Sunday, January 30, 2011

Telling Someone

I hate to admit it, but I'm not excited about telling our families or friends about all. This has nothing to do (of course) with being sad about being pregnant. I am grateful, happy and not taking it for granted. (Very very happy. Very very grateful. Keep growing Acorn!!)

So why wouldn't I want to share that?

Why wouldn't I want to relish in the joy of others?

I remember promising myself way back when, that I would try to celebrate the next baby more. I was sad I didn't do more celebrating with Aidan, and maybe if I had, people would have been sadder too when he died. Not just for us, but for themselves. That they missed out on meeting Aidan and watching him grow up. It is never a bad thing when many many people love your child. Love makes children's lives richer, fuller, better....

So why am I so reluctant to even squeek out the words "I'm pregnant?" (I can barely even talk about it with medical professionals without feeling uncomfortable...)

To psyche myself up for eventually telling my family, I decided to tell a woman at work after our ultrasound last week. This is the woman that I work every shift with and she drives me home after work. I spend quite a bit of time with her from Monday to Thursday every week. We've spent a lot of time talking about our families, work, our hobbies, her living children and my dead one, etc. So I figured she would be the perfect person to try 'coming out' to.

She squeeled and almost started to cry (perhaps telling her while driving home wasn't the best plan?), and immediately started to say things like "I knew it!" and "Oh, I can't wait to see you with a baby bump, you'll be so cute..." and so on and so forth.

Inside I was squirming. Of course what starts running through my head is "Oh God, what if something happens...I'd have to un-tell her and that would suck so she's all excited and saying things like she'll be a the baby's 'work auntie'...oh no, please please please don't let this baby die. Please let her get to continue being happy for me. Acorn, mommy really needs you to be okay!"

So, yeah...maybe not quite ready to out myself to anyone else yet.

Any tips? Would telling our families in an e-mail that we're pregnant again be weird? Of course then we'd have to not answer our phone for awhile too...

Friday, January 28, 2011

No (Wo)Man's Land

I haven't posted in awhile because I've been too tired. I've been suffering with on and off insomnia the past week or so. This happens to me when I'm worried about something. Other people find it insane, but I can sometimes (unwantingly) stop myself from sleeping all night. I might be tired as anything but I just cannot relax and go to sleep. It's one of the things I dislike most about myself (next to my half a heart and womb that killed Aidan). I think I've had about 8 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours so please excuse run on sentences and any other grammatical errors.

Good news is I'm still pregnant. We went for another ultrasound yesterday and we have a heart rate of 187. Acorn is measuring 8 weeks and 5 days based on his crown to rump length. Which is apparently accurate with my ovulation day based on the fertility clinic's calculations. The ultrasound technician was your typical no personality bitch who, even after I waited until the end of the ultrasound, like a good little patient to ask "So when does my husband get to see..." I was met with the response of "Oh, it's too small...he'll be able to see more next time" followed by a quick "you can get dressed now". This is even after they have a sign in the waiting room stating that during your ultrasound, your partner will be able to come in at the end. I think the technician was uncomfortable because she had to do a vaginal ultrasound (which I'm totally cool with by the way) and she didn't want to have to do it in front of my husband. I was too tired to argue (see above insomnia) so I just let it go. I wish now I'd pushed a little harder because Brian was really upset he didn't get to see. I thought of the awesome response to her "He'll be able to see next time" comment as I was leaving. Which was of course "Let's hope there is a next time...because last time there eventually wasn't".

