A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

One Day At a Time; or, Hanging In There

Things have been mostly okay in the Sloper household the past few days, other than the wicked head cold I'm fighting and the snoring it has unfortunately produced. The worry is always there, of course, but it's been like a little pebble wiggling around in my shoe rather than a massive cinder block crushing my chest. My boobs appear to deflate and grow less sore: pebble of worry. I have a sleepgasm (seriously, what is up with those things?) and wake to intense, if momentary, cramping: pebble of worry. I think about the shower that my best friend said she and her mom will throw for me or decorating the nursery or having a baby nine months from now: pebble of worry.

But at least I am letting myself imagine those things, just a little, even if I always immediately qualify them in my mind with a disclaimer: "WARNING! Idle Daydreams to not constitute a guarantee of success. Fantasize at your own risk."

I don't think I fully realized how traumatic losing the m&m was until this week. I knew that I grieved very hard for that pregnancy-- the months of sobbing in parking lots and at family gatherings and on my couch (not to mention the over-eating) were testament to that. But I thought that over the past, let's say, nine months I'd processed and accepted and put it behind me and moved on.

Ha! Ha?

I said to Lawyer Guy this morning that I feel like we both have PTSD. It reminds me of the months following 9/11, when we would jump at every loud noise and when something as simple as getting on the subway or a city bus felt fraught with danger (I stood several feet away from every subway trash can out of worry that they might contain an IRA-style bomb). LG works downtown only about ten blocks from the Trade Center, so he saw/heard/felt some incredibly disturbing things that day, including the deafening impact of the second plane hitting. And it took him *years* to not automatically panic at certain similar sounds.

Despite the obvious differences in scale and significance and national importance, this feels very similar. I feel like I'm reliving everything terrible that happened 14 months ago, and I'm a little paralyzed by it all.

But I'm trying to get better.

I mentioned my best friend (Doctor Lady, whom I've written about here before). I spoke to her on Sunday night and told her what is going on. She's not only a great listener and extremely sympathetic, she also has a detached, rational response to things and medical expertise that make her really great to talk to in situations like this. She never blows smoke, but she can be reassuring and factual at the same time, and she doesn't get whipped into hysteria even while she feels for me. So I'm really glad I told her.

We have not told any of our parents (or anyone else outside the ALI on-line community, for that matter), for several reasons. For me, the most important is that I desperately want to be happy and excited when I tell my parents this news. I didn't get that last time. I told my mom and dad about the m&m after our first ultrasound with no heartbeat, when things were looking worrisome and my doctor gave us a 50-50 shot. There was a lot of crying and comforting over the phone that night. That's so far from how I dreamed of the experience of telling my parents they're going to be grandparents, and I want the experience of my dreams. I want something to be normal in all this. If that means I have to wait until I'm 12+ weeks to tell them, then that's what it means.

The other issue--and this pertains more to my mother-in-law, despite the fact that I adore her--is that I am not ready to let anyone else into this space Lawyer Guy and I are sharing. I'm not capable of dealing with someone else's worry or excitement or expectations other than ours. I'm trying to take each day as it comes and deal calmly with all my fears. My mother-in-law is wonderful, but she can't keep her mouth shut. I'm partially worried she'd tell people about this before we were ready, but I'm mostly certain that she would call to check in on me and tell me I need to be calm and want to talk to me about this a lot and I JUST CAN'T HANDLE IT RIGHT NOW.

This is a source of some tension between Lawyer Guy and me. He thinks of his mother as his best friend (other than me) and he's been struggling, too, with worry and fear. He really, really wants to tell his mom. I really, really don't want him to. He thinks I'm being selfish, and he's probably right, but I feel like this is something I need to stick to my guns on. I'm just not ready.

This turned into a much longer post than I intended. Thank you so much for reading along with me and e-mailing me or tweeting at me with your encouragement over the last few days. It truly sustains me right now. And to my friends who are struggling and perhaps hurt by my inability to feel the joy that must seem so appropriate to this situation: I am sorry. I need to be honest in this space, always, but I know how hard it is to read things like this when you would give anything to see two lines yourself. I completely understand if people want to stop following along or take a break from commenting, and I won't be hurt.


