Thank you for being a friend…

Do you have the Golden Girls theme song going around your head now? You’re welcome.

So, one of my good friends is due in July and I’m helping plan her baby shower this weekend. I’ve actually been handling it pretty well until very recently. I just remembered that I volunteered to take care of games, which includes decorating onesies, and just the thought of going into Target and buying onesies made me start crying at work. I’d probably end up a sobbing mess on the floor of the store if I actually had to do it. So I emailed my friend who’s co-planning the shower with me and explained that between Mother’s Day and our upcoming due date that I haven’t been in a good place lately, and asked her if she’d mind getting the onesies. I also told her I may have to step back this weekend and may need an easy exit strategy during gift opening. My pregnant friend also knows about our loss, and while I know she’d be understanding if I broke down on Saturday, the last thing I want to do is spoil her day. I hope I can hold it together.

I never quite know how friends and family will react when I talk to them about our loss and how I’m doing. I had one friend imply that I should be “over it” by now when we were only about two weeks past our D&C. I don’t think she meant any harm by it, but simply put, if you haven’t been there, it’s hard to empathize with just how emotionally scarring pregnancy loss is. Only my parents and a small handful of friends know what we’ve been through, and while most have been supportive, they don’t always say the right thing.

But this friend immediately replied back, telling me not to think twice about it. She empathized with how hard this must be for me and that she absolutely understands if I need to step away from everything for a bit on Saturday. She told me she’s there for me if I need dinner, drinks or a walk to talk about things, and that she knows that D and I will have a healthy, beautiful baby when the time is right and that all the “aunties” who will be at the shower on Saturday will love this baby and be at my shower too.

Her email brought me to tears. I am so thankful to have good friends in my life.

D-Day.

A few days ago I got an email, titled “Week 34 of your Pregnancy.”

Ouch.

I must have gotten on some mailing list a while back, and clearly they didn’t get the memo that I am in fact NOT pregnant anymore.

34 weeks. I should be huge right now. Uncomfortable. Swollen ankles. Unable to sleep. Just ready to get this baby out of me already. (sigh) That sounds wonderful. Instead, I’m coming up on another ovulation soon and hoping that just maybe this will finally be our cycle. Because if it isn’t, I won’t be pregnant when our original June 15 due date rolls around. (Well, theoretically we could conceive just a few days beforehand, but there would be no way we’d knowingly be pregnant when D-day arrives.)

June 15. That date has been at the forefront of my thoughts for the past 7 months, ever since we got our positive test on October 6th. First it was a date I was looking forward to — this was to be our baby’s birthday! (or at least close to it). And then after we lost the baby, it was a date that was looming over me like a dark cloud on the horizon. I knew I would be sad when that day came around, but of course I would be pregnant again by then, so maybe by that time it would only be a bittersweet day. I’d be sad about the baby we lost, but that sorrow would be overshadowed by the excitement about the new baby I was carrying. And there would be a new date permeating my every thought.

But here I am, with June 15 just around the corner, and not pregnant yet.

While a big part of me feels like I NEED to get pregnant before then in order to physically survive the day, a small part of me just wants the date to get here already. Rip the band-aid off. I know that day will be hard on me, but perhaps the anticipation of the day is worse than the day itself? Maybe afterward I’ll feel less pressure and anxiety for it to happen by a certain time. I sort of went through similar emotions with trying to have a baby by the end of the calendar year, for insurance reasons. When we lost the baby in November, I figured we had until March to conceive and still have a 2012 baby. Easy peasy, right? We would start trying again in December, giving us a whole 4 months to get pregnant. We did it in the first month the first time, so how hard could it be? Well, then I had some complications from the miscarriage and we didn’t even get to start trying again until the end of January, shortening our window of opportunity. Still, I had hope. But the months went by and — nada. Interestingly, once I had resigned myself to the fact that we wouldn’t have a baby in 2012, I felt less pressure. If not for this looming due date, maybe I’d feel even less pressure? Who knows… What I do know is that time pressures or not, I do want to be pregnant again as soon as possible… and that’s something that won’t ever change.

