Monday, October 25, 2010

Dangit dangit dangit

Thank you ladies so much for sharing your perspectives and thoughts on the birthing process with me!  You're so wonderful!

Now, here's where I throw a tantrum.  My preliminary research isn't looking promising.  It appears that the clotting disorders I have are of the particularly nasty variety.  Lucky me!  All clotting disorders are bad news bears for pregnancy and birth and I wasn't very well-read on them because I was busy getting my mind around the fact that I'd have to shoot up for this pregnancy.  I was under the impression that the Heparin would essentially remove the obstacle in my way to natural birth and I'd get to skip on down the road.  

Rixa Freeze has told me otherwise.  MV has clotting disorders too and she sent me an email with what she found that says the same thing.  The web searches I've done have corroborated both of them.  My clotting disorders can cause late-term miscarriage, unexplained stillbirth, intrauterine growth restriction - sounds just dandy right?  Rixa spoke with an OB colleague/source of hers - can you believe that? She asked one of her doctor friends about me and emailed me back about it!!  Cool right?  Anyway, she confirmed what I was already finding - even though I'm taking Heparin and baby aspirin, my body is still chomping at the bit to get rid of the baby.  PLUS, I found another tid-bit of info that just brightened the piss out of my day - I may have to continue taking the shots after the baby is born because I could be at risk for post-partum hemorrhage!  I'm throwing up the deuces to that business - and that's the two middle fingers in case you were wondering.  I was really holding that 36-week mark in my mind to be through with shots.     

It doesn't mean that I'll have to have a C-section but I understand the reasoning behind early induction a lot more than I did.  I'm still confirming everything with my doctor when I see her next but I'm a little bummed.  I guess I'm high-risk after all.

However, I still have you wonderful ladies to thank!!!  Drew read my post AND your comments and Sunday morning he handed me an Amazon print-out.  

You guys - he ordered me the HypnoBabies CDs and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and he bought himself a book about dads as labor coaches!  How sweet right!!  And I owe it to you -  thank you so much for chiming in and lending your support and sharing links you think might be helpful!  Plus, I think it helped for him to see that I'm not completely out there in my wishes and preferences.    Of course he did say "Did you read Josey's comment and that her husband is exactly like me?  Men are risk-averse when it comes to stuff like this, Desiree!"  I was like, "yes babe you're totally right."  He cracks me up sometimes.     

Thanks again ladies!  You're the best!  Okay, I'm off to do some more research!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Statistics do not matter to the individual

Ok, here I go.  I'm going to try my hardest not to stir the pot, not to fan the flames, not to rabble-rouse.

But holy shit, get pregnant and your ute is up for grabs!  Your mild-mannered friends and relatives will suddenly become rabid upon mention of an idea or notion that contradicts what they have deemed to be right and true and holy.

I'm 15 weeks into this gig and lawd lawd lawd!  Before I had a viable pregnancy, discussions about the birth process were strictly theory, as that finish line was so far off that it seemed nothing more than a topic for debate.  But now that my chances look better with each passing day that I'll actually get to the finish line?  Oooh Jesus!  Errbody has an opinion and it's usually do what I say or your baby's gonna DIE!!!!!!!!!

I remember when Drew and I were first dating.  I mean, still having ultra-protected sex and everything!  I told him I wanted to have a homebirth whenever I got pregnant.  He turned purple and we proceeded to have a hee-yooge fight over how ridiculous I was and how me and my baby would surely DIE!!!!!!!! if I did anything so reckless.  And we were just dating!

With time, things did not improve or change.  He still turned purple at any mention of deviation from a standard hospital birth complete with the wires, bells, whistles and such.  Now, to his credit, he did go to the info session at a birth center with me.  After he turned purple and we fought about it.  But he went.  But then I had a miscarriage so he was off the hook.  Now we're here again, arguing over the same points, rehashing the same topics only it's no longer theory.  It's about to get real.

Here's my issue - I have the nightmares about birth.  It's recurring - the obstetrician/magician/magi-trician comes at me all gowned up, with an evil (stay objective Desiree) glint in their eye, light bouncing off the scalpel and they slice me clean in half and slide the two halves apart - MY two halves, just like the magic trick.  

I have a teensy phobia about C-sections.

But seriously, phobia aside - I don't understand how slicing through abdominal muscle and through a giant blood-filled organ so you can be laid up for eight weeks is preferable to letting something exit through a hole that's already there!  Just so you can 'avoid' some pain?  Really?Because recovering from major abdominal surgery isn't painful?  I'm scratching my head over here.

And for the cheap seats, I'm talking about c-sections by choice, not when you have no other option because I'll be first in line for one if my kid lays sideways the whole time or decides he/she wants to come out feet first.  I'm just reeeeeaaaaalllllly hoping the kid ends up in the right position so I don't have to get cut open.

