Monthly Archives: July 2012

She Says… Skinny Minny

Over the last few months I have been surprised at how Owen’s clothes have continued to fit. He’s no longer growing out of things weeks after I buy them. When he plays around on our scale at home, the number has been stuck on 26 pounds for what feels like forever. I realize there is a natural leveling of the growth curve at this point in a toddler’s life, as they cannot continue growing at the crazy rate of the first year forever, but still, I worry. I see his little ribs sticking out and I worry. I see the other kids in his class with adorable chubby cheeks and pudgy tummies and I worry. Is he too skinny? Am I not feeding him enough? There was a time when we lived our lives by the growth charts, when Owen was having nursing issues weight loss and reflux. Those days are long gone, but perhaps that paranoia is still ingrained in my brain.

While he is still a very adventurous eater and will try lots of new things and eats a ton of healthy foods, he has recently reverted back to eating only a few bites and then saying, “All done!” as soon as we sit down at the table for a meal. One of the things I struggle with most as a parent is not responding by saying, “How about one more bite of X?”, or, worse yet, “No. You’re not all done. You need to eat more food.”. Believe me, I know I’m not supposed to say these things. And believe me, I still hear them coming out of my mouth. I’m a work in progress.

Anyway, we had Owen’s 2 year well visit with our pediatrician last Friday. I was anxious to see where he fell on the growth charts. I was shocked to see that he is 50th %ile for weight! The thing that makes him seem like such a skinny minny is that he is nearly 90th %ile for height.

Height: 36″ (87th %ile)
Weight: 27lb 12.8oz (47th %ile)

He still has a teeny tiny head (15th %ile). That explains why he can still wear his 18 month hat :) But otherwise he is the picture of a happy, healthy two year old! Worries begone. Apparently he DOES know what he needs to be eating better than I do.

When we first saw the doctor, we both laughed and said, “It’s been so long since we saw each other!”. I actually can’t believe how long it has been since we went to the doctor or blogged about Owen being sick. Given that the child was at the doctor’s office at least twice a month for the first year of his life for various illnesses, ear infections, upper respiratory infections, allergic reactions, skin issues, etc., it is AMAZING to me that I can count on one hand the amount of times we have been there since December. Oh how our lives have changed.

Once we started the daily preventative asthma treatments last December, Owen’s health did a 180. The recurrent pneumonia stopped. The constant cough and runny nose stopped. He was able to stay healthy through several bouts of viruses that went through his daycare classroom. He’s sleeping better. He’s happier. He’s remarkably healthier. A few months ago our pulmonologist encouraged us to wean him off of the daily meds to see if he’s ok without them. We’ve been medicine free for 3 months now and he is just as healthy. I honestly have no idea if it was the asthma treatments or just good old fashioned TIME passing that has made the difference, but whatever it is, I’ll take it. It seems like he has [FINALLY] grown into his immune system. Maybe now he’ll be that bionic kid who never gets sick! We’ve paid our dues, right? (KNOCK ON WOOD!)

We also retested Owen for his two main food allergies — oats and wheat. Both came back within normal levels, so according to these tests, he is food allergy free. Can you hear the angels singing hallelujah?! ‘Cause I can. I’ve been testing wheat on my own little by little, as suggested by my doctor, but he still seems to be getting little patches of eczema when I do. So I’m thinking he is still dealing with a sensitivity. But that is far better than an allergic reaction, and we will continue to keep him gluten free for now and test again in a few months. Honestly keeping him gluten free at this point is easy, as we’ve been doing it for so long.

He had to get one shot and some blood taken at this appointment. Fortunately I had to get blood taken at the same time, as a follow up to make sure my HCG levels are still dropping since the miscarriage. I say fortunately because Owen watched intently as I got my blood taken and I had the chance to show him exactly what it would be like for him. The kid is TOUGH. He cried a lot while the needle was in (and I don’t blame him — they had to take 4 or 5 vials of his blood!!! Apparently allergy tests need a lot of blood) but was a total trooper and we covered him in stickers afterwards.

Successful appointment and healthy kid. Can’t ask for more than that.

She Says… Me, Myself & I

Owe is just cracking me these days. Honestly, I want to write down every single thing he says and share it with you. He just comes up with the funniest statements and questions and descriptions of things. Of course he has no idea how funny he is… he’s just… talking. But I can’t get over how amazing it is to hear random thoughts come out of this little person who until recently was just parroting back what he was hearing other people say. He keeps me laughing all day long.

