Second Verse, Same As The First.

Yes. I’m coping with beer. I know this is not healthy.

If you’ve clicked over from Facebook – this is the post I wrote after my last miscarriage in September of 2012. We decided after that to stop trying to have more children because my heart couldn’t take anymore loss.

Two interesting notes.
1) I’ve never had two consecutive baby-producing pregnancies.
2) I’ve written “We had a miscarriage” blog entries four times before “live baby check” appointments and ended up not needing them. The one time I didn’t do that because I was home with a sick kid? I need it.

Yep. So, today I had what repeat-aborters like to call a “Live Baby Check” appointment. I’ve had several of these, as you know. But this one? Showed no live baby.

When I got to the doctor the ultrasound tech was the one who I had last time I had a miscarriage. I thought, “Well, if I’m going to get bad news, I’d rather it be from her.” It’s sad when you’ve had enough bad ultrasounds that you ranked the techs as who’s the best to get the bad news from.

I knew immediately. You know when they don’t tell you “There’s the heartbeat!” that it’s bad. But then when she says, “I’m going to get the doctor so he can see how big the hematoma has gotten,” you just start crying. Which I did. Because I’m not a miscarriage virgin. I know the drill. Baby didn’t measure anywhere close to what it should be and there was no heartbeat. Evidently the hematoma just kept getting bigger and the poor guy didn’t have a chance.

I’m heartbroken. Obviously. But I’m also very robotic about it. Even 5 years from my last one, I still go right into autopilot mode. Walking around with the thought in the forefront, “I have a dead baby inside of me,” but that thought not actually touching the surface of my heart. It’s there, clear on my mind. DEAD BABY. But my heart is automatically separated from this fact. Like it was every time before. I’m surprised I still remember how to do that.

Evidently having a miscarriage is like riding a bike. You never forget how to do it.

I go in Wednesday for a D&C. And I just pray that my body doesn’t decide to take care of things itself between now and then. I’ve done that before, miscarriage this far along on my own, and there are few things worse than that. At least the D&C is a clear end without me in hysterics on the floor of my bathroom.

I keep apologizing to everyone. I’m devastated that E has to break the news to his friends. I feel like I should have to do that since it’s my crappy body that can’t sustain a pregnancy. I hate that my husband is heartbroken. I keep telling everyone, “I’m sorry,” and I know that’s stupid. But it’s just another thing I do on autopilot. Apologize for my shitty reproductive system. Most of the time with the shitty periods it just affects ME, but when it comes to pregnancies, it affects everyone.

So I’ll say it once to get it off my chest: I’m sorry to you all too. I’m sorry we all got our hopes up. I don’t feel bitter. I don’t feel angry. I’m just sad. And while my brain is not really connected to my heart right now, so that I can still function normally for my family, I can still feel the pain in my heart. It hurts through my toes and into the tips of my hair. If I let it get too close to the surface I can’t breathe.

So I push it down and just wait a bit. I just have to get through Wednesday. Then I can process the grief in bits at a time.

And drink several beers in between each bit.

Why I Whine

I would just like to go on record saying that I was almost 8 weeks pregnant when I did this, and it was even doctor approved!

I’m not usually a whiner. I have my moments – for sure. But as a general personality trait, it’s not me.

But lately? It’s all I do.

Every time someone asks me how I’m doing I mention that I hate not being able to run or do boot camp and that I’m hoping I’ll be cleared at my next doctor’s appointment. I say that I’m a beeyatch without my stress-reliever of running. I complain about missing my boot camp and running buddies. I do all of these things at least 100 times a day.

But here’s the thing. It sounds like I’m saying: I hate my high-risk pregnancy because it’s keeping me from exercising. But do you know what I’m really saying? I’m really saying: I’m terrified that if I don’t vocalize how much I miss exercise at every chance I get, that I’ll one day stop missing it. And starting back will be that much harder.

See…I’m not naturally that girl. I was not born athletic or with a desire to exercise. It took me 30+ years to find that. 2 years ago I discovered boot camp, a little over a year ago I fell in love with running. And this was after decades of attempts at becoming healthy and fit. I finally found that groove and those people who made me love exercise and I’m terrified that I’ll lose that feeling if I don’t constantly remind myself how much I love it by whining about missing it.

