the charade

December 31, 2009 at 1:37 pm (pregnancy after miscarriage) (, )

I love champagne. Good champagne. Every year for New Year’s Eve, I splurge and buy a great bottle of Veuve Clicquot. It’s a wonderful way to ring in the new year. I also pick up a cheap bottle to share with everyone once the good stuff is gone. Even though the second bottle is cheap, it’s actually very good and better, in my opinion, that a lot of the mid-tier champagnes. We celebrate the new year with our friends and family at our shared property near Mt.Baker in Washington. This year is going to pose a challenge:

How do I not let people notice that I’m not drinking?

It’s not like it’s a big party – there are a handful of us, all sitting around the campfire drinking beer or wine. I’m not ready to tell anyone at this point, it’s way too early, I’m only five weeks. Besides, I definitely want my mother to be the first person to know. M and I have been talking about some strategies of fake drinks: pretending to mix in vodka with my cranberry and soda, and that sort of thing. When it’s time for the champagne, do I toss it over my shoulder? Such a tragedy to waste it!

It’s going to be tough. If it comes down to it, we’ve decided we’re just going to deny. We’ll see if it works.

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my father’s blessing

December 29, 2009 at 9:54 pm (Emotions, pregnancy after miscarriage) (, )

In dealing with my miscarriage, I went over every possible reason I could have lost my baby. Some were scientific, but many were not. One of the things I blamed myself for was for being too smug, too proud to have conceived so easily, especially since my sister in law had been off birth control for nearly a year. I thought I was in better shape, took better care of myself and was more capable of carrying a baby. I thought perhaps the miscarriage was a way for God to humble me. Maybe I held on to too much rage, honking at other drivers when they weren’t driving the way I thought they should drive. I thought that perhaps my heart rate was elevated to such a level in my anger when my puppy was attacked at the dog park that it wasn’t good for my baby, and that I had killed it by not being calm and happy and forgiving enough.

I know all of these things are unlikely and unproven, and that the vast majority of miscarriages are caused to a genetic abnormality that is decided at the moment of conception. However, that did not stop me from wondering if I hadn’t done enough to earn my baby.

With this pregnancy, as new as it is, I think that always in the back of my mind is a tiny voice reminding me of karma. There have been a few times in recent weeks when I’ve done a good deed, not with the intention of buying my baby by acting as a good samaritan, but because I’ve felt like it would be good for my soul. With all the heartache and agony that I’ve been dealing with, it’s as if I need some other kind of nourishment. A pregnancy after miscarriage is ever more cherished than one that has never had to deal with this kind of loss.

On the Sunday after Christmas, I went with M to visit my dad’s grave. I admit that it has been far too long since I’ve gone. Even though it has been nearly 20 years since his death, I still can’t visit him without tears. Even now, as I type, my eyes are welling up. I loved him so much and I still miss him. (It probably doesn’t help that I have the nostalgic sounding Gran Torino song playing on my laptop.) As we stood over my dad’s grave, I read the inscription silently in my head, as I always do. I wrote it for him as my farewell when I was fourteen:

Dad

you’re here in my heart

and though we must part

we will meet again

in a land far away

a land without pain

we will be together

forever

no goodbyes

just good memories

until we meet again

I asked my dad to look out for me this time, to look after the tiny baby growing in my belly. I told him I was sorry that I didn’t come here last time. I asked him for his blessing, and to be our guardian angel. I have always believed that my dad is with me and looks out for me. On very rare occasions, he has visited me in my dreams. Sometimes, mostly when I was younger, I truly felt him with me. And on that day, as M and I stood there with our arms wrapped around each other, I hoped that he was with us again, all three of us: M, me, and the little blueberry growing inside of me.

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santa. baby.

December 25, 2009 at 2:10 pm (Trying to conceive) (, )

One of the suggestions when you take a home pregnancy test is that you test using your first pee of the day. As my luck would have it, I woke up at 2AM with a full bladder. Wait, I told myself, don’t ruin the test in the morning by peeing in the middle of the night. Hold it, hold it, hold it. So I went back to sleep but woke up again at 3:30. And again at 4AM. And once again at 5AM. I had to go, but I didn’t want to potentially ruin the test. However, I wasn’t particularly interested in fumbling with the test at five in the morning, either. After wrestling with my thoughts for several minutes, I decided that I just couldn’t hold it any longer – nature was calling.

Honey… I whispered.

M grumbled and rolled. What??

I gotta pee, but I don’t want to ruin the test for later if I pee now. I can’t hold it anymore, I’ve had to pee for like 3 hours. Should we just test now?

He laughed. Might as well.

So, still half asleep, I climbed out of bed, unwrapped the test in the bathroom and followed the directions carefully. I placed it back on the counter, finished up and came back to bed to wait out our 3 minutes. When the time arrived, we both got up and walked to the bathroom door, which was still shut. I took M’s hand as he opened the door to look at the results.

We both had to lean in closer to see, but there it was…. two pink lines. One was lighter than the other, but undoubtedly, there they were: two pink lines staring back at us.

Merry Christmas, baby.