A better me.

No dice. Again.

Even after all that mind fetus, it turned out to be just that… all in my mind.

It’s hard to take the disappointment month after month, especially since it was so easy the first time. I know we’ve only been at this for three cycles now post-loss, and the average time it takes a couple to conceive is six months, but the fact that it happened so easily the first time is what’s making this harder on me personally. I know what my body was capable of before, and for whatever reason it’s not cooperating now. Each month that passes us by makes me a little more worried that it might never happen at all. I know I’m premature in jumping to those conclusions, but still, I worry…

So this cycle I am vowing to try to worry less and to take care of myself a little more. I know I’m stressing about this, and while I absolutely HATE the advice to “just relax,” I do believe there’s some truth to stress and its interference with conception. I downloaded a series of meditation podcasts that are specifically geared toward those trying to conceive. It’s 15 minutes a day for 28 days, with each podcast geared toward where you are in your cycle. It’s more money than I would normally spend on “hippie witchcraft” as my dear husband so lovingly calls this sort of thing, but I’m willing to give it a shot. The upside is that after listening to the first introductory podcast this morning, I really DID feel relaxed, and even had the motivation to go to yoga later.

Speaking of yoga, I know I’ve made this vow a thousand times before, but I really DO hope to get to yoga more often over this next cycle. I’ve been so busy with our bathroom remodel that I haven’t had much free time at all, but the remodel should be wrapping up soon, and I really do find yoga both challenging and relaxing when I do go. The exercise component is good for me physically, and the meditation aspect of yoga really forces me to relax too. I also like how by pushing myself to become better in my yoga practice, I find myself inspired by what my body CAN do… instead of focusing on what it’s not doing right now.

Onto cycle #4…

Hungry, hungry hippo.

I’m trying really hard not to give in to the mind fetus (as originally mentioned here), but alas, here I am in the two week-wait, ovar-analyzing every symptom again. The latest? A voracious appetite. I’ve seriously never experienced anything like this before – seemingly, I cannot get full, no matter what I eat!

Exhibit A: on Saturday after finishing tiling the bathroom floor, I helped myself to a very large piece of leftover lasagna. That alone would have been way more than enough to make me feel full before, but did I stop there? Nope. I immediately followed it with a second equally large piece. Hubby got home a while later and opened the refrigerator and asked where the lasagna was. Sheepishly, I admitted I finished it. He didn’t believe me. That’s how much there was! Of course, then he had to throw out an, “I’m not even mad – that’s amazing” (a la Ron Burgundy). The sad part is, I wasn’t even full.

Exhibit B: Then, last night, after finishing tiling the shower stall (yes, it was a full weekend of tiling goodness), D and I went out to dinner. I proceeded to finish my dinner and eat half of his. We got into the car and he said it hurt to sit down he was so full. Me? I could have kept eating!

Of course, it could have been ANYTHING causing this appetite change – from the hormonal supplements my doctor has me on to the fact that (hello!) I had just spent all weekend tiling and had probably worked up a decent appetite. But my mind naturally went back to the crazy appetite I had with last pregnancy. That was slightly different — back then, I didn’t eat a lot at a time, just got hungry every couple hours. Now, I seem to have a bottomless pit for a stomach. But still… I’d be lying if I said the thought didn’t cross my mind — along with the subsequent urge to go pee on a test. But I promised myself I wouldn’t test until tomorrow at the earliest. Tomorrow is our anniversary, and while I’ll only be 9 days post-ovulation (still pretty early to test), it would be so cool to be able to share that good news with D tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I’m also heading to Boston tomorrow for work, so getting a positive test means I’d have to somehow dodge the inevitable team cocktails. (Not that I’ve never had to fake or make an excuse for drinking before!). In all likelihood, even if I am knocked up this cycle, tomorrow will be too soon to tell. By going out of town (and purposefully not packing any pregnancy tests), I’ll force myself to at least wait until Thursday, which will be 11DPO. Still early for testing purposes, but much more likely to be accurate. In some ways I’m hoping tomorrow’s test is negative (but that I get a positive later this week). If I’m still testing negative I’ll feel okay with having a single glass of wine with coworkers, whereas I just couldn’t do it if I knew I was pregnant, even though logically I know it wouldn’t affect anything that early (you don’t even start sharing anything with the baby until around 6 weeks). Plus, we’re giving a pretty big presentation on Wednesday and I just know I’ll be totally distracted if I know I’m pregnant. If not for our anniversary, I would absolutely wait to test when I get back. But I want so badly to be able to give D this news for our anniversary. Not to mention, he definitely noticed the appetite thing and I’m sure he’s hoping that’s the reason too!

