Jana's Subsequent Pregnancy Diary
Ava LaFlair arrived on April 25, 2001 at 9:35 pm
She weighed 7 lbs. and 1 oz.
and was 19.5 inches.
click on balloons for details!
"Kylie Renee" by Jana (8/97) - Atlanta
Entry #1: October 6, 2000
Today, I feel like I have emerged from a long, dark tunnel that I have been wandering in for the past 3 years. Let me explain. On the morning of May 5, 1997, I was 37-weeks pregnant and was excited that I was in the final weeks, if not days, of my first pregnancy. Our anticipation of seeing our daughter Kylie (instead of just feeling her powerful kicks and flips) was overwhelming.
By the afternoon of the same day, I had to face making funeral arrangements. During a weekly, routine office visit, my ob-gyn discovered that Kylie's heart was no longer beating. They "kindly" refer to this as fetal demise, but there is not a nice way to deliver or hear the news that your child will not be entering this world with a "here I am!" cry. Not only was I not going to hear my firstborn cry, I would soon learn that induction therapies would not work and I would have to carry her for 2 more weeks until my body went into labor on its own.
Those two weeks were by far the most difficult of my life. Looking back many years and many tears later, it is still hard to believe that my marriage as well as my sanity survived the ordeal. My baby was a hostage in my body, my body was a hostage in my house (how could I deal with going to the store and people asking me "when are you do? "Are you excited?" "Are you having a boy or girl?'), and my life was a hostage of mind-numbing grief.
In the end, no one can tell me why this happened. The autopsy revealed a healthy, 7 lb - 2oz girl. My blood work showed no signs of anything suspicious. So we were left with "sometimes these things just happen". But they are NOT supposed to happen to me. People didn't understand that.
Over the next few months, I became a master of hiding the grief and dealing with it at home. Even your closest friends and family can only bear the sight of your pain-stricken face and agonizing recollections of the ordeal for so long. I remember after several weeks looking at myself in the mirror, and I didn't recognize me anymore. My innocence, inner light, and "old Jana" were gone. One close friend said that I had become an "old-soul" and that my eyes now held new secrets.
My road to acceptance and recovery included going back to work with wonderful group of friends, reading everything on grief and God, and trying to learn how to be a mother without a child.
It has not been a easy three years. Am I better for it? Maybe. I think my perspective is more realistic when it comes to dealing with the daggers everyday life throws at you. At work, people refer to me as "happy go lucky" whereas I used to be sensitive to everything. However, after the road I have walked, what issue at work is worth stressing out over? The experience of losing a child has changed my marriage forever. We realize how strong we both are and how wonderful it is to have a friend to count on. We are alot closer and appreciate even the smallest of things.
As I said earlier, it has been three l-o-n-g years and here we go again. We recently found out I was pregnant. In fact, I am 9 weeks into this new adventure.
A few months ago, I thought I was pregnant because I was 4 days late. Let me just say, that I was not prepared for the flood of emotions that I experienced. Everything from pure joy to pure terror rushed through my brain every 5 minutes.
Although I know I will never completely recover from losing Kylie, I can talk about her and her ordeal without becoming overly emotional. However, I was not prepared for how quickly the feelings of grief could resurface. It was like I was experiencing all of the pain of losing her all over again. Don't get me wrong, I always knew a subsequent pregnancy would be an emotional roller coaster , but again, I just wasn't prepared for the wide range of feelings that would crush my heart. After all of this agony, a pregnancy test came back negative and of course, that upset me too.
After this episode, I really looked into my heart and knew that I was ready to try again. I had devoted three years to recovering, accepting, and learning to live with the new me. I truly felt that I could handle a second pregnancy (for better or worse) and keep my sanity. So, once I put my heart and head into action, my body cooperated (with a little help from God, too). He knew I was ready to try again. The next month, sure enough, I was 5 days late, but this time the pregnancy test came back positive. This time the intense emotions were replaced my a serene sense of calm.
Because the doctors could not determine why Kylie died and nothing was found to be wrong with her or me, this pregnancy is labeled as high-maintenance instead of high-risk. I think I like the sound of that a little better, actually. I am seeing a new doctor with this pregnancy. Although I liked my other ob-gyn, I did not like how the other doctors in the practice treated me during my last pregnancy. They were not supportive after learning of the fetal demise. My new ob-gyn is great and he practices at the best baby hospital in our area.
Unfortunately, I know that things can go wrong with a pregnancy, but now I will have access to the best care, the facilities, and best doctors. That is an unspeakable comfort to me and my family.
Although I feared how I would handle a new pregnancy, so far I think I am doing OK. I try to focus on the fact that this is a new child and that I am at a better place in my marriage and career. I know this wonderful, peaceful calm will not always be with me, I am thankful for every moment I have it. For me, the worrying and high-maintenance will begin when I enter my 3rd trimister. I will probably have to see the doctor one a week (instead of every 2 weeks) and have constant monitoring.
