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Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Reflection on a Movie

 I made it through my second Christmas without Joey by keeping to ourselves. John's parents were away on their fishing vacation and his brother was out of town with his wife as newlyweds. We went to see Joey and I gave her a Tinkerbell toy... don't know why but it reminded me of my girl. It was my birthday also but I just wanted to make it another day as a way of coping. We went to the movies last night and watched "The King's Speech" - with an exception to not getting some jokes, I loved the movie. Before the movie started, the "Rabbit Hole" preview was shown. My dear friend had mentioned this movie before because it was about a couple who had lost their 4 yr old son... starring Nicole Kidman. I haven't seen the movie but my friend shared a portion of the script with me.... I think many babyloss moms can relate. Here is the link for the preview on Youtube. Nicole Kidman plays Becca in the movie:



BECCA
Does it ever go away?

NAT
What.

BECCA
This feeling.

They lock eyes. Nat can see she actually wants an answer.
Maybe for the first time ever.

NAT
No. I don't think it does. Not for me it hasn't. And that's goin' on eleven years. (beat) It changes though.

BECCA
How?

NAT
I don't know. The weight of it, I guess. At some point it becomes
bearable. It turns into something you can crawl out from under, and
carry around - like a brick in your pocket. And you forget it every
once in a while, but then you reach in for whatever reason and there it is: "Oh right. That." Which can be awful. But not all the time. Sometimes it's kinda... Not that you like it exactly, but it's what
you have instead of your son, so you don't wanna let go of it either. So you carry it around. And it doesn't go away, which is...

BECCA
What.

NAT
Fine...actually.







In my support group, many of us moms have expressed fear of feeling happy again and trying to move forward. My leader mentioned how common it is for us to hold back on happiness in front of others because we don't want them to think that we're getting over our babies. We never will. This part of the movie script made me think of how I looked happy in front of others because I set aside my grief for a little while. Then at the same time I didn't want them to think that I was completely okay - I just felt like my coworkers and friends assumed I was moving on... Maybe I want to always feel some part of this grief because it keeps Joey alive even as I heal over time. It is a "brick in my pocket." 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Surviving the Holidays

Oh my! I can't believe it's December again. I want to write about so many things on my mind but then I don't have the strength to blog. I've been coping by baking away, cooking, and doing dishes. I never had the time to bake when I worked but with all the time in my hands I had to take a break from GRIEF if possible by baking. 


I didn't have to do the D&C after all... Dec 6th sonogram showed an empty uterus and I was so relieved. Right after the hospital visit I went shopping for the Faces of Loss ornament exchange with another mom named Brittaney. Then I was attacked with overwhelming emotions while shopping and seeing these pregnant ladies everywhere I went. Sometimes just out of humor I picture myself in Jim Carey's character from the movie "The Truman Show." If you've seen it, everyone is an actor in this man's life and every event is planned intentionally to see Truman's reaction! Sometimes life feels that way for someone like me that has been enduring infertility and two losses. As much as I wanted to "minimize" this loss, I just couldn't avoid what I really felt about this baby even if to others it was just a blighted ovum. My husband and I wanted this baby then this little one was gone too soon...then I had to get rid of the empty sac that metaphorically felt like an empty promise...then everything went my way medically...what a blessing it was...I should've been grateful to God but I still felt these emotions of loss during my shopping trip.


Dec 7th was the candlelight service. My husband and I cried not only for ourselves but for many others who lost multiple times or who felt fresh pain from their recent losses. It was good to say Josephine's name and call out Baby Lee as another loss instead of being in denial. That evening another mom, whom I met only a couple of times from our support group, gave me a sweet card for my miscarriage - it was a small gesture but it sure did make me cry from feeling vulnerable.
Even couple days ago, hubby and I went out to eat and I saw a waiter's name "Joey" on his shirt as he walked by. I was getting a lump stuck in my throat. I really wanted to run out and hug him and tell him that he had a special name just like my daughter in heaven. Now that would've been a Youtube moment if I had really done that, right?!! What would this kid have done to a crazy mom like me? He was a nice kid who came to us and gave us an inside tip on how to save money next time. I liked him even more! It is strange how seeing my daughter's name anywhere draws me closer to her. Love my Joey!

We don't have the tree up this year. The stockings give me some comfort knowing that I do have a family even though I miss Joey unbearably at times.















                      Tiny stocking above Joey's represents my little miscarried one.


Thanks to Brittaney's ornament exchange I have another ornament for Joey! Yes, she's with Jesus.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Over...Almost!

