August 31, 2011

Saying Goodbye and Coping

Saying goodbye is never easy. I've had to say goodbye to my husband the three times he went to war. I've had to say goodbye to family members that lived across the country and only visited once a year. I've had to say goodbye to my wonderful best friends when we moved from North Carolina to Tucson. I've had to say goodbye to my grandma's whom I was very close to. And now, I've had to say goodbye to my son whom I never got to meet but was only able to hold his 17 week old body.

Some people may think that miscarriage is not a huge deal and is not serious or does not need to be recognized as a real loss. They are wrong. I have been friends with those who have been through this challenge and I've heard stories of others who have had many miscarriages and never was able to carry a pregnancy full term and have children. My heart goes out to them, even more now.

I wanted to recognize John. I wanted to make sure that his spirit up in heaven knows that although I didn't get to meet him that I still love him so much. I want to be sure that I remember him. So, after some thoughts and a little bit of time to heal, our family said our goodbye yesterday. Chris and I ordered a picture that will be dedicated to him, so he can have a picture by our family picture in the living room. Come Christmas we will get an ornament in his name. We will be framing the picture of his little fingers to put in our room. We are on a list to put his name on a Children's Memorial Wall at a Children's Park. This should be done by labor day and I can't wait to use that park as a place to go to think of him and how he might be in heaven. Yesterday we had a memorial service for him, just as our little family. We made pictures and letters and folded them up inside helium balloons, then after saying a prayer we released the balloons up to him at our church. All of the kids loved making him letters and they were all so sweet. I felt so better after doing it myself and I know it helped Chris too. We all felt really good after wards. This is our way of respecting him and loving him. We hope to continue this tradition every year in a way to remember him and the blessings he brought to us. I wanted to be sure that we did the best we could for him and now I know we did it.

For those of you who may be interested in doing something for him, we would like to invite you to plant a tree in his name. This is something we wanted to do, but since we don't have a green thumb we didn't want to do it ourselves in our own yard. You can go to this website below and donate just $10 and it will go towards planting a tree in a forest which will give life to many animals and us as human beings. Just copy and paste the site below. Thank you.

Although I have felt that I have officially let him go as best I can while still keeping him in my heart, I still hurt. I'm taking it one day at a time. I've noticed complete mood swings. I feel angry when I hear someone complaining about something so stupid. I feel sad when I see certain baby things. I feel happy when I watch my kids here on Earth play. I'm sure it will take a lot of time, but I sure hope this will eventually get better. I am so thankful that Chris has received time off of work during this time, but now I hate the idea of him going back. I don't know if I can handle a day by myself. I'm scared. I'm scared to leave the house. I'm scared to keep going with regular schedules. Sometimes I don't know if I can do it. sometimes I don't want to do it. And oddly sometimes that's all I want to do. I'm so mixed up.

I'm trying to use the support I have and be as happy as I can for the blessings I have right now. I would like to share with you my support groups, so if anyone else needs help, they may find it here. (I have found a penpal through this site and she has helped me so much already, they also offer other things) (For those who are LDS/Mormon)
There are also several support groups on facebook
For those of you in Tucson there is a support group that meets twice a month at a local hospital called Footprints. 520 873-6590
If you do not live in Tucson you may want to look into support groups at your local hospital.
Friends are great, especially those who are sensitive to your needs and/or can relate and just the simple messages have brightened my day.

The things listed have been a great help. However, I have received more comfort in reading the scriptures (I've already read 100 pages of the book of mormon), praying, and spending time at home with my family and cuddling with my children.

I know I must go on. I know I need to. I know I can. It will take time and I must take one day at a time right now. Saying Goodbye, although it was hard, was nice to do. I feel good, as good as I can.

We have a vacation coming up in the next couple of days to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Although a part of me doesn't want to go, another does and I know in the end that Chris and I will have fun celebrating the years we have had together and all the times we've had good and bad.

August 27, 2011

Our Angel JJ's Story

Death is the hardest thing to go through. I don't take it very well. I have lost people in my family who I was really close to. Recently I lost my child whom I never had the chance to meet. I was able to see his tiny little body but was not able to hear his cry or laugh or see his talents and abilities. He will not be able to see the world as I see it, learn how to walk, jump, and skip or go to school or have his first girlfriend or have children of his own here on Earth. I feel as though he was taken away from me but even more was taken away from him. I feel sad. This is probably the worst kind of death. To be excited to meet a new member of the family, a new child, then for him to leave without even having a chance to say "hello." It's very hard but I'm trying my hardest to find a way through this and find peace. One of the best ways I can find peace within myself is through writing and this is why I am sharing my story about our little angel named John Jeffry Poole.

