Friday, April 22, 2016

Here we grow again!

After we lost Dani, as soon as I got a negative pregnancy test, I started charting my cycles again. There is no right time to get pregnant after a miscarriage. Something will always be wrong. Some people like to wait 1 cycle, some 3(especially if they had a d&c), some after their due date, some after the anniversary of their loss. The fact will always remain though, that it will forever be wrong. The order of our kids are all messed up. If your miscarriage was your first pregnancy, next time around everyone who doesn't know will ask if this is your first. After they're born people will say, "Do you just have the one?" I'm on the other end of the spectrum. My last announcement said, "Seventh Wonder of the Fertig Family... Coming June 2016" What do I say now? Can I say baby #8 is on the way? I can say I have 6 kids on earth, 1 I'll meet in heaven, and 1 on the way. That's a mouthful. Later it'll be a little easier. 7 on earth, 1 I'll meet in heaven. We will be a family of 9 though, when it feels like it should be 10, on paper... It will feel wrong. I've pondered the idea that everything that happens for a reason. That it's all part of Gods master plan, but it's not. He doesn't want us to suffer. He'd love for everything to be perfect, and it will be someday. The fact is, in order for us to love, we had to start out with free will, which brought sin into the world, which brought suffering. He mourns with us. His master plan was to send Jesus Christ to saves us from eternal separation. So we can experience His perfectness someday. His plan for us on earth is that we will use our suffering.
Romans 5New International Version (NIV)
Peace and Hope
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith,we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hopeof the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

No matter what I say, there will be that twinge in my heart for Dani. It's something I'll carry until we meet in heaven. I didn't want to wait to start trying for another baby. I will never "get over the loss". Trying gave me something else to focus on, so I didn't get swallowed in my grief. I'm no spring chicken and I felt time was running out and my cycles are crazy.

My 1st cycle was 53 days and my second was 59. Each time I started was a kick in the gut. A painful, both physically and emotionally, reminder that where life should be, there was none. I didn't have my Dani and I wasn't getting a new baby in 7-8 months. This cycle was a little different, shorter. I ovulated on day 23 and my luteal phase it usually on 12 days, so it was setting up for a 35 day cycle... Almost normal. I had a lot of acne, so hormones were high. I was afraid we had missed it because I hadn't started taking my predictor tests yet, but I saw my temperature shift. It had been almost 3 days since.... You know :) A week went by and on day 7 past ovulation(dpo) I got anxious and took a pregnancy test that is suppose to detect 6 days before your expected period. It was negative, and so it was the next day, and the next 2 days, or so I thought. I had gotten my hopes up the 1st cycle, I was pretty sure we missed it the 2nd one and was right. I even missed when I ovulated that time, but in back tracking, I thought we had missed it by 3 days, just like this time. I just really expected to be negative again. So I was just going through the motions. It was first thing in the morning, I didn't even put my glasses on. As soon as I would see the control line I assumed I was right again and toss them back in the wrapper and back in the cabinet. A friend of mine had thrown her test in the trash once, right before I came over. She thought it was negative, but I pulled it out and it was a faint positive, so I never pitch them. I hadn't used this brand with my other pregnancies. I'd always used generic ones and I guess I was far enough along that you didn't have to wait the 2-3 minutes.

After the 4th test I gave up. I ran out and wasn't going to buy anymore. I figured I'd start by Tuesday. But I didn't. I was having a hard time going to sleep and started thinking that maybe I just tested too early. Then I started thinking about the ones I had already taken. I decided to go check them again... At 1:30 in the morning. Two of them were positive. I didn't think I was EVER going to get back to sleep. Scott was leaving for Detroit in the morning and I didn't want him to leave without telling him, so even after I did go to sleep it wasn't restful. The emotions ran the gambit. From disbelief, to not wanting to get my hopes up, to excitement, to guilt. I thought... What if it IS too soon. Am I dishonoring Dani by not waiting until the due date. But the way I see it due dates are arbitrary. None of my kids were born on their due dates. Dani died in my womb and was born November 24th 2015. Waiting wasn't going to change that. I honor Dani's memory continually. That is the rational thought. But I kept thinking, "I'm so sorry Dani".



