Pregnant with Baby #4

How we announced this pregnancy!  We put this picture on Facebook with the caption, "I've got a bun in the oven.  It should be done cooking on February 1, 2014!"

How we announced this pregnancy! We put this picture on Facebook with the caption, “I’ve got a bun in the oven. It should be done cooking on February 1, 2014!”

I am 15 and a half weeks pregnant with Beiler baby #4. 

What an emotional 15 and a half weeks (I guess technically it has only been an emotion 11 weeks since I was already 4 weeks along before we knew I was pregnant).

We when found out my husband and I talked for a long time about when and how we would tell people.  It wasn’t like we could wait till I made it past the point I was with Cohen before announcing the news.  I always was the one that wanted to tell right away but this time was different.  Part of me wanted to tell everyone, but a larger part of me wanted to keep quiet.  We ended up waiting until I was almost 12 weeks (which is about 12 weeks longer than we waited with the other three) and had heard the heartbeat at the doctors office.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t excited because I was and I still am.  But it was a different excitement.  An excitement for what could possibly be.  When I found out I was pregnant with my other three boys and after we heard the heartbeat, I assumed that at the end of 9 months I would bring home a baby.  I didn’t know that you could be perfectly healthy with a perfectly healthy baby and still come home without your baby.  The thought never occurred to me.  Yes, I knew there could be complications and things could go wrong but I didn’t know a perfect pregnancy could end so badly.

So with this pregnancy I am more reserved.  I hold back my excitement.  I try not to feel too much.  Do I want this baby?  Yes, more than anything.  But I’m just not convinced that I am going to bring this baby home.  I am almost waiting for something bad to happen.  To go to the doctor and have him say he can’t find a heartbeat. 

It is hard to explain to people.  People who think that I should just be absolutely thrilled that I am pregnant again and that it will help me “get over” Cohen.  I am thrilled, please don’t get me wrong, I am.  But I am also scared.

Very very scared. 

Scared that I am going to carry this baby for 9 months and not be able to bring him or her home.

I love this baby.  I want this baby to know that I love him or her, so much.  I love this baby but I am so scared.  When I think about going through what we did with Cohen again I literally feel sick.  I start to panic.

In the next week or so I should be able to feel this baby move.  This terrifies me.  I know in the beginning it is normal to feel the baby move one day and not the next but it just seems so scary.  How will I know if it is just normal or if the baby has died?  I won’t and that scares me.

I feel guilty.  Guilty because if Cohen were here we would not be having this baby (at least not on purpose).  Guilty for not letting myself be fully and 100% excited. 

I feel myself withdrawing from my friends because it is just easier for me to be by myself.  Then to try to explain everything I am feeling, especially when this is supposed to be one of the happiest times in a woman’s life.  Easier for me but probably not very good for me.

These past few weeks have been filled with tears.  So many tears.  There have been happy tears for the new life inside of me and there have been sad tears for my sweet baby boy that I miss so so much.

It has been an emotional 15 weeks.

 

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A Year Has Past

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It has been over a year since we lost Cohen.  I can’t believe it has been over a year since I touched his sweet face, kissed his chubby little cheek, held his tiny little hand, and smelled his soft skin.  A year since I sang to him and dripped tears onto his cheeks.  A year since my heart was broken and my dreams for my third child were crushed.

I still have days where it feels like I can’t breathe.  That I just can’t handle life.  That I just can’t go on.  Days where the tears keep falling.  Where I feel like I just can’t go on.  Where I feel overwhelmed with the thought of living the rest of my life without seeing Cohen’s sweet little face.  I still have those days but they are not quite as frequent as they used to be.

I cried the other day while I was making dinner.  Cried because I missed having someone clinging to my leg, crying, and begging for attention while I was cooking dinner.  I know that if Cohen were here actually doing that it would be driving me crazy but he’s not and it made me sad to think of what should be.

I still have moments where it really hits me that this happened to me.  That this is not all just some crazy dream.  That I am not watching a movie of someones life, that this is my life.  That I really am living out my worst nightmare and that I am somehow surviving.

I still don’t like going into Cohen’s room.  Even thought the room has changed, all the baby things put away and been painted a different color, it still is hard for me to go in “his” room.  The door to the room is open but I rarely go in.