However, I'm now convinced that ultrasounds, while providing immediate reassurance also screw with your head and make you crazy. This is because Acorn's MSD (mean sac diameter) only puts me at 7 weeks. When I took the radiology report back to the RE's office which they asked me to do, I asked about this and what it might mean. The nurse I was speaking to went to ask the doctor and came back and told me the doctor didn't really know that much about it and couldn't tell me one way or another what that meant. She then told me I should ask my OB about it. Great, thanks for nothing. If the RE doesn't know anything about it, what makes her think that my OB is going to? Isn't SHE technically an OB? Does she think he learned something in medical school she didn't? Dr. Google has, of course, scared the living daylights out of my husband and when I looked up small mean sac diameter this morning, all you can find is bad news. But then everything else you read states that finding a heart beat is good news. So if a disaster happens, we'll of course point to the small sac and say "see, things weren't right from the beginning", and if it doesn't we'll blow it off with "oh, see that didn't mean anything". 5-12 weeks of pregnancy seems to be a no-man's land when it comes to predicting. Unless you have something that is GLARING and OBVIOUSLY wrong, then nobody seems to fucking to know if it's going to turn out okay. You're safely correct if you state "it might work out and it might not". It's like relying on the weather man.

I also asked the nurse (who went to ask the doctor) if I could stay on my progesterone suppositories until at least 12 weeks. I am ABSOLFUCKINLUTELY convinced that Aidan's death is at least somewhat attributable to low progesterone levels in my first trimester. The doctor (through the nurse...the doctor never actually came to talk to me directly), said that "at this point, I can't recommend you continuing with progesterone as it's no longer necessary and we usually advise patients to stop taking it at this point". Um...thanks lady. But even if it's a freaking placebo I'll take it and I'll take it happily. She didn't renew my prescription...but what she doesn't know is that the other RE who I saw at 6 weeks for my first ultrasound renewed my progesterone *just enough* to get me to 12 weeks. So I'll keep taking it until then. How subversive of me.

I have other thoughts flying around in my head, but I'm too tired to go on with them right now. Hopefully I'll have more time and energy this weekend.

Is there something at an early ultrasound with your dead baby that caused you pause? Do you ever think back to it and wonder "if it meant something?"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Keep Calm & Carry On

Maybe this has happened to other pregnant after loss moms (PALMs?), but today I felt more anxious and stressed about this pregnancy. Nothing significant has happened, so it's not that I'm worried about anything in particular...I just have this amorphous feeling of anxiety.

I just feel like sometimes the worry is overwhelming. I can't sleep sometimes due to the stress. I'm (of course) worried about my current little embryo who I hope is doing well and growing and thriving. I'm also (again) worried about how my heart is going to cope with pregnancy. And I don't mean in a figurative sense. I remember being about 15 to 16 weeks pregnant last time and taking my heart rate lying down...and it was 116. Awesome. I just don't know how I'll cope with work and chores and other life events if I feel like my heart is about to jump out of my chest. My heart will always be a concern. I know that. I knew that going in to both's just different to think about in terms of the future 'when I'm pregnant' compared to the current 'now I'm pregnant'.

I was looking at old pictures of myself the other night and sometimes I cannot believe how happy and content and worry-free I looked. Was that was life was like? Was I really so blissfully ignorant of how stressful things could be? I know I was never a completely carefree person (I've always been a worrier)...but sometimes it's hard to remember what the heck I could have possibly had to be stressed about back then.

I don't know, maybe other PALMs worry about stuff like this, especially if your pregnancy caused not only the death of your child...but also placed your own health in jeopardy. It doesn't at all cancel out the happiness I feel that we have another chance to bring home a baby (hopefully), but it certainly ratchets up the notch on the "Stress-o-meter". I know a lot of moms worry about the first trimester in terms of their baby...and then feel more reassured the farther along they are...but I feel like my pregnancy anxiety might have more of an parabola shape:

With anxiety for the baby being high at the beginning (and let's face it, probably not completely disappearing, ya know, ever), but then anxiety for my own health increasing as time goes along. I also worry about what this will do to Brian. What if something bad happens to the baby (again)? What if something bad happens to me? It's not just my health and happiness we're playing with's both of ours. It's our whole families'.

