Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Dreams

Now that I’m pregnant, I feel like I need some big event or a total anxious breakdown or something to write a blog post. One of the things I’m learning is that this step of our journey is a lot like other steps because there is a lot of waiting. With four weeks in between appointments, there is not much to update beyond my expanding waistline and the pregnancy symptoms that you could just read about on any of the countless pregnancy websites. I don’t want my posts to start looking like bumpdates, but I want to write because I know how frustrating it can be when a pregnant infertile disappears from blogland. So I’m going to try to post regularly, but I’m also going to try to keep it personal. We’ll see how it goes.

One of the many weird things about pregnancy is all of the vivid dreams. Due to all of the hormones and the fact that you are sleeping lighter, you have crazy dreams, and someone like me who doesn’t tend to remember her dreams starts to remember them. In my case, I sometimes remember them so well that I mistake dreams for actual memories, like when I was absolutely sure that hubby and I met a politician who is running for local office. I still have a hard time believing that didn’t actually happen, but the facts that I don’t remember any specific details about the moment and hubby has assured me on multiple occasions that it never occurred have me convinced that I’m just a crazy pregnant lady who is totally losing her grip on reality. This is not an isolated event either–I often have to ask myself during the day: did that memory really happen or did I just dream it?

The previous times I’ve been pregnant, I would have a recurring dream where I would give birth, and they would take the baby from me. No matter what I did, I couldn’t find my baby, and I couldn’t get it back. You don’t have to be a genius to interpret that one. But I haven’t had baby dreams with this pregnancy until Wednesday morning. I dreamt that I told my Papa that I’m pregnant, and he was so happy and so excited. He had a big smile on his face and gave me a huge hug. Then I told him that we are going to name the baby after him if he’s a boy. It was such a perfect, joyous moment, and I was so, so happy. And then I woke up. And I remembered that my Papa died a few months after hubby and I got married. I miss him. I want to talk to him like I did in my dream, and I want him to share in the joy we are experiencing right now. It was so real, and I was so heartbroken when I realized that it was only a dream.

Like I said before, I usually don’t remember my dreams. I would just wake up in the middle of the night feeling a really strong emotion–I would be terrified or incredibly sad, but I couldn’t remember why. Now I’m sad because I do remember.

 

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Second Trimester

Wahoo!!!!!

As of Saturday, I am officially in the second trimester. I’ve been trying to put together a coherent post for awhile now, and it doesn’t seem to be happening, so I bring you bullet points:

  • I have not felt like puking since Tuesday. While I feel infinitely grateful that I did not get the horrible, constantly puking sickness that some of my friends had while pregnant, I am also glad to no longer be in the feeling-too-sick-to-do-anything-but-well-enough-to-feel-guilty-about-laying-on-the-couch-all-day stage.
  • Saturday was the last day for my progesterone pills, and I now can truly understand the fear that some of my fellow bloggers talked about when they stopped taking them. It just feels wrong to stop taking something that has helped keep my baby alive up to this point. I don’t even have a bunch leftover to take for peace of mind.
  • We are now out. We started telling people on Father’s Day (13wks) when hubby wore a “Never fear, Dad is here” t-shirt to the church picnic. It was scary to start openly telling everyone, but hubby had so much fun–I’m so glad that I didn’t let my fear rob him of that experience. The reactions were great–it usually started with a confused look, then a “Oh, you guys got placed with the adoption?,” then squealing and jumping up and down. The amount of love that we have received in the last week or so has been staggering.
  • We took announcement photos with a good friend of ours, and it was so much fun. I realized as we were playing around and trying different things that it was the first time we had done something fun that involved pregnancy. I’ve been pregnant six times, and no fun. Hubby put on his fancy fire uniform (which he looks sooooo good in), and we went to his volunteer department and took pictures in front of/inside the truck. We had a onesie with a fire truck on it and one of our ultrasound pictures that we used as props–as well as various pieces of hubby’s fire gear. The pictures turned out amazing, and I made a collage that said “Tiny (Our Last Name Here) On Duty Dec. 2014” that is hanging on our fridge and the fridges of our families.
  • Now that I am feeling better, I no longer have an excuse to avoid The Room. You should all know what I’m talking about. When we bought our house and the world was rainbows and butterflies and we were going to get pregnant immediately, we labeled one of the rooms the nursery. Then, for over two years we have avoided that room and treated it like an oversized junk closet. Whenever we clean, and there is something I don’t know what to do with or I don’t want to deal with something, I will literally open the door to that room, toss the item in, and quickly shut the door. You couldn’t even walk into it, but hubby and I finally buckled down and started working on it yesterday. Now, as the spouse who is staying home all summer with the intentions of reading for her M.A. exam and cleaning out the house, I must continue the work we started. Good vibes appreciated because I am a hopeless pack rat and I hate cleaning out stuff.

