Friday, June 28, 2013

Baby #1: Part One

First of all, I want to say thank you to so many women who reached out to me after last post - whether it was through email, comments, or on Facebook. I appreciated each encouragement I received. You guys are really great.

I've been trying to decide what I want to share. I've decided that even though our baby is no longer with us, I still want to be able to to remember this part of our life and the happy things that went with it. Among other things, I see my blog as a journal. I love going back and being reminded of what we have experienced. And I certainly don't want to forget our little one, even though he or she is no longer with us. I want to write the story, but I also understand if you choose not to read it.

This brings us to February. I had been obsessively using pregnancy tests for a while - squinting at the white space, looking for that second line. There are incredibly cheap test strips online for less than $0.40 a pop, so I didn't feel guilty using them often. Anyway, on a Tuesday night I did a double take on a strip because I had thought I had maybe seen a hint of a shadow of something, but then I ruled it out. The next morning, however, I saw this:

I know, I know. You may or may not even see the super faint second line. However, I had been peeing on enough of those sticks for long enough that I knew this was something new. So, I went on to work with several more tests to use throughout the day. A test at work showed a little clearer (but yes, still very faint):

So, I did what most normal people do: I uploaded this picture into my trying to conceive online community so that people could vote to convince me whether or not this was something. I just checked, and this photo received 61 positive votes, and 2 negative votes. As the day went on and people kept voting yes, I started thinking, maybe this is for real. I knew ANY second line was a positive. So I knew it was for real, but, I wasn't quite completely convinced. 

The next morning was Valentine's Day, and I went to the store on my way to work and picked up the fool-proof digital test. These tests should pick up a little higher level of HCG, and would be more convincing. Sometimes we can tell ourselves the two lines mean nothing, and we need an actual word to prove it. So, I went into the women's bathroom at work and peed on the stick. I sat there and stared at the little digital screen, showing some sort of timer as it calculated my hormone levels. And then, it was there, clear as day:

That was when I started kind of freaking out. And it was Valentine's Day! What a great day and a perfect time to tell my love. A little Valentine's Day baby!

My excitement was rather short lived, however, as later that day I was talking to my friend and I started having some cramping. I was talking to her but just kept thinking, "As long as it's just cramping it's normal, as long as it's just cramping it's normal." When I went to the bathroom I noticed a little bit of blood, and I pretty much put a halt on all things celebratory. When I told Mark that night it was somewhat of a mix of "I have good news and bad news." Not exactly what I was going for.

The next morning (Friday), I had my blood HCG levels drawn, and then scheduled to go back in on Monday to have a redraw. In the meantime, I had a pretty miserable existence - I was experiencing one sided pain, and so I was trying to not completely freak out. We went to a basketball game with my aunt, and it was a nice distraction. I remember really experiencing pregnancy emotions at that game. After the game was over, the two teams lined up and proceeded to shake each other's hands and offer the proverbial "good game." However, my sweet cousin (a high school sophomore) hugged a lot of the opposing team's players - above and beyond the hand shake. I remember feeling very emotional at him hugging the players and thinking something to the effect of, "He is so sweet and kind hearted." And I realized I needed to pull myself together because this was an over reaction. (-:

On Monday morning I found out my first number was 30, which is very low. However, I knew I was very early in my pregnancy (3 weeks and maybe 3 days), and one number doesn't really mean much. It's all about what the numbers are doing. Later that afternoon I found out that my second number was 58. Still very low, but higher. The doctor's office was kind but not very optimistic, and the next day my doctor decided to wait a full week before testing again, to give the numbers time to stew a little. 

In that week of waiting, I decided that even if I was only mommy to that little baby for a short amount of time, I wanted to be a good steward. I had already been taking folic acid while trying to conceive, but I went to my nutritionist and loaded up on all kinds of pre-natals, and asked people to be praying for our little baby.

The weekend before my next draw, I led worship with a dear friend of mine at a women's retreat. It was a very sweet time of worship, and helped me to focus my mind on something else.

Monday came and I went in for my draw (Sidenote: This is my third draw in ten days, and I HATE having my blood drawn). Later that day they called and told me that my number had risen from 58 to 1100! Now that was some serious growth. I was thrilled. They wouldn't give me the all clear, and said we weren't out of the woods yet, but decided to schedule me for an early ultrasound after seven weeks so that they could get a better look at things. 

A week and a half into this (felt like so much longer!), and it had already been quite the roller coaster. This put me somewhere around here with our little sweet pea:

I think that's all for this post. That's a lot of info, and there's more to come, so I will leave it at that.

I hope you guys have a happy weekend - thanks for letting me share! (-:


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Happy Medium: A Confession

I've gone back and forth. Mostly settled on "not now," "I'm not ready," and "I'll share when X happens." I think I've settled on a happy medium.

I was walking through our neighborhood with Mark the other day, on a routine leisurely stroll. We passed a couple. The husband was running and his clearly pregnant wife was riding a bicycle next to him - the thing you think about in a picturesque pre-natal walk. Mark and I held hands. He said to me, "I'm sorry." Mark was sorry because she was pregnant, and I am no longer. I mentioned to him that I don't understand why everyone else's babies are okay and healthy and ours wasn't (no exaggeration in our communication, clearly). And Mark responded that there are lots of babies like ours. We just don't see them.

His words resonated with me, probably because they are filled with truth. Losing a baby can be a private struggle. And when it happens, we look around for someone else to help us. Someone to reassure us that what we are feeling is normal. Someone to validate the life lost and the hope and plans that went with it. Someone to say, "It's okay to be sad" and "It's okay to be sad for a while." A friend to say, "We remember your baby," and a friend to say, "It's okay to move forward."

But sometimes, when we see ultrasound pictures on Facebook, EPT digitals with that unmistakeable "pregnant" in our newsfeeds, strollers everywhere, gender reveal parties, pictures of a pregnant person due the same month as us, and that ever present pregnant woman riding a bike through the neighborhood, we can feel very alone. Ugly thoughts of jealousy and bitterness swell as a result of our sin nature. There is genuine joy for those we love who are expecting, and sorrow for our loss. At times, it's a bit overwhelming.

While many women aren't comfortable sharing their losses publicly, for me, I took great comfort in talking with friends who had walked the same debris-filled road I am on. Yet, with it being so private, sometimes it may be hard for a person to know who to talk to.

This bring me back to my debate. Should I share? I think the body of Christ can do amazing things when we encourage each other and share. Maybe something I write will give hope or encouragement to another mommy whose heart or womb feels a little too empty. Perhaps someone will feel comfortable sharing her story with me because I shared mine. Maybe we can all walk this crummy road together, helping each other up when we trip along the way. My emotions are still raw, and maybe, just maybe, they can help someone else. And maybe they will be a help in my own healing.

So, I'm sharing. I had a miscarriage. We lost our baby in April, and I had a D&C just shy of 11 weeks into my pregnancy. I am looking forward to the day when Jesus wins the battle and things are made right. I am hoping to see how this can be made into something that glorifies God. And I am praying that he heals the broken-hearted and binds up our wounds.

This is my first step in sharing. I don't know when the next step will come or what it will be. But I'm taking the first leap.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"                                                                                        ~Revelation 24:4-5
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