Shim Bean

No, that’s not a typo. It’s my lil pet name for Baby. I despise the term “it” and since I don’t know if he is a him or she is a she… shim. Bean comes from all the baby books that tell me “baby is the size of a jelly bean. Now the size of a kidney bean…”

Shim and I went to the Endocrinologist this morning. My A1c was up a little from the last time which didn’t surprise me. I’d given up hope at one point and figured why am I trying SO HARD? (I know, it’s good from my health… and depression is a bitch.)

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that my blood sugars were higher than I wanted and I didn’t really understand why. I’m really careful about what I’m eating, almost to the point of being too scared to eat. I heard the best reason ever. Hormones. The HCG level doubles every two days and the body becomes even more resistant to insulin.

We adjusted the insulin and decided I needed to be “boring”… I’ll give it a shot!

Same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Same cereal and milk. Sandwich for lunch. Etc. The fewer variables the better. At least until week 7, then the resistance drops and the sugars lower by themselves.

Weeks 7-14 are the most crucial, as in the highest chance of miscarriage because of blood sugars.

It’s time to be militant.

And to remember, no one hits the goals all of the time.

Shey said, “If they say they’re hitting their target numbers all of the time, they’re either lying or not diabetic.”

Land of Bland? Here I come.

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It’s Sinking In

He is gone and I am feeling it.

I put up my defenses right away, “I don’t want anyone to tell me they are sorry” I said. I thought it was because it wouldn’t do any good. I wouldn’t know how  to respond… I know? I’m sorry too?

But now I’m wondering if it was a way to avoid feeling the sadness. Avoid spending time with it, understanding it and ultimately letting it go.

“What’s the big deal, anyway?” I thought. He hadn’t been born and I knew the odds were not on my side. “I shouldn’t have even gotten my hopes up”, “I should’ve known this would happen”. That’s what’s been playing on a loop in my head.

Yesterday I had my writing class. The last group of people I told I was expecting and now the last group I’d have to tell “I lost him”.

It went ok. It started out ok. And then, the prompt. To write a letter to someone. Anyone. A part of ourselves even. I started a letter to my guilt. The growing guilt I had over “should haves” and “if only”. The guilt that would not bring Noah back and more importantly, wouldn’t bring me back.

The tears started and grew with each unwritten sentence. I sat there, pen poised above paper and let the tidal waves rage. (Thankfully there were a couple of other people who had allergies, so that helped make it seem like my crying wasn’t such a big deal).

Then I forced myself to write. Dear guilt, you may have been invited but now you are being asked to leave. You are not helping. I need to grieve and you are only impeding that effort. I don’t like you anyway and I don’t want you hanging around just in case, in moment of weakness, I call out your name. Noah is gone, for whatever reason. He was meant to be here and I believe, he did what he came to do. Even if I don’t understand it, I accept it. I signed my goodbye and forgot about it until now.

 

The rest of class went well and I received lots of love, hugs and support. I even repressed the urge to shut people down, letting them express their sorrow for my loss. I took in their kind words and the heartfelt looks of kindness on their faces.

I drove home and wondered how, with all this support, can I feel so completely alone?

I fell into bed and sent out a text. “I am here” was the reply. It was all I needed and went right to sleep.

I woke up later with an ache in my chest… one that is slowly replacing the fog in my brain. Losing someone hurts, it don’t wish it on anyone, though I think it would hurt more to have lost them and felt nothing at all.

Or as Kelly Bundy on “Married with Children” once said “it is better to have loved and lost than to never have seen Lost in Space”.

I like this better though:

“Believe me, it is no time for words when the wounds are fresh and bleeding; no time for homilies when the lightening’s shaft has smitten and the man lies stunned and stricken. Then let the comforter be silent; let him sustain by his presence, not by his preaching; by his sympathetic silence, not by his speech. Afterward, when the storm is spent, he may venture to open his mouth; afterward, when the morn has dawned, he may seek to “justify the ways of God to man”, for afterward the sufferer will be prepared to hear, and afterward the sufferer himself may be able to extract sweetness from bitterness, music from mourning, songs from sorrow, and “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” from the root of wretchedness and woe.”

George C. Lorimer, Isms Old and New: Winter Sunday Evening

And I think I am getting there.

To acknowledge him, is to acknowledge the potential & the loss of him. And in admitting the loss and the hurt that goes along with it, I am bringing myself closer to the people who will help me heal.

Looking for a new wallpaper the other day, this popped up:

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Thank to whomever brought you to me.

Little Boy Loved

“The Little Boy Lost” is a simple lyric poem written by William Blake. This poem is part of a larger work entitled Songs of Innocence.

Father! father! where are you going?

