Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NOAH'S STORY

I know some of you may visit my blog today from http://www.thewordsmithjournal.com/you-are-not-alone.html, so I wanted to post Noah's story here as well. If you or someone you know has suffered the loss of a child, please feel free to look back through my archives as I hope it will be an encouragement to someone. The Lord carried us through even the most difficult time of our lives and our faith in Him has increased so much since that July day in 2009...(see video at the end of this post)

Noah's Story

On December 27, 2009, two little pink lines told us that we were expecting a baby. We had seen these lines many times before. In 2004, my husband, David and I were expecting our first...and second. Twins. But just 12 weeks into the pregnancy, I miscarried. We were devastated. In 2005, we got pregnant and just days later had an early miscarriage. Then in May of 2006 we finally welcomed our first son, Ethan into the world and we thanked God for allowing us to be the parents of this precious little boy. When Ethan was 2 and 1/2 years old, we decided we wanted another child. Again we experienced an early miscarriage, but the very next month we got pregnant again. This time we felt certain that this little life growing inside me would be just fine. Ethan was going to have a baby brother. We were ecstatic and couldn't wait for his arrival.

It was a pretty normal pregnancy in the beginning. I had morning (or all day) sickness just like I had when I was pregnant with Ethan. But twenty-five weeks into the pregnancy, things began to change. My blood pressure was consistently high when I would go to the doctor for my checkups. My blood pressure had never been high before, so I was definitely concerned. I eventually became paranoid. I bought my own blood pressure cuff and would take my blood pressure several times daily. It was always high. I called the doctor several times and they did several ultrasounds. Every time they checked, our little boy seemed to be doing just fine and he was moving all around. My doctor took the high blood pressure very seriously and decided to call a specialist and make me an appointment. On July 4, 2009 my brother and sister-in-law came over to our house to watch the firework show that was visible from the top of our driveway. That night my brother got to feel the baby kick for the first time.

The morning of July 6, 2009 I woke up to the realization that I couldn't remember feeling the baby move the entire day before (Sunday). We were very busy that Sunday and I thought perhaps I had not sat down long enough to really feel him move. I knew I had felt him move on Saturday night. That was the last time I could remember feeling him move. I decided to drink some caffeine on the way to work to get him moving. When I got to work, my co-worker and I joked about how the baby was taking a long nap and needed to wake up. I jiggled my belly a bit, but still nothing. I decided to run up to the gas station and grab an orange juice, so I did. I drank it and waited. Still nothing. I convinced myself that I was just being paranoid and tried to get through the day at work without worrying about it. On my way home from work I called my best friend and then my dad. Both were very concerned and encouraged me to call the doctor. Their concern upset me and my worry was that the doctors would want to take the baby early. I was just 30 weeks and a few days along and I was terrified that my baby would end up in the NICU. I called the doctor and she told me to go to the hospital immediately. I started crying. I just kept telling my husband that I was worried they would take the baby early and that my blood pressure must be making him lethargic.

On the way to the hospital, David and I decided to finally settle on a name for our baby. After all, if he was possibly going to be born that day, he needed a name. I had wanted the name Noah all along, but David wasn't ready to decide until that day. We chose the name, "Noah David" which means comforter, peaceful. When I arrived at labor and delivery, they had me sign in and took me straight back to a room. They first used a fetal heart monitor (the little wand) and rubbed it all around my belly. We heard nothing. Then they strapped a heart monitor on my belly and we waited to hear something. Still nothing. I started to panic, but the nurse said she heard some movement and told me not to get upset. She went and got the doctor and brought in an ultrasound machine. The room began to spin. I stared at the ceiling and prayed out loud, "Father, please. Please let him be ok! You can make him be ok if you want to. Please don't take him from us!" They placed the wand on my belly and I stared at the screen. There was my little boy. His perfect little profile first caught my eye. There was my Noah, and he was still. No flashing heartbeat, no movement, no sound, just silence. I suddenly heard someone screaming and after a moment, I realized it was me. By this time there were several doctors and nurses in the room. They hugged us and then gave us a few moments to call our family and let them know what had happened. I couldn't bear to hear the sound of each of their hearts breaking, so I asked my husband if he could make the calls. Bravely he told each one.

In a split second, our world had changed forever.

