Yesterday was my mom’s birthday so I had the kids all make her a card. Well it wouldn’t be complete without having one from Anna and Claire too right?
I cut out some shapes from scrapbook paper and arranged them just like this:
I had a rubberstamp made here: http://www.rubberstamps.net/
and I do need a new ink pad, but they came out pretty well to add as signatures to the inside of the card. I added colorful feathers for wings… You could even cut some of this out for a nice frame!
So how did I make the rubber stamps right?
Well I took their certificate of life like this one:
Then I copied and pasted using photoshop the feet out and created this:
Then I uploaded that image to rubberstamps.net and they created the stamp for me. I also measured the length of their feet and bought a stamp that was half and inch larger on top and bottom… so I think the size that’s one inch larger than their foot total.
If anyone would like help getting footprints to upload, please message me and I will try to get to it as soon as I could… I have some things Im working on but these go fairly quick for me.
I read this really great article on Small Bird Studios blog:http://smallbirdstudios.com/2012/06/18/grief-is-like-an-onion/
“Grief is like an onion”
She explains how as you peel back the layers of grief and the tears flow, eventually you start adapting to it and are able to tolerate it more.
She also talks about how she used to enjoy getting out and about, how she felt she was not really a “homebody” but was acting like one. So in order to bring the joy back into her life she started getting out more.
My question for all your loss families is: Do you feel like you’ve reached this point in your life? Where you are able to enjoy life again? If not, what is something you miss about your old self? Maybe a step toward happiness could be doing something you used to enjoy before loss? I’d love to hear about it ! Please read the article on Small Bird Studios (posted above) and comment here on your thoughts.
If you feel you are at a point where you can enjoy life again, but need a little push to start DOING it. I really want to suggest signing up for the 30 Days of Finding My Muchness Challenge. You can speak to Tova Gold or visit her website here: http://www.findingmymuchness.com/ The Muchness Challenge is what kick started my own life back and if you stick to it, DON”T SKIP DAYS… you will start to see the beauty in your life and start doing things you maybe have been putting off because you’ve been bogged down by feelings of grief.
Here is my answer to the above question:
“I never fully returned to my old self… Big events change our lives in many ways and it doesn’t even just have to be loss. You could get in a car accident and be completely fine but it could change the way you do things from that point on. Maybe you avoid that intersection or maybe your life flashes before your eyes and inspires you to slow down and take more of your life in and appreciate everything. No matter what the change is… big events cause big changes. For me…. I think I really appreciated life and my kids before loss, but after loss I opened my heart to more giving. I began to realize there is a lot wrong in this world and many people needing help and that I could actually make a difference. Sometime’s it’s just in little ways. Maybe I made some of you a graphic or personalized awareness ribbon, or maybe I reached out to you after your loss and friended you, became someone you can count on to listen when you are hurting and have no where else to go… but the biggest change in ME since loss has been in how I help people probably everyday in some small way. The one thing I miss about myself before loss is just feeling carefree, worrying less and not knowing that babies die everyday. I can’t really get that part of me back after what I’ve seen and know. I do feel less anxiety/worry since our loss but there will always be a part of it still there. The biggest change since our loss for ME has been that I don’t really have local normal friends anymore. After my mind was opened to this new world, it became really hard for me to relate to anyone who hasn’t gone through what I have. I don’t have much interest in spending time with anyone but my family. That is something I can change. Of course Im pregnant right and don’t feel like I can even get out and do things with friends. I wonder if I still have friends? I know I lost a few as their reaction to my loss was cruel and uncaring but there are still quite a few good people left in my life that I should be going out and seeing. So that would be my one thing I could really do to bring a part of my old self back. To bring friends back into my life.” Shannon Klipstein
