Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Farewell 2009

2009 by far has been the most challenging year, I battled with using the word “worst” but that would mean nothing good came out of 2009 and the fact that I’m alive healthy and so close to 2010 means that, some things were not so bad. So here is my 2009 in recap please enjoy.

January – I went to my 18 wks prenatal appointment excited to find out if I was having a boy or girl, I found out that my baby suffered from a Lower Urinary Tract Obstruction aka LUTO; I was devastated as I begin high risk intervention to save the baby growing inside me.

February – I had the best birthday in a long time, a massage, a manicure & pedicure, and I even got a Wii game system. 5 days later I got a phone call from my Dr. saying Vayden’s kidneys failed, intervention was over. I made the choice to carry to term.

March – Is when I became very vocal about my situation, I started blogging about my ups and downs, I opened my life to complete strangers and told Vayden’s story through my eyes. I found family through LUTO, women & men who had LUTO angels and some who had LUTO survivors, they were there for me and supported me and I am forever grateful for them. They are my family now. I mourned the deaths of Matthew and Jonah, Vayden’s best friends. (LUTO angels)

Lisa Fregien

McKenzie Hardison

Mandy Sheridan
Everyone on the Posterior Urethral Valves Facebook group

April – The Stewart family, Vayden included took a trip to California and Las Vegas. In that trip Vayden was able to fly on an airplane, feed the ducks, go to the aquarium, attend his brothers 2nd birthday party, enjoy the sounds of Cirque du Soil in Las Vegas, and eat the best hamburger at In n Out Burger. He was also so lucky to be surrounded by loving friends and family from the west coast. When we got back to Oklahoma we met with an amazingly talented NILMDTS photographer who took amazing maternity photos to help us document this journey through carrying to term

May - I was wishing I could stay pregnant forever, time was running out as my due date was nearing . I lashed out on a few people who gave me the faith or miracle speech, the truth is God already spoke to me by that time, Vayden was not going to stay on earth, but would be born alive. I had faith that God would stick to that word and answer our prayer for a total and complete healing on earth or in Heaven. I wrote the blog post “But you gotta have faith” on May 19th and I went into labor on May 22nd. Vayden James Stewart was born May 23,2009 at midnight, he passed away 3:45am. We were blessed to see him with his eyes wide open, hear him cry and cuddle with him for that time. God stood by his word and we were thankful for every minute we had with Vayden. Vayden died peacefully in my arms, he knew no pain, no needles, and no tubes, welcomed with love and left with love.

June – The Stewart family started to get used to “our new normal”. I was terribly bored; I kept thinking I should be up in the night tired during the day. I played with Vashon all day and worked on my new baby all night My Very Own Angel.

July – I worked all night as if I had a colicky newborn on My Very Own Angel, I told very little people about my new obsession, it was my way of healing through my loss. I tried out a new church and felt at home from the first service. My relationship with Christ was growing while the devil was working shamelessly on trying to ruin my marriage. My Very Own Angel’s website launched on July 24, 2009 just one day after Vayden's 2nd month in Heaven

August – The 345 teddy Bear Project blessed OU Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City, where Vayden was delivered, it was humbling to go back and give thanks to the amazing staff that was so supportive through my loss. The local news came out to do a story.

September – Vashon took over Vayden’s comfort bear that Kelly from Sufficient Grace sent me, this is the ONLY stuffed animal he has ever liked, so I went ahead and gave it to him and we now refer to the bear as “cuddle brother”

October – Not just Breast Cancer Awareness month it’s also Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month and on the 15th I lit a candle for Vayden and all the other babies gone too soon. I also went to a few walks to remember met some great people, and Vayden’s story made the local newspaper a two page spread. Just in time to make others aware of pregnancy and infant loss.

November – Here comes the holiday season, our first without Vayden, we found a way to include him.

December – We included Vayden in everything we could for Christmas, and My Very Own Angel was blessed to touch the lives and offer support to many. I’ve met so many wonderful people throughout this year, many I would not have met had I not suffered this loss, so in the words of the bible. “All things work together for good, to those that love God” Roman 8:28

I look forward to 2010, and I’m very ready to kick 2009 out the door. Our family was tested greatly this year and the devil worked so hard to ruin us, but we took the trails with faith, knowing that God would show us the reward soon.
So to 2009 thank you for the test, the tears, the growth, and the faith, I won’t miss you, but I will always remember you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pictures From Heaven

Today marks the 7th Heavenly month that my sweet Vayden has been away. With Christmas just two days away, I keep thinking about how fun it would be if Vayden was with us physically this Christmas, he will be with us in our hearts, but we all know that’s never the same. We have been very careful to include Vayden this Christmas in everything we can from stockings to presents, yes Vayden has presents wrapped under the tree and you’ll have to wait until after Christmas to see them.

Last week on a drive home I was thinking about my baby boy. I thought how cool would it be if Heaven could somehow send down photos every month for me to see him and how he changes. I would honestly be so happy with just that, just one picture a month. I told my mom about my thought and she said “you’ll have to pay close attention to your dreams”, so that is what I’m going to do and hopefully God will send me pictures from Heaven.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Without Words, I Miss You Vayden

I Have A Blog Button

I finally have a blog button, there were two main reasons why it took so long. I couldn't figure out how to make them and I couldn't figure out what I wanted it to look like. This blog is titled Through My Mothers Eyes.....Vayden's Story. This is Vayden's blog and every post will in someway be connected to Vayden. My dear friend Holly so kindly said she would make my button for me when I'm ready, and finally the idea hit me to use the eye and place Vayden's photo in the pupil. Next I had to find a friend good with edits, so that's when I emailed Teresa to find out if I my dream was even possible. Thanks to Holly and Teresa, I now have a perfect blog button.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Get It From My Mama

Not just my good lucks, I mean look at her isn’t she a 10?? This woman looks amazing and no she did not have me when she was 18.

Many people have asked me how I am so strong, how am I able to deal with the death of my 2nd son so well. My faith plays a big role in my understanding and healing process, but so does my mother. My mother is my rock; she walked me through my pregnancy with Vashon and was there from diagnosis date to delivery with Vayden. We disagree all the time, but whenever I need her she is there. Sharon and I have similar ways on how we handle life’s curve balls.

I must have been about 9 and my brother 11 when my dad got sick. Unexpectedly this came about and gradually his condition got worse, by the time I was 12 my father was basically living in the hospital. My mother worked full time, was my father’s best patient advocate and still a mother of two, she was the glue that kept our family together. The best thing she ever did for my brother and I, was let us be kids, we never knew how sick our father was, never had to worry about medical bills, never worried about dinner, my brother never had to step up and take care of me, and we never had to pay for my mom’s exhaustion or daily worries, she never flipped out or lost her cool with us around. Our lives were as normal as they could have been minus our dad being in and out the hospital, I can only count on one hand the amount of times I saw her cry. I’m sure she had someone to talk with, someone to cry to, but she didn’t use her kids as support, instead she used us as a reason to keep going and she knew we had a lot of life ahead of us. She handled my father’s illness with inspirational strength and grace. I recognize this now because I am a mother and I have been faced with an adult issue that I could easily bring Vashon into, forcing him to grow up too soon. When I was pregnant with Vayden and knew that his prognosis was bleak, I remember telling myself “Vashon must remain a child through all of this, no matter how hard it is for me. “ I thank my mother for taking on such a huge load, and being sensitive to how pure being young is. She knew we had to grow up one day and take on loads of our own, but she always let us have what some people never experience and what no one can ever get back…………. a childhood.

