Sunday, February 24, 2013

Precious Mercy

  Our Precious Mercy Faith
Friday morning, October 14th, dawned a beautiful, sunshiny day, without a cloud in the sky. It felt different in our hearts, however. We were going to have to do what we figured was the hardest thing we've ever done, and didn't know how we could ever get through it. We had very different ideas on how to handle it, however, which makes me smile now, realizing just how different men and women (or at least David and I) handle situations. Upon finding out about our baby, he needed to keep himself busy (remember the cleaning?!) and work and keep on going, "life as usual". But I wanted to stop my whole world and cry and let the world go on around me as I grieved. I wanted to talk about my feelings and the baby and everything that was shattering my hopes. Dr Bean had said that to me too; that I would want to talk. That I would NEED to talk. That my friends and family would probably not know what to say, but that I NEEDED to talk about my loss. I found so much truth in that....I felt an intense need to call or text or email all my friends and family to tell them of my heartbreak. And that was very therapeutic. But for David it was a quiet, personal loss that he didn't know how to talk about. He told me later that he just wanted it all to go away....that if we didn't go to the hospital to deliver this baby, that she wouldn't be really gone. But as much as I would have loved his idea to be reality, it just wasn't. During those 3 days of letting the news settle in as truth, I came to the conclusion that we needed to go THROUGH it, there was no possible way of sidestepping it or forgetting it or pretending it wasn't there; no, we had to go straight through that particular gate of hell and then, if we were lucky, we would actually live to see another day.
Waiting to meet our tiny

We had scheduled our induction at 1pm because David felt the need to go into work in the morning and get some stuff done so he would be able to take the next week off to be with me. (If it's incomprehensible to think of him working, please refer to last paragraph :). I slept in as best I could and got my exhausted bones into the shower. While there, I just tried to relax and let the warm water calm me. I cried hot tears as I prayed that Heavenly Father would get me through this and that a little piece of peace would be mine that day. As I prayed, the distinct feeling came over me that my little one was a girl and as I said her name out loud, "Mercy Faith", I got chills cause I knew that it was her....and that this would be our last shower together with her warm and safe in my belly. It was a very sweet moment for the three of us--me, Mercy and our Heavenly Father.
David came home and we quietly prepared ourselves for the day. We remembered that we were going to have to buy a new camera when our baby was born, so even though this was months earlier than expected, we decided we definitely needed a camera for this day and went to Best Buy to buy a camera, and as he admitted to me later, David thought this would somehow delay the inevitable! This whole attitude of deviating was clearer sometime the night before when, as we lay in bed talking, I realized that to David, none of this was real. He didn't fully accept that our baby was gone and then it hit me that he wouldn't, until he saw for himself. With tears streaming down my face I told him that I understood his point. That he didn't see our lifeless baby or the lack of a heartbeat, and that I would make sure we got another ultrasound so that he could see for himself. Closure, that made perfect sense to me. He needed it as much as I did.
Cousin Moana with her favorite Aunt, aka my Mom :)

We met our nurse Moana (who happens to be my cousin and for whom I will forever be grateful for taking such good care of us that day) who put us in L&D room 5 and we started the process of check in. I told her we wanted an ultrasound and a few final pictures. She only had access to an older machine which didn't do great pictures, so she took us down the hall to the Maternal Fetal Medicine office to use theirs. They are usually only there in the mornings, she told us, so we could have access to a great machine. I was strangely nervous as I lay down and had a pit in my stomach and wasn't sure what it was at first....then I realized what it was. HOPE. I had seen my baby and knew she wasn't alive inside of me several days earlier. We had made the decision to induce labor and deliver her. But since I had felt no movement yet (too early in pregnancy) I didn't feel much different, physically. So all of a sudden here we were doing another ultrasound (which, after the experience I'd had Tuesday, was enough to cause anxiety on its own!) but I had the tiniest sliver of hope that we'd see a wiggly fetus with a strong heartbeat. It was a cruel little trick!  Moana wasn't as familiar with the machine and needed some help zooming in so she left to see if a tech was still in the office. She came back in with Dr Schemmer (is that his name?? Can't quite remember....oops) who is the Perinatologist, who happened to still be there. He did an extensive ultrasound and showed us several signs that our baby wasn't alive, saying he wished he could tell us differently, but that the baby was definitely deceased. First, there was the lack of a heartbeat, which he said was the biggest indicator, obviously. He even turned on the color so we could see there wasn't any wooshing of fluid through the heart. Secondly, he showed us the shape of her head was oblong instead of round. Thirdly, there was a faint line on her skin that showed swelling. All signs of loss. We cried through it but I was SO grateful that my husband (and I again) could see that she really was gone and knew we were making the only decision that could be made. The nice Dr answered our questions about how and why and when we could try for another baby (yes, even at this early time, it was important to us to know we would try again). He was so good with us and I was so grateful that he was still in the office and was willing to come take the time with us to explain and help us understand that sometimes this just happens and we can't do anything to prevent it. It was such a tender mercy that he was there.
Clutching my rock
 All safe and sound in mom's tummy
Brit and Miss lovin on me

