7 Weeks

Yesterday we hit 7 weeks.  We had our first appointment with my regular doctor and found ourselves back in the waiting room with a bundle of nerves.  I watched so many women being called back, minus their Husbands, and thought no way, no way in hell will I ever come without my Husband.  What would I have done if he wasn’t at the doomed ultrasound?  And with that thought we watched a frantic husband come in, asking for his wife, and they quickly ushered him to a back room.  That was enough to start the tears for me.

Once the Husband and I were left to our own in an exam room we realized there must be some sort of big red flag on our file.  We are treated differently by the nurses and certain things aren’t discussed.  They make sure to watch their words and seem to follow our lead on emotions and such.  I cannot even express how much this means.

Once our Doc arrived it was hugs all around and we skipped the bullshit.  That is why I love her.  She also skipped a lot of the first appointment chat knowing I just went over all that information not to long ago.  Instead she put everything in a bag and said when I was ready I could look it over if I felt I needed to.  The decision has also been made that I will have appointments every two weeks with her.  Her exact words were that I have earned that right to peace of mind after the shit I have gone through. I get that if something bad is going to happen, it will happen. More appointments lowers the anxiety level and stress for me and baby though so I’m not sitting there wondering.

We discussed my panic attack last Sunday.  I woke up having a really sharp pain on the left side of my uterus and major cramping.  I tried to relax and play it off as nothing but gave in and called the emergency nurse number.  Thankfully she talked me through it and got me calmed down.  I remained on the couch the rest of the day, trying to find a comfortable position and praying to God I didn’t start bleeding.  We came to the conclusion that I have a large cyst, that will go away, but is causing the cramping.

By the time we got around to the ultrasound the Husband and I went to our quiet place.  The place where we feel like we are waiting for bad news.  Doc just did a regular ultrasound instead of vaginal to see if we could possibly hear a heartbeat since we never did with the last baby.  A few seconds later that amazing sound filled the room and there was baby flickering on the screen.  Without us saying a word my Doctor went on to explain to us that it is normal to feel very different this time.  To not have the same excitement.  To be scared.  To hold off till that 12 week mark.  And she said even then our fear may very well stay with us till we first feel the baby move and beyond that.  She explained how this is now a completely different experience than what we would have had with the first baby and that is okay.  She said she got to hear the first heartbeat with us and she will do everything possible to hear that first cry with us.

That right there, that is why I love this woman.  She validated what felt crazy.  She validated what has happened to us.  She validated our feelings right now.  There was no sugar-coating and there was no ignoring the elephant in the room.

With that we went home and added another ultrasound picture to the fridge.

 

Here we go again

I mentioned we were going to go back to the fertility doctor as soon as my next period showed up.  So I waited, and waited and didn’t become overly concerned when said period wasn’t on time.  My cycle has been getting longer each month but just for the hell of it, last Friday, I took a pregnancy test.  And then another.  Because both were positive and I literally stood there in my bathroom wondering how the hell that happened.

Well, I know HOW it happened but we aren’t really suppose to be able to just do this on our own.  Here we were just banging around on our own with zero thought to dates, timing or a baby and BAM, insta baby with no signs or symptoms aside from a missing visit from Aunt Flo.

I immediately called the nurse, who ran to my doctor and I’m not sure who was more shocked but they told me to come in right away.  I was told by other women who had miscarriages that I would be shocked at how I would be treated during the next pregnancy.  Kid gloves.  Helicopter doctoring.  No waiting.  You name it, they were right. There was no waiting for return phone calls, results, a certain date weeks out for ultrasounds or appointments and no being pawned off to other doctors.  No, you go to the front of the line and get your hand held.

Here is where I wasn’t thinking that day.  I went straight to the hospital, to the second floor, and into suite 2300 like I had done a million times.  It hit me like a ton of bricks when I was getting signed in, last time I was here was for the doomed ultrasound.  I started crying right there at the desk.  The poor woman checking me in thought I was nuts and I didn’t really give a shit.

Within an hour I had my blood drawn and results back.  I was certainly pregnant and it turned out so well that there was no need for me to come back for another draw. The exact words were that the baby was showing off.  Throughout the course of that day I spoke with the nurse five times.  I had an ultrasound scheduled for Monday and an appointment and second ultrasound scheduled the following week with my doctor.  I was given a pep talk, the emergency phone number, asked repeatedly how I was feeling and told what to do in the case of any cramping or bleeding over the weekend.

By the time my husband came home that night I don’t think much had fully sunk in.  When he sat down I told him I had an interesting day and said I was pregnant.  He turned around and said “Who the hell is pregnant now?!” Not someone else dear Husband, me, your wife.  This took some time to sink in followed by just how the hell did that happen? My question exactly.

