On Donation Day

As you may have read, I had a lot of feelings leading up to the donation of the CuddleCot. As bad as it sounds, a large amount of those feelings was relief that the cot had finally arrived and that we had found someone that wanted it. I was just ready to give it to the hospital so it could...

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Flying for Time

We are SO excited to share our secret project with all of you!! We've only been working on it for a few weeks now, but I feel like I've been keeping it a secret forever. That changes now!

After a baby is born still, their skin can start to quickly deteriorate. The cooler the temperature around them, the longer their body is preserved for. When we lost Carter, exactly 46 weeks ago today, our nurse kindly offered to take him back and forth between our room and a chilled room where his body could be kept for short periods of time, to allow us more time with him. Neither Brandon nor I wanted to let him go, and we agreed that saying goodbye once would be hard enough, so we kept him in the room with us for a few hours until we decided it was time to say goodbye. 

Weeks later, as we immersed ourselves more in the loss community, we learned about the CuddleCot, a cooling pad that can be placed in a bassinet or cradle at the hospital in the same room as the parents. The CuddleCot keeps a baby's body cool, and therefore preserved longer, so that the parents can have more time without letting them out of their sight. I don't know if the hospital we were at even had a CuddleCot on hand, but it would have been nice to have, so we could have had even just a few more minutes with our boy.

We'd like to give the gift of time to other parents whose babies are gone too soon.

Flying for Time, the name of our project, has the sole purpose of providing more time to parents who already do not have enough. We will be selling airplane necklaces in remembrance of Carter, and putting the proceeds toward the purchase of a CuddleCot, which will be donated to a hospital of our choice. If necklaces aren't your thing, we will happily accept simple donations.

The cost of a CuddleCot is roughly $3,000, but you can't put a price on spending more time with your child before saying goodbye. Thank you in advance for your generosity. We, and so many parents like us, are eternally grateful.


What we lost.

When you lose a baby, you don't just lose the baby. 

You lose dreams and hopes, goals and milestones. Plans you once had for holidays, vacations, life in general, they are all gone. You miss out on baby snuggles, late night changings and feedings, watching them sleep. You miss out on that first smile, first steps, first words. You miss out on the phase when they begin to explore anything and everything around them, when they start to develop their own personality. You miss out on first days of school. You don't get to watch them learn how to drive, go off to college, get married, and have babies of their own.

You don't just lose out on the one moment of delivering a live baby, you lose an entire future.

There is a lot of preparation for bringing a baby home. You buy a crib and a dresser and a stroller and a carseat and a diaper bag and blankets and clothes and diapers and wipes and bottles and pacifiers and sheets and a pack n' play and toys and socks and bibs. We had all those things. We'd had lengthy discussions about how to do Disney with a baby, and how we would learn to travel differently and slow down once we had a little one with us on our trips. We had planned to go to Hawaii around Carter's first birthday. We were so excited to do Thanksgiving and Christmas at home just the three of us. I was excited for Carter's uncles and grandpas to teach him about cars and sports and bikes and music and techy things and bad jokes. I was excited for his grandmas to cover him in kisses, and become the kind of grandmas that always had new pictures and videos of their grandson to share with everyone. I couldn't wait for the cats to meet him and love him. I was excited for Brandon to be his dad, and I was excited to be his mom. 

When we lost Carter, we lost a huge piece of ourselves. We lost our naivete, our innocence, and a little bit of our joy. When we lost little bean, we lost some of our optimism. And when we lost the third pregnancy, we lost some of our hope. Maybe I shouldn't speak for Brandon on this, but those are things I've lost with each baby.

I think this is why losing a baby, or anyone that is gone too soon really, is so hard. Dying of old age is natural, and even though all the time in the world is never enough, there has at least been enough time for memories and milestones and just time together in general. We never got any of that with Carter or little bean. I'd still be pregnant with little bean, technically; we'd be about seven weeks away from meeting her. But instead, we have to try and make a lifetime of memories out of the weeks and months we had with each of them in my belly.

