Wednesday, December 9, 2015

December

We are 13 weeks, 5 days today.  Shortly after our last doctor's visit, we went on a Caribbean cruise for the Thanksgiving holiday with my dad and all the kids.  I had been nauseated and miserable since the day I realized I was pregnant.  My pants had just started to get too small and my shirts were uncomfortably snug against my belly (at only 11 weeks!).  My students and coworkers were starting to look at my belly with a strange, questioning look.  I had finally started to tell a few people, and knew I would have to tell everyone when we returned from the break.
I dug out my maternity tubs, and took out the summer clothes to pack.
We had a fantastic cruise and my little belly grew, it seems, a lot while we were gone.  Somewhere in the first few days of the cruise, my nausea left, and I felt pretty good.  We had a beautiful vacation, our last family vacation before Katie goes off to college, and our last vacation before we settle in to grow this little peanut.
 12 weeks (baby is plum size)

We arrived home, and told everyone we hadn't already told that we were expecting.  Everyone is very excited, especially for Jason since this is his first child (well, the first one he gets to start from scratch with!).
We had another doctor's visit, and everything is still looking good.  I only gained two pounds on the cruise, so yippee for me!
I am feeling pretty good now.  I am bloated and gassy like I have never been before; I am just holding on to the doctor's words that this should end by 16 weeks.  The nausea ended right at 12, so I am hopeful this will follow suit.   My belly grows bigger every day, and every day I am a little closer to being ready for this baby.
We talk about names now.  Jason is the captain of team pink and talks to his baby girl.  Braden is the captain of team blue and talks to his baby brother.  Poor gender-confused baby!  Mom is the captain of team "I just hope my baby is healthy and whole."  I hope that I am the winner.  I really don't care about any of the other teams.
I suppose we carry babies for 40 weeks not only so that they have time to grow from a microscopic spec into a huge watermelon-sized human, but also so that we can emotionally prepare for the new adventure waiting to begin when the pregnancy ends.  After three surrogate pregnancies and 12 years since I brought home a baby, my brain and my heart have some readjusting to do.
I am adjusting.  It is a daily task.  I do it along with trying to remember to take my vitamins, go on a walk, and eat vegetables.  I am going to grow a healthy baby.  I am going to hold this tiny human on my chest and feel the warmth of my own flesh against my heart.  I will be ready, and I will be happy.
My little peach and I are off to bed.  Growing a tiny human is exhausting!

November

November dawns and I am still in shock that we are expecting.  My doctor's visit is on a Monday, and I am anxious to see what she says.  I am unsure of the exact dates because there is no way to know for sure after the miscarriage when this happened.  I am worried that something will be wrong since she had told us to wait two months before trying again.  I am also worried because I have never been so sick from a pregnancy in my life.
I am guessing we are around 7 weeks based on when I started feeling sick.  The baby is the size of a blueberry.
Monday- Jason and I go to the doctor after work.  We do all the fun weighing in, blood pressure, etc.  We do the fun Pap smear (I still can't figure out why the first pregnancy visit includes this horror, but it always does).  After all the poking, the doctor feels my uterus and guesses we are closer to 8 weeks- the size of a raspberry. I am excited- one less week I have to be pregnant!  And, in more exciting news, I get to come back tomorrow for the ultrasound.
Tuesday- Jason and I arrive for our ultrasound and they call me back before he arrives.  I am trying to go slowly so he doesn't miss it and I don't have to hold them up.  We weigh in again (luckily, my weight didn't change since yesterday!) and go to the ultrasound room.  The tech is a young and peppy lady, and I am pretty happy we will get to see what is happening in my uterus.  She goes ahead to start the ultrasound, and I take a quick video for my mother in law and a picture of the little peanut.  Jason arrives, looks at the screen, and says, "It looks like a baby."  Aha!  He has figured it out... Haha, He apparently thought it would still look like an alien or a tadpole.  We watch the baby's little heart flutter and then baby starts to do this little dance.  All baby has is little arm and leg buds.  Baby is shaped like a peanut with a heartbeat, and I can hear the "itza, itza" sound my students always make as baby dances around in the big, black pool of all the fluid in my uterus.  Baby has plenty of room to swim and play still!
The tech finishes, says everything looks great, and says she will send the doctor in to give us a due date.  My doctor comes in and tells us we are nine weeks along, everything looks good, and we are due on June 10, 2016.  No blueberry, no raspberry, but a grape.  In two days, we gained two weeks of pregnancy.  This is awesome!


