Archive | January, 2013

Turning the corner- Finally moving to the other side

21 Jan

Last week I finally made it over the hump.  The week began with me completely freaking out about another loss.  It started with my advanced pregnancy scan which was a huge relief in most ways.  The baby looks normal and I am SO thrilled, relieved, overjoyed about that.  However, at the end the maternal fetal medicine specialist mentioned that because of the position of the placenta (low placenta) that we should schedule another ultrasound with her in six weeks.  What triggered my concern was her comment, “I don’t think you need to avoid sexual activity or go on bed rest YET”.  That last word “yet” was the thing that haunted at me.  Even though everything looks totally fine down there, her commend triggered my looming fear that my body would manage to fail yet again.  So the next day when I was having pelvic pains my mind jumped to assuming the worst, like I maybe this means I have incompetent cervix and should be worried now about a second trimester loss.  When I scanned the internet for information it only made me feel worse.  According to Web MD there is a higher risk of incompetent cervix in women who have had medical procedures in that area, including D & C’s.  “Damn!  I’ve had 5 of those!” is what went through my head.  In a fit of worry I gave my health insurance nurse hotline a call and she calmed me down saying it was likely normal ligament pain, suggesting that we abstain and just talk to our OB who we were scheduled to see in a week.

So I stayed on pins and needles all week and felt very tentatively pregnant, even though we made it to the 20 week mark, really looking forward to some more information from the OB.  I will call her now Dr. Awesome as she is the OB I switched to after my awful first experience with Dr. Jerk, the head of the Department.  I’ve actually seen her for two of my previous pregnancies, so we go way back. So far back that I almost didn’t recognize her with her blond hair all turned grey.   I guess she stopped coloring or time has been really rough on her, it’s only been 2-3 years.  When we did finally see her, it was amazing.  I had no idea what a thirty minute consultation could do.  One by one she relieved each of my fears.    I made the mistake of going with Dr. Jerk for our first visit because of his availability (it would have been at least 3 weeks later to see her) and because I thought with his years of experience he’d actually have more to offer.  Clearly, not the case, I think it just gave him a big ego. Thank you to everyone for pushing me to switch!  The clinic made it sound like we were committed to one person but when I begged to switch they were really accommodating in the end.  The only bad thing is since it is all one clinic we’ll likely bump into him again.  Whatever.

So Dr. Awesome totally got her name from this first face-to-face visit in years and our first visit for this pregnancy.  This conversation is  why:

Dr. Awesome: “No, you don’t have an incompetent cervix, it is CONFIRMED on the ultrasound.  The D & C’s DON”T matter”.

Me: Wow! I had no idea you could even confirm this.  What a giant weight lifted!

Dr. Awesome: “Your pains were actually small contractions brought on by sexual activity, namely orgasms and male semen.  It is TOTALLY normal and actually good for you, esp. at the end of pregnancy for relaxing the cervix.  99% of pregnant couples are doing it too, so go for It!”

Me: Really?  It’s a good thing?  Who knew? (Mr. Star smiles).  I guess we don’t need to abstain anymore…

Dr. Awesome: “Also, this is NOT a high risk pregnancy , even with your history of loss and your age”

Me: REALLY?

“Yes, you don’t have asthma or heart problems or diabetes or major obesity or other physical complications.  Seriously, there are high risk pregnancies out there, but this is not one of them”

Me: Wow, that is really, really great news! (disbelief now a giant leap of joy in my brain) 

From there I had no big burning questions left.  With my fears pushed aside the conversation turned and we started talking about birthing classes (apparently you have to sign up now as they fill up early), safe pre-natal exercises, even cord blood donation.  My brain was in overload.  This is happening!  I left that day a different person.   I was pregnant!  I was not just pregnant but actually expecting, a word I had reserved for “real” pregnant people in the past.

