The last 20 weeks.

I’ve kept a running commentary about this pregnancy since the beginning. I never really intended to not tell people until I was almost halfway done. I just kept putting it off. I’m not sure why.

I’m not going to publish everything I wrote. But I feel that I should post some of it. Particularly since I know there are several women who read here who’ve gone through losses and hopefully will also experience a subsequent pregnancy that lasts. So, I’m publishing it below the fold, so to speak. If you want to read the ups and downs and emotional roller coaster that was the first half of this pregnancy, read on. Otherwise, don’t.

PS, Bloglines readers don’t see the fold. It’s right here:

2/18: After crampiness for several days but nothing to show for it, I finally looked at the calendar and realized that I was expecting my period last week. Oops. My typical pregnancy symptom is nausea that hits immediately and lasts, well, with Wally until about 12 weeks, and I have felt fine, but lack of a period is certainly odd. So I bought a pregnancy test largely to reassure myself that I was not, in fact, pregnant.

But I am. Odd because this time, I’m really not sure when it happened.

(I mean, we were practicing very loose NFP since the last loss, to get plenty of the folic acid supplement in my system. Looking back, I’m sure I ovulated later than normal, since it was right when my mom died that I would normally have been fertile. I had fertile signals at that time, but apparently my body decided to hold off for a week or so, because I also had fertile signals a week later, which I didn’t think much about at the time…)

So here’s the thing. We were planning to go to DisneyWorld with my sister’s family in September. Sort of a well-deserved break after everything with mom. Emily and I started planning this trip the day before my mom’s open-heart surgery. But I’m due mid-October, so that sort of precludes Disney in September. I’m unwilling to go in the summer, so the trip is on hold indefinitely.

But, in a massive move away from embracing this pregnancy, we decided to go ahead and place a deposit on the trip anyway. Fully refundable until 45 days before arrival. Just in case.

Here’s how I’m looking at it. Everything goes fine and I have a baby in October, yay. OR everything does not go fine, and I go to DisneyWorld in September. Yay. I am viewing this as win-win.

3/4: So here we are, again. I had spotting on Sunday and Monday and spent the bulk of those two days crying and very anxious. Though I swore I wouldn’t, I ended up calling Cosette to schedule an ultrasound for me. And here I am. I find myself reading about miscarriages again, visiting the miscarriage support sites and threads on bulletin boards – steeling myself for what I know is to come. Part of me keeps saying “but you don’t know – you’re just freaking out,” but that part is very small and easily lost in the other part of me – the majority of me – saying that I knew all along this would happen.


I just don’t know. Some studies have suggested that women with MTHFR have higher chances of successful pregnancies with daily shots of blood thinners, but generally only if those women also have the elevated homocystine levels, which I do not have. Also, I’m not willing to inject myself daily with anything, unless I need it to live.

I don’t know where to go from here. I can’t even wrap my head around the idea of three losses in a year. Three.

I bought myself a necklace with a little treasure box and, inside the box, two birthstones to remember my two lost babies. Then that was going to be it. That was going to be the end. What will I do to remember this little one?

And where is God in this? I don’t feel Him saying that He’s done blessing us with children, so I don’t feel right saying “well, God, I’m done even if you’re not.” Has He for some reason chosen to torture me in this way? Is there a large supply of babies up there, destined not to make it, that he’s decided that I need to be the mother of for reasons I can’t fathom? Is my dad lonely up there, missing the time he should have had here on earth to play with his grandbabies, so we’re making up for it by sending a whole bunch up there to be with him? What the hell is going on here?For most of this pregnancy, I have felt very grateful and very blessed. I didn’t have my usual knock-me-on-the-floor nausea starting at about 7 dpo that I’ve had every other time. That bought me two weeks of not knowing I was pregnant, so thus two weeks of not having to stress about that at a time I was busy stressing about my mom’s death. I had NO spotting, and every day that I didn’t have any, I loosened up a bit, I was grateful, and I relaxed.

Then all that changed. 7 weeks. March 2. March doesn’t seem to be a particularly blessed month in my life, frankly. Consider that December also sucks, and we’re down to only 10 months of the year that can possibly be good months. And, of course, February just plain stinks because it’s February, the longest month of the year.

Well, we find out on Thursday. Nothing to do until then but wait.

Wednesday 3/5: Oh, my God. Could I be any more nervous? Why won’t tomorrow just HURRY UP and GET HERE? I have a new class to teach tonight, how am I going to do that? I guess I just will, because I have to. I feel like I’m just trudging through the days, trying to survive. I hate that feeling. I’m ready to move on from here. To either accept bad news, or rejoice over good news.

(undated) Well, the ultrasound showed a beating heart – yay! We relaxed considerably, until I started bleeding in earnest on the 11th and we went back in for another ultrasound on the 12th. I didn’t really want to, but we were getting ready to leave for a week for R’s grandmas’ funerals, and I also really didn’t want to start miscarrying while we were in the car or in a hotel. The ultrasound showed the heart still beating away in there, baby having grown a bit.

3/23: Sunday. Holy moly, my breasts are killing me, and Wally wants to nurse constantly with his illness. ugh. I’m taking the soreness as a positive sign, despite the bleeding that has not let up and is surely NOT HELPING with the low hemoglobin that Cosette’s concerned about. We have our appt with Cosette on the 29th and I’m quite upset about it. The appt with Cosette at 10 weeks to hear a heartbeat was when we found out last time that our baby had died. I really just want to get THIS 10 week appt behind me – and with good news, hopefully.