Right now we are discussing inducing labor 2 weeks early. Because Kylie was lost at 37 weeks, I am all for early induction. Also, my new baby's due date is May 7th and we learned of Kylie's death on May 5th. Needless to say, I am all for that!
My next step is a dr. appt on Oct 11. I am hoping we will get to hear the heart beat for the first time. Keep your fingers crossed. Jana
Marcia's thoughts: I created "your" page today. I really appreciated many of your thoughts because I not only have heard them expressed in the group - I have felt them. I, too, felt as though I looked different after Seth's loss and I read a lot about God and grief. I also have had women discribe the feelings of terror around a time when they thought they might be pregnant and weren't quite prepared. We do share so many similar feelings. Thinking of you as you visit your doctor.
Entry #2: October 12, 2000
It is Oct 11th and I just had my second doctor's appt. Although the outcome was very good, I just about suffered a panic attack.
I am approximately 10 weeks and 3 days pregnant. During this visit I REALLY wanted to hear the heart beat, but I was concerned that is was still too early. The nurse tried by could only find my pulse/heart beat. It sounded fast like a baby's heart beat, but I think that was because I was so nervous. As she moved the doppler around and I just prayed to hear the familiar little beat. Since she couldn't get a good reading, the doctor gave it a try. He looked in the same place (almost exactly) the nurse had without luck. They were searching very low and on my right side - no luck. The doctor moved over to my left side and thought he heard something. However, because the reading was faint, he said "let's take a picture" He didn't have to convince me.
I moved into the room with the ultrasound machine and waited for about 15-20 minutes - alone. I was trying so hard not panic. See, this is similar to what happened with Kylie. The doctors tried the doppler, it didn't detect her heartbeat and then they used the ultrasound to confirm this worst. So, as I sit in this 8x8 room, I am desperately trying not to panic and yes, I was doing a lot of praying.
It is amazing the thoughts that can go through you mind. I thought that maybe they had called my husband because the news was bad, I was trying to convince myself that it would be better to miscarry now than to have another stillbirth later, and I was praying to have the strength to handle whatever the outcome.
Finally, the doctor came into the room, and there was my tiny baby on the screen. Of course, the baby was on my left side and up higher than where they had been looking. Of course, he/she was. Sheer, utter, blissful relief doesn't even begin to describe my state of mind. They printed 2 pictures for my of my little "peanut" , drew 4 vials of blood, and then sent me on my way. WHAT A DAY!
I must say, that I am kinda glad the baby was hiding from the doppler so we got to do the ultrasound. Science is a wonderful thing.
Also, I came to an interesting realization this week. The new baby gives me freedom to talk about Kylie which is very liberating and cathartic. Before, I felt that was part of my past and not necessarily appropriate for "office talk". Talking about Kylie was basically done on a "need to know" only basis. It is not that I wanted to keep her a secret, but it was such a personal experience and talking about her involved so much detail. However, now, I can talk about her, I want to talk about her. My first pregnancy was very easy and trouble-free until my 37th week, so I still have a lot of very positive experiences. Also, it is important to let people know this is not my first pregnancy. I will never, ever deny Kylie and what her brief life meant to me. She changed me forever.
This has been my exciting week - and I still have Friday the 13th and the weekend to deal with :-) I just pray it will be a quiet couple of days so I can reflect on my tiny ultrasound photo.
Marcia's comments: Your thoughts hold true to others' comments. It does often seem easier to discuss the baby we have lost as we are pregnant or actually have the subsequent child. This is especially true for many fathers. I think one reason might be because the focus is lifted from the child we lost. We don't feel so vulnerable (around that baby) - though we still feel fragile around this baby!
What a fright you had in the office! WE should never be left alone that long!! Our minds do work overtime. That is part of the "subsequent pregnancy syndrome." I'm glad you shared this because I know many moms will identify with it.
Jana's return comments: I think there are a few reasons why my husband is finally opening up. First, I no longer burst into tears at the mention of Kylie's name. She is a precious gift that we both cherish. She helped realize how strong and how committed we both are. Second, he recently started working man who lost his teenage son to cancer last year. It has really helped my husband to talk with someone who truly understands grief and loss. Hopefully, it has helped this man to deal with his grief as well. Finally, as we have discussed, this baby allows us to talk and dream about the future. By having this positive aspect in our lives to focus on, I believe it is easier to deal the pain of losing Kylie because it all balances out.