Now we all know how much I hate needles right?  So I'm rill not sure about a needle in my spine and subsequent numbness from the waist down.  How will I know if they saw me in half?  I'm very against not being able to feel my whole body.  I'm of the mindset that pain is God's way of letting you know you're alive, so I'm okay with pain.  Besides, it's a productive pain that's temporary.  I don't get off on pain and in all other circumstances I avoid it whenever possible - but this pain I understand.

I'm not so sure about Pitocin either because I hear that and I hear c-section.  They use Pitocin to induce labor or to help it along.  Inducing means you're putting your body in labor, making it do something before it's ready to.  THEN they cut you open for 'failure to progress.'  Well hey guess what, your body can't fail at something it was never ready to do!

And again, I'm talking about those who do it by choice, because they want their kid to have a certain birthday or they have something they have to do and need the baby out before then.  AGAIN, if I have no other options I will be first in line demanding they hook me up to whatever they got.  BUT, can we just see if my body will go on ahead and do what it's meant to do, on my baby's schedule, not yours?  

Last week my doctor scared the shit out of me because she off-handedly remarked that she was going to induce me before my due date.  Her exact words were "Well, I'm telling you right now I'm inducing you before your due date."

I was so thrown I couldn't even form a comeback.  I was only 13-ish weeks - I didn't think we were going to discuss the birth process until at least 20 weeks.  I wasn't ready and I was surprised.  I've been seeing my doctor for over six years and I really like her and trust her.  I like the RE and I love the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist she sent me to, so her stock is high with me.  She's always made me feel comfortable, I like her staff and we click.  But labor and delivery is a whole different beast and I'm scared of her getting all Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with it.  We're going to have a serious come-to-Jesus talk at my next appointment and we're going to address this induction business as well as everything else, but I'm nervous.  I'm scared she'll dismiss my concerns or worse, fire me as her patient.  They can totally do that!

Talking with other people hasn't helped that much either.  Trust your doctor, your doctor knows!  Hospitals are good and wonderful places and nothing bad every happens in a hospital!  You're old, you're high-risk, you can't do this on your own!  The only thing you should care about is a healthy baby!  You're selfish and a bad mother if you want anything for yourself!  If they have to slice you from your throat to your vag, you should just lay back with a smile and let them do it!  If you don't, your baby will DIE!!!!!!!

So I'm doing my research.  I called in the big guns - Rixa Freeze, Ph.D. of Stand and Deliver.  I kinda just love typing her name because it's the best name in the history of ever.  I sent her an email that may or may not have been "you have to help me, they're going to cut me open!!!"  Okay no, that's not what it said.  I very kindly and politely and non-crazily asked her to send me the link to her publications since I couldn't get them from her site.  

Y'all!  She emailed me back!  Like a real email!  I kinda felt like I got an autograph from a celebrity.  Rixa Freeze (love her name!) has read the books, she's published the papers, she's gone to the conferences, she's talked to the people, she knows what she's talking about!  Plus, she's got other people who know on her blogroll so that's what I've been doing since my last appointment.  I've been scouring the web for REPUTABLE (not anecdotal - anecdotes will not stand up to my king-of-logic, doctor-loving engineer husband) sources of information so I can present a coherent stance to my doctor and to my family members who are convinced that I'm going to DIE!!!!!! if I don't do exactly what the doctor says, question nothing and take full advantage of every single medical intervention that exists when birthing my child.

So yeah yeah I have two clotting factors and my body's a killing machine blah blah blah.  Yeah yeah I'll be 35 when the baby's born - only by a month!  I'm not convinced that those two things automatically mean that I can't go without the spine needle or forcing my body into labor or getting sliced in half.  And I don't care about the statistics - I care about me and the baby.  

But it is such an uphill battle!  I'm going to have to have my ducks in a serious row to go up against  those who have ultimate faith in doctors, hospitals and modern medicine.

And don't get me wrong - if it weren't for modern medicine I wouldn't even BE pregnant.  Clotting disorders don't exactly show themselves in someone like me.  I've never had a DVT or PE, I'm not overweight and I've never had a heart attack.  There was really no way to tell what was wrong with me until I had lost the pregnancies.  I have a deep respect and reverence for the medical field.

I just feel like birth is not like a broken arm.  Pregnancy is not a disease that needs treatment.  It's more like one of those things that you just have to stand back, stay out of the way and jump in only when absolutely necessary.

Wish me luck making my case!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Flying high

Finally, I can get around to telling you about being a flight attendant.  I am so thankful for you guys and for this blog!  It takes my mind off the other garbage that's going on in my life but don't worry, I'm fixin' to word vomit about all that later.  I just can't right now because it would be nothing but a big mess of curse words and it would make zero sense.  Maybe tomorrow.

