Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Since posting Chapter 3 - Without Great Love There Would Not Be Great Sorrow I have been deeply touched by the many friends who have contacted me to share their own experiences of infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, child loss and grief. In doing so, you showed me the support and love that I needed to get over a major hurdle. This came from old friends and new friends, elderly friends and young. Friends that I know well and even some that I do not. To each, I can only say, thank you. It seems that in sharing my own experience I accomplished something that I never really intended.
You see, I posted that post for purely selfish reasons. It was time. I said things that I've never said before and described feelings which I would rather forget. In doing so, I surprisingly found a relief like I've never felt. I was hesitant. I was scared. I was unsure. In the end, I'm just grateful and hope that I really did help you as much as you helped me.
I turned the corner.
Now I realize why the national non-profit Share is called...share. There is a power in that I didn't realize until this post, in telling someone your experience. More importantly, there is a power that I didn't realized until I listened to your responses and your own experiences, in hearing it.
So, that brings us to Memorial Mondays. It will be our opportunity to...share our experiences with each other and in doing that, hopefully feel the love and support that we each need. Believe it or not, there are more similarities between us then there are differences.
I realized that recently as I read a blog post from a friend who lost her father and brothers a few years ago in an automobile accident. On the surface, our experiences have nothing in common. Except that without great love there would not be great sorrow.
In a fraction of her grief, we have everything in common.
Or the friend who hasn't experienced loss except in the dream of having a child because her husband didn't want one.In that hope, we have everything in common.
So to all you friends that commented, called, emailed and left me a note on Facebook...I hope that you will be willing to be featured in an upcoming Memorial Monday. No experience is insignificant, no thought unworthy of sharing. To be featured please contact me by clicking on my profile link and then by clicking on my e-mail link. You can either write your own story or provide me with details you want to share and I will do it for you. You can do it anonymously or as a friend. You may include pictures, poetry, whatever feels right. After all, this is your experience.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Step 1. At the end of the daily post...click on "0 Comments" underlined link (if the creator is lucky this will say 1 Comments...or 7 Comments...etc.)
Step 2. A new window will pop up. In this new window there will be a text box in which you can actually write a comment. (hint-hint-hint).
Step 3. After you write your comment (hint-hint-hint) you need to choose an identity.
- If you have a Google Account you can enter in your username and password which will provide readers a link to your profile, blog, etc.
- If you don't have a Google Account you can select "Open ID" and enter in a different type of account, still providing readers a link to your website, etc.
- If you don't have any type of account you can select "Name/URL"...and just write your name. (This is what my mom does. She just types "mom" and then the comment is attributed to her and we all know what she says. No need to include a URL if you don't have one or know what one is).
- If you don't want anyone to know who you are you can select Anonymous. (chicken!)
Step 4. Click the "Preview" button if you want to see what your comment will look like.
Step 5. Click the "Publish" button when you are done.
Wallah! Now the little box at the end of the post will read "1 Comment" instead of "0 Comment" and I'll be happy.
Blogstalkers - see how easy that is?! Go ahead...try it!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Our gift to the Savior.
It is something that we've thought about throughout the entire holiday season which closes as we privately write down our gift and place it into the beloved Christmas Box, which will then be opened and shared next Christmas Eve.
I put a lot of thought into this year's gift.
It goes along with my most sincere Christmas wish for 2010. Next year, I hope to experience the joys of motherhood. Or, let me experience the wonders of pregnancy. Or, let me begin the adoption or fostering process. Let me be one step closer to being a mom.
My gift to the Savior this year is that I can qualify myself for such a blessing.
Maybe it will be in the traditional sense. Maybe it will not. We will see what 2010 brings... but my gift to the Savior this year is that I will do everything I can to make it happen and that I may be worthy such a blessing.
I wish the same to all of you still on this side of the infertility battle. Thank you to everyone for your support this year and the continual love that you have shown me. I've learned so much from each of you and I'm thankful that I am not alone in my journey.
I am already so richly blessed and for that, I am grateful.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Every time I hear "Where Are You Christmas" by Faith Hill it transports me back into time.
Back to New York.
When I spent every ounce of energy I had working with those sad families who were going through their first holiday without the people they loved the most.
Terrorists had taken them away.
This song was everywhere that year but for us - the people still stuck at "the pile" - the words meant something else entirely.
We went from response, to recovery, to devastating loss.
That year, Christmas was gone.
