Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

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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Worrying about my lack of worry

Over the past two weeks or so I’ve noticed something about myself. The obsessing, the worrying, the despair is missing. When I think about TTC, I don’t freak out. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to create, carry, and birth a child, and if I will, I have no idea when that will be. It will be months before we will even start TTC again. As you have seen in previous posts, this fact usually throws me into counting fits where I calculate the soonest we could have a baby. How old will I be then? What are my life plans then? How old will BFF’s son be? (I try not to compare, but she was three months preggo when we started TTC and it gives me a point of reference, albeit an unhealthy one). Usually, when I think about our journey thus far and what all the future could possibly hold for us (tests, procedures, more mc’s, no baby), I am a quivering ball of anxiety and panic who can’t function on a normal level due to the crippling worry and fear. But that hasn’t been the case the past two weeks or so.

I noticed this change last Thursday. That was the day we were supposed to go hear the heartbeat, and of course, we didn’t. And I was so calm and zen about it. If I could use one word to described how I’ve felt, it would be content. I have a wonderful husband and life and maybe babies just aren’t in the cards for us right now. Waiting could even be a really good thing because that might give hubby the opportunity to find a full time fire job, allowing me to stay home. Molly will have the chance to grow up a little, meaning I won’t have to chase the most hyper puppy in existence whilst pregnant. We can pay off a few things and add a little cushion in our savings. I am calm and rational and ok with where we are in life right now, and to tell you the honest truth, it is freaking. me. out.

It all started with a pretty intense prayer session with some close friends two weeks ago. I know some of you aren’t religious, and it’s ok if you are rolling your eyes at me right now. My most ardent request during this prayer session was that I would stop asking why and stop trying to understand and just trust that God is in control. That I could accept what happens and live my life with joy. That I could release my fear. And here’s the thing: I’ve stopped asking why and trying to understand. I have accepted that I am not in control, and I am so happy and appreciative of what I have. I’m not afraid. And this is all so foreign to me.

I am honestly starting to worry about not worrying. Is this a sign of healthy healing and acceptance or am I suppressing all of my problems in an unhealthy way? I know lots of women in this community hit a point where they wonder if they even want children anymore, and I wouldn’t say that is where I am. I am just ok with the fact that I can’t have any right now–at least I am today. However, I feel a little like I am waiting for full blown panic. Maybe it isn’t coming and this is the new normal. That would be nice. Once I get used to it. I’m not really sure what to do with myself when I’m not worrying all the time. And I feel like I’m a bad IF/loss blogger if I’m not obsessing about TTC right now.

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Test Results

I knew that I was being guarded and that I was afraid to get excited or get attached to this pregnancy, but I don’t think I realized the extent of it until yesterday. Yesterday I went in for my second blood draw so we could see if my hCG levels are doubling like they are supposed to, and after she was done, Susan (the lab tech) told me my results were in from my last blood draw and asked me if I wanted to hear them. Part of me didn’t want to know because part of me was sure that the test would say that I’ve made a  mistake and I’m not really pregnant or  that I’ve had another cp and that my third pregnancy was already over. But I braced myself and asked her for my numbers. I was 15 or 16 dpo on Monday and my progesterone was 20 and my hCG was 259. Those are really good numbers! I walked out of the center in a daze, and once I got to my car, I sat in there and sobbed for about 20 minutes. Seriously, I was all snotty and hysterical and laughing while I was crying. I just couldn’t believe that they actually had good news for me, and I was just so filled with joy at the thought that I am actually pregnant and we might actually have a baby! It wasn’t until I felt all of this joy and relief that I realized just how much I was holding back. I know we still have a long road ahead of us and stuff can still go wrong, but I have already made it further in this pregnancy than I did in my first two and I can’t help being very excited about that!

On a side note, do not call your husband when you are joyfully sobbing in your car in the parking lot of the birth center because you will not be able to convey to him that you are crying because you are happy and healthy and you will cause him to panic. Speaking from experience here.

Now I’m just waiting for the results from my test yesterday, and I am hoping that I get them today because the center is closed on Fridays and they will be closed Monday too because it is a holiday. So if I don’t get my results today, I have to wait until Tuesday, which will be really hard–especially since I am going to the beach this weekend. I just don’t want that hanging over me while I’m on vacation… I’ll let you all know whenever I know!

