Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Closure?

It's a strange word and in the last few weeks it's been thrown around. A lot. I looked it up to see what good ole' Webster has to say about it. Here it is: "an often comforting or satisfying sense of finality." Huh. Comforting? Nope. Satisfying sense of Finality? Hell no. Yep, that is not how I feel at all. And yes, I know it's all final and I can't change the outcome of this for us, but I hold onto those few hours we had with Juliette and I can't find this thing called CLOSURE.

Closure is the word I would often use when a stupid boy would break my heart and i wouldn't have a reason. I would sob..."if he would just tell me WHY, I would have closure." (am I right ladies? this is where you use the word closure)

Not here. No closure. Even getting to hold Juliette didn't provide closure for me, for us. It made me realize what that first hold means to a mother, it made me want that to last just a few more days and then I would say goodbye. How long could I get them to keep me in this hospital?

And then you go home. And then things happen that are supposed to be part of being a mother, yet there is no child there to see that through or experience that with. And you look at your husband and you can't explain how and why you feel so shitty. I mean he knows why, but you find yourself wanting to show him how strong you can be even though it is completely exhausting. And you want to just have a constant pity party for yourself. And you get visitors and you throw on the "I'm alright face" and then crumble the minute they leave the house. Then comes the follow up Dr. appt to see if you are "okay". And you finally tell someone the truth. You aren't and it hurts and you feel bad when you smile and laugh because you aren't supposed to do that right now, right?

Here is what I know right now. You don't get closure from this. I don't think that is possible. I know at some point this will fade and the pain on some days will be less. But you don't get closure or any satisfying sense of finality. Especially not when this pregnancy was a miracle in the first place. Why would God allow this to be taken away when it was such a gift for us? Why? And how would anyone expect any closure to come from that? I realized today I don't expect this thing called....closure.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Today.......

One week ago today I was admitted into the hospital already knowing the outcome for our delivery. Her heart had stopped and you will have to say goodbye to something that you and your husband wanted so badly. One week later, as my body physically heals, the emotional pain seems to be more intense and I find myself staring at walls and waiting for the end of each day. I find a physical ache in my body that is hard to describe unless you have been through loss.

Today I don't want to be known as courageous, strong, brave or honest. Not for this anyway.
Today I don't want to give thanks in all things. How could I possibly?
Today I don't want to feel one more minute of the physical affects from labor.
Today I don't want one more person to tell me she is my angel. It doesn't make it better.
Today I don't want one more person to ask when we will try again.

Today what I want is to have her back. I want my hope to replace this intense fear.

I miss the joy of being pregnant and anticipating new life. I miss her.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

To Sam, with love



It's 530 am and I am awake sitting on the couch again. I figure for a while this will happen. I actually woke up around 430ish and began to cry and shout for Juliette. Sam quickly turned over from his sleep and just held me, letting me know it was ok, to let it out, he was there. I am seeing that the greater capacity there is for love, the greater capacity for pain. Many people have said to me...if I could take away your pain, I would. I actually don't want that because then you also take my love for sweet Juliette and the brief yet significant time we had with her. Time will heal this and I am trusting in God's timing for that, not my own.

In times like this I do think its important to find the blessing, and for me that is my Sam. I remember being in my early 30s wondering if Mr. Right would come along....EVER. And then I walked into a bike shop in Austin, TX and what began as a high five ended up being the absolute love of my life, Samuel Legge. On December 25, 2009 Sam asked me to be his wife and on April 10, 2010 we had our wedding day. Now don't get me wrong....life for the Legge's hasn't been this easy walk in the woods. We had our own days/weeks of seeing us fail one another as we continue to figure out being married, but I can honestly say we have never strayed from being a team through it all. Through a lot of laughter and many tears, we have made every decision together, with one another. From our wedding day we began to dream and plan what our family would be. He willingly adopted and accepted my sweet pug Eloise and then we started to talk about the possibility of children. Would I be able to have my own? Would we adopt? We looked at both options. In July of this year when we found out I was expecting, we were more than excited. When I made it to the 12 week mark when we felt we could let people know....we burst with excitement in sharing the news. And man did it warm my heart to see him share the news with others.

As I think about what we both have faced in the last month, I think about what our wedding invitation said. "There are 3 things that last, Faith, Hope and Love. And the greatest of these is Love." I Corinthians 13:13 If you could see how Sammy is walking us through this time right now clinging to this truth for us, you might understand a little more of why I love him so much.