For the original questions, go to the comments here.

So what about being a flight attendant?

Oh yeah, that's right!  I had a life before I got married!  A great one!  I mean, not that my married life isn't great.....because it times.  Let's just leave that alone, shall we?

After high school, I went to the community college around the corner from my house because I got a full scholarship.  I got another little scholarship that covered books for the first year so I figured why not go since it was all paid for.  I had no idea what I wanted to do, I didn't know what interested me, so I just took the basics.  School has always been easy for me so it wasn't a big deal - quite often my best friend and I would skip class and go to breakfast and I still got great grades.

Suffice it to say, there wasn't a great fire under my ass for school so I wasn't too keen on going away to a four-year college.  I didn't want to leave my parents but I was super bored with community college.  One day I was looking in the paper doing some work for my dad and I came across an ad looking for flight attendants.  It was so cheesy - Get paid to see the world!  Meet amazing people!  It will never suck!

I bought into it and went to their open house, where they gave their spiel in real life.  I have to admit, I was swayed by the ultra-professional blue uniforms and they did look like they were having fun.  I went through the preliminary testing and I got weighed!  I didn't know they did that anymore but apparently weight is a big deal for those tiny planes!  I remember having to move people from the front to the back of the plane for weight distribution.  Anyway, I passed and made it to the next round that day.  I was 19 and it was for American Eagle, the commuter for American Airlines.  I had never been away from home longer than Drill Team camp in the summer and I was terrified.  I cried the entire way to Dallas but the only reason I went for it was because my parents constantly reassured me that if I didn't like it I could come straight home.

Our home for training was the Wilson World hotel and I shared a room with another girl, but very quickly our floor became like a college dorm and we frequently spent late nights in each others' rooms talking and laughing and sometimes crying about how much we missed our families.
My class on ditching day.  Because you know, 
we might crash into that errant patch of water 
on the way from Dallas to Lawton, Oklahoma.

Eagle training was the first time I went out to a club, the first time I went to a country bar, the first time I got turned away from a bar for using a fake ID - from TEXAS no less!  Who is so naive that they try to use a fake ID from Texas IN Texas!  That would be me.

After eight weeks of intensive training, I graduated.  My parents flew down and it was actually really cool!
Two of my instructors - I remember Penny on the left.
I can't remember the other one's name!
Give me a break, this was over fifteen years ago!
UPDATE:  WENDY was on the left, Penny was on the right!  It's been bugging me ever since I wrote this!
In our first apartment, we were six.  Of course, we were never all there 
at the same time so it was fine.
Amy and Kristina were two of my roommates.
Me and my dad at our class picture

Those first few months I flew home every set of days off I had.  I would often get off work and go straight into the American terminal and get on the first flight to Kansas City.  Many times I went a month without going to my apartment.  I would only stop by to leave my check for my portion of the bills.

One of the times I surprised my mom at home

However, I really enjoyed the job.  We were all young, even the pilots.  We were all broke, but we didn't know it.  I dated a pilot, I broke up with a pilot and generally it was a lot of fun.  I was often the only flight attendant on the plane so it was my show, my party.  I had fun with my people and I don't remember too many bad days.  I mean yeah, getting up at 4am for a 6am flight really sucked, passengers were rude and there was that one time I had an unaccompanied minor and he got airsick and puked everywhere and *I* had to clean it up, but that didn't happen every day.  And sure, the hotels were crap, we were flying to places like Fayetteville, Arkansas and I was homesick a lot but I really do look back on that time with fond memories.
I hemmed my dress and cinched my belt and you couldn't tell me nothin!
The two Mikes - they were my favorite crew.
Not to mention Mike Evans was mighty easy on the eyes!
He wore the aviator sunglasses and everything!

On my two-year anniversary with Eagle, I went to work for United Airlines.  I had applied with them previously, but they didn't take me because I was a couple weeks shy of turning 19.  Now that I was 21, I was ready to try again.  I was hired and this time Chicago was my home for training.  It was way more intense, learning the fifty-billion steps for an international First Class service, how to evacuate a 747 and I had to learn seven planes that held an anywhere from 120-400 passengers.  It was a big leap from my little 28 and 42-seat puddle jumpers.  Some of my classmates didn't make it - for real y'all, they would come into class, tap you on the shoulder and you never saw that person again!  It was crazy and it was much more stressful, which is why I don't have as many pictures.  Plus, I had baaaad stress acne and there is no way you'll ever see those pictures!  

However, I did get to go to a Chicago Bulls game when Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman were on the team.  That was pretty bad-ass!  We met some guys at a bar, they were enchanted by the flight attendant thing and invited us to join them.  That was the high point of United training!