Entry #3: November 9, 2000
Maybe it is the rainy weather, pregnancy hormones, the time change or a combination of everything that is causing me to feel a little moody lately. Last week, I had my first full-blown hormone attack. It is amazing how illogical I can get. No one could say anything to me that didn't hurt my feelings. At lunch time, I went home, cried, ate a little food (a snack always seems to help) and catnapped for about 30 minutes before returning to work. When my husband saw me that evening, he said I was the saddest looking thing he had seen. The hormones had really done a number on me and put me in the dumps. The next day was better, however, I was exhausted from the emotional roller coaster the day before. Some days, you just can't win.
Lately, I have been reading how a lot of pregnant women are involved in chat rooms and message boards. So, I decided to check them out. I would love to have a little support group, even online, since I don' t have any preggie friends who live near me. However, as I read the comments on the message boards, I got a little angry and maybe jealous. Most of the ladies have at least one child and everything went perfect. They are haven't been tainted by loss the way I have. They don't know (they may suspect and worry, but the do not KNOW) the pain of losing your child, of not feeling it kick, of not hearing that blessed cry when it comes into the world. I am jealous of their innocence.
All my friends and co-works (bless them one and all) are so positive and say that everything will be OK and not to worry. I wish it were that easy. The worry bug doesn't hit me all of the time, but it is becoming more frequent the further along I get. Also, I love to read....love knowledge. However, so many of the magazines out there feature topics on horrible diseases and tragedies that strike babies. Yes, we need to know about these things so we can keep a watchful eye, but with everything else I have to deal with, I don't need to worry about that stuff too. I just want to get a healthy baby home....that is my one and only goal.
All in all, I am feeling pretty good. Just getting those weird aches from my body changing and a few tough headaches. The queasies have subsided and my belly is growing. In fact, I bought 2 maternity outfits last weekend. That was kinda fun. Although I am not close to fitting in the clothes, it is neat knowing that soon I will completely fill out the tummy sections!!!
In 2 weeks, I will be off to the doctor for my MSAFP test, but at least my mother is coming down to visit and will go with me. I will take every bit of support I can get! Take care, Jana
Marcia's comments: You sound "normal" to me. The emotions are like on a yo-yo in a pregnancy with "no worries," the yo-yo is moving even more wildly in our subsequent pregnancies. Hang on...
By the way, our subsequent pregnancy group is very active and has some wonderfu folks in it right now. Almost all of them have been through the SHARE group. You might try to go one time and meet some folks. I know they stay connected AND they are having the same - very same - feelings as you. Polly and Taylor might even connect you with some via phone or most are online. Maybe you could go to the Chat line at a designated time and chat. There ought to be a way for you to hook up with them. No need for you to be alone in this...Oh, National SHARE has just this, I believe on Monday night lead by Carol Lanham who wrote the Pregnancy After a Loss book that we recommend.
Entry #4: November 30, 00
Well, I am STILL waiting on the results from my MSAFP test. I went to the doctor on the 21st, but due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the results are taking a little longer. Before taking the test, I was really worried. I tend to fixate on small things and then drive myself crazy. It is a pesky personality trait that I am working on. However, now that the test is over, I am not as worried, but I am anxious for the results.
With my last pregnancy, the test came back indicating a possible neural tube problem, but a Level II ultrasound revealed a perfect baby. Believe me, I know how common false positives are, but if I had not had a stillbirth, I wouldn't be so concerned. You know how these preggie hormones are...they often leave little room for rational thinking. At this point, if the tests are OK, then the doctor will follow a normal routine. If they come back positive, then I am probably looking at having an amnio and ultrasounds. I am fine with having another Level II ultrasound because the pictures are so fantastic. I have a 5x7 of Kylie and it is incredible. You can easily see her eyes, nose, and mouth. However, I am unsure how I feel about an amnio. One, there are more risks involved and the results take a while to come back. I am not a patient girl, so I think waiting for the results would be torture. I know, I know. I have to cross one bridge at a time and thinking of what might happen isn't a healthy way of life for anyone.
All in all, the doctor's visit went well. My blood pressure was great, I gained 3 lbs (so I am now up to my starting point), and they heard the heartbeat perfectly - 142 bpm. It is so amazing to hear that little thud-thud-thud. It is the sweetest music in the world. Also, I started to feel a few flutters last week. Actually, it felt like the youngin' was doing some Riverdancing on my cervix. It was a very funky feeling, but a very welcomed one.
My mother was visiting for the holidays and she went with me. It was good to have her support during the visit plus we got to go shopping afterwards! Yeah! I must say, that it is still a little difficult for me to buy maternity stuff let alone any baby gifts yet. My mind (and heart) will not allow me to plan for making it through this pregnancy and bringing a baby home. I still have to take one day at a time. I am hoping that once we have the ultrasound on 12/20/00, then I will know for sure all is OK and we can start to plan the nursery and feel more comfortable making plans.
