Today is a Good Day

When bad things happen to you, like when you lose someone you love or something tragic happens in your life, you break. It’s in those moments that you realize bad things do happen and they happen to you. For me, this realization that I’m not invincible was recurrent pregnancy loss. I can’t even describe the pain of losing a baby and then losing three more.

The fear that puts on this pregnancy is immense. Even with every milestone; the fear is still very real. I had so much anxiety approaching today’s ultrasound, but part of me felt at peace. Knowing that I was strong enough. I could handle the worst and not just handle it, but somehow I would be able to find myself again. Tony and I would be okay.

I was prepared for the worst too. I stocked my purse with tissues and I didn’t make any immediate plans for the rest of the week. What I had planned for was grieving. I know what that means for me- load the house with chocolate and wash the bed sheets because I might just be in them for a few days/weeks. I hate that recurrent pregnancy loss has forced me to think like that, but I know how quickly this pregnancy could be taken away from me and I can’t see my worry disappearing anytime soon.

What I didn’t realize is that when bad things happen, it doesn’t mean it’s always going to be that way. Sometimes good things happen, and today was one of those days.

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Tony left work early on the 2nd day of school (thanks to his brother and a close friend covering his class) and I picked him up. We headed for the hour commute to our RE’s office. Most of the car ride was actually silent. I know Tony very well and I could feel his anxiety too. He was just as scared as I was heading to my RE’s office. Although, he does do a better job hiding it than I do.

We headed into the ultrasound room. I swear my heart was nearly beating out of my chest. The ultrasound tech started the ultrasound and there she (we will call our baby a she- for some reason Tony’s convinced our baby is a girl) was on the screen. Her heart was beating so fast. Much quicker than I remember last time and she had grown. Instead of measuring 8w1d like she was supposed to, she measured 8w4d. The heartbeat was strong too at 168bmp. We got to see our Little Fighter.. there she was… alive.

I cried. Tony was holding my hand and when I looked up at him, I saw his eyes were filled with tears too. Then he closed his eyes for a moment and I just knew he was thanking God.  The US tech paused and waited; just giving us a minute to soak in the moment.

You see, I’ve never had a healthy pregnancy. Yes, we’ve seen a heartbeat, but we were told our betas weren’t good from the start. We were told in the first few days that we would miscarry with every single pregnancy. This time though, this time has been different. Our numbers did what they were supposed to, each milestone has been met, and my RE keeps using the word ‘normal’ which seems so unbelievably foreign to me.

Nothing about this battle has been normal. But today.. today was normal. A word most take for granted.

Not only did I make it beyond 8 weeks, but I also met another milestone today. I was officially released from my RE. He considers his job done and I’ll be moving on to a regular OB practice. My first appointment is Sept. 15th. To be honest I’m just praying I make it that far. I’m praying that our baby IS the little fighter she has proven to be so far.

For now, I’m just living in the moment and right now, at this very moment everything is okay. Everything is normal. Our baby is growing.

 

 

Grateful.

My next ultrasound  is tomorrow. It was just over a week ago that we had a terrifying scare. I wasn’t going to blog tonight, but just felt like I had to write. Writing is always how I tend to cope with life and so writing is what I need to do tonight.

I don’t know how tomorrow is going to go. I don’t. I have so much anxiety, but honestly, I’m so grateful. I’m grateful for a few reasons.

I’m thankful for every moment I’ve been pregnant and although I pray we hear the sound of heartbeat tomorrow, I’m grateful I heard the sound last week. I’ve never made it to 8 weeks. I’ve carried to 8 weeks, but it’s always been a devastating ultrasound for Tony and I. So, tomorrow? Well, it scares me and I can’t even explain it, yet I can sit here tonight and honestly say I’m grateful. Sounds crazy, I know.

Not only am I grateful for a chance at another pregnancy, I’m so thankful for the support Tony and I have received.

