Monday, January 6, 2014

Update on us.

Its 5:48 and I can't sleep. People still like me for some cray cray (a phrase Jules taught me from his first week of kindergarten) reason so I figure you dedicated folks deserve that much. 

This is my sassy 6 year old (!!!!!!) kindergarten (!!!!!!) student who lost his first tooth in October (I'm just going to faint here). He's sweet and charming. He's on the honor roll. I don't even know what that means for kindergarten. In his free time he likes to talk about butts. He tells jokes, converses, the works. He's a person. It's insane. 

This is my super sassy Blair who will turn 4 in June & loves pushing those gender boundaries. He loves pink. His 3rd birthday was Dora themed and he went as the pink power ranger for halloween. He lost his shit at Christmas when he got Wonder Woman. I don't know if it's a stage or some signs but mama don't care. He's delightful. He's also trying to talk. Oral and veral apraxia are his official diagnosis. Just recently he started putting together a few simple phrases.  My favorite?  "Mom mom, hold me."  We still got a long way to go though, baby. And a $700 bill most recently for our portion of therapy. Ouch. 

This dude is Reid. He is likely the most rotten child on earth. His temper tantrum started early. And OMG LOOK AT HIS HAIR AND EYES. One of these things are not like the other every time my kids sit together. He will be 2 in May. TWO. How did this happen?

Me?  I love cat apparal. Meow!  I still theraperize children. I really like my job. Minus having to work. That part sucks sometimes. And wearing pants. That can be a bitch. 

I did the March of Dimes walk in the fall. Team For Joel was the 3rd highest fundraiser in the walk. Only beaten by two medical companies. We raised around $1300. :). Favorite 2013 moment. Also gave me an excuse to hang out with my DB BFF Liz!

Dead baby craftin', y'all!

Overall life is good. Busy as always, but good. I'm going to back to this. I promise.  So I can show you pictures like this that Jules drew of my mom:

Or at least, if I'm ever murdered, leave a trail of clues for who may have murdered me...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The one where you drink.

The 5th Christmas

I should make anniversary chart for such events for you to give to your dead baby friend on such milestones.

Hint: each involves an increasing amount of wine.

I recently got this prompt from a support page that continues to boggle my mind:

How old would your baby be now?  What would you be buying them this year you think?

Let me rewrite that a little:

How old should your dead kid be?  Let me pour you a drink. But I'm still going to now ask you something to REALLY drag down your grief...what toys is your dead kid never gonna play with this season?  Furby?  Legos?  American Girl?  Btw, that's not wine. It's apple juice. Now dish!  Hope you're wearing waterproof mascara but we both know you're not.

That's better.

I know people think about that. Shit, I do. As I was looking at furbys I was like "hell, wonder if Joel would like that creepy shit?" & when I was looking at Blair's catwoman figure I though "shit he wouldn't exist if Joel lived and that figure wouldn't be here."

I'm a dead baby mom. I get it. I know it. I wear it proudly. Almost too proudly one might say if you interacted with me in real life and the topic came up.  But I'm tired of just being that and sometimes that's how I feel some people see me. I'm a mom of kids, including a dead one. Quite frankly, if I defined my every moment to being a dead baby mom I'd be insane.

Yes, I think about him. Wonder about him. Miss him. Question what he could have done. How he would have compared. But I can't define everything in my life back to Joel. The truth is, the death of your baby is like an evil black hole. And if you don't fight your way out, you'll be lost forever. And you have someone on this side who needs you to fight.

I've learned at work to look at positive things. Don't write about how little Johnny will decrease the times he punches his teacher. Instead, write about how little Johnny will increase his ability to avoid punching his teacher.

See?  Take that sad & turn it...unsad?

How long has it been?  How have you improved your healing in that time?

Well, thanks for asking.

It's been 4 1/2 years since Joel died. This is our 5th Christmas without him. I've been sick so I've used that as a distraction, but overall I'm still just surviving. As I've taken on as my motto...thing will work out, because they have to.

