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.

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.


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.


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 😦

Counting Silver Linings: Dealing with Grief and Loss


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


  • 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.

Pregnancy- Weeks 0-5

This 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.


Weeks 0-5

Positive test: Feb 26, 2014

  • Stretching in lower abs (sharp pain across sides of lower abs- I looked it up and it is round ligament stretching).
  • Having to go pee often, and it seems to creep up out of nowhere!
  • Craving beef. I usually prefer chicken breast (and only chicken breast).
  • I’m winded easily (I didn’t think I was THAT out of shape).
  • Burping a lot.
  • Headaches.
  • Hot flashes (hot burning face).
  • Acne cleared rather than appeared at period time.
  • Weird new dry skin patches. I thought it was my psoriasis acting up, but it turns out eczema is a somewhat common pregnancy symptom. I got a big patch on my chest, and smaller ones on my shoulder and the small of my back.
  • Fatigue. I mean, sleeping on the floor behind my desk, practically feel drugged after lunch, fatigue.

How we found out:
I took the test right after getting off the phone with my cousin (more like a big brother) Jonathan. He kept asking “what else is going on?” “Any big news?” I wanted to tell him “I think I might be expecting!” But of course, I didn’t. I couldn’t stand to wait any more once we hung up the phone. I had to take a test to know for sure (and so there would be any chance of concentrating the next day at work). We had been trying for a few months, and I was counting the days until my period was officially late. The day had finally arrived.

Brian and I had decided I would test that night to put an end to my excited nervous guessing (I could barely get a thing done at work that day). Through tracking my period with an iPhone app, I learned that my cycle is usually 32 days  (meaning that when my period appears to be four days late, it actually right on time). That’s something new I hadn’t realized before we started trying to conceive. Because if my longish cycle I wanted to delay testing until I was at least a little later than usual, even though I had a few hints what might be going on. I always felt a little foolish testing and getting a negative, like maybe I had convinced myself of something that wasn’t really there…

I have had plenty of “false” symptoms in previous months while trying, but this month I had a dream the week after ovulation. In the dream I was two months pregnant and I could feel my belly, big under my hands. I kept running my hands down my stomach, feeling the roundness under my shirt. I don’t remember the details of what else was going on in the dream, but over the course I became more and more pregnant. I’ve never had such a physically vivid sensation of being pregnant in a dream before.* Looking back now, in the dream I was in an elevator at some point around month 2-4 and the somehow it started spinning around, and knocking me around. I was upset in the dream and kept yelling, “But I’m pregnant! Stop!” I didn’t think much about it at the time, but now looking back after the loss, it gives me the chills.

The only other month that I had a pregnancy dream I had taken a test in the dream and showed it to Brian, telling him I was pregnant. I had 2 or 3 of those dreams that week… but then got my period that Saturday. It was not a false alarm though! That Sunday my sister called out of the blue to announce her pregnancy! Now, if all goes well, we’re going to have our babies 5-6 months apart! Crazy how things happen. We actually found out on the same day that one of our groomsmen’s wives had his baby!

When I took the test Brian was in the other room on the phone with his parents. I snuck away to the bathroom and nervously took the test. Unlike previous tests, I wasn’t left waiting long. As the liquid crept up the test window immediately a faint second pink line began to appear. I was in awe! “Is this real life? Is it all starting now?”

I stuck the test stick back into the box and hid it behind my back. I signaled to Brian asking him to hang up the phone, and when he did I told him I had a present for him. He knew right away, I could tell by the look on his face, and when I handed him the box and he took out the test we both laughed, and cried and hugged and practically jumped up and down.

Now we are ready to make plans, learn as much as possible, make appointments, and do our very best to keep the happiest secret I’ve ever held.
Our due date (screenshot from birthcenter.com)
Our due date (screenshot from birthcenter.com)