Author Archives: Nicole

She’s Enough

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In my last post, I was going back and forth in whether or not I wanted to try for a second (sixth?) child. I’m sure in my mind I went back and forth a million times. I wanted a second (sixth!) baby, but my fear was greater than my want. In the end, I decided that we wouldn’t try again for another baby. In the end, I decided that I was happy with my one live baby, and she was “enough.”

Coming to that decision wasn’t easy. I feel badly that she won’t be have a sister or a brother, but as I’ve been told, she’ll never know the difference. She might long for a brother or sister, but if she had a brother or sister, she might wish she didn’t. The choice was made to give her the best life we possibly can, knowing that she was our miracle baby. Having her doesn’t make my heart ache less for the babies I lost. Having another child wouldn’t fill that void either. That void is there for the four babies I lost. We, as a society, continually try to fill the void. Once we acquire what we want, we move on to the next thing we want. I got a baby. And I wanted another. We never appreciate what’s in front of us. I had to stop myself and start to appreciate the baby that I finally “got” and stop wishing I had “just one more…” She’s enough.

I know even though a huge part of me didn’t want to go through another stressful pregnancy, I knew I could do it. I could do the blood draws, doctor’s visits, ultrasounds, lovenox shots, progesterone suppositories and another c-section if I really wanted to. I could have even gone through another miscarriage if that’s how it played out. Even though I feel like that would have crushed me, it wouldn’t. And the reason I know that is because if someone would have told me, “You will have to go through four miscarriages, two uterine plastic surgeries, four D&C’s, two hospital stays, a pregnancy you will worry through every day while taking suppositories and injections, you’ll get a baby,” I would have said hell no and ran the other direction. Absolutely not. Hell no. But I’ve already been through it. And you know what? It was worth it. Going through all of that for another baby would absolutely be worth it. But I’m happy to say, that enough is enough and I’m at a good place where I can look at my daughter and say, “I wanted to stop. I didn’t want to try one more time. But I did. And I’m so happy I didn’t give up.” She’s more than enough. Every bit of what I went through, was worth it.

She just turned two. She’s the light of my life (I now understand that saying) and such a sweet, happy baby.

 

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Blogging, babies and selfish behavior. 

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“Blog” has been on my to-do list for literally the past seven+ months. It’s not that I don’t have the time, I do. It’s not that I don’t want, I do. I just don’t, and I don’t know what the “why” is. 

It’s crazy to believe we have a soon to be 15 month old. It’s even crazier to look back and think about the struggles we had to get her here. All the everything we went through. The pregnancy seemed fast and slow all at the same time. The last 15 months have gone exactly the same way. The struggle to get here is a distant memory some days. Some days this all seems normal. And then I have a moment where I realize how completely hard it was to get to this moment. I am thankful I didn’t give up when I wanted to, and man did I want to. 

She’s a great, easy baby. She’s a great eater and sleeper and always has been. Her temperament is awesome. She’s sweet, feeds her babies milk before feeding herself, says mama and buh bye so sweetly. She’s 100% perfect. 

Of course there’s always the question of when number two will come. People ask when we’ll have another. When I smile and say, “oh, she’ll be an only child,” they look at me like I have three heads. Someone even told me I shouldn’t be selfish and give her a sibling. You don’t want her growing up alone. She’s so beautiful/good/smart/etc, you have to have another. 

When the truth is, I want to have another baby, even after saying a million times when I was pregnant with her I’d never get pregnant again. The truth is, that pregnancy was mentally and emotionally draining on me. Physically,  I was fine except for the lovenox and heprin shots and the progesterone inserts and pills. I don’t know if I can go back there. I don’t know if I can handle the pink lines again, the waiting, the not knowing, the always checking for blood and sleepless nights because the baby might die tonight. So I guess I am selfish. 

But I also think it’s selfish of me to want another baby. We go so lucky with Lili. She’s perfect and yes I do want another. And yes, I’d love to give her that sibling. But it’s selfish of me too, because I want that baby. I want more baby snuggles and late night feedings. That’s selfish. We should stop while we’re ahead. Tempting fate does not appeal to me again. 

I had an ultrasound the past week. It showed that I have a fibroid in my uterine lining. I suspected as much; my periods have been a little off. I also have endometrioma as a result of the csection, which needs to come out at some point. I see my doctor in two weeks, and from there we’ll decide either to have a hysterectomy to relieve both problems or we’ll try for another pregnancy and at the end of that pregnancy I’ll have a hysterectomy. The first is more likely to happen. And that makes me incredibly sad. 