It's fun for us to think about what they would have been like. We don't do it so much with little bean, but we think about Carter's personality a lot. When we were at Disney World, we both agreed that Animal Kingdom would  have been his absolute favorite. I could almost picture him getting so excited at seeing all the animals. It made my heart hurt. We bought a stuffed Safari Mickey to leave in the nursery for him, because I could see him wanting that toy. I like to think that he'd be a bit of a mama's boy, and that as much as he'd want to run around and explore, he'd want me right behind him the whole time. I can see him giving Brandon a run for his money, but also wanting to chill next to dad on the couch every night. And I can see him being gentle and sweet with the cats, and them loving him right back. I don't want to idealize him or make it seem like he would have been the perfect child, but I don't call him our sweet boy for nothing. He would have been the most tender soul.

But we can only imagine those things; we'll never get to know for sure. We lost out on so many things that we were looking forward to, but we also lost out on getting to see our sweet Carter grow into the great man I know he would have been. He would have been just like Brandon, I'm sure of it. Knowing that the world missed out on getting another Brandon is a tragedy in and of itself.

Our life itself is not lost. Brandon and I still have each other, and there are still so many things we can accomplish if we are left to do life just the two of us. But from the moment we found out we were pregnant with Carter, at around 5:15 pm on March 7, 2016, our children became our life. And I don't know that you ever really come back from losing something, someone, so special and instrumental to every day living. There are a lot of things we don't get to do with our little man, and a lot of things we are doing that we'd really rather not, but he is still ours. We will make new goals and hit different milestones. He is our child, and a part of our lives forever.

"You're so strong."

I read an article a while ago that sparked this post. I shared the article on Facebook, so some of you may have read it. In it, the mother writes "People comment on how “strong” my husband and I are. I don’t want to be strong, I want to be normal. There is nothing strong about living without your child. We don’t have any other choice but to go on without her; to go on living some semblance of a life while constantly missing her. There is no other option."

I've thought about this a lot since we lost Carter, and even more so since we lost our little girl, and now, after our miscarriage. People are always telling us how strong we are. We, like the mom that wrote the article, don't want to be strong. Trust me, I would love to have both my babies here and have people tell me I'm weak all day long. I would far take that over losing our babies and having to be strong. It takes so much work to be "strong." It is so hard to wake up every single day, get out of bed, eat, go to work, put a smile on my face, and help people with things when all I really want to do is scream and go home to sit in the empty nursery. At the end of the day, I barely have energy to sit on the couch with my eyes open. Some days I just want to drag myself outside, crawl into the backseat of my car and stay in the parking lot at work, because going home means I have to get up and do it all again the next day.

I don't want to be strong because I feel like the more I put on a show, the less people will remember our children and what we are going through. I don't want to be strong because I feel like the harder I try to be okay, the less I remember my own grief, and in turn, the less I remember our kids.

You think I'm strong because you don't see what happens when you aren't around. I put on a face for you because I don't want you to cry for me. I don't want to ruin your day the way all my days are ruined. I don't want you to feel even an ounce of the hurt I'm feeling, because no one deserves that. So you think I'm strong, because I'm spending my energy being strong for you.

But you don't see what happens when I'm by myself. When a song comes on the radio that reminds of Carter dancing in my belly. When I get home and can't make it up the steps because I'm physically tired from all the emotional pain. When I'm crying so hard that I can't breathe. When the skin around my mouth dries out because I drool a little when I cry. When anxiety sets in and I'm hovered over the toilet trying to simultaneously quell my crying and not throw up. When I get so angry that I throw the nearest non-breakable items until my arms are tired. When Brandon's shirt is soaked through with my tears. When we sit on the floor holding each other until the pain lessens. When every sentence about our children is a little stilted because we can't help but get choked up every time we talk about them. When we sit at the cemetery wondering how this is our life.

It's nice that people think we're doing well, and that we are being tough and putting on our game faces, but it's a lot of work. It's hard to not just call in to work every day. It's hard to not just lay my head down on my desk and will away the world. It's hard to come home to an empty house, or leave with an empty backseat. It's hard to live with an empty heart.

You can tell me I'm strong, but just know that you're lying. Maybe lying isn't the best word. Just know that you're wrong. I do things the way I do because I don't have a choice. Falling apart is not a choice because we have to keep going. Putting our lives on hold for grief is not a choice because time moves on and we have to learn to incorporate grief into our everyday routine. Giving up on myself is not a choice because at the very end of the day, I am all I have; I am the only one that controls my thoughts and emotions. Forgetting to live is not a choice, because my heart still beats for myself and our children, and there is so much potential for our little family. We have to live for that potential.