We decided that we needed a night to process what had happened and I was not ready for the emptiness that was to come. I recalled the emptiness I felt after having a D&C when I miscarried our twins and I knew I wasn't ready. I wanted one more night with my son. We scheduled the c-section for the next morning. Our family was all there the next day and waited in the waiting room while I went into surgery. God's peace fell on us. The silence in that room was deafening as they pulled Noah out. In the quietness of that room I secretly prayed that a miracle would take place and he would somehow be born alive. But there was no screaming baby in that room that day. Our son was stillborn. I asked David how Noah looked. "Beautiful...he's perfect," he said. Noah David was born on July 7, 2009 at 3 pounds, 6 ounces and just 15" long. I immediately wanted to see this tiny baby I had carried all those months. A strange excitement came over me. Just like the excitement I had with my son, Ethan, I couldn't wait to hold Noah. Maybe it was my way of coping. I just wanted to snuggle with my baby, even though I knew he was gone. The next few days we spent holding him and photographing him so that we would never forget. We wanted to remember that his upper lip curled just like his Daddy's, that his profile looked just like his big brother's, that his ears looked just like his Aunt's. We never wanted to forget his beautiful face, his perfect little hands, his precious baby feet. We wanted to say our brief "Hello" before the inevitable "Goodbye".

After 3 days in the hospital, the dreaded day came when we would have to say goodbye. Leaving Noah in the arms of a nurse and walking out of that hospital empty-handed was by far the hardest thing we have ever had to endure. The next few days were a blur. We chose to have a private burial with just family and a few close friends and then we had a memorial service where we invited everyone to come. The service was beautiful, but so surreal. How could it be that my worst nightmare had become a reality? My blood pressure was at stroke level during the service. My doctor and one of my nurses who had attended the service immediately escorted me to the hospital afterward where I remained overnight in order to get control of my blood pressure. We later learned that the cause of Noah's death was blood clots that had formed all around the placenta. I was diagnosed with Factor V Leiden, a blood clotting disorder. This was most likely the culprit of all of our pregnancy losses.

We buried Noah at a local cemetery in a small section called "Babyland" where so many other babies were buried. In the days that followed his burial, I would visit daily and pray over each grave and for the parents of the child inside. I longed to connect with the mothers of these children. I made a bold move and decided to google some of the baby's names to see if I could locate their parents. I only found one. Her name was Dawn - the mother of a baby girl buried close to Noah. I contacted her and prayed that she wouldn't think me a stalker. She responded and we had an instant connection. Our hearts had holes in them, but our children were together. They were in the arms of Jesus. I am so thankful to have found a friend who understands and shares my pain.

There is a song that I listened to on repeat in my car while facing the harsh reality that we would not raise this child I had carried for 31 weeks. The song is written by the group "Selah" and it is called, "Unredeemed". My favorite line of the song says, "Places where grace is soon to be so amazing. It may be unfulfilled, it may be unrestored, but you never know the miracle the Father has in store". Every time I heard that line, I pictured myself back in that hospital room, but this time, holding a healthy baby girl in my arms. Noah could not be replaced and we knew we needed time to grieve, but we also longed for this heartache to be redeemed. We wanted another child.

On Noah's 1st birthday, we invited family and friends for a Balloon Release to remember our precious boy. It was the perfect day. One year. We had made it. We would never forget our sweet boy, but we knew we were ready to try again. In fact, we got pregnant right away and on March 18, 2011, we welcomed Ella Jane Collinsworth into our hearts and lives. David and I always felt in our hearts that God would give us a girl after Noah. There were a lot of scares in the early part of my pregnancy with Ella and I had to give myself over 230 injections to prevent blood clots from forming. We knew how to save her because of her brother. He had made a way for her.

Since losing Noah, I have met countless women who have walked this road either right before us or right behind us. It's a difficult road full of ups and downs. I wish this kind of tragedy never happened in the lives of so many families. We never know when grief will hit us, but we always have hope. We have the hope of a Savior. The hope of a creator God who knew that he would create Noah. A God who knew the number of hairs on his head. There are days when I have asked God, "why?", but then I remember that He never promised us we wouldn't have sorrow or that we wouldn't have pain, He promised He would carry us through. And through our suffering, we could allow Him to receive glory. I will have Noah forever because God chose to create him. God promised us that we will see him again someday. We will spend eternity with him. There is no greater joy. I long for the reunion we will have someday where we will know no more pain. Grief will be no more. And never again will we have to say goodbye.

Noah's video (from his 2nd birthday...)


video

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Really?

I know what you are thinking......

Really?

Really you are getting back to blogging?

Really?

Because I don't see many posts here.

I know.

Life is busy.

Really good days.

Really bad days.

I have so many things to update about and as soon as I get a few minutes of peace, I'll write a long update.

No more promises to post regularly.

I want to. I really want to.

I'll try my best to.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ella at 6 months and vacation time!