After the ultrasound, we walked back to the room, clutching the final ultrasound proof that our little baby was gone, and I got into a gown and we started the process of induction. An IV was started and I was given my first dose of cytotec at 2:30, in a way which it would get to my cervix so as to initiate cervical dilation and contractions. And was told I would need more than one dose to be prepared to deliver. Since I was Moana's only patient, she sat in our room and stated that she didn't know David well so she'd like to get to know him and wanted to hear our story :). It was a nice diversion to be able to talk about my wonderful husband and share how we got together. It was our baby's story too. After awhile, friends and family started coming in to wish us well and hug and kiss our teary cheeks. Bonnie and kids came in and Scott had several papers with jokes on them that he wanted to share with me, which I loved, and Bonnie sat down to knit, indicating that she'd like to stay awhile, which comforted me greatly. Britney, Missy, Sundee, Jen, Sheri (all work friends) came in to show their love and support (Missy brought the tiniest softest blankie for our sweetheart that her friend had made for us, so loving).  As the afternoon wore on, my comfort was lessened and the contractions became stronger and closer to doing their job. At 6:30 I was given my second dose of cytotec (it's effective if given every 4 hours) but probably didn't need that dose, since Moana had checked me as she gave it and said I was dilated to a 3 or 4 and that she felt the bulging bag of water right at my cervix so it wouldn't be very long now. As the contractions got stronger, I was given Fentanyl for the pain. I would take 50mg every 30 minutes through my IV since I could have 100mg every hour and I found 50mg was just enough to take the edge off without making me totally loopy (still had that narcotic effect, so I was just sorta loopy!) So now that the amniotic sac was right there, I just needed to wait til I felt the urge to push. Dr Bean came in to let us know what to expect, and that he may not be here for the actual delivery, but would come in as soon as he could (he had another patient who was going to deliver about the same time, he figured). He reminded us that although this is a hard day, it can also be a very spiritual day, and as I looked at David with tears in my eyes and said "We know. We've felt it", I looked back at Dr Bean and saw he was also tearing up. We still feel so lucky every time we recall our OB joining us in the spirituality of it all and weeping with us; we feel truly blessed. We quietly talked and were joined by my Mom and Dad and Tammy and Tara and Sundee was even in the waiting room while I delivered. Bonnie had gone home and was going to come back afterward but my mom had told her not to, I have no idea why, and I'm still sad that she didn't get to see my firstborn. It wasn't until closer to 8:30 that I finally felt the urge to push and was able to "assume the position" and push my baby out into the world. My water broke with a gush and baby was out. But the umbilical cord was so short that Moana just held the tiny baby in her hands and waited for Dr Bean to come back in and cut the cord. My sweet friend, Kimmy, was also there. She had come on shift at 6pm just to take me as a patient, but then Moana knew it would be soon and she wanted to stay as well, so we were blessed with TWO amazing LD nurses to attend to us. Kimmy held my little baby and after taking a close look, informed us it looks like a GIRL!
First moments of falling in love with her
And my tiny sweet Mercy Faith was weighed (about an ounce) and placed on my chest for us to meet her.
One of my favorite pictures of all time, Grandpa touching her toes

