Monday, April 30, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

How much do your trust your instincts?

Last week, Melissa over at Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters asked for entries for her second Blilt: Waiting Blilt. My entry was "I prayed that I saw a BFN."

For a more detailed explanation of of the comment, see my larger entry on Melissa's blog about the cycle that led to my 11/05 m/c:
"When my ovulation was confirmed via ultrasound the day after I ovulated with no signs, I was given the choice to go through with a late IUI or do a natural cycle or abstain completely and wait it out. I turned down the late IUI, but I was on the fence about waiting or a natural cycle. My instincts said wait, but my impatient self said "go natural." So, we went with the natural cycle. As I was in the two week wait, I had this nagging instinct that I had made the wrong decision--I should have waited the cycle out. Of course, my instincts were proven right when I got that BFP then started bleeding shortly after. I should have waited... But, the mixed blessing in this is that I know now why I am miscarrying--had I followed my instincts, would I have found out why I am miscarrying?"
What I should have added to my explanation on her blog is that, when I was in the waiting room with DH for the u/s that confirmed my third m/c in 3/06, I had that same nagging, instinctive feeling again - after I finally allowed myself to feel some joy for the pregnancy - that something just wasn't right. As I sat there, laughing at Hubby as he was drawing funny pictures about the new baby in my notepad I take to doctor's appointments, I just had this feeling that things were going to fall apart again. I tried to squash it - I mean, how could God allow this to happen again to me, right? I tried to laugh with Hubby, Kathy (the nurse) and Dr. D all the way into the u/s room - but I had this monkey on my back that wouldn't let go of my shirt.

...Of course, the instinct was right again - the u/s showed a baby who passed the week before, no heartbeat, no movement.

Which leads me to the question: How much do you trust your instincts?

I ask this because as strong as my instincts were about not following through with the 11/05 m/c cycle and waiting for the u/s that confirmed my 3/06 m/c - my instincts are just as strong now, pushing me to TTC in June/July 2007. This instinct goes way beyond the coincidence of the three 77-day cycles back-to-back I just had (before my last 18-day'er).

Now, July is NOT the optimal time for me to be doing meds, u/s's, b/w, blah, blah, blah to try to get pregnant. I am running two summer programs this summer - the first from 7/18-7/24, the second from 7/19 to 8/4. Since we are not budgeted for a full-time student worker, I have more things to do on my own this year - amongst all of the other crap I have piled on my desk right now (which, by the by, I am ignoring at this very moment because I am not a happy camper with my boss suggesting I make hotel reservations in South Africa for 8 speakers for a conference we are having there in mid-June - uh, I DO NOT want to be responsible for 8 credit cards of people I don't know! Sorry, that idea is going to gets quashed like a BIG bug!). I really can't be out on program days - especially since my docs are over an hour away from my work.

BUT, this feeling won't leave me, just as my other instincts wouldn't leave me either. I keep getting drawn to June/July - like my angels are pushing me towards that time period.

The good side here at work, if I went through with it, is our new Workshop Coordinator is fantastic! So, if I needed someone to cover for me while I am out for a doctor's appointment (which I KNOW there will be many of since I will have to be monitored well in both TTC and PG), I know she can handle it with grace and style (and a great sense of humor) - unlike the last witch who was in the position. I can trust her with my work.

...And, I know my bosses will be supportive of our decision, even if it is not at the optimal time, as long as my work is done. Family comes first, and this is about family.

BUT, what if I miscarry again? Right during the time I am running these programs? I can't fall apart - I have responsibilities here at work and at home.

BUT, what if I ignore my instincts and miss out on what I am being drawn towards??

When Zia and I went to Westfield for our play day a few weeks ago, we went into one of those "earthy" stores where they sell spiritual items like energy bracelets, Tarot cards, meditation CDs, insense, statues, etc. We were looking at the Oracle cards - which are not quite like Tarot cards where they predict your future, but they contain messages of guidance (and, if you believe, the guidance comes from the angels that protect you). I found a set I was drawn to - Healing with the Angels Oracle Cards. My life, after all, has been predominately about healing over the past year, so the deck "called" to me. So, I bought them. I will pick up my set from time to time early in the morning when I think I need some kind of guidance. I don't do this every morning, just once and a while - and it certainly doesn't replace talking to God on my own (it has just become another means of communication for me). There are various ways you can use the cards, but the way I use them is just to pick one card from the stack after shuffling and think about something that is bothering me, or I need to make a decision about.

So, while I was thinking about this nagging instinct I keep having, I picked a card and this is the one that I chose this morning:

Children

Card Meaning: "You are asked to pay extra attention to your children or your inner child right now. New children may be coming into your life very soon."

Uh, wow.

And, my instinct before turning the card over was that it would have something to do with having children.

Of course, all of this blather is all dependant upon my b/w coming up in May to check thyroid levels and whether I can come of Lexapro/Xanex in May - I will not TTC if my b/w still comes back with my hormone levels uncontrolled nor will I TTC if I cannot get off Lexapro/Xanex. So, this instinct might be moot anyway.

I really want to trust this instinct that is driving me to June/July. I have apparently been right before, just not in a positive way. Could this be the change of tide for our family? Should I throw caution to the wind and allow myself to follow the messages and instincts I have?

It is just so hard to trust sometimes...especially when you have so much to lose...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

So, what's goin' on??

Talk about being scarce these days... I think this has been the longest hiatus from my blog except for my vacation in September 2006!

What has been keeping me away? Well, first,

Work!!

Now, I truly love my boss. He has been so very supportive of me, and of us as a family and wanting to deperately add to this family. BUT, the workload - not just for myself, but for almost all of us here - has been just insane. Everything is a priority these days - and everything is an exception. There are no more "standards" in how things are handled any more, so I get slapped with special projects and urgent things constantly. It just feels busier than ever.

