Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas is over... on to 2010

Christmas has come and gone. Joseph and I tried to make the day as positive as possible. We started Christmas morning by visiting the boys. We took some new flowers and visited with them for a little while. The bows that we put up on Thanksgiving are still there. It was heartbreaking to spend Christmas in a graveyard, but there was no way we couldn't go see them on Christmas. After leaving the boys, we went to Joseph's parent's house and my Grandparent's house. All-in-all I think we did pretty well. The closer we get to the twins due date, the stronger we get. That day is going to be hard, but it will also be the last of these painful days for awhile. We unfortunately lost our boys right before three major holidays, followed closely by their due date.... which makes everything that much harder.
We are back in Stafford now. New Years Eve will probably be a quiet night for us. I think we are both excited about the prospect of a new year and a fresh start. 2009 will definitely go on record for being one of the most trying years to date. 2010 is going to be better for us, I just know it. I am ready for some positive things in our lives.
I leave you with a picture of the boy's headstone. I think it is beautiful. It is decorated for Christmas with the bows that Joseph and I put on there after Thanksgiving.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


You can finally see the steps

Bailey's dog house
Bailey hates the snow

Cars in our parking lot
95 North.... looks like fun95 south...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Three months...

It has been three months. Three months ago today, my life changed forever. I will never be the same person I was then. The old Andrea thought that everything happens for a reason, and in the end... everything will be OK. Even while I was in the hospital, I swore that everything would be OK. The new Andrea knows that is crap. Bad things happen to good people everyday, and sometimes everything is not OK in the end. Sometimes the end is horrible, and leaves you wondering what the heck just happened. Either way, we have to pick ourselves up from the ground and walk again. I have learned that God has a plan, and we just have to deal with his plans. We have no control, and the first question I have for him is, "What did we do to deserve that?". Until then, we just have to wait. We have to get out of bed every morning and put one foot in front of the other.
The last few weeks have been good. We have our Christmas tree, and I love the smell of it. I decided to make a wreath last week, and I am very proud of my craftiness. I am not usually very crafty, so when I do make something... it is a big deal. Most of our Christmas shopping is done. I am not nearly as excited for Christmas this year. It definitely isn't going to be how I pictured it months ago.
Joseph starts working his long days at TBS next week. Next week will be a long week, but then he has Christmas break... so that isn't so bad. After the new year, he will be gone most of the time. He will graduate in July, and we should be moving to our new home sometime in the next few months. We have no idea where that will be, but we are hoping the Marine Corps will be nice to us. I would love to go just about anywhere. There are a few places that I might just send Joseph to alone ;) I will be sad to leave Quantico. This area has been home for two and a half years now. I have found that I really like living near the city. I like having Target less than half a mile from my home. I love going to DC and exploring. The base here is really nice, and everything is new. I do hate the traffic, but after awhile you just get use to it. Quantico is definitely a place that I hope we come back to in our travels.

So I leave you with a picture of my wreath, because I am proud of myself...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I thought we could all use some thing to laugh at... so here we go. It is random clip Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We made it...

Well, we survived Thanksgiving. It was a tough day for me. We went to North Carolina on Thanksgiving day to have dinner with my parents. On our way to their house, we stopped and visited the boys. I got all of my crying out then, and was able to make it through the rest of the day. It was the first time seeing their headstone, and mom was right.... it is perfect. It broke my heart to see, but there it is. Someone had put flowers out for them, which was wonderful. It is amazing how many people love our boys. They were very special little guys that changed us forever.

We went out shopping for black Friday, and actually enjoyed ourselves in the madness. We got up at 2am, and shopped until around 9am. We got most of our Christmas shopping done, which is unusual for me. We have a few little things to pick up, but everyone is pretty much taken care of. We also did a lot of shopping for the NICU at Bethesda. We were given a lot of money when the boys passed away, and we have just gotten to the point of using it. We got a bunch of blankets and CD's for the NICU babies. The NICU social worker said that blankets and calming CD's were the most needed things at this time, so we are trying to make sure that every baby has a nice blanket. We also plan on using some of it for Toys for Tots. Somehow, helping other people makes me feel better about everything that happened.

Things are tough right now. There are a lot of things going on in our life that just add to the stress of the holidays without Ethan and Jacob. There are times that I wonder if we will ever get a break. This year has kicked us over and over again. At this point I am just done with it. It is time for Joseph and I to worry about our lives and let everyone else figure it out on their own. Our lives have been stressful enough this year, and we need to focus on our future.

