21 Weeks and Counting

Baby Lubetsky at 20 weeks.

Baby at 20 weeks.

Baby is 21 weeks now!

We got to see the little one on Friday for a follow-up anatomy scan. Though baby seems to love laying facing backwards and curled up all nice and cozy, we were still able to get a good look at all of their parts to confirm they are developing well. We got to see their little heart pumping away, and all the little bones and other organs. It’s funny how certain parts, like their face, fingers and toes make it all seem more real. That’s a real mini-human inside me. Mind blowing.

We discovered the other night that baby has started reacting to music. At least that’s how it seems. While watching Nashville baby would start to move around when the music was playing. Pretty crazy! Each time a song came on the wild sensation of movement from my womb would start-up again. Such an awesome feeling. I’m going to start playing baby some good music regularly, now that they seem to hear it. That way baby can enjoy the calm and joy I get from it (I’m sure that carries to baby somehow). It will also be a good bonding activity for us.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how far we have come since April. It feels so far away now… but the one part that had stuck around like gum on my shoe is the fear. Fear of getting too excited or attached to this little one. With the last pregnancy, I felt a strong emotional connection with the baby and music, and listened constantly. I almost immediately felt the presence of the little spirit with me and was keenly aware of it throughout my day. When we found out we were pregnant this time, I kept waiting for that elation to show up, but it hides just underneath the fear a lot of the time. There are times when I really connect, and of course there are many moments of joy and excitement, but they are almost always followed by a feeling of worry that I shouldn’t “count my eggs before they hatch.” For example, haven’t been listening as intently to music as I did last time, or focusing as hard on creating experiences for the little one in my womb… not because I don’t want to, but because I’ve been afraid of the potential for pain that I’d be opening myself up to. Gradually, I’m opening myself back up to the potential for the future.

Boy or Girl?

For Brian’s birthday (around 17 1/2 weeks pregnant) I surprised him with an early gender scan at one of those 3D ultrasound places. It was worth every penny to sneak a peek in on our little gummy bear and see how they were doing. After the Subchorionic Hematoma started to shrink we went back on a “normal” appointment schedule rather than weekly visits. I’ll admit it, I really wanted to know the gender so it was as much a present for me as for him… But I also wanted the video of the ultrasound. I wanted to have a video of it moving about, alive, even if on the inside. So, it was a relief to see the little bugger moving about. Baby played a little coy and didn’t want to give us a good view of the goods, but we did get a peek when they uncrossed their ankles for a couple of seconds! I have to say, seeing the baby and finding out their gender was a big turning point for me. Suddenly, the abstract idea of baby became more real.

Knowing what biological gender our little one is has really helped me attach and connect with it more these last few weeks. I hadn’t realized just how self protective I had been up till that point, but the feelings of love and bonding I had so early last time took over immediately after finding out what it is. Not that it matters so much, just that it’s something new to make this little one real to me. A person, not just a gummy bear. My son or daughter, not just a pregnancy. I can imagine that when we start seeing their movements from the outside, when Brian can feel the life moving in me, it will bring things to a whole other level of real. I can’t wait!

Only 19 more weeks to go!

Side note: I haven’t had much in terms of cravings recently, though there are days when I just need, I mean NEED vegetables. My feet have started swelling a little at the end of the day if I don’t remember to put up my feet at work, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. Nausea rears it’s head occasionally, but is manageable. Generally, I feel good, though uncomfortable, and I’m plugging along.

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Rainbow on its way- The first trimester

PregnancyAnnouncementReadySetSarahBlog

We’re pregnant!

It was somewhat shocking to find that just one cycle after my miscarriage we are already expecting again. Along with the joy that came with the news, our initial reaction was also weighted by our still fresh pain, and fear of what could happen. But we had to believe the best, and we haven’t stopped believing. We’ll see this little one through, hopefully all the way till they’re in our arms safe and healthy! I took the first test before work and Brian and I both looked at the faint positive line in disbelief… so on my lunch hour I walked up to the drug store to get one more. No denying it this time!

Didn't believe it until the second test!

Didn’t believe it until the second test!

A rough start

Things quickly became more complicated when, once again, I began to spot at about 7 weeks. At 9 1/2 weeks, due to a heavy, heavy, bright red bleed over our Anniversary weekend in Traverse City, we spent our first anniversary in the ER expecting the worst. We were overjoyed and shocked when the ultrasound showed a healthy developing baby with a strong heart beat. It was determined by our OB at follow-up that we had experienced a subchorionic hematoma that had bled out. I continued to bleed lightly through the week, as the doctor warned us would happen. But it slowed to a stop by the end of the week.

The following weekend at 10 1/2 weeks I woke in the middle of the night to another rush of fresh bleeding… again, to the ER. We were again happy to find an even bigger growing baby and strong heart beat… But this time my cervix had begun to dilate. Crossing our fingers and praying to G*d we left the ER on rest until our follow-up appointment.