That's not failed me yet (knock on some wood for me).

If you're reading this chances are your life has sucked. I'm sorry. You'll be alright though. Because you have to be.

Knock on that wood and pour some wine.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

May 26th 2013

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Bullshit. Since I got this autoimmune thing that's given me the 'beetus I can't even enjoy lemonade if I had the time and energy to do so.  Yeah, that's my big news in the world. But I'm not in the mood for that discussion. Because its May 26th. Otherwise known as the day my world got sad and awkward. 

I'm unlike other dead baby moms. I can't take this and turn it into anything good. I can't turn it into charity. Talking about it and telling people they aren't alone is the best I can do. And even then, I doubt I'm a healthy role model. 


I want to go kick my sister in laws ass. Why?  Because she said I wasn't friendly enough at Joel's funeral. I want to burn down the ultrasound facility that messed up his scans. I hope my midwife dies in a painful manner I can't even imagine for ignoring me when I said something was wrong. 

I want to look at a bullshit sky and tree and talk about angels and sunshine and feeling Joel's spirit. But I don't. I feel nothing. He's not here. That's the sad truth. I know the moment he left. I remember a moment when I felt alone. I knew he was dead when I walked into my appointment. I've not felt him since and I doubt I ever will again. I don't see random beauty. Of course, I'm pessimistic and never did before 4 years ago either.  It felt like things never worked as planned. Even Joel's life started that way. 

You see, back many moons ago the truth is that my eldest son Jules didn't fit the word eldest, seeing that he was a whopping 8 months out of the womb, but I'd just discovered that the whole "pull and pray" method every girl I went to high school with used successfully apparently doesn't work with old married people. After I'd tossed around the idea not adding anymore kids, after marital problems and money problems (read: real life shit), I was knocked up. Again. And I cried. Hysterically. Almost daily fights with my husband over stupid things. Extended family drama. Being a married mom in her early 20's, completely overwhelmed, finding out we were adding to that...well, I was hysterical. Nothing would work out. Life would change forever. How the hell would we...I...cope with this?

Funny thing about all those feelings?  They were still true after my baby died, just different. I was hysterical. How would we...I...cope with this?  Nothing would work out. Life will never be the same again. 

Hi, my name is Jessica Culver and my baby died while I was 9 months pregnant. The baby that at one point I wasn't sure I wanted, who is now the person I long for.  

Joel may have cured cancer or AIDS.  I would have loved the hell out of him. Joel may have been a drug addict. I would have loved the hell out of him. Joel may have been the valedictorian of his high school. I would have loved the hell out of him. Joel may have dropped out of school and just did odd jobs his whole life under the table. I would have loved the hell out of him. 

It'd been nice to know something about him. I bet he would have hated lemonade, too. Or maybe he would have loved it and made it for me daily. I would drink it without a single complaint, even if it meant I needed more insulin. And I would have loved the hell out of that, too. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

I hate being here.

I lay in bed, feeling myself sinking deep within the mattress. I've never been good at visualization, but I find myself being able to do it tonight. I can see roots growing from body, going deep into this mattress, never to be pulled away again. 

I recognize I'm going back into a depressive state. I've dealt with these moods an emotions since childhood. Sometimes now I wonder if maybe, just maybe, my psyche knew it was in for a hell of a ride one day so it might as well start being sad at 5 years old, give or take. 

I can't decide if the burning in my chest is heartburn or simply pain that must bubble up somewhere.   I try to convince myself to take deep breaths, relax my jaw...but it's not working. 

Today I dealt with comments relating to babies dying. Jokes, they are called. Innocent comments about how she didn't kills hers when she was pregnant. His joke about stabbing babies. How do I find these situations?  Were they always there and I just never noticed, never cared?  Is this now my hard lesson for never paying attention before?

I sat there looking. Wanting to let out a completely psychopathic laugh and say "I have a dead baby!  Mine is real!" and just freak everyone the fuck out with my laughing and candor. I'm a dead baby mom, we are all crazy, you know. We are over sensitive. Not mothers. And we hate the world, pregnant women, & children. That's how we roll. 

