That Funny Fear.

You know the one that I mean.

The one that sits in the back of your mind, and keeps telling you things are going wrong.  The one that makes you inspect every wipe of toilet paper for any hint of pink.  “Is that blood?!  Oh wait, no, that’s just a thread.  I’m wearing red underwear.”

The one that analyzes every single cramp or twinge.  “Gas, or bad cramp?  Normal pregnancy pain, or bad cramp?  Could that be a contraction?”

It’s not even rational.  It doesn’t even give you the chance to decide that you aren’t going to worry about it, because so much is normal.  You aren’t given the opportunity to ignore what may or may not actually be there.

You just worry.

This will be another one.  I’m going to lose another baby.  What do I do then?  What happens if I can never carry another child to term?  To the end of the first trimester?  What if we can’t get pregnant again?

Every day, I close my eyes and think around it.  I tell myself to stop, to calm down, to be reasonable.  I have no reason to believe things wont turn out perfectly fine, and I try to focus my energy on positive things – think about baby names, and new bedrooms and hand-me-down clothes.  Imagine what Ronan will be like next February, and taking another maternity leave.  Worry about the money, because that’s better than worrying about another miscarriage.

Don’t worry, Mandy.  You will survive, no matter what happens.  Everything will be okay.  Just breathe.

A Secret.

So many words in my head…

I don’t know exactly how to get them out.  I never know where to start.

You see, I have this problem.  I want to keep a secret.  And I’m terribly, terribly bad at keeping secrets.  Almost as bad as my mom, who frequently asks, “do you want to try to guess what I bought you for Christmas?  It’s really, really great!  You’re going to love it… … … Okay, I’ll tell you!”

I want to keep a secret, because after having two miscarriages, I’m not prepared for a third.  After experiencing the joy of finding out we were pregnant, and sharing the news – but then having to inform everyone of our loss afterwards – I feel like my legs were constantly cut out from under me.  I would be fine, no problem, happy until someone would look at me sadly and say they were sorry.  I was great, over it, moving on until someone would walk up out of no where and give me a hug.  I was getting on with my life until a lady in the check out line asked me how old my son was, and upon hearing he was 15 months proclaimed, “Well!  It’s time to try again!”

I was tired of being reduced to tears and the smallest of things.  I was tired of feeling that twinge of jealousy over friends that were finding out they were pregnant, or having babies.

So I decided to keep everything a secret.

Only… it’s on my mind.  All the time.  Every moment of every day, all I’m thinking about is my secret.  All I want to blog about is my secret, and related stories.  It’s all I can do not to shout my secret from the rooftops.

I told Brock last night that I can’t write, I have nothing to write because I can’t write about it.  His reply? “Well, then tell everyone!”

So here you have it:  I am pregnant.

Mom, I’m sorry you find this out here.  Jane, I’m sorry we didn’t tell you this weekend.  We were trying to keep it a secret!  To tell everyone once we were out of the first trimester, once we were out of the danger zone.  And then I realized… that’s not what I do.  I write about the good AND the bad.

The good.  Brock and I are pregnant again.

The better.  This time, we have a heartbeat!

The bad?  It’s been touch and go for a little while, with spotting and a subchorionic hemorrhage by ultrasound.

But I am seven and a half weeks pregnant, farther than I’ve gotten for sure with either of my last pregnancies.  I am sick as a dog, tired all the time, excited and feeling positive.

Please, keep your fingers crossed for us.  We’re hoping that this one sticks.

Also, if you work with me… outing this on my blog is the same as going public.  So feel free to talk about me behind my back.  Or to my face.  Whichever.

Mommy Guilt.

I’m going to go ahead and write this out, because if I don’t it will continue to sit in my head and fester.
Who the hell wants a festering brain?

Not me.

So.  It’s obviously no secret that Brock and I want to have another child.  We’d been trying since January, and 2 unsuccessful attempts later, I don’t know where to stand.  I want to be pregnant so badly sometimes it hurts.  I cry and cry.  I feel like it should be easier than this, like it was the first time around.  I feel like we should just keep trying, and eventually we’ll get it right.  It feels unfair, and painful.  I hate seeing everyone else having babies, even though I’ve been there already and am thankful.  I hate hearing all of my friends that have gotten pregnant again, even though I try so hard not to feel that way.  I hate trying to plan for events that will be occurring in the next year, not knowing whether or not I should expect to be pregnant.

