Monday, March 26, 2012

Thinking Back

This morning I woke up much earlier than I normally do these days, and my sweet Jake was on my mind.  I began thinking back to the events leading up to Jakes death and birth.  I wanted to relive all of those moments... so I don't forget anything.  I don't want to forget Jake's story.  I want to remember the days after his birth, even though it was monstorous pain and agony.  I remember very well on the morning I was to be dismissed waking up about 6:30 am,. trudging over to the sink to brush my teeth, then slowly walking back to where my clothes were and getting dressed.  I had been in the hospital for 3 weeks... 21 days of laying in bed... not allowed to get up, and of watching tv.  I was more than ready to go home.  I no longer had any reason to gladly stay.  Being in the hospital reminded me of what I would never have.  The perinatologist who took care of me while Jake was born and was responsible for my after care normally made her rounds at night.  I began calling my nurse to contact her so I could be released.  I waited until about 2pm to be released... then it was over. My hospital stay was over.  I now had to get in my mom's car and ride for four hours back to my hometown.  My box full of all the memories I had of Jake and I were tucked into the back seat, along with a vase of flowers my sister had sent.   When we finally got home I could finally lay in my own bed again, and not have anyone barging in my door wanting to draw blood or check my vitals.  I had the perfect environment for rest... yet I couldn't.  I again could just lie there in bed and cry and miss my angel... think about the past couple of days and weeks... about the numerous heart breaking moments I had been through and all the ones to come.  Now, a month and a half later... I still lie in bed and miss my angel every night, sometimes I cry... and I think back to the worst days of my life.

If only Heaven wasn't so far away..

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just the Same

This poem I feel speaks for all parents and relatives of babies who are angels in Heaven. Jake is still my baby and I love him just the same!
I never got to hold you & bounce you on my lap, I never got to read to you or watch you as you nap. You slipped away so quickly, before I said your name. And yet I want the world to know I loved you just the same. -Anne Peterson

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A poem for hurting parents:

I found this poem not long ago on a site that is dedicated to grieving parents.  It is so very sweet and touching, yet heartbreaking as well.  I hope you smile and think of your sweet angel in Heaven like I did.

I thought of you and closed my eyes,
And prayed to God today.
I asked what makes a Mother,
And I know I heard him say:
A mother has a baby,
This we know is true.
But, God, can you be a mother,
When your baby's not with you?
Yes, you can he replied,
With confidence in his voice.
I give many women babies,
When they leave is not thier choice.
Some I send for a lifetime,
And others for a day.
And some I send to feel your womb,
But theres no need to stay.
I just don't understand this God,
I want my baby here.
He took a breath and cleared his throat,
And then I saw a tear.
I wish that I could show you,
What your child is doing today,
If you could see your child smile,
With other children who say:
We go to earth and learn our lessons,
Of love and life and fear.
My mommy loved me oh so much,
I got to come straight here.
I feel so lucky to have a mom,
Who had so much love for me.
I learned my lessons very quickly,
My mommy set me free.
I miss my mommy oh so much,
But I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep,
On her pillow's where I lay.
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek,
And whisper in her ear.
"Mommy don't be sad today, I'm your baby and I'm here."
So you see my dear sweet one,
Your children are Ok.
Your babies are here in My home,
They'll be at heavens gate for you.
So now you see what makes a mother.
It's the feeling in your heart.
It's the love you had so much of,
Right from the very start.
Though some on earth may not realize you are a mother,
until their time is done.
They'll be up here with Me one day,
And you'll know that you're the best one!
~Author Unknown

To read more poems for hurting parents, please visit other blogs i've written at the links below:

