Halfway There!

So, I’m 20 weeks pregnant now. Halfway from here to there. Usually, being halfway there is a big motivator for me, like with road trips, tests, Mondays, etc. Pregnancy brings a bit of the pessimist out of me. “You mean I’m only halfway there?!” But, exciting times anyway. I think I’m just getting antsy because now I know I have another little man on the way, and I want to meet him as soon as possible.

As you saw from my last post, I’ve had the 2nd trimester ultrasound, and things look great. We’ve got a happy, healthy, ACTIVE baby boy coming at us this fall.

This ultrasound was a gigantic leap for me as far as feeling comfortable with this pregnancy and getting some confidence that things are ok. The ultrasound technician kept saying how great things were looking. And during the ultrasound, baby turned his face right to the screen and yawned. Our hearts very nearly exploded. I’m feeling so much better now, not completely free of anxiety but definitely better than I was.

I’m also starting to get that “house” feeling of pregnancy. As in, “I’m as big as a”. I know I’m really not that big (yet) but I don’t remember feeling so big with Bowie. This time around, I seem to just keep growing, and growing and GROWING. Here’s my 20 week pic:

They are not kidding about being bigger with subsequent pregnancies. Here is me at about the same point in my pregnancy with Bowie:

Wowza. But, even though I feel huge and I’ve started waddling already, I bear the belly with a lot of pride. I feel like I’m more confident with my body, somehow.

And, now my “with child” state is more obvious to the general public. Which is nice, no more sideways glances from people assuming it’s more a case of “fries with that”. But, I forgot about all the questions! My goodness! (I’m talking about strangers here. If we’re acquainted in the slightest, I really don’t mind. But, standing in line together at Target does not make us “acquainted”.) Is it your first? How far along are you? Is it a boy or a girl? Where are you having him? Will you have an epidural? Was he planned? These questions might not bother everyone, but I’m kind of a private person, and sometimes just don’t want to answer. And it doesn’t help that no matter the question, no matter your answer, unsolicited advice is sure to follow. And unsolicited advice, especially bad or judgmental unsolicited advice, is a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

And the touching. Come on people. If we’re friends or family, rub the tummy, rub away. But, if we’ve never laid eyes on each other before, I beg of you, keep your hands to yourself. I’m uncomfortable when a stranger touches my ARM. I’ve read articles suggesting I should just relax and not get so uppity about it, but it’s a stranger. Touching me. Pregnancy doesn’t erase one’s sense of personal space.

Okay, pregnancy griping over. I must be hungry (again). Halfway there. Whew. Here’s hoping for a very quick next 20 weeks.

One Year

It has been one year since my miscarriage. One year ago Saturday that I found out the baby had passed away. And one year ago today that I finally got the courage to take the medicine that helped me pass the tissue.

I don’t know when the moment was that the baby’s heart had stopped beating. I often wonder about that moment. Where was I? What was I doing? Did I feel anything different in that moment? It makes me feel strange knowing that in the two weeks between the baby’s approximate passing and the day I found out, I was still telling new people about the pregnancy. I just feel like somehow, on some level, I should have known.

I know in my right mind, a whole year of recovery later, that it’s silly for me to feel that way. That there’s almost no way I could have known. That I should not feel so foolish for wanting to spread the joy of our pregnancy so early on. Yet in my heart, I still feel all of these things.

I am still grieving today, something I wasn’t expecting. I mean, I knew it would take some time, but I figured being pregnant again would take a lot of the sting out of it. Surprisingly, not so. I have a new baby on the way, almost halfway through its gestation already, and yet I still spend hours thinking about the baby I lost, and grieving for that lost little soul.

I don’t want to discourage any other survivors reading this post. I do feel so much better and more whole than I did a year ago. LIGHTYEARS ahead of where I was. But I am still grieving. Grief is one of the most complicated emotions humans have, I think.

I’ve lost people before, people I knew well and loved, but this was something different. In addition to grieving the death of the baby, I think I was also in mourning for the loss of opportunity to get to know that baby as my child. I will never know if it was a boy or girl, introvert or extrovert, what their likes and dislikes would be, what their talents would be, who their friends would be. I get to experience all of that with the new baby, but I will always wonder about that little soul I never got to meet.

It’s all still so fresh in my mind, it’s hard to believe an entire year has gone by. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being there for me this past year. For all of your condolences and words of encouragement. I needed them so much, and I can’t tell you how very much they meant to me.

Onward we go.