Baby Betsky at 9 1/2 and 11 weeks

Baby Betsky at 9 1/2 and 11 weeks

A long, worried wait

At our follow-up appointment we learned that the Subchorionic Hematoma (SCH) was still there (despite the 2 big bleeds), and that we would just need to wait it out and see if it would heal and reabsorb or bleed out on it’s own. From what I understand, there’s not much that can be done to treat a SCH. Some doctors believe that bed rest is the only treatment to help keep it from getting worse, others don’t buy it.

Our doctor put us somewhere on the spectrum at taking it easy, with no running, jogging, or general exertion. Brian and I weren’t going to take any chances. We read as many studies as possible and made our own decision. I spent the next month mostly seated or laying down. I’m telling you, MAD PROPS TO BED REST MOMS. It was seriously hard to stay inactive… especially not knowing if it would really help. The big fear with the SCH is that it can lead to serious complications later in the pregnancy if it doesn’t go away (miscarriage, premature labor…etc). Brian dutifully drove me to work everyday (to avoid the uphill walk from my parking lot), and I did everything I could to keep rested. The bleeding kept up for weeks (sorry for the gross factor of this post, if you’re grossed out by this stuff). But from what we can tell, the rest and time got us through.

Good to go- 20 weeks and counting

Now that we are on the other side of the first trimester (and midway through our second), I feel grateful that we didn’t have something worse to contend with. It felt like the world could come crashing down at any minute. The emotional stress was probably the worst part of it all. I’m amazed now how many small little things have to go right to get a person here. It makes me grateful that we have made it this far. I’m in awe of the seemingly “easy” pregnancies some people have (I know, I know, no such thing as easy), but grateful for every minute of this one.

We were fully cleared last week. The hematoma is gone and our little one is growing and kicking and making their way to the world. I started prental yoga and it feels like a little of the weight has been lifted. There may still be clouds lingering, but we can see this little rainbow shining through. I can’t wait to get to February to meet the little one!

First Trimester Cravings: not much… string cheese, cucumbers, carbs. Lots and lots of carbs. Really goes well with inactivity (hello miraculous multiplying booty).

Self-Care after a Miscarriage

All of the views expressed here are my own. I have used “alternative” care most of my life and find it helpful in combination with western medical care, particularly in caring for my overall wellbeing.

SelfCare_ReadySetSarahBlog

1 Month Today

Today marks the 1 month point since I lost the baby. We would have been starting our 4th month of pregnancy today, and instead we are mourning and reflecting on 1 month since our loss.

Self-care is particularly important when my strength and resilience are stretched thin by a circumstance like this, outside of my control. I stay on the look out for ways to manage the stress and anxiety that flare up for me from time to time. But in a time like right now, when my emotions are high, and can come up unexpectedly, I find it even more important to make a concerted effort to maintain balance and practice thoughtful self-care.

A traumatic, stressful, sad life event is the perfect storm for making stress and anxiety hit a fever pitch, and I’m determined to get through this in a healthy reasonable way.

Here are a few of the things I’ve been doing to take care of myself since the miscarriage:

Scale Back.
One of the first and strongest feelings after returning home to Michigan after the miscarriage was that the feeling that family and home are the most important things to tend to in my life right now. This meant cutting back on outward commitments to save my energy for work, family and my personal care and interests. Sometimes getting out and getting active is a good thing, but right now it feels like all of the extracurricular commitments would just cause me to avoid my feelings, avoid thinking about things, avoid quiet moments to process our loss and grow past it. I decided that sticking to the things that matter most: my family life and health will help me heal more quickly and more fully so that when we are ready to try again I am balanced and ready.

Sure, I have had moments of guilt for dropping out of some commitments to groups I’m involved with. I tried my best to be respectful of their needs and communicated what was going on as promptly as I could. I just know that if I don’t take care of myself now, the grief will only come up later in disruptive ways. Right now, beyond my job, my main responsibilities and my all of my energy are dedicated to healing our family, tending my bond with my husband, and  caring for my physical and emotional health. These are my only and main concerns, and that is okay.

Get sleep.
Letting myself get over tired is a big no no when I’m under emotional stress. When I’m over tired everything feels harder and I get more reactive and it’s harder to stay positive. My negative thinking can get out of hand quickly, even in the best of times, and when you heap being over tired to the equation it’s a recipe for disaster.

Sleep is healing. I often work things out in my dream life. It’s really important to keep up a healthy sleep routine when emotionally tested. Not too much, not too little. I’m trying to stick with a solid 8 hour routine to keep myself on track. In the late hours if I’m not in bed and ready to sleep, the sad and longing thoughts of loss creep in, the arguments and emotional, irrational behavior pick up quickly. If you are anything like me, do everyone a favor and give yourself an early bed time and a regular wake up call. When that alarm goes off, get up and get going with your day.

