Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Let go

Mostly I just feel numb. Except for the moments when I actually allow myself to face my emotions, and then I feel terribly and deeply sad. And empty. Except that I’m not empty. Our child is still inside of me, he’s just not alive anymore. Over the past year, I’ve read quite a few blogs where women can’t let go and want to hold onto their babies after they know it’s over, and I’ve never understood that. I guess it’s something you really can’t understand until it happens to you. I’m not naive. I’m not in denial or holding onto some false hope that everything is going to work out. I know Tup is gone. I’m just not ready to let him go. He was alive. I saw his beating heart. I loved that beating heart more than I can put into words. And now I have to find some way to just let him go.

Everything about this pregnancy has been different. I have been calm. I have been hopeful. I actually stayed pregnant long enough to see Tup’s heart beat. And now I’m in a situation that I’ve never been in before. See, I knew that I lost all of my other pregnancies because I was actively miscarrying. I never sat with the knowledge that my child was dead inside me and had to decide what to do about that. The OB at the office was so kind and explained my options, which of course I already knew, and wrote me a prescription for a medication that will prompt my body to pass Tup. I haven’t filled it. I haven’t decided if I will. I passed every other pregnancy naturally, so there’s a good chance I will pass this one too once I miss a few days of taking my progesterone. It would be so much more convenient to plan this, to not have to deal with it while I’m at work, but I don’t know how to let go. How do I fight this maternal instinct to hold on to my child even when I know that my child is dead? How do I let go?

I was so sure. I was so sure. I told hubby if love and hope could make a baby grow, Tup would still be alive. But he’s not. I am a walking tomb. And I somehow have to find a way to let go.

photo (4)

*Obviously, we have no idea whether Tup is a boy or a girl, but for some reason we’ve both started saying he. It’s just easier to talk about him when we use pronouns, and “it” is way too impersonal for our grief.

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Another Loss

Went for the follow up ultrasound this morning. Tup was measuring 6wks 3days and didn’t have a heartbeat. I’m ok in the sense that I am functioning, but I am so deeply sad and I know that it will get worse before it gets better. Thank you all for your prayers and kind words of encouragement through this whole pregnancy–you’ve helped keep me sane over the past few weeks. Light a candle for Tup tonight.

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Counting the Blessings

My mind is in a million places right now. I’m worried about the baby–even more worried than I was before the ultrasound which I didn’t think was possible. Now that I’ve seen our little one up on that screen, I want so badly for him or her to grow up to be big and strong and healthy. In order to keep my sanity, I’ve decided to make a list of the blessings:

  • We saw a heartbeat. Our child is living inside of me right now and has a beating heart. Hubby got a little upset with me last night because I was so busy worrying that I never really stopped to be amazed and grateful for that tiny beating miracle, and he was right. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen.
  • Even if the baby is measuring behind my calculations, this pregnancy has lasted longer than any of my other ones.
  • There is still plenty of room for hope. Thank you for all of the encouraging stories. I did venture into Google only to find more stories of healthy babies who had a shaky start like ours. Yes, the statistics might be against us at this point and we usually fall on the negative side of those statistics when it comes to pregnancy, but there is hope. And I’m going to hold on to that hope for as long as I can.
  • I found out on Wednesday that I am being offered an assistantship to the grad school program I’m entering in the fall. This includes full tuition (even for summer classes), a sizable stipend ($8,500 the first year),  health insurance coverage, and some major resume-building experience. This is a huge answer to prayer and I am so excited about it. Maybe hubby was right. Maybe all of the good things will happen at once. It also makes me think that this pregnancy is going to work out because I’ve always said that we will get pregnant when it is least convenient and the baby is due the second day of spring semester which is pretty darn inconvenient.

So that’s all I’ve got. And it’s a lot. Yesterday, I started calling the baby “Tup” which is an abbreviation of our last name. I tried to think of a nickname earlier, but nothing seemed right until now. I think the problem was I felt no real connection and couldn’t call the baby by a name, but now that we’ve formally met, it just feels right.

The bottom line is I’m choosing to believe that Tup will be ok. I’m choosing faith, hope, and love.