So you may think we're strong, but to us, breathing and living without our children is just a hard thing we have to do every day. It's routine but not, all at the same time. We're not just strong, we're loss parents, and this is our life.

Our five-day baby.

To fully tell this story, I need to back up a bit. Before we went to Disney World, I really thought I was pregnant. I was having some symptoms, and I just felt pregnant. But test after test confirmed that I wasn’t. I took one more test the day we got home, and again, negative. I was still confused as to why I was having symptoms, so I called my doctor and asked to get my blood drawn so we could make sure I was ectopically pregnant. I wasn’t, but I had started having some pain in my abdomen, so we made another appointment to go see him. He wondered if it was maybe appendicitis, so we did another blood draw to check my blood cell counts, and all were normal. Four days after that I was in a lot of pain, so I went in for an ultrasound and found out that I had an ovarian cyst. I wasn’t upset by this, because our bodies make cysts for a living, and one cyst isn’t anything out of control, plus if it is something that has happened before, it kind of explains why it took us a little bit to get pregnant with Carter, but that’s a story for another day.

My doctor was out of town when I found out about the cyst, and was gone for two weeks after, so I didn’t have a chance to talk to him about it before my follow up appointment. When we went back in (two weeks after finding out about the cyst), the ultrasound tech told me that the final ultrasound report said that my cyst had actually ruptured (which would explain why I was in so much pain the day I went in) and that we didn’t need to do a follow up ultrasound because the cyst was gone. For some reason, I felt like being naggy and kind of insisting that she do another ultrasound. She said she would just do a quick scan, and if she saw something, she would do a full exam. She looked at both ovaries, and they looked fine, then did a quick swipe over my uterus and said “I think there might be something there.” I said “like a baby?” and she said “I think so!”

We ended up doing a full exam, and found out that there was indeed a tiny baby with a little heartbeat! Brandon and I were so surprised. We just kept looking at each other and shaking our heads and laughing. We hadn’t anticipated being pregnant, but I was so glad I pushed for that ultrasound! It was just crazy that I stopped taking pregnancy tests when we got back from vacation, but that was when I should have started (tmi but oh well!). We went upstairs to meet with the doctor, and everyone was so excited for us. The first thing he did when he came in the room was give both of us a hug haha.

The appointment that day was exactly 39 weeks, almost down to the minute, from the day we found out we had lost Carter. That whole day had been kind of crappy, but finding out we were pregnant on such a hard day made it a little easier. I measured 5 weeks 6 days, and our tentative due date was set for March 22, which meant that with our early induction due to our losses, we would have a baby a day or two before my birthday.

That night after our appointment, we went directly to our neighbor friends (who are also loss parents) and shared the news. We went to a wedding the next day and had to keep the secret from Brandon’s family, and it was so tough! All weekend we were so excited. I kept wanting to call our parents and tell them, and it was so hard to be patient! We let ourselves get really excited, talking about bringing the baby home and all things baby. A friend, who didn’t know I was pregnant, sent me a rainbow blanket she had made me herself, and we got it the day after we found out we were pregnant. I thought it was a sign that this one would stick, and that we would get to bring it home. In retrospect, I should have known that getting too excited would jinx it.

Monday morning at work, I went to the bathroom and found that I was bleeding. I called Brandon as I was leaving work, and he met me at the doctor’s office. The doctor looked me over, said I wasn’t actively bleeding and that there were no signs that we were losing the baby. We even did an ultrasound, and the baby still had a very strong heartbeat. For the moment, we were safe. He sent us home with orders to rest and eat lots of ice cream. An hour and a half later, I bled more, and I knew it was over. I called my doctor the next morning to tell him I had been bleeding all night, and he said we were probably losing the baby. We went in for another ultrasound Wednesday afternoon, and even though the sac was still there, the baby was gone. We had lost another baby.

