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Category: first trimester (Page 1 of 2)

One year later

Last March was the worst month of my life.

The whole month of February was spent in blissful naiveté. Then March 1st it felt like my world fell apart.

I feel the sting in little reminders. Like yesterday, I went to get a prenatal massage and in filling out the form I had a tiny little punch to the gut.

2nd pregnancy 1st birth

Then I had to talk about it to the massage therapist. She was chatty.

I also keep thinking about that first ultrasound. There was nothing to see except my empty uterus and yet I cannot stop thinking about the picture that automatically printed. My mind replays my doctor ripping it off the machine, crumpling it up and throwing it in the trash over and over. I didn’t ask for it. I wish I had although I don’t know why exactly. There are many moments that replay from that day but that one stands out the most. Such a stupid little thing.

After that ultrasound we spent 12 days in torturous limbo and then I took what little control I could of the whole horrible situation and opted to have a D&C.

That was one year ago today.

For me personally it was the best decision I could have made. As weird as it feels to say it, the actual procedure was a very positive experience. A large part of that was the wonderful hospital staff and the other part was just the fact that I was taking control of a situation that I was completely out of control of otherwise. When it feels like your world is completely spinning out of control any grasp of control can make that spinning feel slightly less overwhelming.

While that day started the healing process, it was a long, hard road to feeling like myself again. Although saying “myself” doesn’t feel quite accurate. I’m not the same person I was before all this happened.

I think that’s a good thing.

It has taken a year’s worth of time to gain perspective because in the moment and aftermath I could not fathom how anything good could come out of losing my first pregnancy.

I know Joel and I are so much closer than we ever were. Tragedies can make or break a relationship. Thankfully it made us. We had several marriage struggles in the years before our first pregnancy. I blame the fact that we were practically babies when we got married. I was only 20 and Joel was just 24. Babies. Somehow we made it through those and then, instead of letting the blinding pain of losing a pregnancy rip us apart, we relied on each other in a much deeper way than we ever did before. I wish I could give more insight into how we did that but I either do not have enough distance from that time or there is no answer. Either way, I have never felt happier with our relationship or more in love with the man I call my husband.

Another good thing that came out of this was my ability to share my experience. I hate that anyone else in the world has to lose a pregnancy. But at least now I can offer my empathy instead of just my sympathy. Everyone’s journey is different but when I was in the middle of my worst pain other people rallied around me and it help me so much. Now I can be one who rallies around others. If sharing my experience helps even one other person that is a positive thing.

I also get my Wesley out of this. Sure, part of me has struggled with the mixed feeling of missing my other almost baby and being happy about this current one. Now that I’m thisclose to holding our Wesley in my arms though I have a hard time imagining I’d change anything. I love the little boy inside of me. My rainbow baby. My little lucky charm. My Wesley. I wouldn’t have him if it weren’t for my other loss.

I’m glad this year is over because it was freaking hard. I will never forget my loss, it has forever changed me. Change is not always bad though and I anticipate beautiful things in my future both in spite and because of my loss. And the change I look forward to the most is my son. You’re welcome any time, little guy.

Why we waited

ultrasound 6w4dswI wrote this post awhile ago but couldn’t seem to find the right time to hit publish. I hope by publishing it now it might help someone else who is struggling after a loss.

The first time we got pregnant we shared with the world right away. The day I peed on a stick we excitedly drove literal hours to be able to tell our family in person and not long after that we started posting about it.

And then we lost the pregnancy.

The support and love I got from everyone in my life, including virtual strangers was overwhelming. I honestly am not sure how I would have gotten through it without the unbelievable outpouring of support. I have absolutely zero regrets about sharing as early as we did because otherwise we would have had to walk through that dark time alone.

I honestly didn’t expect to do anything different this time around.

Then I got that positive test. And instead of joy and excitement I felt complete terror. The only person in the world I told that day was Joel, and since he had left for an out-of-town business trip I told him via text. Over the next few days I told a few members of my immediate family but just over the phone, trying to sound happy but choking back tears the entire time. Their excitement almost startled me.

