Finally Trusting My Body

Every time I mention any of my fears surrounding pregnancy in general, I can immediately tell that I’ve made someone feel uncomfortable.  Most recently it was the fears centered around my root canal. I was so unbelievably scared that something would happen to Nora. Yes, she was fine and the root canal was now over a week ago and she’s still fine. And although it’s been getting better with each milestone, every time I have another appointment, ultrasound, or big event surrounding the baby (registering for her, setting up her nursery…) I’m still scared.

Yesterday my doctor asked about my birth plan and honestly, I actually said.. “My only goal is to walk in pregnant and walk out holding her in my arms.” Truly, that is my only goal. I can honestly say, I don’t care how she gets here as long as I get to take her home with me.

But I’ve finally determined where this fear is actually coming from, after a long talk with Tony.  After a perfect ultrasound and nonstress test yesterday, my MFM doctor said I wouldn’t be getting anymore scans, which made me a bit nervous. But it should be a good sign right? Everything is going well.  While discussing my anxiety, Tony had said to me, “You know the next time we get to see her, we will be holding her.” Immediately the tears welled up in my eyes.

I can sit here and honestly say that I believe him. I really do believe that I’ll get to hold her, hear her cries, and carry her out of the hospital.

Everything has been going well and I truly believe in Nora’s strength, so where is this fear coming from?

It’s coming from 3+years of not being able to trust my body. Over and over again, I’ve lost pregnancies. My hormone levels have been out of control on multiple occasions having to switch medications multiple times, with horrible side effects. Monitoring appointment after appointment, only for them to tell me my hormone levels aren’t matching the scan, there is a cyst, there is a problem with my lining, or my prolactin levels are elevated yet again. More times than I can even recall, my body has failed.

And now? Now I’m just supposed to trust that my body is doing what it needs to do and will continue that?  I’m supposed to just trust my body now after all those setbacks, losses, and failures?

The answer is yes. Yes, I’m supposed to just trust my body.  

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I cannot keep holding onto things that have happened in the past. I always say I’m only guaranteed right now, this moment. And yet, I’m constantly holding onto things that have happened. I’m constantly holding on to self-doubt and fear because of those experiences. It never really goes away and sometimes I have such trouble managing it.

I know it’s been nearly a month since my last update on Nora. I guess with the fears of my root canal, upcoming ultrasounds, and something I haven’t mentioned here–a scare about a week and half ago. She ended up being 100% okay, but I didn’t feel her move most of the day and then nothing for 3 hours during her most active time.

But now is the time to trust my body, Nora, and everything about pregnancy. Today I’m feeling like a weight has been lifted. So here’s an update on everything.

I started nonstress tests yesterday and I’ll go weekly to monitor her heart rate, movement, and contractions. I also had my 32wk ultrasound yesterday and it was amazing.

She stuck out her tongue at us on multiple occasions and her estimated weight was already 5lbs. They are estimating her at 39wks to be 8lbs 12oz. She’s still as healthy as can be and her growth was perfect based on my last scan at 26wks.

So the fear? Trusting my body? My body is cooperating and it has been for the last 32wks. So I’m promising myself to push away fear and anxiety and to trust my body.

On Super Bowl Sunday, my mom felt her move for the first time. Her screams of excitement were so funny- I’d first feel Nora kick, then my mom would scream, and my brother would tell us to settle down because he was trying to watch the game. The sequence of events happened several times over about 5 minutes.

Although after the scan yesterday, we learned that my mom was talking right to Nora’s butt. So we got a good laugh out of that yesterday. But it was a really special moment..

My mom and my sister have been working hard to plan my baby shower, which is a milestone I’d never imagined I’d be so lucky to get to. It’s this Sunday, Valentine’s Day. Less than a week away and last night I finally walked in to Motherhood Maternity to buy an outfit for the shower, without feeling like my heart was skipping a beat. I can actually say it was fun to try things on and think about Sunday.

A while ago, I signed Tony and I for a breastfeeding class, wondering if I’d ever make it this far, but it’s tonight. As long as the snow isn’t horrible and they’re still having it, I’m hoping it’ll help set us up for success.

All of these milestones.. the perfect NSTs, the amazing ultrasounds, the milestones no one really thinks about except for us.. these are all reasons to push fear aside and finally trust my body. I’ve got this.. 

Root Canal

Root.

Canal.

Those are two words that do not mean much when they are separate. Root- pretty harmless, right? Canal- Sure, that’s harmless too, right?