I was based in DC out of training and my first flight was from DC-LA.  I was so big time!  Flying for United was a blast and this time I wasn't going home as much.  I had a boyfriend in Dallas at that time so I was going back and forth a lot but I did a bit more traveling.  I only wish I'd taken more advantage of the international travel.  I knew girls that blocked their schedules, working 15 days straight and had the rest of the month off and they laid on the beach in Thailand until it was time to come back to work.  I should have done more of that.  

But I'd started modeling by then, so I was traveling to plenty of beaches in between my domestic trips.  I've been to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Puerto Vallarta, all for modeling trips so no need to pity me.  It really was a great life.

One time my dad flew to Chicago to have lunch with me, dinner with one of his friends,
and flew back to KC that night.  Doing stuff like that was cool.

By 2001, I'd been flying for seven years and I figured it was time for me to go back to college, while I still looked like everyone else.  I was based in LA, living in Dallas, and I had enough seniority that I could pick my schedule.  I flew into LA for work Thursday night, worked the weekend and came home Monday afternoon or evening.  I went to class all day Tuesday and Thursday and it was a pretty sweet deal.

My mom was in town for a week because we'd just moved and she wanted to see our new place and hang out with us for a while.  She arrived Monday night, just before I got home.  Tuesday morning I got up for class.  My 8am class went well but by the time I got to my 9am, there were rumblings that a plane had flown into a building in New York.  My classmates knew I was a flight attendant, so they naturally thought I knew everything.  I'd heard the first plane was an American one, and I naively thought we were okay since we were United.  

By the time I got out of class, the second plane had flown into the tower and the campus was in chaos.  People everywhere were on their cellphones trying to figure out what had happened.  My boyfriend at the time called me and told me he was on his way to pick me up.  I came home and the three of us stared at the tv, horrified at how quickly the planes just disappeared into the towers.  I cried and cried because I had done the Boston-LA flight, the one that was heading for the Pentagon and crashed in the field.  I knew what those flight attendants were doing when they died.  I was so lucky to have arrived home the night before - I heard stories of flight attendants being stranded for weeks in layover hotels - my mom ended up having to drive home.

I didn't work the rest of September and I broke up with that boyfriend shortly after.  It was unrelated, just super extra bad timing.  I was much more dramatic back then, and I dropped out of school.  I flew in October and November, but so much had changed.  In briefing, we were now talking about how to use the coffee pots to knock someone out and using blankets to restrain them, where to stab someone with your pen if you needed to, and the whole mood of every flight was so surreal.  In December, I took a three-month voluntary furlough and moved back to Kansas City.  I wasn't ready at the end of three months so I volunteered to stay gone for six more months.   I added nine months to the end of that and by the time they called me back I was no longer interested in being a flight attendant.  The shine was gone, the industry was different and I was back in school.  That part of my life was done.

It was a wonderful time and I loved being a flight attendant.  I met some wonderful people, saw some wonderful places that I never would have been able to see otherwise (layover in Sydney, Australia!!) and I truly miss it.  However, I've become quite accustomed to sleeping in my own bed every night and I don't think I have it in me to do six flights in one day anymore.

I still get my fix - only now it's First Class on Drew's frequent flier miles.  It doesn't suck!  

Monday, October 18, 2010

8 questions

Mmmmmm-haaaaaaaa!  That's me taking a big deep breath and exhaling.  I don't usually prefer to spell out sounds but sometimes it just can't be avoided and it's just so fitting.  It's a good day y'all - I went to yoga for the first time in a long time on Saturday and got me some zen and I went to church on Sunday and got me some Jesus.  I taught this morning and it was a good class so I'm feeling good about things.

I thought I'd lighten the mood around here with some answers to some questions.  I have a fun post planned from my flight attendant days that I hope you enjoy.  Carolyn tagged me the other day so I'll kick things off with that!

1. What was the first CD/tape/Album you ever bought with your own money?
I don't know if it was the first one I ever bought but the one that sticks out the most is Guns N Roses Appetite for Destruction.  I am so cringing right now.  What's worse, I remember there was an address on the Use Your Illusion tape that I actually sent a letter to - it was part of the cover art.  What in the world possesses me to confess these things?  You may have my cool kids card, I will never ask for it again.

2. What is your favorite piece of jewelry and why (wedding/e-rings don't count)?
My mom taught me to love jewelry very early and I'm so grateful to her for that!  I actually have three favorites, I can't pick.  When my mom was pregnant with me, she bought herself a diamond ring.  It was a thin gold band with two thin baguettes flanking the oval center stone.  When I got my first 'big girl' money from being a flight attendant I had the center diamond reset for her one Christmas and for my 21st birthday she put a sapphire in the original setting and gave it to me.  The other is a 3-stone ring she gave me when I graduated from college.  My third favorite is from Drew and I hate that I don't have a good picture of it because it's so unique!  He didn't want to get me a promise ring so he gave me a promise necklace and it's gorgeous!!  It's got diamonds, opals and a tanzanite and I just love it!  
All my favorite jewelry!