He discovered something yesterday that kept HIM occupied (and laughing) for a good 45 minutes. For a 2 year old, at least my two year old, that is an ETERNITY.

Do you want to know what it was?

It was himself.

In the mirror.

I remember as a baby how he used to gaze at himself and smile and coo. We used to make funny faces at each other after his bath every night before bed. He cracks himself up in the mirror as much as he cracks me up every day. But for some reason, yesterday he caught his own eye in the mirror and walked right up to his reflection like it was a different person. I imagine there is a psychological explanation for this… separation of self or something like that. Whatever the stage is, it turned into a hilarious game. Apparently Owen thinks “Owen in the mirror” is as funny as I think he is.

He stood in front of the mirror singing songs, playing the harmonica (which is also a hilarious thing to watch a two year old do… he only got the hang of it last week and he’s been trying to figure it out for a few months) and moving his body for at least an hour. He seemed delighted and surprised as “Owen in the mirror” followed him.

Times like these I wish we had had twins. Insta-friends. But maybe “Owen in the mirror” is better than a friend because he doesn’t have a mind of his own!

I snuck a little video of this adorable playtime. Warning: unedited Mommy-cam, as my resident videographer has been traveling and working too much. It’s a bit of a slow start. But my favorite part is the very end where he says goodbye and then looks in the mirror to see if his friend is still there. When he is, there’s a moment of, “No, YOU hang up first”. He makes me laugh.

Perhaps I shouldn’t encourage that “Owen in the mirror” is a different person than the real Owen, but I just can’t help myself. I’m so glad they found each other!

She Says… Things I Never Thought I’d Say

Top 5 things I never imagined saying, but have heard come out of my mouth in the last week.

5. Hands! Out! Of! The! Freezer! (Someone has discovered the icemaker recently and every time he walks by the freezer he says, “I need ice!”. He uses his whole body weight to pull open to freezer door, or waits until I’ve opened it to get out something for dinner, and pulls open the ice drawer. He grabs a cube (or 10 or 20) and either pops the whole thing in his mouth, freaking me out that he’s going to swallow it and choke on it, or carries it around until it gets too cold and drops it somewhere sneaky so it melts on the floor. Who would have thought you’d have to convince a child that the freezer is too cold to hang out in.)

4. Eyeballs are not for touching. (Seriously, people. They are not. Sadly, Owen does not agree.)

3. If you eat one bite of ice cream, you can have 2 animal crackers. (More to come on this in a post next week, but Owen is SKINNY. He keeps getting taller and not any wider, and recently we’ve been looking for ways to add calories to his meals. The other night Benjamin suggested ice cream after he ate a great dinner, but Owen didn’t even want it! He had just gobbled tofu and stir fry veggies and cellophane noodles and edamame and yet he didn’t want ice cream. Weirdo. I found myself bargaining with his favorite treat, animal crackers, just to get him to try a bite. Definitely something I never thought I’d say, as a super healthy eater myself.)

2. Don’t touch your penis while you’re waiting for peepee to come out. Just say, “Peepee where aaaaaaaare youuuuuu?”! (‘Nuff said. Peeing on the potty has become a nightly, pre-bath event (no, not in an effort to begin potty training early – I’m not rushing that milestone! – but just in a “hey, this is a potty and we can go pee in it!” way), and Owen is SO excited when peepee actually comes out that he often grabs his penis and tries to squeeze it out manually. Not the lesson I was hoping to teach. Good things come to those who wait.)

1. WE ONLY EAT FOOD, NOT BUTT CREAM! (This has become a family joke, so I think we’re repeating it less out of necessity and more to get a laugh, but this is said at least once every night while we’re getting Owen ready for bed. And always with Owen imitating eating butt cream, and then stopping his finger before it goes in his mouth and then directing it straight to his butt. Hilarious. And yes, the first time it passed through my lips, I said it very seriously!)

What has come out of your mouth recently that you never thought you’d find yourself saying?

She Says… 2 Years

To my big two year old,

Where do I begin? The person that you are becoming is absolutely impossible to capture in words. It’s surprising to me that so much of your personality was evident from the day you were born, but I didn’t recognize it at the time. I still remember all of the details of that day so vividly. The way my stomach involuntarily clenched tighter than I ever thought possible, and grew tighter and tighter with each contraction. The way I squeezed my eyes shut and furrowed my brow and tried my best to breathe deeply as my body, and your little body, took over my mind. The way the light came into my hospital room. The way Daddy looked so helpless. The squeak of the exercise ball under my extra weight as I rolled around the room trying to be as comfortable as possible. The way my swollen feet stuck to the floor as I paced back and forth from the bed to the ball to the bathroom. The way I looked out the window at the clouds in the morning sky and wondered what your sweet little face would look like when this was all over. What your voice would sound like. What you’d be like when you grew up.