The Week in Snippets

A few random things. Because apparently that’s how I roll now?

Mid-pregnancy ultrasound is scheduled for April 27. I can hardly wait to lay eyes on the little one, and see how things are going. I’m such a ball of excitement/nerves/wonder, I can hardly think straight. But I had a nice talk with the midwife at my appointment last Friday about my concerns, and she said the heartbeat sounds really great, and the baby is moving around a lot, so things seem to be progressing very well. And if I need to pop in for a “heartbeat check”, to just give her a call. That conversation made my LIFE. In a sea of doctors and midwives who are trying desperately to understand how I feel and put me at ease, finally someone who could.

I’m not sure how often I’ve discussed this on here, but lately Bowie has been very…physical. Too physical. And he’s started hurting kids at preschool. But, the preschool director, his teacher and Brien and I are bound and determined to get him back on the right track. We’ve enlisted the help of an occupational therapist, who we got a smokin’ deal on through the preschool, and she is in the process of evaluating him for sensory motor sensitivities, which could explain a whole heck of a lot of the things he’s having issues with lately. I will keep you all updated, and go into more detail in a future post. For now, I will just say that it’s been a major stressor for me and my husband lately, and we’ve been working so hard lately, doing our absolute best, with few results. Some results, but it’s slow-going. It’s all fairly normal, and he will outgrow it, but I’d love to have this phase behind us, especially with a new little one set to arrive this fall.

I have had pregnancy brain something fierce. I’m not talking about walking into a room and forgetting why you’re there. I’m talking about having to make myself no less than 4 to do lists, all of which say the same thing, and leaving them around the house for myself, and STILL forgetting things. An example: I had a meeting at preschool the other night, a meeting we have once a month, without fail. I had it on all of my lists. I had it on the calendar. I talked with another mom about it that day. During dinner that night, I was talking about it with my husband. Then, I rinsed my dinner plate, put it in the dishwasher, sat down on the couch, and that was it. I forgot all about the meeting until it was long over. And I never forget stuff like that. Never! I was…I don’t know…embarrassed? It felt like that time in sixth grade when I totally forgot I had to give a how-to speech in English class, and had to make one up on the fly. Which was terrible. (But, thank you Mrs. Beguhn for making me do it anyway, LESSON LEARNED. Well, unless I’m pregnant, apparently.) Thankfully, the person at school in charge of making sure everyone gets to the meetings is a close friend. And she didn’t judge me. Too much.

The weather was nice this weekend, and is supposed to be even nicer as the week progresses. I did a whole bunch of gardening over the weekend, and I’m super excited to see how we do this year. I’m taking the old trial-and-error approach to figuring out gardening in the Outer Sunset (we have a very unique climate out here), so starting off the new season, I’m always so excited to see what grows, what doesn’t, and the whole spectrum in between. This year we’re trying (thus far) strawberries, lettuce, pattypan squash, two kinds of bush beans, fava beans, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, celery, peppers and chard. I’m also trying some new techniques with rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro and basil (for some reason, raising healthy herbs completely eludes me, no matter what, but, I press on). If you have any tips on any of these, or tips on raising a garden in a mild, wet, foggy climate, let me know.

And, the obligatory belly bump photo. I wasn’t going to do these this time, for some reason it just seemed unnecessary. But, all of a sudden I have this BELLY and I just have to share (and yes, I cleaned the mirror for you people. You should feel very special.):

Have a great week everyone!

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…

…of this pregnancy. So far.

The good:

1. Just being pregnant. It took 9 long months from miscarriage to conception and I am just so glad it finally happened. I wondered if it ever would, if my body was all done. (I know, I know I’m only 33 for Heaven’s sakes, but that stuff just crosses your mind sometimes.) (Especially when you live in a society hell bent on making you think 30 is “old”.) So, it’s nice to be past all of that.

2. I’ve been feeling the baby move since just 15 weeks! I was probably more like 22 weeks or so with Bowie before I felt his little movements, but now that I know what it feels like, I can recognize even the tiniest flutters. It’s such an amazing feeling during a pregnancy in which I need a LOT of reassurance.

3. The morning sickness was not so bad. I definitely had it, but it ended quickly and abruptly. With Bowie, I was doing the eating-saltines-before-getting-out-of-bed thing until like 20 weeks. With this kiddo, I did that only for about a week, really early on, and then I managed to survive just getting up and getting that first cup of tea in me. And I haven’t even really felt sick since week 12 or so (unless I have a headache, but that’s not a story for the “good” section).