Dec 20,2010 is when we met and held our baby girls, Anna and Claire however it was not your traditional happy birth, it was a very bittersweet one. We were happy to look at their beautiful features and to finally meet them but they were not alive. So backing up a few notches or a lot of notches…. My OB was absolutely amazing (he even was one of Dr. De Lia’s residents back when he started practicing medicine… so those two know each other well and have lots of funny stories) So I went to the doctor at 9weeks gestation… I expected to only be a month along but was surprised i was already at 9! But that wasnt the biggest surprise…. I have three singletons at home already and twins run in my family everywhere (my sister has twins, my grandpa is a twin and David’s mom is a twin and his grandma had two sets of twins… also my sister miscarried a set of twins) so just kind of kidding around I said “Are you sure there arent two in there this time?” so he took one extra peak… and i was like “Oh i was just kidding…. im sure you saw everything the first time” well he went “OMGOSH! Congratulations youre having twins” I thought you have got to be flipping kidding this is so awesome! I pictured my twins and my sisters twins growing up and oh gosh how cute and they’d be close in age to my Daughter who was 2! So I was so excited to bring two new babies into the house! We searched for new places to live… we looked at TONS of house because we’d be a bigger family and need more space…. also minivan was definately in my near future…. i filled out a babiesrus registry before i even knew their genders because i was so flipping excited! No one believed us when we said “Were having twins” I had to literally bust out the ultrasound photo and prove iT! But everyone was so happy!! I immediately started to see a perinatologist… because my OB (Dr. Arena) used to work with Dr. De Lia and he knew precautions were the key to survival if ANY problems arose! So I started seeing a peri every two weeks at first and my ob every three weeks. At my 12 week ultrasound with the peri we saw the membrane in the middle just BARELY and one placenta…. they said maybe two placentas are squished together so were not going to worry about anything yet, we will check again next time. I wanted identicals sooo bad so I actually wished the placenta was just one but little did i know how BAD it is to have only one! I just thought that meant i’d have two beautiful identical lil people! Sooo they gave me a gender guess at 12weeks.. two girls… but we didnt tell anyone because it was a guess! We went back at 14 weeks and the guess was girls again but the peri said she felt sooo good about it and verified the one placenta that we went and told everyone the good news! I pictured two girl things of everything! I pictured my daughter growing up with sisters!! (boy was she robbed of that precious gift… kills me EVERYDAY to know she is now all alone… robbed of her two sisters) So we go back again at 16 weeks… we saw the tiniest imbalance of fluid… i thought “oh whatever ttts is rare and you couldnt see that fluid imbalance with a magnifying glass ” Soo i totally blew it off but follow the doctor’s orders to transfer to a new hospital. I did not understand why i had to go to a new hospital to see the same perinatologist group but i did it. I went home and within two days I got a phone call from Dr. De Lia to explain everything to me. I was in the middle of scrubbing my bathroom clean and I was told to stop moving and relax (i think he could hear me multitasking :)) So i did. Then he told me about protein shakes and bed rest. From there on out I laid in bed… well i started on the couch… I watched my three kids from the couch… flipping one new movie after the other feeling like a really horrible mom. I could no longer drive my son to school or volunteer for his field trips and somedays i couldnt even get him in to school so i’d call him in sick. I felt guilty as H . E . double hockey sticks for all that they were going through.