So... we turn our focus to making it through Christmas. Thanksgiving required wine.... Christmas will require more wine. Joseph and I will make it, we have no other choice. We are strong, and will make it with heads held high.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Pair of Shoes

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some woman are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don't hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child
They Say There is a Reason

They say there is a reason,
They say that time will heal,
But neither time nor reason,
Will change the way I feel,
For no-one knows the heartache,
That lies behind our smiles,
No-one knows how many times,
We have broken down and cried,
We want to tell you something,
So there won't be any doubt,
You're so wonderful to think of,
But so hard to be without.

Monday, November 23, 2009


It is the time of year where everyone reflects back on the year, and what they are thankful for. Honestly, 2009 has not been kind to our family. This year has been the hardest year in my life, both physically and emotionally. It started in January, when we found out that the medication that I had been on for 5 months was not going to work... and our only option to have a baby was IVF. That medicine had made me sick for five months, without even a chance of working. It was so disheartening. After rounds and rounds of testing, we started our IVF cycle in April.

Our IVF cycle was rough. After receiving three shots a day for 15 days, we finally got our embryos. Everything was supposed to be easy and calm from then on. Not in our case. I overstimulated and got a severe case of OHSS. The chances of that happening are about 1%. OHSS happens when a woman's estrogen level gets too high. There is no way to stop it, and you have to just wait for the level to go back down. The body starts dumping all of the fluid into the abdomen. I had a huge belly full of fluid, but was completely dehydrated. There was no way for me to keep up with the fluid. I was so full, that I had a hard time breathing. I was hospitalized and they drained a total of 8 liters of fluid from my abdomen. It was very painful and scary experience. Five months later, I was admitted into the hospital when my water broke. We all know the ending to that story.

This year has almost killed me. I have found my strength is amazing though. I never thought that I could make it through ANY of that.... let alone all of it. Although this year has been hard on Joseph and I, here we stand together. So, as hard as it initially seems to think of things to be thankful for, we have so many. We have each other and an amazing bond after all we have survived. We still have our health after mine was challenged through this year. Our bills are paid, and although our savings has taken a huge hit between IVF, a funeral, and a headstone... we can pay our bills. We have family. I don't know how we would have made it through all of this without the help and support of my parents. We had pictured this Thanksgiving to be very different a few months ago.
Here is hoping that next year will be kinder to us. I pray that next Thanksgiving will be met with more positive things to be thankful for, but at least we have something to be thankful for this year. Here is a quote I found that fit...
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

They are everywhere

I understand we are in a baby boom. I get it, really. It is just my luck that I lost my two boys in a baby boom. I feel like pregnant women are following me everywhere. I can't even go get my toes done without a pregnant belly walking by. Ugh... ridiculously happy women, who have zero problems getting pregnant, or any problems staying pregnant.... stop following me around town. Also, can you not stand in Target and complain about how horrible life is because you are pregnant? I would gladly be in a hospital bed right now if it meant I was still pregnant. Isn't amazing how life can put everything in perspective. Anyway... moral of the story is don't call me complaining or talking about pregnancy/new babies. The only thing I am going to say/think is... If your dad died and I called and told you how excited I am about my dad, how would you feel? Anyway...

Last weekend was the Marine Corps ball. It was a lot of fun. Tina and I enjoyed the bottle of wine they put on our table, then the boys acquired a little more wine for the ladies. They have a big ceremony and then dinner. Overall, it was a lot more fun than the last ball we went to. Last time, we had just moved here and didn't know anyone.

This week has been pretty slow. I am starting to work on Christmas presents. We were lucky enough to be selected for the Sears Hero's at Home program. They are going to send us a free gift card at the end of this month to help out with Christmas. We are saving again for fertility treatments, so it will be nice to have that. Last year, they gave each family 250.00, so that would be awesome. Here is the program information for my military buddies. You guys should sign up next year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I have more pictures....

We took Bailey over to OCS to let him run yesterday. He loves being free to run and play. The weather was beautiful, and we all enjoyed being outside in the fresh air. I decided to bring the camera and get some new pictures of us. Here they are...

On our way... it looks like he is about to rip my face off, but he is really trying to lick me to death.

This one looks a little better
It's a race!!!
Bailey won.
What a happy boy
Me and Bailey
He wants the stick
Got it...

Our Family



Our Ball Pictures

The Marine Corps ball was a good time this past weekend. It was in Richmond, which was a major pain, but we made the best of the drive. We were *almost* late, after Tina and I took longer at the hair and makeup place than we thought we would. It all ended up ok though, and Tina got a gift certificate for it!! Here are our pictures...