I had no idea, at that moment, that in two years you would be the hilarious, silly, rambunctious, fearless, wildly extroverted, sweet little charmer that you are today. I had no idea that Daddy and I would sit around at night and marvel at how perfect you are. (It’s true. We do. Yes, still.). I had no idea that you would become the funniest person I’ve ever met. I had no idea that you would be so hungry to learn new things, and, even at two years old, ask incredibly astute questions.

I had no idea that you would be so social that you would learn everyone’s name you have ever met, and that you would repeat them day after day and constantly ask “What’s her name? What’s his name?” about everyone from the mailman to the person on tv. I had no idea that you would love to sing to yourself. (Confession: Your newly discovered “singing voice” is just about the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard. An awesome remix of “Tinkle, Tinkle” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep” is, by far, your favorite song to sing).

I had no idea you would get so much joy out of running around with balloons on your birthday. I had no idea you would look forward to bathtime every night so you could chase the bar of soap around and squeal, “WHERE’D IT GO?!”.

I had no idea you would adore being the center of attention as much as you do. (Ok, I could have guessed that, judging by the fact that you are a product of Daddy and I, but you really glow in the spotlight. People can’t take their eyes off of you, and you’ll do anything to keep the show going.). I had no idea that you could fall off the couch a million times, bang your face on the coffee table, fall off the climbing wall at the playground and get countless bruises and scrapes every day, and still grin and say, “AGAIN!” instead of crying. You are like a rubber ball. You’re so tough it takes my breath away. And scares the crap out of me at the same time.

And yet, I had no idea you would also wake up tearful sometimes and say, “Hold you, Mommy? Rock in chair?”, looking up at me with your clear, blue eyes. You love to snuggle, and to pretend to sleep together (which you dubbed “honk-shooing” the other night, because we always pretend to snore). (I think I died a little right there from the cuteness.). There is nothing I love more than those sweet cuddles. I don’t care how big you get; I hope you always want to rock with me. I’ll always be here to rock with you.

I had no idea, two years ago, that you would be so darn smart. Do you know what words you learned at school today? “Constantinople” and “Timbuktu”. Do you even know you just turned two today? Sometimes your sentences are so clear and your statements are so profound that I forget too. I had no idea I would want to videotape everything you do and send it to all of our friends and family constantly. But honestly, you amaze me just about every minute of every day.

In short, you are an awesome kid. And you’re growing up to be such an awesome person. And I bet when you read this you’ll be all, “Aww, Mom. Shut up. And stop saying awesome. You’re so lame.”. But I mean it. Your personality is absolutely the best parts of Daddy and the best parts of me, and some of your own special sauce too. It’s a combination far better than I ever could have imagined, two years ago, while I waited to see your face.

I love you. I love every little bit of you, even the parts I haven’t even seen yet. Don’t ever forget it.

Love,
Mommy

She Says… The Big 2

Well, technically he’s not 2 until tomorrow at 12:33pm, but since we had the big birthday bash this past weekend, in his mind, the exciting part of turning 2 is already over.

It was AWESOME.

The morning of the party I got inspired to make Owen a birthday tee shirt. It was surprisingly easy, and though I probably should have been concentrating on things like icing the cake and cupcakes and making appetizers, everything got done and the shirt turned out pretty darn cute (if I do say so myself).

The “cars, trucks and things that go” theme was so much fun. I got constructions hats and noise makers for the kids when they came in the front door. The noisemakers were a huge hit!

We had about 25 people and over 10 kids… so it was a full house! We continued the party outside where the kiddos splashed in a little wading pool (with construction themed rubber duckies) and burned off the sugar from all of the treats.

Even the adults got in on the fun!

And then there was cake. Oh yes, TRUCK CAKE. As I mentioned before, Owen was fixated on having a truck cake (hence the entire party theme). I found some inspiration on Pinterest and then went to work creating my own.

I was so proud of myself! It is only the 2nd cake I’ve ever made. (This one, at least year’s party, was the first). I know everyone said, “Take it easy. Buy the cake.”, but I got SO MUCH JOY out of making this cake for Owen. And a little joy is just what the doctor ordered, even if it meant a few hours of extra work.