4/17 update: Negative test this morning, which was disappointing, but I know it’s still very early so I haven’t lost hope yet. On the upside, I was able to enjoy a guilt-free beer with my coworkers this evening in Boston. Interestingly, my boss also commented on how he was impressed with how much I was able to eat at dinner!  😐

No dice.

Welp, cycle #2 of trying to conceive after our loss is a bust, and I’m having a really hard time with it. I know it’s normal for it not to happen so quickly — that it takes the average couple six months, and blah, blah, blah — but it doesn’t make it any easier. Especially since it did happen so quickly the first time around. I’d heard pregnancy changes your body, even if you don’t carry to term, and I’m definitely seeing evidence to support this (I’m getting new PMS symptoms I’ve never had before, while some of the old standbys are nonexistent), so I can’t help but wonder if one of these changes is that I’m simply less fertile than I was before? People keep saying, “at least you know you can get pregnant.” Correction: I know I could get pregnant before… who knows whether I can now? I know, it’s only been two cycles and I’m being dramatic. Hey, it’s what I do best. But I just can’t help my mind from wandering to worst case scenario, and I’m quickly learning that this time of the month — when I know it’s not happening this cycle — is always going to be a dark time for me. I’ll probably feel more optimistic in a week…

I just hate that as more time passes, I get more anxious and more depressed about the whole thing. I’m now realizing that if we don’t get pregnant within the next two cycles, I won’t be pregnant for our original due date in June, and I think I’ll simply break if that day comes and my uterus is still empty. I know this added stress doesn’t help any, but it’s not like there’s much I can do about it. Which reminds me of another thing I hate: people telling me to relax, and it’ll happen. Um, sure. I’ll just snap my fingers and relax. Why didn’t I think of that before? Can we please circulate a manual of what not to say to people in this situation? Because I’m pretty sure telling a woman with pregnancy/fertility issues to relax is about the most aggravating thing you can say.

Scratch that – the most aggravating thing someone has said to me, was last night when I told my acupuncturist that it was looking like this cycle was a bust and she responded with, “I’m glad.” Seriously?! I wanted to throat punch her. She has been trying to convince me since our loss to wait a few cycles before trying again, even though we got the green light from my doctor after one (very long) cycle. I had been very firm with her that we did not plan to wait any longer than M-E-D-I-C-A-L-L-Y necessary. While I do believe in the holistic benefits of acupuncture and have seen it help me in many ways, I think it should complement western medicine, not replace it, and in areas where there’s discrepancy, you’d better believe I’m going to side with my doctor. I know she means well, but professional opinions aside, who says that? Who tells a woman who is still grieving the loss of her baby and wants nothing more in this world to be pregnant again that it’s good that she hasn’t succeeded yet? I did tell her that her comment really upset me, and she apologized, but still… Thankfully, we’re on the same page regarding trying next cycle, otherwise I think I’d have to find a new acupuncturist. I just can’t be around people who can’t support me right now. I don’t need that added stress.

Wow, this post turned into a giant bitchfest. Well, onto cycle #3. Here’s hoping third time’s a charm…

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?

Obsession.