This one is a little blurry, but it is the girls... Tina, Isabella, and me... we are all BFFs

The band marching in
Me and Tina... the life of table 6
Me and Joe


Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's here...

The boy's headstone was delivered this week. It just doesn't seem possible. Joseph and I haven't been back to NC to see it yet, but my mom said it is perfect. How odd of a statement is that to type? My baby's headstone is perfect. That should never ever have to be said. Mom also said that the entire thing is grammatically correct.... leave it to the english teacher. We got a quote put on it, that fit perfectly, "An Angel in the book of life wrote down my babies’ birth. And whispered as she closed the book "too beautiful for earth." Joseph found it on the Internet, and I fell in love with it. Everyone remember the boys on their two month birthday on Friday. Joseph has the day off work, but I am not sure what we will be doing. Either way, the anniversaries are always hard.

As for everything else going on... We survived Halloween. It was hard, but we did give out candy for about an hour. After an hour, we decided to just put the bowl out, and shut the door. Well, at least we tried the whole normal thing. I am thanking God that all of the children's costumes are finally out of Target. It was bad enough avoiding the baby areas, but then I had to avoid the seasonal area too. Thanks for that Target. On to the next Holiday. Hopefully, we can be "normal" for a little longer than an hour next time, but maybe not.

We have the Marine Corps ball this weekend. It should be fun. We are sitting with Phil and Tina, which is always a good time. I am excited about getting all dressed up, and having a good time. I have my dress, and Tina was awesome enough to schedule our makeup and hair. Joseph has his blues together (which takes WAY more time than it does for me to get ready). I will post some pictures of us all dressed up next week.

The last thing I will leave is a quote about infertility and pregnancy loss. I hope that this quote will put everything in perspective for people who have never had to deal with either. The next time you feel like complaining about your kids, or pregnancy problems.... remember there are millions of women who would love to be in the situation you are complaining about. Count your blessings and never take it for granted.

But to sympathize on the level she needs, you may just need to look at your wife and see that the person you love is really, really hurting--having to part with her vision of herself. It's not like she's failing to achieve a lofty dream, like winning an Olympic gold. She's surrounded by people who have gotten (and sometimes don't even want, or loudly complain about) exactly what she wants by absolutely non-spectacular, even accidental, means. That's crazy-making stuff.

Friday, October 30, 2009

First week of normal

So... week one of our new normal is done. We both survived the week. Yay team. Joe is working in the Mike company office at TBS. It is good that he has something to keep him busy all day, even if it is BS most of the time. He has been working out again and getting into shape for when he starts school. We are back on normal people time now. We have been going to bed around 11 each night, which is a huge improvement from our 3am bedtimes before.
This week was pretty busy for me too. We let a lot of things slide while I was pregnant, just because I was unable to do it. So I have been catching up. Bailey went to the vet, which he loved. It is amazing how much he loves the vet's office. He practically wiggles the entire time. He was a very good boy and everyone in the office loves him. He has to go back in a week to check his ears. I think that he might have something going on, but the vet tech didn't think so... so I made an appointment with the actual vet to be sure. He just acts like they are bothering him. We will see what the vet says.
I had an awesome spa day this week too. A few of my friends from home sent me a gift certificate for a full day of pampering. It was really sweet of them to do that, and I really appreciate it. It was amazing. I left feeling very relaxed and FINALLY got my toes done. They were due to be done when I was put in the hospital, and it just didn't get done. They look very pretty again thank goodness.
I did have a very disappointing moment this week. I realized that not everyone is going to get it, no matter how much I try to explain everything. I can tell them over and over again, but it wont make a difference. That really hurt my heart. I wish everyone would get it, but they wont... and I really need to learn to accept that. Until I do, I am just going to be disappointed over and over again. It is hard for me to accept that, but it is just the way things are. The more I understand this is the way things are, the less I will be disappointed in people. I have to constantly remind myself that the people that don't understand are still good people, they just don't understand... and say/do things that show that they don't understand. Just because it has been a month and a half, does not mean we are all better.
Overall, this week was not so bad. We are starting our new normal, and it isn't too bad. It could be a lot better, but we are dealing with that. I started cooking dinner again, and our house is slowly coming back together. Hopefully next week will bring us even more happiness in our new normal.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