The next day I told a few people who are close to me. I am so blessed to have different people to understand the different aspects of where I am and can support me uniquely. The tears came and I let them. I have learned to take grief like the tide. Let it well up and wash over you, then let it recede. I had read that sometimes after a few days, you can get evaporation lines on a pregnancy test that some people can mistake for a positive. I went to the store for more tests. I couldn't wait until the next morning, so I just waited until I needed to pee. It took a minute or so, but a faint second line started to appear. Still in denial, the next morning I pee'd on yet another stick hoping for a bright neon line. I'm definitely pregnant.

The next question is do I wait to tell people. I knew from the time I started trying that I would not wait the customary 12 weeks "just in case". I am trying to be a little bit cautious. I have read that early pregnancies can turn out to be chemical pregnancies where an egg is fertilized but doesn't implant and start to develop. Then there are cases of blighted ovums where it implants, the gestational sac and the placenta develop, but no embryo. These are still losses, but I look at these a little different, especially when it come to explaining to my little kids. I want to know there is a baby developing before I tell them I'm pregnant. I don't want an early ultrasound, so I am hoping that my midwife will agree to check my hcg levels every few days or so. That away I can see if it is progressing as it should. Then I'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate the life within. Right now... I am cautiously optimistic.

I waited for my blood test to post this. My HCG was 173 on Thursday. I thought I was 15 dpo then but the range for then is 17-147 with an average of 59. I must have ovulated the day before, just after I took my temperature. My 1st positive would have been on 8 dpo... Which I think is the earliest it can be detected. That puts my due date at December 27th. My progesterone level was REALLY good. Anything above 10 is good and mine was 23, so they said there is not reason to redraw. I'm excited to start this new journey, come what may.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Miscarriage Story - Part 6

This is my miscarriage story, but it starts many months before our baby passed away... I'm posting it as series in case someone just wants to read part.

Part 1 - Trying to Conceive
Part 2 - Pregnancy
Part 3 - The Decision- Natural or D&C
Part 4 - Limbo
Part 5 - The Process
Part 6 - The Burial and After (contains pictures of miscarried baby)

Part 6 - The Burial and After

After I let it soak in a few minutes, I called Scott into the room. We took pictures. We're pretty sure the baby had some kind of neural tube defect that caused his head to be more fragile, so we don't have pictures of his face. We prepared him in a little wooden box for the burial in our flower garden. Then let the kids come in, told them the baby had come out, and let them see the pictures.










We named our baby Baby Dani. Short for Daniel Ray if he was a boy and Danielle Rose if he was a girl. We waited until the next day to bury him. My mother in law sent me a beautiful Angel statuette. We had already gotten a little memorial statue for the grave. Later that evening my friend Sarah brought me sweets from her sisters bakery that she works at. Like I said... I'm blessed.




I spent that whole day writing Baby Dani's story. I couldn't bring myself to tell everyone about his death before I was able to tell more about his life. It was very short... only 59 days from conception and probably about 45 days that he had his own blood cells. His heart was beating for at least 31 days. There is all kinds of controversy over when life begins and I have no urge to debate it. The only authority I have found on the subject is found in Leviticus 17:11... "For the life of the flesh is in the blood..." The only thing I know for sure, is that my baby was alive inside my womb until he wasn't.

1 Samuel 1:27-28New International Version (NIV)

27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

I had to give Baby Dani to the Lord in a different way than Hannah did, but I know I will get to see him again. I don't know for sure what Heaven will be like, but I'd like to think that people like me, who love having babies, will get to be pregnant there. That I will still get to feel Baby Dani's 1st kick inside my womb. But there will never be any pain or sadness for him.

I don't know when the numbness will ended. How long to grieve.  I know I am comforted in my Father's arms and that in time I will think about it less and less... but I will never forget our baby.


My Miscarriage Story - Part 5

This is my miscarriage story, but it starts many months before our baby passed away... I'm posting it as series in case someone just wants to read part.