Visits to Cemeteries

For a very long time I thought of cemeteries as dark dreadful places that I found sort of scary and thought it was  a place to be avoided.  It wasn't until after I lost my son that my thoughts have changed. Cemeteries are not dark and scary at all, but a place of love and the light of the Lord. In my opinion, most people don't know how much trouble it is to find the perfect headstone and words for loved ones.    You don't realize until you've lost someone so very close to you how many families before you have been there and done that already.  After Jacob passed away, I began the search for the perfect headstone for his tiny grave.  I found one that I adore, shaped like a rocking horse.  There are 5 here in East Texas according to the monument maker.  Some days when we have lots of time, my family and I will stop by cemeteries near our hometown to see if we can see another one.  It is very saddening to see all of the families who have lost infants and small children.  You don't realize the shear amount until you visit several places that are filled with babies who were born and died on the same day, or some that lived for a week, two weeks, a month, or for a couple of years.  This has been going on for hundreds of years.  Today, on our latest trip through one of the local cemeteries there were tiny infants' graves from the 1800's.  Each of these children's deaths saddens me and I can honestly say I have the deepest sympathy for each family.  Some headstones are so old that they have begun to grow moss over the words written with such great care.  I very much would love to find a soft brush and scrub away all of the moss that is covering these.  I'm sure I would be busy for many months.  But these are people's loved ones, tiny angels that are special to someone, even if their parents had long passed away.  I can just imagine the stares a person would receive for taking a brush and pail out to the cemetery.. for most people I know just go visit their own relatives and don't browse the whole cemetery through taking note of who is buried where and what is currently growing on their headstones.  Some things are worth preserving though and this definitely is one of them.  Sometimes a headstone is all of a person's legacy they have left.  These 3 feet of stone are what makes history.  Remember the next time you visit a cemetery that these are not just fancily carved pieces of granite and marble... but someone who was loved greatly by one or many... and each deserves respect.  Even my son Payton who is five, has learned to respect each person buried in the cemetery.  We have taught him not to walk over where a person has been buried, but around, and to set tipped over flowers upright, even to upright fallen angels.  These things were placed by the person's headstone out of love.  I'm sure the family would appreciate it, even though they'd never know we did it, turning it back to the way it was placed.. just means they can show all the visitors to the cemetery and to their loved one that they are loved and missed.

Happy Thursday All!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Music that speaks to my soul:

I think of my sweet angel many times a day.. more than I can count... but sometimes songs make me think of him more... sometimes my thoughts are happy, others make me cry.  Music is such a powerful outlet...that says exactly what we are feeling... I've picked my top five favorite songs after Jake's death. 

This first one was played at his funeral a little over a month ago:
Heaven Song by Phil Wickham

I really love this song for what it says... "you said you'll be coming for me, coming for me soon... oh my God I'll be ready for you... I can't wait to join the angels and sing my Heaven Song"

I know Jake is with the Angels and is happy running through the green pastures in Heaven.

Next on my list is one that makes me cry pretty much every time I hear it.  This song was supposed to be played at Jake's funeral,but for one reason or another, the radio the funeral home provided quit working for this song... they didn't get it fixed until closer to the end of his funeral... and skipped this song.
 Safe and Sound by Matthew  West

I have always loved this song, ever since Payton was a baby... it was so very fitting for Jake too.  I was still very glad to hold him, and hope that even though he's in Heaven he likes his name, and that he knows that his momma couldn't wait to meet him and the reason why his mommy prays. :)  He was the answer to my prayers.

Third on my list of songs that make me think of Jacob is:
Godspeed by the Dixie Chicks

"my love will fly to you each night on angels wings, godspeed, sweet dreams" "God hears amen wherever we are... and I love you."  Those lines just melt my heart and send me into a ball of tears every time. This song was originally what my mother loved for Payton, but after Jake passed away, we both thought we would love it for Jake too.

My list turns to hymns for number four.  I know we will be together again in Heaven one day. I can't wait to see my sweet Angel again!

When we all get to Heaven

Number five is newly special to me...
Farther Along
Brad Paisley

"Often when death has taken our loved ones,
Leaving our home so lone and so drear,
Then do we wonder why others prosper,
Living so wicked year after year...Farther along we’ll know more about it,Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by."

I hope these songs have brought you some comfort after the loss of your sweet angel like they have me.  Some make me smile thinking about seeing Jake in Heaven again one day, and others make me cry... but all of them comfort me in one way or another.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wishing & hoping.. knowing...