When I hear this song - there are people that I think about. People like Tim Whitley's mom. He was a firefighter and although she was proud - she really missed her son. People like Hector. He didn't get to marry his fiance as planned that December. Most especially, people like Julia. She's the one that still tugs at my heart. Her husband worked at Canter Fitzgerald and she used to fight the nightmares of him jumping out a window because it just got too hot.
Eight years later, I wonder if Christmas ever came back for these people and the many like them that I grew to love.
I hope that it did.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
She's at 24 weeks and just found out that her baby hasn't developed properly with critical organs. She has a prenatal diagnosis of "lethal fetal abnormality" which is forcing her to prepare for the unimaginable.
She will be induced at the beginning of the week and for that, my heart breaks for her.
There are many difficult days ahead and I pray that there is kindness around her and angels to lift her up. Maybe you could leave her a comment of support and love.
From one angel's mother to another...may the Breath of Heaven touch you, Michelle.
Now and always.
Mr. Thompson wants one-thing-and-one-thing-only for Christmas. I bet you haven't guessed what it is...
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
As I'm sitting here at 4:00am playing my practice chanter under the twinkling lights.... I love it too!
What a great tradition you started the first year of our marriage. Adding a new ornament every year has become a beloved tradition for Mr. Thompson and me. This year's is simply beautiful as it celebrates the year of the bagpipes.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
From a Jenny Craig Weightloss Center near you.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I faintly remember screaming and covering my face with my hands as screams turned to sobs. I remember Aaron laying me down on the cold tile placing something wet on my stomach, pushing redial on the phone and talking to Dr. Anders. I remember words like "not breathing" and "911". I remember crying uncontrollably and looking up to see firemen with white faces standing in the doorway and leaning over me. I remember them working on the baby and putting me on a stretcher. I remember laying in the back of an ambulance and looking out the window into the dark night wondering where Aaron was. I remember one of the fireman who rode with us wiping a tear away and saying that he understood - his wife was expecting. I remember the other paramedic aggressively trying to find one of my non-existent veins and wishing that I hadn't requested that the nurse take my pic line out the day before to give my arm a rest. I remember arriving at the hospital and being wheeled through the halls of Labor and Delivery in a non-rush. I remember thinking that it shouldn't have been like that.
I remember wanting to die.
The fireman with the tear came in and gently placed a green plastic bag wrapped in a blanket over by the sink. I saw him make eye contact with the nurse over it. The tears couldn't stop flowing from my eyes because I knew what was in that bag that the blanket couldn't disquise and my heart was broken.
It was in that moment that I was given a miracle. She had long brown curly hair and she was the one that the fireman made eye contact with. Mother Teresa says that you can judge whether someone is Christlike based upon their eyes. I remember being struck by the kindness in this good nurse's eyes. She quickly took care of me and then rushed over to the sink.
In doing that, she gave me the most precious gift that anyone has ever - or will ever - give me. I remember holding Aaron's hand so tight and both of us just crying as we watched this sweet angel very gently unwrap the green plastic bag and very lovingly remove our baby which was inside. She knew the desires of my heart without words and I remember feeling a flood of comfort over that.
That was when my worst moment became my most sacred. She wrapped our baby in a blanket and with the fragile-like care she walked towards us and said the words which will be forever etched in my mind. "I know that this is so hard right now... but this is your precious baby who you love. You are parents and this little baby deserves the most respect and love that we can give".
We just cried as she held that bundle out to us.
It was our child.
We were hesitant so she said, "Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?" A flood of emotion rushed over me because this was the day that I had a doctor's appointment to find out. I think I stammered something to that effect out.
With love she gently unwrapped the blanket and said, "It's a boy. A most beautiful and precious boy." and we cried.
We had a son.
In my wildest dreams I didn't think that this was how our anticipated surprise would unfold. "What will you name him?" she asked as she settled that bundle into my arms. Aaron and I, through our tears stammered, "Colton". We hadn't planned that - I just knew that he liked the name Colt and it felt right. It wasn't ever a question.
As I looked at my most beautiful and perfect son I was overcome with so many emotions. It was love like I've never experienced and the deepest sadness I have ever known. All wrapped in one. It felt like I was holding my heart in the palm of my hand. As I cradled him in my arms I felt the bond that every new mother expects to feel. It was both an indescribable sweetness and an undeniable grief. He was straight from heaven and as I marveled at his ten little fingers and ten little toes he was the most beautiful thing that I've ever beheld. His body was perfectly formed, although tiny in size, and I hadn't expected that.
As I passed him to Aaron I thought my heart would surely break. I remember looking into his eyes and seeing so much pain and then looking up at my nurse and seeing so much compassion.
