Saturday, October 30, 2010

There Needs to Be a New Rule About This

Skyler and I talked to the fertility doctor Thursday about the blood test.  I have "antiphospholipid syndrome," which is basically that my body goes into attack mode when anything new jumps on board, even my precious baby.  I likely developed the antibodies while I was pregnant with Gabriel. 

That doesn't make any sense, does it?  Is my intuition wrong?  Do I just dream up things in my head?  While I was pregnant with Gabriel, I was worried that he would be my last pregnancy - that I wouldn't be able to to have another baby after him.  Then, when he was born, I "just knew" that a brother or sister would be his gift to me.  All the while, my body was preparing itself to put an end to that next pregnancy, should it come to fruition.

I asked the doctor why I wasn't tested for this before my second pregnancy.  "We wouldn't test for something like that until after a miscarriage occurs," was his unacceptable answer.  A similar situation happened to a woman on this video.  I let it go because at that point, it wasn't going to help Tater Tot.  Telling him what I think wouldn't bring her back, but I wanted to tell him to do things differently.  There needs to be a new rule about this, a new protocol:  When a woman whose baby just died comes in to get pregnant again, for God's sakes, do everything in your power to keep that from happening again because she can't take it anymore!  Give her the blood test.  She won't mind if you wasted her time, but she will be forever grateful to you when she is holding her baby in her arms.

There is a treatment for this, and I am thankful to the women who have come forward to let me know that it worked for them - that even after repeated pregnancy loss, they now have healthy children.  I'm going to give myself two shots of Heparin (a blood thinner) twice a day throughout the duration of my next pregnancy along with a daily dose of "baby" aspirin.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Snuffed Out

Last week I had a blood test to determine if the presence of antibodies caused Tater Tot's demise.  Both my OB and fertility doctor went immediately to the possibility of antibodies when they learned I had miscarried my baby.  I was surprised to get a phone call from the nurse today reporting that these antibodies were found in my blood.  This means my body treated my baby like a foreign body.  My perfect, happy little baby was just snuffed out by me, her own mother - the one who loves her the most.  I just can't wrap my mind around it.  What I really can't understand is why, if a simple blood test can keep a woman from having a miscarriage, wasn't this test done before I got pregnant, especially considering the loss I had just endured?  I am so mad at my doctor right now I can't even see straight. 

I lost Tater Tot 6 1/2 weeks ago, but this news hit me hard today, like it's happening all over again.  I did this to her.  I told you I did.  Maybe not the way I thought, with stress or crying or fighting, but it doesn't matter.  My perfect daughter slipped away from me over something that could have been prevented so easily.  How could this happen to me? 

I was supposed to be 18 week pregnant right now.  This is the week we were supposed to find out she was a girl.  What would it be like right now if these were tears of joy?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Top 100! 79th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition

In May, I entered a 2000 word excerpt from my book in the Memoirs/Personal Essay category of the 79th Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. A few days ago, I received this email:

Dear Bonnie N. James,

One of my most enjoyable tasks as editor of Writer’s Digest is passing along good news to writers. This is one of those fun occasions. It is my pleasure to tell you that your entry, Our Final Hours, has been awarded 21st place in Memoirs/Personal Essay category of the 79th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. You will receive your Certificate of Achievement which honors your accomplishment in the near future. Finishing among the top 100 entries is an accomplishment you can be proud of.  Your success in the face of such formidable competition speaks highly of your writing talent, and should be a source of great pride as you continue in your writing career.

All 1,001 winners will be listed at after the December issue is published. The Grand Prize manuscript, the First Place manuscript in each category, and the names of the top 100 winners in each category will be printed in a special competition collection. If you would like to order copies of the Competition Collection, please use the order form which will be included in the envelope with your certificate. The Competition Collections are scheduled to begin mailing in December.

I congratulate you again on your accomplishment, and wish you the best of luck in your future writing.

Jessica Strawser, Editor
Writer’s Digest

Is that awesome, or what? I just couldn't believe it. My name is going to appear in Writer's Digest! To make it even sweeter, Our Final Hours is one of my letters to Gabriel.

The contest has 10 categories. I don't know how many entries were in this year's competition, but I know there were 13,000 entries last year. So, 21st place in my category means I was 210th out of probably 10,000-15,000 people. That is top 1 to 2%! Hopefully this acheivement will increase my chances of getting my manuscript published. 

To increase my chances even more, I got myself a little congratulatory gift . . .

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tater Tot's Funeral

All the other mommies were crying.  They’re not used to this like I am, I thought.  I imagined what each of their stories might be.  One woman looked to be a few years younger than me.  She cried the whole time while her husband embraced her and comforted her.  I watched her.  I bet this was her first baby.  Maybe she was already into her second trimester.  She thought everything was perfect, and then she found out her baby was an angel and he flew away. 
Of course, you know if you read this post that I didn’t cry.  I am a self-proclaimed non-crier at funerals.  Once during the service, I felt my eye start to water just a little, and I was afraid to wipe it with my finger because my husband may give me a sympathetic look and think I need to be comforted.  I’m not making this up.  This is how my mind really works. 
This was a common burial provided free by The Women’s Hospital to families of babies born before 20 weeks.  Families are required by law to bury infants born after 20 weeks.  Before 20 weeks, you have a choice:  hospital incinerator or the common burial provided by the hospital.  Well, when you put it like that . . .
The casket was full of tiny boxes with tiny miscarried babies inside.  Some of the babies were as young as six weeks gestation, no bigger than a whisper, or as old as 20 weeks gestation and six or seven inches long.  Only the memory of Tater Tot filled the tiny box with our names on it – her memory and my letters to her. 

