Note: I welcome any and all readers. I hope that, if you find yourself here, you find comfort in our story as I have found comfort in the stories of so many other moms and dads who have traveled this lonely road.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Good Doctor Appointment (Could it Be?)

Okay, so I am apparently not ready to let go of this blog quite yet. I wrote this post in my new blog, but realized before I hit 'publish' that I don't want to get too technical in that blog - I need it to be a place of healing, and cold, hard medical facts are not what I would call healing. Because I know I have followers here who may want to know about hyper-coiling, I will post this information here instead.

One note before you read on: I cover this in detail in my new blog, but I recently had a 10-week miscarriage. Yeah, I know. Our rainbow baby didn't make it. We're devastated. But...we are staying strong. We are going to try again. This is not the end.

It's not something I thought I would ever be able to say again, but there it is in the title, so it must be true. A GOOD doctor appointment!

Today was our Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist appointment. It was scheduled at our post-birth follow-up around 8 months ago, so we have been waiting a LONG time for this. I really did my homework with Haven's cause of death, so I was confident in how I felt a future pregnancy should be managed. I knew that there was very little research out there regarding hyper-coiling of the umbilical cord (also called hyper-spiraling or torsion), and I was concerned that, due to the lack of research, a future pregnancy might be treated as "low risk."

It turns out that my apprehension was unfounded. The specialist was compassionate, but very to the point and knowledgeable. I am going to share the details here, in case another mama comes looking for this kind of information someday and it can be helpful. Or, if you want to know about it just 'cause, you are welcome to read on too!


  • We were surprised to find out that, not only was Haven's cord abnormal, it looks like her placenta had also been abnormal. Excess growth of blood vessels in the placenta indicated that not enough oxygen had been getting through, so it was trying to overcompensate. This may have caused Haven to be hyperactive, which may have caused the hyper-coiling. This is a little speculative because there is very little study on the subject, but it would explain a whole lot. They can't tell us why the placenta wasn't getting enough oxygen in the first place. However, they feel this was likely an isolated case.
  • She also mentioned that there were "fibrous kinks" in the cord, which wasn't really explained before. I am thinking these probably came from the last few times Haven switched sides in my belly. I had a bad feeling about the last turn she made, though I couldn't explain it. Now I think I had some kind of intuition that something was wrong (why can't intuition scream instead of whisper?)
  • In my bloodwork before delivery, they discovered that my Protein S levels were low. This has to do with how your blood clots. The specialist feels that it is probably just a normal variation, but I will receive further testing in a few weeks. There seems to be a correlation in a lot of these cases between clotting issues and coiling, so I am eager to have this testing done (it may not be cause and effect, but two factors working together in a negative way).
Recent Miscarriage
  • This is felt to be completely unrelated to what happened with Haven (as we already guessed).
  • We may decide to use baby asparin leading up to conception and after the first trimester next time. There are thought to be benefits in prevention of various placental issues with its use.

Next Pregnancy

  • Like the OB said, there is no reason we can't try again as soon as we feel ready. We will likely wait until I can be tested for the clotting issue in case the result is positive (it takes a month for results to come back).
  • The specialist and the pathologist felt that, due to me not having any underlying risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, thrombophilia, etc.) the risk of recurrence was <1%. Now, with the statistical unlikelihood of what happened to Haven, I take all numbers with a truckload of salt, thankyouverymuch, but I am going to try and live in the >99%.
  • Like with my recent pregnancy, I will begin seeing my OB as soon as I get a positive test.
  • Between 10-12 weeks, I'll have another MFM appointment to ensure all is developing okay.
  • They will do an 8-10 week ultrasound to date the pregnancy and assess for viability, then one at 18-20 for the anatomy scan, where they will do extra imaging to assess the blood flow from me to the baby, so they can see if anything looks abnormal. Assuming all is okay, I will start having biweekly scans at 28 weeks, then weekly scans at 34 weeks until delivery.
  • I will be induced at 39 weeks unless there are factors that indicate we should deliver sooner (or if I am an anxious and emotional basket case and tests indicate the baby is okay and ready). We'll do an amniocentesis to make sure baby's lungs are okay before proceeding.
  • Hopefully, we will finally get our "take-home baby." I'm daring to dream.