I will try to post the decision in a timely manner… at this point, I’m fairly certain “blogging” will be taken off the to-do in the future. I think I needed it once upon a time, but not anymore… 

So, you had a baby.

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Pregnancy Trigger: Baby update after four losses.

 

I’ve thought about what this post would look like – The post after I finally had a baby. How flowery and perfect it would be… Rainbows and butterflies… A perfect world would commence. I’ve been waiting so long for this moment; it’s here.

Only it didn’t really happen that way. When I first saw her, it wasn’t love at first sight. Was it shock? Was it denial? What was that feeling?

Honestly, I still don’t know. And I still don’t know how to respond to the questions, “How does it feel?” and “How does it feel to finally be a mom?” and “How is it now that she’s finally here.” It’s odd. I spend the last 10 months trying to convince myself that I was pregnant with a viable pregnancy. Now I’m trying to convince myself that I’m not pregnant and now I’m really a mom. Does that mean I wasn’t one before her? Because, oddly enough, I don’t feel any differently.

Already I’m being asked if I want another child. “It was worth it, right, everything you went through? Would you do it again.” “Was it all worth it?” They’re looking for the resounding response of, “YES! Everything I went through was worth it… Each surgery, every shot, every pill, every suppository…” The physical components of the pregnancy were easy. Every time I didn’t feel her kick, every nightmare of thinking I lost her, every time I couldn’t find her heartbeat on the doppler… right up until the moment of the cesarean section, when the nurse couldn’t find her heartbeat. We were 30 minutes away from her birth, and she couldn’t find the heartbeat. And I thought, “This is it. This is how it ends. I haven’t felt her move since we left the house… She died. I knew it was going to end.” The mental aspect of having a baby after multiple losses is by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. I never relaxed. I never enjoyed the pregnancy. I never felt enjoyment from her kicking me… Instead it was a relief knowing she hadn’t died, yet. So if you’re into that sort of thing, yes, it was worth it. The end result was worth it. But it is a long, lonely road. And VERY few people “get it.”

“Just you wait,” was a term I heard often when I was pregnant.

“Just you wait until… You hear her cry”

(I’ve imagined five of my babies “first” cries… I know what it will sound like. And I was right. I knew exactly what it would sound like and how I would feel.)

Just you wait until… You have to worry about this little baby every night and every day…

(I’ve worried about five babies every and night and every day… I’ve kept myself up crying, worrying that my child was going to die. Worried that my body would decide to terminate them. I’ve lost countless nights of sleep already after I already lost baby #1… then #2… then #3… and #4. I had to be medicated because I couldn’t take the loss and the stress and because I couldn’t sleep for nights on end. I’ve worried. It will be nice to worry less once the baby is out of my body. Trust me.)

Just you wait… You don’t know love until you see your baby for the first time. You will melt.

(Unfortunately, I don’t think this is true. I loved before this baby… I loved hard. And having a physical baby doesn’t make the love stronger. She’s not any more loved than the babies I’ve lost.)

Just you wait… This baby is going to really alter your body…

(This comment was made after I mentioned my lower back was hurting around week 20. Keep in mind, I was working 10-11 hour days on my feet with minimal breaks. I responded with, “This baby has already altered my body. I’ve had four losses, D&C’s, two surgeries, hundreds of blood thinning injections, hundreds of blood draws, suppositories and pills. Consider it already altered.)

By every account, she’s perfect. Right now she’s laying in her swing looking at me while she listens to crickets chirping and frogs croaking. And she’s perfect. She was 10 lbs and 12 ozs when she was born. Ten fingers, ten toes. She is a spitting image of me. Her nose, her chin, her lips… They’re all mine. She even has my double sneeze. And I look at her and think there would have been other babies who would have looked like her, like me. I see this perfect baby and mourn for the ones who didn’t make it.

If you’ve had losses and you’re still struggling to get pregnant, I know it might sound like I’m being ungrateful and not appreciating what I have. Please don’t mistake this post for that. This is crazy surreal. I never saw myself here. I had resounded myself to the fact that my husband and I would be alone. We would have the money and ability to travel at will. Do whatever we wanted. I had given up hope and saw a childless future. And now, everything is completely different. I never saw our life past this pregnancy. I was literally taking it day by day. I saw her birthday as an “end” date and not a “start” date. I never saw the future past my due date. And now that the due date has come and gone and she’s here… It’s hard for me to wrap my head around.