3. What's your favorite holiday & why?
Christmas, no doubt.  The whole family gets together, it's chilly outside so you have to bundle up and hold each other close, you get to drink hot cider.  Handel's Messiah is one of my most favorite classical music pieces and you usually only hear it at Christmastime - gives me goosebumps!  Now that we have little kids in the family, it's so much fun to see them open their presents and it seems that Christmas does something to people such that you put aside your differences, you smile a bit more easily and you're just happy.  I can't wait to dress my kid up as Santa Claus, boy or girl!

4. What sound or noise do you love?
I can't pick!  I do love laughter but the first thing I thought of is that feeling you get when you're listening to the radio or your iPod on shuffle and the first few bars of your song comes on.  I loooove my satellite radio because there are no commercials but also because there's such a great variety I never know what song will come on next.  Am I the only one who goes "awwww hell yeah!" when my jam comes on?  I turn it up and rock out.  Currently, my favorite song is Winner and when those first few bars come over the speakers it's just me and the music for the next couple of minutes.
I'm sad that they didn't do a video for this song, I love it so much!

5. What's your favorite curse word?
F*ck, most definitely (see, I censor myself when I'm not actually using it.  Just trying to keep it classy y'all.)  It's just such a great word but it's quite a powerful curse word and it can be quite jarring when it comes from an odd source, like an older well-dressed gentleman type.  We were waiting for valet after dinner one night and these two couples were joking with the valet to bring them the Bentley (like valets have never heard *that* one before), then he brought their car around.  The guy goes, "Hey, you brought me the wrong fucking car buddy!"  I was so jolted to hear come out of his mouth, at a nice restaurant, being all well-dressed and such.  Just goes to show how attention-grabbing the word truly is.

6. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Umm, trained assassin, hellooo!  Of course, I probably wouldn't ever be able to actually kill anyone so I guess I'd settle for being an actress who only played trained assassins.  I wouldn't want to have to be a real actress and go on auditions and take crap parts.  Nope, only the cool chick, ass-kicking roles for me!

7. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything where I have to try to convince people that they need what I have.  Is that sales I guess? I don't like the pushiness aspect, nor do I like the relationship aspect because I'm no good at either.  I don't want to try to take money from you nor do I want to pretend to be interested in your life just so I can make the deal.  

8. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
"Welcome, we've been expecting you.  Your parents and grandparents are just over there, playing with your children."  (The angel babies, not the one(s) I'm gonna have.  I want my present and future children to outlive me.) 

Those were fun!  If you'd like to take a stab at it, go right ahead!  Be sure to leave me a comment so I can come check out your answers!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wave of Light

I've dried my tears for the time being.  Thanks to your kind words and thoughts, I'm finding the strength to tentatively find my way.  I'm very uncertain, still very scared, but cautiously optimistic.
The thing is, you never forget.  It is in the past and the only way to heal is to move forward, but you never forget.  I go about my life, I don't wear a black armband of mourning, I don't have an eternal flame lit anywhere, I even smile and laugh - yet I never forget.  

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  I still haven't found my footing as a pregnant person, I'm still teetering between fear of the past and hope for the future.  But I know I'm not alone.  1 in 4 - that's a lot of women who have felt what I feel.  That's a lot of tears, a lot of fear.

Words are failing me right now - I know you can't see but I just sat at the keyboard, staring at the screen.  I just did it again.

I feel like I'm being pulled away from the loss/infertility circle because I'm pregnant, but I want to call out "Don't push me away yet, don't take away my chair yet, I may need to come back.  Please don't cross your arms to me just yet, I may need them for a hug.  Please don't close the door yet, I'm not sure where I'm going."  But I turn toward the new mothers circle, knowing that I need to prepare, knowing that there is so much information that I have to learn, but I still feel hesitant and unworthy, like the new kid who isn't sure they're in the right room.  I feel like if I actually go in, I'll jinx myself and the joke will be on me and they'll be all nope, you don't belong here, not yet, go on back to the babyloss room.  Better luck next time.

My neighbor is pregnant - she's due in November.  I had her over one night and we talked about baby stuff.  I'm allowed to now - I have the bruises on my belly to prove it but for some reason I felt like a fraud, that we couldn't go any further without her knowing that I didn't come by this pregnancy easily, that I'd been scarred by loss.  Opening up to her allowed her to open up to me and she shared that she too had had two losses, her most recent being New Year's Day.  Talk about suck.  Seriously y'all, 1 in 4 is about right.