I was now one every week ultrasounds with Dr. De Lia… I went to meet him for the first time at the end of my 16th week and there was a dramatic change in fluid within only a couple of days. I brought a friend or relative to every ultrasound because i though everyone needed a chance to see the beauty on the ultrasound screen… watching two babies interact was absolutely breathtaking and made me teary eyed every time. I loved them SOOoooooo much! (to the moon and back!<=- that would soon become their book… I have it on my shelf and read it at their gravesite) Okay so now we have Massive fluid imbalance! I go home… i was told to stay positive because protein sometimes reverses it so we’d try that for a couple weeks to see if things get better before doing surgery. I went home and tried to tell David “how did the ultrasound go” and I just put my head on the kitchen table and covered my face and sobbed crying…. i could not talk. he said “its that bad” and I said “Yes! They have TTTS” and he was sooo positive… he was my lifeline… he said “it is not over yet” And i picked myself up, grabbed a protein shake and went to lay in bed and research online and I met some AMAZING! People (Tara Sawyer was my first friend) Im getting long winded here I know OKIE DOKE… so i went back at 18 weeks and was told to try adding more protein shakes …. and more aggressive bed rest (i was babysitting still… i moved my bed right next to the living room so i could lay flatter at this point) I also bought the hugest preggie pillow ever and everyone laughed about how i took up half the bed and there was no more room for David. But David didnt mind. He said “hey she has to lay there for who knows how long so I think i can manage” I played silly fb games like Cafe shops and Mafia Wars lol and I watched tons of movies on netflix. I went back at 19 weeks… still not ready for surgery yet…Thanksgiving came and went while i stayed home in bed… then I went to my appt the day after Thanksgiving…. Dr. De Lia was on vacation but gave the peri’s instructions and told them to send him the results of my ultrasound immediately as he was debating on surgery for the following monday) Sooo that ultrasound went the same as the rest…. no changes probably still stage 1 but my belly was getting huge and Dr. De Lia felt ready to start surgery. So at 20 weeks gestation exactly I was admitted for surgery. I was able to watch instructional videos that explained the possible complications, he told me everything i needed to know… we asked lots of questions… And off i went! General Anesthesia, and laser surgery here i come! I woke up and he told me my surgery failed…. because I had the one RARE complication from his video where my uterus bled into the amnio fluid… he couldnt see the placenta and the blood in there formed a clot that he could not get out through the tiny hole. He said i had to wait for the clot to disapear in order to have surgery again. This totally sucked let me tell ya! He estimated 4-5 weeks for it to dissolve!! I said Well are they going to make it that long? I did my ultrasound to see if they were alive a few days later (there was no question in my mind that they were alive… i new they survived… i just knew it… i didnt even worry about it) And yes two heartbeats! Clapping … a lil bittersweet… yes theyre alive but were not out of the woods yet. OKAY….
Writing a long one for you all So I got back one week later to find an absent disastolic cord flow in my donor and no visible bladder and an enlarged heart in my recipient. But the one GOOD thing we saw was the clot was gone! WHAT? In one week? I thought he said 4-5 weeks? Well in a survival attempt, my recipient ingested the clot… i thought that sounded so gross but it may have saved her life….. So Off i went for surgery again the following week (22weeks gestation) HERE WE GO! I checked myself in and off i went to surgery… same exact routine… kind of laughed about how “the same complication wouldnt happen twice.. HA HA HA” and “LETS GO SAVE SOME BABIES” i was soooo confident! Like you could not tell me otherwise! So I went alone this time because i thought well ive done this before… no need making David take off work. Off i went to surgery! I woke up… SORT OF… I woke up and i was paralyzed and i could no breath. I tried to move my hands to signal for help but i could not lift them or my legs (i did not have spinal anesthesia just general) I tried to speak but i couldnt because i was trying to get a breath of air. I could not intake air i was more just pushing air out. my lungs were paralyzed too. I thought i was going to die! LITERALLY! It was the scariest thing in the whole wide world! David walks in and sees me and notices that Im trying to talk… eventually i said “help me” like sooooquietly! So he alerted the staff who then rolled me back to the OR for emergency respiratory therapy. I passed out and woke up on CPAP (like the stuff the put on babies in the nicu but this mask took up my whole entire face) I was in and out then they explained to me that my CO2 levels were climbing and i wasnt getting any oxygen in so I was suffocating on carbon dioxide. Later I found out i have an enzyme disorder that doesnt break down paralytics so what happened was… my body didnt break down the reversal drug to reverse the paralytics so my body was fully paralyzed… totally crappy let me tell ya… i found out its hereditary and from here on out deathly scared of general anesthesia for me or any of my kids… terrifying! Sooo I get stable… and I said right away “Well atleast we saved the babies this time… it was worth it” David looked down at his shoes and said “it wasnt. it was unsuccessful again” I fought so damn hard that those words were the worst thing that ive ever heard in my life! I said “no thats not possible” this is bullshit. I punched the rails on the side of my bad and cried out loud “WHAT ABOUT MY BABIES” I was losing my marbles big time!
