Grateful But Miserable

Yesterday I gave myself a Mother’s’ Day treat, attending Birth Without Fear Conference in Portland toddler-free. I attended last year and loved it. I really hoped to return this year pregant, and I was lucky enough for that to happen. But this is not quite the pregnancy I expected to come with at all. First of all, I never expected to be carrying a rainbow baby. Second, I never expected to be this miserable pregnant.

In November, I posted about how I had a miscarriage. As I mentioned, this totally blindsided me. I have no issues getting pregnant and already had a healthy baby. I never had much time to deal with what happened, I had to leave for babywearing training in Seattle the next day and was very busy after that. I became determined to get pregnant again as soon as possible, so I focused on that more than dealing with the loss. Two cycles later we got pregnant with this baby and I was happy…for the most part. I was happy but afraid. I waited for the 6 weeks 5 days mark (as far as I got with the miscarriage) to pass before I accepted mentally it was for real.

But do you know what also happened about this time? Hyperemesis kicked in.  There was no way I could get excited now. I was too busy trying not to throw up and die every day for months. I thought it will get better when I get to the second trimester—just get to 12 weeks I told myself. I thought all the nausea will go away and my chances of miscarriage drop way down, so I will be able to relax. Nope.

Guess what happened next? Shortly after I wrote my hyperemesis post, I went in for my another ER visit. I was having horrible stomach pain and they were concerned I had appendicitis. I got two bags of fluids, a Benadryl shot to calm my horrible headache, and a Zofran shot. Then an ultrasound to check baby and my appendix. But, she couldn’t find my appendix, so I got an MRI. Do you know how fun an MRI at 2 AM when you are exhausted and loopy from Benadryl?!?! I ended up just having extreme intestinal distress and I was told to just drink more water….great advice to someone who can’t hold down much.

A few weeks later, something really scary happened. I started to have slightly painful cramps. They were more than menstrual cramps, but less than contractions. It reminded me of the cramps I had the night my water broke with Jack, so I worried. I called my midwife who told me to rest and drink water to see if they stop. If I stayed laying down, they stopped. But as soon as I got up, they came back.

Jack assisting my midwife check my cervix
This went on for 2 days my midwife had me come in.  She became a bit concerned because I was 1cm dilated and had a lot of discharge she didn’t like. She took a vaginal swab and sent me for a ultrasound that day. I was so afraid. I had Jack with me so I needed to keep it together for him. I rushed to drop Jack with my mom and picked up Michael. I am one of those people who will totally lose it I panic so I just stayed calm and didn’t make it out to be a big deal to everyone. But I was so afraid. Terrified.

The ultrasound ended up being okay. I was very dehydrated so she couldn’t get all the pictures she needed. But my cervix was closed internally and high. I had a plenty of amniotic fluid and baby looked good. They could not confirm gender (we did genetic testing so we know it’s a boy). My midwife called a few days later to say I had a vaginosis and an irritable uterus. Neither is necessarily bad, but both can lead to preterm labor if untreated.Several more days of bed rest and more cramps plus antibiotics. And my parents went out of town so I couldn’t really rest like I needed because I had to chase Jack.

So, at 19 weeks pregnant , I spent an evening at my birthing center getting rehydrated for the FIFTH time this pregnancy. They couldn’t get a vein on me so they had to do it the other way. That’s right, they gave  me an enema. Took the needle off the IV and inserted the catheter right in my butt. I didn’t care though. My cramps stopped within minutes and I felt so much better. I’m in my second trimester, I’m supposed to be feeling the best my whole pregnancy right now and it’s only getting worse. And I am still worried that this constant getting dehydrated is going to cause real preterm labor. Now I am telling myself just get to 24 weeks, when most babies born early care considered viable. Then I can relax, hopefully.

I started to say to myself “I wish I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I am so miserable. I just want this over.” Then I realized the horror in what I said. I wished no longer be carrying my rainbow baby. I know this is not what  really meant, but even implying losing this baby was horrible to me. At this time, my best friend was afraid she would never be able to have children. She had just undergone exploratory surgery with fears should would lose both her ovaries and fallopian tubes (ended up only losing one of each). How could I say such things when she might never be able to have children period?!?!? I want to be clear that I want this baby with all my heart. I needed this baby. I am not ungrateful for this baby, I know how lucky I am to be pregnant and be able to have children. But I am miserable and still afraid.

At Birth Without Fear, there was a speaker on pregnancy loss. I debated the whole train ride to the convention center if I wanted to listen to it. I didn’t want to face my fears. I didn’t want to hear stories of babies who didn’t make it for fear I would actually lose this baby. I didn’t want to admit the horrible thing I said when I am lucky enough to be carrying my rainbow baby. Once I got there, and saw how many other women went into that session, I knew I needed to go. The speaker was Jessica Daggett, a Doula and a mom who has experienced two losses herself. She and other mom’s shared their stories. It was hard to hear at times and ramped up my fears, but it was also healing. It was healing to know she was afraid with her pregnancies after her losses.

Then later on in the afternoon was the harmony circle. I decided to sit at the loss group. Five other women, including Jessica, sat at the table. Each shared their stories, each one a little different, but all the feelings were the same. One mom was her in second trimester but afraid to enjoy it because she lost twin baby girls due to preterm labor. One had lost her baby in March. One was struggling with IV after having her one working tube wrongfully removed after a miscarriage.  One had a miscarriage from preeclampsia when she didn’t know she was even pregnant. But all of us felt fear, guilt, and sadness.