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Stuck in the Middle

Going to the ultrasound today, I thought I was prepared for anything. I was prepared for disaster–for an empty sack, for a baby with no heartbeat, for an ectopic pregnancy. I was also prepared for a beautiful miracle where everything looked perfect.

I was not prepared to be stuck somewhere in the middle.

Today we saw a baby sitting high in my uterus that measured 6 weeks with a heartbeat of 83. Hubby is ecstatic that we saw a heartbeat, but I am wary of a baby measuring behind with a slow heartbeat. At the moment, I am forcing myself to stay away from Google and concentrate on each day as it comes and staying healthy and sane for our baby. I am supposed to go back in a week for a comparison ultrasound to see if the pregnancy is viable.

I’m still processing all of this, but I wanted to give you all an update.

Oh, and now is a good time for encouraging success stories. Ready, go.

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Ultrasound Day

Well, I made it to ultrasound day. Honestly, I’m having a really hard time wrapping my head around that fact. Today I am 6wk6d pregnant, and I miscarried on 5w1d with my longest pregnancy so even making it to ultrasound day feels like a miracle.

I still have light, brown spotting, but there has been no cramping and I haven’t seen any red since that scary morning last week. I’m guessing that means either this pregnancy is perfectly normal, and I’m just one of those women who spot in first trimester, or this pregnancy has been doomed from the start and is only being sustained by my progesterone supplements. Either way, we’ll find out today.

I have been going back and forth between being so excited I can’t stand it and playing out worse-case-scenarios in my head. Yesterday the excitement was much stronger, but I would say that today is 50/50.

I’m spending my morning trying to stay busy and praying that we see a baby in the correct place, measuring on time, with a strong heartbeat. Some benign explanation for the spotting would be nice, too, but I’m not greedy.

I would appreciate extra prayers, good vibes, and thoughts around 3:45 EST. Four and a half more hours.

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Stepping back…

…from the crazy ledge.

First, I want to say thank you to all of you wonderful, wonderful bloggers who left such kind and supportive comments on my last post. I can’t even tell you how much your words and prayers mean to me. I am doing much better now, and I attribute most of it to the support and prayers I’ve received.

I’ll start with hubby. Hubby’s fever had disappeared by the time he got to his appointment, and it has not reared its ugly head again, thank goodness. Dr. GI is still trying his best to get hubby’s pain under control without surgery because people with Crohn’s tend to have surgical complications (like adhesions) that lead to more surgeries, and once you start cutting, you may never go back. Hubby’s inflammation levels were back up at his appointment which means that the pain could be from inflammation instead of scarring (which is good–scarring means surgery), and since Dr. GI really doesn’t want hubby to go back on steroids, he prescribed an immunosuppressant drug to go with his Hum.ira. The idea is that the two drugs in combination can kick his Crohn’s into remission and then we can discuss a maintenance drug (possibly sticking with Hum.ira, we’ll see). Hubby seems to be doing a little better, which is normal because his pain has been pretty inconsistant lately. I’m just glad that the fever is gone and he isn’t going to have surgery. Yet. And I’m hoping that this new drug combo will help him.

After yesterday morning’s scary spotting episode, I have not seen anymore red. The spotting turned brown and tapered off through the day and has been negligible today (maybe four or five light brown drops), and my pregnancy symptoms are still present, so I’m going to continue on as pregnant until proven otherwise. We will know more on May 23rd when we have our ultrasound. Eight more sleeps. I can do this.

After hubby’s appointment yesterday, he picked me up at work to take me to lunch and I just sat and cried in his car for awhile. I think it was good for me–I haven’t let go like that yet during this pregnancy, and it was very cleansing to release some of that fear and anxiety. Note to self: crying can be a good thing–don’t fight it.

Continued prayers are appreciated. They have really encouraged me.

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Things Fall Apart

Today is not a good day.

