Friday, January 7, 2011


Ari's story:

When we went to see our doctor to see how many babies I was pregnant with from our in vitro cycle, we were told we had quadruplets! We were rushed to the ultrasound clinic to learn that no, it was only triplets! Whew! Upon our arrival at home, my husband Karolos immediately requested a scotch and took a nap. Me, I’d always wanted three children, but I never dreamed they’d come at the same time. We soon learned we were having identical twin boys and a fraternal girl (Karolos was so thankful there was a girl in the bunch!) I spent many frustrating months on bed rest, doing everything the doctor ordered and then some, trying my best to safely bring our three precious babies into this world. I’d been put on bed rest really as a precaution by our very cautious and experienced perinatologist. The pregnancy was going very well and we hadn’t had any complications other than the fact there were three babies, two of whom shared a placenta. Christmas Eve -- we were 25 weeks and had a good visit with our doctor – all three babies were doing great! They weighed in well at 1 pound 13 ounces, 1 pound 11 ounces and 1 pound 10 ounces! I finally allowed myself to be positive that everyone would be okay, and we would really take home three babies!

We were nearing the end of our triplet pregnancy journey (since most triplet pregnancies end much earlier than full term) and I was ready to count down the days! I finally felt confident enough to order the cribs and bought each baby a little preemie outfit. Karolos and I decided on their names - Alex, Ari, and Zoi. On New Year’s Eve we were full of hope for 2009 – we would soon have our little family here and I would be able to get out of bed! Surely 2009 and the experience of triplet parenthood would be more joyous than 2008’s stress of infertility followed by a high risk triplet pregnancy.

It was only 7 days later that we heard the words from our doctor that turned our world upside down: “We’ve lost Baby B.” These words flash through my mind every day and I wonder what it would be like if he hadn’t said those words, and our Ari was here with us. Would he wrestle with Alex and the two of them leave Zoi alone? Or would they gang up on her?? Would he have the same fabulous laugh as his identical twin, Alex? What would his personality be like? What would it be like to have all three of our babies here on earth? Our doctor wasn’t sure what had happened, but he thought it must have been a cord accident. To say the next 7 weeks were difficult would be an understatement. Before January 7th, I had thought the physical pains of a triplet pregnancy were difficult...I had no idea the pain of grief could be so great. I continued to carry little Ari along with his brother and sister. I hadn’t known that Ari had passed before our doctor discovered this, so I was constantly scared that something had happened to Alex and Zoi. I knew these weeks would be the last time I would physically have Ari with me, and I cherished every moment of this time with Ari. I knew I had to give birth to Alex and Zoi, but I wanted to keep Ari with me forever. I knew delivery would mean giving him up physically. I looked forward to delivery and I dreaded delivery. Such extreme joy and sorrow should not coexist.

First, Alex was delivered and we heard his screams! There were several moments of silence before Zoi and her screams emerged. I asked Karolos if something was wrong and he said, No, that was Ari. No one said anything when Ari was delivered. This brings more tears. I kept Ari with me the rest of the day but I had to finally say goodbye to Ari to go to his triplet brother in the NICU 3 who was awaiting a visit from his surgeon and his triplet sister in the NICU 2.

Not a day goes by that I do not think of Ari and what might have been. It brings some comfort knowing he is Alex and Zoi's guardian angel, but there is a void, the missing third baby of our trio, and it is painful every day for his family here on earth.

We miss you, Ari.
Drawing by my sweet niece Marit, when she first learned we were pregnant she drew "a girl for Heather and a boy for Karolos" but when she found out we were having triplets she drew a third baby to make it "perfect!"