But when you put those words together, that’s enough to make anyone tremble. You’ve all heard the horror stories, hours in a dentist’s chair…feeling the entire thing… ‘the worst experience ever.’ And maybe you even have your own horror story?

I’ve never had a root canal before and honestly I never intended to get one, and certainly not while I was pregnant.

But I had a broken cavity the day before Christmas and I had filled (with my drs approval) at 26wks at an emergency dentist the day after Christmas (they were the only place opened), I was shocked it still hurt afterwards. I thought the emergency dentist had messed up and I wanted my dentist to check it out.

They say (you know endless hours researching RPL on Google) that teeth can impact infertility and poor dental health can even cause miscarriage, so who do you think went to the dentist right before she started trying to conceive again? Yep. Me. I was smart about my dental health and I had even planned to avoid dental work (aside from cleaning) during pregnancy.

Well, I should have known.. Nothing really goes according to plan at all. Nope. You’d think I’d know this by now.

Well after consulting my regular dentist, he said that my top teeth are fine and that the emergency dentist had done a good job. He also mentioned that there could be sensitivity for days because I’m pregnant and pregnancy messes with teeth.

But upon further investigation and x-rays of that side of my mouth, he discovered that I could possibly need a root canal, that my roots on my bottom, left molar were a bit dark. So he referred me to an endodonist.

I had my consultation with my endodonist in the beginning of January and I liked him and his staff right away. He did more x-rays (thankfully with the new digital machines there is very little radiation and even double shielded me). He did a series of tests on each teeth with a cold swab and discovered that my root was actually dead.

I asked if it was something that could wait, but he didn’t think so. After a tooth is dead, the next step is infection. So, he said taking care of it now would avoid the use of antibiotics, extreme pain, and an infection.

The LAST thing I would want would be an infection because that would actually hurt Nora. Infections in the mouth are extremely dangerous in pregnancy. So, with over 2 months until my due date, I knew I had to go through with it.

I got an approval by both my OB and my MFM doctor, the endodonist has worked on MANY pregnant women because they are all referred there, and everything I found on Google said it was okay to have done.

But it kind of felt like when I had to stop progesterone and metformin. All of my doctors were telling me it was okay, but I was still so worried about my baby. What if this mix was keeping her heart beating? What if I stop these meds and she’s gone? The root canal felt very much the same way. What if the doctors are wrong? What if I don’t respond well to the medication? What if her heart rate accelerates so much that she’s not okay? What if I get this done and something happens to her? What if I’m making the wrong decision? What if she’s not okay? 

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The Procedure: 

So let me tell you how it went.. I was actually slightly calm on the day of the root canal, which was Monday. I realized that I just had to go through with it because not doing it could be detrimental to Nora.

I brought a towel to prop up my hip so I wasn’t laying on my back, I had created a calming playlist that I could listen to during the procedure, and I had eaten a good breakfast so I was comfortable and hopefully help with feeling light headed.

The endodonist was absolutely amazing. There is no other way to describe him. He was  pretty young, fun, and you could tell his staff loved him. There is something to be said about a man that owns his own practice, but his employees love seeing him. I was called back, briefly explained the procedures, timing, and asked if I had needed anything.

She mentioned my OB’s letter of approval and even pointed to the medication they had  out, showing me it was what the OB had recommended and reassured me that no epinephrine would be used (which can briefly increase your heart rate). When the doctor came in, he rechecked my OB’s letter, checked the medication again, talked to me about how I was feeling, and put my mind at ease a bit.

Then they put all this stuff around my tooth and mouth, numbed the area, and got started. I was very aware of how I was doing during the procedure, constantly making an effort to concentrate on my music and relaxing my clinched fists and tense body. I worked through breathing and truly relaxing myself.

Little did I know, the endodonist would blare the country music and he would sing along during the procedure. Really, he sang country music through most of the procedure when he wasn’t asking his assistant how her weekend was. Ironically, it brought me a bit of peace. I love country music and can appreciate how happy he was so early on a Monday morning. Anyone that can sing through a job like that is obviously confident and enjoying his job.

He kept checking on me, but honestly I wasn’t even feeling a thing. I was calm, felt at peace with his work and experience, but I kept waiting for the pain.

About 30min into the procedure, he said, “We are almost done. Are you still doing okay?” Almost done and I haven’t felt a thing??