The rest of this last week has been spent recovering and dealing with the physical pain that accompanies a miscarriage. Our doctor said that ours was just a very typical miscarriage, and that unfortunately, they are very common. He said that it in no way relates to either of our other two losses, and was just another stroke of bad luck. He also said that this should not deter us from trying again. It was nothing we did, nothing my body did (and not caused by the cyst or my thyroid meds or anything), and that we should try not to be discouraged. Then he sent us home again with orders to eat ice cream, and to plan another trip instead of going to the gym. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times, but he really is the best.

We’re sad, obviously, but we have to keep moving forward. If someone wants to make me a giant banner that says that, keep moving forward, I’d love to hang it in my house somewhere. It has definitely been our motto for the past nine months.

Even though we’ve been dealing with another loss all week, my heart has felt so full. Brandon is the most incredible husband; I couldn’t have asked for someone better to go through all this with, and our babies are so lucky to have him as their dad. Together, we have two little angels, and another little baby that brought sunshine back into our lives for just a few days. Our house is so empty, but our family keeps growing. Even though our family is not the most traditional one, we are still parents, and our children are ours to love forever.

9 Ways to Help a Grieving Parent

After we lost Carter, I looked at a lot of articles on what not to say to a grieving parent so that I would know what kind of things to anticipate hearing. People say things with the best intentions, but even now, after losing baby #2 and hearing all these things yet again, they still hurt. If you've lost a baby (or anyone in your life, really), you know the things that hurt: everything happens for a reason, God needed another angel, you're young and can have more babies, you can always adopt, it's for the best...there are too many to count. If you are someone that has said one of these things, don't kick yourself; it's hard to find the "right" thing to say. Rather than tell you what not to say, here are some pointers that might help when you're trying to find the right words. 

  1. Talk to them about their child. Nothing hurts more than being avoided by family or friends because they don't know what to say. Just because we lost someone doesn't mean we aren't human. Interact with the grieving parent like you normally would. If they seem down, ask them how they are doing. If their child comes up in a conversation, DO NOT steer away from that topic. If you aren't sure what to say to them, let them talk. I guarantee they would love to talk about their child.

  2. Let them know you are thinking about them and their child, but specifically, their child. It's really hard to be a parent and not be able to share pictures of your growing baby with family and friends. It's terrifying to think that people might forget about the child that got taken too soon.

  3. If you want to help, just do it. We've all read articles about how saying "let me know if I can do anything" is not the right thing to say. If you want to help, take them dinner, take over a stack of movies you think they might like, give them a gift card to an activity of sorts. If you really want to help, just do something, anything, but don't ask what you can do. They are already making a lot of decisions, one more may just add to the stress.

  4. Acknowledge their child! First time parents are still parents, even if they lose their child before, during, or after birth. Unless they tell you otherwise, include the lost child when you are counting the number of children in their family. Send them a message on their child's birthday. Let them know that even though you can't physically see their child, you remember their presence.

  5. Try to accept that sometimes things just happen. If a parent loses a baby and no cause is found, do not poke and prod asking questions like "Did you have to much caffeine? Did you lift something heavy? Did you fall down?" The parents have spent day after day asking themselves what they did wrong, they don't need people adding to it. If they know what happened and feel comfortable sharing it, they will do so.

  6. If you don't know what to say, don't. Unfortunately, there are a lot of "wrong" things to say, and only a few "right" things. If you are struggling to find the right thing to say to someone, just give them a big hug and tell them that you've been thinking about them and their child. Honestly, sometimes it's better to say next to nothing than to say the wrong thing. Don't just do nothing, but if you're unsure what to say, don't try to overcompensate. A simple gesture is enough.

  7. Don't treat them like they are an empty eggshell waiting to be broken. They are still your coworker/friend/family member/neighbor. Interaction is still possible without constant puppy dog eyes. But at the same time...

  8. Be thoughtful and understanding and patient. Losing a baby is really hard, and it's not just something they can "get over." Be understanding when they go through each wave of emotion. Don't be offended if they get angry or if they are quiet. Just understand that each and every emotion they experience is acceptable, and it is normal for them to have "off" days.

  9. Be there. This one is simple, just be there for the parents. Make it known that you are always there if they need something, or if they just need to talk. There is no such thing as too much time spent talking about the one they lost, so the more ears that are available, the better.

Keep in mind that these are just some of the things Brandon and I feel have helped us; everyone is different. The best thing you can do is try! If you have experienced a loss, what are some things your family and friends have done to help you through the hard time? Leave your response in the comments, you never know who will benefit from it!


