Sunday, July 11, 2010

Home to wait and see

Yes readers, I am home. After 10 days at the cottage we are back to our real life again.

It sucks.

I wish we were always on vacation. Of course if that were the case it wouldn't be called would just be considered 'what we do'. Anyways...

We had a good time and the weather really cooperated. Always important when you are at a place with no cable and minimal shopping opportunities. Everyone here at home in our fair city probably thought the weather was "way too hot"...but it's great when you are living close to nature, doing nothing but planning out your next meal, and can go swimming in the lake any damn time you feel like it. I personally like the hot weather so I wasn't complaining.

We had some good times too. I took lots of new "Aidan's name" photos...see sidebar. I also went to see Eclipse (YEAH!!!), listened to music, swam almost daily, had a fire and roasted marshmallows, watched many movies (some good, some not so good), read a bunch, did crosswords, went for a walk, watched 10 sunsets, ate WAY too much junk food and perfected the amount of rum I had to pour in a certain glass that mixed with exactly one can of diet coke would ensure that if I drank it in a short amount of time I would end up pleasantly tipsy for at least a good half hour.

All in all a successful vacation.

My husband and I did however have a *teensy tiny* fight...that lasted almost two days.

What was it about? What would we let mar our otherwise awesome cottage vacation?

It was of course about getting pregnant...again.

I'll explain my husband's side first. He is of the opinion that we should wait the six months that Dr. K "recommended" before getting pregnant again. He feels that if we don't wait then we are risking our future child's health. To him this would mean actively trying NOT to conceive. ie: using condoms. There is no way I'm taking any kind of birth control with my history of prior hormonal issues. I will interject at this point that Dr. K. never actually said why it was important to wait...or what he thought waiting a six month time period would actually do. He never examined me nor asked if we had any concerns about waiting. I have no idea if the 'six months' applies to our situation directly or is just a thing put under the heading "how to answer the question of handling a subsequent pregnancy after loss" in medical textbooks. And unless I can get a hold of his e-mail address it's another 2 hour wait in his waiting room surrounded by pregnant women to ask. So I think not.

But when my husband said he wanted to follow the doctors advice and wait six months, it was like the band aid that I have so carefully applied to my dead baby wound was all of sudden ripped off. It was like hope died. I can't explain it any better. I was so SAD for the two days that we fought about it. I felt despair. It's not even that I have a lot invested in getting pregnant in the next 3 months. I know it may and probably will take longer than that (and I'll include it here but I'm loathe to admit it out loud...but it might not happen again, ever). Really I have a lot of stuff that I should get done in the next three months that might be difficult to do if I was know like finding a job I can tolerate going to after my first baby died. No one likes a new employee more who has to run to the bathroom to puke every half hour. Or I could focus on eating healthier. Possibly losing the (fairly) small amount of weight I gained during pregnancy number one. Maybe even take some time to do some of the art projects that I've been putting off. Or plan a trip. Etc.

I get his reasoning, but I just can't get with my husband's program. It would physically hurt me to even consider it.

My side is this: I completely agree with his logic...but I just can't go back to actively trying NOT to get pregnant. I just can't. There are many reasons behind this. All of which are very complex but in trying to pull them apart for you maybe I'll be able to understand them myself.

Reason 1) If I agreed to actively 'try not to get pregnant' then there would come a time when we were 'starting to try' again. And I would want it to happen IMMEDIATELY, just like I did the last time. And if it didn't happen quickly, then I would start to get nervous and get sucked into that black hole of 'what if it never happens again'. And I'm so tired of worrying. I worried all last year about my on-going spotting, then when I got pregnant I spent almost the whole time worrying about bleeding, fluid issues, and eventually how it was all going to end. I have lived over a year of my life in fear and I just can't face 'looking forward' to sometime after October 2010 to start worrying about it all again. I just want to forget about it and just let nature take over. And if we happen to have an 'oops' baby, that's fine. In fact I would love to just have an 'oops' baby. It would be so liberating at this point. I would love to walk into my doctor's office feeling 'ashamed' that I'm pregnant again so damn soon. Seriously, it seems so stupid now that I worried for almost ten years about having an unplanned pregnancy and now I would give my left eye for one. A healthy one, of course.

