Break Down Here

I’ve been putting off writing this post just because I know it will be mentally draining for me. Two weeks ago was a hard one for me, emotionally. I had what I would presume to be a “breakthrough,” and if that’s what it was, I’m not sure I like it.

Everything sort of came to a head after I opened my text messages one morning and saw a friend had her baby. She was a week over due and we knew the baby would obviously be coming soon, but I didn’t realize I had been holding my breath her entire pregnancy. She has had one loss in the past, and with my history of pregnancy losses, I didn’t realize that I wasn’t expecting a live baby. I haven’t fully accepted how much pregnancies and live babies affect me. I mean, the fact that I have to use the term “live” in front of the word “baby” is saying something. This was the fourth text in recent months I received from a friend, sending a photo of the baby saying that he/she is here. And it overwhelms me every SINGLE time. So much so, one of my friends sent just a picture of the baby with no caption and my response was, “Cute baby, whose is it?” even though I knew she was expecting a baby any day. I wasn’t able to piece together that it was her child. There’s a definite disconnect between me understanding they’re pregnant and the baby being born. So, when this particular friend sent me the text, I realized how broken my losses have made me and that started a breakdown of sorts. I was happy for her, but sad for me and my story of miscarriage and loss.

My husband is used to these breakdowns. In my line of work, I can keep it together for months on end. I don’t feel like I need to “download” my brain (as we like to call it) or get things off my chest. I’ve always felt like I’ve been someone who can cope with anything and not let it bother me. (In the same breathe, after my first miscarriage I started struggling with anxiety and wasn’t able to handle stress. That was 16 years ago and I thought I was doing much better. Evidently, I’m just good until I crack.) Over the years since my first miscarriage, I’ve had several “official” breakdowns that have caused me to end up in the ED due to thinking that they were heart attacks. I’ve never liked talking about myself. When someone asks how I am, I always say that I’m good. And I am. I’m good. I don’t go into details, and if I’ve told my story to one person, that’s enough for me and I don’t like to relive it over and over again. If I’ve talked to my husband about my day, when a friend asks how my day is going, I don’t need to recap with them. Most of the time I’m not downloading or sharing anything with anyone because I either don’t feel like it or there’s nothing imperative to say.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve realized and recognized that this has been my coping mechanism since I was a child. When I was younger, I never knew who was actually my friend, if I was being made fun of, or even if they were befriending me only to get close to hurt me. When I got into middle school and was incessantly made fun of, I stopped responding to what people said and put on my game face because that was the safest. If I had no reaction to their comments, it was safer and easier for me to ignore them and bury my feelings. My expression never gave away my hurt heart. I never told anyone how much I was teased. I didn’t tell my parents or teachers and that part is on me. But, I also never had anyone asking if I was ok. I should have stood up for myself; I should have said something.

Fast forward to today, I find myself with a lot to say, but unsure of who wants to hear it. I’m unsure of where my safe space is. When someone is talking to me or asking me a question, I must come across as stunned or slow because my reaction time is slow as I search the words to respond, all the while accessing if this person is safe to trust. Most of the time, I really don’t care to download my day to anyone because I don’t need to relive it. But, I also know that I’m continuing to bottle up the little things that are bothering me, and once every couple months, I just have a breakdown and download and cry to my husband. All the little things start to add up and I just break.

The download two weeks ago was a compilation of feeling like little bits and pieces were taken away from me by many people. You know the saying, “I can’t be everything to everyone?” Lately, I feel like I’m not everything to everyone… but I’m giving bits and pieces of myself to everyone, which is taking my everything. I’m being chiseled at by many people and it’s leaving me pretty deflated. I give wholeheartedly to most people I meet. I give more than I should, sometimes to a fault that seems like I’m trying too hard, even though my actions are something I would normally do. My “normally” invested in you isn’t your kind of normal; my love language is acts of service. It always feels better to give than to receive and I love the act of giving. I never ask or expect anything in return. Until. Until I become so deflated that I need someone to invest in me, just a little. I need just one person to not ask or expect of me, but to sometimes be my someone. A someone who will just let me be, when I can’t be what the world needs me to be.

