Tag Archive | infertility

Telling My Sister

This weekend, I delivered our news to my sister.

I was nervous and my voice was shaking as I told her. I think I was afraid that, because I hadn’t responded in the way she had wanted me to when she gave me the same news, that she would only offer a lukewarm “congratulations”  as some sort of punishment. It is not beneath her to hold a grudge. But, mercifully, she responded in the way I had hoped she would: with unrestrained joy, delight, and excitement. She has sent me two e-mails since then expressing how happy she is for us.

For that, I am relieved and thankful. But I just hope that she realizes this doesn’t change everything. It doesn’t mean I am suddenly a fertile like she is, or that the pain caused by infertility has been erased. It doesn’t mean I get to enjoy a carefree, easy pregnancy like she has had. It doesn’t mean I miss or love the baby we lost, our precious Teddy Graham, any less. It really doesn’t mean anything, except that there is hope.

After hanging up the phone, I felt panic start to rise in my chest. Had I just cursed everything? Would telling my news to the one person who made my loss so difficult mean another loss is inevitable? I know it’s silly. I don’t even believe the universe works that way. But I guess this is what your mind does when you want something this much. All logic and reason go out the window.

After talking with my sis, I also have felt some guilt about my own reaction when she revealed she was pregnant to me. Was I too hard on her? Was my mediocre response unfair, or mean? But I know the two situations can’t really be compared. I had just lost a child, dammit. I had the right to still be hurting, to be unable to feel joy when I felt such sorrow. Can you tell I’ve done a lot of silent justifying to myself over the last couple days?

In other news, I had my husband deliver a dozen and a half cupcakes to our fertility clinic today. My graduation was last Friday and, even though I worried that this step, too, would somehow jinx this pregnancy (will these thoughts ever end?!), I wanted to say thank you. To be honest — they really didn’t do much for me. They monitored my cycles, but there was never any progress when I went in. I took Clomid, but I could have done that through my OB. I never had the chance to do a trigger shot or use my Follistim, so I can’t say the clinic actually helped me get pregnant. But they offered a great deal of support and encouragement when I needed it, I made some friends there, and they did allow me to come in three weeks in a row to check on Skittle. I guess you could say they gave me peace of mind and hope, which is surely something.

Or maybe, it’s everything.

Jinx?

My husband is the King of Creative Gifts. Many times, he will make them himself. I have received handmade earrings, necklaces, bracelets, Christmas ornaments, shadow boxes, even flip-flops. And more.

At other times, Honey will come up with a clever idea and have someone else make it for him.

For Valentine’s Day last week, I received a heart-shaped box made out of chocolate by some local students from the city. It was filled with some fantastic truffles that I am trying not to eat all in one sitting. Pure deliciousness.

And I also received two maternity T-shirts that Honey designed himself:

IMG_5168 IMG_5170

My belly obviously isn’t big enough to fill them up right now, but I love them. I love that they are unique and that Honey has the confidence in this pregnancy that I lack.

But, the moment I saw them, all I could think was Good God, I hope this baby doesn’t die.

Please don’t let this have jinxed it. Please, please, please.

Here We Go Again….

This is another “one more sleep” post.

One more sleep until my second ultrasound.

One more sleep until I am at 7w1d, the exact point where I started bleeding in my last pregnancy.

One more sleep until I find out if my baby is still alive, or dead.

I have managed to remain pretty serene over the last week. Much more so than I ever was while pregnant with Teddy Graham. Is that because, somehow, I instinctively knew that Teddy would not survive? Or have I only learned that meltdowns, freakouts, and nonstop worry will not get me anywhere? It will not save my baby; it will not kill my baby.

The times when I start to feel like I’m spiraling a little out of control with my fear and anxiety is when I spend too much time analyzing my symptoms. I am 7 weeks today and have I experienced a lot of cravings, a few aversions, and some nausea, some exhaustion, some breast sensitivity. Some. I always think “some” is not enough. “Some” is often barely worth noting. What I hold onto, long for, and obsess over the most is the “morning” sickness. My biggest wave of nausea was over last weekend, which is too long ago for my comfort. Today, I have felt pretty decent, maybe just a little extra tired and hungry. This does not leave me feeling overly warm and fuzzy about my ultrasound tomorrow.

