Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

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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The POAS Plan

Today is 8 DPO, and I am resisting the urge to pee on all the things. I would like to hold out until 10 DPO because I’ve gotten a BFP on that day with two different pregnancies so I think it’s a pretty safe pee day, but it’s just so hard to resist. So today I thought I would share my “wait until 10 DPO to pee on a stick” plan. I’ve been following this two-part plan for nine or ten months, and it seems to work for me:

1. No peesticks in the house. If I have them, I will pee on them. Some people like to stock up on HPT’s, but I’ve discovered that I loose all self control when I have a stack of them in my house. Instead, I will purchase them on my way home from work the day before I test and try to hold out until the next day so I can use FMU. Sometimes that doesn’t work and I just hold my pee for a few hours that night, but I do try to wait until morning.

2. Use cheap dollar store peeticks until I get a BFP, then switch to digital for confirmation. We often have friends ask us how we manage to survive on the amount of money we make, and the answer is that we are really cheap. I just can’t justify the price of fancy peesticks because I feel guilty wasting the money, and hubby gets upset (he never actually says that it upsets him, but I can tell he’s annoyed). So I always start with dollar store cheapies, which works out great. I’ve always gotten my BFP a few days before my period is due when using them, and I don’t feel bad about wasting money if it’s negative. I actually have a system where I hoard dollars and save them to buy peesticks. If I want to buy something cheap that I don’t need, like a soda or candy bar, I ask myself if I’m willing to sacrifice one of my peestick dollars for it. The answer is usually no because I love my peesticks. Once I get a squinter, however, I allow myself to use a digital HPT so I don’t drive myself crazy analyzing the lines.

That’s it. It’s a simple plan but it works. It keeps me from testing way too early which will stress me out and waste our money. I have two dollars stashed in my wallet, so I will buy two tests at the dollar store on my way home tomorrow and hopefully get a BFP on Friday, which is 10 DPO.

Does anyone else have a method for testing?

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The BFP Plan

Over the past four months, I have thought a lot about what our next steps would be. We came up with a plan to try one more time to get pregnant and stay pregnant without any major tests or treatments. I was really convinced from the beginning that my low progesterone was the problem, so we’re going to give it one more try with the supplements, and I’m as hopeful as I can be about it while still staying sane.

The biggest question I’ve been asking myself lately is, “What do I do when I get that BFP?” After getting pregnant three times, I’m fairly confident that I can get pregnant again if we try hard enough (but I also know not to take anything for granted when it comes to TTC and pregnancy). So I had to come up with a plan, a BFP plan, based off of my last three mc’s. Here’s the general idea:

  • I will not call to make an appointment until I hit six  weeks. I lost my first two pregnancies so early that I never even made it to my first appointment, and with my last pregnancy, I somehow had it in my mind that my baby would be fine if I could just make it to an appointment. Now that I have successfully made it to a first appointment and had two betas, I know the truth: going to see a midwife or OB earlier is not going to keep me from miscarrying. I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but calling to cancel three different appointments for three different pregnancies was humiliating, and I don’t want to do it for a fourth time. So to avoid making yet another first appointment to only cancel it, I’m not even going to make an appointment until I am far enough along to hopefully find a heartbeat. 
  • No Betas I thought these would be helpful and enlightening, but all they really did was upset me and stress me out, so I don’t see a reason why I need them. I’m not going to argue if my midwife really wants me to do them, but I’m definitely not asking for them.
  • I will not tell anyone IRL until I see a heartbeat. Whenever I say something like this, people always look shocked and say, “You aren’t going to tell your husband?” I guess I’m the only one who thinks it is implied that I will tell my husband. There is a woman I work with who has some weird sixth sense–she always comes into my office on the day I get a BFP and asks me if I’m pregnant with this knowing look on her face. With my first pregnancy, she asked me before I even knew. Still trying to figure out how I’m going to avoid that because I’m the worst liar ever.
  • Double my progesterone supplements. When I went for my follow-up appointment after my last mc, my midwife said she could increase my progesterone for my next pregnancy, at which point I asked her if it was necessary because my progesterone was within the normal range on during my last pregnancy. She told me it wasn’t necessary but it couldn’t hurt, so I’ve decided that I will increase it to twice a day as suggested once I get a BFP. Why not before? I am very susceptible to medications that make you tired. For example, I cannot take a Benadryl without taking a two hour nap. When I take those supplements at night, I sleep so well because they make me so tired, and the midwife said to take one in the morning and one at night if I choose to take two. I have a boring desk job, and it’s hard enough to stay awake without taking the pill in the mornings, so I’m not going to give up two weeks of productivity until I get a BFP and it’s totally worth it.
  • I will take it easy. Nothing strenuous at all. I’ll get a burly EMT the change to bottle at the water cooler at work instead of doing it myself. I’ll do a lot of sitting around the house. I’ll read a book on my lunch break instead of going for a walk. I’ll love on hubby in ways that don’t involve my pelvis. It’s not permanent–just until I go to the first appointment at get some confirmation that I have a baby that is actually growing and has a heart that’s beating.
  • I’m limiting myself to one HPT every other day.  I don’t want to ban myself from them entirely in case I need some reassurance, but I’m limiting myself so I won’t constantly agonize over the tests. Part of me wants to say that I have to get rid of them after I use them so I can’t obsessively compare them all the time, but I’m trying to be realistic here.