Talk About It
If you need to talk about what has happened, go ahead and talk about it. Don’t wait for others to ask, or expect others to bring it up. Not to say you should share when you don’t feel comfortable, or all of the time, but I’ve found that most people are nervous to bring it up for fear of reminding me or upsetting me… so it’s up to me to bring it up if I’m feeling the need to share a thought or feeling about what has happened. It can be a dark place in the days after losing a baby, don’t spend your energy being upset with people for not asking, or being angry with them for something they don’t know.

Find the people you feel safe talking with about your feelings. It doesn’t have to be everyone, but find a few people you can share your thoughts with and go ahead and talk. Telling your story, recounting memories, sadness, and concerns can be a release. Hearing about the sadness other people I love are experiencing has also helped me feel that I’m not alone in my grief (not that I want anyone to be sad, but it is validating to know I’m not the only one grieving the loss of the potential life of our little one).

Assume that people mean well. Many people don’t understand, can’t understand what it means to lose a child early in pregnancy. Many will say things that can be a bit upsetting… assume that they mean well and move on to find people who will support you in the ways you need. I found that speaking out publicly about our loss allowed me to find other people who have been through pregnancy loss. Sharing with them and discussing the deep feelings of grief and fear has been really helpful. Knowing that they understand that this was a child we lost, and not just a blip on the radar is comforting.

For me, sharing in writing has been as cathartic as sharing in person (and is available whenever I need it). You can read my story, and some of my musings about the miscarriage herehere, and here.

Physical care.
I saw my OB Gyn in the first weeks after the miscarriage to make sure I was medically ok. That was the first step and the minimum of what I could do to care for myself physically. I’ve written in the past about developing a meditation practice, and my forays into acupuncture (you can read about those here and here).  Acupuncture, chiropractic care, and massage have been really helpful ways to support my wellbeing.

In the week or two right after the miscarriage I suffered from severe lower back pain and headaches. I’ve read that these are common symptoms after a miscarriage due to dropping hormone levels and the body readjusting and the uterus shrinking back down. The physical memories of the pregnancy and the pain of the miscarriage were overwhelming and often led to emotional pain. While some of this just had to be endured, I decided to take initiative and fix what I could.

The chiropractic office I go to, Optimal Wellness Family Chiropractic, has been a great source of support and care during my years in Royal Oak. I discovered Dr. Michaela through a Groupon for a massage at her clinic and have been going back since (Brian, my husband, now goes there as well). This office happens to focus on pregnancy and pediatrics, so I felt this was a good place to go for post-miscarriage care. Sure, it was a small splurge to get Brian and myself each a massage, but it was worth it to provide my body with the physical relief and relaxation after such a traumatic event. The chiropractic adjustments, caring concern, and listening ear that Dr. Michaela provided in those first few days alleviated not only some of my physical pain and discomfort, but also helped me feel cared for and safe in my grief.

Exercise and healthy diet. 
We are taking this new-found pre-babies time to work on my physical health. I gained some lb’s over the winter and  during the pregnancy I couldn’t make any drastic changes in exercise routine and diet. Now that I have the time (whether we want it or not) I’m committed to taking care of my body as much as possible. I’ve been following the Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge as a way to manage my diet and “reset” my eating behaviors that led to the weight gain (you can read more about that here). Brian and I have also been following a 30 day ab challenge to work on toning up, and we are taking advantage of sunshine for long walks with our pup.

These things not only make me feel happy because they are things I like to do, but the exercise and healthy eating make me physically feel great and boost my overall mood. Sure, there have been times I’ve wanted to eat my feelings during the last month, but I’ve decided to not engage in self-destructive behaviors that will only make things worse. I can’t take the chance right now of pushing myself even deeper into grief, and a potential depressive episode. Right now, I’m going to do everything I can to lift myself up.

Check yourself (before you wreck yourself)
Don’t risk traveling down the road of spiraling negative thinking. It takes a lot of work and practice to learn to recognize negative thought patterns. Knowing what to look out for and how to turn your thinking around is a great place to start learning how to check yourself. I’ll admit… I slip up all of the time. Just last night I was deep in a cycle of spiraling negative thoughts, I was near the edge emotionally and it was not good. I let my deep feelings of sadness spin into negative feelings about my life, relationships, and everything in-between. I was deep in it before I realized I was in a spiral, and by then harm had been done. With the tools of self-reflective thinking, support from my husband, time, and a little sleep, I was able to pull myself back up a bit to make it through today.

It’s a constant process of catching myself on my way to, or in a place of anger, bitterness, or self-pity, and then purposefully and thoughtfully drawing my mind away from those destructive thoughts. Here are some resources that talk about how to recognize negative thinking, negative self-talk and how to “talk back”:

Things aren’t great. Bad things have happened. I choose to keep going, I choose to focus on making our lives better and fighting for the chance to try again, even if I’m scared shitless about what could happen if the unthinkable happens again. I’m going to be a fighter. That’s my choice.

