Baby baby baby baby baby

I want a baby. Like on a primal level. Like my biological clock is ticking so hard it might break. I had to stop checking my trying to conceive message boards because it makes me so jealous and sad at the same time. The sight or sound of a baby is enough to set a pang in my heart. When I see a pregnant woman, it takes everything in me to hold it together. When I see a mom with her infant, I have to rip my longing eyes away.

Why is it so easy for so many people to pop out their 2.5 kids and live their lives? Why do so many people who don’t even want children shoot them out of their baby cannons with such ease? Why do so many of us endure heartbreak after heartbreak instead? Why did only one of my four live? And…will it always be one?

We’re not trying to conceive right now. Quite the opposite, in fact. But my heart is just saying, “baby baby baby baby baby.” I didn’t know I wanted to be a mom until I was one, and now it’s all I want. I’m beyond lucky to have our boy, but I wanted kids…plural kids. Living kids. Double, triple, quadruple the giggles and squishy pairs of feet.

Maybe someday. I’m so over maybe. Woe is me, etc., etc., etc.

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Mother Heart

I recently got a new job and we’ve decided to put off trying for another baby while we work toward paying off some debt. I’m really struggling though, because I desperately want another child and know that time is not on our side. We have lost 3/4 babies and if we keep losing them I’m going to be into my mid-30’s and even more likely to miscarry. I feel like we can’t win with trying to build the family that we dreamed of, and the grief is so heavy at times. I am so grateful for my son; if he is the only one we get to raise, I can make my peace with it in time. The not knowing is really hard though, and I’m heartbroken right now at the very real possibility of never getting to bring another baby home.

Someone asked me a few months ago how many kids I wanted, and I replied, “want? Want is not always the same as ‘get.'” If want was the only factor, we’d have four children and I would be a stay at home mom. We may only get to raise one, and I may need to continue working. Dreams don’t always come true. Some may be tempted to say, “be grateful for the one you have,” and that pisses me off, to be honest. I said to another friend, “gratitude is not the opposite of grief.” Grieving what is lost and what may be lost doesn’t make me any less thankful for my wonderful son. I buried a child and miscarried two babies since then. How is that fair? Which of your children could you part with? All I want is to build my family and spend time with them. That is the dream I have for my life. Not wealth, not fame, not renown, not saving the world. I don’t get bogged down in the “it’s not fair” thing very often, but really, it’s not fair.

Scars

I wish I could say that having a baby after loss means riding off into a rainbow sunset, but that would be a lie. The grief and fear of further loss don’t just vanish when you hear that first cry. Here we are, nearly 17 months into parenting our boy, and the terror is still there, simmering under the surface.

Nahum pulled a cup of coffee over himself yesterday morning and I heard Danny’s yell from upstairs. I came running down, my heart in my throat, fearing something horrible had happened (he was totally fine; the coffee wasn’t hot enough to burn him). I was still having palpitations a half hour later as I pulled into the parking lot at work.

Every news story about an injured or sick or missing or killed child batters my heart. I feel the loss of my precious daughter in those moments, and whisper a prayer that we’ll get to keep our son. I wish that we could live in the same naive headspace that most people do, not realizing how fragile life is and how easily our soul’s tie to these bodies can be severed.

I hope that it gets better someday and I can just live my life without looking over my shoulder, but I’m not sure that’s a luxury I’ll ever enjoy. Perhaps the silver lining is that I don’t take my son for granted. Every day with him feels like a gift and miracle, because he LIVED. One out of four. He lived.

Partial Molar Pregnancy: Another Loop on the Miscarriage Roller Coaster

This is the never ending miscarriage. I bled and spotted for a total of 5 weeks, with a few days here and there of no bleeding to get my hopes up. Finally, it stopped, though I continued to feel dizzy, short of breath, and weak, which I’d felt throughout my recent pregnancy.

I’ve been going through some other health troubles that have seen me tested for rheumatic disease and now lupus, so my mind wasn’t on my miscarriage at all in the past month or so. When my doctor said, “your beta hcg was down to 8, but I’d like to make sure it is zero now,” I figured, “why not? I’m being jabbed every week or two anyway, so what’s another test?”

Well, the number came back at 1800 this past Monday. I was tested again at 2600 on Thursday. I got the call Friday morning. Doc figured I was either A) pregnant again (very unlikely, but not impossible), B) had a new, ectopic pregnancy (again, unlikely), or C) Gestational Trophoblastic Disease, aka a molar pregnancy. Even though we’d been trying to prevent another pregnancy, I hoped immediately that I was pregnant, especially since it was the best of the options I was presented with. I convinced myself for a full day that this was the case, and was feeling excited. This baby would have the same due date as Nahum! Now that I thought of it, I’d been feeling tons of pregnancy symptoms like exhaustion, sore nipples, and insomnia in addition to the symptoms that I mentioned before.

Through the twisting of arms, my doctor was able to get me in through the ER on Friday to have an ultrasound and see an obstetrician. The ultrasound tech didn’t say much, but she kept saying things like, “so you don’t think you’re pregnant?” and “what kind of birth control were you using?” Danny and I looked at each other, thinking, “holy crap, we must be pregnant again!” So after many hours of waiting, we were surprised when the doctor told us that our recent pregnancy was likely an undiagnosed partial molar pregnancy and there was not a new pregnancy in my uterus. A partial molar pregnancy is usually (not always) caused by two sperm fertilizing a single egg. There is nothing you can do to prevent one from happening and it is unlikely to happen again. It is relatively rare, and almost never results in the formation of a viable fetus. Usually, there is tumorous growth and a resulting miscarriage, or a fetus grows that is incompatible with life. If left unchecked, it can become invasive and/or cancerous. In my case, the hormone levels seemed to be increasing even after a miscarriage due to retained placental tissue, so it was imperative that I undergo a D&C to clear everything out and to have the contents of my uterus tested.