I want to be able to do it again as SOON AS I CAN. If it’s in a week when the doctor clears me for low-weight, low-impact strength training again? Then, great! If it’s in April after I have a baby? Fantastic. Either way I want to be able to jump right in and go the first day I’m allowed.

But think about it – how many people have medical excuses NOT to exercise in this moment? Yet – how many people don’t do it? For the majority of non-fit people in the world, it’s a mental challenge to get out the door, not a medical one. And I’m TERRIFIED that the longer I’m away from my routine, the grander that mental challenge becomes. So that the second the medical block is cleared, the mental block will take over and I’ll lose all that hard work.

So…please forgive me. When I whine about not being able to run or do boot camp, it has nothing to do with my dissatisfaction with this pregnancy. Of course I’m overjoyed to be pregnant and I want this baby to keep fighting and hang in there so that it can become another crazy piece of our fun family. No, please see my whining for what it is. Someone who just finally became the healthy and fit person she’s wanted to be for a very long time and who is afraid of losing that desire if she doesn’t talk about missing it at least 80 times a day.

And before you know it you’ll go back to being annoyed with me for talking about running and boot camp all the time instead of whining about missing it!

UPDATED: I Don’t Think My Body Understands The Concept of “Weekend”

The fateful painting. Good thing I love it or I might throw it away.

WARNING: This entry contains VERY MUCH TMI. If you’re not in the mood for that today, then I’ll give you the gist. We had a bad night Friday. Not sure if I’m still pregnant or not. Hopefully I’ll get to the doctor sometime today. Feel free to carry on and skip the rest of the entry.

Now! For the rest of you brave souls still hanging in there…let’s get on to the nitty gritty, shall we?

So…Friday night Donnie and I went on a date to a painting class! Just as I signed my name to my GORGEOUS masterpiece (if I do say so myself) I felt that tell-tale sign of…OH SHIT…I’m either wetting my pants or hemorrhaging. (All women know this sensation…it’s the same for an unexpected period as well. It’s one of the things that ties us all together because we all know that moment where we think: I HATE BEING A WOMAN WITH EVERY OUNCE OF MY SOUL.) So…I run to the bathroom and realize that – of course – I’ve not suddenly become incontinent. Nope. Much worse.

I make the spontaneous decision to leave (Donnie and I were in two different cars) because I knew one thing for certain: If I was about to miscarry this baby, I did NOT want it to happen in the bathroom of an art studio. So I whispered it Donnie’s ear, “It’s happening again.” He took one look in my eyes and knew what was going on. I told him I’d see him at home.

Here’s the thing. Bleeding during pregnancy is TERRIFYING. Especially bright red blood that pours out of you as you sit on the toilet. I AM ALWAYS TERRIFIED. However, I’ve also been here before and can think logically with at least HALF of my brain during these moments and I just kept thinking what my doctor always tells me: It’s not an emergency unless you’re saturating a pad more than once and hour. So, I went on BLOOD WATCH 2012.

I was NOT bleeding more than a pad an hour. But I was bleeding a LOT and cramping horribly. I decided I didn’t even want to sleep in bed because I was worried about being able to clean a mattress. I made a large palate on the floor instead. Which, you know, IS SO SAD. Look at me sleeping on the floor because I’m afraid I’ll miscarry on my mattress. SO SAD.

I made it through the night and I don’t THINK I miscarried. At this stage I’m 99% sure I’d not be able to miss it. But – early in the night I was bleeding quite hard every time I sat on the toilet and I was cramping so bad…I’m praying I didn’t miss anything. But it wouldn’t be too big of a surprise if I did.

I never bled more than a pad an hour. I think it took 2-3 hours through most of the night. And then the next day? SOCCER! WHEE!