My sweet husband hugged and kissed me as we met our precious little package, the girl with a spirit too big for this world, and our eyes were cloudy with tears as we inspected and held our child. She was perfect. I had secretly hoped to see some abnormality that would confirm her exit from this life but she was absolutely perfect. Family came in to see her and my daddy asked if he could "touch her toes" which is his signature move with all the grandbabies and I wept as he tenderly touched MY baby's toes too. We held and cried and kissed and cried again and felt so much overwhelming love for this tiny creature who had graced our lives for a tiny moment but would stay with our memories forever.
Hand and foot molds of the littlest princess :)
We got to love on her for several hours, then handed her off to Heather (the bereavement lady, as I lovingly referred to her!) while I had the "pleasure" of delivering the placenta. It hadn't delivered smoothly after Mercy did, so about 2 hours later we had the good Dr Bean come assist with that fun little project :D. This may be TMI, but this IS my journal of events, so I'm gonna be blunt! I had felt some leakage and kept trying to push hoping it would move it on out, but Kimmy kept checking when I told her I was leaking a lot and kept saying it felt like I was wetting the bed and told me nope, just blood (I secretly think I actually WAS wetting the bed, and that Kimmy was just too nice to confirm my embarrassment!) So Dr Bean came in and tried to manually remove it, and it just wasn't budging, so he had to remove it in pieces. YUCK! It hurt something fierce, so I was given fentanyl again and about 5 minutes later, when he heard me moaning in agony, even more. It only took the edge off, even at the full dose, although I was on a nice little narcotic high for about an hour after! I just squeezed my poor husband's hand while he told me it was gonna be ok and listened to Dr Bean tell about how he had never sworn in his life (something about being a boy scout and coming up with something to be perfect in....blah blah blah! Listen, buddy, you've never had someone come at your lady parts with a sharp metal instrument with the sole purpose of carving and until you do, don't make me feel bad for the few relatively minor swears that came out!) He really didn't try to make me feel guilty, I think he was just trying to talk to me to get my mind off the cruel trick of nature I was currently enduring. He and Kimmy told me afterward that I was pretty dang brave; he basically performed a D&;C (dilation and curettage) on me without the blessed advantage of  me being put to sleep first. I felt very strong physically in a time of emotional weakness and am quite proud of myself. All the while, Heather gently bathed my baby before making molds of her hands and feet (tiniest things you ever did see). She gave her her own photo shoot before swaddling her and placing her back in my arms so we could have our first family photo shoot. (Heather took some great pics and met us at the In N Out in Draper, right by our house, the next week with the developed pictures...such a great service the hospital and Heather provides grieving parents, most of whom are not in the mindset to take lots of pictures of their little one. We were so grateful for her.)
Snuggling for our first and last nap together
I love this man's face right here, loving his girl
Since I had to have the placenta removed the hard way, Dr Bean wanted me to stay for several hours to have some IV antibiotics. I got my first dose about 1130 and needed the final one 4 hours later. In the in between, we were blessed with tons of visitors. Work friends mostly, after my family left. It was nice to be surrounded by my girls, who understood loss, both personally and professionally. They came in pairs for the most part, and cried with me and hugged me and told us how beautiful our little angel was. It touched me. But my favorite memory of that part of the night is when Rhianne and Paige came up to visit. David had gone to sleep on the couch with our baby tucked in the arms of her daddy, the lights were dim, and these two sweet friends sat in the quiet with me and the three of us had tears streaming down our faces as they listened to me talk about my baby. Rhianne lost a little one about 5 years earlier and Paige's was only two months earlier. There we sat, women bound together in our heartache. It still moves me to tears thinking about that precious moment in time and the love that surrounded us as we shared our loss. I cannot fathom the legions of women throughout time who share our heartache, but know we three weren't the first, nor will we be the last, who are called to bear the loss of a child. It is universal in its sadness, regardless of gestational age, circumstance or anything else. Losing a child is one of the most painful experiences humanity will endure, period. It is a large club I joined that day, and although I never would have chosen such a thing, it created a bond I'll always be grateful for.
By about 2am the visitors stopped coming, and I crawled onto the pull out couch with my David, both of us exhausted, with our Mercy for a little sleep. That was the most tender nap of my life. I was finished with my antibiotics just before 5am and Kimmy told us we could stay until shift change (6am) or leave anytime before that. I was dreading that decision, because I knew this magical night was coming to an end, and with it, the end of our earthly time with Mercy. The thought of having to walk out those doors and leave her was more than I could stand! I was heartbroken knowing that the entire time I would be able to hold and kiss and gaze and bask in the time with my firstborn was confined to a stupid hospital room and would only last hours. Once we left, it was over. And it hurt to think about. In the end, we decided it would be just as difficult leaving at 6 as it would be at 5 or at any other time, so we held and kissed and whispered sweet declarations of love to our lovely's little body and knew her spirit was close enough to hear them too. Then we left her in capable hands and gathered each other up in our arms and took our broken hearts home to start healing them.

Saying goodbye
                                      Here are some more pictures from our bittersweet day.

My parents' reaction when we told her Mercy's name (She was named after my mom's mother, Echo Mercy)
My parents, Tammy and Tara
Aunt Tammy
Showing Sundee she's as big as my hand

Her awesome Daddy

So in love

Our cute Esther visiting

Flowers from Jen, she does an AMAZING job!
Tender love from Grandpa

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's been 9 months since we lost our little sweetheart, but as is often the case with life, sunshine will always break through the clouds, bringing a new bit of joy with it. We are expecting another little princess, due November 14th...exactly 13 months after the birth of our Miss Mercy! Oh happy day! And since I've had numerous pep talks with myself about how I need to finish writing my last entry about Mercy's birth day and continue updating about my life, (all of which I've chosen to ignore!) it's finally time to sit down and write our next chapter, hopefully this time, with a much happier ending! It's gonna be long....
After we had Mercy we went home and went about the business of living with our new destiny and I found that difficult, frankly. We had to deal with our new future, of not bringing home a baby in April and trying to figure out when to try again to bring to pass another tiny one. I had been told by the Perinatologist that I'd be wise to wait AT LEAST 3-6 months at the earliest to start trying for another baby. For one, he said, that emotionally/physically/psychologically it wouldn't be good to get pregnant 2-3 months afterward because then the next baby would be due about the same time next year as this baby was born and no one wants that. (I thought, "Why not? What better way to commemorate our stillborn baby's birthday than with another one!) But I understood where he was coming from. Just didn't agree. And Dr Bean told us to wait a couple months to make sure we were ready in all those ways above before trying again. Which made perfect sense. And although we felt a little like we were minimizing Mercy's life, we knew we wanted another baby and that when we were ready, she'd understand. Which she totally did, I'm absolutely sure of! So when we went in for our two week postpartum checkup and had a few laughs and a few tears with Dr Bean, and I told him we weren't going to make more of our loss or less of it, just that she was to be grieved over but her loss wasn't going to take over our lives and make us miserable forever; he smiled and told us to go ahead and try after my next cycle. Yay!
In the week after the delivery, we were the recipients of much love and kindness. We had meals brought to us by incredible work friends who brought laughs and tears and flowers and comfort food and we felt so blessed! We also had David's mother and sister, Kelly, drop everything and travel from California and Idaho, respectively, to come be with us for a week. They did a good job of providing distraction and shopping to help us cope. Every night they were here David and I took a walk together to talk, cry and clear our minds ....those were amazing moments spent with my best friend and I'll always be grateful for our Mercy Walks!