Sam has been above the standard of "this is what men do" since I met him and we started dating. One of the best things about him is how he continually surprises me. After 5 months of dating, I had to go on a work trip to Philadelphia. I arrived at the hotel, walked into my room and a beautiful vase of flowers was waiting for me. Oh, did I mention it was his birthday? Yes, that's correct. Not MY birthday...his. He sent me flowers on his birthday letting me know he was so proud of the work I do and couldn't wait to celebrate when I got back. Yeah, I know ladies, send this link to your significant other. Some other things that he does consistently that make me know he cares. When I travel I ALWAYS come home to a cleaner house than when I left. I mean spotless, clean floors and bathrooms. New sheets on the bed because he knows I love coming home to this. He always washes the dishes after dinner. Always. He sends me to the couch to rest and he cleans everything up. He says he likes to see me relaxing and that he doesn't mind the cleaning. I was told by many a lady that would all change when we got married.....well, it has only gotten better. In fact, for our one year anniversary I had a vase of flowers that were the same flowers from my bridal bouquet with a note saying, I will never forget seeing you walk down the aisle. Never. With Sammy there have never been games with him. As quiet and introverted as he can be, trust me when Sammy has something to say, you should listen. He is quiet because he is a great listener and has learned the art of knowing when it is necessary to talk and voice your opinion. I know, as many of you may have already noted, this is not, nor has it ever been a strength of mine. He has pushed me to slow down and enjoy the moment and maybe just maybe....think before you speak. I love this about him.

In hearing the news about sweet Juliette, Sammy and I were given the option to terminate our pregnancy at least 3-4 times because our specialist had said, this will not end good for your baby, she is in danger. Sammy and I stood firm on choosing life as we always will. I was not going to be the person to stop the heartbeat. Did that make it harder? Yes. But we both talked that the right decision is rarely the easy one. We knew what the outcome could possibly be. It gave me more time to cope and to grieve and it gave time for Sammy and I to prepare and pray our hearts through what would happen for us. Our genetic counselor said to us that she was so encouraged to see a couple united in their decisions so firmly because this is usually the toughest battle for her. We gave our decision and we moved on to how we would deal with the outcome and how we would love and support one another with what would be our toughest obstacle yet. Although Wed and Thursday of labor and delivery were very tough on me physically, we got to say goodbye. We would never trade that for a decision that most would consider "easier."

And finally my Sam is someone that grieves and allows me to grieve. Over the last few weeks Sam has been handed many a pamphlet on men and grieving and what I should expect from him. It's one of the few things we have been able to laugh about as a couple. In fact, the pamphlet he got at the hospital he didn't even bring home with him. It started with.....MEN DON'T CRY. Now, I get it. They have to put those things together. But I watched my husband hold Juliette in his arms and not cry, sob over her. And the hospital wasn't the first time this happened. We held each other at home and at Dr.'s appointments crying out for Juliette. Sammy has proven just about every stereotype wrong for men and grieving. He is spending an entire week with me, not going back to work until after Thanksgiving as I don't want to be alone. (stereotype says men will return to work or spend time away from home to keep their mind off the loss). He is constantly talking through my feelings with me. (stereotype says that he won't want to talk about the feelings with you and will want to quickly move on) And most importantly, Sammy is allowing me to be ME right now. He knows my emotions are extreme, he knows I function in the black and white of reality, he knows that when I love it's complete and fierce. He married me for all those reasons. And when the load seems very tough to carry, he steps in with his mercy and carries me to the next place. Sammy points us back to our Faith and Hope that in time our story will have a different ending. Right now, it is hard for me to see that but Sammy hopes for both us and takes that burden away from me as I grieve Juliette not being inside of me any longer.

To my Sam. Meeting you in April of 2008 and walking the last 3.5 years with you has been nothing short of amazing. Walking through this tragedy with you makes me realize the gift that God placed in my life when I just trying to get my bike fixed for an upcoming race. You have accepted this fiercely independent, stubborn and strong willed girl with a large amount of patience, mercy and love. You have taught me how to dream and hope much larger than what I thought possible and I know that in 20 years you will still cause my heart to beat fast when you walk into a room. No matter what People magazine may say, to me you will always be the Sexiest Man Alive. I love you so much and I want others to know that men like you do exist.

Together we will see this through and we will hope again. Colleen

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dear Juliette Phoebe Ann


Yes, that is your sweet name, Juliette. I always wanted a little girl named Juliette and we didn't tell ANYONE your name because I wanted to be the first to call you by that name when I got to meet you. Only it was a meeting that began broken hearted. I had you for 23 weeks and this pain in my heart is paralyzing. I can't imagine mother's that may get a few weeks, months or even years with their children and then lose them, and I am watching now and clinging to their strength because I don't seem to have it on my own. The last 2 days with you Juliette will forever be on my heart. A tough memory as I knew shortly after hello would be goodbye. It all happened so fast. Over the last 23 weeks, I was a Mom. People tell me I still am and I fight and struggle with that. And then comes my anger. I would trade anger for understanding. What I "want" for what is "real." All I know Juliette, is I wouldn't change any of our path even if the doctor's told me at 8 weeks in this could happen, I would allow life to work itself out and ask God for a miracle. That wasn't in this for us. You fought 3 weeks longer than what the Dr. anticipated, and to have that time to say goodbye as your heart slowed down was more precious to me that what most would understand. I am sad I never got to see your first smile, or hear your first cry. When I saw your fingers and how long they were at just 23 weeks, I was sad that I would never sit at a piano and teach you how to play your first scale or song. It was a deafening silence in our room when you delivered. But I am glad for the time you and I got together when Daddy went to go get food. I got my wish to sing to you for awhile and to tell you there were some pretty amazing people you would meet in heaven. Other children that were gone too soon that would meet you. And of course, Grandma and Grandpa Wilson. They will spoil you as only I wanted to.