We had back-to-back soccer games and I had used most of the night processing the idea of having a miscarriage. I was emotionally more stable about it. (Again: SO SAD. No one should be “okay” with having a miscarriage.) I was packing my back for the day and thinking, “Okay. If I miscarry what do I need in this bag?” Basically? I was packing for a miscarriage which is just a devastating concept. I had made an early Publix run for more powerful pads so I’d hopefully avoid any accidents. I brought a change of clothes and some ibuprofen. If I miscarried, there’d be nothing stopping me from medicating for the pain.

So I was prepared! Like a boy scout! But with more estrogen!

Long story short? Nothing happened. The bleeding subsided throughout the day.

Is this good news? Yeah. But are we celebrating? Of course not. This fetus has been through some more stress this weekend and while it might still be there, there’s no guarantee it’s still alive. And I’m not even 100% positive it’s still in there. So…we’re still very much bracing for bad news. But I’m not 100% sure it will be bad news. Like I’ve said before, I’ve miscarried on my own around 9 weeks – that time I knew for sure it was bad news. We’re not there…but I’m still not buying crib bedding yet.

I’ll call the doctor today. Of course, thanks to my one asshole doctor experience five years ago (not MY doctor, of course) I’m always paranoid someone is going to make me feel dumb for “overreacting” about bleeding during pregnancy. I mean, didn’t I just do this two weeks ago? Spend a weekend assuming I’d miscarried because of copious bleeding? They’re going to think this is just my weekend ritual now. Of course, my doctor has never made me feel that way. But because of one bad experience I’m always worried when I call about this stuff. It makes me oddly calm as I relay my news to the nurse on the phone. I have a scheduled appointment already next Monday. Will my tale from this weekend warrant an earlier checkup? Who knows. I hope so because hanging in limbo is officially making me crazy. This daily feeling of: “Am I still pregnant?” is literally making me feel like I”m losing my mind.

I had several near breakdowns this weekend. Several weird triggers (it’s never something obvious like seeing a baby or pregnant women) made me almost lose my shit in very public places. I couldn’t bring myself to put on clean clothes until Sunday night. I was distracting myself in any way possible, but also severely devastated the rest of the world wasn’t obsessing over my uterus with me. In other words? I probably would have failed any test of sanity at any point over the weekend.

So…here’s to hoping they’ll give me another ultrasound today. Just something to put me somewhere. Either anxiously pregnant, or depressingly un-pregnant. Neither of them equal complete sanity, but they’re way closer than the scary spot between the two, which is where I’m living right now.

I’ll keep you posted. Thank you for listening to WAY too much gory information about my reproductive system. You’re the best.

UPDATE: I got in for an ultrasound and we saw the heartbeat! Hematoma is bigger…so still restricted (obviously) and we go back in a week. He re-stated…some women survive full-term pregnancies and healthy babies with hematomas the entire 40 weeks. I did the right thing by calling with the surge of bright red blood. So, I was breathing easy during the ultrasound while I watched the little bugger wiggle around his beautiful heartbeat. And now I return to just anxiously pregnant. Wondering if this pregnancy will outlast my sanity. Chances are looking good as my sanity seems to be at an all-time low right now.

But YAY! for heartbeat and wiggling!

I’ll be okay no matter what. Because of you.

We still have a heartbeat! We also still have a bit of the subchorionic hematoma, so I’m still under watch/restriction until the next appointment in two weeks. But still! Heartbeat! That’s always a thing to celebrate.

So we did. We told everyone we knew. (Except Nikki and Wes still.) Because we wanted them to all know our joy at heartbeat #2, and we all wanted them to be thinking about us these next two weeks as we stress and worry about whether we’ll see it again.

When you find out you’re pregnant, just about every website mentions that week 12 is the week to spread the news because your risk of miscarriage drop substantially. In other words…society says, “We would like you to suffer the loss of a pregnancy on your own! HAVE FUN!”

It’s the only truly sad medical event that people suffer, that we are expected to suffer in silence. Every woman knows that 12-week rule. Even my first pregnancy, before fear of miscarriage, I knew that rule.So when I suffered my first miscarriage a million years ago, I only had a few people to offer me comfort. I went through this devastating and sad thing, and no one knew because I was waiting 12 weeks to tell people.

Maybe it’s my repeat miscarriages and pregnancy loss…but now? I call bullshit on this.