But, at least I can say that I have been handling the stress and deadlines with WAAAAY more grace than I have been in the past year - no wanting to bite people's heads off, no bursting out crying in my office, no feeling of pressure in my chest. So, I guess that is a good thing. Haven't even taken my Xanex!

I just don't know how my boss does it - he's my dad's age (63) and I get e-mails from all times of the night of things that need to get done... And, I can't stay awake past 9:30 at night!

Anyways, it feels like the Levoxyl is really taking hold now - some of my symptoms of the Hashi's seem to be fading a bit, like the feeling of a sore/full throat, the constant fatigue day and night (now really only appearing later at night). So, it is nice to be feeling a little better physically. I did fax over to Dr. S my laundry list of questions today I had about treatment now and through pregnancy - including bloodwork back from my RLP that actually showed me boarderline for the antibodies (Dr. D never picked that up, with the 2.910 TSH level). So, we will see what she has to say about my questions. I want to make sure I am doing my best to control this before TTC in the summer.

Hubby is rather depressed lately - his job just sucks right now and he sees no way out of it. I swear his boss is Biopolar and doesn't want to hear that he is: one day, he's Hubby's best friend, the next he's a raving lunatic bitching if I call him just to see how his day is going. (But, we did get a fancy-shmancy new Uniden coardless phone system for the house since he couldn't use it for the office.) Hubby sent out a huge 200-piece mailing of his resume a few weeks ago that was put together by a recruiter, and he has either been on interviews or going to go on interviews - but no offers yet. I am hoping he gets an offer very soon - no matter where it is right now. He really needs to get out of there - so much so that I told him that maybe he could sell his "toys" from when he was in high school/college (things he doesn't look at at all and are stored in tubs at his parents house right now) and if he gets enough money from it, then maybe he could just quit and look for something new. He needs to get out of there before he really let's the guy have it. Hope it is soon - or else I might have to go up to that office and give him some hell myself!

Chris is being a complete nut, as usual. He refuses to talk about school (although I know he is having a good time there), but will talk endlessly about the buses/trucks/fire engines/police cars he sees while in the car. Definitely a guy's guy! Especially since he has figured out how to make himself burp, and then say "Nice Burp! Excuse me!" in the back seat of the car. How lovely. I am still going to ask about speech therapy at his three-year check-up next week - he has improved soooo much with speech, but I think he could use a little more of a push. I do have to get back to my Christopher Friday posts - I had a great time posting them, and everyone seemed to have a good time reading them. Since my boss is not gone for about a week, I might have time to post a new one amongst trying to catch up with work.

The preparations for Chris' third birthday party are in full swing now! We are doing a Go! Diego, Go! theme this year - since he carries around his Diego buddy everywhere now. So, I am designing a birthday cake free-hand this year (I'll post pics of how good or bad it turns out to be!). Please pray there is no rain on May 5th - or else I'll have 9 screaming kids running around in my not-yet-expanded living room! Then again, since I seem to have forgotten to put WHERE the party is on the invitation, maybe we won't have that many kids after all!

We visited with E&T over the weekend - finally for Christmas! Talk about poor timing there (neither of us could find a weekend that matched up until now!). But, it was nice - we exchanged gifts for the kids, took Chris and Katie out to this really nice playground down in Brick. It was just fabulous! Huge, nicely cushioned with recylced tires. Then, we headed out for dinner - both kids were very well behaved. And, then we headed back to their house to visit for a while.

Hubby and E were in the kitchen with coffee, T and I were in the living room with the kids. Somehow, we got on the topic of TTC again - and was a rather interesting conversation, and rather honest on her part.

T's older sister B got married the day after Hubby and I did in 1998 - E&T were both in grad school in South Dakota at the time, and since E was in our wedding and T was in both weddings, we had to plan the weddings on the same weekend. B and her (now ex-)hubby started TTC about 2 years after getting married and nothing happened. She went through so many tests, and no one could figure out why she wasn't getting pregnant. Fastforward a few years and they end up divorced anyway - blessing in disguise, right? Well, maybe...

T had been complaining for a while that B never came to spend time with Katie - B at most has spent maybe 10-15 hours in the past 16 months with Katie (including the baptism), and always finds a way to get out of coming to visit. T is upset because she would like to see Katie have a relationship with her aunt - but her sister keeps side-stepping it. T's mom said - as have I - that maybe she isn't comfortable with being around Katie because of her infertility and now divorce. T for a while had agreed - T also had problems getting pregnant and finally did get PG after being diagnosed diabetic and using injectables/IUI. But, you know how you should not always read a book by it's cover?? Turns out there is another reason for her absence - and one that I had not ever expected to hear:

Turns out B had a partial-birth abortion at 4 1/2 months PG with her now-fiancee around the time Katie was born.

Uhhh....can you say I was rather stunned and, well, cold at hearing that? I know B fairly well - she can be bitchy, but has always been pleasant towards me. She is smart (if she uses it) and pretty (if she allows herself to be). Never in a million years did I think she would do something like this, especially after having tried so long to try to conceive with her ex.

I am in the minority of knowing this now - only E&T know, and now me and Hubby. T's mother doesn't even know. T decided to tell me about it because 1) it has been bothering her for a very long time, 2) I understand more about IF and the emotions that go with it and 3) she is so disgusted with her sister over it. E&T apparently had offered to take the baby and raise it as their own if B and her fiancee didn't want that the baby (her fiancee told her he didn't want children, and she figured she couldn't have children, so the baby was really a surprise). She said it would have been tough to do it - but, they would have managed raising two children and would have been willing to give custody back if B and her fiancee ever changed their minds. But, B was apparently more concerned about herself and her relationship with the fiancee (who said he would break things off if she didn't terminate the pregnancy) to take them up on the offer, and chose to terminate the pregnancy.

