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Is He Your First Baby?

I meet many people throughout the course of the day, who stop and say how beautiful our little Miles is.  They’ll ask his name, how old he is, how much he weighs…and then this question always seems to follow… “Is he your first?”  I usually let out a long, heavy sigh before I attempt to answer this question.  Do I tell the truth and give as many descriptive details about Sephora’s life as I can?  Or do I simply say yes, and move on?

Our first baby passed away.  She had a severe and extremely rare chromosome abnormality that 1 in 16,000 babies are diagnosed with.  Trisomy 13.  I learned at my 20 week ultrasound appointment that she had several internal issues that we later would find were lethal to her.  We named her Sephora Angeline after that appointment.  It didn’t matter what any medical professional had to say to us.  She was our first baby.  Our first daughter.  Our little Sephora.

Days passed, and we met with a neonatologist who recommended they perform an amniocentesis to determine exactly what was ailing our baby.  When we discovered Trisomy 13 was in fact the correct diagnosis, we were sitting at our kitchen table.  When I hung up the phone, I collapsed into my husband’s arms and cried.  Our first baby wasn’t going to live outside of my body for very long.  All we could do was love her.  We loved her even more after we’d learned about her fatal diagnosis.  Every day from that point on was spent singing to her and rubbing my belly, poking her and feeling her poke back.  We made memories with her throughout my pregnancy, and we couldn’t wait to meet her.

We knew Sephora’s life would be short.  We grieved for her during my pregnancy, and we grieved for her after she had passed away.  We loved her every second of every day she was with us.  Today, as I kissed her baby brother’s cheek, I imagined what it would be like to have a toddler running around the house.  What would she look like?  What would we be doing with her?  What would we be teaching her?  What would she be doing to make her baby brother giggle?  I miss her today, but I will see her again!

1 Corinthians 13:7  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

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The Story About the Dimple!

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A few weekends ago, at my best friend’s baby shower, Miles was dressed to impress!  His new little girlfriend was born only a week ago, and we can not wait to meet her!  As a group of us were talking and laughing about our kids, Miles started to join in too! When he smiled, one of the girls noticed the dimple on his right cheek.  When he was born, we noticed his cute little dimple, but have no idea where he got it from.  Neither my husband or I have dimples, so I mentioned his cute little dimple to another mom whose baby also had Trisomy 13 when we met up for a lunch date.  Her rainbow baby boy also has 1 dimple on his cheek, and no one else in her family has dimples!  When she went home, she had to investigate how our little boy both have a single dimple.  She found there is an old wives tale that says, “A dimple comes from the kiss of an angel before leaving Heaven.”  When I shared this with the girls at the shower, one of my really good friends started to cry.  It is nice to know that my husband and I aren’t the only people who still grieve over Sephora.  Before my labor with Miles started, Chris and I looked up to the Heavens and told Sephora she’s had enough time playing with her baby brother.  It was time to give him a hug and a kiss, and send him down to Earth from Heaven.  She certainly listened!  Now her kiss has left a permanent mark on Miles’ little cheek for us to see her every day through her baby brother’s beautiful smile!  Today, I remember our precious little Sephora and give Miles’ right cheek a few extra kisses.

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Sephora’s Baby Brother, Miles (Part 3)

I started pushing at 12:30pm, an hour after I was told I was fully dilated–this was because Miles’ heart rate stabilized and I didn’t have the urge to push.  We asked for a mirror so I could watch my progress, and witness our precious rainbow baby’s birth!  I must say, watching my son be born from my own body really is a miracle.  So many people have said the process of creating a baby is a miracle.  I never believed them when I would hear this, because I always felt like that’s just something “we are taught to say.”  Just like many people make comments about just wanting a healthy baby versus a specific gender.  I completely understand this now!  From the creation of Sephora, learning that one extra teeny tiny chromosome had managed to penetrate into her DNA (Trisomy 13), that this chromosome would in fact take our precious first born from us only 4 1/2 hours after she was born…life really is a miracle.  The millions of divisions of cells that have to split at the right time, in the correct way, it’s amazing how many of us actually exist on Earth.  When Sephora passed away, all we ever wanted was a healthy baby to bring into our home.  This was about to happen on May 9!