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two more sleeps

December 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm (Trying to conceive) (, , )

I’m still extremely nervous. Yesterday and today, I experienced a tiny bit of bright red spotting. It was only the one time yesterday, nothing for the rest of the night or all day today until late afternoon, and again nothing since then. This experience of trying to conceive after miscarriage is completely different than trying to concieve the first time. I’m just so much more aware of everything that my body is feeling. The first time around, we had no idea what to expect and bang, pregnant on the first try.

I have been reading and researching like mad about implantation bleeding and if that could be what I’m experiencing. Unfortunately, there are no clear answers, but there are a couple of things in my favor.

#1 – It started about 9 DPO, and implantation bleeding normally occurs somewhere between 6-10 DPO.

#2 – It’s extremely minimal. Nothing heavy or constant, just a little bit of blood when wiping.

#3 – It started about a week before I am expecting my period.

I am desperately trying to stay optimistic, but since the last experience I had with bright red spotting ended in miscarriage, it’s extremely difficult to wipe out the panic. All I can do is wait and see. If the spotting stops or continues to be extremely light, we may go ahead with the pee stick on Christmas morning. M is anxious, too. I think he was really convinced that his “boys had burrowed in good this time.” I still have some strange sensations going on down there, but it could just be PMS and not early signs of pregnancy.

Two more sleeps…

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grasping at straws

December 22, 2009 at 6:45 pm (Trying to conceive) (, , , )

I’m so disappointed. I really had thought that maybe I was pregnant. I’ve been feeling bloated for the last several days, and have definitely thought that it felt like it did when I was pregnant before. For the last few hours, I’ve even felt a little sick, like I might throw up. But just now, I came from the bathroom and noticed a little bit of blood on the toilet paper. It was bright red. My heart sank.

I must not be pregnant.

There is the very slim possibility that this is actually implantation bleeding and not, in fact, the start of my period. It is actually a bit early to be my period as I did not expect it until at least Saturday. Supposedly, implantation bleeding occurs about 9-10 days past ovulation (DPO) so that seems about right. However, most sources say that it is typically not bright red and instead tends to be dark brown or even almost black.

I only cried a little bit, but I’m still so disappointed. I guess it really was longing that I was feeling when I thought I was experiencing all those potential pregnancy symptoms. I guess there is still a teeny bit of hope as I have not had a full on period yet, but I am feeling pessimistic. Part of me wants to take that pregnancy test anyway, just to see. I guess I just have to wait out the next few hours, the next few days, to see how things play out.

I hate all of this waiting.

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intuition or longing?

December 18, 2009 at 11:52 pm (Thoughts) (, , )

I think I’m pregnant.

For the past two days, I’ve felt different. There is a strange almost-bloated-almost-stretched sensation across my lower abdomen. I’m certain but too scared to say out loud that it seems to feel the same way it did when I was pregnant. Could it be? Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Maybe it’s just PMS.

Last night, I hardly slept. I tossed and turned for what felt like hours. I remember having trouble sleeping some nights during my pregnancy. Maybe it’s all in my head. Maybe it’s just because I’ll have my period next week.

Today I felt so full after lunch that I almost wanted to be sick. Could this be the start of morning sickness? I didn’t have it last time. Maybe I’m just blowing things out of proportion. Maybe I just want to be pregnant so badly that I’m making myself feel these things.

Maybe I’m pregnant. Can it just be Christmas Day already so I can take my test?

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a little perspective

December 17, 2009 at 9:59 pm (Thoughts) (, , )

For nearly two months now, pretty much all I’ve been doing is trying to deal with my miscarriage. I’ve experienced a huge range of emotions from guilt to anger to jealousy, and of course the all-encompassing sadness. For weeks, the very first thought in my mind when I woke up each morning was: I had a miscarriage. My pregnancy is over. Our baby is dead.

With the passing days, then passing weeks and now passing months, I’ve started to be able to answer my own question: Is there life after miscarriage? I can now answer yes, but not without adding that life will never be the same. I don’t know if I think about my miscarriage every day anymore, but it is still a prevailing thought. I can’t look at my pregnant (and now showing) co-worker without pangs of regret, feelings of loss and more than a twinge of jealousy. After all, today would have marked 16 weeks for me. I might have been starting to grow a little tummy.

Last night, I burst into tears when reading another blog. The author’s beautiful post was a letter to her unborn child at 7 weeks. She called it her “little blueberry.” If you’ve read my very first posts, you would know that this is what I used to call my baby. Each week, I would read the week-by-week guides that walked me through the baby’s development, explaining how big the embryo would be by comparing it to fruit. I made it all the way from an orange seed to a large raspberry before I miscarried at 8 weeks.

Today I had an experience that really put things into perspective for me. I’ve been very focused on myself lately, just trying to deal with the miscarriage. My workplace had arranged for a group of staff to do some volunteer work at a local charity, packing up Christmas hampers for families in need. I was thrilled to be able to take part in this, and decided to also sponsor a particular family by raising money to pay for a hamper full of food, school supplies and warm clothing, plus hopefully get them a few extra gifts. Because of a connection I had made with a wonderful woman via Twitter, we were able to have the opportunity to deliver the hamper and gifts in person directly to the single mother and her two kids.

