Beam me up.

Yesterday I had my surgery. I learned after the fact that they ended up doing a D&E instead of a D&C because of how big the baby was. It’s a similar procedure, but involves dilating the cervix more and uses different methods to get the baby out. As a result, I’ve been a little more crampy and am bleeding more than I did immediately following the last time. But overall I think I’m doing okay. My doctor was incredibly compassionate yesterday — she obliged my last-minute panic and request for another ultrasound before surgery just to be sure the baby was really gone (she said she gets that request a lot), and she got us hand and foot prints of our baby, which was sweet of her to think to do.

Coming out of surgery was pretty similar to last time — the simultaneous relief that it was over, with the overwhelming sadness of realizing it was truly over. But while my doctor was amazing, I was less than impressed with the post-op care I received at the hospital. After they let D in the room to be with me, they told me I could get dressed whenever I was ready and then we were kind of on our own. When I stood up to get dressed, I started gushing blood, and they hadn’t even left me with any extra pads. D had to go flag down someone just to get an extra one to get us home. Just getting dressed and trying to get a new pad in place left the room looking like a murder scene. Then I was feeling dizzy and didn’t feel like I could walk to the car, so D had to flag someone down to get me a wheelchair.

On the way home I started feeling clammy and dizzy and had to make D pull over so I could throw up. But since I hadn’t really eaten anything since the night before, I couldn’t. Instead, the heaving caused me to pass a giant blood clot (sorry, TMI), which was a little alarming. I passed a few more large clots (I’m talking golf ball-sized — yikes) yesterday afternoon and evening, but thankfully the bleeding seems to have slowed way down today. I just hope it stays down now and that the worst is over. Our last experience with a D&C and the extended bleeding was just too much for me and I’m still traumatized by it.

I took the afternoon off work yesterday, and am taking the day off today. Tomorrow I’ll work from home, and then I’ll have the weekend to really recharge. It’s been nice to just have some me time today. I go back and forth between feeling fine and feeling really sad, which I’m sure is normal. I binge-watched the entire first season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt today, which was the perfect escape. I laughed my ass off, which was much-needed.

By now you’re probably wondering what the title of this post has to do with anything. I came across an article today about celebrities who have opened up about their miscarriages. One of the stars mentioned was Pink, and how she had written her song “Beam Me Up” after her miscarriage. I hadn’t heard the song before, so I looked it up. It’s beautiful and made me bawl my eyes out. I’ve been listening to it on repeat. Perfectly captures the sentiment I feel about my lost babies, and applies to anyone who’s lost a loved one, really.

The juxtaposition of watching Kimmy Schmidt and listening to this song pretty much captures the range of emotions I’m feeling today.

Same love.

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled DOMA (defense of marriage act) unconstitutional, forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in states where it is legal. I’ve always been a proponent of gay rights, and becoming a parent has only reinforced this for me. Looking at Theo’s sweet face and wondering what sort of a man he will one day become, I can’t imagine him being denied the right to one day marry the person he loves, whether that person be a woman or a man. It breaks my heart to know that other parents have lost their precious children to things like hate crimes and suicide because people can’t accept people for who they are. I like to think that Theo will grow up in a more tolerant society.

The following song/video from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis was released a while back, but in light of today’s news, seems appropriate. A beautiful tribute to love in all forms.

How do you measure, measure a year?

Right now RENT is playing at the 5th Avenue Theater, so I have been seeing references to this song everywhere lately.

This morning I realized that a week from tomorrow will be a full year from when we started this journey. A year. It feels like just yesterday, and ages ago at the same time. I am not the same person I was a year ago, that’s for sure. This experience has definitely changed me, changed my outlook, changed how I see the entire process of having a baby. I’m now painfully aware of just how long it can take, and that time sort of stands still when you’re living your life in two week increments (period to ovulation, ovulation to  pregnancy test. Lather, rinse, repeat). I also know that a positive pregnancy doesn’t always equal a baby, and whenever I hear about someone else’s pregnancy, I am automatically guarded for them, because I know just how much it hurts to go from being over-the-moon excited to more devastated than you’ve ever felt in your entire life in a matter of seconds. I’ll also never again ask someone when they want to start having kids, because I know how much of a loaded question that seemingly innocent topic is. Not to mention, even when you finally “decide” to start a family, sometimes you find it’s not your decision to make.

