Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

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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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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The Truth

I have a lot of practical reasons why I’ve been so absent from this space. When I first started this blog, I was working a desk job with a lot of down time so I would write blog posts when I was waiting for the phones to ring at work. Since I started school, however, I am no longer in the position where I am stuck in front of a computer with nothing to do. Also, I spend so much of my time reading and writing now that at the end of the day, I just don’t want to write anymore. These are all good excuses for not being present in the blog world anymore. They are also just that: excuses.

The truth is that this space has been too painful for me ever since Tup died because it is much too lonely. For the longest time, this space gave me hope. I loved reading about my infertile bloggie friends’ pregnancies and watching IVF and rainbow babies grow up because I knew that one day, after I did my time, I would join those ranks. I thought about it, worried about it, even feared it, but I never truly believed that I wouldn’t be able to carry and birth children. I always saw our struggles as a season that we had to pass before emerging on the other side with a baby in our arms. But after two and a half years and five losses, I’m having to face the very real possibility that we may never have biological children. Even as we are filling out our adoption application, I’ve realized that I still believe that we will adopt a child and then I will have a successful pregnancy, but that is not realistic. Unless there is some change in medication, procedure, something, I don’t think that I will ever make it out of the first trimester–we can’t keep trying the same thing and expect different results. I’ve always heard that part of the adoption process is grieving the biological children that you will not have, but that is something that you cannot truly understand until you face it.

So as I am in the process of coming to terms with the fact that I may never carry and give birth to my children, I have reached a new level of intolerance for pregnant women. I feel nothing but anger and resentment when I see them, and I have no sympathy for the struggles that come with pregnancy. This means that not only am I having to deal with the anger I feel towards myself and my body for failing to protect my children, I’m also having to deal with the guilt that I feel about some of the hateful bitterness I feel towards others–some of whom I love dearly. Like our good friend who is an adoption lawyer and is helping us through this process in every way she can. She has been such a wonderful friend and support, but I can barely stand to look at her because she has a beautiful baby bump.

The worst part is how alone I feel. Especially in blogland. The place where I once I found comfort, camaraderie, and hope is now extremely painful. I’m fairly certain I can count on one hand how many of the blogs I’ve followed through this struggle that are still active and childless. Even the RPL blogs I follow are all carrying seemingly healthy pregnancies. And the number of pregnancies among my friends is almost unbearable. We started early trying to have children, so for most of our struggle, we only had a handful of friends have kids. Now I am facing pregnancy announcements on almost a weekly basis, and some of my friends are even having their second child. And where do I go to escape? Where do I go to vent and commiserate? This place doesn’t provide that for me anymore. I cheered on so many blog friends and celebrated their victories, and at some point, I was left behind.

So that’s why I don’t really write anymore. That’s why I don’t comment. Coming here is a chore. A reminder of all of my loss. I thought about starting an adoption blog, about creating a clean slate, but I’m still unsure. The truth is I would just like to feel less alone. Filling out all of this paperwork is daunting. And it’s hard. I’m having to dig up a lot of emotional baggage at a time that I’m already pretty fragile. And while I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I may never have biological children and filling out paperwork with tough questions where I have to write about things like the sexual abuse that I endured as a child, people just keep popping out babies and making cutesy announcements and I keep feeling more and more isolated.

That is the truth.

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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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Not a Resolution

I’m not a New Year’s Resolution kind of girl. Throughout the year, I try to be more mindful of stuff or improve on things, but I rarely set hard “goals” because I beat myself up so much and I have so much anxiety when I don’t achieve them.

Having said that, I have come to a realization that I have to stop comparing myself to other people. I know that this seems so obvious, but I really struggle with this. I compare myself to people who have more than me–women who are fertile and have no problems in pregnancy, people who make more money than me and don’t struggle to pay their bills, people who seem to have endless patience and compassion (or other enviable qualities), people who get to travel the world while I’m stuck in small town East Tennessee, etc. I also compare myself to people who are facing hardships that I am not facing (the “Oh my gosh, if it happened to them it could happen to me and I should panic about it” comparison). Either way, it makes me feel bad about myself, and if I would just stop comparing myself to others, I would see that my life is actually pretty great and I’m a good person who is worth knowing.

Today, one of the girls I work with came in our office and announced that she is pregnant. She actually announced it by grabbing my hand and putting it on her belly and beaming about having a baby. She went on to say the she got “fixed” three years ago because they were done having children, and she only has a .03% chance of getting pregnant. I just smiled weakly because I was so shocked and luckily she was too excited to notice that I wasn’t jumping for joy. After she told everyone in the office, one of my co-workers told her congratulations, and she responded with, “Yeah, I guess you could say that!” (because, you know, this wasn’t planned and was as prevented as you can get). My mind immediately went to a pity party–she has a .03% chance of getting pregnant because she had invasive surgery to prevent pregnancy and yet she is having a baby and I’m looking at adoption options. How unfair is that? It makes me want to scream and cry and throw a legit temper tantrum because I am just so angry at the unfairness of it.

Yet I can’t compare myself to her. I will make myself crazy and miserable if I compare myself to all of the people having babies. I have to just concentrate on myself–my health, my sanity, my marriage, and the options that are available to me. What can I do with what I have been given? Because no amount of envy or wishing or anger or longing or comparing is going to change what I have been given and make me like someone else.

So it’s not a New Year’s Resolution (because it’s almost February and I don’t do those anyway), but it is something I am going to try to work on. I’m going to concentrate on me and try to not feel like a failure when I am not accomplishing the same things as those around me or go into panic mode and live in fear when something terrible happens to someone else. I know that is easier said than done, but I think awareness is a good first step.

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Insensitive Comments and a Sad Day

Yesterday hubby’s volunteer fire department had their annual banquet. Despite being sickly, hubby insisted on going because he loves the department and the guys he volunteers with. In an earlier post, I briefly mentioned that one of the guys at the department just got married and a month after the wedding, he told hubby that his wife is pregnant. At the banquet, a few of us were talking with him and I asked him how he is enjoying married life. He told me that they are expecting a baby boy, and I had already braced myself for the announcement, so I handled alright, but I was really upset when he followed this announcement with “That’s right, I’ve got Olympic swimmers!” Seriously? Is that necessary? I was hurt and offended and we aren’t even dealing with male factor. I’ve learned so much since I’ve entered the IF/loss community, and one of the things that I have learned is how damaging a diagnosis of male factor can be on a man’s ego and self image. Honestly, I don’t see how these men do it, because a lot of men don’t announce pregnancy by talking about how excited they are to have a baby–they announce it by talking about how they are man enough to knock a girl up. I have never heard a women announce pregnancy and then say, “That’s right, my uterus is so much better than yours at sustaining life!” If I do ever hear that, I will punch her in the face. Last night we were in a big group of people, and there were a lot of excited high fives and cheers so I kept my mouth shut, but I feel sick every time I think about it and my heart breaks for men who have to put up with that when they are already down.

In other news, my pregnancy twin had a baby girl this past weekend. I’m going to refrain from further comment on this because it will be petty and unfair.

Also, today was the due date of my first pregnancy. I wanted to write a whole post about this, but I’m still processing, and I don’t need to tell this community about how today makes me feel.

15 Comments »

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