We had four kids and always thought we would only have four children. That was our plan. We wanted two boys and two girls and that is exactly what we had been blessed with. They are wonderful children too. I feel as though they are extraordinary and amazing and out of this world, but what mom doesn't feel this way about their children? After visiting Colorado and meeting my niece for the first time (a sweet little baby), I felt as though I might be pregnant. I thought for sure that I wasn't but was hesitant so decided to take a home pregnancy test just to make sure. Within 1 minute it showed that I was in fact pregnant! What a surprise! We were not expecting this at all! While we were in shock, it felt so right. I felt happier than I had been in a long time. I quit drinking (of course), I started growing spiritually, our marriage became stronger, and I focused more on our family... the kids I had now and preparing for an addition. Although I hated being sick and tired, I felt good knowing that I was going to bring life into this world and have another child to take care of. I did all I could, I even did prenatal work-outs. I was determined to breastfeed and be an even better mom this 5th time around. I was ready. WE were ready. Chris and I had our names picked out. We both had hopes for our baby. We had even considered having more children after this baby. This surprise was a wonderful surprise! Not only were we going to have another addition to our family but this unborn baby gave me hope and happiness that I had slowly lost through-out the last 3 years due to drinking and losing my testimony. This child that I hadn't even met yet or even felt move yet was giving me pure happiness and it was then that I knew why we were surprised with a 5th child. My father in heaven knew what we needed and by giving us this amazing bundle of joy in my womb, it was changing our lives for the better.

One of my favorite memories of this pregnancy was when we were able to see our baby for the first time on ultrasound at around 14 weeks. My first OB appointment was with the nurse first. They took all the blood work and all the tests came back normal. The nurse couldn't find the heart beat so we had an ultra sound scheduled a week later. I was holding my breath because I knew nothing was finalized until we heard that beeping. The whole family... husband and kids were crowded in the ultra sound room to see our baby and hear the heart beat. We saw our baby! Just looking at that little body bounce around and move about was so relieving. Just by looking at the screen above my head, I could see that this baby was full of life... personality wise and everything. This baby had a great personality. It was still too early to know the sex, but we were pretty sure she was a girl since I was having morning sickness and I had morning sickness with my two girl babies. I kept that picture of our baby moving in my head. I thought about how he/she may be as a toddler... getting into things. This child moved around more than any of our other children. Not only this but our baby looked so cute too! With his/her hand up by their mouth as if they were sucking a thumb while taking a break inbetween their dances. It was the sweetest thing.

On August 24th I had a regular check-up for OB. I met my doctor for the first time who would hopefully deliver our baby. We talked a little bit about the birthing plan. The doctor went in for the heart beat and couldn't find it. She then told us that sometimes it's hard to find the heart beat until about 20 weeks then it's pretty easy. I was 17 weeks. She sent us upstairs just to be sure that everything was okay, for another ultrasound. I felt a little giddy because I was thinking that maybe this time we would be able to see the sex for sure. I didn't really thinking anything bad was happening since we had been through this process before. I layed down on the table and as soon as the tech touched me and I saw our baby, I saw that the baby was not moving. Wasn't moving at all. I asked if she had a heart beat and I knew she didn't, she didn't have to answer. Thoughts ran through my mind. How could I not know???? How could I not know my baby died??? I thought everything was okay. I was so happy that I didn't have morning sickness anymore and my breasts weren't as sore. Then I knew. I knew it. It was happening to me. How could it be happening? There was no way. The room started spinning. I wanted to scream. I felt as though I was dreaming. I wanted it to be a nightmare just so I could wake up and feel okay again. The tech came back in with the doctor and they both told all of us the bad news. The most horrible news ever. My child was dead. My child was gone. All I had was the body left inside of me. I was diagnosed with a missed miscarriage and they told us that the baby had probably been gone for a couple weeks according to the measurement. I had to be admitted into the hospital later that night to be induced to have a miscarriage. Chris held me in his arms and cried with me. I softly explained to the kids right away. They took it well but the questions started coming out once we got home. We answered them the best we could. We were still in shock ourselves. I cried for 4 hours straight. I couldn't stop. I had never felt so empty. Once we had our babysitter taken care of and the bags packed we headed out to the van and that is when Chris pointed out the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen. We both knew that this rainbow was a sign for us either from Heavenly Father or from our Angel in Heaven. This sign gave us faith and hope. We immediately felt better but knew we had a long night ahead of us.