Some of these points are for practicality (Do I really need to pay the copay on another appointment if I’m going to lose it a few days later?); some are to boost baby’s chances (A little more progesterone can’t hurt); and some are to save my sanity (Multiple HPTs a day can’t be mentally healthy). We’ll see how it all plays out once I actually see that second line.

What do you all think? Anything I should add?

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TTC Pregnancy #4–Cycle #1

If you think this post seems terribly apathetic, that’s because it is. That’s where I am right now. Bear with me, I’m hoping it will pass soon…

For the first time since August, I am officially in the two week wait. I wrote awhile back about how I felt stuck, and you would think that starting TTC again would help me feel like I’m achieving some forward motion. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I had a rough New Years. I have a very vivid memory of going on vacation with my very pregnant friend and our husbands on New Years last year. I remember crying to my husband because I wasn’t pregnant yet. Sure, we had only been trying for 4-5 months, but I had this gut feeling that something was wrong and we would never have a baby. It’s been a year since that moment, and we are essentially in the same place. So TTC may seem like progress, but we started TTC well over a year ago,  I’ve been pregnant three times, and the end result is that we’re in the same place we were last year.  You could even say that we’ve backtracked a little because now we have  more heartache and less hope. I’m fairly certain I won’t feel like we are moving forward until I am solidly into a viable pregnancy or we move on and start the paperwork and classes for the foster adoption plan–Plan H (seriously, there are only so many letters in the alphabet).

I’m not really holding my breath for this cycle because hubby and I haven’t been particularly diligent in our baby-making efforts. The timing wasn’t perfect–we had sex around the general time of ovulation, but we might have missed the exact window. Hubby hasn’t been feeling well (he’s going to the doctor tomorrow to figure out what could be up with his stomach), and I have stayed true to my promise of not pressuring him when he doesn’t want to. I didn’t even tell him when I was ovulating because I didn’t want to upset him or stress him out by making him think that he has to have sex with me. So we are basically only having sex when we feel like it and I’ve been watching for ovulation and hoping that he feels like it at the right time. It’s not really the perfect recipe for baby-making, but at this point, our relationship and hubby’s emotional health is much more important to me.

Even though I make it sound like I was tricking hubby by not telling him when I was ovulating, he is fully up to date and well aware that I am in the TWW. He also knows the official POAS date: Friday the 12th. I’ve been taking my progesterone in the evenings and I have enough to make it until Thursday before I need to refill it which is perfect because I think Friday is 14 DPO. So I’ll take a HPT on Friday morning, and if it is positive, I’ll refill my prescription that day. Then I will follow the “BFP Plan” that I have comprised over the past four months since my last mc. I’m planing on posting about it in detail tomorrow, so be sure to check back in, because you know you are on the edge of your seats.

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Wow.