If someone in my community – whether it’s my volunteer group, my book club, my running group, or my boot camp – is suffering and I don’t know about it because I have encouraged them not to tell me? Then I have failed that community.

Aren’t we all human? Don’t we all want to offer hope, strength, compassion, and even prayers to those around us in need? Do you ever find out someone is suffering and wish you didn’t know? No. Because we are compassionate people who want to help those in need. But with pregnancy? It’s different. Instead, the common thought is, “We don’t want to know you’re pregnant until you’re past the risk of having something bad happen. That way if something bad does happen, you don’t have to tell us about it.”

Miscarriage SUCKS. It sucks so hard. This blog saved my sanity time and time again because it gave me a community to turn to when my pregnancies failed. It gave me a support group. It gave me people who knew I was suffering, even if society asked me not to share my pain.

When we got pregnant this time around, we knew I couldn’t be as open on my blog because we now have so many real world friends and family who read the blog. And then? We had a scare. And we came through the scare free and clear, but it hit me: If we hadn’t, where would I have turned?

So we came clean on the blog. I told you guys I needed you. I needed my community. And everyone sent us their prayers and their messages of support. And those words kept me strong in this last week. You all left me 139 comments, and only about 20 of you all have ever met me. You were just wishing me well across the internet and holding my hand while I waited and hoped.

We had more good news yesterday, but times in the past when I’ve seen/heard no hearbeat? I turned to the article that I send out the most to my friends who have suffered pregnancy loss. If I had this in paper it would be worn and faded by now. It was written over 10 years ago, but I feel like I consult it regularly still. The painful truth lies in this quote, “There’s little acknowledgment in Western culture of miscarriage, no ritual to cleanse the grief.”

She goes on to say:

Without form, there is no content. So even in this era of compulsive confession, women don’t speak publicly of their loss. It is only if your pregnancy is among the unlucky ones that fail that you begin to hear the stories, spoken in confidence, almost whispered. Your aunt. Your grandmother. Your friends. Your colleagues. Women you have known for years — sometimes your whole life — who have had this happen, sometimes over and over and over again. They tell only if you become one of them.

For the record? This is a club I’d proudly ditch membership to if I could. But I’m in it, and she’s right, no one speaks publicly outside of the club.

WHY? Why do we not tell the world the second we find out we’re pregnant? If we did – then we women who suffer the loss – wouldn’t suffer alone. Every time I have a miscarriage I hear a new story from a person I know about a loss they never shared with me. And I want nothing more than to retroactively be there for them. I want to go back to the day they found out the pregnancy was over, and I want to hug them. And comfort them. And possibly take them to get drunk.

When I posted this picture to instagram with the news we saw the heartbeat, but still some bit of clot, all of my blog friends spoke up with messages like, “HANG IN THERE, BABY!” Do you know how much each of those messages made my heart swell? TONS. And these were just my internet friends and a few close real-world friends/family who already knew. This gave me so much strength, we finally came clean last night on Facebook. Facebook is full of most of my local friend and family. Most of my friends on FB I know in real life. And the support rang through the night. And all I could think was: If something bad happens now? These people will all hold us up.

I didn’t think, “Oh, these people will wish we didn’t tell them.” No! Because I have a community of people who stand by each other – through the good and the bad – and they want to know BOTH. They want to celebrate our joys and mourn our losses with us. And we want to do the same for them.

So I can be strong the next two weeks while we cross our fingers and offer sacrifices to fertility gods. (Kidding! Unless you know of some fertility gods that could help, then let me know.) Thank you for always giving me a space to celebrate my joys, but also to grieve all of my losses. Pregnancies. Dogs. And my dearest Dad. Every one of those entries has over 100 comments of support on them. You’re my strength. Time and time again, you’ve been there for me. While Western Culture and our society has not built a great structure to help grieving woman after pregnancy loss – I’m glad my community does give me that place to seek solace and comfort. I hope I offer you the same when you need it in return.

Basicly I’m saying, “Thank you.” I’ll be okay. No matter what. Because of you.