Today it has been one month and four days since Jake went to live in Heaven. Today, I'm at a loss for words. Sure, I've gotten more used to the idea that he's gone and I won't see him again until I get to Heaven... I can carry on with my days for the most part OK. But, deep down the hurt isn't gone. I look at the pictures I have of my tiny sweet angel and can't help but be jealous of all the people who are pregnant with their babies still, who can still feel them moving... the mommies who may have given birth prematurely, but their infants survived and are doing well... I . WANTED. THAT. WITH. MY ANGEL... AND I DIDN'T GET IT LONG ENOUGH... I can't just take a short drive and visit Jake in a nicu.. he never stayed there... he went straight to Heaven.  I know Jake is happy in Heaven & its greater there than it ever could've been here.. but that doesn't keep me from wishing he was here... longing to kiss my sweet baby's hands.. rub his cheeks.. kiss his sweet round nose and tiny footsies. I'm his mommy, that's what mommies do.. except I can't. I have a porcelain replica of his hands & feet to hold... it is SO not the same.  Nothing could possibly replace those few precious memories of the time I spent holding onto my angel... one day I know the pain will ease some and ill look back and hopefully smile. For now though, i'll look back and wish I had more, wish I could drive the few miles down farm roads of East TX  and go visit a thriving Preemie, not my angel's tiny grave.

I know all the wishing and hoping won't bring Jake back to me... I just know that my life is surely not the same without him.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How children deal with grief

 It was one month ago,on the 10th, that Jacob Austin was born still.  One month ago since I told my precious tiny angel hello and goodbye. My life has changed greatly, and so has the lives of the children around me. 

     My son Payton is five years old.. he is the oldest of the children in our family.  Payton asks lots of questions in regards to Jacob.  For instance, he asks me if Jacob cried like "regular babies" when he was born, or if he drank a "baba" when he was born.  I always answer his questions truthfully and tell him that he did not.  He has a very hard time understanding that our sweet Jake wasn't alive when he was born and was unable to do these things that other people's babies do.  Payton never met Jacob in person, I felt it would be too much for him and arranged for my sister to keep him at her house the last two days I was hospitalized.  I still believe it was for the best.  Payton also looks at death from a five year old's perspective. In the first week or so after Jake's death, Payton often wondered if he too would die.  One day we were driving down the road, and he said momma will the thing that happened to Jake happen to me? I had to explain to him, that most of the time these things don't happen, and mommy was very sick and it made Jake sick, and his tiny body couldn't handle it... plus god wanted him to live with him in Heaven. Payton  is always happy to go see Jake at the cemetery. He likes now to go see all the "stepping stones"( Headstones) and learn the names of everyone buried there.  Yesterday, my family and I went to the cemetery to release two balloons in Jake's honor, and Payton kept asking why we were going there when Jake could grab them up from anywhere.  Payton often asks me to tell Jake to come down from Heaven.  I always explain that no matter how much momma tells him to come down, he can't and he won't.  One day I told him that and he told me that Jake comes down for him at the farm. : ) It melted my heart and I burst into tears.  He didn't know that was so sweet and that I'd start bawling. 
       My niece Adleigh and my cousin's daughter Lainey are three and four.  It is apparent that small children are most definitely affected by death.  My niece Adleigh loves her baby dolls, like any girl.  Not long ago she was playing with her dolls in the living room, like she always does, brought it to me and said "keekee, can you doctor my baby, she's dead."  I explained to Adleigh that her baby was fine and not dead, and told her it was ok, her baby didn't die and sent her on her way.  She continued to pretend that her baby had died, and besides the reassurance from my family and I that her baby was indeed fine and hadn't died... I was at a loss for words.  Adleigh too often questions death now.  The car seems to be the place for questions of death.  We were on our way to my sister's house, after keeping Adleigh for a while... and Adleigh said "I'm a girl, I won't die, will I?"  She was very concerned.. again we offered much reassurance to her that she is a girl, she is big and healthy and will be fine.  This seemed to help her.  She did repeat all the way to my sister's house that she was a big girl and wasn't going to die.  My cousin's daughter Lainey is four.  I have met Lainey and talk to her, but had not seen her at all while I was pregnant with Jacob.  Lainey attended Jake's funeral however with my cousin.  My cousin informed me that Lainey, who's four, questions her everyday.  She wonders if Jake is ok, if he will get cold in the cemetery (probably since it was chilly on the day of his graveside service, we had blankets), and several other things.  This shows me that even though she never met Jacob, or even saw pictures of him, she understood that there was a baby and now he was gone. 
          Since our sweet children have no real idea that we adults are hurting just like them, it is sometimes hard to answer the questions they ask.  It is very easy to just say I don't know, or tell them to be quiet and we'll answer them later.  This however, is not helping them any, to work through their grief.
         The New York Department of Health and Human Services says this about children and how they deal with grief and death:
Preschoolers typically have a poor sense of time and permanence and may view
the death as reversible. He or she may think death is the same as going to sleep
and the child may suddenly fear nighttime, getting ready for bed or falling asleep.
A child may also experience confusion, bad dreams and general agitation. Regression
in the form of thumb-sucking, bed-wetting and tantrums may also occur. Misunderstandings
about what death is may be common; a child may ask repeated questions
with little understanding of the answers. Sometimes a child at this age will worry
intensely that someone else close to him or her will die soon.
School-Aged Children (ages six to 12 years)
Younger school-aged children tend to understand death in a more concrete way.
This is around the age where a child will come to understand that death is final. He
or she may become very interested in the process of death, wondering, for example,
what happens to the body after death or asking repeated questions about the
deceased. Children are now capable of suffering from sorrow, anger and denial, but
they still may not view death as something that can happen to them. Younger
school-aged children may attempt to avoid emotional pain at all costs; they may
play, act silly or become easily distracted whenever the deceased is spoken of.

