Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I always knew Grace was amazing. From the day I went into the hospital she continued to amaze. Here is her story:
I couldn't tell you for sure if Grace was the baby that was always "hiding" in ultrasounds. There was always a mystery baby that like to hide behind someone. At my 12 week ultrasound we could barely see so-called mystery baby...just a tiny flicker that was the heartbeat. Oh how I would long for that heartbeat again.
I assume it was Grace only because she ended up being the baby who was the lowest and Betsy sure did like to stretch out so much that I think she finally "pushed" Grace out of her way. I knew Olivia was always all the way over on my left side kinda chilling by herself.
So..when we had my 22 week appointment Grace was so low (before we found out about her prolapse) that we almost didn't find out her sex. It took quite a while and many uncomfortable positions for me before we finally saw her. She kept turning away from us but we could see she was a girl. A beautiful little soul.
I can't help but think if she didn't want us to see her face for a reason. Why did she always turn away and why was she hiding? It was like some eerie foreshadowing or something.
So we found out I had a cord prolapse, which means a bit of Grace's umbilical cord had fallen out of my cervix. A prolapsed baby would have to be born via C-section because if her cord came through first it would cut off all oxygen to the baby resulting in a stillbirth or a severe brain injury. If I was far enough along, it wouldn't have been an issue. We would have just had the C-section. Not an option at only 22 weeks, nevermind with triplets.
So begins our journey...
A few moments after I was admitted to labor and delivery I was placed on my back with my bed at an angle, the foot end of my bed raised. This was to try to keep Grace in and not put any pressure down there where she could come out. My family started arriving and shortly thereafter I felt my water break. I absolutely panicked. Im 22 weeks pregnant and my water just broke! After a little bit of commotion my doctor came in to talk to me.
First, let me say my doctor is amazing. He is part of the nation's top in fertility experts as well as an OB/GYN. Such a kind man and I don't for one second question any of his judgements.
So he explained to me all about a prolapse, which at the time I had no idea. He explained to me that with me being in such an early stage of my pregnancy and with my water breaking, there would be no chance of survival for baby Grace. He told me she would probably die in utero. Soon. He kept talking but I didn't hear. It was like blah, blah, blah, blah. I was trying to process if he just said that my baby was about to die in my stomach. Did he really just say that? Surely not. I started listening to him again...Being that she is so low, she is actually blocking my cervix, preventing my other two babies from being born. She was almost like a little "plug" if you will. He said his main focus would now turn to the other two babies and keeping them safe.
All that day and all night we mourned for Grace. This was so hard for me. I was so caught up in all this new information and all these emotions that my head literally was spinning out of control. I kept imaging my baby dying inside me. I was totally helpless.
The next morning an ultrasound technician came to do an ultrasound. I assumed he was checking for life in Grace. I cried the entire time, but a soft inaudible sob, so he wouldn't hear me. He kept the screen slightly turned away. I could have seen if I wanted to. I never looked. Tony had slept on the couch in my room. He said he never looked either. The technician left without saying a word. No words were ever exchanged with us the entire time and I'm sure it was just as awkward for him.
I few hours passed and my doctor came in and asked, "Are you sure your water broke?" Well, I guess I wouldn't technically know since I've never felt it before. I know I felt a ginormous GUSH with lots of fluid. Apparently on ultrasound not only was Grace still alive with a very strong heartbeat but she still had fluid around her. Amazing. My doc said it's possible if her water broke and it was just a small tear that the placenta would reseal itself. Either that or she could have two sacs around her. Rare, but possible. I was ecstatic. I was so thankful. The next step was to do a cerclage, where my doctor would stitch my cervix closed. He said he was going to attempt to push the cord back inside and then perform a cerclage. (later found out nothing like this has ever happened to him with triplets). Sounds great. It sounds as though things are going to be okay.