And I know this really means nothing. You can have a thousand pregnancy symptoms and still have a dead baby in your womb. You can be asymptomatic and Baby can be thriving. It probably doesn’t matter. Maybe it’s still too early for the worst of my symptoms. Maybe this is just a “good” day. I had plenty of them amongst all the bad days while carrying Cupcake. Maybe this pregnancy is just going to be totally different, which so many of my friends have assured me is perfectly normal. I don’t know, but I sure would love to go to sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow knowing that Skittle is all right. But I won’t. All I have is hope.

What I do know is that I certainly feel more pregnant than I ever did with Teddy Graham. I know that I fell asleep at 10:30 a.m. on the sofa today while Cupcake played with her new Cookie Monster toy that she got for Valentine’s Day. I know that, while I often don’t feel nauseous, I also don’t often feel my best; I feel “off” and unlike me. I know that it was only two nights ago when I felt a wave (albeit, a brief wave) of nausea.

Please, someone, tell me these are signs that Skittle is fine. That we are all fine. That everything will be fine.

Praying for Babies

First of all, thanks to all of you for your kind, supportive, and encouraging comments on my last post. I have successfully stayed away from Google and am trying to embrace the moments of peace and joy when they find me. I am still terrified, but taking this all one day (or one minute) at a time.

But instead of writing yet another ten or twenty paragraphs about how hard and scary these early weeks are (because we all know there will be plenty more to come!), I want to talk about the church service I attended in January. It seems a little silly to write about this now with a BFP in my back pocket (so to speak), but I want to do it anyways because it was an amazing and horrible experience, all wrapped into one. It was like nothing I had experienced before and I think it deserves an honest discussion.

On January 27, I attended a service at a local church (“local” being about 45 minutes north of us). It was the last Sunday of January, which meant it was time for their annual Presentation Sunday — a prayer service for couples struggling with infertility. I had never been before, but when I read an article about it last year just as we had started trying for another baby, I told my husband that, should we still be TTC in 2013, I wanted to go. Of course, I didn’t really think we would be stuck in this same place a year down the road. But I guess the joke was on me, because we were and we went.

A little background: This was their 25th annual Presentation Sunday. They have had people from all over the country fly in to be prayed for. And there have been many, many successes. They stopped keeping track when they reached 500 babies born post-Presentation Sunday some years ago. Some of these babies were born nine months after the prayer service and some were born much later. Also, the pastor and his wife are one of us…that is, they suffered 11 miscarriages/losses (one of them at six months) before they were able to have their son.

Now, let me be clear…I did not go there expecting a miracle. I thoroughly believe in the power of prayer, but I know that we don’t always get what we pray for. It’s not a case of “ask and you shall receive.” Sometimes, what we want is just not in the cards, or God’s plan, for us. I am realistic about this. But I guess, in my heart of hearts, I hoped that this type of service would have some mystical powers or really speak to God and voila! A baby would be conceived and born. But at the very least, I felt it might be powerful to be surrounded by couples who were facing our same set of circumstances, and understood the pain and fear that arises from that. Not to mention, any amount of prayer usually brings peace into my heart. I may not get what I am yearning for, but it’s easier to go forward with that sense of peace.

So that was the good part of the service. Hearing the testimony and success stories. Hearing the pastor’s sermon about how you need only the smallest amount of faith, something the size of a mustard seed, to get a miracle. Seeing the women around me weeping and knowing I’m not alone. Feeling that kinship. But then along came the problematic part…

Towards the end of the service, my daughter started to get restless. Two years old, listening to “old” people ramble…who can blame her? We had toys, snacks, and books for her, but she was tired of sitting still, and especially tired of sitting still quietly. So my husband took her into the hall. I had told him before the service that, should this happen, I needed him to come back into the sanctuary when it was time to be prayed for. And when he left with Cupcake, I reminded him, “Stay close.” Do you see where this is going?