Laying our little bean to rest.

On Wednesday last week, I left work for my hour lunch break, and texted Brandon as I walked out the door, asking him to call me because I was having a hard time. About three seconds later, my phone rang, but it wasn't Brandon. That call was from my endocrinologist's office, but while I was on the phone with them, my phone rang again, and I thought for sure it would be Brandon that time. It wasn't. I listened to the voicemail, and it was from the hospital, saying that we could go pick up our little girl. I called the lady back, and she said we'd want to pick her up as soon as possible. So I called Brandon and told him, then told him I would spend my lunch break finding a place that would cremate her. By the time I had hung up with him, I was at home. I called the mortuary closest to us, and they were seriously so nice. I cried at the lady on the phone while I was asking if they could cremate her, but she was so sweet, and said they would be able to cremate her, and that we would just need to come in and sign some papers. I was so happy I didn't have to call more than one place. 

When I hung up with her, I called Brandon back and told him that both the hospital and the funeral home closed at five that day, so we needed to leave work a little early to be sure we could make it to both places. Of course, of all days, Brandon was supposed to have a meeting at 3:30, but he said he would figure it out and call me back. After we hung up, the funeral home called me back and said they would be happy to go pick her up for us so we didn't have to do it. I told them I would call them back, then called the hospital to see if that was possible. After being put on hold for a while, they told me that would be fine, but I would still have to sign a release form. So I called Brandon back, told him the new plan, then called the funeral home and told them that would be great. On that phone call, I asked how long it would take to have her cremated, and explained what we were going to do with her. Again, they were so nice, and said it would only take a couple days. I called Brandon on my way out the door, one last time, and then found out later that he hadn't seen my text asking him to call until after that last phone call haha.

The guy at the mortuary was super nice. I know I keep saying how nice they are, but it's true. He put our little bean on their cremation schedule while we were sitting there with him, and he told us she would for sure be ready to be picked up on Friday before five. He called me around 1:30 on Friday, and he even used her name when he told us she was ready to be picked up. It's still weird for me to use her name (which is why I haven't shared it on here) but it's the sweetest thing when other people say our children's names. 

Anyway, we went and picked her up, then stopped at home to pick up my brother, his girlfriend, and the thirty pink and white balloons Brandon had bought earlier that day. We drove up to Daybreak, where we took both our maternity pictures and the pictures after we lost Carter. We stood on the dock and released the balloons while we held our little girl in our arms. I just kept crying at the fact that I was actually holding her. Far sooner than I should have been, but I still got to hold her. She spent Friday night on Brandon's nightstand, and Saturday on mine, and I held her in my lap the entire way to Logan.

We met up with our families in Logan on Sunday. My parents had been in Idaho Falls for the weekend, and they were nice enough to drive down and visit with us and our babies. We went with them and my brother and his girlfriend to buy some flowers for the kids, then spent some time at the cemetery together. It was really nice to have them there! My brother and his girlfriend left to drive home, and we went to lunch with my parents before meeting Brandon's parents back at the cemetery.

The six of us crouched around Carter's grave, and Brandon let me spread little bean's ashes. We had known we wanted to leave her with Carter from the second we found out we were going to lose her, and because there wasn't much to bury, cremation just made sense. It makes me happy (in a sad way) that both of our children are together, and that we can go to the cemetery and be with both of them. Eventually we want to get a smaller little cement plaque headstone to add onto the cement pad of Carter's, so that people will know she is there too.

This is a strange thing to say, but I know our little bean will be coming back to us. I don't think it was exactly her time to come now, but I think she needed to be with us just for a little bit to get us through the past couple months. I really feel like she will come back to us, in a healthy body, and that we will get to know her outside of my belly.

Sorry that this post was kind of a jumbled mess. I'm just trying to keep my head above water today, and it's not as easy as I wish it could be. But I'm so grateful for our children. They've turned me into someone I never knew I could be, and they've made me a mother, even though it's not in the traditional sense. I'm thankful for Brandon, too. So so much. He holds me up when I feel like sinking, listens to me vent and cry over and over again, and reaffirms the fact that I am a mother on a daily basis. And we appreciate all of you-friends, family, strangers-that love and care for us and our babes. Thank you for speaking their names, confirming that they are real, and continually sending us words of encouragment and love.