It was not the happy time I felt like it should have been. Instead I felt depressed and scared. I sobbed into my pillow at night. It was so confusing. There was a tiny part of my that was cautiously hopeful. I wanted to be excited. I just could. not. get there.*

My doctor was so understanding and ordered blood work immediately to check that all my levels were where they were supposed to be. I passed with flying colors. You’d think that would have encouraged me but since I didn’t get blood work done the last time I didn’t know if it was truly a good sign or not. For all I knew my hormones were perfect then too. Or not. Who knows.

Joel seemed less apprehensive than me, but still he always phrased his excitement in mights” and ifs.”

I’m so excited that I might be a dad…

If this baby is born…

I hated those mights and ifs. They stung. I can’t blame him though, I talked the same way.

The three weeks from the positive test to when I could finally get an ultrasound seemed like an eternity. Still, only my very immediate family knew. There was a part of me that wanted to share with others but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The pregnancy did not feel real to me. I could not let myself get attached. I couldn’t let myself feel any real excitement.

That was why I stayed so quiet, why I didn’t share with the world. I could not bear to hear excited congratulations when I couldn’t muster up any excitement myself. I felt enough guilt over not being over the moon about my (potential) future child. I couldn’t imagine faking giddiness for someone else.

I refused to let strangers be more excited about my pregnancy than I was.

That first ultrasound I nearly crawled out of my own skin sitting on that table. When the ultrasound finally began I strained to see anything in that round black blob on the screen. It wasn’t empty. Or at least it didn’t look empty to my inexpert eye. Of course my doctor took what felt like years to say anything and when he did he began with the exact same Well…. in the exact same tone that started the bad news last time. But this time that well ended in “…there’s the heartbeat.

I stared at that tiny, flickering blob through tear filled eyes and finally felt the first surge of attachment. Hope. Excitement even.

It would still take me awhile to feel excited enough to share with my extended family and even longer to share with you wonderful internet people. I’m eternally grateful this pregnancy has turned out to be healthy so far because I definitely would not have wanted to walk through another loss alone. But I needed to always feel that I was the most excited about this pregnancy, no matter how little that was. I couldn’t rush the excitement. I’m glad I didn’t rush it.

Because trust me, now? There is no one more ecstatic and in love with this baby than me. I’m glad that’s the way it always was.

*The post I linked to was something I wrote anonymously on Band Back Together just after I got the positive pregnancy test. It is an incredibly raw look at how I was feeling at the time. I’m so grateful that I had that resource to voice my feelings and receive some support, even though I couldn’t thank those people at the time since I wanted to remain anonymous. It really is an invaluable resource.

Done

The sun shone in the bright blue sky as I made my way into the hospital and followed the signs to registration. I couldn’t help but notice the huge sign noting that floor number 4 was for Labor and Delivery. Instead I pressed the button for floor 2, same day surgery.

It was an unusually quiet day for surgery and I was the only one on the floor. The nurse handed me a gown and ushered me into a curtained off area. She laughed when I told Joel there was no reason for him to hang back while I changed since “he’s seen it all.” I was doted on by the three nurses on the floor with as many warm blankets, smiles and kinds words as I could handle. Joel and I actually laughed and made jokes as I took in the very new experience of being the one in the hospital bed instead of the support in the chair.

Part of the hospitals security procedures requires every new staff member to verify my name, birth date and why I was there before they performed any procedure.

D&C

The words always hung in the air for a few short seconds after they were said.

Joel held my hand as I took deep breaths through my blood draw and very first IV. I didn’t pass out or throw up and when you combine my hate of needles and my already uneasy hormonal stomach that is a serious win.

I was wheeled down the hall and onto another floor for the procedure. Joel had to leave me at that point and that’s when I got really nervous. I made sure to tell him that if something were to go wrong to give me a fighting chance before they unplug me. I was mostly joking.

