Friday, July 18, 2014

The son I lost

I had a son, a son I never got to meet, a son who I barely felt move, a son who was very much loved and wanted, a son who only a few special people knew about. You see I was 5 months pregnant when I lost my son.

 I lost my son to the same illness that took our daughter two and a half years ago. Let me go back to the beginning of 2013.  My husband and I decided to try again for another baby. We knew the risk were high (1in4) that we would end up empty handed but knowing that there was a chance to be parents again, to give our sunshine Nathalia a much asked for and much wanted sibling we decided to go for it. It wasn’t easy, with both my girls I got pregnant after the first month of being of birth control, with our son it took us 8 long, stressful months to finally see two lines on a pregnancy test. What made it more frustrating was that each month I was a week late, so the hopeful in me would start to get my hopes up only to take a test and it be negative. Finally in September I had decided that if this month we weren’t pregnant we would just take the remaining year off and just focus on having fun with Nathalia. I guess that did it because next think I know I’m 3 days late and running up the stairs to show my sister a pregnancy test and asking her if she saw the same thing I did. Hearing my sister say “Its positive” was unexplainable. I was so happy!! Right away I sent my mom a picture. I wanted to show my husband the test in person and his reaction was the same as mine. We were ecstatic!!! We decided to not tell anyone until I had seen my doctor and had a game plan. Nathalia never knew, at least we didn’t tell her but I have a very smart daughter and deep down I’m sure she had an idea. Fast forward to 2 weeks later I had called my doctor and had my appointment to confirm the pregnancy and at 7 weeks 3 days I saw my son for the first time. He looked like a sea horse hahaha (that’s my next tattoo). Even though we had decided to keep the news to ourselves, I ended up telling a few people, my side of the family knew right away, I told my two best friends and my goddaughters dad knew without me telling him. He says that I had a glow, just like when I was pregnant with my daughters J little by little the news started to spread. I was scheduled to meet with a genetic counselor who referred us to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital for further testing to see if this baby was affected by the Surfactant ABCA3 mutation. I was scheduled to have my CVS test (Chorionic villus sampling) which is like the amniocentesis test but this test can be done early. I finally had the test done at 13 weeks 2 days, three days before Thanksgiving. If everything went according to plan we could have the test result anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks. The whole process wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, either that or I have a higher pain tolerance then I thought I did. I had the test done at LPCH and this was the first time that both my husband and I had been back there since we said goodbye to Emmaliese. It was very hard going walking through those doors. But we did it we managed to get to where we had to be and I am very grateful that my husband was there for me. The whole procedure took less than an hour. And it consisted of me having a full bladder while the bed I was on was tiled so that it felt like I was going to slide of the bed but not really. I then local anesthesia to numb the area while they inserted a 10inch needle in my stomach and then into my uterus till it reached my placenta and then according to my husband who had a perfect view of the whole thing thanks to the TV in the room they jiggled it around to get the tissue, he said it looked like when you stick a fork in a Jell-O and wiggle it around. They repeated this process to get more tissue once more and then they did an ultra sound to make sure that the baby was fine, which thankfully he was.  Some of the tissue was kept at Stanford in case anything happened to the sample that was sent off to John Hopkins Hospital for testing. And I am so glad that they did because a few days later I got a call letting us know that due to a freak winter storm my sample was stuck in Tennessee and that by the time they arrived at John Hopkins they were not viable. So we had to wait two weeks for the samples that Stanford to culture and grow so that they would be able to be sent off again. By this time It’s close to Christmas, I’m starting to show more, more people are finding out and we still don’t know the results I was a mess the whole holiday season waiting for the results. My New Year’s our whole family knows including my husband’s side of the family. We are all hopeful that all these delays in getting the samples tested is just Gods way of testing us and somehow in a crazy way letting us know that everything will be okay. A few days before Christmas we got a call with some of the result, chromosome wise we had a healthy BOY! Now we just had to wait for the most important results. So we ended 2013 pregnant and hopeful. Sadly January would be a hard month for us for more than one reason. On January 9th 2014 at 8pm I got the call, yes the one that would have us rethinking everything we believed in. Our son also inherited the rare Surfactant ABCA3 mutation the same mutation that took Emmaliese from us. To say we were heartbroken is not accurate enough; there really is no word to describe how we felt. So after a few days my husband and I sat down and talked about our options. We basically had two. Option 1 was to continue the pregnancy and hope or the best, even though all the doctors I talked to, and trust me I talked to a lot of them. I called doctors at John Hopkins and a specialist at St. Louis Childrens Hospital and they all sadly gave me the same results. They told me that if it was the same mutation more than likely this baby would have the same ending. And option 2 was to terminate the pregnancy. I know that a lot of people would say to continue with the pregnancy, but we considered all of our options, we had already buried a daughter, we had gone through the emotional and physical turmoil. And we had Nathalia to think about. She had already lost a sister how would she react to losing another very much wanted brother? This was a decision that we need to make and make it as soon as possible seeing as how I was already close to 5 months. And January 15th is the day we said goodbye to Emmaliese, so here I was pregnant knowing that this baby could also possibly have the same ending while we visited and took flowers to her gravesite. Well on January 21st at our appointment we had that decision made for us. We had lost our son. That next day I started the procedure to have a D&E. I didn’t think I could handle laboring and then delivery my sleeping angel. It’s a decision that I am at peace with, it’s what I thought was best for me and my family. Again my tolerance for physical pain was and is more than I thought it was. I read and talked to other women who had this procedure done and I can honestly say that every women and every one’s body is different. I had no real pain before or after, all I had pain medicine wise after was Ibuprofen. I was under general anesthesia for the procedure which lasted a whopping 30 minutes. Coming home that day the first thing Nathalia did was hug me and say ‘Mommy what happened?’ while she touched my stomach. (See I told you I had a smart daughter, who more than likely knew something had happened) Emotionally it’s been almost 6 months and I have been keeping myself too busy to properly grieve. I know that I am meant to be a mom, that one day I will again be pregnant and be called mommy! I have been asked where I get my strength from and in all honesty I have NO IDEA! I know some of it comes from Nathalia, from my husband and my friends and family. And a lot comes from my angels and from knowing deep down that I will be a mom again.  This loss has made me grow and has made me see things in a different light. I don’t worry so much about what I can’t control and have learned to enjoy each day and to live it to the fullest. I’m asked often if Nathalia is my only child and I have learned that the best reply is that I have one child on earth and 2 in heaven. Because even though I never met him and to us he is Baby Boy Fuerte, he is still our son. My son.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Our Sunshine