  1. A couple thoughts... and please remember that these are only my opinions!

    First off, the sleepgasm - i'm jealous. i've never experienced one, but have definitely heard of them, especially from pregnant friends. craziness!!

    On a more serious note, I think that maybe you should think about letting your hubby tell your MIL. I know nothing of the dynamic between you and her, but if there's anything I've learned in this IF journey, it's that we all need someone to talk to.

    You have this blogging world and the ALI community online. You have Doctor Lady IRL.

    Who does your husband have?

    Maybe come to a compromise - he can talk to his MIL, but needs to emphasize to her that YOU don't want to talk about it until you've passed the 12 week mark (or whenever).

    Just a thought. It's just so hard to not have anyone to confide in...about both fears and joys.

    Feel free to tell me to shove it. :) I just wanted to maybe remind you of how much more lonely it was to be on this journey without anyone to confide in...I'm sure your husband is feeling just as worried/joyful/anxious/happy as you are.

    Hang in there - we're all praying for you!

  2. I am so, so, so hoping that you get to share this wonderful news with your families the way you always dreamed. Your betas are awesome and I am so hopeful that your first ultrasound will be absolutely perfect!

    Never apologize for being honest. Losing M&M was devastating, so it's natural that you are guarded. We're only human after all.

  3. There's nothing wrong with waiting to tell people. I completely understand your fears and hesitations with that. Can you perhaps pick a point at which to compromise - a date or milestone when it's okay to share the news with family and family only?

    Sending positive thoughts. Keep hanging in there. You are doing great.

  4. Aww, Sloper... I just want to take those pebbles of worry and skip them across a big, warm lake of hope for you. Truth is, though, some pebbles will always remain. It's hard. You set certain goalposts for relief and excitement, but they always seem to shift farther away with each passing milestone. That's the wretched side effect of loss and infertility. We all know that and understand where you're coming from. Don't apologize for or disclaim/preface your feelings. We get it, and we're here to boost you through.

    I am so happy for you, and I can't wait to read your posts about how you and LG reveal your awesome news...when you're ready for that.


  5. First of all, never apologize for your feelings!!

    Second of all, unfortunately I have no good advice here. I would be in your court in terms of keeping this to yourselves. The moment of sharing such news should not be one of trepidation. Can you compromise and wait for the h/b scan?

  6. I can't blame you for how you're feeling about telling family members. Maybe you can come up with a point where DH can talk to his mom and then another point to tell others? It's tough.

    My therapist compared what I was struggling with to PTSD, which I had never thought about before. You're right...I often though I had dealt with things and then something happened and it was like I went back in life five months. It sucked.

    I agree though...you're doing great!

  7. I know how you feel, my dear. I hope that when the time comes, you have nothing but joyous and giddy good news to share with your parents and everyone else. Loss robs us of so much, and it's so particularly cruel that it robs us of the ability (at the very least temporarily) to feel joy about pregnancy. The thought that this pregnancy, too, will be lost is so huge that it crowds out the space where the option of this pregnancy working out should be.

  8. Also, my "I'm not a spammer" code I just got was "swooness." I feel that is pertinent.

  9. The telling or not telling, it's all so complicated. (And I'm thinking in totally selfish self-preservation terms here.) I didn't tell a soul with my first pregnancy, and when it was definite that I was miscarrying, I just needed my mom. It was a terrible terrible sad awful phone call to make. After that, I erred on the side of telling her right away, in that "I'm really scared so please help me not lose my shit" kind of way. That way if she got a phone call from me, in tears, no explanation was needed. But this was all before I had an IF community (through blogland and my support group) to turn to with this stuff. I don't know, I just don't know what I would do next time around. Trust your gut, do what you need to for YOU.