The truck theme continued to cupcake toppers and signs and decorations. I love a theme party!

Owen loved every minute of the party. He kept saying, “So many friends over!” and “TRUCK CAKE”. He played so nicely with everyone, shared his toys like a champ and no one had any meltdowns or major altercations. An all-around success, I would say.

Check out this grin! I would say Owen’s favorite part of the party was when everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to him. He looked around smiling and said, “Happy Birthday to me!”. Attention hog, much?! Don’t know WHERE he got that…

I love throwing parties!

We didn’t have Owen open presents at the party because I think it’s a lot of pressure for a) him to give a good reaction, b) other kids to sit while he gets to open presents and c) everyone to “share” after a new toy has just been opened. I opted to save them all for a quieter time when we could appreciate opening each one. I felt a little guilty that people wouldn’t get to see their gift opened and appreciated, though.

What do you do at birthday parties? Is there a certain age at which present-opening can be done without drama? Is it a good idea/bad idea?

She Says… You Were Right

First of all, a huge, huge thank you to everyone who read last week’s posts and reached out in comments, emails, tweets and phone calls. I apologize for not having the time to respond to each one individually, but please know that I read each one and was so touched by your words and your stories and I am so thankful to be part of such an awesome, supportive community.

There are so many layers to recovering from a miscarriage, especially for me having struggled with fertility issues in the past. An important thing I’ve learned: the physical and emotional recovery are not always on the same timeline. I find myself now feeling like I am in a great place emotionally/mentally. I am positive about the future and I’m ready to move on. I’m sad about what happened and I’m anxious about my babymaking timeline, but overall, I know we’re going to be ok and all signs point to the fact that I will get pregnant again. My physical recovery, though so many people have told me that was the easy part (though everyone admits there is NO easy part), is long and drawn out and not at all the discrete event I thought it would be. I don’t know if it’s the blood loss or the hormones or the fact that I haven’t been sleeping well, but I am WIPED. Still. A week later.

That said, I think I’m on the upswing now. My bleeding is decreasing (especially since I came home from work early yesterday and laid on the couch for 3+ hours) and I haven’t passed a large clot since Tuesday. Last night I actually got a little sleep. I feel more myself today than I have since last week. I think I’ve turned the corner.

Y’ALL WERE RIGHT. In general, I am completely unable to sit down and stop doing All The Things. I don’t know how to relax. I didn’t let myself relax, and my body paid the price this week. Yesterday’s few hours of laying on the couch (withOUT also doing work on my laptop or making phone calls or emailing on my Phone) was exactly what the doctor ordered. Exactly what YOU ordered.

So, thank you. For telling me what I knew, but somehow wouldn’t believe until everyone told me so. As soon as I finish work today I will park my butt on the couch and not lift a finger. We’ll see how long this lasts.

(Not very long, I can guarantee, because it is ONE adorable little boy’s birthday party this weekend and I have promised him a TRUCK CAKE. Now I just need to figure out how to make a truck cake… . Thank goodness for Pinterest.)

Happier posts to come next week! Promise!

She Says… Powering Through

Last Thursday night was awful. There’s no other way to describe it. Just… awful.

Friday I took it easy. I stayed in bed as long as possible in the morning (and Owen cooperated by sleeping in later than ever before!). I took Benjamin up on his offer to make me breakfast (egg and avocado on toast), as I was starving but too weak and tired to make anything myself. I stayed on the couch for most of the day. I napped when Owen napped. I was still cramping and bleeding quite a bit and felt woozy most of the day, but was generally ok. Despite that long day, I barely slept at all.

Saturday I woke up and had to rally. I had planned to host not one but TWO parties. I had the option to cancel them, but I thought actually busying myself with the prep would help drag me out of “sitting on the couch all day” mode. Oh, and Benjamin promised to do all of the cleaning and work for both parties! I whipped out two quiches while Benjamin cleaned the house and a couple hours later we hosted 12 of my closest girlfriends and their husbands and kids. The hugs from them were worth the party prep. It’s so amazing to be surrounded by dear friends who know what you’re going through. When they left, we put Owen down for a nap and I went to work cooking and baking for the 2nd party, an outdoor movie party we planned with our neighbors. A few hours later I made it through that party and headed to bed. Despite that day, chock full of activity and friends and parties, insomnia struck again.