We are back from Vegas. It was a fun trip, and we enjoyed our getaway. It was nice to be away and pretend to be normal. We saw all the sights in Las Vegas, and then traveled over to the Grand Canyon. I loved the Grand Canyon. We went in the afternoon and watched the sunset. It was a beautiful site, and seeing such beauty really did my heart good. We took a ton of pictures.
When we got home, reality set back in. It is amazing how being distracted can make things all better. I really felt like I was doing alright and moving forward... silly me. It was hard being at our house again with all of Ethan and Jacob's things. It was like we walked in and God slapped us back into the real world. Joseph goes back to work on Monday, and I have to say I am not looking forward to that. I have not been alone since the boys were born. I am sure I will be fine, but I am nervous about it. Hopefully, once we get back into our normal routine life will get easier. Until then, we just have to keep pushing through each day. Some days are easier, and others feel like I have to move mountains to get anything accomplished. Either way, we will make it through. There is no other option.
After we got back, we met with the perinatologist at Bethesda. She is one of the three specialists that saw me while I was in the hospital. We were really happy to be meeting with her, as she is one of the more friendly perinatologists at Bethesda. She is also from North Carolina, so we have to like her for that! After meeting with the OB that delivered me, we knew that next time I am pregnant I will be at higher risk of premature rupture (between 10-30%). Dr Hickey said that I am on the lower end of that percentage (around 10). She recommended only transferring one embryo during our next IVF treatment, as most of the complications I had were from having twins. She said being pregnant with twins was the reason I had so much bleeding. Bleeding and multiples are risk factors for premature rupture. She said that next time I am pregnant, they will watch me very closely. I will be seen every other week or weekly depending on how I do. I will also get a shot weekly to prevent premature labor. All-in-all it was a very positive appointment. I was really nervous that we would have to deal with premature rupture during every pregnancy, but Dr. Hickey said that if I was pregnant with only one baby things should be fine. I am sure when that time comes Joseph and I will still be nervous, but she said they will understand. She said we can start our infertility treatments whenever we are ready emotionally. My body is healed, we just have to wait until we are ready.
Overall, that is what is going on with us. Joseph starts work again Monday, and I am planning on starting school again after Christmas. We are just trying to figure out our new normal...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Our Vacation Pictures

The Vegas Strip




Hoover Dam


Grand Canyon






Sunset at the canyon

Saturday, October 10, 2009

One month

It has almost been a month since I held my two little angels. It doesn't seem possible. In some ways this month has flown by, and in others it seems to be slowly creeping. A lot has changed in a month. Tomorrow I would have been 27 weeks pregnant. The survival rate at that gestational age is so much higher. The boys would have had a real chance at making it, but life didn't work out that way.
I have dreaded October 13th since the boys passed away. The one month mark just brings all of those feelings back. From the fear to the pain, it brings everything back. I think that the first of everything is tough. This is the first month marker, and it will be tough for us. We will get through though, as we have no other option. Time will continue on, and before we realize it... it we will be back to having another first... instead of month, it will be a year. We will think about Jacob and Ethan every single day of that year, and hope they are shining down on us.

We are back in North Carolina now, we leave for vacation on Monday. My parents are watching Bailey the Boxer while we are gone. My mom gave me a beautiful necklace with the boy's birthstones in it. Of course it made me cry, but I love it. It is perfect. I also love that she understands. Through all of our infertility struggles, I always felt like my family just didn't get it. They just didn't understand, and we didn't really tell them a lot about it. I really feel like my mom really understands how hard it was to say goodbye to Jacob and Ethan. She understands how scary everything was, and how precious those 36 hours with Ethan were. She gets it, and I am so thankful to have her completely understand.

Well, we are off to Las Vegas for a week. Hopefully we will have a great time and can come home with some happy memories. Keep us in your prayers on the 13th... that day is going to be a tough one, no matter where we are.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Test results and f/u appointment

I had my follow up appointment on Monday at Bethesda. I thought it would be a physical appointment, but we actually just talked to the doctor. The doctor that delivered the boys came downstairs and met with us. I had not talked with her since I delivered Ethan and Jacob, so seeing her brought back all of those emotions. It was very hard to see her at first, and Joseph had to do a lot of the talking at the beginning. She was one of our doctors for three weeks, then delivered the boys.

We first talked about how we were doing emotionally. She gave me a prescription for Ambien, to help me sleep. I have been really struggling with sleep. My doctor said that it was completely normal to have problems sleeping after a traumatic experience. I usually stay up until 2 or 3 am, then fall into bed. It is easier to watch tv or play on the internet, than lay in bed and think. Joseph will eventually have to go back to work, and I want to be on a normal schedule again... so Ambien it is. Hopefully it will help me to fall asleep instead of just laying there.

