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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Why I Tell/Break the Silence

Last blog post, I shared the miracle of finding my baby's heartbeat when it should have been impossible. It truly was a miracle. However, that following week I was spotting off and on, and by Sunday, I knew something was wrong. I ended up going to the ER, and during the ultrasound, we could not find a heartbeat. Baby was there, but it had died at 7.5 weeks. My heart was broken, to have gone through so much up and down with that pregnancy. But I had no regrets in telling everyone about it. I was so grateful to have the support and love to buoy me up. This past month has been one of healing, heartache, pain, and then peace. I am so grateful I have had so many people sharing words of encouragement and hugs and service. I have been in a good place the last week. January 18th was my D&C, and a few days ago it had been a month. I found myself feeling a sort of sadness mixed with peace. I longed for another child. I had taken a pregnancy test a few days before to find out it was negative. I knew I was too early, and the chances of me being pregnant that quickly was probably not very high, but I'm an incredibly impatient person. Thursday was the 1 month anniversary, and it had been about 5 days since my last pregnancy test. I had one left, so Friday I woke up and used it, even though I knew it would be negative. I had hope. And since it has always been so easy for me to conceive, I knew there was a chance. I had been expecting me period a couple days before, and it had not arrived yet. I sat there, looking at my phone, avoiding the results, not wanting to see only one line. When I finally looked, I couldn't believe my eyes...

I am so blessed and thrilled beyond belief to have another little soul growing inside of me. To have the privilege of loving him/her for as long as they need to live. I have always believed that a life should be celebrated, no matter how short or long it is. I've never understood why it is commonplace to hide a pregnancy till you hit that magic second trimester. What does that teach us? This idea feeds a few very harmful beliefs or thought processes. Now, speaking from someone who has gone through two miscarriages, here are my thoughts:

1. "The pregnancy doesn't count unless you reach the second trimester. It is not worth celebrating unless it is going to live past this time. Keep it to yourself until we all know your chances of miscarriage are much lower." This is absolutely heartbreaking. Why on earth should we not celebrate any pregnancy, no matter how long that baby lives? Does that life not matter if it only lives a couple months or less? Why can't we all rejoice in the miracle of conception? That in and of itself is worth celebrating. Why does a still birth mom receive more love and support than a miscarriage mom? Why does either life count more than the other, simply because of the number of weeks of gestation?

2. "If you do miscarry, no one wants to know. You need to suffer in silence. Heaven forbid you make someone feel uncomfortable and feel bad for you. If you're hurting, you hide it." This is such a harmful and sad way of thinking. The risk of postpartum depression is so much higher when you do not have the physical, emotional and mental help from a strong support system. And yes, even if you miscarry at 5 weeks, you are still postpartum. Hormones have gone up and down quickly, causing emotional and mental shifts that can trigger depression, especially without support. If a mother feels like she can talk about it, and that others are able to mourn with her and comfort her, providing meals or words of comfort, or watching her children and just holding her hand, THIS is what brings peace and healing.

3. If you feel that you would rather not share your pregnancy till the 2nd trimester, or later, that is entirely your prerogative,and completely ok. If you feel that you would rather not have to talk about your miscarriage, that you'd rather only a few people know to provide support to you, and if you feel it would hurt to have people ask about your pregnancy, and have to tell them you miscarried, then I completely understand, and support whatever you feel is most healing for you. This is ok. If this is how you feel, I'm so glad you know what you need. But if you feel this way because you are afraid of what people will think, or that your pregnancy isn't worth sharing, or if you can't talk about it, even if you want to, this is not ok.

I truly feel that mothers and fathers should be able to be excited and cherish and celebrate and share this miracle of life as soon as they want to. That it should be NORMAL, and WELCOMED, and SUPPORTED. And in the 20% chance that you do miscarry, or if you know someone that does, that those parents will be surrounded and embraced with all the love, kindness, and support that they need. And the awkwardness is gone. So if you are like me, shout out your miracle! I want to know, and celebrate with you! And I will mourn with you, and love you, and be here for you if and when you need me. And I will pray for you, and look forward to that day that you conceive again, or that you adopt, or that you decide your family is complete. You do not need to rejoice in silence, or suffer in silence.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Miracles and Magic

Miracles happen. They are very, very real. Nothing is impossible.

I have had an amazing, heart breaking, magical and miraculous, roller coaster of an experience. On December 11th, I took a pregnancy test that showed positive, I was amazed at how quickly this happened, since we had just started trying that cycle. Very excited, I went to have my first prenatal appointment on December 15th to discuss certain medications I was on and whether they would be safe to continue during the pregnancy. During that appointment, my midwife asked if I wanted to check my HCG levels, since I had had a previous miscarriage. She wanted to help me feel at ease about everything. I was grateful she was willing to let me check.

I had my blood drawn that day, and again 48 hours later. If the pregnancy is healthy and viable, your levels should at least double, more like have a 65% increase in 48 hours. My levels were not even close to doubling, This was not a good sign. So we decided to do an ultrasound to see what we could see. At this point, I was calculating that I was about 5 1/2  weeks along, according to my last period. We saw a gestational sac, but no yolk sac or fetal pole. And of course, no heartbeat. Basically an empty sac. This was also not good news. However, we determined that it could just be too early, and that we would do another ultrasound in a week.

 I had to go through the Christmas holiday not knowing whether my pregnancy was going to last. I did my best to put it in a box and not think of it until after Christmas. It was hard, but I was blessed to be able to enjoy Christmas.