I guess that’s the biggest news for now. Bullet points seemed to help, I may lean more towards those in the coming weeks. I know I owe you a post about my midwife, and I promise I will post one. Eventually.

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Seeing Our Baby

Sorry I’ve taken so long to update on my appointments last week. The truth is that I created this blog to cope with IF and loss because writing everything out helps me process and deal with it. Now that there are good things happening, I don’t even know how to approach them.

Monday started with me waking up at 3:00 in the morning and staring at the ceiling for two hours before I finally just gave up and got in the shower. We picked up my mom on the way to the OB, and we got there almost a half hour before my 7:30 appointment which actually turned out great because I was the first one on the sign-in sheet and we really didn’t have to wait at all–beyond waiting for the place to open.

Everything looked great at the ultrasound. Baby was kicking and moving and freaking out which was just amazing. My mom cried, but I just stared in awe the entire time, while occasionally laughing when the baby would kick out really hard. I seriously can’t wait to feel those little feet moving inside of me. It was so surreal to be having this ultrasound–especially after everything we’ve been through. The first thing I did was look for the heartbeat–it’s the first thing I always do, and I was panicked because the heart is so small now compared to the rest of the baby that it is not as immediately noticeable. When you are six weeks along, it’s like half the baby is the heartbeat, and you really can’t miss it when you are looking, but with each ultrasound, it looks smaller and smaller as the baby grows. But it was there, and it was beating. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was in the 150’s.

The tech even said that she could tell us the gender, which really surprised me because I thought 12 wks 2 days was way too early. I guess the super duper  ultrasound machine at the high risk OB is just crazy good enough to tell, but it didn’t matter anyway because we aren’t finding out the gender. That’s another post for another time.

After the appointment, we went to eat with my mom and went home for an hour. I took a nap because I was exhausted and dealing with a serious adrenaline drop that comes after a good appointment. Then we headed out to our midwife’s office, which is a little over an hour from our house. It’s a bit of a bummer that we have to drive so far to appointments, but I didn’t care for the midwives I spoke to who are based in our town. I think I’m going to save the midwife appointment for another post because there is so much information, but I will just say that I loved her and her assistant, and we are both sooo excited to be working with both of them!

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Update

Longer update to come, but for now: baby looks perfect. He or she is measuring perfectly and kept jumping around the whole time. We are beyond thrilled.

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How “Normal” Pregnant Women Blow My Mind

So I have this friend who is due with her first child in September. I hadn’t seen her since she got pregnant, and I finally got to see her the other day. I naturally asked her how far along she was, and she smiled and said 25 and a half weeks. I smiled really big and exclaimed, “Yay! You’ve passed viability. That’s so exciting!” At this point she looked confused and I got a solid “Huh?” So I explained that 24 weeks is considered the point of viability, and she smiled, shrugged her shoulders, and said something along the lines of, “Oh, cool.”

I keep forgetting how different pregnancy is for those who haven’t experienced IF/loss. Even though we are all aware that it is in no way a guarantee, 24 is a bit of a sacred number here in our little corner of blogland, and it blew my mind to encounter someone who had no idea and really no interest. She’s just chugging along–happy and naive.

This is in no way a critique of my friend. It just reminded me (once again) how different pregnancy is for us than it is for others. I have another friend who is due within a week of me, and we were talking last Sunday at a wedding shower. She asked me who all we had told about the little one, and I said that we had told our families and a few close friends. Then I told her that she and her hubby were the only ones in the room that knew. She was floored. She had been telling people for weeks, and her husband (a pastor) had even mentioned it in one of his sermons. She asked me how I had the self control to keep that secret, and I honestly wanted to ask her how she had the confidence to tell everyone. This is her second child, and she had no complications with her first pregnancy or labor, so she has no idea what it feels like to have to tell people that you are no longer pregnant.

I told hubby yesterday that I really wish that we could be looking forward to Monday with nothing but excitement with a “normal” dose of nerves. I want to view our scan as another opportunity to see the little one instead of just a confirmation that our baby is still alive. I want to not care about stuff like viability or telling people. Like I said before, RPL brain is some strong stuff.

I’m finding myself falling into the same pattern I’ve watched other bloggers fall into: “At (insert milestone here), I will stop worrying so much and enjoy this pregnancy.” But things haven’t really changed at those milestones, and I wonder if they will on Monday. The truth is, I’m actually doing really well. I’m keeping my anxiety down to a dull roar, and I’ve have a generally good feeling about this whole pregnancy. But that makes me wonder just what it would be like if I didn’t  have the RPL brain–just how much more excited and positive would I be?

2 more sleeps.