The bad:

1. The soul-sucking fatigue. When I was pregnant with Bowie, I do remember being tired. And I had the luxury of alone time back then, so I’d take naps. And go to bed early. This time, I’m so much more tired. I’m thinking, I finally get what all the books are talking about. I was tired the first time. This time I’m so EXHAUSTED. I don’t have the time to stop and go to sleep whenever the mood strikes. Some days I just have to suck down a guilt-ridden Diet Coke and power through until Bowie is asleep, about 8pm these days. To add insult to injury, all the books told me I’d probably start feeling better around week 14. Three weeks later and I’m seeing no signs of improvement. Bah humbug.

2. I’ve been waking up with these awful headaches, as previously mentioned. Probably 3 or 4 days a week. It’s like a mild migraine, if there is such a thing. I wake up with a pounding head, and mega-nausea. But different nausea than morning sickness. And I have actually thrown up from this. If I can manage to get my morning cup of tea in me, the headache subsides and my day continues as normal. I have the suspicion it’s blood pressure related. And I have a hard time not ending up sleeping on my back. Every time I wake up, I switch to my side, but it never fails, I end up on my back again. And that’s supposed to be not so great for blood flow. Going to talk to the doc about it next week at my appointment. I sure hope there are some preventative things I can do about this.

3. Some things don’t smell/taste “right” to me anymore. I never had this issue with Bowie. With him, the traditional yucky smells would bother me: cigarette smoke, gasoline, garbage cans, booze breath. But this time, random things are starting to turn me off. So far the worst offenders are pizza sauce (I KNOW) and blueberry toaster waffles. And I hope the list ends there. It’s very frustrating.

The ugly:

1. Body hair. Namely, facial hair. It’s the grossest ever. WTF, hormones?

2. I’m already having a hard time holding in pee. At 17 weeks. What’s going to become of me when I’m HUGE and waddling to the bathroom? Ugh.

3. Acne. That lovely “pregnancy glow” is causing me some mega clogged pores.

And, because I’m getting this question a lot lately, here’s an FAQ about the baby’s gender and whatnot:

1. Are you going to find out the sex of the baby? Yes.

2. Are you going to share said information with us? Yes.

3. When do you get to find out? The ultrasound is generally performed around 20 weeks. I will officially be 20 weeks on April 29th. I go in for a regular appointment next Friday, where we will be scheduling the ultrasound appointment.

4. Do you want a boy or a girl? I’m torn. Having another boy would be fun. Boys are lots of fun. And I feel like I know what I’m doing. Although, of course having a little girl would be great too. I’d have one of each. A set. So, I’m indifferent.

5. Does Bowie want a brother or sister? I think he’d be happy with either. But, for a few weeks now he has been insistent that it’s a sister. Even telling me, “No, mama, it’s not a brother, it’s a sister.” I might have a little clairvoyant on my hands, we shall see.

Cravings and Such

As I mentioned in a recent post, when I was pregnant with Bowie, sugar was the name of the game. I didn’t really crave anything specific. As long as it was fattening and full of sugar: full steam ahead. I was pounding the brownies, cupcakes, ice cream, Milky Way bars, and when I decided I needed to eat “healthy”, more often than not fruit and/or fruit juice were involved. Still sugar. Nature’s sugar, but sugar.

This time around, things are a lot more specific, and very odd in the pickles-and-ice-cream cliche sort of way. I mean, they’re manageable. Strawberry ice cream and Fritos. Pringles and jelly beans. Caramel lattes (decaf OF COURSE) and pretzels. There’s just a salty-sweet thing going on there I think. And a lot of people have heard of my cravings, contemplated them for a minute and then said, “I’m gonna have to try that.”

But, less cravings for sweet this time. People are always assuming I’ll attack the cupcake plate, but really, most times, I really don’t want to. Which means this baby will be really different from Bowie, right? RIGHT?!

I’ve also been partial to deli turkey sandwiches. And deli meat is one of those mega pregnancy food no-nos, so I get a heaping helping of guilt trip with my sandwiches, THANKS A LOT PREGNANCY BOOKS. I think it’s a protein thing? I typically don’t crave meat of any type, let alone salty, smoky cold cuts.

Mmmm, salty. In writing this I may or may not be setting myself up for needing a turkey sandwich for lunch.