When it was time to go the front to kneel before the stage and have others lay their hands on us and be prayed for, Honey still had not returned, so I went alone. Alongside lots of other couples. Because I was the “single” woman up there (and therefore not aligned with their belief that married couples should be blessed with children), I was ignored. Never mind that I was wearing a wedding ring or that this sort of ostracizing is so far from what Christianity is about, but no one touched me and no one prayed for me. I was sobbing (which was okay, because so was everyone else), but not because of my infertility. Instead, I felt utterly alone, abandoned by my husband, enraged, and singled out. Eventually, a woman did ask if I was praying for myself and when I told her my husband was in the hall with our daughter, she prayed for me, and so did several others. It was a weird experience, because the church I regularly attend is very conservative and doesn’t speak in tongues or lay hands upon others, or do anything remotely like this. And I couldn’t even focus on the prayer, because I was still so upset over being there without Honey and being treated like an outcast. So I just cried while they prayed and that was that.

After the time of prayer, the service ended, my husband and daughter returned, and we left the church with me completely distraught. I am ashamed of how mad I was at Honey for abandoning me. And how devastated I felt. I know it’s silly, but in those moments, I felt as if we blown it. Ruined some magic formula to getting the pregnancy and baby that I so very much longed for. After some time, and quiet thought, and a long phone conversation with my mama, I started to calm down and realize how ridiculous I was being. But still…it was a hard thing to handle. I wanted to leave that service feeling such a strong sense of peace and hope, knowing I had done everything I could to try to have another baby, and instead I felt devastated. Not exactly how I imagined it.

Of course, now that I got my BFP, just two days after that service, I waffle between:

  • Wow, that prayer service really worked!

AND

  • Hahaha, I didn’t need you guys after all! Take your judgmental Christianity somewhere else please!

In the end, this service didn’t matter at all. I didn’t need it. But I’m still glad I went. And I can’t say that, if this pregnancy doesn’t work out and we are still standing still next January, that I wouldn’t go again. Because I would. I do think I would.

One More Sleep

Tomorrow is the day. I hope it’s just the beginning. Not the end.

This surprise pregnancy has had its benefits, I’ve come to realize. I skipped the agony of a two-week wait. I walked through the couple weeks that follow a BFP, worry-free. Somehow, I wish I could breeze through this too. Wake up one day feeling the rolls, kicks, and bumps of a life growing inside of me and instantly know Baby is fine. Wouldn’t that be nice?

It is hard for me to imagine what it might be like to see that tiny, little, itty bitty baby on the screen, with the flicker of a beautiful heartbeat. When I was pregnant with Cupcake, I was terribly naive. Since I wasn’t seeing an RE at the time, the standard was to wait until twelve weeks to hear the HB with a doppler and until twenty weeks to see one on an anatomy scan. I worried through all of those early weeks, convinced my pregnancy was ectopic due to severe back pain. I didn’t even know you could request an early ultrasound. So I have never seen a beating baby heart this early on. The only u/s I’ve ever had before the second trimester was after my baby was already dead. So it’s a wonder to me that heartbeats exist this early. That it is possible to go looking for one and actually find it. Because in my world, that has never happened.

I hope, tomorrow, all of this will change.

Please stick with me, little babe. Please keep growing.

Free-Falling

I’m having a hard time navigating how to feel about this pregnancy and this baby. I know this is not a new concept for us infertiles, especially for those who have miscarried before. There are mixed feelings. Indifference. Ambivalence. We don’t want to get attached too soon.

After I lost Teddy Graham, I was determined that, in my next pregnancy (if ever there was one), I would not let my heart get involved too soon. I would not let myself hope, dream, plan, want. I would not allow myself to fall in love. In practice, I’m finding that much harder than expected. Quite honestly, I don’t even think  it’s really in my nature. I am typically not very cautious with my heart. I have always fallen in love quickly. I have loved people who don’t love me back and I have loved people whom I shouldn’t. My husband and I both said the “L” word within three weeks of our first date. So is it any surprise that I feel as though I may love this little Skittle of a baby already?

I recently told a friend that I think loving is one of the bravest things we each do. And yet, is it really so brave when it’s out of my control? I feel as if I’m free-falling, with nothing to hold onto and no parachute to slow me down. Loving this baby is not a choice I have made. It has almost happened against my will.

I know it is a dangerous place to be, having seen no heartbeat yet, but I don’t know that I will ever be sorry for feeling this way. I very much loved Teddy Graham from the start, and I have never regretted that. And if I hadn’t let myself love him, would my loss really have been any easier? I don’t think so. In fact, I took great comfort in loving that baby because, after he was gone, I felt I had given him my all, everything he deserved except life, and what more could I have wanted for an embryo that was not meant to be?

