Our little Lucy bean.

I've debated countless times whether I wanted to share the name we gave our little bean. I wrote most of this post clear back in June or July, when I was sharing all the bumpdates, but I couldn't ever decide if I waned to share it. This weekend though, after leaving her little grave marker at the cemetery, I decided that I wanted people to know how much she matters to us. We may have only had her for fifteen weeks, but she has been such a big part of our lives that it would be an injustice to not share her more.

I've mentioned in previous posts how close I felt to our little bean before we even got pregnant with her. After we lost Carter, I could feel him a little, but I could feel her more. I had this little female guardian angel that was always there when I needed comfort. One day in February, I knew I was pregnant. It was like someone had snapped their fingers and all of a sudden, I just knew. That little spirit was gone, and I knew I was pregnant with her.

After we got a positive pregnancy test, I tried really hard to convince myself that it probably wasn't a girl. Because that would be too lucky, and it also would mean that everything I had felt was real, and that I wasn't just crazy. Me being crazy was far too likely. But the day we found out we were going to lose her, we also found out she was a girl, just like I thought. It broke my heart to lose a baby we'd had for so little time, but that I knew so well.

We had planned to use Lucille as her middle name. I didn't want to use the name we had picked out because I have the distinct feeling that her spirit will be coming back to us. For whatever reason, it wasn't the right time, but eventually, it will be. I want to save her name for that time, because that's how I know her. Right after we lost Carter, I felt like I could say her name, and she was right there, waiting to bear some of my grief. Brandon and I mostly call her little bean, or just the baby or "she" or "her", but for the family's sake, we decided to call her Lucy. I knew that giving her more of an identity would help our family with their grief, and would give them a way to identify her when talking about her.

Part of the reason I'm hesitant to share this is because we have some family with a baby named Lucy, and even in my head, that name belongs to their baby. Our baby is not Lucy. Maybe someday we will get to use Lucille as her middle name, but for now, she is our little bean. I just hope that, like everything before, my instincts are correct and that we will get her again.

Feel free to call her Lucy or little bean; we will always know who you are talking about. We just appreciate you talking about her at all.

 
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Hi Little Bean: May 23, 2017

May 23, 2017

Hi Little Bean.

I miss you so much. I haven’t written to you since the excitement the day after the ER, and now you’re gone. The two weeks since we found out about your swelling have gone so terribly fast, yet I feel like we had just enough time with you before we lost you. Thank you for staying with me through Mother’s Day. And thank you for coming to us at all. We love you so so much.

I came back to work yesterday, bean, and I have felt pregnant both days. I have gotten a little bit of afternoon sickness, have been so tired, and if I didn’t know any better, swear I could have felt you wiggling around in there. But you’re not here, and my body is still confused. One minute I was pregnant, the next I wasn’t. I don’t know how to comprehend the change that I had no part in. With Carter, I was an active participant in his delivery. With you, I was asleep on a table.

I’m waiting to hear from the doctor if he was able to have you cremated or not. I’m going to guess he wasn’t, but I don’t know how to get some closure on your loss without that. Maybe daddy and I can just say some words next to Carter’s grave and pretend you’re there. Maybe we can get a little plaque with your name on it or something. But I just really want to be able to spread your ashes. I want some physical proof that you were here, and that I’m not making it up like I made up Carter.

It’s such a confusing thing, to lose a baby. How do you lose something you barely had? And I barely barely had you. You were still so little. The report says your hand measured 1 centimeter, and your little foot measured 1.1 centimeter. You were barely there. And now you’re not here, and I can’t grasp it.

I can’t understand why we had to lose you. I get that maybe the timing was just meant to be this way. You were supposed to come for a bit, but that you have other stuff to take care of up there, and that you’ll be back. I hope you’ll be back. I knew it was you and I knew you were here before I even knew I was pregnant. You and I have a special, special bond that I wouldn’t trade for anything. But I hate that I knew  you were gone. I hate that you had to go in the first place.

This week we would have been sixteen weeks pregnant, and we would have been sharing you with the world, finally. Instead we shared the news the morning we went to the hospital. And instead of sharing the news with joy, we shared it with sadness.

I miss you, little bean. We love you very, very much. Stay safe.

 
 

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!

 

What today should have been.

I did a silly thing a few weeks ago and let myself get excited about the pregnancy. You all know how much we love Disney (too much, probably), and at the end of April we had booked a trip to Disney World so we could announce the pregnancy and gender there. We had the whole thing all planned out: Mickey balloons, a just celebrating pin, and cotton candy. And in my head I already knew it would all be pink. I wanted to take the picture in front of the castle, since last year we announced we were having a boy in front of the ferris wheel in California Adventure. We were so, so excited.

We're supposed to be at Magic Kingdom right now riding Pirates. I just got the notification for our fast passes.

After the visit with the specialist, we decided to cancel our trip. We would have hated to be so far away from our doctor if anything happened, and we decided that even if we lost her before or after, the trip still would have been a little hard. Of course we still would have had fun together, but I know I would have cried every time I saw a pink Mickey balloon.