My doctor answered a lot of the questions we had about the delivery. I don't remember a lot of what happened, and Joseph was not allowed in the room... so I had a lot of questions. She answered all of them, and she talked to us about why everything happened the way it did. It really made me feel better to have some answers. I feel like I finally know exactly what happened in the OR that morning. I also know exactly what happened to Jacob and Ethan while they were in the OR with me. She said that anesthesiology really dropped the ball when it came to my pain management, but they were not expecting me to deliver as fast as I did.

We finally got the results to the testing they did on Jacob while I was pregnant. They originally thought there was something chromosomally wrong with him, which caused my water to break. The tests all came back normal, so there was nothing wrong with Jacob. He was a normal little boy. They also got some of my cells in the test, and apparently I am a normal girl. Jacob being chromosomally normal is great news. We still have a frozen embryo waiting on us, and if Jacob had any abnormalities... it could be an issue for when we use the frozen embryo. I am happy to know that my little guys were both normal.

They also sent both of the boy's placentas for testing. They both came back normal, but very infected. According to my doctor, this is why I went into labor. This is also why my contractions went from cramping to unbearably painful in such a short amount of time. My uterus was really infected, causing the extreme pain. The infection is also why the medications they were using to try to stop my contractions, were not working. We knew from the beginning that infection was our main worry. The odd thing is that I never ran a fever. All that time in the hospital, the nurses were checking my temperature every four hours! I lost a lot of sleep from those stupid four hour temperature checks. The good news is that the placentas were formed correctly and had no abnormalities, which is also good news for future pregnancies.

We still don't know why Jacob's water broke so early. There are many reasons that it could have happened. Jacob's membrane could have been infected from the start, and the infection traveled up to Ethan's placenta. My cervix could have been thinning and dilating. It sometimes just happens for no reason. Since both placentas were infected, the doctor leaned toward that reason, but there is really no way to be sure. My doctor gave us a consult to talk to Maternal Fetal Medicine on the 20Th of October. They are the perinatologists that treated me while I was admitted. They want to make a "plan" for the next time I get pregnant, before I get pregnant. I will be considered high risk from day one next time around. I will only see the perinatologists and watched very closely.

Joseph and I are doing alright. Our days are a mix between good days and bad. I usually struggle with Sundays, since that is when I had Jacob and Ethan. We are working on getting our normal routine back, and it feels good to be as normal as possible again. We leave next Monday to go on vacation, which I think will be great. I will post some pictures once we get back to Virginia. Once we come back, Joseph will go back to work and our normal routine will be that much more normal. We have been so lucky that he has had so much time away from work. Since we lost Jacob and Ethan, I have become really attached to him. I will definitely be a little sad when he has to go back. He has to go back eventually though, so I will have to get use to being alone. I am sure Tina and I will have plenty of stuff to do. Other than that, we are moving forward. There is no time limit for grieving, so we are taking life one day at a time.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thank you...

We just want to thank everyone that attended Ethan and Jacob's memorial service this past weekend. It means a lot to have so many people that care about us. Joseph did an amazing job telling everyone about the boys. Ethan and Jacob were up in Heaven giving their daddy a thumbs up for being so brave.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Just For Today

Just For Today

Just for today, I will try to live through the next 24 hours...not expecting to get over my child's death, but learning to live with day at a time
Just for today, I'll remember my child's life, not his death, and bask in the comfort of the treasured days and moments we shared.
Just for today, I will forgive all the family and friends who didn't help or comfort me the way I needed them to. They truly did not know how.
Just for today, I will reach out to comfort a relative or friend of my child. For they are hurting too, and perhaps we can help each other.
Just for today, I will free myself from my self-inflicted burden of guilt. For deep in my heart, I know if there was anything in this world I could have done to save my child from death, I would have done it.
Just for today, I will honor my child's memory by doing something with another child, be it my own, or someone else's, because I know that would make my child proud.
Just for today, I will offer my hand in friendship to other bereaved parents, fo I DO know how they feel.
Just for today, I will matter how much I hurt on the inside...for maybe if I smile a little, my heart will soften and I will begin to heal.
Just for today, I will allow myself to be happy and enjoy myself, for I know I am not deserting my child by moving on.
Just for today, I will accept that I did NOT die when my child did. My life did go on and I am the ONLY one who can make that life worthwhile again.
~by V.Tushingham, taken from the Bereaved Parents of the USA Tampa Bay Newsletter, Sept 2001.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Service information

Here is the information for the memorial service for the boys for anyone who is interested:
October 3rd at 2pm
At Mt Olivet Baptist Church in Franklinton, NC

Here is the church's address:
1245 Mount Olivet Church Rd
Franklinton, NC 27525

We will be having a public service that will tell Ethan and Jacob's story, followed by a private burial.
In lieu of flowers, we have set up an account at Wachovia for donations to Ethan and Jacob's Memorial Fund. Checks can be made payable to Joseph or Andrea Zimmermann. We will use this money to benefit the NICU at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The NICU at NNMC was amazing, and we really want something positive to come from our loss.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It has been a week

It has been a week since I went into labor. I find that so amazing. It seems like just yesterday I was pregnant in the bed thinking about how close we were getting to the "safe" zone. We just missed it by a couple of weeks. What a difference a couple of weeks would have made.