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When an infertility/loss blog becomes a pregnancy blog

I want to start by saying that I’m not entirely sure what to do with my blog right now. I know many women and couples start a blog when they start TTC  intending for it to be a pregnancy blog, and it unfortunately becomes a infertility or loss blog. When they finally get pregnant, the transition into pregnancy blog is fairly smooth because that was the original purpose of the blog. I started this blog to help me deal with my fertility issues and losses, not knowing how much more we would have to endure before we would get pregnant. I wanted a way to connect with other women who have stories similar to mine and enter into a supportive community, and I feel like I have started to do that. Having said that, I honestly got that second line a whole lot earlier than I thought I would, which of course is wonderful, but I guess I’m not sure where I stand now in the community I was just starting to become familiar with. It would not surprise me if many of the women who visited my blog in the last two months stop reading because it is too painful to read updates on my pregnancy, and I totally understand because I would do the same thing if I were in that situation. I guess I’m mostly afraid that I will lose this community that I am so new to, and I won’t have their support if something happens and I lose this pregnancy. Not that they would abandon me and not support me, but that they wouldn’t know about it because they are avoiding me like the plague because I’m pregnant. I know that sounds ridiculous and I’m over thinking everything (a common habit of mine), but it’s how I feel. I want to feel free to write about my pregnancy and the joys/fears that go along with it, but I’m hesitant because I really don’t want my blog to cause any sadness or pain to women who follow this blog and are struggling with fertility. So if you are one of these women and you choose not to read this blog anymore, I completely understand, and I will continue to follow your story and cheer for you.

Now that I’ve gotten that long, convoluted disclaimer out of the way, I can write about my appointment yesterday.

First, I am sooo excited that I have actually gone to my first prenatal appointment! That’s right, despite this being my third pregnancy, yesterday was my first prenatal appointment. I was planning on insisting that they check my progesterone and take a quantitative hCG test, but Jill told me right off the bat that she would run both of those tests without me even having to ask. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I truly love the midwives at the birth and women’s center in our town. She told me that my EDD (estimated due date) is May 4 according to my DOC (date of conception)–we aren’t using the first day of my last menstrual flow because I didn’t ovulate until day 25. We also scheduled a dating ultrasound for Sept 27 (8wks) to make sure that May 4 is  a good estimate, and I’m so excited/nervous about it because we should be able to hear the heartbeat by then! Whew, one step at a time. First, I have to go back on Wednesday for another blood draw so they can compare my numbers and make sure my hCG is doubling like it is supposed to. Hopefully I will have good news about a viable pregnancy on Thursday! Apparently, pregnancy is just as much of a waiting game as TTC. I’ve been trying so hard to stay calm and not get my hopes up, but I have to admit, despite all of this worry, that I am starting to get really excited. I just hope and pray that this little baby sticks.

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It is Well

This morning at church we sang “It is Well with my Soul,” and that made me feel a whole lot better:

When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

I’ve been so afraid to get excited and worried that I will wake up one morning and not be pregnant, but for now, I am pregnant. I know I will feel better after tomorrow because that is when I have my first appointment with my midwife. I’ve never actually made it to my first appointment before–since I had chemical pregnancies, they were over only a few days after I learned I was pregnant. I guess for that reason, I feel like actually making it to an appointment is a good sign. Unfortunately, hubby’s boss is out of town and he put hubby in charge of the shop while he is gone, so I’ll be on my own tomorrow–I would really appreciate it if everyone would send some positive thoughts and prayers in my direction around 2:15 EST.

Also, does it feel like fall to anyone else? There has been a noticeable shift in the weather here in East TN. We went for a mile long walk with Molly today, and I didn’t even break a sweat. I’m taking it as a good sign because I love autumn. Let’s just hope that fall pregnancies bring May rainbows.

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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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Staying Busy

I have one of those personalities that are prone to anxiety and worrying. Remember my post about charting? I tend to obsess over things (like temping) and sometimes I have to make some adjustments to my life or the way I do things so that I don’t feed those tendencies. One thing I have worked on is taking all of that energy and applying it to a healthy distraction like cooking, cleaning, or playing with my new puppy :) Here are some of my favorite ways to stay busy so I don’t worry too much, especially during my TWW. These are in no particular order (Can you tell I like lists? Because I really like lists):