I was rather upset hearing it - and T told me that she expected I would be, and she was sorry to spring it on my on Saturday. But, she needed to talk, and couldn't talk to really anyone about it. I was glad, though, that she told me because the discusssion turned into much more than discussing the newest ghost in someone's closet.

T went on to tell me that E wanted another baby - which I kinda knew from my own catching of hints for a while from E. But, T isn't so sure she wants another child now. As I mentioned, T had to use injectables/IUI to get PG with Katie - Clomid never worked for her. And, considering how careful she needed to be with the diabetes in PG and what means she had to go through to get PG, she just isn't sure she wants to do it again - and take that time away from Katie.

...And, she isn't so sure she can love another child as much as she loves Katie.

You know, that is something I never really thought about in TTC another child?

Now, she is coming from a very broken home - her parents are divorced, her father remarried when she was about 10 years old and has a son with the new wife (whom T is actually very close with - very nice woman!), her mother is a BEOCH from Hell (so much so that she refused to be in pictures at their wedding with her father)! Her mother always chose men over her daughters (hence her sister's actions) and never set a good example for her children. Her mother favored one over the other at various points in their lives for any given reason - so, it is very hard for her to understand that you can actually love two (or more) children equally.

So, I told her that 1) she is younger than I am, so really, she has time and doesn't have to make a decision to have more children right now. She can take her time with that and not rush into it. And 2) she should talk to moms she admires and ask them about how they love more than one child. I told her that I think it is absolutely possible to love two (or more) children equally. But, I also think that that love can be different because each child is different. For example, I love my neices and nephews equally - but differently because their personalities are very different from one another. Does that make sense?

I also told her that I think, unless she was to get PG by accident (since her cycles have kinda regulated after having Katie - lucky her!), she needs to really want another child to get back on that bandwagon. Her hubby can't force her into that - nor should she force him into wanting another child if he didn't want another child. They need to be in as much agreement on what they want as they were when they were TTC Katie. I told her that I WANT another child - to share my life with, to share my family's lives with, and to give Chris a sibling to grow up with. And, so does my hubby, as long as the next try doesn't hurt my emotional state any more than it already has. I don't think I am/we are being selfish in that need. I feel like my family isn't quite complete yet, although I do truly love and miss my angel babies and they will always be a part of our family. And, if this next attempt at another child really doesn't work out (meaning I have another miscarriage that is the result of my body backfiring), then I will have to come to accept my family IS complete as it is.

She said she truly appreciated my input - and my understanding of how she feels. So, we will see what happens for them... They have turned into wonderful parents (especially E) - despite fears of their relationship when they first got married. I think out of the many couples that we have known that have gotten married, E&T are the ones that surpised us the most - got their act together and have a rather happy marriage and life.

...The story to continue the next time we get together with them...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Remember when I said I was at peace with my losses???

...Well, talk to the puking (and quite embarassed about it) aunt!

Hubby and I finally had the chance to go up to the hospital on Friday evening to meet Angelina. I had planned on going on Thursday evening with my MIL, but Suzi's Godfather (meaning my FIL) wanted to go too and, well, you have to be second banana to the Godfather.

Anyways, for some set-up, my MIL had some sort of intestinal bug on Easter Sunday, which Chris picked up a little after that. Of course, it finally decided to show in me around Wednesday. Wasn't too bad (rumbly guts and cramps, but nothing else really), so I figured I was safe to go see the baby by Friday night. But, as the hours seemed to get closer on Friday, I can't quite describe how I felt: Physically uncomfortable? Extremely tired? Dragging myself? Guess that works for now. Friday morning, I felt like a complete dog and considered staying home from work - but, I laid down for a half hour and felt better, so I finished putting myself together and went in to work. Can you say I NEVER LAY DOWN like that! But, I pushed on, worked the full day, came home and played with Chris a bit, rushed to eat dinner and Hubby and I were off to meet the new baby at the hospital around 7 pm.

As each mile passed on the way up to the hospital though, my stomach became more and more tight-feeling - not quite what I am used to with how it feels when I have an anxiety issue, so I never figured it was anxiety. I thought maybe I should take a Xanex as a preventative measure, but I really haven't needed it so why take it when I don't really need it? I didn't take it. I just thought that maybe the little bit of dinner I did eat had been too much. When we parked, I felt quite nauseaus. The cooler air outside the car helped a little bit. I kept telling myself to knock it off - I was fine. We went in, got our passes, and Hubby bought me a water while I browsed for a little giftie to bring up. I started feeling a little crappy again, but I told myself to just buck-up. I thought again of taking my Xanex at that point, but then poo-poo'ed the idea because, well, what was I to really be anxious about? My system was a little off, but I was fine.

Joke was on me!

We got up to the third floor and Suzi's room was the second door into the maternity wing. We went in, but she had the curtain closed at that point because she was trying to breastfeed. Angelina was being a little fussy (you could hear her little cry!), so she told us to open the curtain and come in. When we opened the curtain, there was the tiny peanut (okay, not so tiny compared to what Chris weighed when he was born, but certainly a peanut!) up on Suzi's shoulder, kicking her little feet as she fussed. Suzi and Mike gave Angelina her pacifier and wrapped her up in a blanket and let me hold her...

Oh, it was just incredible holding her!

She was so beautiful, alert, content. Beautiful blue eyes, blonde-mop of hair, those tiny fingers and toes. Chins galore (she was almost nine pounds after all!)! She had no issue with me holding her - no fussing, no crying. She just calmed down in my arms from the fussiness she was giving her mommy and nuzzled into my arms. It was the best feeling in the world - as close as I could possibly come to holding Chris for the first time all over again. So, I just held her...rocked her...sung to her...

...And started to cry. Not just a tear here and there...a good cry, like when I found out I was losing my second angel baby.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Suzi, Mike, Hubby and CooKoo (who came back with dinner for Suzi since the hospital food was terrible for a new mom trying to breastfeed!) all watching me. They knew why I was crying - not just because of how beautiful Angelina was and how much of a miracle she was for being here, but also because they all knew my last angel baby was a girl. Angelina was the first newborn baby girl I have held since my miscarriage...