For the first time since I found out about this little peanut, I feel a bit of happiness.  I can see my baby doing it's little dance in my mind right now, and it makes me smile.  Growing a tiny human at this point in my life, with all that I have gone through is terrifying, but I know that it is going to be okay.  I just hold the picture of my dancing peanut in my mind.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The best laid plans

As you may recall from my last post, I had determined that we would never again try to have a baby and that I was done.  Well, do you remember in that very same post where I said,   "After we lost the baby, I was hell bent on getting right back on that horse.  We were going to make a baby, damn it, and nothing was going to stop me."?  
So begins the next chapter of my life.  I wake up two days after making that decision to sore boobs.  And we all know what that means.  My body, after seven pregnancies now, knows exactly what-in-the-hell that means.  I can't believe it.  I had tried for three months to get pregnant and failed, and failed, and had a dead baby.  And now, with one tiny moment of cursing the pregnancy gods....  no.  I just am not ready to buy into this pregnancy deal again.  My uterus should be a shriveled desert, right?  It had just kicked out its last resident and hadn't even started a new cycle yet...
  Maybe I had seen that beautiful, clear, and sticky goop that indicated high fertility...  Maybe I had dragged my husband off in my haste to prove the world wrong...  Maybe I had known in my crazy, well-informed, and hormone-filled-with-loss mind what I could be doing.  But then I decided I didn't want another baby, and the new plan seemed better.  So, I just cannot agree to what my body is saying, which is:

As the days pass, my poor girls become more tender.  Within two weeks, I am sick.  Deathly sick.  Sick like I have never been before.  But I refuse- refuse- to take a pregnancy test because I refuse to be pregnant.  But the nausea gets worse.  I can't hardly eat, and I feel exhausted to the point of tears.  I don't feel crazy like the last time, but I still feel crazy.
I know when the miscarriage was, so I know how long it has to be before I can even try to see if this could be real.  I continue through life knowing I am pregnant.  I know just like moms know things.  And my brain cannot wrap itself around this.
October 17- This is the day I have decided I will get a positive test if I am.  I wait for the day.  I take the test.
It is the darkest, most beautiful positive (BFP) that I have ever seen.  This is not a pale line like the last one.  This one probably would have shown up a week ago, had I been so inclined to look at it (You will notice that my positive line on the left is much darker than the control line on the right).

As my ridiculously poor luck would have it, it seems that while I was in the "damn it all" phase of grief for my lost baby, and before I had regained my senses, I had gotten myself knocked up.  Congratulations to us!
And, as a very important sidenote, my husband is completely over the moon and happy that he has this new chance to have a baby.  He is scared because of our recent loss, and tries not to get too excited until we make it further along, but he is so happy.  

Author's note:  I leave this sidenote so that if one day my child decides that I am horrible and evil for these thoughts, she/he will know that daddy never had them.

Never again

On a day in late September, I sit beside my husband.  I know that what I am going to tell him could cause an irreparable tear in the fabric of our marriage.  But I know that I must say it.

This is what has happened to me over the last several weeks:
After we lost the baby, I was hell bent on getting right back on that horse.  We were going to make a baby, damn it, and nothing was going to stop me.
I visited with my new doctor, and she said that she recommends waiting through two cycles before trying to get pregnant again.  I am unhappy about this because I am on a tight schedule- and I need that baby to be here by June- and November is not going to cut it!  But I listen. I don't want to lose another baby because I am too impatient to do it right and make sure it has the best environment to grow in.
I ask my doctor if I am likely to have another miscarriage.  She tells me I am not.  She tells me that it happens sometimes.  I think the most surprising thing isn't that I had a miscarriage this time, but that I made it through six previous pregnancies without a single loss.  I have defied the odds, and it was time for me to pay the piper.
Then, I started to think about actually raising another child.  My daughter is a senior this year, and I am about to send her out into the world.  I have spent the last eighteen years raising my three children, sometimes with a partner and sometimes alone.  I have spent eighteen years putting myself last, spending all my money and time on my kids.  I have spent eighteen years tending sick children, staying up late at night when they have fevers, taking them to practice, and loving them with all my soul.  As I think about eighteen more years of waking up at night, eighteen more years of exhaustion and giving and aching, I think, "no, I don't want do this again."  I am old.  I am tired.  I want to enjoy time with my husband and my big kids.  I don't think I have the energy to chase a toddler again.
After that, I think about having another miscarriage.  I can't do that again.  I can't do that again.
I realize somewhere at the end of September that I am done.  I am happy.  I love my kids.  I love my husband. I love everything about my life.  I have just climbed the mountain of post partum depression and survived.  I am finally healthy. I am finally whole.  I don't think that I want to chance messing this up.
I think of all the bad things.  I think about losing the baby again, but further along.  I think about having a damaged baby because my eggs are so old.
I think about so many things, and in the end, I decide I do not want to try again.  I do not want to have a baby.  I want to be done.  I want my life, my beautiful, amazing life, and I don't want to break it.