I’ll start with hubby. Things are not going well with hubby. Dr. GI weaned him off the steroids because it is extremely unhealthy to be on steroids long term, and he has been getting consistently worse since then. Yesterday, he had a fever (100.5 after drinking water), which is a huge red flag for someone with Crohn’s because it could suggest an abscess or an infection. Also, hubby is on Hum.ira, so if the fever is some sort of virus and not related to his Crohn’s, it’s still a big deal. He’s going to see Dr. GI today (actually, he should be in his appointment right now and I’m stuck at work), and I’m really not seeing a good, nonsurgical outcome to this.

In pregnancy land, I’ve been spotting. I’ve tried not to get too worried about it because it was very light, it was brown, there was no cramping, lots of women spot and then have normal pregnancies, blah, blah, blah. This morning, I woke up and felt good about it because of all of the aforementioned reasons and the fact that it had almost stopped completely when I went to bed last night. Then I went pee and wiped only to see bright red. It’s been brown ever since that moment but my positive, trusting attitude is diminishing at a rapid rate, and I’m starting to believe that my body is failing me once again. Please don’t tell me about your mother’s cousin’s best friend who had spotting and everything turned out fine. I know those stories. I also know that I’ve had three early miscarriages and every one of them started like this. I feel like I need to ask for more prayer, but I can’t even bring myself to do it right now.

About a week ago I was talking to hubby about all of the unknowns in our life, and he said something along the lines of “Just watch, everything good is going to happen at once. We’ll see the heartbeat, I’ll get a call saying I got the fire job, and you’ll find out you got the assistantship all around the same time. It will be so awesome we won’t even know what to do.” Instead it looks like things might just all fall apart at the same time. But let’s be honest here, that’s my life.

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Thank You and an Update

Thank you so much for all of the lovely comments last week. I feel so supported and loved by all of you, and I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate your prayers. Please keep them coming. Just as a warning, this will be a pregnancy-heavy post, so feel free to skip it if you can’t handle it right now.

I’ve got a lot on my mind that I want to share, so I’m going to go with bullets so I don’t have to think as hard about making this post flow:

  • I’ll start by saying that I’m still pregnant, which is a pretty big deal for me. I had already miscarried by this point with my first two pregnancies, and once Saturday rolls around, it will be the longest I have ever been pregnant.
  • Symptoms are coming and going, but the one that has caught me by surprise and required the most adjustment is the insomnia. I’m a good sleeper who usually goes to bed early and sleeps until my alarm (and then hits the snooze button a few times). I’m also usually good about going back to sleep if I am woken up, but this has changed. Ever since 8 or 9 dpo, I wake up around 4:30 (a solid two hours before my alarm) every morning, and I will lay in bed awake for at least an hour if I wake up for any reason during the night. It’s a bit annoying, but I’m starting to adjust to it and try to take that time to pray, take deep breaths, and enjoy the fact that I am pregnant.
  • I called the birth center on Monday to get a refill on my progesterone. I really, really didn’t want to call yet, but I had to have my pills! I got to speak to the midwife directly, and we discussed my decision to forgo betas because I find them incredibly stressful and they won’t save my baby. She was totally cool with it but said that I could come get a blood draw at any time if I change my mind. We also scheduled an ultrasound for later this month so we can check the dates of the pregnancy and see the heartbeat. I will be 6w6d.
  • I’ve done a fairly good job of staying calm and not panicking, but the fear still bubbles up at times when my temp isn’t as high as I would like it to be or my symptoms subside for awhile. I talked myself down from the crazy ledge this morning by taking another test. The test line showed up immediately–before the pee even got to the control line, and then it got super dark.  So that was encouraging. I figure you have to be pretty darn pregnant to get that kind of result from a dollar store cheapy.

I guess that’s all for now. Just holding on to faith, hope, and love!

 

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What a Difference a Year Makes

Almost a year ago (it will be a year on Tuesday) I woke up full of excitement and apprehension. I went into the bathroom and peed on a stick, and a few minutes later, I saw my first positive pregnancy test. I immediately ran into the bedroom and told hubby. There was so much joy, excitement, and laughter. We immediately called our families and celebrated the fact that our 9 month long journey of trying to get pregnant was over and we were finally going to be parents. As you all know, that joy ended in blood, pain, and sadness only a few days later.

