Tell the World

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Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

Tonight I have two candles burning to honor my own personal losses.

Ask any woman who has experienced this type of loss. She doesn’t need a day to remind her of what once was. I am no different. My circumstances have changed favorably since last year and I am very grateful. Still, past memories haunt me.

This post will be short. I come here not to relive the past or talk about how difficult infertility and loss are, but to acknowledge and celebrate babies who were conceived and gone too soon. There is one thing I know to be true: these babies mattered and still do.

I also celebrate any man or woman who has the courage to give a name and face to loss. These are the people who possess the courage to tell the world about their grief and pain and they do so with a grace that is not easily found. Many of their stories are absolutely gut-wrenching, but they still tell them, hopefully finding healing in the process.

But they also do something else. By telling their story, they remove the stigma that is attached to infertility and loss. For this I am personally grateful. It gives me hope that some day I will be able to look someone in the eye and say, “I am one in four. I had babies that I lost. My babies mattered.”

As I get ready to extinguish the candles for the evening, I think of all my real-life friends and online friends who have endured loss. The sheer number of losses combined is astonishing. Please know that your babies’ lives hold meaning and have a place in this world.

 

 

 

Third Trimester & Moving Forward

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Another milestone for me–today is the first day of my third trimester!

One year ago, I was preparing for my IVF, full of anxiety, hope, and nerves. A year and a half ago, I was on the precipice of an emotional breakdown after my second loss. Two years ago, I was blissfully pregnant for the first time, but didn’t realize the sorrow and devastation that would await me.

I’ve been thinking of the past lately and am trying to find a way to come to terms with it. I’ve held onto it, yes, because in some ways it feels like the last four years of my life are the only ones I have ever known. Even recently, I’ve still felt the sting of endless celebrity pregnancy announcements and found myself  hitting the rewind button to listen to those voices that haunted me for years.

But, day by day I’ve let joy come into my life. For the first time in a long, long time, I feel at peace.

Obviously, everyone can tell I’m pregnant at 28 weeks. It feels so strange, yet exhilarating to talk about being pregnant to other people. This is no understatement: I am absolutely blown away by how everyone has been so supportive and excited for me. I spent so much time hiding away from people because of infertility that I became an emotional recluse. I couldn’t let others get near me, because I felt like it only made the pain worse. Now, I feel like I can connect with others, have a conversation with them without becoming emotionally exhausted, and most importantly be present in the moment instead of thinking of ways to shut down and run.

Something tells me this is what normal feels like and let me tell you, it is amazing.

This isn’t to say that I’m 100% carefree. I still have quite a lot of anxiety about this pregnancy and things that could go wrong. I still Google every little symptom that seems strange. I’m anxious about the upcoming gestational diabetes test this coming week but I will try to take things as they do or do not come.

In other related news, we’ve spent the last couple of weeks cleaning out the spare bedroom turning it into a nursery. It has been painted a soft shade of pink/violet because I just could not resist. I had promised myself I wouldn’t go overboard with the pink but I just couldn’t resist having it as the wall color. We also added a fairy border in green. It looks especially nice with the new hardwood floors. The room is definitely taking on something of an enchanted theme though I didn’t plan it that way. When I came home the other day and saw it all complete, I couldn’t help but cry because I remembered staring at the room years before wondering if it would ever become a nursery. Now, it has.

It’s been an exhausting couple of weeks/months, but know that I still follow and read everyone’s blog posts. I don’t always comment like I previously did but I am still thinking and praying for you all always.

 

 

 

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

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How many times have I thought about starting a blog post only to succumb to fatigue and lack of motivation? According to my last blog post, I’ve been doing this for about 11 weeks!

I haven’t been meaning to keep you in the dark for so long but it’s just been easier to always “wait for the next milestone” to blog. Plus, I still have issues with my past and fear that hold me back, but that’s another story that I won’t go into. Had I blogged, my posts just would have contained worries and obsessions, so you haven’t missed much.

My pregnancy is going great. I have the usual symptoms, mostly fatigue, chronic constipation (and I do mean chronic), constant urination, and a strong desire to accomplish nothing. You know how some people can’t wait to get as much as possible accomplished in a day? I am very happy to get as little as possible done while lounging about in bed.

Yesterday, was a day that was a long time coming–my 20 week ultrasound. The night before I got very little sleep, envisioning about a thousand scenarios and worrying. After all, it had been about 8 weeks since the last time that I had seen my baby on-screen. I found myself going between desperately hoping for one gender to preparing myself for the other. When that was done, I prayed over and over that my baby would be healthy no matter what the gender (yes, the baby is healthy which is obviously the most important thing!!). Then, the process repeated itself over and over.