Fast forward back to now.
I am sitting on the couch next to my husband.  And I say it.  "Love, I don't want to try to have a baby again.  I want us to be done and be happy with our life like it is."
And I brace myself for what he will say.  He says, "Okay."
And I remember why I love him so very much; he sees me, he knows me, and he is willing to love me just exactly as I am.  And he picks me over every other dream.  Oh, how I love him.
And we plan to snip, snip him.  And we are done.  And I am at peace.
I will never again be pregnant, and I am happy with my choice.

Look at this beautiful life:


How could I ask for more than this?  

September- otherwise called Agony

My husband and I were delighted on Saturday when we discovered we were growing our little Jedi.  We are excited all weekend and into the week.  We have this beautiful, glorious secret that is our own private joy.  I feel miserable, so we know all is well.  

Then, on Wednesday, I realize that my breasts are no longer tender, and I don't feel crazy anymore.  

On Thursday, I have some light spotting.  I know this could happen, but it still makes me nervous.  I call my new doctor, who I haven't seen yet, and the receptionist says that since I am a new patient, all they can do is send me for labs to make sure I still have hcg in my blood.  This is not helpful to me.  I keep telling myself to be calm.  I had spotted before after IVF pregnancies took hold.  All would be fine.
  
On Friday, I have some bleeding.  Not okay.  This has never happened before.  I am not okay.  By Friday night, I am bleeding.  I know what is happening.  I am losing my baby.  I am losing this beautiful little miracle we worked so hard to create.

On Saturday, we celebrate my son's 12th birthday.  It is a beautiful day, and I wake up cramping and bleeding.  How am I supposed to go to his birthday party, welcome his friends, and celebrate when I feel my unborn child dying inside of me?  How do I smile when at any moment, what was once a living embryo will fall out of me?  

I go to the party. I sit in my red camp chair and watch the children playing in the jumbo waterslide and paddling boats around the pond.  I watch them swim and play and enjoy their childhood.  Inside I weep with the pain I can not share- the pain of a loss I have never before experienced.
(This is me pretending all is well at my son's birthday party)

We sing the birthday song, we cut the cake, we open presents.  We celebrate my last born child's special day.  I smile and hold him and tell him how much I love him. Today, I realize what a miraculous gift he is.  I appreciate more than ever how blessed I am to be his mother.  I appreciate how blessed I am to have three perfect children that came to me so easily.  Perhaps it is fitting that this never-to-live baby comes today, on a day when I can appreciate the blessings I have and temper this pain with joy.  Or maybe it is ironic that this pain should come on a day that must be filled with joy.

I tell myself I am blessed.  I know I am.  I now know how miraculous each of my children are.  And I ache.  I ache physically where my body is pushing out this pregnancy and this baby that was not meant to be.  I ache in my soul where our dream of holding our little Jedi in our arms has died.

That night, when what was my little baby appears, I cry.  A dream has ended.  And my mother's heart cannot fathom going through this ever again.  I think of all the women I know who have gone before me, and I ache for them.  I think of the women whose children I carried for them, and I am more grateful than ever that I chose to help them.  I can't imagine having known only this ache as motherhood.

I tell my children what happened.  I tell my mother.  I don't tell anyone else.  I realize that miscarriage is one of the many sorrows that people carry alone.  It shouldn't be.  


August

My hopes are high as we enter August.  We failed in June.  We failed in July.  And everyone I talked to and everthing I read said that it takes those two months for the bcps to get out of my system and my body to kick on.  I know if it is going to work, it will be August.
In exciting news, our problem from July is gone.  My husband and I are together for the entire month, and in even better news, we are on vacation at th Lake House on the fertile week.  Whoop!
We come home from vacation completely hopeful and excited that we have done it.  I wake up one Monday morning with tender breasts, and I know.  This is my body telling me we are pregnant :)
I decide it will be perfect to take a pregnancy test on our fifth anniversary, August 21.  It seems early, only 21 days into the cycle, but I figure that if my body has enough hormones that I can feel the pregnancy, surely there are enough hormones for a pregnancy test to read.  I take to the internet, and our chances look pretty good.

