It’s Still Winter

When I embarked upon my walk down the path near my office this afternoon, all I was thinking about was how wonderful it felt to be outside in the fresh, warm
air. I was happy that I didn’t have any obligations to steal my lunch hour away from me: no errands, no appointments, nothing. The time was all mine.

A few minutes into my walk, it occurred to me that on my last trip down this path, I was pregnant. I had been in my new office for about a month, taking frequent walks on my breaks. It was still summer, but you could feel fall coming on the cold breeze that often blew across the nearby river. I was proud of myself for having lost a significant amount of weight prior to the transfer, and I planned to take advantage of the walking path for as long as the weather and my growing belly would allow. I don’t remember that last walk precisely – there was nothing extraordinary about it, and of course, I had no idea it would be my last one for a long time.

Over the next few moments, I felt an outpouring of emotions. First was anxiety. I wasn’t sure I could even continue on. A lump grew in my throat and tears threatened to fall. It seemed like a lifetime ago, and, at the same time, just yesterday that I had been there last. My mindfulness kicked in then, as I acknowledged my anxiety, let it sit for a while, then took a few deep breaths.

I continued walking. I thought about all the stories I had read by women who carried babies with anencephaly. Many of them talked of making memories with their babies while they could: Going places and seeing things and having unique experiences. I didn’t understand that at the time I read those stories, but I think I understand it now. I didn’t know it at the time, but those walks down this path with my baby inside me made for a very powerful memory. I may have actually smiled a bit at the memory of walking down this path with my baby.

I remembered capturing a photo of one of my first walks. I quickly scrolled through my phone to see if I could find it – to see if I could find the exact spot today – but I couldn’t. I took another photo today, anyway, as a point of comparison. Later, I found the older photo I was looking for.

IMG_8578-COLLAGE

The bottom photo was taken on August 24, 2016, just 3 weeks before we learned our baby would not live. The top was taken today.

You can’t see it in the top photo, but the trees are starting to bud. Not quite new life, but a coming back to life. I like how spring creeps in slowly at first, seeming to take forever for the first buds to appear and open, the first flowers to push their way up through the soil and leftover snow. But then, almost overnight, trees are covered in green and tulips are in bloom everywhere you look.

For now, though, the scene is still rather bleak. You have to look close to see any signs of life. Mostly you just see stark naked and broken branches, and mounds of dead leaves and sticks that spent the cold winter under many feet of snow. And that’s okay. The winter deserves it’s time. Spring will come, there’s no question about that. But for now, it’s still winter.

I’ll Probably Get My Period After Posting This

I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.

I’m 11 dpo today. My LP is usually 9 days. All tests have been negative.

I don’t really have any good reason to think we could be pregnant on our own after everything…. Still, here I am, obsessively testing and getting my hopes up. It’s early to be testing, I know, even though I’m technically two days late.

I’m driving myself crazy, willing negative pregnancy tests to JUST. BE. FUCKING. POSITIVE. Or for AF to show her ugly face sooner rather than later, if that’s the end game.

I hate the fucking mind games that come with TTC. But I can’t not try. I’m not ready to be done yet.

UPDATE: The witch showed up bright and early the morning after I wrote this. #toldyouso

im-just-a-girl-standing-in-front-of-a-negative-pregnancy-test-asking-it-to-be-positive-infertilitysucks-98b9a

The Post That Almost Wasn’t

During the last week, I’ve started and trashed about 6 different blog posts. I keep thinking I have something to say, but when I try to say it, it just seems… trite. Yet, things are still trying to get out, so here are the main points:

  • I’m doing okay. Not great. Sometimes good. Mostly just okay.
  • I’m not going to therapy, and I keep forgetting to do my tapping, but I have been engaging in self-care, like a weekly yoga class, fun nights out without the kid, and getting a new tattoo to memorialize our daughter.
  • C is all kinds of awesome! She’s 2.5, and literally every day she says or does something that makes me think, “Who is this little person, and where does she come up with this stuff?”
  • C is not an awesome sleeper. In fact, she’s terrible. Always has been. When she was a baby, I had hopes that she would grow out of it, but I don’t think that will happen. People tell me, “Just wait until she’s a teenager and you’re having to drag her out of bed in the morning!” All I can think is, “Bring. It. On.” I would love that situation RIGHT NOW. But something tells me that will never happen. I wasn’t like that, and given everything I’ve seen since her birth, I don’t think she will be, either. I don’t know if she’s “just” high needs, or if there’s a medical problem we might be missing.
  • C is rocking potty training. I’d say she’s pretty much fully day trained. (Can I just say, I’m constantly in awe of the size of the poop that comes out of her every day. Not just the total amount, but the ginormous pieces. It’s unreal.)
  • I’m so over winter. We received a stupid amount of snow early on, and though we’ve had quite a few warm days recently, there’s still so much of it. Where the lawn is bare, it’s soaking wet, and there’s water standing everywhere. Puddles are great in the summer, but not when it’s 40 degrees. So, playing outside is not much fun, even when it’s warm.

More Sad Ramblings

I’m finding it almost impossible not to think about the alternate universe I could be living in right now if I had not lost my baby.