Sunday was more of the same. A friend stayed overnight and we spent the morning together. After Owen went to bed I headed out to dinner with a group of my mom group friends (remember my mom group from when Owen was tiny?). Sunday night I STILL couldn’t sleep. By Monday morning I headed to work dangling by a string. I was TIRED of insisting “the show must go on”. I was EXHAUSTED from not sleeping. I was NOT looking forward to running a week-long training event at work.

My usual method of coping with stress or sadness is to power through. I put on my brave face and I just… go. I push it out of my mind and charge ahead. Work through the pain. Sometimes working even harder because of the pain. Usually, this serves me well. In a sense I thrive on that kind of energy and it makes me feel strong. You know what they say, “Fake it ’till you make it”. The more I pretend I’m ok, I really become ok.

But you know what?

I’m not sure it’s the best way to get through this particular struggle.

I smiled through dinner with friends while they discussed their new babies and baby bumps about to pop. I gave a brave nod, held back the tears and told everyone I was doing ok when they asked me how I was doing. I cooked when I should have been napping. I told my manager I could handle this training week and would be ok. Go go go. Though all of that activity certainly took my mind off of the miscarriage and my own sadness, it has bubbled to the surface at unexpected times. I know it’s still there and I haven’t given myself the time to heal yet. Physically AND emotionally.

I find myself crying when I don’t even mean to. A simple “how are you?” from a random person and I feel my eyes welling up. In the shower in the morning, for no apparent reason. When I can’t sleep. For most of the day, I’m rushing around from one activity to the next, and then all of a sudden I will feel the tears come over me and I have to sit down. I know it’s the hormones. The same thing happened after I gave birth to Owen. It’s the hormone crash. I remember how it felt then and it feels the same now.

In addition to the random tears, I’m also still bleeding. Bleeding and passing shockingly large clots. Apparently when I said “it’s over“, I had no idea what I was talking about. It’s not over. My body is still cramping and working hard to expel that tissue. Even though the actual pregnancy tissue may have come out on Thursday, apparently there are other things that need to come out still, and in my case they are coming out in masses that I have to experience passing along with uncomfortable cramps. Not so fun to be going through while I’m trying to put my happy face on and run a corporate event single-handedly this week.

I’ve called the doctor twice about the bleeding. She seems slightly concerned with the size of the clots, but said that the bleeding sounds “moderate” and not “heavy” and should taper off soon. If it doesn’t taper by Thursday, I have to go back in for an ultrasound and possibly a D&E procedure to make sure everything is out. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I am physically incapable of LAYING DOWN and TAKING IT EASY, especially over the last few days. It also doesn’t help that I have to run this event this week for work, which means early mornings, late nights and a lot of running around in between. But who knows if getting off my feet would help, really.

All I know is that I am terrified of having a D&E at this point, after all that I’ve already been through. Enough is enough. So think some happy thoughts for me over the next few days, please!

She Says… Pregnancy #2 Journal: Part 5

If you haven’t read Sunday’s post, please do so before reading this one. This week’s blog posts will be back-dated journal entries of what I experienced over the last 11 weeks regarding a pregnancy that will end in miscarriage.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

So that brings us to the present day. Well, to yesterday, really.

Yesterday I had what I hoped to be my last ultrasound of this whole awful ordeal. The ultrasound tech and I smiled weakly at each other, both knowing what I was there to see (or, not see). After much poking, I quietly asked, “Has the heartbeat stopped?” and she nodded. To my surprise, I felt nothing but relief. I have had time to be sad and cry and mourn, and now all I feel is an intense need to move on. Keep chugging. Try again.

My midwife saw me quickly and we talked through my three options again. Benjamin and I had decided that we would try medical management at home (that is, taking a medicine to induce the miscarriage at home) instead of waiting for nature to take its course or getting a D&C/D&E procedure. I was still scared of what it would feel like, and even more scared that I would be part of the 15% for whom it just “doesn’t work”, who still end up needing a procedure, or, worse yet, an emergency one if something goes wrong. Lots of things to worry about, no matter which option I chose.

I had originally planned to take today off of work and take the pills this morning (Friday morning). But my midwife encouraged me to taken them when I got home on Thursday and then try to sleep. The medicine can work as quickly as a couple hours, or take as long as 2 days (and sometimes even longer… like a whole week!). She said generally, though, if it’s going to work, it will work in a few hours. The earlier I take them, the earlier I can get on to the rest of my life and “enjoying my weekend” as she said. Ha.

