Monday, August 4, 2008

Allison's Story

Allison is the contributing editor for Neonatal Death. She writes daily at Our Own Creation where she chronicles not only the life and death of her twins, Lennox and Zoe, but her world beyond.

I'm supposed to be telling you who I am and that's not an easy question. I suppose I'll start with the basic labels. I was born in 1971. I grew up in Raleigh,NC, went to college in Asheville, moved to Fort Worth, TX in 1998 and have been here since (with the exception of a 12-month detour to Boston). I've been married to Shannon for just shy of nine years.

I'm a voracious reader. I love to cook and garden. I'm kinda granola-hippy-crunchy. I like to play video games. I've been a nanny, a landscaper, a waitress, the customer service manager for an internet dating site, and a researcher. I have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy. And my newest label? I'm a mother. I just don't have my children anymore.

We decided to try to start our family in 2005. We knew it wouldn't be easy. I was diagnosed with PCOS and we moved through the stages of infertility treatment; clomid, IUI, IVF. On August 16, 2007, I learned that our frozen embryo transfer had worked and I was pregnant. Shortly after that, we found out it was twins. At 17 weeks, I had surgery to remove my gall bladder. At 22 weeks, I was admitted to the hospital with a premature preterm ruptured membrane and put on bed rest. At 24 weeks, at 2:35am January 3, 2008, I delivered Lennox and Zoe.

Lennox's membrane was the one that had ruptured and every moment of the almost three days he lived was a struggle for him. He died in my arms on January 5, 2008 from a collapsed lung. Zoe was a fighter. The night of January 23, they moved her from the most critical care room in the NICU to the long term room. On January 24th, her heart stopped beating. We don't know the cause. The autopsy showed no reason for it. Her official cause of death is extreme prematurity.

Since then, I have struggled with being a mother with no children, and with trying to figure out where we go from here. Grief has become a constant in my life now. Normal has a new definition for us. We are just taking our first scary, tentative steps towards trying to get pregnant again.

I started blogging when we started going to the fertility clinic. Originally, the blog was to keep my family in the loop since we live so far apart and they wanted to know what was going on. As we got further into it, I started writing to share what we experienced and learned. I may be shy, but I'm not easily embarrassed and I figured if I was busy googling to try to learn more about the process, so were others. I hoped my willingness to write about all that we were going through might help someone else. It also meant that I got to hear, "I know what you mean! The same thing happened to me." and I realized how much comfort there was in knowing that someone out there was going through the same thing. Blogging has been a way for me to connect, to vent, to remain sane in the face of overwhelming emotions.


Lori said...

Hi, Allison. I followed your story last winter.

It's nice to get to know you better from this post, to see more facets of you.

I'm glad you're part of Bridges. Your voice makes it richer.

Pamela Jeanne said...

I've found that by embracing grief and all of the darker emotions that it brought to the surface, I was no longer drowning in it but finding air to breathe again.

luna said...

It's so true that grief is a life journey, a process you must constantly navigate through rather than a destination with a clear end-point.

wishing you all the best on these next steps. I know how scary this must be for you.

loribeth said...

I too followed Lennox & Zoe's story as it was happening. I subbed to your blog after the "best day ever," and I'm glad to be able to get to know you bettter here.

anymommy said...

Allison, I am just meeting you now and I am so glad. I think that is exactly what this concept, Bridges, is about. I follow quite a few blogs where the author is dealing with loss and grief, but I rarely feel I can adequately express myself in comments. I am making it my goal to contribute here. I am so sorry. I simply can not imagine that grief and pain. I plan to be with you for these next steps in your journey.

Karen @ Chez Perky said...

Allison, I followed your blog for a long time, though never commented, and walked with Mel for Lennox and Zoe at the March for Babies this year. I'm looking forward to getting to know you a little better through Bridges. Thanks for sharing your story here.