As the days go by, I’m figuring out our new normal. I’m not my husband’s only “lady” and there is someone else to think about before I think about myself. She’s wonderfully perfect and such a great baby; I’m truly lucky. At night when we’re alone, I sing to her. I look at her and she looks at me with these big eyes and we stare at each other in awe. She still doesn’t seem real. I’m waiting for the moment when I look at her and know that this was all worth it. That every tear and feeling of hope and loss was “worth it”… whatever that means.

Liliana was born on September 18th at 2:29 PM via C-Section. I present her to you with trepidation and amazement. I think she’s beautiful and perfect and I can’t wait to “believe” that she’s mine. Right now I keep waiting for her real parents to show up and take her.

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28 weeks

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Tomorrow marks my 28th week. I wish I could say this has been an easy pregnancy. I wish I could say that I’m excited. I wish this were a “normal” pregnancy.

I’ve still not fully accepted that this is happening. I’ve gained a total of 13 lbs, which is great for my size, and feel her kick and move often now. I’m not quite sure how this hasn’t registered in my brain. There’s a disconnect between the ultrasound pictures and the fact that she’s inside me. There’s also a disconnect between the sensations of her kicking and me recognizing that it’s my daughter.

It’s a very surreal place to be.

My doctor assures me that this is normal and that I have nothing to worry about. In time, the wall will break down and I will have my “aha” moment and all will be well in the world. Mentally, I’m still at 4-6 weeks gestation. In my mind, I have only recently seen the positive pregnancy lines and I’m still anticipating that I will lose this child.

But realistically, she can be born anytime now, and she will survive.

*Mind blown*

So far, everything has been perfect. My blood sugar’s have been perfect and I passed my glucose test with flying colors (my level was 114). My blood pressure has been great, as well as my weight gain.

Everything is perfect.

And yet, it all feels so fake. Doing a baby registry at Baby’s R Us and Target… was traumatizing. I still have anxiety attacks looking at baby stuff… I still feel like I’m faking it. I’m still jealous of pregnant women and I want to be pregnant like them. It’s such a mind game that I can’t wrap my mind around. I feel like I’m preparing for a wonderful trip that I’ll never take. I feel like a fake.

We started working on her nursery; a woodland forest theme with pink and green accents. We have purchased some items and they’re in her room, but I’m not ready to put it all together yet. It feels like there are a million things to get done in the short amount of time we have left. And I’m going to have to push myself to make this happen. I struggle with washing her bedding and taking tags off of anything. I have a difficult time doing anything that can’t be easily reversed–just in case.

I still try to picture holding her. I try and imagine my husband holding her for the first time. And it feels like a pipe dream… like imagining what you would do with a winning lottery ticket.

I had an ultrasound and doctor’s appointment yesterday. She’s measuring a week ahead of schedule at 29 weeks. She weighs approximately 2.13lbs. She’s real.

So… for now, I’ll continue to plug along at my own pace. I’ll try an accept that this is real. I’ll try.

Twenty-One

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We were 21 weeks on Friday. Still doesn’t seem any more real. We haven’t done anything to prepare for the nursery yet and we still haven’t purchased anything for her. My stomach is getting harder and bigger and the ultrasounds have been great. From what the doctors tell me, she and I are doing wonderfully. I’ll update again later with an ultrasound picture and other tidbits.

We’re currently in Ohio watching my brother-in-laws six kids for their 10 year anniversary. From zero to six: We’re certifiable.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Fourteen

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Obviously it’s been a long time since blogging. After looking back at my last post, I realize I never gave the update to what happened after my surgery. The surgery was successful… The ultrasound showed that my uterine septum went from 12mm to 5.5mm, which was the goal. We waited the obligatory three months before trying to conceive. During that time I saw a new ob/gyn. After going through three losses with the last doctor, I wasn’t impressed with her plan of action and did research into finding a doctor who would support me, support the baby and keep my spirits high. I found the perfect doctor. I met with my new ob/gyn, Dr. C, in November. We made a plan… figured out the course of action and determined what medicines I would be on during ovulation and the medicines I would be on the moment I had a positive pregnancy test. And, well, the plan worked.