With the pills, I had two options. I could take them orally (letting them dissolve under my tongue) or as vaginal suppositories. I chose orally, because I thought it would be “easier”, but let me tell you, if I had to do it all over again, I would NOT make the same decision! The pills took ages to dissolve (30 minutes?!) and got all powdery and disgusting in my mouth. Yuck.

I took the first dose at 5:30pm. At 8:30pm I had only very minimal cramping, so I took the 2nd dose (some people don’t need both doses, it just depends on your body). By 9:30pm I was having extreme, consistent cramping. Almost everyone had told me, “It won’t be any worse than your worst period cramps.” Well, maybe my periods have been good to me, or maybe they are all liars, or maybe my reaction to the medicine was different, but these cramps were a lot more intense than regular period cramps. I was hunched over on my couch with a heating pad and still in a lot of discomfort. I had a slight fever and debated calling the doctor’s office, since both of these things were on the “Warning Signs” list. Finally, around 10pm I popped one of the painkillers I had been prescribed as well. Probably should have done that sooner.

Just like when your body goes into labor (because really, let’s be honest, that’s exactly what my body was doing), everything softens. And I do mean everything. So the first and only real symptom I experienced other than cramping and bleeding were some pretty extreme, uhh, how shall I put this… loose bowels? Essentially I was shivering cold, having super uncomfortable cramps and couldn’t get off the toilet. Loooovely.

So, all in all, almost exactly what the doctor told me to expect. Still, it felt awful.

I shuffled to my bed with my heating pad at about 11pm. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to sleep with heating pads on, lest you catch fire in the middle of the night, but I knew I wasn’t going to be doing much sleeping and it was the only thing that seemed to cut the pain. The cramps got continually worse and my temp climbed for the next 2 hours, and finally I reached the climax. I passed the pregnancy tissue in one piece. It was actually kind of amazing to see it. I felt the same sort of awe at what our bodies are capable of as I did when the doctor held up my placenta for me to see after Owen was born. Bodies are AMAZING.

To be honest, I expected to feel a deep sadness or sense of loss at that moment. I was, in that moment, no longer pregnant. But what I really felt was an overwhelming awe for my body and what it had done and complete and total relief that it was OVER. I don’t know how to explain it, but I honestly wanted to wake Benjamin up and give him a high five. Maybe it was the hormones, but I felt so darn happy that my body had done exactly what it was supposed to do. I climbed back in bed with an exhausted smile on my face.

Over the next few hours my temp normalized, the cramps reduced and it began to feel just like I was having a normal period. I barely got a wink of sleep (I think my adrenaline was pumping and I was still somewhat uncomfortable with cramps for the rest of the night). I’m still bleeding this morning and feel like I’ve been hit by a bus, but I’m OK. I did it. I survived.

In hindsight, I probably should have waited until Friday morning to start the process so that I wouldn’t have lost an entire night’s sleep. Alternatively, perhaps the D&C would have been a simpler and more efficient way to get through the hard part. One will never know.

All I need to know now is, it’s over. And it’s time for a nap for me.

She Says… Pregnancy #2 Journal: Part 4

If you haven’t read Sunday’s post, please do so before reading this one. This week’s blog posts will be back-dated journal entries of what I experienced over the last 11 weeks regarding a pregnancy that will end in miscarriage.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

June 29th, 2012

After facing the news head on and putting on a brave face for Benjamin (over the phone, since he was still traveling), I wallowed. I went and got a pedicure in the middle of the afternoon. I ate an entire bag of cheese flavored Pirate Booty. I called my mom and cried and cried. Then I called my sister (a doctor who has experienced 2 miscarriages followed by 2 beautiful daughters) and cried and cried some more. The next night my brother called me because he had been thinking about me so much, and although I told myself I was done with crying, I cried some more. Despite not being “a crier”, I just couldn’t stop the waterworks. It was cathartic. It was exactly what I needed to do. There’s no way to sugar-coat it. This sucks, no matter how this story turns out, or how strong of a person I am.

I put myself on self-imposed “bedrest when possible”. Sometimes that meant running around after Owen and tossing him into the air a million times just to see him grin and squeal (hey, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do), and other times it meant laying on the couch in our living room for as many hours a day as I could stand. I napped when Owen napped. I stopped working out and even walking very far in the heat. First trimester exhaustion + bedrest + fear of moving = a match made in heaven. Ha.

Today we drove up to New Hampshire for the first half of our vacation week (Owen’s daycare is closed for the week of 4th of July, so we decided to get out of town over those days we weren’t paying for school). On the drive up I tried my best to put my nausea behind me and be at peace with the situation, whatever happens.