I am feeling better physically. I was released from the hospital on Monday night after Ethan passed away, but we stayed at Bethesda in base lodging. We had a ton of paperwork to do on Tuesday, so we just stayed up there. Our parents were waiting when we finally arrived home on Tuesday afternoon. Coming home was not what I thought it would be. The entire time we were at Bethesda after the boys passed away, I wanted nothing more than to be at home. After arriving home and finding all of the stuff we had waiting for Ethan and Jacob, I realized how foolish I was to think it would be easier at home. We put all their stuff in the spare room, but we still occasionally find something and have a good cry.

Our parents left about an hour after we arrived home, and I was feeling really weak. I called Bethesda L&D and they advised me to go to the nearest ER. Off to Stafford hospital we go. The ER visit was not a pleasant one, as EVERY doctor and nurse wanted to know where my baby was that I had delivered on Sunday. After telling our story quite a few times, the staff got it together. I was admitted for hemorrhaging and a possible uterine infection. I got IV antibiotics for 24 hours straight and they monitored my blood levels. They continued to drop, and the doctor was concerned for awhile. I finally was released at 5pm on Wednesday. I was weak and dizzy, but so glad to finally sleep in my own bed. Since then I have started to feel better physically. I am not as sore anymore, and can move around better.

Emotionally, Joseph and I are struggling. We are in a difficult roller coaster of emotions right now. I am having a hard time dealing with why this happened to us. I don't think that I will ever fully understand why God decided to take our boys. I will never understand why things happened the way they did, or why life is so unfair at times. It is amazing how much love and attachment we have for two little guys we had never met before. When people say parents love their children from day one, they are completely correct. Right now I am just trying to remember to breathe. Time will ease the pain, but we will always miss our little fighters.

We are currently planning a memorial service in North Carolina for Ethan and Jacob. We will have it at our home church in early October. We want people to know their story, and how awesome they were. We are hoping this will help with our healing. Hopefully, one day we will be able to see the sun peaking through all the clouds.

We appreciate everyone giving us our space for this week. We have such incredible friends, but we really needed time to gather our thoughts. Everything happened so fast, we really needed time to let reality sink in. Thank you to everyone for being so wonderful. I have been amazed at how many people have shown support and love while respecting our wishes of space.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Well, we have news. On Sunday at 12 am I received my first round of steroids and antibiotics. Because the antibiotics were IV, the nurse started them at 12am and had to come in and change them an hour later... then disconnect at 2am. I fell asleep around 1am while the second set of antibiotics were running in. Around three I woke up with a very upset stomach. The doctor decided to check me and found that I was dilated to 4. They quickly pushed me over to the L&D side of the floor and started monitoring my contractions. At 5am the doctor started giving me magnesium to try to slow down my contractions, as they were coming about 1 minute apart. The goal was to deliver Jacob and keep Ethan in. I repeatedly screamed for an epidural, but the anesthesiologist was busy with another patient. They finally realized I was fully dilated around 7am and moved me into the OR for delivery. I still did not have the epidural. Joseph had to get changed and was told that after they got my epidural in, they would come get him. Unfortunately, Jacob was born before the epidural was put in. They attempted to stop Ethan, but he was already in the birth canal. The boys were born at 733 and 737am. Ethan weighed 12oz and Jacob weighed 1lb 2 oz. Joseph was waiting in the hall when they were born.

They had two teams of neonatologists in the OR. Jacob's lungs were just not developed enough. He had major problems breathing (which we expected from his lack of fluid). His apgar score was a one at one minute. He passed away before his brother was even born.