A lot has happened in the year since that first BFP. A lot of terrible things: miscarriages, Crohn’s, and feelings of hopelessness. Also a lot of wonderful things: growth, a new support system, and love.

Tuesday morning I woke up with a sense of peace and certainty. I went into the bathroom and peed on a stick, and a few minutes later, I saw a faint second line. I continued my normal morning routine and told hubby right before I left. We exchanged a knowing look and a shy smile and then left to go to work as usual. Needless to say, it was a much different experience from my first BFP.

Tuesday was 11 DPO, and I got a squinter on my DG cheapy. I tested again yesterday on another DG test and got a much darker line. So far, this whole experience has been so different from my other three pregnancies. With the exception of a few moments where panic started to bubble up, I’ve been calm. I’ve also been positive, removing the word “if” from my vocabulary. Only a week ago, I prayed so earnestly for God to grant me some peace and to calm the storm inside of me, and my prayers have been answered ten-fold. I honestly believe this will be our take-home baby–our miracle child that will show the world that God can bring beauty from ashes and grant a child to a couple who had all but given up. I am hanging on to faith, hope, and love and trusting that they will get us through the next eight months. I am trusting God to protect this child. I am trusting this child to fight for life. In an expression of self kindness, I am trusting my body to nurture this child. And I’m not ending this with a statement about how I reserve the right to change my mind and freak out–when my trust runs out, I will pray for more and it will be given to me.

Instead of super excited phone calls to family, hubby and I spent the last two days asking close friends to be in prayer. We covet the prayers of those who love us, and I consider this community to be included in that group. Please, be in prayer for us and our child. Please pray for life.

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Support

I’ve seen quite a few posts about how to support someone who is going through IF or loss. I think it’s great that people have written these posts because, let’s face it, we aren’t an easy group to understand and support. Statements that are meant to be helpful and supportive can be really hurtful to many in our community. I’m learning that this is not necessarily unique to to IF/loss, and being a good source of support for anyone isn’t easy.

Over the past few months, I have been struggling with how to support my husband as he deals with Crohn’s disease. My heart just breaks when I see him in pain, and I desperately want to make him better. But I can’t. I can’t heal him. I can’t alleviate his pain. I can’t promise him that he will feel better soon. So what can I do? Over the past week I’ve been in prayer about how to support him, how to be a good wife to him as he faces this terrible disease. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Pray for him I pray for my husband’s health regularly. I don’t just pray that he will be healed–I also pray that the Lord will walk with him through the desert. I pray for strength to endure and peace to deal with a diagnosis that sucks. And I make sure that hubby knows that he is being surrounded by prayer by telling him when I pray for him. 
  • Serve him When hubby has bad days where he can’t really leave the couch, I serve him. I make him something to eat that won’t make him hurt more. I bring him anything he needs. I take care of things he is usually in charge of (like mowing the lawn or putting the dog up at night) so he won’t stress about it. It’s exhausting, but it’s so rewarding and giving him the opportunity to rest makes a big difference to his pain levels.
  • Abide with him Earlier this week, hubby was hurting too much to stay in bed, so he took another pain pill and went to living room and propped himself in a more comfortable position on the couch. Instead of taking my usual approach (silently bemoaning the interruption in my sleep and shutting the bedroom door so he doesn’t keep me up), I got up and went into the living room. I held his hand and talked with him to help distract him until the pain pill kicked in. I let him know that he’s not alone in this.
  • Love him I try to use every opportunity to remind my husband of how much I love him. Sometimes he will say something like, “I’m sorry you are stuck with a broken hubby” and I refuse to accept that. I remind him that I meant it when I said “in sickness and in health.” I make it a point to show him and tell him that I love him and his illness cannot change that, and in some ways, his illness has made me love him even more because it has given me the opportunity to serve and support him in a big way.

So that is how I have learned to support my hubby: pray, serve, abide, and love. And you know what? I think that’s a good way to support someone through just about anything.

What kind of support have you received that has been particularly helpful or encouraging?

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