Preschoolers (ages three to five years)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Balloons for Jacob

Yesterday was the one month anniversary of Jacob's death.  My family and I released balloons at the cemetery in his honor.

Baby boy balloon before we released it

We're always thinking of you Jake!

Momma and his big brother Payton

Payton by Jake's Grave

We sent our balloons to Jake

On their way to Heaven, one month after Jake's Death

They're getting closer

Almost there. :)

We love you Jacob, and will never stop.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Angelversary Jacob !

Today is my sweet baby Jake's one month Angelversary.
Winged Heart Love

It is so very hard to believe that my Angel has been in Heaven that long.

 It seems like just yesterday  that we were giving him kisses, holding his sweet hands and oohing and ahhing over his tiny toes. I miss him so very much!

My family and I are going to the cemetery today and will release some balloons in Jake's honor.
Pastel Balloons

I'm sure there will be many tears. 

There is no question, for someone in our lives such a short time... 
 he was loved greatly.

Mommy Loves you Jakey-Jake ! <3
Always Will.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hard day

Today is my 3 week check up after delivering my stillborn son Feb. 10th. It was so very difficult walking into the office building today, when the last time I was here,  my husband and I were seeing sweet Jake for the first time on ultrasound.  We were so excited... I was 13 weeks pregnant.  Today, I'm not pregnant  at all... and can't see my angel except for in pictures and when I see him in Heaven one day. This is very hard for me... my appointment was at 3, and I've been sitting in this office waiting... watching other mommas come & go .. I'm just ready to be done already.

I finally go back to be seen.. and my nurse acts as if she's never had a patient who's delivered a stillborn before and I kid you not asks me 50 questions, one like this: 'so your baby died inside you?". Really, can you spare my emotions the hundreds of questions, ask the ones you absolutely need to know, then send my doctor in.. I was in tears before she left ... I wish there was a way I could rewind things or fast forward some so that I don't hurt so bad all the time.  I just want to be truly happy again, with both my boys would be great, however I know that ill never have all that I want.  Even if I do achieve happiness once more, i'll never have Jake again.

I miss my baby boy.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Week 3 - Life's not any easier

     Yesterday was the three week anniversary of my son's birth.  In the case of most parents this is a happy occasion, for me not so much.  Three weeks ago my baby boy went to Heaven.  While I am happy he is with the Lord and he has no pain, no sadness, It doesn't make it any easier on his mommy or his family.
 My mother and I took my eldest son Payton to story time at the public library for Dr. Seuss' birthday, there were several small babies there... it was all I could do to hold it together and not start crying in the middle of the library.  I couldn't help but sit there and think about how I'd never see Jake suck his thumb or hear him coo.  There are so many things that i'll never be able to do with my son... so many experiences i'll miss.  It makes me very sad.  I feel bad because I feel like Payton is missing out because his momma wasn't her happiest when he was having fun.

       I tried to shake it off for most of the day yesterday, and managed to do ok at it, until it was time for bed.  I layed down and attempted to sleep, but any grieving parent knows that sleep doesn't come easily... all I could do was think about Jacob and all of the things I had tried to shrug off for later earlier in the day.. I cried for about 3 hours, before I was finally so tired I could hardly hold my eyes open and went to sleep. 