When the dust settled and it was just the two of us again and work and the mundane of life, we did our best to get back to normal. I noticed I was spending quite a bit of time sleeping or cuddled under the covers for way too long and one day had the realization that I was probably depressed! Classic symptoms, although I wasn't feeling totally down. Then one day at work a friend showed me a crocheted owl hat she made and my brain kicked into high gear again!
I spent November through about January totally engrossed in my new hobby....and whipped up about 40 animal hats for nieces/nephews etc. It was such great therapy and pulled me out of my funk! And all throughout we worked on having another baby :) By March, we got the great news that we were expecting again, and were due on November 14th. Such a great feeling but not without loads of trepidation!
We were ecstatic to be pregnant again and hoped and prayed that everything would go well. At about 5 weeks, I felt some sharp pain in my right side and of course my mind went straight to "ectopic pregnancy"! (It's not really the most easygoing business to be a pregnant NURSE as well as having our history of losing a later pregnancy, that, according to what I knew then, seemed without cause. I found out just before I delivered our second baby that  I had lost Mercy because her placenta had attached to the septum in my heart-shaped uterus, which is thinner muscle and doesn't provide enough blood supply, which is why the pregnancy terminated. It was slightly comforting to know a cause, although didn't really minimize the heartache of losing her. Anyway......let's just say I may stress out at times....) I called the office and was told they don't really do anything until about 6 weeks of pregnancy so I made an appointment for an ultrasound with my doctor for the next week where he told me he couldn't see anything alarming on the right side but saw something on the left so sent me to the hospital where they have better equipment. Our fears were laid to rest when the tech at the hospital found everything to be normal and even spent about half an hour ultra sounding our little "fetal pole" until he was able to find a heartbeat (97 beats per minute, which is just where it should be at that stage...he said the heart had probably started beating in the last day or so! How cool is that to be able to detect a brand spanking new heart beat that will beat beautifully for a whole lifetime!?! Incredible.) My doctor wanted to chat with me after talking to the tech and I could hear in his voice that he was just as relieved as David and I at the good news. We were on our way!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Precious Pain

This beautiful little stitchery was made for Mercy by her Aunt Kelly. We love it!

My previous post got increasingly difficult to write, and I'd find myself staring at it or doing something else in hopes that if I didn't write it, somehow it wouldn't have to be our reality; but I also find comfort in writing it all down, which gives my baby's short meaningful little stint on earth credence and a magnitude in our hearts that will linger, well, FOREVER.

After my 13 week appointment, when I saw little peanut waving about, I was once again assured that everything was going as planned and felt great confidence and comfort in that little person. Shortly after we found out we were pregnant, David found an "app for that" (which shouldn't surprise anyone who knows my darling husband!) on his phone that gave us week by week progress on our baby. Included in the app were comparisons of food (mostly fruit) so we could know roughly how big our little guy was every week....we always got a kick out of our Tuesday notifications, when I'd get a text from David "oh, he's a blueberry!" or "Your son is the size of a big is that exactly?" (And ps we ALWAYS called the baby a boy....kind of just had that in our heads and went with it! We knew if it was a girl we would love her to pieces, but never really entertained that it would be a girl!) Our kiddo progressed from a blueberry to a grape to a kumquat to a fig to a lime to a shrimp to a lemon

and finally an apple! Very appetizing child! The morning of my last appointment (not having any idea it would be my last) David kissed me goodbye as he left for work and I asked if he was going to kiss "the apple" goodbye, to which he put his mouth right next to my stomach and said "I'm gonna eat you for breakfast! Love you kid." My eyes were wide and he laughed as he told me he was grabbing an apple to eat on the way to work! What a nut!
That was week 15, right on the dot. Tuesday October 11th. The worst day of my life.

A perfect apple...just about the same length as our baby at week 15.

Backing up, about a week before, I had had some random symptoms I believed to be related to a yeast infection. Listen, if that's too graphic for you, I'm sorry; but this is also my journal so it's going to be honest so I can remember all my details! Anyway, I called the office and was told I could try some over-the-counter medication to try to cure it. Started using this 7-day cream and was in such agonizing pain by day 3 that I was in tears and told my husband "never again"! Of course that was Friday night so I couldn't call the doctor's office until Monday morning and when the nurse told me to make an appointment for the next day, I felt relieved that I would get seen. Later I talked to that same nurse on the phone who told me after my appointment she had gone into the exam room to talk to me and I was gone. She was so sorry and said she thought she'd get in trouble for bringing me in for a yeast infection; but knowing what had happened, she guessed she was inspired for having me make that appointment...and I thought so too. I was grateful she was so inspired.

