Friday, January 23, 2015

Five on Friday (Baby #2 Edition)

As I said in my previous post, after an up and down year in the world of pregnancy and loss, Baby #2 is on its way. It's been a nerve wracking experience this time... just waiting for something to go wrong (that just sounds awful, but it's true). But each milestone, ultrasound, and successful appointment helps us breath a little easier, and start to be more excited than nervous.

Since I haven't posted here lately, I thought I'd devote this Five on Friday post to catch-up on Baby #2/the common questions people seem to want to know...

How far along are you/when are you due?
As of Sunday, I will be 16 weeks - so early in the 2nd trimester. Our official due date is July 12th (interesting factoid - my due dates have all been on the 12th of the month. Linnea was due August 12th (born on the 13th). The baby we lost was due on December 12th. This baby is due on July 12th). How's that for consistency??

When did you find out?
This part of the story makes me smile, and will always serve as a reminder for me to hold on to hope in what feels like hopeless situations. For those of you who have gone through pregnancy loss and/or waiting a long time to get pregnant, you will understand that you get to the point where your monthly cycle, timing of everything, and waiting game is just excruciating. (I fully acknowledge that my waiting game is NOTHING compared to others...but I fully believe that each person is on their own journey and has their own experience. I don't mean to offend).

I had definitely gotten to that excruciating point. The months were just a ongoing cycle of having my period, waiting for the right time, hoping we timed things right, and then waiting. I became obsessed with dates and timing and all of that.

I was so sick of waiting and then being disappointed. I got my hopes up every month, sometimes even being late for almost a week, and then being let down. I was so over it.

I also had a dream about taking a pregnancy test. No a whole lot of details that I remember...but there was definitely a pregnancy test involved. So on Halloween morning I woke up and decided I was just going to take a test. It was almost a week and a half before I would usually even test. I didn't tell Jeromy. I just took it. We had a fun weekend planned and I decided that I'd rather just know, and not be disappointed and sad in the midst of our weekend.

So I did my business, and then putzed on my phone a bit before I hopped in the shower, not even worrying about 3 minute wait, since I assumed it'd be negative. I glanced at the test as I got in the shower. "Positive" it read. And we're taking a digital no trying to decipher the pink lines. Holy crap. A wave of excitement and fear came over me. Don't get your hopes up. Don't get your hopes up...but how can you not? It's positive. But what if it happens again?

I took a shower, mind completely racing.

When I got out of the shower Jeromy was just getting up and coming downstairs. All I could manage to do was hold out the test and say, "So, this happened..." He got a huge smile on his face and gave me a big hug. I love this man. He's always so chill, "in the moment," and "take each thing in stride," that fear wasn't even an emotion he was experiencing in that moment. He was just excited.

Over the next couple weeks I took several more tests. I had started getting the digital ones that predict how many weeks along you are, which helped to boost my confidence and make me feel more reassured, because I'd see the number of weeks along go up. We also got to see the doctor early this time (in the 6th week) to confirm everything looked good. It was nice not to have to wait so long.

As I said before, each test, each ultrasound, each little milestone helps to feel more reassured. I think I will be a bit more on edge this time around because of what we've been through, but I suppose that's to be expected.

How have you been feeling?
I'm not going to lie. It's been rough. This pregnancy has been very similar to the early parts of my pregnancy with Linnea. Around week 7 the symptoms started - bad nausea (though no vomiting, thankfully), extreme lack of appetite, and terrible fatigue. Similar to Linnea, I've finally started to get some relief within the last couple weeks.

This time around, I did resort to medication. It's hard to know if it got to that point because it was that much worse, or because it was harder to deal with due to having to mama to a 3-year-old as well. For a couple months I literally could not make it through my work day without a nap over my lunch break. I left work/took PTO a couple times because I was too sick to be productive in my job. Although I prayed for months to be pregnant again, I'd be lying if I said that all of it was totally welcomed and easy. I don't know. It's an odd mix of emotion.

Anyways, in terms of medication, I started first with a mix of unisom and B6 vitamins (which apparently is a fairly well known over the counter remedy for morning sickness). That worked really well for a few weeks (as in I could survive the day, and actually eat a bit more than saltines or dry cereal), and then suddenly didn't (not sure if I build up some sort of immunity or if the symptoms themselves got that much worse). Either way, at that point I resorted to Zofran, which is a commonly prescribed medication for morning sickness (more traditionally used for patients with cancer, but found to provide relief in these circumstances as well). I've been taking all three for the last couple weeks, and am feeling better.

