Saturday, May 2, 2015

Waiting for our rainbow. Part One. McKay James birth.

After you have a still born child, your next living child is called your rainbow baby.  They say, after the storm comes the rainbow.  We are waiting for our rainbow!  Here is part one of our journey.  I'm not a great writer and I'm sure there are plenty of typos and run on's etc.  Please excuse any mistakes.  My hope is that I can share my journey and maybe help some others along the way.  I am so grateful to my friends Katie Dial, Maureen Merrill, Stephanie Westwood, and others who have so bravely shared their story of losing their baby with me and the world.  It brings comfort and validation to know I am not alone and that others have felt similar feelings.  I hope I can give that to someone too, and even if I don't, I know it helps me to write this. (I also pulled some paragraphs straight from my journal so there may be more detail than you'd care to read.  So here is a disclaimer to only proceed if you are ok with some details. Also it is really long...really long. This is my story and it all was important to me.  I didn't know how to leave out anything.)

I guess I should start by explaining my anatomy.  I found out as a young girl that my anatomy was unique.  I had a septum or wall that ran from the top of my uterus down through the center, through the cervix, and through my vagina.  It is like looking down a double barrel shotgun, one doctor explained. I had 2 sides in my uterus and vagina and 2 cervixes. 
Just imagine trying to use a tampon as a young girl and it never worked because it was only on ONE side.  It was frustrating to say the least! 

Getting Pregnant

We didn’t know if I’d be able to have children, and after trying with my husband for 6 months we talked with my OB and decided to have surgery to remove my uterine and vaginal septum, leaving the cervix alone because we didn’t want to damage it or cause IC or an incompetent cervix (a cervix that is weak, not strong enough to hold the weight of a baby). 

I had the surgery done and my husband and I continued to try to get pregnant with no luck.  Over a year had passed and I was struggling to be patient.  We began seeing a fertility doctor and during that time we were blessed to conceive naturally.  

follow the link to see images and read  about my surgery: 

My First Baby

My pregnancy with Lincoln was pretty uneventful.  I did have some bleeding in the beginning but the fertility doctor was giving me ultrasounds and they squeezed me in at closing time on a Friday.  I was 8 weeks and thankfully we saw that perfect little flutter of a heartbeat.

My OB/GYN and I had many concerns for this pregnancy and there were many unknowns, would my cervix be strong enough to hold this baby?  Would I go into preterm labor because of my uterine abnormalities?  Would I need a c-section to deliver, would one side of my cervix dilate or both sides dilate?  Would my baby be born on one side or rip right through the middle?  We just had no idea how it would work out, but I was grateful my doctor would let me try to have my child vaginally, the way my body was meant to.  I wanted to experience EVERY part of pregnancy including the delivery.  (This may be difficult for some people to understand but for me personally it was important to try.) 

Justin did have to take me into triage around 33 weeks for preterm labor which they stopped with tributelene. He took me in again around 35 or 36 weeks because I thought I might be leaking amniotic fluid and I was still having contractions but they gave me the shot again and sent me home, it wasn’t amniotic fluid.  Other than that it was uneventful and wonderful.  We had a fun gender reveal party, we were having A BOY and I felt like my dreams were coming true.

My son, however, seemed content where he was and I had to be induced.  We were still unsure if I would need a c-section or not.  The delivery went smoothly.  My cervical septum tore right through the middle and our son Lincoln was born.  My doctor removed the torn cervical septum and we went on with our new perfect life and perfect 7lbs 2 ounce bundle of boy/JOY!  

Pregnancy #2 and our first loss

It didn’t take long before we were ready to try again. This time we got pregnant within 3 or 4 months and I was due July 12, 2014.  We were over the moon excited.   I experienced all the typical morning sickness symptoms and we saw the heartbeat at our doctor’s office.  The following week after seeing the heartbeat, was the week of Thanksgiving, I was 8 weeks, and I started bleeding.  I hoped it was a similar situation to my previous pregnancy and it would turn out to be nothing, but I was still very concerned and went in to the doctors.  The cramping and bleeding was continuing to get worse and the doctor confirmed that there was no longer a heartbeat and I was having a miscarriage. 

They gave J and I, the option of a D&C or letting nature take its course, and Justin and I decided that since the process had already started we would try letting it happen naturally.  Sure enough, that very evening I went into labor.  I didn’t know that you could go into labor at 8 weeks, but I did.  It was gruesome, painful, and traumatic in many ways, but I’ll spare you the other details.  We were unprepared for the pain and the large amount of blood.  Thankfully, my sister is a labor and delivery nurse and she rushed over and arrived right as I delivered and she took care of me in every way possible.  We would've called an ambulance if it wasn't for her.