sun·shine (noun)
/Brightness or radiance; cheerfulness or happiness.
A source of cheer or happiness.

When I first heard the word Sunshine in the baby loss community I had no idea what it meant. I now know that it is used to describe your first child or the child before your angel. Nathalia is our Sunshine. She is our only living child. And I can in all honesty say that she is what has kept me going. She challenges me in so many ways! She pushes me to be a better person not just a better mother. After losing Emmaliese she was my saving grace. She was the reason that I got up each morning, the reason that I showered, ate and functioned. She fits the definition of Sunshine to a T. She brings so much light, cheerfulness and happiness to not only our world but everyone she meets. I will do everything that I can to protect her but at the same time let her live and learn.  Nathalia has been through more than any child should. She lost a sibling. One that she was very much looking forward to having. She was looking forward to teaching her how to walk and talk and even help me change diapers. For a 7 year old Nathalia is the bravest of them all! One of the things that I love most about Nathalia is that even though she doesn’t have her sister here with her, they still have that sister bond that I know a lot of people look for. When Emmaliese was born and we found out she was sick and then later that she would most likely pass away, Nathalia was in her first year of dance and as hard as it was for me to go back to our daily activities, I wanted to keep things as  normal as possible for her. So I did what I had to do and became a ‘dance mom’ hahaha. Nathalia took to dance like a natural and she has been doing it for 3 years now and according to her will dance forever and when she grows up she will be a dance teacher. In a way I think dancing is Nathalia’s coping mechanism just like writing is mine. She gives dancing %110. And luckily for us she gives as much to school. She loves to read (just like me J ) She finished
Kindergarten a whole grade ahead and started 1st grade reading at a second grade level. She loves school! Perfect attendance and Honor Roll every semester in 1st grade.  A lot of people say that we spoil her too much. But I say that for all that she has been through it’s the least we can do. She earns everything she has by being the best daughter anyone can hope for. She is very respectful, smart, and helpful, follows the rules, and has way too much energy for her own good and knows her mind. She comes up with her birthday party themes and helps with the execution of it all. Sometimes I think she is older than her 7 years. We are very lucky to have such an incredible daughter! The past two years have been busy and exciting ones. We took trips to Disneyland, she has had dance recitals and dance performances at our annual Apricot Fiesta, and she has made new friends, while keeping in touch with her old ones. She has lost teeth and the new ones have come in. She took a ride on a pony, she danced with Hula dancers, learned that she loves to go on rides no matter how high or how fast they go.  She made it all the way across the monkey bars with no help. She never missed a day of school and was never late either.  She mastered the splits which according to her is the biggest thing to accomplish lol. Nathalia just simply amazes us! Now get ready to be bombarded with pictures after pictures of our very beautiful Sunshine!