I still cry at least a little everyday for my littlest man.  A song will come on the radio that will hit me or I’ll be in the shower and I will just think about Cohen and the tears come.

I still ache for him when we do special family things that he should be here for.  On the Fourth of July we went to see fireworks.  I thought this year, the second year without Cohen would be easier.  But it wasn’t.  This year he would have been old enough to actually like the fireworks or be scared of them.  He would have been toddling after his brothers chasing lighting bugs.  He would have been laughing and having fun with his brothers.  This second Fourth of July was not any easier than the first, in fact in some ways it was harder.

I still miss Cohen and always will.  I still think of him every single day.  I still dream of what our life should be like.  I still ache to hold him.  Still miss kissing him goodnight.  Miss watching him grow.  Miss hearing him learn to talk.  Miss hearing him fight with his brothers.  Miss the craziness that our life would be with three boys.

Remembering Cohen

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I didn’t want Cohen’s one year to just go by without doing anything. I knew I wanted to be with my friends and family that had supported us the past year. I wanted to have a remembrance for everyone who love us and loved and looked forward to having Cohen here. I also knew that for my husband, who tends to want to be alone on the harder days, that this would be something he might not want to do. We talked about it for a long time and finally decided that we would have a remembrance on June 7, exactly one year after we lost Cohen.

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I knew I wanted a huge cake for Cohen. While we plan to have small cakes every year for him with just our family, I knew this would be the only time we would ever buy a special cake to share with lots of people. I wanted the cake to have meaning and to taste and look amazing. And it did! The sun is on the cake because the last song I sang to Cohen before we left the hospital was, “You are my Sunshine.” The two small butterflies on the cake represent Cole, the green butterfly, and Carson, the blue butterfly. The red butterfly that is flying away represents our very close friends son who passed away from cancer just 9 months before Cohen. The yellow butterfly represents Cohen. The words on the tree, “Forever Loved, Always Missed, Never Forgotten,” are the words on Cohen’s grave stone.

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The day before Cohen’s remembrance was one of the hardest days that I had in a long time. I just sat and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. It was like reliving that horrible day over and over again. I felt like I could hardly take care of Cole and Carson. Eventually I drug myself off the sofa and made myself go out with the boys so I would stop thinking and focus on something else.

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The actual day of Cohen’s one year was not as bad as the day before. I was so busy preparing for the remembrance that night that I hardly had time to think. We had planned to have the remembrance outside in an open pavilion at a park close to our house. It poured that day. Not just a shower but tons and tons of rain. We didn’t have a back up plan. A good friend suggested that we call the church and see if we could use one of their rooms. We called but figured there was no way there would be a room open because usually you have to plan a few months in advance. Thankfully our churches Cafe was available. We spent the next hour or so calling, texting, e-mailing, and Facebook messaging people to let them know of the change of plans.

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My husband and I went to Cohen’s grave alone that day. You can still see where they dug out the ground for his tiny coffin. We placed twelve sunflowers there. We stood in the rain and cried for our tiny son who should have been turning one that day.

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That evening we went to the church Cafe. It was hard to be there in the Cafe because just a year before we were in that same room, eating a meal after the service at the gravesite. Most of the same people were there a year later.

People wrote notes to Cohen on balloons and we released them

People wrote notes to Cohen on balloons and we released them

The night was extremely hard. It was hard to think that this should have been a first birthday party but the guest of honor wasn’t there.

My friend grew sunflowers in her garden and each family could take one to plant in remembrance of Cohen

My friend grew sunflowers in her garden and each family could take one to plant in remembrance of Cohen019

I also felt extremely blessed that night. Over 100 people came to support us and to show us that they love us. I felt so loved that night. I cried with people that night who loved us and hurt with us and for us. That was the reason I wanted to have the remembrance for Cohen. I needed to be with people who loved us, who cared about us, and supported us. It was a hard night but a good night.

I have some amazing friends who provided all of the food!  They really were amazing and I wouldn't have been able to do it without them.

I have some amazing friends who provided all of the food! They really were amazing and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.

My mom made this fruit butterfly

My mom made this fruit butterfly

The Closer A Year Gets

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The closer it gets to being a year that we have lost Cohen the more unhealed I feel.  I thought I was doing good, working through my grief and living our new “normal” life.  Getting out with the kids, smiling, laughing, and doing things that normal people do.