Later, Skyler and I attended the 8th Annual Walk to Remember at The Women's Hospital in Newburgh, IN.  October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.  We walked to remember Gabriel Nicolas and Tater Tot – our little angels. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Tater Tot’s test results finally came back:  46XX – a perfect little girl.  

What’s harder to hear?  That my baby died because of chromosome abnormalities – again, or, “Whew!  She was perfect.  It was just a fluke.”  Right now, I can’t answer that question.

Of course, I’m glad to hear that I didn’t produce a child with a chromosome abnormality – that my future in reproduction is still looking bright, but my heart aches to know that a precious, perfect girl just slipped out of my grasp.  

I know this was our fault.  We were under too much stress during her short life, and we knew that when we chose to get pregnant when we did.  We just thought, “Nine months is a long time.  Things will be better then.”  They would have, too, but now she’s gone.  I never imagined that stress or crying or fighting could take her from me.  Lord knows I was under stress during my pregnancy with Gabriel, both from life and from carrying a child that was going to die, but come Hell or high water, my body just wouldn’t let him go.  Why did it give up so easily this time?

My loyal readers don’t know the real Mrs. Skinny.  All you ever read is how I praise Him and thank Him for the miracles in my life.  I do, but my internal struggle with God goes something like this:

1st Pregnancy:
Bonnie:  I really, really want a girl, but I’ll be happy with whoever you give me.  (Cut to Bonnie fantasizing about having a girl and feeling deflated at the prospect of having a boy.)
God:  You didn’t want a boy.  Okay, he’s gone.  Poof!

2nd Pregnancy:
Bonnie:  Lord, I really will be happy with whoever you give me as long as it’s healthy.  (Cut to Bonnie fantasizing about having a boy and fearing that a girl could never heal her heart or make her arms feel good again.)
God:  You didn’t want a girl.  Okay.  Poof!  She’s gone, but she is healthy!

Bonnie:  Please, God.  Please, God.  Please!  Please make me pregnant with a healthy baby with 46 chromosomes and a healthy body with perfect organs and a whole entire beautiful brain that I get to keep and bring home.  Please, God.  Please!  And You can just surprise me on the sex of the baby.

Is that what He is really saying?  Is that how He really is?  What do you think? 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Letter to My Son - One Year Ago, 10-05-2009

You can read the grown-up version of this story here .
Below is how I told it to my child one year ago today:

October 5, 2009

Dear Gabriel,

Even though Mommy knew we were fine, Daddy insisted on heading to the doctor’s office for an ultrasound. I know he just wanted to find out if you are a boy or a girl. Plus, we love to see you kicking and dancing inside Mommy’s tummy.

Because of your position, the technician had a hard time determining your gender. After a long time, she told us she thinks you might be a girl. Mommy and Daddy were very excited for about 20 seconds. Then, the technician quickly went to speak with the doctor about something she saw on you.

We were so scared and confused. I don’t ever want anything to happen to you. The doctor told us she thinks you might have angel wings. Mommy didn’t know what to do or think or feel. If you have angel wings, it means you won’t be able to stay with us. You’ll have to go do God’s important work. I know God has to make some babies angels, but I wasn’t expecting you to be one of them.

We had to go visit another doctor who knows more about angel babies. She took a closer look at you. She’s pretty sure she saw angel wings on you, too. She needs us to come back next week to take the angel test.

Mommy and Daddy feel so sad tonight. I never imagined you would be an angel baby. We thought you would stay with us so we could hug and kiss you every day. We thought we would spoil you with lots of cute baby things and lots of toys. We thought we would watch you grow up, but now it looks like you are going to fly away before we can do any of that.


***Pic #1 was taken at my regular OB's office on 10/5/09. At 16 weeks, he only weighs a few ounces. Adorable, though, isn't he? You can see that he is kicking, playing, and having fun. Do you see the black, crescent shaped area on his head? That's fluid. If you get a chance, look at a healthy baby's ultrasound picture. It's head should look gray. One of these day's, I'll post one of those on here for you to see. ;)

***Pic #2 is a 3D picture taken at the high risk OB's office on 10/5/09. Incredible, isn't it? He is about 10 cm long and fully formed. He looks just perfect.

Monday, October 4, 2010

How to REGISTER as a Follower of this Blog

Thank you so much to those of you who have already registered as a follower (and are leaving comments!) and to those of you who I know are viewing but haven't registered yet. I want to get as many people registered as possible because I am trying to use this blog to build a platform for getting my book published. A platform is a following of interested people that would give an agent or a publisher a reason to think, "Hmmm.....A lot of people are interested in what this woman has to say. I should represent her because I think her book will sell a lot of copies."

If not for me, do it for Gabriel Nicolas and Tater Tot. They went through a lot to show you all about God's merciful and never ending love. They have much more to say and more people to reach than this blog ever will. So...they need you to register!

To register: click on "Follow with Google Friend Connect" to the right of this post. It is just above the tiny pictures of the followers of this blog. If you have an account with Google, Twitter or Yahoo, you can use your username and password for those accounts to register. If not, click on "Create a New Google Account." You will need your username and password to leave comments. You don't have to login just to view/read the blog, though.

Thanks a lot! Seeing new followers puts a smile on my face every time.