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  11. I think you should wait until post 12 weeks to tell. E and I waited until 14 weeks, and even then, it added a new layer of stress. Also, I fully agree with you that those milestone memories are important-- getting proposed to, finding out that you are pregnant, telling your parents that they will be grandparents-- you want to always look back on those moments with joy and tenderness. Clearly, we were both robbed of the middle memory here: our memory of first seeing those 2 lines is a bitter one, in light of what transpired afterwards. You don't want to fuck up the last one, too, by planning a joyful telling to your family, and then having it robbed form you also. It is, after all, something that you only get to do once.

    NOT that it is going to be robbed form you-- your sleepgasm crampiness makes me think this is a very healthy baby, firmly implanted and already distorting the muscles of your uterus. But you want to be sure, or more sure, before you go out and make this beautiful memory of sharing news of a healthy pregnancy with your family.

    The PTSD is very real. I am still fighting it too, every day. I hope that one day I'll be able to look at my daughter and not worry obsessively that she will instantaneously drop dead! I mean, at some point, the experience of parenthood has to move away from the trauma of pregnancy loss, right????

  12. I understand all the worry and I really wish it would lessen and you could experience some happiness with this pregnancy.

    I'm not one to talk, though, since I'm having an EXTREMELY hard time looking on the bright side right now, with all this nausea/barfing. I feel like a horrible pregnant woman. I'm not happy at all. I'm just scared about making it through the day, and then the next day.

    Even though our reasons for worry are different, there is a lot of similarity there. We WANT to be happy. We feel obligated. But we can't be all there right now.

    I hope that your pregnancy keeps moving along right on pace and you're able to get some real peace of mind soon.

  13. Oh dear. This is sticky in terms of whether to tell or not. I think that you should remain strong in having him not tell, but also realize that if she's the only one he has to talk to about it, well, then he deserves at least one person. I feel so very guilty that I get all of yous guys out here and the Mr. has just one friend that we only told this last year!

    I expect that you can set a boundary with him and her and if he does tell her that she's just not allowed to bring it up with you, period. Stressful!

    Otherwise, I am pouring all sorts of great thoughts into a ginormous mug of hot chocolate and sending it to Park Slope. I am nervous and excited for you. I want all very normal things ahead and am so very thrilled that you've made step one!

  14. Oh wow...tough call on telling when you and LG aren't on the same page. We just told my in-laws a few days ago (at 8 weeks) and I was glad we waited that long because I was more confident than I would have been if we told them earlier. But, we aren't telling anyone else until 12 weeks. I think there might be a compromise in there for you and LG and I agree with Josey, LG might need someone to confide in the way you have Doctor Lady.

    On a lighter note...the sleepgasm. I've had two and didn't know what was going on with the first one. The cramping after totally scared me to death because it was much stronger than the regular cramping I'd been feeling. Once I felt better, I chalked it up to the little one having a mini party in my belly:)

    You're doing a great job keeping positive!!!

  15. In the “here’s my two cents” category, my husband and I had exactly the same conflict over when to tell family. We reached a compromise by waiting until after the “heart visibly beating and at an appropriate rate, baby’s size matching with dates” ultrasound. But I think it makes perfect sense for you to wait until you’re comfortable telling.

    I think it’s very perceptive of you to liken your experience to PTSD. I offer this cautionary tale, since I wasn’t as perceptive as you are. I had a bunch of setbacks on the way to the FET that resulted in my second son (I had leftover embryos from the DE IVF that had produced my first son four years earlier). My husband and I, in another compromise, agreed that we’d try for another baby with the remaining embryos but not pursue additional treatment if we weren’t successful. We had enough frozen for, at most, two chances.

    During the medication cycle that was supposed to suppress ovulation and lead to the FET, the most awful scenario I could imagine, and one I kept replaying during waking and sleeping hours, was some kind of mishap that resulted in embryos being thawed at the wrong time and wasting one of my chances. Partway through the cycle, I began to believe I’d ovulated anyway. Yet when I went to my appointment to see if I was ready for the transfer, I was assured that I hadn’t and that all systems were go.

    Guess what? The next night I got my period—on a Saturday night, in the middle of a blizzard, about 10 hours before the embryos were due to be thawed. “Frantic” does not begin to describe it. Fortunately, a nurse was on call, and after a series of phone calls, the process was halted in time.

