Friday, April 20, 2012

part 3

In my previous post I tried to explain how in the beginning of the pregnancy we weren't sure what was going on because I wasn't measuring as far along I should have been based on my dates.  On March 29, when we saw that the sac had grown and there was a heartbeat, my doctor assessed that I just must have conceived really late in my cycle, and everything was now "normal."  The date that they gave me as when I would have probably conceived made sense, although to be honest with you, I couldn't remember :)  But because I can't be on hormonal birth control like the pill/shot, etc, our method is this - first week of cycle and the week I am expecting my period are the live-it-up weeks, and the weeks in between are the we-have-to-be-careful weeks.   It has worked since Tatie blessed us with her presence...

Anyway, I was so thankful God had chosen to create, and it just made me reflect on how He is so much in control.  We had a due date of the week before Thanksgiving (Nov 16), and already we couldn't wait to find out if our little turkey was a boy or girl.  As I said earlier, my lack of similar symptoms (read: vomiting/heaving several times a day and I never spotted) that I had with the girls made me think it was a boy, but part of me thought don't we just make girls?  I envisioned that little one in my arms asleep as we sat around the table at Thanksgiving and cuddled up in a beautiful blanket, warm and cozy in a carrier at our feet for Christmas Eve church service.  I was just so, so overwhelmed with gratefulness.

But...part of me knew I think.  I never worried I would lose the girls.  I just didn't, I don't know why.  For years before marriage (and I married at 21, so we're talking teenage years!!) my greatest fear was that I would be infertile.  Then, my babies came so easily (we never tried) so I just thought - everyone has their hardships in life, including me, but that wasn't one of them.  I was so thankful for that!!  I just never thought I would lose a baby.  But with this one, every time I went to the bathroom I would check for any spotting, even though I had only spotted a few times.  I would breathe a sigh of relief and think, "yes, stay in there little one, grow..." and I never thought like that when I was pregnant with the girls.  Why was I so scared?  I had a beautiful plaque I had found years ago at HomeGoods that said "God Bless This Baby" and I had been saving it to give to someone that would like it, it was kind of old-fashioned looking...I took it out and put it on my dresser and everytime I saw it I'd say a prayer of protection and thankfulness.

The week of spring break I was staying at my in-laws house because our home was having all of the flooring redone and the kitchen.  On April 11, a Wednesday evening going into Thursday April 12, I had terrible cramping all night long along with spotting again.  I hadn't spotted for a few weeks, and this time the spotting was a bit more and on the morning of the 12th, I saw red.

You never want to see red.

I called the doctor, but I really already knew.  Our appointment was at 2pm and Kevin met me there.  My MIL had the girls, thank God.  My cramping was so bad but I was scared to take anything bc what if everything was okay, maybe my uterus was just really growing?  Google said it was a possible reason for the cramping and spotting, but I knew.

Finally, FINALLY, the doctor comes in.  I had waited for an hour and I thought Kevin was going to punch someone.  I was curled on my side laying on the table crying when she came in, and she inserted the metal speculum (you guys know I'm not a big curser on my blog but what the fuck is up with that.  Really, metal?!  They can't invent something that can crank open the walls of your vagina that maybe is smooth and plastic?!  A man is in charge of this by the way, no doubt.  You think if a man had a vagina they wouldn't have found something better yet?!  Someday, I hope my girls only see a picture of such a thing, and they think, "wow, it used to be so barbaric...thank goodness I don't have to have one of those things come anywhere near me").

I digress.  It's my blog, I can if I want to.