Reason 2) which kind of connects to reason one above. If I did happen to get pregnant before the aforementioned six month waiting period and it ended in a miscarriage (or worse) I feel like maybe I wouldn't be so attached. Like I could blow it off with a "well we weren't suppose to get pregnant this quickly anyhow..." I know of course that this likely isn't true...but maybe it would be? I guess I feel that if Dr. K and his six month wait could promise me any baby I conceived AFTER October 21 2010 would end in a perfectly healthy baby, and that any pregnancy BEFORE that would definitely, 100% not work out, then I would most certainly wait. But, no one can promise me that. Because how could I face it if I get pregnant in November 2010 and it ends in a miscarriage (or worse)? I know I would be thinking "what if I had gotten pregnant in August 2010...before we were supposed to, maybe that one would have worked out".

I think about this all the time. What if we hadn't waited until our "Europe vacation" of last spring to try to conceive. Would I have a sleeping baby upstairs right now (or a screaming crying one in my arms who I was begging desperately to go to sleep because damn it it's 11pm!!!)? What if we hadn't waited until the timing was 'perfect'. Would things have gone differently? I just can't be in control anymore. I can't wait until the time is 'perfect' and 'medically sanctioned'. AIDAN was perfect and medically approved...but it didn't do him any good.

Reason 3) I'm tired of waiting for a (living) baby. I feel I gave up a lot in my life already. I don't want to wait anymore. In my early 20s, I wanted to go to medical school. I wanted it BADLY. I was going to be a doctor and no one was standing in my way. But then I found university was hard and I chose courses that looked good on a transcript (my first year consisted of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus and Psychology, I know I'm a glutton for punishment)...but my grades posted beside them weren't always so lovely, especially in my first year or two. I would likely have to go to graduate school in order to get my grades up to the point where I could reliably apply to a Canadian medical school and hope to get in. So I started thinking about going to the States, or Europe. Some people I know actually did this. They are now finishing medical school. But by that point, I had met Brian. His life was here. My life was here. How could I go away and leave him and it?

Also at this point I started to understand my heart defect more. I started to realize that maybe my future health wasn't as certain as I had fact...maybe my expiry date was closer than any 20-something year old anticipates. Maybe a lot closer. And what if I waited until I was in my 30s, finally a doctor and ready to start my family....but my heart wasn't up the challenge? What if I put it off too long and my heart started to fail? It just seemed like too big of a risk to take.

At the age of 3 I remember going into our kitchen and announcing to my mom who was doing some mom-like chore that I was going to be "a doctor, a ballerina or a mommy". Her response was "you can be all three if you want to". Ha, ha (thanks for believing in me though mom!) But two decades later I realized a) no way in hell am I skinny enough or talented enough to be a ballerina and b) as much as I wanted to be a doctor AND a mommy, if I had to choose only one...I would choose being a mommy. It was a narrow margin at the time when I had to make the decision not to persue med school...but it was there. I never imagined my life without kids...but I could imagine a life without being a doctor. There, decision made, problem solved.

Until now...when I feel like the one dream I counted on fulfilling might not come true either...or at least not in the way I planned. Aidan will always be dead. Part of my family will always be missing. If I cannot have him back then I feel I deserve NEED his brother or sister. It is all I want. I do not want to wait anymore. I've waited and planned and done the 'responsible thing'. I'm tired of waiting for the future for my dreams to come true. So waiting even just 3 1/2 more months until this magical 6 month point just feels intolerable. I just can't do it.

So those are my reasons. And I'm sticking to them. And I think after two days of watching me live without hope, spirits stuck to my boots sandals, my husband just threw up his hands and relented. This is saying a lot. He is very stubborn.

He is scared. I get it. I completely understand it. I'm scared too. I don't want to watch another child die. But no one can guarantee us that waiting 3 1/2 more months will give us a different outcome. And no one can guarantee that it won't. I'm content to just wait and see. I just don't think I can handle having to wait...and then wait and see.

I'll have to make this question a two-parter because I don't want to pry in your business if you don't feel like sharing, and I LOVE getting comments, so I want everyone to be able to participate.

So questions for all: How do you solve problems in your relationship with your partner? Does one of you usually give in?

Question for those who feel like answering: How have you decided to handle "trying again" after your loss? Are you going with 'what the doctor said'? Or do you have other, completely emotional reasons for or against that are more powerful than anything written in a medical text?