This kid is seriously so spoiled!


Losing Little Bean.

A year and a day after we found out we were pregnant with Carter, we found out we were pregnant again. March 8th. I had known for a while, but we didn't get a positive pregnancy test until that day. It was the best day we'd had in a long time. And we were finally getting another chance to bring home a baby.

Everything was really good for a long time. We had an ultrasound at six weeks, then another at seven weeks, and another at eight weeks, not because anything was wrong, but because we wanted one early, and then our doctor was so nice and did one each time we saw him. We got to watch our bean grow from a tiny little dot on the ultrasound until she looked like an actual baby, and it was wonderful. I don't know how many doctors allow their patients to have eight ultrasounds by the time they are 14 weeks, but if yours does, I highly recommend it.

The first trimester was, like Carter's, a dream. I was more nauseous than I was with Carter, and food didn't seem to help, but I still never threw up! Sleep was hard to come by, but I wasn't as tired as I was with Carter, so it seemed like a fair trade. We were in Amsterdam right during the thick of my sickness, so that was a fun thing to deal with. But it didn't really matter, because I was so happy just to be pregnant again. And with this pregnancy, unlike Carter's, I craved sweets all the time. Fruits and vegetables made me want to throw up, so I just ate a lot of breads and chocolates and cookies, and already little bean and I were the best of friends.

Two Tuesdays ago, May 9th, I woke up and thought I had leaked fluid. We hurried to the ER (where they, of course, didn't hurry) and waited to have an ultrasound. When we finally got in there, the tech told us that the baby's fluid looked like, so Brandon and I relaxed, and enjoyed being able to see our wiggly little babe. She was so wiggly, just like Carter. We went back to our room and waited for the doctor to discharge us. He came back in with the nurses and sat down, and told us that the fluid levels looked fine (I just peed my pants, no big deal), but that there was something else we needed to talk about. He told us that the baby had what is called a Cystic Hygroma. He told us it was abnormal growth on the brain, and that we were going to lose the baby. We were devastated, and kind of blindsided. Everything had been fine, and we'd just had an ultrasound six days before and our doctor didn't see anything, so we had no idea where this was coming from. We went in to see our OB the next day, and he was just as frustrated as we were. He said the radiologist didn't tell him where the growth was, or how big it is, and furthermore, the ER doctor hadn't exactly given us accurate information. A Cystic Hygroma is abnormal swelling of the lymphatic system, and while it can be fatal, it can sometimes go away too. He did an ultrasound that day and said that he could maybe see what they had been looking at, but that he couldn't confirm it. We had gotten my blood drawn the week before to do DNA testing on the baby, so he said we would need to wait for that to come back before we drew any conclusions or made any plans.

That same night, he called us and said he had our results, and that he wanted to see us first thing the next day. All night we worried and talked about worst case scenarios. We sat around the house for too long, then finally left and drove around for about three hours before coming home and crashing on the couch. When Thursday morning finally came, we went to his office and waited. Our results showed that the baby had Trisomy 13, meaning she had an extra 13th chromosome, and essentially confirmed what the radiologist had seen on Tuesday. Trisomy 13 babies often have the abnormal swelling, and generally have failure of all internal organs. The hygroma would not go away, and neither would the chromosomal abnormality. Babies with Trisomy 13 can sometimes live to birth, or even one year, but the majority don't make it a full 40 weeks, and if they do, they don't usually live more than a few hours. We found out then that she was a girl, just like we knew she was. Our doctor sat with us for a long time and answered all of our questions. He told us he'd had his nurse send a referral over to a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist, and that we would probably hear from them by the end of the day. We left the appointment shocked and sad. We were going to lose another baby.

We drove to Logan that day to spend time with Carter. We visited with Brandon's parents while we were there and delivered the bad news, then called my parents that night to tell them. We felt so bad telling everyone, because nobody really knew what to say. We didn't even know what to say. It just seemed so unfair. But spending time with Carter that day helped. I've had a lot of spiritual experiences since we lost him that I won't go into detail about, but I know our other children have been with us through all of this, and that they were preparing for their sister to return to them.