I’m thankful for the cards I received tonight from valuable friends, the text messages with words of encouragement and hope,  the phone calls, and the blog comments and the comments on Twitter… I also received quite a few private messages on Facebook. It’s incredible to think that so many people are here to support us. So many people have reached out and have given us strength. Strength we so desperately need.

I’m anxious, yes. But I’m also grateful.

I Hate the Color Red

Emergency Room: 

Last night late, Tony and I came inside after talking to his brother who was working in the garage. I was walking across the kitchen and all of the sudden it felt like I had peed myself. Panicking I ran to the bathroom and I was bleeding. A lot.

I started to cry immediately and yelled for Tony. When he came in the bathroom, I could see his heart sink just like mine had only moments before and tears filled his eyes.

I wasn’t spotting.  I was gushing blood and passing clots. I called the doctor on call at my RE’s office and he said that I was more than likely miscarrying and I needed wait an hour. I knew the protocol.

But here’s the thing. I’ve been through a D&C, 2 natural miscarriages and one induced miscarriage. This was not normal bleeding. Tony knew this to be true too and he actually said he was scared it was just too much blood.  I called the doctor back an hour later when we were already headed to the ER and left a message. He failed to call back right away, so I left another message with the answering service and told him I was headed to the ER and wouldn’t be answering his call.  After an hour and a half of bleeding and I was admitted to the ER.

While we were sitting there, I was still filling pads every 15-20 minutes and by the time I was called back for my ultrasound the bleeding had stopped. It had stopped as quickly as it had started. I sat in the ER and I told Tony, “This just doesn’t feel like a miscarriage, it’s different.” He said he didn’t know how we didn’t lose the baby with that much blood. Although I didn’t want to agree with him, I knew he was right.

While waiting throughout the night, I went through moments of being ‘okay’ to complete meltdowns about how life isn’t fair.  We were expecting the worst. The US tech was lovely and very comforting, but I knew we had lost the baby. I knew it was over.

I couldn’t see the screen, they do that in the ER. But I could see my husband’s face and he could see the screen. I’m quite thankful he’s as good at reading ultrasound screens as I am now.  I knew it was good news because he started to smile. Then I heard him ask, “Is that the heartbeat.” She told us it was and that I was measuring about 7w2d and the heart rate was 138.

I don’t know if you can imagine this or not.. but we had thought we miscarried. We have been through 4 miscarriages and so much heartbreak.  We had thought it was over. And now? We were told our baby was still there. I didn’t cry or smile. I was just processing and I thanked God. With all that blood it still doesn’t make sense that the baby was still there.

My beta came back and it was just over 127,000, which matches right around 7 weeks and means it’s doubling correctly-more good news.  I left the hospital around 2:30am holding Tony’s hand. We left the hospital a lot different than when we went in. My stomach was no longer twisted in knots and instead we had a sense of relief.

RE appointment: 

Today (9:30 am) we had our appointment with the RE, which we scheduled after our last US around 5 weeks. When we arrived, the nurse pulled me aside to ask how I was feeling. They hadn’t received the records from the hospital yet. I told her everything and she seemed pleased.

I was then scanned. The baby’s heart was still beating- at 146bpm and according to their measurements I was 7 weeks. When you’re taking early ultrasounds, a few days really doesn’t matter and 7 weeks is actually the day that matches with my last missed period. I think about 7w2d based on ovulation.

I was relieved that there was still a heartbeat and everything looked so good. I met with my RE (Dr. M) and he was so mad the on call doctor didn’t call him. He was free and on call for the infertility patients. He told me he had a lecture with the messaging service and the on-call doctor, although honestly, that was the least of my concerns.

During our meeting, he reassured me that everything looked normal. He used the world normal about 10 times during the conversation. I kept listening for the ‘ab’ in front of ‘normal’ but he never said it.

I asked a dozen questions and he said, “Sondra, no matter how you look at this, everything will STILL be normal. You have a normal pregnancy right now. Stop trying to find something to worry about.” He’s right, I’m so used to everything going wrong, it’s hard to just be okay when it finally does go right.