“Mom, I always knew you were an amazing mom, but it truly took losing Vayden to understand why you did what you did as far as putting up the child protectors. I know how hard it must have been for you during that time, dealing with children is hard enough, but adding a life changing curve ball makes it seem almost impossible. When my days are long and my heart aches for Vayden, I remind myself that Vayden is well taken care of and I owe Vashon the same childhood you gave me and Terron.”

I’ve said thank you many times but this time I really get it, so Thank You Mom

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My 1st pUbLiC eMoTiOnAl BrEaKdOwN

Today I had a Dr. appointment because I have high blood pressure. I needed my prescription to be refilled and I thought I would be in and out. Key word: I THOUGHT, I ended up finding out that my previous blood work showed possible kidney problems and that my primary care manager wants to send me to see a kidney specialist. I also had to have more blood work and have my medication changed to something that will help my blood pressure if I do in fact have kidney issues. The Dr. is talking and saying all these terms that I remember hearing or reading about through my journey with Vayden. All while my eyes are filling with tears as the Dr. who didn't know about Vayden puts her hand on my knee and says "this is precaution since you're so young and because of your family history" (talking about my mom and dad both having blood pressure issues). I guess I didn't hear that all the way and I let my tears go, she couldn't understand why I was so emotional, I said "it was me wasn't it? Vayden's condition was my fault my kidneys are bad no wonder his would be also". She still did not understand what I was talking about so I told her about Vayden, her eyes began to water she kept saying, "no, did they say his condition was genetic?" I said "no, but now you're telling me this, about my own health" she told me she needed to go get something from her office and that she would be right back. I stayed crying knowing in the back of my mind that Vayden's condition was a fluke and that the only reason his kidneys failed was because he couldn't get his urine out. Still my not so good news about my own health flooded my reasonable thinking.

The Dr. came in with a few sheets of paper some about LUTO, she gave me a pep talk, hit me with some hard facts and assured me that I did nothing wrong. We talked for a little while after I calmed down, I showed her Vayden's pictures and told her about MVOA, I left that appointment with a smile on my face I don't know why I broke down like I did but that is how grief is, comes out of no where kicks you down and tries to hold you there. I'm happy that I took my moment but got back up, I don't know what is the issues with my personal health and at the moment I'm not going to worry hard about it. One thing I learned with Vayden is "leave it in Gods hands"

Monday, November 23, 2009

6 Months with Change

6 months ago my life changed, Stephanie Stewart changed. Some people accept change hard while some just roll with the punches. Is change good? I think it is, without change we would never grow, we would fail to learn and we would never be able to look back and think of the good and bad of our past.

I have changed so much since May 23, 2009. I lost the innocence to my way of thinking, I once lived on planet care bear, I used to worry little and laugh a lot. Time meant nothing, because in my life, I always had time. Now I worry, I despise waiting, and the small things like sitting on the phone for hours with an old high school friend or watching TV all day doesn't amuse me. I was so close to giving up on all these social networking sites, yet now I allow countless amounts of people into my most personal tragedies.

6 months ago I learned who I needed in my life; I lost so many people who I care about so much, but I’ve changed and they didn’t change with me. I know that they care about me and my loss, but I cannot constantly fly to Florida to avoid the harsh winters.

To some 6 months ago I became “that one girl whose baby died” to me 6 months ago I became Stephanie PROUD mother of an angel. God became a friend to me and not my enemy, I am blessed and things could be a lot worse. I love so hard now it’s scary, I now know how precious life is, and how everyday is not promised.

I daydream about Vayden more now, today he’s been gone for 6 heavenly months; I also daydream about that wonderful day when I see him again in Heaven. I have never set a goal in my life until now; I used to think goals would take me away from my innocent way of thinking if I didn’t reach my set goal for whatever reason. I now for the 1st time in 25 yrs have a goal that I will fight for, crawl to, reach high, and work hard to get……that goal is to get to Heaven so that I can see my baby again.

Half a year has gone and I miss you just as much as they day after you left.
I thank God for blessing me to be able to carry and give birth to an angel in human form.

Mommy miss you Vayden, and I love that you play with Vashon.

I need you all to realize one thing about grief, it does not go away, and we don’t forget about it. Just because I am not a crying mess everyday doesn’t mean I don’t need you to check up on me. I am human and I hurt everyday for my loss. I’m humbled enough to know that Vayden had a bigger purpose in life and death, but that still doesn’t take away from the sharp pains I feel in my heart. I am grieving healthy and progressively healing, but I ask that you not forget about me or Vayden.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Sculpture Tells The Story

I found The Midnight Orange online while searching for an item to use for a blog giveaway. I fell in love with the work that this artist does. Her sculptures as simple as they are tell a story so powerful.

When you look at these pieces you see my new family. My husband, myself, our 1st born Vashon and our angel Vayden. It's both beautiful and heartbreaking to look at, but it's still our family. What I love about them is we are stuck together, and we are supporting each other.

Dana the artist contacted me to let me know my sculpture would be a little late, she said the first one had an issue when she went to fire it. She asked if I would mind her sending both the new piece and the semi destroyed piece. She did not charge me for the semi destroyed piece but after seeing it, I wish I would have paid her something for it. In my eyes it's beautiful, because in my eyes it tells a story.

Cracked and damaged, the same way we felt when we lost Vayden. Van suffered the most severe damage. I believe this sculpture tells the true story of our initial loss.
So simple and unique these pieces of art are, but the story behind each of them pack so much meaning.

The Stewart Family 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Family Bed

My husband came back yesterday from his deployment a little early, it was perfect timing because I'd say 3 days out of the week I felt like I was going to crack. In our family Vashon sleeps in his own room and bed, but on weekends if he so happens to wake up in the middle of the night or we start missing him, he can come and sleep in our bed. We have the family bed at least once a week. I call Vashon "happy feet" because he moves his feet around when he's sleep, it's the most annoy thing in the world and he always targets my body. My husband loves having him in the bed and since he hasn't seen him in a few months we put Vashon to sleep in his bed and of course went and got him later to put him in bed with us. I laid awake with dancing toddler feet on my body and a snoring husband. At that moment I thought to myself "gosh it was nice..... "

Then I thought about The Family Bed, and I thought Vayden would be 5 months old now and although not big enough to sleep in the bed with all three of us, he would surely be able to spend a little time in there while we all lay awake. I saw my perfect, me and my 3 boys, then I thought about when I have another lil one, and if that baby so happens to be a girl. The outsiders looking in will see that as perfection. They will see a cute lil family, 1 boy 1 girl, and they will never know that my perfect was 2 kids, 2 boys and that I had that already, for 3hrs and 45min.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant

Ever seen that show??? I have watched it many times and as honest as these women seem and I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, I personally don't see how anyone can go full term without kinda knowing something was different. I mean, I've had some contraction like gas before, but I know the difference.