Physically, I am feeling pretty good, though my hormones are bringing a surge of anxiety as they drop. However, my hormone levels seem to be dropping in a healthy way (hcg was only 130 on Monday!) Our OB will follow us until the numbers reach zero.

I spoke to our OB today when I called for my blood results, and she asked how I was doing. I kind of brushed it off, but she really wanted to know. She said "I am reaching through the phone to give you a hug! I want to see you with a big, beautiful belly!" I smiled as if she could see me and said, "I really want to see me that way too. I hope it happens." It is nice to know that we have such a supportive doctor.

That's it. Consider yourself updated. ;)

Silly Me!

Just a little note to say that, in my exhaustion, I made a silly error when I set up the URL for my new blog. If you tried to access it and were unsuccessful, it is now fixed.

You can read new posts here:

Sorry for the confusion!

All the best,

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Up, then Down Again

Hello, friends.

I haven't posted here in some time. A lot has changed since I did. Life has gone up, then down again. I hope that we begin climbing up soon.

I've decided to use a permanent blog space rather than have several narrowly themed blogs - you can find the new one at I update regularly.

I hope that this blog has been a help to you if you have followed it. I would love for you to continue on with me at the new location. Please email me anytime - I know how desperate I was in the early months for someone, anyone, to understand. Note that I don't check that address often, but if you message me, I will always (eventually) reply.

All the best.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


I mentioned in the last entry that we have been waiting for Haven's headstone to be completed and installed (since May!). Well, a few days ago, we drove to the cemetery and there it was! Gone was the gray marker, and there was her beautiful stone. We had it inscribed with a flower and a little bird, along with "Haven Melody, beloved daughter of Brandi and Danny," then her date and the verse Matthew 10:29-31 (we chose this passage because it is about how God notices and loves all of us, even the smallest and seemingly insignificant).

Though it was hard to stand there and look at my baby girl's headstone, it was comforting to know that she was finally laid to rest in the way we wanted. It really is so unnatural to bury your child. Most people never have to experience it picking out a casket or funeral flowers or headstone for someone you expected to outlive you.

But now she is marked. She was here, and that stone will show it for generations to come. Maybe someday I will visit it with her brother or sister in tow.

As for me...

I still have dark days, when the flashbacks are bad, or the heavy weight on my chest will not lift, but things have been getting better gradually. The medication chased away the darkest thoughts almost immediately, and for that I am grateful. I am gradually weaning again now, and we have been trying this month. This time, I am really off the grid with trying to conceive. Just letting nature take its course.

Something that I have talked about on my other blog a bit is how I am learning to take better care of myself. Since I lost Haven, a part of me wanted to hurt myself by not eating well (or at all at one point). I think I had a lot of self-hatred in the early months, and as time has gone by, I have just made unhealthy choices in an effort to quiet the pain. But I know now that Haven would never want that for me. I am feeding peace and health and joy into my life again.

What a long, long road this is.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Square One

Recently, I made the decision to wean myself off of my medication and begin trying to conceive. Things were going well for a few weeks...and then I fell off an emotional cliff. All of the depression and crippling anxiety came flooding back, along with withdrawal symptoms I had heard about but thought were exaggerated (they're not). I hit a low point a few days ago and stayed there. A friend convinced me to go back on my antidepressants, so here I am. Here we are. No more baby after trying this month, and now no more baby until I can scrape myself together again.

I have never liked being in an unresolved or uncertain state, yet I have been living like that for almost seven months now, not living but not dead, a mother but not a mother. Where does one put all of these feelings? How do you live after you lose your child? Almost seven months later and I still can't answer these questions. I really thought that I would just immediately get pregnant and I would find zen feelings and float off into some fuzzy rainbow baby future where my hurts would be healed by the family we would grow. Yet, seven months later, I have tried for 3-4 cycles to get pregnant with no results, I am on antidepressants and now can't try again until I am weaned off in a healthy way, and I am still shredded emotionally.