I know I have time to get happy and I know this whole thing is a process.  I'm trying to cut myself some slack and realize that a plus sign on a pee stick doesn't automatically make everything right with the world.  It doesn't magically erase the pain of your past.  That's why they call them rainbow babies - after you come through the storm, when you're positive that nothing is going to survive the earthquake-hurricane-tsunami-fire-devastation and you're smack in the middle, the rainbow comes out.  There's still cleanup and rebuilding and maybe some things you have to throw away because they're damaged beyond repair, but you've got that rainbow overhead to remind you that you can do it.  One step at a time.

Baby Boy 6 December 2005 - I knew in my heart you were a little boy.  I knew you'd have jet-black hair and a fat belly that I would kiss forever and ever.  I'm so sorry I couldn't have been better for you.  I'm so sorry for how things turned out.  I'm so sorry.  I'm so very very sorry.

Baby Girl (Nugget) 21 October 2009 - You were a girl, I just knew it.  You were going to have caramel skin and honey-colored hair.  Your daddy and I were so excited, we had such plans for you and we were so very very sad when you couldn't stay.  You taught me so much and I'm so very grateful to you.  Thank you.

Speck 31 March 2010 - Poor little baby.  You didn't get very far, did you?  You weren't much more than a little spot on the screen, but I had hope just the same.  Even though we didn't get much time together, really we barely met, you still made a home in my heart.  I will miss you terribly.

I love you all so very very much and I miss you often.  When your little sister or brother gets here I'll be sure to hug them extra tight and give them extra kisses just from you guys.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


So that's where I've been - crying.  

Crying almost every morning and night that I have to do the shots.  I dread waking up in the morning because I have to do the shots.  I hate going to bed because I have to do the shots.  Since I no longer do ab work in yoga I have a layer of pudge that makes shooting up a little easier but the medicine always burns and there's nothing I can do about that.  I grit my teeth but I cry when I accidentally hit a nerve and the pain runs down my thigh.  I cry less about the shots these days but it was pretty depressing in the beginning when I still hadn't had an ultrasound and I didn't have symptoms because I was convinced it was dead.  Thankfully, my attitude has improved but it still hurts - almost every time.  The devil on my shoulder says 'oh, just skip this one.  You need a break, this sucks!  What's skipping one time going to do?'  But I never skip, and sometimes I cry because I really want to.  

I cried until I got the first ultrasound showing me that it was there.  I cried at the next ultrasound when I saw the heartbeat because I'd been there before and I lost it shortly thereafter.  I cried at the next one when it was still there and I saw it move.  

I cried when my pregnancy symptoms went away, before I knew they were tied to the progesterone suppositories I was on and not the actual pregnancy.  I knew I'd lost it and I'd have to have surgery again.

I cried because Drew wasn't immediately over-the-moon excited and was too anxious to be as supportive as I needed.  It was hard enough to endure the physical pain of the shots and the constant fear of losing it again, yet I had to listen to him go on about money and how worried he was that we wouldn't be able to afford a baby.  It made me feel like he'd changed his mind, that he didn't actually want a child and I cried and cried.  I cried when we fought because I just wanted to be happy and I felt guilty for yelling, certain that I was killing my baby and I cried some more.

My only comfort in this is that nothing we're dealing with is brand new.  The anxiety and fear is pretty normal and on-par with pregnancy after loss.  There are message boards for everything under the sun - even one for Heparin!  I learned a couple of tricks to ease the pain and it's helped.  I also lurked on several message boards of women whose pregnancies are anything but butterflies and rainbows and I was comforted that I wasn't alone.

I cried over the guilt I feel.  I'm finally pregnant after miscarriage - I should be dancing in the street!  Nothing under the sun should get me down!  I should have nothing but a smile for everyone I meet!  But the dizziness, the nausea, the needle pain and the fighting made it so hard to smile.  I felt like I had no right to be sad - so many women would give anything to be able to carry a pregnancy.  Yet even for me, there are still no guarantees - loss can strike at any time.  Just because first-trimester loss is the most common doesn't mean it doesn't happen at other times during pregnancy.  Finally, the weight of everything just became too much.  I needed to step back, reassess and get a grip.  Yes it could be better, no it's not going to be this way forever, yes hormones are real and yes what I'm feeling is normal.  Still, the thought of loss remains a cloud that hangs over me and I try so very hard to ignore it and just celebrate each day I'm given.  

I've connected with this life inside me, we've bonded.  I'm the mom, even if I'm not completely sure what that looks like for me.  I'm searching for my smile and each time someone in my office asks me how I'm feeling or treats me softly, it comes out just a little.  It warms my heart to hear my dad talk about his grandbaby and the things they'll do together and a smile finds my face.

