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Thursday, August 17, 2017

April Rey's Birth Story

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Day 1 of our induction process included taking a pill (mifepristone) that would basically stop the pregnancy from continuing. My understanding is that it stops the pregnancy hormones and essentially primes your body for the second step of actually inducing to give birth. I took this pill on Monday 8/7/17.

On day 2 of our induction process, I went to the hospital to be induced (8/8/17). Our induction was supposed to happen at 11:00am. Instead, due to the labor and delivery department being busy, we were pushed out. It was a looooong day of just waiting around at the hospital. Our induction was started at around 6pm. This part of the process involved a vaginal insert (misoprostol) that would cause my uterus to cramp and allow me to deliver April Rey.

They put about 4 or 5 pills into my cervix. This was definitely an uncomfortable process. I also, of course, was hooked up to an IV for fluids. In addition to this, because of my antiphospholipid syndrome that I've had to continue doing injections for, they also injected me with heparin to prevent any blood clots.

The doctors explained to us that this would be a long slow process. Their plan was to check me every 3 hours and see if I was dilating. They'd continue the misoprostol inserts every 3 hours as well. I was instructed to stay flat in bed so the inserts would not fall out.

I'm not exactly sure when the pain started, but it seemed to happen pretty quickly. The contractions were very intense (worse than anything that I remember with my first pregnancy). I had originally been told that I wouldn't be able to have an epidural until around midnight (due to the heparin injection I'd been given), and I was wondering how on earth I was going to make it that long.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Note From My Mom About Leaving the Hospital

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

The following is a written by my mom, Jeanine Palmieri. I will remember this moment forever. It was the hardest walk of my life. I felt like it took a lifetime to get to our car. I felt like I was on display, except I'd then look around and realize no one was looking at me. Everyone had their own agendas, and their own places to be. And then the balloons, and the teddy bear that was rushed passed us to congratulate someone on their baby girl... I will always remember...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

April Rey- The Girl Who Changed My Life // A Note From Our Photographer

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

The following is a note that our amazing photographer posted to Facebook to help share April's story. Jenny (our photographer) was such a gift to us in this moment of tragedy. She came into our lives as an incredibly kind and selfless stranger, and she'll forever remain in a special place in our hearts. I have a feeling we'll be headed out to see her again for any future family photographs! Jenny's gift is going to last us a lifetime and bring so much peace and love to our home. We are forever grateful. 

April Rey // The girl who changed my life

There are things you will experience in life where words will fall short of explaining or describing the impact it had on your life.

Rewind to a few weeks ago. There was a post in a local photography group I am in looking for a particular and touching request. The other photographer was no longer able to provide her time to do photographs for a family near and dear to her heart. She was moving, and was trying to fill her spot for them because she cared for them very deeply.

The family was going to be induced on 8/8, and their daughter, April Rey would enter the world. They wanted her birth captured, and their time with her following the birth.

She was asking if anyone local was a volunteer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) and if they could be available to help out with this request. I was not affiliated with NILMDTS, and had only shot one birth, but I was interested in being able to capture this special time for the family, and let her know I would love to speak with them about it.

I was put in contact with The Villegas family, and I felt connected to them on such a deep level, I knew that I would do anything in my power to be there for them.

It was unknown how long they would have April Rey with them following her delivery, so they wanted every second captured that they could.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Induction Day 1- Trisomy 13

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog
Well, while Tuesday 8/8 is our official scheduled time for our induction, Monday was a bigger day than I'd expected...

I had appointments starting at 9:15 and lasting for a couple of hours. I knew it was an important day, but I don't think I realized how emotional it really would be.

At 9:15 I met with the fetal therapy group that I'd seen before.

As I sat in the waiting room, I was surrounded my moms to be. They were all in their 3rd trimester and had smiles on their faces. I wanted to hide as the tears silently fell down my face. I kept myself together enough to stay quiet and wipe the tears away, hoping no one would see my pain. Then the doctor came to get me, and I fell apart. I knew what was to come, and I could not hold myself together.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

April's Birth & Death Announcement 8/8/17

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Our beautiful, strong April Rey was such a fighter. She joined us on her own terms on 8/8 at 11:22pm. She was alive and so peaceful in my arms. She held my hand tightly and squeezed. She was peaceful and happy for the few minutes that she was alive (she passed at 11:33pm) and was in no pain. She somehow filled me with calmness and joy and I held her as long as I could. I was so happy to meet my little girl, and she kept me so strong that I didn't even shed a tear while she was in my arms. She was amazing and perfect and we miss her so much already. I go to do something and I can hardly breathe when I realize that she can't physically be with us. Our moments with her were precious and we'll always cherish them.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Why Joining A Mom's Club Was One of the Best Decisions I've Made

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

This post originally appeared at the Team Cartwright blog, on June 8, 2017.