We started pushing shortly after 12:30pm on May 9, 2013.  When I say we, I mean we.  My husband, brother, and parents were in the room with me, and I swear everyone in the room held their breath and pushed with me.  We pushed for 41 minutes.  I hear for a first time vaginal delivery, that’s pretty quick!  (I’ll toot my own horn now!)  After the midwife safely delivered his head and shoulders, I reached down, pulled him out, and laid him on my chest!  (Cue water works!)

Immediately after Miles was born, Daddy leans down for a kiss

Immediately after Miles was born, Daddy leans down for a kiss

Daddy cutting the umbilical cord

Daddy cutting the umbilical cord

Baby Miles 7lbs. 9oz. 20.5in.

Baby Miles
7lbs. 9oz. 20.5in.

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Taking all of him in

Taking all of him in

John 1:16 – From the fullness of His grace, we have received one blessing after another.

Sephora’s Baby Brother, Miles (Part 2)

After arriving at the hospital on Wednesday, May 8 at 10pm, we checked in to triage and were placed in a room to be hooked up to the monitors.  These monitors measure the frequency and intensity of the contractions and the baby’s heart rate.  Around midnight (May 9), we were informed that my contractions were indeed regular enough to be admitted.  We were staying!  Our little boy was going to be born at some point in the next day or so!  One of the nurses escorted us to our labor and delivery room down the hall.  We met my nurse for the night shift, Kimberly, who was such a sweetheart!  She had curly red hair, a nose ring, and the most gentle spirit I’ve met in a long time.  She encouraged us to try to get some sleep because this process was probably going to take some time.  Chris and I were definitely going to take advantage of the sleeping time because we’d been so active the entire day before, and it was 1:45am!  We took her advice since I still wasn’t experiencing any pain at this point, even though my contractions were 5 minutes apart and I was 1 centimeter dilated.

As we were literally crawling into bed, I’m standing right next to the bed at this point, I hear ::pop::  ::whoosh::!!!  My water just broke ALL OVER THE FLOOR!  “Wow!  So that’s what that feels like,” I said while laughing hysterically!  The first contraction after my water broke was NO LAUGHING MATTER.  Wow.  It was definitely game on now!  I rocked on the birthing ball, slow danced with Chris, showered for a bit…and then the back labor started!  Kimberly encouraged me to rest on my hands and knees to try to get Miles to flip from face up to face down.  This would make the back labor go away.  It took almost 2 hours for him to flip, but finally he did.  I was exhausted by this time.  We’d been awake for almost 24 hours.  I wanted to sleep, but there was no sleeping through those contractions!  To my discontent, Kimberly and Chris convinced me to lay in bed where I in fact did fall asleep in between contractions.  This was the most annoying part of labor in my opinion.

Now 5am, I was beginning to break.  I was losing control of my mind and was starting to quit this whole labor process.  I remember thinking to myself, “There is no way in H*** I’m ever doing this again.”  I knew that was a lie, so I didn’t speak it out loud for anyone else to hear.  I did however, notify Chris and Kimberly that I wanted the epidural as soon as I was able to get it.  I gave labor my best shot, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around the pain anymore.  Finally, at 8:30am, after tracking down the anesthesiologist, the epidural was administered.  After about 3 contractions, the medication was doing its job and I was almost smiling again.  Once I was comfortable, my midwife came to check me, and told us we were 5 centimeters!  We were definitely making progress, and would meet our precious little Miles soon!

The gang's all here!

The gang’s all here!