Still not feeling pregnant and still in shock we went Monday for the ultrasound that showed I was right at 6 weeks with a due date of October 20th.  We could see baby had a strong heartbeat, was measuring correctly and everything looked great.  The tech was so enthusiastic and congratulatory while I laid there in stone silence, holding my Husband’s hand, not saying a word.  We had already been here before, with a healthy baby, and it didn’t end well for us.  Finally I just had to tell her about our prior experience so she would back off a bit.  I was overwhelmed.  Thank God she understood, finished her job, politely handed us our pictures and sent us on our way.

My Husband and I have done a lot of talking over the past few days.  Neither of us can bring ourselves to get excited.  This is absolutely nothing like last time.  We knew we were going to be robbed of these wonderful moments and here it is.  We are telling approximately the same people we told last time, which are not many, and leaving it at that until a complete 12 week confirmation.  We want to have hope and positivity for this baby but it is hard.  A miscarriage, especially how late ours was, changes you in ways that you can’t explain to someone.  Of course this is what we want, don’t get me wrong and we were on the track to start again anyways but we know what the worst case scenario is.

So here we go again.  Round 2.  We will take all the positive, creative, vibes that you can send.

 

 

 

Letting Go of A Friend

Last July I made a very tough decision and cut a dear friend out of my life.  A friend that had been my best friend since we were 14.  We knew everything about one another, we told one another every secret, we grew up together, we watched one another go through some tough times, we even had a lot of sex in between break-ups.

If you would have asked anyone that knew us well, when we were younger, everyone would have told you that we would grow up and get married.  But the thing is, him and I knew that we could never get married due to various reasons.  We became a package deal.  A Will & Grace, if you know that one.  You marry me, I have this guy as my best friend.  You date me, you can’t be jealous of my best friend.  It just worked.  He was apart of my family and I, his.

Then we come to last July.  I can give you a million things that led to this moment but this isn’t about those reasons.  It is about the fact that I was exhausted holding our friendship together.  I was tired of him using me and hurting my feelings.  My daughter was tired of it, my Husband was tired of it.  We all really missed the guy that we knew. Slowly, due to all those various reasons, our friendship was dissolving and while I was fighting to hold onto it, he no longer was but he did actually expect me to.  And then I realized I had to let go.

I sent a text after my final straw moment.  I told him he was being a shit friend and I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I knew he knew everything I was referring to without actually saying it.  He didn’t respond until three days later to tell me Happy Birthday and since then it has been radio silence.  13 days after that I found out I was pregnant.  He knows nothing of my butterfly baby to this day.

While this decision has been brutal, I miss him everyday, it has helped. It was worth it.  Until the moment last week when I received the news that his Grandma passed away.  Under other circumstances I would have driven back home in a heartbeat and been there.  But circumstances are different so I called the local florist to have them send an arrangement to the church with a signed card.  By 3pm that day, radio silence was broken for the first time and he sent me a text.  He thanked me for the flowers and told me he was having a tough time with the death.  I wanted to text all the words I know my best friend needed in that moment, but I stopped myself and I hit delete on the long paragraph. I simply said you’re welcome, I’m sorry and left it at that.  My heart broke more.

I don’t know how long this will last.  I hope not forever.  I honestly, for once, don’t know how to put this one into words.  I’ve tried several time since July.  There is something hard about saying you gave up on someone that you should never have to give up on.  Mainly because I would hope that he would never have given up on me.  I have to assume that he will come back around one day when he is ready.  Sometimes we just have to let the ones we love go.

Our Daily PTSD Dance

We went to see American Sniper at the movie theater this weekend and I was a bit anxious for reasons much different from my Husband.  The first couple of theaters were sold out and we finally found one with tickets still available.  We grabbed popcorn and stood in line outside of the theater until they allowed us in for seating.

Waiting in line is a thing in itself with my Husband.  It is a winding line, that causes people to stand closely together.  People who tend to get anxious on their own and irritated from standing in line.  They breathe close to my Husband, they bump into him accidentally, someone might make a sudden movement or make a loud noise.  I’m thankful we are positioned in such a way so that he can turn his back into a corner (not to a person) and the exit door of the theater is 10 feet behind us.  We have 45 minutes to wait before we even enter the theater.  I also know he has a can of chew in his right jeans pocket and an empty water bottle in the inside of his jacket on the left side.  It will be a miracle if he makes it until the beginning  of the movie before he is desperately reaching for them both because you know, line.

Once inside, he is able to sit on the end of a row and I sit on the inside.  Because we know it is sold out our seating situation becomes more complicated than normal.  I pray no one obnoxious sits behind us, like the guy who was behind us in line.  I thought my Husband might deck him for commenting on a soldier in line, further behind us, who had a service dog.  These people felt inconvenienced for going to a movie with a dog in the same theater.  I look around and wonder how many other people are like us and have these seating problems?  What other wife has a jumpy Husband next to her?  How many veterans are sitting in this same theater scanning the room, memorizing their surroundings in a way much different from a civilian?