We were admitted into the TMC hospital right away as they already knew me and my situation. They were very accommodating to our needs and I appreciated that more than anything. We had support right away. Not only did my friend watch our children over-night at such short notice but Chris's co-workers and first sergeant stayed in the waiting room the whole night and the next day until everything was finished. A friend from church came to the hospital to give me a blessing, which I needed more than anything. I kept the words he said in my mind. I knew I would be okay and that our baby was okay and that It was okay to lean on my husband. So I did. Chris continued to be my rock and I don't know what I would've done without him. I am so happy he is my husband and best friend. Chris's friend came and visited us and brought us flowers. Even the wing commander brought us flowers and lunch the following day. We've had people from church bring us dinner the last two nights and I have a friend bringing us dinner tonight. We had the best doctors and nurses we could ask for. Particularly our nurse Jen. She was the most amazing stranger I've ever met. She felt like family though. She answered my questions and told me that I could see my baby and even have a picture and footprints taken. I was amazed at how they were taking this so well. She made sure we were both comfortable, she gave me hugs when I needed them, she cried with me, she laughed with me and as strange as this might sound, she made everything seem okay. I was so blessed to be her patient that night. The doctors were just as caring and soft spoken. Everyone made me feel loved and comfortable. The experience couldn't have been any better. We were definitely being watched over in Heaven and on Earth. We were blessed and still are.

On August 25th, 2011 at 7:00 am after receiving an epidural, IV, catheter, and the medicine that is put into my cervix to help my body push the baby and placenta out... after 7 hours of pain, jitters, emotional wear, and sleeplessness, my body was able to release our baby's body. My body had a hard time releasing the placenta which is common in this case so the doctor had to perform a D&C. He removed the placenta and although I still had the epidural I could feel the pain, especially when it was done. But he did it in a nice and softest way possible so I was thankful for that. I was able to hold our baby right away, without any wait. It was an emotional time knowing that I gave birth but didn't hear a cry or the cheers of the doctors and nurses. I heard complete quiet and couldn't hold back my tears. It was the worst thing. But, I was happy that I was able to hold our baby. The nurse showed us the sex and we could tell right away that he was in fact a boy. And boy was this little one full of surprises! Surprise pregnancy and now a surprise sex! :) It made us smile. The nurse also showed us that the umbilical cord was thinned out and twisted, which made us to believe that either the cord was nor formed properly or it was eventually tangled up. That may have been the cause. We were able to hold our baby for a long time. I will never forget his sweet little body. We gave him his name John Jeffry (after John the Baptist in the New Testament and Jeffry after my brother who has so much strength and a wonderful sense of humor) We prayed, We cried, We hugged and kissed him, We did all we could to say a proper goodbye. It was hard but in the end I felt peace. We have some really good ideas on ways we can remember our son and recognize him as a part of our family and I can't wait to get that started. We love him so much and will never ever forget the feelings of hope and peace that he brought to us.

I was released from the hospital around 4:00pm, which was another hard part during the process. I had to leave labor and delivery without a baby. I felt empty, once again. However, I knew I had the best husband beside me and four beautiful kids on Earth and another beautiful child in Heaven watching over us. I may have felt empty but I am still blessed. Our first full day at home was spent very quiet. We played checkers with the kids, played with our new dog Cody (which happened to be a blessing at the right time), cuddled together, read and studied the scriptures, and remembered our baby in a quiet way. It felt good being at home as a family even though at times I felt as though the whole world was going to crash down on me. Chris and I have been handling it very well and we are both prepared for a long road ahead of us and will take it one day at a time. We know it's not going to be easy but at least we have each other.

I have joined a lot of groups already because I'm scared I will fall into depression and I can't when I have four kids to take care of and I hate the feelings of depression. So, I've prepared myself the best I can and I feel like I have a good support system in place. As I've been joining support groups I have come to realize that sadly, I am not the only one that has ever gone through anything like this. Unfortunately 1 out of 4 pregnancies and about 2000 pregnancies a day have a miscarriage or still birth. That is a lot of babies that have been sent back up to Heaven. A lot of mothers and fathers going through pain. I know I'm not alone but wish that not so many people had to go through such a horrible experience. However, I know that Heaven is a beautiful place and what brings someone more joy than a baby? So, it makes some sense. I know I will never understand Heavenly Father's reason completely but so far I am doing good at trying to understand it.

I appreciate everyone who has shown support and love during this hard time. Thank you.

Thank you to our Heavenly Father for giving us the opportunity to have such a sweet little baby in our lives even if it was for about 17 weeks. We can't wait to see our son and actually meet him in Heaven one day. I am looking forward to it. We love you John! And thank you for giving me hope, happiness, and peace at the time I needed it the most. I will keep those feelings with me through this process and through-out life. You are my angel!