Mommy and Ari

What you can do to remember Ari:
Please do something in Ari's honor today-- say his name aloud, light a candle, release a balloon, hug a baby or child, or do anything that is special to you with the intent of thinking of our angel Ari.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


November 2 2009 at 28 weeks I woke up with swollen ankles, my eyelids were even swolle. This could not be normal... I knew I had an appointment the next day but did not have a good feeling at all. I called my doctor and told them I needed to be seen right away I and that I was having swelling in my face and ankles. I was told a nurse practitioner was the only doctor to see me. At the point I did not care who saw me I wanted to be seen. I went in and they did a urine test (I later come to find out that I had 1+ protein in my urine...which is not good), We talked about my concern with Preeclampsia and through my whole pregnancy I have always showed trace protein in my urine (protein in urine during pregnancy can be a huge indicator of pre-eclampsia) My blood pressure was 128/90 which was my highest reading yet in pregnancy. Typically my blood pressures were 100/70 or 60's...needless to say...I was sent home.

November 15th 2009 at 30 weeks It all began... That night I ate dinner and right before we went to bed around 11 pm, I began to vomit. Every hour on the hour I was vomiting. Around 1 am I started experiencing a headache like I can not even explain. I was laying in bed with ice packs on my head, as well as still vomiting. I called the doctor on call, explained my symptoms. I found myself on my way to the hospital! I had started seeing flashing spots/sparks and my vision started to go.

November 16, 2009 I was 30 weeks and 2 days along. While checking myself in the hospital, I noticed I could not think straight or even pull my id card from my wallet, I felt like I was going to pass out. Upon entering my room, I began to vomit again. The nurse came in and tried for about 10 minutes to find a heartbeat. Nothing...nothing at all. We knew something was wrong...all we heard was silence. I kept asking my husband why they could not find it. I called my mom and told her they could not find a heartbeat, and she was on her way. The nurse said a ultrasound tech would be coming in to get a better look. On the screen we saw her in a head down movement. I asked the tech when he came in to do the ultrasound if he heard a heartbeat, he said The doctors will be able to have a better look. I had a horrible feeling, but at the same time I was just thinking this is all just a dream. My little girl will be fine, I was just at the doctors not even 2 weeks ago and heard her little heart beat! My mom arrived, and my dad was on his way. When the doctor came in I knew immediately that we had lost her. A doctor and two nurses came in. The doctor said "Laura your baby has passed." My first thought was thats impossible, there was no way. My mom, Kyle and I all began to cry. From there my mind seemed to stop. It all gets real blurry from here...
I asked what is going to happen next, and was told I needed to deliver my baby. I could not believe it. I had to deliver a baby and I could not even keep her or see her cry or smile. My mind was filled with 1,000 different emotions. The strangest feeling for me was...I was not scared...I did not care...I had no idea how sick I was and how sick I was going to become. I had no idea what time it was...nothing... I just wanted to go home and pretend this never happened, to pretend I was never pregnant to begin with. I wanted to erase all horrible outcomes from my head.

(From this point on I don't remember much, so I will do my best at trying) I truly believe now it was my bodys way (as well as Gods way) of taking care of me. Blocking any crazy emotions I had for the time being. I remember being wheeled into a bigger room and right away being started on a IV hooked to fluids, blood pressure medications, antibiotics (because I was running a fever of 101), and magnesium sulfate (Anti seizure medication) I remembering not even being able to cry. I also remember thinking maybe if I deliver her there is some chance she would be alive. Magnesium sulfate is a brutal drug. My BP was 160/110 which is dangerously high. After running blood work, the doctors immediately knew I had severe preeclampsia.I remember the doctors coming into the room and hearing the words "severe preeclampsia" Everyone seemed to be very concerned about how sick I was and I didn't even care. My mom said she never saw nurses act so fast. There was so many nurses surrounding me. The magnesium made me hot, hot to the point that I had the room at 65 degrees and I had cold rags all over my head and neck, it also made me vomit frequently and loss vision on my left eye. I remember having labor pains, and for some odd reason the nurses kept pushing me to get an epidural saying "Your already going through enough, you should not have to suffer any pain from this" I had contractions and finally I got an epidural which made me the point where I had sores on my face and scratches all over my neck and chest. It was a horrible feeling. I wanted to crawl out of my skin.
Next thing I remember was waking up and saying, "Im ready to push" Its weird its like your body just knows! I finally was dilated to 10. I remember asking "what if im too tired to push" I had to even have people hold me up, I could not hold my own body up. (later I come to find out I was in labor for more than 24 hours!) Seems like minutes...My mom and Kyle stood with me as I delivered our angel into this world with wings.

