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 kumquat....how 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 combo....so 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 drive...it 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 situation...no 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 girl...so 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 over....it 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 one....it 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 Grill.....you 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 driveway.....no 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 child...my 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 week....so 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 face.....it'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 life...in short, it's everything I never knew I always wanted...