Yesterday, after many more hours of waiting and about 18 hours of fasting, I was wheeled into the OR and prepped for surgery. I woke up feeling like I was floating on a cloud (thanks, Fentanyl) and no pain. This is a relief, as I remember having a lot of cramping following my first miscarriage in 2014. I will need to be followed closely over the next few weeks and months to ensure the numbers continue to go down and, even once they hit zero, I’ll be monitored for a few more months before I will be cleared to try to get pregnant again. If cancer decides to grow, the good news is that it is very treatable with an almost 100% cure rate.

I feel a mix of things: on the one hand, I almost feel like I have gone through another miscarriage, because of that day of hope and subsequent “loss” of that imagined pregnancy, and on the other, I feel a profound relief that this is likely FINALLY over. What started as a happy surprise of a pregnancy turned into the miscarriage that wouldn’t end. I am still hurting from the loss, but more and more ready to move forward and to heal.

Heavy Hope

It seems I am most drawn to blogging when my heart hurts. I stopped posting here mostly because I wanted to keep this space about pregnancy after loss and because I had begun to keep a journal. But then I had another miscarriage and I feel like I need to talk about it.

We weren't actually trying to get pregnant; I hadn't had a period since 2015 because of pregnancy, then breastfeeding, so when I started having symptoms I was floored. Apparently you *can * catch that first egg, and apparently sperm really *does* sometimes live for 5-7 days in real life and not just in sketchy online pregnancy forums. Our long shot baby was a total surprise, due just a week before Haven had been due (and she was a surprise too!) The parallels and the odds of it all just made it seem like it was meant be. I chalked up my uneasiness to our less than positive pregnancy history. Besides, I was having strong pregnancy symptoms and I'd had almost none with my miscarriage, so surely everything must be okay! We bought paint for Nahum's new big boy room (planning to free up the nursery), and we started spring cleaning, wanting to be well prepared. Baby name conversations had begun and I kept feeling it was a girl (I even had dreams about her). It was all for naught.

Our first ultrasound showed the baby measuring 5 weeks and 6 days (or 5+6 weeks) when I should have been roughly 7.5 weeks. My heart sank as soon as I heard that; this is how things started with our first miscarriage. The tech said it was too early and to come back in two weeks. The next day, my doctor called with the news that my beta hcg wasn't doubling as quickly as it should be. I knew in my heart that it was over, yet, irrationally, I clung to hope, finding all kinds of stories on the internet of babies measuring off, or betas not doubling properly and everything being alright in the end. Even when I started bleeding a week later, I kept trying to justify it somehow, thinking up crazy scenarios where the baby would still be okay. But it wasn't okay, and sadly, we lost our little surprise.

I was proud of us for being able to hope. After losing Haven and the miscarried baby we named Grace, I had almost no hope left. I was not at all convinced we would ever hold our own baby, but I was wrong. Nahum has been such a shining light – I am so grateful I was wrong. I decided to name this miscarried baby Hope for the hope we felt when we found out we were expecting, and for the hope that we will hold another little "rainbow" baby in our arms someday.

The Happy 14th

I was walking through Dollarama a few days ago, looking for a household item, when I saw a big Valentine’s display. I am a bit of a magpie, so I went down the aisle. Stickers! Cute, pointless, heart-shaped things! I reached out to take a themed bib off the wall, when my hand froze. How could I have forgotten in that moment what Valentine’s Day means in our household? In 2014, it was the day we found out our baby girl was gone. The day I screamed and sobbed, feeling such shock and grief that it was almost like I was outside my own body. 

I don’t believe that to remember those lost means living in that same moment of trauma all the time, but I did feel momentary guilt that I forgot for a second the little girl who we left at the hospital on February 16th, after she was born, after we said goodbye. Who we buried four days after that. Whose gravestone I can barely bring myself to visit (insert more mother guilt here). 

It’s all so bittersweet; I could never have considered buying that bib if it wasn’t for the joy of raising my boy, Haven’s little brother. My happiness does colour the way I remember and celebrate my girl now. It’s not a bad thing. In fact, it is probably really healthy. All the same, I left the bib there, and we won’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day…at least not this year. 

Best Intentions 

I am always composing posts in my head, but so few make their way to my blog. I naively thought that mothering a baby would get easier as time went on (pause for laughter…and carry on), but now that my wee one has become a crawling machine, I pretty much spend my days chasing him around. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE it, but by the end of the day, I usually only have brain power left for my guilty pleasure fashion app or some internet Scrabble. 

Since I’m here, I might as well write an update! The kid will be growing a moustache before I manage to post again, I’m sure (though if he takes after his dad, he could be like four years old when those whiskers make an appearance…haha). 

Christmas was really fun. Not only did we get to spend a lot of time with family and friends we normally don’t see often, the day itself was really sweet. Nahum mostly tried to eat wrapping paper, and probably succeeded. It was a quiet, lovely day with just the three of us, then we spent lunch and the evening with friends. I’m already looking forward to next year. It was bittersweet, as everything is, to see Haven’s stocking hanging up next to Nahum’s, but I plan to find a way to include her more in our celebrations in years to come.

Nahum is now NINE FREAKING MONTHS OLD. How?! He’s sleeping much better these days (cue angel song), and that means I am feeling much more human. I also started a short sewing class, and that is really helping me feel like ME again. 

Parents are always asking, “where does the time go?” I’m not really sure, but I do think the day to day routine is partly to blame; each day is so similar that literally dozens can go by before you realize it. 

And that is my update. The TL;DR version is just that things are good, and I’m really happy at the moment. (It is so nice to write that).