But now, now that Cohen will be gone for a year in just a little over a week I feel that maybe I have not healed at all.  The tiny scab that was starting to form has been ripped off and my heart has been exposed again.

I can remember so well now exactly how I was feeling at this time last year.  Hoping that my baby would come soon.  Excited to find out if the baby that I had carried for 9 months was a girl or a boy.  Tired, oh so tired of being so big.

I think about how I could hardly walk because he was down so far and thinking that this labor should be fast since he was practically in the birth canal already.  I had to pee all the time and was so thirsty.

I remember how excited my mom was.  How she always sounded excited when I called her, like maybe this time I was calling to tell her I was headed to the hospital to have the baby.  How she had her bag packed months in advance to come here to take care of Cole and Carson.  And then I think about the phone call she actually received, me hysterical telling her we were headed to the hospital because the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat.  I was crying so hard she couldn’t understand me.

I can even remember exactly what was happening on certain days now.  Like yesterday, Memorial Day.  A year ago it was hot.  We got up early and went to the park and got pregnancy and family pictures taken.  The boys threw stones into a pond.  My mom was there to help with the boys during the picture-taking.  I remember thinking that I was lucky to even be getting these pictures since I had waited so long to ask my friend to take them.  I was surprised that I didn’t already have my baby.  That afternoon we had a cookout with my mom.  When she left we were both excited that the next time I saw her would probably be because I was having the baby.

This Sunday it will be a year that I sat in church and felt Cohen flip and move around.  This is the last time I can really remember feeling him move although I am sure he must have on Monday because I don’t remember feeling worried Monday.  He was crazy during worship.  My husband and I watched my belly jump and bounce the whole time.  We sat in the balcony that Sunday and I timed contractions.  I thought for sure I would have him later that day but unfortunately the contractions stopped.

Then came Tuesday.  A year ago I sat in my friends living room and looked at the pictures she took of our family on Memorial Day.  We talked for a while and when I left we said the next time we see each other I will have a baby.  Then I went to the grocery store.  I came home and when I went to bed that night I told my husband that I couldn’t remember feeling the baby move all day.

The next morning I got up.  My mother-in-law came a took Cole and Carson for the day.  I did wash and took a nap.  I had contractions most of the day.  Then my husband came home.  We went to the doctor never expecting to hear what we heard.  I remember the doctor telling me that we would have to go to the hospital right away and that he had called them to tell them I was coming.  He told me my friend, Kristel, a labor and delivery nurse, was working and that she would meet us there.  In the parking lot of the doctor’s office I called my mom, like I always did after an appointment.  We drove to the hospital, the only sounds were of me crying and begging God to please please please let this not be true and to start my baby’s heart again.

In the parking lot of the hospital I called my friend, the same friend whose living room I had sat in just 24 hours before, and told her to contact our old small group and for them to pray.  Pray that everything would be ok, that the doctor had somehow made a mistake.

I remember standing in the lobby of the hospital and the woman in front of me staring at me like I was crazy for sobbing.  I wanted to scream at her, “They can’t find my baby’s heartbeat!”  I remember checking in to the hospital and telling them that I didn’t information with me because I wasn’t expecting to go to the hospital.

I remember the triage room and the ultrasound tech who said absolutely nothing to us.  She did the scan and looked at the nurse (who was wonderful) and said, “Do you need anything else?” but never spoke a word to my husband or me.  We sat there wondering if by some miracle his heart was still beating.  But it wasn’t.  We called my mom and our friends to let them know that our son had died.

I was admitted to the hospital.  My friend, Kristel, came in and tried to make me as comfortable as possible.  She was in and out all night.  My cousin came to the hospital and sat with me.  My mom came too.  We cried and talked but no one slept.

I remember getting an epidural and having my blood pressure drop.  My mom and husband had just stepped out of the room for a minute and my cousin and Kristel were the only ones there.  I felt so dizzy and everything went black but I could still hear everything going on around me.  I remember finding a bit of humor in such a horrible situation when I came to and saw my cousin fanning me with a sterilized catheter bag.

My cousin went home at about 2 in the morning with the promise to be back later.

