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How this one came to be

Despite the fact that I've struggled to allow myself to celebrate this pregnancy, and despite all the heartache that preceded it, I actually love the story of how it came to be.

My miscarriage happened in October last year. As if it's not hard enough, my sister continued to be pregnant and soon my best friend, my boss and my direct report at work were all pregnant, as well. I was surrounded by people living what I lost, and it was a very difficult few months. I got my period back on Thanksgiving Day, and I hoped so much that I would easily get pregnant again and have a positive test on Christmas Day, the day my next period was due.

That did not happen. 

I was disappointed, but I also thought it was kind of perfect. In my family, there is this opal ring. It was my great grandma's, born in October, and passed on to my mom, also born in October. When I miscarried in October 2014, I had this idea that it would all work out because I'd get pregnant a few months later and have a baby girl in October 2015, putting her in position to someday get the opal ring from my mother. My first pregnancy loss happened in January 2012 and Mo was born a year later in January 2013, so October and October... It was a silly and detailed delusion that I focused all my energy on.

Had I gotten pregnant in my second cycle post-miscarriage, I would have had an October due date. I spent all of the next month full of nervous energy. I knew this was going to happen, but I also knew how easily it might not. We did what we needed to do to make it happen, and I spent the month meditating and throwing all my positive energy at my uterus. I even bought a root chakra candle and burned it every night. This was going to happen.

It did not happen.

I got my period on January 28. The hardest thing about that was that my sister (not the pregnant one) and I had planned a trip to Florida in February, the exact week in February when I would be ovulating next. We didn't have any flexibility on the dates of the trip, and I figured I'd be pregnant anyway so what did it matter. I was not pregnant, however, and now I'd be missing a whole month of opportunity, one whole cycle. I decided I was ok with that. I needed a break from the heartache and the stress. I need a margarita on the beach!

For those who understand how this conception stuff works, the details are that I would leave early on a Tuesday and ovulate that Friday. For good measure, we could "give it a shot" on Monday but that's four days before ovulation. Is it possible to get pregnant? Yes. Is it likely? No. But we tried anyway.

Despite needing a break, I brought my ovulation predictors with me. My cycles had been wacky since the miscarriage, so I was still trying to figure them out. The first afternoon we were in Florida, I took a test and wouldn't you know, it was positive. In case you don't know how these work, that means I would likely ovulate sometime in the next 36 hours. So things were looking up. My chances still seemed slim, but they had increased.

The next day, Tuesday, about 15 hours after the test, I was sitting at an outdoor cafe sipping a mimosa, enjoying the warm sun on skin, and I remember thinking: this is exactly what I needed, I'm happy and relaxed for the first time in five months.

I like to think that's when it happened. Silly maybe, but I like the thought. My sister happened to snap this photo at that moment.



If this baby makes it, I think I'll put that picture in its baby book. The moment you were conceived. 

What makes this crazier is that later that night I got VERY sick. A stomach virus. I spent the night and the next day expelling everything from my digestive tract in unseemly ways. I ended up in the ER with extreme dehydration. They did two pregnancy tests (one at urgent care, one at the ER) and of course they were both negative because I was only two seconds pregnant (technically two weeks, but that math is just strange). When I was laying on the hospital bed waiting to have an IV placed, I thought: well if there was a chance I might get pregnant, it's gone now. This is definitely not a healthy environment for egg fertilization. (To make matters worse, after recovering and feeling good for about 24 hours, I got violently ill again. Most of ourFlorida vacation kind of sucked.)

I returned from Florida the following Friday. Four days later, Thursday, I had an appointment with my OB to talk about options. It had only been a few months, but I didn't want to wait another six months only to realize something was wrong and I could have take action sooner. The following Saturday morning, 9 days after ovulation, I woke up really early and, for no explicable reason, I got out of bed and took a test. I was fairly confident I was not pregnant and it was really early to best testing anyway. But I I brought it back to bed with me and waited three minutes. It was dark, and when I glanced at the digital screen of the test, I couldn't see it well. I couldn't see the NOT in front of the PREGNANT. I frantically opened my curtains to let a little light in, but I still wasn't sure. When I turned the light on, there it was, proof that I was finally the recipient of an unlikely gift.