Unknowingly, she quietly took a few photos of us in those first moments which will be my most sacred possession in this life. Yes, it was the saddest moment but it was also the most spiritual and healing. We had loved him and watched him grow since he was a little dot on a screen and although he wasn't developed beyond 24 weeks, he was the most beautiful and precious thing to us. This angel nurse worked hard to ensure that we had no regrets about that moment and that I felt the necessary bond which would help us later in our grief.
Dr. A arrived with her quiet understanding and before they wheeled me to the operating room, the nurse looked at me and promised that she would care for him until I returned. I knew with a surity that she meant it. She later gave me a Willow angel statue to represent my angel child but little does she know that for me... it represents her.
As I drifted off in the operating room I heard the anesthesiologist and different doctor talking. They mistakenly thought that I was asleep and they said something to the effect that this was the second 24 week delivery that night. 24 weeks equals viablity.
The other baby survived.
When I woke up...that was what I remembered. The other mother's baby lived while mine did not.
When they took me back to the triage room the Bereavement Specialist came in with Colton wrapped in the most beautiful crocheted blanket that someone had graciously donated. Attached was a much too big baby ring and they had placed a cute little hat on his head. She introduced herself and told me about a wonderful non-profit called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It is made up of volunteer professional photographers who go into hospitals to take photos for mourning parents. They quietly capture the poignant and the painful in those moments when the veil between heaven and earth is so close.
I will generously give that that charity until the day that I die.
From there it all becomes a blur. I remember my sister arriving and helping us make the critical decisions which had to be made. We were paralyzed in grief but she jumped in and with direction from my father, made the necessary calls and arrangements with the mortuary and funeral home. It removed a huge burden off of us and I knew that things were going to be all right with her there. Like a life preserver, she kept us afloat.
I got a blood transfusion.
They kept me in a triage room in Labor and Delivery most of the day because they couldn't find a hospital bed. I was in a big new hospital and they couldn't even find an empty bed. Eventually they made the decision that they needed to send me to the Maternity Ward.
As they wheeled me through the hallway and I heard those babies cry from the rooms with their mothers, I thought that I would surely die all over again. I just covered my face and wept as they wheeled me through the hallway. Once I looked up and saw kind eyes as I passed the nurse's station.
It ended up being a blessing in disguise.
They rearranged rooms so there weren't any babies near me and everyone who entered my room, from nursing staff to personnel from the blood bank, demonstrated a deep compassion and care. There was an added sensativity that I probably wouldn't have recieved in the other wing of the hospital. I later learned that they had placed a picture of a fallen leaf with a dew drop on my door which was their visual cue that we had lost our baby.
Another angel nurse stayed two extra hours on her shift (off the clock) to ensure that I had the greatest care and comfort....she then ran out to Barnes and Noble before they closed that night to personally purchase a book on grief which she thought would help me through the moments, days and months to follow...and then went back to the hospital (off the clock) to complete my charts for another hour.
There were too many angels around us to count. Each had a gentle touch, a kind word, and the Spirit of Christ. I often reflect on the kind of person that I want to be and those are the faces that I see in my mind.The hospital staff assured me that as long as I was there - Colton would be there as well and they encouraged me to continue to bond with his little body if I needed. I didn't, but there was peace in the knowing.
My family eventually arrived from Idaho and along with our Bishop we were able to wrap him in a little white blanket that my mother had lovingly made and gather together as a family to give our son a name and a blessing.
Colton J Thompson
Our child who constantly reminds me that without the greatest love, there wouldn't be the greatest sorrow.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
By Dr. Q's calculations our miracle had to be about 7 or 8 weeks along when we found out. Because it wasn't something we could pinpoint under normal procedures he scheduled me the following day for an ultrasound to verify. As I was laying down on that table I turned to the nurse Ann and said, "my husband won't believe me until you get a heartbeat. Can you please tell him that we are not lying to him?". She chuckled as she squirted the goop on my belly and sure enough....there was our little bean....heartbeat and all. I remember Mr. Thompson reaching over to squeeze my hand. It was a blissfully wonderful moment.And so our pregnancy began.
I'd love to say that it was easy but a few weeks later things started to get a little difficult. It started with regular heartburn. Heartburn quickly turned to nausea. Nausea quickly turned to full fledged morning sickness.
By week 9, I couldn't keep anything down and returned to see Dr. Q for a follow-up visit. He tried to hear the heartbeat but couldn't so he took me back to Ann for another ultrasound. Sure enough...there was our little bean....heartbeat and all. Dr. Q prescribed some medicine for the morning sickness and gave me a bag of goodies that the pharmaceutical rep swore by.