Are you ready for the gender reveal?

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You know I can’t just blurt it out. There has to be a little buildup.

Let’s look at some vital data:

  • According to old wives’ tales, babies with a heartbeat over 140 are girls and anything below is a boy. My baby’s heartbeat has leveled out to the 140’s.
  • If you carry your baby high, it’s a girl. If you carry your baby low, it’s a boy. I really don’t know which way I carry. Middle, I guess. Plus, don’t all stomachs eventually rise as the pregnancy progresses up past the naval? I don’t know. At this point, I feel like I have a rock in my stomach.
  • Everybody knows about Chinese Gender prediction. If you don’t, Google it. Mine says a girl. Accuracy is 50%. Absolute science or just for fun? It’s up to you to decide!
  • Personal history: my family has a history of boys. I have three older brothers, two of which had boys for a first child. My husband has one younger brother. His father had two brothers. His mother had 4 sisters. My father is an only child and my mother has 1 brother, 2 half-brothers, and two half sisters. Not sure about the effect family history has on gender.
  • And then there’s the thing that I did when I was 14 year’s old.  You tie a string around a straight pin or other item and dangle it over your wrist. It is supposed to reveal the number and gender of children you will have in the future. If the string goes back and forth like a vertical line, that means a boy at some point for you.  If the string goes in a circle, that means a girl for you in the future. That test revealed 1 boy and 2 girls for me. Of course, that test was done 24 years ago so take it for what it’s worth. Plus, there’s the validity of the test to consider.
  • On one of the early ultrasounds, my baby couldn’t stop twerking! I immediately associated this with boy behavior. Trust me, you just had to see it. Then on a later ultrasound, the baby seemed to be clapping it’s hands excitedly, like a girl.  More vital data to consider!
  • As for my baby’s appearance, my baby has looked like a frog, a turkey, and a dinosaur. I think these animals are more associated with boys. By the way, the baby now looks like an alien.

Ok enough data! Are you ready?

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Are you sure?

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It feels so good to announce that we are having a baby girl!!!

This is all I’ve ever wanted and dreamed about.

There are no words to describe the emotion that I feel. I feel so blessed, physically healed  by God and for the first time in a long time, at peace. There she was on the screen, all wiggling and moving about, hiding her little face and turning away when she was tired of being measured.

Throughout this entire pregnancy, I’ve always referred to her as “she” without even thinking about it. Maybe it’s just instinctual. I’ve been thinking a lot these last couple of weeks about my first baby, how she was a girl. There’s just something so redeeming about this baby and what she means.

So there you have it. Of course my family knows about my pregnancy by now and our parents and one friend know the gender. The gender will be revealed to the rest of the family and others this Saturday at the gender reveal party where I will present the same set of compelling data I did here.

This means that I have to get up and clean the house, which means getting something accomplished. I meant to blog all of this yesterday, but after the day was said and done and I had gone and bought two adorable girl outfits at the mall, all I could do was go to bed. Speaking of sleep,I desperately need to go purchase one of those pregnancy body pillows that I made fun of and blogged about a few years ago.

That’s it for now!

 

Making the Milestone

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Today I am 9 weeks, 1 day pregnant.

This is absolutely phenomenal because I’ve never been this far before.

I had my 8 week ultrasound on Wednesday and all was very good.  I won’t go into detail about how nervous I was, even weeks before, but I will tell you that the baby was measuring 1 day ahead of schedule and I really couldn’t have asked for a better report. Just by looking at the ultrasound, the baby looks like a little frog with tiny limbs. Hearing that heartbeat is the easily the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.

The doctor asked me if I would be comfortable waiting 4 weeks for my 12 week ultrasound and I told her I wish I could be calm for that long but would feel better coming back in 2 weeks for a 10 week scan. It felt very validating to talk about my fears, particularly with the nurse, who made me feel like I was ok for feeling the way that I did. In fact, she told me that most women would probably get weekly scans if they could afford them. Not that I can afford these bi-monthly ones but I know me and I know what it takes to keep me relatively sane.

I’ve been meaning to update this blog but to be honest I haven’t had the energy to do much of anything lately. Things like walking out to the car, showering and taking medications seem like enormous tasks to me.  My idea of paradise is sleeping for 12 plus hours a night only to wake up for a few hours to have a 3 hour nap in the afternoon.  Of course in the real world I can only do this on Saturdays and I only got to do it once so far.

We haven’t really told many people yet of our news and I am comfortable with my decision though I think my husband is ready to tell the world. I am so grateful for this miracle in my life but I want to keep the news to myself at least through the first trimester.  Part of me thinks that if I had my way I wouldn’t tell anyone until I was ready to deliver. I know this is because of my past and my strong desire to self-protect.