I had to sit with an antiseptic in the drilled tooth for a while, then he came into fill the roots. The assistant did an X-ray, filled my tooth with a temporary filling and went over post-care. The dr came back in to review the X-ray and to check her work. The whole process (from the time I walked in the door to when I walked out) was about 75 min. I could not believe how quick and painless the entire procedure was.

Now, what about Nora? She usually kicks me around 8am and that’s when my appointment was. So, she kicked nearly the entire time and I knew she was okay. When I got home, I checked on her with the doppler and her heart rate was a perfect 155, which is where it has been nearly the entire pregnancy. She’s been doing well the rest of the week too. I’m starting to learn her sleeping patterns.  She was blissfully unaware of what was happening and she was okay.

I met with my regular dentist on Wednesday to replace the temporary filling with a permanent one. No numbing was needed and he finished it up in about 5 minutes.

Although scared, I’m so glad I got it done. I feel like I would have been worrying about an infection for the rest of my pregnancy. My OB even called today to see how the procedure went and to ask if I had any questions about pain medications, etc. But I haven’t needed anything. My tooth feels great.

 

 

I Tried a Different Answer

I wrote a post the other day entitled, “Is This Your First?” And little did I know, I’d be asked this very question only two days later from another stranger.

My sister and her kids, my aunt, and I all took my mom out for her birthday on Monday. Well, being that her birthday wasn’t for another week and a half, I didn’t get her present yet.

So, that morning after breakfast with Tony, I stopped by Kmart to get my mom a neck pillow for her upcoming trip to Florida and a gift card to go out to eat.

I’m waiting in line, with my large winter coat on and the women started a conversation with me.

“When are you due?” she asked excitedly.

I was taken a little off guard. This is the first time a stranger had actually asked about my pregnancy out of nowhere. I guess I have more of a bump than I realize, but usually with a big winter coat, 3 sizes too big I can sort of hide it. I hate that I’m a trigger for anyone suffering from infertility, so rarely flaunt my bump. 

“April 3rd” I said timidly.

“Is this your first?”

There it was.. That question. I thought of all the comments on my blog about people that don’t share and thought in that moment it would just be easier not to share this early in the morning when I was surrounded by people in the lines nearby. 

So I responded with a simple, “Yes.” And with the smile on my face I guess I invited more questions.

“Are you having a boy or a girl?” She was very curious.

“A girl”

She was old enough to be my own mom and shared she had 3 boys and the youngest was 35. But I really didn’t expect to hear what she said next.

Her voice cracked when she said, “I had a miscarriage with my first and I’m convinced that was our girl. I just know I’ll see her in heaven again someday”

I immediately started to tear-up and shared with her that we’ve lost 4. She reached out and gave me the biggest hug and said, “Four?! I don’t know how you survived that. I’m so sorry..”

I then shared with her that if she thought she had a girl, she probably did. I told her we just knew our 4th would have been a boy and chromosomal testing proved that to be true.

She went on to say, “God is good” and “There is a reason I ran into you” and “This is the baby you will get to take home, I just know it!”  By then I was checking out, collecting my bags, and fighting to swallow with the knot in my throat.

But I honestly think there was a reason I ran into her. I left Kmart barely able to see through the tears I couldn’t control. By the time I got to the parking lot, the tears had turned into sobs and a man looked at me very concerned. I made it to my car as quickly as I could and sat there and just cried. I gathered myself, called Tony to tell him the story, and headed home.

I needed to hear her words that day and she probably needed to hear mine too.

 

“Is this your first?”

I’ve been very open about our infertility struggle, but it wasn’t always that way.  I only decided to come out about it last April and share my blog with the world sometime in May. I decided to share because I just didn’t know how I could keep the secret any longer. Secrets take such a toll and along with actually dealing with infertility, it’s even worse. And I just couldn’t do it anymore.

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I don’t know how to make others understand what going through infertility is like, as just talking about it with those close to me, it’s evident some don’t understand and sometimes take their own ability to get pregnant (and their actual children) for granted.

Then I became pregnant again, for the fifth time, in July.. which presented social media challenges.  Tony and I had a lot of discussions on what we should actually share. But Tony and I both decided that it would be better to share and that we had nothing to be ashamed of.. this wasn’t our fault.

To tell you the truth, all along Tony has wanted me to share our journey. He’s always believed that sharing our story would do more good than bad. That maybe someone would find strength, but I was always hesitant.