At 6 months Ella weighs 14 lbs, 7 oz., is 26" tall and has a head circumference of 16.5". She is 100% pure sunshine! I love this age...it is my absolute favorite! She is such a happy girl and unless she is hungry, she is all smiles. She is sitting up on her own (since about 2 weeks ago...if we put her in the sitting position, she will stay put). She loves watching her big brother jump around and be silly. She's still saying "Mamamama" every now and then, but mostly she says, "Babababa" or just makes her mouth move as if she's saying "Mama", but no sound comes out. She is still stictly breastfed, but we will probably be introducing some solids in the next few weeks. Honestly I keep putting it off because with each step that means she is growing up and I'm not ready for that! Of course, it is inevitable.

We leave Friday to go on a family vacation to Panama City Beach, Florida!!! I cannot tell you how excited we are! This will be Ella's first vacation. 8 days of this view...

Friday night we will make a stop in Montgomery to see my Papaw and then we will be on our way to the beach Saturday morning.

Please pray for Ethan today. He woke up with a fever of 100.2, a stuffy nose, and a sore throat. He's wide awake at 6:00am and says he feels ok, but he can't go to school with a fever. I guess I should be glad it is happening now and not next week!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Back to Blogging

Well, here I am. Back to blogging. I have every week of Ethan's 1st year of life journaled on my xanga and I wish I had been blogging all along during these last 5 and 1/2 months of Ella's life. I'm going to do better! I want to remember this time with my children. I look at Ethan today and I can't believe how quickly he's made the transition from baby to toddler to little boy. He started Kindergarten on August 1st.


He loves school. He is so eager to learn. He is an outgoing little guy who makes friends so easy. God has blessed us with such a loving little boy. He loves Jesus. He wants to do right. He makes us proud.

Ella is growing and changing each and every day. At 5 1/2 months old she is 15 pounds of pure sunshine.

(Little pink chair - great antique store find...$10.00)





She is so close to being able to stay sitting up without tumbling over. I think she may start crawling before she can sit. She is already getting up on her hands and knees. She is still strictly breastfed. It has been a lot harder with Ella than with Ethan since I'm working, but it has definitely been worth it! And just like her big brother, Ella said "Mama" first (8/3o/11).


video

David stays busy with work and church. We have both made some big changes and have started eating better and exercising. Can I just tell you how incredibly blessed I am to be married to this man?


And me? Well, I turned 31 years old on August 27th. For me, 31 was more difficult to deal with than 30. I guess because "30" is fun and exciting and "31" just means you are one step closer to "40". It gave me a mission though: to become healthy and lose the rest of this "had-three-babies" weight. I hope to be a much healthier me (and start to recognize myself again) by my 32nd birthday (but hopefully sooner!!!).



So it's back to blogging!....



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

At 4 Months Old...

Sweet Ella, you are growing up too fast! At 4 months old you weigh 13lbs, 3oz. and you are 24 and 3/4 inches long. Your head circumference is 16". Mommy is still breastfeeding you and hopes to continue until you are a year old. You love to have your hands on your face and you REALLY love it if Mommy, Daddy or big brother have their hands on your face. You will just hug our hands and go right to sleep. You are rolling over from your back to your tummy constantly...but you get mad once you are on your tummy. It makes Mommy a nervous wreck because you just bury your face when you are on your tummy. You are grabbing your feet and trying so hard to put them in your mouth. You love to stand up while holding someone's hands...or leaning against your rocker. And Mommy is enjoying so much having a "baby doll" to dress up. Here is you and your "little black dress"...




You are still such a happy baby. You have been teething lately...drooling, wanting to chew on everything, etc. so you've been a little fussier than normal, but you can go from fussing to giggling in the same breath. Mamaw bought you the book "I am a bunny". She read it to you every single day while she was here and I think you really like it! Mommy misses you SO MUCH while I'm at work and I wish I could be with you all day. Mamaw's last day with us for the summer was yesterday. She went back home to Blue Ridge and we were all very sad to see her go.I love coming home and having some cuddle time with you and Ethan every day. Your big brother absolutely adores you! His "baby voice" that he uses to talk to you is so cute. He calls you "baby sister" and "Ciner-Ella". You love your pacifier (the glow in the dark ones...which Mommy finds very handy in the middle of the night!). You love watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with big brother. You hang out a lot in your swing, bouncy seat and Bumbo. You are still sleeping in the bassinet in Mommy and Daddy's room....I'm not quite sure when Mommy will be ready to move you to your room. You have the sweetest pouty little lips I've ever seen. Everyone says they are the perfect "cupid's bow". They are so kissable!
We celebrated your big brother Noah's 2nd birthday this month. You visited his grave with us for the first time and we had a balloon release. You don't know about Noah yet...but someday we will tell you all about him and how through his loss, he made a way for you to be here with us and for that we are forever grateful.




Grow, baby, grow...but not too fast!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Noah's 2nd Birthday

We remember our sweet boy today on his 2nd Birthday. Missing him even more this year. Wishing we were watching him grow.


video

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's real. It's not fun.