I finally went to an OB to prescribe me some meds to dispel my sac. Dr M delivered Joey just last year and she remembered me. I had a lump in my throat as I recalled those memories of being at the hospital. I also had fond memories of Dr M taking care of Joey.
She was compassionate towards me knowing how much we wanted a baby... She gave me inducing pills to use at home and needless to say, I was so nervous. I have friends who shared me their stories and it's just not a pleasant experience. I was fearful of the risk of hemorrhaging and all the worst case scenarios. My husband had to go to work the next day but before I fell asleep I asked him if he remembered my blood type. Of course, being an obnoxious guy he is, he acted like he forgot! It was hard to put myself through the unknown without having a backup plan. I had excruciating contractions or cramping for 2 hours in the middle of the night. I kept going to the bathroom without saying much about that. I fell asleep early morning and woke up feeling better. I just hope this is it and hopefully the sonogram on Monday will show an empty uterus. I am hoping that I won't have to go through the D&C after all this.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Almost Thanksgiving

My husband has been through several funerals lately; they were all related to his coworkers' siblings or child. Yes, one was a baby. We met up with this couple last Thursday. This couple did IUI like we did and conceived twins but the mom had some complications later. She later delivered her twins with a C-section at 23 wks and 6 days. I really thought the twins were fortunate to be alive; what miracles they were! One twin, Baby B., passed away after an organ infection... I am relieved that they were able to spend time with their child and even bathe her and take many pictures. Their funeral this week was beautiful. Baby B. is so loved by her grandparents and most of all, her mommy and daddy.
The mom arranged for John and I to see the other surviving twin, Baby E. I remember washing my hands and arms with hot water and feeling so paranoid that the germs would contaminate the baby. You see, deep inside I am working through this feeling of failure and extremely irrational thinking that the babies I touch will die; I don't think that I can babysit infants for a long time. Well, I will have to process this fear with a therapist one day. Anyhow, I was able to gently pinch Baby E's fingers; she even had finger nails growing. They were so precious! I thought how much smaller Joey's fingers would've been. I was not  emotional through this, surprisingly, and my husband wasn't either when he went to the NICU after me. I was only mesmerized by the tiny beauty of this living baby and how she was in such great hands by the wonderful nurses. It could've been Joey - I grieve about that. I can't believe how much 3 additional weeks make a difference in a baby's life.
My husband will be celebrating our 7th year anniversary on the 22nd. I have to say it's bittersweet as our home is empty. I feel so thankful that our LOVE has grown through the trials of infertility and losing Joey...then this tiny life that we were already dreaming about. We were apathetic and numb last year - we didn't celebrate anything. We ended up eating a hearty Crackel Barrel Thanksgiving meal right next to a family that had an infant cooing and giggling. Oh, the memories of grief! I can half laugh and half cry as I recall those moments of fresh pain. I LOVE my husband... for his honesty that he doesn't have it all together as the leader of our family and I don't either as a wife. His love for Joey drove him to establish a fundraiser for a poverty fighting organization. He made a video for Joey. He reminds me that it's not my fault that we lost Joey. He knows how to laugh and make me laugh when times are tough.
Seven Years Ago, November 22, 2003

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Waiting Sucks...

There is just no way to sugar coat what I am going through. It just sucks to wait and wait and wait. John and I waited to get pregnant when doctors kept saying that this and this should work...It was 2 years of TTC and trying out different doctors before I found out that I had endometriosis...It took 5 months to completely heal from severe postpartum back pain...It took 2 IUI cycles to discover that I had a uterine polyp hindering my pregnancy...Now I'm waiting to naturally miscarry. I guess out of all this negativity of waiting I am hoping that my body's ability to eliminate the sac will be a blessing. I would like to avoid the alternate route if at all possible.

I want to be done with this pregnancy because I'm technically not pregnant. The tiny life died early on as the sac progressed to grow. I found out online that this was called blighted ovum. My doctor didn't explain much since we were choking up in tears. Our wedding anniversary is coming up on the week of Thanksgiving. I want to be finished with this soon... I just feel sad about all this. There are days when I cannot get myself to do dishes or at least try to be productive; I cannot even leave the house. I am "angry" at my body so to speak. Ever since I found out about the miscarriage, I just started eating poorly and stopped taking prenatals religiously. What's the use? I feel betrayed by my own body. Just angry. I hope this funk won't last too long.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another Loss

My husband and I were once again hopeful when my pregnancy test came out positive. First test: positive; second: negative; third: positive. It was October 10th, Sunday, one day after Joey's birthday. I went for a blood test on Monday and the hCG was a little lower than my doctor's standard. I was anxious but I had many friends reassuring me. The second blood test was on Wednesday and they called me the next day to tell me that it had increased sufficiently. I was relieved...
I told myself that I would be thankful for each day that this baby lived. That mindset was the only way to get through each day of anxiety. I just didn't know what my body would do even though my first trimester with Joey was not too hard. I had mild cramping with fluttering sensations, no bleeding and found online that this was the uterus stretching. Each week was a victory.
Hubby and I were looking forward to our first sonogram - I wanted to be a little relieved by seeing for myself that the baby was okay. This past Monday was the seventh week of pregnancy. Instead of "Let me show you your little baby" we heard the sono tech say "Looks like I am not seeing anything inside your sac..." SO four days have passed by and I am waiting for my body to stop thinking that it's pregnant. I still fantasize that all of this was a mistake but I am slowly seeing my stomach shrink. I am still in shock and feeling disappointment. This pain is not as intense as losing Joey. However, my husband and I endured another shattered dream. I surrender all this to God knowing that He will keep writing our story and we will pass His story of this long journey to our children. Until then, I admit that I am lost, confused, and giving myself permission to grieve... again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Precious Natalie