In this recent breakdown, I also realized my parents didn’t have high expectations of me. Yes, they wanted me to go to college and get a degree but I don’t believe they ever assumed I could do it. The bar was not set high. The day that I left for college, my dad gave me a box of frosted cookies from a bakery with a note that said, “I always thought you’d end up living [your adult life] in our basement.” They didn’t expect much from me. My mom always told me to go work at hospital switchboard. After high school she suggested that that’s what I do and 20 years later I finally find myself working at a hospital switchboard. She told me many times that I would be good at it, and she was right. I’m great at it. It’s easy; I caught on very quickly. I have time to type this blog as I wait for nurses to call to page doctors or wait for a “Code Blue” to come through. And, in this breakdown I told my husband, “This is all she saw for me. This is all she expected of me or thought I could do. She didn’t think there was anything more for me.” And that is sad, because this is so easy. I’m fully aware that I’m now responsible for my life and that it’s my job to move past and the pain that I’ve held onto for so long. And that’s what I’m working on.

I did go on to get two degrees. I’m capable of so much more than what my parents thought, and I’m much more capable than I give myself credit for. Slowly, I will build myself up to a person who I’m proud of, my self esteem just isn’t quite there yet. Every day when I left for school my dad would say, “Make me proud.” I never got to ask him if I made him proud before he died; I was too scared the answer was no. And now, every single day, I tell my daughter that I’m proud of her, multiple times a day, so that she doesn’t have to ever question whether or not I am proud of her.

And if you’ve made it this far in the blog, I’m proud of you. (Kidding.) But seriously, thanks for reading and letting me ramble. I feel like the above entry is kind of a hodge podge of a brain download, but it’s the way the breakdown/break through came through for me. I know I’ve come a long way from where I was and I’ve got a long road ahead of me, but I’m on the path. And I’m proud of me for that.

Sidenote: My “line of work” that I talk about in the beginning isn’t working at the switchboard. I also do volunteer/nonprofit work that I don’t anticipate I’ll be sharing about on this blog. But, it is stressful and I need to incorporate a lot more self-care.

Thank you, Doctor

If you’ve never been overweight and gone to the doctor’s office, you’re truly missing out on a fun experience. Every problem is a direct result of your weight, regardless of what it is. Lower back spasms, carpal tunnel, ear ache, hang nail. Lose weight and you’re cured.

I decided I’d had enough with my current doctor and I proceeded to look for another physician. I asked friends who they favored and asked my Gynecologist (whom I love) who they would recommend and I was given a list of people who were “good.” I selected one of the doctors off the list based on their reviews online and I was told that I needed to make an appointment with the new doctor’s physician assistant before I had an actual appointment with the doctor.

The appointment with the PA made my previous doctor look like a cupcake. The PA was focused on blood work from 2010. Nine years ago. In 2010, I got my very own Jack LaLanne Juicer and I was SO excited. I wanted one for a long time and finally splurged on it for my birthday. So, in April of 2010 when I went in for blood work, my A1C was 6.7 due to all that fresh orange juice I was making every morning. Who would have thought that drinking eight oranges a day would up your A1C? (Sidenote: My doctor at the time said that regardless of how much sugar you consume, if you’re a “normal” non-diabetic person, your A1C would never go out of the normal range, henceforth making me a diabetic by default.) (Sidenote#2: Freshly squeezed OJ is phenomenal.)

My doctor at the time [who discovered my elevated A1C] wanted to put me on Metformin and wanted me to meet with a Dietitian. This would be the fourth time going to speak with someone about my diet/weight, but the first time having to take my blood sugars and monitor them. I told my doctor I would see the Dietitian but I would not take the Metformin. I told her to give me three months to get my A1C lowered. If I didn’t get it lowered within that three months, I would go on the medication. Through reducing my sugars (i.e. eliminating pop/soda), I got my A1C lowered–by myself. By June my A1C went from 6.7 to 6.3. By February of 2011, my A1C was 5.7. For the next eight years, my A1C would bounce from 5.3 to 5.7. Normal range. (FYI: Below 5.7 is normal range, 5.7 to 6.4 is considered prediabetic and anything over 6.5 is diabetic.)