Part 1 - Trying to Conceive
Part 2 - Pregnancy
Part 3 - The Decision- Natural or D&C
Part 4 - Limbo
Part 5 - The Process
Part 6 - The Burial and After (contains pictures of miscarried baby)

Part 5 - The Process


Monday at about 3:30 I started cramping and spotting more steadily. After a while I got Scott to watch a movie with the kids while I spent some time alone, coming to terms with it soon being over. I decided go to bed and try to rest up at about 11. I woke up at 4:30 having inconsistent contractions, more than a Braxton Hicks, but still not too intense. I fell back to sleep after about and hour and woke back up at 7 with the same thing. I was suppose to go in for my ultrasound at 11:30. At 9 or so, I texted my midwife, told her what was going on and asked if she thought I should still come in. She asked if this was a labor pattern for me. I told her that by the time I know for sure I'm in labor, I progress pretty quick.

With Jacob through Raiden, by the time I got to the hospital it took less than 2 hours. Then with Sierra I had a 19 minute precipitous labor after 2 days of what just felt like pre labor. You see, I don't have typical labor and deliveries, so I really didn't expect my miscarriage to be typical either. I mean I was prepare for a lot of pain and a lot of blood, but I didn't think I would have either. I read other people having not horrific ones, but it's important to know that just like any other kind of birth... They run the gambit. No two, pregnancies, labors, births, or miscarriages are the same.

Because I was afraid of getting out and it hitting hard and fast, and since Frankfort is 45 minutes away, we decided it was best I stay home. I got up and started about my day... I started to think it was stalling, but I knew my body was ready. I took a dose of my tinctures to try to keep things going at about 10. We watched the movie that Scott had watched with the kids the evening before.

Just as the movie ended, at 11:30, I felt a little contraction, and a little pop. My water had broke. My baby wasn't going to be born in the caul(sac). I didn't tell anyone. I told Scott I was going to take a bath. I needed to be alone. I got in the tub and tried to relax and let it happen.. During the contractions I would bleed a little, but it would stop in between. I'm not sure how many I had, but they still weren't painful.

After an hour, I thought maybe I needed to get out of the water for them to get stronger. I started to drain the tub and dry my upper body. As I started to get up felt something coming out. I guess the contractions were more effective that I thought. I stopped the drain, sat back down and inspected what I passed. It was just a large clot, but as I was cleaning up the smaller ones from the water... I saw the tiny little body. I had a bowl with water in it, ready on the edge of the tub. I scooped him up and placed him in. I will be saying him, for lack of a better pronoun. I don't want to call my baby an it. In the pictures that I took, the baby appears to be a boy, but after researching, I found out that both sexes appear that way at this stage.

I got out of the tub and moved to the bed. This is where I had my strongest one or two contractions. Not as bad as transition labor, but probably about like the after pains I experienced with Summer when they gave me pitocin to help stop my bleeding. The placenta was the biggest part though, so that's probably why. It took about 35-40 more minutes. By 1:15 it was over. My bleeding afterwards was very minimal. The cramping was comparable to regular after pains, but this time I didn't have a baby in my arms to distract from it. One to nurse and release all those feel good hormones. Just my sadness.

My Miscarriage Story - Part 4

This is my miscarriage story, but it starts many months before our baby passed away... I'm posting it as series in case someone just wants to read part.

Part 1 - Trying to Conceive
Part 2 - Pregnancy
Part 3 - The Decision- Natural or D&C
Part 4 - Limbo
Part 5 - The Process
Part 6 - The Burial and After (contains pictures of miscarried baby)

Part 4 - Limbo

On the way home we stopped and picked up a few things. My midwife had suggested emergen-C and I got an extra iron supplement and some heavy duty pads. I hadn't eaten much red meat in the past few years, but anything to boost my iron and blood count would be a plus, so we stopped and got burgers and I started loading my body with extra water.

