Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Second Hospital Birthing Center Tour

This last Sunday we went on our second hospital tour. It made me love the first hospital even more. The nurse who guided us through the tour was very kind, but her answers to questions led me to believe we'd have to argue all of our choices throughout our stay. It's not that they wouldn't let us have our way. It's just that they have their way of doing things and their way, in most cases, doesn't comply with what I want for this birth. I'd so much prefer to go to the first hospital where the policies already are more in line with my own desires. I hope I get my wish.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Married to Ernie?

Sometimes I wonder if I'm not married to the Sesame Street character named Ernie. Kyle's favorite nickname for Fisher seems to be an Ernie quote, "Heeeere, Fishy, Fishy, Fishy!"

Finding Joy

When Kyle and I lost our first pregnancy at 14 weeks, the grief was intense. I remember going through a long period of darkness. I hated all the women with bulging bellies I saw on the street. Newborn babies made me cry. When people who knew of our loss tried to console us, we just wanted to run away. When others ignored our pain, we wondered if they cared at all. It was a tough, confusing time.

When Kyle and I lost our fourth pregnancy at 7 weeks it was almost as if the pregnancy never happened. Nobody knew we were expecting. It was too early for the pregnancy to show and we hadn't made an announcement. There were complications from the very beginning and we didn't expect the pregnancy to last. Emotionally I was just grumpy for the first couple of days after the miscarriage. I was so glad I didn't have to go through all the emotional turmoil of our first loss.

Now, as we look forward to Fisher's birth, it is again different. When I first learned of his diagnosis, I wanted to run away. I didn't want to go through the next few months knowing he was going to die either before or soon after birth. Somehow something changed and instead of running away, I decided to enjoy every moment I have with him. It is sometimes difficult to hear a baby cry or think of experiences we will not have with Fisher that we have had with Conrad and Donovan. However, I have found that focusing on the joys we are experiencing with friends and family has made the sorrow easier to bear.

A big hug to all who have cried and laughed with us thus far. Life is full of surprises. One of them for me has been this-that joy can be found in sorrow.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A conversation with Sophie

Eight year old Sophie turned around in the pew in front of us today. She looked at me and asked, "Do you have a baby in your belly?"

"Yes, I do. It's a baby boy," I replied.

"Does he have all his body parts?," she asked.


"What is missing?," she inquired.

"The thinking part," I responded.

"Oh. Is he going to live?"

"He won't live long, maybe just a few minutes, but I've heard of a baby like him who lived for three weeks."

"I hope he lives for three weeks. That would be better."

I told her that I was glad for the gospel because it teaches me that families can be together forever. Although I won't be able to raise Fisher right now, I have hope that we will all be with him after this life. Sophie nodded and turned back around.

This afternoon I realized Fisher isn't really missing his "thinking part". His spirit is complete and intelligent. It's just his physical body that is missing something. That will be remedied in the resurrection. In the meantime Fisher will be using his thinking part to do whatever work God has in store for him on the other side.

Do Angels Come?

The first thing Conrad asked me this morning was, "Do angels come to Earth?". I reminded him of Mary and the angel who came to her. Conrad responded, "No mom. Do they still come to Earth today? Now?". I told him that although I haven't seen one, I've heard stories about people who have. Conrad then said, "An angel is going to come to take Fisher back to heaven. I think he will come in the night so we won't see him."

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wrestling Brothers

It's in their blood. I don't think they can help it given my own family background. From what I hear, Kyle's family wasn't much different. My boys love to fight. They may call it play fighting, playing superheros, sword fighting, getting bad guys and other things but it's all the same. It's combat. For some reason, Donovan (our dark warrior) is most often the instigator. As of late, he's been including Fisher in a round-about way. Once in a while Donovan finds me lying down. He'll come up to me and say, "Where's baby Fisher?". Then he'll lift up my shirt and say, "There he is". Not long afterwards Donovan will stand up and body-slam me. He doesn't say so, but I think he's wrestling with the little guy in my belly.


Any kid from a large family knows what hand-me-downs are. Although I only have two children, they are quite aware of the concept. Frankly our home is full of useful things that aren't being used by anybody. They could richly bless the lives of others and I'm feeling like purging, so I am. A few days ago I told Conrad one of Donovan's shirts was too small and told him to put it in a pile of give-away stuff. Conrad looked at me as if I were crazy and said, "We need to save it for Fisher". Oh, I wish I felt the same way. I wish I could be making plans for our life with Fisher while saving cute outfits for him.

The concept of time and life in general must be different for Conrad than it is for me. I recently told him I heard of an anecephalic baby who lived for three weeks. He looked at me and said, "Wow, that's a long time". Yes, maybe it is. Maybe it would be just long enough to let Fisher wear his brothers' hand-me-down, bear-bottom sleeper. Maybe it would.

Friday, June 5, 2009

1st Birth Center Tour

Last Tuesday we took our little family out to Castle Medical Center for a tour of their birthing facility. It's a hospital I've wanted to give birth at ever since I stepped foot in it over seven years ago. My opinion of the place has only improved because of the tour.

This is how Castle compares to the last place I gave birth. The staff is super friendly because they aren't rushed. Castle only delivers 500 babies a year whereas the other place delivers up to 550 per month. The recovery room Donovan and I spent time in literally felt like a closet. But, at Castle hospital the labor and delivery room is the recovery room and it feels more like staying at the Hilton. Of course I haven't actually stayed there overnight, but I imagine it would be much more quiet since there wouldn't be as many mommies and babies hanging around. Our tour guide also assured us that birth plans are important and encouraged us to bring several copies of ours along to the birth. Most of all I love the space. It would be wonderful to stay in an uncramped room.

After touring the hospital I do have some questions that I'd like to have answered. One relates to grieving. Where Donovan was born grieving mothers can be transfered to another floor away from crying babies to recover. On the tour I was brought to tears just by seeing a newborn with her daddy. I'm not sure how I'll handle it when I've actually lost Fisher. I so hope we'll be able to take him home for a few days. If not, though, I hope the hospital would consider letting me move to another area.

Another concern I'm mulling over is a choice for Fisher's pediatrician. If we do get to take him home, we'll have to have clearance from his pediatrician first. Our pediatrician doesn't have priviledges at Castle although that doesn't really matter. There is a pediatrician I've met who does though. She's a kind woman who spoke with me over the phone after we learned Fisher had anencephaly. I'm considering asking her to be Fisher's doctor even though we already have a pediatrician for our other two boys. Other questions I have can't really be answered by doctors. I've joined an anencephaly support group of families who have gone down this road before will hopefully be able to help me along.