Three Weeks Ago Today. . .Part 1

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Babybelle surprised us by arriving 5 weeks early on November 1 at 11:53 AM via C-section! It has taken me 3 weeks to sit down between feedings, diaper changes, and just loving my baby to write her very long birth story but here I go!

Depending on who you ask, it all started Halloween. Obviously, Halloween has a somewhat bizarre, crazy and eccentric mood associated with it (cue Thriller music) and this pretty much set the stage for everything that came for me. That morning I woke up feeling a little more tired than usual and was concerned when I had a pink tint to my discharge. I wasn’t completely freaked out because I felt like I was coming down with a urinary tract infection and knew that sometimes this could result in colored discharge or even blood. I felt ok enough to go to work but at the last second I called in despite it being short-staffed and decided to go to the doctor to get a test (best decision ever). After submitting my urine, the lab tech told me that “a UTI was brewing” but they couldn’t confirm for sure until Monday which was strange for two reasons: 1) I had had my urine checked that previous Monday and was fine and 2) Since when did it take a couple of days to know for sure if I had a UTI? Before, I was always diagnosed right on the spot. Anyway, the nurse called me in some antibiotics because, hey, better safe than sorry, and I went home and slept with plans to go pick them up that afternoon.

When I woke up, I called the pharmacy and they had no record of having any antibiotics called in for me. I panicked because my ob-gyn office closed at noon. I quickly calmed myself down and decided it was no big deal since I would just call Monday and get everything straightened out then. Surely, it wouldn’t make that big of a difference if the infection had just started, right? Except, there was one thing bothering me. Something I should have paid greater attention to. The normal discharge I had been having had turned much more watery since Wednesday afternoon, possibly earlier than this. I Googled “discharge that is more watery” like crazy and the majority of people said that they had this checked out and it was just urine.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you never remember anything else I tell you, remember this. If you even remotely suspect that your discharge has become more watery in your pregnancy, get it checked out immediately. Do not wait. Do not pass “go”. Do not collect $200.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times to trust Google and there are times to consult a medical professional. I decided to call the nurse at the hospital who had the doctor call me back. I told her my symptoms and she asked that I come in to have it checked out. I was a little surprised that she asked since I was sure that she would agree it was urine leaking from my supposed UTI. I called my husband and drove myself to the hospital.

Before all of this, I had joked for months with my husband that I would be the one to drive myself to the hospital when it was time for the baby. Cue the irony!

He met me there and the nurse immediately tested the fluid coming out of me. I got quite comfortable in the room and thought it was a shame I couldn’t stay awhile and rest since I would be going home soon, hopefully with some antibiotics for this newly developed UTI. Imagine my surprise when the nurse hooked bands around my mid-section and asked me if I was feeling the contractions I was having!! Contractions? No way, I thought! I figured they must be Braxton Hicks contractions at best because I felt absolutely no pain whatsoever. I felt nothing. In fact, I almost felt like laughing. I thought that the nurse should have felt quite silly telling me I was having contractions when I was clearly fine, right? After all, I was one day short of 35 weeks and was had been having a textbook pregnancy with no indications whatsoever that I would go into labor early.

Just a short while later, my surprise intensified when the doctor arrived to tell me I was leaking amniotic fluid! Her recommendation was to induce labor in order to prevent an infection. Apparently, the risk of infection was greater than delivering my baby a few weeks early.

All the laughable surprise I had felt now turned to pure shock! I was going to have my baby very soon. Hello panic! While I had some larger baby items in place at home, I had no crib and car seat, few clothes, and little of the baby necessities I would need, like blankets, wipes, burp cloths and preemie diapers. I mean, my baby shower was scheduled for the following Thursday and Saturday! I wouldn’t be getting those items until then. Even more so, I didn’t feel emotionally ready to accept that a baby would soon be working its way out of my body. Would I be able to handle it? What would I feel?

I was moved to a room and my husband called our parents. I have to tell you, I think my coping strategy was just pure denial even as the evening progressed. After a while, I told my husband that I wasn’t really in labor and that the doctor and nurse were mistaken. I informed him that I had changed my mind about being at the hospital and decided to go home to wait things out. If it turned out the doctor and nurses were right, I promised to return to the hospital the next morning. Otherwise, we would just go ahead and have our baby at 40 weeks, like we planned.

Yep, that’s me!