We’re officially in our “two week wait” our first cycle trying again. As anyone who has TTC’d will tell you, these two weeks can feel like an eternity. While I know it’s too early to be feeling any symptoms, I also know it’s only a matter of days before the “mind fetus” starts messing with me. What’s a mind fetus? It’s all the crazy symptoms you swear you are having (nausea, food aversions/cravings, sore boobs, etc.), whether you are actually pregnant or not. The mind is a powerful thing. And it likes to eff with you whenever it gets a chance.

So, what’s the best way to try and avoid becoming obsessed over every symptom I may or may not be having these next two weeks? Find a new obsession, of course! And what’s my latest obsession? Oh, just a new house.

Whaa..?!

Now, anyone who knows all the work we’ve been doing on our current house right now is probably thinking I’ve lost my damn mind. In fact, as we “speak,” our entire upstairs is a construction site, our roof is partially opened up, we have giant holes in our kitchen ceiling with pipes poking through, and we have shower doors in our dining room. Yep, we’re in the middle of the bathroom addition that we’ve talking about forever now. We finally took the plunge. So far we’ve gotten the demolition, framing and plumbing done. We’re hoping to get the electrical done this weekend, drywall the next, an then we can start doing finish work like tiling and painting. With any luck we’ll be done by early March.

Don't mess with a chick with a sledge hammer.

But back to the new house… For a couple years now, I’ve had Redfin sending me listings of homes in the area we want to eventually move to. You know, just to keep an eye on the market. Not surprisingly, most of the stuff in our price range is just not quite right, and most of the stuff we love is out of our price range.

But then, a few days ago, a house popped onto the market as a short sale that is right in our price range and pretty much perfect. I remember seeing this house for sale by traditional means several months ago for WAY out of our price range. So, despite the fact that we’re up to our necks in home renovations on our current house, we’re actually entertaining the idea of making a move. Short sales take a long time to close, so we’ve got some time to wrap up our remodel and get our house ready to either sell or rent out. While we’re definitely dumping a lot of money into this bathroom remodel, we’re undoubtedly adding more value than we’re putting in, especially since we’re saving a lot of money by doing most of it ourselves. But even if we couldn’t sell this house for a profit in this market, to be honest, we’d be willing to price our current house on the low end for a quick sale, if it meant being able to get into this new house. Or, we might explore the possibility of renting out our house for a few years until the market improves, and then unloading it.

So here’s the new house. Isn’t it pretty? And look at that yard! The dogs will love it. I typically do not go for newer homes. I think they always look too cookie-cutter, and much prefer older homes with lots of character. D, on the other hand, prefers new homes. I think this just may be the perfect compromise, because it’s only six years old, but still has lots of character. Just look at that balcony, the shutters, the wood detailing and the stone entryway! There aren’t any photos available of the inside since it’s a short sale, but I distinctly remember seeing interior photos when it was traditionally listed before, and the inside is just as lovely. Hardwoods, French doors, undermount sink… it even has a dumbwaiter from the garage to the butler’s pantry for groceries! How cool is that? Plus, it’s huge. It’s twice the size of our current home, which means we have room to grow our family.

Did I mention I’m obsessed? Yeah, I’ve pretty much stalked this house from every public resource available (exhibit A: I snagged the bird’s eye photo above from Bing), including looking up public records and past sale history. D and I also drove by it last weekend. I even went as far as to look up school district information, and found out the elementary school our kids would attend is just around the corner. Walking distance! It makes me tear up to envision holding our little one’s hand and walking him/her to kindergarten. The high school is highly rated as well, and is part of the 4A KingCo athletic league, which means there would be lots of sports activities for our kids to get involved in when they’re older. Wow. I am really getting ahead of myself! But it’s really just about perfect. We’d never have any reason to move unless we decide to downsize some day after the kids are grown. Whoops, sorry. Getting ahead of myself again!

So the plan is to go see it this weekend. Since it’s a short sale, the real estate agent warned us it could be neglected or even abused, from a distressed owner. D and I are okay with some cosmetic issues since we’re used to doing home improvements and it might turn away competitive buyers who are looking for something more “easy.” After this weekend, if it’s everything we hope it is, we’ll sit down and crunch some numbers and see if there’s a way to make this happen.