Juliette, in just 23 weeks you changed my life. (our lives) You reminded me in a profound way how precious life is. You taught me that tears are ok at all times, because those tears drip with more love than you know. I have seen love to be like a fabric that never fades, no matter how often it is washed in the waters of adversity and grief. My memory of this week may eventually fade but my love will be here, ever strong for you. You taught me that love from a mother/father is so very real. If we could have done anything for your heart condition, we would have. When we saw your little body yesterday, it was so real to us that you had suffered and so although saying goodbye was very difficult, your body is perfect and whole now. No more pain. I can write that but have a long way to go until my selfishness sees that as "better".

The one thing I promised to you Juliette is that I would remember to be kind to myself during this process and that this healing is a journey. And for me, I feel a long journey because I wanted to be your Mom so badly.

We love you so very much. Thank you for the blanket and sweater that I have to remember you by when I held you on November 17th, 2011.

Writing and talking to you helps me right now. We love you so very much.

Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A day we will not easily forget....

Today we had another appointment at 845 am to listen for heart tones. Our baby girl's heart has stopped, as the Dr. had anticipated would happen very soon. It has been 3 weeks since we got the first news around our girl being in danger. Tomorrow I will go into the hospital at 5 am, we will start medication to begin delivery. My Dr. says if all goes ok, all should be completed by early evening.

What we need.

Prayers. Love. Thoughts. Keep them coming.

More specifically around the delivery tomorrow. That there are no complications and I can not be left with any further physical pain. Pray for this very difficult goodbye. I was told today I would be able to hold her if i wanted that, and I do.

We love you all. Colleen & Sammy

Monday, November 14, 2011

This is how I feel

"I am exhausted and completely crushed.
My groans come from an anguished heart.
You know what I long for, Lord;
you hear my every sigh."
Psalm 38:8-9

This expresses how I feel right now. I am exhausted because I can't sleep. I am crushed because there is nothing I can do to fix this. My tears come from a place that I have never thought possible. My heart is heavy because I don't want to say goodbye. Not yet. Still praying for a miracle for your heart Baby L.

We love you.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Emily Dickinson- grief

Emily, you said it best in this poem.

I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes –
I wonder if It weighs like Mine –
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long –
Or did it just begin –
I could not tell the Date of Mine –
It feels so old a pain –

I wonder if it hurts to live –
And if They have to try –
And whether – could They choose between –
It would not be – to die –

I note that Some – gone patient long –
At length, renew their smile –
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil –

I wonder if when Years have piled –
Some Thousands – on the Harm –
That hurt them early – such a lapse
Could give them any Balm –

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve –
Enlightened to a larger Pain –
In Contrast with the Love –

The Grieved – are many – I am told –
There is the various Cause –
Death – is but one – and comes but once –
And only nails the eyes –

There's Grief of Want – and grief of Cold –
A sort they call "Despair" –
There's Banishment from native Eyes –
In sight of Native Air –

And though I may not guess the kind –
Correctly – yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary –

To note the fashions – of the Cross –
And how they're mostly worn –
Still fascinated to presume
That Some – are like my own –

Dear Baby L

It's 3 am and I am awake again. I woke up in tears wondering if you know how much we love you. I also want you to know how much your Daddy wanted a girl. Early in our pregnancy I asked him if we wanted a boy or a girl. He said, "I honestly don't care, I want healthy, but I think it would be fun to have 2 of you around. So a girl would be fun." Now in my head, I thought...are you kidding? 2 super strong willed, sensitive and emotional ladies under one roof? You think that would be "fun"?! You want another competitive soul around, someone that thinks movie musicals make the best Friday night dates? Really? Do you know what you are signing up for if this is a girl?! He reminded me those are all reasons why he loves me and would welcome that.

When we found out you are a girl, our hearts melted. You should know I got lucky when God put your Daddy in my life. He is pretty great. I didn't understand "a perfect match" until I met him, but he is that. He has cried for you like I have and he hates it that he can't protect and fix this right now. Your heart is slowing down and he can do nothing.

We love you Baby L, we love you.