As I cried, Angelina opened her eyes and gave me this incredible, just breathtaking look: A look of knowing what grief and sorrow that has consumed me for so long, of knowing how much of a miracle her birth was, of knowing my angels were right there with us, watching over us and trying to comfort me as I looked into this little girl's eyes. Those eyes acknowledged that my angel babies were happy, content and safe. Those ocean-blue eyes twinkled and danced with the spirit of my angels. Those eyes comforted me as I stood there holding her, beginning to realize how much I wanted to hold my angel babies - and most of all, my baby girl, whom I could see on the u/s pic perfectly formed for 6-7 weeks with no heartbeat.

This look was just for me - a perfect moment in time, just like when I saw Chris jumping around on the ultrasound machine for the first time. Like when I gazed into Chris' eyes for the first time as I held him in the delivery room. Like when I stood their pledging my life and heart to Hubby almost nine years ago. Time stood still and it was just me and Angelina - sharing a moment that no one will ever know or understand. A moment that was just meant for me and makes me cry even as I write this.

Then, suddenly, the room began to feel so incredibly hot. I was sweating, my knees wobbly, room shifting. I just didn't feel good at all. So, I asked Hubby if he wanted to hold her (which, of course, he did) and as he took her into his arms, I could feel my stomach churning and myself starting to get sick.

Ugh! I high-tailed it to the bathroom and made it just in time... Didn't really puke, but more gagged a bit until I could get some air (for some God foraken reason, the bathroom was cooler than the room!) and sit down and breathe. I took a few minutes to calm myself down, took a sip of water and the Xanex I was so grateful to have had in my purse (and SHOULD HAVE taken before I was even near the hospital). Once I stopped shaking and everything stopped spinning, I stook up and looked at myself in the mirror.

As I started at myself, checking my make-up, making a half-assed attempt at being normal... All I could think of was what a horse's ass I made of myself in front of my family. I took such a special, precious moment and ruined it with what was probably the worst anxiety/panic attack I have had thus far. What an ass.

I just want to know: What happened to the peace I have felt for weeks now? What happened to my acceptance of what I could not change? How could such an innocent look from Angelina - one that was supposed to bring peace - just tear me apart?

Once I was composed enough and came out of the bathroom, everyone asked if I was okay - I said yes, and just brushed it off as still not feeling 100% percent and that I probably should have waited to visit. Hubby tried to cover for me up a bit, saying I hadn't felt right all week and that MIL and Chris had a minor intestinal thing. But, as much as I lied about it, I am sure they all knew what really had happened. Hubby and I decided to leave and said goodbye to everyone (it was getting hot again in the room - then again, I think it was just HOT in the room anyway!).

Hubby and I talked about it for a while on the way home - he thought I did very well, and that it was okay how I reacted. I told him I felt like a real jerk, taking such a happy time and squashing it with upset and grief. I told him how she looked at me, and how peace turned into panic. But, he reminded me that everyone knows still how raw those feelings are - even if I am accepting of the losses - and that even I can't predict when these feelings might come up. Sure, in my logical mind, I know that. But, at that moment, I was just flat-out mad at myself for not being able to control my anxiety. Why did it have to happen right there, in front of everyone?

I spoke to my MIL later on over the phone, as well as CooKoo, and they both told me it was okay - everyone understood that, even though I was very happy for Suzi and Mike, that it still hurt to hold this baby...especially after knowing how Suzi had chosen not to terminate the pregnancy after she considered what I went through just trying to have one more child, and how much of a miracle Angelina's life was after discovering the knot in the cord. MIL also mentioned that one of Suzi's friends waited to announce she was expecting #2 until after a birthday party for Suzi's dad because she didn't want to upset me.

I know they are right - That my feelings will still be raw from time to time. But, I just hate still feeling "broken." I know how I feel is normal...but, is this reaction THAT normal when I am (or thought I was) at peace with what life has given me? I feel like I am reinventing the wheel of grief.

But, I did figure out what was partly to blame for my puking/anxiety incident: I got my period - again - 18 days after my last 77-day cycle. Can you say WTF???? I thought I felt a little bloaty around the waist and boobs, acne-ridden face and restless at night... Who would have thought I would have had such a short cycle? But I started spotting on Thursday night into Friday, which is not all that uncommon for me with long cycles - and then, I started lightly bleeding Saturday into Sunday requiring a pad, alternating between red and brown and red (it is a flow, but light since I just had my period 18 days ago!). And, did I mention cramps?? How on earth did this happen??? Maybe the Levoxyl? That is the only thing different I have used... Maybe, after all this time, the Levoxyl might regulate my cycles a bit?? Well, gotta add that to my loooooong list of questions I am faxing over to Dr. S this afternoon (I have been reading up on preparation for pregnancy with Hashi's - I am sure she is going to just love me as a patient today!).

For an update on Angelina - she has not come home from the hospital yet, although Suzi was released on Saturday morning. Her bilirubin was up and is jaundiced. So, Suzi was advised to pump and dump for a little while since the doctors were not sure if the jaundice was stemming from the breastfeeding (which apparently can happen!), while Angelina is under the phototherapy lights and being fed formula for a little while. Her bilirubin count is coming down finally, which is great - but she can't come home and Suzi can't resume breastfeeding until the bilirubin is down to normal range. Please pray she comes home soon. Suzi and Mike just want her home...and so do I!

I just hope that, when she comes home, I can hold her without having an anxiety attack again...

Friday, April 13, 2007

God gives life, God takes away life

As a follow-up to yesterday's post... My co-worker lost her BIL yesterday to cancer - which is why she rushed out before noon. We found out this morning...the funeral is on Monday.

Interesting how God gives the world a new life, yet God takes another life away...all on the same day.