We had Friday off too, and went to see the specialist that day. They did another ultrasound and talked us through everything they were seeing. We saw the swelling then, and it made us so sad. The baby was probably about ten centimeters long, and the swelling was 1.5 centimeters on either side of her neck. It spread down a little over her chest too. The specialist said it had grown significantly since the ultrasound on Tuesday. They told us that we would probably lose her, because the hygroma would grow and her heart would get weaker, but they couldn't give us a time frame. We could have lost her that day, or I could have carried her through to delivery. They talked about us making the decision to end her life, not that we had to, but that it was an option if we didn't feel like we wanted to carry another baby full term just to lose them. I didn't even want to think about having to consider a decision like that. No parent should have to think about that.

We were supposed to go to Boise that weekend. After the appointment, we went home to grab our bags, got an hour away from home, and I decided that I just wanted to stay home. I wanted time alone with our little family, and I felt like I needed a few days to let everything sink in before I went back to work. Little Bean was super active all weekend, and Brandon and I both got to feel her move a little. We spent Mother's Day as a little family of four, soaking up all the time we had before anything happened, and not thinking about what the future could bring.

Monday morning I woke up at 4:30 to our little bean kicking, but when I got up an hour later to shower, I felt different. I didn't say anything to Brandon, because I didn't want to believe it, but all day I think I knew. I went to Costa for lunch with Alycia and had a Diet Coke to see if the baby would move, but I didn't feel anything. I called Brandon and told him I wanted to go in and listen to the baby's heart, even though we were supposed to have an appointment on Wednesday. We showed up at the office, and even though we weren't on the schedule, our doctor made room for us right away. I felt so bad for the nurse, because it wasn't the usual nurse we see, and we had to explain why we were there. I wanted to tell her not to listen, and that the doctor should be the one to do it, but I didn't want to seem high maintenance, so I let her do it, and in turn, broke her heart. She finally gave up and went to get the doctor, who fought it for a long time too. Finally he took us into the ultrasound room, looked at her fluids, and essentially everything but her heart, until it was the last thing left to look at . There was no little flutter, no heartbeat. I had asked Brandon the day before to download the recording app so we could record the sound of her heartbeat, and we didn't get to do it. That was what made me the most sad. I knew she was gone before we went to the doctor, but I'm glad I listened to my instinct and asked to go in.

Losing our little bean wasn't as much of a shock as losing Carter was. We had known it was probably going to happen for about a week, and were honestly glad that it happened on its own, rather than us having to have considered ending her life. Her pain didn't go on for longer than necessary, and we had her with us for Mother's Day. Really, the timing was okay. We hadn't planned to do the blood draw for the genetic testing until this last Wednesday, but I got antsy and did it two weeks early. Had we not done it then, we would have had to wait on an autopsy from her to find out why we had lost her. Had we miscarried in the first trimester, we would never have known why, and would have wondered if it would be safe to keep trying. We had a karyotype done in November to check mine and Brandon't chromosomes, and both are completely normal. This was, once again, a rare stroke of bad luck. 

The chances of having a stillborn are 1 in 23,000. The chances of losing a baby to Trisomy 13 are 1 in 20,000. The chances of both happening to us are 1 in 460 million. And this is why we don't gamble.

The doctor got me on his schedule for a D&C the next day. I could have been induced and tried to deliver her naturally, but more than likely I would have needed a D&C anyway, so we decided to make the process as stress and pain free as possible. We went in Tuesday, and had our little girl.

Our doctor was so sweet, and treated everything as much like a normal birth as he could. He took the giraffe receiving blanket we had for her and told us he would get it to her. He told us she was born at 2:45, and he told us she was pretty.

And just like that, we became a little family of four.

There are bright spots among all the clouds of our situation. We know we can have healthy babies, it just hasn't happened for us yet. But it will. We are as optimistic as we can be right now, even though the days are painted with occasional meltdowns and fits about how life is really unfair. I miss being pregnant, and I miss having a reason to get out of bed smiling every morning, but it will happen again.

We love our little bean, and are so happy to have had her for the time we did.


**We took the picture in the hospital for the sake of remembering. We wanted the "delivery" to be as typical as possible, even though it most definitely is not, and wanted to remember May 16th as the day our little girl was born.