  1. The waiting six months thing is based on the amount of time it takes for the uterus to completely go back to its pre-pregnancy, size, shape, and location, as well as for mom's body to recover, and rebuild nutritional stores. There's a lot going on that your body funnels into reproducing, and under that six month mark, subsequent pregnancies are at higher risk for complications to include preterm birth, small for gestational age, and stillbirth. The lowest risk time period (because risks go back up with large intervals, though that could simply be just because mom is older) is around 18-36 months between deliveries.

    Sorry to go all super-serious science nerd on you; but that's the reasoning for the six month wait as I understand it.

    I know, from having been in a similar position that the X amount of time to wait factor seems so incredibly daunting and interminable from the direction you are looking at it.

    There is no guarantee you will get pregnant as soon as you first try (Here I am still trying 8 months after we decided to go at it again) but all it takes is one time. The amount of time seems less sucky from the other side, time flies and all that, and while it certainly blows to be reminded of how long it's been and I still haven't gotten pregnant, waiting *IS* doable, if you choose to go that way.

    There never is a magic right choice; you could decide to wait the optimal 6 months, and then take a year to get pregnant, and you'll wonder if you should have just started sooner if it was going to take that long anyway, even though you know that's not how it really works.

    It comes down to what will you be most comfortable with. If you get pregnant right now, are those increased risks something you're willing to accept? They're not massive, but they're there? If you get pregnant right now, are you going to be too scared or too worried about the "risk" you took? That would be my concern for you; with everything else there is to worry about with trying again, only you can answer if it is too much worry, or if it is something you can handle.

    You will be in my thoughts, deciding when you are ready to try again is never easy.

  2. Your words spoke to my heart. This is so exactly where I am at my mind is spinning. I am waiting 4 months before ttc because I want to avoid being due in May again. There is my reasoning. No one has told me I should wait longer, but my midwife thinks 4 months is a better time to try than two or three months. The husband has not jumped on board the 4 month plan. Every time I bring it up he shies away from it. We are not talking about it for now. It's just too hard for him. So I have my heart set on the four month mark, or so, and he may put his foot down and then I don't know where I will be. Oh my, this post expressed exactly how I feel and it did such a good job of it I may just shut up for a little while.

    When you talked about wanting to be pregnant, wanting that oops baby, I am right there with ya sister. I want to be pregnant now even though I would be slightly ashamed for getting pregnant again so quickly.

    These decisions are hard. The question of whether or not there will be a second baby haunts me too. I hope you find peace no matter what you decide.

  3. Both of my Dr.'s told us we could start trying again with assistance at 3 months (which is approaching at the end of this month). My regular OB told us we could starting trying after the 6 week mark. So, that is what we ware doing now. But, since I don't cycle regularly, I don't expect anything miraculous out of this one.

    To work out our issues...I depends on what it is about as whether someone gives in, or if we compromise.

    I hope whatever you decide works out for the best! I don't think there is a right or wrong answer...You know when emotionally and physically you are ready to face this battle again.

  4. I'm going to my doctor tomorrow for my first check up after losing Jacob, so I don't know what she will say in terms of waiting.

    When I was in the hospital I asked her how long to wait. She told me to wait one regular cycle and another time she said I should take 5mg of folic acid for 3 months before trying again. There is no evidence that Jacob had a neural tube defect (no outward signs on his body), the IPS screening showed an increased risk, but there was still at 99.7% chance that he didn't have one. We get the autopsy results tomorrow, so hopefully we will find out then. I think another reason doctor's say to wait is they think it might be better for us emotionally. Personally, it would be better for me emotionally to be pregnant right away, especially before Jacob's due date.

    I've also worried about getting pregnant too soon, when my body isn't ready for it, and then losing that baby as a result. That would just put us back even further. I still want to be pregnant sooner rather than later though. Like you said, it could take awhile after we even start trying (it took 3 months with Jacob). I'm not looking forward to the disappointment every month when we find out that it didn't work. I also hate the thought of actively trying to prevent it, it just seems wrong to prevent something that we want so much. I spend enough years doing that already, waiting for the right guy, then waiting until we got married, then we started trying right away.

    Can't you call Dr. K and ask him why he said to wait?