We grieved and our hearts were broken.  We didn’t announce this pregnancy to the world yet, so only a few close friends and our families knew.  It was a hard time but we felt very loved and supported through it.  I wish the world better understood the pain that comes with losing a baby, even if it is "only" at 8 weeks.  I had already fallen in love with this baby and started dreaming and planning.  It is devastating to have those dreams come crashing down.

Pregnancy #3

After a few months the doctor said it would be ok to try again so we did and we got pregnant right away.  We found out our sweet baby was due October 30, 2014.  We felt so blessed to have gotten pregnant so quickly and then we discovered it was another boy.   Our first son was born in October too so his clothes would be perfect for our next boy.  I also had really hoped we would have 2 boys in a row.  I wanted them to be best buddies and I knew they would be.  They would only be 24 months apart, it really was perfect!  

I started my daily regimen of progesterone to support the pregnancy, which I had also taken with my previous pregnancies, but I started bleeding AGAIN and of course panicked.   The doctors told me it was a subchorionic hemorrhage, which is basically unexplained bleeding in the uterus or by the placenta, and often it resolves itself.  I also started having intense cramping which I know now were contractions.  This all began around 15 weeks (aprox).

I couldn’t seem to catch a break!  I knew that the chances for losing a baby went down significantly after the first trimester.  I had already passed that, and the 8 week mark I had lost my previous pregnancy at,  so I thought I was in the clear.  The majority of women get pregnant and have healthy babies, why would I be any exception to that? I was naive.  I also had a great deal of faith in doctors and medical staff, I thought they could do anything.  Sadly, they will be the first to admit that they are human and that they can't fix everything. 

I should’ve listened to my body, not the doctors.  I shouldn’t have been so naïve and unrealistic, maybe it was even denial.  Either way I could go on forever about the should and should nots, that may have changed something, but that’s pointless.  
I was in constant communication with my doctor.  I was going into the office weekly so they could monitor the length of my cervix to be sure it wasn’t dilating or shortening, but things in that department appeared fine.  On May 19th, I was 16.5 weeks and I had a doctor’s appointment and the doctor diagnosed me with placenta previa, which is when the placenta is lying on top of the cervix.  This can be dangerous and needs to be monitored closely.  I also informed the doctor that I was cramping often and he said that is normal during pregnancy so I tried not to worry.   Looking back, it bothers me that the doctor didn’t take me more seriously (This was not my personal OB).

Eventually, as the cramping (contractions) worsened, my doctor started me on ibuprofen to calm my uterus.  It worked really well.  As long as I was taking 600mg every 6 hours, my contractions were minimal, for a while anyway.  After a few days my doctor put me on modified bedrest and after 4 or 5 hours the ibuprofen would ware off and for an hour or 2 I’d be extremely uncomfortable before I could take my next dose.  I was terrified that the contractions were going to shorten and dilate my cervix so I took bedrest seriously.  On May 28 I started bleeding again and I panicked. May 29, my contractions kept getting stronger and by May 30 I was really afraid.  I was texting my doctor and talking to the office’s triage nurse.  The nurse assumed I wasn’t drinking enough and told me to try to relax (needless to say, this nurse is not my favorite person).  They told me to continue bedrest and ibuprofen and to come in the next week. I was so confused, why weren’t they doing anything more aggressive to stop these contractions?  At this point I was 18 weeks. 

McKay's birth

The following day, Saturday, May 31, 2014, I woke up in severe pain at 5am and I told Justin we would need to go to the ER because it was that bad.  It wasn’t time for my next dose of ibuprofen but I took it anyway and soon I was able to get back to sleep.

At 8:26 Sat, I sat up and felt a large gush and I immediately assumed it was blood.  I screamed for Justin who was just coming back into the room and he helped me hobble to the bathroom.  I remember crying out, “Help me God!” over and over, I was frantic and terrified.

When I got to the bathroom I quickly realized it wasn’t blood but clear fluid and there had been to much for it to have been a bladder accident.  I called my sister immediately and she said it sounded like amniotic fluid and I needed to be seen immediately.  It couldn’t be, I didn’t believe her.  I kept asking her what else it could be other than amniotic fluid, but she said it didn’t sound good.