Buy yourself flowers
Or whatever small acts that make you feel joy.

SelfCareFlowers_ReadySetSarahBlog

A lesson in patience this Mother’s Day

Patience while waiting until we were ready to start trying (I was practically born ready)
Patience as we waited to see that second pink line each month
Patience knowing it would be 9 months before we could meet our little one.
Patience waiting for the first trimester to be over share our happy news.

Patience now, waiting to be ready to try again. Wanting a little one with us now.

Patience, patience, patience.

This whole experience has been a lesson in patience. I’ve always wanted to be a mom. Waiting until I was “allowed” (allowing myself) to try to get pregnant took patience. And now it seems we are back at square one.

Rabbi Corey (who officiated our wedding and was a huge support during our wedding year) sent us an email this week checking in on how we are doing as Mother’s day approached. He shared an article about facing Mother’s Day after pregnancy loss, written by a Rabbi who experienced not one, but two miscarriages. You can read the article here. I connected with some of what she said in the article, mostly with the last lines:

“I don’t know what I want or what I need this week. Who am I kidding? With Mother’s Day around the corner, I just want to be a mom.” –Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin

I feel like this is my first Mother’s Day understanding what it really means to live for someone else, to give over your body for their life, to love them harder than you ever thought you could… even without knowing them… even if they weren’t “real”.

Maybe I’ll be an emotional wreck all day. Maybe I’ll be fine. I don’t expect other people to stop celebrating just because I’m sad, but I do wish we were celebrating too. Instead, we’re celebrating our own mothers, and milling over our experience of almost being a mom and dad… I know we can get beyond this. I trust it will happen for us some day (fingers crossed).

But like the Rabbi said, I just want to be a mom.

Until then, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the incredibly lucky, hard working, strong loving mamas out there.

Remember, today and everyday, how lucky you are that you have the great joy of holding your little ones and watching them grow. It is truly a miracle when a child comes into the world. We take it for granted that there so many, but it really is a miracle each and every time.

Happy Mother's Day to my sweet loving mama.

Happy Mother’s Day to my sweet, loving mama.

I Carry You In My Heart

The night after the hospital I found myself awake in bed. My husband sleeping beside me, exhausted emotionally and physically. I laid in my childhood room with only the orange glow of the streetlights coming in through the skylight window, and the bright light of my iPhone screen.

I milled through how I might process my new reality. No longer planning to for the baby’s arrival, I was left adrift.

On reflex I opened the Pinterest app and searched “miscarriage.” I had no plan for what I might find… I didn’t really know what I was looking for.

Something, anything.

I scrolled through the inspiring messages accompanied by images of love and remembrance, I familiarized myself with the vocabulary for my new life. Angel baby, Pregnancy loss, rainbow babies…

I was looking for something not knowing what. Something to do, some way to find closure. Some way to honor the spirit of the baby that never came to be. I searched “miscarriage remembrance.”

Unable to find a gesture that felt right, I scrolled through the many charms that popped up in the search feed.

Many seemed inappropriate to our experience. Little feet charms with hearts and angel wings felt wrong for us. I kept scrolling, until I found this charm from Tag You’re It Jewelry on Etsy.

 

It took me a minute to figure out why the charm looked different in person, then I realized the pin image is slight different than the image on the etsy page it links to... I was a little disappointed at first that I hadn't seen the difference. It is still a very nice charm to wear and remember our little one with.

It took me a minute to figure out why the charm looked different in person, then I realized the pin image is slight different than the image on the Etsy page it links to… I was a little disappointed at first that I hadn’t seen the difference. It is still a very nice charm to wear and remember our little one with.

I cried. This felt true. This spoke to our early term miscarriage. We were preparing to be parents, and all we have to carry now is heavy hearts.

The next day on the plane back to Michigan, Brian and I discussed things we can do to honor, remember, and grieve. We made plans to make a private gesture together.

I kept remembering the charm and thinking to myself, “I will carry you in my heart forever.” When we landed at DTW I ordered the charm.

A token. Something to remind me of the love I felt as I carried you. Something to help me remember you always.

TagYourItCharm_ReadySetSarahBlog.jpg

 

Heartbroken: April 19th, 2014

Heartbroken: The end and beginning of our miscarriage story.

Heartbroken: The end and beginning of our miscarriage story.

I knew the miscarriage was coming because of the pain. The spotting was concerning, but it wasn’t until the dull ache in my uterus became unyielding lower back pain that I finally began to allow myself to think the unthinkable. I was going to loss the baby. Standing in Target with my father and husband I began to come unhinged. The pain combined with the sinking sorrow that had begun to seep through my being left me feeling empty and frightened. I cried, standing helpless looking into their frightened faces.