Why am I writing about this show? PREGNANT I am not, that would be a true shock and surprise to my husband who is deployed right now. I'm writing because pregnancy is everywhere around me, my husband wants me to be pregnant, my close friends on base are all pregnant, people keep asking me when I'm going to try again, and every now and then I think "I better just get this over with", because I find myself making plans that don't include a new little person, and lets face it Vashon as a 2 yr old is amazing birth control. My husband will be home in 2-3 weeks and he's made it very clear that he wants another baby, we agreed that we would not actively try, but also not prevent. After being asked why I didn't want another baby, I came to the conclusion that I do want another baby, I just don't want to know when I'm pregnant. I think about having another baby all the time, but my mind skips over the pregnancy, so I hope that one day I will create a post introducing my new healthy baby, that I delivered in my bathroom while taking a poop and at the end of my post it will say "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15th

Today is pregnancy and infant loss awareness day, this day was set aside for everyone to remember those precious lives gone too soon. I will admit last year I didn’t know this fact, and like many unless this issue hits close to home, some may never know. Last year on October 15th I was sooooo upset driving home from a 2nd job I had taken up, I was tired, I was nauseous, and I was sneaking yet another pregnancy test into the house, hoping to be pregnant. Last year on October 16th I found out I was pregnant, it’s been a year now since I began this journey, and I will now come across milestone dates through the next 7 months until I apprehensively come back to May 23rd.

Today I lit the V candle from Vayden’s memorial service in memory of my sweet angel baby. I also lit another candle for all the other angels gone too soon. I sat down and watch Vayden’s slide show 4 times, reminding myself of all the wonderful things I did with him in the womb and out. I miss him, and look forward to seeing him again.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Raise your hand if you want another baby

If you asked me that question in a room of mothers who have angels, I might be the only one with my hands in my lap. I've met so many women on this journey, walking on the same path of infant loss, yet while they shift left to start trying again I walk straight. On my walk I meet and pick up stranded new mothers on this road trip, those that choose to carry to term, those that just recently suffered a loss, or those who trust me enough to share the story of their very own angel. My road trip is not depressing and contrary to others beliefs doing what I do does not leave me stagnate in one place of my grief. I learn something new every day about grief, I teach someone something new everyday about loss.

I love the memories, I have a photo of Vayden on my desk at home and every time I look at it, I smile. When I go back to the day I smile and I keep smiling, because I know he's smiling at me. New babies are very time consuming, before I raise my hand when asked if I want another baby I want to be sure that even with the new baby, I wont leave out my other two babies. That means that I will continue My Very Own Angel and play "I see you" with Vashon over and over again. My mom told me after I had Vashon, not to think about having another baby until he got his time to shine. I think I'm going to do the same with Vayden. Speaking of shinning, Vayden at only 3 heavenly months old made the local news click this link

I've said it before if it is for me to have another baby, then God will make it happen, if it's not I will always be a mother of two amazing boys.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Look at this photograph

I'm vacationing in California for a few weeks at my parents house. Vashon is their 1st grandchild but no longer their only. Needless to say their house is like a shrine dedicated to Vashon, pictures are everywhere. This is my 1st time being home after losing Vayden and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Vayden has his own lil shrine of pictures too.

My mother hangs photos of Vashon from birth to his current age (2 yrs) and swaps them out frequently. It's nice to look at a photo of Vashon when he was 3 mo old and then another when he was 13 mo old right next to it. I walked around their house looking at all the changes that Vashon has made in just 2 short years. Then I got to Vayden's photos and realized that his shrine would never change, my mother will never swap out the 6 mo photo for the 22 mo photo. It hit me that all of his photos will be of him being 3 hrs and 45 min old.

As I type this I'm looking at two picture frames on the computer desk, one of Vashon when he was only 2 mo old and one of Vayden a few hours after he passed. I look to my right and I see Vashon my now 2 yr old sleeping on the couch, but I do not see my what would be now 3.5 mo old Vayden.

As I look at this photograph I can remember everything from 5/23/2009 I can re play the story like it was yesterday, but as I look at this photograph my eyes get a lil watery because I know that this photograph will never be swapped out for a picture of Vayden at a later age.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

3 Months and I'm Still Sober

And I don't know This could break my heart or save me
Nothing's real Until you let go completely
So here I go with all my thoughts I've been saving
So here I go with all my fears weighing on me
Three months and I'm still sober
Picked all my weeds but kept the flowers
But I know it's never really over
And I don't know I could crash and burn but maybe
At the end of this road I might catch a glimpse of me
Three months and I'm still breathing
Been a long road since those hands I left my tears in
but I know It's never really over
Three months and I'm still standing here
Three months and I'm getting better yeah
Three months and I'm still breathing
Three months and I still remember it
Three months and I wake up
Three months and I'm still sober
Picked all my weeds but kept the flowers

Those are the lyrics to Kelly Clarkson’s song Sober (radio version), I heard this song back in 2006 and I loved it but never knew what she was talking about and really couldn’t relate to it. Today I still have no clue what she is talking about but I can relate to almost every word in this song.
Three months already, my how time flies, I just keep thinking I should be taking care of a crazy 2yr old and a 3 month old baby, at times I just keep waiting to wake up from this nightmare. What is 3 months? In 3 months most people can keep the same hair style, weigh the same, and work at the same job, too many 3 months is nothing but 12 weeks closer to something many have no goal to reach. Could it be a new mate, job or car? We generally view 3 months as nothing but time, except in the life of a new baby. I recall 3 months with Vashon being that fun age; it was just about when his personality started to show. I often wonder how Vashon would have influenced Vayden to ultimately drive me so insane that I would sell them both on craigslist. (joke)
Since Vayden has been gone I’ve been able to do things, I probably wouldn’t be doing had he been here, I know there are thing I surely wouldn’t be doing had he been a PUV survivor, that is a busy life those mommies have and they deserve a lot of credit. Since Vayden has been gone I’ve missed out on things, putting both my boys to bed, watching them sleep day dreaming what they were going to be like when they got older, wondering who would be the cool brother, who would be the strong bother .
Yet in 3 months I’ve been able to tell my story to many, I’ve opened the eyes and hearts of many who heard about infant death, but never really thought it applied to them. In just 3 months I’ve found out who I really am. A wife, a Christian, a friend, a daughter, and a mother of 2, one a heavenly angel, 3 months ago today I gave birth to my 2nd son and gained an angel almost 4 hrs later.
3 months ago my life changed, 3 months and I’m still sober……. picked all my weeds but kept the flowers.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Walking With You ~ Every Angel Counts~

Walking With You was created by Kelly of Sufficient Grace Ministries to help support those who have lost a child. Together we share our stories, helpful information, scriptures, encouraging words, prayer requests, and more. To join in on Walking with You please visit Kelly's blog.

This week, Kelly is sharing some commonly asked questions and answers about grieving the loss of a child. The rest of us may blog about a similar topic or share what is on our hearts this week.