So anyway, she cranked, it hurt like hell, and she saw the spotting.  She didn't say what I wanted her to, which was "your cervix looks nice and closed" as I had heard my few other visits.  She got the rolling prehistoric ultrasound cart, and said that she could see the sac, but it wasn't as big as it should be and couldn't see the heartbeat.  I was crying already but it got worse, and Kevin cried too bless his heart.  Then, because our insurance is a sweetheart (and we don't even have Obamacare yet!) we had to go to a different location (even though they have one right there) to get a higher tech ultrasound to confirm the loss.  Our appointment wasn't until 5:30 but I was crying at check-in and the woman knew why I was there, and said she had been through this too and that I would be okay.  I thought, no I won't, I'll never be okay again.  Anyway, she said she'd try to get us in asap, and we were in about 15 minutes later, 4-something I guess.  I was at a different u/s place this time, and so had a different tech.  She didn't say a word, and told me my doctor would have to give me the results so I'd have to get back in the damn car and wait again at the office.

It was a lovely experience, going back and forth, in tremendous physical and emotional pain, crying in front of old people at the imaging center just getting a scan of their broken hip or whatever, and then in front of about 50 pregnant women at our dr office, who weren't finding out that day that their baby died, and thanking God they weren't me.

Back at the office our dr brought us to a consult room (aka "you will hear bad news here") and told us that the baby had died, it didn't have a heartbeat.  Her words were really just a formality, bc I knew, but you still hold out a bit of hope I guess until you hear it for real, bc more tears started flowing, harder, and Kevin looked like someone stabbed his stomach.  She then said the sac was low, and bc I was already in such pain my miscarriage was probably imminent and I could either go naturally or I could get a d&c.  I chose to go natural - just meaning letting my body do it, bc I took a full dose of Advil and Percocet the minute the prescription was filled.

This was April 12, which I have not mentioned yet was Kevin's 33rd birthday.  In the car after our appointment outside the CVS while Kevin was filling that Rx for me, I called 2 of my friends who knew I was going for that appointment and were praying for me.  I told them I lost the baby, and they were both crying, and they let me yell and one of the things I said was, "tell me, doesn't it seem downright cruel of God, that He has taken our baby away and it is Kevin's BIRTHDAY?!" and she said, "yes, honey, yes it does seem cruel..." And it did.

We called our parents, which was one of the worst things I've ever done.  But the worst was to come, telling our precious, innocent girls.  That will have to be another post.

It is April 20 today, over a week since that has happened.  Already I have felt comfort and healing, so although my emotions as I write this blog seem raw and angry - and they are - I have about a million emotions, that yes, encompass feelings like confusion, sadness, rage but also...acceptance, hope, and a lot, A LOT of love.

just didn't want you to think I was going to go all metal-speculum on someone and do some damage.  I am okay, and our family is struggling but healing, already.  We've already had some laughter again, and joy.  Isn't that amazing, as a week ago, I wondered if for the rest of my life I would feel incomplete and sad.

I just wish I had my baby.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

part 2

So I left off at March 8, a Thursday evening when we found out we were expecting.  Overnight, shock and fear gave way to excitement, thankfulness and joy.  I wasn't thinking about what if the baby had CF or some other special need, although yes that was in the back of my mind of course off and on, but really I was thinking about having another chance.  Another opportunity to hold a precious, sweet baby that smelled like Johnson's baby shampoo.  Another chance to nurse - and of course this time I wouldn't give the baby a bottle at all...well, not unless I was really tired and we had some free formula laying around :)  Another opportunity to be the only one in the world that can comfort your baby...and even though you're tired, it gives you a little surge of pride that there is one person who wants you the most of all.  Another chance to hear those baby gurgles and first "mama."  Another chance to get it right.

So the next day I made an appointment at my doctor's office.  They scheduled me for 2 weeks out, and I wondered how I would last that long.  We told my mom that day, bc I can't keep anything from her, and a few days later when Kevin's parents got back from a trip, we told them and my brother and sister in law.  Everyone was shocked and happy, and we were on cloud 9, especially the girls.  A little piece of me was starting to say uh-oh though...because I didn't feel horribly sick like I did with the girls, and I had felt ill with them right away.  I would joke that I conceived and threw up on my way to the bathroom.  So I would think, maybe it's a boy and that's why it's different...and thinking of maybe having a boy excited me for Kevin.  I love girls, and would have loved another, but the thought of Kevin getting to have a little fella made me smile just thinking about it.   But we held back telling many people, because even though by then I had taken maybe 6 positive pregnancy tests, I just wanted to see or hear the little heartbeat first, make it real.  Not throwing up made it seem unreal, since being sick characterized my 2 prior pregnancies.  The few people we did tell were so ecstatic for us that it was hard to not shout it from the rooftops.  And of course although we asked the girls to keep a secret, we knew they couldn't help but "accidentally" tell once in awhile, especially at school.