We frantically woke up our son and J tried to gather up some belongings but there was no time.  I was in pain and bleeding and we needed to get to the hospital.  We called the doctor’s office and begged them to get me into triage because triage normally won’t take you if you are under 20 weeks and I was only 18 weeks.  They said they’d call ahead which they did, and to go to triage where they are better equipped to handle anything pregnancy related.  (Later I was able to recognize that this was a miracle that I went to triage and not the ER.  The staff is also wonderful at Banner Desert, they are a high risk hospital and the nurses are trained to help parents with experiences like this.)

On the way to the hospital I felt more gushes, and I assumed it was more amniotic fluid, I was in AGONY.  I begged him to go as fast as he could.  We pulled up to the bay entrance and J ran inside.  While he was in there I looked down and saw that I was sitting in a pool of blood.  I honked the horn and became hysterical.

J ran back out without a wheelchair because there were none by the entrance (what hospital doesn’t have wheelchairs by the doors!?).  He carried me into the hospital, cradled in his strong and loving arms, as I cried out in fear and left behind a trial of blood.  (I can’t explain the comfort and protection I felt having my husband by my side, this is true love people! He is my hero!)  As if things weren't bad enough, the fire alarm was going off and no one was at the security desk and the doors into triage were locked.  What a sight we must’ve been.  I was still wailing, so it didn’t take long for a few nurses to come to the door and usher us into the closest room.  My doctor had called ahead and they knew right away who we were.

They needed to hook me up to an IV right away.  The nurse stuck me 2 or 3 times and it hurt like no one’s business.  the pokes both left big bruises.  Finally, she decided she needed to ask someone else to do it.  I was not happy.  Because of my loss of blood I was a hard stick.  They worked quickly and calmly which helped me breathe easier.  

It took a bit to get the u/s machine, but it felt like an eternity! When they did the u/s they weren't telling us what they were seeing, like I was accustomed to. I finally just asked if there was a heartbeat (They weren't looking at the baby, they were measuring my fluid levels, so I couldn't tell).  I had just assumed that McKay had died, but he hadn't. His heart was still beating and he was moving slightly.  I felt a flood of relief and excitement!!  Then I asked if my cervix was long, they said it WAS…how could that be?  What was all of the cramping?   I assumed that the contractions had been dilating my cervix.  At this point I was feeling slightly more calm and hoping desperately that they could find a way to keep me pregnant.  I think the nurse even mentioned that a neonatologist might come and speak to me about where we need to get the baby to in terms of weeks of development for survival.  I had HOPE. I finally got the guts up to ask the nurse what the 2.4 meant for my fluid levels and she said it was very low.  This was not good. (It should be around 10)

My hope, of course, only lasted a few minutes before they began discussing inducing me and the risks to me and the baby.  I couldn’t induce. My son was alive and if he was born now he certainly wouldn’t live.  I couldn’t kill him.  One of my greatest fears at that time was the fear of my son being born alive and watching him suffer.  Now, I realize it would’ve been a gift to hold him as his heart stopped beating, to bless him, to tell him I loved him and I’d be with him again someday,  but at the time I didn’t know if I could endure watching my child die. 

 I quickly developed a fever which means infection, and the pain sky rocketed.  I couldn’t even breathe without intense pain in my entire core area.  The infection was spreading quickly and infection turns into sepsis which leads to death. They did give me Demerol and Zofran and of course an antibiotic.  Right after they gave it to me I threw up.  It was horrible.  It seemed so unfair to be going through all of this and then add pain from getting stuck with the IV’s 3 times and throwing up and it was just cruel and seemed like more than I could endure!  The meds kicked in fast though and they KNOCKED ME OUT!   

I felt another gush at some point so the nurse checked me.  When she checked she sat at my feet and scooped up something and she just sat there and held it…it was a clot.  A LARGE clot.  She called in the Dr and nurses and a scale. They began weighing the clots and blood I was losing.  They would weigh the pads that they started replacing regularly because I was bleeding so much.
They were also taking my blood pressure constantly. I remember the pain from the cuff on my arm because the infection made everything hurt SO much. 

Many people were coming into the room.  They were calling the doctor and other nurses with their radios.  I was weak and groggy but also scared again.  Now I wasn’t only terrified for my baby’s life I was afraid for my own.  I thought of leaving Lincoln and Justin and missing Lincoln grow up and I couldn’t bear it.  I remember looking up at the nurse and asking her, “Am I going to be ok??”  I was sincere and afraid.  Her answer didn’t bring me much comfort.  She told me I was in the best place and they were doing everything they could to take care of me.   I could hear the urgency in the nurses’ voices; they were throwing around words like transfusion, abruption, and get the doctor in here.  The nurses no longer talked to Justin to explain things, they were busy talking to each other and the doctor.  Things got more hectic and Merri had gone to the cafeteria to get J food and I needed her, I knew she would make sure I was getting the best care and no one was missing anything. 