Please keep my co-worker in your prayers that she, her sister and her sister's family find peace on their time of sorrow.

Anyways, I wanted to share something that has been brewing in my mind for a few days...

I took a much-needed day off on Tuesday - I figured I needed to take time for the thyroid u/s and wouldn't be in to work until close to 11 am anyway, so I might as well take the day off and catch up with Zia for our long-overdue trip to the Westfield Center.

To backtrack a bit, we made a trip well over a year ago after she told me about this faboo smoothie place in town - and, after that, we kept trying to schedule a time when we could go again. Since she had off from school this week, it seemed the best time for her. And, well, I wanted a day off too.

So, I headed over to her house after I was done with the ultrasound and, well, caught her a bit earlier than she had expected. Oops. But, I got to hang out with Buddy-Buds, her cat - whom is probably one of the handful of cats I am endeared to in my lifetime (not that I am a cat-hater, but I am allergic to them, specifically long-haird cats, so I don't go around them too much), for a while and who enjoyed curling up in my lap. When Zia was done getting dressed, we headed out for lunch.

I forget the name of the place we went to for lunch, but can you say YUMMY!!! Oh, I am sooo glad my anxiety is under control now - had this been in the fall, I doubt I would have even eaten one sweet potato fry on my plate. It was delicious - so much so, I have to get Hubby to go there. Afterwards, we went over to the Smoothie-Palace, where there are so many choices and combos to choose from, you are standing there with your mouth open drooling for 15 minutes to make your choice. We got our smoothies (totally delicious!) and went walking and shopping.

The first place we went to (and the gist of this post) was a kinda new-agey place, where you can buy incense, Tarot cards, relaxation CDs, and other "soul-directing" items. We had been in this place before - but, that was a long time ago...and I think we both considered it rather, well, cookie, at the time. But, we went in with our smoothies and walked around the place a few times, picking up this and that when we settled on what are called Oracle Cards. There was a very pleasant lady (not sure if she owned the place) who came over to us and started explaining what the Oracle Cards are and how they work. She spent quite some time with us...and was very kind.

So, we kind of got into explaining the hurts and heartaches in our lives - about IF and miscarriage and recurrent miscarriage. And, zeroing in on Zia a bit. she said something very poignant to Zia that really struck me hard:

She said to Zia that (and I am paraphrasing here, since I don't remember word for word what the lady said) she should not try, wish, hope or pray for her wants and hearts desires, but to visualize on her wants and make them come true with her power of will.

Kinda reminds you of what Yoda says to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars as he is learning the ways of the Force (yes, I am married to a Star Wars-a-holic):
"No, try not, do or do not...there is no try..."
Which leads me back to what has been brewing in my head for the past few days...and what Zia and I talked about for a little bit after leaving the store...

When I was expecting my last angel baby, I was so, so guarded about the pregnancy. I really didn't enjoy the short time I was pregnant - I didn't want to talk about it too much, didn't want to hope too much, didn't want to pray too much. I was too afraid to hope and have the rug pulled out from under me again like when I was waiting to miscarry in 11/05. So, I opted to just go about the motions of the day and not hope, pray, wish at all. When I finally let hope and faith enter my heart a little bit, I let myself look around the baby sections of stores and see what new things had come out since Christopher was born - the things maybe I would need if this pregnancy was a healthy one. I let myself change my siggies on the message boards I was on - telling everyone I was, in fact, pregnant. I let myself talk about being pregnant a little bit to those close to me. I let myself laugh and joke with Hubby about the baby in Dr. D's waiting room before the u/s, with him drawing cute things in my notebook of questions.

Of course, that lasted less than a week. I found out the baby had died the week before...days before I started hoping, praying, asking God for this pregnancy to last.

This is one of the guilts I carried for a long time, and took months to finally set free from me. For months after the miscarriage, my mind would always ask, "What if I had prayed/begged more to God for this pregnancy to hold?" "What if I talked to this angel more like I did when I was pregnant with Chris - asking her, begging her not to leave me?" "What if I was not as guarded about the pregnancy, and let myself enjoy it more?"

At that time, I was "trying" - not "doing." I was not willing my heart to believe this angel would stay with me. I was not willing my heart to enjoy the time, albiet short, I had with her.

Would my angel have stayed with me? Probably not. I truly believe now it was not her time to be here on Earth. I needed to learn to slow down my life a bit, enjoy it for what it is, and refocus my life. Once I did that, maybe another child would come to us in his/her own time - well, as much as we can allow that anyway when you have to plan for meds, u/s's and IUI's.

So, as I look upon TTC again, how I will react when/if I found out the cycle works? Can I let hope in earlier this time? Can I "do" and not "try" this time?

Obviously, I don't know that yet. But, at least I am armed with knowledge this time around: I know what has been causing the miscarriages and am being treated for them. That reduces my risks of another miscarriage some - but not completely. I want to be hopeful - but I also don't want to be blindsided again.

But, I don't think I can be blind-sided again, can I?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I Believe in Miracles

On September 14, 2006, I wrote this post immediately after vacation: How my miscarriages have brought forth new life. That was the day Suzi (Hubby's cousin) told us she was engaged...and expecting.

Suzi's news that day - with her taking into account my pain and sorrow after losing three babies in her decision on what to do when she found out she was pregnant and not married (or engaged for that matter) - was the real turning point in my coming to peace with my losses. Of course, there was some stumbling and some joy along the way after that day, but this particular day was the first time I could see my losses looked upon in a positive light. My angels were gone from this world, but they have a legacy to share with our family. A legacy of hope and promise.

Well, Angelina Claire was born at 12:02 am this morning - weighing in at 8 lbs 14 oz and 20 1/2 inches long! I will post pics in this post later (as soon as I get them) - so watch for them! I will be visiting tonight with my MIL at the hospital - and I can't wait!

