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 He then explained that this was outdated and recent research has shown that not only is it safe to get pregnant again right away, it also increases your chance of conceiving.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.