With all of the bleeding they wanted me to be ready for a blood transfusion so they wanted to get another IV port in me.  I was NOT happy about this because the last one hurt so much, I was already suffering, and I hate the darn things!  They had a nurse who is supposed to be good at sticking only once, come in and try to find a vein.  She put on a turn-a-kit at least 3 different times and she closely examined my arm for at least 20 minutes.  Again, the pain was intense, it was so tight and my arm was so sensitive because of the infection.  She stuck me once on my forearm and it hurt, they literally dug the needle around my arm and I started bawling.  I cried out, “I don’t want to do this!” The IV hurt so much and mix that with the pain of losing my baby and that did me in.  This was all too much.  People tried to comfort me, Merri told me, “You are SO strong!” but I felt anything but strong.  I could hear Justin crying. This was worse than a nightmare. 

(To be 100% honest I don’t know how Merri and Justin did it.  I could NOT watch one of them suffer.  I love them so much and I would much rather go through the pain than watch them hurt.  I am SO grateful for their strength, comfort, and spirit they had with them!)

Just my luck, the IV didn’t take AGAIN!  But I was bleeding from the site and I remember Justin pointing out to them, “hey she is bleeding!!”  Next, the CRNA or nurse anesthetist took a stab at it.  He searched my left arm carefully, but he couldn’t find a vein.  He eventually had to do it in the same arm as the other IV because my veins were flat (even though I’d been on IVs all morning).  It hurt more than I can describe, but he got it the first try.  I was so grateful!   At this point however I didn’t even know or care why they were putting this IV line in. I was to out of it.

I couldn’t keep my eyes open to try to understand why they were giving me medication to induce me.  I wanted to resist but was hardly alert enough to speak or even understand what was going on.  The doctor came in twice to try to explain to me why we needed to induce.  I don’t remember much about that.  Justin later explained that when you get an infection there is no other option except to deliver the baby.  The only way to get rid of the infection is to empty the uterus.  They had to deliver my son to save my life, and my body had started the process but they needed to speed it up.  

Justin’s parents came and all I remember is that Dave gave me a beautiful and very special blessing.  I can remember a few important phrases from that blessing that I knew I would never forget (another miracle that I be alert enough to hear and remember these words).  

They kept offering me pain relief options like an epidural or more IV pain meds.  I didn’t want either.  The Demerol had already drugged me and I wasn’t happy that I was sleeping through all of this.  Every time I opened my eyes Justin was right there beside me crying.  I HATED that I couldn’t cry with him, I couldn’t comfort him, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  I didn’t want an epidural either.  I can’t explain why not.  I wanted to feel everything.  I remembered my miscarriage from November and knew that the pain was awful and terrifying but it was also quick.  I wanted to remember this birth and didn’t want to sleep through it or not feel it.

One of the first things I told Justin once we arrived at the hospital was my worst fear was our son being born alive and having to suffer.  I couldn’t handle it.  I couldn’t bear it.  He had a heartbeat.  He was ALIVE inside of me.  When would he die?  Would he feel pain? Would he suffocate?  These are the worst fears I’ve ever felt.  I remember Merri telling me about babies that wore stillborn or born before their lungs were developed and I always asked if they gave them pain medicine or something so they wouldn’t suffer.  I have NEVER been able to imagine suffering through something like this.  My heart broke for any mother that ever had to endure this hell.  It just seemed like the worst thing in the world.  Now I was the one dealing with this!  How could this be? Why us? I had done everything in my power to protect this sweet boy.  I wouldn’t take any medication and I took my prenatal vitamin every day.  I was careful with the deodorant I wore, I wouldn’t color my hair, I ate organic, and I followed the doctors’ orders to a T.  The guilt I felt now was for not fighting with the doctor’s office while I was cramping.  They didn’t take me seriously.  Would they have been able to stop the preterm labor if I had stood up for my baby and myself?  I blamed myself.  I had so many questions! I didn’t know what else I could’ve done but my body had failed my son.

