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.

it’s time

A long 39 day cycle later, it was finally time to return to my RE’s office to see if my cyst was gone, and check how my uterus had healed after my hysteroscopy. I had been anxiously waiting for this day after the setback last month when I learned of the cyst and was told to delay trying. Every day, as I would count my cycle days, analyze my temps, and try to guess when I would get my period again, I would also do a silent tally of the number of months since the last miscarriage. Seven. Seven months of doctors appointments, testing, surgeries, and perhaps worst of all, waiting. Seven months, after experiencing a particularly arduous year, felt excruciating. 

When I finally scheduled the return visit to the RE I hung up the phone and quickly returned to my day, as I was in the middle of a deep house clean preparing for my mother’s visit the next day. In the middle of a particularly rigorous Swiffer session, I felt a sudden swell of emotions build up inside of me, and I fell short of breath. My body was having a reaction independent of my own positive mind frame. My body remembered. My body remembered that I never seem to get good news at these appointments. My body remembered that this journey is like swimming against the current, the baby continually just out of our grasp, as we keep fighting for air and to stay above water.  My body was bracing for another setback, and started grieving the setback before it actually happened.

All I could do was cry, feeling completely overwhelmed by it all. Even if I were to get good news, I knew what that meant also. Time to throw myself back into what had caused all this devastation in the first place.

I showed up at my appointment the next morning already deflated, ready for disappointment. I had felt anxious all morning, which had slowly morphed into a disinterested hopelessness by the time I reached the ultrasound room. Go ahead and give me the bad news. Tell me that we have to wait longer. That I’m still not ready. That this baby thing just is not going to happen now. I already know what’s coming.

“Left ovary looks good…..Right ovary looks great!”

My cyst was gone. I was healed. My uterus was septum-free and ready.

The rest of the day I felt different, like we had entered a new era. After putting a baby on hold for seven months, I had settled into that reality. But those seven months are officially over. And I could finally revel in a little bit of cautious hope.

I’ve become so familiar with the emotional ups and downs that sync with our cycles. The hope, the anxiety, the disappointment, the despair, and then the hope again. I had been on my own giant seven month cycle, and experienced this same spectrum of emotions. But finally, I had entered the moment of optimism. That just maybe this will be our month. That just maybe this could actually happen.

My mom arrived that day, to stay for a week to help my brother and sister-in-law with their new baby. After my doctor appointment we drove to their home, and I watched as my mother teared up as she nuzzled her first grandchild for the very first time. We all sat around, watching this tiny newborn’s every move, as all the mothers talked birthing and babies.

I sat there, safe in my own bubble of hope, giving silent thanks for my good news that morning. Knowing it would have been a heart-wrenching day had I been told anything other than what I had received. 

Despite the fear, anxiety, and uncertain expectations, it’s time to try again.

the dreaded ultrasound room

I walked into my RE’s office this morning thinking we would finally get the ok to start trying again. I actually felt a little excited. Six long months since our last miscarriage, and six long weeks since my uterine resection. My RE wanted to do an ultrasound to see how my uterus was healing.

She told me we shouldn’t try this month and we needed to wait.

And then I remembered that ultrasounds only bring me bad news.

Apparently, all the hormones I was taking to help expedite the healing process had left my cycle a little wonky. And she found a small cyst on my left ovary. She thought it would be better if I had one more “natural” cycle and then take a look again. Hopefully the cyst would be gone by then, and my uterus would be clean and ready. 

I had been conflicted about starting to try this month anyway, and on one hand it was relieving to have my RE make the decision for me. I knew it would be better to give both my husband and me another month to heal from our surgeries. We would be that much stronger. I also realized that if we got pregnant this month it would coincide perfectly with our first pregnancy one year ago. We conceived Memorial Day weekend. Found out we were pregnant a few weeks later on our one year wedding anniversary. And then we miscarried in early July, on the exact day my brother’s baby is due this year. 

I couldn’t help but feel I wanted to shake off those tainted dates, and have our next pregnancy claim its own fresh timeline. 

But despite that, my appointment today left me completely deflated. Ultrasounds make me sad, that cursed, grey screen a constant messenger of bad news. On those screens I’ve seen a tiny embryo, its lagging measurement a harbinger of its inevitable death. I’ve seen an empty gestational sac, and then another empty gestational sac a few weeks later. I’ve seen that I have a malformed uterus, and learned I was unlikely to carry a pregnancy to term without surgery. And now, once again, I’ve seen an empty uterus, still not properly prepped for pregnancy. I realized that the ultrasound screen is a trigger for me, and after not hearing exactly what I wanted to hear today, it took me back to grieving all the bad news that its heartless monitor has ever shown me.

I laid in the room today staring at the screen wondering how I would ever face it once I got pregnant again.

And now another month of waiting. Throughout the process of getting tested and the procedures we’ve needed, I’ve felt like pregnancy was slipping further and further from my grip. Every test required time, every procedure required prepping and healing. It took us six weeks to even schedule my husband’s varicocele repair, which on top of the 3 – 6 months of healing time afterwards added to a feeling of utter despair. Every time I hear we need to wait even longer I feel completely, and utterly helpless.

I have no control. Even after all this, it is still just so hard to accept.