my tiny dancer

After my big panic moment last week, I decided to spend this following week choosing to believe everything was ok. I still battled moments of worry and concern, and the inevitable thoughts of panic would enter my mind, but I decided to let them have their momentary space and then I chased them away. I managed to stay relatively calm until my ultrasound yesterday, when all the inevitable nerves came flooding towards me.

Little babe measured 9w3d and was dancing up a storm. The baby was so active that even the nurse and doctor were laughing. Little arms flailing around, looking like a video game avatar from the 70’s. My husband proceeded to imitate the little one’s frenetic dancing for the rest of the day, for my endless amusement.

And with that, graduation time. I’ve been officially released from my RE and will visit a regular OB for a scan next week. I love my doctor and the entire staff and am so sad to go even though I know it’s a great thing to be released. I’ve never encountered a doctor’s office that was so organized, compassionate, friendly, and as well run as this one. My RE has been amazing and I wish she were the one that could deliver my baby. 

Saying goodbye felt surreal. My entire journey flashed before my eyes as I hugged my doctor goodbye. I felt elated to be moving on with such hope, but I still carry the baggage from the past two years. I felt like crying and I didn’t know if it was from happiness, feeling overwhelmed, or saying goodbye to such an intense chapter. The idea that I could become just another normal pregnant lady sitting in just another regular OB’s office was hard to grasp.

After the scan, I finally got the guts to walk into a maternity store, to buy a much needed belly band. My pants no longer fit comfortably, or at all. I perused the store awkwardly, feeling like a fraud. As I left with a giant “A Pea in the Pod” shopping bag, which included a free welcome gift of baby bottles and gadgets and coupons, I tried to breathe through my feelings of discomfort and imagine myself as normal. Someone who’s not afraid that what they just purchased will serve solely as a reminder of what was lost should something go awry. Someone who’s feeling a normal swelling of the belly for 9-1/2 weeks pregnant and needs more comfortable clothing. I left the store with my giant bag and as I walked down the street, on another sunny, warm California day, with Christmas carols playing on the streets as if coming from the skies, I put my hand on my belly and thought, just enjoy this moment.

8w3d and a major panic attack

On Friday night, I started getting cramps. I have felt many twinges, pulls, and the odd pain here and there, but these cramps alarmed me. A shooting pain that felt like my uterus contracting, occurring every few minutes, which continued for most of the night. I cried myself to sleep, thinking it was over.

On Saturday, I felt so nauseous that I managed to convince myself everything was ok. On Sunday morning I threw up. But after that, I started to feel better, my nausea abating to the point I started to fret again. As I felt better and better as the day went on, the knot in my stomach and dread I was feeling got worse and worse. By nighttime, I was convinced. Between the cramps I felt on Friday and the loss of my symptoms, I went into a total spiral of despair. I was 100%, without a doubt convinced it was over. I laid in bed with my husband and cried. “This is bad. I really think this is bad. I’m not nauseous!! Why aren’t I nauseous?!” I couldn’t believe I ever had the audacity to complain about the morning sickness. It was such a beautiful thing! And I desperately wanted it back. 

My husband took my face in his hands. “Avocados. Scrambled eggs. The smell of the refrigerator…” He continued listing all the things that had turned my stomach and sent my running for the toilet the past few weeks. I laughed at first, which quickly turned to more tears. “It’s not working!!” I said in total despair. 

On Monday morning I woke at 5:30am to use the bathroom, realized I still didn’t feel nauseous, and continued panicking. I cried in bed and couldn’t fall back asleep. I felt crippled with dread; I couldn’t imagine going through another loss. I had come so far in my healing in the last year and I didn’t want to start over, having to face all those complicated feelings again, having my heart ripped out, having to start the grieving process all over again. Incredibly quickly I slipped into a dark place, unable to even think about having to function or face my day. I called my RE as soon as the office was open and begged to move my Wednesday ultrasound to as soon as possible.

By 10:15am I was in the ultrasound room holding my husband’s hand, heart pounding, stomach in knots. I believed with everything I had that our little babe’s heart had stopped beating. That Friday night’s cramps was a harbinger of its demise, and the lessening of the nausea was just confirmation. I tried to prepare myself for when I had to hear those horrible words come out of my doctors mouth: I’m sorry, but there is no heartbeat.