This is where her love for Power Rangers started. 

Fun at the pumpkin patch after spending the day at the Pumpkin Festival in Monterrey, Ca.

Disney On Ice, 2014

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2012, Princess Jasmine. We were asked if she was wearing a wig so many times. All that hair is hers :)

Happy 6th Birthday Nathalia!

Luau Birthday for our Sunshine!

First year of dance.

Second year, jazz and tap.

Third year dancing :)

Holiday season 2013

First day of school, she was so excited!

She did it!

Pajama Day at school.

Crazy hair/clothes day at school.

Honor roll, perfect attendance and Teachers Awards,
We are very proud of her!!

She is very much our Sunshine!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Last Two Years Part 3

The Last Two Years Part 3

We are now in 2014- and what a year it has been!

January 2014-We spent Emmaliese’s 2nd Angelversary with just family this year. We took her flowers and spent some time there with her. I think its starting to get a little easier, at least I hope so. And as hard as it is to believe I forgot to take pictures of us. As weird as it sounds I don't feel like I have to document every time we visit her or do something in her honor and I can actually just sit there and talk to her and enjoy being her mommy. January was a sad month for us in more one way and in the next day or so I will go into detail about the loss of our son that also happened in late January. 
I wrote this for Emmaliese to share on my FB and Instragram accounts. 

On February 17th, my husband turned the big 30! We celebrated with some yummy ice cream cake :-)
Happy birthday my love! I look forward to celebrating many more years with you! You are the best hubby and father anyone could ask for! We are lucky to have you!!!

In April we celebrated Nathalia’s 7th birthday, we had a Luau Theme and surprised the birthday girl with a live performance of Hula Dancers. We also baptized my nephew, Leonardo. We are very grateful to be his godparents.

Happy 7th Birthday Nathalia!!! we are so blessed to be your parents!
Our Godson Leonardo.

Memorial Day Weekend 2014 we took a mini family vacation to Disneyland! So much fun! Nathalia loves rides! She had me go on all of them with her. The hubby isn’t a big fan of certain rides hahaha. 

The Speed Racer ride was awesome!!! we went on it twice!!!

I loved seeing how happy she was and how excited she got to every time she saw anything she really liked!

Daddy would NOT get on the teacup ride for anything lol. This is the closest he got to going on it.  If you have been to Disneyland you know that this is the tea cup they have for pictures by the ride lol

But he did get on the Dumbo ride! Yay!!

Look who we ran into! 

Daddy stood in line for 2.5 hours, we are some very lucky girls!

On our last day, Nathalia didn't want to leave, neither did we.

On the tea cup ride, the real one haha

Front row for the fireworks!!

And she is out! Not even on the freeway and she was fast asleep.

July 4th 2014- The whole fam bam got together at my brother in laws and celebrated with our own fireworks. We BBQed and had a good time :-) 

Lighting a sparkler for her sister Emmaliese <3

Nathalia with her cousins watching the fireworks.

Fun with the Sparklers :-)

We are pretty much up to date…..there will be a post about Nathalia and her dancing and a few more pictures of her birthdays and her year in first grade J  as well as a post about a sad event that we went through in January of this year.

I hope that this little run down has kept you all in touch with what we have been up to in the last two and a half years.