None of it worked. I got sicker...and sicker... and sicker.
We had some other problems which turned morning sickness to outright fear that we were losing our baby. We returned to Dr. Q who promptly requested another ultrasound. Sure enough....there was our little bean....heartbeat and all. While I was so sick our baby was fortunately thriving. They looked looked at my internal blood flow to try and figure out where the internal bleeding and tissue loss was coming from but came up with a nothing conclusive so Dr. Q scheduled me for weekly visits with ultrasounds.
I kept getting sicker and sicker. By week 11 he sent me to the hospital for some IV treatments. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarium, a dangerous condition in which your body essentially goes into starvation mode because it can't keep anything down.
I like to think of it as death.
I began to lose weight and the IV treatments which started as a once a week affair...quickly turned into three times a week....then to every other day....and finally to almost daily trips to Fusion Services at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. It was depressing getting IV treatments next to really sick cancer patients but it was a really interesting dynamic. There I was fighting to give life with others who were fighting keep it.
By week 14 I was on restricted duty and recommended bed rest. Our ultrasounds however, remained very positive and good. Someone once told me that morning sickness is a good sign because you usually have it with a baby who is doing well. The first sacrifice of motherhood, I guess. It may be an old wives tale but psychologically it worked because that is what I used to try and think about as I was hunched over toilets in every gas station across town. If you know about my phobia of public restrooms...you will understand how incredibly hard this was for me. Not to mention the time I was discovered throwing up behind the dumpsters at work....or in my husband's office hunched over the garbage can crying.
The one bright spot through this all was that we got to see our baby grow from week to week with regular ultrasounds. It allowed us to bond with our child much sooner than most parents. Under normal circumstances I would have watched our baby grow after birth. Fortunately for us, we got to watch our baby grow before birth. It was a beautiful thing.
After all, it was a miracle from the beginning.
By week 20, Nurse Ann asked us again if we wanted to know the sex of our baby. I held off. My sister waits to be surprised and I really liked this idea. It gave me something to look forward to and it this point, I desperately needed it. If I took a drink of water I would throw it back up. If I didn't take a drink of water...I would throw up stomach acid anyway.
On Sunday, March 29th Aaron took me to my sister's house to have her bishop give me a priesthood blessing. I'd had a few of these throughout the months and it was comforting to be told by someone that I trust and respect that God was aware of my struggles to be a mother and that everything was going to work out. He promised me improved health and motherhood.
The IV treatments continued through Week 23 and on Tuesday, March 31st the nurse at Fusion Services called Dr. Q as I wasn't "thriving" after treatments like I should have. The next step was hospitalization which I had been whining loudly during the previous 10 weeks. I begged. I pleaded. I was there every day so although close...we determined to increase my treatments (they added more stuff to my IV bag) and monitor my progress until my doctor's appointment two days later.
The following April 1st was a good day. I went in for another IV treatment and actually felt good enough to go to work so I could play a few practical jokes for April Fool's Day. My boss posted baby faces on cardboard cut-outs all over my office. It was funny. I also decided that at my appointment the following day, I was going give in and find out if it was a boy or girl. The office pool had "Girl" leading 5:1.
I was feeling so good in fact that I convinced Aaron that he needed to stop at Crown Burger to get me some french fries. It was the only thing that I could occasionally keep down. It was a big moment for me because for the first time I not only ate my entire order...but some of Aaron's too. That was a decision that I started to regret almost immediately.
I had cramps all night which I blamed on constipation from those stupid french fries. After not eating solid food for so long....I rethought my idea of eating something so "heavy". No wonder they don't ship potatoes to Ethiopia.
At about 10:00pm I went from bed to the couch because I didn't want to disturb Aaron anymore with my french fry rants. I prayed that Heavenly Father would just make the constipation pains go away. At one point I remember laying there with a prayer in my heart asking God if I should be worried. I didn't feel like I should until about 2:00am when I finally knew that I needed to wake Aaron up. It just hurt too bad.
He took one look at me and told me that he thought I was in labor. I replied that it was just the freakin' french fries but he convinced me to page the Dr. on call. Unfortunately, it wasn't Dr Q. However, Dr. A was very pleasant about this middle of the night call. She listened to me, asked some questions, agreed about the potato constipation but strongly suggested that I go to the hospital just to be safe.
Just to be safe.
I wish I would have had that thought when I was whining about being admitted again two days before, or when I ordered french fries, or when I was so worried about inconveniencing my Dr. in the middle of the night, or when I thought about how embarrassing it would be to go to the hospital just to be told it was constipation.
I wasn't constipation.