This is what I woke up to today:

The *little* fat positive

Let’s call it a LFP. A little fat positive. You can barely even see it on there (it’s even harder to see in a picture), but it’s there. I just sat on the bathroom floor for about ten minutes and stared at it. Today is 11 DPO which is normally fairly early for testing, but AF usually arrives on day 11, so I figured I would give it a try. Also, this is a test from the dollar store so it isn’t as sensitive as a lot of other tests (but after POAS for almost a year, you get pretty fed up with paying a $8-$10 a test!). I spent all morning at work looking at this picture on my phone, wondering if I’m making up the line and I’m just batshit crazy, and I finally went out on my lunch break and bought a digital test (actually I bought three, they cost the same as the two pack). I went in the bathroom at work, and three minutes later, I saw this:

I’ll give you all a post about how I feel when I start breathing again.

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My love/hate relationship with BFPs

I really wanted to TTC this cycle, and I am so ready to be a mommy. The longer this entire process takes, the more sure I am that I am called to be a mommy and love on my children like crazy. Starting out, I was nervous about having kids and unsure about how good of a mother I would be, but that feeling has shrunk with every cycle that has passed until it was basically gone. Now I know that I will be a good mommy and that is one of my deepest desires right now. There is only one problem:

I am terrified of BFPs.

I am stuck in a weird place: AF or a BFN will make me sad and a BFP will make me scared. The first time I got a BFP, I was elated. Hubby and I were jumping up and down and smiling like morons and so sure that all of the worries we had faced TTC were finally over! I still had a small nagging fear that we weren’t out of the woods yet and something could still go wrong, but I don’t think it was any worse than any other freshly pregnant woman. I told myself I would feel better after my first appointment when the midwife assures me that I am actually pregnant and the baby is healthy, but I never made it to that first appointment. I had a miscarriage with a traumatizing ER experience. I was devastated, but I was also filled with hope–I can get pregnant! Everything I had read and heard said that one mc does not suggest another one and there was no reason why we couldn’t have a perfectly healthy pregnancy after the mc, so we started trying again immediately. Another BFP. I felt a little relieved knowing that the last pregnancy wasn’t a fluke, I can actually get pregnant, but I was filled with anxiety about this little one inside of me. I remained distant from this pregnancy, afraid to get too attached, and I miscarried before my first appointment again. In some ways, it’s probably a better that I mc’d before my appointment and didn’t have a first appointment filled with joy and hope before losing our little one, but anyone who has had a mc knows you become a mommy the minute you see that second line.

In my last post, I talked about how I feel like this isn’t our month and I’m not pregnant. Honestly, I think I’m just afraid of another BFP. I want to be pregnant with a healthy baby and then give birth and have a healthy child, but part of me just wants to skip the initial BFP part of the process. Seeing those two lines that mock me with hope, calling the birth center to make a first prenatal appointment again, feeling a rush of panic at every twinge and tweak in my body (indigestion or mc?), scrutinizing my pantyliner for any sign of blood every time I go to the bathroom, needing support but not wanting to announce my pregnancy, etc. It’s exhausting. Part of me feels like I shouldn’t be trying again if I’m not in a place where I can handle another mc, but seriously, who is ever in that place? I am ready to be pregnant. I am ready to be a mommy. I’m not ready for another mc, and at this point in my life, I would rather have AF or a BFN than lose another one. How do you reconcile this with TTC? I haven’t quite figured that out yet–these are some pretty complicated/conflicting emotions and I’m not sure how to sort through them right now.

AF is due sometime today or tomorrow. Or she might be much later because the progesterone might lengthen my luteal phase. So at what point do I POAS? The birth center is closed on Fridays, so if I POAS tomorrow and get a BFP, I can go ahead and call to set up my appointment early next week. If I POAS anytime after tomorrow, I’ll have to wait until Monday to call if there is a BFP. I don’t know. I don’t have any HPTs in the house right now (I do that on purpose to reduce the temptation), so I’m still trying to decide if I will buy some on the way home tonight. I probably won’t make that decision until I’m pulling out of the parking lot.

That zen feeling I had yesterday? Gone. Replaced with a nauseating fear that I will get a BFP and go through another mc. I  feel like this is weird–most women are afraid of seeing a BFN or AF, but right now I only know one end result to a BFP and I can’t handle it right now.

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