After the epidural kicked in, we finally started calling family and friends to notify them that Baby Miles would be here by day’s end.  My parents and brother came to “hang out” with us in labor and delivery for the day.  Miles started to have some heart decels (slowing of the heart rate) throughout the course of the night and during the day as I labored.  They wanted to give me pitocin to make my contractions more intense and closer together, but each time the nurse tried to hook it up, his heart rate would drop again.  At one point, his heart dropped into the 60s and they were about to take me back for an emergency c-section.  Thankfully, that scary moment didn’t last too long, and his heart rate did recover.  From that point on, they had me wear an oxygen mask to ensure he was getting enough good oxygen to keep him stable.

My midwife came in to check me around 11:30am when his heart rate had recovered from the last 60 decel, because they were extremely concerned for his safety.  She and the nurse both looked at us and said, “Your contractions are still too far apart to make good change, but I’ll check you anyway.”  She looks up at me with a big smile and told me we were fully dilated and ready to go!  I looked at Chris and I bawled.  Finally!  After the life and loss of our precious little Sephora Angeline, our “Beautiful Angel,” we finally would get to meet her baby brother!!

It's go time!  Daddy is psyched!

It’s go time! Daddy is psyched!

James 1:12 – God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.  Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Sephora’s Baby Brother, Miles (Part 1)

Hello my faithful blog followers!  I have fallen off the blog wagon for a bit, but I am back!  Now…to catch everyone up!

Baby Miles was due on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.  May 1st came and went.  Miles certainly had plans of his own.  At this point, I had not gained any weight in approximately 6 weeks.  (I gained 20 pounds during this entire pregnancy).  My doctors and midwives didn’t seem to feel that was an issue because he certainly was still growing!  Unlike my pregnancy with Sephora, I did not experience ANY problems with my blood pressure, swelling, or excessive weight gain.  I have to say, this was a relatively easy pregnancy.

38 weeks

38 weeks

Around 38 weeks is when I started to get pretty uncomfortable.  Miles’ butt and feet were wedged so far up into my ribs, I would walk around with an icepack on top of my belly just to numb the area.  Every day that we got closer to his due date, I would nest even more obsessively.  His clothes were washed and folded.  His crib was set up and made for him to sleep in it, even though he probably wouldn’t be sleeping in it for a few months.  His bassinet and blankets were laid out ready to swaddle him and keep him warm.  But still, Miles just wasn’t ready.

40 weeks

40 weeks

I decided at 40 weeks 2 days that I would stop working and just try to rest…or not rest!  My husband and I were trying everything at this point to get me to go into labor naturally.  If I did not go into labor on my own, I would have to have a c-section.  Because Sephora was born by c-section, they could not induce me because of the 1% chance of my uterus rupturing open where my scar is.  Apparently, your uterus is much weaker at the incision sight after a previous c-section.  Our c-section was scheduled originally for Wednesday, May 8 at 41 weeks gestation.  We convinced my doctor to push us back a few days, just so I had an opportunity to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  It then was scheduled for Friday, May 10.

On Wednesday, May 8, my husband decided to stay home from work to spend some time with me, and to again try everything we could to get labor started!  We walked 2 miles every day for 2 weeks straight, (which never worked), but Chris insisted we walk.  We walked 4 miles that day!  I looked at him after we arrived back home and told him, “I will NOT walk any more until this baby comes!”  I had been having irregular Braxton Hicks contractions for over a week at this point.  After our walk however, these non-painful “Braxton Hicks” contractions were coming every 4-6 minutes.  My husband made me call my doctor because these contractions were consistent for over 2 hours.  After speaking with the hospital midwife on staff that night, she told me to come in to be monitored so we could really see what was going on.

Habakkuk 2:3  – This vision is for a future time.  It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.  If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.  It will not be delayed.