That weekend the lights went on and I had the realization, “I am 20 weeks along, this is it, this my pregnancy.  Enjoy the moment now!  Get on board! ”  Now embracing of the pregnancy I poured through the books and pamphlets from the OB office that had been tucked away and even picked up more books on the topic online.  I signed us up for the recommended classes (child birth preparation, infant care, infant CPR, baby safety, etc.).  I even went to my first pre-natal yoga class.  I don’t have much of a bump, but i don’t care anymore, it just feels like the right thing now.  We started brainstorming names we liked, something I hadn’t done since my naive times in my first pregnancy.  Finally we started the task of preparing the house, actually mapping out where a crib would go and starting a list of stuff we need to get.  When I had lunch a few days later with a friend who offered her maternity clothes I eagerly offered to pick them up.  I was ready now!

So this is where I am.  I still embrace my IF identity and even variously listen to the Bitter Infertile podcast regularly.  And I will always be a hard-core RPL-er.  But for now I do feel like I’ve landed on some solid ground and am welcoming this new unknown,  this new start, and (fingers crossed), this new little life!

Embracing my pregnancy ambivalence

8 Jan

My 150th post!

We’ve made it to 18 1/2 weeks already. Yeah!  Despite this huge milestone I find myself struggling to talk about the pregnancy.    I am dragging my feet about telling people because I still don’t feel ready.  I keep giving myself milestones to look forward to.    This time it was the advanced ultrasound where they scan all the organs.  I had heard so much about it.  I told myself if it went ok, then we’d be on solid ground.  Sure enough the scan came and went and I still find myself nervous.  Just last night we were doing introductions in a new class I am taking and two people mentioned their pregnancies.  Meanwhile I managed to clam up and skip that in my introduction.

For a while I told myself I’d wait until I was showing.  Well, now I find myself being more and more creative with my clothes because I want to hide the bump and delay telling even more.  I think that’s a sign that I should spill the beans and just come out already.  I’ve told my inner circle, but I stil haven’t told the majority of our friends and I haven’t mentioned anything at work.  I am a contractor and not an employee so I don’t get an official maternity leave, but I still should say something.   Since I work from home I’ve enjoyed so much privacy, not worrying about showing.  Tomorrow night we actually have a work event at the local bowling and arcade place.  Since I rarely see most of these people it’s a great opportunity to socialize face to face, but I find myself obsessing about what to wear to hide the bump.  When I have my 1-on-1 with my director in a week, maybe that will be a good time to tell.  So far 1-on-1 is working out the best, big groups make me freeze.

Lately I’ve been fantasizing about 20 weeks.  It’s the half way point, so that sounds safe, right?  I think I am just fooling myself that some safe appropriate milestone will come up.  As far as I know this is it.  This is as safe as it gets, so I should just relax.  But somehow I still struggle to make the transition.  I cling to my infertility podcasts, more comfortable hearing about miscarriage and baby loss and more familiar with the emotions that go along with that.  I feel excited, but almost detached from this pregnancy.  I feel like I should have been crying tears of joy at our last exam seeing all those images of the baby and getting the official confirmation, It’s a girl!  Instead I was focused on what is the next thing to worry about, in our case it is a fetal echo in 4 weeks to confirm a healthy heart (recommended for pregnancies from IVF).

I want to be able to enjoy the pregnancy and share it with others, but I am not there yet and I am not sure exactly why.  Up until now we’ve told people that I am comfortable “untelling” (if it came to that) because of our good relationships.  Now that I am going to the outer circles I am anxious about the questions and the expectations.  I told someone last night who knew about  my losses and he asked if we had a name already.  Wow, that is SO not on my mind right now.  It should be but it isn’t.

I am taking this mindfulness/stress reduction class as part of my Counseling Psychology degree and I think I need to just take some of that to heart.  This is what we learned to say to ourselves: Be aware of and embrace your anxiety.  Acknowledge it and let it go.  It’s there and it will likely be there when you or someone else talks about pregnancy.  It’s part of how you feel right now and that’s ok.  It’s totally ok to be anxious.  You don’t have to be this perfect happy pregnant person.  You don’t have to be glowing with joy.  Where you are is just fine.  Embrace it.