Went back to my room… was severely depressed but still pushing down the protein… I was malnourished anemica protein deficient… i stopped producing saliva due to the protein deficiency… i wasnt allowed to drink water anymore as they said it would fill up in my lungs unless i got my protein stable. So I cried and begged my nurse for water… they gave me a sponge to coat my mouth. it was awful. And i could feel my throat sticking together… worst dehydration ive ever felt. I conjured up hope somehow tho. I said “well two more weeks and we can have steroid shots… if they make it that long then atleast they can fight in the nicu instead of this uterus that is killing them” So i was back to hopeful! Then 22 weeks 4 days Dr. De Lia came in to explain how i need a blood transfusion and he’d be right back … he was just going to go get it. This grossed me out… i didnt want to share blood with a stranger but I am forever thankful for whoever donated because that’d be my second thing that saved my life on this journey. So The nurse covered the bag of blood with a sheet! thankgoodness! However before they hooked me up to the blood…. I started bleeding on the bed… I thought my catheter leaked (gross i know sorry) so i took a washcloth to check and there was blood everywhere. I hit the nurse button but knew what this meant so i started almost hyperventilating and holding onto hope at the same time. they brought the ultrasound machine in right away… they put it on my belly and it only took a minute to notice my two babies laying at the bottom of their sacs not moving. (they were always really vibrant) So i covered my eyes and said “no no no” and Dr. De Lia said “im sorry there are no heartbeats” and he stayed with me… for a very long time and he didnt say a word. he just put his hand on mine and I don’t know how he didnt cry too because he was soo attached to my case as well… it had to be so hard for him.
Soooo i cried so hard i fell asleep after making lots of phones calls screaming tears into the phone each time. I woke up and my bed was soaked everywhere including my big huge fancy preggie pillow i brought with me to the hospital. My water broke! Okay! So here we go … two lasers and no im going in labor! Physically i was cashed out. And emotionally i was cashed out too. And going into labor knowing your babies are not alive is like… forcing you to the firing squad or guillitine… its something you dont want to do but have to and nothing will stop it. So Off to labor and delivery. I thought it was going to happen right away but it did not! I spent four days… FOUR DAYS! In labor delivery… every four hours they came in and gave me more medicine… i walked around…. i didnt eat often because i worried i’d get sick if i went into labor. I had three previous csections so the idea of natural labor scared the daylights out of me and thats an understatement. SOoooooooo skipping all those details… we amped up the pitocin dangerously high on the fourth day (one year ago today) the nurse argued that it’d rupture my uterus and Dr. De Lia said I’d bleed to death if we didnt…. and so here we goo… also We didnt want me in emegrency csection… i would probably have lost my uterus due to how much it had gone through…. hemmorhagging mostly with surgery and loss…. also the risk of emegrency general anesthesia if it came to it was … will i pull out of it the next time? Soooo we pumped up the pitocin… and labor hit in really fast…. at about 9am and I wasnt done with labor til like 8:30pm in which the rest of that night was full of tears holding my beautiful daughters that i knew i had to say goodbye to. Soo I had one baby (Anna) at around 4:30pm… then i took a 15 minute nap lol… and had the other around 7:30pm) Labor was extremely slow and painful… i had three or more round of epidural juice and it was not catching on (probably because of that enzyme disorder i talked about previously) Then we met our daughters… BEAUTIFUL AS EvER! Claire had her hand smooshing her cheek up like you’d find any regular kid who fell asleep on their hand. Anna lost half her blood mass during the transfusion and Claire gained blood. They had blonde hair like my son Jacob… he would have been so proud! (My kids all have different color hair its weird) And they looked like Jacob in their facial features too. We gave them a bath, got them dressed… cuddled them in blankets… took them to my room and they slept besides my bed the whole night. we took lots of pictures but said theyd be private pictures for just us. I was in odd spirits… handling everything fairly well. My blood count was SOOOOOOO low that i couldnt stand for 2minutes without blacking out so i got wheeled to the potty in this funny looking chair that always made me LOL so hard. But from that day forward they hold a special peice of my heart… always there never frogotten… always loved! We had a funeral… they now have a headstone… we have hit tons of milestones to celebrate this year also! Especially the day they got their headstone… that was an amazing and happy day! Thank you to anyone who decided to stick through and read this whole entire thing! SORRY it was so long but i felt it was all important!