The next day I went back for my cerclage. I was numbed from the waist down and was actually starting to feel dizzy but I could hear everything that was going on. He was having trouble pushing the cord back in. "Come on" I remember thinking, "please, please..just come on". Nope. Finally he said, "I can't do it. It won't work". I felt tears rolling down my cheeks. My doctor explained to me that he couldn't do it. He started saying so much stuff to me and I remember hearing something about "she's not going to make it" but again..blah, blah, blah...I couldn't listen. I didn't understand.
I was wheeled back to my room. I passed Tony, my mom, my dad, my brother...all with a look on their face of just sorrow. I started crying and I can't remember who explained it to me but someone told me that my doctor felt Grace's pulse through her umbilical cord and it was so weak. She is not expected to live through the night.
So night two of me just waiting...waiting for my baby to die. I cried pretty much all night. Here I am, mourning the loss of Grace yet again.
Next morning...ultrasound...still alive. Still lots of fluid. Amazing.
That night...ultrasounds...still alive. Still lots of fluid...
This goes on and on and on. Grace continues to survive. She continues to amaze us all. I am starting to think there is hope. I know if she is born any time before 24 weeks she won't survive. If she is born, then most likely the other girls will be born and won't survive either. Please, make it to 24 weeks. That was my goal. I knew if she made it that far, even though her chances would be grim, at least she would have a chance at all. I was preparing for a baby that would possibly have a severe handicap due to loss of oxygen, perhaps even cerebal palsy. But I was prepared for my baby to be alive.
Every day they monitored heartbeats. Three to four times a day. Every time the nurses came in my room with their little hand-held monitor, my heart would skip a beat. Seriously, what if they can't find her heartbeat. It was so scary for me, yet every time her heartbeat was just as strong as the other two. We were all so baffled. Yet so grateful.
Finally, I hit the 24-week mark. I was able to breath a little sigh of relief but not much. We still had the prolapse to worry about and if she decided she was going to come out, we were in trouble. Hopefully, we could now hold off until about 28-30 weeks and then do a C-section if necessary. Still very early but they would at least all three be alive.
The next day, 24 weeks and 1 day, I started experiencing horrible, horrible back pain. Little did I know I was in labor. We all thought it was because I had been in the hospital for 2 weeks without getting up AT ALL, that I was just getting pains from bed. My hips hurt and my lower back was killing me. All of a sudden, I felt something fall out of me. I rang the nurse immediately and I was so, so, so glad that my most favorite nurse, Diana, was on duty that night and was my primary nurse. She came in and checked me and told me I was in labor and that, "I'm sorry but it doesn't look good for baby Grace".
My angel was born at about 11 pm that night.
Thank you Grace.
Thank you for fighting to survive until you knew your sister's would be safe. You are their hero. You were able to hang in there until ONE DAY after the "safe mark" so that your sister's would even have a fighting chance.
For two weeks we mourned you. We never knew when your final heartbeat would come and we never knew when you would pass into the arms of Jesus. We were able to love you so much in those short two weeks. We prayed for you every day. A few moments after you were placed in my arms, I felt the peace of the Lord. I felt an overwhelming calmness come over me and I know, without a doubt, that was the Lord coming to take you home.
We love you Grace Ann and I am glad everyone is getting to know you like me and your daddy knew you. You are, and continue, to be amazing and I am so grateful to get to share your story so everyone else can admire you like we do. You are AMAZING, GRACE!
Posted by Laci at 6:34 PM
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I have decided that on my Wordless Wednesday posts I will post only a name with the picture if it is not obvious that it is a picture of Betsy, like when I post pics of Grace or Olivia. For those of you who never saw them, I want to recognize whose memory I am honoring for that week.
Also I am going to go back over previous Wordless Wednesday posts and add the appropriate name.
Posted by Laci at 10:28 AM
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
It's amazing how a tragedy can inspire and motivate us to do something special and extraordinary.
Last year our family became involved in the March of Dimes. I hope to always stay involved with this organization as a way to carry on the memory of my girls. For those of you who are not familiar with the March of Dimes, they are an organization to help improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. There is a link on my sidebar to their page. Please check them out.
