Archive for Deanna’s Story
I’ve been crying for about four days straight.
Those of you who have gotten an email from me during this time are probably saying WHAT? She was so PERKY when she wrote me.
Well, I can be that too.
But this is one of the darker weeks of my life, and one thing I’ve realized as I’ve tried to force the blues away, to make myself stop crying just because a mom walked by with a big belly or a stroller, or a Pampers commercial interrupts my golden time with Nathan Fillion, that sometimes you just have to give in to the grief.
My pre-op appointment was today. My doctor was distracted, overwhelmed as he’d been gone for two days this week with a family crisis of his own. What is a life-changing surgery for me is another day for him right now, another thing to try and distract HIM from his sadness.
On Monday the chances for another baby will be permanently gone. I’ll have my first procedure–the Essure device implanted to block my tubes. In three months I’ll do the second, the endometrial ablation that will remove my uterine lining.
My new husband and I put these things off for 11 cycles to see if we coudn’t get pregnant before taking that option away. It went well enough at first, normal cycles and perfect ovulation predictions and good temperature charts.
But by October, it was clear it wasn’t going to happen. A few attempts at implantation failed. Then I stopped ovulating all together. I still delayed the inevitable until after the holidays, trying to hold on to a little hope. But a couple weeks ago I knew it was time to just get it done.
I know many of you out there who have found my site are going through a bad week too. Test results don’t look good, a sonogram has shown no heartbeat, or maybe you’re just bleeding a little and trying to figure out why.
Generally when you write me and I write back, I will tell you that you will get through this, and that you will feel better. But I know as well as you do that RIGHT NOW you aren’t getting through it, you’re stuck IN it, and you don’t feel so great at the moment.
So we’ll embrace it together right now, you all and me, and just be sad. It’s Valentine’s Day and we can cry if we want to. At least, there will be chocolate.
Surgery on Monday at noon. See you all on the other side of my fertility.
Hugs all around.
Deanna is the author of Baby Dust and The Sperm Meets Egg Plan: Getting Pregnant Faster
Every year we celebrate what would have been Baby Casey’s birthday with new site features, prizes, and give aways!
This year we’re trying this trendy new gadget called the Rafflecopter (go to it on Facebook or on the angel page)! You enter the giveaway by doing certain tasks—including telling us your baby’s name, finding us on Facebook, and other activities that get you points toward the give aways.
HERE ARE THE PRIZES!
A HeartBeat Bear. Super cute bears are recorded with a heartbeat at the rate of your baby that is activated when you hug the bear. You can tell us based on sonograms or NICU stats what your baby’s last heartrate was, or we can record a heartrate for your baby’s gestational age. Wonderful little bear.
In the Company of Angels Memorial Book. This hardback baby book has pages ready to fill out about your baby, whether you were only a few weeks along, or delivered a full-term stillbirth. No page will go blank in your book, and gentle prompts on gorgeous pages will guide you to remembering every moment of your pregnancy.
THIS GIVE AWAY IS OVER, BUT WATCH OUT FOR OTHERS.
A great place to keep up with day-to-day things on Pregnancy Loss is on the Facebook page
A Place for Our Angels
I wrote back in May about starting to try again for a baby with my new husband.
We’ve tried for three cycles, which I know isn’t a lot compared to so many journeys, but we really only have one try left. It’s a very strange place to be, walking up to the edge of this part of my life, and looking out over all the possibilities but knowing most likely, we’ll be heading back the way we came, to adoption.
My doctor and I agreed that in the fall we’d schedule the uterine ablation and sterilization. I haven’t called yet. Haven’t made any appointments. I should have by now, but I find whenever I sit down to do it, I can’t quite make myself. Even though there’s a bit of a wait for an appointment, and I know I should get in there, as I don’t want any sort of surgery to coincide with my holiday work schedule (which is grueling), I just don’t. It’s admitting we’re at the end.
As most of you know, whether conceiving for the first time or trying for a rainbow baby, each month gets harder. You feel yourself moving further from your goal. The baby dancing gets not-as-much-fun. Your hope dwindles. You fear you have something to face, and you don’t want to look it in the eye yet.
I know mine is all about age. I’ve been using my own Sperm Meets Egg Plan, perhaps even extra aggressively since my eggs might not last long, so twice a day rather than once. I know we’ve nailed the timing, but even with the super early tests to watch for attempted and failed implantation, we’ve seen nothing.
I’ve had every pregnancy symptom in the book—frequent urination, sore boobs, cramping, nausea, and last month even got a little spotting at the time of implantation. How is that for a cruel body? But nothing. It’s amazing how the body can manufacture the things you want most.
So I feel so much closer to so many of you out there. Even though I talk to dozens of women every day, most of you don’t know where I am. And that’s just fine. I don’t bring it up. But I’m feeling your pain, how the baby seems to be slipping away, that future you could see for a while. What’s next is figuring out how to live with it.
You know you’re caught up in trying to conceive when someone asks you what the day is and you immediately say, “Cycle Day 4!”