One thing that’s a lot different this time around: I can’t really eat much in one sitting. I’m past the morning sickness phase and still awaiting the fetus-is-crowding-my-stomach-like-whoa phase, so I don’t know what gives. But, I have had to cut way back on portions, even of my absolute favorite foods of all time ever. If I eat too much, I feel really sick and just generally uncomfortable. And turned off of food. At least for an hour before I’m hungry again (and what the H, I don’t remember the constant hungries striking this early) (although somebody remind me that I’m already almost 4 months along).

What did you experience when you were pregnant, food-wise? Was it different for different pregnancies? Any of this sound normal and ok, or am I just a crazy lady?

Five For Friday

These always feel like cheater posts, but people seem to enjoy them. And, it’s Friday, what do you expect?

1. Bowie went to the dentist on Wednesday. He always does so great there. But, that’s not the point of my story. When checking out, we scheduled his next appointment for 6 months from now. The woman asked, “How’s September 21st?” And, I about had a mini heart attack. I managed to babble out the words, “Ummm, I’m having a baby that week.” At which the whole desk staff at the dental office when nuts. So, we made an appointment for early October instead, and as we were leaving she said, “Next time we see you, you will be a big brother!” And I was all, “HOLY CRAP.” Ok, it’s starting to get REAL up in here.

2. When I was pregnant with Bowie, I couldn’t get enough sweets. Which is pretty uncharacteristic for me normally. I would inhale a whole box of those mini brownies from Whole Foods in one sitting. It was terrible. This time around, I do crave sweets. And I don’t know if it’s just less of a craving, or if I’m better at limiting myself this time, or if I’m just too distracted this time to drop everything and eat my weight in chocolate chip cookies. But, I’ve been pretty good about not going overboard with the sugar. So, yay me! We’ll see how long this lasts though.

3. Today Bowie’s preschool will have their Spring parade and egg hunt. Last year, that day was a month later, in April, as they have it near the Easter holiday. That day last year was the day I found out we’d lost the baby. And we had to plaster on smiles and fight through tears while we were there celebrating with the kids. And since my husband came with to school that day, a couple of people I had told about the baby came up to congratulate him, and it was just so…awkward. And painful. And on that day, I literally thought I’d never be happy again. So, to be where I am now during the celebration this year is particularly poignant for me. It’s a sort of threshold that I’m glad to be moving through. Of course, the actual day is still a month away, and I think that day will be hard, but I will get through. I wish I could go back and tell myself that day last year, yes, you will be happy again. And give myself a hug, I was in dire need of hugs back then (not that I wasn’t getting them, but sometimes there just can’t be enough of something, ya know?). If a woman tells you she’s miscarried, don’t say a word, just give her a hug.

4. On a lighter note, I’ve found something to do with Bowie’s Twitter account that I’ve left stagnant for a long time. I used to post cutesy baby stuff, but then there was less of that as he became a running, screaming, bouncing Tasmanian devil. So, I finally figured it out: he’s going around saying some of the funniest stuff these days, and what’s a good 21st century blogging mom going to do with all of that? Publish it on the Internet of course. Enjoy.

5. Sunday is by birthday. Which a month ago I truthfully just shrugged about. Now, as it edges closer and closer, I do care. Why do we women do this to ourselves? Birthdays are going to come and go, year after year, and getting older is inevitable. And really, I should be celebrating that I’m 33. Still in my 30s. Still young. Having fun. The kiddo(s) still little. Things are good. Ok 33, buh-ring it.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

About the Size of a Lime

That’s how big my baby is.

Yep, my baby. I’m 12 weeks preggo as of last weekend.

I was really stressing out about when and how and why to come out to the Internet about my pregnancy. While I could not be more thrilled to be pregnant again, I’m also about as anxious as I think one human being could be. Especially since it’s been 2 weeks since my last doctor’s appointment, and I don’t get to go back for 2 more weeks. I need more reassurance than that.

I also thought getting pregnant again would just fix all of my feelings of loss and grief and fear, and everything would be right with the world again. Not exactly so. For a while, my feelings actually intensified; hormones I suppose. And then I felt guilty, like I was so fixated on conceiving this baby that I might forget the baby I lost. (I’ve since realized that’s just not going to happen.) And now, I worry all the time that things will turn out the same way again, I can’t seem to settle into reality mode and be happy.

But, I want everyone who was there for me during the miscarriage and the grieving process to also be able to celebrate with me. And maybe telling more than just our parents and siblings will help make things seem more real. Thank you all for your support, here’s to the future. And here’s to my little lime. (This is reminding me how much I miss margaritas.)