The greatest part was to hear them all say I was not a bad mother for not enjoying my pregnancy, and even hating it. And it’s okay for me to be afraid of losing my baby. The fact that I care enough to care that I hate it is proof. I want to repeat this:

It’s okay to not enjoy your pregnancy. Especially if you have hyperemesis or other complications.

It’s okay to fear loss. Especially if you have lost before.

But you need to deal with your emotions and not let them consume you forever. Please seek help from a professional if these feelings are interfering with your daily life. I have not gotten to that point, but it’s nice to know it’s okay to have these thoughts.

I am beyond grateful to have an amazing two-year-old and be pregnant with my rainbow baby on this Mother’s day. But I can’t wait until I am done being miserable.  Thank you Birth Without Fear, Jessica, and the other moms at my table for giving me the courage to write this post.

I Never Thought I Would Need A Rainbow Baby

This is not the post I wanted to write. I was hoping to announce that we are expecting our second child. I was hoping to talk about morning sickness, sore boobs, and how much it sucks to chase a toddler when exhausted. But I am not. Instead I am writing about having a miscarriage.

I know it sounds cliche, but I really never thought this would happened to me. I know that even though many women chose not to talk about it, it is a fairly common. I recall learning somewhere that as many as 1 out of 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. So, majority of women walking around on the planet experienced a pregnancy loss in their life. But this really blindsided me.

Jack was a surprise, we didn’t even have to try.  I had no major complications, everything went pretty good. I figured I wouldn’t have any issues having another baby. We got pregnant the first month we tried and it all seemed to go according to plan. I was so happy, so ready to have another baby. I was so happy to tell Michael, he was so happy too. I was happy to tell my two best friends. And, a few other friends and family as well. I figured we would do a big cute reveal in a few weeks to everyone else.

The day after telling people, I started spotting. I didn’t know that to do. I Googled “spotting in early pregnancy” and read that is was most likely a normal pregnancy symptom. So I took a bath and tried to stay calm. But something felt wrong. I woke up Michael (he works night shift now and sleeps during the day) and asked my mom to watch Jack.

We went to the ER. It felt like an out of body experience. This was not happening to me. I was seen quickly. Everyone was nice and took good care of me. But I was terrified.

I didn’t know what was happening. The doctor came in and asked several questions that I don’t remember. Then she said it. “Your pregnancy test was negative. You are most likely having a very early miscarriage. Probably a chemical pregnancy.” And I don’t really remember anything else she said after that. I didn’t need to know anything else at that moment. I was already devastated.

She handed me information on miscarriages and they discharge me. I think she told me to rest and take ibuprofen if I needed it. I was shaking so bad Michael had to help me get dressed. We drove home in silence. I felt very numb, I could not believe this as happening to me.

Mom hugged me when we got home and told me to go take a nap with Jack. I took him to our bed and nursed him to sleep. I held him tight and kiss his head. I tried to tell myself to be grateful to have a beautiful, healthy child. But that just made me feel more numb. I just went about the rest of my day—I didn’t know what else to do.

I hoped maybe the bleeding would stop and it was all not true, but I knew in my heart it was. I just wasn’t ready to deal with it yet. This was just horrible timing, I was leaving the next day for babywearing training in Seattle. I didn’t have time for this right now.

Michael asked if I wanted to still go, I said yes. I shelled out a lot of money for this training and needed this certification for my future career goals. Michael would have let me cancel the whole thing, no questions asked— even if it meant we couldn’t get our money back. But I knew I needed to go. If I stayed home I would have just moped around the house. Being around educated, strong women was what I needed. So I left bright and early the next morning.

About half way into my drive the worst possible song came on the radio. Sarah McLachlan, ” In The Arms of The Angel.” I lost it. I started bawling my eyes out and had to pull over for a while. Later, I arrived, got lunch, and went to my training. I tried so hard to pay attention and act normal, but inside I still felt numb.

That night I was excited to actually get a full night’s rest. But when got into bed, I felt so lonely without my husband and son.

I tried hard the next day to pay attention again, but I kept thinking about it. And thinking about it. And that night when I got home it was all I could think about. I went to work on some homework from the training and pulled out a wrap—the worst possible wrap. I have been eyeing  this Vanamo for months now, I loved it the moment I saw it. I got to borrow it for the night. I have been putting off getting it until I had more money.

But when I pulled it out, I realized it was covered in rainbows. A “rainbow baby” is a baby born after a miscarriage. Like the beauty that comes after a storm. Needless to say I finally accepted what had happened. I lost a baby. Yes, I was barely 5 weeks pregnant, but it was still my baby. A baby I really really wanted. I cried. I cried and cried.

I took the rest of the night to have some “me” time. Do some non-mom things.  I watched some Hulu, got a glass of wine, and took a long hot shower. I reflected on everything that happened in the past week.

I am glad that I told the people I did. I needed these people. I needed my mom to tell me it was okay to be hurt. I needed my best friends to ask me how I was feeling. I needed my other friends to tell me they are sorry. This is hard for me to get through, and it would have been crippling without others to lean on.

The rest of the training was easier to get through. I was so glad I went. I needed to company of compassionate, understanding women. Even though they had no idea what I was going through, listening to their stories and lives helped me more than they can understand.

I ended up buying the rainbow wrap. I kept it next to me in the front seat as I drove home, just in case a hard song came on the radio again, I had something to wipe my tears this time. I kept looking at it thinking how lovely it will look on Jack and I. And how lovely it would have been to wrap that lost baby in it. But most importantly, how lovely it will look on my rainbow baby.

It is important I mourn and deal with my emotions properly, but I need to remember that this is not the end of line. Majority of women go on to have healthy babies after a loss. Hopefully soon I will sharing the happy news that we will having another baby.