Thursday, July 31, 2014

16 Weeks & Home Doppler

I worked from home earlier this week and decided that was the day I'd finally give in and use the home doppler my friend sent me.  I knew that it might cause more anxiety than joy and boy was I right!  For me, it was a *terrible* idea!  I tried twice without any luck and finally, a few hours later, I was able to find what I assume is the baby's heartbeat, but even then I wasn't absolutely sure.  There was a nice strong heartbeat in the 140's and I decided to just assume it was the baby's and be done with the doppler!

Many people have had luck with it, but I think I'm putting it away for good.  For those of you who have used one with great success, any tips or tricks?  I just kept getting random "heartbeats" all over the place, which I assume were actually veins or arteries or maybe even my heartbeat?

Hopefully we'll have a good ultrasound next week and soon I'll be able to feel movements, which I can use for reassurance.  I thought I'd be okay during this couple week gap without ultrasounds, but I'll admit to having a lot of anxiety about whether our little girl is still alive.  I haven't had any signs to indicate that she isn't, but my head just keeps going there.

In an effort to distract myself and keep exercising, I set a goal for my 2nd trimester of walking 10,000 steps each day.  I have a FitBit that I love and am addicted to.  In my "normal" life, I run marathons and have finished a few Ironmans, so I'm very goal-oriented and even though 10,000 steps should not be that hard to reach, I've found it very motivating.  On days when I want to just curl up and read or watch TV, I force myself to get out for a run or a walk and I never regret it.  Anyway, it's a great distraction.

One week until our next ultrasound... not that I'm counting!

Monday, July 28, 2014

15 Weeks & Perceptive People

On Friday, I had an incredibly sweet woman at work come up to my desk and ask (in a very hushed voice) if I am pregnant.  Now I haven't told anyone at work, so I figured that my attempt to wear blousy tops to mask my bump must be failing.  Instead, after I responded "yes," and asked "Is it that obvious?" she actually said "No" and that she could tell because I seemed so much happier these last few weeks.

She wasn't being nosy and I wasn't at all offended by her upfront question because she knew all about L and we actually had a heart to heart about her own fertility struggles (she is probably 30 years older than me).  She was actually one of Dr. Schoolcraft's first patients (pre-CCRM) and one of the first women to undergo IVF (for the record, it didn't work for her, and she was on a few adoption lists when she naturally conceived after years of trying).

It really just drove home that it isn't just that I feel better and have hope again, but that those emotions and feelings are visible to everyone around me, which made me a little sad and made me reflect on just how tough things have been... not that they are all wonderful now with the anxiety surrounding this pregnancy, but I am no longer wallowing in a despair.  I'm even able to think about L in a happy, nostalgic way without always ending up in tears.

And speaking of anxiety, guess who failed to make it to her next ultrasound without scheduling a last-minute ultrasound last week?  Yes, that would be me.  I have just been fretting a bit about going almost 4 weeks without seeing this little girl move around, particularly since I can't feel her yet and this morning I desperately wanted some reassurance.  I went in on Friday.  Her little heart was beating away... but she was sleeping. I've never seen a baby sleep on an ultrasound before.  The tech assured me this was normal, but it is freaking me about a bit.  She was just so still!  Has anyone else seen their baby sleeping on an ultrasound?  L was *always* moving and so far this baby has been, too.

Oh, and my doppler arrived, but I've been too nervous about it creating extra anxiety to actually use it.  I'm really looking forward to when this baby starts moving around so I can feel her and be reassured!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On Faith

Friday marks 15 weeks of pregnancy and also the longest stretch I've gone without an ultrasound.  I'm mostly feeling pretty relaxed, but I have moments where I want to jump in the car and zip over to my doctor's office for a peek at what this little girl is up to.  Is she moving around in there?  When will I be able to feel her?  My stomach certainly seems to be growing as if she is growing...  A fried is sending me her doppler machine (is that the right term?) so I can hear her heartbeat at home.  Has anyone used one of these?  I'm worried it might just freak me out instead as I am certain there will be times I can't find her heartbeat.

We have some acquaintances who I just found out terminated a pregnancy at 20 weeks because of severe heart abnormalities.  My heart just breaks for them.  Stories like this remind me (as if I really need a reminder) that this baby-making process is so very fragile, uncertain, and truly miraculous when it works out well and you have a healthy, living, breathing baby at the end.

After we lost L, I joined a support group for women with recent losses.  It was such a lifeline during the first 8 weeks and the women continue to be dear friends.  In one of our sessions, we had to write a letter to someone with whom our relationship had changed as a result of our loss.  I wrote to my husband, but two of the women wrote to God and wrote about how they were having so much trouble believing in God after such a horrific event had occurred in their lives.

Interestingly (at least to me), I've had the opposite experience and I've spent a lot of time thinking about it lately.  I've never been particularly religious.  I wouldn't say I didn't believe in God, but I also don't attend church or like to put my hope and faith in someone or something intangible.  I'm just being honest here, so I really hope this doesn't offend anyone.  That said, since we lost L, I have had a renewed sense of faith and hope.  I have been praying.  And I think a lot more about a greater power existing in the world.  And I hope that L is in a nice place - I really can't fathom it being any other way.