Speaking of the baby's room, I found a very cute birth announcement that I liked and I may carry the theme into the baby's room. The card has a parade of adorable little animals along the bottom. The first animal (an elephant I think) is carrying a flag that says " Hip Hip Hurray!" and the next animal (a bear) has a flag that says "I was born today". It is a very happy, celebratory card. So, I was thinking of a circus type theme in the room with lots of primary colors and all of my beloved stuffed animals (I always knew they would come in handy one day).
Now, I know that I just said that I had a hard time "buying" stuff, but I sure do "think" a lot about it. Also, as an omen, I was throwing away lots of old magazines and I found a circus themed child's room that was very neat.
Well, I will keep you posted on the test results and the nursery.Best wishes to all,
Entry #5: December 1, 00
Good news!! The doctor's office just called and my AFP test was negative - YEAH!!! Now, I can relax a little. I know the inaccuracy of this test, but it is nice that I had a different result with this baby. Although both of my pregnancies have been pretty easy, it is nice that this one is a little different. I have had more morning sickness, sore breasts, and a negative AFP result. Now, we just have to sit back, let the baby grow, and take a peek at him/her on 12/20/00.
Thanks for the strong shoulder to lean on and the ear to hear my good news!Jana
Marcia's thoughts: I love the idea of the circus nursey. Joel's room was inherited from our friends who lived in the house before us and her mother had painted circus animals, clowns, etc on the wall - all in bright primary colors!! It was so very happy to go in there!! He wanted his bed right next to that wall! What fun it was to tell stories as we snuggled at night about various characters on the wall! It even had a circus tent and I found him a circus bedspread!
Glad your mom could join you - a very nice "gift."
Don't worry too much about the ability to completely "bond" with this baby. Everyone comes at this differently. I know I really kicked in at month eight! I all of a sudden had to do some special things - no matter what!
Entry #5: Dec 27, 00
The past few weeks have been completely crazy. Of course, there have been the holidays to prepare for and wrapping up the year at work, but we also had the ultrasound scheduled./P>
The weeks leading to the ultrasound seemed to go on forever. They were mixed with anticipation, excitement, and more than a little anxiety. The doctors used an ultrasound to confirm my first child's heart had stopped beating. So instead of seeing an active 37-week old baby on the monitor, I saw what looked like a peaceful child in deep slumber. It was devastating.
When the u-day finally arrived, I was a bundle of hormones and warned my husband that I was not in control of any of my emotions. It is a difficult task to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. I was excited and terrified at the same time, but I knew I had to put my game face on. I didn't anticipate anything being wrong with this baby. It had moving around like an Olympic gymnastic over the past few weeks, so I knew the kid was doing OK.
My husband and I rely on humor to get us through each day. Several years ago, I heard a motivational speaker (Tony Robbins, I think) say that out of every bad situation you need to find some humor. To some, that may sound horrible, but it is something that my husband and I have embraced. Even though some may view our humor as inappropriate, it helps us to say things we may not otherwise be able to. The day of the ultrasound was no different.
Fortunately, the ultrasound tech had a wonderful sense of humor and only encourage my husband's comedic routine. It is just what I needed. It was a great way to deal with my mixed up emotions - laughter. The ultrasound was incredible. It showed a very active and healthy baby that is weighing approximately 11 ounces (boy, do those kicks feel like they are coming from a 250 lb. football player, but they assured me the baby was still under a pound). Of course, we are from the school that wants to know the sex of our baby. The tech confirmed we are having a girl. We are just thrilled.
Everyone at work was VERY surprised because they all said I was having a boy. I still think a few still don't believe we are having a girl.
My husband asked me during our celebratory lunch if I was relieved. Yes, I was. However, I don't think the full impact of the pregnancy and that everything was OK and that we are having a daughter sunk in until several hours later. As we were getting ready for bed, it all just hit me. The emotions hit me so hard and I was more than a little overwhelmed. The baby is OK and it is a girl. WOW.
Do I dare believe that everything will be OK? That brings up an interesting point. Although we receive encouraging news, those little "what if" thoughts linger in my head and heart. People like to say "be positive" however, I don't feel that my feelings are a matter of being positive or negative. I like to call myself I realist and part of being a realist in this situation is being completely honest with myself. I will do all in my power and work with my doctors to ensure this baby will be born healthy, however, I know that anything can happen. I long for that blissful ignorance of my first pregnancy, of not knowing the pain of losing a child or having to know how bad things can go wrong. I think it is unrealistic of people to expect my husband and me to overly positive and have our heads in the clouds. I often feel like a soldier watching out for the enemy. I monitor how I am feeling and how much the baby is moving (and when) so I can maybe detect if there is something wrong. Unfortunately, in life there are no guarantees and I am VERY aware of that. Again, we expect the best and prepare for the worst. We would be reckless if we didn't.