They started me on a high dose of Pitocin to stop the bleeding.  The doctor also encouraged me to get an epidural.  He said often times when a baby is born prematurely, the placenta doesn’t come out and they have to take the patient to the OR for a D&C in which case I would need an epidural anyway.  I was also in a great deal of pain from the infection, contractions, and Pitocin.   I hesitantly agreed, but knew it was better to have it in case I needed that procedure. I was also DYING of pain in my abdomen.  No one could touch me without me crying out.  I couldn’t move or even lift my head without crying in pain.  It was HORRIBLE and unlike anything I’d ever experience.

The epidural was scary for me.  I had to sit up and it was just excruciating to move even an inch.  Everyone helped.  But basically my eyes were shut for everything.  They had me curl into a ball and the anesthesiologist told me what was going to happen.  After being poked and prodded all day I was scared for additional pain.  After the pain from the IV’s I didn’t know if I could handle more.  I was contracting and after a contraction they had me sit up.  After a minute or two another came and it was awful.  The pain from my abdomen mixed with the contractions was just unbearable.  Justin was standing to the side of me on my left and holding my hand.  My nurse Christine, was hugging me, her face right next to mine and she whispered in my ear, “You can do this!” 

They pulled up a chair and had me sit with my feet together curled up in a ball. (These are some of the first details I actually remember, aside from some of the words from Dave’s beautiful blessing)  Merri was right next to Christine comforting me with her words continually. I thought the epidural would be worse than the IV’s so I was scared.  But it was NOTHING in comparison.  I told the anesthesiologist and the others that it was a piece of cake and we were all able to smile and lighten up a tad for that moment.  Eventually it started working and I was very grateful I chose to get it.  There was a little relief.

Often after getting an epidural mother’s blood pressures can drop.  Well my blood pressure was already low but it dropped to a scary low of something like 70/30 or something crazy.  I was losing blood and with the epidural it just wasn’t a good combination.

After the epidural I was exhausted and I continued sleeping.  They had me on Pitocin and they were slowly cranking it up.  They were continually checking my bleeding when they eventually checked and realized my sons’ foot was presenting.

Once they saw McKay (he was breech) they called the doctor in to deliver him.  The nurse told me that often times the uterus pushes the baby out so quickly that nurses are the only ones there to catch them.  I assumed (especially after my last miscarriage where everything happened so quickly) that this would be the case for me.  I thought McKay (my baby) would slip out in seconds and I had tried to prepare myself however, that wasn’t the case.  Since our boy was breech it took probably around 20 to 30 minutes to deliver him.  The doctor came in, reached up and helped gently bring out his legs and eventually his arms and hands.  After that his head was stuck and we just had to wait for it to come out.  The doctor had me push at least 2 separate times that I can remember.  I buried my face in Justin’s chest and did my best.   It was hard to catch my breath.  I couldn’t breathe.  A few times I remember people telling me I was almost done, and that he was almost here.  It felt like it took forever.  I think in-between pushes I even fell asleep.  I hate myself for that, I don’t know how to explain why.  I wanted to be present for the short time I had to be with my son and to bring his body into this world.

Justin and I don’t remember anyone speaking, no words of encouragement like when I had Lincoln.  It was a the opposite of what you would be feeling at a typical birth.  No joy and anticipation, just deep sadness, loss, and pain.  I had ahold of Justin and he had a hold of me.  We weren’t letting go!  No words were needed. 

At some point they had asked me what I wanted to have happen after he was born.  Did I want him weighed and measured or did I want to hold him?  I knew I wanted him given RIGHT to me even though I didn’t know what to expect when I saw him and it frightened me.   What if my little boy’s heart was still beating.  I could NOT abandon him.  He needs ME, his mommy!  I would be with him until the last beat of his heart.  (no mother should have to think about these things!)

Our angel baby was born at 7:31pm.  I was very nauseous and still quite groggy.  I remember being very nervous to look at him.  I didn’t know what he would look like and I felt so sick and I don’t do well with blood.  I kept my eyes shut tight and I held on to Justin with all my might.  The doctor told me his ears were still a little low and he also informed me that he checked his umbilical cord and his heart had stopped beating.  (A phrase you should never hear when delivering your baby).  I appreciated him talking about him with me.  When I opened my eyes to see my son I was HORRIFIED to see that the doctor had placed MY SON into a blue basin.  I wanted to yell at him.  How dare he treat my son differently than any other baby he delivers.  My baby is not broken or diseased, in fact quite the opposite.  He was perfect in every single tiny way.  I had to scoop my miniature baby out of the cold plastic tub myself and hold him close.  He was small, red, and lifeless but perfect in every way.  He looked just like Justin and Lincoln to me.  

