Thursday, April 29, 2010

Certificates ...

My best friend, Kelley, came in town today with her precious 9 week old baby girl. I haven't seen Kell since Christmas and she was still pregnant at the time. Today was my first time meeting her sweet baby and she is a total sweetheart. Cam and Peyton absolutely love Baby R (much to my surprise, Peyton absolutely ADORES her) ... and, yes, it hurts knowing our boys will never have their little sister to love and adore like they are Baby R. I hate they don't know her and will never have the chance of knowing her ... not until we leave this world, that is. At the same time, I'm so thankful for such wonderful friends who are willing to fly across the country to be with us. I'm thankful that Kell lets me love on Baby R (because, you all know, even though she's not my "real" niece ... she's still my "niece"!:)) but knows me well enough to take Baby R back when she see's I'm about to have a meltdown. One of those "meltdowns" came today when James walked in the door from work. He was holding Reagans Birth and Death Certificates. Wow, what parent thinks they will go pick those up at the same time? I was sitting on the couch, holding Baby R, and told James I couldn't look at them. I tried not to sob ... but, Kell knows me better than I know myself at times... and asked if I wanted her to take the baby. I told her yes, handed Baby R back and just started to bawl. It's official ... Our Amazing little girl was born April 16th at 7:04 am weighing 2lbs 12ozs and 13 inches long. She went home to be with the Lord at 11:45 am.  She made it almost 5 hours ... she was such a fighter, she was our fighter and we are so incredibly proud that she is our daughter.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Amnio infusions Begin ...

We had an appointment scheduled at 22 weeks with the HR doctor (the one doctor who saw us previously was convinced we would see she still had no fluid and go ahead with the abortion.) Little did she know, our appointment wasn't scheduled with her (we weren't aware of this either). Instead, we met with the most wonderful doctor ever. Honestly, he was precious. The moment we met him, I felt a complete peace. He was very thorough, very personable, and EXTREMELY caring. He mentioned to us the same thing the previous doctor told us ... that Reagan had no fluid ... and that was obviously not a good thing. BUT THEN, he told us something that many others had straight up told us "NO" to. He said in his 27 years of being a perinate doctor, he had only seen this type of case one other time. I immediately asked how he treated the pregnancy and, what he said was music to my ears. Actually, sent chills throughout my entire body. He said they did amnio infusions. Her son was born with cerebral palsy but, other than that, is doing great! I didn't give him the chance to offer us the infusions ... I basically cut him off in the middle of a sentence (if you know me, you know that when I get excited, my mouth flies open. Yes, it's a rude thing and I am really, really trying to work on it!) and asked if we would be able to do the infusions. Dr. V said he would be willing to do them for us ... but didn't want us to make the decision right there. It's a VERY risky procedure (it's a huge needle that goes through your stomach, into your uterus, that puts fluid back into the sac ... it could send you into labor, could hit the baby the wrong way, could hit the placenta/cord, infection risks are very high, and ... not to mention, it hurts incredibly bad.) So, James and I prayed about it, talked about it, and were in agreement with going ahead with the infusions. I am terrified of needles ... but I would never have been able to live with myself knowing I hadn't given Reagan every possible chance. We scheduled an appointment for the following Thursday (2 days away) and the procedure took a little over 3 hours. I was scared to death ... sobbing through a good portion, I had James' ipod on, listning to Praise and Worship ... while James was rubbing my feet the whole time. I was scared ... of the needle, yes, a little ... but mostly of what this meant for Reagan. Dr. V informed us before we started the procedure he didn't think one of her kidneys was functioning ... it was "dysplastic" ... meaning it was full of non-functioning cysts. He wasn't sure as to her other kidney but would have more of an idea after the infusion. It was truly AMAZING watching Reagan become more active each time they put more fluid in. She was moving her legs and arms everywhere ... it was as though she was sighing a sigh of relief, finally having the room to move. They were able to infuse 500 cc's (50 syringes). We saw her hands, feet, face, toes, fingers ... well, everything. That's something we completely took for granted with both the boys. We could make out everything on their ultrasounds. That wasn't the case with Reagan. You honestly couldn't tell her head from her feet. It was the most discouraging thing being her mom and having no clue what I was looking at on the screen. To be honest, there were times the doctors and techs didn't know what they were looking at.