The only thing that's kept me from hitting someone while cussing them or allowed me to refrain from just throwing myself into the floor wailing is the knowledge of what's socially acceptable. But trust me, it's hard. 

I'm finding myself consumed by Joel as of late. Really ironic timing since I'd decided weeks ago that I need to let some of it go. Stop hating myself. Stop hating the situation. Stop being so pissed about it. It was time. 

But that was then. This is now. 

Now I'm on the verge of tears constantly.  I fear trying to tell someone if they ask because I know I'll become hysterical before I can even get his name out.  I find myself wanting to mention the situation constantly. 

"Thanks for the Starbucks. Too bad my dead baby never got the chance to grow up and have this bitter, overpriced yet somehow addictive coffee."

"I'm good, thank you for asking!  My baby is in an urn. It's bronze. And a cube. You can run my card as credit if you don't mind."

"I'd like 2 chicken nugget happy meals for boys with chocolate milk.  I'd be getting 3, but my 2nd son died. I'd also like a large fry. And awkward stares."

That's basically how my day would go if possible. 

I find myself angry at my newest baby because he was early and now shares Joel's birth month. He totally stole Joel's birthstone so even my dead baby jewelry people will just assume its related to my new May baby.  While I'm happy he's alive, I'm also incredibly angry. He was saved. So after finally coming to terms that maybe, just maybe, Joel died and it couldn't have been prevented, he's saved in time and is thriving. Why couldn't my other baby be saved so the entire path of my life didn't have to change?  

Hi, I'm your 1 in 4 of moms whose baby died. No, I didn't lose him. I know exactly where he's at. It's a bronze cube hidden in our bedroom on a corner shelf I ordered while breast feeding Blair in the hospital as a newborn.  

Maybe it's the baby aspect.  Maybe babies aren't real people? I sure don't hear a lot of jokes about killing 5 year olds.  Maybe I need to stop embracing the fact that my baby died & just go with kid. 

My kid died. Why the fuck was I handed this deal?  

Nope. Didn't make it any better. 

Stop. Sucking. People. 

<3 died.="died." div="div" i="i" joel.="joel." m="m" nbsp="nbsp" sorry="sorry" you="you">

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Story of Reid

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I have about two weeks of back story I kept meaning to write about (non-stress test, not moving, being admitted in the hospital, etc.), but then my baybee had to stop getting a certain flow from him cord & a doctor walked in talking about how I get a csection, to which I said, "I know, a repeat plus he's breech still..." but then he looked at me oddly and said, "oh no, I mean you'll need one now. Soon. We need to get your baby out. Today."

Cue my ugly, hysterical crying that only lets me hear bit and pieces of the discussion. Cord not flowing. Cutting off flow. Possible brain damage like a stroke could cause. Spraying lungs with something to help them stay open. No time for steroid shots. No time to do anything. Come with me, heres your paperwork, go to the hospital right now, we've got an OR open for you in about 90 minutes.

 All I took from it was your baby isn't dead, but he might be broken. And dead soon if we aren't careful.

My ugly crying ass was then walked to another hall where this doctors nurses were so they could give me paperwork and call the hospital. The bigger one I had to deliver with because it has the nicu.

NICU. Intensive care. For my baby.

We talked politics on our way to the hospital. It just seemed right. I got it on monitors for the next hour while everything was prepped. I watched his heart have decels. All while thinking about if all of his had been done, would Joel be alive? I was pretty much in shock still being rolled back & prepped. People were nice and amusing, it wasn't as focused on scary as I thought it'd be. Once surgery started o was crying off & on. This sucked. I had a nice clear view of the room across the hall that was labelled "infant recitation room." At 3:34pm realized all the ruckus going on was my baby was being pulled into the world, while he reached up still in my womb & started grabbing at the doctors tools. It's like a horror movie really, we have it on video, this little hand reaching up out of the incision & attempting to pull in clamps. He's sassy.