Oh my gosh I fought this so hard. I did NOT want to join a mom's club. I thought the idea of paying for friends was so silly. I thought I'd be able to make friends. I thought I'd be able to find mom friends naturally. I tried and I tried hard. I was disappointed again and again, and I finally broke down and tried my local mom's group. It's been almost a year, and I am really glad I gave it a shot.

Here's the thing- mom life can be lonely. Despite the fact that I have a 2.5 year old that talks nonstop, it's still a lonely job at times with minimal adult interaction. And, if your husband is as busy as mine, adult time can't always be counted on from that front, either.

We spent the first 1.5 years going out by ourselves, just the two of us. I'd make it a point to talk to other moms that were at events with babies around the same age as Caroline. I'd even go so far as to exchange numbers and Facebook accounts so we could get together another time. I'd schedule playdates, and 90% of the time the moms would either cancel, be no shows, or show up way late with no respect for my time. It was a disappointing process and I felt so much like I was dating again...and who wants to do that!? It's hard, so hard to find friends. It's also hard to do everything alone. It's lonely, even with your child in tow.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Helpful Things to Say to a Parent Walking This Path- Grief & Trisomy 13

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog
There are 4 types of people I've encountered during this terrible moment of grief:

1. The people that don't know what to say, so they choose to not say anything at all.

2. The people that don't know what to say, but they reach out and admit that, in order to still show their support.

3. The people that say unhelpful things.

4. The people that know just what to say.
Sometimes people ask me what is helpful- what they can do to help, or what they can say to help. The truth is I had no idea. I had to learn from the people listed in #4 above... because until those people showed up and said helpful things, I didn't know what would be helpful!

I think the majority of people are in categories 1 and 2. A very small percent live in the last two categories, and most in #3 don't mean to say unhelpful things- I do believe that most have good intentions. The people in category #4 truly amaze me. I try to point out their gift when I see it, because it's truly something special that we can all learn from!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

One Week Until Induction Day

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog
I've been quiet on the blog recently... just taking everything in, and well there honestly hasn't been much to write on. There hasn't been any new news, other than an actual date set for our induction- August 8, 2017. Yesterday I realized it was one week away. I have one week left to spend with April. One week left to feel her kicks. One week left to talk to her and enjoy her presence.

One week left.

I walked around in a fog yesterday. I felt upset at the world, and annoyed with every little thing. I went out at one point by myself, and the world just seemed to spin around me. It was the same feeling that I'd felt when I was at Hopkins taking in all of the information they'd presented to us. I remember walking into the lunch area and everything seemed to be a blur around us. My heart raced, and the tears came instantly. People moved about busily, not knowing that our world felt like it was falling apart. I had to stop walking in what felt like utter chaos and catch my breath. Yesterday was the same. As I walked around in stores, I couldn't make sense of anything going on around me. I was just in a daze and feeling like I was in slow motion compared to everyone around me.

Monday, July 31, 2017

When Would You Step in and Correct Another Parent?

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog


Hi, MOC readers! It's Kim from Team Cartwright.  Katrina has been kind enough to let me borrow her blog for a moment to talk about something I have been mulling over for a while.  Like all moms I'm trying to figure this parenting thing out as I go, and I really want to know what others are thinking on this.  So thank you, Katrina!

Have you ever seen a parent do something that you know you have read is technically not safe, but doesn't seem like it is an actual immediate threat?  Like, it's not a good idea to do it, but realistically you wonder if it is the end of the world?  Plus so many other parents do it.  When you see it happening do you go up to that parent and say something?  Or do you mind your own business, figuring that parent has the right to make their own decisions?