As usual, there is absolutely nothing I can do about any of this. *Sigh* Like the British, I'll have to keep a stiff upper lip and Keep Calm & Carry On (I really should get a poster of this...)

What worries you these days? What helps to calm you?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One thing I will never do...

is post about this pregnancy on facebook. At all. Ever.

My husband and I have actually discussed just waiting until (we hope) I'm huge enough that it will be hard to ignore. "Yeah, I guess I have gained a little weight lately... Pregnant?? Well I guess so...maybe...possibly... How many weeks? Ohhh....35-ish...give or take".

The first the facebook universe will hear about this baby (who we are calling Acorn* by the way) is if by some miracle he (or she) arrives home with us (safely, and alive, in a car seat, not an urn) in the late summer.

I've just finished re-watching the movie "The Social Network" (very good movie if you've never seen it) and I decided to jump on-line to check my facebook account. This is something both my husband and I have stopped or at least limited lately. It became too hard to watch high school friend, after cousin, after old work buddy, just pop out the kids like it's no big deal. You all know. You get it.


I long on to my account and start perusing the Newsfeed and up pops about 3 or 4 people who are announcing they are pregnant and due this summer. Now I'm sure most of them have just hit 12 weeks and are over the moon that they will all be bringing home their new spawn this summer and of course just have to tell the whole world. My first thought is "are you people CRAZY!!!! Do you know what could HAPPEN between now and then??!!! For God's sake I could write you a LIST!!!" And so on and so forth.

But it won't. I must keep reminding myself of this. Babies get conceived and born and come home and grow up just fine all the time. It is only me (and all of you) who spend each day (and night) worrying about something terrible happening. The rest are announcing it on facebook.


*This baby's womb name is Acorn because: "what do Acorn's grow into?" That's RIGHT! GIANT FREAKING OAK TREES!!! That LIVE over a HUNDRED years!!! Aidan's womb name was Peanut and I'm afraid it did not convey the right attitude. Peanuts are small and do not get big and are tasty and therefore get eaten. Aidan was cute and sweet just like a peanut...but I'd like the next baby to outlive an Oak tree.

Also, in case you haven't noticed, I've added a few new photos to Aidan's name list and, most exciting of all, I finally got his foot prints up! Yes those are his actual foot prints (fairly life sized based on my computer settings). I wanted to give a shout out to Andrea from i wish you love for the help she provided in making his foot prints pretty using photoshop. Yeah for Andrea! Yeah for photoshop! Thank you Andrea.

If you've had a pregnancy following loss how did you 'announce it?' If you haven't, what do you imagine you will do the next time?

Friday, January 14, 2011


We have a heartbeat. 122 bpm. It's also in the correct location (not in the tube or any other crazy place a blastocycst can land). *Whew*

I can cross ectopic pregnancy and blighted ovum off my very long list of "Disasters To (pleasepleaseplease) Avoid".

That being said, the embryo was only measuring 6 weeks and 2 days, when I should have been 7 weeks according to my LMP and 6 weeks 5 days according to when I ovulated. Even worse (???) the yolk sac was measuring 5 weeks, 5 days. The doctor doing the scan didn't seem concerned, and said that the crown to rump measurement is more accurate at this stage, and even that can be off by up to half a week. I suppose it all makes sense in the fact that we seemed to have implanted late (I didn't get even a faint positive on my home pregnancy test until 14 dpo) and my initial beta levels were fairly low (but doubling nicely!!). makes me nervous. Actually, let's be honest, I would be nervous no matter what. As wonderful as it is to be pregnant (trust me, I'm not at all taking it for granted), it's also terrifying, because I have something else to lose. Somebody else that I'm responsible for, yet who I have no ability to protect beyond continuing to breathe, eat well, take my progesterone and sleep.

I think the fertility clinic doctor was a little puzzled as to why my husband and I didn't seem *overjoyed* to see a heartbeat (we were, but anxiety tends to be the more visible emotion). So we told her that we had a loss last April. She was nice about it and said that issues with the placenta tend not to reoccur. She then offered us another check-up ultrasound in 2 weeks, just to make sure things were progressing nicely.