Like I said, I was anxious for this movie for reasons separate from my Husband.  He was anxious because after 12 years in the Army and 2 tours in Iraq he has PTSD.  And here we were, going to a movie about the same war that was sure to kick his PTSD in high gear.  I was nervous he wasn’t going to be able to make it through the whole movie, I was nervous his regular PTSD issues were going to affect him times 10, just knowing what we were about to see.

Once the movie started he lasted about 20 minutes before he reached for his chew, empty bottle, and my hand.  It was about the same time that Chris Kyle reached for his chew, in a scene, in the movie. While there were many times I heard my Husband hold his breath, adjust uncomfortably in his seat and squeeze my hand a bit too hard, he made it through the entire movie without walking out.

I nodded my head through out the entire movie as they showed scenes that clearly depicted issues that our soldiers have when they come back, issues that my Husband has daily.

The standing in line thing wasn’t because of the movie, no, that was just normal stuff.  The seating, also normal.  This is our normal.  These are the situations that we both automatically think about everyday when we go places or have people to our home, that most people never would realize we think about.  These are the situations that we have to think ahead on so my Husband doesn’t get into a position that he is uncomfortable by.  And then when his anxiety gets worse he, thankfully, knows his coping mechanisms quite well.

I am so thankful to Chris Kyle, not only for his service, but for sharing his story when he was alive.  I am also grateful for his wife for now continuing his story and their story.  It isn’t just about the soldier but it is also about the people standing behind them.  I’m not a political person and will rarely share my view on whatever topic is occupying CNN but I will say I really appreciate this movie showing the other side of war.  For once it isn’t just showing the hero walking off into the sunset but it is showing how that hero is really affected and how his life is forever altered.  And while I know some are discussing whether or not this man is a true hero, I say he is.  He did his job, he did it well and he saved countless American lives.

We left the movie theater and it was dark out so I drove. We went somewhere for dinner so I could have a drink that involved vodka because well, holy intense movie.  Waiting for our table, we sat at the bar where a guy the Hubby knew came up behind him and smacked him a hello on the back.  The Hubby jumped extra high and I rolled my eyes at the clueless other man.  When we were able finally to be seated, we annoyed the waitress by having to move around so he wasn’t positioned against a large group of people and knew where the door was.  Once we were finally settled he ordered a soda because he quit drinking alcohol awhile ago.

This is our life.  It is a daily dance, our way of living.  It is a dance that many of the men and women he was deployed with do as well.  Some handle it better than others.  Some acknowledge more than others. As far as our household, we will probably always live like this because it is now the only way we know how.

American Sniper

The Calm After the Storm

It seems every January brings this calm into our household.  We hole ourselves up to hibernate, having grown tired of being social over the Holiday’s.  We find ourselves with little to no plans on the weekends and just the chance to be by alone.  Which honestly, this is the first time we have fully had that chance, without some sort of distraction placed in front of us, since the baby.  At first I was nervous about this and it was making me quite emotional.  I knew we were going to have to bring the baby topic back to the table and I didn’t feel ready.  I was simply freaking out about it.  Whenever it came to my mind I quickly pushed it right back out.

This past weekend we spent our time, once again, having no agenda.  There was nothing to schedule, sleeping in, daytime movies, pj’s wearing till late, time spent wandering the mall and random dinners out.  In the middle of all this calm nothingness, something happened.  I finally felt ready to start again.  I finally feel like I have the strength to start all over.  There was no magical moment, instead I was just ready to have the conversation with my Husband and it all felt clear.  We brought the topic back to the table and I didn’t lose it.  I didn’t panic. We just walked ourselves through what we feel might be the next, best step.

Of course, I’m scared.  If I wasn’t, I would be worried.  I feel like I can mentally and physically start this again but with much more caution.  I’m not getting any younger.  I don’t know what is going to happen and I can’t sit here and continue to guess.  We know we want to try again, we know we haven’t completely given up, and now suddenly feels like a good time.

With that being said I will be calling my fertility specialist in the next couple weeks, pending my cycle, to go back in and get back on the lovely infertility schedule.  There are a lot of what if’s out there and a lot of unknowns but I think we are ready to see what the next step holds for us, good or bad.

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The Holidays Can’t All Be Perfect

I have always been one of those who really gets into the Christmas season.  Once everyone leaves Thanksgiving night I declare it “game on” and I’m full on into the songs, decorating and shopping.  I love everything about it and always try to really slow down and enjoy every bit of it.  Until this year.

