Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Whirlwind Has Begun

Oh my, it's been a while since my last post. Can I just say that time seems to have begun moving in warp speed? I mean seriously!

The main reason I have not been posting as much is because I have been really busy with a million different things and also...I am feeling pregnant. More on that later, but suffice it to say that I am having a hard time sitting at a computer without my back killing me.

Here is a run-down on what I've been doing over the last couple of weeks -

Two baby showers, couch shopping, doctor's appointments, preparing to train my temp at work, figuring out childcare, talking to insurance and setting up a maternity leave budget, writing my birth plan, getting belly pictures taken with hubby and cleaning out cabinets and closets.

I know...crazy.

This week? I am going out to see Breaking Dawn (yes, I am still a teenager at heart), going to a wedding, hosting Thanksgiving, OB appointment, a hospital tour and our first all day birth class!
I feel like I don't know how to cover everything in writing, but I will try... in a brief way.

Lets see...

My baby shower was on the 10th and was thrown by my sister and sister-in-law. It was a really great event and I was so touched by all the people who came to show their support. Now that I think about it, it really would have been better to be able to split the shower into two smaller showers. It was kind of like my wedding in that I wanted to spend lots of time talking to everyone, especially the people I rarely get to see, but I just didn't have enough time!

My sisters (and mom) did a great job in making the party pretty and intimate. There were maybe 20-25 people there and I did cry...just once. I left with quite the loot and some nice pictures to remember the day by. I just can't believe that I am far enough into this pregnancy to have had a baby shower!
Figuring out my maternity leave budget was stressful. I do monthly budgets for other people for my job, but doing one for myself for three months unpaid leave was hard. I thought my supplemental insurance would cover more than it did, so I had to reconfigure our savings to cover two extra months instead of two weeks. Yuck! At first, I thought I may have to go back to work after 8 weeks because we just wouldn't have enough to get us through 12. But...after some manipulating of numbers and cutting back debt payments to the minimum (which I hate), I think I made it work. I think I was sweating by the time I finished.

We also finished our 'birth plan'.

I looked at a couple of examples and adjusted a few sections to fit our needs as well as put in an intro describing some of the emotional challenges we might encounter and how we'd like the staff to handle those situations. I kept it pretty low key and flexible mostly just asking that they discuss all procedures and decisions with us as they come up. I also explained that I wanted to labor on my own for a little while but that I would most likely be getting an epidural to keep me calm midway through. I have decided that in order to make this delivery experience the best it can be, I need to accept that drugs will keep some of the terrifying memories at bay (hopefully). So my plan is set and I just need to get it to my OB.

Oh! I forgot! I also interviewed one pediatrician of two I had scheduled. She was very thorough and seemed to know her stuff. She answered a lot of my questions before I asked them, which was nice, but I did feel a little rushed. I'm not sure if that is how all Pediatrician's offices are but she seemed to be intent on keeping herself on a strict schedule...which I think is a good thing, but also had me wondering about when I have a fussy baby at the office that may require a bit more time.

I will talk with this other baby doctor in a couple of weeks and see what I think of him and make my decision from there.

The only other thing interesting enough to mention, is that we actually got some maternity pictures taken. My sis has a photography business and offered up her services so we could have a few photos of the both of us. I realized the other day that we really don't have any recent pictures of us as a couple and knew we should get them done before any really bad weather came around.

We are in rainy season here in Washington and had to literally run out to squeeze some pictures in before it started pouring on Saturday. I knew we would only have a couple of hours max, so we found a spot near our house and took a quick hour to take a few. I will post them when I get the CD back. Hopefully we lucked out and have some decent ones to print, although I am sure I looked a bit blah as it was cloudy and drizzly. Oh well...at least we tried!

As for this week's approaching craziness...I am already exhausted thinking about it. Hopefully I can take a breath after this coming weekend and we can focus on one thing at a time.

My body is definitely slowing down and I am feeling this third trimester so I know I need to get in anything major in the next three weeks. I don't know when this baby is coming and I need things to be done here at home so I can focus on getting my work situation cleaned up.

The list keeps getting longer!

I think you can tell that the reality of this pregnancy being over in 7 weeks is finally getting to me.

Okay, enough rambling pregnant brain...


Living with IF, Loss, and Pregnancy


A few people have asked me recently how I cope with being pregnant after infertility and loss.

It's not an easy answer to articulate.

The short answer is that some days I am fine and others I am not.

Infertility has affected me in so many ways, while loss has affected me even further.

Just because I am pregnant now doesn't mean I am not still infertile or a grieving mother. I am both of those things - except now I am also an expectant mother.