This week my heart has been dealing with the way people consider loss. As many of you know I am not at all shy to tell someone I Have My Very Own Angel, I find that many peoples initial thought is “oh she had a miscarriage that is so sad” as I talk more about Vayden they are lead to ask more questions about his passing. When they find out I carried to term, met held my live child and then said goodbye, their eyes begin to tear up, they no longer have anything to say because I’m sorry in their hearts is just not enough. It upsets me that people can think of loss so shallow, like you only deserve credit if it was a late term loss. Like the story is only heartbreaking if your child was once alive in your arms, does it matter?? When a woman suffers a loss of a child at any age she grieves, she hurts the same and some women that suffer miscarriage or still birth feel cheated which is a harder more haunting feeling. Why don’t they deserve the tears and the hugs that I get? Why don’t people recognize that loss as a true heartbreaking loss? Why do they have to pay for a funeral but get no birth certificate?

I think every angel counts and every loss has a story behind it. Don’t discredit a woman’s grief because she lost her pregnancy at 8 weeks, she could have been trying for 4 yrs and those 8 weeks were something she was blessed to have.

Every Angel Counts

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm at WAR with the devil

In the bible in the story of Job, God and the devil challenged Job's faithfulness to the the Lord. The devil questioned Job's faith fullness in negative times, because Job's life was in a pretty good place. Many casual Christians praise God when the sun is shinning but can give him less praise or turn against him when the rain comes in. I am becoming the modern day story of Job as my faith fullness is being tested time and time again. In the matter of months my life has been turned upside down and all that was well is not anymore. Before we found out about Vayden things were perfect, no debt, happily married, I understood my child, I had a lot to praise God for and I did. Then the awful day came when we found out about the LUTO and it was like ok, there are worst things in the world, I still gave my praises to God, then the day came that we found out that his condition was now fatal. As I felt my baby moving inside of me, I knew that his condition was fatal, but didn't feel like he was taken from me, so there were still reasons to give praise. Then my angel was born and left us almost 4 hrs after birth, this was the moment that the devil was waiting for, he wanted me to curse God for taking my son, and not making him a medical miracle. Instead I gave praise, I praised God for the 3 hrs and 45 min I was able to spend with my son, and I felt that was a miracle, considering how fatal his condition. That pissed the devil off, and I thought he would leave me alone, but he was waiting to see me days, weeks, months after Vayden's death, he assumed that at some point I would turn my back on the Lord and realize that 3 hrs and 45 min is nothing. He even showed me another LUTO baby be born and live, he wanted so badly for me to question myself, and my God. I didn't, I was pleased to see lil Tino survive and I praised God for listening to my prayers as I had been praying for him. That again upset the devil, and then I created My Very Own Angel and tried to provide positive hope to women who suffer a loss, while constantly giving God all the glory for and all the praise, oh yea that pissed him off real bad.

The devil has formed attack against my marriage now. He has turned my spouse against me, he has created a horrible tension in my home and my husband is deploying in two weeks. I am announcing now as I've announced to God and the devil, and let everyone be a witness to this. I WILL NOT STOP LOVING GOD!!!!!!!!!!! Everything and everyone that I love can be taken away from me and I will mourn each, but I will get over it, I will move on, and I WILL continue to always praise God, for he will continue to bless me.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Walking With You - Sibling Grief/ The Next Pregnancy

This week, at Sufficient Grace we are sharing about the effect our loss(es) had on our children. If you did not have children at the time of your loss, we are also sharing about subsequent pregnancies (after the loss). If you have not had a pregnancy following the loss, yet, you may share your feelings about facing your next pregnancy.

Vashon was only 26 months old when Vayden passed, he has what I like to call "only child syndrome" so even before we were pregnant Vashon didn't like anyone or anything (the dog) being loved by mommy or daddy. Vashon didn't want to be around Vayden at the the hospital, I'm not sure if he knew he was not alive, or he just didn't want to be at the hospital, but we did get some photos with him and his brother.When we came home from the hospital Vashon knew that we were sad he just didn't really know why. I would often tell him that mommy misses baby brother, it is so cute how a 2 yr old is able to know that all I needed was a hug. Because Vashon was so young and not able to do much for himself, it pushed my husband and I to quickly find our New Normal. We both agreed that although it was fine to show emotion around Vashon, he should not pay the price for something he can not understand. Vashon is that step that keeps getting added on the ladder, when you think you've reached the top one more step appears. He kept us going, he kept us smiling and we always and still see a little of Vayden in him.

As far as the next pregnancy is concerned, I feel like I am the only one who is not jumping on the wagon of TTC. I'm not afraid of another case of LUTO, I'm afraid of having another 2 yr old. I have however made the decision that I would not go on any type of birth control, yet not actively TTC. I long for another baby, yet I'm in the a very traumatizing age with Vashon and I'm not sure I can do it again. I'm leaving this in God's hands, I believe that he will bless us with another baby, and I believe that the timing will be perfect. However if we are not supposed to have another child under God's plan, I will forever be a mother of two.

My Very Own Angel

Most of my followers already know that I’ve been working hard at giving back since Vayden’s death. It was weeks after his passing I had a strong urge to give back, to help others, to spread the word, and to encourage women to be proud of their angels. The community of bereaved parents is family of parents who in most cases are only brought together by the loss of a child. The beauty behind the pain of carrying to term is rarely spoken about there are wonderful support groups and support resources out there for these families. The more resources that are out there, will lead to more people acknowledging, fatal fetal diagnosis, carrying to term, and pregnancy and infant loss. There are real families, who suffer real loss (es) and need real support.

I created My Very Own Angel, along with my mother to offer support for women carrying to term, and encourage everyone to remember that there is no time limit on grief, there is no specific point where you stop talking about that precious angel you loss, you are never supposed to get over it, never forget and always be proud to say “I Have My Very Own Angel”

We acknowledge every angel that has left this earth too soon. Below is a photo of me PROUDLY announcing to the world “I Have My Very Own Angel” with an official MVOA T-Shirt.

Take some time and check out the site if you haven’t, and if you have your very own angel, don’t forget to follow MVOA on blog spot My Very Own Angel Blog, we will be hosting special blog giveaways for families of angels and navigating through grief in a positive yet real way.

* I will still update this blog and as I go through my own personal experiences with loss, I will be updating this one, so don’t leave me.