Photo credit: mconnors from morguefile.com

Unpleasant, but Important

I just ran across a parentings site forum in which a woman made a case for more openly discussing miscarriage and the chances thereof, only to be accosted by several women telling her how they “just don’t want to think about these kinds of things while I am pregnant, thank you very much.” And “how dare you bring this kind of thing up with a bunch of pregnant women?”

I’m here to tell you, you MUST think about it. Talk about it. Learn about it. It’s a very common occurrence, a very real possibility. Of COURSE we don’t WANT to think about it, it’s unpleasant. But, it’s also a fact of life.

The one thing that still nags at me about my miscarriage was that I, too, just didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t consider it a possibility or a reality. Because no one had sat me down and had a serious talk with me about it.

As a result, I told the blogosphere that I was pregnant at just 7 weeks, and then had to suffer a very public loss of that pregnancy. Granted, it was a hell of a lot easier to come to terms with, having had so many people there to support me and welcome me into the group of survivors. But, it would certainly have felt less humiliating had I just waited it out.

I didn’t know how common it was. I didn’t know it could happen to, yes, even me. And then afterward, I couldn’t figure out why all the moms and doctors and pregnancy experts all kept so quiet about it.

It’s an ugly topic, stuff your nightmares are made of. But, education is your best defense when those nightmares become reality.

Don’t just stick your fingers in your ears and scream “LA LA LA LA LA!” Please don’t be afraid to take pregnancy for everything that it is, the good AND the bad.

Consumed

I’m currently trying to conceive after having miscarried my second baby in April. I thought when I got my period again, and we could start trying again, that it would make me feel better about everything. But, it’s so stressful and frustrating and infuriating, it’s just brought on a whole new set of negative emotions.

And I have become obsessed with MY CYCLE. And AM I OVULATING? And WAS THAT A PERIOD? SPOTTING? IMPLANTATION? (Because my body is a whole effing lot different than it was before.) Are those pregnancy symptoms? Or am I just getting another period?

Do my breasts hurt? My breasts kind of hurt. But do they really hurt? Is that first-trimester fatigue? Or am I just tired? Is that nausea? Or nerves? Or am I just CRAZY? This stuff swirls around in my brain all day long some days. If you could hear my internal monologue, I know I would annoy the crap out of you, because I am seriously annoying the hell out of myself.

I find myself measuring time in how dark the line on the ovulation test was. Life is a series of 28 day increments. 28 days to “get it right” or just start over from scratch. My heart goes out to anyone suffering from infertility. I don’t know how much I could bear, honestly.

The most frustrating part is that I ALREADY WAS pregnant. That ALREADY HAPPENED. And then it ended abruptly, and I’m right back where I started. It makes me want to put my fist through a wall.

And the undue stress that this whole experience has put upon my marriage? Well, let’s just say…it doesn’t make for a whole lot of romance.

I hope this gets easier. As easy as it was before. But something tells me it will never, ever be like it was before.

People keep telling me, “It will happen, it will!” But I can’t get rid of the nagging little voice in my head that keeps saying, “What if it doesn’t?” I want to fast forward like, 6 months or so, just to see how things are going. To see if this really is going to happen for us. And to skip all of this frustration and waiting.

Loss

I’m trying to find a way to discuss what happened to us over Easter weekend with the blogosphere, but I’m not even sure what to say to myself quite yet. Here goes…

I went for my first prenatal appointment on Friday morning. The OBGYN’s little ultrasound machine wasn’t picking up a heartbeat in my little bean, and he/she was measuring 7 weeks, and I was 10 weeks. So, they sent me down a floor to radiology, where the more powerful ultrasound machines could give us a better picture. We had to wait in the radiology lobby for almost an hour. The longest hour of my life. Well, except for the next hour after that when results were being read and sent back to the clinic.

Then, they laid the bad news on me: bean had no heartbeat, and had probably passed away two weeks ago. And it’s not my fault and it’s normal and blah blah blah. Nothing anyone said to me for the rest of that day or the next made me feel better about it.

I had to take some medication to get things moving. It had already been two weeks, and they were concerned about things still being inside me. THAT was easily the worst part of all of it. To have to endure the physical pain in addition to all the emotional pain I was already in. Though, it has made it easier to begin healing now that it’s officially over.

We are hopeful for the future, and know that having a successful pregnancy later on is very probable for us. It’s just getting through the here and now that’s giving us some trouble. Trying to sort out why this happened, and how we can make some sense of it, if any at all. Trying to pick up the pieces of our lives and our hearts and move forward.