Leaving my dad and husband in the store to finish the shopping I went out to the car to lay down. I had noticed all week that my lower back would begin to ache a bit if I stood too long, I wrote it off as part of pregnancy, but this was different. I lay on the warm leather of the backseat of the car, curling into myself and the small hope that this was normal… But knowing deep in my soul, that it was not okay.

I spent the rest of the day in the warm afternoon sun in my father’s living room. Laid out on the chaise with my hand on my stomach, I imagined that it all might still be okay. This might still pass and we’d be fine. I thought to the baby, “Please stay with me, I want you more than you know. Please, please stay.” Arching my back and rubbing my stomach to relieve the tension, it gradually eased as the afternoon light faded into early evening. I thought maybe it would be okay.

Saturday morning I woke and used the restroom. After wiping I stopped and stared. The smallest bit of tissue, just the littlest bit of deep reddish brown bloody clot remained on the paper. My heart sank deep inside me to where I almost couldn’t retrieve it to get myself together and leave the bathroom. I called my mother in to assess the color of the blood, to reassure me, though we both knew silently to ourselves this might mean the end. Without acknowledging the inevitable, we decided I should bring an extra set of clothes with me to Napa that day, and some pads “just in case.”

With the distraction of hosting my best friends bachelorette/birthday party all day, I managed to feel all right, even forget that it was possible I wouldn’t make it through the day with my baby. I couldn’t allow myself to sink into fear, I needed to stay positive and calm for the baby and for myself. Too afraid of scaring my husband, I didn’t let on that we might have cause to wait and not continue sharing our happy news. I chauffeured friends through Napa from winery to brunch, to winery again feeling happy and pregnant, and proud to announce to the tasting room hosts “I’m expecting so I won’t be tasting any today, thank you.” It felt honest and true, I still had to believe we’d be fine, this could still pass and we’d have our little one…

By late afternoon we arrived at a very nice sparkling winery, excited to close out the day with more bubbly and girly fun. As we entered the winery grounds we went over a bump and I felt a slight pop… Like something snapped inside, not painful, but a distinct change. After depositing my friends at the wine tasting room I snuck away to the bathroom to check that nothing had changed. It had.

I knew it had begun, I stared at the paper, and the mark that the miscarriage had begun… I stood there, still.

Shutting down slowly and methodically each compartment of my heart and soul so that I would be able to exit the stall, wade through the throngs of jolly tipsy people, and find my friends again upstairs. If my world was going to be crushed to pieces, I was not going to let it ruin my best friend’s special day.

While finishing up at this last winery I snuck away many times to use the restroom. “Pregnant ladies, you know?! Can’t keep us out of the bathroom!” I’d say shakily before stealing away to check that it hadn’t gotten worse. By the time we headed out to the car it seemed stable again, no excessive bleeding, a “safe” color of spotting again, maybe we’d be okay. I had texted my husband to let him know… “I can’t talk now. If I hear your voice I’ll lose it. When I get back we should go to a doctor. It’s time to make sure everything is okay. I’m scared.”

The hour long drive blurred past. I tried to keep up with the casual happy conversation and not let on that my world was ending. My heart breaking. I was shaking inside. Things seemed to start speeding up when we reached the East Bay. The blood getting fresher, and more consistent, I could barely hear what people were saying to me. When I pulled up in front of my Mom’s house I could barely hold anything, I was so numb and afraid.

I saw my 7 month pregnant sister coming to meet me in the street, my husband, my mother. Everyone seemed as nervous as me. The gravity of the situation pressed down on us, we spoke but it seemed silent and dark around us, words couldn’t break through the weight of the air. It seemed the world had gone silent and I was alone even with the people I love the most.

The world moving past slowly, as if I was dreaming, we reached the ER at Alta Bates. My mother checked me in, I could barely hold the pen to write my name. My hands and head didn’t feel connected. We were told there would be a wait. Waiting, for what felt like ages, the pain in my back and uterus would come in waves flowing through me steadily, growing, and then pulling away like a tide. I knew it couldn’t be much longer, but I still hoped. “I want my baby.”

After what must have been another 30-40 minutes (my mom says we were there about an hour) I was called into the triage room where the older male nurse told me to have a seat. After standing up I could feel the blood flow had gotten heavier. Afraid to sit, I perched on the edge of the seat. “Make yourself comfortable, sit back,” the nurse urged, not fully understanding that was no longer an option.

“I’m bleeding, I cannot sit back. I am bleeding. I need something to sit on, I need to use the bathroom,” I pleaded and reasoned with him. He retrieved a blue bed pad from a drawer and offered it to me. Humming “Amazing grace” to himself (or to me, who knows), he entered my information into the computer.