God bless

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Walking With You - Impact our loss had on our marriage

Walking With You was created to help support those who have lost a child. Together we share our stories, helpful information, scriptures, encouraging words, prayer requests, and more. Thank you to those of you who have joined us for the past few weeks...for courageously sharing your stories. If you haven't joined us yet, and would like to, you are more than welcome. This week, we are sharing the impact our loss(es) had on our marriage.;

My marriage was tested before our loss even occurred. After finding out about Vayden’s fatal condition Van and I both started grieving our son that was still alive. I spent countless hours online researching and understanding LUTO/ PUV, I was over educated on his condition and Van under educated. We didn’t communicate much during the time of me carrying to term, conversations here and there would be exchanged but for the most part if it wasn’t about Vashon our older son, we weren’t talking. I was so angry with him, but couldn’t tell him because I knew it would start a fight. An argument was the last thing I needed while I was having weekly amnio infusions, so I created a blog and found mothers who suffered loss, and women carrying to term just like me. I leaned on these women for all the support I needed, I cried all my tears to them, I shared all my fears with them, and with them I expressed my anger and disappointment with my husband. I stated a thousand times, that Van was a jerk, he walked around with a nonchalant attitude to the whole thing while my knees where read and sore from praying daily, or at least that is what appeared to me. I knew that he loved me and Vayden, I just didn’t know how someone that loves you could treat you so cold, and as a pregnant woman I thought I was supposed to get extra special treatment.
At 33 weeks I came to the understanding that Van is who he is and that I can’t make him sit and tell me about his feelings, while he listens to mine. I realized that I was not going to regret anything because I educated myself about Vayden’s condition, I contacted the wonderful resources available and I made sure that I wasn’t going to just go into labor and delivery, have a baby, watch it die and then go home. But before I accepted all of that, I prayed for Van and forgave him for his cold personality and asked God to hold him tightly when the time came for Vayden to be born because being so unprepared can be damaging. I set us up for marriage counseling even before Vayden was born, because I was sure we would need it.
Vayden was born only a few hours after Van came home from a 23 day TDY. I didn’t have a chance to just say what I had been holding in for 17 weeks, he didn’t even have a chance to apologize to me. When Vayden was born Van hit the floor, he was overwhelmed with love and sadness, and then it hit him. It was so hard to see my husband that mean cold man, so sad and so hurt watching his son, fight for his life, just to give us time with him, just so that his daddy could finally spend time with him and sing to him and touch him, like I had done my entire pregnancy, things I wanted Van to do while I was carrying. I let Van bathe him, and dress him alive; I knew that he was going to have regrets I wanted him to get as much as he could in while we had the time. Later Van thanked me for carrying to term and admitted that he thought often if I was making the wrong choice by carrying to term. When I created my website I asked Van to please submit a statement for the father’s page. This is what he wrote
" Why? When I was informed that Vayden had LUTO, I asked myself "why" over and over again. I blamed myself sometimes, thinking it was something I did. I thought the RADAR system that I worked on might have been the cause. I secretly blamed Stephanie, my wife, sometimes. I thought that maybe it was something she was eating or drinking. I had these thoughts for the majority of the pregnancy. I never shared my feelings or thoughts with my wife. I thought that I had to hide my feelings and stay strong for the family. I didn't really talk to anyone about our situation. I informed a few people at work, but didn't give too many details. I didn't want people thinking I couldn't do my job because of my family issues. Steph and I agreed to meet with the base chaplain. I still didn't talk much about my feelings or thoughts, but it helped me bring my shield down a little. Talking to the chaplain did help me realize that Vayden's condition wasn't anyone's fault. Not mine and surely not my wife's. God made his decision that he needed another Angel, and he chose Vayden to fill that slot.

My advice to the fathers, who might be faced with a similar situation as our family, is talk. Talk to you friends, family, or chaplain. But surely talk to your wife or girlfriend. Don't be afraid to show your feelings. It's not a sign of weakness. It's a sign that you really care. Losing or knowing that you are going to lose a child is a tremendous amount of stress. Talking to someone and sharing your feelings with someone helps a lot to relive that stress. The only regret that I have for our situation is that I didn't do this for my wife."

*Van S. Stewart Jr. (Father to Vayden, LUTO/PUV angel)

It brought tears to my eyes and a huge weight was lifted off my heart, because I never got the true apology and reason why that I felt I deserved. Now with Vayden gone, we have regular checks on each other and at time misunderstand each other’s grief, but we both understand that we are on different pages of the book of losing a child. I find total comfort in looking at every single one of Vayden’s photos and slide show, where Van stops looking at the photos of him once he’s passed. But Vayden’s loss had all in all brought us together closer as a couple and a family. We take walks 2-3 time a week and we talk more, if I need to talk about Vayden he listens for as long as he can, and I respect him knowing he’s not much of a talker anyway by not looking for his shoulder every time I need to cry. We attend church on a regular basis again as a family, right now we are in a happy place. The support, love and respect that Van showed me after Vayden’s death made me fall right back in love with him, I guess after such a difficult pregnancy I realized the man I married really did have a full heart that loved me.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Because I Trust in God

The 23rd marked another heavenly month that Vayden has been gone. To think 8 weeks have already come and gone is unreal. I often think about him, but forget small details, like if I held him on the right or the left side, so I return to his photo album and smile while I click from frame to frame. He truly was a beautiful baby. Just a few weeks ago I was able to hold a beautiful 5 week baby boy, while I watched my mother in law holding him 1st I wondered if it would be strange to ask to hold him, but my hands were tingling to hold that baby so I went to his mother and asked if she’d mind if I held him next. I cuddle that baby until Vashon (my older) became jealous and was coming towards me with his arms up begging me to pick him up. Since I didn’t know the mother of the baby boy she obviously started the small talk questions but instead of asking how many children I had, she asked if we planned on having any more other than Vashon. The door was open to say just “yes” or give a little more detail, and of course I gave a little more detail as I replied “we have an angel in heaven, who is Vashon’s younger brother, but yes we plan to have another one, God willing” I believe she may have thought that I suffered an early miscarriage, but when I mentioned that Vayden lived for 3 hrs and 45 min she asked if I could tell her what happen. When I told her our story in brief her heart sank as tears began to pour from her eyes. I begged her to please stop crying, there was nothing to cry about as I showed her a huge smile on my face, I then said “he was perfect do you want to see a photo of him?” she replied yes and when she saw the pics of him she began to smile again, she could see how much we love him. I made a new friend that day, I taught someone something new about fatal fetal conditions and carrying to term.

I have many people tell me how strong I am and how well I’m coping with the loss of Vayden, however I’ve had a numbered amount of people consider me to be in a stage of denial or unrealistic mind set. I am 150% clear minded at this point, my baby is in Heaven and has been since 5/23/09, I do not think I’m still pregnant (ask the beer I drank last night, lol) I do not think, believe or hope that one day I will wake up and be back in Jan 2009, and find out I’m having a healthy baby boy that doesn’t suffer from LUTO. I was for a minute starting to wonder if something was wrong with me, so I contacted my dear friend Holly to find out if something was wrong with me, and she feels the same way I do. We both find happiness in the memory’s of our angels and to be angry, depressed, or bitter will do us and our families no good. We both trust in God and lean on his word. Holly is an amazing mama, and her blog is a must read so take some time and check it out.