31 Weeks, 5 Days… 58 Days To Go!

As we draw closer and closer to Miles’ due date and Sephora’s birthday, I’m finding that my subconscious is becoming more and more fearful of repeating the past.  Pregnancy definitely makes you dream some crazy things sometimes, but waking up in a panic and silently crying to myself is becoming more frequent these days.  At every doctor appointment we attend, they assure me that our precious little Miles is healthy and growing as perfectly as any parent could hope for.  My inner most being knows that he’s going to be ok, because of the amount of time he spends moving around in my belly, and by the way he responds when I sing to him.  Singing seems to keep him calm, just like his big sister, our angel baby in Heaven, Sephora Angeline.  My dreams remind me how quickly life can be taken away from us.  They reveal to me my inner most insecurities about motherhood.  They also reveal to me how much I love my children.  Although Sephora only lived for 4 1/2 hours, I spent her whole life with her.  Every movement, every hiccup, every kick, every ultrasound, her tiny whimper and cry, her beautiful curly dark brown hair, her tiny hands and feet…everything.  I miss her terribly today.  I’m thankful to be spending my morning remembering her, and singing to Miles about her.  I’m reminded of the love I had and still have for her as I browse through her memory box and cry over top of her hand and foot prints.  I remember how scary the day of her birth was, but how anxious we felt to finally get the opportunity to cradle her in our arms.

Miles is due in 58 days.  As each day passes, the anticipation of his arrival heightens.  As I speak to my friends and family, I’m finding that they are all just as excited for his arrival, if not more than me!  We all really lived through Sephora’s life and passing together.  She helped to change and mold us all.  She walked us through an experience that not many people could recover from.  She loved all that loved her, and that’s all she knew.  Love.  I pray Miles understands how wonderful his purpose for this Earth is to be, and how beautiful Sephora’s life was to all who knew her and her life’s story.  These crazy dreams of Miles being ripped from my arms to never be seen again will eventually go away.  I do know one thing…Miles will not be leaving my arms for a very long time after he is born.  …The unconditional love of a mother is a beautiful thing.  That’s exactly what Miles will experience for his whole life as well.  Love.  Unconditional Love.

1 Corinthians 13:7  NLT  – Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance…love never fails!

A Beautiful Blessing

28 weeks!

28 weeks!

Hello to all of Sephora’s faithful blog followers!  Yesterday was the day we got to see inside my belly, and get a good look at Sephora’s hand picked baby brother!!!  When we were pregnant with Sephora, I was contacted by a wonderful organization, “Sustaining Grace,” who offered to pay for us to see our precious little Sephora in 3D!  When my family came along to see her that day, we learned that Sephora was laying sideways across my belly (transverse), with her feet completely covering her face.  She literally managed to fold herself like a pretzel somehow!  We intended to go back for another 3D/4D scan the following Tuesday to get a better look, but 3 days after that ultrasound, my body had a different plan.  I ended up in the hospital with severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.  As it turned out, I’d get to see her beautiful face that evening.  Sephora was born that day.  8 weeks early.  Friday, May 18, 2012.

After arriving home from Sephora’s Hello/Goodbye in the hospital, I contacted the 3D/4D ultrasound business that performed our scan for us.  I explained why we were not going to be returning for another ultrasound, and they were very sympathetic and accommodating.  A few days later, I received a card and packet in the mail from Womb With A View.  The card expressed the sympathy of our loss from their business, as well as another gift certificate for the exact same ultrasound package to be used for our next baby.  I was so grateful they decided to offer this package to us again!  Today is the day we finally get to use it!  I’m hoping he is in a good position and can get a look at his precious little face!  We will be surrounded by the family and friends that gave us the needed support, and helped us to walk through our journey with Sephora through the pregnancy and after her passing.  Thank you to everyone for your words of encouragement, thoughts, prayers, well wishes, home made dinners, gift certificates, massages, financial support, movie tickets, scrapbooks, cards, plaques, and other beautiful gifts to help us to never forget our precious little Sephora Angeline.  We are eternally grateful for you generosity and very loving and giving hearts.  We love you all more than words could ever express.  Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do.  Your selfless acts will not go unrewarded.  Thank you for being a blessing to us.  We hope you enjoy being a part of watching our precious little Miles learn and grow as we all love him here on Earth.  God Bless!

James 1:17-18  Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heaves.  He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.  He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word.  And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

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Sephora’s Baby Brother, Miles!