How could he be so nonchalant about this? Couldn’t he tell it was an emergency? Why didn’t he seem to get the urgency? Why won’t he stop fucking humming!?!!??

He drew vials of blood from my hand because my arm veins were too hard to find.

My mother reasoned with him, telling him I needed to use the bathroom, but was afraid I’d lose the baby into the basin. He asked me to get him a pee sample and handed me a little cup. I responded that I couldn’t go without losing the baby. He stated blankly that I could use the bathroom in the waiting room because they didn’t have a room for me yet. We pleaded with him, “you don’t understand, I’m about to lose the baby!” My mother asked him, could we at least have something to catch it in? He gave her a plastic bin and another bed pad and sent me back into the waiting room.

He sent me bleeding and crying, back into the room, now full of strangers, with not an empty seat.

He sent me back out, to lose my baby into a plastic bin in a bathroom attached to a room full of strangers.

He turned me out into what felt like a fishbowl of eyes looking into my heart and watching me break.

I whispered to my mother “I can’t go to the bathroom, I’ll lose the baby,” I whispered to my dad, “I can’t sit down, I can’t stand in the middle of this room,” he suggested we stand just outside the door and let my mom wait for them to again call my name.

As panic began to crest in my mind I stepped out into the cool Bay Area night air and immediately, I felt what I knew had been coming…

“Please, please, let me back, I’m losing the baby,” I pleaded with the lady at the desk. Holding my long dress up to my knees, the blood rushed down my legs and began to fill the heals of my shoes. Sobbing and crying out to her, the lady seemed frozen and unresponsive. They still had no room for me. My sister banged on the door to triage and the humming nurse was there, but would not let us pass.

With no where left to turn, sobbing and bleeding in a room full of strangers, I realized they were not going to help me.

I ran for the bathroom and without even a chance to close the door I hoisted my skirt up and my world fell out, hitting the seat and fell to the floor.

The next minutes are a blur… My mother scooping it into the bin, holding me while I sobbed… my husbands face as he entered and saw it all, our souls laid bare on the floor in a dirty ER bathroom…

It’s funny where your mind goes in a moment like this. I was overly concerned about ruining my dress. Looking back I don’t even want it… But in that moment it seemed to me the only thing I had control of.

The humming nurse returned with a knock and said they had a room for me.

A little too late.

He stood there with a wheel chair with a blue bed pad on it… “Could we at least have a hospital gown to cover her?” My mother, sister and I practically hissed at him. What was I supposed to to do? Bare my ass and thighs streaked with blood to the room full of watching eyes? They had all just seen and heard the lowest moment of my life, with front row seats no less, they didn’t need the full Monty.

The idea seemed surprising to him and he returned with the gown. He at least wheeled me out facing away from the crowd. One small gesture to preserve any dignity I had remaining, after failing many times over.

Wheeling through the triage room, into a hall sparsely populated with hospital staff, I felt the heat of their eyes on me, my shame and sadness mounting and mounting until all I could do was cover my face in my hands and cry.

I rode that way until we entered the room and were finally in private.

The rest of the care that night was kind. The doctor spoke with me and she was nice enough. The new nurse was far more conciliatory and considerate of me and offered me some kind words and delivered the sedative and pain pills ordered by the doctor. The techs were kind and brought me heated blankets when I began to shiver.

With my parents on either side of me and my husband holding my hand, the doctor confirmed that the ultrasound had shown that all “products of conception,” had cleared out on it’s own and I wouldn’t need a D&C.

Time passed, phone calls were made. My mother helped me clean myself. My husband helped me change. My sister gave me water. My father stroked my hair. My heart kept breaking. My baby was gone.

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Pregnancy Weeks 10-11: The last weeks

I promise, this won’t be the only thing I talk about on this blog forever, but for right now it is what matters. Breaking the silence about pregnancy loss allows me a place to think things out, and has allowed others to share their stories with me and find support, so we can lean on each other. That is part of why I continue to share. Thank you for listening.

Love, Sarah

Weeks 10-11
It’s finally getting warm! Which means a return to active living. Going for a walk is the best cure for any discomfort. At my new job I have a friend from grad school and previous jobs who I can go for walks with around Ann Arbor’s (A2) downtown. I’m so happy being back in A2 where I went to school and first loved Michigan. I can’t wait to get settled and look into maternity yoga classes, prenatal groups and eventually take advantage of all that A2 has to offer for families and children.

It’s been a little nerve-wracking switching jobs, health insurance, and providers right in the middle of the first trimester. I can’t wait to get it all settled and have our next appointment. I wish we had gotten a picture from the first ultrasound at 7 weeks, but soon enough we’ll see our little one again.

Symptoms: Still have eczema patches that showed up with conception. Crazy pregnancy dreams are a norm, and occasional nausea and dry mouth are still a part of day-to-day life, but the main symptom is still exhaustion.