Even as I type this, I want to type out all my fears but I can’t.  I feel like that would be giving them power and I have to save my energy.

Yeah, I could use therapy, too.

In other news, tomorrow is May 5th, what would have been the 1 year anniversary of my first baby’s due date. I feel like I should write a blog post about it  but I’m afraid what will happen if I unleash those emotions. I might still do one, maybe a few days after. I know how I felt last year on her due date and it’s amazing how my situation has changed. My heart still grieves but now I have hope. Now, for the first time, I feel like my body has healed. I need to know that, remember that as each day passes.

By the way, I have no idea what has been going on with my blog subscriptions lately. I’ve been noticing for quite some time that there are fewer blog posts in my reader and I figured people just weren’t blogging as much. Then I went to their blogs only to find out that I’ve been missing most of their posts. It turns out that I was no longer following them even though I never unfollowed them in the first place. I don’t know if this happens because I use different devices to access my blog or because I changed blog themes or what.  Regardless, if you haven’t heard from me in a while that is why. I’ve re-followed who I could but I don’t know if the same problem will happen again.  I remember it happening a couple of times with one or two blogs, but didn’t think the issue would continue. Anyone else have anything similar happen?

That’s it for now!  Wish me calm! Good luck to everyone who is starting or completing an IVF cycle.  I am thinking of you.

 

 

 

Can Every Day be Like This One?

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We have a baby that is measuring 6 weeks! The best part? We saw and heard the heartbeat! The most beautiful sound I have ever heard!

It’s been a busy day and I’m exhausted but I had to share my good news. I can’t tell you what it feels like to have a great ultrasound appointment. We got nothing less than the absolute best news.

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. You’ll never know how much it means to me.

This is going to be short and sweet. My husband and I are going out of town tomorrow and we will be gone for a week on a cruise. I’ve pretty much spent the better part of the day running errands. Of course when we planned the cruise, we had no idea that we would be pregnant.

That’s it for now. Time to get some well-earned sleep. Thanks again for all the well-wishes!

 

What Tomorrow Brings

 

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No one can be certain of the future.  We can plan to our heart’s content but life has a way of taking over and showing us who is boss. Our best laid-plans often go astray leaving us to plan all over again only to find we must plan yet one more time for something that may or may not happen.  We can only hope that tomorrow brings the thing we so desperately desire.

This month was to be the month that my husband and I officially starting trying again.  Let’s just say that hasn’t happened.

Last Tuesday was a rough one for me.  I spent the better part of the day in bed waiting for my period to arrive while reliving every moment of my reproductive past. When I finally got out of bed, I spent more time reliving but even more time lamenting to God, demanding to know why my life had turned out the way it had.  I was so angry I decided to take a pregnancy test which I thought would somehow speed up the arrival of my period.

Except it didn’t.

The test was positive.

Today I am 5 weeks 5 days pregnant.

Tomorrow brings my first ultrasound

I don’t have to tell you the story of my reproductive past.  Anyone who has read this blog knows that it’s not pretty. I also don’t have to tell you about the fear that I carry in my heart.  Tomorrow means a lot of things.

I would like to tell you that I have spent the week in carefree bliss. Actually, I have spent it nursing one of the worst colds I have ever had, pregnancy-related I’m sure. At least I’ve had the agony of this cold to keep me distracted. My focus has been on breathing–quite literally–and daydreaming about the time I could return home to my bed to collapse in an exhausted heap.

I am trying my best to remain detached and calm, but I can tell you that every day that passes, I want this more. I’ve prayed to God, asked him to heal my body. Actually I prayed this several weeks back. I know my infertility is a sickness and I know he doesn’t want me to have it. I’m trying very hard to cling to my faith that he was healed me. I can’t accept anything less.

So, I try to take day by day and not think about tomorrow, though tomorrow is a big day for me. But for today I am pregnant and that is enough.

 

 

An Anniversary I’d Rather Forget

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I’m obsessed with time. Particularly the past. On any given day I might reflect where I was a day ago, a month ago, or even a year ago. A week ago or so, February 19th, I had an anniversary, actually a double anniversary.

February 19th, 2010 (yes, that’s four years ago), my husband I officially tried to conceive our first child.

One year ago, February 19th, 2013  I lost my second pregnancy.

Yes, one year ago while I was lamenting three years of TTC, I was also losing another baby and losing my mind in the parking lot of the ob-gyn’s office.

There isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said already about the four years of trying to conceive. I guess that term may not even be accurate anymore considering we did conceive at the 2 1/2 year mark.  Maybe I should call it when we first started trying to conceive a healthy baby.