ETA: Here are the pics:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

But, she is even more of a miracle this morning than she was on that September afternoon...

Suzi's labor was not bad at all for a first-time mommy - her labor started with a leak (not gush) of amniotic fluid overnight Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. She went to see her doctor early Wednesday afternoon and was sent right over to the hospital. Her labor pains were not bad at all - even with pitocin started around 7 pm to bring her into a more active labor. She chose not to get the epidural until 10 pm last night because the labor pains just weren't bad enough for it yet. After the epidural was in place, she moved quickly to 10 cm dilated and the pushing started. From what CooKoo Anty (Suzi's mom) told us, Suzi really worked hard at pushing - Suzi is only 5'3" tall, and very slim by nature... Pushing an 8 lb 14 oz baby into the world is not quite an easy job for someone so slim! But, she was finally born at 12:02 am - screaming, chubby, pink, alert, perfect Apgar scores, happy!

But, when the placenta was delivered, Angelina's birth this morning became even more of a miracle than just being conceived, wanted and loved:

The cord was short and there was a huge knot in the middle of it.

No one can say when the knot occured, although it is safe to say it wasn't recent since Angelina took up SOOOO much room in Suzi's tummy. Suzi's ob/gyn pulled CooKoo aside after the placenta was delivered and told her that this baby was truly a miracle -- with this cord complication, she was astounded that Angelina was not born still. She is truly a miracle - from conception to birth.

...So, you can only imagine how I (and the entire family) feel about this news right now.

To say I am really without words beyond what I am posting today is putting how I feel mildly. It really puts you in awe of God and miracles on Earth. I truly believe that my angels were watching the entire time, taking care of little Angelina with this complication that there was no way of knowing about until now. Suzi cared enough for my heartache to make that a part of her decision to keep this baby - I think my angels repaid her ten-fold with guiding this baby into the world without harm. I feel such a strong connection - much stronger than before - to God and to my angel babies, more than I can ever put into words. It defies all sense and logic - and to question this, like I have questioned Christopher being here despite my issues now, is pointless.

Angelina is very deserving of this name - a name she was not given until she was born. Much like Christopher was named right when he was born - the name just came to us the second we held him and touched his face.

So, I send this song to her and her new family... She is truly a miracle to us. May she bring us joy for so many years to come.

MIRACLE
By Celine Dion

You're my life's one miracle
Everything I've done that's good
And you break my heart with tenderness
And I confess it's true
I never knew a love like this 'til you

You're the reason I was born
Now I finally know for sure
And I'm overwhelmed with happiness
So blessed to hold you close
The one that I love most
Though the future has so much for you in store
Who could ever love you more

The nearest thing to heaven
You're my angel from above
Only God creates such perfect love

When you smile AT me I cry
And to save your life I'd die
With a romance that is pure in heart
You are my dearest part
Whatever it requires
I live for your desires
Forget my own, your needs will come before
Who could ever love you more

There is nothing you could ever do
To make me stop loving you
And every breath I take
Is always for your sake
You sleep inside my dreams
And know for sure
Who could ever love you more

On another note for today - please keep one of my co-workers in your prayers today. I posted earlier that her BIL is very ill from cancer - well, he has taken a turn for the worst this past weekend and has said his goodbyes to his children. She just left work this morning - her sister needed her to come over to the hospital...which is not good news. Please keep her in prayers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Did I ever mention I hate Swiss Cheese??

I had my Thyroid ultrasound yesterday morning...

Do you know how hard it is NOT to swallow when someone is pressing on your neck with an u/s transducer?? VERY hard! So hard, some pics had to be re-done.

Anyways, Dr. S took quite some time to complete the u/s - about a half hour or so for such a tiny gland, and printed out more u/s pics than I think were taken of Chris and my IUI u/s monitorings combined! But, she was very thorough, which is always a good thing in finding out what exactly is wrong with you!

She said my thyroid gland looked like a butterfly-shape of Swiss Cheese - which is what she was expecting to see with Hashi's and my antibody levels. So, the gland was "normal" for what is going on - but, of course, abnormal as compared to a normally-functioning thyroid gland. She found two very small nodules on the right side of the gland (.45 cm and .18 cm) - hence the number of u/s pics she took and the repeated squashing of my neck with the transducer. They would be too small to biopsy for cancer screening, but because they look solid and not cystic or fluid-filled, they are considered non-cancerous at this point. She will repeat the u/s in 6-12 months, depending upon symptoms and bloodwork, and repeat the u/s at least yearly to watch for changes in size, texture and numbers of nodules. If I find I feel my gland getting larger, I need to contact her so she can check the growth of the nodules again. She said the nodules are very new, because the radioactive tests I had done in September showed no nodules at all.

Now, I just wait until mid-May to repeat the thyroid b/w and see where I stand with my TSH levels. If they are below 2.0 (ideally, between 1.0 and 2.0), then TTC can be a GO for June/July. If they are not, TTC is still my choice to make - but, I plan to wait until the levels are down to where they need to be.

Of course, though, discussing the results last night with Hubby led him and I into a more in-depth discussion on how we want to proceed with TTC...

Hubby is, above all, most concerned about the impact of TTC again on my mental health. He wants to make sure that I am really ready for this - if really ready at all - because he does not want to see me fall off the edge again should another miscarriage happen. He wants to know from Dr. D and all the docs involved in my care what exactly the chances are of another miscarriage, knowing all that is wrong with me now.

It is very sweet of him to think this way - to put my feelings and health above all other decisions regarding TTC. Above the thought of having another child. Not many men would think this way - really, not all men care about the whole TTC process in general and just let the women handle it. So, it is very nice for him to worry, although I don't think I need him to right now.