I had no real idea of what to expect as my surgical experience is limited to what I’ve seen on TV. I was not lifted, sheets and all, onto the operating table. It makes sense since there was no trauma but still, I didn’t realize until I was sliding myself from the bed to the table that I’d half expected it. Everything goes dark shortly after that. No mask and counting back from 10. No idea how they knocked me out actually although I assume it was something slipped into my IV.  I do remember someone calling me petite and being half complimented, half worried about what that might mean for the anaesthesia.

I was obviously in very capable hands because next thing I knew I was in recovery asking a nurse if everything went okay. I was apparently there for an hour but I truly only remember the last 15-20 minutes of it. The secrets of that room and any post antithetic antics will forever be with that nurse and the 90-year-old man next to me since Joel was only allowed in the room once I was fully conscious. Phew.

I’m still amazed how quickly I’ve recovered. Before I knew it I was eating the most delicious toast I’ve ever had in my life (not being nauseous for the first time in weeks is truly a beautiful thing) and then getting dressed and being wheeled down to the car to come home. It was honestly easier than getting my wisdom teeth pulled. Physically anyway.

As far as mentally, I’m glad that it’s over. I’m glad to not have to sit around and wait and wonder anymore. As long as my body refused to take care of things by itself and kept me feeling so lousy I couldn’t help but hang onto that lingering what-if. Now there’s no question. It’s done. I’m ready to start truly dealing with my loss and to start rejoining society. I couldn’t do that when my half my focus was on what I could stand to put in my stomach and the other half was spent trying to keep what little food I managed to eat down.

I have one more day of rest and then Thursday I will dip my toe back into the world. My healing has begun.

Scheduled

Last night I tossed and turned, took deep breaths and tried to think of anything but how much the contents of my stomach wanted to make a reappearance. As tears ran down my cheeks I made the decision that enough is enough. So this morning I called my doctor’s office and scheduled a D&C for tomorrow morning. I just want it done. Over. I want my body back.

I hate feeling sick all the time for no freaking reason. I know I’m not as sick as some. I’ve only puked once so far and that’s so much easier than what my sister and some of my other friends have had to deal with. The thing is, I wouldn’t mind being nauseous all the time if it means a chubby, healthy baby in nine months. I do mind feeling this sick just to wait for an empty sac to pass. Every time my stomach turns it reminds me that there won’t be a baby at the end of this. It makes it so much more painful for me.

It’s not worth it. It’s just making me more miserable and I’m over it. I want to really be able to deal with all the emotions without adding resentment toward my body for not being able to figure out there’s no human growing inside me.

All that being said, I’m pretty nervous about the whole thing. I’ve lived a blissfully healthy life so far and other than having my wisdom teeth pulled I’ve never had any kind of surgical procedure. I’ve been in hospitals but only as support for those who were really sick. This time I’m the one checking into the hospital. It is an outpatient procedure and fairly routine so in the grand scheme of things this is so minor. It’s still scary to me.

As scary as surgery is, I’m less worried about it than I’m worried about physical and mental toll this failed pregnancy is taking on my body. I need closure. I need to start healing.

I’m taking charge of my body and scheduling my healing to start at 9:15 tomorrow morning.

In hiding

First of all I have received so much love and support from so many and for that I’m so grateful. It really does mean the world to me to know that so many care. Really and truly from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I say this because I have basically been M.I.A. since Thursday. It’s been so hard and right now I just… can’t… talk about it out loud yet. I’ve been ignoring calls and haven’t really responded to any messages. I haven’t even checked my email. I literally can’t talk about it out loud because my throat closes and my eyes fill and it’s physically impossible to get out more than a couple words.

Plus there’s still that unknown. That IF.

That IF is torturing me.

There’s a tiny part of me that can’t help but hope it’s all a big mistake and on Wednesday when I go in for another scan there my baby will be. Of course the minute I think that my mind flashes back to the nothing I saw. That horrible, ugly void. And when I see that in my mind I can’t see how anything could possibly have been hiding. There wasn’t a flicker of what should have been.

Of course I still feel nauseous and ridiculously tired all the time. My boobs are still sore. I haven’t seen even the slightest hint of spotting or felt a cramp. There’s nothing to indicate that I’m not completely normally pregnant.