This new PA was focusing on blood work from 2010. Telling me that I was diabetic, even though the past eight years my numbers have been in normal range. She also said their were issues with my cholesterol and I told her that that was news to me. No doctor has ever told me my cholesterol was high. (After looking up my results they all fall in the normal range. They were not even on the high end of “normal.”) I told her my last A1C reading was 5.3 and asked if she could take off the “diabetic” status on my profile. Her response was, “I’ll put you down as prediabetic until we get the next blood results back,” even though she can clearly see my past test results. She said she was going to order a full panel, including checking my T3 and T4. I told her my thyroid keeps getting picked on and that I just had those drawn by the Endocrinologist two months prior. (I saw an Endocrinologist for a growth on my pituitary gland.) My thyroid has been checked at least a dozen times in the last twenty years.; it’s not the problem. Then she asks, “Have you ever thought about going on a pill for weight loss?” I told her I hadn’t. Which is partially true. If there were a magic pill, I might have happily taken it, but I know pills don’t help you lose weight–at least not long term, or safely. Pills also don’t get to the root of the problem. They may help you lose weight temporarily, which is great while you’re taking said pill. But what happens when you stop? You still haven’t addressed the root of the problem.

Only because I was curious what she was trying to offer me, I asked her more questions about the medication. She got really excited about Phentermine (which is a stimulant you can only take up to three months) and Belviq, which you can take for a longer period of time. I was also given a “referral to medical weight management.” She recommended I start on the Phentermine for the three months, then take Belviq, while doing the obligatory watching of my diet and exercising, of course. She told me, “The Phentermine boosts your serotonin level to make you happier so you don’t feel sad and depressed and eat an entire gallon of ice cream.” Ok. That’s a lie. She told me all of that minus the eating a gallon of ice cream part. A quick Google search confirms that “Phentermine also appears to increase levels of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin.” And “Experts aren’t exactly sure how phentermine works but it appears to have multiple actions including stimulating neurons to release the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, which may account for its appetite-suppressing effects.”  You can read more about Phentermine here. https://www.drugs.com/tips/phentermine-patient-tips

It makes you happy. And Belviq works in a similar fashion, affecting the serotonin as well. The ironic part is in the Fall of 2017 I started seeing a new therapist with my biggest goal to accomplish weight loss. I went in with the mentality wanting to know why I over ate. I wanted to fix what was bothering me and figure out why I didn’t deem myself worthy. My therapist recommended bariatric surgery no less than a dozen times over the several months that I saw her. I told her I didn’t want to surgically alter my body to lose weight; it wasn’t for me. I told her I know how to lose weight, but I don’t know why I keep sabotaging myself. (She actually rolled her eyes. She’s no longer my therapist, by the way.) What triggers me to binge eat. Why do I not feel worthy. Do I feel shame? I wanted to explore my emotions with her and her response was always surgery. I have read books from authors who went through a surgery to alter their bodies and they’re usually surprised by the fact that they feel the same. They aren’t happier because they lost weight. They don’t like themselves more because they lost weight. They’re exactly the same person, just weigh less pounds. And that terrifies me. What if I went through a surgery and I still don’t like myself. What if I go through the surgery and I’m still a failure. I know I need to be secure in who I am and happy with the person I currently am before I will allow myself to lose weight. Because it’s easy to be overweight, a failure and unliked. Being overweight gives people an excuse not to like you… an excuse not to like yourself. But what if you’re all of a sudden 300 pounds less and you’re exactly the same person? I want to note here that bariatric surgery can and does work for some people. I’m not saying it isn’t a valuable tool. I just know myself well enough to know that if I don’t deal with the shit consuming me, surgery would never work.

I’ve been going through a mental and emotional transformation to move past the trauma and accept myself as I am. I’m a work in progress and I will continue to be a work in progress, but I also know that I need to be happy with who I am today and accept myself for who I am right now. There’s no set destination; this will be a long trip. Every day I’m becoming more aware of who I am and who I want to be. I let other’s opinions of me control my thoughts for too long and I’m learning that it’s ok to love myself, as is. Being able to be comfortable and secure in my own skin leads to more conscious eating and less binge eating. We have to focus on our trauma and past experiences to learn why it is we do certain things. Any “diet” will work, you just need to decide you’re worth more than the binge eating and the emotional pain. You can be happy. You deserve to be happy. You are worth it.

And, for the record, all the blood work that this PA ordered for me all came back in the normal range. And she still wants me listed as pre-diabetic.