I'm of two minds now about ultrasounds. As nice as it is to see 'hey things are normal'...the lead up to them makes me SO anxious because, as we all know, things may not be normal. I also tend to feel more nauseous when I'm anxious. I was almost puking walking from the car to the clinic yesterday. Plus the information you get from ultrasounds can make you crazy (6 weeks and 2 days!! That's over half a week behind what I thought I was...Oh no...what does Dr. Google have to say about that??!!). And so on and so forth.

It's also kind of crazy to compare pregnancies. We had an ultrasound with Aidan at 6 weeks and 1 day, where he was measuring 6 weeks and 2 days (coincidence??) and his heart rate at that time was 175!! Makes you wonder, is this embryo just laid back and chill? 122 bpm, no reason to be upset. Just resting, growing and relaxing. Was Aidan already under stress and that's why his heart rate was so high? Or maybe Aidan was just really healthy (placenta issues not withstanding) and that's why he was at 175. Maybe that's why he lasted as long as he did.

Still, I'm happy with 122. Must remind myself to hold on to the good.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I completely get why people throughout history have looked at the stars, nature, weather patterns, behaviour of animals, and many other everyday occurrences to try to for tell the future. I mean who wouldn't want to get a sneak peak at what was in store for themselves or their loved ones? Especially if good stuff was about to come your way? I consider myself a rational person, but even I read my horoscope on occasion.

So, I'm not quite sure how to take this piece of info:

Aidan was due August 15 2010. This was an 'extra special' due date for me, because it was my grandmother's birthday who died almost 4 year ago now. She would have been 89 in 2010 were she alive. I remember lying in Emerg after my 1st bleed at 9 weeks with Aidan thinking "this baby can't die...he/she is due on Nana's birthday! That was supposed to be a good sign!"

This new embryo's (is it bad I cannot yet dare to even type the word 'baby' in relation to this pregnancy yet) due date is September 1st 2011. It is my other (living) grandmother's birthday. She will be 86 years old.

I wish I could see it as a sign one way or the other, but I just can't anymore.

I also have my first ultrasound scheduled for this coming Thursday. You know you're kind of screwed up after babylostness when you schedule your 1st ultrasound this way:

"Let's see...they've offered me Monday, Wednesday or Thursday appointment times. Since I can't have the Friday, which would be most convenient as I'm off work that day, let's schedule it for the Thursday. That way if it's bad news I'll just call in a personal day at work and then have the rest of the weekend to recover before going back to work Monday...yeah....that will work".

No thoughts go to "Hey, Monday??!! Gee can I get in first thing in the morning??!! I'm so excited!!!"

Practicalities people. But we're keeping our fingers crossed all the same. Just in case that might help.

Do you hold to any superstitions? Which ones and why?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Be Happy

It was entirely possible that I could have died as a newborn. My heart defect is a lethal one if proper surgical intervention is not immediately available. If I had been born even a few decades earlier (possibly even 5-10 years earlier), or in a country that doesn't have modern medical care, I likely would not be here now. I've known this about myself since an early age.

I'm extremely lucky.

But what if I weren't? What if events had gone differently and my mom and dad were the ones going to the funeral home and picking out an urn, and pouring over the grainy, faded pictures of their first child. Baby Emily who did not make it. Baby Emily who had a heart defect and died.

Perhaps it's a morbid thing to consider, but when I think about life turning out like that, my one shining thought is:

I hope my parents would have gone on to be happy.

Because really, after I died, that would have been the most important thing. I would not be there to miss anything or feel pain or I hope that the hurt they had for me, and for themselves, would, in time, fade. I would not have wanted my death to crush them. I would not want to be the sole condition on which their future happiness rested. That's not a fair condition to put upon anyone. It amounts to: "I will only be happy if you never leave".