I explained to him that I am really okay about TTC again - that I can talk about it without the anxiety creeping in. I can think about the possibility of another miscarriage, and not freak out and panic. I can acknowledge that we might not have another child, and be okay with what life may give us. The HUGE difference about TTC again now and starting to TTC #2 back in July 2005 (and more importantly, TTC after miscarriage #2 in November 2005) is that I KNOW I have the potential to miscarry again. I am prepared for and aware of that possibility - I can't be blindsided by having morning sickness but the pregnancy not being viable again. I know miscarriage is always going to be a possibility, and I am more aware of the fact I may have to be given that news again.

I also have more HOPE than before - I know what is wrong with me now, and it is being treated by doctors who are really on top of the respective conditions. A year ago, I never knew what a homozygous MTHFR mutation was...nor did I know anything about thyroid disease. Knowledge has brought forth some hope in my heart - and the doctors being aggressive about the care has brought even more hope to me.

But, I, too, need to know what my chances are - real percentages here - of another miscarriage...so as not to be blindsided again by news I don't want to hear.

I suggested to Hubby that he call Dr. D's office and talk to him about it, or ask about having another consult to go over the new stuff. We didn't know about the Hashi's when we went in for our TTC consult back in November (it was still being looked into at that time)... So, what he told us about our chances of another miscarriage is no longer correct. We need an update and some real information. I also want to know if maybe we should get more aggressive in the overall TTC method - Clomid vs. injectibles. In November, he was leaving that decision to me - and I opted to do two rounds of Clomid first with him before moving on to injectibles with the clinic. But, with Hashi's now being in the overall picture, maybe being more agressive from the start - having a better ovulation - might be best? I need to know that opinion.

I know the miscarriage dangers really lie in the conditions NOT being treated at all. Since they are being treated, my chances have dropped dramatically. BUT, I think we still need to know the chances of miscarriage, even with treatment.

More to come...

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday and some current thoughts

Today is Good Friday... Although we have not really observed the Lenten season like we should have, today is a good day to reflect on some things that have been going on. I have not been faithful going to actual mass at all - but, you know what? Right now, I really don't feel I need the rituals of mass to fuel my faith. I have been keeping an "open dialogue" of sorts with God, and right now, I feel that is all I need. We will be going to Easter Sunday mass with Chris - and, maybe after that, attendance of mass will become a little more common. I really want him to have faith and learn it young - the main reason for us to go to mass more often. But, for me, mass has become just a ritual and I really don't feel it makes my connection to God that much stronger.

Anyeays, first, I wanted ask all of you to say a prayer for one of my co-workers. Her BIL was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago (I am not sure where it started, but it spread rather fast to other areas). She called this morning to say the aggressive treatments he started a couple of weeks ago are not working and they called his children to come home from college this morning. Things are not looking good, and they could use any prayers they can get right now. Please keep them in your prayers this weekend - that they find some peace, no matter the outcome.

We had the ceremony honoring my office as a 2007 Compassionate Employer (see my post on 2007 Compassionate Friends Compassionate Employers Awards) yesterday. Rutgers will actually be publishing an article in the monthly Focus publication for faculty, staff and alumni - I will be getting a proof today. When it comes, I will post it for all of you. It was very nice to see everyone who helped me through my losses publically acknowledged for their care and concern. It will be even more interesting for me to see my story in print for the entire University and alumni to see.

I mailed out over 190 resumes for Hubby on Monday from work - he has already received 5 requests for interviews! Please say a prayer that some of these inquiries turn into offers - and that, whatever job he choses to take, it will be a good one and long term. He likes the fact his current boss at least appreciates his work - although he is a complete ass for other reasons. It would be nice to see him find a place to work where there is both respect of work and respect of self and family.

I have been going back onto the loss boards more on FF these days... I have stayed away for a while because every time I would go on, my anxiety would start to flair up. But, now that I am going back a bit, I am no longer getting that reaction. June/July is our target date to start TTC again - and I really think I am READY for this. If all goes well, I should have my next period in mid-June (if it follows the 77-day cycle rule again), can start Clomid and prepare for the IUI and, well, we will see how it goes from there. The only obstical is the Thyroid b/w in late May - if my TSH is not below 2.0 by then, I may consider delaying TTC a little longer. I will be talking to Dr. S about that on Tuesday when I go in for the thyroid u/s. I am supposed to see her on July 2nd for a follow-up - but, if we wanted to start earlier, she would push that appointment up.

I can't believe I am really ready for this...

Chris is such the ham! I have to put a bunch of his latest pics together (the MIL is kinda hording them right now) - we have some great ones, including him in the sandbox, him Easter Egg hunting. His speech has really taken off now that he is in school, which is great. I have to get back to my Christopher Friday posts, which I will resume next week (work kinda has cut into the posting time lately). For now, though, I will share the story of him and his "ocean."

He calls any body of water an ocean - including his tub. So, now when he is in the tub, he likes to start kicking his legs so the water turns into tidalwaves and he starts yelling "Help!! The ocean is rough!!" Usually, water is all over the bathroom floor (especially because we have the original claw-foot tub with now shower enclosure) when he is done, and I have to put the towels in the washer - but, it is worth the soaking-wet aftermath to watch him have so much fun! I am not sure where he got the words from, but I am sure the pool is going to be very interesting this summer!

So, I have been listening to John Mellencamp in the car lately, specifically the album "Mr. Happy Go Lucky," which my friend K and I caught when he was touring back in 1997. I love the last song...and figured I would share it with you. Enjoy!

Life Is Hard
by John Mellencamp

Life is hard anyway you cut it
Life is sweet, like a berry from a tree
Life is temptation, baby, every single day
Life is hard

Life is funny, I don't mean ha-ha
It's not always sunny, when it needs to be
Life is frightening, nothing lasts forever
Life is hard

My time
Is next to nothing
My time
Falls on you, yeah
Everything
Is in motion
Life is hard

Life is precious, no matter how you see it
Life is crazy, like yellow fishes in the street
Life is lonely when you're not with me
Life is hard

Gentlemen
Is that you story
Hanging religion from a tree, yeah
My time is next to nothing
Life is hard

My time
Is next to nothing
My time
Falls on you, yeah
Everything
Is in motion
Life is hard
Hard
Hard
Hard
My time
Falls on you, yeah
Life is hard
Life is hard

Monday, April 02, 2007

A flashback, of sorts

I finished "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls last night (a great read, by the way), and started in on the next book in my "to read" stacks (I have a few now since my MIL has learned I have been turned on to reading again).