Sorry, is this confusing?  I'll just get specific.  Now before I do I of course want to point out that I am not judging.  I am not looking to shame parents, and I am certainly not trying to appear better than anyone else.  I make plenty of mistakes and have done things I maybe (probably)  should be judged for.  This is a situation that I am really wondering about.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Sometimes a Tribe You Never Knew Existed Shows Up and Holds You Up

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog
Anyone reading this blog knows that I'm a huge advocate of Babywise techniques. I have used the ideas on scheduling and incorporating eat, wake, sleep cycles, I've used a lot of the discipline techniques from the Babywise books, and even incorporated some of their potty training suggestions, along with many other things from the books. I find them to be an invaluable resource. And, even more so... I find Babywise Mamas to be an amazing support system. Not ONCE in any of the Babywise Facebook groups that I am in have I ever seen a negative or judgmental matter the topic. Be it car seats, grapes, or sleep training. Not once. I find the Babywise community of moms to be refreshing in their openness and supportiveness. And, once again they blew me away.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Trisomy 13- The Story of Addison Faith

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog
It was May 31st, 2015, when I first took a pregnancy test after weeks of nausea. At this time I was a single mom to two kids and working long hours as a registered nurse. The pregnancy test came back positive and I immediately broke down to tears. I struggled with the fact of having three kids and was pressured by the father to not carry this pregnancy to term. I decided to contact a local Pregnancy Resource to verify my results and obtain an ultrasound. 

I went in and took another pregnancy test and I knew the result would once again say I was pregnant. I set up an ultrasound for the next week, all the while I couldn’t tell anyone I was pregnant. I don’t think I could ever prepare myself for that ultrasound. I couldn’t see the screen to start the ultrasound, but did remember the lady performing the ultrasound staring hard at the screen. She asked me if I was ready for it and of course I said I was. “It’s twins!” she said. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Swimboree Level- British Swim School

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog
In exchange for an honest review on this blog, British Swim School of Central MD has provided my family with free swim lessons. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Level: Swimboree

Beginner Water Survival: 3 Months to 36 Months with Parent
(4 Children Max, Parent-assisted class)

"Building on our Tadpole skills, little ones begin their water survival skills through a structured program of songs, games and fun. Your instructor will work one-on-one with you and your child. Students must meet Tadpole goals in order to enroll in Swimboree."

Caroline did 2 lessons in the Tadpole class, and it was clear she needed to move up. Aside from being my stubborn little girl with regards to going underwater, she'd mastered the goals easily. And, when it comes to going underwater...she'll do it, she just prefers not to. But like with anything, she listens and goes along with the flow. So, she's now been at the Swimboree level since the end of June, and she's doing great. We see progression each week. 

A look at all of their programs can be found at here. 

The Lesson

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Our Visit to Hopkins Fetal Therapy Group

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

Yesterday was our appointment with the Fetal Therapy group at Johns Hopkins Hospital. We met with their genetic counselor, and then had an ultrasound done and met with two fetal specialists. There wasn't a ton of new information, but I did walk away from the appointment feeling good about our direction, and I am soooo pleased to say that April will be able to have her body donated to science!!!

One of my biggest weights was lifted off when I found out this news. After talking with the genetic counselor, it is going to be extremely simple to have her body donated to Hopkins. She's going to look into specific studies, and if that doesn't pan out, she said she'll easily be able to find med students that are interested in this specific condition. We'll be able to donate her body for them to learn from, do a practice autopsy on, etc. In addition to that, she mentioned the possibility of having a team of students come in and observe the induction, and have the chance to see her as well, in order to further their education on trisomy 13. This was the point in the appointment when I just burst into tears. I am so happy that this can happen so easily. Thank goodness we live near such a wonderful teaching hospital!

Friday, July 21, 2017

In Honor of April Rey- A Donation That Can Save Lives

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog

When we learned of April Rey's condition, our first thought was that her life could serve a purpose by helping others. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that she was not eligible for organ donation.

Our next thought was that we'd love to donate her body to science. We've hit some roadblocks with this, but are still actively pursuing this as an option. Donating her body to science of any level- whether it is high end research or a first year medical student who needs to practice, would bring us great joy.

This morning I woke and realized that we can do even more than this...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Trisomy 13- April Rey's 17 Week Anatomy Scan

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog
Today we had our anatomy scan. This appointment has been scheduled for awhile- long before we even knew that April had trisomy 13. I wasn't sure what to expect, honestly. April's ultrasounds have looked beautiful thus far, and as I've discussed previously, trisomy 13 babies often don't show abnormalities on ultrasounds- especially at this early gestational age.

I figured we'd continue to see good ultrasounds for awhile longer. I was so very wrong...

Today, we started seeing significant defects on her ultrasound images, and also received our final amniocentesis report.