He thinks the bleeding was a Subchorionic Hematoma that resolved itself. He did say, with a pregnancy and my history, we are never really out of the woods until the baby is here, but we have a good start. And I know this to be true.

I am on bed rest for at least the 48hrs- told to do nothing. But right now, at this moment, we have a baby with a heartbeat, who is a little fighter. I’m exhausted, but I think this goes without saying, incredibly grateful. I have another scan next Wednesday. It’s a big scan because I’ve never made it to 8 weeks with a healthy baby.

Thank you for all that reached out via Twitter, texts, and messages. Your prayers and support kept me strong last night and I shared all of them with Tony. <3

Struggling

I wouldn’t be truthful if I said this was easy. It’s not.  I’m very good at pretending I’m okay and most times during the day I am- I’ve always been a happy person, but everyone just seems to believe I’m okay all the time and I’m not.

You’ll see me smiling, laughing, and when I’m home- I break. I’m trying, I am. And until yesterday I was actually doing okay. But last night? And Today? They have not been good days. I’m on the brink of tears at any given moment. As the ultrasound approaches, I know my anxiety will become even more intense.

It’s a horrible feeling to know that ONE moment in time can be the best day of your life, or one of the worst. ONE ultrasound will determine if we’re going to have heartbreak or hope.

I got asked yesterday what I’d do if I had a 5th miscarriage. That hits you a bit.. first you briefly visit the fact that you’ve already lost 4 babies and that yes, you know it is possible that you could lose a 5th too.  As much as I had tried to push away that fear, it’s still there. Until that question yesterday, I hadn’t thought about it much. Every time I had those thoughts, I’d just push them away.  I’ve been mostly optimistic that maybe this time will be different.

Honestly, I don’t know what we’ll do. Tony reassures me that we will figure it out, be stronger as a couple, and that we know how to get through a miscarriage..And do you know what? I know he’s right. We know how to navigate that heartbreak together and we’ve only ended up stronger.

But, if you’re the praying type- I believe in the power of prayer and  I just need prayers for strength and to stay positive. I know no matter how this goes I’ll be okay. Tony and I will be okay. But I also know how much losing a baby hurts and I’m terrified of that grief. I already know that grief and I already cope everyday with that grief.

Just praying these next 6 days go quickly and I feel stronger tomorrow. Thank you to all of you that have reached out through texts, comments on my blog posts, Facebook comments, and private messages. It means a lot that Tony and I are not alone.

 

 

Having A Support System

I remember when I started this blog. I was seriously at my breaking point.  I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I started blogging and I can’t believe how much changed… The thing about documenting your life on a blog is that you aren’t just remembering memories you think you can recall, you’re looking back at actual events and raw emotions that you wrote down.

This blog has always been anonymous, which meant I did not have to censor my emotions. Although I’ve password protected many of those posts, they do allow me to see how I really felt and how broken I really was.

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I look back at the post that started it all and I still very much feel the same way, but things are so different. I still feel very much like a ‘secret mom’, but now I guess it’s just not so secret anymore. I am an angel momma.

Even though it’s been two years from that post and three years in this battle, I can honestly say I’m happy again. I wasn’t ever sure that was going to happen again and I know it’s because of my support system. A large part of healing is this blog and the blogging community.

Infertility is no longer controlling me, although I’ve accepted that it is a large part of who I am. I will always have babies in heaven and I will always miss them. The pain of what has happened will always impact me, I know this. But I also know I have what it takes to love life too. I wasn’t always at this point and I really don’t know if I’ll always stay here, but at this moment I’m okay. I know no matter what I’ll be okay. And that is a peaceful feeling.

I remember having 3 miscarriages my last year of teaching and because we only shared our story with a few people (some of which could care less and actually added to the pain of my struggle) it was one of the hardest years of my life. And if you know my childhood, you can truly understand the truth behind that statement. I still look back at that year and wonder how I even survived, but I know it was because of Tony and a few friends/family we allowed in our circle.