Without a sound from him hes placed on a warmer & the nicu works on him. I officially lose my shit. He's moving and lets out a couple sad cat sounding cries. He's breathing on his own. Something we didn't expect for a 33 weeker. He's bundled & brought over to me to touch before taking his super special private nicu elevator up two floors. I don't have my full ugly cry at this point, but I am crying. And telling him I'm sorry he couldn't stay in there longer. And he's whisked away. A call back in about 10 minutes tells us he is 5lbs 1oz, which I impressive to everyone. Which also showed the cord problem was caught early because he had continued growing. Id later find out he was 18 & 1/8 inches long. And blonde. Like woah. And with that, I had my tubal that I'd just decided on like a week before this. All of my complications showed that my body needs to be sure it's done. A bit sad, but more relief to be honest. And once that's done I return to my room, sans baby. Again.

I'm moved to the ghetto recovery room (who decided to make labor rooms glorious but recovery rooms crappy?) & I'm alone. Adam goes to do something that needs done finally. I'm hit with serious pain that had me crying while writhing around on the bed. I ask for pain meds, but I'm finally told that none of my info has been put in the system yet so I can't have anything. It was about 30 minutes before they gave me a Percocet but by then I was so bad it didn't help so they agreed to give me an injection of morphine. A few hours later my perocet did nothing (again, took it late because silly me didn't ask & they don't offer), & I again hysterically cried in bed, writhing in pain, begging someone to help me, but this nurse said if the perocet didn't help, too bad because that's all she was going to give & walked out the door. I was up for the next 3 hours, crying & squirming trying to ease the pain. I eventually cried myself to sleep...only to be woken up 6 times in 2 hours randomly.

Of course, in between pain episodes, Adam tells me the nurse said that visiting hours end at 10, but if at any point in the night I feel up to coming up I can. And that finally happened at 1am. I finally got to see this wee thing that had given me so many issues the past 33 weeks. Seeing a tiny baby in a plastic box with wires & machines hurts. It physically hurts you. I did get to hold him but now you have the hurt of holding this tiny creature and never wanting to let him go, but having to avoid tugging those previously mentioned wires & cords. I can't hold me however I want, I can't just unwrap him & stare at his feet. I can't just nurse him. And when it's time to leave, you get to shut and lock him back in his plastic box. In case you can't tell, it sucks. Now the good news.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

According to NICU, he's much more like a 35 weeker. He's never needed any oxygen. The IV that was suppose to be in for the first 7 days was taken out on day 4. He's holding down about 40ml each feeding, including milk I pump. He's also able to nurse during tube feedings that I'm there for, something else that wasn't suppose to happen for at least a week. He's never required oxygen & hasn't had any apnea or Brady episodes (Brady's are NICU lingo , I'm hip). He lost about 6ozs, but as of today gained 2 of those back. There is no weight requirement for discharge, just being stable, eating, & passing a car seat test. He's stable, we just have to get him on oral feedings 100%.

 Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

That's Reid. And my boob. He'd just nursed for the very first time. OH HI THERE BAYBEE!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

We have no estimated discharge. They've not said & I'm far too scared to ask. I think I'm going to ask Monday. Well, I hope they will just tell me something Monday. Rounds are about 10am, I'm hoping to be there for them. The doctors are very nice, so that's a plus. Nurses have also been good, minus the one weird moment where I asked for an update from him overnight & she looked at me like I had a penis growing out of my forehead. But you'll have that I suppose.

Soon I'll share a tour of the NICU with you peeps. I'm on maternity leave but without a baybee. And I can't be alone with my older boys because I can't do anything. So I have to fill my spare time with something.

Let's all ponder.
 Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

NICU Parents

Reid McCoy Culver Born May 7, 2012 at 3:34pm 5lbs 1oz, 18 & 1/8th inches long Blonde. Wtf? 33 weeks & 3 days Stable currently in NICU More to come soon.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Complication free? LOL for days.