Sometimes these labels blend together into a confusing mess. Some days it's hard to enjoy this new baby and all the wonders that my pregnancy has given me because the memories of my past interfere.

After I lost the twins I remember forgetting I wasn't pregnant anymore. And then it would all come rushing back and I would relive the whole ordeal over again. Other moments I would struggle to remember that I was ever pregnant to begin with - stuck in that infertile nightmare of feeling like it would never happen for me. It felt like I had some kind of short-term memory loss where nothing ever felt real. I wasn't sure what my reality was.

Even to this day, I have moments like that.

I will wonder if I am imagining baby Raz. Then I'll wait to feel some kicks to confirm that I am indeed 30 weeks pregnant with my third child. It seems strange that I still don't feel the truth of my current reality. These times of limbo are fewer then they used to be, but it's proof that a pregnancy, at least for me, hasn't faded the effects of IF and loss.

My experiences have made me a better person - I can say that. Before all of this, when I was blissfully ignorant of my impending future and the IF world in general, I did have a good dose of compassion inside me. Now, after feeling what real loss is like, what it means to truly struggle and live with a broken heart....I have a whole new appreciation for what others go through. I can better put myself in the shoes of others and find ways to understand their situations. Even if I have never been through it before myself.

I also have a bigger appreciation for the little things. I don't take as much for granted or forget to be grateful. I can feel everything more intensely and fully than I used to. It's true that this can be hard sometimes. We don't always want to be thrown in the middle of someone else's pain and hurt...but on the flip side, it's wonderful to be able to really appreciate someone else's success or excitement. The emotions run higher when you are open to these more intense parts of life, but isn't that what living is about?

I've been able to celebrate each new milestone in this pregnancy in a way I couldn't have before. Before, I didn't really think I would lose my babies...not really. I'd never had a miscarriage or late term loss so I had no reason to think it would end badly. I knew it did happen to people, but does anyone ever think it will happen to them? So although I did appreciate and love my first pregnancy, I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. I didn't cherish every little nudge or each day that passed uneventfully.

This time I do.

I know what it's like to not only struggle to get pregnant in the first place, but also what losing a pregnancy feels like. And even further, what losing children after birthing them feels like.

This time around, I am not missing out on a moment of this experience. Knowing this could and probably will be my last pregnancy, I am sure to make each week's progression a celebration. I take time every night to put my hands on my belly and feel baby moving and ask my husband to do the same. I won't have this belly forever and I am so grateful to be able to know what it's like to grow a child with-in me. I wish with all my heart that each woman who wants this experience could have it. I know that doesn't happen for everyone and I would give anything to change that reality.

The worry of losing what you have worked so hard for , is always there. No matter how far along I am in gestation. It's always something. That's the biggest negative in this IF/loss journey. You have to really push yourself to appreciate every little thing because that self-preservation you've acquired along the way is telling you to shut down those parts of yourself in case the worst happens. You don't want to attach too fully just in case...

I am continually fighting against that, trying to keep a positive attitude and preserve what hope I have found. You would think that as far along as I have come this time around, it would be more natural to maintain a positive outlook - to push aside that cautious voice in my head. Well it's not natural. My instinct is to keep my head down and distract myself until this baby makes his appearance, healthy and alive.

But I can't and won't do that. So I keep fighting.

Both good and bad things have come out of my experiences and from the last 3+ years. Most of the time I wish I'd never had to go through it all, because it's hurt so much. But sometimes I think about what knowledge I've gained, the women (& men) I've met, and the love I've known for the first time in becoming the mom to two angels. When I think of that part of the journey...it doesn't feel so pointless.

I can't wait to know what it's like to parent a living child and feel a little catharsis after all that has happened the last few years. I can't wait to move forward instead of backward.

I won't be able to forget and I don't really want to. There is too much to be gained by remembering.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

30 Weeks!


Another Bump update comin' at cha.

At thirty weeks (2 days) baby is the length of a large cucumber, is about 15.5 inches from head to heal and should be close to 3 lbs.

*Belly ~ Same as usual. Becoming large and in charge. I have no stretch marks yet and I'm trying to remember my lotion more often to keep stretchy. Baby boy kicks me throughout the day so I haven't had to worry much about 'kick counts' yet. I've noticed more of a range of movements from him lately - hard bumps, rolls, stretches, and hiccups! I felt his hiccups very noticeably the other morning and called my husband up to feel them, but of course my hollering scared the hiccups right out of him and hubby felt only one. I have had some back pain associated with the belly, but nothing too bad yet. I am still getting around just fine. Bending and shaving is a whole other situation however. I can't see much below my belly button so my downtown upkeep has been a little lacking recently. Oh well...