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Bought for our previous baby, “Poult”

December 19th was my last period. Conception would have been January 1st or 2nd… I started taking progesterone suppositories on January 5th (three days after ovulation) and I knew. Whenever I’m not pregnant, the progesterone gives me crazy stomach cramps… they’re unbearable and I immediately stop taking them. When I am pregnant, I don’t have any pain. I started to feel breast pain. My hair and nails were different. I started to feel pregnant. The symptoms were probably all in my head, but I did feel pregnant. The progesterone alone made me realize that I was in fact pregnant. I got scared. I knew what was coming.

We bought this outfit in October. It hung in our bedroom as "inspiration."

We bought this outfit in October. It hung in our bedroom as “inspiration.”

On January 12th, approximately at week three, I already had an annual ob visit scheduled. I told the nurse practitioner, who did my exam, that I thought I was pregnant. She told me we could do a beta, and I agreed. It came back negative. Negative. I was devastated. How could that be? I knew I was pregnant. She apologized as she explained on the phone that my beta was negative. Said there’s always next time… I was told to stop taking the progesterone so that my period wouldn’t be delayed. Against my better judgement, I stopped taking the progesterone. On Friday, January 16th, I took a pregnancy test. It was late at night after my husband went to work. The faintest of faintest lines was there… I literally ripped the pregnancy test apart and pulled out the lightly tinted lines. I held it up to the light. It was there.

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Faintest of the faintest… Saturday morning. (Not ripped apart!)

The next morning, Saturday, I took another test. Another faint line, slightly darker than the first. But it was there. I was not hallucinating. I woke up my husband up and told him. He smiled. I silently panicked. The blood test had shown nothing… and now at week four, only four days after the beta, I was seeing faint lines… I’ve been here before. Flooding emotions paralyzed me.

Saturday morning during my drive to work, I saw a beautiful sunrise that lasted literally only a couple of minutes.

Saturday morning during my drive to work (the morning I did the second pregnancy test), I saw a beautiful sunrise that lasted literally only a couple of minutes.

The Sunrise

The Sunrise

Minutes after, it was over.

Minutes after, it was over.

Que the blood work. Que the panic. Que the checking for blood at every moment. Que the fabulously painful lovenox shots. We did two betas and that was it. Two. They doubled within 48 hours and that was good enough for my new doctor. I pleaded my case to check them every 48 hours… I had been through this before, where the levels doubled in the first few weeks… Then they started to taper off. He said no, we would not be checking the betas every 48 hours. At first, this was Hell. Then, I realized I was actually more relaxed in not having to get my blood drawn one day and wait for the results the next. It calmed me a little. Whatever was going to happen, was going to happen. Weekly, my doctor followed my progesterone levels, which fluctuated up and down… He increased my progesterone. I was now taking one progesterone suppository morning and night, a progesterone pill morning and night, taking a lovenox shot at night as well as folic acid and a prenatal. I was doing everything I could.

Infamous Lovenox

Infamous Lovenox

My first ultrasound was scheduled for February 17th… which would have been 8 weeks and 5 days… That was too long. I panicked. I never make it that far. I was never going to see my baby… My other ob/gyn did weekly ultrasounds starting at five weeks. Eight weeks? No way. I bided my time. I begged for beta tests and a sooner ultrasound. It was only matter of time.

The weeks did pass. Each day I waited. And somehow my ultrasound date came. Because I hadn’t been bleeding, I knew that when we saw the baby, the baby would measure a week small. I anticipated every scenario. I anticipated a slow heartbeat like before. I anticipated seeing no heartbeat like before. I anticipated seeing no baby like before. I anticipated seeing a baby that was much too small for where I was gestation-wise. Just. Like. Before. I anticipated everything except for what I saw. The ultrasound tech found the baby immediately. Measuring perfectly at 8 weeks and 4 days, one day off. A perfect heartbeat of 175 beats per minute. A perfect, tiny baby. And I cried. Tears filled my eyes and I could barely look at the screen. Baby was perfect. I was ready for anything BUT that. I did receive a phone call from Dr. C’s office after the ultrasound the there was a small subchorionic hemorrhage near the baby. I was assured this was completely normal and absolutely nothing to worry about. Of course I googled it. And of course I worried. But I was assured everything would be perfect.

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Baby… Measuring perfectly

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Everyone said it looked like Casper the ghost here.

