Category: Pregnancy
Status

Real

The bleeding and cramping finally started.

It hasn’t really gotten bad yet.

I keep expecting it to get worse… I actually hope it does.

I haven’t taken any of the Percocet, either.  The pain isn’t unbearable, and at this point, I want to feel it.

I feel like if I’m not in pain, then none of this was real.

I guess the only thing I really want is for this to have been real.  Too often, people want to “move on” or “start over”, and while I want those things too, I don’t want to move so fast that I forget, that others forget.

I understand the urge for loved ones to reach out to support the husband and I, and while food and friendship, kind words and offers of a shoulder to cry on are lovely and much appreciated, what we really need is for people to acknowledge what we are feeling, what really happened.

Our baby died.

Our baby died, and now I’m physically dealing with that, as well as the emotional and psychological torture of miscarriage.

Our baby died, and and I don’t want to medicate the memories away.

Our baby died, and I want to feel the pain so that I can always remember.

Our baby died, but our baby was alive, ours.

Real.

 

Status

Stalled Out

I’ve had some time to recover from the shock of the news we received on Tuesday, and figured I should update you all on what’s happened since then.

The husband and I spent the rest of Tuesday alternately sleeping, watching mindless TV, grieving, and eating our feelings.  Our feelings taste a lot like starchy comfort food, turns out.

I went back to work on Wednesday.  It was a little surreal sitting at my desk, smiling when it was appropriate, and making small talk with coworkers, all the while knowing that there is a dead baby inside of me.  I said things that were inappropriate for my situation, especially since a few of my coworkers knew what had happened.

I say inappropriate things when I’m uncomfortable.  And I make others uncomfortable.  I just don’t know how to deal with this, so I try to act normally… which is probably what makes everyone uncomfortable.

I’m awkward when my life is going well… I expect something like this to only magnify that trait by a thousand.

On Wednesday evening, I started spotting dark brown, and by bedtime was feeling mild cramps.  I figured the miscarriage was happening naturally, and went to bed prepared to deal with the aftermath.

When I woke up on Thursday morning… nothing.  I still had some cramping, and I spotted throughout the day yesterday, but no progress.

Last night, after having a wonderful dinner prepared for us by an amazing friend, I decided to use the Cytotec the doctor had given me to help the process along.

I prepared like someone stocking for a field triage tent.  I made sure I had bottles of water within reach, as well as lots of dark-colored towels next to the bed.  I set alarms for every two hours so I could be sure that I was conscious of my body, and could check for blood loss and call to update the husband on occasion.  I plugged in my heating pad, and made sure my Percocet prescription was handy as well.

(By the way, when Dr. K said “I also wrote you a script for three days worth of Percocet for the pain”, I really thought that was like six pills.  No.  THIRTY PILLS IS THREE DAYS WORTH?  Good LORD.  I wonder if I can trade leftover Percocet for Menopur on the black market…)

I did like the doctor said and put the four pills into the end of a tampon, placed them, and prayed that it wouldn’t hurt too badly when the cramping started.

I went to bed, somewhat comforted by my stash of supplies all within arms reach, and fell asleep quickly.  Comfort food overindulgence and constant worry are a better sleep-aid than Ambien.

I awoke a few times in the night with mild cramping, but no evidence of heavy bleeding… or any bleeding, for that matter.  As I type this, it’s been about ten hours since I took the Cytotec, and precisely nothing has happened.

I called Dr. K’s office a little while ago to let them know, and they are supposed to be calling me back after they talk to the doc.  How much you wanna bet they call me in another dose and have me try again?

Ugh.

Why can’t anything just work like it’s supposed to?  I feel like I’m constantly steeling myself for what comes next, and then it never comes the way I expect.  At this rate, I’m just praying I won’t have to have a D&C after all…

So anyway, that’s where I am now.  Stuck, stagnant, and stalled out.

Apparently my body really, really wanted to be pregnant, and has no intentions of giving up without a fight.  Normally I’d appreciate that, but right now, I just want this to be over so I can start to heal.