I know that one PROM mom's blog, LouMary, mentioned this already but I am so heartbroken for Natalie's family. Natalie passed away after months of NICU October 16th, Saturday. I have been reading Natalie's mom blogging her pPROM journey from the time of rupture to hospitalization. She and her baby became dear to me as I read her entries 4 months after Joey passed away. Natalie was delivered at 33wks and stayed on NICU. They had so much hope. I just received the mom's email this morning of the news and all of us from the PROM email list were stunned. She has a donation website on her blog for Natalie's NICU hospital and she also requested a postcard to be sent to her in memory of Natalie - the address is on her blog, Babygirltee. May lots of love be sent their way.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy First Birthday, Joey!

Joey turned one today in heaven. I didn't feel as heavy burdened today. To me, this whole month of October represents her - it's an infant loss month, we just had a Walk to Remember last Saturday, and then her birthday today. I think it helped to cry whenever I felt like it and to also allow myself to be in a lighter mood when I felt like it. I don't have to please anyone when I grieve by telling myself that I have to act in a certain way. This whole week though, I was definitely distracted by my worst allergy symptoms of bodyache and congestion. I know that in spite of my sickness, my mind would wander off to where I was this time last year. I've never gone back to read my first few entries in this blog especially to read Joey's story. I still have my old pregnancy planner on my shelf even though I can't get myself to look at it. I couldn't sleep last night as I calculated the hours and recollected the time we left for the ER...the time when the ER doctor showed us the lifeless sonogram of Joey which would've been about 12:30A.M.... I didn't cry but I felt this sadness last night. I am tired for now since we had a busy day. We were incredibly BLESSED with so many friends and surprisingly relatives who came to visit our little Joey. John and I were so happy for our daughter. I will have to post some pictures later.

Balloons and letters to Joey, Walk to Remember











Saturday, September 25, 2010

Waiting with Hope

It's August. A student that I taught overseas approaches John and me at a restaurant. He's in college and already a newlywed. He tells us his wife is pregnant... We don't know how to respond to that or maybe we don't want to react to it. I ignore the painful jab of unfairness and ask how he was doing juggling with marriage and odd jobs.


I feel like I am falling again... hitting rock bottom.


Couple days later someone mentions that a husband's old friend is going to have a third child. I remember somehow treading upon that announcement on facebook months ago. I try not to compare my life with others but sometimes it just speaks out to me loud and clear that every other couple has moved on to their next chapter of life - parenthood.


I start to roll down the hill of grief...anger...jealousy...until I can't suppress the pain any longer. This is the time when I wail on my bed before I go to sleep. John hears me crying and holds me. "Life's not fair, God!" "Why does everyone else get to have children but we lose one after years of trying?"

This is just one description of numerous occasions when pain just escalated. After a summer of unsuccessful treatments and another laparoscopy/hysteroscopy, discouragement and hopelessness clouded my mind. I joined a Bible study with my former infertility support group in Dallas/Ft Worth from last year, Fertility Challenges Support. I adore the group leader for pouring God's love upon couples like us. The questions that resonate with me are "Who is God to you?" and "How will you raise your children when He answers your prayer?"

I find HOPE in the fact that God doesn't change. John and I have blamed Him for losing Joey; I felt like I was being punished. The enemy really knew the most tender part of my soul and he knew how to blind me from God's love. I want to know all the answers now but I find hope in trusting His goodness. I don't know if my next treatment will work and I may find myself in tears again. Every time I hit rock bottom, God gently lifts me with hope again. I also feel hopeful as I celebrate with one friend (God Keeps His Promises blog) who has adopted a beautiful son and another who is pregnant after losing her son.

14 more days 'til Joey's first birthday.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Favorite Things

There are couple things that are so special to me...

1) Last year, a sweet Kinder student of mine drew this picture of me and Joey. Five year olds are so literal and she understood that there was a tiny life growing inside of me. She moved overseas soon after I lost Joey... She has no idea how much this drawing will mean to me for years and years to come. This is my priceless Picasso that no one can replace!

























2) James Avery charm. I believe this design is called Mommy's heart. A group of friends gave me this after the loss to validate me as a mom. I needed the validation that I was a mother even though no one saw my baby and even though Joey went straight to heaven.