November 17th- Cara Angel Meindel...born at 2:30... 2lbs 11 oz and 16 inches long...stillborn.

he nurses asked me if I wanted to hold her, I said no. I can't explain why I did not want to hold her, although I wish I had. They cleaned her off, gave her a bath and dressed her. At one point right after she was born (in the picture below) I asked my mom why she was that color. It was liek a scene from a movie, a dead baby laying right in front of me...and she was mine. My family came in and everyone was able to love and hold her when I could not. I did not even cry. I had no emotions. I dont remember much at all, just wanting to sleep and wanting everyone to leave me alone. When she was born she looked like she would breathe or move...but she didn't. She just lay there. I remember being mad that everyone was holding her and rocking her and dressing her. I did not want anyone to hold her.I was so mad that nurses were taking pictures. I did not want any pictures. I was scared they would hurt her. She was so delicate. I could not understand why everyone wanted to hold her and kiss her... she was dead. Now I only knew everyone was doing it out of love. I am so mad at myself for not loving her more during that moment. I wish I could take it back. Every day now I wish I could hold her. It is to date a big regret of mine. Now I am so glad that I got to spend time with her because now whatever time I did spend and teh pictures I have I cherish.

Apparently I passed out after my delivery. After my delivery I must have gained another 10 pounds. I started pre pregnancy at 127 and got to 162 when I was admitted...then gained more after delivery. So you can imagine how much water weight I had. I remember my mom telling me I need to start thinking about her baptism and funeral. I held my beautiful daughter for the first time during her baptism, it was done right in the room. (Apparently I held her earlier...however this was the first time I REMEMBER holding her)

From that point on I don't remember much again. I know I was hooked up to a blood pressure machine to take my blood pressure every 15 mins, was still on the magnesium sulfate, and was getting blood drawn twice a day. Cara stayed in the room with us that night in her basket, I dont even remember falling asleep. I know I had nightmares. The next morning it all sunk in. I held her and cried, she had my nose and my chin, and Kyles eyes and toes and long body and lips. Just how amazingly beautiful she was. I could not even comprehend why this was happening to me. I know that Wednesday the 18th that the funeral home did come and take her, I thought it was time. (I now wish I would have spent more time with her) I was also still in the hospital. That morning the doctor came in and told me I had borderline HELLP disease. (Later to find out that due to my platelet count 120's I did have HELLP) It was hard to comprehend why, and how it was not caught.

November 19th 2009 I was finally released from the hospital. My blood pressure was still high. I went home on blood pressure medication.

November 21 2009 We lay our beautiful Cara to rest. It was the first family funeral I ever had to go to. We kept it family only. Open casket so everyone could see how beautiful she was. It was hard because I wanted to hold her again and could not. I had my brother her god father carry her casket, that memory is etched in my mind like a movie scene. Watching his tears run down his face as he carried her white casket. Another haunting memory I have is having to watch my grandfather kneel and cry and watching my Dad almost have to be carried away from her grave site. We all said goodbye to a beautiful very loved little girl.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Hadley Jane

Hadley's story:

We found out we were expecting triplets in April of 07. After a very complicated pregnancy I delivered a boy and two girls at 28 weeks gestation on October 9, 2007. All three of them were admitted to the NICU and we began our journey as the new parents of triplets. After two days in the NICU Hadley suffered a pulmonary hemorrhage. Her doctor came to my hospital room and asked that my husband and I come down to the NICU as she was having some difficulties. Being new to the NICU world we had no idea how serious things were until we were at her side. By the time we got to her she had already suffered another hemorrhage and the loss of blood was more than she could overcome. The doctors handed her to me and I held her as she passed. I remember knowing the moment she was gone. I felt her leave and knew the baby I was holding in my arms wasn't here anymore. I handed her to her Daddy and we just sobbed and sobbed as we said goodbye to our baby girl.