I’ll update more later, and hopefully there will be some progress made by then.

Happy nine weeks pregnant to me.  Ugh.

Status

When Feathers Appear…

When feathers appear, angels are near.

Have you ever heard that phrase?

I’m not sure where I heard it the first time… maybe one of those psychic medium shows.

I’m not sure how much of that stuff I really believe anyway.

Angels?  Sure, I think they exist, but are they really trying to send us messages?

Doubtful.

Then again… Maybe so.

I first noticed the feathers as I left the office last Tuesday after discovering that I was spotting.  I was in a panic, thinking that I was about to miscarry.  I got to my car, and my parking space was covered with feathers.

I really didn’t think much of it, especially considering the state I was in at the time.

The next day, after not miscarrying and subsequently returning to work, I noticed more feathers.  In the parking garage, the sidewalk, on my front porch.

I started to think about that saying… “When feathers appear, angels are near.”

It was then that I started to really think that maybe that spotting wasn’t just a fluke.  Maybe the feathers were sent by an angel…

It’s only fitting that the day I started seeing the feathers was the day the doctor says my baby stopped growing.

My angel baby.

I’ll never hold that baby, but I feel a connection stronger than with anyone else I know.  My angel baby sent me feathers as a sign of peace and happiness and hope for the future.

Like the bird tattooed on my shoulder, and like the precious happy moments of my childhood spent watching the birds flit about, the feathers were a sign that I should be at peace.

There is still hope, and there is happiness to come.

Dr. K was very kind and reassuring.  There was almost no growth since our last appointment, and the yolk sac has disappeared.  Everything about my body is perfectly healthy, and this seems to just be a chromosomal issue.  It happens in 20% of pregnancies.  I’m normal and healthy, but the baby just wasn’t.

He gave me options and told me to take my time.  I can choose to miscarry naturally, or I have some medication that will help the process along.

One thing that helped to hear was that the medication does not require me to wait months before starting a new cycle.  I will have time to grieve, and time to prepare myself for jumping back in with both feet.

As devastated as I feel right now, I know that it’s just not in me to stop trying.

I’m still stuck in a hard place; half-pregnant, carrying the shell of a life that left me a week ago.

A life that left feathers in its place.

I have grief and sadness and emptiness.

But I also have hope.  And determination.  And strength.  And an amazing husband and support system.

And that’s a lot.

It’s enough for now.

It has to be.

Status

I’m Ready.

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012.  8weeks, 4days.

I’m ready.

Bring on the ultrasound.

I’m prepared for today.

I know my odds, and I have reconciled all imaginable outcomes.

I have a gut feeling, and I’m hoping to be wrong.

Whatever today brings, however good or bad, it will surely bring answers.

That will have to be enough for now…

I’m ready.

Let’s go…

Status

One More Sleep…

Monday, September 17th, 2012.  8weeks, 3days.

Tomorrow is the day we get answers.

Tomorrow is the day our baby’s heart beats, or we start preparing to miscarry.

Tomorrow is the day we can emerge from Limbo and start to move on…

Hopefully.

One more sleep leaves us on the brink of a changed life.

Tomorrow is the day.

One more sleep…

Status

8 Weeks

Friday, September 14th, 2012.  8weeks.

I really didn’t think things would be so up in the air at eight weeks pregnant.

Honestly, I thought I would be announcing our happy news on Facebook at this point.  I thought I’d spend the nights I’m alone while the husband is at work using my awesome new home fetal heart doppler to listen to my baby.

(Yeah.  That bad boy came in the mail the day of our first ultrasound, by the way.  It now resides in its unopened box under the bed, along with the pregnancy books, because I’m afraid to look at it.)

I really am in pregnancy limbo.

And I really hate limbo.

There is truly nothing I can do but wait, and that’s just not my style.  Even Dr. Google has stopped giving me new information.  Ugh.