Nothing bad lasts forever.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shooting up

Saturday morning I woke up knowing exactly where I was, exactly what had happened and exactly what I needed to do.  You know how some people say they were all disoriented and they wondered if it was all a dream?  Not me.  I knew this was all super real.

I knew I had to do the shots.  On the off chance that somehow my body hadn't killed my baby I had to do the right thing.  They found the problem, they gave me the solution, I couldn't 
not do it.  Except that meant sticking needles into my stomach.

Trypanophobia - fear of needles

Suddenly, I had to hurry and do the shot as quickly as possible.  It was seven am and I had already lost a lot of time.  If there was any chance that I could keep my body from harming my baby, I had to do it.  That's what moms do right?

Except I had no way of knowing it wasn't already dead.  And I still had to stick a needle into my stomach.  By myself, with no help.  I was very dizzy as I walked to the dining room where I had dropped the bag with the medicine and the syringes the night before.  I walked to the bathroom, pep-talking myself the whole way.

You can do this, you got this.  You are going to do this.  You can do this.  You saw her do it, you can do it to yourself.  You can do this.  You can do this.

I took the syringe out of the packaging and studied it.  I'd seen syringes on tv before, I'd seen how they flick the tube to get the bubbles out, how they push the plunger and the medicine squirts out of the needle but I'd never 
held one and I sure as hell had never given myself an injection.  It was small.  The needle was small - so small and thin that if you turned it a certain way in the light, you couldn't even see it.  It was a short needle, only half an inch.  Unfortunately, these things did nothing to comfort me and I started to lose focus again.  I took my shirt off, swabbed my stomach with alcohol, swabbed the top of the heparin bottle and drew up the syringe just like they showed me.  It took a couple of tries to get all the air bubbles out but I finally did it.  So far so good.  I swabbed my stomach again, knowing that I was stalling.

Okay, you can do this.  Throw it in, like a dart, push the plunger for a count of five, hold for a count of five, pull it out.  You got this.  Easy.  Just breathe.  You can do this.


Okay, just do it.  You have the syringe, your belly is clean, just do it.  Just throw it in, push for five, hold for five and you're done.  You can do this.


Okay okay okay.  Come on, you can do this.  Push for five, hold for five, done.  Just do it.  You can do this.  You have to do this.  Do it for your baby.  


Fuck, shit, shit, shit shit.  I can't fucking do this.  How the fuck am I supposed to stick afucking needle into my fucking belly.  Shit.  Shit.

........sitting on the toilet, crying

I can't do this.  This isn't going to work.  It's already dead, what's the point.  Seriously, God?  Of all the things?  Needles?  Come on, please?  I can't do this.  Okay look, you gave this to me, you need to give me the strength to do this.  Okay?  Okay?  Any time.

.........drying the tears

All right, that is enough.  Either do this or don't!  No more messing around.  Stick that stupid needle in your stupid belly.  It's a teeny tiny bitch needle.  Are you going to let a bitch needle get the best of you?  Shit!

........ shaking and crying on the toilet

Yes, a bitch needle is going to get the best of me.  I cannot do this.  What am I going to do?  How the hell am I supposed to do this for 36 weeks?

I needed help.  I needed support.  But it was 8am on a Saturday.  I only knew of one person who would be up at that hour.

Hi Dad.  So um, guess what?

Replay all of the above, minus the cursing and interspersed with periodic 
'Did you do it?  Noooooooooo.'

Over an hour after I started, I finally was able to stick the needle in and discovered my next problem.  I am 5'5", 122 pounds.  I do yoga regularly and have virtually no belly fat as a result.  Certainly not half an inch worth!  Feeling the needle hit my muscle nearly made me vomit on the spot.  However, I didn't know better and stuck it in the rest of the way.  Into my muscle.

HOLY SHIT, never do that!  I nearly fell over from the pain.  My dad was on speaker and I was full-out crying as I plunged that medicine into my stomach.  My hand was shaking so much I knew the needle was going to break off inside me.

The medicine BURNS.  It what I imagine being bitten by a snake or spider would feel like - if snakes or spiders had just one fang.  It felt like poison, which wasn't helping my Captain Heparin mental image.  I choked, cried, held it for five and pulled that horrible needle out.  That spot hurt for almost a week.

And I had to do it all again that night.

Diagnosis: Clotting

Dr. Peng's office closed at 4 on Friday so I was the only one in there.  I was in a daze when they took me back, which turned out to be a bonus because I didn't even flinch when they drew my blood.  Not even when she took the needle out too fast and the blood rushed out of my arm.  I just put the gauze on there, bent my arm and went into the consult room and then Dr. Peng came in.