One final thought today. One of the best things about this pregnancy is my job. I work with the most supportive group of people who are so excited by my pregnancy. Sometimes, it feels like all 75 of us are pregnant! When I came into the office the day after the ultrasound, my cubicle was decorated with pink and blue balloons and banners saying "It's a boy" and "It's a girl" since they didn't know the outcome of the ultrasound. Of course, a few co-workers thought I was having one of each! YIKES! The news of our little girl just added to the holiday goodwill that everyone was experiencing. It was wonderful. My company has made this pregnancy so easy and I will forever be grateful. When I am down or hormonal, there is always someone at the office who will say a kind word and make me realize just how blessed I am.
After we lost Kylie, I returned to work after about 8 weeks. Although I worked at a different company, everyone was very understanding and supportive. It aided my healing process so much. I have spoken to several women who have lost babies and children. I am familiar with their grief. I know how hard it is to move on, but for me, work was a lifesaver. I do not think I would have gotten pregnant again had I not returned to work. Returning to work allowed me to feel good about myself again. Plus, the support system that I have gained, well, there aren't words for how precious that is. I know that my way of healing is not best for everyone and not all companies are like mine, but it is a wonderful thing if you can find it.Take care,
Marcia's comments: I was pleased to read this account - about the ultrasound experience, the use of humor to help us through difficult times, and about your peers at work. I have information about humor as a source of comfort on the site! I also have an entire section about co-workers - helpful and not so helpful reports. I would like to take your comments about both and include them on these pages!C
My last second trimester doctor's appointment is behind me. I cannot believe that the next time I see my doctor (in February), I will be starting my third -and final!!! - trimester. Time is a funny a thing when you are pregnant. From the time I first learned that I was expecting until I started to show seemed to drag on for months & months. Now, that my body is changing and we are in the new year, time seems to be flying by. It is incredible.
Everything went very well and the doctor is very pleased with my progress and the baby's. I had finally started to put on some weight, which he really liked and my bp is excellent. The appointment was very routine, but we did cover 2 important issues that may affect some other preggie mothers.
First, I did receive approval to travel for business when I am 30 weeks (the beginning of March). As long as things keep going as they are, he doesn't see a problem with travelling up until I am 32 weeks. Luckily, my trip is only 2 days and it is only to Dallas, TX. His conditions were that I must get a lot of rest before and after my trip and I must drink extra fluids to stay hydrated, especially since I am flying.
Second, I asked him about induction. With Kylie, the induction therapies didn't work the first time the dr. sent me to the hospital. As you may recall, I was sent home until I went into labor on my own. This took 2 weeks! My concern was if the induction drugs didn't work last time, why would this time be any different. Well, he said things usually go a lot smoother and easier with the second pregnancy. Although nothing is guaranteed (oh wouldn't life be easier if it did come with guarantees!), he believes this delivery will be very easy. Let's us hope so!
My latest dilemma is a proposed baby shower that my co-workers and friends wish to give. What a big step! Unfortunately, my little subconscious security guard is working overtime. Sometimes, I think, will a baby shower be a jinx? What if something happens, again? Then there is the "let's make lemonade out of lemons" personality that is all for a shower. I have heard of welcome baby showers that occur after we bring the baby home. That seems like a good idea, too. The bad thing is that some people make me feel guilty for even thinking of denying them the right of giving me a shower. I know they care and they are already in love with the baby, but I can't help being a little selfish.
It gets very tiring trying to explain this crazy period in my life and the slew of emotions that are constantly with me. Often I am made to feel like I have to take the high-road and be understanding of everyone's feelings. The majority of the time, I am very considerate. However, I do not understand why I must be the better person, carrying the heavy load of loss, be responsible for making everyone else feel better, and make sure they get to fulfill their desire to buy baby gifts? That is a lot for anyone to take on.
Two final things to share. First, I think we have settled on the Ava for our new little one. It is a classic name that meets our 2 requirements - it doesn't rhyme with much and it can't be shortened.
Second, our little Ava (fondly nicknamed Ava-codo) is developing a wonderful sense of hearing. She is responding to my husband's voice on a regular basis as well as to two co-workers that I am very good friends with. If my friends and I go to lunch, I think she tries to join in the conversation by kicking me. Also, another example of her perceptive abilities, is that my husband recently had the flu and every time he would cough, she would kick. Needless to say, no one got any rest that night.
Well, my next dr. appt is on Valentine's Days, so I look forward to giving you another update In a few weeks. Since I will be 28 weeks, it is time for the glucose tolerance test. I will definitely fill you in on all of the details.
Marcia's comments: Glad to learn all is going so well. I can't believe you are moving so fast, either.
I love your comments about Ava's bonding moments and I love the name Ava. It is so wonderful that we can learn so much about our little ones before they are even born.