Last you heard from me I was carrying around vagina gel.

I didn't like that very much, but you know who liked it even less? My vagina. Poor thing had a rare allergic reaction to it and...well..swelling ensued. It was a sad moment and the lady who took my phone call at the OB office said it was the first time she'd ever heard of such a thing and that I was officially the most interesting call she'd taken.

Look on the bright side I suppose.

So now I'm giving myself weekly shots. In the butt. It's glorious, it really is.

I'd moved past that trauma. My vagina forgave me. But apperently the ghost of Wildford Brimley was pissed about all these years I've laughed at him (I know he's not dead, work with me here), because I didn't have a good time at the doctor this week for my lovely 'beetus test.

Mind you, I look like a walking diabeetus case, I know this. But I've always basked in my fat girl glory when I've passed, with amazingly flying colors, my glucose test. I took it Tuesday. I was told it'd be at least Thursday before I got results, maybe Friday.

I had a missed call at work on Wednesday and listened to the message. First & foremost, the lady identified herself as from the local high risk office...the same office I saw when I was pregnant with Joel & who should still be fearful that I'll show up & burn the building down at some point. I was instantly pissed that I'd missed this call because I wanted to yell at this person for calling me. But it was entire message that really pissed me off.

"Hi, Mrs. Culver, I'm BLAHBLAH from Baby Death Perinatal Center & I was calling to set up a time for you to come in and be seen by one of our doctors so that you will be allowed to attend our diabeetus program for you diabeetus. Thank you."


First of all, she really did call it "diabeetus." Second, wha?

This, my friends, is how I found out I had caught the gestational diabeetus. I call my doctors office, who can't tell me why on earth no one from that office would have called me. I had to see a different doctor that usual, so my results went to him & his nurse should have called me...but didn't. Then there are several other problems with this. First of all, I didn't just have bad results. I apparently went for the gold of diabeetus because my fasting number was almost twice what it's suppose to be. And then I almost hit 300 after the glucose was ingested. I never knew I was that sweet.

So now I get the honor of poking myself. And trying to figure out what the hell I'm suppose to do. See, that other office has a diabeetus class & all that good stuff. I'm actually willing to go to that, however they REFUSE to let me sign up for anything unless I agree to be examined & also seen from time to time by the doctor my life. So my doctor had to find another nutrition place willing to take me without being seen by Dr. Death, which took a couple days.

So far I'm flunking diabeetus. My fasting numbers are the devil & are constantly shocking to the office when I call. They hover around 150-ish. I even tried testing before bed, just because I was curious if I started out high, but they are always average before bed. Things that have gotten the OK also shoot them up. I had chicken. That's it. Chicken. Plain. And just over an hour later I was about to pass out at work & when I checked my sugars (I sound like an old person), it was 216.

I joked after I found out about the 'beetus that I'd just live on strawberries. Turns out, that might be true because they are the only thing I seem to like that doesn't shoot my numbers up out of the normal range. My target is 140 or less an hour after a meal. There have only been a couple times I've hit that. It's depressing when I feel like this will be the time it'll be good because I've been so good about what I've ate or drank, then I get this awful number. Then I want ice cream to comfort myself, which I can't have.

I fully expect to be medicated by next weekend. Doctors office wants me to chart it all for a week (yay, iphone apps!), & go from there. They are hoping that once I get in the swing of changing that I eat & such that it'll get more stable. But, if not, I'm going to be on who knows what. Not my idea of a good time. And all of my inernetting has taught me that no matter what, if I don't get that fasting number corrected I'll be on meds for that at least. I'm really excited about this whole thing.

Fuck you, Wilford Brimley.


Reid says hi though.


All 2lbs, 13ozs of him. And his THREE INCH LONG FEET. Apparently my 'bettus went straight to his feet.

C-section is set for 7:45am on 6/15/12. But I have a feeling it'll be a week before that, if not two, depending on how this 'beetus thing works out.


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