Thursday, June 1, 2017

Two No More

In March, our little two-year-old turned three. It's been two months and I am still surprised!

Two was such a magical age. Though I am always moaning and grieving stages of Jo's life that pass, I have to admit I enjoyed the year of two more than the year of one. He became independent (for better or for worse), he started exploring more interests, and his vocabulary exploded.

Here's a look of my little once-two-year-old, during his reign.

March 2016 (just turned two!)

April 2016 (discovering his new love for all things Super Hero)

May 2016

June 2016 (discovering his love, as well as my love, for his puddle jumper)

July 2016

August 2016 (Obsessed with the Olympics! He mimicked every sport he watched. This is after watching fencing.)

September 2016

October 2016

 November 2016 (Playing Baby Jesus and Mary)

December 2016

 January 2017 (First time in snow)

February 2017

 March 2017 (this picture was taken on his birthday)

Oh, how I absolutely loved that two-year-old! He made me crazy so many times, but he mostly brought joy. I truly do look forward to watching him grow and learn more and explore....but I will always have a piece of my heart yearning for this fun age.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Our January

I remember when January 2 came, I thought, "Huh. It's been a month since my D&C. I survived the first month. I guess it gets easier now."


On the contrary, January was harder in some ways. It was so hard not to remind myself how many months along I would be each week had I stayed pregnant. January would have been the month where I started to show. We had already scheduled our gender/anatomy ultrasound for January 20th well in advanced, and that horrid date always sat in the back of my mind. We were under the assumption that mt doctor's office would cancel the appointment for us, but they did not. The ultrasound would be through a different office, so it was not on their radar. So I got to experience the awfulness of receiving a reminder call for my ultrasound for the baby that we had lost. Boo.

When I miscarried in December, my ob-gyn told me that the previous protocol was for a mother to wait at least one full cycle before trying to conceive again. He then explained that this was outdated and recent research has shown that not only is it safe to get pregnant again right away, it also increases your chance of conceiving. So we went ahead and continued our medication protocol. On January 8, I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. I was disappointed, but a part of me knew that it was still a bit early to try to take one. I patiently waited for aunt flo to arrive, and when she hadn't come yet, I decided to take another test. This was one January 11th.  It was came out faintly positive! I was so surprised! I excitedly took another test a few hours later, and the positive result line was even MORE faint. I found this to be a little concerning, but thought I would just test the next day when my hcg count had hopefully, increased.

That evening, I had prepared to go to mutual to give a presentation to the young women. I was about 3/4 of the way into my presentation when I felt that ever dreaded gush. "Oh great, I'm miscarrying," I thought as I tried to continue to act normal. I figured I would finish my talk up, clean up, and rush home to change. I have had a very early miscarriage before, and the symptoms were simply that of a normal/heavy menstrual cycle. Only this time, it was different. After the initial gush, another one came. Then another and another and another. I could feel myself becoming completely saturated. Thank goodness I was wearing black skinny and tall boots. I looked down and realized that blood was visibily trickling down my legs outside of the pants and landing on the floor beneath me. That's when I had to every so awkwardly say, "Ummm.....I have to go....because I am having a medical problem right now." THANK GOODNESS THIS WAS JUST IN FRONT OF YOUNG WOMEN AND NOT ALL THE YOUTH.

I ran outside to drive home, but then I froze. I couldn't drive in my car. I was completely soaking in my own blood. I called Jordan and told him what was happening and told him he needed to come and bring me tons of towels pronto. Unfortunately, Jo's car seat was in MY car and our church is almost 20 minutes away from our house. Jordan said he would drop Jo off at our neighbors and come as soon as he could. While I waited for him, I tried to call my doctor, but he was in a surgery. While waiting for Jordan, I sat on the grass outside of our church building, sobbing. Blood was pouring at an alarming rate. I didn't know if I should call 911 because I besides the bleeding, I felt ok- no pain, no light headedness. I called my doctor's on-call nurse and she said I needed to get to the ER as soon as I could. That's when panic began.

My friend who is a leader in YW, and therefore was a witness to my graceful exit came outside to check on me. As soon as she saw me, she said, "I am taking you to the ER right now!" I told her not to, because I would surely ruin her car and Jordan was on his way. She replied, "He can meet us at the ER. I am taking you right now." She turned into Super Woman- she had a huge quilt to wrap around my waist, and she placed her rubber car foot rug (or whatever it is called) on my seat. Genius! She helped me to the car and drove me to ER.