As to carrying the weight of responsibility for making others "feel good." This is a place so many of us move into. A confusing place at that. I think when a person is struggling to move through a difficult time and seems to be doing it so well that others don't (can't?) see the whole picture (hidden concerns, fears, uncertainties, etc) it makes it very difficult for said person to know what to say when others want to proceed as if "all were totally normal." The maternal side in us wants to protect them (to a point) but we often know that to do what others are asking for may be above and beyond what we REALLY want/can do.
So where to turn? Often to a compromise that will allow both sides to possibily feel good-works. The baby shower "after the baby comes" is often a very positive channel for THE baby shower. It feels special that others want to share in your moment, but it may just have to wait until uncertainties are removed. I know one mom addressed this by saying, "We have waited for this baby for so long and we would like to wait until he arrives to celebrate so we can all share his moment." I had a "birthday party" for our two sons. When they were a month old we had a party that included close friends and relatives. They brough "potluck" and we provided cake and balloons and sang "Happy BIRTHDAY." I love the pictures from each event!
Sometimes parents go on and have the shower and all really is special and okay. This happens most when the mother doesn't feel uncomfortable AT ALL about doing this. One mom shared that having a smaller, less formal gathering felt safer for her.
It all comes down to letting yourself know what is "safe" for you.
I am glad you brought this issue up. Perhaps others will chime in. I think it is a very difficult and frequently discussed issue. I would be interested in your thoughts on it as you make a decision.
Entry #6: January 25, '01
HI Marcia,As always, I so appreciate your feedback. As long as everything keeps going OK, I think we are going to proceed with a baby shower before Ava makes her grand appearance. Just like the one mom you mentioned, it is going to be fairly informal and low-key....well, a pretty rowdy bunch is throwing the party, so it is hard to tell. I think it will fun and, yes, very emotional. A part of me feels like I just need to let go a little and have a good time and celebrate that everything has been going so well.
Stacy M. and I have been emailing very frequently. She started the correspondence after reading my journal entries and she has been so wonderful. We have discussed the baby shower issue and think that this time around, we want to try to do all of the "normal" things.
However, I must admit, I love what you did with your sons. That is great! I will have some friends visiting about a month or so after the birth, so maybe I will steal your idea and plan a fun little get-together to celebrate. Why do I have to settle for one party? This little one is worth celebrating over and over.
Entry #7: February 15, '10
On Valentine's Day, I had my 28 week checkup which included the glucose tolerance screening (the one hour test). Can I say how much I adore my practice? I saw a new doctor in the practice and I really liked him. He was very supportive. Sometimes, I sense that the doctors and nurses do not wish to discuss my stillbirth 3 years, but he was very open about it and offered many words of encouragement. As someone who has been through this, you know how important that is. He was very impressed with how well this pregnancy with baby Ava is going. He liked the size of my belly, the size of my child, and her heart rate. So far, everything is looking great! What a relief!
I am so glad the baby is doing well, because I hit a couple of bumps in the road. First, I was a little anemic (my iron was low). Normally my iron level is very good, so this concerned me a little. It does explain why I have been feeling so tired and why I am a little pale (ok, may it being the dead of winter has something to do with my lack-o-color). So, I have to start taking an iron supplement. Second, I failed my glucose tolerance screening. I believe they want a level of 135 and I was over 160. So, on Monday, I have to go back for the 3-hour test. Again, the nurse was very encouraging saying that less than 10% of all pregnancies result in gestational diabetes and they have even seen less than that at this practice. Her words may be feel better. I do not seem to have any of the symptoms associated with gestational diabetes, however I think it may run in our family. All of the babies on my mother's side of the family have been very large - well over 9 and 10 lbs. If I do have this condition, then it is off to the hospital to get a special diet - oh boy!
It's funny. I really look for differences between my two pregnancies. The differences usually make me feel better because it gives me confidence that everything will be OK this time. Well, I sure didn't think that I would have these differences - diabetes and low iron. It's that old cliché raring its ugly head - be careful of what you wish for. Honestly, I am not that doom and gloom, but this has been a little unsettling. I know that I just need to be extra careful and more focused on a better diet.
My next visit will be March 13 and I will be 32 weeks - about 5 weeks from THE day!!! Can't believe it. I will have a non-stress test and another ultrasound. Although we do not know what happened to Kylie, the only glue we have is that it may have been a problem with my placenta. That is the reason for this next ultrasound - to make sure my placenta is functioning OK and that Ava is on the right track. After this visit, we will be down to the weeklies - wow! Time will really fly then!Take care,
Entry #8: February 22, '10
Unfortunately, I failed my 3-hour glucose tolerance test this week. So, I officially have gestational diabetes. At first the diagnosis really shook me because I just don't want to have anything else to worry about. Of course, having not eaten for almost 14 hours, I am sure that had just a little to do with my mood swing, too. However, after speaking with my doctor and a dietician, I have a peace of mind about my condition.