So a week went by and I called the dr and asked to have the appointment moved up because I was worried about the pregnancy.  I did feel really tired, nauseous, and if you are a woman that's been pregnant, you understand when I say my boobs felt like they were run over by a truck.  But something, something, wasn't right.  And a few times I spotted, very light and a pink color never red, but I never spotted with the girls.  So off I went to the dr.

The first question they ask, which I knew they would, is when was your last period.  Hmm.  I remember when my period was the month before last, bc it was Christmas week and I had to slip squeeze into a Spanx and dress for my brother-in-law's wedding and who could forget that wonderful Christmas present of your period during all that.  But I couldn't remember when it was in late January, so I guesstimated, and that's when things got not-fun.  They did an internal scan and couldn't see a sac, which bc I should've been 6-7 weeks by then, should have shown at least.  So I had to make an appointment to get a higer tech ultrasound done.

I did, and they found a sac.  I had my blood checked and then rechecked, and while my HCG did go up over 48 hours, from 7000 to 10200, it didn't fully double.  I had a bad feeling about that, although they said that many women take up to 4 days to fully double, bc with the girls my HCG was so hight that in fact with Taylor they had me come in for a scan to check for more babies hiding out in there.   But again, I thought maybe it's a boy this time, and I'm 7 years older so perhaps it's just going to be a different pregnancy.  We still weren't telling most people and I felt like we were in out our daily lives yet thinking about this precious baby nonstop, and just wanting to see that heartbeat.

A few weeks later, on Thursday March 29, I had the appointment where we hoped to see growth and hopefully a heartbeat.  In the car before going in to my appointment, I prayed...which was hard to do because I knew God already knew the outcome, and I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about Him if I didn't get the answer I wanted.  My beliefs tell me to praise even in the pit...and I thought, if I end up in the pit how can I praise?  I've praised after the pit, but in?  But I did pray...I prayed for life, and I prayed that God would help my heart if I received bad news.  I wrote on the back of a grocery list the words from Hebrews 13:8, a verse I love that brings me considerable comfort - Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. I put it on my dashboard so it would be the first thing I saw getting back in the car after the appointment.

I was immediately relieved that I had the same ultrasound tech as before, because I really liked her.  During the scan, I didn't look, I closed my eyes and just breathed.  When she said, "look..." I knew.  I knew!!!  And there, there it was, what I wanted so desperately to see, that little flutter that says, "I'm here Mommy, I'm growing!!"  And I just started bawling.  I told her how we had told the girls - in preparation in case we received bad news and we didn't want to shock them - that some babies that start in mommies tummies, are called back to heaven.  The girls then had been praying that our baby wouldn't end up an angelbaby, but a baby for us to have here.  When they would pray that, my heart would just...long for the fulfillment of their prayers.  I would think, "hear them God, please don't disappoint such precious, innocent little girls..."  I was so thankful, so joyful...I felt incredible.

After the scan, I opened the door to see Kevin pacing through another door (they don't let husbands in, a bad rule if you ask me) and I gave him the thumbs up sign.  When I got to him I said, "hurry, let's get outside" because I could tell he wanted the details but I knew I'd lose it again.  We got outside and I jumped on him and was crying again, so joyful for our unexpected baby gift from God, that was here and growing and living.  We called our parents and I got back in my van and saw the verse.  I said a prayer of thankfulness that I didn't need to cling to that verse as a lifeline.  I drove home singing to music and laughing out loud, like a kid amped on sugar.