Mommy & Daddy

Dear Baby L

It's 2 am which seems to be a normal wake up time for me currently. My insomnia is off the charts and I struggle all the time with wanting to have conversations with our little girl inside of me. We found out the news at 19 weeks pregnant, she has made it to week 22, our Dr. was shocked the other day that her heart was still beating. I came home and had a small smile in my heart thinking, could she already know the woman that are before her and how she is already a fighter that would live up to blood in her. Writing has always been therapeutic for me. So when my tears wake me up, here is what I would tell her.

Dear Baby Girl L,

Your middle name would be after 2 woman that affected my life. You would have 2 middle names, Phoebe Ann. This was decided before Sam and I even knew we were expecting. As we discussed first names, the middle name was set. Phoebe is the name of your great-grandmother. She will greet you in heaven, please tell her I said hello and I that I miss her. She was barely 5 ft tall, but was a ball of fire and loved life. She didn't have over a middle school education but was one of the smartest women I know. Her laughter was infectious and I have such great memories of sitting next to her in church during summer visits and can still hear her voice sing out a hymn. She loved unconditionally and fearlessly. I wanted you to have a piece of her name. The other name Ann, is my Mom's, your grandmother's middle name. My mom also a fighter. Had a very difficult childhood and even in that never gave up on life and love. She gave me my love of music, and the arts. She is why I LOVE the Sound of Music and thought I was Maria. She also instilled a high level of competitiveness inside of me, and that transferred over into my love of sports. Both of these women also lived out an extreme life of Faith in front of me. This is the most important thing they gave me especially right now when I think of how this could turn out for your Dad and I. I have Faith that all things work for good little one. we love you.

Mom

Thursday, November 10

Sammy and I went back to our perinatal specialist for another ultra sound and check up. The fluid sacs have gotten significantly larger and the heart is slowly beating. We were told at this point, it is just a matter of time for the heart to stop and then I will be moved to delivery. There is nothing we can do. There is extreme adema and swelling for our little girl, she is in danger, and it is not something they can reverse.

We will go back next Tuesday for them to listen for a heartbeat and then every 2-3 days after that until we can't hear it any more. I will not know or be in any physical pain when her heart stops.

Today is a sad day for Sammy and I. The pain I feel in my body is nothing I have ever experienced before because its an emotional pain, not a physical pain. To try and wrap my head around going through a delivery and not bringing our sweet girl home is truly unsettling right now.

Sammy takes on Manhatten

I had a work trip to NYC. Sammy joined me for his first time to the city. It was a good distraction in the midst of pain. So glad we chose to continue on with this trip.

Wednesday, November 2

Wednesday, November 2

I received a phone call around 430 pm that the results were in and they were not good. It was then explained to me on the phone that our baby has Turner’s Syndrome. Something that happens at conception and is nothing we could have prevented. 1 in 2500 babies manifests itself in this way, and all the cases are girls. Basically every cell in our girl’s body is missing one sex chromosome and diagnosed this early, have an extremely low chance of carrying to full term and this is mainly because she is experiencing extreme heart failure. They usually see the baby miscarry in the second trimester which for us goes all the way to mid December. For those that do carry to full term, there are many complications that come from that as well, but at this time we are not focusing on that.

We basically have 2 options or 1 really, depending on how you look at it.

1. Terminate the pregnancy now because of the knowledge we have. This is not an option and I can’t tell you how I feel so good that God gave me a mate with the same conviction. No discussion, we instantly bypassed this “option”
2. We wait it out. I am monitored more closely, every 1 to 2 weeks. When/If the baby’s heart stops, we will be schedule to induction and delivery.

Tuesday, October 25

Sammy and I go for a routine check up which included our first anatomy scan of Baby Legge. (this is week 19 for us) My doctor walked into our room shortly after and let us know that they are seeing a few things that would cause for high concern and we needed to head over to a specialist right then. We then drove down the road to a perinatal specialist for another sonogram and a deeper look into what was going on. The Dr. informed us that our baby has 2 large lymphatic fluid filled sacs that are on both sides of the neck. (he showed them on the sonogram, they are so large that you cannot see a clear picture of the head, eyes, ears) He then also showed us a closer look at the heart and explained that the 4 chambers in the heart were not forming properly and not working correctly. Along with that, arms and legs were not growing as they needed to be. We then were moved into a room with a woman named Allison, a genetic counselor. She is amazing and I feel like God was looking out for us by placing us with her. She explained in simpler terms that our baby was in danger based on what they could see, and is showing signs of heart failure, but there were a few things it could be and they thought it would be good to do further testing.

We then chose to get a test of my Amnio fluid so they could better diagnosis what is happening. They made it clear it wasn’t to change anything that was currently happening, but for information down the road should we choose to try and conceive again. It would take 7-10 days to get that test back.

Now. We wait.