Nothing of course except the nothing that I saw.

I’m feeling so guilty now for ever having doubts about wanting the baby. Irrational or not I feel like I wished it away in those moments. I also feel guilty for hurting so many people in my life that I love. So many people have said that they’re hurting and even crying for me and while that means the world to me it’s obviously not what I want. I didn’t want to cause people pain. I now really understand why people wait until 12 weeks to announce a pregnancy. Not that I regret announcing so soon. If I was alone in all this I don’t know how I’d make it through. I guess that makes me selfish.

I also feel so betrayed and angry at my body. Stupid body. If I’m not pregnant and haven’t been in so long that a fetus isn’t even visible why do I feel like this? Stop making me gag at the thought of food or get chills from trying so hard not to puke. It’s so freaking stupid. I don’t mind feeling like this if I’m making my child but what’s the point if there’s nothing there? Just to add that little bit of misery to things? Freaking nice.

So I’m not a happy person to be around right now, I can’t even fake it. That’s why I’m in hiding. I hope you all understand and will forgive me for this. I’ve been distracting myself as much as possible and just trying to fill the days until Wednesday rolls around and I can finally get out of limbo, one way or the other.

Nothing

I keep seeing the big black void where my baby should have been.

Nothing to see.

I remember thinking at the beginning that I thought I’d hear the heartbeat.

Nothing to hear.

My uterus is measuring about half a week behind where it should be. But even so there should have been something. Something beside the black void that there was.

Nothing.

Those moments of sitting on the table before the doctor came in I was so excited. I realized in those moments how much I really did want that baby and how I couldn’t wait to see it. Funny I would realize it then, right before it was gone.

Funny how losing something that was never really there hurts so much.

I still feel just as pregnant. I could barely make it out the door this morning because I felt so nauseous.

We have another scan next week to see if there could be a mistake with how far along I am. But there should have been something. Anything.

There was nothing.

Finally?

Remember how I wasn’t really feeling pregnant?

Ha, wasn’t that nice.

Well I’m feeling it now. I’m beyond tired and achy but the worst part is the morning sickness. Psh, morning. I wish! It’s all day, every day unless I’m sleeping. Thankfully the tiredness means I sleep a lot.

Now, it could definitely be worse. I almost feel guilty talking about it considering my sister has been severely ill, as in can hardly keep anything down, for 15 weeks and counting. I, on the other hand, just feel nauseous but so far (knock on wood) haven’t puked yet.

I hope I didn’t just jinx myself typing that.

The nausea started about a week ago and at first I was almost glad. Yay, I really am pregnant! I mean, you’d think two positive pregnancy tests and a doctor visit would convince me but no, it took the turning of my stomach to convince me.

Now I’m pretty freaking sure.

I miss food.

I also feel horribly guilty for not eating enough every day. I know I’m not nourishing my body properly and as a result I’m not nourishing my baby properly. I can barely choke down the little food I eat every day and the food I do choke down is usually only with the help of ginger ale. I almost never used to drink pop and now I drink at least one can a day. I’m sure that’s not the ideal way to get extra calories every day.

My only consolation is that what I eat has stayed down so far so I am getting some nutrients every day. The food I eat I try to make healthy but when it’s a choice between popcorn chicken or nothing at all I pick the chicken of course. Today I ate an entire can of black olives and they were delicious and actually made it so I didn’t feel sick at all for an hour or so. I take what I can get.

I keep telling myself I only have about 6 weeks of this left. Even that seems like an infinite amount of time but I know it will go fast. I also keep telling myself it could be so much worse and so I can’t complain. I hope this post doesn’t come off as whining because I’m really not. This is pregnancy and I expected it.

If I end up with a healthy baby at the end of everything it will be worth every minute.

 

We have a doctor

Well today went fabulously. The practice is warm and friendly and everyone was very nice and put me at ease. We met with a nurse practitioner who doesn’t actually do deliveries but she was so bubbly and easy to talk to. She took the time to answer all of my questions and I loved her answers which is probably even more important. Joel was pretty quiet (except about the floors. They had these natural looking cork floors and whenever we were alone he went on and on about how cool they were. He even took a picture. He makes me giggle.) but when we left he said he felt really good about everything as well.