I have been thinking about this lately because we have hope once again, that we might get to bring home a baby this year. And, although I'm hoping with everything I have that things go well and are wonderfully uneventful in terms of medical care and pregnancy progression...I also know they might not. Bad things happening to you once, does not give you a free ride the second time.

As much as I am hoping and praying things go well, I do not want to base all my future happiness upon this little embryo. It wouldn't be mentally healthy or fair to that little bundle of cells. "Little embryo...if you don't make it I'll just die!!!" That statement is neither true nor fair. I cannot make either Aidan or the new baby the only source of my contentment and mental well-being. Yes, I was a mess after Aidan died (who wouldn't be??), but his death did not take away all the other joys in my life. I must remember this. I will still be Emily no matter what happens in the next few weeks, months or years. I can and will have joy in my life. It did not all go away when Aidan died.

So, if baby Emily had died all those years ago, I would have wanted to leave my parents with this message:

I love you.

It's okay.

Let go.

Be happy.

Have you been happy since your child died? Do you feel it is even possible? What does "moving on" or "letting go" mean to you?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Feel free to make fun of me, but I'm a fan of the TV show "Vampire Diaries". (Cue laughter from all 68 followers...). Yeah, I know I'm a total nerd. One of the things that sucked me into watching was that they play a lot of good music on that show. In the pilot episode they managed to dig up one of my favourite songs from years ago. It's a cover of a Kate Bush song called "Running Up That Hill" by the band Placebo. If you remember the trailer for the (crappy) movie Daybreakers, it was also on that (coincidentally also featuring vampires??)

Anyway, since then I've liked how they showcase a bunch of new songs and artists on a regular basis. Pretty much every show there is a song or two that I think "damn, I'll have to google that one and find out who it's by". So, I recently 'acquired' (and by that I most definitely do not mean downloaded, because I would never do something so illegal as that) the entire musical library of the first season and spent hours looking up all the song titles and bands and making an awesome play list for my ipod.

So, coming to the point of this post, I was listening to a song by Mat Kearney on the way home on the subway tonight called "Closer to Love". It's been a 'hit' on the Adult Contemporary top 40 (but don't let that fool you, it's actually a good song). A few of the lyrics hit home for me:

"She said she didn't believe
It could happen to me
I guess, we're all one phone call
From our knees"

I goes on to be a somewhat hopeful song from there, but as you can imagine, I really relate to those lyrics right now. Although I'm 5 weeks and 5 days pregnant, it's still hard to believe that it's for real. As the song says "one phone call" or one missed progesterone tablet (not that I would EVER miss one at this point), one strong cough, even a sharp breeze might end it all. Of course as we all know, I could do everything right and it could still all end. I'm trying to be all zen about it, but it's hard now that it's after Christmas and I don't have the constant family parties/going out for dinner/major crappy viral illness keeping me busy. As my husband said "I wish we could just PVR our lives right now...skip ahead so that we can know if things are going to be okay, and then just rewind and be able to actually enjoy it all". Exactly.

In other news, I took a quick peek at the 'Due in September 2011' board on Babycenter. It only has a few members at this point, but one of the threads is already titled "Nursery Ideas".


I almost spit my juice out all over the screen.

Please, chicky...let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Let's wait to see a heartbeat before we start on room themes.

But damn, I wish I could be naive and hopeful and happy and respond with "well, I was thinking of a light blue for a boy with cream accents...blah blah blah".

How was your New Year's Eve? I spent mine on the couch with an ear ache and a cough. Fun. On the plus side, it was awesome and kind of sad in that "cheesy reminiscent of your teenage years kinda way" to see "NKOTBSB" (that's a combo of the members of New Kids on the Block and 4 of the 5 Backstreet Boys) on TV in Times Square doing mash ups of all their old hits. Wonder if that's what they dreamed of doing back in the day?