I never thought I’d be in this place again. After our first baby died at 20 weeks (back in 1998), I didn’t think I’d ever get the courage to face the whole process again. But we did, and just shy of a year after losing Casey, after a whole lot of worry and trauma and high-risk doctors and scary scenarios that didn’t happen, we got Emily Faith.
I felt bolstered then, and when trying for the third child, had little fear. I had almost reset the clock back to 1997, when I had no idea that anything could go wrong. I’d had surgery to correct my uterus—surely no more babies would die.
I was wrong. In 2001, TTC #3 got us pregnant first try and lasted only five weeks, Daniel. I was determined not to slow down and without following my own advice, immediately tried again and got pregnant again.
We knew that unless this pregnancy was picture-perfect, we would not be trying for any more. And boy, was it not. Water breaking at ten weeks, two weeks of uncertainty, finally realizing we’d lost one twin and kept the other. A seriously transverse baby who was tough to get out even by c-section. And later, of course, learning that she had brain damage from the lost of her twin, something we live with and think about every single day of her life.
I was done.
But life has a way of altering your trajectory. I found myself divorced, and dating, and falling in love with someone who had no children. In two weeks we are getting married.
Still, a baby was not part of our plan. I explained about my history and we agreed that adopting would be the best thing. After the wedding, we’d start saving for the fees.
But then life cut in again. In March, my intolerable cycles became frightening. Instead of the already short 22 days, they dropped in length to 18. And the number of bleeding days increased to 7-8. I was facing very little time “off” and I knew I had to do something. I called the nurses and they agreed it was time to schedule a consultation for a uterine ablation, where they remove the lining of your uterus. In addition, because it was so dangerous to get pregnant after an ablation, I would be sterilized.
I had just turned 42. I was okay with this. But when we got there, my doctor decided this was not the course to take. He checked everything, from an endometrial biopsy to a complete blood panel, and determined I was anovulatory, which was causing the short cycles. He felt if I could calm myself down and get my stress hormones to normal levels, and take some progesterone to elongate my cycle, I might ovulate again and we could have a baby.
I walked out of there in a bit of shock. I didn’t say anything to anyone until the tests came back, but when the nurse’s last words are, “Call us when you’re pregnant,” right when you were thinking your baby days were over in a big way, your whole life resets.
So here I am, on CD4. If I follow my own Sperm Meets Egg Plan, we begin this journey in 4 days. (And if you’re on Fertility Friend, join the SMEP thread—it was there when I arrived, and I thought it might be fun to jump in!) [Edited to add: I got kicked out of Fertility Friend for mentioning I had this site in my profile. So don’t go there looking for me. The mods there make the Soup Nazi look like Cinderella.]
I know that quite possibly there is a lot of heartache ahead. I hope to end up with a baby. But I may instead have more losses. Failure. Heartache. Despair. But this is what we moms do. We carry the hope for a whole generation. And that is something that makes it worth holding on to faith.
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Sometimes when women arrive at my Facebook group for those currently going through a loss, they ask, “How long until I get over this?”
All I can say is, “Fourteen years and counting.”
One of the hard things about losing a baby that no one else felt, or saw, or touched is that everyone wants you to get over it quickly. They don’t have the same emotional investment. Pregnancy, with its sleepiness and dream-like quality, encourages the visions of the baby to come, the moments ahead. It’s how you get through the hard stuff—throwing up, bone-tiredness, caution and fear. So we’re wired to already see and experience this baby well beyond the sensations in our belly.
In her book Virgin Blue (which has lots of miscarriage and pregnancy trauma within it), author Tracy Chavalier’s characters, both midwives, talk about how the pregnant mother is always “listening” inside her. She’s distracted, taken out of the outside world, and focused on what is happening within.
It really doesn’t matter when the conversation stops, the day after the positive pregnancy test or during the birth, when some tragedy takes the baby during its final journey to the outside. It’s still a cutting off, a silencing of a relationship that had become the focus of your life.
Fourteen years ago today, I didn’t realize my connection had been cut. I suspected—but then every pregnant mother seems to always have some fear—but until the Doppler was silent, until the doctor was rushed in and the sonogram machine powered up, until he moved and moved and moved the paddle, trying to find an elusive heartbeat for a 20-week baby who should have filled the screen with movement and sound, but didn’t. Until I had proof; I hadn’t known.
April 28 taught me how to listen, how to hear, how to know when the conversation ceased. My next two losses were no surprise. I had learned the difference between the hum that reverberates between a mother and an unborn child and the silence that means the child is gone.
And this year, at 42, I am getting married again and, next month, taking that journey one more time. I don’t even know if the conversation will start. I may not be able to get pregnant at all. The chromosomes in my eggs may be too sticky to divide properly and get the baby on its journey. But I will listen, and I will hear. And whatever conversation I might get, however many days or weeks or months I may get to feel that hum, I will take them.
One thing I’ve learned in 14 years—I am not afraid. I hope, for all of you, who may be finding this page for the first time or the fourth, that you find that courage too.