    Losing a child is the worst type of hurt i've ever experienced and wouldn't wish it on anyone.  I hate that when I go places, I can't really talk about Jake because people ask questions and when I have to answer them, it hurts.  For example, I wanted to buy my son shorts yesterday, so we went to the mall... I purchased his shorts and we were just looking around some.  We passed by a jewelry store and I wanted to stop and look.  There was a section that had all Amethyst.  I tried on several different pieces, and kept looking... finally I came across an Amethyst necklace that I really liked, and mentioned to the sales lady that it was my other son's birthstone.  She said unknowingly, "Oh where is he at?" , I then had to explain to her that he had passed away, which then she wanted to know how old he was... how do you tell someone that  your child never even got to live outside of you?  That he was stillborn, and it hasn't even been 3 weeks ago.  I can't blame her, she didn't know... it just snaps you back to that ever present reality once more.

      In the next couple of weeks, I will go back to the monument company and order my sweet baby's headstone.  If all this didn't feel real before, this will most definitely make it that way...I have decided to order him a headstone that is shaped like a rocking horse.  It really is sweet and cute, looks like something a baby should have... I just hate that it has to be mine.  I hate that I can't watch him rock on a real rocking horse and instead he has to see his from Heaven. :(

Momma loves you Jake!
Miss you More than ever imaginable <3

What happens next... grief and funeral planning

Jacob was born on Friday night. My family and I loved him and snuggled with him until about 12:30 am. Then I had to release him to the care of the nurses for the night and be separated from him for the first time ever. I was taken to another floor of the hospital and he stayed.  I was still restricted to my bed, this time due to the excessive amount of meds I needed in my epidural to keep me comfortable. I was told that for the first three hours, I would be woken every hour to have my vitals checked... then I would be checked once a shift.  After the nurse checked my vitals the first time ..  my family and I opened the box the nurses had prepared for me upstairs and placed on my bed before sending me downstairs. In it were photos the nurses had taken of my precious tiny Angel Jake, a tape measure, the nursery arm bands Jake & I never wore, a poem and perhaps what has helped the most a tiny stuffed lamb  the receiving blanket Jake had been placed in after he was born & the hat that matched his sleeper that his Mimi & papa had placed on his head, so lovingly while they dressed him. After crying over all the memories I would have of my angel, my parents left for their hotel room and I was left alone.

      I laid in my bed and bawled & prayed and tried to sleep. I found myself waking up in the middle of the night and just crying uncontrollably.  I found a small amount of comfort in holding the lamb the nurses had placed in my box. I placed Jake's hat on its head and wrapped it in his blanket... it smelled like him and helped me feel close to him. Around 5am I gave up all hope of sleep after the lab came to draw blood and I had done more crying. The planner side of me then came out and I began planning Jake's funeral. I searched the internet for the perfect music for his funeral. I chose Godspeed by the Dixie Chicks... which actually was my mother's song to Payton. (We borrowed it for Jake), Heaven Song by Phil Wickham... it seemed fitting I know Jake is running all over the green pastures in Heaven :), and Safe and Sound by Matthew West. My baby boy may not be here with me but he is safe and sound with the Lord.  I sought the perfect floral arrangements for his tiny casket and wasn't satisfied with what I found. My baby boy was more special than the generic infant casket sprays. I decided I was going to buy special ribbon to weave into his flowers that had a boy print and looked "babyish". I even began searching for the dress I would wear to my tiny sons funeral. Every single decision made this more and more real... I couldn't believe I was having to do any of these things. 