We have been fortunate enough to really get involved in doing what we can to help. I want to become more involved as time goes on and as I see fit. Last year was our first real fundraiser and we participated in March for Babies. We gathered together good friends and family who wanted to help us raise money in memory of Grace and Olivia and in honor of Betsy. We had an overwhelming response. I raised over $1100! It was so overwhelming to see so many people give their all for my girls. Some of these people obviously never met my girls and it was amazing to me that they would pour their hearts out to help.
The funds we raise go towards March of Dimes researchers, volunteers, educators, outreach workers and advocates who work together to give all babies a fighting chance against the threats to their health: prematurity, birth defects, low birthweight. I am so proud to be a part of this and to possibly prevent anything like what I went to from happening to other families. If I can even save ONE baby, it would be worth every penny in my bank account. Thinking about another family grieveing the premature loss of their infant is just too much to bear.
Our group was called "Team Betsy"...naturally!
There was quite a few of us that gathered to walk last year. Unfortunately the actual walk got rained out last year, but it was a joy to still gather together with everyone. I got very emotional walking in and seeing all these people who were here just for my girls. It was amazing...just so heartwarming.
We even won Best T-shirt contest!!
Here is our shirt (front and back)
So this year we are so excited to be doing this walk/fundraiser again. I am hoping we have the same turnout as last year and I hope people will be just as supportive in years to come. This is an organization that has become very near and dear to my heart and I hope you all will help us out.
Please visit my team page and donate if you can. If you live in the area please join us in walking on May 8 in honor of my girls and all babies born prematurely. It will be in the morning so it won't take much of your time.
Here is the link to my team page:
If you are going to sign up to walk then it will ask you to make a personal page. You don't have to do anything but just fill in the appropriate information and make a "goal" for yourself. You can make your goal anything...even $20. Then you can ask your co-workers or friends to sponsor you in the walk and help you raise money. All the money you raise will go towards our entire Team Betsy goal!!
Thanks for helping and I hope to see you at the walk!
Posted by Laci at 4:54 PM
Thursday, April 8, 2010
This weekend we went to my grandparent's farm for Easter. They live in a very small town in Southwest Oklahoma, about 2-1/2 hours from us and unfortunately we don't see them as often as we would like. Mostly holidays and summers. I love it there. I have so many memories as a child visiting my grandparents and spending time with my cousins. It's amazing how grown up we all are now and how different things are down there. I am SO very fortunate to still have both of my grandparents living. (This is on my mom's side of the family). I feel very blessed to have them in my lives and now in Betsy's. My family is so important to me and I treasure every second I have and have ever had with them. My cousins are wonderful and I have a blast being around everyone. Even though we have all grown up and most of us have our own kids now, it is still so much fun to be down there and around everyone.
We went Saturday and their little town had an Easter Egg Hunt for all the kids. I thought it was hilarious that such a small town had such a big turnout for this and how many children there were! They divided the groups into different age groups so the egg hunting was fair. Of course, the little ones are so funny because it's mostly the parents pointing out the egg and getting so excited for the kids when they finally toddle their way over to the eggs and pick them up. For Betsy it was the same way. Except she had to really examine each egg before she put it in her basket. Such a doll.
Of course this is yet another holiday without Grace and Olivia. I will watch Betsy run around and play and I will get two other children in my sight that are similar in age and I imagine...how much fun all my girls would have had running around and hunting eggs. What sweet little Easter outfits would they be in and would I want them to match. Probably so. I imagine if they would run around and play together or would they go their separate ways and play with other kids. Would they laugh out loud at each other doing something silly. Easter Sunday I imagine how beautiful my girls would look in their Easter dresses. Would Grace and Olivia wear a bow or would I have to fight all three of them for a quick picture with it in their hair. I can't express how much I miss them and how hard each and every holiday is.
I remember two years ago on Easter Sunday is when I had my IVF transfer. I went in that morning and my doctor "hid" three eggs in my uterus in hopes of at least one baby. Easter will always be special to me because this is the first time I had a glimpse of possibly being a mother.
And what a difference a year makes....Betsy last year at Easter.
Posted by Laci at 4:26 PM