I do still cry, just not often, I look at Vayden’s photos every day and wear special jewelry daily that has his name on it. I know he is my angel and I’m still as proud of him as I was the day he was born and died. The only thing I wish is that when we went to view his body that last time at the funeral home, I would have put him in my purse and took him home to place in my own cooler, which I know is totally not allowed. I knew then that he was gone, but to be honest he was so beautiful I could have kept him just like that. We picked up Vayden’s ashes about 2 weeks ago and it was not as hard as I anticipated it to be, I took the brave move of opening the box they were in to look at them and I was surprised to find that the remains were not more than a handful in amount. Now I’m having second thoughts about spreading them, neither Van or I have an issue with them being in the house, so the plan is when we’re ready we’ll do it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just Missing My Baby

Vayden is almost 2 heavenly months old and for about 4 days last week I hit the bottom of the mountain. Those 4 days I lost my joy, my will to fight, and my strength. In those 4 days I became so worn out, so tired, and so disconnected I felt that I lost all my energy when I lost Vayden. Could it have been the deaths of so many famous and regular people in the world? It seemed like in one week alone, 5 or 6 people spontaneously died. I found myself praying 3-4 times a day for God to please get me through this and just as his word says, I was lead to the light and began to climb back up the mountain. This was the first time I experienced grief as it's said to come, in waves. I trusted in the Lord and continued to pray and I was navigated out of that dark place, I hurt for those who have not found comfort in God and live in that dark room for longer than a week, it was a horrible and scary feeling that I assume will come back as Satan will try so hard to use me for his own negative reasons. I will not fall into his temptation, because God's love is always on my side if I continue to accept it.

Kelly Gerken from Sufficient Grace Women's Ministries sent me the Dreams Of You Memory Basket included in that care package was the comfort bear. I was so blessed to receive this package the same day I went into labor, and used the comfort bear to sleep with the 2ND night at the hospital after having Vayden. I needed to make sure that I would be able to get some type of sleep at night without holding onto my baby. I rubbed the comfort bear down with Vayden's special lotion and went to sleep. That bear stays either in or near my bed every night, late last night Van couldn't sleep so he went downstairs to watch TV, the surround sound woke Vashon up and I was in no mood to explain to him why he couldn't have juice or watch boos coos (blue's clues) so I just brought him into bed with me and my comfort bear. I woke up at 10:30am and remembered that I needed to go feed a friends dog, so I got up and ran the quick errand around the corner. Van stayed down stairs making pancakes for breakfast, when I got back I went upstairs to attend church via television, since we woke up so late, and there I found Vashon sleeping like this with his what we called "his cuddle brother".

Despite what you think I really did not place him or the bear like that and when I left the house Vashon was sleep on his tummy. I thought it was so cute and it made me really sit and think of Vayden. I miss him so much, on a brighter side it's been 25 years and I've never met Michael Jackson, but my son Vayden James Stewart is up there moon crawling with the King Of Pop. OK maybe he's not crawling yet but you never know, Vayden was a very special baby boy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Vayden's NILMDTS photos

Today I went to pick up the rest of the NILMDTS photos. Carrie such a sweetheart also provided us with a slide show with wonderful quotes and music attached. I smiled the whole way through watching it. I was in shock to see the things she captured and I loved the way she put the slide show together. After watching the slide show I put the disc in to see the rest of the photo's. They are AMAZING!!!! She did a wonderful job and I love them so very much. She also gave me a wonderful bracelet with Vayden's name on it. Which I will upload later, I just had to get these up and my camera is charging. Carrie thank you so much for capturing such wonderful moments with our son. I love the photo of Vayden being born out my cookie jar, but will not post that, we all know why. lol. I will add the rest of the photo's to the slide show above later on tonight or tomorrow. Thank you again Carrie they are awesome. love ya

I love this one because what more can I say. It's him alive in color.
I love this one because it's a symbol of the love that his mother and father have for him.

I love this one because that is my real smile. I was so happy to be holding my son.

I love this photo, because Vayden is looking straight into Van's eyes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ashes to Ashes

Vayden's ashes have been ready now for a lil over 2 weeks. Van and I seemed to be in a rush to get them, however when we finally got the call we politely just said OK. The plan is to spread the ashes in a large pond at Honor Heights Park in Muskogee, OK. This park is very nice, quiet and every year they put on a fantastic Christmas light show, where they light up the entire park. Van was born and raised in Muskogee and we also visit that park every yr to see the Christmas lights. I figured "what child doesn't love Xmas lights?" and at least he'll be in a place that was home to his father.

I fought long and hard for a cremation, I've only seen infant caskets on pictures but even then before I lost Vayden, they broke my heart. My religion has taught me that the body once dead is just that, a body. Vayden's sweet spirit and the light to him has gone away long ago, still I can't bare to see my sweet baby boy that was lying so perfectly in that basket, in ash form. I don't regret my choice for cremation, at one point I was even at battles with my husband whom stated that he wanted to be cremated. I told him he better hope I die first, but now actually having to face and deal with death, makes you think. We are military and we will be for a while, we will move around from place to place and at the moment have no idea, or have not agreed where we will retire. Neither Van or I have a home family cemetery, the Gibbs, Stewart's and Nolan's just don't die very often, so Vayden's death made everyone, on each side of our families really think. We all had to come together to get through the loss of Vayden and we all had to think of our own mortality. Both my mother and I have now decided that we wish to be cremated and please don't play or sing "his eye is on the sparrow" at the service.

I do plan to purchase a urn locket to keep a few of Vayden's ashes in, but one day I'm sure we will go spread them, when we work up the strength to say goodbye all over again. I don't believe that he's un happy sitting on a shelf in a thick plastic container at the mortuary, again those ashes are just the body. The thought final resting place in my opinion gives a life like need to a heavenly spirit, we the living don't want to rest uncomfortable, we sleep on soft beds with plush pillows, but those entered into Heaven, walk on streets of gold, so basically my bed isn't looking that great compared to what Vayden has. lol. Vayden has been in Heaven for almost a month now laughing, playing and I'm pretty sure he's getting super spoiled up there, so I don't feel bad about not going to spread his ashes yet. We just need a lil more time.

On Friday and Saturday my friends and I held a yard sale on base. A girl I've met a few times but didn't really know was asking prices of the boys clothes, while helping her she asked me "where's the baby, inside the house?" I didn't want to dim the mood, didn't have enough time to share his story, but I did need to honor my son, so with a smile on my face and my eyes so proud, I replied "No, he's in Heaven now". She was taken back by my reply as I was a lil caught off guard from the question. I knew the "how many children do you have?" question would come up over and over again, but I guess I thought everyone that knew I was pregnant knew what happened. Guess I was wrong. She extended her condolences and continued shopping, while I continued to play lets make a deal.

I watch Vayden's slide show or look at his pictures still everyday. I miss him so very much, but I still smile thinking about him, he was perfect and too beautiful for earth.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Keeping Up With The Joneses

Many of my very close friends are newly pregnant, or TTC their 2nd child. I find that I am once again the odd man out. For months I was the unfortunate gal who was carrying a baby that was going to pass. For months it was said to me "I don't know how you do it". Now I am asked "Do you plan to have anymore? " or " When are you going to try again?" The answer to those questions are, Yes and I don't know.

Can I say that there is fear behind the wait to jump back into the game? Yes, I can. However as any mother knows pregnancy can be uncomfortable, tiring and lets be honest, I love being able to see my feet and sleep on stomach. I do not suffer from that feeling that if I have another I will replace Vayden or forget about him. I will never forget Vayden. I do wonder if I happen to have another boy, what on earth will I name him. I have surely ran out of names that start with V for a boy. Everyone of my friends and family want me to be tortured by having a lil girl, so I probably wont have do address that issue. I still remember the response from everyone when we found out Vayden was a boy and suffered from LUTO. It was not "OMG, what is that is he going to be ok?" it was "are they sure it's a boy?" attached with a silent (darn).