Since I came out about my story before I was pregnant again, we ended up sharing our pregnancy from the start- with the understanding I would blog about it all, even if it didn’t go well. And it’s scary being so vulnerable.  We were so thankful for the prayers early on and to tell you the truth, we still are so thankful. Every time someone reminds me they are praying, I truly feel a sense of peace.

So, yes, we’ve been very open with our journey, although it wasn’t always that way. We just weren’t ready.  One reason I chose to share is because I don’t feel like this is something someone should have to suffer in silence over and the more we talk about our stories, the more (hopefully) people would understand a little more. Although, sharing does sometimes present challenges, I don’t regret talking about it.

But the reality is, and I understand, it makes people feel very uncomfortable. Often times people don’t know what to say and many times change the subject, while other times you find that person that desperately needed to hear your story.

The thing about being pregnant after recurrent pregnancy loss is I really have two choices. I can share my story or I can remain silent and just pretend it’s always been perfect. I don’t have to be honest now.. I can just put a smile one my face and not say a word about infertility.

When asked the question, “Is this your first?” I have those two choices…

Sometimes, if I’m being honest, I do think it would be easier if I just said, “Yep! And we are excited!”

But that’s not true. She’s not our first. She is our fifth. The problem? Not many people recognize a ‘miscarriage’ as a child. I’ve heard this a million times before.. “At least it was early..” or “At least it wasn’t really a baby yet.”

So whenever I’m asked, I use it as a way to share my story. It’s not easy, but being that “Is this your first?” is a VERY common question, it’s been getting easier for me to share. Every time I say, “No, actually we’ve gone through infertility for just over 3 years to get her and we’ve lost four babies before her” it gets a little to share.

I’ve even been sharing with complete strangers.. my dentist, a few people at the Endodonics office, that random stranger in the grocery story that caught me in line, and even a receptionist where I get my blood work done.

Tony does the same, which I’m most proud of because typically guys do not share these things, but he does. Maybe that’s also what makes it easier for me to share. We’ve always been in this together and he always acknowledges the babies we’ve lost.

So, “Is this your first?”

“No, she’s not.”

A Rag Quilt

I’m celebrating today as I’m officially in the third trimester… I’m 28 wks and honestly it doesn’t even feel real. Tony said this morning, “Every day that passes we are one day closer to meeting our little girl.” He’s right, with each milestone and day that passes we are one day closer.

As you know, one thing I’ve been really working on is living in the ‘now’, cherishing each and every moment, and controlling anxiety by living in the moment. So I’ve sort of just started keeping myself busy with nursery projects. I shared the dresser we did last week, but since that’s finished, I needed another project.

A project I started this week was a rag quilt. I have to tell you, I truly believe that I can teach myself how to make almost anything between Pinterest tutorials and YouTube videos, but I wasn’t sure the quilt would actually turn out okay.

I’ve only made one other quilt and it was 2 (maybe 3) years ago for my mother-in-law, but the rag quilt looked pretty easy and I’m going to make most of Nora’s nursery bedding myself.

I used this video (Rag Quilting Made Easy/Baby Rag Quilt Video) and it was so easy. It was also very forgiving with the my stitching. I sew like I cook, I ‘kind of’ measure but as long as I’m close, I don’t care. I wouldn’t ever call myself a detailed-oriented person.  So this was perfect because it didn’t really matter if things were perfectly measured.

Here are some pictures.. A few organizing and sewing

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My little helper, Cheesecake (really trying to eat the scraps):

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The finished product: The Rag Side

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Quilt Side:

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I love how it turned out. Her nursery is going to be mostly teal, purple, and gray, but we are thinking a little bit of yellow too is nice. I’m not big on theme nurseries. I just want it to look simple, but elegant.

 

A Brief Update 

Honestly, I haven’t felt much like blogging, but it’s been brought to my attention I should probably post an update. Being unmotivated to blog has nothing to do with being exhausted or not having time, but more to do with my having a million thoughts and not being able to focus enough to write.  I’ll have to explain another time. 

So everything is going well with Nora. I am, however, second guessing sharing her name (only every so often). I’ve been asked if we were set on that name, told that I should probably change it, and even given suggestions for new names. Although I think those comments are hurtful,  that is our little girl’s name and it won’t be changed. It has been her name since before we even knew she was a she. Back when I got that first positive beta and Tony kept adamantly saying we were having a girl. He just had a “feeling.” Long before our first ultrasound, before the genetic testing, and even before our anatomy scan confirming we were having a daughter. I don’t actually regret sharing her name, I just wish people could see that she already exists and her name is Nora. I’m glad people know her as Nora and can pray for her by name.  