    I attempted to sleep and waited for what I thought was a more suitable time for me to call my nurse and have them bring me my angel. As I sat and waited the grueling hours i thought.. I'd never be able to rock my baby boy, experience his tiny fingers wrapping around my finger.. see his tiny lips curl in a smile or even hear him cry. I turned to music.. I turned on KLOVE and tried to relax. I unplugged my IV pole and slowly took myself across the room to the closest thing I had to a rocking chair and sat and waited. I thought I was ready to see my baby again but, Once the nurse admin. Lady finally got to my room and began asking me if I knew he was tiny and if I'd already seen him, I started to waiver. I kept telling her I had and I was fine. She just stood there staring at me, almost as if she was trying to protect me. She then took the blanket off the top of the bassinet and got out my angel, whom they had wrapped in a towel inside a blanket. This seemed so overly harsh and sterile. I began to sob and so did the nurse...  after a little while she left me.  All alone with Jacob and my thoughts I sat in the chair, afraid to move too quick, afraid that I would somehow hurt him. I could only concentrate on trying not to move to fast to enjoy the last little bit of time with my angel boy.  I was so afraid I would somehow hurt him that I layed him Back in his bassinet... then set the bassinet on my bed. My heart was breaking in two knowing that I'd be released from the hospital the next day and I would never be able to see my baby on earth again. The funeral home was traveling from our hometown to Houston to pick him up that morning. My family came back to visit me and together we kissed Jake, said our goodbyes and I Love You's and sent his tiny body back with the nurse who had brought him to me.
    The next afternoon around 1 pm I was released from the hospital and had to go home with my new reality. The reality that instead of leaving the hospital with the sweet baby that had lived happily inside me for 24 weeks, I would leave with a box and a broken heart.  I tried to be strong since I had  a little boy to take care of,  whom I hadn't seen in three weeks.  A little boy who didn't understand he'd never meet his baby brother, they'd never run and play together in the yard.  I was faced with with many questions from my five year old and there were not many answers for him...
   I'll continue my blog as I  journey through grief and losing a child, by far the hardest ongoing event in my life to this date.

My Journey to Loss - Part 1

January 22nd I started the hardest journey of my life. I woke up about 5:30am, after having the chills and what felt like a fever all night.  I kissed my husband goodbye, since he had to be at work at 6:30 that morning... went and sat on the couch and noticed that all wasn't right.  We had company over so I just tried relaxing on the couch since I had been placed on complete bed rest. About 8:15 or 8:30 I began noticing a sensation I hadn't before. My water had broken.  I called my mother and my husband and let them know I was going to the emergency room.  After that I told my company I had to leave, and they so kindly packed all of their things and drove me the 50+ miles to the closest hospital. 

     Upon arrival, my worst fears were confirmed... my water had broken at 21 weeks and the prognosis was not good.  The on call doctor told me I had two options, option a.) sit and wait for my body to go into labor or b.) be transferred to another hospital that would induce labor and all would be over, I would lose my sweet baby boy.  The doctor then ordered an ultrasound, where they determined Jacob measured 22 weeks and 2 days.  After my doctor had that info she came to me with another option, she told me if I would like, they would admit me to their hospital, treat me for the  raging infection they determined I had, and watch for signs of labor or distress in the baby, and see if they could keep me pregnant long enough to be transferred to another hospital closer to the age of viability at 23 weeks.  I chose to be admitted and treated for the infection, contrary to the opinions and beliefs of everyone around me... excluding MY  family.  I wasn't going to give up hope in my baby boy and in the Almighty Lord who can do anything.  Jake and I made it through the first night, and in the morning my doctor came in and said I was her miracle patient, she expected to get a call about me over night.  After two additional sonograms each Sunday following being admitted it was determined that Jake had no significant amount of water around him.  Heartbroken, we kept pressing on and fighting hard towards that 23 week mark all the while being on complete bed rest, unable to get up for anything.  Sunday morning the 5th, I was given my promised dose of steroid via a shot to the hip,to begin rapidly helping to develop Jake's lungs.

       Monday morning February 6th, we had finally made it, we were supposed to be transferred to another hospital... my doctor came in just amazed that we had come that far.  I was given the booster steroid shot to help develop Jake's lungs and after speaking to hospitals all day long, my doctor found  a hospital that would accept me, and that wasn't too big of a risk for the baby and I to travel to. 