I know there are people everywhere who would love a surprise pregnancy. Hell, any pregnancy at all would do. So I don't take this lightly, and I definitely don't take it for granted. But I do enjoy, when it's appropriate, sharing the joke that I got pregnant when I was in Florida while my husband was home in Michigan.


Why the silence?

When I found out I was pregnant with Mo, it was on the heels of a year of struggling to conceive and just months after the ordeal of an ectopic pregnancy. When the good news of another pregnancy came, I knew I wanted to celebrate every minute of it, I wanted to tell the world. I understood all too well how fragile it was, I knew there were no guarantees, but I also knew that celebrating and sharing wasn't going to cause or not cause something to happen. So I told many people right away. I blogged about it from the very beginning. I downloaded pregnancy apps and bought books and soaked it up. I took weekly belly photos from week 5, right after I found out.

Please don't misunderstand, I was scared and nervous the whole time. Bad things happened to friends while I was pregnant that made it even more clear that I was never out of the woods, so I was alwasy worried, every second. But I was also excited and I was able to embrace and celebrate and enjoy my pregnancy.

This time it's different.

I'm pregnant again. It's my fourth pregnancy. So far my pattern is that every other pregnancy works out, so maybe this is a good one. But I don't know. Unlike with Mo, I haven't been able to embrace or celebrate this pregnancy in even the smallest ways. I know logically that celebrating won't bring about bad things, but there is something in my brain that is blocking me from embracing this at all.

I know it's silly, and I know it's unfair to all the women who would sacrifice so much just to be pregnant. I know I owe it to them and to myself to wrap my arms around this and rejoice. But it's like I physically can't. Like my brain is protecting my heart. I don't understand why it's different this time. My sister suggested maybe it's because this time I'm a mother and I know just how much I lost and just how much I could lose again. I think that's a pretty good theory.

Whenever I tell someone about this, they reassure me that it's normal to be nervous and worried. But it's more than that. I was worried and nervous with Mo, but I was also excited and joyous! That part is missing this time. I want this baby, I want it so badly, but it's like if I draw any attention to this pregnancy, the universe will know and might take it away from me. I'm not just scared, I'm disconnected. In a completely irrational and unintentional way. 

I will be 15 weeks tomorrow. I'm due November 4. I've had two ultrasounds, one shortly after 6 weeks and another just before 9 weeks, and everything looked great both times. I had an appointment at 12.5 weeks and heard a beautiful heartbeat (after an uncomfortably long time searching), but my next appointment is not until the end of May, and every minute in between is difficult. I wish I could have constant reassurance somehow.

At 13 weeks, I finally let go just a little. I felt like I owed it to this child, if it does make it, to celebrate and document the pregnancy in some way. I know there is plenty of "second child neglect" without my irrational reasons for not giving this pregnancy the attention it deserves. So at 13 weeks I took my first belly picture. Shortly after that I downloaded a pregnancy app to follow along with my baby's progress. I even reached out to a few people due around the same time so we could form a group on facebook to swap stories and advice and support throughout our pregnancies.

So I'm pregnant. There it is, I wrote about it. 


A motherhood moment

This is a story about toddler vomit. I'll try to go easy on the gory details, but if you're not interested in reading about how vomit was involved in one of favorite mom moments, this is your warning.

On Sunday, we had family over and Mo had a busy evening playing with her cousins and eating lots of junk. She went to bed late, but fell asleep quickly. About 45 minutes later, I heard her whimpering. On the monitor I could see her sitting up in bed, but she wasn't crying and she wasn't moving. Mike went up to check on her, but only stood outside her door and left when he didn't hear anything. But I knew something was up. Mother's intuition I guess. I walked into her room, and in the dark I ran my hand over her hair. It came away wet. And chunky.

Poor girl had thrown up all over her bed and herself. It was disgusting. But it was also so precious. Mo was so calm and sweet, she didn't cry or act upset. She was just confused and quiet, and trusted that I would take care of her. 

I bathed her, and kept her warm, and reassured her all along that everything was fine. When she vomited again a couple hours later, we repeated the process, and then she fell asleep in my bed (this NEVER happens!). It was a special moment, the whole thing. It's exactly how I pictured motherhood: being the one who takes charge and comforts.

I hope I will always be that person for Mo.


Florida or(and) Bust!

In early January, my brother in law told me he wanted to send my sister to Florida in February for her birthday. He couldn't get the time off work, but would I like to go with her? He'd buy my ticket.