Shortly after she left they came to check me and it was time to push.  I didn’t want to.  I did not want to push my baby out.  As long as he was inside of me there was hope that he was still alive, that this was just a big mistake.  But once he was out and I saw him I would have to face reality.  That he really was gone.

But with two big pushes he was out.  The room was silent.  No newborn baby cry.  No one announced if the baby was a boy or a girl.  They just placed him on my chest.  I looked at him and whispered, “He is perfect.”  Only after I said that did anyone else talk.  The confirmed that the baby was in fact a boy.

I cried and cried and cried.  I never knew I could cry so much.

All of these feeling are coming flooding back now a year later.  Yes the entire year has been painful but now that I can actually remember exactly what I was doing and feeling it hurts like it happened yesterday.

I miss my sweet boy.  I miss my Cohen who should be having a first birthday party in a week and a half.  I miss calling him the silly nicknames that I think of him as in my head like my Coco Puff or my little Coco.  I miss his smile that I never saw, his laugh that I never heard.  I miss the sound of little feet trying to walk down the hall.  I miss seeing my three boys playing together.  I miss what our family should be.

I miss my son.

The Worst Thing

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A few days after we lost Cohen someone came to my house to visit us.  While at my house the woman went on and on about how her daughter had jumped off the sofa and hit her lip on a table.  That this was so tragic and horrible and awful and that her daughters lip was swollen and her two front teeth had been knocked out.  She kept using the words tragic and tragedy and trauma and traumatized.

All I could do as this woman rambled on and on was think to myself, “Really, you’re talking to me about being traumatized!  Because of a lip!  You have got to be kidding me!  You carry your child for 9 months only to be told in what should be your next to last appointment before you deliver your happy healthy child that your child no longer has a heartbeat.  Then go through labor, deliver you child, and bury him two days later.  Then have your breasts swell up with milk to feed the child that you should have and have all of the other post postpartum issues and then you can talk to me about trauma, tragedy, and being traumatized.”

Thankfully my mother was there to see the look in my eye that said I was about to explode and quickly escorted the woman to the door before all the thoughts that were brewing in my head came pouring out of my mouth.

After this happened I was extremely upset.  How could she even think to talk about her trauma after everything I had just been through?  What in the world was she thinking?

As I was ranting and raving about this to my cousin one day he said something that has stuck with me ever since.  He might not even remember saying it to me.  He said to me, “Kristen the worst thing that has ever happened to a person, is the worst thing that has happened to them.”

In other words if the worst thing that had ever happened to that woman was to have her daughters lip be swollen, then she has nothing else to compare that to.  I can’t expect her to understand the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

When I was 20 years old the worst thing that had happened to me up to that point in life was having my boyfriend break up with me.  I cried and cried.  I sat in the dark and isolated myself.  Looking back now that pain is nothing compared to what I feel now losing Cohen but back then that was the worst pain I had ever felt and I had nothing else to compare it to.

Losing Cohen is the worst pain I have ever felt and I feel like a swollen lip is such a small unimportant thing that could never be labeled a tragedy.  But then I think about women who have to watch their children starve to death and can do nothing to help them.  Or women who watch as their children are killed and/or raped.  Or women who lose not one child but all their children. And I think to myself, to those woman losing Cohen the way I did and only losing one child would be like the swollen lip is to me.

My cousin’s words to me have helped me keep things in perspective.  What happened to us is horrible, it does hurt, and I would do anything to have Cohen.  But just because we hurt so bad doesn’t mean other people can’t hurt too.  And just because what they might be going through doesn’t seem to us as bad as what we are going through it may be the worst thing that has ever happened to them.

His words have helped me to be more sympathetic to others.  To really listen to what their problem is.  To not just write off what they are going through because it doesn’t seem as bad as what we are going through.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t get annoyed when people say things like, “This is the worst day of my life, Starbucks ran out of my favorite coffee and I had to wait for them to make more and then I was 20 minutes late for work.”

It doesn’t mean that I don’t get a little mad when people try to compare our loss of Cohen to loss of their adult sister or grandparent because losing a child is just different.

It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t sting when people complain about being up all night about with their baby when I would love to be up with mine (but honestly if we hadn’t lost Cohen I would be right there with them because I love my sleep).

But it has helped me.  Helped me to see things differently.  To be more empathetic and loving.

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