Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

A Story of Love and Loss

As I said before, Hubby and I have been NTNP (not trying, not preventing) since we lost Tup. I guess I had a stupid idea that if we got pregnant without actually trying then it would be “meant to be.” I’m amazed at how superstitious all of this has made me–I guess I need something to hold on to, so I hold on to these ideas.

On Thursday, December 5th, I couldn’t remember the last time I had my period. I thought it was during the first week of November, but I wasn’t sure. So I pulled out a leftover test, and it had the lightest second line I’ve ever seen on a test. I thought I was seeing things and potentially going crazy so I didn’t say a word to anyone. The next morning, I went and bought a digital test (and narrowly avoided my in-laws at the store), and there it was: “pregnant.” That night I went to movie night with my girlfriends from church and one of them announced that she was 14 weeks pregnant. When I got home, I told hubby about her pregnancy and mine. We decided not to tell anyone. Not our families, not our friends, not my blog readers.

I spent the majority of the next morning crying–mourning the loss that hadn’t even happened. Grieving as though the tiny baby inside of me already died. I thought that I had been doing well, but that was apparently not true because this pregnancy hit me hard.

But then I experienced something that had never happened to me before: everything went fine. I had a little spotting for a few days after the test (I’m assuming that was when my period was due), but after that, no spotting. No cramps. No warning signs. Nothing to obsess over (beyond the lack of morning sickness). Everything seemed fine. I made an appointment for an ultrasound last Thursday (the day after Christmas–so if things went wrong, it wouldn’t ruin the holiday), and we went with high hopes and low expectations, Tup’s ultrasound in the back of our minds. Once again in this pregnancy, I was blown away by the unexpected: the ultrasound was perfect. I was only measuring 6 weeks 1 day, which seemed a little behind because it had been 3 weeks since the positive test, but everything looked perfect and there was a beautiful, strong heartbeat. 144. I was in complete shock.

Hubby and I still hadn’t told anyone (except for his boss who knows about our history and guessed when hubby said he was going to an appointment with me), and we decided to wait until second trimester. Not because we were being superstitious or because we didn’t want to tell anyone if things went downhill, but because it had been so much less stressful when no one knew.

So there we were last Thursday with a perfect ultrasound and hope.

*This part is a little graphic. If this is a trigger for you, please skip to the next paragraph*
Yesterday I started spotting. It got heavier throughout the day and started turning red before I went to bed. I put on a large pad and as I tried to go to sleep, I could feel strong cramps and knew something was wrong–that we would lose this one too. I just knew. This morning at 4:30, I woke up and felt wetness in my pad. When I stood up, I knew it was over. I went to the bathroom and saw that I had passed everything–the pad was full of blood and clots and I could see my baby. My tiny, tiny baby sitting there. So I cleaned up all of the blood, took a shower, changed the sheets, and hubby and I sat on the bed, cuddled, and watched Harry Potter, numb.

I still feel numb. I don’t understand how everything could be perfect on Thursday and now I am empty. My fifth baby died today, and I don’t understand.

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If

I came to a realization the other day.

We’re stuck in “if.”

I feel like everything I say starts with “if.” If hubby gets this fire job… If I get pregnant… If we successfully adopt… If we somehow manage to be parents… If I decide to continue and get my PhD… If I get into a PhD program…

I say it all the time.

I used to write about feeling stuck. I felt like we weren’t going anywhere, that the world was moving forward without us. I felt like time kept passing and we were in the same place, like we weren’t growing and our lives were just on pause. But then I got into school, and hubby got his new job and is in a hiring process at a great department and we made the decision that we are definitely going to move on to adoption (as soon as we have the money…). There is some definite forward motion in our life. But now, instead of feeling stuck, I feel like we are moving forward into some great unknown. I have no idea what our life is going to look like in a year–I only know that it won’t look exactly like this.

I’m trying to take comfort from that, but it is pretty scary.