I won't say waiting was easy. I felt like I was on pause, but I also welcomed the opportunity to prepare. I started combing the internet for stories and advice. The next day I picked up some motherwort, evening primrose, and raspberry leaf tea to help my body prepare for what was coming. I bought a plastic shower curtain and an extra sheet to protect our mattress and some extra towels. Actually, it was everything I would have done to prepare for any homebirth. I took the kids to the park for a little hike. It was fittingly gloomy. As if nature was sad too. Just as we were leaving the clouds released their tears. I took everyone but Summer home. We went and ate a steak dinner with spinach and brocolli and potatoes... iron, iron, and more iron.






I told a few people, my sister, my closest friends, and my church family. I wanted their prayers and support, but I didn't want to tell too many people until it was over. I also reached out to a friend from co-op, Bethany. We met when we first started homeschooling. Her and her family had moved to Florida a few years ago. Back in April she had lost her baby at around 4 months. She was very outspoken about breaking the silence of grief for pregnancy loss.

My dear sweet  friend Annie brought me my favorite no bake cookies the next morning. Bethany had just recently moved back, so we met at the park Thursday afternoon for the kids to play and us to visit. It was nice to be able to talk to someone who could truly get it, who understood what I was going through and why I had made the choice I did. She even offered to be there when it was time if I needed her to be. I praise Jesus for the loving people He has placed in my life to encourage me in such a dark time. My mom and my sister already had plans this week to have lunch with my niece here in Lexington that day, so I met with them at Cracker Barrel. My evenings were spent researching.

I woke up early the next morning, about 5. I can't remember exactly what my dream was about, but I knew it was about Bethany and her baby she had lost, Blue. In the back ground of my dream part of the George Straight song, Baby Blue, was playing... "like a breath of spring you came and left, but I just don't know why..." I decided to look up songs that were about miscarriage. I found a lot of good ones. Some were about pregnancy loss, some infant, and some child. I had cried nearly every day since I found out my baby was gone, but I had been holding back. This time, reading through the words of those songs, I let go. I felt all the raw emotion going through me.  That afternoon Summer and I went shopping for more herbs... I got black and blue cohosh, yarrow, and women's moon cycle tea. I could tell the herbs I had been taking were helping. I was having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions and the primrose should have been softening my cervix. The cohoshes were suppose to help strengthen those and ripen my cervix even more. I also picked up pads for the bed... the medical supply store had been closed when I had tried to pick them up before.

Again Saturday I awoke in the wee hours of the morning. I knew the Lord must have something else for me. I found a great Christian website that has a collection of stories and photos and practical advice. It was then that I knew the Baby Dani would have a purpose. At the very least I would share my story to help other women going through the same thing. I also hope that through this I would be able to show others the humanity of the unborn, even if only to my own children, but hopefully more. "A person's a person, no matter small." -Dr. Seuss


I wanted to keep myself moving, so that afternoon Summer and I went to the grocery store to shop for Thanksgiving. We were originally going to go see Scott's grandma in Maryland. We debated, depending on when it happened, going to my parents house, but I just didn't think I would want to get out so soon. This whole week I had chosen not to go to all the places I normally go to. I didn't want to be around a lot of people who knew I was pregnant, even people who knew what was happening... I didn't want to do crowds. I have a big family though, and did have company, and was getting out, so I wasn't being a recluse. Just dealing in my own way. Someone else may choose to try to keep things as normal as possible. Only thinking about the impending miscarriage may drive someone else crazy, but it was therapeutic for me.

Sunday I decided to take a break though. I had been gradually increasing the herbs and I was tired of finding excuses to walk. I just needed to rest my mind and body. I had prepare as much physically, emotionally, and spiritually as I possibly could. It was in God's hand now. Summer and I stayed in the bed and watched movies and TV all day.

My Miscarriage Story - Part 3

This is my miscarriage story, but it starts many months before our baby passed away... I'm posting it as series in case someone just wants to read part.