3) Willow Tree Angel. A friend gave this to me since she bought one for herself as a memorial for her early miscarriage. This angel embracing the child reminds me that Joey is safe right now because of what Jesus has done for her.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Update on the Stillbirth Certificate

My husband sent one last email to the hospital chaplain end of July. I was just emotionally tired of making attempts to communicate. I think the chaplain tried one last time and she talked to the attorney AGAIN. I am still unsure of what's been going on but it sounds like the state law was not so easy to interpret. Since there was nothing in the law stopping them from registering Joey's death, they went ahead and did all the required paperwork... Last Monday we received her death certificate. Now we're waiting on Joey's stillbirth certificate. We thank God for this piece of paper that we are waiting for. I can't take it with me to heaven. As long as I am alive on earth, I want to know that she was acknowledged as a baby. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

350 Grams

I have been wanting to write about this but a part of me didn't...The last 4 weeks I have been trying to get my daughter's Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. As far as I knew, she was stillborn making it to 21 weeks and 5 days. I applied online at the department of vital statistics website thinking that it was a simple procedure. I received a letter from that department stating that they had NO record on my daughter. I didn't understand all of this. I called the hospital and I didn't know that the stillbirth certificate was somewhat unfamiliar to many nurses and chaplains! I found out about it through my support group friends. The city employee told me that my daughter had to be registered first meaning that her death record had to be on file before I can get a stillbirth certificate (a.k.a CBRS for short). 
From there, John and I contacted the medical records and the funeral home that contracted with the hospital to cremate underweight babies. Although Joey was only 278 grams, a vital statistics employee told me that it was up to the hospital to register her. The only time registration is required would be if the baby weighed 350 grams in the state of Texas. However, we were reassured that there was nothing against the law for hospitals to register Joey at my request.
The chaplain of my hospital intervened for us yet the hospital attorney simply denied our request stating that it was not a legal requirement. It didn't make sense to me that the Vital Statistics coordinator said that this was completely legal to do BUT the attorney interpreted the law differently. 
All this to say that John and I were frustrated... I was emotional in the beginning of all this. I told myself that I needed to let go of this if it was out of my control. For anyone who has PROM'ed, it's hard enough to know that our babies couldn't grow properly if we kept leaking. The state law won't acknowledge her all because of her weight, but nothing changes her value to me. I wanted anything that recognized Joey - there are so many empty pages in the scrapbook for Joey. I don't think I could ever get enough things for her to make up for the memories we were supposed to have together - Mommy, Daddy, doggie Angel, and Joey. 


I just realized that today was 10 months since Joey's birth. Joey is almost ONE - Oct 9th.
 We love you, sweet girl!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July

I can't believe it's already 4th of July. Every holiday reminds me of Joey's absence. Last year I remember being pregnant with Joey and getting serious heartburns from eating yummy pizza slices! I can't believe that life is moving forward... I guess this is good but I don't want to forget my daughter. I am sure that Joey is delighted to be in heaven. I try not to be too sad as I picture her smile and laughter.
Yesterday we went to the rodeo with my brother in law and his newly engaged fiance. I noticed children and babies all around me. That's nothing new, of course. I missed Joey yesterday wondering what she would look like at almost 5 months of age. I missed her on Father's Day too when we as a family was supposed to be excited about my brother in law's upcoming wedding. I wanted to yell out to my in laws and everyone around me "Am I the ONLY one missing my daughter?!!!"
I always tell John about my sadness later on. Sometimes he catches that sadness by my dazed look. He knows as a dad too but I guess that being a woman brings the intensity of my emotions.
We're trying to conceive again. It's a feeling of renewed hope that I have learned in my relationship with God. In contrast to what others may think, trying again the second or third time does not take away all the anxieties and fear of losing another one. There is no telling what your body does.
I feel at peace to have Joey's marker placed at a babyland cemetery. Even though Joey's ashes are not in this cemetery, I liked the fact that I knew the babies of some new friends I've made. You can put toys there for your child unlike other cemeteries. This marker acknowledges her and I hope that many strangers will read her beautiful name for years to come.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Things I've learned as a mommy to my angel baby