Ethan's lungs were better, and his 5 minute apgar was a 7. They quickly took him back to the NICU. Joseph and I didn't even get to see him before they took him. He was so small, they were very concerned with his weight. His lungs were good though, and he only required room air on the vent. He had a lot of problems maintaining his blood pressure and was given drugs to help keep it up. Sunday night he received a blood transfusion and was doing much better with his BP. We visited him throughout Sunday and Monday. Everything was very stable. While we were visiting Monday afternoon, the neonatologist said that he had an air pocket in his chest. It was not affecting anything, so they decided to leave it alone. With his size, he would not have survived removing it. Around 6pm Monday night, Ethan's vitals were dropping very quickly. They quickly got him back on track and did another X-ray to see if the air pocket had moved. The doctor quickly brought us into the office and explained it was behind Ethan's heart, and they were unable to access it. Ethan passed away shortly after with his family all there with him.

We are finally home. I requested to be discharged after we said goodbye to Ethan. Joseph and I stayed in base lodging last night then returned to the hospital this morning to finish paperwork. We are both exhausted from not sleeping. We are dealing with our emotions right now. We appreciate any thoughts and prayers, but are asking for some quiet time. We have had a lot of support, and appreciate it... but really want to deal with our emotions for the next weeks. We appreciate any emails, but our phones have been retired for a week or so. Thank you all for your thoughts and support through this difficult time. The world lost two of the hardest fighters ever Sunday and last night.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

22 weeks 3 days

We had another ultrasound today. Things went pretty well. The doctors wanted to know what our plans were if the babies are born next week. At 23 weeks, the survival rate is around 20%... so not the greatest. 23 weeks marks the point that the doctors can try to help the babies, but it is not automatic. Once we get to 24 weeks (50% survival rate)we are given no choice, and the doctors will do everything they can to help. The doctors wanted to know if something happens, what we wanted them to do. We decided we wanted them to try for the boys. They have been through so much, we have to give them the chance to make it. We also were worried about the "what ifs" and guilt. After making our decision, my doctor decided I will get steroid injections and start antibiotics on Sunday. The antibiotics should get me past 24 weeks without an infection, and the steroids will help mature the boy's lungs. I will get another round of steroids in a few weeks. We are still waiting and hoping. The longer that I can stay pregnant the better chance both boys have. It will feel good to know that they have a chance at survival. The past 2 1/2 weeks, we knew if they were born the doctors could not do anything. Keep the prayers going up! The doctor said he is amazed I am still pregnant. He thought I would have delivered after 7 days. So the prayers are working. We need another month to get these boys a good chance of being OK, and things can change within hours.

The ultrasound went well. Jacob (baby A) still has no fluid. He is laying across my cervix in a ball. The perinatologist said that his position is probably why I have not gone into labor yet. We could not see a lot, just his head and heartbeat. His head is still oval, but we expect it to stay like that until his is born.
Ethan (baby B) was sleeping for today's ultrasound. Usually he likes to jump around and give us a show, but the ultrasound was during his nap time. He is still all boy (they check every ultrasound). The doctor said he had a great amount of fluid, probably from all of the water I have been drinking. They were looking for the portion of the sac that was separating. Last week they were very concerned with it, and thought Ethan's sac may rupture as well. This week, the doctor looked for it and could not find it. He called in another peri, and both of them decided that it had fused back to a normal position. That was great news!
He "weighed" both boys, and they weigh a little less than a pound each. He said the ultrasound machine is not super accurate with weights, but it gives us an idea. The peri said that those weights are perfect for their age. They only weigh them every 3 weeks, so we wont know for a few weeks what their new weights are. Ethan was breech last week, and has turned head down. He is still small enough to move around, so it will change again. Overall Ethan is looking great, and we have no idea how Jacob is doing. They were rushed today, and we didn't get any cute face pictures this week.

So, everyone keep on praying. We want to stay here as long as possible for our little guys. The doctors are still concerned about infection and labor, those are the major risks right now.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

week 2... done

Well, I have been here two weeks now. We are halfway to our short goal of 24 weeks. At 24 weeks the babies have a chance. Things can change quickly, so we are not getting too excited yet... but it does feel good to have made it this far. I would love to make it to our big goal of 34 weeks, but one day at a time.
So far everything has been good. I had a slight freak out moment on wed night. I thought that Ethan's water had broken too. I don't know exactly why I thought this... I didn't have any gush of fluid. I also never had a gush of fluid with Jacob's water breaking, so I feel very nervous that I wont know. The doctors were great and got an ultrasound in my room asap. Ethan had plenty of fluid, and I felt like an idiot. The peri was very nice and said it was better to check if I would be more relaxed. Everything looked good, and Ethan was moving around as normal. He is a very active little guy.
We still can't really see Jacob on the ultrasounds. We can see his head and heartbeat, but everything else looks like snow. The amnio results have still not come back. We are really not too worried about it, as it wont change anything at this point. If he does have something wrong with him, Joe and I would never terminate.
As for us... we are hanging on. The food here is horrible. Some of the things they bring me, I am amazed it is considered food. So we have been doing a lot of takeout and subway. Joseph is super excited for football season to be back in swing. It helps pass the time. I am amazed to say that these past 2 weeks have actually gone pretty quickly. We have great friends who have visited and helped pass the time. We are so thankful for all the wonderful people we have in our lives. Thanks to everyone.
2 weeks down... 12 to go.