On day 73, week 10 day 3, I had bleeding. It was light. I panicked. This was March 1st, and a Sunday. The following day I conveniently had a doctor’s appointment scheduled. The appointment was at 1:30. That morning I had more spotting and when I actually made it to the appointment, at the doctors office, I passed a small clot and had more bleeding. It took every ounce of energy I had to walk into that exam room and tell the nurse. I had captured the clot in a urine cup from the bathroom. I started to cry. And I knew it was over. I knew that I was starting my fifth miscarriage. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t compose myself very well. We switched exam rooms and the nurse practitioner examined me. My cervix was fully in tact and I was not actively bleeding. The consensus was that I had passed the subchorionic hemorrhage. The ultrasound tech was not there that day and I had to wait and agonizing 24 hours for them to do an ultrasound to confirm that the baby was ok. And it was. We saw the baby, two weeks bigger than before, measuring perfectly with a heartbeat of 170. I could breathe again.

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Baby’s first 3D photo… Hands by the ears…

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Head, two fists and a body… perfect

I watched the days go by… the different milestones I crossed. Getting past day 45, day 51, day 70 and day 77… all the dates that I lost the previous babies… Each day was a milestone to cross…

On March 10th, we had a doctor’s appointment with Dr. C. He had a hand held ultrasound machine and we saw the baby again. We saw it jump around on this tiny screen. It was perfect. We talked about doing genetic testing and finding out the sex. Originally, I never wanted to find out the gender because I wanted it to be a surprise. But I told my doctor that I thought it would help me connect with the baby. I told him I was having a very difficult time connecting with the baby and that I felt very little. He told me that what I was experiencing was completely normal; I was in survival mode. So we did the genetic testing. Dr. C said he wanted me in the office every two weeks for my sanity. He said he knew that I wouldn’t be ok going a whole month without knowing how baby was. He was right, and I’m very grateful for that.

March 23rd, the nurse called with the genetic information. She told us the baby was perfect. There were no genetic abnormalities. No Trisomy 13, 18 or 21. No downs syndrome. The baby was perfect. Then she asked me how we would like to find out the sex of the baby… Did we want to pick up an envelope and open it together or take it to a bakery and have them make a cake with blue or pink inside? I asked her to call my husband and tell him first. I always find out all information first, and I wanted him to know before me. She called him and minutes later he called me back to tell me that we are having a girl.

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For my husband’s colleagues. Made with a sign saying “We’re expecting a girl!” I only had to bring two to work, since I only work with two other people.

On March 25th, I had another doctor’s appointment with the nurse practitioner. She used a doppler to find the heartbeat… now at 150. I asked if that was normal and she said yes. Now the baby’s heartbeat would be between 120-160 bpm depending on whether or not it was sleeping or moving around.

On March 27th, I was fourteen weeks. Today, I am fourteen weeks and three days. Day 101.

I wish I could say that I’m excited. I wish I could say “her” or “she” instead of “it” or “baby”… but I’m not excited and I can’t say “her” or “she” yet. I find it very sad and I’m getting concerned because I’m not excited. I’ve talked to several people about my feelings and everyone who I’ve talked to says that what I’m feeling and experiencing is completely normal. I get anxiety going into the baby section of a store. We looked at car seats today and I started to panic. We’ve started stock piling diapers, but to me is a practical, necessary thing… it’s also impersonal, where as buying clothes or items that the baby would use are too much for me right now. I hope this passes. I hope that when I start to feel movement, that I start getting excited. I hope there’s some passion and excitement in my voice. But for now, I will take it day by day and I’ll look forward to the next day.

 

 

A Promise to Myself

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My Perfect Breakdown

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I am going to watch the world go by.

I am going to take in every single moment.

Each sound. A child laughing. A bird singing. A squirrel chirping.

Each sight. A majestic sunset. A first snowfall. A daisy blowing in the wind. A dog frolicking in the park.

Each smell. A warm bonfire crackling. A fresh smell of lemon zest filling the air. A coffee pot percolating. A roast roasting.

I will seek to see the happiness through the clouds.

Each and every moment.

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I will be an active participant in the world.

I will make a positive contribution with every action I take.

I will live with joy, happiness, and love. I will spread joy. I will spread happiness. I will spread love.

I will leave the world a better place when it’s my turn to go.

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I will live by my code of kindness and…

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