Back to Tuesday morning, I drove to American Fork for my 9:40 am appointment wearing my one and only maternity outfit that I had purchased the week before. That soft stretchy waistband wasn't nearly as stretched out as I was hoping it would get, but it felt great to be in comfortable clothes! My husband had gone to work, kissing the apple on his way out, and was waiting for my call to let him know how the appointment had gone. I had talked to my friend who had heard of some possibilities of problems that would cause the symptoms I had been experiencing and my mind went to the worst-case scenarios I could face. Nah, I thought, it won't be that bad. I was led to an exam room and met with Dr Greg Bean who chatted with me about my symptoms and assured me that what I was experiencing was quite normal for pregnancy, and that I would be fine. As we chatted, he examined my tummy and used the doppler to check my baby. He asked about my moods and if I was emotional, which was the exact moment I started to cry. He asked if I cried in anger, sadness or just when someone asked about my emotional state :). One to always cry when I'm angry, I chose option #3 and said I was just concerned about my appointment. When he couldn't find the heartbeat on the doppler, he suggested we go to the ultrasound machine in another room. I followed and noticed that the machine was different than it had been previously; he said it was the "dinosaur" they had to use cause their good one was getting repaired. The picture on this one was too grainy, so we paraded to yet a third room. This final room had the big screen and the most high-tech ultrasound machine yet. He hit the lights and scanned the wand across my gelled abdomen....there was my baby, and I was again comforted by his (or her) presence. Then I realized there wasn't much movement. Dr Bean said something to the effect of "This isn't good, Melanie." "Uh oh; what is it?" And as soon as I said that, I knew. "There isn't a heartbeat." My world stopped cold as he led me from this room to another, empty, one.
Just like me.

He got me a chair and crouched down across from me. He apologized. Then he told me what he said were the most important things I needed to hear; "Number one--there is nothing you did to cause this. Nothing. Number two--this is not your fault. Number three--this is NOT your fault." As he was telling me this and I was crying, but without tears, I thought, "Of course this isn't my fault. I know it isn't." I appreciated what he was trying to do, but my mind knew there wasn't anything I did to cause my baby's heart to stop beating. Yet as the days have gone by, there hasn't been one that I haven't thought about those words and realized his great knowledge about this kind of situation...because I have felt guilty for what I did or didn't do; ate or didn't eat; take or didn't take during my pregnancy and that little seed of doubt pops in and I wonder if only I had done something different that baby would still be alive inside me. But Dr Bean is not only an OB/GYN, that man has a master's degree in psychology and boy did that get proven to me through that advice! And boy am I grateful for his brilliance!! And that's why he gave that advice to me, exactly on the heels of his apologizing that my baby was gone.

And as he was talking, the next thing I remember was thinking "You just said this to "Sundee....and now you're saying it to me; no heartbeat." My dear sweet friend and coworker, Sundee, had been sat down in this same office 5 weeks earlier with the news that her twin boys didn't have heartbeats. It had been tragic for all of us, and although I had spent some time with her, discussing her experience, I had shed tears with her but had no idea how bad it really hurts. I had never thought it would be my fate too. And now Dr Bean was telling me that it was. He told me we can go over to Labor and Delivery right then and start the process of inducing, because at 15 weeks I was too far along for a D & C; but that it would be a bad idea, psychologically. He offered to have us come back every day if we wanted to, to get other ultrasounds to be sure that this was what we had to do; he said we had to make our decision based on the fact that it was the right thing to do, not because he said so. He said he was on call again on Friday and that I could go in any day to be induced but that he'd be happy to assist me on Friday if I wanted. He gave me the room for as long as I wanted but all I needed was to leave and call my husband. Caring and professional, he led me out and told me I didn't even need to check out at the desk.

I held it together until I reached the sidewalk outside and dialed David's number. When he answered I just sobbed, "There's no heartbeat." as I crouched over and held my stomach, as if to shield my baby from hearing the news. I had to say it several times for it to sink in. He said he was coming home and asked if I was okay to drive or if he needed to pick me up. I assured him I was okay to drive, but don't know if I would make the same decision again....I sobbed all the way home to Draper. I had to call my manager to tell her I wasn't going to be able to work. I called my Mom. She told David later that she wouldn't have known it was me except she saw caller ID. It wasn't me though, really, it was a woman whose heart had also stopped back in that dark ultrasound room; a woman whose life had momentarily become meaningless as her baby's spirit had left her womb. A woman in true, agonizing grief.

I walked quietly into our house and saw my strong husband standing in the kitchen waiting for me. He didn't say a word as I melted into his arms. He just stood there, rocking me and holding me tightly as sorrow escaped my body. He tried to shield me from seeing the fridge, where our only pictures of our tiny one were; he knew seeing those black and white ultrasound pictures would break me even more. He was right. I sobbed even more when I saw them. And the perfect lemon we had bought to commemorate our little one a few days earlier. After a few wordless moments, he simply said to me "I love you more now than I did 10 minutes ago." Even now, an eternity later (even though it's only been 3 weeks), I can't recall that memory without tears running down my face, as he lies asleep next to me, and I realize that our sweet baby's death brought us closer together and made us even more in love than we previously were! Amazing kid.