Instead of hauling heavy boxes up two long flights of stairs to set up for a work event, I would be wrapping up projects and briefing my coworkers who would be covering for me during my maternity leave.

Instead of crying over random baby items I (still) find stashed around the house, I would be purposefully and happily unboxing all the baby stuff from storage.

Instead of dreading having lunch with a friend who is also parenting with infertility, fearful that she may have “news” to share with me**, I would be excited to catch up with her and find out if they had decided on a FET date. 

I honestly don’t know if it’s healthy to let myself have these thoughts or not, but I don’t think I could stop them. Is it part of the grieving process, or is it hindering the process? I don’t know. They aren’t all-consuming thoughts, though they usually trigger a crying episode. I know I should be kind to myself right now, but having written this down, I now feel kind of pathetic. But, man, reality hurts so much right now.


** Damn, I hate when my instincts are right. She learned she was surprise pregnant from her pre-transfer bloodwork. I’m happy for them, but…. well, you know.

February

It’s February.violet-275x300

Breathe….

Ten days from now is my due date. (Was my due date? I suppose past tense is more appropriate.)

Breathe….

I keep thinking, If I can just get through it… Once February 11 is in the past, things will get better… easier.

The passage of time dulls grief, that I know for certain. But my grief is complex. All grief is, but what I’m referring to is the grief over not only the loss of my baby, but the how and the why, plus the grief over the loss of the family I had hoped we would have.

Every day, when I drop my daughter off at daycare, I see her interact with the other kids. For a few brief (but heartbreaking) moments, I watch her sit patiently as one of the younger girls “helps” my daughter take off her coat and boots. I see her make silly faces at one of the babies, and gently replace a pacifier like a pro, while I talk to the daycare provider. I’m barely holding back tears as I slip out the door to go to work. C would have made a wonderful older sister. Being an “only” will be great, too, I know – and C will never know any different – but it breaks my heart that she won’t get to be a sister.

While I have never for one moment regretted our decision to terminate the pregnancy, and even though I was treated with such care and compassion during the procedures, it remains a traumatic experience. And I still can’t get over the why. Why did this happen? I was on 2mg of folic acid, five times the normal recommendation for a pregnant person, and the exact same amount I took while pregnant with C. Why wasn’t that enough this time?

I’m holding on to a lot of shit. Shit that I can’t control. Shit that is irrelevant now. I’ve been holding on to the illusion that once my due date is in the past, all of that shit will dissipate, like magic. But that’s stupid. It’s not a magical date, and the universe just doesn’t work that way. I wish it did. I wish we didn’t have to do so much goddamn work to deal with our grief.

 

2017: Please Be Kind to Me

2016 was a personal worst year ever. I lost a good friend to suicide just a couple days before I learned we would lose our baby girl. It doesn’t matter that plenty of good things happened in 2016. I won’t remember them. I already don’t remember them.

2017 was supposed to be the year we completed our family.

2017 is the year I turn 40 – the age at which my husband and I decided long ago would mark the end of our baby-making journey, whether we had a baby or not.

2017 could still be a good year. Great, even, if I manage to get pregnant. But, I’ll settle for good. It could be good if I:

  • Love myself.
  • Come to terms with all the shit recently bestowed upon me.
  • Take care of myself, physically and emotionally.
  • Remain open to the good that can and will happen.

I guess those are sort of my resolutions, though I’m not typically a resolutions sort of person. These are things I need to do, though. They aren’t really optional, unless I want to have a very bad year.

untitled

Getting Duped By Hope

I know this was only my first full cycle after my loss. I know we didn’t really try to get pregnant. I know it takes time to for one’s cycle to return to “normal” after a loss.

Still, I was devastated to get my period today.

I decided at the start of my cycle to use OPKs to have at least a general idea of what my body was doing or trying to do. I didn’t get a positive until CD 26, and we didn’t have sex until the day after that. Not avoiding trying to get pregnant, but certainly not making a valiant effort. Assuming I ovulated the day after that positive OPK (probably, since I also had fertile cervical fluid at that time), good old Aunt Flow’s arrival today means my luteal phase was a whopping 7 days. Or I didn’t ovulate at all, I suppose. Either way, it’s shit.

I had no right to hope for anything better than that, to be honest. I mean, back when we were TTC the old fashioned way, I always ovulated late-ish, around CD 20. And my LP was only 10 or 11 days long. So, not too far off from this cycle. Expecting my cycle to magically morph into that of a normal fertile person is simply ridiculous. Yet, I think subconsciously maybe I did expect it. Or at least I had hoped for it. You read so many stories about previously infertile women spontaneously conceiving, especially after a loss. Why couldn’t I be one of them? Didn’t I deserve to be one of them? Damn hope, once again reeling me in.

I don’t know where to go next. Maybe I would be happier not testing or tracking my cycle until we decide to really try to get pregnant (as unlikely as it may be). In fact, I know that’s what I should do. I should shut it down and not give it another thought until after the holidays. I should just enjoy Christmas with my family and work on healing my mind and body. Should….