The next one up is "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom. It's a shorty, which is why I chose it. I haven't decided yet if I want a "self-help" book next, or another good novel. So, while I am trying to decide that, I figured I would finally get to reading Albom's first of three books (since I have read "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" and "For One More Day" already, I wanted to read this one too). I just started it last night and within the first ten pages, a quote jumped out at me right away (I won't give you what the line is referencing, just in case someone has not read the book yet):
"My old professor, meanwhile, was stunned by the normalcy of the day around him. Shouldn't the world stop? Don't they know what has happened to me?"
This quote really struck me...and I had to put the book down for a brief moment when I read it. But, I am not 100% sure why it struck specifically last night. It has been a long time since I had that similar feeling moment in time, and honestly, I kinda forgot about it until I read those words last night.

To back-track a bit...

When I had my second miscarriage in November 2005, I kinda knew in my heart when I got that + HPT that something just wasn't quite right about the pregnancy. I think my insticts knew because the cycle had been crappy to start with: My follie's weren't responding well to the 100mg Clomid I was on (they never responded at all to the 50 mg the cycle before, which is all it took to get me pregnant with Chris). Thanks to the u/s monitoring, we could see I had too many small follies and none were developing into something we would hope would ovulate or want to trigger. Then, we found out on CD 22 that I had ovulated in between monitoring u/s's on CD 21 without any signs of the ovulation happening (no EWCM, no positive OPK's, nothing!). We were given the choice to either do a natural cycle or wait it out - of course, we went with the natural cycle. And it worked, somehow. But, hind-sight being 20/20, I should have waited the cycle out.

The bleeding started about two weeks after my first + HPT...and the joy of finding out that a crappy cycle turned positive came crashing down on us.

Anyways, here is where the quote fits in: Dr. D sent me for two outside u/s's at the hospital's ambulatory center after the bleeding started. The first was on Halloween day - the day after the bleeding started. I was warned by Dr. D over the phone that since I was not quite six weeks along at that point, the tech might not see anything. When I went in for the emergency appointment, the tech was cold as ice. Now, of course she probably knew why I was there in the first place and probably didn't want to say anything - but, when she started the u/s, she was very rough and only spoke matter-of-factly about what she saw. When she only saw a small sac, she questioned how far along I thought I was. So, I told her that 1) I was already warned we might not see anything and 2) I knew exactly how far along I was. She came back in after showing the scans to the radiologist at the center and said coldly things didn't look good. But, I wasn't that scared yet. Dr. D was the one, I felt, who needed to tell me the truth. When I saw him later that day after the beta draw, he said he couldn't promise anything, but to take it easy, do the repeat betas and u/s's he wanted done and we would see what was happening when I was a little farther along. I was guarded about the pregnancy, but still a little hopeful since it was, in fact, so early.

The second u/s was done the following Monday on November 7, 2005 at the same center. This tech was much nicer and way more sympathetic to what was happening. Hubby missed getting there because of work, so I went in alone. The tech I had was much easier with the equipment and was more informative as she went through the scans. When she was done, she told me that she, too, only saw a small sac and that the radiologist was going to call Dr. D about the scans. Hubby finally showed up after I was told only a small sac was visible at almost seven weeks - that was not good news.

Hubby and I stood outside in the parking deck as I explained what the tech had said - my cell phone rang. I knew it was Dr. D without picking it up to see the caller ID. My cell phone never rings... Hubby answered and he gave me the phone. Dr. D said he was sorry, but he had to tell me that this pregnancy was going to end in a miscarriage. He explained everything to me - why there was an empty sac, why I was bleeding, that he wanted to do one last u/s to confirm everything before I decided if I wanted to miscarry on my own, or medically manage the miscarriage...

As I stood there shaking, crying in Hubby's arms, talking into the cell phone to my doc and learning a life I so wanted - that I never expected to enter into my life in the first place - was leaving me.....the world just kept about their business as if nothing was happening.

Shouldn't the world stop? Don't they know what has happened to me?

In that moment, I felt like the world should have been mourning that loss with me - that time should have stopped and everyone should have felt sad, mad, robbed of a life too short.

What is the point of this post? I don't know... Maybe that, as we look into other people's eyes at any given moment, we should think about what might be happening in someone else's life at that moment in time? Maybe there is hardship behind someone's facade and we should be a little more careful of how we treat one another? Maybe we should not assume that all is well for someone? Maybe we should be a little more caring to people we meet?

And, this applies to most of those pregnant women we see too...bellies sticking out, beaming as they walk through the stores and the parks and the restaurants. I am sure that as I walked around in Spring 2004, some woman might have been jealous of the baby I was carrying... But little did she know how long it took to conceive that baby, and how much that baby would be appreciated once he was born. And, if I am so lucky for that joy to enter our lives again, little will that woman know how hard it was to hold on to that pregnancy, how how much that baby will be loved and appreciated.

I guess these thoughts are kinda like my Paying It Forward post:
What if the person who dropped it (the $30) really needed the cash? What if they didn't have enough to make ends meet - and we used their cash on something frivilous that we could have afforded ourselves? What if the cash meant not being able to feed his/her child?
Maybe I am thinking too much as the idea of TTC again comes closer...and I prepare myself for it. Even though I am ready to try again in a few months, I am still scared of what the future holds. If I have another miscarriage, it is the end of the road because I don't think I can handle another loss... It is hard, even in the best of spirits, to be hopeful...