John and I didn't know anyone close to us who could have guided us along the journey especially that day of our crisis. I gathered information from the MEND support group and discovered lessons through regrets.
1. I grieve over not holding my Joey. I wish that the nurses were persistent on asking me to hold Joey but I don't know if that still would've made a difference. At the support group, we discussed what if the nurses held our babies - could that have made the difference? I think it would have...I wanted to tell the nurses that I was scared and that I needed their support just to look at my child. My arms ache for her and sometimes guilt overwhelms me.
2. I wish that we handled Joey's body rather than accepting the hospital's service. It is funny how everything was a blur for us and we feel like we were not in our "right mind." I was talking normal and emotionally I felt numb. We didn't know that funerals could be affordable and we just signed the papers that the chaplain gave us. The hospital offered to cremate her but I didn't know the right questions to ask. Would they allow us to spread the ashes? How soon would the memorial be held? Nothing afterwards went our way... I called the chaplains couple days later to retrieve Joey's ashes out of regret and it was too late.
3. Joey was stillborn not miscarried. John and I didn't even know the difference back then with these two terms. Stillborn refers to the loss of babies beginning from 20 to 21 weeks. Stillborn is significant to me not to undermine a valuable baby that is miscarried, but to give Joey the credit for her gestational "milestone" so to speak.
4. The state of Texas gives a certificate for stillborn children. I discovered this through another mom. At first I didn't know what I was going to do with it. The more I thought about it I knew that I needed Joey to be recognized as our child. I filled out the application and sent in my twenty dollars. I grieve that she wasn't acknowledged with a birth or death certificate. As depressing as a death certificate may sound, it would have still validated Joey as a person.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A good poem

Ask My Mom How She Is

My Mom, she tells a lot of lies
she never did before.
From now until she dies,
she'll tell a whole lot more.
Ask my Mom how she is
and because she can't explain,
She will tell a little lie
because she can't describe the pain.
Ask my Mom how is she,
She'll say "I'm alright."
If that's the truth, then tell me,
why does she cry each night?
Ask my Mom how is she,
she seems to cope so well.
She didn't have a choice you see
nor the strength to yell.
Ask my Mom how she is,
"I'm fine, I'm well, I'm coping."
For Gods sake Mom, just tell the truth
just say your heart is broken.
She'll love me all her life,
I loved her all of mine.
But if you ask her how is she
she'll lie and say she's fine.
WE are here in Heaven.
we cannot hug from here.
If she lies to you don't listen,
Hug her and hold her near.
On the day we meet again,
we'll smile and I'll be bold.
I'll say, "You're lucky to get in here, Mom
with all the lies you told!"
-unknown

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Joey's Picture from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

For a long time Joey's pictures brought me pain. I didn't want to remember how my "grossly infected placenta" (as stated on the biopsy record) and low amniotic fluid affected her. Her facial features weren't quite fully developed...Later I found out that all babies around 21 weeks have the reddish skin and their bodies become swollen once they are out of the womb. We found a group of volunteer photographers called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep who take pics for parents enduring infant loss: http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org
One photographer was willing to look at some difficult pictures in order to modify them. Her face was minimized and it looks far more presentable than the pictures we have from the hospital. I was so thankful for this picture! Although Joey will never look like a full term baby, as a mom, I just want to show off my baby just like any other moms on facebook and blogs. I've seen other moms share their baby pics around Joey's age and it is astounding to know the features that God already gave our babies so early in gestation! One mom's little girl resembled the exact nose and long skinny fingers of the mom. I truly believe that Joey had my nose and lips even though John doesn't believe me (LOL!). Joey had John's wide feet and stubby fingers. I guess I'll hold on to my maternal instincts.

Mother's Day reflection May 9th, 2009

"Do you have any kids?" I have been getting this more often AFTER losing Joey. Maybe I look older after having Joey that causes strangers to ask me the baby question. Last month, I heard a nail tech talk about his son being 2 months old and my mind wandered realizing that Joey would've been about the same. Today is the exact 7th month anniversary of Joey being born sleeping. May 14th would be her 3 months earthly birthday.

This whole week was an emotional week for John and me. Maybe I felt bitter again that she was not here and the only one not here among church friends and coworkers as my school held their last two baby showers. John and I were also placed in a situation where we had to defend our child when a friend disagreed with something we did for our child. We both felt discouraged to lose friendships along this journey. My last visit to the physical therapist on Friday was emotional because the staff have seen me while I was pregnant Joey and afterwards for postpartum rehab. In a way, it was emotionally therapeutic too because I focused my mind on moving forward through physical recovery.

My physical therapist also had his daughter born at 24 weeks last month. A tiny preemie. I was so happy to see their daughter fight so hard to live. To this day, she is still making it... However, on the other side I still had Joey in mind. I wished that she could have hung in there a little longer... just 3 more weeks to 24... there's my "only if" again - only if my placenta wasn't infected.

I read Angie Smith's book (her blog is called Bring the Rain) "I will Carry You" this Mother's Day weekend. That was my way of "spending time" with Joey. I wanted to think about her and just process what I felt as I read the book. Even though the writer had three other girls, she was aching for her lost daughter. How does God give us moms so much love for each child? I was reminded to surrender to God all my fears of having another pregnancy and my fear of losing the loved ones around me. It is easier said than done. Couple months ago I was offended to hear others say "God is good" simply because Joey was not here. He has shown John and me His love through our old friends and new friends we met along this journey of loss. We are STILL confused, wounded, uncertain of our future... but He is the only one that can give us HOPE.