All of the clichés are 100% true. This is out of my control. There is no substitute for time. The best thing I can do is be good to my body. This helplessness blows.

I am not nearly as Zen inside my head as I seem on the outside.

July 5th, 2012

Ultrasound day. (You know, for what feels like the millionth time). To be honest, this 8-day wait couldn’t have come at a better time. The last few days were chock full of fun, activity, good food and in-laws who couldn’t wait to take Owen off my hands for a few hours. I napped. We took walks. We went whizzing down a mountain on a zipline. We went to an amusement park. Then we drove to a friend’s beach house for a few days. We walked down to the beach and waded in the ocean. We grilled delicious burgers. We laughed at all of the silly things our 2 year olds said. In short, it was the perfect way to pass the days. They practically flew by.

And yet, still, in the back of my mind during all of these activities, was the dread. The dread of what we would see in today’s ultrasound. The scenarios I played in my head over and over again of the various outcomes. The questions of “Am I still pregnant?” every minute of every day. It was exhausting.

We drove home from the beach a little earlier than we planned so we could make it in time for my ultrasound appointment. Though Benjamin was home this time, we didn’t have time to find a babysitter for Owen, and frankly there had been enough disruption in his schedule with staying in different rooms and late bedtimes, etc., that we decided Benjamin should stay home with Owen when I went to get my results. I knew I wouldn’t be able to fully concentrate if Owen was there, and frankly I didn’t want to have to temper my emotional response knowing that he’d probably be freaked out to see me crying. So, reluctantly, I headed to the appointment alone. Again.

When I went in, I told the ultrasound tech (the same woman I had seen for the other two ultrasounds) that although of course I was hoping for a positive change, I was as prepared as possible for bad news. I know it isn’t her job to deliver that news, and I hoped that my candidness and composure would help her feel less awful having to tell me that the pregnancy wasn’t viable.

As she started the procedure, I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. After what seemed like an eternity, I asked her if she could tell me what she was seeing. She said, “I see a flickering heartbeat. You are measuring 6 weeks and 1 day.”

6 weeks and 1 day. Ouch. I had measured 6 weeks at the last ultrasound (a week ago) and by the calendar I was nearly 11 weeks along. I knew what she was saying without her having to say it.

“What is the heart rate?” I asked her. I summoned every ounce of strength to keep it from wavering. I guess there was still a tiny part of me that thought, maybe this can work? Maybe my dates are still just off? “67” she said quietly. She had said enough. I knew what the nurse was going to say. I had done my research.

Surprisingly, I was ok. I think having the information that something was wrong for so long helped me to come to peace with the outcome. I had prepared myself for “Oh my goodness! What a wonderful surprise! You are measuring 7.5 weeks and everything looks great!” and also the opposite, “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat”. What I wasn’t prepared for, though, was a continuation of this nebulous wait-and-see period. That was harder to receive than I expected.

When the nurse/midwife came in, she discussed what happens next. In short, nothing. Even though it is clear that this pregnancy is not viable, they/we cannot “do” anything until the heartbeat stops on its own. Once the heartbeat stops, I will have three options. 1) Wait and see if my body expels the tissue on its own, 2) take a medicine to induce a miscarriage at home or 3) schedule a procedure (D&E) to physically remove the tissue from my body.

But until the heartbeat stops? Nothing. I literally sit around and wait for the tiny beating heart inside my body to stop.

Wow. I thought I was as prepared as I could be for today’s appointment. But I really hadn’t considered the possibility that the outcome would be to just… wait. And do nothing. Even knowing that the life growing inside of me is not going to be growing for very much longer.

So we scheduled an appointment for next week. It feels strange and uncomfortable to be wishing that we don’t see a heartbeat at that point, but at least we will be able to move forward and try again after that. Until then, we wait.

I’m scared. I’m scared of what a miscarriage will feel like. I’m scared that it will happen when I’m at work or commuting on the train. I’m scared that it will hurt. I’m scared that it will take us a long time to get pregnant again, and now we’ve “wasted” so much time from when I wanted to have a sibling for Owen. I’m scared that my fertility struggles aren’t just a part of my past, as I thought they were. I’m scared that it will happen again. I’m scared I won’t be able to relax and enjoy future pregnancies out of fear. I’m the most scared there won’t be any future pregnancies.

