much more painful for me than it was for them.

There is also a large part of me that wants to protect my grandparents from the reality that their daughter is going to die. I don't want any person to feel the pain that I feel, and although I don't particularly like them sometimes...I do love them and I don't want them in that much pain. I've experienced a miniscule amount of what they are going to go through and it nearly killed me. I'm not 80, and my boys were not in their 50's with children. I want to protect them from that pain. On an upside, my grandmother spoke with a nurse yesterday at the oncologist's office who told her flat out that there is nothing more that my grandmother can do for her. She was feeling helpless (we know that feeling) and she was feeling like she should be able to protect her daughter and take care of her by holding onto her, feeding her, and trying to mother her back to normal. Feelings that we are all to familiar with. It's just that with cancer, unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done at this point. It's to far. So hearing from the nurse that it was ok for her to let go was incredibly healing for her. Speaking with my mom, I explained how not knowing that can kill a person. If someone had told me, looked me in the eyes, and really told me that there was nothing I could have done to save Riley and Dylan I know without a doubt that it would have made things easier. I would have been able to let go, put and end to the sentence, and move on from there. While it was hard to hear, it opened her up to cry and come to peace with some things.

Today they are meeting a home health nurse to care for her. It's a relief from everyone because my grandparents don't have to make the 40-min drive each day on a perfect schedule, and my mother gets a break. My uncle can work a little from home, and her children aren't tied down. It also gives her someone to talk to when we can't answer the hard questions.

Please, if you have some to spare, keep us in your thoughts or prayers. My computer is down at home so I'm here at my mom's waiting for her to come and get me to go over. I'll try to post as often as I can, but unfortunately the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. The next few weeks are going to bring unfortunate changes in our family, but thankfully we have a lot to look forward to come September...our saving grace.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Pregnant after a loss...part 1

I've been writing this post in my head for weeks. I will save it as a draft and undoubtedly go back again and again to make sure that it's right before posting it. It's a topic that is dear to me, and that I hope many of you can benefit from. At the very least, you'll know that you are not alone on this ride. While I'm at it, I would like to recommend this book To Full Term. It's a book, I believe, that anyone who is thinking of becoming pregnant or is pregnant should read. It's a memoir of a mother with four losses. One at 8 weeks, 13 weeks, and then twins at 20 weeks. She suffers from an incompetent cervix and factor V. Throughout the book she flashes back to the delivery of her twins. It felt as though she was writing the book for me. As though she was in the delivery room with me...holding my hand, whispering in my ear. Truly amazing.Anyway, I really hope that this benefits you all...some. I feel like after all we've been through, the least I can do is let others know that they will make it. Life seems to come to a stop, and trying to get it moving again is hard, to say the least. It takes time, patience, love, and grieving to get things back up and running. "They" say that it takes the average couple 4 years to come to terms with a pregnancy loss. It takes a lifetime to get over it. I can say, being 2 years out from loosing Dylan, that the pain has lessened. It's still there for sure, but it doesn't cripple me anymore. Certain things still hurt, and I don't think that will ever change.


Deciding on whether to TTC again is the hardest part. For us, we knew that we couldn't not try again. Our lives would not be complete without another child. For others, though, I know that the decision is not that cut and dry. It's a difficult decision that both you and your partner need to discuss even if it's painful to hear the answer. It's especially difficult if there is a chance that it's more likely to happen again, as with IC. It's also more difficult if you had certain health problems that would inhibit your health during another pregnancy. When Dylan was born, it was traumatic for me for obvious reasons, but Derick had an especially hard time because I couldn't pass the placenta and as a result my blood pressure dropped so low they had to give me medications and blood transfusions. It was terrifying for him. He thought he was going to loose his son and his wife all in the same day. Sometimes it's easy to overlook those feelings because we often don't think of our partners as much as we should. Grief is selfish.

If you decide to take the leap, the only way to get through it is to close your eyes, say a prayer, and jump. There is no other way around it. It's going to be scary. Terrifying, really. But once you are there, I can promise you that it isn't as bad as you think. We were lucky in that both with Riley and with Lily we got pregnant on practice cycles. I know, I know, we are probably the only people in the world that have practice cycles.

Often times, though, it isn't that easy. I wish that I knew how to address those concerns, but I don't. I only know that it's a cruel, cruel world when you've worked so hard to bring this little person into the world, you loose them, and then it takes longer than expected to bring another little person here. It's just not fair. There are no other words.