Hmm, let me think... YES!

Later, I realized that if I wasn't pregnant in January, I'd be in Florida during my ovulation in February. That put more pressure on January, which, as we know, didn't work out. But I decided it was OK. I can't put my whole life on hold while I try to conceive, and besides, a week in the sun would do me good. I would relax, think about something other than work, motherhood and getting pregnant for a change. I thought maybe taking a month off would, ultimately, be a good thing even though it was a little frustrating.

We flew out Monday afternoon, and our first full day, Tuesday, was great. We slept in, sat by the pool, ate lunch in the sun, shopped, took a nap, and went out to dinner. I felt a little off all day, not nauseous but something. Then I woke up around midnight and vomited for hours. Then the diarrhea set in.

I spent all day Wednesday emptying my body of every drop of fluid and every bit of energy. I felt absolutely awful, and at 3:00 I decided it was time to seek help. We went to urgent care and waited forever, only to be told that I needed IV fluids (duh) and they don't do that there. Off to the ER I went. After fluids and some anti-nausea meds (and several more hours), I was feeling mostly better.

Thursday I felt great, totally recovered. We hopped in our convertible and drove to Sanibel Island to stay with some of my sister's in-laws. I ate normal food and felt good. Until I went to bed.

Then I woke up at 4:00 with more vomiting and diarrhea. I was very sick all day. I still felt sick on our flight back Saturday, and on our 4 hour drive through a snow storm home from the airport. 

On top of all the vacation-ruining illness, I also couldn't escape work. My job usually lets me get away for a week here and there, but it was bad timing this time around. I kept getting bothered with work stuff.

What I'm saying is: my vacation was not a vacation. It was not very relaxing or refreshing, and now I missed a month of trying to get pregnant for what? 

I'm grateful for the opportunity to get out of town. I know getting sick on vacation is a first world problem, but I just want a do over! Or I want to magically be pregnat this month. I deserve a sweet little surprise right?


No surprise here: I'm still not pregnant

In case anyone was waiting for the outcome of this cliffhanger: I'm not pregnant. It didn't come as a surprise, as you may have gathered in that last post, but it was still a huge disappointment. I had to go to work the day I found out, and I had a very full day. I thought that might be a good distraction, but instead I kept sneaking off to cry in the bathroom.

I've spent a lot of time crying on bathroom floors lately.

To make matters worse, my day ended with a leadership meeting. It was the first time we were all together since my boss told me privately that she was pregnant, and at the start of the meeting it occurred to me that she would probably share her news with everyone that day. I spent the whole meeting bracing myself for that moment. When it finally came, I stared at my phone with tears in my eyes, hoping nobody was paying any attention to me, while everyone did the usual "pregnancy news" chatter. I must have been pretty successful at tuning them all out because later a colleague made reference to something someone said in the wake of the news and I had no idea what she was talking about. The second the meeting ended, I ran out of the room, grabbed my purse and coat, and went home even though it was a half hour earlier than I usually leave. I just had to get out of there. I'd rather cry on the drive home than on the bathroom floor again.

Amazingly, I feel lighter now that I know. I'm angry and sad and severly disappointed, but at least I know. I deal better with knowledge than the unknown. I've already started looking ahead, figuring out my next possible opportunity to try, my next possible due date. I'm back in the part of the process where I can do something instead of just wait and wonder. It's the waiting and wondering that kills me. Honestly, I can mostly handle having a baby a little later than I had hoped, but the thought of living through the hell that is the two week wait again (and maybe again and again and again) scares me.

I made an appointment with my OB for later this month. I know it's only been two months of failed attempts, but I've been here before. Before my first pregnancy I spent almost a year before finally figuring out that there was something wrong, that there was something I could have been doing to fix the problem. I was so angry that I wasted so much time during which I could have been DOING SOMETHING! So I'm going to remind my doctor about that, and remind her that I've had two losses, and that I'm 34, and ask if there is anything else I could be doing. If there is anything we should be looking into or considering. I don't want to find out in 6 months that I could have been doing something now.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: thank god for Mo. Not only am I thankful to have her at all, but I'm especially thankful for who she is. She is always happy, always full of life and radiating joy. She makes it easy on me when I'm down. And she lifts me up just by how she lives and loves life. I live vicariously through her and her pure, innocent, and unblemished happiness.

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