She’s a strong little one though.  I had an ultrasound just after Christmas at 26wks and she was measuring 10 days ahead, weighing in at 2 pounds 4 ounces. She was also moving so much and from the 3d US, we could even see her facial features. 

Saturday I’ll officially be in my 3rd trimester, which is still so hard to comprehend, but her kicks and movements are reminders that she’s growing and she’s strong. That’s all I can even ask for at the moment. 

One thing I’m not happy about is my need for a root canal that I’ll be getting in Feb. I’ll admit, this does cause me a bit of anxiety getting dental work while pregnant, although it is a priority to get it taken care of. I also know from reaching out, it’s a pretty common thing to have done while pregnant and leaving it untreated can be detrimental.  It’s currently not infected and getting it taken care of now will ensure I don’t have to be on antibiotics or pass an infection to the baby, which is extremely dangerous. I’ve been told by my OB, MFM doctor, my dentist, and the specialist at the Endodonics office that this is the best thing to do. But of course as an extra precaution, I had a consultation with the specialist, who has formulated a plan for approval by my doctors (OB & MFM). So at least I know I’m in good hands. 

Invitations are being sent for my baby shower, which again is a lot for me to process. I’m not going to lie, registering for the shower was (and still is) a bit overwhelming. I remember a time so vividly where walking in Babies R’ Us was an extremely painful experience, and now I was the one walking around clicking on things to add to *my* registery? I didn’t know how to feel, but it’s just about done and that’s all I can do… Handle one day at a time, one experience at a time. 

We’ve also been working on her nursery. Preparing for her arrival is both exciting and terrifying. But here is a picture of the dresser we refinished for her.  

 And a close up of the knobs and a decorative piece we added:   

We still have a lot to do. We are currently working on her closet organization. Most nights, after Tony is finished working in the garage, we spend time in her room together. And these moments are the moments I continue to cherish. 

A Christmas Eve Reflection

Thank you for all of you that reached out on my last post through texts, blog comments, and Facebook messages. It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone and these feelings are completely ‘normal’ especially after my RPL history.

After speaking to my therapist I realized that the way I’ve been coping has been yanked out from under me. You see, I handled my fear by living moment by moment, milestone by milestone. Now, that I’m only just about 2wks away from my 3rd trimester, everyone around me is living in the future. I hear comments about my baby shower, questions about delivery and breastfeeding, and that loved ones are actually buying gifts for Nora’s arrival.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that people in my life are excited about her arrival and are extremely hopeful, but it did take away my ability to live in the moment; the only way I knew how to cope with my fears.  So after a good session at therapy, I’ve been working on a new way to cope because I *want* people to continue to be excited… I’m letting go of all anxiety and fear and actively preparing for her arrival too. I’ll go into it in another post, but my anxiety has diminished quite a bit and the nightmares have stopped. And I’m hoping they never come back.

Just in time for Christmas I guess… And I’m happy I’m feeling a bit of peace for now.

Last night I was actually reflecting on Christmas. I reread many of my posts from last year at this time (that are actually password protected because I was struggling immensely). I cried reading many of my posts because I didn’t realize how much I was actually struggling. Christmas is an extremely difficult time when you’re dealing with infertility or coping with a miscarriage. I often think we forget about those struggling during the holidays, which in so many ways makes it worse.

I’ve always lived by a quote, “Imagine how different a year from now could be..” Only it seems like in my Christmas posts from last year, I had forgotten about this quote. It didn’t necessarily mean I would have a baby in my arms, but at any given time I wished that a year from now, I’d be at more peace or I just wouldn’t be stuck in limbo.

When I wrote those posts, I didn’t even think for a second that this year I would 25wks 5days pregnant. After four miscarriages, I always feared the worse. I feared this year would be the same as all the previous years, holding onto that thought.. “What if a year from now is completely different?”

Well, looking back at my old posts I can tell you that it is completely different, something I can tell you I never imagined. I had hoped, but I had so many doubts.

So a Christmas prayer for all of you still in the trenches is that next Christmas will be completely different for you too. Thinking of all of you that are struggling with this time of year and sending so much love and support. xoxo

And I leave you with my Christmas card that hopefully makes you smile… Featuring our little guy, Cheesecake.

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Merry Christmas to all of my friends and followers.