Postpartum. It's real. I never fully understood it...because I've never had it. Now obviously after Noah, I was depressed, but that was grief, not postpartum. I am so in love with my daughter and I'm so thankful for her. She really makes me smile and she is such a good baby, so don't misunderstand. My feelings have nothing to do with her. But my hormones are all over the place. I'm so extremely sensitive right now and it's driving me crazy.

Things have happened over the last few weeks that have been upsetting, but you would think someone died the way I've hurt and cried over it. I just can't shake it. I physically can't. Going back to work has been very difficult and it's even more difficult when I feel like things have changed since I've been back. My boss and even some of my co-workers are treating me differently....as if annoyed that I was out on maternity leave. Mind you, right now I'm way more sensitive, way more paranoid, and definitely could be perceiving things different from reality. Time with family seems to be lacking. I have to be at work at 6:30 in the morning which means in order to have time to get a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack my lunch and feed Ella, I have to be up at 4:45. When I overslept just a little on Tuesday, I had to rush through feeding her and put her down and leave for work, knowing she was still hungry. Very very upsetting. I get off of work at 2:00 each day, come home, try to rush in some time with my husband and my kids and also do laundry and dishes. The house is a wreck. I want to be home. I don't want to be at work. I want to be home. My house was spotless by the end of my maternity leave. It didn't last. It makes me feel like a bad mom to rush through stories, rush through play time, get the kitchen only somewhat clean, and give 5 minutes of conversation to my husband only to roll over and go to sleep so I can be up at 4:45 and do it all over again. Friendships have suffered these last few weeks, my husband feels helpless at times and I feel even more terrible for him to have to deal with this depressed person. I'm a child of God...so...

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

I know there are medications out there to help with this, but I'm not a big fan of medications and I would prefer to try anything else....including pleading with God to help me get over this. And take out my frustrations on my elliptical! :o)

Anyway, I could use some prayer. And forgive me. My emotions are all over the place. Happy one minute, in the depths of despair the next, even sometimes angry. I'm working on it.

oh...and Noah's 2nd birthday is 1 week from today...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ella's First Laugh

Ella has giggled before, but this was the first time she really laughed...and we caught it on video!

Here you are, sweet girl...laughing at your mommy and Angela at just 2 and 1/2 months old. So precious!


video

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

At 2 Months Old...

Ella Jane,

At 2 months old you are just plain adorable! You are smiling big smiles at us every day and just yesterday, you started giggling! When you cry you make a sound that sounds just like you're saying "Ma-ma". Your big brother, Ethan used to cry the exact same way! (Yes, your mommy will claim that you are a genius and will say that your first word was at 2 months old and it was "Mama"....haha!). At your 2 month appointment you weighed 11 pounds, 5.5 ounces and you were 22" long. My growing girl!


You started sitting in your Bumbo seat this week. This was the Bumbo I bought for your big brother, Noah...that's why it is blue...but you don't seem to mind one bit!


We still don't know for sure what color your hair will turn out to be, but in the sunlight, you sure do look like a redhead (taking after your Nana!)

You still sleep in your bassinet next to Mommy and Daddy's bed. And yes, you sleep!!!! Mommy checks on you A LOT during the night. She can't help it. She loves you. Since Mother's Day you have been sleeping through the night almost every single night and this makes Mommy SO HAPPY!!! Thank you for this wonderful Mother's Day gift that I hope lasts for years to come! I think the secret is that you like to be wrapped up like a little burrito...



You love your play mat and you have even started grabbing the little sunshine toy that hangs down from it. You also love tummy time!


You really only cry when you get really hungry. (Funny that right as Mommy was typing those words you started demanding your dinner!) You are still nursing like a champ and mommy enjoys the bonding time with you. You really are a very happy baby and your big brother just LOVES making you smile!

We love watching you grow each day! Mommy is sad that she has to go back to work in just 2 weeks, but she's enjoying this time with you. Grow, baby, grow!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'm still here!!!


Wow...it's been a while. A lot has happened in the last few weeks. We've been super busy!!!

The month in pictures...


First there was Easter. We spent the day with family...



Then Mother's Day and Ella's Baby Dedication...


Ethan turned 5 years old!

For his 5th birthday we went to Stone Mountain...




My grandparents came for a visit all the way from Texas.
It was there first time meeting Ella Jane (the "Jane" came from this lady right here!)...



Ethan graduated from Pre-K. He got to play "Grandpa" in one of the songs they sang called
"Can you count with me?"



Here's one of his best buds, Preston who played "Pa"...
they've been friends since they were babies!





This month exhausted our little burrito...


And Miss Ella turned 2 months old...