We spent the rest of the afternoon with my parents, who had come straight up after receiving my call. Now, my mom isn't one of those moms who immediately takes over her kid's life or push or assume her way into a situation; she loves to be involved but allows her children to dictate the pace in which she enters and how involved she will be. That day, she simply asked where I was, where I was going and said she'd be right up. I was so incredibly grateful that she knew I was in no position to ask or demand or decide ANYTHING so for her to just be there; priceless. I was loving her and Dad so much that day! I sat on our couch between my parents and rested my head on my Mom's shoulder and held my Dad's hand as David cleaned the kitchen (we all handle grief differently!) It was a special, somber few hours.

Then there was the pickle situation. I had craved pickles during my pregnancy and had even smuggled a baggie-full into the BYU football game the week before. So we went to Jimmy John's for a sandwich after awhile and I was strong to not cry as I ordered. Then the guy asked me if I wanted a I asked if it came with chips. He said "Either chips or a cookie or a pickle". And I lost it. Completely. I turned to David and cried into his chest as he rubbed my back and told me, "Go sit down, Baby; I'll get you a cookie." My Mom made a comment that made me cry even more. She said it's really hard to be so heartbroken and to look around and see people going on living their lives like everything is ok; they don't even know your heart is breaking. People just go on living.

Later that day my husband took me on a ride, to get out of the house mostly, which I don't know if that was more for him or for me. It was a beautiful day outside, the sunset created such amazing colors. I looked out the window up at the sky and felt peace, that even in this complete heartbreak, we would be alright. We would actually live through this, as hard as that was to believe. We ended up at my sister, Bonnie's house. Her family didn't know yet so we pretended we were just out on a felt nice to pretend everything was ok...for about 5 minutes. Then when Bonnie asked how we were, I blurted out, "We're sad." as I broke down and told them why. We had a nice cry, my sister and I :). David and I went to bed that night, exhausted and emotionally drained, and praying that morning would wake us from our nightmare. I remember him pinching my arm in the hopes it would wake us both up. It only got him a punch in the arm :(.

Wednesday I went to my dear friend Rhianne's house for a luncheon with friends, cause they knew I needed it. I will forever be grateful for their love and friendship and even their tears...I think we all made a little Tear Soup that day... It was nice to just lay on her couch staring off into nothing, listening to my friends talking and laughing. Total comfort. Those grilled cheese sandwiches, homemade tomato bisque soup, and cookies cured so much that day.

Mmmmm....grilled cheese and tomato bisque! Comfort food at its finest!

Thursday I can't really remember what I did, but I do remember absolutely dreading Friday. I just knew it was going to be the worst day of my life. My sweet David had moved everything that spoke of our preparation for this baby so I wouldn't see it. Good man. That night we had our friend and neighbor come over, not knowing what was happening with us, and was so compassionate and kind when she found out. We chatted on our couch about her recent breakup and our recent heartbreak (it was so nice to listen to her talk, it almost made my brain quiet down. Almost.) Then we had an appointment with our Bishop and were comforted in his presence; his first comment, after I'm sorry, was that we'll be blessed with more children. Those words really helped. I asked him to give David a blessing, which he did, and I appreciated that. David had given me a beautiful blessing of comfort the night before but no one had given HIM one....and I know we were both grateful for a sensitive Bishop.

When we got back after visiting Bishop Layton, our front door was covered in hearts. On most of them were written words of love;

"You are loved",
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding",
"God loves you",
"Fear not let your hearts be Comforted",
"You are SO strong!",
"....The Lord knoweth ALL things....."
"For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, fear not; I will help thee.",
"Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God?...."

And we did know that we were in the hands of God and that He would comfort, protect and love us through this one knows more than Heavenly Father the pain and sacrifice it is to lose a child, so who better to sustain us when we were losing ours? We SO appreciated our heart-attackers....and knew EXACTLY who they were :) Truly blessed in our friends.

Mercy's great grandmother, from whom she got her name
Echo Mercy

EAs we snuggled in bed that night and prayed that our strength would be sufficient to sustain us the next day, and anticipated it being the worst day of our lives, we felt peace and warmth. We also discussed baby names....we had one picked out for a boy, because we thought that was a sure thing, for some reason! But I also had this quiet thought pop up every now and then that it was going to be a I told David we needed a name for her too! When we first found out we were expecting, we discussed names for either gender, and had gone through grandparents' names to see if there were any we felt a special bond to. My mom's mom was Echo Mercy and David immediately liked Mercy. We never talked about it again...until that night when he said, "How about Mercy?" and without thinking I replied, "Mercy Faith". My husband smiled and that was it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Precious Time

The story of our little sweetheart is a joyous yet heartbreaking one. We met her the same day we had to say goodbye. Our lives will forever be changed by her short and beautiful entrance. Here's her story, from the beginning.....

When David and I got married last year we thought we'd wait about a year before starting to try to have a baby (September). Then I figured it may take some time to get that baby here, so we figured we'd start about 10 months after getting married (July). Then one day we were in Stake Conference (March) and while listening to one of the speakers, David leaned over to me and asked, "Does July feel too far away some days?"....I knew exactly what he meant. And THAT meant that our waiting was was time! It still took several months, of course, but we were excited to get that positive pregnancy test!