I’ve started the dangerous path to over-rationalization, which is something I do when I’m very nervous or expecting a bad outcome.

I mentally go over my early pregnancy symptoms, and try to remember the days I had them and the days I didn’t.  I try to pinpoint when they left, and match that up with the date Dr. K saw old blood in my uterus.

Was that the appropriate time frame for a miscarriage to have started?  Did my baby stop growing a week ago, creating the blood that resulted in brown spotting this week?

All of these things can be completely unremarkable in a pregnancy.

Spotting?  Happens to lots of people, and brown spotting is not of much concern.

Loss of symptoms?  Hormone levels can plateau in any normal pregnancy, and sometimes symptoms fade in and out.  No biggie.

Slow growth?  It happens, and a lot of the time baby catches up.  Early growth can be hard to gauge sometimes, especially with a tilted uterus.

All of these things alone can be perfectly normal.

All of these things together with my particular situation are extremely worrisome.

I am finding myself planning ahead on two separate paths…

On the one path, I am going ahead with that Facebook announcement.  I’m registering and decorating a nursery and holding my new baby in the hospital.

On the other path, I’m making the decision whether to miscarry naturally or seek medical intervention.  I’m grieving and healing and preparing to hop back on the TTC roller coaster.

It’s exhausting.

One thing I’ve decided though, is how I will proceed if I am forced down that second path.  I can’t know what my body will do on its own, but I want to wait two more weeks before forcing anything to happen.

10 weeks pregnant.  If the news is bleak at Tuesday’s ultrasound, then 10 weeks pregnant is as far as I will get.

Of course, there is still the small chance that maybe Gummy Bear decided to kick it into high gear this week and I’ll end up making it well past that 10 week mark… and down that first path after all.

I hope to God that’s the path I end up walking.

 

Status

Spotting

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012.  7weeks, 5days.

I felt great yesterday.  It was a beautiful, fall-like day in Southeastern Michigan/Northwestern Ohio, and things at work felt like they were really coming together.  The team is almost fully back to normal after a few important people had been missing due to extended illnesses and injuries, and after starting the day with a new trainee and lunch out with coworkers, I felt ready to really dig in and have a productive afternoon.

About 2pm, I ran to the bathroom and found that I was spotting.  Not bleeding exactly, and not even full-on pink spotting, but more of a brownish-pink, very creamy cervical mucus.  Almost like what you might see during the TWW, except with the alarming color.

I panicked.

Since there was quiet a lot of… umm… wetness, and because I was wearing khakis and not at all prepared for any kind of bleeding to start while I was at work, I went home early.  I got to the house, put on the stretchiest pants I own, and curled up with a blanket on the couch, feeling awful and waiting for the cramping and heavy bleeding to start.

Waiting to miscarry.

I waited all night… and finally went to bed with the husband, fully expecting to be awakened by painful cramping.

But it never happened.

I woke up with my alarm this morning well-rested and feeling… serene.  Happy, even.

No cramping.  No more spotting.

Nothing.

Soo… that was weird.

Was this a forewarning of the beginning of the end?  Will I look back at this later and realize that it was a sign that my miscarriage was beginning, or will this just be the one scary time I overreacted to some very mild spotting?

I have no idea at this point.

I stayed home from work this morning and am now waiting for a call back from Dr. K to see if he is going to send me for blood work and/or have me come in earlier than Tuesday for my next ultrasound.

I’m thinking that I should just go to work.

I can’t go home and hide every time I get scared.  That’s just not me.

I really need to keep living my life like nothing tragic is looming in the shadows, because if I do lose this baby, I am going to need to throw myself back into that life in a major way in order to recover.

And if I don’t lose this baby, which I pray every day is the case, I will have plenty of time off from real life about seven months from now…

Either way, life must go on.

And so must I.

 

:: UPDATE ::

The doc called back and told me that he is not at all concerned by brown spotting, and that it was probably the old blood he saw in my uterus during Monday’s scan.  He said that it’s a perfectly normal thing for any pregnancy, and that I should definitely let him know if I start cramping or have bright red blood.