I was told to not lift anything for the next two weeks and to stay inside. That's pretty much impossible with two little guys but I did my best! I was guzzling water and laying on the couch or on the bed constantly. My kids are amazing ... even though we couldn't go outside, they were such troopers throughout it all. We went back to the doctor the following week to find that Reagan had about half the fluid they had infused. Her AFI right after the infusion was 15.3 and it was a little less than half that. At the end of my infusion, Dr. V infused blue dye into the sac. He said we would know if the tear had sealed over or not with this blue dye. If I hadn't leaked blue within 24-48 hours, they would consider me "sealed". If I didn't leak blue, my body would absorb it and I would pee it out. Well,  I never leaked OR peed blue, so they were baffled as to what was going on. The next week we were back to absolutely no fluid. We decided, along with  Dr. V, that we should go ahead with another infusion. This one went a lot faster, only about an hour and a half, and they were able to infuse 530 cc's. I was cramping really bad that night and feeling a lot of pressure (both of which are normal with infusions) ... so I took some tylenol and went to bed. I woke up at 6:00 the next morning, with our bed soaked. I stood up and fluid kept pouring out. My water had broke for the second time and I was now just 24 weeks pregnant. James had already left for work, I couldn't get ahold of my regular ob's office OR my HR doctor and I was panicking ...

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm sorry I'm slacking

I follow a few blogs and it drives me nuts when I look for updates and they're not there. Don't get me wrong, I don't think people are hanging on the edge of their seats waiting fore me to post ... I just have so much I want to get out ... but feel like there is no time to do it.

I am doing this because an amazing friend created this blog. She wanted people to know Reagan's story ... we want people to know Reagan's story. What so many don't know is that Reagan was a twin. I carried two precious babies for 11 weeks until the Lord called one home. It was too early to know the sex of the one baby ... but we will know one day. I struggled hard with the loss of our precious baby. The crazy part is we weren't even planning on any more kids. We were happy being a family of four and were completely thrown for a loop when learning of this pregnancy. (We have two little boys, Cameron and Peyton. Cam just turned 3 and Peyton is about to be one ... meaning there wasn't even a year between Reagan and Peyton.)  I'm not going to lie ... I bawled, like a baby. I was selfish. I was wrong. I will never forget the night of October 28th, 2009 ... the night our lives forever changed. We thought it was just that we were having another baby. If it could have only been that easy.

We were told by the doctors that we lost the one twin to "vanishing twin syndrome" and that our other baby was 100% healthy ... that there was nothing to worry about. Imagine our shock at 16 weeks (when going to find out the sex of our baby)  being told that something was wrong with our baby girl. After seeing a high risk doctor, they determined my water broke at 13 weeks and it was a slow leak. By 17 weeks, Reagan had no fluid ... not a drop. There was a tear somewhere in the gestational sac and they weren't able to locate it. We were encouraged to have an abortion ... something James and I don't believe in. We told this doctor that we know Who opens and closes the womb ... that it wasn't our right to take Reagan's life. If God wanted to take her early, He would in His own time. We were told all the risks ... not just the risks for her, but the risks for me. The possibility of infection, the possibility of death. It scared me, a fear I have never felt before. I wanted to fight for Reagan, give her every possible chance; yet the possibility of infection and death, me not being around for my husband and boys shook me to the core. We decided it was best I stay inside ... stay away from all possible germs. My poor husband and kids ... I think James saw work as a daily field trip. :) James was AMAZING ...on top of working a full time job, he did all the grocery shopping, errands, and all the odds and ends around the house. No matter how busy his schedule (he is an officer in the Air Force), he was at every doctors appointment with me. He was my constant strength ... and I don't think I told him that enough.

There is still so much to write, but I'm emotionally and physically exhausted. A friend drove me back to the hospital today to pick up Reagan's foot molds ... I have never felt such pain and peace at the same time. Pain because of everything that happened there with Reagan ... peace because that is the only place we have memories with our angel baby. Amazing how one place can bring such emotion ...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It was beautiful ...

Yesterday was a day of Celebration. A day to celebrate our beautiful little girl's life; short, yet one that has touched thousands. I pray she knows how amazing she is. I pray I can be like Reagan. That I can fight, despite the odds put against me. That, no matter how hard the obstacle, I won't give up ... but I'll keep fighting ... because I have a purpose and a and reason. I am trying to remind myself of these things every second. Family and friends that have been rallying around us every second of every day since Reagan was born. They have started to leave today and I am terrified of being alone. I know it's something that is eventually going to happen, and I'm going to have to learn how to deal with it just being the four of us again ... it just isn't something I'm ready for yet. To be honest, it probably isn't something I'll EVER be ready for. I'm so thankful for a Father who never leaves, who stays with us through the good and the bad, who is our strength when we are weak, and who loves us beyond measure. With Him ALL things are possible ...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tomorrow marks Reagans One Week Birthday

One week ago today, I went into labor with our angel baby. I was told ruptured patients often labor for weeks, if not months, so it was nothing to be concerned about. I was given a "cocktail" ... morphine in my iv, a morphine shot, ambien, phenergan, and vistaril. In a 7 hour span, I was given this "cocktail" THREE TIMES. Never once did it take the pain away ... just made me more doped out of my mind then I knew possible. The doctor was convinced that if she could get me calmed down, and possibly to sleep, labor would stop. Man, how she was wrong.