    As for the problems in our relationship, usually one of us gives in. It is probably pretty even in terms of who does the giving in. I feel like I do it alot just to keep the peace, but looking back, I think it is about even. We compromise sometimes too.
    My Grandmother always said that in a relationship, both people think they are doing 90% of the work.

  5. Relationship-wise, I think we try to compromise, but there are certain things that we are both really stubborn about so there are also times when someone ends up giving in. (Like when I was ready to start trying to get pregnant with our first child)

    Before my 6-week check up, I was on the internet googling how long we should wait to try again. When I went for my 6 week check up, I total expected my doc to say "wait 6 months" (I had a c-section). Then she said while that would be the normal recommendation, she thought we would be fine to start trying as soon as my cycle came back. I then expected the husband to say he wasn't ready, but he said "I was ready to have another child before Reid was born, so I'd be happy if you were pregnant now". So we are actively trying and if it works I would be due just before Reid's "birthday" but I decided I could live with that because I would be scheduled for another c-section at least a couple weeks before the due date. I almost feel like I just want to get the TTC over with. It took 7 months to get pregnant with Reid and I am not impressed that we have to go through it again. (I know 7 months is not THAT long, but it felt like forever)

  6. As you well know, we were supposed to wait. And we fully intended to... and then we had the biggest surprise of our lives.

    I won't lie to you - getting pregnant before we were "supposed" to has added A LOT of anxiety in this pregnancy. A LOT. Is it worth the extra worry? So far it has been, because so far everything has been OK.

    If things take a turn for the worse... I think I will forever curse myself for not being more careful and waiting.

    That said, I TOTALLY get not wanting to wait. And it seems you've done a lot of thinking about everything. Plus, you and I have had totally different experiences regarding baby loss.

    It's all about the risks you are willing to take. And if you are OK with the risks... the only thing left to do is to go for it.

  7. We are trying again right away. It's been 9 weeks since Stevie died and we're on CD11 of my first cycle since having my period again (sorry if that's way too detailed, lol). My husband was asking when we could try again while we were still at the hospital, so we're definitely on the same page.

    Here's what my doctor said. She told me physically, my body is ready for another pregnancy after one period. She did a physical exam at my 4 week postpartum appointment and said my uterus was already back down to its pre-pregnancy size. She said a lot of doctors will tell you to wait 6 months because a) it's easier to date a pregnancy after 6 months because your cycles may be long/short/weird for the first few months post-partum, so it's harder to know when you ovulated (but now with ultrasound, they can date them that way...) and b) that's how long a lot of the textbooks say it takes to be "emotionally ready" after losing a baby, and doctors don't want to deal with an overly-anxious/still grieving patient.

    My doctor's exact words were, "Physically, you can start trying again after you've finished your first period. I'm no shrink, so I'm not going to tell you when you're emotionally ready, just make sure you are."

    Honestly, I feel ready. Andy feels ready. So we are just going to go for it and see what happens. I don't know why, but I have a feeling it's going to take a while, and I don't want to wait to try, then have it take months and months after that. I just want to be knocked up by Christmas. I don't think I could make it through the holidays otherwise!

    It's strange, Stevie was conceived "by accident" (using condoms--though we may have missed a couple times, lol). So actively TRYING to make a baby, rather than prevent one, is so weird to me right now. But the second I found out I was pregnant, I was ready to be a mom. It's weird that if I hadn't gotten accidentally knocked up last November, I'd be perfectly content not being pregnant for at least another 2 years. Oh Stevie, you sure changed everything :)

    Sorry for the rambling.

    I personally think if you want to start trying before the magical 6-month mark, you should go for it. But hey, I've never been one to follow all the rules :)

  8. Well, for us, the OB told us three months is all we needed to wait... because we are going to Las Vegas in that optimal third month, we are waiting until the 4th month. : ) Just so we can enjoy ourselves a little more in Vegas. But yeah, I mean, I lost V full term and we were told three months is just fine.