I’ve been thinking about miscarriage number two a lot lately  because this time of year reminds me of it. Like I said in a previous post, I never actually processed that loss for two reasons. One reason was because I found out I was not carrying an embryo, just products of conception. Somehow this prevented me from emotionally attaching myself to the pregnancy, though I have attached myself since then.  The other reason was because I actually feared for my life.

At that time one year ago, I blew things out of proportion. I know that now. But one year ago, I expected the worst and assumed the worst. On that first ob-gyn visit (where I was already bleeding anyway), the doctor suspected a molar pregnancy.  A molar pregnancy means that the egg either had no genetic material or the egg was fertilized by two sperm.

What does it mean for the pregnancy?

It means that it’s a no-go, but it means much more than that.  Follow along.

If you have this type of pregnancy, there is no question that you must have a D & C.  There is the hope that removing the pregnancy will remove all cells which may or may not be cancerous. From there, you get weekly blood tests and then monthly blood tests to make sure the pregnancy “doesn’t come back.” But, that isn’t the worst of it. A molar pregnancy has a chance of turning into choriocarcinoma which is a rare cancer of the uterus. When the doctor told me this, all I thought was that I was going to die.  It didn’t matter that the doctor said that she wasn’t certain that it was a molar pregnancy. It didn’t matter that the huge blood clot beside the pregnancy could be affecting the way the pregnancy looked.  Nothing mattered at all.

A few days later, the pregnancy no longer looked like a molar pregnancy, but the emotional damage had already taken shape.  I went from 125 pounds to 111 in a little over two weeks.  I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t function. After we were certain the pregnancy wasn’t viable (it took about two weeks) I had the D & C and the results came back normal.

Physically, I was fine afterwards but my periods were scant so I convinced myself that I was sick.  I continued to lose weight so this also convinced me that somehow the test results were inaccurate.

It was during this time that I was absolutely convinced that God hated me. What kind of God let someone lose a pregnancy right after losing the first one? What kind of God let someone feel so alone and utterly terrified? What kind of God let them feel like they could die at a moment’s notice? The months that followed were some of the darkest I’ve ever experienced.  I confided in my family, but no one truly understood what I was going through. I needed some type of help but did not have the emotional capacity to even know how or where to ask for it, something that I regret to this day.

Interestingly, choriocarcinoma has been in the news. Jen Arnold, from the Little Couple, had been trying for quite some time to get pregnant. She had adopted a son and was on her way to adopting a daughter when she got pregnant.  For the first time ever!  Sadly, she miscarried and her pregnancy turned into cancer.

My heart goes out to her. How long she must have waited to get pregnant! How she probably even gave up the idea only to discover a miracle after she had “just adopted.” I keep thinking how devastated she must have felt when the ultrasound revealed an unviable pregnancy.  But, she was strong. So, she picked herself up, had a D & C, and moved on.

Except her nightmare was only beginning! After years of personal challenges relating to her physical size, infertility, a miscarriage, and a D & C, she discovered she had a cancer relating to her miscarriage.  Essentially, she got cancer from getting pregnant.  From trying to achieve her dream.

It makes me sick that something like this can even exist in this universe.

However, Jen’s story does have a happy ending.  She is now cancer-free and has the family that she dreamed of. How this woman has so much strength, I’ll never know.

March 5th will mark 1 year since my last D & C. So, essentially, I have been miscarriage free for a year. In that year, my husband and I have been “not preventing” but not actually trying to get pregnant either. However, the time is coming soon where we will begin “trying” once more.

This terrifies me. I have to put myself back out there with all my heart. It takes a lot of faith, faith I’m not even sure I have, to try. I’ve been broken and have spent this last year just feeling safe and ok again. I’ve made some changes in my diet, started taking DHEA and other supplements, and continued acupuncture. I hope that it is enough.

It’s not easy to change my diet. Actually, it’s quite difficult and I’m a far cry from perfect. When I get emotional, I want sugar. When I get angry, I want caffeine and sugar. It pisses me off to see people around me not have to worry about their food affecting egg quality and it really, really pisses me off to see a pregnant women stuffing her face with doughnuts. Particularly, when said pregnant person sits right beside me and already has one child.

Yes, the bitterness and sadness come over me every day, but sometimes I’m really good at pushing these emotions aside. It means that I don’t connect much with a lot of people on a personal level, but that’s the price of being. Some days I want to tell the world what I’ve been through, share my story. I want to scream it to the top of my lungs to anyone who will listen, but other days it’s safer just to rest in my thoughts.

So, that’s where I am right now. Just trying to find courage and just waiting for normal. Just being.

 

 

 

 

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