The 4th of July~right before we found out about our pregnancy

We'd hoped and waited every month and were disappointed when it didn't happen but also knew that someday it would. The end of July came and with it, hope and anticipation that THIS would be the month our wish would come true! But I started spotting a bit one day and thought that meant the inevitable period....cue disheartening organ music...but that night during my sweet husband's prayer, he prayed that the Lord would watch over me during this "precious time" and that all would be well with my body and our baby. I tingled all over and teared up hoping that he was right! He had looked at me earlier that day and said, "You're pregnant. I know it." I tried with my weak logic of an immanent period and he just shook his head. What did I know?!?!

It was a few days later, on a Sunday morning, that I finally believed him! Funny thing though, I had purchased several pregnancy tests in the course of those few months and had one ready and waiting for Sunday morning, if in fact I hadn't welcomed a visit from dear old Aunt Flo. So earlier than anyone was up (we had Aspen as well as David's parents and sister's family staying with us) I quietly took my test. Problem was it wasn't the same brand I had used earlier and I got those stupid test windows mixed up and ended up gently squeezing my 3 drops of urine in.....the WRONG window!!! CURSES!!! David just laughed as I grabbed my keys and headed to Smith's for another one. And that one was the magic showed me a + sign!!! Hugs and kisses and a few tears of joy spilled over for us in our little bathroom. And of course an "I-told-ya-so" from my wise and handsome husband :).

July 31st~first pregnancy pic!

Since we had a house full of family, it was hard to hold it in, but we were only 4 weeks and 5 days according to the powers that be which is WAY too early to alert the world. Tuesday morning, 5 weeks on the button, the nausea and exhaustion hit me like a ton of bricks. Now THAT made it especially hard to keep a secret! We celebrated David's bonus with dinner at the Market Street know they pretty much only serve fish?? Not the best choice for a newly pregnant woman! We decided to tell David's mom that week because she stayed in town for a conference, so we drove down to Thanksgiving Point and stalked a bunch of women filtering out of a building until we saw the right one and surprised her with our good news. She was the first of some very excited people :).

MomMom getting the great news :)

On August 12th, my Mom's birthday, our branch of the extended Wilson family was hosting a family reunion. We had almost burst not telling anyone else in our families except Carol but we were going to be strong until some time had passed. But as David and I pulled up to my Mom's house on the way to the park, we noticed a black Tahoe with Kansas plates parked in the way, Steve and Amber had surprised our whole family (and all of their kids!) by showing up unexpectedly for our reunion! David looked at me and said, "We've got to tell the family now!" So after the reunion, when most of us were back at Mom and Dad's we decided to spill our little bean. But no one could sit still in the same room for long enough! So my brilliance took over and I suggested a family prayer so everyone would gather. Smart, I know. Just after, and before everyone could scatter, I told Mom that David and I had a birthday gift for her....but that she'd have to wait until April for it, and I rubbed my belly for added effect :). That's when the squealing and tears started....very good moment.

Look who gets to use these parking spots!

On August 29th we had our first baby-mama appointment with the good Dr Ollerton in American Fork. We discussed several possible health issues and were able to hear the most beautiful sound in the world.....that baby's fluttery yet strong, perfect little heartbeat. Immediately there were tears (I had told the Dr there would be) and I turned to David and said, "That's our kid, baby!" It was the most wonderful feeling in the world to me and I'll remember that moment forever.

Baby Gartner's first photo...that little peanut is so tiny yet so loved!

The next few weeks were very fun for us, as we talked about our family expanding and how much love we already had for that little one! We started buying diapers and a few baby outfits cause we just couldn't help ourselves :). It was a fantastic time, even though I didn't feel awesome, but I realized every day that I was carrying OUR husband's and mine...and that the discomfort wouldn't last forever but that this amazing child would. It definitely was precious time.

This is my favorite~ David loving my baby-belly.

Great news came on Sept 14 when we got a letter from the First Presidency giving us authorization to be sealed for eternity, FINALLY! We had to wait until our first anniversary, which is September 23rd (Friday this year), but any time that day or after, we could schedule our sealing...woohoo! We only had a week until our anniversary and debated about when we wanted to be sealed....if we did it right on the date, we would miss some family members who couldn't get here by Friday and some other family members were having conflicts getting there within a do we do it on Saturday or do we wait and try to make it more convenient for more family members to attend??? It would have been quite a long time because the first weekend in October is Conference, the second weekend was a conflict, the third was David's birthday weekend ...etc. If we waited, it would have been late October before we could be in the temple together! After lots of discussion, David and I decided that we had waited long enough and that we were going to be sealed on Saturday September 24th. Those who could make it would, and those who couldn't would be missed but their love would surely be felt. We felt strongly about our decision and felt peace that it was the right one. So we called the temple 5 days before and requested a time.....unfortunately it was the same day as Women's Conference at the Conference Center so all the temples in Northern Utah would be closing early...and the Salt Lake Temple (that I've wanted to be married in since I was a little girl) would close at 10 am! I was devastated until the nice lady told me she had a cancellation in one of the largest rooms at 8:20. I gladly volunteered for that ridiculously early time and was grateful it was available.