I am the type of girl who believes love is never wrong and, the more love that exists, the better we all become. Cheesy, lame, ultra-romantic…but it’s me. And so I will love. I will fall. And if I crash and burn, so be it.

I don’t feel pregnant.

It is hard to feel pregnant when…I don’t.

Symptoms? Oh, there are a few, I guess. But are they in my head? Are they related to the progesterone I’m taking? Or are they for real, for real? In the past couple weeks, I have felt:

  • Twinges, cramps, pinching, and all sorts of pelvic weirdness
  • The need to pee a lot
  • A change in my poop, now alternating between rabbit pellet poop and rather loose stools (Sorry for the gross topic, but for a “regular” girl like me who is used to seeing healthy-looking poop, this is a noticeable change. And though I know diarrhea can be a sign of an impending miscarriage, I have seen these changes in all my pregnancies, so I’m trying not to obsess over this.)
  • Fatigue (maybe — I’m always tired, so it’s hard to say if it’s gotten any worse)
  • Increased hunger (another maybe)

But what I haven’t felt is what I very much want to:

  • nausea
  • headaches
  • breast changes

Those are the three symptoms (plus the poop stuff) that I remember most with my one healthy pregnancy, the one that gave me Cupcake, and it bugs me to no end that I’m not suffering from it now. Especially because I’m probably close to seven weeks at this point and I started feeling those things with my daughter very early on (some of them even before I got my BFP). As my dear friend Lillian told me in a recent e-mail during one of her own pregnancy freak outs,”I just feel too good.” And I do. I feel too good. I felt good during my second pregnancy, the one that didn’t end well, and I feel good now and it’s hard not to compare the two. And I know that it may not mean anything. I know every pregnancy is different. I know some people never feel significant symptoms. I know some don’t feel them until 8 weeks or so. I know my beta was high…which means things could very well be fine. But still…it’s hard not to ponder it every. waking. second.

I’m trying to prepare for the worst and hope for the best simultaneously. I have cleared all of next weekend and the week that follows in case there is bad news and all I want to do is stay in bed. And there are things that I won’t allow myself to do this time around. No buying baby things early on. No sorting through my maternity clothes from three years ago. No telling my sister the news yet. No making plans. But I have allowed myself to take a few steps in the direction of hope: Telling a few people (my mom and three friends who have been with me on my journey). Browsing the maternity section at Target. Recording “bumpdates” in my journal. And taking weekly bump photos. Not that there is a bump yet, but this is something I did with my daughter from the moment I got my BFP and I want to have it for my next baby too, should this little Skittle actually turn into a baby we bring home. I did it with my Teddy Graham as well, and I cherish those photos because they are the few keepsakes I have from my short pregnancy. So those strong feelings pretty much cemented my decision that I would be doing it for this one too.

And as I wait for Feb 8, I’m looking for little signs all around. Like, maybe the universe will tell me something before I have solid answers from an u/s. I hang on to that image of the rainbow I saw the weekend before my BFP. Was that a sign before I even knew it was? And on Glee on Thursday, they sang “A Thousand Years” (by Christina Perri), which I have always felt is my ode to the baby I am waiting for. And yesterday I chose a random children’s book at the library and the little boy in the book had the name that has always been my favorite boy’s name. And last night, I dreamed about shopping for baby girl clothes. Oh! And I have this photo cube in our bedroom and one of the photos was taken during my first pregnancy. The other day, I spun it around and said to myself, “If it lands on my pregnancy photo, then I’ll get to keep this baby,” and it did. I know I am grabbing at threads, but it’s all I have.

I want this baby. I do. Obviously. But if it doesn’t work out? I will not lament this lost time. These bittersweet memories. (Well, in the throes of grief, maybe I will a little.) Lillian and I have talked about this a lot since my BFP. And she said something that has stuck with me: If this doesn’t end well, I still have these memories. The happiness that swarmed my heart with my surprise BFP. The excitement I heard in my Honey’s voice. The celebrations we had. The way that, for two weeks or however many, I lived on the edge of hope, a hope I had not had in some time. That’s something that a miscarriage, a loss, a broken heart, can’t steal from me.

But still…please, God, let there be a heartbeat on Friday. Please oh please.