An older and wiser friend who walked the same path before emailed this to me recently "You are every bit a Mommy Patty - you have the hardest task of being a Mom - surrendering your child back to her Creator. I love you." It is hard but God who created her must be taking such good care of her. Mommy and Daddy miss you and love you, Joey!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Joey's Daddy - His Pain

John and I watched the TV show "Lost" since we've been married. I don't know if many people will remember "Lost" years from now. There was one clip that hit home with us. The character Ben lost his daughter after he gave everything up for "Jacob" and expected "Jacob" to come rescue his daughter. These are John's words that he posted on Facebook after feeling a connection with Ben...
That link is for a video clip from the show LOST. If you haven't seen it, watch it. It's a great clip of what I have been going through the past 5 months. It's of a man who has lost his daughter and doesn't know what to do or who to follow. He thinks he's done everything he can only for it to go to waste. That is how I feel. I've done ministry, I've gone to teach in a christian school, i've worked hard, gone to mission trips, gave tithe, volunteered, join church groups, changed churches and with all that, I feel that it was all for nothing. I felt like that I had sacrificed so much for God. and after all this sacrifice, it was for nothing because i still lost my daughter. i felt like what the character felt, that God didn't care for me. i did all that for Him and there was nothing for me. the thought that always comes to mind is "why me"?

that was the pain i was in. we have been trying to conceive for 3 years. we have racked up all these doctor bills. we went to see so many different doctors. we both had to leave work early a couple of times a month. we were more and more in debt. for us, things were worse and worse until we finally conceived and it was the most joyous time of our life. and then as soon as we high, we came crashing down in a huge fire ball...

The past 5 months, i have yet to close my eyes to pray, sing a song to God or even talk to him. i don't know what to say or what to ask. the pain inside is killing me and i know there is nothing right now that can make it go away. every letter i type it hurts me because i know i'm talking about Joey and just wishing she were in the next room crying. but even with all this pain, i know what i'm suppose to be doing and what i'm suppose to be saying. i know God is there, i know he's waiting, i know he wants me to run to him, but right now, my back is to him and i'm just walking away further and further. again, everything in me tells me to turn around and just look, but my head is down and i'm in so much pain wondering "what if".


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Love and Hate Relationship with God

I have been reading Nancy Guthrie's Holding on to Hope and Philip Yancey's Disappointment in God. I knew that God had been my only stability under the dark circumstances. It just didn't make sense to me that He could "allow" this to happen in His Sovereignty. I had to talk myself through some irrational thoughts that came to my head. Was this a punishment from God for something? Did God have to teach me something? If this was a way of teaching a lesson, I thought it was the most horrible way to teach a lesson... Sometimes the Christian cliches like God had a plan for John and me felt like blah, blah, blah. We weren't ready to hear all that right after losing Joey.
Nothing in my mind made sense about God. I knew that I loved Him but I also felt so much anger towards God because I tried to understand what was going on. I was hurt by the unfairness of life. I don't think that I can ever summarize my conversations with Him for the past six months. I can say that Philip Yancey's book was nonjudgmental towards bitter Christians. His gentle approach made me understand that suffering does not necessarily happen for a lesson to be learned but God can turn our pain around to bring purpose from it.
God's ways are mysterious and I will never know why. I know that John and I are forever changed from this. My spirit is broken and I am taking baby steps to learn how to trust God again. Someone who mentored my way through this journey reminded me that God was able to handle John's and my anger. I may not agree with His ways but that does not change His Sovereignty. I may not always sense His love but I know that He has always loved us in spite of our anger, doubt and bitterness.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Anger and Guilt

Anger... I remember right after losing Joey that I did not want to be angry at God. My despair from missing her quickly led me to a deep dark hole that trapped me in anger. October through January were filled with family holidays and trying to act "normal" by attending family events didn't help. I was angry at the whole world... the doctor...myself...dysfunctional parents who were pregnant at my school...at life...

For a long time I could not find closure with my last OBGYN doctor. I felt like he could've done more than send me home and not put me on bedrest/antibiotics after telling me that this was potentially dangerous. For a patient who was uneducated on PROM I was confused and I actually trusted his words. My coworker's story and other stories that I have heard after the loss confirmed that some doctors still placed their PROM patients on antibiotics and bedrest. I kept wondering what could've happened if this doctor took another approach to save my child. My unresolved anger slowly changed when I shared my story with other moms at kanalen.org, the PROM website. There were moms from UK and nationwide who shared that their doctors were quite passive also. There is no "standard care" for PROM unfortunately, especially if it happens so early before the baby is viable at 24 weeks. I felt like I was unlucky even though I didn't believe in luck. Hearing from other moms who were hurting from their trauma gave me comfort that I was not alone. This little step of venting and being understood by other women gave me some comfort.