He also talked to me about blood work, and gave me a choice.  He said that with most pregnancies, the HCG levels in your body level off or sometimes even drop from day to day after a certain point.  Getting my levels taken today may cause more upset than relief if they do not appear to be rising, and he said that if I want to get them taken, he will gladly call in the requisition.

I decided to pass on the blood draw this time.  He’s right.  Getting my blood drawn won’t change anything.  If my levels are rising, I may feel good about it, and yet I may still miscarry.  If my levels are falling or rising very slowly, I may be devastated, and yet my pregnancy may still be successful.

I’m at peace with all of this.  What will be, will be.

One day at a time.  That’s how time passes, and there is no use speculating.

Time to rejoin my life, already in progress.

Status

Small Victories

Monday, September 10th, 2012.  7weeks, 3days.

I just got home from seeing Dr. K for my follow-up ultrasound.

Things went fairly well, considering, although not perfect.

The doc was able to see the gestational sac much more clearly this time, and while it was only 5mm last week and he hoped it would be to 10mm by today, it only measured about 8mm.

He was also able to clearly see a yolk sac, which he said was a very good sign.

There was no heartbeat visible today, but with the slow growth happening, it was unlikely that we would see it before 10mm anyway.

Some good things… Growth, although slow, is good.  Yolk sac being visible is very good.  No spotting or cramping is also very good.

Some not so great things… No visible fetal pole or heartbeat yet.  Doc also saw a small bit of free blood in the uterus, which could signal that spotting and miscarriage are in my future, but maybe not.

One great thing… Dr. K walked into that ultrasound room and the first thing he said to me was “So, have you been reading anything on the internet since we last spoke?”  I almost laughed.  Of course I told him that I had, and that I felt much more prepared today for either outcome.  I also told him that I’d read up on the difficulty some women with retroverted uteruses (err… uteri?) have with early ultrasounds, and he agreed that it was often harder to get early measurements in cases like mine.

He surprised me by telling me that he always thought it was a good thing when patients educate themselves on their situation.  I do believe that man just gave me permission to Google at will…  😉

He also told me that he thinks I am amazingly strong, and said that I did well with the waiting this past five days.  He asked if I’d like to come back on Friday for a follow-up, but (because apparently I’m a masochist) I asked to come back next week instead.  I’d like to give this kid another weeks growth before we take another look.  He was surprised, but he agreed enthusiastically that it was a great idea.

I decided to wait on blood work for now.  I may cave later in the week, but for now, growth of any kind is a pretty reliable indicator that my hormone levels are where they need to be and not dropping.

I figure that a week is enough time for either a visible heartbeat, or miscarriage symptoms, especially considering the blood in my uterus.

I feel good about all of this.  It might not end happily, but I asked for what I wanted and the doctor was very supportive.  I also expressed an interest in miscarrying naturally, if that’s how this plays out, and he agreed that there is no harm in allowing myself to go through the process without medication or surgery.  I’m glad he was so supportive today, and it made the whole experience so much easier.

I still have hope that this will be my Take Home Gummy Bear, but I feel in control of the care I’m getting, and I feel very supported by everyone in my life, including the staff at the clinic.

Status

Contingency Plans

Saturday, September 8th, 2012.  7weeks, 1day.

Wednesday was rough.

Thursday was somewhat of a blur.

Even Friday had it’s wobbly moments…

Since then though, I’ve had some time to think.

I’ve deliberated, researched and made some choices that I think are reasonable.

I’ve thought through all outcomes, and now have what I feel to be a good handle on the next step for any situation we find ourselves in on Monday.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Situation #1

Ultrasound shows growth, detail, and a clearly defined baby, possibly even with a beating heart.

Moving on from here – repeat ultrasound in two weeks and remain cautiously optimistic.

Situation #2

Ultrasound is either inconclusive again, or shows no growth and points clearly to impending miscarriage; doctor recommends medication to remove remains of failed pregnancy.