      The next morning at 7:30am, the nurses and CNA's came rushing into my room saying plans had changed and the helicopter would be at the hospital to pick me up in 45 minutes and we had to hurry and get ready to leave.  The flight paramedic  and nurse arrived in my room about 8:20 with the gurney and all of the gear necessary to whisk me away to my new home away from home.  After  having a very painful IV placed into my hand we were ready to fly.  Hospital security met us at my door and we traveled down the maze of hospital corridors to the helipad on the roof, located the pilot and away we flew.  After a 30 minute flight we arrived at our new hospital with a level 3C NICU, that would be capable of taking care of Jacob should I go into labor early.  Upon arrival I answered at least 500 questions about my pregnancy and health history, then I was stuffed into a wheelchair and taken to have another sonogram.  The perinatologist determined that Jacob did have some water around him and fluid in his bladder... he said that Jake weighed 1 pound and 2 oz. I was extremely happy to know that he did have fluid and could possibly be practicing breathing. Little did I know this was the last time I would see my sweet Angel alive. When we arrived back in my room, I was hooked up to a monitor that kept track of Jake's heartbeat.  The nurses noticed many decelerations in Jake's heartbeat.  Every shift the nurses came in and monitored his heartbeat for twenty minutes.    

      Wednesday morning  I met doctor number 2, who had a very negative report for me and told me that it was possible that they could come to  monitor Jake and they could not find a heart beat.  I was happy though because my mom and 5 year old son Payton were driving four hours to come visit me. :)  We had a great visit, and they left to go home around 7.  The nurse hooked me up around 11 that night to the heart monitor, and Jake was still having a lot of decelerations. 

     Thursday morning, February 9th, the third doctor came and announced they were going to be putting me on Magnesium Sulfate to prevent damage to Jake's neuro-system, and that I would be feeling really bad.  However bad it made me feel though, I was willing to suffer through it in order to help my baby.  I phoned my mother and by the middle of the afternoon, she was back with me.  Several hours before she had arrived, they had come to check Jake's heartbeat and it was at a steady 135 beats per  minute.    After a full day of magnesium, the nurses came to monitor Jake's heartbeat, the nurse kept picking up mine and couldn't seem to find Jake's. The first nurse went and got another to see if she could find it.  The second nurse didn't find one either.  They then went and found the doctor, who brought the portable ultrasound machine in, and confirmed that there was no heartbeat and my sweet baby angel boy had passed away at 23 weeks and 4 days, so close to 24 weeks when his chances of survival were better..  Through my tears I tried to understand what had happened... what the plan was next. I was thinking I would need a c-section.. I was scared and miserable, overwhelmed...  After about 30 minutes the doctor came back and told me that they were going to let me sleep that night and then induce labor in the morning, and I would deliver Jacob.  I don't remember sleeping at all, although I had been given medicine to help me sleep. 

       Friday, the 10th, the nurses came in and gave me pills to start labor... these continued all through the day, every 3 hours, until about 6pm.  It was determined that although I'd been contracting all day semi-regularly I had hardly dilated or changed at all. The nurses presented me with paperwork and consent forms for the funeral home to pick up my baby and an autopsy - things to think about, whether or not I wanted to see or hold him, whether or not I wanted pictures made of him. It was so overwhelming and upsetting... no one thinks when they are having a baby that they'd ever have to make decisions like that.. and I wish no one had to. Later that night Pitocin was started and at 10:26 pm, February 10th, 2012,  my sweet Angel Jacob Austin was born.  He was so tiny and perfect.  I did decide not to have an autopsy done on my angel, couldn't bear to think of that, and I did decide to have photos made and to hold him.  It was the best decision I could've made.  I see his sweet face in my mind and smile... he was so tiny and fragile, yet so much mine.. I counted his tiny fingers and looked at his sweet feet and couldn't help but smile.  It was hard to believe that these tiny feet were wiggling the day before inside me, and today they were in my arms and completely, scarily, sadly still. 

    The nurses took him to the room next door, gave him a bath, then my parents dressed him in the only outfit they could find that would fit his 1 lb 2.5oz ,11 1/2 inches long body, a "water baby" doll sleeper. : ) The great nurses took great care in providing me something I could hold onto... despite the fact I wouldn't be leaving the hospital with my baby boy.  They stamped his tiny feet and hands onto his birth certificate and also took his tiny hands and feet and made a replica of them into a porcelain mold so that I would forever have something to touch.  I was so incredibly grateful.   Two days later I was released from the hospital.. and started the second part of my journey... Grief.  This will be the second half of my blog another day.

If you've lost your baby I feel your pain, and my heart is breaking for you, I read other mother's stories of loss and just cry... I hate that anyone has this happen.  I hope you have a strong system of support like I do in my family and rely on the Lord to help give you strength and the comfort you need so very badly.