When we were discussing how we could announce the pregnancy at Disney, Brandon was pretty adamant that we don't use the balloons since that is how we announced Carter's gender. I think he was nervous that if we planned to use the balloons, it would be a boy, and then it would have been pretty much the exact same picture as last year, minus the background. Isn't that so silly for me to have to say? Last year. Our official due date for little bean was November 8th, six days after Carter's due date last year. We found out we were pregnant with her a year and one day after we had found out we were pregnant with Carter. And, had we been announcing the pregnancy today, we would have been sharing her (and her gender) with the world 363 days after we shared Carter's. I kind of loved that we were on the same time frame as our pregnancy last year. It makes me feel like both of our babies were already really close. There was a short period of time where I was super stressed about how we would do Carter's birthday with a newborn. We would have been induced at 37 weeks, so about a week and a half before Carter's birthday, and I didn't know how we could properly celebrate him with the restrictions of a new baby. I would give anything to still have that struggle.

Please don't mistake my sadness and grief for depression. I think I mentioned some in the post about losing our little bean, but there are a few things that make this round of loss a little easier than the last one. I'll write about them sometime. It's funny; some days I feel like I can only talk about all of this emotionally, and other days (or minutes, really) I feel like I just talk about it intellectually, with facts and no emotions. I'll write about the bright spots when I'm feeling more intellectual and not emotional.

I think I'm still going to go buy pink balloons today, because I was really looking forward to buying baby girl her very first Mickey balloon, and her first set of ears. The ears will have to wait, and so will the Mickey balloon, but she still deserves some pink balloons, just for making our lives that much brighter while she was here.

Hi Little Bean: March 8, 2017

The day we found out I was pregnant, I started keeping a little journal where I could document the pregnancy before we shared the news publicly. The only documenting of Carter's pregnancy that I did was through the blog, and I wish I had done more, so I really went all out with journaling for this one. I planned to share these posts after we announced her (which was supposed to be Friday), and have decided to share them anyway. Today I would have been sixteen weeks pregnant, but instead I'm sharing a picture of the first set of flowers we left at the cemetery for our little bean. Life is a strange, strange thing. 

This first post is from that special day we found out about our bean.

March 8, 2017

I have to keep a separate journal for these, because if I write them in the blog I know I will accidentally post them.

For the past few weeks, I have been an absolute crazy person. I have been angry, sad, happy, depressed...just all over the board. I’ve been craving Zupas and hamburgers like nobody’s business. I started my thyroid medication on the 24th, and had some light bleeding, so I just assumed it was my period, which I was thrilled about because it meant my body was actually working. But also in these past few weeks, I have gained like a pound a week and it has been the worst. Yesterday morning I woke up feeling super nauseous, but I just thought it was because I had caught whatever illness Alycia had in Vegas. This morning I decided to take a pregnancy test, just to see. I drank a whole 32 ounces of water, and planned to take the test right before I left for work, but when Brandon said he was going to go iron his shirt, I took advantage of the opportunity. I was all geared up to pee on the stick for five seconds, and only had enough liquid in me for about two seconds. I was sad, because if the test was negative (when the test was negative, I told myself), I was afraid I would want to take another one later when I had more water in me.

I took the test, played some Disney emoji while I waited, then looked at the test. Two lines. TWO. FREAKING. LINES. I scrambled to grab the test and run out of the bathroom, simultaneously yelling Brandon’s name and trying to unlock the bathroom door. Struggles. I opened the door and found Brandon freaking out trying to get to me, and I just yelled “I’m pregnant” and shoved the test in his face. He hugged me so fiercely I wanted to cry, but I was already crying because I was so excited about being pregnant. We hugged for a long time, and I just kept telling him how much I love him. We sat on the floor for a while just so excited, smiling and talking about how great of a day it was going to be. Then I had to finish getting ready, but I was too distracted with the good news. I laid on the bed and Brandon talked to the baby, and I just kept holding my stomach, so excited for our little bean.

I can’t believe that a year and one day after we found out we were pregnant with Carter, we found out we are pregnant again. I’m hoping to go get blood work done today to confirm it, but I am over the moon right now. I’m hoping I don’t miscarry or anything due to thyroid issues, but I feel like if I carried Carter full term, this baby is going to make it too.

We love you already, little bean. Thanks for making our day.

 

How far along? : Five weeks, maybe?
Baby is the size of: an Appleseed!
Total weight gain/loss: 2ish pounds
Sleep: Not terrible, other than the minor puking in my sleep last night haha
Best moment this week: Finding out we are pregnant!
Movement: None
Symptoms: Nausea, so much nausea
Food cravings: cheeseburgers and zupas!
Food aversions: none so far.
What I miss: Not feeling fat and pukey, but it’s so worth it for the babe
What I am looking forward to: having a first appointment!

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.