I know how common early miscarriages are. I know that most women wouldn’t even have had 1 ultrasound at this point in their pregnancy while I’ve had 3, so perhaps I should consider myself lucky. I know that one miscarriage (and even 2 or 3) does not have an impact on future fertility. But it still doesn’t change the fact that this is so, so hard.

She Says… Pregnancy #2 Journal: Part 3

If you haven’t read Sunday’s post, please do so before reading this one. This week’s blog posts will be back-dated journal entries of what I experienced over the last 11 weeks regarding a pregnancy that will end in miscarriage. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

June 27th, 2012

Benjamin is traveling (again!), but I didn’t want to wait too long before my next ultrasound, so I went this morning by myself. I’ve been feeling sick and exhausted enough that I’m sure I’m still pregnant, but right before the appointment I also became acutely aware of that “something doesn’t feel right” feeling I’ve had since the very beginning. I started to get really nervous about what I was going to see… or, more importantly, what I wasn’t.

During the ultrasound the tech asked again about how far along I was. Again. Shouldn’t she know this? Isn’t it on my chart? It was the same tech as last week, so I think she actually knew more than she let on. Despite the fact that I am 9.5 weeks counting from the last day of my last period, and should be about 7.5 weeks judging by the last ultrasound, she said I was measuring at only 6 weeks today. 6 weeks. That’s like turning the clock back… again. She saw a heartbeat at 97 bpm. If I was really 7.5 weeks along, that number would be dangerously low. At the new guess of 6 weeks, that’s within normal, but not stellar.

Maybe I should have been happier about seeing the heartbeat. After all, I had been waiting for that moment. But I wasn’t. It was totally overshadowed by the slow growth and “young” size.

I didn’t even have Benjamin’s hand to squeeze. I just laid there. Staring at the ceiling. Yoga breathing. Trying to silence the screaming in my head.

What does that mean? How could I only be 6 weeks along at this point? Why isn’t the baby growing properly? I honestly felt like when we saw a heartbeat today, that would finally be the point that I could let out the breath I’d been holding and get 100% excited about having a baby in February. On my 30th birthday, no less. But what I realized was that the heartbeat wasn’t my ticket out of this doubt. It was yet another dribble of information leaving me completely numb. And confused. Even more confused than before.

The tech didn’t want to go into too much detail, and I knew it wasn’t her job to answer lots of questions or give me medical advice, so I held my tongue until the nurse could see me. Unfortunately I wasn’t scheduled to see a nurse (I had scheduled an appointment tomorrow with a certain midwife who I am hoping to work with). So I had to wait and wait and wait in the waiting room for AN HOUR while they found me a nurse who had time for a surprise appointment. I texted Benjamin furiously in the waiting room to pass the time. I ended up getting the same nurse who I have spoken with on the phone since the beginning of this whole saga (way back when I was calling to say, “My period’s late but my tests are negative… what do I do?”). She was refreshingly point-blank about the reality of the situation.

“Look”, she said. “It’s concerning that you’re measuring small, if you really are farther along. But the fact is that what we are measuring is SO small, that everything could be fine and dandy, just 6 weeks along at this point. And we did see a heartbeat, which is good. On the other hand, this slow growth could mean that this pregnancy is headed for miscarriage. We really just don’t know at this point. I would say you have a 50/50 chance of this pregnancy working out. We want you to come back next week for another check. I’m sorry I don’t have better news.”

As soon as I opened my mouth to ask a few questions, the tears started flowing. Hello, old friends. I remember these tears. The ones that come when what I really want to be saying is, “What the hell? Why can’t I make a baby like a normal person? Why does it always have to be so fucking complicated? How is this so easy for so many other people? What is wrong with ME?”.

As soon as I saw that beautiful plus sign with Owen almost 2 years ago, I essentially closed the door on my struggle with infertility. I haven’t ever forgotten what I went through to make him and I certainly didn’t stop thinking of the other women I knew who were still struggling, but getting pregnant with Owen was such a joy, from the very beginning, that it pulled me right out of that downward spiral of struggle and defeat and stress and frustration. I chose to concentrate on the present and the baby growing inside me, and not to wallow in the past. I moved on. I cut ties. I erased those months from my memory. But today’s appointment brought me right back there. To my old familiar place. At the mercy of my body, probability, and a whole lot of chance.

So the wait begins. Again. In 8 days we will have another look. Maybe THAT will be the moment that I breathe out and scream “I’m PREGNANT” from the rooftops. Or maybe it will be the day that we realize that this baby isn’t meant to be in this world. And there’s not a damn thing I can do now to change that outcome between now and then.