In short, I’m jaded. I’m broken. That’s what a year will do to you.

Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.

This wasn’t our cycle. I am not pregnant.

I’ll admit, I took it really hard at first. Really hard. I know it was naive of me to think it could happen on the first try again, but a big part of me really hoped it would. After everything we’ve been through, I just want so badly to be pregnant again. It doesn’t help that it seems like everyone around me is pregnant. While I’m very happy for them all, it honestly just amplifies my pain.

I came across the above Elizabeth Taylor quote on Pinterest, and I’m really trying to keep some perspective. I’m reminded of the episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte miscarries and is completely debilitated by her grief, unable to leave her living room, until she watches an E! True Hollywood Story about Elizabeth Taylor. Inspired by the way Elizabeth overcame adversity, Charlotte pulls herself off the couch, puts on a fabulous pink dress and a pair of dark sunglasses, and finds the strength to finally leave the house with her head held high.

I know it’s fiction, but I’m trying to channel this type of positive attitude. I’m willing myself to believe that it’s okay it didn’t happen on the first try; that it’s normal, in fact. I still hope it doesn’t take us a long time, but success on the first try isn’t typical and isn’t a standard I should hold myself to. I’m also trying really hard to remind myself that other people’s pregnancies have no bearing on my own fertility. Not to mention, I don’t know what they’ve been through to get there. Some of them may have suffered multiple losses or struggled through invasive fertility treatments, or been through even worse circumstances than we have.

In my quest to keep a positive outlook, I’m also reminding myself that we are in the middle of a very messy master bathroom addition, which has made me severely congested and has caused my asthma to really flare up. All this old dust and crap falling out of the attic and walls probably isn’t great for me to be inhaling anyway, but I know I would be extra-nervous if I were pregnant now. I just don’t think I could forgive myself if something were to happen again and I had any doubts about whether it was something I could have caused or prevented. So in the grand scheme of things, it’s probably better to get this bathroom project wrapped first. Not to mention it’ll be so nice to have the room complete when those middle of the night bathroom trips kick in again. With any luck, we should be done in the next couple weeks – just in time to start trying again!

Speaking of house stuff, we didn’t end up getting that house I was obsessed with. We went to see it and loved it — we even talked to a lender and got pre-approved, and were all set to make an offer when it was suddenly pulled off the market. Apparently an ex came out of the woodwork and didn’t agree with selling or something. The real estate agent said it could very likely come back on the market as a foreclosure, but there were already three offers ahead of ours, anyway. I’m disappointed, but the idea of trying to rush the bathroom remodel and find a renter, while juggling a complex bankruptcy purchase did make me a little nervous. We’re still looking, and at least now we know we can financially make it happen, so we’ll be ready to pounce when the next house comes along.

At some point, things should start falling into place… right?

A better mother.

I came across this today and it brought tears to my eyes. Simply beautiful.

There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.

I will be better not because of genetics, or money, or that I have read more books, but because I have struggled and toiled for this child.
I have sat by while my child was taken from me.
I have cried and prayed.
I have endured.

Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.
I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover.
I will marvel at my surviving miracle every day for the rest of my life.

I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking because of grief.
I will be happy because my baby is alive and crying out for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.

I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body.
I have been tried by fire and hell that many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed.
I have succeeded.
I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.

I listen.

And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.

I have learned to appreciate life.

Yes, I will be a wonderful mother.

-Author Unknown

The biggest loser.

One of the hardest parts of dealing with a miscarriage is feeling the need to justify your grief. As I’ve mentioned previously, our society treats miscarriage as a taboo topic. One in four pregnant couples experience it, yet no one talks about it. Someone shared with me an article today that may partially explain why this is. Our society treats grief as a hierarchy – where losing a grandparent is inferior to losing a parent, which is inferior to losing a sibling, which is inferior to losing a spouse. In our culture, we tend to compare losses, and if those around us have had what we deem bigger losses, somehow our own grief is inferior. The following passage from the article resonated with me especially:

There’s definitely a self-imposed hierarchy of grief in the land of early pregnancy loss. You feel you certainly should not be in the kind of pain like someone who suffered a stillbirth. Worst of all are the parents who held that baby in the NICU while she died in their arms. They are totally the Biggest Grief Losers, right?