First Time For Everything

The kids started Soccer this weekend. Two back-to-back games that were action packed! Wes did a great job in his first game and seems to really love just hustling like a madman. This is exactly opposite of me who rejoiced sitting on the sidelines goofing off with other kids. After the crazy day of Saturday, I was hoping for a good and peaceful night sleep Saturday night.

HA! HA! Funny joke on me.

There seem to be two different kinds of insomnia. The kind that keeps from being able to fall asleep, and the kind that keeps you from being able to stay asleep. I have never suffered from the first form in any capacity. I slightly suffer from the second one…slightly. But it’s easy to adapt around because I don’t suffer from the first one. So, since I know my body won’t let me sleep past 4am most morning, I try to be in bed by 9pm. Easy. Breezy.

Whenever I meet someone who struggles to fall asleep…I always completely empathize with them and proclaim my gratitude that I don’t suffer from the same problem. I just couldn’t imagine not being able to go to sleep when I wanted. I’ve had bouts of issues with sleep around stressful times in my life, but nothing like some of my friends experience.

Until Saturday night.

I went to sleep around 9:30 or 10pm without any big problem. I’ve been needing to read every night for a few minutes, but after about 15 minutes I’m usually out. But then, something woke me up around 1am and I COULD NOT GET BACK TO SLEEP. I spent the next hour-and-a-half reading, almost fall asleep, putting the book down, and then NOT BEING ABLE TO GO TO SLEEP. The second I took the book out of my mental focus, even if I was literally dozing off while reading it, I couldn’t turn off my brain.

I found myself obsessing over my sick dog and the mess she’s making of our carpet. Will we ever be able to get it clean? How much would it cost to replace it someday? Do I want to replace it with carpet because I can’t imagine upstairs without the sound barrier of carpet. AND WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT AT 1AM?

I found myself obsessing over this pregnancy. It’s probably fated for doom – I would think – and I would wonder how I’m going to cope once I get the inevitable bad news. Will I have to have a D&C? I always prefer a D&C because miscarrying on my own is my least favorite option of all of the really shitty options. And then I’ll probably chop my hair off because I like to do extreme things after pregnancy loss…it re-shifts my focus.

But then I would shift and be hopeful. If the pregnancy proceeds well…how will we arrange the kids in the house? Same gender same bedroom? And then – no matter what – move Nikki to E’s room years down the road when he doesn’t need it anymore? And will we finally remodel his outdated bathroom? And will this baby sleep well? Have they made any cool new baby things in the last 5 years we don’t know about? What will we name this baby? I MUST DECIDE THIS RIGHT NOW AT 1:30AM OR THE WORLD WILL END.

It was non-stop for almost two hours until I found myself crying in bed and just wailing, “I JUST WANT TO GO TO SLEEP!!!” But, I couldn’t shut it off. I couldn’t turn off my brain to go to sleep. The only thing I could do was change the subject my brain was obsessing about. Pregnancy. Lost pregnancy. TV. Shoes. Carpet. Dogs. Soccer. Theatre. NON-STOP THINKING. I couldn’t do it.

So, at 2:30am I just got up. I quit fighting it an just woke up. I got started with my day on about 3 hours sleep. Which, in case you were wondering, did nothing to help my emotional state.

Last night I popped some Tylenol PM and slept peacefully until I woke up at 5:15am this morning. I know that’s not a perfect solution. But it will at least get me through today without as many spontaneous tears as yesterday.

The point of this entire entry? To tell all of you that have trouble falling asleep? I LOVE YOU. I am sorry your life is so difficult. One night of that and I wanted to kill myself. HOW DO YOU SURVIVE? I mean – I was so miserable I found myself praying. I don’t even believe in God, why was I praying? BECAUSE I WAS THAT MISERABLE. You people…even if you do nothing else that you a proud of in your life…if you survive with sleeping issues then you are a hero. I couldn’t survive one night without losing my mind. Hell, I couldn’t survive 90 minutes without giving up. I know some of you sit there for HOURS, channel surfing, reading, tossing, turning…HOW ARE YOU ALL NOT CRAZY?

Let’s hope that was a one night thing. Because if this becomes a new thing I have to deal with? My sanity won’t last a week. I GUARANTEE IT.