So I don’t think I mentioned here on my original home blog that I was nominated as a BlogHer Voice of the Year for a post on my other blog. But I was, and it was a huge honor to me, and I can’t believe so many people read my words and were touched by them. Because BlogHer is practically down the street from me this year (okay, a couple of hours away, but you get the idea), I thought I would go and meet some fellow BlogHers. In the process of all of that, some of you might have noticed that WordPress front paged me. And then they asked me to speak on a panel at their booth.
What it all boils down to is this: I’m going to BlogHer. I’m hanging with WordPress, and if you’re going to be there, I’d love to meet you too. I’ll be talking at the WordPress booth on Saturday at 3:30 in the “Talking Shop with BlogHer Voices of the Year.” Their schedule is here: BlogHer 2014 Announcements. And if you’re interested in seeing the post that was nominated from the other blog, it’s here.
I had my HCG tested last week–I guess nearly two weeks ago now, and it was at 10. I spotted for nearly a week, and I have finally started my first post-miscarriage period, so I’m guessing my levels finally finished falling last week. It’s awful, but it also means I’m recovering, and I’m another month closer to trying again. It’s a strange place to be. On one hand, I’m glad to be moving along; on the other, having a period at all is just a reminder that I’m not pregnant and won’t be for awhile. There is no making this easy.
Mostly I am staying busy right now. It’s the end of a school semester, so I have stacks of grading and students in crisis to soothe. As tasks begin to wind down, though, I’m finding the grief creeping in more and more–pain for both my lack of pregnancy and, naturally, for my boy. I know the summer and the moments of free time are initially going to be hard, that a lot more pain that I’ve been pushing away is going to come crashing down on me, but I also know that having the time to care for myself is going to mean greater chances of pregnancy sooner. I have to cling to that and to the idea that time for self care will ultimately save me.
I wanted to introduce you to a cool little website that has come across my radar: FemmeJac.com. They specialize in clever lesbian clothes and other gear, including some really lovely family art (ceramic photo frames, etc.). I told them I would send some of my readers their way after they so generously offered to send us one of their frames in memory of our BG, so check these ladies out! 🙂
Some of you have been checking on me, wondering how things are going, so I thought I would share a quick update, which is to say that not much is going on. I’m no longer bleeding; in fact, a few days ago I felt like I might be headed toward ovulation. I’ll have my blood tested tomorrow to see where my HCG levels are. We’re hoping for under 5. I never thought I would hope to see low HCG numbers, honestly, but that seems to be my experience with life. I never imagined a lot of things. I’ve been staying incredibly busy with teaching and my other work, which is helpful at times until I have a few minutes to breathe, and then I fall apart. I’m just hoping time will slip by quickly. That’s all I can hope for right now.
I’m also working on doing all I can to keep the ole body healthy and happy. My primary care physician recommended maybe trying an anti-inflammatory diet just to really clean things out and promote a fertile environment. I’m inclined to listen to her; she’s usually right. She also recommended an interesting supplement for my anxiety/grief, which I hadn’t heard of before. It turns out (unbeknownst to her) that it is also showing to be helpful with ovulation and improved egg quality in some small studies. Those are some promising side effects, and it’s easy enough to take a supplement a few times a day. I’ll be going back to acupuncture again this week as well. It helped last time; I have no doubt it will help again.
And we wait. And wait. And wait.
In the meantime, life keeps passing by. J and I celebrated our sixteenth anniversary this week. I contributed to the festive nature of the day by catching a cold. We did precious little but go out to dinner. We cried a bit. We laughed a bit. We marveled at how long we’ve been together, how old we’re getting, how lonely it is without a child, how lucky we are to have one another through it all. We have been taking turns falling apart about this miscarriage, taking turns holding one another up. It’s no small feat because both of us have so little left to give right now. Still she manages to console me through the worst of it, and I try my best to be there for her during the worst of it. It’s something we’ve both grown rather skilled at, but we’re both tired of nursing one another through grief.
Today we both did our best to avoid the world of children in their Easter finery searching for eggs, smiling with delight over too much chocolate. I worked all day. J worked on some art. I somehow landed in social networking land a couple of times to find photos and videos galore that bowled me over with the reminder that the whole damn world seems to be swimming in beautiful kids, and my wife and I have none. We celebrated exactly two Easters with BG. He dyed eggs once. It was wonderful. But I won’t lie; it’s painful beyond belief to see other families doing the same. And I hate this holiday. It’s my least favorite. And still it hurts because having a child even made this holiday fun. Oh I miss it.
So that’s how I am. It’s a fairly miserable time here. I’m doing my best to find my way back, to avoid succumbing completely to grief and hopelessness. I’m hanging onto hope that I will get pregnant again soon and will be headed back toward having a child in my arms. I’m trying. It’s hard, but I’m trying.
Hi everyone. Long ago I promised some password-free posts, and because events had turned a certain way, I kept things private for awhile. You see, back in February, right around BG’s one-year anniversary (actually, probably the day of), I got pregnant. And I was pregnant for two whole months after with varying degrees of anxiety until last week at an ultrasound at ten weeks gestation, I learned that what we thought would be our baby, an embryo we had named Goblin for its Halloween due date, had stopped growing and had no heartbeat. Over the past week, I have miscarried the pregnancy. It has been just as awful as one might expect.