Losing Hadley has been the most awful thing I could ever imagine but she has given us the gift of understanding how truly fragile life is. I know I am a better parent because of her, she taught me to enjoy every moment with my children and I will be forever grateful for those few short days I had her in my life.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


From the moment we saw you, we fell in love
We couldn't believe you were ours
Our precious baby boy
You fought so hard and made us proud
So small, so sweet and so soon
For God has his plan for you
Although we had to let you depart
You will always have a special place in our hearts.

With love,
Mama, Papa, Nico and Brandon

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jenna Belle

"She did more in thirteen days than most people do in a lifetime."
March 2009
It was my five month check up and we were anxious to find out whether or not our dreams of a little girl were true. Both grandmothers came along. For my mother, it was her first grandchild. The nurse measured and measured and measured some more. I looked at the ultrasound on the monitor and something rubbed me the wrong way but I let it slide since I was a newbie to this whole mommy thing. They sent the grandmothers away for my checkup and there they broke the news that something was wrong. The doctor could not tell me what, but she knew we needed answers and she could not give them. That day instantly turned from a dream come true to a nightmare. Her nurse staff squeezed us into a high risk clinic for an appointment in the late afternoon. We waited and got checked in. The doctor finally saw us. I thought surely this woman who is more experienced with problematic pregnancies is going to tell me that everything is fine. Surely she will know what bliss the pregnancy had been up until that day. (I was still fitting into most of my regular clothes and was feeling just fine). But she didn't. She gave us in more detail what symptoms she was picking up through the ultrasound. She gave us a myriad of possibilities but no answers. 

April 2009

Following the initial visit with my perinatologist at five months, the days in between the visits the grace of God sustained me. At six months, the doctor began to show a grave concern for my baby's restricted growth. She had grown some, but was now about two to three weeks behind where she should have been. She showed physical symptoms of genetic disorders. We went for a second opinion, hoping a fresh pair of eyes would give us a bleak of hope that my perinatologist was wrong. This doctor gave us more or less the same "diagnosis" by looking at the ultrasound. There were a few conflicting observations from the two doctors, which in itself gave me hope that they really did not know anything for sure. Aside from all this, my husband and I knew that God was in control. He could turn this thing around if He so pleased. 
We held onto hope and there was no harm in that. I learned when Jenna liked to move, which she did frequently. She would be pretty active in the morning and late at night right before I could fall asleep. I loved to feel her swishing around. It gave me a divine hope from Heaven that there was life. She was fighting, regardless of her condition or what the doctors would say. On the 23rd of the month, I was 28 weeks. A day prior, I noticed she had not been moving the way I was used to feeling her move. At 4:30 the next morning I could not bear it any longer. That night was restless and I had to know how she was really doing. My next appointment would not be for another week or so. I woke up my husband and the day that we thought would just be another busy work day turned into the beginning of our new life. I had called my OB before waking him and she instructed me to go to L&D immediately as that was the only place she could check anything out at such an hour. We followed her orders. On the way, I began to feel Jenna move for the first time in about 24 hours. When we got to the hospital, the monitor was put to my belly and a sigh of relief came over me. She was still alive. The doctor finally arrived and told me I would not be going home for a while. All the things that I thought were urgent had to fall into someone else's hands. That included teaching, running my eBay store, moving from an apartment to a house, and the list could go on. Somehow life would turn into living for my baby as all the cares of life would lose their significance. I never knew I would survive being still for as long as I had to be. My bed rest would last two weeks, and I would not leave my room for the first time after thirteen days. The thing that made these two weeks fly by was my church family coming to visit. They would consistently come by, sit and chat, ask how the baby was doing and tell me that they were praying. 
Thank you, Shady Acres.