Sitting at my desk all day has been a bit uncomfortable, but I was happy to adopt a stray stability ball that found its way to my colleagues office. Sitting on the stability ball has really helped my back and comfort when sitting at my desk all day. Although I’ve been told it’s a nauseating to talk to me as I bounce on the ball. 🙂

Finally, my trip to California arrived! I couldn’t be more ready visit with my family, celebrate my sister and her pregnancy, celebrate Passover with our families, and host my best friend’s bachelorette day in Napa!! I am a bit nervous to fly for the first time pregnant, but as long as I stay hydrated and calm it should be okay.

Since we’ll be 12 weeks on Sunday, April 20th (the day we fly home to Michigan) we have decided to start telling the rest of our families and close friends while we are home and can tell them in person. I can’t wait to see their faces and talk about the future with them. It’s awesome because there are a number of new babies in the family living in the Bay Area, and soon there will be a few more!

Dinner with friends and family during week 11, before the loss.

Dinner with friends and family during week 11, before the loss.

Adorable baby clothes I've collected at Mom2Mom consignment sales for my baby niece!

Adorable baby clothes I’ve collected at Mom2Mom consignment sales for my baby niece!

My childhood home. I love this place. My mother will be selling it this year and this could be my last trip home to say goodbye :-(

My childhood home. I love this place. My mother will be selling it this year and this could be my last trip home to say goodbye 😦

Pregnancy Reflections: Weeks 8-9

A week ago our hopes were dashed when I miscarried at 12 weeks pregnant. I am still processing and grieving the loss. Sharing what I wrote during my few weeks as an expectant mom is how my baby-that-never-came-to-be will live on for me. The memories and the dreams are what we’ll have from this experience. That is all we are left with.

Weeks 8-9
It’s funny the way any pressure on my belly has become so uncomfortable, even from early on. This week I finally got over my embarrassment that I am just barely fitting my jeans and I made the switch to unzipped pants with a belly band. Hilarity ensued (don’t try playing ping pong in pants held up loosely by a belly band). Just before week 9 I took the early plunge into pregger jeans to avoid flashing people. I got one pair from Target and I’m now living in them.

I received a care package from my mom with another belly band, button extenders and some other pregnancy/mama pampering things. It made me happy to see the Amazon box waiting for me when I got home, full of thoughtful gifts from the Grandma-to-be. 🙂

I started my new job, which is enough change on it’s own, let alone all the excitement of preparing for baby! We spend our evenings (when I have the energy to do anything) discussing the plans for finding a new doctor with my new insurance, how and where we’ll have the birth, what we’ll do in those first months after the baby arrives, what names we like, all of the wonderful/confusing/joyous things that lay ahead.

I’ve started vision boards for boy and girl nurseries (I want to start decorating already! We haven’t even moved yet). They are secret boards on Pinterest until the little one gets here. I can’t wait to bring the room to life! I can already picture the late nights and wee hours of the morning spent in the dimly lit and cozy room, cuddling and staring at the little one with wonder and love. I want it to be a soothing place for me, but a joyful place for a little one to eventually play and make memories.

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Going to Mom2Mom consignment sales with my friend who is 6 months pregnant has taken on a whole new meaning now that I know I am pregnant as well. I’ve been collecting clothes for my little niece for a while, but now I scan the tables laden with adorable baby fashion and fantasize about what I’ll buy when we know whether baby is a he or she (there are plenty of gender neutral things I love too, but I want to hold off until we know). I love being part of this new-to-me world of motherhood and family. It feels like where I have always wanted to be.

Daddy and I are super excited and can’t wait to find out who you are, little one. What will you look like? What kinds of things will you like? Do you love music? Do you have strawberry blonde hair and green eyes? That’s what I’ve been guessing. Are you a little boy or girl? A friend who doesn’t yet know we’re pregnant dreamt she was playing with our baby boy. She dreamt he was a red headed and rambunctious boy. Maybe it’s a sign??

I’ve been waking up very early, which is unlike me. It could be that I’m so exhausted that I could fall asleep at 8pm some nights, or it is the hormones waking me up at 5:30am or 6am everyday like clockwork. I love it. I’ve always wanted to be a morning person!

I’ve had some pretty intense pregger dreams though. The last one was about breastfeeding and pumping (and house hunting…). Only in the dream my left boob was the only one that worked! Not pleasant. The left was big and full, but the right seemed flat and empty. It was such a real feeling dream.

We told a few close friends, our siblings and family this week, but still only a handful. I’m excited for when people will know and be able to see the belly as it grows!

Counting Silver Linings: Dealing with Grief and Loss

SilverLinings_ReadySetSarahBlog

Obviously, Brian and I would prefer the alternative. We would much rather be happily awaiting our baby-to-be, rather than trying to find the silver linings in this awful situation. Never the less, I have found it really helpful today to focus on all of the small positives that remain as a result of losing the baby. They are a sorry alternative, but I’d rather focus on gratitude for the good stuff, rather than linger on the loss and all of the “why’s” and the anger, sadness, and pain.