3/26, Wednesday: sigh. I’m anxious for Saturday and wishing it would never arrive all at the same time. One thing is really bugging me this pregnancy, and that’s how much the two losses are hanging over my head. It’s like two little creatures, perched on each shoulder, just out of my line of vision. I can’t quite look them square in the face, but they’re there nonetheless, reminding me of the losses. Reminding me that, last time, I thought everything seemed fine. Until I went to Cosette’s. Reminding me that I’m at a higher risk of miscarriage and stillbirth than most women. Reminding me that there are no guarantees, that I can no longer take for granted that pregnancy results in a baby.

Part of me is feeling that I’ll be much reassured after the appt on Saturday, and I’ll stop worrying so much, and be able to relax a bit and enjoy this. We’ve been reluctant to make any sort of plans, to get out the maternity clothes, to plan out our class schedule for the rest of the year, etc. We’re tentatively planning the rest of our weekend, and we still have two plans – one for good news at Cosette’s and one for bad news. I haven’t written in my pregnancy journal at all. No belly pictures. Nothing. It’s like we’re waiting. And part of me plans to be all better, ready to proceed with the pregnancy after Saturday. And the other part of me is downright terrified that I won’t be more relaxed. That I’ll still doubt, deep down, that I actually am going to end up with a baby in October.

The bugger in all this is that I’ll only be just barely 10 weeks when I see Cosette. We scheduled it for when I was to be 11 weeks, but I had warned Cosette that I thought I ovulated a full week late, and I was right (going by the ultrasounds) so now I’m only going to be 10 weeks. We *should* be able to hear a heartbeat, but there’s also a chance that we won’t hear one but everything will still be JUST FINE. Holy crap, what will I do if we don’t hear one? I want to be that woman who’s able to say “oh, well, let’s try again next week” but I know I’m more likely to be that other woman. The one who freaks out.

(undated) The appointment with Cosette went really well. She found the heartbeat with just a bit of effort. I don’t think she understood how much that meant to me, since we’d already seen it on the ultrasound.

4/7, Monday. OK, this is completely normal for women PG after a loss (PAL). But I can’t stop making worst-case-scenario plans. I still carry a pad with me everywhere I go. When I’m going to be out all day, I put one on, just in case. I get nervous when I don’t have a good escape from a situation just in case. I’ll be stopping by Cosette’s this week for a quick listen with the doppler, because I don’t want to tell everyone and then have to take it back if it turns out the baby’s died since we last heard it. A few people have asked when I’m out of first trimester, and past the “danger zone” for miscarriage, but all I can tell them is that I’ll be out of first tri in 2 weeks, but that milestone means nothing to me. I’ll be able to relax about having a m/c when I hit 20 weeks – at that point, if we lose the baby, it’s a stillbirth. How sick is that? Very sick. The ladies in the PAL thread at mothering who’ve had stillbirths at 40 or 41 weeks – gosh, I just can’t imagine. Several have commented in recent weeks that they can’t stop thinking about – if only their bodies had been ready to let go of their babies at 39 weeks – their babies would still be alive. That’s some heavy crap to deal with.

4/17, we told Family on Saturday, some friends on Monday, but the more people we tell, the worse I feel about the whole thing. I’m just nervous.

4/19, and all of a sudden, I”m fat! My uterus is definitely poking up over my public bone, which is really nice because I was just starting to wonder if everything was still ok and growing in there. Somebody invent that Uterus Window, please!!

5/28, After a lot of soul-searching and questioning of Dr Mahone, we decided to go ahead and go in for their recommended level II ultrasound on June 2. I didn’t want to originally…I’m terrified that we’ll find out something’s wrong and I’ll have to be upset about it for the rest of the pregnancy. But Cosette helped me to realize that I’m already upset, I’m already worried and nervous. There’s a good chance the ultrasound will help us to realize/understand that we don’t need to be worried, and I’ll be able to relax. And if not…at least we’ll be working from accurate information, rather than just worry and conjecture. Now I’m actually pretty anxious for Monday to get here. Cosette has been telling me all along that feeling movement would be very nice for me, it’s so reassuring to feel that and know everything’s OK. In a way, it is. But then there’s days when the baby doesn’t move as much as others…and I worry that the last movements I felt were the baby’s last. Sigh. This is an interesting journey, that’s for sure.

The biggest problem I seem to have is in reconciling the person I am with the person I want to be. The person I want to be is the person I was when I was pregnant the first time. Confident. Certain things would be ok. (After the initial worry when I was bleeding in the first tri, but we found the ultrasound to be very reassuring, and that u/s – when W was just a fetal pole – was all I needed.) Happy, enjoying the pregnancy. I could do anything and not worry about it. Shag? Fine. Long night of dancing? Sure. Long car trip? Absolutely. I didn’t need ultrasounds, tests, nothing. I didn’t even really want to go to prenatal appts. I didn’t need to hear the doppler every visit. Things were fine, and why wouldn’t they be?

Who am I now? I’m a woman who is nearly completely unable to enjoy her pregnancy. When I tell people about it, I find myself saying “if everything goes well, we’ll be having another baby in October.” Everything’s tentative. I still haven’t told many people and I’m almost halfway through. I’m the woman who runs to the midwife between appointments for a quick listen with the doppler. I’m the woman who seems to need constant reassurance that everything’s OK. I’m the woman who decides to get an ultrasound at 19 weeks. I’m the girl who is so utterly lacking in confidence. Who is that girl? I don’t even know her. And I don’t like her.

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