August 21 pregnancy test- Negative.
I am devastated.  My body is freaking crazy.  It is broken.  What is wrong with me?  If I am not pregnant, what the hell is going on?  I research other causes for these feelings that I am having, and none of them are good.  My husband insists that I am reading my body correctly and I just need to wait until day 28, but I rage and cry and have temper tantrums the whole week- my first week back at work for the school year.  I am looking like a crazy person at work, and feeling like my body is about to explode when August 28 finally arrives.

I take the pregnancy test and stare it down.  I set the timer for 3 minutes, and stare at the clock.  Stare at the test.  Stare at the clock.  I am willing the test to be positive so I know that I am not crazy.  My husband is in the shower when the three minutes ends.  I run in with the test in my hand.
"We did it!  We did it!  It is positive!" I exclaim as I wave the stick in front of his eyes.  "So clear!  I am not crazy!  I am not broken!  It worked!"


The next day, I take another one to make sure it is getting darker instead of lighter (in case of a chemical, which you see when you start testing too early).  This is what I get:

It is a beautiful, dark line.  A beautiful plus sign.  We have achieved success.  We are having our very own tiny human.  We have nicknamed him/her "the Jedi" since we began the discussion of trying for a baby.  The Jedi is on the way!  We are so happy.  We have a baby coming on:

Friday, July 31, 2015

Today sucks

 
I did everything I was supposed to do this month.  I took care of myself, I watched my cycle.  I took my bbt (basal body temperature) every day.  I checked my cervical mucus and cervical position every day (which is disgusting).  I used the ovulation test strips. 
And you know what?  The day that I was supposed to start "collecting" my husband's "material", well, he was in a different state.  And the next day.  And finally, he arrived.

Side note:
They say that the egg is released within 24 hours of the LH (luteinizing hormone) and that it lives for 12-24 hours after it is released.
I figured, as long as it came at the end of the 24 hours and lived 24 hours, we should be good.
I figured, I get pregnant so easily, surely I have a hearty little egg floating around in my previously identified paradisiacal uterus.
Apparently I don't.  Maybe my uterus is sick and tired of babies living in it.  I get it, eight is a lot of babies.  And I heard you last time uterus, you don't want two at a time.  I know.   I promised we wouldn't do that mess again.  But it was just one!
And little egg, I know you have been in their for almost 36 years.  I do.  Don't you think it would be so awesome to become a baby?  Like, wouldn't that be better than shriveling up, dying, and falling out in a mess of bloody ooze?  Seriously?
End of side note.

I collected the material.  I get it.  I was two days late.  TWO DAYS.  Two days!  And then I waited.  I even waited until 3 days before my period was due so that I wouldn't get up my hopes.  But how can you not?  And the test was negative.  So was the next day.  And the next day.  And today, I decided not to even test.  What was the point?

I guess I knew I wasn't pregnant this whole time.  With my last child (#3), I knew I was pregnant because my body told me I was well before a pregnancy test would have picked it up.  I never felt that this time.  Just like last month, I already knew. 

So, the test was negative.  This post is negative.  But what else do you expect?  Negative.  I have gotten pregnant the first go SIX times.  I knew the odds were lower this time.  I am older.  My body has been through pregnancy hell.  And I know everyone can't have everything.  I know all the facts.  I know all the clich├ęs. 
But right now, none of that means anything to my heart- which is slightly more broken than it was yesterday.

And the silver lining, if there must be one, is that I know a hell of a lot more about fertility and cycles than ever before.  Even after 3 surrogate pregnancies, I have learned more about my body than I ever knew I didn't know.  So this next month, I am going to throw my huge trove of knowledge at this thing.  I am going to cervical mucus and ovulation test my eyeballs out. 
Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fear and Hope

We decided to have a baby.  After four years of marriage.  After he learned to love my kids.  After he watched me carry five babies for three other families.  After vowing that he would never want a child of his own.  After all that we have been through, he said he wanted his own.  What could I say?  I said, "of course."
We decided to wait for summer.  Because I want to have the most time off.  Because I needed time to prepare.  To get off the meds.  To know that I was well again.
And here we are.  We tried in June.  Fail.  We are trying again in July.  I don't think we have done it.
We will try again in August.
I have learned more about fertility, ovulation, cervical mucus, and basal body temperature than I thought I would ever need to know.
I grew eight babies.  Sometimes I feel selfish for wanting one more.  Sometimes I feel scared to carry one more (like, something will surely go wrong this time).  Sometimes I feel too old to do this all over again.  But sometimes, I feel this crazy bit of hope- excitement- joy at the thought of growing one last tiny human.  And the idea of giving birth and having that tiny little person laid on my chest, against my heart, and being able to hold her forever... my heart overfills with the possibility of one more little love.
And now I wait and pray there is a little egg that hasn't shriveled up yet.