So there you are, with your sad little loss. Would you even get a nametag in the Loss Club? Your pregnancy was only six weeks. Six weeks or two weeks or eight weeks or even just one afternoon between when the little blue stick said yes and then your body said no. Do you get any legitimate grief points if you only had an afternoon to glow and dream and weep for your future that has finally, finally come – and then it’s gone. She’s gone. He’s gone. You can totally go to the movies if you’re miscarrying a really early pregnancy. Go out for dinner and take in a show, the doctor says.

And yet.

And yet you are full of death and your heart is as broken and so I invite you up here on the stage to claim your loss, too.

What beautiful, poignant words. Full article HERE.

Try again.

On Friday, I finally got what I had waited 68 days for: the start of my period.

It’s bittersweet, really. On the one hand, I was practically doing flips, I was so excited. FINALLY, my body was on its way to being normal again. But I also found it kind of sad, realizing that the last time I had a period (I don’t count the crazy post-miscarriage bleeding), was right before I was pregnant. I’m back to the beginning, making the time I was actually pregnant feel like a distant dream that I woke up from too soon.

Have you ever woken up from a good dream and tried so hard to fall asleep again so you could get back to it? That’s how I feel about being pregnant. And just like it’s hard to just fall asleep and go back to a dream, so far I haven’t been able to get back either. Waiting for that first period, that new cycle, has essentially been keeping me “awake.”

But now it’s here, which means we can start trying again. I’m equally excited and terrified. Excited to get back to my dream, but terrified because I know it just won’t be the same. I feel robbed of that naive excitement I had the last time we found out we were expecting. Sure, I knew things can go wrong in the first trimester, which is why we hadn’t shared our good news yet. But what I wasn’t prepared for was just how much losing our baby would hurt. I know the odds are in our favor that this next pregnancy will be healthy, but that small chance that something could go wrong again is killing me. Can I physically and emotionally handle losing another baby? I honestly don’t know. What I do know, is that the only way to get our baby is to try again.

I came across this poem a while back, and thinking about it gives me the strength to try again.

A Different Child

A different child, people notice
There’s a special glow around you.
You grow surrounded by love
Never doubting you are wanted;
Only look at the pride and joy
In your mother and father’s eyes.
And if sometimes between the smiles
There’s a trace of tears,
One day you’ll understand.
You’ll understand there was once another child.
A different child.
Who was in their hopes and dreams.
That child will never outgrow the baby clothes.
That child will never keep them up at night.
In fact, that child will never be any trouble at all…
Except sometimes, in a silent moment,
When mother and father miss so much
That different child.
May hope and love wrap you warmly
And may you learn the lesson forever:
How infinitely precious,
How infinitely fragile is this life on earth.
One day, as a young man or woman
You may see another mother’s tears
Another father’s silent grief
Then you, and you alone will understand
And offer the greatest comfort.
When all hope seems lost
you will tell them with great compassion:
“I know how you feel.
I’m only here because my parents tried again.”

-Author Unknown

Glory.

The past few days, the gossip sites have been abuzz with the news of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s new baby, Blue Ivy Carter. I really don’t understand why celebrities can’t just give their kids normal names, but that’s a topic for another day…

What’s captivated my attention the most has been the news that Jay-Z and Beyonce suffered a miscarriage prior to Blue’s arrival. Yesterday, Jay-Z quietly released a track on his website called “Glory,” in which he not only professes his love and pride for his newborn daughter, but acknowledges the pain and fear brought on by the earlier miscarriage.

“Last time, the miscarriage was so tragic,
We was afraid you would disappear. But nah, baby, you magic.”

And

“False alarms and false starts,
All made better by the sound of your heart,
All the pain over the last time
I prayed so hard it was the last time.”

This part of the song touched me, especially. We’ve been in so much pain since the miscarriage. I, too, pray that was the last time. We were supposed to have heard the heartbeat that day we went into the doctor and found out our baby was gone. I can’t even describe how much I’m looking forward to hearing a heartbeat of our take-home baby someday. While fear could easily consume me if I let it, I just have to focus on the big picture and know that all the pain we’ve been through will be worth it one day. As Jay-Z states in the hook of his song:

“The most amazing feeling I feel,
Words can’t describe the feeling, for real,
Baby I paint the sky blue,
My greatest creation was you, you: Glory.”