But by 10:30am, we heard that beautiful thumping sound again. Our little one’s heart was still beating. I felt shock and relief wash over me, and then I just cried. I couldn’t believe what I had just put myself through. I had never felt so insane, so damaged. My sweet RE has probably seen this over and over in patients with a history of loss, as she seemed to almost expect it. Even with her packed schedule, she told me she knew she had to squeeze us in. “You’ve been through a lot,” she told us, and gave me a hug.

Our babe measured 8 weeks, 2 days (according to my LMP I should be 8w1d) with a heart rate of 164. And our baby is finally starting to look human-like, with a giant head and two tiny feet, somewhat resembling a misshapen sour patch kid. My husband and I couldn’t stop giggling at how cute it was. We are so used to only seeing a lentil-sized blob on our ultrasounds, and never had anything develop beyond that. Seeing it actually look like a baby blew our minds. “OUR BABY HAS A F*CKING HEAD!!” my husband texted me later, “I need some time to process this” he joked.

I realized too, that on Thursday I started taking B6 to help with the nausea. I had low expectations of it actually working, but thought I would try it first before moving on to other drugs. I have no idea if that is why my nausea has subsided, but if it is that means that I basically begged my doctor for something to help my nausea, and then when it worked I went into a tailspin thinking I was miscarrying. Which again, makes me feel like a crazy person. 

As I thought back on my meltdown, I realized that with my first two pregnancies, this is when they ended.  We’ve never really made it past 8 weeks. I hadn’t been thinking consciously about that, because even with our first ultrasound we measured larger than we ever had before, so I feel like we’ve already surpassed the first two. But somewhere within, I was aware, and the timing signaled to me that this one was coming to its own end.

But nope, not yet. Our little one is a fighter.

a heart still beats

Thank you for all the sweet wishes yesterday, when I was a nervous mess! The ultrasound today went well. The little babe’s heart is still beating at 154 beats a minute and is growing right on track. Right now, it’s looking like we are 7 weeks 3 days, although each time my doctor measured she got a slightly different measurement. I know there is a lot of variability in the beginning, so I will try not to obsess too much about that one…if my doctor is pleased, then I will try to be pleased!

Our next ultrasound is a week from Wednesday. Already, we’re measuring bigger than we ever have before. I have morning sickness which I’ve never had. And we’ve had two good ultrasounds, which we’ve also never had. I’m still afraid to get too far ahead of myself, but I am hopeful. And that hope feels very surreal.

Keep growing, my little love!

nerves, naps, & nausea

The elation and optimism I felt after last week’s successful ultrasound lasted exactly 48 hours. Since then, I’ve been bouncing between total terror, all-consuming nausea, and sheer exhaustion.

This is my first foray into morning sickness, which I didn’t have with my first two pregnancies. I might have had a bout of mild nausea here and there, but I think it was mostly a product of wishful thinking. This time around, I’m nauseous all the time. It wakes me up in the middle of the night, and makes getting up in the morning a monumental task. I’m having food aversions to literally every single food. I can barely walk into my kitchen without gagging.

I am grateful for the nausea and it is without a doubt reassuring, although not as much as I would have thought and hoped. And in the rare moments when the nausea lessens, I completely panic, and a feeling of impending doom takes over. Sometimes I feel like I’m walking around with a secret. When my close friends and family continue to be optimistic and excited about this one sticking, I respond with a smile and feigned enthusiasm. But there’s a little nagging feeling in my gut that makes me feel like I know something they don’t know. A nagging feeling that tells me that this one may not last either.

I know the morning sickness is the best possible thing I could be experiencing right now, but ironically it’s part of what’s making me feel so overwhelmed. When I don’t feel well, I have a harder time tackling life and staying strong. I need physical stamina to have mental stamina. But right now, I want to vomit and then take a nap and wake up in about 6 weeks.

Tomorrow is ultrasound #2. Once again, I am terrified. It is so hard to imagine things going as it should when that’s never been your experience. To hear a heart still beating, to see an embryo still growing…please may we be introduced to that phenomenon tomorrow.