We packed up food, jackets, scarves, mittens, notebooks and other supplies, as well as a crock pot. With the money we raised, we also bought each of the kids $150 worth of gift certificates to stores that they would like to shop at, and got mom a certificate to treat herself to a spa treatment, plus some bubble bath to enjoy at home. We met the family at their co-op apartment, and upon seeing all the packages we had brought, the mother burst into tears. Her little boy was so happy to see all the gifts. It melted my heart to see him excitedly packing up the bags and boxes into a cart to take upstairs to their home.

I feel like we changed their life a little bit today by giving them Christmas. This was an experience that was good for my soul – something I think I really needed to help put things back into perspective. For the first time since October, I felt lucky.

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back in the saddle

December 13, 2009 at 2:49 pm (Trying to conceive) (, , )

We’re trying to get pregnant again. This time things definitely feel different. Because of this miscarriage, I’ve lost all of that innocence that I had the first time we tried to get pregnant. Back then, it was all excitement. This time, I am feeling hopeful but that element of emotional cautiousness is definitely at the forefront. Even though I’m excited to be trying, I have a lot of fears this time around and I wonder what I’ll feel when we do get pregnant again.

Will I be so scared to have another miscarriage that I won’t be able to enjoy being pregnant?

M says he’s sure that I will still be excited and that the fear will be greatly outweighed by the joy I will be feeling. He says that’s just my personality to get giddy and excited about things. I’m not sure about that. I suppose I can see it happening that way, but I do wonder if the immense grief that I went through will stop me from being able to feel happy freely. I wonder if I’ll always have that feeling of uncertainty that will prevent me from developing a bond with my baby like I did the first time.

There are so many things that I think I might hold back from doing next time around. I think I might stop playing hockey immediately as soon as I find out. Why take the chance of taking another fall that could cause a miscarriage? I definitely won’t be doing hot yoga even as we’re trying to conceive. Why risk  doing strenuous activity and overheating that could cause the embryo not to implant correctly? Did I get enough rest last time? Did I try to do too much? A lot of what I’ve read says that if the embryo is strong and viable, there’s really not too much you can do to harm it through your regular activities. But I have to admit that I am scared. Part of me wants to put myself on bedrest as soon as we get that positive test and stay like that until the first trimester is over. 

I’m planning on taking a pregnancy test on Christmas Day. I told M about my idea and his first reaction was to ask me if it would ruin my Christmas if it came out negative. He knows that it’s my favorite day of the year and worried that I would be so disappointed if we didn’t get a postive result on the pregancy test. I had to think about that before I answered it. I don’t think it will ruin my Christmas. I’m sure I’ll be disappointed, but the possibility of having the best Christmas present ever far outweighs that. I keep imagining how wonderful it will be if we get good news on Christmas morning. The whole day would shine.

I haven’t looked forward to Christmas this much since I was 6 years old and I would go to bed praying and wishing for Santa to bring me a Cabbage Patch Doll.

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hoping for a miracle

December 4, 2009 at 11:48 pm (Thoughts) (, , , )

I’ve read in many places that your body becomes super fertile after a miscarriage. One of our best friends had a miscarriage and concieved immediately afterwards, before she even had her period. She carried the baby to full term and now has a little boy.

One of the most helpful things that M has told me is his theory of a miracle. If you think about it, it truly is a miracle that life can begin. So many things have to go just right in order for this to work. Sometimes it can be tough to get things right the first time around. I’m trying to think of my miscarriage as a “practice round”. This was my first pregnancy, and my body just didn’t know quite how to go about building a baby. Now it’s had it’s practice round and (hopefully) knows what to do the second time around.

It’s only a few more days now until we start trying again and I’m definitely hoping and praying for a miracle to happen.

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counting down

December 2, 2009 at 9:44 pm (Trying to conceive) (, , )

Next week we are going to start trying again.

I’ve put the calendar back up in our room. After a couple of weeks of cringing every time I saw it, I had taken it down because it hurt too much to think of where I should have been in my pregnancy. I used to look at it with excited anticipation of each coming Thursday to mark another week passing by but it had turned into a cruel reminder. Now I can look at it again and count down to the day we can start trying to conceive. Only a few more days to go…

It’s such a different feeling now that I got my period last week. I have finally stopped waking up each morning and thinking about my miscarriage. It still stings when I see a pregnant woman or hear about yet another person who’s pregnant. (Has everyone other than me suddenly become super fertile?? It seems like I hear of 2-3 more women getting pregnant every week since I miscarried!) Other than that awful phone call from the prenatal clinic on Friday because my appointment had not been cancelled, I’ve been doing really well. And even then, I was able just to clench my teeth and escape to the solitude of the bathroom to shed a few angry tears. It was a nasty shock and biting reminder, but I was able to deal with those emotions and move on through the rest of my day. If that had happened a week before, it would have certainly sent me into a wild torrent of anger and desperate sadness.

A few times, I’ve allowed some fearful thoughts to cross my mind. What if I have another miscarriage? How will I be able to deal with another loss? But I push the thoughts away and force myself to think positively:

This time it will happen. I’m going to have a baby.

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