And at the very same moment…

I can’t quell the guilt.

So, so, so very much guilt.

Why do I want another baby so badly?  Why isn’t Ronan good enough?  I don’t want to replace him, surely, or mistakenly believe that having another baby will make me happier.  Is my imaginary ideal of a perfect family so important to me that I can’t relax and live without getting pregnant for a while?  That the only thing I can think about day in and day out is whether or not I’m ovulating, and whether or not we should do it tonight?  How much insurance is going to rape us if we DO get pregnant again?  Not caring about the money because I want it so badly?

At the very same moment, I have this huge fear of having another child.  I’m terribly afraid that I wont love my second as much as I love Ronan.  I’m desperately afraid that my mommy-Ronan relationship will suffer because of having another.  I’m paralyzingly scared of being able to handle two much, much less than I’m able to handle my one wonderful son.  Because, let’s face it, sometimes I don’t handle him very well.

Will I work with two, or will I stay home?  Can we afford for me to stay home?  Is it fair to my family for me to want to stay home, despite the cost?

It crushes me, every single second, to think that I will never have another child.  Ronan will be an only.  He will never have a little brother.  Or sister.

It crushes me even more to think that I shouldn’t have another, that I’m being selfish for wanting.

And I can’t let go of the guilt.

By The Way…

The mommy I wrote about the other day?  The one that lost her baby?

I saw her in Target yesterday.

She looked SO familiar to me.  I kept staring and staring, trying to figure out how I knew her.  It hit me like a bolt of lightening.  I had JUST written about her.  I had JUST thought about her!  And here she was, right in front of me.

She had a BEAUTIFUL baby girl with her, about a year old, and tears filled my eyes.  I was so so so very happy for her.

I wanted to go over and give her a hug.  I wanted to ask her if she remembered me.  I wanted to tell her how much she touched my life, and that she mattered.

But I didn’t have the guts.

Life is so crazy sometimes.

Some Days I Hate It.

I wrote this back when I worked for an OB clinic.  I think it’s one of the most powerful blogs I’ve ever written.  I really wanted to share it.

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There are very few days that I dislike my job.

Today was really one of them.  It wasn’t a hard day, or superbly busy, or even moderately stressful.  No one yelled at me, and I didn’t piss anyone off.  I can’t even say that I didn’t enjoy the most difficult sonohistogram that I’ve ever done.

I can’t really explain the dread feeling in my gut.  It’s hard to describe the way my heart pounds against my chest, and the way my breath catches in my throat.  The tears prickle in my eyes, and my fingers tremble.  Because the worst part is that I can’t look this mother full in the face and tell her that her baby is fine, and that everything is ok.  It hurts me so much.

My patient came in after not feeling her baby move in almost three days.  She had been out of town, visiting relatives, and noticed all of a sudden that she hadn’t been feeling that familiar flutter that reminded her of her baby girl.  She called us immediately upon returning home, and was told to go eat a big meal, drink some juice, and call back if she didn’t feel any more movement.  She was 27 weeks pregnant, into her third trimester, and she was supposed to be beyond the fear of a miscarriage.

About an hour later, she was in the office in a room with the nurses trying to find the heartbeat with a “doppler.”  They couldn’t find one.  We keep hope, thinking maybe the baby is turned upside down, or laying with her arms and legs towards the dop-tone.  We pray that everything is ok, but we feel the dread in the back of our minds.  The nurse came out of the room, and asked me to scan her.  She said, “Please, tell me you can see a heartbeat in there.”

Immediately the fear sets in.  I know there is very little chance of this being a happy ending.  I tell the doctor that I’m taking the patient in to scan, but please don’t go anywhere in case I need you.

The moment I placed the transducer on her belly, I knew all was not well.  There were no sweet legs kicking back against me.  There were no precious arms waving.  Her little heart was still, no flicker of life in her chest.  I could feel the tears stinging my eyes.  I’m not prepared to deal with this.

“Please, tell me… just tell me.  I need to know, please…”  she begs me.

“I need to take some pictures out to the doctor, ok?”  My voice is strong, and unbroken.  It lies about how I feel.  It doesn’t tell of my heart breaking inside, my mourning for her baby already gone.

I walked out the door, leaving her alone, and I couldn’t hold back my tears.  The doctor knew the moment she saw me, and cursed.  This was her second fetal demise today.