Once Thanksgiving night came this year it was more of a “game on” situation to pack up our summer clothes and say fuck it to winter weather.  We headed far south to find warm weather and to give ourselves a chance to breathe.

I came back thinking it would be exciting to have the distraction of the holidays and I found it was quite the opposite.  I was an emotional wreck when we came back.  It turns out that when I was pregnant, I was looking forward to the holidays to hit up those baby sales much more than I realized.  The Husband and I had talked about how it would be the perfect time to buy the crib and other nursery items.  Because hello, sale.  Suddenly, there was none of that.  Sure, there were sales in every ad for the crib we had in mind but we weren’t needing to make that purchase or any others.  All the cute “First Christmas” items, that are now on clearance, are something we don’t need to bother with either.  We were excited to have an 8 month old baby to dote on next Christmas but once again- NO.

And that was when I realized just how hard the Christmas season can be for a lot of people and for many reasons.  It is a huge reminder of what hasn’t happened or what is lost for so many.  There are many families that celebrated this season with one less at their table.  Many that celebrated with broken hearts of what might have been.  There were couples that may have felt the weight of pain and struggle from the year.  Others tried to find the spirit of the season only to be met with a maddening feeling that they have lost so much faith. For some it isn’t a reminder of all the good but all that hasn’t been good.

To all of you I want to say how sorry I am.  For those who wavered, cried, lost it, struggled, and just tried to get through the holidays, you are not the only one.

The New Year should be a chance to start fresh and I know that isn’t as easy for some.  I have pulled the baby topic off the table until after the New Year and that deadline is quickly approaching.  We have conversations that we need to start having and I don’t know how to sort all of that.  I don’t know what I’m ready for because there is no answer.

My hope for everyone in the New Year that is struggling with infertility is that you get the gift that you have been longing for.  For everyone that has been struggling with miscarriages and/or the loss of a child(ren), may you find the courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  For all of those who feel like you are drowning beneath the weight of decisions and uncertainty, may you find peace with where the road is taking you.  For those that feel like they lost all hope, may you find faith.  May there be joy in the small achievements, hurdles crossed, and chances to breathe.

May the New Year be bright, magical, and full of happiness for you all.

New Year

 

The Vacation-Dominican Republic

The day of my surgery I was in a hospital bed emailing my travel agent.  We needed a vacation.  Whenever life gets really tough for me, I take flight.  I run somewhere that I can breathe and take a step back.  By just booking a trip it gives me something to focus on.  Not that I’m trying to run from dealing with life in general but I need to go to a  place where I know I can find myself again.  The ocean does it for me every time.  So we booked the next place on our travel list and the first week in December we left the beginnings of holiday chaos behind for 82 degrees and a beach.

I was stressed before we left.  A stress that left me feeling like I couldn’t get a grip on anything.  I couldn’t even get excited for my trip because life was happening and details that I couldn’t get to were sending me over the edge.  I didn’t get a manicure, I didn’t get a wax, I didn’t swing in for a few tanning bed sessions, I didn’t acknowledge the state of my toes and I didn’t bother shopping for anything new and fun to wear.  I threw old swimsuits in a bag along with my go-to summer dresses and a bottle of nail polish and called it good.  My Husband questioned why I, for once, didn’t over pack.

There is that moment when you get on a plane and turn off your phone for an entire week, that moment, that is where I exhaled that early morning.  I exhaled for the first time in a long time.  There was nothing I could do about anything at that point.  If it wasn’t taken care of or finished then it would have to wait until we got back.  We unplugged.  I found the first mimosa I could at our layover and sipped it happily.  I looked at my Husband and truly smiled at him.

I know we all say it on vacations or at least we should, we found ourselves again on this vacation.  I look at our pictures and can see we look five years younger.  The stress of the past couple of months slowly faded from our faces.  The color came back to us and not just in the form of a tan.

During the day we spent our time at the beach and I couldn’t even bother to read a book.  I just sat, soaking up the sun, listening to the ocean, drinking rum.  Just being still.  Every evening we sat on our balcony and talked, the stress so far behind us.  There wasn’t the ghost of a baby in the room with us and I didn’t feel like people were walking on egg shells around me.  There was no Facebook to throw another pregnancy announcement in my face or any other social media to remind me that I should be nearing the end of my second trimester.  Instead I was fine being in the moment with my Husband.  I was fine with being us and not keeping track of time.  I was fine keeping life simple and unapologetic.

Here is the thing about coming back to reality though.  The beach doesn’t solve everything. Yes, it gave us space in between breaths that we needed.  But, it doesn’t take away this ache of how I miss my baby, a feeling I never thought I would have and can’t explain.  It didn’t give me an answer on what to do next.  That is okay though because there are no answers and only time will get us where we need to be next.  This trip just gave us a new starting point.