So, while this whole two-week wait business isn’t totally off my mind, this house obsession is definitely overshadowing it for the time being. I really, really hope we can get this house, but even if we can’t, at least it was a nice distraction.

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

60 days.

Today marks 60 days since my D&C.

Sixty.

As in, six-zero.

And I still have not gotten a real period.

I should have had two by now. Our doctor asked us to wait one cycle before trying again, which means if my body had cooperated, our waiting cycle should have already come and gone, as would our first cycle trying again. If my body had cooperated, I could have already been pregnant again. Yet, here I wait for Aunt Flo to show up so we can finally get back on the ball.

The good news is, I’ve been charting my cycles via taking my temperature, and, despite wacky post-miscarriage temperatures, I am pretty sure that I finally ovulated a week ago. Not that we could do anything about it, but ovulating last week means that my body is hopefully finally regulating itself, and my period *should* be here in less than a week now.

In theory, anyway.

I’ve come to realize that I can’t count on my body behaving the way it used to.

Patience, grasshoper.

If I had to pick one word to describe myself, let’s just say “patient” wouldn’t be the first thing that comes to mind.

In addition to being the most heartbreaking and emotionally draining thing we’ve ever been through, this whole process has been a huge test of patience for me. You see, when I get it in my head that I want something, now isn’t soon enough. So when we decided we were ready to try for a baby, waiting to get a positive pregnancy test seemed to take forever. Once we finally saw those two magical lines, waiting for that first 8 week appointment and ultrasound took an eternity. And when we got that bad news, I waited one week to miscarry on my own before getting a D&C just to get it over with.

That surgery should have represented the beginning of the healing process for us. We would still have to wait approximately one month for my period to return, but after that we could begin trying again. As devastated as I was over the loss of our baby, I knew I wanted to be a mother, and the prospect of trying again was the only thing that kept me sane some days. If I could just get through this month of waiting, things would surely start to look up.

But things didn’t go as smoothly as they should have. Instead having some mild bleeding post-surgery that disappeared after a few days, the bleeding didn’t go away… in fact, it began to get heavier. When two weeks went by and the bleeding wasn’t ceasing, I called the doctor, and found out that sometimes they don’t get everything with the D&C, and I was likely bleeding because my body was trying to expel what was left behind. I waited for another week to see if my body would take care of it on its own before going into the doctor’s office, where they performed a procedure to attempt to manually suction out the contents of my uterus. One of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced in my life. She then sent me home with a prescription for Methergine, which would make my uterus contract and expel anything that was left. That was one week ago, and besides some very mild occasional spotting, the bleeding seems to be finally done… 32 days later.

Thirty-two days. By now I should have already gone through one cycle of waiting and we should be on our way to trying again. But I’m still getting a very faint positive pregnancy test, which means the pregnancy hormones have yet to completely leave my system. I have to wait for my hormones to drop before I can ovulate, after which point I have to wait approximately two weeks for my period to arrive. We can’t start trying again until after I get my period, and even then, I will have to wait about two more weeks to ovulate, and then wait two more weeks after that until I can take a pregnancy test. If it’s negative, the waiting game just got extended by another month. When will this end? When will we get our baby?

In a previous post I was optimistic about the future, and even thought there could be a good omen in the possibility of having a September baby, as we have so many September birthdays in our family. I had visions of surprising my parents with the happy news that there would be another September birthday to look forward to.

But with the setbacks we’ve experienced, September has most likely slipped away. So now I’m looking forward to October. It doesn’t hold the same magic to me as the month of September does, and it’s that much farther away from our original June due date, but I’ll take it. I really am trying very hard to be patient. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and I keep reminding myself that we’ll get our baby when we’re supposed to, whether that’s October, November… or beyond. But it’s hard. It’s hard not to look at the calendar and see where we should be, and then realize that we’re back to square one. No, we’re behind square one, since we’re still waiting to begin.

Did I mention I’m impatient?