A week ago tomorrow, our precious baby girl was born. She was pefect in every possible way. I know every parent says that about their child but SHE WAS. We are having a service to celebrate Reagan's life tomorrow. The thought of it makes me sick. To know that it's already been a week since we've held her ... then, after tomorrow, life will resume to "normal" in the Straub household. I don't think it'll ever be "normal" again. I can't imagine. We'll try ... but how can we be complete without one of our children??? Please pray for us. I feel empty. An emptiness I have never felt in my life.

 I am also struggling with so much physical pain. When I was in the hospital, I wound up getting a herniated disc and a bulging/dislocated disc in my back. I am seeing a neurosurgeon about possible surgery on my back (praying for just cortisone shots)... but, for the time being, I am absolutely miserable. I can barely walk, can't pick up my kids, bend over, drive, and am depending on medicine to remain sane. Anyone who knows me knows I HATE this. I am NOT a person who likes medication ... for certain reasons, so this is really hard on me. Please pray for the pain to stop without having to take meds!

Tomorrow is Reagan's service ... and we will be okay.

Another day has passed ...

6 days ... 6 days have passed since our angel came into this world and left it, leaving us forever changed. Most women count down their pregnancy ... complain about how uncomfortable, swollen, out of breath, how much pressure there is, and, overall, just how miserable being pregnant is. I HAVE been one of those pregnant women. With both the boys, sadly, they couldn't come out soon enough. Reagan was different. I cherished every second she stayed in. Every kick, punch, or hiccup I felt were so precious to me. She moved ... A LOT ... which is very rare for ruptured babies. Babies with no fluid normally stay in one position because it is too difficult for them to move. Not our Reagan, she had some dance parties in my belly! They hurt, at times to where I would have tears streaming down my cheeks, but I didn't want her to stop. Even though I was in so much pain, she was doing something doctors said she would never do. It was amazing feeling her do things doctors told us were impossible for her. They would even comment during ultrasounds or monitoring how incredible it was that she was such a wiggle worm. I had nurses tell me that they would never know by the monitor readings we were ruptured ... her heartbeat was always so strong and she was always so active. God showed me so much through this pregnancy that NOTHING is impossible through HIM. Our little girl ... she may have only lived on this earth for four hours ... but she has taught me a lifetime of lessons. I'm trying to wrap my head around that but I just can't. I miss her ... I miss her more than I knew was humanly possible. Her skin was the softest skin I have ever felt. I love how she wrapped her fingers around my pointer finger and held on so tight. She was perfect ... and I'm so thankful God gave us the gift of Reagan. I will never be the same ... and that's a good thing.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our Baby Girl

Wow, I can't believe I'm blogging. I promised myself I would never do this ... not being that great of a writer, especially with my mind going a million places at once. Amazing how one little life can change you so incredibly much. As time goes on, I plan on writing Reagan's birth story, the months leading up to her birth and death, how we're dealing ... or not dealing, and whatever else is on my heart. I warn you now ... I have horrible ADHD and I use ...... a lot. My feelings are raw and fresh, so forigve me if I don't candy coat things and make them story-tale like. I think it will be theraputic to get my feelings out ... yet hard at the same time. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the prayers and support y'all have given our family throughout the past few months. I cannot tell you how many times James and I have both been in tears because of how humbled we are at other peoples generosity and love ... some of which we have never even met. In the hardest time of our lives, God is showing us how faithful He is by putting people like YOU in our lives. Thank YOU ...

Most people aren't local but I wanted to let everyone know the memorial arrangements in case you can make it. We will be having Reagan's memorial service on Friday, the 23rd, at 10:30 am. It will be at Valley Chapel on Beale AFB.

Reagan Grace

This site has been set up in memory of a sweet baby girl, Reagan Grace.  As you can imagine this is an extremely difficult time for the family.  The last thing they should have to worry about are the costs associated with the passing of a loved one.  Since the Straub's are active military, they are away from their friends and family and many will not be able to attend the funeral.  The family would like to travel back home as soon as possible.  The funds donated will be used for the costs noted above.  Any amount you can give will be appreciated whether it is $1 or $100.  Please find it in your heart to help out this wonderful family.

We are not put on this earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.~Jeff Warner