The Text Message

Yesterday afternoon, I received a text message with a photo from my Aunt (yes, she’s THAT modern).  The photo was of my cousin’s minutes-old baby and the text was a proud boast from my Aunt about being a grandmother again (this is number 8).

A few years ago, this exact message would have made me jump for joy, run out to buy a present and hop in the car on the way to my cousin’s place to go give that baby a squeeze.

Now things are different.  Instead, I deleted the message and spent the rest of the afternoon in tears.

Not only do I mourn my babies that never were, but I also mourn the ability to enjoy other babies.   I truly wish that I could have looked at that photo and felt joy.  I wish that I could look beyond the fact that I was pregnant at the same time as my cousin and that she got to keep her baby.  I wish that I did not resent her for holding a baby in her arms as I choke back tears.  I wish that I could see, squeeze and cuddle all of my friends’ kids.  I’m still not ready.

I’m trying.  I was very proud of myself for cuddling my friend’s one year old the other day.  That is a huge step for me.  I may have cried on the way home, but I did enjoy it in the moment.  Maybe there’s hope for this lady after all.  I’ll accept the tears when they flow, try to stay positive even when it’s impossible and look forward.  I will have a family.  I can’t choose when.

beware of incoming text messages

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Haunted by Dates and Numbers

Moving on to adoption does not mean I’m over the pregnancies or over the fact that I may never “grow a baby in my tummy”.   I’m constantly haunted by numbers, days, dates and months.

This week, for example, is the anniversary of my first loss.  Connected to that pregnancy, I also have my due date (March 14th), the number of weeks pregnant I was (9), the age I was when I got pregnant (35) and the age of the babies of my friends who shared my due date (3 months and counting – this is a whole other heartbreaking story).

Multiply that by three pregnancies and my head is swimming with dates and numbers.

October, 6 weeks, December 14, June 29, 36 years old, 2 months, April 18th, January 19, 7 weeks, 37 years old, June 9th, June 14th, 38 years old, 9 weeks, 14 weeks (and counting), 3 months before I can try again, who know how long until I get the clinic referral, a minimum of 18 months if the adoption goes through, 39 years old. This list does not include the days of tracking cycles and ovulations!

It’s no small wonder that I had to second-guess my own age at my last doctor’s appointment!  I’ve been so used to calculating how old I was and how old I will be when/if the baby comes that the present seems completely irrelevant!

I will never “get over” the losses.  They are a part of me whether I like it or not.

The prospect of adoption is allowing me to at least move forward.  Maybe all of this pain will be worth it.  I know have a hope-filled focus, a tangible way to have a family, forms to fill out, projects to work on and bananas to bake.  It’s not a replacement, but it’s positive and it helps.

I recommend the book “Adopting After Infertility” by Patricia Irwin Johnston to anyone moving from (or even straddling) one step to the next.

This book was recommended to me by a friend in a similar situation and also by a pregnancy loss/infertility counsellor.  It definitely provides some food for thought; in particular,  “the list” of what is being lost.

If at first you don’t succeed…

My heart was broken, I felt empty.  I was glad we had “gone public” because the support of my friends is what got me through.  The pain of pregnancy loss was something I could never have predicted. It is something I will never get over.

We knew that there was always this chance so as soon as we got the “green flag” (more sports analogies) from the doctor, we went back to it.

I was pregnant again by November. We lost this baby at 6 weeks. I got to spend some more time in room #6.

This was enough of an alarm bell for the doctor to send me for a series of blood tests and “internal investigations”.  All were inconclusive.  The doctor recommended progesterone to help the next one “stick”.  The days of “easy-going” were far behind us.  We no longer had this luxury.

I was pregnant again by April.  My blood test results were “perfect”, we saw and heard a heartbeat at the 7-week scan (a week after our wedding!).  The ultrasound technician printed out the picture, which my husband promptly put in his wallet.

At the next ultrasound there was no more heartbeat.

OK, Now I’ll Panic

Week 9- trace amounts of blood.  Back to the hospital we went. Back to room #6 in the ER.  Once again the staff was very kind and supportive.  They did not seem worried, as it was such a small amount of blood and “some people bleed through their whole pregnancies”.  I was sent to ultrasound.  No heartbeat.

Seeing Pink

At 7 weeks something happened.  There was a trace amount of pink on the toilet paper.  I, of course, went straight to the World Wide Web for a consultation. Most of the sites advised that this was a perfectly normal occurrence and just to take it easy.  Other sites advised that I should panic; it’s all over, go straight to the emergency room.

After a few days of relaxing, the problem didn’t seem to go away, so off I went to the emergency room with my husband.The hospital staff were very kind and understanding.  They took me straight back to room #6, did an ultrasound and some blood tests and told me everything looked just fine.  We saw and heard the heartbeat and went home feeling relieved and a little silly for having rushed to the hospital.

 

We did it! (Pregnancy 1 – June 2011)

I was so happy the day I officially found out I was pregnant.  Being in my 30s and working with a lot of women I was all too aware of the heartache, prejudice and expense that comes with infertility.  As I read the word “pregnant” on that digital stick, I was so relieved that had beaten the odds.

It had all happened just the way we wanted.  We had gone with an easy-going approach. No counting days, no ovulation kits, no thermometer, we just left it up to fate, stress free.  After a few short months of throwing caution to the wind (or “pulling the goalie”, as my sports-fan hubby liked to phrase it), our dreams came true.

My husband was so excited.  He wanted to share the news with the world right away.  I thought it would be better to at least get a confirmation from the doctor.

The doctor’s appointment went just as expected.  The pregnancy was confirmed. I booked my 12-week scan and found a midwife.  Even though this baby was only the size of a lentil, we were already fully attached. We are a very organized couple and went straight into researching diaper services, parental leave, childcare expenses and furniture.  We had big dreams for this little lentil. We loved him already.

We knew it was unconventional to share in such early days, but considered that should something go wrong we wouldn’t want that to be a secret, we would want the support of our friends, that we could go ahead and share. (Besides, I had already seen the Doctor!)