    As far as arguments with Adrian go, we usually talk and talk and talk until we compromise. Or he sees it my way. ; )

  9. my husband and i were told to at least wait one cycle before trying again, though at that stage i didnt want to have another baby, Bryce was everything to me and i didnt want to replace him, though my husband and i decided if it happens it happens so 4 months after the loss of Bryce i was pregnant again, and welcome to the world Jason he was born at 25 weeks though spent 88 days in hospital, he is my little miracle baby,

  10. here's the thing...aren't we all a little bit scared of seeing another child die? because that, THAT was horrible and it was our worst nightmare come true and it CAME TRUE WTF! and i think inside we are all going to have that inner monologue that "my baby could die" until, oh, they are like 30.

    this is what happened with me. i called the RE 10 days after my girls were born. i wanted to start again as quickly as i could. both he and my interim OBGYN said 3 months, but i had read 6 months. 3 mos s/p stillbirth, i wasn;t ready. i couldn't even think about all that we would have to go through to have another child and what that would mean for my sanity.

    i was a mess. i didn't seek out antidepressants until february and my girls died in october. we finally tried again in May and June, both BFN. both crushing and both made me miss my girls even more.

    i will tell you, however, that i have two (online) friends who both lost babies within a week of me. one at 5 months like me, and one full term due to placental abruption. they have both tried twice since october and they have both had miscarriages. i don't know if that makes a case for waiting, or if it's just a fluke, but seeing them go through what they did made me want to wait even longer.

    i do hope you and your husband are able to come to some type of agreement. these things are so hard to talk about and when everything is cloaked in grief, it is sometimes hard to talk about anything, much less these touchy issues.

    i wish you both peace.

  11. Emily if your Dr K is the same as my Dr K I think I have his email. I just had a quick look and I do have a note from him with the instructions to call locating if you need to get hold of him. I know I have his card somewhere.
    email me if you want the info, or moral support to call and get your questions answered. I suspect you are right the 6 month wait is kind of a line from the textbook and no guarantee of anything.

  12. EVERYTHING you said is EXACTLY how I feel. I was advised to wait 1-2 years because of the type of c-section I had as well as my "emotional healing after my loss" (according to the perinatologist) but one thing I KNOW is that I will NEVER heal from losing my daughter. There will ALWAYS be something missing from my baby or no baby. I absolutely do not want to wait the 1-2 years. I feel that it's just a time frame they give all mothers with c-sections (just in case) I don't think this is specific to my case. Anyhow my SO and I are constantly having those little fights about TTC. He's scared to death over losing another child and so am I, BUT he wants to wait and I don't...I can't (at least that's how I feel). I'm currently in school for my bachelors (used to be pre-med) but now have considered nursing school (to be a NICU nurse). When it comes to TTC everyone around me is just worried about me finishing school, but for me? I cannot imagine finishing school and then NOT being able to have children. That would kill me the most. I've always felt like I was meant to be a mother and I can't wait 1-2 years to try and get pregnant again. As far as my SO goes right now he is set in his ways and wants to wait but usually I get my way...eventually, and I will NOT wait that long to TRY...who's to say I will even get pregnant again? Who's to say I won't have more losses before I get to have a living child? It's just too much of a risk that I don't want to take.

    I hope you guys come to a compromise and get what you both want.

  13. it seems like so many doctors recommend different waits. mine only said 3 months - not from kenny's delivery, but from the post-partum appt. i only carried to 25 weeks, but i'm sure if i'd been at term, the wait would be longer. however, i've seen other women who've lost around the same time as me whose doctors only said one month. who knows? of course, i also don't have any heart condition, so i couldn't comment on that part of it.

    that said, our three month wait will be up in one more month. we are already not actively trying to prevent pregnancy. we're a little lazy with the condoms. as nice as a "surprise" would be, we're not expecting it, considering what we had to go through to get pregnant the first time. who knows if i'm even ovulating? once we're officially trying, we won't try on our own for more than three months. by that time if it hasn't happened we'll go back to the RE. SO not looking forward to that.

    but like you, i NEED a living child to care for. i NEED to be pregnant, and have something to anticipate, to hope for, to plan for. i NEED something positive to focus on.

    and as for the arguing - i feel like i give in and give up SO much, just for the sake of peace and moving on. but the thing is, ken feels this way too, and completely believes it. i have to remind myself that we are two different people with two different points of view. we simply see things differently, but when it comes down to it, we love each other and each want the other to be happy, and we both do a lot to make that happen.

    i am praying for rainbow babies for you, me, and all the rest of our babyloss sisters...