I can not place a date on when I plan to start TTC, but at my 2 wks post partum appointment I found myself either refusing or making excuses for the offered methods of birth control. My mind says, "no you don't want to be pregnant for virtually 18 months" but way in the back of my mind, I think how great it would be to keep up with the Joneses. Have my baby right along with my friends. But then I remember I already had my 2nd baby, I already served my 8 months of pregnancy. I haven't had a glass of wine in 11 months, and most of all I am still emotionally grieving the loss of Vayden; despite the fact that I don't cry everyday anymore.

How am I doing? Is the BIG question that so many wonderful supporters ask. I'm doing well, better than I expected to be honest. I find that the majority of my thoughts about Vayden are accompanied by a smile. It is only the future thoughts about Vayden in which I become sad or cry, when I think or him as a 2 yr old like Vashon, or playing in the backyard, fishing with his father. To those thoughts I tend to become sad and hurt for my loss, Vayden wont experience those things here on earth. However to brighten my mood I also note that he wont experience being laid off, betrayed, lied to, broken hearted, bad grades, and even getting yelled at by his parents. Somewhat of a balance, I guess.

Thank you for asking me how I am doing and I will never get sick of that question, because the answer will be different everyday. I have a lot going on and BIG BIG plans that I will discuss in future post. Just know that Vayden's death and memory will not go in vain and I have found that all things do work together for good to those that love God.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

One week without Vayden ~ Through his mothers eyes

One week ago my baby passed away and joined a host of angel friends in heaven. I miss him dearly. Last Sunday was the day I left the hospital, the room was cleared out as our family waited downstairs for us, Van and I held Vayden kissed him, told him we'll see him again, and most of all said "we love you" Before the nurse came in we bowed our heads and prayed that God get us through this and give us strength, we praised him for the time he allowed us with Vayden and asked that he be well taken care of. The nurse came in and walked with us slowly to the room where we were going to leave Vayden. Van asked if I wanted to carrying him, as much as I did, I said "no, you do it, I carried him for 8 months". We walked slowly, handed him over and cried the entire way out of the hospital. It wasn't supposed to be that way. I was supposed to take my baby with me, not a blanket that smelled like him.

Monday through Wednesday, every morning when I would wake up, I would have this uncontrollable shaking of my upper body, however I felt numb. I will admit that my appetite was non existent, even with some of my favorite foods eating was something I had no need for. One day at 10pm I realized that aside from drinking water, I had only eaten two pcs of bread that entire day, yet I was still not hungry. On Thursday I finally went to get my nails done, it felt right and wrong. Of course a woman should pamper herself, but what mother who just had a baby on Saturday would be at the nail shop on Thursday?? I don't look pregnant anymore, I'm happy to see my feet again, my nail tech said, "long time no see, how's the baby?" At that moment I wished I could have been a woman that still looks pregnant even after the baby is born. I walked around from store to store, trying to find something to wear for his memorial service. This time shopping didn't seem so fun.

On Thursday me and Van went to view Vayden's body one last time, before his remains would be turned into ashes. I thought it would be this CSI, john doe thing, go into the morgue, open a stainless steel refrigerator door and confirm that was Vayden. I was pleasantly surprised when she escorted us to a room where Vayden laid in a small basket wrapped in a warm blanket, under a soft light. He was beautiful, his skin so pink, I'm not sure if they put make up on him, but they did brush his hair. She closed the door and said take all the time you need. We spent about 15-20 min in with Vayden crying and kisses him, getting the last hugs and pictures with him. I am so thankful I was able to see him that way as a last way of seeing him, he truly looked like he was just sleeping. What a wonderful, wonderful picture for memory.

Monday through Friday I stayed up late into the night planning and preparing for the service, the over planner over protective, I want it my way side came out of me, as I felt that I had home court advantage over the service planning. I am his mother, right? Many times I had to remind myself that I am not the only one grieving this loss & that my family is just here to help.

Last week I should have been planning my baby shower to be on Saturday (5/30). Instead I planned for my sons memorial service. Saturday morning, dressed for a funeral, I told Van, we should be going to Vayden's baby shower, not his funeral. He held me tight wiped my tears, and said we're going to get through this. Van has been amazing, with this all, at times I expected to walk through this alone, he has proved me so wrong and I have fallen in love with him all over again. I married a wonderful man.

I speak to everyone that calls me on the phone, so if you'd like to call please know that unless I'm spending time with Van or Vashon I will be up to talking. I cry everyday, but I also laugh everyday. I feel that is a healthy balance and I make it a strong point to wake up, give thanks to God, shower, drink lots of water and if I have a moment, I take my moment. I scream, I cry, I laugh, I smile, I do it all for my son. I love him dearly, miss him tremendously and will never forget that moment when he looked into my eyes.

* A 2nd post is below that talks about his memorial service*

Remembering Vayden ~ Memorial Service

Yesterday marked one week without my baby Vayden. It was also the day we celebrated his life and hosted his memorial service. The service was held at Bill Eisenhour Funeral Home, in Del City, OK and officiated by Pastor P.S. Hagger of New Testament Christian Church of Del City. The Service was only about an hour long but was so meaningful. I feel we honored Vayden greatly, his unique name will allow him to stand out, his story will continue to touch the hearts of many and the love that everyone has for him will be everlasting. I read the poem "A pair of shoes" my husband and all the other military members that attended, stood up all dressed in their AF blues and sang the "Air Force Song" that Van sang to both Vayden and Vashon. As a tribute to Vayden, my husband, mother and dear friend Sheena read special remarks about Vayden our family and my strength in carrying to term. The slide show I provided was played, which brought on a lil tears but also brought laughter. The service although sad had it's moments where the guest laughed as we brought light to this situation.
Pastor Hagger was amazing, I had only met this man two days prior, but he spoke so wonderfully. All I said to him was please don't talk about "why me". I wanted the guest to leave the service; hug their husbands, wives and run fast to go pick up their kids. I did not want them to leave thinking "what kind of God do we have that would take a baby". That is exactly what he did as his message spoke about "Appointments" it touched me personally because, he spoke about how we prepare for so many appointments in the world, but how we rarely prepare for our appointment to meet the Lord. It was comforting to know that although I was praying and praying for a different outcome for Vayden, I also prepared myself for his appointment, I enjoyed my time with him, I gave him so much love, hugs and kisses, I found out character traits about him while still in the womb, told him about his family. When the time came to finally meet him, we did the same as we prepared for his appointment. Showing him nothing but pure 100% true love, if you have to go you couldn't go in a better way than that.

The funeral home was so kind and great, the directors were very pleasant I was am very happy that we chose them, to celebrate Vayden's life with us, they even came to us after the service and told us that they don't get many babies, when they do they are always a lil sadder, but Vayden's service was the best they've seen by far. Talk about putting a smile on face.