Dr. L came back in the room with me, to verify.  She can’t just go on my word, she has to see it with her own eyes.  The mother is nearly hysterical now, crying “Please don’t tell me… please don’t tell me.   Please, don’t tell me!”  The Doctor looks for nearly a full minute, before she is asked, “Please, doctor.  I have to know.  If it’s not ok, I need to know.”

“I’m sorry.  Your baby is gone.”

She cried, and cried.  She blamed herself.  She asked what she did wrong, and she cried again.  Dr. L held her while her body shook with sobs.  I held her hand as she started to catch her breath.  She said to us, “It’s ok.  I’m ok,” and we both told her, “You don’t have to be ok.”

She said, “I just want to go home.”

She called her husband to come and pick her up.  She wanted some privacy while she was on the phone and we gave it to her.  But I swear to you, right now, that the hardest thing I went through today was trying to maintain my composure when her husband walked into the room, and burst into tears himself.

They had lost their little girl.

Sometimes, I really don’t like my job.

Miscarriage.

Such a strange word.  Miscarriage.  To carry something improperly.

I haven’t written because I haven’t been ready to share EVERYTHING yet.  Sometimes, we hold our cards a little closer to our chest until we’re ready to lay them down.

Brock and I decided we were ready to start expanding our family again.  We started trying in January.

Fertile myrtle, I got pregnant right away.  I didn’t even have the chance to get fully excited – the day after I got a positive pregnancy test, I started spotting.  3 days later, I miscarried.  I was at work.  It hurt, physically.  It hurt emotionally too.  But I smiled it off, and said we’d try again.  It was the first try after finally getting my period back, and my cycles weren’t regular.  Everyone gets a do-over, right?  I miscarried on February 14th.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Several weeks later, I still hadn’t gotten another period.  I took a pregnancy test and it was faintly positive.  I waited another week and took another test.  It was also positive.  I went in to the OB/GYN to get checked out, and had an ultrasound.  It showed a 4 week 2 day gestational sac – early, but a good sign.  I allowed myself to start getting excited.  Just a little.

We told a few people – close friends, family… my excitement wouldn’t allow me to keep it in until 12 weeks like I had wanted to.  I had gut wrenching nausea again, and utter exhaustion.  I really FELT pregnant.

Until Wednesday night.  Wednesday night, I started cramping and spotting.  I tried not to panic, because spotting can be normal.  But my heart sank.

Thursday, I wanted to take it easy.  I sat on the couch most of the day, and didn’t over do anything.  By midafternoon my cramping was gone… but so was my nausea.  I went to the mall to spend some time with my dear friends, Nancy and Juliana.  I remember putting on a pad, thinking just in case. The children’s play area was CRAZY with people, so we opted to walk around the mall for a while first.  We went to The Children’s Place, and shopped a little.  I don’t remember the exact moment when I felt a gush, but I knew it was time to go home.  I told Nancy that I had to go, and she walked me to my car.

I called Brock from the parking lot and told him to come home.  He asked if everything was okay, and I said “No.”  He didn’t press me for information, he just headed home immediately.  Then I called my doctor’s office to let them know what was happening.  The nurse told me that it sounded like a miscarriage, and that if could manage it at home, they would call in some pain medication for me.  I could also go to the ER.  I know it’s against the rules, but I still had some percocet left over from when I delivered Ronan, so I said I would stay at home.  I hung up the phone, sat down on the couch, and cried.

I cried because it hurt, and I cried because there was so much blood, and I cried because of the baby that we wanted so badly.  I cried because of the fear that sneaks up and tells you that you wont be able to get pregnant again.  I cried because of the loss of the perfect pregnancy I had imagined in my mind.  I couldn’t stop crying.

Thursday night, I took 2 percocet and 4 Advil, and it still didn’t touch my pain.  Doubled over, tears in my eyes, couldn’t catch my breath pain.  I went to bed early, and slept hard.  My sweet husband took care of me and took care of Ronan… he took care of everything.

For now, Brock and I have decided to stop trying to get pregnant.  My cycles are probably still not normal, and my body is having a difficult time trying to adjust.  We can settle a few things about deciding whether or not we want to move, and what comes next.  I can try to get my weight under control a little, and get back up to some healthy numbers.

And I really don’t think I would be able to handle another one.  Another miscarriage.

So…

We wait.