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Sour Lemonade

I’m not sure if my last two posts have given a true sense of how I’ve been doing. It’s been rough. First, I’m pretty sure I can’t look at Facebook anymore. Seriously, the number of pregnancy announcements, gender announcements, and birth announcements seems to have increased. Maybe it’s because it was Thanksgiving, “We’re so thankful to announce that we will have a new member of the family.” Maybe it’s because I’m getting older so all of my friends are getting to the age that they reproduce. But it’s hard. Then last night, all of the girls in our church group had a girls night and one of them told us she’s 16 weeks. I’ve been waiting for this, for someone in our group to get pregnant. Someone that I see all the time and someone that I love dearly so I will be full of guilt when it makes me cry because I’m so sad. She even told us that they had been trying for two years and had just given up, so I feel even worse because I’m jealous of someone who is one of us.

The truth is that I’m sad and jealous because she’s 16 weeks. I’ve never made it that long. Tup was my longest pregnancy and that lasted 8 weeks. I know from being in this community that there is never a guarantee, but I feel like if I could just make it that long, we could have a baby. It’s been over two years and we’ve had four losses (that we know of), and I’m feeling broken, like my spirit is just beat down. I used to dream of being pregnant and giving birth and having our beautiful child, but now the thought of pregnancy terrifies me. Pregnancy only leads to heartbreak. We’re NTNP right now and whenever I think I feel some sort of pregnancy symptom or can’t remember how long it’s been since my last period, I get nervous. Not, “oh my gosh, I could be pregnant and we might actually have a baby” nervous, more like “Oh no, if I’m pregnant, that means I’m going to have another mc in the next month and I just can’t handle that right now” nervous. I guess you can call it a loss of hope, but I’m basically at the point where I honestly don’t think I will ever be able to carry a child. And that hurts. A lot.

I told you all that we’re talking about adoption and hope to start the process if hubby gets this job. We actually are going to have a consultation with my pregnant friend because she works for a law firm that does adoption and she’s going to go through our different options with us. If hubby doesn’t get this job, however, we’ll have to wait until I’m done with school. That’s another year and a half. For those keeping count, that’s a full four years after we started trying to have a baby before we even start the process. Hubby said that two of his friends got phone calls to come in for a interview last Wednesday, and he hasn’t heard anything. That doesn’t mean things are over and he’s not getting the job, but it doesn’t look too good either–especially since we’ve had the optimists beaten out of us the past two years. Last night we sat together and cried. Hubby said he feels like he let me down because he wasn’t good enough to get this job. I told him that I feel like I let him down because my body apparently doesn’t grow babies. It was rough. Yes, all of this is bringing us closer, but I wouldn’t recommend marriage-strengthening-through-loss.

So that’s where I really am. I’m sad and broken and a little resentful. Things may look good from the outside because we are trying our very best to make lemonade. But to be honest, the lemonade still tastes awfully sour.

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Our Tree

Tuesday was my last day of classes, so I’m home every day until I turn in a 15 page paper, turn in a huge project, and take a final next Tuesday. Yesterday I should have worked on my paper, but I also should have been eight months pregnant. Should haves don’t always happen. Instead of working on my stuff, I turned on jazzy Christmas music, made a hot cup of tea, and decorated our living room for Christmas. It was lovely and peaceful, which was just what I needed. I hung four of these ornaments on our tree this year:

OrnamentOne for each of our babies. 

A lot of people have very fancy trees where all of the ornaments match, where it’s all perfect like it belongs in a department store. But our tree isn’t like that. It’s a little scrawny tree because we don’t have a lot of room, and it has all kinds of different ornaments on it. I love putting them on because each ornament reminds me of something.  I have ornaments from our first Christmas together and our first Christmas in our new house. I have a couple of ugly Hallmark granddaughter ornaments that my grandparents gave me when I was growing up. I have an ornament the hubby painted when we worked at Christmas camp eight years ago. I have wooden ornaments that my grandfather carved and other ornaments that my favorite aunt crocheted. And four glass hearts to represent our four babies.

Our tree isn’t a decoration. It’s a storybook.

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