I have no regrets about the service and thank everyone who helped me and my family put this thing together in only 1 week. I now know why I never had a formal wedding, party planning is hard. lol

We've received and are so thankful for all the flowers, but we'd also like to offer as an alternative. Consider making a donation to the following non profit organizations that have been extremely helpful in Vayden's name:

Now I lay Me Down To Sleep – Infant bereavement photography

The Fetal hope foundation - to help spread the word about rare fetal conditions like LUTO.

String Of Pearls – provides a nurturing and safe place for families as they navigate the path following a fatal prenatal diagnosis that will result in the death of their baby prior to, or shortly after birth.

Sufficient Grace Women’s Ministries – Provides, comfort packages to families in time of loss, along with great support.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The birth story of an Angel

It was May 22, 2009. I was awaken early by a phone call from Van, saying their coming home (finally) today and I need to pick him up at noon, I looked at the clock, OMG!!! it's 8am. The house was a bit of a mess, Vashon's toys everywhere. I get up rush to clean up shower and shave I hadn't seen my husband in 23 days. Our Memorial day weekend was already planned to go to Tulsa to spend with his side of the family at the lake, kind of our way of having one more weekend of normal life before our world was turned upside down. The delay in Van getting home and our to do list, gave us a lil time at home, no time to pack, and few mins to take a nap. We wake up and remember that we needed to change our cell phone service from sprint to AT&T, so we head over to the AT&T store. It was 5:40pm when I casually text my mom saying "I may be having minor contractions, hope your bags are packed". Thinking in my mind they were nothing but braxton hicks. I never experienced them with Vashon, so I really wasn't sure. In fact I insisted I had gas for about 20 min, not gonna lie I did eat Mexican food that day, lol.

By 6:30 pm the contractions, were about 3-4 min apart, and I was in a lot of pain. Still I insisted they were braxton hicks and if I went in to be checked I would only be about 2 cm dilated. I asked Van to take me home, so I could take a warm bath then lay down for an hour. That didn't work out to well as the pain became stronger and closer and Van over ruled and said we're going to the hospital. I still felt they were going to keep me for a lil while stop labor and what not so we didn't pack, not to mention Van was so freaked out by my intense screams he could no longer bare to see me in such pain.

At 7:20 pm we're in OB triage and I'm told that I'm already 8cm dilated. WOW!!!! I broke down crying, looked at the nurse and said I have 7 nails, my hair is nappy and my eyebrows look like chubaca. They unlocked my bed and started rolling it Labor and Delivery, that is when I realized that I didn't even know I was dilated, and I clearly labor fast. Then it hit me. I have nothing for Vayden. I cried and cried, how could I have done so much to remember my son while I carried him and nothing on the day I finally would meet him? I asked for my epidural ASAP!!! and got it. Then started to calm down, I was going to figure something out.
I asked Van to call Carrie from NILMDTS, I asked for my purse thank God my camera was in there and had a decent charge. I then got my phone knowing I could have maybe an hour or two, I was going to refuse to be checked for as long as I could. This baby wasn't coming out until he forced himself out. I was not planning to help. lol.
I called my friend Sara who I knew lived not to far from the hospital. I asked if she could please go to wal mart and get a preemie baby outfit a blanket and a cap. She was honored to do it and was there quickly she even remembered to pick up some socks for Vayden. I thank her so very much for how helpful she was. I still wanted my care packages, so I called my friend Morgan who lives off base but has access to get on. She had to come to the hospital to get our house key , then to our house and back to the hospital. She didn't think twice about coming and did it quickly. Carrie from NILMDTS had no photographers in town, she said that she would come out to be with us. Carrie just went through a round of chemo that week I knew she probably wasn't feeling great, but she found the strength to come be with us. Truly 3 wonderful walking angels.

Once everyone was there, my midwife (who was not on call but came up to be with me) told me I was ready and I could start pushing. With my midwife, two nurse and Van by my side I started pushing. Carrie stayed quiet in the back round taking photo and my MIL walked in about 5 min before his head was out. Midnight Vayden James Stewart was born 4 lbs 15 oz & 17 3/4" long. Only one ounce bigger than his brother Vashon, but looking just like he did when he was born. I fell in love all over again. Vayden let out a cry it was a bit of a struggling sound, but we were told he may not even be able to cry. They left him on my chest for a lil while until the placental expelled, so that we could hear him cry and coo more. He opened his eyes and looked into the eyes of both me and my husband. Van's attachment hit instantly, he was overwhelmed with joy and sadness, because he knew Vayden was fighting for his life. I however only felt utter and complete joy. I was so happy he made it through labor and a vaginal delivery.

After a few mins with him I wanted to know more about his condition, he just looked too perfect, to be sick, although we could hear his weak cry and see his struggle to breathe he was just so perfect. Van cut the cord and we let him go to the other side of the room to receive a quick assessment. Everyone in the room politely stayed out of my way so that I could still see him. They checked him and said his heart was great but his breathing was bad, I asked for him to come back to my arms, but requested that daddy bring him to me. The NICU Dr's said he could be with us for about 30-60 min without breathing support.

We took that time to love on Vayden, I sang "you are my sunshine" and "happy birthday" my husband sang the Air Force song, he always sang to Vashon to get him to calm down. We cried and gave thanks to God at the same time. Two hours later with no breathing support Vayden was still with us. We called for the NICU to come down, we were considering having him taken up there to get a better assessment. They came down with a machine to check Vayden's lungs and oxygen levels, she sat with us and told us that his lungs were very underdeveloped and he was not getting proper oxygen. She then paused with tears in her eyes, said we can take him upstairs but that will not save him just prolong this. We agreed with our initial choice to show him nothing but love, we said thank you and she left us with our baby. Thirty min later that same NICU Dr. came to our room and said she felt she didn't tell us enough. While holding Vayden in my arms she said, "you guys are doing the right thing", tears came to her eyes as she said we are in her prayers.

Right before he passed away we had him baptized and Van, myself and his paternal grandmother told him "it's ok to go home to be with Jesus" Vayden fooled us for a while as he would get very quiet, we thought he had gone and then he would let out a coo cry or open his eyes. One last kiss on his cheek I said "it's ok baby, you can go, I love you".

Vayden James Stewart died in my arms at 3:45am. We held him and cried. I got up to use the restroom and broke down as I had to change my blood stained hospital gown. I begged the nurse to please let me keep it. She said it was fine. I pulled myself together walked over to my son and changed him into a different outfit from what his father put him in earlier. It was not hard at all as I smiled and handled Vayden gently.

We made foot prints on everything, the hospital did a 3D mold of his hands and feet, we took over 300+ pictures. Then me and Van laid in bed with our son and fell asleep.

I'm so proud of Vayden he fought a good fight and changed my world along with many others. Although short, what a meaningful life. Something we all strive for, something my son did. He is in Heaven now watching over mommy, daddy, and brother Vashon.

We give thanks to God for giving us a life changing 3 hrs and 45 min with our son.
- For every comment, text message, email and phone call thank you. I do read them all and I do appreciate every single one of them. Thank you so very much