*Weight gain ~ Nothing this week. Still up 16 pounds.

* Symptoms ~ Fatigue, weird dreams, frequent peeing, and yes...even the dreaded hemorrhoid. That's right my friends. For the first time ever, I am experiencing h-rhoids. My OB confirmed it at my last appointment and told me to pick-up cream and witch hazel pads. I hasn't been too horrible yet, just uncomfortable and I am hoping it doesn't get worse. We will have to see.

* Cravings ~ Not much this week. I still don't have feel the need to gobble down food and am eating very regularly. I wonder if the extreme hunger will kick in over the next few weeks when baby boy gains more fat? I always hear about women who are famished and can't get enough food. I'm not there just yet - we may see the holidays bring the munchies.

* Gender ~We all know Raz is a boy. He has boy parts. I am actually growing a penis and balls...how weird is that?

* Clothes ~ All maternity except a few shirts.

* Meds ~ Nothing has changed. I am still on Prevacid for acid reflux, Atenolol for high cardiac output, prenatal and baby aspirin for clotting. I will continue my Hydroxyprogesterone shot once a week to maintain my hormone levels until week 36.

* Appointment ~ I had a 30 week appointment with my OB which went great. Well...besides finding the hemorrhoid everything checked out perfect. Baby's heartbeat was right where it should be and I am still measuring a bit ahead of the game. My OB wants me to stay on all meds till 36 weeks, then I will discontinue progesterone and baby aspirin. We spoke briefly about circumcision, writing up a birth plan, and the classes I registered for. She would like us to begin working on the birth plan and get it ready for her in the next month as I will be seeing her every two weeks again. Hubby and I have a lot to talk about in the coming weeks.

I got my Flu shot last week and my TDAP this week so I am ready for it all. My arm still hurts from the tetanus/pertussis/whatever it's called shot and it's 4 days later! Dang!

My OB agreed with the MFM about skipping the non-stress tests throughout the third trimester as long as my BP is always well with-in range. I also need to be very aware of preeclampsia symptoms as well as feel 10 baby movements with-in two hours of his active period. As long as all of this keeps regular, I don't need to do those darn tests. The reason they were going to do them in the first place is because of my higher cardiac output. I was seen my a specialist back at the beginning of the year (remember that pretentious MFM I saw and disliked?) who found I had a lot more blood pushing through my veins than was normal. This made my blood pressure only borderline high, but enough to where he prescribed me medication. Covering all our bases.

* Mood ~ I've been pretty stable and feel good. There is always something you can complain about while pregnant, but I don't feel the need to at the moment. I am lucky this is going so well so far. I have gotten through the hardest of the twins' special days and am still working on figuring things out for Raz. Time is really creeping up on me and there is still so much to do. I know it will get done, but this is going to be such a huge life change that I almost don't know how to go about preparing. I am beginning to worry about what kind of parent I'll be, if I'll be able to give my son all he needs...if we'll find that parenting a live baby is more than we can handle. I guess these are all normal feelings, but I've been so focused on getting pregnant and staying pregnant that none of these 'normal' mother-to-be worries ever phased me. But now? I am nervous and anxious that it will be much different than I imagined or that I won't be cut out for it. What if I get post partum depression?!

I almost don't want this phase of my journey to end. I like being pregnant (so far) and I waited for it for a long time. I wish I could stretch this phase out longer and give myself more time to prepare mentally. You'd think that I would be by now...but I'm not. I've had to mourn two other children this year and worry my way through two scary trimesters. I don't know how to parent a newborn day in and day out.

So yes, I am doing fine. I'm just dealing with a new set of nerves I've never experienced before.

* Special Moment ~ Feeling Raz hiccup as I lay awake Saturday morning and learning that my boss is throwing me a baby shower at work!

October 12th


Michael and Alena's birthday...anniversary...angelversary...day of passing?

I don't really know what to call it.

It came and went as most days do.

I went to work, went grocery shopping, and both my husband and I tried to bake a cake. Neither cake stayed together, they kept falling apart. I don't want to read into it but it's hard not to.

Instead of a big to-do, we kept the 'celebration/memorial' very low key. I knew if we did too much, thought too hard, I may not get through the evening very well. So it was just him and me, trying to keep the night as normal as we could.

We pasted the second cake together with frosting and lit a candle for the babies. I couldn't make myself buy the '1' candle. They aren't one years old. They will always be less than one day. The candle I chose isn't meant to be sad, but to accurately represent them.