O do not walk so fast.

Speak, father, speak to your little boy,

Or else I shall be lost.

The night was dark, no father was there;

The child was wet with dew;

The mire was deep, & the child did weep,

And away the vapor flew.

The Little Boy Lost begins with a boy walking behind his father and asking the father to slow his pace so he does not get lost. In the illustration that accompanies the poem, the child is actually following a dim light (referred to in the poem as a vapor). Night comes and the little boy is lost walking in soggy ground, covered in mud, and weeping as the vapor flies away from him.

 

Little Boy Loved

On Friday, April 15th, I lost my baby at 16 weeks and one day.

I went in for a routine check-up, scheduled every week, due to my high risk status. The tech asked how I was feeling and I responded, telling him I felt better than last week – I think the morning sickness was finally done! He smiled. “That’s a good thing” he said.

I usually looked forward to these appointments. It was always completely amazing to me to hear that tiny, wild little heartbeat… from his chest, from my belly… Today was different though. I was scared.

The past couple of days I’d been uncomfortable, in pain. That was part of my struggle. With the fibromyalgia, I’m not sure how much pain I’m in… every physical sensation in heightened and sometimes when someone does something as simple as lightly pat my back, I end up in tears. I didn’t want to go in over every little ache and pain… it was probably nothing.

I had experienced some cramping but no bleeding or spotting. I was doing everything early. Braxton Hicks (uncommon but not unheard of in the 2nd trimester) contractions made an appearance and I worked myself up over them. Convincing myself this was it. I was going to lose him. I’d felt them last week though and the ultrasound showed he was healthy and even sucking his thumb!

I told myself I was being paranoid. “I’m only thinking this way because there were so many complications with Tayla’s birth”. Before that, I had an ectopic pregnancy. For the first time, I’m realizing infertility is more than just being able to get pregnant.

Take deep breaths and “enjoy everything that comes along with new life, including morning sickness, excessive tiredness, kicking and sometimes cramping” I told myself.

I had felt him moving, even though I thought it was too soon for me to be feeling anything. Since I am diabetic, he was swimming in sugar and was already big boy. “It’s possible” the doctor assured me. Sometimes, I imagined his tiny foot, sliding along the inside of my belly, like a blind man feeling and exploring his way along the walls of his house.

I tried to smile as I stared at the tech, waiting for him to point to my baby and say “There he his. See? Looking good!” I studied this man’s face and saw his concentrated expression fall into a frown. “What’s wrong, is he hiding from you?” I asked. “I’m sorry. There is no heartbeat.”

I took a deep breath and remained calm. “Are you sure? This happened once before, with my daughter and she’ll be 13 in May.”

“I’m sorry” was all he could say.

“I want someone else to look” I said.

He didn’t argue or try to talk me out of it. He just nodded and quietly left the room.

I put my hands to the sides of my swollen stomach and said “Noah, I know you don’t know all the rules yet but a big one is showing up on the monitor, with a heartbeat. I’m your mother and you have to listen to me. It’s kind of the law…”

My tech returned with my doctor who took over the Doppler, sliding it through the cold gel before confirming what I’d already been told.

“Not only that but there is a small leak in …” I didn’t turn to look. His words felt far away and I kept my focus straight ahead and nodded.

We’d named him Noah David and although he wasn’t planned, he was a very wanted and special surprise.

How could this have happened? I asked myself over and over again despite knowing how many factors there were and how they worked against me. I made it so far… I was out of the first trimester, as if that were some sort of guarantee.

I hadn’t wanted to tell people about the pregnancy. Not family or friends, not even my husband. I didn’t want to have to tell people… in case he didn’t make it.

I’m so grateful I shared the news of his presence & elated to have everyone share in the joy of possibilities.

The whole experience has been surreal. I didn’t even find out I was pregnant until I was 12 weeks… Already done with the first trimester!?!? Then, consulting with doctors and forming a plan. Four weeks of checkups, bloodwork, ultrasounds… finding out his due date was to be my grandma’s birthday. I heard his heartbeat and felt him stir. He had a name and a face…

As I left my last appointment, I got into my car and promptly drove into a wall. I immediately remembered the nurse telling me not to drive… I was in such a fog. I slept a lot and laid amidst a pile of “I’m sorry”s, thinking/feeling nothing.

It didn’t seem real. Any of it. And I think that was what was playing a major role in “healing process”. If I didn’t cry, it wasn’t real. Yesterday my sister sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers… “Words cannot express the hurt I feel for the loss of Noah. Hope these will bring some beauty into your world at such a time of sadness. I love you with all my heart.” And the tears finally came. It wasn’t on the heels of finding out the news… it was unexpected. It was so very personal. It was knowing I wasn’t alone… (even though I know I’m not alone- my head and heart don’t always agree) and there was no pressure to respond. Just someone sharing in my grief.