Again, it's hard to know if the little bit of relief I started to feel was because of the medicine, or because I was starting to lose symptoms. If this pregnancy is true to mine with Linnea it will be until about 18 weeks before I fully am back to myself - appetite-wise, energy wise, etc.

I would say I'm about 70%-80% most days. I'm not needing a nap in the same way that I have. While I can tell my appetite is still limited, it is starting to come back. I (knock on wood) have not had the really bad waves of nausea in a couple weeks. I'm getting a bit more energy back so that I do more than work and sleep.

My dear husband has been a saint. I know it's not easy for him. He's had to shoulder most of the Linnea care, all of the cooking, and most of the house work. Not only that, but it's a bit like he's lost his wife as well - at my worst I would go straight to bed when I got home, and only resurface to put Linnea to bed (if that). I know it's been hard, and I'm so thankful for how well he's managed to hold things together. Wasn't always pretty, but we made it.

What's Linnea's reaction been?
Seeing the pregnancy through Linnea's eyes, and watching her take on the role of big sister is something I've been REALLY excited about.

Before we told her about the baby, it was really hard. She didn't understand why I was eating, playing, or why I had to spend so much time on the couch or in bed. I know it worried her, but also probably just plain annoyed her.

We finally broke the news when I was around 11 weeks, which is earlier than I had planned (mostly because she's so talkative that I didn't trust her to keep the secret). Jeromy suggested we just tell her on one night when I was feeling cruddy (because she was so worried about me).

She seemed to at least sort of understand. She giggled with excitement, and asked some questions. I don't know if she REALLY understands the full extent of what's going on, but she does know mama has a baby in her belly and that she is going to be a big sister.

One really funny thing since we told her is that she has been convinced that she has a baby in her tummy too. It's a girl baby, and her name is Laura. She's even gone as far as telling me that I can have a boy baby (even though if you ask her if she wants a brother or sister she'll always answer sister) because she is having a girl baby. Fairly regularly she'll talk about Laura. Too funny.

Another thing that's been making me laugh... as I've started to show a little bit, Linnea will regularly greet me with, "Whoa, Mama! Look how big your baby has gotten." Oh honey, you have no idea! Just you wait.

She's been very sweet though. She asks to talk to the baby, and see the baby. She seems genuinely excited about the baby. I'm so excited to watch her become a big sister.

Pregnancy after miscarriage?
So admittedly, not really a question that people ask, but something I think people wonder about, and something that's played a big part in the experience this time around.

As I mentioned a bit above, it's been such a nerve wracking experience. With the first two pregnancies, I never assumed anything would go wrong. Sure, you always worry. You wonder if everything is okay. But you don't really think that it's not going to end well.

This time around it's been really different. The first several weeks I was more nervous than excited. I went to the doctor fairly regularly, just to make sure the baby was still doing okay. And I think if I'm honest with myself, each time part of me assumed that I would find out I miscarried again.

It's been just recently that the bulk of that worry has subsided. Now that the news is out, and that I'm in the second trimester, excitement is starting to take over.

I really can't fully explain the mix and mess of emotions. I've thought a lot about this. After I miscarried, I hated seeing anything pregnancy related. Any announcements on Facebook, conversation in passing, even seeing people pregnant. It felt (completely irrationally, I might add) like the world was mocking me. I vowed at that time that I would not complain at all about anything pregnancy related, I would cut way back on posting anything about my pregnancy, etc.

But then I got pregnant again. And started to let myself get excited. And I wanted to talk to people about it. I wanted to post a cute Facebook announcement. I wanted to reach out on social media to get advice about my pregnancy woes. Because that's what I was living. And I was - am - excited.

I hate knowing the other side of it. I hate knowing that my posts (including this one probably) make people mad, sad, or otherwise. I hate the self-loathing that sneaks up on me when I feel I posted too much..or maybe worded something poorly.

It's a hard road to navigate, friends. I'm not sure I have much more to say that will truly express the mix and mess of emotions.

Happy Friday, everyone! Thank you for reading.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Why I've been MIA...

So I've sucked with a capital S at blogging as of late. I've tried to keep at it, but I just haven't had the energy or capacity to do it (or at least do it well).

Those of you who follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram know the main reason why this has been the case, but in case there's anyone reading who doesn't (which is doubtful, because I think I have like 5 readers, but whatevs)...

Yup. After a very bumpy road this year in terms of pregnancy and loss, I am pregnant again. This time around has been very different...lots of different emotions being pregnant after miscarriage. But things are going well, and looking good.

Lots more on this to come, I'm sure...