Here are a few of the things that I have learned that I hope will help other expectant moms. First, gestational diabetes is very treatable with diet and exercise. I went to a class offered by the American Diabetic Association and learned how to eat and monitor my sugar levels. Second, The little finger pricker really is painless! No kidding. I promise. Third, this condition cannot be prevented. Pregnant women are the most insulin resistant group. The placenta creates hormones between the 24-28th week that can prevent insulin from regulating glucose. So the goal is to reduce the amount of glucose in your blood through diet. Fourth, this condition almost always goes away after birth (yeah). Finally, I will admit I am not a good eater. So this diet is a very good lifestyle change that I believe will benefit me for a long time.
Other than the gestational diabetes, I am doing great. I feel good and everyone says I look good. The doctors are pleased with my progress, so I am feeling really positive about things as I enter my third trimester (I can't believe it!).Best Wishes,
Marcia's comments: have been praying for you. I have had several moms with gestational diabetes and the diet really worked. If you with to talk to one, I think I could arrange that.
It sounds as though you have got a great team of doctors! This, in itself, as you have stated, makes a world of difference in your mindset. You can trust them. They are listeners and supporters of WHO YOU ARE. Thank you for the information about the diabetic condition. I have heard this before and it sounds as if you are under excellent care.
Give Ava a hug "pat." /P>
Entry #9: March 27, '01
I cannot believe it. One month from today on April 27th, I should be heading to the hospital to be induced. It is almost unbelievable that this part of my journey is almost complete.
We seem to be prepared. We have a stock of diapers, onsies, a car seat, a crib, a bassinet, playpen, toys....all of the essentials. The doctors appointments have been going very well. We had an ultrasound and a non-stress test last week as well as toured the hospital (it is fab-u-lous!). My weight is good and some say from the back, no one would know I was pregnant (yeah!). So, everything seems to be going well. You would think then that I should be on top of the world, but I am not.
As you may remember, I lost my first child at 37 weeks and as we approach that fateful milestone, my anxiety grows and grows. During the past few nights, I am constantly waking up because I fear that something has happened to the baby. My rational mind says "it is 1:30 am, she isn't active because she is sleeping", but that emotional, irrational, hormonal side is in a panic. I worry how I will manage to get through the next 4 weeks without losing my mind. I know I should focus on the positive and not thing about the past, but that is so much easier said than done. For the past 8 months, I have been handling everything so well....but now, I feel like I am falling apart and I am just not sure what to do. Of course, I talk to people, but I am one that I must learn to deal with this internally. In reality, I know that I will probably just have to take one day and one night at a time. I think the next 4 weeks will feel like 9 months - yikes.
If you or anyone has any advice or wish to share your experiences, please do so. Any life line will be of help.
Best Wishes,Jana & Baby Ava (ETA 4/27/01)
Marcia's thoughts: Bless you as you enter into this last unbelievable part of your journey. I know from sharing this time with so many other moms - how hard it is. Taking one day at a time...one hour ... one minute, almost seems to be the only way. I have had moms call me every day wondering...how they will make it through that last month or so. Your thoughts are very normal.
You are doing a lot for Baby Ava and yourself! That is so important for your own sanity. I am glad your doctors are as wonderful as they are. All the time you have put with them will pay off now.
Unfortunately, as you know, there is no way to take all the fear out of this part of the effort. If there was, we'd be on to something really big. (-: I do know, even as you read the diaries in this site, that we survive this time and admitting how we feel and working to cope with our feelings the best we can - is what we can do. Staying busy, prayer, sharing, hoping and presevering are some of those ways. You have already shown how much you can achieve by all that you have accomplished this far. I believe Baby Ava knows it, too.
My thoughts and prayers are with you daily.
Sorry for taking so long to add a new journal entry. Ava LaFlair arrived on April 25, 2001 at 9:35 pm. She weighed in at 7 lbs-1oz and was 19.5 inches long. Ava is perfect, healthy, and has a head full of gorgeous black hair (now I understand all of the heartburn I had in the last few weeks of my pregnancy!).
The final weeks of my pregnancy were pretty rough - filled with excitement and anxiety. My nightmares were getting pretty bad. It seemed like my subconscious was preparing me for the worst. Luckily, I started going to the doctor 2 times a week around 36 weeks. During each visit, a non-stress test was done to make sure Ava was doing OK and that the placenta was performing as it should. She passed each test with flying colors. These tests really helped reduce my fears. Also, my practice was just so supportive. They cheered me on every step of the way.
The doctor decided that he wanted to induce around 38.5 weeks. This would ensure that her lungs were ready. We had an ultrasound done at 37 weeks to check on the placenta and baby. Everything was fine. So, April 25th became d-day. After my last dr visit, all of the nurses said good-bye and wished me well. It was very emotional. During the past 38 weeks, I have grown pretty attached to them and the security they offered.