We set up our next appointment with the actual OB to do an ultrasound and measure exactly how far along the baby is. According to the chart I’m due on October 18th but once we do the ultrasound and measure the fetus things will be much more official. I think once we finally get an ultrasound things will start to sink in. With barely any symptoms it’s hard to believe I’m actually pregnant still. It feels like a dream I’m going to wake up from at any moment or something.

Speaking of dreams, I’m a bit embarrassed that I had my first real panic last night about all this. I haven’t been sleeping very well at night lately but since I knew I had to get up in time for my appointment I tried to force myself to go to bed and sleep. I tossed and turned for ages and all I had to do was lie there and think. Of course the mind hardly ever goes to happy fun places when you’re desperately trying to sleep while watching the hours left until the alarm goes off get shorter and shorter.

I started to think about what a big freaking deal this is. I mean, I’m going to be responsible for a human! And they’re never safe. Ever! I’ve been around the internet enough to know that tragedies happen and it’s rarely expected. Once we make it past the first trimester it doesn’t make my pregnancy safe. And then once the pregnancy is over I have this tiny fragile person to keep alive. And on and on it goes.

Of course I also thought about how worthless I am without sleep. And what really made me panic was the thought that come October I’m never going to sleep again. Ever. And then I had the horrible thought that I wished I could take it all back. I love my life the way it is and why in the world would I want to change it? Which of course made me feel horribly guilty. This of course made me cry even harder. I’m so lucky to have a wonderful husband that noticed my crying and rolled over to cuddle me and help me feel better and I fell asleep shortly after.

Poor guy isn’t even a dad yet and he’s already getting woken up by a sobbing human. At least I’m fully potty trained.

Of course in the light of day everything seems brighter. I’m already madly in love with this kid inside me, even though things have still yet to feel really real. Of course I want this baby and would be devastated if anything was wrong. I feel like the worst of persons for even thinking about taking it back. What kind of mother thinks that?

I did think it though and I don’t want to be fake here. It was just a horrible moment brought on by over tiredness and hormones but it was a moment.

Thankfully for the most part I’ve been unreasonably happy. I suppose it’s only natural for things to swing the other way from time to time. Right?

Any questions?

My first doctors appointment is tomorrow and I admit I’m a bit nervous. I really hope that I love this practice because the idea of interviewing doctor after doctor to find one that fits with us is not at all appealing.

A little background on me. I have been present at five births, three of which were midwife assisted home births and two were very natural hospital births. I have seen what a beautiful, natural process birth is and have never doubted my body’s ability to do it successfully. I would even go so far as to say I look forward to the challenge. Of course I understand that there can always be complications and if a caesarean will save my or my babies life I will gladly have one. My goal however is to have a peaceful, unmedicated hospital birth surrounded by the people I love the most.

There are several midwives on staff at this practice, in fact, our appointment is with a family nurse practitioner. I feel very good about my chances that they will support the type of birth that I’m aiming for. Nothing is ever a given of course so I’m trying to come up with a list of questions to gauge how good of a fit this practice is with me. Here is what I have come up with so far.

1. How many calories should I eat per day?
2. What foods do you recommend I eat? What foods should I avoid?
3. I am currently taking one “NatureMade Multi Prenatal” vitamin a day. Do you consider this a good prenatal supplement? Should I try other brands or add another supplement to my daily routine?
4. I had plans to run a 5k in June, is it safe for me to train for it? How long should I be able to continue to dance?
5. What is the caesarean rate at this hospital?
6. How many people will I be allowed to have at the delivery? (Ideally I will have Joel, my mom and one or more sisters.)
7. Do you support spontaneous, mother-directed pushing? In what positions do you allow mothers to push?
8. We are considering taking Bradley method birthing classes. How to you feel about that method and are there any instructors in the area you recommend?
9. How do you feel about delayed cord clamping/cutting?
10. What determines who is going to be at my delivery?