Thanks to his 10-point check, he found that I tested positive for a Protein C deficiency and anticardiolipin antibodies.  These are clotting markers and are the smoking gun for the miscarriages.  While I was so thankful that he found a reason for my losses, I started to fade out when he talked about what was next.
Clotting fast...have to start now....proven solution.....heparin injections....until 36 weeks.....nurse will show you....prescription waiting at the pharmacy......will only fix clotting.....if there's something else, can't help.....congratulations, you're due April 15

I couldn't even focus but I wasn't panicking.  I wasn't anything.  I saw the nurse demonstrate on her stomach where the injections were to go, I saw her draw up the syringe, I saw her inject it into the simulation pad thing.  I saw it, but I still hadn't made the connection that I was going to have to do it to myself.  They asked me a couple of times if I was getting all this.  I just nodded my head and half-smiled.  When it was my turn to demonstrate I did it without flinching.  On the simulator.

With my promise that I would call my OB, that was it.  That jarred me back to my senses.  I felt like he was breaking up with me.  I even asked him if I could call him, but he thought I was serious and told me it would be best to call my OB from here on.  He said to be sure to bring my baby in to visit once it's born.  Wha?  My baby?  
My baby?  My baby?  What are you even saying right now?  I do not understand the words that are coming out of your mouth.

I walked out a little after 5 and made my way to the pharmacy in the building.  It was all waiting for me and I faded again when she started counting out the syringes.  There were so many and I still felt like they were for someone else, there was no way I was going to be able to stick those in myself, in my stomach.  It felt like I was just there picking this up for a friend.

I drove home in silence, not thinking, barely breathing.  I walked in the door, dropped the bag on the dining room table and went straight to my bookshelf.

After the second miscarriage, I bought a couple of books but hadn't gotten past the first couple of pages of either of them.  I found the book, scanned the table of contents and there, in 
Preventing Miscarriage:  The Good News, Chapter 8 - Immunological Causes of Miscarriages:  Is There a Mismatch Between You, Your Partner, and the Baby?, page 182Thrombophilias (bolding mineI found:
"Hereditary thrombophilias occur in women with strong family histories of high blood pressure, strokes, or heart attacks...The most important ones for our purposes are protein S, protein C...."

"Acquired thrombophilias, also called antiphospholipid antibodies, or APAs, are being actively reserached, and new types are still being added to the list.  They include anticardiolipin (the most well known, though certainly not the most important)....."

"About 50 percent of women with recurrent pregnancy loss have antiphospholipid antibodies...The antiphospholipid antibodies can act in different ways.  The most usual is to cut off the blood supply (by clotting) to the developing embryo or fetus and cause the heartbeat to disappear, usually resulting in a missed abortion (my first loss.)  They may 'unglue' the cells of the growing embryo and cause very early pregnancy loss (second one), before the level of HCG has had time to rise very high before falling.  They may also damage the implantation of the embryo, as it tries to attach to the uterus around days 21 to 24 of your cycle.  This is a very important cause of unexplained infertility, as pregnancy tests are never positive in such cases."

A few pages later, in the 'Treatments for Immunologic Disorders'  I found Heparin, right after low-dose aspirin:
"Most experts recognize blood clotting as a proven, treatable cause of recurrent pregnancy loss...They are stopped before labor, as you may not be able to have an epidural if you go into labor while taking either medication...Heparin does not cross the placenta and is safe in pregnancy.  It must be started soon after ovulation, before you miss your period and are diagnosed as pregnant, to be maximally effective."

So not only did I have a hereditary issue, something 
else got turned on the first time I got pregnant that told my body that getting fat was not an option - size 2 forevaaaaa!!!  No babies for you! (You have to laugh to keep from crying.)

I was encouraged by what I was reading.  Well, as encouraged as you can be when you realize your body is a killing machine.  I know bodies themselves don't have feelings and emotions, but I couldn't help imagining my immune system as a sinister and hostile army, attacking and killing my poor babies.  To realize that it was getting better and better at destroying the embryos to the point that one day I would stop getting positive pregnancy tests - it was enough to send chills down my spine.

I tried to change my way of thinking.  I tried to see my immune system as an innocent bystander just doing its job of keeping the place clean and no one gave it the memo that babies are 
welcome here.  I tried to think of the Heparin as the twice-daily reminder notto kill the babies (May I have your attention please:  Do not, I repeat, do not kill the bay-bees.  Sincerely, Management)  I even tried to give him a happy face and call him Captain Heparin - like in that movie Osmosis Jones.  I think the hero was a tylenol, but that's what came to mind.

But then I read that last sentence and wondered if I was already too late and got depressed all over again.  I didn't even 
know this was the issue, I couldn't have started the heparin at ovulation even if I wanted to!  What if it was already coming unglued as I laid on the bed reading?  I knew I was supposed to do my first shot that night but I was so worn out and dejected and in shock that I didn't.  'It's probably already dead anyway.'

With that, I turned out the light and went to bed.


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