Then that August, I started this blog. I look at various blog posts and I know I’ve done a lot of healing. Most days I can’t believe I’m still standing. I’ve spoken to so many women that say one miscarriage is impossible to recover from and wonder how I can go on after four.

I’m not really sure.. but I guess this topic may deserve a post of its own someday.

I guess the point of this post is that as soon as I started blogging, I no longer felt crazy. I learned a whole world of men and women who understood. For the first time, I didn’t have to justify my feelings, explain them, or pretend I was okay. I just blogged and although no one even knew who I was, were willing to offer support. They understood.

I know finding this community has made me stronger and more able to cope with the hand I’ve been dealt. By expanding my support system from a few friends and family to blogging, I gained the strength I so desperately needed.

So I guess, if you are reading this, have been following my story, and are going through your own struggle,  know you’re not alone. I’m here to support you and listen. Feel free to email me your story or connect with me on Facebook. I truly feel like no one should have to do this alone. Even if you’re not willing to share your story with the world, I want you to know that I’m here.

One of the worst feelings in the world is feeling like you’re alone. Tony and I still talk about how different things are now for us. We don’t feel alone anymore. So, if you want to share, I invite you to connect. I’m here.  If you’d like to anonymously share your story on my blog or do a guest post so others know they are not alone, I’d like that too.

 

Another Hurdle Cleared

Not many people can understand RPL and the fear that actually comes with a pregnancy. It’s  truly day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute.  You learn to appreciate everything and to not take the anything for granted. Partly because you know how quickly it can be taken from you.  RPL is scary, everyday you pray that fear does not overtake you at any given moment and that everything will work out this time.

Today was a scary day. Today was ultrasound day.

I didn’t get much sleep this morning, all the fears kept going through my mind. I was just praying for a gestational sac and hopefully a yolk sac in the correct place. I wasn’t expecting to see a fetal pole (although I’m always hopeful) or a heartbeat. Although both can be seen at this point, it doesn’t always happen.

There was a great possibility that there wouldn’t even be anything on the US and I’d have to fear ectopic, or that what was on the US would be abnormal. I’ve been down both paths before and it’s terrifying.

I went into the ultrasound room, made small talk with the US tech, and was ready for the US. Tony came along and although he offers to come to every appointment ever scheduled, I only have him come to the stressful appointments. This was one of those appointments.

As soon as she began the US, I saw the sac on the screen. She skipped over it quickly though to measure my ovaries, but assured me that it wasn’t an ectopic pregnancy and was in the right spot. Then she zoomed in, measured, and told me that I was measuring 5 weeks and a few days and that everything looked great.

According to my calculations I should be 5wks4days. According to the US, there was one visible gestational sac and within that sac was a yolk sac measuring appropriately. Although I was measuring around 6wks according to the US, the nurse said that number is (+ or -) 10 days, so I could still technically be 5wks4 days, which is what the US tech said originally. I was initially concerned about not seeing a fetal pole but the nurse assured me this was normal and I knew if the gestational sac was below 25mm (which it is) there wouldn’t be a good chance of seeing one.

But I’m thankful I’m measuring where I’m supposed to be measuring and everything looks okay. I could tell the nurse was a bit hopeful, but knows my history, so was trying to hide her excitement.

I’ve learned that I have no control over this, so when given the option for an earlier US I declined. Crazy, I know. It’s just like my betas though, I declined more than 2 of those as well. I’m waiting until August 18th for a repeat US. Yes, it feels so far away, but by then I’ll be 7wks2days and things will be more concrete then.

I’ve been learning to give up a lot of control. You see, I know I’ve done everything I could do to support this pregnancy, if it doesn’t end well, I know I did everything. Betas won’t matter and early ultrasounds won’t matter. I just pray I’ll make it until the 18th and won’t start bleeding before then. Yes, that is a real fear of mine. So, every single moment pregnant is a miracle and something to be thankful for. I know whatever happens God’s got this and I will be okay.

So I’ll take it day by day, but today another hurdle was cleared… only about 1,000 more to go. :)