So, this is what we are left with. My list of silver linings:

  • I am grateful to have more time to settle into my new job. I was pretty nervous about having to take maternity leave during my first year with a new company, even though I am pretty sure my new employer would have handled it fairly.
  • I am grateful that I will have more time to get our finances in order before attempting to bankroll childcare. With only 28 weeks to go, the cost of going back to work was really starting to give me heartburn. We would have made it though.
  • I am grateful that I will have a chance to get my body healthy again before becoming pregnant again. It was a tough winter on my waistline and it can’t hurt to get a little more fit and active before the next go round.

Right now, this is pretty much all I can think of. It hurts a bit to think of anything good… It is strange to process mentally and emotionally that we aren’t actually pregnant anymore.

In the first trimester so much of the experience is mental and emotional. Despite the blatant side effects and symptoms, a lot of what grows in those first 12 weeks are your hopes, dreams, and expectations. The baby books and apps all recommend taking time each day to develop a connection, a bond with the growing baby… than, immediately when it’s over everyone starts telling you not get too attached, and that it wasn’t really a baby yet (or at all if it terminated because something was wrong genetically). Like it’s that simple.

It’s not that easy to make the cognitive leap to believing whole heartedly that a little human is actually living inside of you and will someday be a person you know, talk to, and love… it’s even harder to reverse that.

 

Pregnancy: Weeks 6-7

Symptoms:

  • Metal cottonmouth (look it up, it’s a thing)
  • Waves of nausea
  • Feel super bloated
  • Tired and want my bed, husband, and puppy.
  • Waking up daily between 5am and 7am overheating, thirsty and nauseous

Chicken sounds gross, even though it was once a favorite, lettuce is hit or miss. Hard candies are a godsend (Organic Preggie Pop Drops) and sprite is my new friend.

Occasionally have to just stop what I’m doing and lay down. Even if it’s on the floor in my office for 3 minutes.

Food cravings: By end of the week nothing sounds better than an American cheese omelette, crunchy peanut butter on toast, or mint chip ice cream. Ps-I normally don’t eat American cheese or ice cream. I fought the mint chocolate chip craving feeling like it was too cliché… But by Saturday I gave in and had a little.

After experiencing a little spotting I freaked myself out and called the doctor. They sent me to get a blood pregnancy test and to test my hormone levels. After a day and a half of fear and unease, I got the results and everything looked as it should :-). We are definitely still pregnant.*

Our first ultrasound was scheduled for 7am Sunday Morning (they could have told me 3am, I’d have been there), and our OB intake appointment was set for Monday March 17th at 8am. We had to have the gestational diabetes screening at it’s first appointment because of my weight/height ratio, luckily it came back in an okay range. Because of the history if gestational diabetes among women in my family, that was a huge relief.

Everything turned out well with the test results, only my Vitamin D was low so I have been prescribed a supplement to take weekly along with my prenatal vitamins. It was nerve wracking having the early ultrasound, but it was incredible seeing the little bean in there with it’s yolk sac. I can’t believe that it is our baby.**

They say babies come in their own time. You can make plans, but they come when they are ready. Who would have guessed we’d get two pink positive lines in the same week that I got offered new job? Of course that’s how life is, you should know that by now! And so, we start this week 7 meeting future baby Lubetsky for the first time, and end it by saying good bye to a job I’ve called home for the last few years.

Sometimes change comes in indiscriminate increments, sometimes in seismic events.

*When we had the spotting I read that a percentage of women who experience spotting still go on to have healthy pregnancies… while I’m sure many do, I think this was our first hint that things might not end well…

**Looking back now, this was the only time we ever got to see it. Even that small I felt immediate love for it. It may have never come to grow into a “real” baby… but in that moment it was ours, and we loved it deeply. We weren’t given pictures from this ultrasound, but I will never forget seeing it floating there inside me. My heart is broken. 

MiscarriageThis past weekend Brian and I were excited, eager, expectant parents. As we approached 12 weeks, the end of the first trimester “risky window” we decided to begin sharing our happy news with a wider network of family and friends. It was perfect timing because we were at home in California visiting my family and some of his cousins for the week. Saturday evening, April 19th we experienced a miscarriage. It was an incredibly difficult experience (obviously) for many reasons which I want to share at some point down the road. I had begun to suspect something was going wrong earlier in the week, but we moved forward with things hoping it was all just part of the pregnancy journey.

Since I had begun writing about the pregnancy from the moment we found out, I decided it is important to still share our experience. I don’t want this to be a secret. I want to honor the experience and share it. It happened, it was real, and it hurts to know it is now over. This little spirit has moved on, but I will carry it forever in my heart.