I went into the hospital the evening of April 24 and I was very emotional, if not down-right scared. The dr wanted me to come in the day before the due date to start on cervidil. My cervix was still very high and hard. I was on cervidil overnight and unfortunately, it didn't have any effect. This news really upset me. I cried because it didn't work the first time they tried to induce me when I was pregnant with Kylie. It was like I was reliving everything from 4 years ago.
The morning of the 25th, they started pitocin. At first, my contractions were very aggressive - 3-4 minutes apart and very strong. However, within about 4 hours, they decreased in severity. At 2 pm, my cervix had not changed. The dr just needed me to get to 2 cm so he could break my water, but unfortunately, that didn't happen.
After this last check, he gave me my options - 1) go home and try again in a week, 2) try another round of cervidil and pitocin, or 3) a c-section. I think I knew immediately that I wanted a c-section. I knew I couldn't go home without the baby and wait for my body to go into labor by itself. He didn't think another round of cervidil/pitocin would help. My body just wasn't ready and it wouldn't be ready in another 24 hours. We discussed how I was sent home for 2 weeks after induction failed with Kylie. This really hit home with him. He spoke to the other doctors in his practice and they decided a c-section would be best. In his words, he knew the baby was healthy and he couldn't live with himself if he sent me home and then something went wrong. God knows, I couldn't live it.
Also, he wasn't sure that waiting even another week would help. Although a c-section is major surgery, I knew it was the right choice and I never thought twice about it once the decision was made. In fact, it brought me alot of peace. A sense of peace that I hadn't felt for weeks.
At 9:15, I was wheeled into the OR, Ava was born at 9:35, and I was in recovery by 10. Life was good to us on April 25th. Because Ava was born via a c-section, she had alot of mucous in her belly, so she couldn't keep any formula down. In a vaginal birth, this mucous gets pushed out during birth with the help of contractions.
The medical team was very concerned because her blood sugar was so low (I hadn't eaten in over 33 hours and I had gestational diabetes). They were worried that it may drop to a dangerous level if they didn't get some nutrition into her. They ended up moving her to a transition unit (this is a special unit between the regular nursery and the NICU). They performed x-rays to make sure everything was Ok and thankfully, it was. She spent about 6 hours in the unit and finally, she passed some mucous and she was able to eat. What a relief!!!!!
During the next 3 days, she continued to make progress and we were discharged from the hospital. I must say that many factors contributed to this positive outcome. The ob-gyn practice did a phenomenal job of keeping an eye on Ava and making sure I was doing well. Also, just as important they were my cheerleaders. My co-workers provided so much support and positive reinforcement. Ava is definitely apart of our team at work. My family, friends, and Share Atlanta allowed me to talk openly about my concerns and excitement during my pregnancy. Finally, the Good Lord for keeping us all sheltered in his strong hands.
After 10 days, we still look at Ava and can't believe she is really here.
Yes, there are times when I look at her and imagine if Kylie would have been like her. I think so. I can definitely tell that they are sisters.
I know that as Ava grows older and reaches those important milestones; crawling, walking, first day of school, learning to drive - that I will always think of Kylie. I know that Kylie will be with us always and will be watching over her little sister. That provides a wonderful sense of peace to me. We have a baby here and a guardian angel in heaven. Life is good.
Marcia, thank you so much for allowing me keep this journal of my subsequent pregnancy. I hope that it helps others as much as it has helped me.
Jana and Ava
Marcia's thougths: Dear Jana,
I have been gone most of May. At my meeting on the third Wed. (I got back on Wed.), one of my moms in the group said, "I was so thrilled to see that Ava was here!" Then she asked if there would be any follow up story. I had just looked at my email and told her that you had indeed written a follow-up story. She has been keeping up with you and was very pleased. She had tried to email you but it was the old email. I changed it today.
I am so very pleased that Ava is here and you all are fine. One of the most special parts of SHARE is the successful subsequent baby stories. I think it makes for so much hope for moms and dads. My ultimate hope is to gather all of these into a small book for parents. I am surprised by the various comments of support that parents give me as they read the diaries.
You had some tense times during the birthing story. I am so glad that you trusted your doctors and was able to "let go" to some level when you had to. That is why a good trust in the doctor is soooo very important.
I had trouble believing our boys were ours "to stay" - for a long time. I have always believed that they have their sibling angel's guiding light hovering over them! With God's love and guidance what more could we want for our babies!
Give Ava a hug for me - maybe I will get to see her one day. We just had our SHARE baby reunion. It was so special to see the new babies of our group! What a time we have basking in ther glow!
I will include Ava in our "New Arrival's Page."
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