David wrote this (upside down) on the table at Macaroni Grill the night we got sealed

At our sealing, the Sealer kept saying that although we didn't have children yet, we would, and kept making references to our children over and over....I smiled as I rubbed my belly, knowing that we were a step ahead of him! Those words and repeated discussion about our children were to be of great comfort to us in the coming weeks, although at the time we (and some of our guests) just found it interesting that he kept talking about it... . The sealing ceremony was beautiful and I could feel very powerfully the presence of our children as we looked into the Eternity mirrors. I knew this was the most important day of our lives and of the lives of our children up to that point, and was so incredibly grateful for a loving husband who I WANT to be with forever and know that through Heavenly Father's mercy and grace, we were given that opportunity starting that day. It was amazing and powerful.....another day I will never forget.

The day after promising to love each other forever, my newly acquired eternal companion left for Denver on a work trip. I missed him terribly! A whole 5 days?!?! Way too long to be away from that guy! On Tuesday that week I had my second baby-mama appointment and since my David was away, I asked my Mom to go with me. Dr O couldn't get baby's heartbeat on the dopler, which he said was only successful 50% of the time at 13 weeks, so we got to get more pictures of our tiny through ultrasound. There was the sweet perfect little heartbeat again, and some arms flailing about, seeming to wave at his or her mom and my heart melted at the sight of that precious little bug. By the time the Dr got pics though, that little turkey had turned so only the spine and bum-side were showing! Gotta be David's stubborn kid.....

Notice how peanut turned away from us after waving to Mom!

To be continued.....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cutting Our Cake....And Eating It Too

My husband waiting for me to come help him fulfill a time-honored tradition of stuffing our faces in our delicious wedding cake
(I LOVE how his every expression shows impatience, from the stance, hands on hips and even the look on his's all a bold lie; this man is amazingly patient with me! I mean, he waited over 14 years for this day with me!)

Slice it, Baby! Notice the crowd huddled in for a front row view!

....and the crowd gets larger...

Showing all the Littles the delicious cake before feeding my spouse

...and apparently threatening some hecklers in the front that they're next!

I sure wish that floral branch wasn't occluding the view of that handsome face...oh well. Ready, set, GO!

Even though our faces may not show it, the cake was absolutely DIVINE!! Thanks to my amazing sister, Bonnie, for pulling out her "rusty" skills and making another masterpiece of deliciousness in the form of a wedding cake....mmmmmm.

My favorite thing is Scooter's face....he was SO egging David on to shove the cake in my face, and although the moment for such naughtiness has passed, I think he was still hopeful!

This was my favorite part of the cake-cutting, all the nieces and nephews surrounding us like we were cutting open Disneyland. They were next to dive in!
Kaleigh, Jackson, Caiden's eye, Sadie, Wyatt, Kate and Shannon & Kyrsten in the back.

Even missing teeth I think Kate could easily munch on some cake! Sadie, Wyatt and London look hungrily on.

Dad & Mom with Al & LaRue (aka The Renchers) looking on.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wedding Reception....backwards

It's been over ten blissful months since we got married so I figured it was past time to start posting pictures. I started from the end of the night so they'd be on the bottom of the post, but there are LOTS of pictures and that would be a seriously long post. But in the spirit of getting 'er done, they're backwards. I'm okay with that. Anyone who views will have to be too :)

Supporting and loving me on my most important day,
My fabulous work sisters!
These women did SO much to make my wedding day special and beautiful...
I can't thank them enough :)
Rachel, Sundee, Missy, Kaye, Krista, Mary, Rhianne, Annalee, Brittney, Lisa & Tracey

Tossin' My Bouquet
Meghan, Kyrsten, Aspen, Tina and Sadie play catch
Steve and Aunt Suzanne on deck :)

Aspen makes the grab...

...and does a dance of joy!

Hugging my sweet new niece, Meghan

I love this picture of my new husband and stepdaughter....aren't they sweet?!

My Maid of Honor Tina (who also happens to be my close cousin and great friend)
She was fabulously supportive and I love her dearly

Ten minutes into marital bliss and he's already tired of me bossing him around...the fun has just begun, buddy!

Onward to happily ever after :)

About Me

My photo
I am daughter, sister, friend, counselor, coworker, niece, caretaker, and world-famous aunt (well, maybe not yet, but someday I will be!) And in September I added wife and stepmother to my titles....I'm loving these new ones! In October 2011 I became a mom to an angel baby, Mercy Faith, whose wings took her straight back to heaven. November 2012 we had the unparalleled joy of becoming the parents to our sweet baby girl, Journey Rose, who has added love, joy and amazement to our lives! I try every day to be kinder, stand higher, love deeper, laugh harder and dream bigger than the day before. One of my favorite sayings is "Women who behave rarely make history". So with that in mind, I do my best to BE, STAND, LOVE, LAUGH and DREAM with a mischievious smile on my face and a wink in my eye! I love my short, it's everything I never knew I always wanted...