When we got there, I ran into the ER, a bloody quilt wrapped around my body and mascara all over my face. I just looked at the clerks at the desk and said, "I need help!" They immediately got me a wheelchair and admitted me within 3 minutes. Jordan got there quickly.  First they wanted to take my blood, as they took it, I began to feel very dizzy and kept exclaiming, "I'm gonna black out! I'm gonna black out!" Black cloudy spots blurred my vision, and suddenly I was dreaming with faint voices in the background. I soon awoke to myself vomiting all over my shirt and pants as I was being rushed down the ER hall in my wheelchair. The man pushing me was saying, "We need a room right now!" Several nurses came in to help undress me, stick those sticky metal circle things all over me. One nurse asked the other, "Don't you have a patient in the other room right now?" to which she replied, "Yes, but it's more important for me to be here." This all scared me. What was wrong? What was happening? What did they see? I also heard another nurse call out to someone, "Patient passed out, possible seizure."

I had my first panic attack. I had heard of panic attacks making people feel as though they were gonna die. Now I know that that is an accurate description. I honestly felt as though I was about to die and no one knew it. One nurse told me I needed to breathe. I felt as though all of my effort was being put into breathing. Then she told me again, "You need to breathe!" I replied, "I'M TRYING SO HARD!"  Jordan and the nurse help lead me through long slow breathing exercises that seemed to help. I could hear my heart rate monitor beeping slightly less quickly, but I still felt scared and couldn't stop shaking.

After that initial scare, I felt more calm but so distraught. I felt as though this was the end of my trying to get pregnant. As Jordan held my hand, I told him, "I feel like my soul is dying."

A few ultrasounds and blood tests later, the ER met with us. He said the good news was that I did not need a blood transfusion. He explained that at the time they first look my blood, my hcg level was 12, so they could rule out an eptopic pregnancy. He removed the remaining blood clots from my body (soooo comfortable!) and after a while we were sent on our way. The next day, my ob-gyn met with me and explained that it seemed as though my body simply had an excessive amount of blood due to my previous pregnancy followed by the next one. He didn't feel as though the problems were connected, and declared that I am still able to continue trying to get pregnant.

After that, January was a bit of a blur. Mourning my former pregnancy while feeling incredibly anxious after my most recent miscarriage was hard. I was also grieving a trip to Oregon to visit my sister and her family that was originally scheduled for January.

Another thing that was difficult was the sense that my friends assumed I was ok. Talking about babies and pregnancy and breastfeeding became the topic of conversation every time we would get together (I have lots of wonderful, fertile friends who have had babies recently). It was hard to not feel angry that they felt it was ok to talk about this with me, and also realizing that they weren't meaning to make me feel awful, as well as understanding that I didn't really have any authority to control what friends talk about when we are together. It made me feel exhausted after hanging out with my wonderful girlfriends. Many playgroups ended with me crying the way home as Jo called out, "It ok, Mama. Take a deep breaf!"

Somehow we got through January. And February. and half of March. The grief and anxiety that have come with the past few months is still suffocating. Hopefully it will be done soon.

Our December

December was a weird month. Mostly full of utter sadness. Also full of holiday memories made with our sweet little boy.

The first half of the month was so very hard. The day after my D&C (December 3rd), I was an utter wreck. Everything in my house reminded me of my pregnancy. I remember putting away some candlesticks that I had gotten out from earlier that week, which lead me to sob because I thought, "When I got these candlesticks out, my baby was alive." Somehow, I had made a memory of my pregnancy with what felt like every single thing in my house. I cried so hard and so often that I developed eczema under my eyes.

This picture summarizes the first half of December:

Setting reminders to bathe. Not wearing makeup for over a week because what's the point? It would inevitably turn into a black stream. My feelings circulated constantly. I was angry, painfully sad, scared that it would take another year to get pregnant, anxious that our son would be even older than his sibling, and guilty that I was so sad when others have lost so much more. I watched so much television in the first week because I was desperate to stop myself from thinking. Quite the Mormon self medication.

Going out in public was torture. I made the mistake of going to Sprouts at the kind suggestion of my in-laws. They felt I needed to get out of my house, which was good advice. They were kind enough to drop everything, drive to OKC, and stay with us for a few days. I went to the store alone to buy some tea. Everything made me cry. I saw sushi- "If I was pregnant, I couldn't eat that. I want to be pregnant. I don't want to be allowed to eat that. Waaa." I saw the supplement isle- "I know there are prenatal vitamins on that isle. Waaa." This continued until I got to check-out, and I almost lost it completely when the nice cashier asked, "And how are YOU doing today?" Luckily, I was able to avoid bursting into tears until I got to the car. It was similar nearly everywhere I went.