Guilt -- There are so many things in pregnancy that I can't control but it took me a LONG time to forgive myself for my ignorance of what a premature rupture was. The first 4 months after the loss, I kept analyzing everything I ate and drank. I reviewed every activity that I did and thought it was a mistake to go to a chiropractor even if the rest of the medical professionals said that it was okay. Then it was also swine flu season... The list is endless. I was in constant despair. I felt like a failure as a mom to not be able to carry my own child to full-term and I feel like I failed as a wife to give my husband a daughter that we always wanted. I kept thinking that I should've known what the amniotic fluid looked like. I should've been more proactive to call for second, third, fourth opinions with other OBs. My mind kept rolling to the "What if's" and where Joey could've been right now if I changed one event that led all of these things to happen. Even though I knew it was unhealthy, I couldn't help wondering how and why I lost Joey. That is probably why it was harder to be around pregnant ladies because they reminded me of my feelings of failure and of my broken body.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Joey's slide show

My husband created this video. We asked for a collection of candlelight pictures in memory of Joey this past Christmas and used these pics for the slideshow. I regret not having many pictures of her growing in me during my pregnancy. But this slideshow shows faces of family and friends who validated our Josephine whom they've never met. John and I thought it would take us a while to look at her pictures from the hospital but now I treasure those pictures so much. Like many other blogs this song "I will carry you," written by Angie Smith (wife to Todd Smith singer in Selah), was the perfect song for my little Joey. I've been reminded that it will be our duty as Joey's parents to CARRY her legacy as long as we live here on earth. I am also reminded that God who created her loves her even more than we do.

video

What is PROM Premature Rupture of Membrane? (click here for the PROM website)

SO what happens after you rupture? Every doctor approaches the PROM cases differently... I truly believe that there are more proactive things a doctor can do for the patient but unfortunately the OB's I dealt with during and postpartum pregnancy did not provide me with the necessary information. I searched the medical term "oligohydramnios" and it did not retrieve relevant information for me. I found out through my support group what the other term was - premature rupture of membrane. What happened to me is called preterm premature rupture of membrane since it happened prior to 37 weeks. Most babies are able to survive if PROM happens as close to full term as possible. PPROM (preterm PROM) happens to only 2 percent of pregnancies - ONLY 2 percent! It is heartbreaking to be a part of this statistics. The link above is the most resourceful website on PROM that I've found and I didn't even find it on my own. I thank the moms online who responded to my questions. Kanalen.org was started by a mom in Sweden who also couldn't find any info on PROM while she was pregnant and it offers many suggestions on how to proactively advocate for you and your baby during PPROM.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Life is Short










I feel like the theme throughout my life has been "life is short." My adoptive mom passed away when I was 11 years old after fighting leukemia through chemotherapy. My grandma or "hal-muh-nee" in Korean whom I became very close to also passed away while I was in college. Although my mom and I didn't have the best mom-daughter relationship, I missed her while carrying the baggage of our unreconciled relationship. It was hard to visit my mom's grave at times because my anger would resurface. This past spring break John and I went to see my adoptive dad and mom's grave without Joey. It was another step of grief for me. The least I could do was show him the memorial card that we made over Christmas and it had Joey's footprints on it. My dad is a retired sergeant major so he never showed much emotions with me but this time he briefly showed his sentimental side by whispering "Bless her heart." Then of course he changed the subject because he didn't want to cry. After losing my little girl, I realized that life was too short to stay angry at my parents for the mistakes they've made in the past. Death feels so near - not knowing when I will lose another loved one again. It was reassuring to see my dad "happy" and make the most of his life at 72 years of age.
Then there is our daughter who lived her short life for 21 weeks under my heart. We went to Joey's memorial site yesterday for the Easter weekend. I could only be grateful that she's in heaven because of the Cross...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Josephine's Name on the Australian Beach

There is an Australian couple who started writing names of lost babies on the sand of their closest beach. They lost their baby also and started this ministry. Their blog is http://namesinthesand.blogspot.com/

I just received this yesterday...What a glimpse of heaven it is! This is a reminder from God that Joey is really there enjoying the beauty beyond my understanding.



Joey's Story

 John and I have traveled through a maze of charting my temperature every morning, clomid, 2 IUIs, THEN we found an RE who did a laparoscopy around March 2009. The laparascopy revealed endometriosis which the RE suspected. This was all within 2 and a half years of trying to conceive. I did my 3rd IUI after the laparascopy in May 2009 wondering if this would work - I remember feeling so exhausted from everything and by this time I was tired of hoping. Then the first Friday of June my pregnancy test came out positive. We were blown away by our FIRST pregnancy test that showed positive.
Thinking about when and how everything happened is the most difficult part. I suffered from sciatica on 13 weeks of pregnancy. I've had back pain before but that was by far the most painful. I was so focused on getting my back treated with physical therapy, chiropractic, and even gentle acupuncture. With sciatica and limited sleep from the chronic pain I was in fatigue. My memories of how I ruptured my membrane is blurred. It feels like a bad dream. I must have started leaking around who knows 18 weeks? It's hard to discern your fluid from discharge when you don't see the difference or when you feel "fine."