That was March 29.  We had a lot of fun sharing our good news that weekend with everyone, and that was really special.  We talked about names, we made plans to prep our house to sell and move to a bigger home, we talked about our life as a family of five. That joy followed us until April 12, also a Thursday, 2 weeks later when instead of singing out of joy as I did 2 weeks earlier, I wept with such an intense pain that my face actually felt broken.  Along with my heart.

more later.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

from the beginning, part 1

I haven't written about our surprise baby on the blog, so I thought I would tell the story today - more for me than anyone else.  I'll start at the beginning and probably do it in a few parts - bc it will be too long for you the reader, and too intense and emotional for me the writer.

At the beginning of March, I took a pregnancy test.  We hadn't been trying - the opposite of trying - but I was late and had a day of not feeling right.  It was negative.  Kevin and I did a happy dance and I told him I felt like we dodged a bullet, and it showed me I didn't want to go back to the beginning, I didn't want to worry about the health of this child, I didn't want to move, I was ready to work more outside the home, (and actually have money!!) etc.  Kevin has been more than willing for years to get a V, but I was the hold-out, saying we are young, let's wait until I'm 35.  In the meantime, we'll try to not get pregnant but if God wants the opportunity to create in us, who are we to stop Him.

But the rush of emotions - happy, thankful emotions - seeing the test was negative showed me (or so I thought) that I didn't want to have another, we just couldn't.  Shouldn't.

Truth be told, there was the absolute faintest hint of a positive test line, but in my mind I told myself that's the shadow of the line that would appear for someone who's actually pregnant.  But we were safe, life would continue as normal.  Normal, safe.  Those 2 things felt good to me.

So I waited for my period, which seemed to be on hiatus.  The following week, I woke up one night feeling nauseous, but figured it was because I had babysat for a family that just had a stomach bug.  But a friend on fb asking if I was pregnant, so I thought, ok I'll take another test.


My heart starting beating out of my chest.   I had bought the kind for dummies, so it actually said 'Pregnant' on it.  I paced my tiny bathroom, and knew I couldn't keep a secret from Kevin for 2 seconds, so I asked him to come out on the deck with me.  We had just had dinner out there, so he thought I just wanted to keep talking.  Poor men, they don't know what's about to hit them half the time.

I showed him the test and started crying.  He jumped up and started pulling his hair, talking about being the sole breadwinner for 8 more years, we'd have to get a bigger house, where would the baby sleep...what if this baby had CF or a sensory disorder or worse?  How would we pay for college for 2 kids much less 3?!  He was panicking, and all I kept crying (for Kevin but also apparently all of our neighbors to hear...oh well) that God doesn't make mistakes, and He wanted us to have this baby.  We hugged before going back inside to our girls, and he said it would all be okay, but I didn't believe him.  His eyes were full of the emotions I felt.

We tucked in the girls, who had found out what we were talking about, and needless to say they were over the moon.  Ecstatic.  Joyful.  And their emotions were starting to rub off on me.

Kevin took a long run, and I joked about checking to make sure he didn't take his wallet and keys to assure he'd come back.  But it wasn't really a joke - I wondered what this would do to my marriage in the long run.  How much stress would it add, financially, emotionally, physically - especially if this child had special needs.  I enjoy my marriage, and I love having time with Kevin.  I wondered how different that would look, and if we could hack it.  I wondered if he would resent me, since I was the one who said no to having permanent birth control.

He came back, and I was laying on our bed.  He told me to get up, and he gave me the biggest, best hug.  He made me look at him - I was crying again - and his eyes had changed from fear, to joy.  He had a big smile and said, "We can do it again.  It will be wonderful and we can do it.  I'm excited."  I asked him what he smoked on his run, but I was so thankful for his acceptance and joy, and we talked for a long time about the future that night.  I didn't sleep a wink.

That was our first night knowing our littlest one was with us.  March 8, 2012.  I'll write more later.