 

 

Progress

Moving forward into new territory is scary. And I’ve been paralyzed by fear for far too long. Years too long. I’ve been afraid of what you will think of me. What they will think of me. What they will say. Thanks to many, many self-help books, people who I follow on Instagram, Podcasts, and friends who have told me to move forward, I’m moving forward. I’m not going to be scared and afraid of what might happen. What if someone makes fun of me, steals my content, corrects my punctuation, questions my integrity, tries to pick a fight with me or re-posts one of my pictures as a meme saying the most horrendous thing I can think of. What if they do? What if they do.

When you’re paralyzed by fear, it can literally keep you in the same place for years and you keep living the same day over and over again on repeat, wishing you could accomplish your dreams. Your goals sit in a pretty little box on a shelf in the back of your mind, just waiting for you to open them and let them live. I’m dusting off my dreams; it’s time to let them live.

If you look past this post into my previous posts, you’ll find a lot of heartache and loss. This blog was originally intended to be about weight-loss and it morphed into a website about miscarriage and baby-loss. Due to the fact that I no longer have a uterus, I no longer feel the need to focus on miscarriage and baby-loss and want to focus on trauma, fear, shame, guilt–all those fun things Brene Brown teaches us about.

I’ve had this blog since 2013 and I’ve kept it my little secret corner of the world, protecting it like it was a bear cub. And in a way, it was my baby. It was an outlet for me to let the stories of my babies live through. I didn’t want it to be exposed and I didn’t want people who I knew me to see this side of me. I didn’t want to be judged. However, I realized something can be learned and taught by sharing my story. It is a part of me and I don’t have to be scared or ashamed of it. I can use it to help others in a way I don’t even understand yet. I don’t have a ceiling for this dream, I don’t have a limit or goal to how many I want to reach and impact, I just want my truth to be heard. My babies will live on through my story. I have a message of weight-loss, baby-loss, shame, guilt and being an empath, a fawner, and an HSP (highly sensitive person). I want to go into details about these attributes and be able to point people in the direction of a book, podcast or website that might help them, like it did me. There are amazing resources out there.

My weight-loss journey has been a life long process (truly) and I finally realized it’s not about losing weight, working out and trying to control food. It comes from within. It comes from accepting myself for who I am and loving myself regardless of my bad choices and decisions I’ve made. People may say things that trigger the shame and trauma; I no longer have to identify with it and attach myself to that shame and trauma. I no longer have to hold that. If this blog can help one person get past their shame, guilt and trauma and help them move past it, simply by posting my story and speaking my truth, I’ve reached my goal.

Blogging Future

Updates on here have been nonexistent. My mind randomly goes to, “I should write a blog…” at least once a day and clearly that never happens.

So much has happened since last September. I started seeing a therapist in September and that should come with it’s own warning label. I’m not a fan of talking about myself (which is in part why I don’t like to blog, but here we are) and she is definitely… a free spirit.

I had a hysterectomy in December and that was one of the *best* decisions I could have ever made. I started seeing the therapist prior to surgery to discuss my thoughts and motives behind getting the surgery. I struggled with wanting another baby and knowing I didn’t want to put myself through that again. Ultimately, it came down to a medical decision because I was told I still had placental tissue that had remained from when I had my daughter two years prior. Y’all, that’s not normal. IF placental tissue is left in you after a baby, your body continues to think your still pregnant and treat your body like it is. But, I was also having crazy heavy, long periods. I had to plan my life around when it was going to hit; it was less than ideal. Aside from having a hysterectomy, there was no other way to get rid of the placental tissue and I had the surgery in December. The luxury of not having a period, not having to worry about birth control and never getting pregnant again is wonderful. After the surgery I was a little depressed knowing I’ll never have another baby. But, I also took solace in the fact that if we HAD tried a sixth pregnancy for *live* baby No. #2, more than likely I would have failed at getting pregnant and was 100% likely to miscarry. So. Thankfully, my reproductive years are behind me. And I’m grateful.

So where do I go from here? This blog was originally intended to be about me being overweight and being told repeatedly I have a pretty face and I need to lose weight. It turned into a miscarriage blog and now those days are behind me. It’s been a crazy few months and years. I know most people hate the saying, “everything happens for a reason,” but I truly think it does. My miscarriages are giving me purpose in helping other families go through the same thing. It takes devastation and turmoil in our own lives to help others. I’m grateful for my story; I cherish it. If it allows me to help others, it was worth it.