For those of you that have done this before, what do you think? What should I add/change?

Maybe it’s weird but this first doctors visit feels so grown up to me. I feel almost silly, like I’m playing house or something. I keep reminding myself that no matter how young and un-adult I feel at times I’m 26 and that’s a perfectly reasonable time to start having kids. I also have to take a deep breath and realize that now is the time I start being a mom. It is the first time I will advocate for me and my child. My goals are perfectly reasonable and realistic. I have to force myself not to shy away from questions because I’m embarrassed or a uncomfortable.

I hope it won’t be an issue. Ideally I will feel at ease and questions will be encouraged. I suppose being made to feel rushed, embarrassed or uncomfortable this early on would be a pretty huge red flag and I would need to look elsewhere. I’m not going to focus on or anticipate the worst case scenario for our visit tomorrow though. I am very positive and hopeful that things will go really well.

I will update things after my appointment. Wish me luck!

 

Insurance fiasco

When I found out I was pregnant my first thought was OhmygoshholycrapYAYahhhhh! Yes, that’s a word. Trust me. My next thought was finding a doctor but that got pushed aside in the excitement of telling my family.

The next day I started to think about finding a doctor to confirm there is in fact a human growing in me and to eventually deliver it. I happen to be blessed with really great insurance through my job. Since Joel and I are healthy people with no strong ties to any specific doctor we chose an HMO plan so I’m limited to my network in my OB choices.

My first stop was to my “portal” to try to find a list of doctors who are in my network. I don’t visit it often because I know who my primary doctor is and we haven’t had any visits that would require me checking on any bills. I logged on and clicked around trying to find the list of doctors in my network. I remember seeing them at one point… maybe when I chose my primary doctor? But that was years ago so I didn’t know where to look. I decided the tab that said “My Coverage” was as good a place as any to start.

And that’s when the panic began.

Coverage = cancelled

CANCELLED?!?!

My heart immediately started racing and I went back through my mind to when I selected coverage during annual enrolment last year. I thought, oh god what if I did it wrong?! We didn’t get new cards this year but since ours didn’t have expiration dates on them I didn’t think anything of it. We did get new cards for our dental coverage though so I knew I’d done something right during enrolment.

I tried to take deep breaths and think anything other than oh god oh god oh god  I’m pregnant with no health insurance oh god oh god oh god!!! Frantically I looked through my phone contacts to try and find the number for my company’s benefits center.

Eight thousand prompts and two different phone numbers later I finally got a human on the phone. I held it together through all the button pushing but I admit the minute she said, “Hello, my name is Lisa, how can I help you?” I burst into tears. I’m not exactly sure how she made out what I was saying but it was something like, “Hi, I was looking at my insurance *sob* and cancelled and *sob* I just found out I’m pregnant and *sob* whyyyyy?

Bless that woman.

She got my info and was quickly able to tell me that she saw no problem on my company’s end of things. According to them my coverage was current and all good. That was when I started to breath again. She was kind enough to call BCBS for me and then transfer me over. Turns out it was just an internet problem. Apparently at the beginning of the year my policy number changed and since my login info was attached to that old number it showed as cancelled. All I had to do was reregister on the site with my new info and voila! no more problems. The nice lady even made sure our new cards were sent off and sent me a list of doctors I could see.

So now that that moment three hours of stress was over I had to get down to business and pick the person who would potentially deliver my first child.

I had a list of about 20 doctors and all I really had to go by was google to tell me if any of them are good or not.

Before I resorted to eenie meenie miny moe I DM’d the amazing Gina from The Feminist Breeder since I know she lives and works as a doula in the same general area that we live. I was a bit nervous since I know she’s insanely busy but she was so nice and after asking a couple questions she pointed me in the direction of a practice that seems to be exactly what I’m looking for. I have an appointment for this Friday so we’ll see how it goes. I’m equal parts excited and nervous.

Let’s just hope there’s no more insurance misunderstandings. Stress isn’t good for the baby!

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