    This propelled me into PTSD, I’m convinced of it. But I did nothing, just turned around and started on a new cycle with different medication. Among other things, I was afraid that if I told my husband how much I was struggling, he’d back out of proceeding. So … three weeks into my attempt to power on through it, I ended up in the emergency room, thinking I was dying, in the throes of the mother of all panic attacks. It was bad enough that, after giving me some Ativan, they were truly concerned that I might have experienced some kind of cardiac event. I was admitted me to the cardiac unit for 24 hours for monitoring and had a stress test. (Actually, it ended up feeling like a spa mini-break. Best sleep I’d had since my older son was born, room service, and finally being able to unburden myself to doctors and husband.)

    So … here are two cents from my other pocket: Take your perception seriously, and deal with it accordingly. Be good to yourself physically and emotionally. Yoga. Therapy. Even consider temporarily taking anti-depressants to get you over the rough spots?

  16. So glad you're not feeling totally overcome with worry and it's just that looming fear that you're able to deal with and carry on with life for the most part.

    I think being pregnant again after a loss is similar to PTSD ~ and even if you have dealt with that loss in all the right ways, when you get pregnant again all of those feelings about the loss and how you felt, where you were, etc come back to the forefront of your mind. Of course it's hard.

    I do know that as this pregnancy passes where the last one went wrong the fear will let up, bit by bit. I was so relieved when 1) we got past it being ectopic 2) I saw the heartbeat on the u/s.

    Please don't apologize for your feelings or honesty! We all understand and are here to support you.

    Hang in there, Sloper. One day at a time.

  17. This is a tough one. Even though I told people not very close to me before I wanted to, I held out on people who I knew would have expectations, and hopes and worries that would then stress me out even further. The PTSD analogy is a great one and you're still in the thick of it. I'm glad the pebbles are just pebbles, but they are irritating and uncomfortable none the less! Maybe as time goes by you and LG will reach a middle ground on this one. Like after a good viability ultrasound with a strong heartbeat? I guess my point is that I think you reserve the right to hold on to this just for the two of you right now. You shouldn't have to decide this today, or tomorrow, or even in a few days.

    And yeah, the sleepgasm...I had one the night before I took a pregnancy test and was very alarmed by the cramping, because while I have had sleepgasms before, they never caused cramping. It was my first clue that I might be pregnant, because I had read about this. I know it's a worry pebble for you, but it's happened to me a few times since and I've been reassured by my OB that cramping is a normal side effect of such things. (I was still too afraid to have sex for at least 7-8 weeks after the positive HPT though). Thankfully I am a bit more easygoing these days!

  18. I'm sending good thoughts your way. I understand your fears. Balancing wanting to get pregnant SO BADLY with the fear of losing another pregnancy is a tough place to be. Can't wait to hear more good news from you!

  19. One more thing: My boob inflation/deflation, tender/not tender would fluctuate constantly, sending me into a tailspin of worry. It hasn't stopped. There are days when they hurt and I am very aware of them. And days (several in a row) when they feel like my normal boobs. So there's that.

  20. I think you should make a deal with hubby to tell MIL on a certain day (viability ultrasound?). I understand that he'd like to have the support (and probably for both of you) but I think that going through repeated losses does result in PTSD, and I think that right now it's a lot to deal with. But giving him a date will give him something concrete to focus upon.

    My gut feeling is that this pregnancy of yours will be okay and result in a healthy baby, and statistics back me up. So I'm not suggesting the above because I think that something will happen. More because I think you deserve every kindness at this moment, and sometimes that means keeping your cards close to your chest.

  21. just want to let you know, you are loved. and we're here for you no matter where you are emotionally. so much love ((hugs)). and FWIW, my counselor told both me and my hubby that we are definitely dealing with PTSD. and i think that's true for anyone dealing with losses, like we have. anyway...love you hon! ((HUGE HUGS))

  22. Wishing you the best. I think everything you are experiencing is normal and to be expected.