Church was hard. I went ahead and skipped the first Sunday. The next Sunday, I went, cried through sacrament and was so upset during Sunday school that I had to leave early. There is something so painful about hearing a lesson on answered prayers when the answer to so many desperate prayers had just died.

Facebook sucked. Seriously, how is it possible that 1000 friends announced their pregnancy all at the same time?! I want to write Mark Zuckerburg a personal letter thanking him for the "hide post" and "unfollow" buttons. They have saved me.

What did NOT suck in December? Our amazing friends and family. My sweet friends sent me treats, dinner, hugs, card, and gifts. I had several friends watch Jonah just so I could have a break. That was wonderful. It seemed silly to feel as though I couldn't play with my son because I was too sad, and I am forever grateful for friends so just GOT IT. Jordan's parents stayed with us for a few days which was so helpful. My family who lives far away reached out to let me know they were thinking of me.

When we found out we had lost our baby in early December, I initially was depressed that of all the months for this to happen, it would be during the Christmas season. I didn't want to look at our tree. I had an impulse to go ahead and cancel Christmas this year. However, I have changed my mind on the horrible timing- having to experience this horrible grief around Christmas was hard, but the Christmas season FORCED me to get out and get things going. I couldn't stay at home and weep all day, I had presents to buy, Christmas cards to deliver, packages to mail, and parties/events to attend. Jo is at an age where Christmas is absolutely magical. He loved the nativities, the Christmas books, the lights, the Santas. How could I cancel Christmas and pretend it is not happening when I was witnessing how happy it was making my son? Even though I was exhausted with sadness, Christmas made me more functional, and it provided me with desperately needed distractions.

So I went ahead and threw our family into Christmas. I was in charge of the ward Christmas party this year, so I decided to attend it. It was hard. I had to run to the mother's lounge or bathroom several times to cry. But At least Jonah got to meet Santa #1 there:

 I couldn't get him to look and smile at me. He was too busy talking to Santa and asking for a trampoline.

That weekend, Jordan's parents and his brother's family came to OKC to visit us for Jordan's birthday. We went to an event called Saturday with Santa downtown. The wait to meet Santa was over 4 hours, so we opted to meet Mrs. Claus instead.

On the 13th, my sweet hubby turned 33. Another distraction.


I also distracted myself by making several presents this year. I made Disney peg dolls for my niece and Jo, and I loved how they turned out.

We got to meet Santa another time. And no, I did not realize that we let our son out in public wearing batman underwear OVER his pants until after this picture was taken.

A few days before Christmas, my parents came to town to celebrate the holiday with us. This was wonderful for me to have him here during this painful time. We went to an amazing performance of A Christmas Carol. The set was so charming and well done, there were several special effects, and at the end, falling "snow" fell upon the entire audience. It was so festive. I loved it.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day were a bit bittersweet. I still felt the emptiness of our lost pregnancy throughout the day, but there was so much to be happy about as well. This was the first Christmas when Jo anticipated Santa's arrival. Jordan and I had our first Christmas Eve where we build a toy from the North Pole together. This year, Santa got Jonah a small trampoline. His surprised reaction was absolutely priceless. We got a video of it that I will soon post to our youtube page.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Our Baby

After 13 months of trying to get pregnant with various fertility drugs, supplements, diet changes, and desperate "alternative treatments" and one early miscarriage, I had a surgery called Ovarian Drilling in August. Sounds lovely. It actually was not too terrible and my recovery was not too bad. My doctor explained that this would decrease my ovarian cysts, balance my hormones, and make my reproductive organs more functional.

Approximately six weeks later, I had yet another ultrasound that found that I had two healthy follicles. We did an hcg trigger shot and hoped for the best.

About three weeks later, I had a positive pregnancy test. I was so relieved that I shed a few tears of joy. I crawled back into bed and snuggled up to Jordan (it was about 6:30 am). Jordan asked, "What's up?" in a concerned tone. I immediately responded, "I'm pregnant." We were both so excited and giddy. Poor Jordan- I scared him because when I cuddled up to him, he felt my tears on his arm and assumed I had yet another negative pregnancy test.