  • Cleaning up the house We bought our house in September of last year, and I love having a home we can call our own. Surprising at it might be, I’m not a neat freak. Hubby and I are actually both big slobs, and I’ve never really enjoyed cleaning. Ever since we bought our house, however, I take pride in having a home to take care of, so I try to keep it looking nice. It is definitely not the cleanest house on the block, but it is consistently cleaner than our apartment was. Every once in awhile, I will start to clean up the kitchen or something and get in the zone, realizing hours later that I’ve deep cleaned half the house. This has been happening more lately–probably because I’ve had so much going on mentally and emotionally and it is so nice to just turn off my brain and concentrate fully on physical labor. Although, I do have to confess that I’ve been really lax in cleaning since we brought home the puppy because she takes so much time and energy. So despite everything I just said about cleaning, my house is a disaster right now. Maybe I should do something about that this weekend…
  • Sewing I don’t have a ton of experience sewing (or doing anything that can be classified as domestic), but I have started working on some projects lately and I have really enjoyed it. I started a Pinterest account in July and have since made two skirts with matching headbands. I am also in the middle of making a cute dress from a pattern I bought a few weeks ago. When I start sewing, it’s like all of my thoughts and worries just float away and are replaced with a calm contentment–I’ll put my head down to work on a project and not even notice as the hours fly by. Plus I end up with cute things to wear and show off!
  • Cooking/Baking Once again, I wasn’t really raised to be domestic so this is fairly new territory for me. Because I didn’t cook much growing up, I have to concentrate really hard and double check myself to make sure I don’t screw up recipes. So it takes quite a bit of concentration to cook or bake, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I love being able to see a recipe and make it that night. Or when I get a craving for something sweet after dinner, I love being able to just whip something up. Lately, hubby and I have been trying meal planning, and we’re still trying to get the hang of it. It takes some effort, but I would rather direct my energy to planning meals for the week and putting together a shopping list than worrying at 6:00pm about what we are going to eat that night.
  • Playing with my furbabies :) We have two furbabies. Gaia is a dilute tortoiseshell cat that we adopted about two years ago. We couldn’t ask for a better kitty–she is very friendly and loves to snuggle. We also have Molly who is a little ball of energy and takes quite a bit of time and attention. She’s a labrador/australian shepherd mix, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her–she looks all lab. We take her outside and run around with her multiple times a day, so not only is she a good distraction but she also encourages me to get some exercise (hello endorphins!)
  • Readinglove reading. My mom is a librarian, so I was constantly exposed to good books as I was growing up, and reading is my passion. I especially enjoy reading the classics: Charles Dickens, Alexander Dumas, Matthew Gregory Lewis, Fyodor Dostoyevski, etc. but I also have a special place in my heart for Harry Potter :) Right now I’m reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Every night that we don’t have something planned, I take a long bath and read a few chapters. Talk about relaxing and clearing your head. I started doing this a week or so ago, and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in a my stress level.
  • Spending time with hubby Not only is my husband supportive, loving, fun,  sexy, and a hard worker, he is also the funniest person I know. Whenever we go somewhere, my favorite part is almost always the drive where we just talk about our days and whatever we are thinking about, and he almost always has some story from his day that makes me laugh until my stomach hurts. In those moments, I forget about the crap that has been bothering me. Usually, spending time with the hubby entails grocery shopping or some other errand, but as long as I’m hanging out with him, I’m fine. I am so content spending the rest of my life with that man.

I think that’s a long enough list for now. Maybe some of these things can help you get out of your head and be productive.  Storkchaser has started a Lazy Pinner’s Challenge where she encourages everyone to actually make something from Pinterest every month for three months, and I think that is a great idea that really coincides with this post. Check it out and maybe even join us (I’m making pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies because I love anything with pumpkin in it!).

I feel like I can’t write this post without also saying that I am sometimes guilty of distracting myself too much and not actually dealing with my emotions and the problems facing me. Sometimes when I am staying busy, I get this panicky feeling like something is creeping up on me and will catch me any moment. I can’t escape the reality of our difficulty getting pregnant or the loss of two pregnancies. That’s another reason why I started this blog. I can  sort through everything I’m dealing with and articulate my feelings in a safe way that doesn’t involve crying in the fetal position on my bathroom floor (although I sometimes do that too–everyone needs a good cry sometimes). I’m working on finding that balance of dealing with my struggles but not allowing myself to wallow and sink into a deep pit of self-pity.

How do you distract yourself from fertility issues or loss? Do you sometimes find that you distract yourself too much and need to slow down to face some of your emotions?

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