Jay-Z and Beyonce have always been a very private celebrity couple, and I applaud them for opening up about something many people are reluctant to share. Obviously, I’m guilty of this too, since I didn’t even tell my own parents until a week ago. But it seems miscarriage has always been sort of a taboo topic, and it isn’t until you actually experience it that people start coming out of the woodwork to admit that they, too, have experienced pregnancy loss, or that their sister/mother/aunt/best friend has. It’s really too bad our culture isn’t more supportive, since the statistics for miscarriage are so high – one in four pregnant couples will experience it. I think if more celebrities and high-profile people were open about it, the rest of society would follow suit.

(photo via Getty Images)

For auld lang syne.

2011 has been a year full of ups and downs. Unfortunately, most of the “ups” of the year have been grossly overshadowed by one significant “down.” Needless to say, I was thankful to put 2011 to bed and am ready to start fresh with 2012.

I’ve never really given much thought to the lyrics for Auld Lang Syne until now. The title of the song, which is based on an old Scottish poem, literally translates to “old long since.” It’s become synonymous with New Years, and while the actual phrases and lyrics of the poem don’t translate well to modern English, the overall sentiment is that we should hold onto our memories and reflect on the past as we look toward the future. In other words, while we shouldn’t live in the past, we should never forget it, because it’s made us into the people we are today.

While our loss is still very raw to me emotionally, I know it happened for a reason, as D and I are much closer because of it. It’s the most difficult thing we’ve ever been through, and tough times are often true tests for relationships. It’s good to know we can go through something like this and become stronger because of it, when many couples would fall apart.

I will never forget our first baby – he or she will always have a place in my heart – but it’s time to move forward. So, as I look forward to 2012 and what I hope will be the year we get our take home baby, I’m allowing myself to let go.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For aluld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

(chorus)

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu’d teh gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

(chorus)

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae morning sun til dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

(chorus)

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

(chorus)

So long 2011. Here’s to a happier 2012.

To become whole, first let yourself be broken.

I ran across the above quote today and have decided that it perfectly fits where my life is right now. I am trying so badly to accept what I have been through, and remember that everything happens for a reason. In a way, I feel like I’ll love my eventual baby that much more because of the hell I will have gone through to get him/her.

Friday night was another chapter in my journey through hell, when I ended up in the emergency room due to excessive bleeding.

Yes, after everything I had been through to make the bleeding stop, it started up again Friday night, and with such a sudden intensity that my doctor told me to come straight in to the emergency room. I’ve never seen so much blood in my life, and it was incredibly scary. My doctor said they would check to see if I was still retaining tissue, and that I should prepare myself for the possibility that I may need a second D&C. I cried. And perhaps the worst part was that D wasn’t home when I was going through all this. He was at a concert about 45 minutes away, and since he had gotten a ride with a friend, he had no way to get back early unless he caught a cab, which I’m sure would have cost a couple hundred dollars from that distance. I told him to sit tight and that I would drive myself to the ER, and if it did come down to me needing another surgery, then he should get a cab; otherwise, I told him to get home as soon as he could and I would keep him posted.

By the time I got to the hospital, things were getting progressively worse. I’ll spare the gory details, but let’s just say I was passing solid material in addition to blood. I try not to think too hard about what exactly that may have been, but I think it’s safe to assume it’s what the D&C left behind. They got me into ultrasound and determined that I still had enough tissue left behind to be “borderline” in requiring another D&C, so I had to wait while they brought in another doctor for her opinion. Eventually, they decided to take the more conservative approach and gave me an injection of Methergine (the same medication I had taken in pill form just a week earlier) and hope that this would be a final dose that would effectively cause my uterus to contract and expel anything remaining. If the Methergine didn’t do its job, they’d next look into Misoprostol, which is a suppository that’s sometimes given instead of a surgical D&C to cause the body to miscarry when it’s not doing so naturally. Instead of. Not usually in addition to. Apparently I’m just one of the lucky ones.

The good news is, I eventually did stop bleeding, and I didn’t need another D&C or the Misoprostol. At least not yet. Then again, I stopped bleeding once before. I’m terrified that this isn’t the end. I also have a million questions and don’t feel like I’m getting any answers besides “these things sometimes happen.” Meanwhile, all I want to do is try again, but my body is not letting me move forward.

Six weeks ago today, we got the heartbreaking news that changed our lives. Since then, I have been broken. When will I be whole again?