Here are some pictures of Ethan from our ultrasound. We don't have any of Jacob because we can't see him on the ultrasound.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

21 weeks 2 days

Well, we had our weekly ultrasound this morning. We got a mixture of news from the perinatologist.
Jacob (baby a) has almost no fluid still. His head is starting to misshape due to the lack of fluid around him. He also is not moving his extremities, which means he will have very tight muscles at birth. The doctor said both of these issues are purely cosmetic and can be corrected. The main issue is still his lungs. The perinatologist gave him a 1-2% chance of survival after birth. He said that his lungs are just not going to be mature enough. With no fluid around him, he will not be able to practice breathing. The perinatologist said they are going to try to keep him in as long as possible. The longer I am pregnant with him, the better his chances are... but they are still extremely small. We are trying to focus on keeping him in as long as possible, to give him the best chance he can have. We are still waiting on the amnio results that they took last monday. The doctor said it can take up to 14 days.
Ethan (baby B) was his usual full of himself. He was sucking his thumb through most of it... then when the doctor turned the ultrasound to 3D, he quickly moved his hand directly over his face. We got a little peak, but he was too busy hiding to get a nice picture. His fluid measured well. All his body parts measured normally. He was moving around like a wild man. They confirmed again he is all boy. They are concerned about his sac now. It seems that the sac is starting to come away from the uterus. This could cause his sac to rupture as well. The perinatologist said the chances of that happening are under 50%. They are going to watch it at our ultrasounds to be sure it isn't changing. Each day it does not rupture is better, and the doctor said it might not rupture at all... but they are going to keep an eye on it to make sure it isn't getting worse.
Joe and I are still trying to be positive. We have been here for a week and a half... and it really has gone by faster than I thought it would. We have our little routine and are doing our best to make the most out of our situation. Please keep both of the boys in your prayers, we have a long way to go before we are out of the woods.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Week One...done

Week one of hospital bed rest is done. For everyone that has no idea what is going on, I was put on hospital bed rest last Friday. I was having some bleeding, which I have had throughout the pregnancy. The OB wanted to check, but had no appointments. We were sent up to L&D to be checked out, and thought we would be done in time for a nice dinner in the area. It turns out... baby A (Jacob) has a leak in his sac. He is leaking amniotic fluid. After speaking to a perinatologist (fetal specialist), we were informed I would be in the hospital until I deliver. Baby B (Ethan) was jumping around with no issues. I was dehydrated from sitting around the hospital and having contractions every 8 minutes or so. I was taken to L&D, given fluid, and put on a monitor. After the fluid the contractions stopped and I was moved to the antepartum side of the floor. We had a level II ultrasound that showed Ethan (baby B) is perfect. He had no signs of problems at all. Jacob (Baby A) has very little fluid around him, which made the measuring ultrasound impossible. The doctors decided to send off some of the fluid I am leaking to check for chromosomal issues. We should find out the results sometime next week.

Our main worry is infection at this point. I am 21 weeks tomorrow, and the babies wont make it outside until I get to 24 weeks. An infection is VERY dangerous right now. If I get an infection, the doctors plan to deliver Jacob (baby A) and attempt to keep Ethan (baby B) inside. There is about a 50% chance this will work. I will be VERY sick. So we are praying infection will hold off for awhile. They plan to start antibiotics on September 10th, which will get me past 24 weeks. It is too early to start them now. So fingers crossed we make it to September 10th with no signs of infection.

The babies are doing well so far. We get ultrasounds once a week, so we will know more on Monday. They went from checking the heartbeats every four hours to once a day. They have had good heartbeats and rates so far. We have already been told that if this pregnancy was not a twin pregnancy, we would have lost the baby already. The boys are already looking out for each other. The doctor said things will change quickly, so we are trying to take everything one day at a time. Our short goal is 24 weeks and out long goal is to make it as close to 34 weeks as possible. It will be a long time in the hospital, but after all we have been through... I just want everyone to be OK. Please keep us in your prayers, we really need to avoid infections at this point. I will update as information comes in.