I'm not sure what to make of these feelings yet in terms of how I might change my life to accommodate them in the future (e.g., by joining a church), but for now it feels really good and right to pray.

I just re-read this post and realize it is all over the place, but thanks for sticking with me :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sugar & Spice...

and everything nice!

It turns out our little nugget (I'm still working on a nickname) is a little girl!  After asking my doctor's office to mail my results on Friday, I then made my husband call back and ask for them to tell us over the phone.  The office was so confused that they called me to be sure this was okay and just told me on the phone: "The results show that the fetus is female."  So typical of the doctor's office to make the best announcement into something so clinical.

A little girl!

A little sister for L.

And that was when I started crying on the phone.  The poor nurse who called to share the results...

They were tears of joy and tears of sadness.  I am thrilled we are having a girl. I would have been thrilled about having a boy, too, of course, but I'm so very excited.  And I'm also really sad.  I'm sad that we don't already have a daughter that this new little baby could meet.  I worry that this pregnancy is like my last one and that everything is going to go catastrophically wrong after going so well in the beginning.

But mostly, I am just really, really excited.  I imagine what this Christmas will be like as I will likely be induced a few days after Christmas.  And I imagine a New Year's Eve with our new little girl, unlike last year when I was induced and R and I spent the night separately waiting for our stillborn baby to arrive.  I feel guilty about letting myself get excited, but then I love how happy this little baby makes me feel.

This may be the most incoherent post that I've written, but my feelings are pretty jumbled and that my worried about "jinxing" this pregnancy will not go away, no matter how often I tell myself that there is nothing I can do to make things go well other than what the doctors instruct me to do.

And just in case you missed it (and because I love saying/writing it)... a GIRL!

Friday, July 11, 2014


Phew.  A huge sigh of relief on this Friday afternoon as our MaterniT21 results came back and they were negative for all chromosomal abnormalities! I asked the doctor's office to mail the gender results but now am so very anxious to know that I am tempted to call back and have them tell me (I like it when my husband and I find out at the same time... it seems fair, which is why I prefer them mailing the results but suddenly I am feeling very impatient).

When I heard today that the results were negative, I experienced, for the first time since losing L, pure, unadulterated joy.  I just am so happy to know that I am growing a healthy little baby inside of me.  I just hope that my body can cooperate, not clot, and that I can actually have this baby to keep.  One day at a time... and today is a great one.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

12 Weeks

We snuck in our 12-week ultrasound last Thursday before dashing to the airport for a trip east to see family and sneak in beach time over the 4th of July weekend.  My husband hadn't been to an ultrasound since 6 weeks, so it was awesome for him to be there and to see the baby's growth.   Everything looked good at the ultrasound and we are just awaiting the results of our MaterniT21 test (which we likely won't have until next week).  

This was our first pregnant visit to the high-risk OB.  We saw a different one than we saw in the hospital when I lost L and when we had our non-pregnant consult.  I don't love her bedside manner as she was a bit brusque, but the visit was fine and she seems to know her stuff, including enough about clotting and our situation to make me feel comfortable.  I've mentioned this before, but I feel as though I spend a lot of time wrangling doctors and making sure they all know what the other has told me... it is exhausting keeping all of their opinions straight and trying not to trample on their sometimes very fragile egos!

Our little baby was moving all around.... not as much as L did at her 12-week ultrasound, but still bouncing around in my uterus.  I hate that I compare the two ultrasounds (and the two pregnancies in general), but I just can't help but go there.  It is the same way that I compare my cravings (currently mashed potatoes, salt and vinegar potato chips, and any salad with mayo, which I usually never eat (e.g., egg salad, chicken salad, potato salad)), which are different in this pregnancy.  I have this bizarre feeling I've shared before about this false sense of control if I do things a certain way.... if I don't crave the same things, this baby will live.... if this baby moves differently, he or she will definitely make it.  Totally ridiculous, I know.

For now, we've made it to 12 weeks.  My next ultrasound will be at 13 weeks, 4 days, which according to some sources means I will have made it to the second trimester.  We shall see.  One day at a time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Six Months

Yesterday was the sixth month anniversary of the day L died.  And Thursday (the day of our 12-week ultrasound) will be sixth months from her birthday.  I still haven't settled on which day I want to "celebrate" each year as her day.  Is it the day we knew she was no longer alive?  The day she was actually born?  Is it both?

Anyway, the six month mark hit me like a ton of bricks in a way that I was just not expecting.  Truthfully, the date sort of crept up and then, the night prior, I found myself wide awake and crying until the wee hours of the night because I just was so sad about everything that happened.  So sad about losing L.  So sad about losing my ability to hope... for anything.  So sad for our family.  And then so scared about this miracle pregnancy and the pain that I know we could suffer through again.

I tried to calm myself by talking to the little baby growing inside of me... telling him/her how much we love them, how we can't wait to meet him/her, and how we just want to have him/her as part of our family so very much.  I guess the date and my reaction just reminded that while I can have "normal" days where I think of L, but don't necessarily cry or get upset, there are other days when I just feel absolutely bowled over by the sadness.


In a happier update, we had a good ultrasound Monday morning and Thursday is the big 12-week scan and Maternit21 test.  Update to follow!