 At the next ultrasound the next day, it showed no growth, in fact, the sac measured smaller than the week before, and was still empty. I also had my HCG levels checked again. Results were that they continued to rise, but not near enough. I found out these results while I was up at temple square with my family seeing the Christmas lights on December 28th. My midwife said she was 99% sure this was not a viable pregnancy. I knew I was losing my baby.

Now, I was faced with a big decision. I was going on a family vacation to Disneyland in just a few days, and I was worried about miscarrying while in California, away from my doctors and hospital. Possibly while traveling, or while walking around Disneyland with my kids. I researched A TON. I had lost a baby previously, but had opted for a D&C instead of miscarrying naturally. I didn't know what to expect. I found out it can be very painful, and lots of blood, and sometimes you have to go to the hospital because you lose too much. How hard would that be to have happen away from home?

I decided I wanted to get the D&C as soon as possible before our trip so I could start healing and not worry about it while I was gone. That day was awful, waiting for the call from my midwife to tell me when I could see an OB to schedule to procedure. I laid in bed, mourning. I was preparing for the D&C that day. I found out that I would have to see the doctor that day, but the D&C would not be scheduled till the next day. I just wanted it to be over with, Knowing the baby was not there, and not bleeding, just waiting for a miscarriage to happen was torture.

The hospital called and I was scheduled to go in the next day for the procedure at 12 pm. That evening, I went and saw my OB. He said he wanted to take just one more look on the ultrasound to make sure there was no baby. I didn't expect this. This was now my 3rd ultrasound. I should have been over 6 weeks. What came next, was very strange. He did find my empty sac, but right by it, was ANOTHER empty sac, that never showed up on the two previous ultrasounds!
This made things very bizarre, and confusing. There was still no baby, but the second sac presented more questions. My doctor said that what more than likely was happening, was that my sac collapsed, and split into two, and that I was close to miscarrying. But, there was also a very small possibility that I could have a disappearing twin, and that would explain why my levels were not as high as they should be, that it was throwing them off. He told me that he was 99% sure that this was not the case, and that if I wanted to he would do the D&C, but there was room for doubt, however little, The baby should have been seen at this point. There should have been a yolk sac at the very least, but there was nothing, No change in 3 weeks, no growth, except for this random second sac. KEEP IN MIND, this second sac WAS NOT there, just 24 hours before, in that second ultrasound. In just 24 hours, it showed up. This was crazy.

I didn't know what to think. I went home, and prayed. I worried and stressed. The night before I got a blessing, but it did not give me direct answers, except to trust and have faith that I would know what to do. I went to the temple the following day, December 30th.  I had the feeling that I should not get the D&C. Not because I felt the pregnancy was ok, but just that it wasn't right, yet. I decided to take my chances and go on my trip with my family, and hope and pray that I didn't miscarry while away, and I would readdress the situation when I got home. I planned to schedule my D&C as soon as I got home. I had to put those worries and feelings in that box in my brain again.

 Thankfully, I was able to. I had a magical, beautiful, perfect time with my family. Seeing the wonder and joy in my children's eyes was a dream come true. I literally cried on Pirates of the Caribbean because I was here, with my precious babies, experiencing the joy of seeing the magic through mother eyes. It was a moment I'd never forget. I was present. I was there. Occasionally I would think of the baby that more than likely would not be, but it didn't taint my experience. I was blessed.

We came home last night at 3 am. So very tired today. I messaged my midwife to tell her I was home, She said she was on call and could possibly get me in for another ultrasound today, since I really wanted to get the D&C done as soon as possible, so I could move on, and start trying again. Tonight, and 6 pm, I met her at the office. I was ready, and prepared for the result of losing this baby. I was at peace. I had mourned the loss. I had come to terms with it.

We first tried a normal ultrasound on the belly, but wasn't able to see anything. This didn't surprise me. So we did a transvaginal ultrasound. I waited, preparing to be told the sac was gone. It took a couple minutes. Then all of a sudden, my midwife turned the sound on...THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP...... THERE WAS A HEARTBEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
She turned the screen, and I saw the beating heart of my baby that WAS there! My head was spinning. How was this possible? My midwife was baffled. This didn't make any sense. We looked for the second sac, but we could not find it. Just the one, with the living baby, with a heartbeat, measuring 6 weeks 2 days. I should have been 8 weeks along.

Getting the positive pregnancy test as early as I did, and only being 6 weeks along makes no sense. Having a gestational sac that didn't grow at all for 3 weeks makes no sense. Having my levels be so off makes no sense. This whole situation goes against all the textbooks. It's impossible, BUT it's not! It's a miracle, I have a living, healthy baby with a beating heart that I never thought would beat. I am in shock, amazement and am truly grateful and blessed. I am grateful beyond belief that I did not have that D&C. I'm grateful for a mother's intuition, for the spirit, and for miracles. For opportunities to build faith.

It's very interesting that I seemed to be the 1% quite often. With Ethan's Vasa Previa, (birth story here) and getting pregnant with Sophia while fully breastfeeding, taking the pill on time every day and no postpartum period, and now this. I know for certain that nothing is impossible. That miracle and blessings and magic are real. Most of the time it doesn't happen, Most of the time you lose. Most of the time, life isn't fair, and there is no rhyme or reason to anything. But SOMETIMES, just sometimes, miracles do happen, Disney magic and dreams do come true.