Needless to say, we didn’t go home, but my husband had to go home and pack a bag for each of us since that was on my to-do list for the next day. You didn’t think I’d have a bag packed when I didn’t even have a car seat, did you? Funny though,the thought did cross my mind as I left for the hospital that evening. Anyway, our parents arrived and we got settled in and the excitement began. One of the nurses did a quick ultrasound (not sure she should have even been the one doing this at all since she confessed she wasn’t exactly qualified in this area)and thought the baby was in the breech position, but the doctor arrived and confirmed that the baby was head-down, just like she should have been. She joked that she was glad the baby was in that position as she didn’t want to have to break the news that I would have to have a C-section on top of breaking the news that I would be delivering 5 weeks early. Yep, there’s that irony again!

I believe the doctor checked my cervix and aside from the contractions my cervix hadn’t opened at all. Though I was leaking fluid, my water hadn’t technically broken and the doctor couldn’t reach the sac to do it, so Pitocin was administered. From there, things got pretty hazy. I remember having to get up to pee like crazy which is very hard to do when you are attached to IV’s. The contractions did get stronger, but were mostly manageable.

Somewhere in this time frame, the doctor came in and was able to break my water. It didn’t hurt so much but she said that she had never seen so much amniotic fluid leak out of a person in all of her years practicing. To me, it sounded like pouring gallons of water out of a jug. The pillow I had between my legs was absolutely soaked and the bedding had to be changed.

After a few hours, I asked for the epidural because I saw no point in being in pain, even if it wasn’t the worst I knew that it could be. Plus, I was a little afraid that the staff would get too busy since they informed me that everyone on the floor that night was going into labor, many of them having C-sections! More irony!

After a while, my mind got more foggy. At one point, I was administered Demerol but I can’t tell you if this came before or after the epidural (maybe before). There are no words to describe what Demerol did to my head. I felt like I was floating and felt relaxed though my mind was racing and I wasn’t sure if I was awake or dreaming most of the time. By this time, it was after midnight and the doctor thought that the baby would probably be delivered sometime around breakfast or daybreak.

I didn’t sleep much that night and the state of being half-awake and half-asleep intensified though I was very aware where I was and was concerned about giving birth. Then the strangest thing happened around daybreak.

It began to snow. Quite heavily. This is bizarre for a number of reasons: 1) We live in the south and this never happens, especially in November! 2) The previous day it was at least 70 or 75 degrees. I had been wearing short sleeves and open-toed shoes.

I looked out my window and there it was, everything blanketed in snow. Ok, it was only a view of the rooftop, but you get the picture. It was at this point that I decided I was hallucinating. I saw the snow. I heard everyone talking about it. I saw pictures of my nieces playing in it on Facebook but since this never happens, I felt like I was imagining it. At first I panicked, because I knew it wasn’t good to be hallucinating but then I accepted it as something real, beautiful and likely symbolic of my journey.

The doctor came in and checked me again the next morning. Progress made? Absolutely none. Maybe a fingertip. Labor had progressed very little, if at all.

It was at this point that I knew. I knew that there was a very good chance that labor would not progress for me and that this baby would have to come out via C-section. I suppose the doctor knew as well, but didn’t began discussing it just yet. But remember, denial was my coping strategy so I didn’t exactly start worrying about it.

What I did worry about was that the baby was starting to show signs of distress. Her heartbeat was accelerating. It wasn’t an emergency situation or anything but something that was continuing to be monitored. Actually, I never stopped monitoring it since it had started a few hours back. What kept me from having a full-on panic attack, I’ll never know. Probably the Demerol.

A few short hours later, the doctor told me that I still had made no progress and dropped the news that it would best to do a C-section since nothing had happened and since the baby was continuing to show signs of distress. Though I knew it was coming, I was still, you guessed it, surprised. My sister-in-laws had much longer labors that I had (I was only at about 15 or so hours at this point, if you can even call it labor). My best friend took over 24 hours! But then I remembered that they had made progress while I had made none.

The whole situation made me cry because when I asked the doctor when the procedure would take place she said immediately. It scared me because I was worried about my baby and how she would do and how the distress had effected her. The doctor assured me that this was not an emergency procedure but one that should be done as soon as possible for the best interest of those involved. I knew she  was right; I trusted her but I was still afraid. After talking it over with my husband, mom, and mother-in-law we were all in agreement to get started. After getting poked a few times, I was wheeled away and said a prayer. Stay tuned for part 2 of my story.

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.

 

 

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