Part 1 - Trying to Conceive
Part 2 - Pregnancy
Part 3 - The Decision- Natural or D&C
Part 4 - Limbo
Part 5 - The Process
Part 6 - The Burial and After (contains pictures of miscarried baby)

Part 3 - The Decision - Natural or D&C

My midwife and I went over my history a little, I was anxious to get to the doppler though. A few times we heard some beats, put I could tell it was me. She went and got a handheld ultrasound. The resolution is low, but there was definitely a baby there... and definitely no movement or flutter of a little heart. We then moved into the 2D ultrasound room. The baby measured 10.3 weeks, so 3.8 cm or about an inch and a half. The printer on that machine wasn't working, so we went to the 3D ultrasound room. She got one of the doctors to come in and confirm what we already knew... our baby had passed away. Then comes the decision.



My choices were to go home and let nature take its course or schedule a d&c. It was a no brainer for me, but I listened as the medically managed minded doctor tried to convince me to have the procedure. She wanted me to go home and process what had happened and then come back in on Thursday or Friday. I appreciate that that may be the right choice for some women. For some, the idea of not knowing when it will happen, or the knowledge that they're walking around pregnant with their baby that has already passed, is too much to bear. They may have wanted medically managed birth for their baby to start with. It may be their way of maintaining control of the situation. That is okay.... but that is not me. She advised me that they don't recommend that you have a natural miscarriage after the baby is 2.5 centimeters. That it would be like labor, but with a lot of bleeding, and that I may find it traumatic. That she would hate for it to happen on Thanksgiving... but I couldn't have cared less about turkey in that moment. I could tell my midwife was biting her tongue, so I just politely and waited for her to finish. Not once it she say I would be putting my life in danger by choosing to just go home, so my mind was made up. When she was done my midwife said we should go back to the exam room and talk.

She told me, without me having to say a word, that she thought she knew where my heart was and why I wanted to do it. That not only did I need my mind to process it, but I wanted my body to, and that I wanted to see my baby and say goodbye. She was right. She told me that ideally, I would start cramping and bleeding, then contractions would start and build up like labor. I would release the baby still in the amniotic sac, followed by the placenta, and then my uterus would be able to clamp down and slow the bleeding. That there would be probably be a lot of bleeding and that I may feel faint... to try to remain lying down.  I thanked her and told her how much I appreciated her understanding and support. She hugged me and told me how sorry she was that I was going going through this... I pray I get to have her as my midwife again some day.

We made an appointment for the next Tuesday, in hopes it would be over by then, for another ultrasound to insure everything passed. I had the nurse get mom and the girls and broke the news. Then we went home.

My Miscarriage Story - Part 2

This is my miscarriage story, but it starts many months before our baby passed away... I'm posting it as series in case someone just wants to read part.

Part 1 - Trying to Conceive
Part 2 - Pregnancy
Part 3 - The Decision- Natural or D&C
Part 4 - Limbo
Part 5 - The Process
Part 6 - The Burial and After (contains pictures of miscarried baby)

Part 2 - Pregnancy

We were elated. During my last 6 pregnancies, I had become progressively sicker, with the exception of Jacob, who I was only nauseated for 3 weeks and never threw up. With Sierra, I couldn't lift my head for months without throwing up. My 1st symptom this time was that my digestion slowed to nearly a stop. I was also extremely tired in the evenings.



In my mind I was already planning so much. What I needed, which wasn't much. What I didn't need, which was a lot. It's funny the more babies you have the less desire you have for stuff. I didn't want swings and bouncy seats... just to wear my baby close as much as possible. Summer wanted me to have twins so bad, because she knows I'm such a baby hog. My belly was growing so fast.

Sierra was excited to share her bed. She sleep in a crib that has the rail off and is side-carred  to our bed. I was going to put the baby in a Moses basket, in her bed.

I wanted a Blessing Way for this baby. It much more intimate than a baby shower. Everyone brings a bead for the mom to make a necklace to wear during the birth, so she is surrounded by the women she is closest to. They make little flags to hang up in the labor room with prayers and words of encouragement. Everyone goes home with a candle to burn when the mom goes into labor and keep vigil and pray for her. No gifts, just fellowship and food.

