Wednesday, February 24, 2016


When I think of L (also known as Q - see this post for an explanation of names), my mind frequently wanders to the regrets I have related to her birth and the very brief time we had with her.  As many of you know, there is no way to prepare for the decisions you are asked to make in rapid succession when you know you are giving birth to a stillborn baby.  There are so many decisions and each is more torturous than the next.  

I delivered L vaginally while on more morphine than I can even imagine. I couldn't have an epidural because of my blood clot and I don't feel like the morphine helped the pain all that much, but it did make me feel completely separate from my body.  I remember feeling like I had floated up above my body and was watching what was happening from above -- I couldn't possibly be going through this myself.  For the record, I hated this feeling and wish I hadn't taken any drugs and just experienced the birth.  It is easy to say that now, but my mind doesn't handle narcotics well and I hate the way they make me feel.

R and I have never really spoken about L's delivery.  We certainly talk about her, but we mention that night mostly in generalities, so perhaps my recollection is wrong.  In my mind, L came into the world in silence (both hers and ours).  It was the middle of the night and the room felt eerie.  A doctor arrived and out she came.  The nurse asked if I wanted to hold her and I did, but not yet.  My OB arrived shortly thereafter, L was given a bath, and my OB asked us if we were ready.  R was in the bed with me and I took tiny L into my arms.  She weighed only a pound, but she looked like... well, she looked like a very small baby.  Her eyes were closed. I remember her hands seemed disproportionately large, but I loved her tiny fingers and held each one, marveling at how very much she looked like the sweet girl I had imagined growing in my belly.

We each held her and kissed her tiny forehead.  But I was still totally out of it from the meds, it was the middle of the night, and honestly the whole experience is a total blur for me.  Eventually my OB returned and took L away.  The next morning I awoke and headed to surgery.  I remember wanting desperately to have another chance to hold L once I felt aware of what was going on, but she was gone and there was never another offer to bring her back. That said, I never asked.  Admittedly, there was a lot going on with my surgery and being in the ICU, but I never asked to hold her again.  It both breaks my heart that the only time I had with her I was not myself, not cognizant of my surroundings and it makes me feel like I didn't do her justice.  I didn't spend the time with her that she deserved and that I so desperately wanted.  Why didn't we bathe her?  Why didn't I memorize every inch of her tiny body?  Why didn't I hug her and hold her for as long as I wanted to?  Was it fear and a shortcoming in my personality?  What kind of Mom does this make me?  

I have so many regrets about that brief time we had with L.  I think about it often and search in my mind for details from the night she was born to no avail.  I know there is no playbook for handling grief and loss, but I wish I had handled it differently...

(I'm feeling very sad today and this week generally, for no apparent reason.  Sigh.)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Happy Friday & Proverbs 13:12

Our dear friends have been longing for a baby for years.   Two weeks ago, they received the incredible news that the birth mom of a little girl had chosen them to adopt her baby and suddenly they are parents.  Their news made me so emotional and has filled my heart with such joy these past two weeks.  We were discussing how, although our situations are quite different, there is just something to becoming a parent after so much longing and sadness and despair and hope (and lack thereof) (and I say this with the disclaimer of not knowing what it is like to be a parent without those feelings and they probably feel just as strongly about their kiddos - anyway).  My friend's wife wrote me a note and included this proverb, which sums up how I feel so succinctly.  Happy Friday, friends.

Proverbs 13:12
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."

Monday, February 15, 2016

On Wanting a Second Baby (with infertility and after loss)

I had trouble even coming up with a title for this post.  I want to say "after infertility and loss" in the parenthetical, but we all know that once you are infertile, you are always infertile... even if you have a child and even if said pregnancy came about without any medical intervention.

See... I'm rambling already!

I ran my first marathon in 3 years yesterday and it was fine.  I had a decent race (for me) considering that I did one long run and very little running-specific training.  After my clot, I was told I might never run again (residual clot can mean lifelong problems with numbness, tingling, swelling, etc.).  I feel fortunate that isn't the case for me, and yesterday reminded me that I am strong and I spent a lot of time thinking about how grateful I am to be healthy right now.  I also spent miles 16 through 26 feeling so very sad that I was running through the streets of Austin, Texas while my husband and daughter were at home. There were waves of overwhelming guilt and longing to be home and with them that I just could not keep at bay.  It made me question whether training for a race is something I want to prioritize right now -- I was basically hyperventilating and trying not to start sobbing.  I think a lot of the feelings were real -- I was traveling for work 2 weeks ago and then away this weekend and I miss B (and my husband) like crazy -- and some of it was hormonal and some was exhaustion.  But man... it caught me off-guard and has left me feeling very conflicted about what it is that I want going forward (from the perspective of my personal goals and athletic endeavors, which were previously very important to me).  Walking through our door last night to this face was the best feeling...

That is all along introduction into what I really wanted to write about, which is that I am constantly thinking about another baby these days.  Getting a marathon under my belt this year was a goal and now that that is done, I know getting pregnant will increasingly be on my mind.  R and I talked this week and decided that, for now, we aren't going to pursue IVF.  I would go back to my RE in a heartbeat, but R was seriously traumatized by everything that happened when we lost L. For me, all I could think about was that my baby died.  My little L was gone.  But for R, he almost lost me and for now he is so happy that I'm healthy and happy and that we have B and that things are calm for us medically right now.  The idea of all the drugs and hormones and increased clotting risk, etc. is more than he wants at this time.  I also hesitate with being busy at work to add RE appointments into my schedule, knowing they would detract from quality time with B that is already so limited for me.And I am okay with that... for now.  We agreed to revisit in a few months or if either of us changed our mind in the interim.  To be clear, we would both love to have a second child, but R isn't convinced we should go through multiple rounds of IVF to have a second child.

Going forward, I'll resume taking my supplements and vitamins, track ovulation and we'll make an effort to give ourselves a shot at getting pregnant on our own each month.  With what we know about my fertility struggles, the odds are SO low of that happening.  On one hand, I've been pregnant twice after being told by CCRM (and others) that I would *never* have a baby that was genetically mine.  But on the other hand, I've been pregnant twice... and the odds of it happening again are SO low.  And then this line of thinking queues feelings of guilt... because we have amazing, joyful baby B and how can I be so greedy as to want another baby?

Do any of you have any super-secret getting pregnant tricks for me?  :)  Anyone else in a similar position and have thoughts?  I don't want to have any regrets, which is why we'll revisit the RE conversation in a few months.

A dear friend who had her first baby just a week before B was born just told me she is 7 weeks pregnant again and the jealousy that I'm feeling caught me totally by surprise and, frankly, makes me disappointed in myself.  Obviously her pregnancy has nothing to do with me, but it is JUST SO EASY FOR HER AND THAT IS INFURIATING.  I'm so jealous.  I find myself staring at pregnant women and wishing for their bump... and these reactions have confirmed what I already know, which is that I do want another baby...

[This is an incredibly disjointed post.  Apologies.]