I was ecstatic to be pregnant, but I was extremely anxious to get my blood drawn and tested. I have no issues with needles. I was more anxious about the results. In November 2015, when I pregnant before this time, I received a call that my hcg level was 50 (pretty dang low) followed by another blood draw a few days later with the dreaded phone call that my hcg count was down to 5. The thought of going through that again made me want to throw up. I went in to get my blood drawn the day after I received my positive pregnancy test, and waited desperately for a phone call all day. I finally got the call the next morning that my hcg count was over 1,000. A huge relief! They wanted me to come in two days later to make sure that my hcg was still rising at a correct rate. I spent those two days reading infertility forums about twins, as I was suspicious that my higher count was due to two babies in there. Two days later, I got my blood drawn, and spent the next two days waiting for my phone call. I finally called the office myself and was told that my count was around 11,000. Huzzah!

I felt as though I got through the first level of being pregnant, but there were many more levels to get through. Miscarriages almost always happen before week 8, so the next few weeks I was hyper sensitive to any pain or discomfort that I experienced. I remember while 6 weeks pregnant, I started to have a bad back cramp. I immediately started chanting, "Oh no, oh no, oh no PLEASE no"....only for the cramp to go away about five minutes later.

When I was at 7.5 weeks, I had my first ultrasound. Jordan and I were both so nervous that there would not be a heartbeat. Luckily, our little bean had a healthy beating heart and my uterus looked fine. I was so happy I cried. We got our picture of our blurry seahorse and I nearly hugged the photos the whole drive home. After that point, I felt so much more calm. My baby has a healthy heartbeat. There was just one baby in there. I was nearly at the 8 week sweet spot. Everything was going to be ok.

The next several weeks were wonderful. The world had more color. When I saw a pregnant woman out in public, I felt happy. There was no more twinge of pain at the sight of a cute baby bump. I felt as though I could enjoy our son growing up because I no longer worried about him getting older and older without a sibling with whom to play. I rubbed my belly everyday. I subscribed to all the pregnancy tracker apps. I was relaxed. I announced my pregnancy to my sweet friends and relished in their excitement.  I was starting to think that this little person was a girl. It felt so real. I was over-the-moon happy.

During Thanksgiving, we announced our pregnancy to all of Jordan's family. It was a wonderful day. I felt whole.

On Friday, December 2, we had our next ultrasound. I was nearly 12 weeks along and could not wait to see our kiddo. When we had an ultrasound at 12 weeks with Jonah, he looked like an actual baby- not a weird lump. We were both so giddy.  This was it. We were going to see our long awaited blessing.

When we get into the exam room, my doctor came through the door with a big smile on his face. "I'm surprised you waited for me, " he said, "I figured you would be so excited that you would try to do the ultrasound yourself." I told him I had been feeling pretty good and he responded, "Hey, maybe you will have a girl since your symptoms are different! But I know you are just happy to be on the other side of all of this. "All of this" meaning infertility.

He began the ultrasound and suddenly our sweet little baby appeared! It looked like a baby, too, a sweet little profile, the cutest little hand with the cutest little fingers. I couldn't believe it. Jordan was happily filming the whole thing on his iphone. We were so thrilled to see our kid that I didn't even realize how quiet my usually upbeat doctor was being.

He asked how far along I was. I said, "Almost 12 weeks." He measured the baby and said that it was a normal size, measuring 11 weeks and 5 days. My doctor stayed quiet, until he said that second worst thing he could say at the moment: "I'm having trouble finding a heartbeat." He turned on the doppler and instead of hearing a tiny thumping heart, there was only static. White empty noise. Then he said the absolute worst thing: "I'm afraid your baby has passed away."

I began crying heavy, uncontrollable sobs that wouldn't stop. My doctor had left the ultrasound tool (I don't know what the camera part is called) on my stomach and I noticed that the baby was not moving, despite my body's hard, heavy shakes while crying. The little body that I had fell in love with moments before was still and lifeless. Our doctor explained that based on our baby's size, it was just within the last day or two that it had happened.

My doctor was so kind to us, telling us how sorry he was, and leaving us alone in the room to hold each other and cry. Between my sobs, I kept saying "I can't believe it" or "It's not fair" or "I'm so sorry".

I had a D&C that afternoon. While waiting in the surgery waiting room before my procedure, a soft lullaby sound recording played on the intercom. A woman sitting next to us said, "Oh, another baby is born." Cue more tears.

We learned a week later that the most likely cause of death was inflammation in the umbilical chord and fetus' arteries, which was probably caused by a virus that I caught. I have thought of this baby every day since October 11, when I found out I was carrying it. I have thought about it every day (every hour?) since December 2. I miss that tiny baby so much.