 John and I were ready for the 20th week checkup. We were told that our baby was a girl at 13 weeks and the 20th week sonogram confirmed it. Then the sonogram technician had a grave look and said that she would call in the OB. We were told that I had total previa (placenta completely covering the cervix) and that the amniotic fluid was low. I did not know how serious this was. I remember feeling uneasy about Joey looking cramped from the low fluid. The OB kept asking me if I had completely wet myself and I said that I didn't recall anything like that except for slightly more fluid than the discharge. The OB did a bacteria test which came out negative. I didn't know what questions to ask and I didn't want to panic. I remember feeling anxious after the doctor referred me to the perinatologist and by stating that this was "potentially dangerous." I cried in the restroom not knowing what to think... My husband stayed calm for me and we both tried to be rational by telling ourselves that we needed to wait for the specialist to tell us what exactly was going on. We had to wait another week before we saw the perinatologist. On my next appointment I was told that the fluid was low - AFI (amniotic fluid index) was a 3 or 4. The blood flow was not flowing properly to the placenta. I was placed on bedrest and antibiotics. He didn't say anything about miscarrying. I wonder if the specialist knew that I had a high risk of losing Joey - he has probably dealt with so many parents who refused to terminate their pregnancies. I guess it wouldn't have made a difference for me - I would have kept trying to keep her as long as I can regardless of what the doctor said.

Even during bedrest I kept losing little bit of fluid in any position that I was in - sitting to laying down. The 3rd day after seeing the specialist I got ready for bed and started to feel slight cramping. The bleeding started to scare me - we decided to go to ER... Whether it was persistent denial or optimism, I still couldn't imagine losing our daughter. We waited 2 hours with the nurses trying to find the heartbeat before the ER doctor arrived. When the doctor showed us the sonogram and said that there was no heartbeat and no fluid left I think that I blacked out screaming. John and I just held each other and cried through the darkest moment of our marriage... Little did I know that there was a Christian nurse on the other side praying for us.

I remember asking for a C-Section out of fear of delivering - I was NOT ready to deliver but the doctor didn't recommend a C-Section for a  small baby. However, my body responded well to inducing and epidural. Within 12 hours Joey was born sleeping on October 9th, 2009, around 5pm. John and I were in a stage of shock - we were heading towards a journey of doubt, grief, and anger....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A song that is close to my heart

Heaven is the Face by Steven Curtis Chapman

If you click the link above it leads to the song on youtube. I have been reading blogs about SCC and his wife going through their mourning with Maria. I can't believe it's been about 2 years for them. His songs in the album Beauty Will Rise have become my Psalms also. I picture my Joey giving me her "maple syrup kiss." I picture John laying Joey on his chest while she's falling asleep. Everything about this song matches everything I dreamed of her. Steven is right - God knows that "I can't see beyond that door." This life on earth seems like forever but as our pastor reminded John and me today, there is eternal life beyond this door where Joey is.


Heaven is the face of a little girl
With dark brown eyes
That disappear when she smiles.
Heaven is the place
Where she calls my name
Says, “Daddy please come play with me for awhile.”

Chorus:

God, I know, it’s all of this and so much more,
But God, You know, that this is what I’m aching for.
God, you know, I just can’t see beyond the door.
So right now...

Heaven is the sound of her breathing deep,
Lying on my chest, falling fast asleep while I sing.
And Heaven is the weight of her in my arms,
Being there to keep her safe from harm while she dreams

And God, I know, it’s all of this and so much more,
But God, You know, that this is what I’m longing for
God, you know, I just can’t see beyond the door.

Bridge:

But in my mind’s eye I can see a place
Where Your glory fills every empty space.
All the cancer is gone,
Every mouth is fed,
And there’s no one left in the orphans’ bed.
Every lonely heart finds their one true love,
And there’s no more goodbye,
And no more not enough,
And there’s no more enemy.

Heaven is a sweet, maple syrup kiss
And a thousand other little things I miss with her gone.
Heaven is the place where she takes my hand
And leads me to You,
And we both run into Your arms.

Oh God, I know, it’s so much more than I can dream.
It’s far beyond anything I can conceive.
So God, You know, I’m trusting You until I see
Heaven in the face of my little girl,
Heaven in the face of my little girl.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Trying out this blog

I have read the blogs of other moms and learned so much from them. I guess that we live in a generation of online blogs and forums. I don't feel so alone when I read their life stories... I know a mom who is waiting for her child to be born after a PROM (premature rupture of membrane) and I know there are moms who had successful pregnancies after their losses. Right now I am still grieving for my daughter Josephine (we call her "Joey")...and I am hurting with other moms who are still grieving. Maybe this is a way for us to connect in this blogging world.