Both of us couldn't help but remember what we were doing at each point throughout the day, one year ago. Those were the most painful moments. Ones where I would see that it was noon and know we were on our way to bringing M & A into the world. When it was 9pm and I remembered that was when we left the hospital without them.

I cried for them, for the life we won't have. I cried because this wasn't how it was supposed to be.

But then, I stopped.

As hard as this day was, it won't be much harder than the next. Tomorrow my twins will still be gone and I have to deal with that. Each and every day will be a day without them so I have to ration those tears and learn how to balance the heartache with the smiles.

So this night I let the tears fall as I lit the candle on their birthday cake and smiled as I gazed at the sky where their star might be.

Then I took our blue and pink bears from the table and brought them to bed with me. They were the only things to come home with us one year ago and it felt right to end the day with them next to me once again.

Walk to Remember & Wave of Light


This weekend has been full of moments to remember M & A.

In a way, I am fortunate that their Angelversary is on the 12th so that I have built-in ways to honor my precious babies. As October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, there are a few different events going on that I can participate in.

*A Walk to Remember was hosted by the P.S. (Parent Support) group. I have to admit I have only utilized them once so far. I found that attending the meetings, at least in the beginning was too hard for me. It was comforting to meet people in person who had lost babies as I had, but hearing their stories tended to bring me to a depressive place. One that wasn't too healthy for me at the time. I then considered going again last week...but I chose not to because well...I am pregnant and have some 'survivors guilt'. I didn't want anyone in the meeting to hurt because of me. Especially if their loss was recent. I know how I would have felt if there had been a pregnant woman in the group the first time I went last year.

Anyway, the walk was lovely.

I was lucky to only live about 25 minutes from where it was being thrown on Lake Washington. It was a cloudy day that did shed a bit of rain, but most of it held off until after we left around 11:45am. We were given balloons to write on and carry during the walk and carnations to float in the lake in honor of our children. There was a memorial table set-up where you could leave a memento or picture of your child for others to see and a healthy breakfast of donuts and coffee.

I was happy to see my mom, sister, and nephew were there as well as four friends (two of which had lost their own baby the week before I did). Having them there to support me (and I, them) really helped keep me together. I was able to think of my twins, but not surround myself in pain as I had my friends and family there to talk to. I only broke down once as we threw our flowers into the lake and I noticed how many flowers there really were - how many babies were lost just in my neck of the woods.

I was happy at least to know that both myself and the friend who had lost her baby along with me, were both there with new lives growing inside us. It gave me hope and a little peace. I know the last few days would have been so very much harder if not for Raz and her baby girl. I am so grateful for our stroke of luck (if you want to call it that), at finding ourselves pregnant on this week of all weeks. I know some are not in the position we are and I hurt all over for them. It doesn't take away the pain of M & A's loss, but it gives me something to be grateful and happy for at the end of the day.

*Today, Monday the 15th, is the official Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. As many of you know, there is a candle lighting ceremony going on across the world. It is open to anyone who has lost a pregnancy or baby and to those who would like to honor their friends or family.

At 7:00pm (your time), you can light a candle for a child or children lost to honor their memory and support those you love. If you keep the candle burning for at least an hour, there should be a 'wave of light' across the country/world as each time zone lights their candles.

I will be lighting a candle for both Michael and Alena, as well as one for all of your babies gone too soon. This one candle will represent my love for you and your children. I would be grateful if you wanted to do the same.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Anyone Out There?


So I know I don't post often or really at all...

I have been busy! :)

Honestly I do write, but on a private blog. One that I don't feel comfortable really making public to everyone in 'real life'. It's my journal, my way of keeping things strait.

So this blog gets the shaft usually. I know some wonderful friends, family, and bloggers read it...(when I take the time to write) so for being completely silent,  I am sorry.

A lot has happened since I wrote last and there is too much to update, but I do have some posts I can re-create on here if anyone is interested.

Is anyone out there still listening?

Should I keep up this blog too? I honestly have no idea who is still following so I am throwing it out there.

What say you people?

Do you want more updates?

I have to be honest in saying that my time now is precious, so if you really don't read much or know me and would rather just call...let me know that too.

If there are some others who really miss getting these blog posts in their e-mails or blog dashboards, I may try to throw some at you.

If you know of my other blog, please don't share it here as I still prefer to keep it to my chest. No one likes their journal read by everyone they know.

This is a call to see who is still out there - still waiting to hear from me.

Over and out.
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