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Confidant… Most Days (February Mama)

May 4, 2011

I am so grateful to be able to identify myself as a Mother. My DH and I struggled for 14 months to conceive our first child, Ethan. We tried to get pregnant on our own for many months before turning to a fertility clinic for help. After tons of testing we were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”. Which made us feel even more helpless because apparently there was nothing wrong with either of our bodies and we “should” be able to get pregnant. Finally, after an unsuccessful 3 months of being on the fertility drug “Clomid” I said enough was enough. I was emotionally and physically spent. Our doctor convinced us to try one round of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) without any medication, but warned us that without medication, it was rarely successful. We agreed to try one round. If that did not work, we were done. On June 4, 2008 we had our IUI performed and it worked! We were stunned, elated, shocked, and thrilled to death! We were finally expecting a baby!

Aside from some morning sickness and an ovarian cyst that resolved on its own, my pregnancy was uneventful. I enjoyed “eating for two” and had gained 40lbs by 36 weeks. I started my pregnancy at a fit 125lbs, and at 5’7′ felt this was my “ideal” weight as I had maintained this weight for over 10 years without issue. Although my belly expanded more than I thought was humanly possible I was left with only one small stretch mark on my right hip. Little did I realize how much that one little mark would mean to me. At 37 weeks and 3 days my world came crashing down. I was sent for an ultrasound because my midwife could not tell if my baby was breech. At the ultrasound I was happily telling the nurse that my midwife thought I would have a large baby because she thought the baby’s head was big. The nurse asked the doctor if a baby’s total weight could be predicted by the size of his head so the doctor began to scan my son’s head. The moment I looked up at him was the worst moment of my life. I saw his face crumple in a look of total disbelief and shock. When I asked what he saw he stopped the ultrasound and told me to call my husband while he went to get the neonatologist. In a moment I was left alone in a hospital room with no explanation of what was going on. I called my husband who rushed to the hospital and together we learned from the neonatologist that our son had a very sever case of Hydrocephaly. Fluid had built up inside his skull and was taking up the space where his brain should have had room to grow. Although the part of his brain that controlled breathing, heartrate, and other unconcious functions worked perfectly, the other parts of his brain had not developed. Our only option was to have the fluid drained from his skull so that he could be born. A C-section was out of the question due to the size of his head. Our doctor explained that if I chose to have a C-section without draining the fluid from my sons head, he would have to make such a huge incision that I stood a good chance of bleeding out and dying. As our son was already comatose in my belly, we chose to have the cranial decompression performed. It was successful and I was able to have him naturally. Ethan was stillborn on February 7, 2009 at 37 weeks and 6 days. He weighed 7lbs 15oz and looked like a beautiful sleeping angel.

Leaving the hospital empty handed was like the final insult heaped ontop of years of injury. I was convinced we were never meant to parent a living child. I threw myself into the task of losing my baby weight. I treated weightloss like a job. Every single day I walked for miles. When our OB gave me the go ahead to start running again, I ran until I thought I would colapse. 9 weeks after giving birth I was back to 125lbs and into my pre-pregnancy clothes. And I LOVED that little stretch mark on my right hip. It was the only physical evidence that my son had existed. 3 months after Ethan died, my husband and I decided we would try again one more time. Back to the fertiity clinic we went and our doctor agreed to perform the same IUI procedure, again with the warning of “it rarely works without medication, let alone on the first try”. 4 days later we were pregnant, again! If that seems like an awfully short time between giving birth and getting pregnant, IT WAS. I did’nt realize until near the end of my pregnancy that I was’nt longing for ANOTHER child, I was longing for Ethan. I did’nt make a mistake by getting pregnant again, but I really should have taken more time to grieve. Although my pregnancy went perfectly, I was terrified through the entire process. At 38 weeks pregnant I was begging my OB for an induction. He was the neonatologist that had taken me on as a patient the day I found out about Ethan’s Hydrocephaly, so he knew how much I wanted this process to be over. He agreed to induce me at 39 weeks, and on February 21, 2010 my beautiful daughter Faith was born, weighing a whopping 8lbs 14oz! Healthy, perfect in every way, and looking exactly like her brother. My DH and I were over the moon with happiness and still are today. Our daughter brings us more joy than we knew existed in this world.