Many people ask how they know if they are ready. I have a few opinions, and maybe you don't agree...but this is my blog! First, make sure that you are able to say the name of the child that you lost out loud. DYLAN MICHAEL GIBSON and RILEY JAMES GIBSON. It's one thing to say it in your head, it's another to read and write it on paper, but if you can't say their name out loud you need more time. That is obviously different for every person. Some people will be able to do that immediately and some will take longer. Second, make sure that you can both handle TTC again because it could take longer than expected. I've seen so many women in so much pain because TTC is taking longer than it did the first time or with their angel. On the other hand, you may have tried for months to have your angel and the next time get pregnant on the first shot...which was our case which made it bittersweet when we expected it to take months. And third, be sure that you are emotionally ready to handle another loss. This one is big for me because I was not ready to try again so soon after loosing Dylan. It had only been 4 months and my life was not back to any scope of normal. Derick didn't want to try again, but was afraid to tell me because I was so deeply depressed. My life stopped when we lost Dylan, and it never started up again. So when we lost Riley it was as if the galaxy collided and we were standing in the center. It was catastrophic. Unfathomable.

The bottom line is that I know the desperation to become pregnant again. I've been there, twice. That primal urge to have life inside of you again is indescribable. Sometimes, though, it's best to wait out

My doctor also told us that he suggested we 'look into alternatives.' Meaning, he didn't think we would be able to have a child biologically. It took months of soul searching to come to the conclusion that we were ok with adopting. I understand it's not the answer for everyone, but for us we went from being completely against it and waking up the next morning searching the web for adoption agencies nearby. It was literally overnight. I still can't imagine my life without adopting a child, even if Lily get's here safe and sound.


I have another post in mind for when you do take the leap...surviving the first trimester. I'll get to that one soon, but if you'd like to add anything to this please feel free. I felt the need to write it as I see to many women unsure about things after loosing a child. Maybe it will give you some direction, or at the very least, make you feel less alone.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here, and if you guys are tired of hearing about it I completely understand. I just need to work this out in my head, and on paper or whatever. It helps that way...

My life is brilliant. My love is pure. I saw an angel. Of that I'm sure. You're beautiful. You're beautiful. You're beautiful, it's true.

We left the doctor's office on March 1, 2006. Blissful. We had just heard the most precious sound in the world. The sound of Dylan's beating heart. I clutched the picture close to me, afraid that I would wrinkle it or it would get lost. We stared at it as we walked to the car. I cried, Derick cried...he was speechless. The picture showed that of a tiny baby, the love of our lives. They said he was the size of the tip of Derick's pinky finger. Unbelievable that we could love someone so much. Derick started up the car, and the song played on the radio. It was Dylan's song. I cried, listening to the song, staring at the picture for hours...dreaming. Our lives were perfect.

Then something went terribly wrong. Not long after we listened to the same song, in the same car, only this time we were on our way home from his funeral. It was Dylan's song. Our song. Breathless...speechless...hopeless...we carried on with our lives the only way we knew how.

Fast forward- December 13, 2006

We left the hospital, terrified. We were going to loose that baby too. The cerclage wasn't scheduled, no one was doing anything. Why weren't they doing anything?! Why weren't they trying to save our son?

The water broke, terror sets in, again. We rush to the hospital, they tell me that maybe the sack will repair itself. They pushed me off until the following day. The emotional impact of him being born on Christmas day would be unbearable for the rest of my life. December will never be the same.

Fast forward again- July 1, 2008

I'm sitting here thinking. Thinking about what could have/should have been done. And I realize now, there was NOTHING that could have been done. Nothing. Nothing.

Riley was going to die, and there was nothing that anyone could do. Not me, not my doctors...not even God.

From a medical standpoint, at 14 weeks with a cervix that short and contractions there was nothing that could have been done to save his life. It was just to early. If I had been closer to 20 weeks, he may have had a shot. It would have been a long and hard fight, but it would have been an opportunity at life. Not at 14 weeks. Not even a cerclage could hold him in there for 10 weeks. Should they have given him a chance? Absolutely. But I understand their hesitance to do drastic measures. They knew...I just didn't know...that there was nothing that could have been done. To them, it was just another 'miscarriage' and to me it was my life. My son. It was my hopes and dreams, my future, and my saving grace.

I accept that, now. It wasn't until I was given the incredible chance to love Lily that I was able to achieve acceptance. Two years it took and so many tears that I can no longer cry over trivial things. A year ago I didn't think I would be here...7 months ago, I didn't think I would be here. I thought that I would spend the rest of my life griefstricken, but in reality...I'm not. I'm incredibly grateful to have my boys in my life. They taught me some of life's greatest lessons and for that I am a better human being. But I'm also incredibly grateful to be able to pass those lessons onto Lily. I have the opportunity to make her a great human being, to teach her profound lessons of life, and to love her unconditionally until the day that I join her brothers. For that opportunity, I have no words.

So you see...acceptance is a part of the process. I didn't want to accept things, and I fought it for a very long time. Now that I'm here, it doesn't mean that I love Dylan and Riley any less or that I love Lily any more. It's just that I'm here, and I can't go back. I smile because I'm happy, not so that other's think I'm ok. I laugh because I mean it, not because if I didn't other people would know something is wrong. And I cry for my sons, not because of grief, but because of everything else. Because of the hole's in my heart where they should be and the deffinate absence of them in our pictures and in our home. Because I loved them so much that I had to let them go.