But I wait. And I get up each morning. And I eat, and I drink, and I bathe myself. I work, I spend time with friends, and I go to church. But I do it all so mechanically; it's hard to remind myself of my "why" for living sometimes. Some stubborn part of me fights my fears, believing that it has to get better than this and that I will be happy again someday. I hope that part is right.

On the topic of "unresolved," we are still waiting on Haven's headstone, which we ordered about 3 months ago. We were assured it would be installed quickly, but every time we drive by, her place is still marked only by a gray, crudely nailed together marker, her name written on it in Sharpie. It is so ugly and hurts my mama's heart.

Ah, resolution. Where are you?

Friday, 29 August 2014

Breakfast Bomb

I usually take it for granted that our little community of family and friends and coworkers were all aware and sensitive when Haven died. Today I got a taste of someone who didn't know and who wasn't sensitive.

We were at the window at a Tim Horton's drive through to get some breakfast and tea when Danny recognized one of the ladies working inside (an old coworker). I smiled at her. 

"Oh heyyyy," she said, popping her head around the woman serving us, "listen, did you have your baby?" Silence reigned for a few seconds until Danny said, "yeah, we did, but unfortunately she, uh, she didn't make it." The lady dramatically covered her mouth, "oh, I'm sooo sorry!" She stepped away from the window and I thought that was that.


She popped back into the window: "were you full-term?"

Danny: yeah.

Lady: "oh my, you don't think about that happening. What happened?"

Danny briefly explained.

"Oh, that's terrible. It must have been so hard." She popped away again, and the other lady in the window (a total stranger!) asked, "was it a boy or girl?" 

Danny answered, but I was just staring off into space at this point, barely believing this was happening.

The old coworker popped back into the window and asked in a conspiratorial tone, "I hope it doesn't sound nosy, but are you guys going to try again?"

I just sat there in shock while Danny said, "uh, we're hoping to, yeah." 

"Oh, that's good." Other random lady chimes in, "hopefully it'll work out this time."

I completely broke down by the time he got me to work. I understand not knowing, but a response to this situation needs to end at "I'm so sorry" and nothing else. I am still in shock that someone who barely knows my husband AND a complete stranger could go on such a nosy tear of questions immediately after finding out we lost our child.

Now I need to somehow let this go and focus on work... I am in disbelief. What is wrong with people?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Life, Again

Life is happening. I don't know when it started creeping in or when things started to feel normal again, but here I am. I truly couldn't see my way through to this even two months ago. A part of me didn't believe the other loss moms who told me that I would eventually feel like this again. Somehow, I am finding my way down this murky path and I am hoping again. I am doing well at work, I am having fun with friends and with Danny, and life is mostly good. Of course Haven is on my mind constantly, and I still have dark days and moments where I feel like my heart is going to burst out of my chest, but I am finding that I am stronger, and that I am bouncing back in a way that I just couldn't before now.

As I have noticed no real reaction to stage 1 of weaning from my antidepressants (other than an increase in anxiety), we decided to start trying again this month. I can't even explain to you how different it is this time around. I hope this does not sound ungrateful and that it does not hurt anyone for me to say this, but I am profoundly grateful that I didn't become pregnant a few months ago when we were trying; I was nowhere near ready, and I think the fear that my anxiety and depression and insomnia would be detrimental to the baby would have probably made all three of those things so much worse. This time around, I feel relaxed and excited. Yeah, I also have MANY fears, but I think those will now forever be a part of the process for us. So wish us luck!

This time around, there are no OPK's, no constant web searches, and no hourly symptom-spotting. And there will be no early testing either. I was entirely consumed the few months that we tried, and I can't imagine that helped things. This time around, I am focusing on being healthy and rested and happy. When it happens, it happens (though I selfishly would love a May or June baby!)