It’s been almost a week and a half since he left. I needed time to process before sharing the news. I was dreading this post, as I’d hoped (and expected) to bring you all along on the journey.

I still plan on doing that. Writing about the grieving process, how the three of us (husband & daughter) are dealing with it, maybe making a memory box for the ultrasound pictures… That’s how I will get through.

And maybe that was part of the lesson he taught me. I can be with my emotions and not numb out. I had more than a couple of thoughts of drowning my sorrows in alcohol. I desperately wanted an escape. I blamed myself for not going to the doctor sooner. Not bothering the clinic with every. single. hiccup. This was my fault and I should be ashamed.

“That’s bullshit” said a woman whom I haven’t known very long but already consider a friend. She has her own issues with pregnancy & loss and blogs about it. She is working to take the stigma out of it…it’s working.

Noah, I love and miss you and will continue to do so until we meet.

 

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Oh Baby!

By the end of next month, my “baby” girl will be 13 years old. Thirteen?! Years?! Sigh. It feels like only a few years ago that I heard her heart beat for the first time and marveled at how the fast pace mirrored my own excited rhythm. It certainly couldn’t be more than a decade since I first saw her grainy image grow from a single black dot to a tiny, tadpole like shape before a fully functioning human being. A mini-me that not only survived a traumatic birth via emergency C-section but endured by test after test, surgery after surgery before coming home to live with us and all of our ineptitude. We relied mainly on instinct (and a ton of calls to the nurse line) to keep her alive longer than a goldfish or houseplant keeping our fingers forever crossed… I can’t believe how much she’s grown. Sometimes I still can’t believe she’s here, that she’s mine. One of the few things that reminds me this is not a dream is when the ultrasound tech asked Don & I if we’d like to know.

“Know what?” I asked.

“The sex of the baby” she replied.

“Yes!” we both said.

“You’re having a little girl” truth be told, I can’t remember if she said it exactly that way because Tayla was NOT a little girl… Born premature, she still weighed 6 lbs, 8 oz and measured 19 inches.

The tech pointed to the screen, “see, it’s not just the lack of a penis that tells me it’s a girl, you also have to be able to identify the ovaries. Annnnd there they are!” She beamed like my baby’s ovaries were something the tech had been working on for months and finally unveiling for the first time, for our approval.

“My baby has ovaries” I thought. What a personal thing to say to us. How embarrassing for her… it’s a good thing she can’t discern words yet. I mean, I know women have ovaries and it stands to reason that we are born with them but she’s not even fully developed yet! I don’t know how I thought she’d get them… maybe order them off of Ebay? They’d arrive sometime after puberty, possibly in a pill form? Maybe a suppository? I don’t know, the whole thing seemed so strange to me.

Here I am, nearly 13 years later with the same unexpected news…

I have been on birth control for years, so I haven’t had a period since… I can’t remember the last time and several weeks ago I found out I am pregnant again!

I had been tired and sick for weeks with no sign of getting better. Had some tests done and SURPRISE!

“Is this baby flicking me off?” I asked the ultrasound technician. “Don’t you start giving me an attitude this early, you hear me baby?”

“Um, no. You’re having a boy.” She said.

“Ohhh, then I guess that’s not a finger?” I asked. “You’ll fit in just fine baby” I whispered to my belly.

Judging by his size and other various bits of information, I am 15 ½ weeks along and Noah David is due on September 29th, my grandma’s birthday.

I am so excited and pretty scared too. I wanted to keep it on the down low until I’d hit a viable gestation period but I don’t want to give into my fear & superstitious-ness. I made it through the toughest part, the first trimester. I am however considered high risk, for many reasons. Any pregnancy after age 35 is considered a “geriatric pregnancy”. This is the medical term. Seriously? You don’t think pregnant women are emotional enough? Gee, I feel as big as a house, I cry at nearly everything and now you’re going to add the fact that I’m too old to safely have a baby? Don’t forget to lecture me about giving birth to an orphan! Assholes.

Another reason are my health conditions. I am diabetic. I have arthritis. I have a thyroid problem called Grave’s disease along with high blood pressure and depression coupled with anxiety. I think I must be the equivalent of an intense game of Jenga…

I am being closely monitored though. Weekly, actually so at the first sign that something is not right, we’ll be able to catch it. Still, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed!

Ps. I know this was supposed to be Slapstick Sunday, and it turned out to be more of a slap on the back/pee on a stick Sunday… I hope you got a chuckle out of the post anyway!