Friday, September 2, 2016

Feared Happiness

It's difficult to know where to start to describe my thoughts and emotions right now. I'm so very happy, but I have this nagging fear that keeps creeping into my heart.

I am 9 weeks pregnant.

This is what I wanted. Deeply. I imagined that once I was able to get pregnant again I would feel intense joy. But that wasn't exactly what happened. For one, I wasn't expecting the positive test when I read it. Sure, we had been trying, but I had settled into the mindset that it could potentially take some time because of my surgery in April. Secondly, my grief process after surgery was complicated. I didn't grieve heavily immediately afterwards. I actually felt relief. An ectopic pregnancy can be very dangerous so I initially felt relief that I was under care of a fantastic midwife and a fantastic physician who helped save my life and preserve my future fertility. But, grief did come to me. Certain days and certain events would trigger something in my brain that made me relive my miscarriage from 2012 and then also realize that something similar had just happened...again. The day I found out I was pregnant again happened to be one of those days. I had spent my afternoon and evening grieving and then that night I found out I was pregnant. I had to reach out to my closest friends immediately, not because I was even ready to share this news, but because my emotional state felt so raw and unsteady that I knew I needed their support right away.

The very next day started a myriad of testing. At my surgery follow-up appointment my doctor had said that I would, unfortunately, have to have a bit of a "pessimistic" (his exact word) mindset right at the start of learning I was pregnant purely because I was now at a higher risk for a repeat ectopic pregnancy. Once my lab values indicated we would be able to see an embryo, I had an ultrasound to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. I don't know that I've ever been more anxious than those minutes I spent in the waiting room waiting for that ultrasound. I was shaking and had tears welling up in my eyes.

This is not an ectopic pregnancy. This is absolutely amazing news, but I noticed my fear was not relieved. I found that I was still waiting for anything bad to happen. I have miscarried before, after all.

Thankfully, I have been feeling more content with my pregnancy lately. This likely has to do with my already rounder lower abdomen and the other first trimester symptoms that I'm feeling. I am incredibly thankful to be feeling these crappy feelings! When I learned my progesterone was low and I should begin injections, I was not happy. I felt that perhaps my body was "failing" again. When my progesterone levels proved to be rising very well, I did feel happy! This is all still so early (which is terrifying), but I want to be able to talk openly about how I'm feeling. This is healthy for me. I also think that this could help me in feeling excitement rather than dwelling on the "what-ifs".

Phew. I need to be transparent right now and share that writing all of this down has realllllly brought on some deeply scared feelings. I feel no shame in requesting all of your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. Oh, and for you curious people, my estimated due date is April 4th, 2017. :-)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

This Wasn't Part of the Plan

As I write this I am 3 days post-op from my laparoscopy. Also, it has been 3 years and 1 day since my first earth baby was born and it has been exactly 4 years since I learned my very first baby had no heart beat.

Early May wields a heavy blow.

Physically and emotionally speaking, I truly have been doing well since surgery. I've been surprised by my lack of sadness. I was sad and scared the day just before surgery, but from the moment I woke up from anesthesia I've simply felt relieved. Today, though, has been a struggle in a way I wasn't anticipating. Babies bring your body hormones and when that baby needs to be removed from your body, those hormones shift, and boy have they been a-shiftin' today. I tried to go to work, but after an hour I headed home. My exhaustion and my migraine have been kicking my butt this entire day. Also, my mind has started to entertain thoughts of the future, but it's different now.

I know I want more children. My pregnancies, births, and postpartum experiences with Eleanor and Beatrix were so healing for me. After trying to have a baby without success for a great while, and then losing our first baby, I was wrecked with fear and I wasn't certain my body could handle the task of having a baby. I know many women would wholeheartedly disagree with me, as their experiences are their own and not mine, but for me there has been no greater time than my first few weeks with my new baby. I accomplished this great task called childbirth and it was exhilarating. I felt such empowerment and strength after birthing my babies and in those immediate weeks that followed I felt so much pride introducing the world to my new child. I loved constantly holding my new baby, I loved changing my new baby's diaper, I loved nursing my baby, I even loved waking with my baby...sometimes.

Now, though, the process is tainted again. I cruelly joked with myself that I only have a 50% success rate carrying babies so far. While it isn't incorrect, it also isn't a healthy viewpoint. Fear has crept back into my life. I'm not sure how long Phillip and I should pause now. This recently lost baby was planned so perfectly. I was so pleased with how it all came about and how my postpartum experience would be even better this time around, but now that's gone and I can't make sense of what another time might look like. Will my next pregnancy end with a baby? When is the right time? Is there a right time? That damn 50% keeps ringing in my ears. I've spent time today really assessing this life of mine. My miscarriage was real, yet now it seems so long ago. My surgery was so recent, yet it doesn't seem like a part of my timeline. No one ever plans for things like this, but even now that it's a part of me, I still can't seem to quite accept it. Did this really happen? I just had surgery?! The worrying part is the closer I get to acceptance of this truth, the closer I creep to the fear of it all happening again. I know I should be content with my two amazing children, but when I consider the possibility of no more children, of straying from MY PLAN, my perceived happiness, my brow furrows and sadness overwhelms me.

This is the story written for me. I don't know the ending and I'm only just coming to terms with the middle plot. I am exhausted. I am uncertain of many things. I am certain, though, that during this very difficult past week, I have felt some of the most tangible love from people in every facet of my life. My coworkers, my family, my church family, my dearest friends, and distant acquaintances have blessed us in ways great and small. I suppose that is how I can continue to walk and make sense of even the most unsettling things in life: I have love in my life. I want a plan. I want to know all of the answers. I know that's not reality for any of us, though. There is fear and darkness, but there is also love and light. With time, and with help, I'm sure I'll feel the light's warmth.