Moving on from here – request blood work, seek second opinion from OB or hospital ultrasound.  If the blood work shows that my HCG levels are continuing to rise, I will decline medications and ask to be seen again for a follow up ultrasound and blood work in two weeks.

I should explain… I am not delusional or in denial about what very well could be happening at this moment.  The doctor may see this as a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable.  Others may judge me for putting off a sure thing…

However, I have done some research and have found that women with a tilted uterus like mine (shaped like a golf club, with the top of the uterus pointed well toward my spine – which is precisely where the pregnancy is located), tend to have somewhat more difficult early ultrasounds due to the location of the pregnancy being in a tough spot for the ultrasound to reach.

Miscarriages are not often misdiagnosed, but a large majority of the times that they are, it is due to that damn tilted uterus making things hard to see and even harder to measure.

Basically, if Dr. K says anything other than “there’s a baby with a healthy heartbeat measuring right on schedule”, I want to follow up with blood work to confirm that my HCG levels are not falling.  If they are, I can be at peace with what is happening, and hopefully my body will be able to miscarry on its own without the help of medications.

If the blood work shows that my HCG levels are still rising, I will ask for a second opinion ultrasound.  I just want to be sure that different people on different machines can agree on what is or is not happening in my uterus before I count myself (and my baby) out.

If everything points to a progressing pregnancy except the ultrasound findings, I will ask Dr. K to see me again in two weeks to reassess.  I figure that two weeks from Monday should put me between nine and ten weeks, and by that point there should be something visible on the ultrasound regardless of the shape of my uterus.  Two weeks may also be long enough for my body to catch up with itself if I am in fact having a miscarriage.

I know that a lot of this sounds like torture, especially given that I am not handling this current five-day wait with an especially large portion of grace, but I’ve thought it through.

This is my first confirmed pregnancy.

This is my baby we’re talking about here.

Nothing less than 100% certainty is good enough for me.  If there is even a shred of hope that some doctor using some machine could make some mistake or miss something important, then I would prefer to wait and reassess rather than jump straight to the clean-slate-meds solution.

I can never have closure if there is even a grain of doubt that I gave my baby every opportunity to progress.

If that costs me weeks of agonizing waiting and a more painful miscarriage, then it will be worth it to have that peace of mind.

I already feel better having said these things out loud (and typing them now), and after discussing it with the husband, we both feel like we can move on in a better way knowing that we did everything we could for this little life.

Of course the hope is that we will not need the contingency plan for Situation #2, but it gives me so much more confidence just knowing that it’s been thought through.  Our first ultrasound left me in a bit of shock, and I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask questions or advocate for myself and my baby.

Monday will be a different story.

I am prepared.  I can handle whatever comes my way, even if I break down several times along the road.

I have confidence in my body, and plan to stand up for what is right for me.

I am a Mama Bear now.  Even if this isn’t my Take-Home gummy bear, I am still going to protect my baby.

This kid deserves a fighting chance.

And this mama is not afraid of a fight.

Status

7 Weeks

Friday, September 7th, 2012.  7weeks.

I woke up this morning feeling great.

Like, scary great.

I don’t know for sure if I’m psyching myself out here, but I’m about 80% certain that I woke up without any pregnancy symptoms today.

I’m not nauseated.

I’m not tired.

I’m not hungry or thirsty.

Even my breast tenderness has faded to a tolerable level when just a couple of days ago it was torturous.

I suspect that my HCG levels are dropping.  I have no way of knowing if this is true, however, because Dr. K didn’t order blood work for me on Wednesday.  I may pee on a stick tonight to see if the lines have lightened at all.

I’m starting to accept what is happening…

If I started to cramp and spot over the weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.

If, somehow, we get good news on Monday, I will be shocked.

If we get the bad news I expect, I’ll still be devastated, but a small part of me will be saying, “I told you so…”

This is such a shitty place to be.

 

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