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Mom

My mom has not been the most supportive during this whole process. When I called her in tears after my first miscarriage she simply asked me if I had a miscarriage or my period just started and seemingly brushed off the pain I was going through. As we continued down the RPL road, my mom would say things about how if I wouldn’t take a pregnancy test I wouldn’t even know I was pregnant and I would just think my period was late. If I ever tried to talk to her about what we were going through because I really needed my mother, she would act angry and defensive and tell me I’m too young to be worrying about stuff like that. It was frustrating and heartbreaking, and I just stopped telling her when I got pregnant or miscarried.

But I came to a realization about six months ago. My mom doesn’t deal with her feelings–when something makes her sad, she shuts down and lashes out. She wasn’t being callous and mean when she said and did the things she did, she was dealing with her pain in the only way she knew how. It’s a very unhealthy and unhelpful way to deal, but that’s how she does it. I also learned something else about my mom: she takes direction well. I was so upset because my mother is in no way maternal and I wanted her to naturally be the comforter I needed, but that was not a realistic expectation. I have since learned to tell my mom, in plain language, how I feel and then tell her what I need from her. For example, “Mom, I’m really sad about all of this because it is really difficult to go through, and I need you to just let me be sad. I need my mom to just sit and listen and let me be sad.” Once I was clear about what I needed from her, my mom got a lot better. I also started explaining to her why certain things that she said hurt my feelings, and I would bluntly ask her not to say them to me. And it worked. This mothering thing doesn’t come naturally to my mom, and I think she just didn’t know how to handle the situation and defaulted to her unhealthy way of handling pain and sadness. Once I guided her and told her what I needed, she was much better.

This meant that I had to overcome as well. I had to overcome my anger and frustration that my mom does not know how to be my mom without me telling her what to do. I had to release the feeling that her comfort didn’t count when she didn’t just do it on her own. I had to accept our relationship as it is and be ok with it. This breakthrough in understanding my mom would have meant nothing but more anger and frustration if I just used it as an excuse to be angry at her for not being the nurturing woman I craved, but I opened up communication and utilized what I learned and we have advanced leaps and bounds from where we started.

As I said, I have been hesitant to tell my mom that I’m pregnant ever since my first loss. We decided to tell her after our last scan, and we actually drove from the office to her work (she is a middle school librarian) to tell her the good news. I had no idea how she would react, but I didn’t want to wait any longer–we had told my sister a few days before and it wasn’t fair to ask her to keep that secret while living with my mom. When we told her, she broke into tears and wouldn’t stop hugging me. She ran into the office and made a copy of our ultrasound to put up in her office. She asked when she can start telling people and acted happier than I have seen her in a long time. Since then, she calls me at least once a week to check on me, and she is even going with us on Monday to our scan.

Her reaction was exactly what I needed. It’s what I craved every pregnancy and never got. I think the fact that we were moving on to adoption opened her eyes to just how serious our situation was so she could really see just how exciting of a miracle this little one is. I also think that our growing understanding of each other has helped her step into her role as the mother of a pregnant woman. It took 26 years and a lot of anger and tears to get to this point, but I feel like I finally have some sort of relationship with my mom that is healthy and nurturing. It’s just another way that this little one is a complete miracle who is already changing my life for the better.

Five more sleeps.

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Six

Six.

That’s how many sleeps until our next ultrasound. Less than a week. That’s also how many sleeps until our first appointment with our midwife. Monday is a big day for us.

Thankfully, our appointment is really early (7:30) so there will be no waiting all day until the appointment. I don’t think my nerves could handle that. Also, since we have one of the first appointments we shouldn’t have to wait too long. So that’s another bonus.

I’m trying to focus on all of the positives:
-I still haven’t had any spotting
-My only cramps have been due to the fact that I haven’t had a normal poop in almost three months
-While it is waning, I’ve had nausea that has been consistent enough to keep me from losing my mind

Honestly, the only negative is that I have RPL brain that I can’t seem to turn off. Whenever I get hopeful or excited there is a little voice in my head that is convinced that it is not possible for things to go this well–that the world will not let me be this happy.

I’m just trying to focus on the positives and trying to remember that even though time passes by so slowly, it is passing and Monday will eventually be here.

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A Perfect Moment

If you have ever been pregnant after a loss, you know that it’s a long, terrifying game of waiting while trying not to lose your mind. You hope so hard you feel like your heart will break, but you also expect the worst at every turn. This is what the last seven weeks have looked like for me.

But every once in awhile I stop. I had one of those moments today. I was sitting on the porch listening to music and eating. I felt the warm air and closed my eyes and let myself be happy. It was a perfect moment. A moment that I let myself soak in the sun and the blessings around me. A moment that I let myself be thankful for the life around me and the life inside me. A moment where I didn’t dwell on the past or worry about the future and just enjoyed that very moment.

That perfect moment.

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