I’m sharing this because already I have found that writing about it is therapeutic, just as writing about BG’s loss has been helpful, and if it can be helpful to anyone else out there who has lost a pregnancy, well, I don’t want to hide it. I’m opening up one (maybe more) of the posts from the past few days. There will undoubtedly be more.
Anyway, that’s where we are. We’ll try again. We won’t stop until we’ve got a baby, but J and I are positively gutted.
It has now been six days since I learned this pregnancy was not to be and four since I went through this pregnancy’s labor pains. I’m still bleeding, feeling raw and sore. For some reason I have horrendous hemorrhoids, not unlike after BG’s birth. The sadness and anxiety of losing all those pregnancy hormones is starting to kick in. This one really is over. There really won’t be a baby in our home in 2014. Some part of me thought there would be.
But I have to admit that I didn’t trust this pregnancy. I don’t know if it was an intuitive sense that something was wrong, or whether it was the trauma of loss all over again. You see, when my son got sick, we learned that we can be the recipients of bad news, that tests can reveal the worst and often do. All through this pregnancy, people would tell give me statistics. A doctor told me, after the scary HCG level drop, that since I had seen the heartbeat, my chances of miscarrying had gone from one in ten to one in twenty, so the HCG wasn’t a huge factor. I remember thinking those were still shit odds. My son’s chance of having his type of leukemia were one in a million (actually 1.2 million), and we managed to hit that jackpot from hell. One in twenty seemed like a guarantee that I would most certainly be the “one.”
And I was. And I am.
That is what makes this so different. I met up with an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in over fifteen years during the fifth week of this pregnancy, and we were discussing assisted reproductive technologies (she had IVF), and as we talked, I revealed that I had just found out I was pregnant. She warned me not to get too excited, that anything could happen. In that moment, I had to believe that this pregnancy was possible, that I might get a baby about it, but I told her in that moment too that I knew what could happen, that there are no guarantees, not even once they are here. I know this through and through. Every test was an opportunity for the bottom to drop out, and with each one, it began to wiggle free. My first ultrasound was far from routine: my doctor couldn’t find the sac or fetal pole at all and while the tech could visualize the heartbeat, she could never capture it. She could hardly see the fetal pole. The blood tests were off. And that second ultrasound? Well, let’s just say I knew better than to go by myself, but I did anyway. As much as I love my doctor, there is a traumatized mom part of me that will always believe that my doctors are going to give me the worst news imaginable, and there they were last week, two of them nodding their heads, those worried, sad expressions, the concerned quiet voices you know they’ve used before, and the news wasn’t good. I was shocked and hurt, but there was that part of me who knew that this was exactly what I expected.
There were exactly two weeks during which I relaxed a little into this pregnancy. Ironically, it’s very likely that these are the weeks the embryo was dying, that despite my increasing pregnancy symptoms, I was rapidly becoming less and less pregnant.
I know some people mourn for their babies lost in these early stages. They join message boards and talk about their “angel babies.” And this is not to say that that loss is not truly, utterly significant, because it is, but I can’t really think of Goblin that way. Despite giving the embryo a gestational name, I never fully attached to this pregnancy. The heartbeat flickering on the ultrasound monitor for a few brief seconds could have been any fetal pole’s heartbeat. I bought baby clothes, even a couple of maternity items, but each time, it was with a nagging sense of panic, a little voice in the back of my head saying, “You ridiculous woman. You know you shouldn’t be doing this.” But I did it anyway because I had to move forward as though this was happening. I can’t let the trauma of losing my son taint every potentially joyful moment. I can’t take every breath as though that damn bottom is wiggling its way out once again. But it was.
I know for some people a miscarriage is the worst experience of their lives. I don’t discount that in the least. It’s horrible. It’s painful. It’s the death of hopes and dreams. But I obviously have a different perspective. I lost a full-sized boy, one who talked and hugged and cooked and laughed and called me Mommy. I’m suffering a loss right now, yes, and it hurts terribly, but it’s not the gaping crater sort of loss that BG’s death has been. This time, I’m not so much mourning a life that was but instead a life that isn’t.
I want so desperately to get back to the act of being a parent, to have those joys and frustrations of everyday family life. I want sleepless nights and diapers and baby laughs and raucous food-in-the-hair dinners, not endless hours and days and weeks and months to do whatever comes to mind. To some parents in the thick of it all, that may even sound like bliss, but once you’ve crossed the bridge into parenting, all that time just feels wrong. At least with a pregnancy, we were headed in the right direction. There were things to think about, to plan. But now it feels like I have been running this race back to having a family, running along and watching miles tick by only to discover I have been on a treadmill the whole time, running as fast as I can but making no progress. It’s a horrible feeling.
So now, for a couple of months, we stop running entirely. We sit in the aftermath of all that running, and we sit with the fact that we didn’t get any closer to the finish line, and we sit with the past and the pain of losing our boy and losing the hope that was Goblin, and we sit and we wait, and we make sure we have the right shoes, and when we run again, when we get the go-ahead, we try like hell to make sure we’re on the path this time and not running backwards or in place or over a cliff. What else are we going to do? All we know is to keep running.