After Faith’s birth, my body shocked me. I was in my pre-pregnancy clothing at 3 weeks post pardum and by 7 weeks I had lost all of my baby weight and then some even though I was not doing anymore than the occassional walk around the block. I believe I owe the weight loss to breastfeeding. I never planned to breastfeed but thought I’d give it a try. It seemed to work well for both Faith and I and we did it for 7 months. I gained a pound or two back after we stopped breastfeeding but my current weight seems to be holding steady at 122lbs. My body has changed completely though. My hips are wider, my thighs are narrower. My waist is wider and my boobs are a lot saggier. I’ve got stretch marks all over the lower right side of my stomach, but none on my left (so weird, not sure why that happened) My original stretch mark got a little longer, and I got a few new ones on my left hip, and my belly button looks like a crumpled up tissue. I still think I can rock a bikini, and I do (to heck with what anyone on the beach thinks!) But some days I don’t feel as confident as others. I find myself obsessing about getting a mini-tummy tuck. But, DH and I would like to have a living sibling for Faith so we’ll be trying for baby number 3 next year and I can’t get any surgery before I’m done having children. I’m really scared about what another baby will do to my body, so I’m trying to enjoy what I’ve got now, while I can. My children make the jiggly bits of my body matter a lot less, but they still do matter a little. I believe I will get a tummy tuck in due time, because I want to continue to have confidence in the way I look, but no mater what, the title of “Mother” is infinitely more important than how I look in a bathing suit.

Pic #1 is me before any of my pregnancies
Pic #2 is me 4 weeks pregnant with my second baby
Pic #3 is 39 weeks pregnancy with my second baby
Pic #4 and #5 is 7 weeks post pardum with my second baby
Pic #6 and #7 is 14 months post pardum with my second baby

~Age: 29
~Number of pregnancies and births: 2 pregnancies 2 births
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: Oldest would have been 2, youngest is 13 months

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9 Responses to “Confidant… Most Days (February Mama)”

  1. Corinne Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Dearest February Mama, I sobbed while reading your story, I am so sorry for your loss of Ethan. You amaze me in how well you have coped especially with getting pregnant again so soon, such mixed emotions for you. I am so happy you have Faith and that you recognise that those marks you have gained are worth it. I would like to add that you have a stunning body and I hope you don’t feel the need to get anything tucked as you REALLY don’t need it.

  2. shannon Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I am so so sorry about your son. I lost my son when he was 19 months old. With all due respect, you need some glasses! There is ABSOLUTELY nothing on you to tuck. If you went n for a tummy tuck you would come out looking the same (which is awesome) plus a big scar from the surgery. You really look good…and congrats on your baby girl (and you Angel in Heaven).

  3. Colleen Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Your story made me cry :( I am so very sorry for the loss of your first child.

    I’m a little bit curious about what you plan to “tuck”, though. I know that we are our own worst critics but I think you look fantastic. I’ve always thought I had a smoking hot body (hahaha, how’s that for modesty?) and you look better than I did before baby! If you think surgery is what you need to feel confident, that is your perogative, but I think you look perfect the way you are :)

  4. amber Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 11:41 am

    im so sorry for your loss, and congratulate you on your success… and my dear there is nothing there to tuck! you look amazgin!!

  5. Lily Says:
    May 5th, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I’m also so sorry for your loss, but like the other ladies here, am shocked that you would do any sort of surgery to “correct” your already great body!!! Congrats on your daughter! :)

  6. dani Says:
    May 5th, 2011 at 10:42 am

    i thought this website was weird. saw it through today show stories….ok. yes, i can be “proud” of my body and not be too har don myself, but let’s face it, i’d really rather not have the marks.

    your story made me love every little scar.
    thank you for your strength. thank you for sharing this.

    happy mother’s day to you.

  7. Dee Says:
    May 5th, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I’m sorry about your loss with Ethan. My daughter is 6 months now and I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through it if I had to leave the hospital empty handed. Also, congrats on your daughter Faith. Little girls are such a blessing.

    We look like tummy twins. :). And I know EXACTLY how you feel about your belly button. I’m critical of myself too sometimes, but I also try to stay confident.

    Good luck with your 3rd baby.

  8. Danielle Says:
    May 6th, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    You look fantastic!! I am sorry to hear about your loss- Our friends shared a similar loss to yours. They started a non profit group called Haydens Helping hands (google it we are from oregon) after their baby. They raise money to help with medical bills ands give suport after the birth of a stillborn child. We were suposed to have babies with the same birthday she didn’t get to bring hers home and we didn’t think we were going to bring our daughter home either. After 10days in the nicu numerous test we found out our daughter had a stroke during the birthing process. She’s 7mo old right now and doing well! One thing my best friend reminded me of everyday… God only gives you things you can handle.. its true and we are both you and I stronger for the things we have been through! Your little boy is so proud of the mommy you are to him amd his sister. Best wishes for a healthy and happy baby number 3 when it happens. Beauty and blessings <3 Danielle

  9. February Mama Says:
    May 8th, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Thank you so much ladies for all of your encouraging comments! Reading them has given me some good perspective, thank you for them. Danielle: I also had a friend with the same due date as me when I was expecting Ethan, looking at her daughter now, I always think “Ethan would have been exactly that old now” and it is nice to see her grow and to think of him as he would have been. God truly does give you only what you can handle. I am glad the loss of my child happened to me and not someone else who may not have had all of the support from family and friends that I am blessed with. I live every day mindful of the kind of person my son would want me to be. Such a short life, but such a profound impact.

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