I made an appointment with a midwife for November 11th at her Versailles office. They asked if I wanted an early, dating ultrasound, because if I did, I would need to go the Frankfort office. Since I was pretty sure I knew when I conceived, I opted not to. There's research that suggest it's best to expose preborn babies to no more ultrasounds than necessary. I would have had a 20 week one, so if there were any problems, we would be aware.

The only problems that I experienced, other than an uneasy feeling because I didn't feel sick, was that on a few occasions I had some very slight spotting. I also experienced this with Jacob's pregnancy though. I ended up with a low lying placenta with him. At my 20 week it was a partial placenta previa, but moved up enough by my next ultrasound to have a vaginal birth. I did end up with some bleeding during labor, but the delivery was so fast, it wasn't a problem. I knew this would keep me from having a homebirth, but would have rathered it been that.

The office ended up calling me to reschedule my appointment. To get in on the day of the week I wanted to I ended up having to go to the Frankfort office anyway. My new appoint was Tuesday, November 17th. I would be around 10 weeks by my estimation. I was in Louisville visiting my mom. Her, Summer and Sierra came with me. I still couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't right.

It's funny the little ways the Lord prepares you. On the Friday before, I was talking to a friend at co-op, and she told me about one of her pregnancy that ended in miscarriage. She went in for her 10 week visit and found out her baby didn't developed past 6. Then that evening, I watched Marley and Me with some of the kids and when she goes in for her 10 week, the baby doesn't have a heartbeat. I asked mom and the girls to wait while I had a chance to meet the midwife by myself first... since this was our first meeting.

My Miscarriage Story - Part 1

This is my miscarriage story, but it starts many months before our baby passed away... I'm posting it as series in case someone just wants to read part.

Part 1 - Trying to Conceive
Part 2 - Pregnancy
Part 3 - The Decision- Natural or D&C
Part 4 - Limbo
Part 5 - The Process
Part 6 - The Burial and After (contains pictures of miscarried baby)
Part 1 Trying to Conceive

You can read about my struggles with fertility here. After Sierra was born, once again, I thought I was done having babies. Then something changed in my heart around January 2014. Sierra was potty trained and weaned and I started to feel that deep yearning. Up until that point we had been using natural family planning... and the occasional condom if we really weren't sure. It's kind of hard when your cycles are as sporadic as mine. You just learn to pay attention to your body. Not really reliable as form of birth control... but we were always open to an "oops".

Unfortunately when you have fertility issues what seemed to work for not getting pregnant... doesn't necessarily work for getting pregnant. Over a year went by and the next March my 38th birthday rolled around and I started to feel desperate. One element of NFP that I hadn't used before was charting my temperatures. I had thought about doing it when I was trying to conceive Ronan, but ended up getting pregnant before the start of my next cycle. I already had an account set up on http://www.fertilityfriend.com/. My next cycle this time started on April 17th. I also bought some ovulation predictor tests. Your body gives you some signs due do increased estrogen, so I could tell when to start taking the tests even-though I'm irregular. The tests will confirm that your body is gearing up by looking for a surge in hormones(LH), and when your window has passed, but can't confirm that you ovulated. That is where your temperature comes in. When using a sensitive thermometer, there is an obvious rise in your basal body temperature after ovulation from an increase in progesterone from the corpus luteum(the ruptured cyst that the egg was released from). Combining these things helps to get your timing right, but even then... you may not get pregnant. That cycle was 48 days and the next 80 long days. It was so frustrating because I knew that I was ovulating and timing it right. I had really gotten my hopes up because 10 days after I had ovulated I had some slight spotting and thought maybe it was a sign of implantation, but 3 days later I started.

It had been 4 months I decided I needed to take a break from all the charting. I couldn't keep myself from paying attention to the signals my body was giving me though. Again, about 10 days after I thought I had ovulated I had some spotting. I thought maybe this was just a new pattern for me, but by the 4th day with no period, I decided to take a pregnancy test.... it was positive!






I showed Summer the positive test first, then Scott, then the rest of the kids. I couldn't contain the good news. I messaged and called our family and closest friends. Then took an adorable picture to announce on facebook all on the 1st day we found out.