May 2009 
One week in the hospital turned into two and everyday it seemed like she would be arriving much sooner than anticipated. On the fourth of May, I had what would be my last ultrasound. My doctor came in to see the baby and told me she was worried that we would lose her unless we took her soon. She was not getting the nutrition she needed to grow. Aside from that we were still perplexed why she was not growing. This was Monday night. She told me we would definitely deliver Jenna by Wednesday since Tuesday’s schedule was full. (Who knew you could schedule a baby’s coming? Like I said I am new to all this) She said the only way she would take her sooner, was if it turned out to be an emergency. 
They monitored her very closely and moved me into L&D that night. For an hour or so we watched with aching hearts and were told that she would be delivered that night. My doctor returned and it was the one of the most traumatic events of my life. I heard her say “You could lose the baby,” just as we were going to enter the delivery room. She was warning me. Thanks a lot. 
I later learned in the NICU, that we really did almost lose Jenna that night. We ran into one of the nurses that was there the night Jenna was born. She said they were completely surprised at Jenna’s condition when they took her. She was more premature than they thought. Thankfully, they had the respirator Jenna needed at hand. That night they told my husband there would be a 2% chance that she would make it. They rushed her to the NICU where they would keep her.   I was so anxious to meet my baby girl. The very one that I felt for seven months. The very life I carried inside of me. The one I would talk to, sing to, dream about and anticipate raising. But all my dreams would crash into a nightmare. I would put all my dreams on hold as I watched her fight for her life. She fought hard. And we would never find out what went wrong. She taught me and Pete some things. Life isn’t really about winning an argument, buying a house, getting your way, fancy things, or even getting the job you really want. It’s about Christ. It’s about what He did on the cross. It’s about trusting Him until you dare not trust a fiber in your being. It’s about learning and receiving a more perfect love. There are a few things I keep here on earth in memory of my angel (memory garden, scrapbook, her gravesite with fresh flowers…). I wish I could trade all these things and hold my baby girl tonight. But as long as I have breath in me, we will be separated. I got to know her. I got to see her open her eyes, change her diaper, and watch her facial expressions. I got to feel the softness of her sweet baby curls on her head. I felt the warmth of her tiny hand around my finger. Those are the moments I hold close to my heart. Sometimes too painful to dare think about. But she left this earth with the angels singing. I really believe that. No more pain, no more doctors, no more medicine. Just Heaven and the Lord. The One who gives us that blessed hope of a reunion one day. Until then I will hold those 13 days in my heart. I will think about her. I will miss her. I will remember her. I will tell the world about her. I will take it by faith that God makes no mistake. 

What others can do to honor her memory:
Appreciate life for the gift that it is, and spread the word about Abiding Hope Collages, which is what I started doing in honor of my Jenna Belle to help bereaved parents.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Shelby, Megan and Lynne

Dear Shelby, Megan and Lynne,

Our dearest triplet angels in Heaven, we miss you everyday, and without you here, it’s sometimes hard to keep on going forward, but we do. We do for you, to honor your lives, to honor your memory. We know you are happy and healthy in Heaven and playing in the clouds together, as Sisters united, and that warms our hearts, for we will all be together again one day.
Happy 1st Heavenly Birthday my sweet angel babies.

Love, Mommy and Daddy xxxooo

Three Angel babies, not here on this earth
Nor playing with toy's, but jumping on stars
And leaping on clouds.

Sliding down moonbeams, laying under the sun
Your day's are endless, you're having such fun.

Dancing in raindrops, sipping morning dew
Not here on this earth, wish we were with you.

Such beautiful sights, God's garden does hold
You'll never feel pain, and you'll never grow old.

You know you are loved, how it shines through

It's the love of your Parents, they’re sending to you.

And although they miss you, that never will change
They’re glad you are happy, in the land of no pain.

They'll love you forever, it will never wane
When they come to God's garden
They'll hold you all again!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Linking Loss Moms

I just read an amazing post on a loss mom's blog about how lonely it is to be a loss mom and how she wishes she could meet some of the amazing loss moms in the blog world in real life and then I read through many responses from other loss moms echoing the same. Although this was not my original intention for this blog I am wondering if this could be a place where we could connect in hopes of finding other loss moms nearby to share a cup of coffee with once in a while or an understanding visit.

So if you are interested in meeting other loss moms in your area you can comment on this post with the state you live in and then maybe from there people can try to connect and exchange more information in a not-so-public format?? I am thinking too maybe we should list if we have living children or not because I know that can make a difference to some in their support needs.

Thanks for the idea Kristin!