Every year I struggle with whether or not I should renew and keep the blog going. I think for now, I will, because I don’t want to lose this domain and I like the *idea* of being able to blog when I want. I’m not sure what it will turn into, but I’m excited for the possibilities!

She’s Enough

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; her life will be what it will be. Her normal is whatever we make it. She might long for a brother or sister, but if she had a brother or sister, she might wish she was an only child. 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.

 

Blogging, babies and selfish behavior. 

“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 this baby. 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 c-section, 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.

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 spent 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 septum 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–except have kids. 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.

My rainbow baby was born in September 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

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 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 2lb 13ozs. 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.

Fourteen

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–to get the septum under 6mm. 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.

 

 

Positively Negative!

I keep finding it incredibly difficult to write anything here. The days are fluid and run seamlessly into each other. To boot, I’m feeling fantastically dramatic.

Updates? Ok. This Thursday will be my post op ultrasound appointment to see how well the septum resection went. We’re hoping for a uterine septum under 6 mm. Here’s hoping! Another medical funzie decided to enter my life as well… I have been having heart palpitations regularly. After wearing a heart monitor and a trip to the ER, my doctor said that I have PVC’s (premature ventricular contractions), which apparently are totally normal and need no treatment. However, during that field trip to the ER, we learned my D-Dimer is elevated, which means my blood is super thick and there could be a potential blood clot somewhere. After some research, there is a correlation in an elevated D-Dimer with an MTHFR factor. Without going into gobs of details, having an MTHFR factor can cause your D-Dimer to be elevated. There’s also a lot of medical mumbo jumbo that specifically says if you have an MTHFR factor and an elevated D-Dimer, your chance of miscarriage is over 99%. Fantastic.

Sooooooo… where do we go from here? The million dollar question. I’ve had one period since the surgery and have to have two more periods before trying to conceive again. So, we’re looking at trying to conceive in the beginning of November. With the new news of the elevated D-Dimer and the MTHFR, I have to talk to both my gyno and my RE and see what they propose we do. According to what I’ve read, even being on blood thinners isn’t going to help–Still a very slim chance of carrying a baby to term. Typically, with my blood cocktail, babies doesn’t survive past 8 weeks–according to both the fantastic world of google and my previous pregnancy history.

Physically, I’m fine. Mentally, I’m not in a good head space. I read the blogs, I hit the “like” button, I go through the motions of trying to heal myself… and I’m not succeeding. I worry about the future. I worry about the next pregnancy. If I’m being honest, I’m actually dreading the next pregnancy. With four pregnancies and no babies “behind” me, I don’t know if I’m ready to change my number to “five.” Isn’t there a point where you should stop? If I were someone who never had a loss, and I was looking at a couple who had gone through multiple losses, I would think to myself, “My God, why do you keep doing that do yourself??” I would think, “It must not be meant to be. They just aren’t going to have children.” All of that seems realistic and logical and I feel like I’m way past being logical. If there’s a less than 1% chance of having a child, do you continue to try? That’s not even close to a good number. Do you hold onto that hope? Or do you try to grasp a reality that closes the door on diapers and open the door to a childless life? Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and and over again expecting a different result? Yeah. We’re there. Insanity.

I’m mentally exhausted. If I’m being honest, I hate this “club” we’re all in. I hate how this consumes my life. I hate nodding along to the blogs I read and thinking, “Yep, yep, yep” to all the blogs on miscarriage, D&C’s, and pregnancy loss. I hate it. But it’s all I think about. I see babies and pregnant women and rainbows everywhere. This is my reality. Is it always going to suck this much? Am I going to dread every Halloween when I don’t have a child to dress up and take Trick or Treating? Am I going to dread the toy aisles in the stores at Christmas? Am I going to dread not being able to have a child to read The Night Before Christmas to and leave cookies out for Santa? Am I going to dread not having a child to take to church on Easter Sunday and hide eggs and an Easter basket? No Valentine’s Day boxes to make… no cookies to take on their birthdays. No back-to-school shopping. No sleep overs. I guess this is what you make of it. It’s my fault that I’m making this all-consuming. It’s my fault I’m not “moving on.” It’s my fault that I torment myself over silly things that people who are parents may take for granted.

Sorry for the Debbie Downer post. It’s been a long time coming. I can pretend to be fine in “real life”… but here, I’m not going to pretend to be fantastic, because this blows.