I remember starting to violently shake after that.  I couldn’t hold still or stop my teeth from chattering.  It was miserable and I felt awful but I savored every second of holding my son.
The doctor told me after everything was done that my delivery went as smoothly as it could’ve gone.  Often times, in these cases, the placenta is retained and won’t deliver so they have to rush the mother back to the OR leaving the father ALONE with a dead baby.  It sounds like another knife in my heart even thinking about it!  I am very grateful the placenta delivered on its own and that it went as smoothly as it could’ve from pushing on.

On our way to the hospital that morning I told Justin we needed to pick a name.  I needed to talk to our boy.  Justin told me he couldn’t, it was too much, so I left it alone.  The next morning, I told him he needed a name.  We had some quiet time alone and he wrote 2 names on the board.  Calvin McKay and McKay James, both included names of family members we love and admire.  We sat holding our son, staring at the names and we picked, McKay James after Justin’s father. 

Leaving the hospital with empty arms was gut wrenching.  They wheeled me to a special exit so I wouldn’t have to go past many people.  The only time I opened my eyes I looked up to see a large picture of a mother holding a new, healthy, chubby, baby.  I quickly glued my eyes shut again until we were outside.  I’ll never forget that dumb picture.  Thankfully I was surrounded by love and support.  My friends and family helped me through.  They surrounded my wheel chair and we were all together.  All I focused on was getting to my Lincoln and never letting him go.  

I had never been through anything as difficult or painful as this.  I didn't know how to survive it.  But the first week I truly believe I was carried through by the angels around me.  I can't list everything that was done for me because the list would be a mile long but I will list a few particular things that I never want to forget and that I hope I never need to do for anyone else traveling a similar road. 

My sister immediately drove down from Colorado to be with us, it was very special to have her meet my son and to have her near to lean on.  I needed my family during this time.  There’s nothing like sisters.  They were grieving too.  We all would cry together. 
My best friends came as soon as I asked them too and were there every step of the way.  They also cleaned my home from top to bottom while I was in the hospital, coming home it was so nice to get into a clean bed and not have to worry about anything as trivial as cleaning.  They also stocked my freezer with freezer meals, which saved us from starving or eating out because I wouldn’t be able to think about cooking for some time!

 Meals were brought, cards and letters sent, and I loved it all.  It helped to feel so loved.  I even got letters from all of the YW I grew up with with heart attacks.  It was so special getting all these hearts in the mail from old friends all over the country.  Truthfully I had no idea how it happened, but an old YW leader orchestrated it on FB.  I kept every single letter and card and heart.  

I also got a special bracelet from my friend Katie who lost her son JJ.  I had become a member of this club that no one  wants to be part of.  But this bracelet connected me to her and I just felt like someone understood!  It’s powerful to have that support and understanding. 

Another friend gave me a beautiful necklace with birthstones for each of my babies and this was very heartwarming to see something to represent each of my children.  It is precious to me.  

My best friend also made me 2 special quilts.  One for me to keep and one for me to bury with my son.  I had racked my brain trying to think of what I could bury with him, and she solved the problem for me.  I slept with the blanket I'd bury with him, every night until it was resting with him.  I also wrapped him in the quilt that I would keep during his funeral so that I would always have that reminder that it had been with him.

My family and best friend also helped me plan his memorial service in one short week.  I couldn't have done it without them.  My bf also made the most beautiful memorial video with all of the pictures set to beautiful music.  This will be treasured by us forever. 

Another thing I wanted to note was how grateful I was for my nurses, especially Merri.  They helped me so much in making memories in the short time I had with my McKay.  The things I was given in the hospital, blankets, hats, music, his cloth diapers, etc are all I have left of him now and they are very important to me.  I slept with his blanket and kept his hat in my bra, close to my heart for months following his death.  The nurses/Merri had been trained to help mothers experiencing a loss and they assured me it was healthy and important to spend time with my son, to hold him, talk to him, and take pictures.  It helped knowing it was “ok” and even healthy. 

My bf also thought about taking care of my husband.  So many people forget that the husband grieves too and he feels the need to stay strong and stoic to support his wife.  He was worn out in every possible way.  They brought him a HUGE case of his favorite soda and muffins because J loves muffins.  It was SO thoughtful and something most people wouldn't think of. (I know I'm spoiled to have such amazing people in my life)

Below are some pictures of our time with McKay in no particular order.  They are very precious to me.  Please only look if you are able to feel loving and supportive. 

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