Sensitivity Training…

Over the past 8 weeks since my miscarriage and D&C I have had some conversations with healthcare providers and others in the healthcare setting that I should not have to have.  Examples:

When getting my weekly blood test, one of the phlebotomists saw on my lab slip that I was getting my HCG levels tested.  She asked me, “How many weeks are you?”  Her job is not to ask questions or to make small talk.  Her job is to take my blood and send it to the lab for processing.  Obviously she didn’t know.  But that shouldn’t happen.

Today, when I called the doctor’s office to ask my Doctor a question, I had the following conversation which shouldn’t have happened:

Me: “Hello, I’d like to ask my Doctor a question…”

Receptionist: “Okay, well are you an OB patient or a GYN patient?”

Me: “Um…”

Receptionist: “Well are you pregnant?”

Me: “No…”

Again… she doesn’t know anything about what’s going on with me.  But this is not a conversation I should have to have 8 weeks post D&C.  Luckily I’m doing well emotionally now that I’ve had 2 months to process everything, but if she had asked me that question a few weeks ago, I would have cried right there on the spot.  I don’t know if this lack of sensitivity is unique to my doctor’s office or to the healthcare system I use for medical appointments, but something needs to be done.

These providers need to have sensitivity training so that nobody else is put into an awkward situation like that.  I wasn’t going to go into detail with her “Well no, I’m not really pregnant… but my HCG levels would have you believe that I am, and I’m being followed and monitored because I had a Partial Molar Pregnancy.  And I’m really upset by my answer to your question.  No, I’m not pregnant.  But I should be.”

Perhaps I should help them to develop a sensitivity training…

Mommy, do we speak English?

Over the past several weeks, Julia has been asking a lot more questions about things she must hear at school.

“Do we speak English?”

“Are we Jewish?”

“Do we live in Baltimore?  The same Baltimore that Noa lives in?”

As she asks these questions, and as we answer them, I feel like it’s our job to not only answer her questions, but to give her meaningful answers that help her become a more well-rounded person.  So rather than just answering with “yes” or “no,” I try to give her some context:

“Yes, Julia.  Usually our family speaks English.  But Mommy also knows how to speak French.  And some of the songs you sing at school are in Hebrew.  Bubbie knows and uses some words in Yiddish.  Sometimes you hear Eitan speaking in Spanish.  And Daddy sees a lot of patients who speak Russian.  But yes, usually we speak in English.”

It’s amazing to see her take in these answers, put them all together and form her own view of the world.  The older she gets, the bigger the concepts are that we need to teach her.  And the more responsibility I feel we have for helping her to develop a world view, a set of morals and values.

Good news and more good news!

The good news is that my HCG levels are continuing to drop.  On Monday they were down to 545, and for the first time ever, I’m excited about the fact that I got my period on Monday!  I suppose “excited” isn’t quite the right word… it’s kind of bittersweet.  I’m glad I got my period back because it means my body is going back to normal.  My body no longer thinks it’s pregnant and my uterus is shedding its lining on its own.  I should start ovulating soon and hopefully my cycle will return to normal while we wait for my HCG levels to drop to 0 and while we monitor it staying at 0 for 3 months.  But of course it’s also sad because the only reason I’m getting my period is because I’m not pregnant.  If we hadn’t lost the pregnancy, I would be 15 weeks tomorrow.  I would be starting to show, I would be getting to the point where we could find out if we were having a boy or a girl.  I would be going out to get some cute maternity clothes for the rest of the winter.  I would be telling you what fruit is most comparable in size to a 15-week baby.  So yes, I’m excited that I got my period back because finally, 7 weeks post D&C my body seems to have realized that it’s not pregnant anymore and that it’s time to move on.

Now we just continue to monitor my HCG levels weekly until we get to 0 and then monthly for 3 months before we can try again.

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And now the BETTER news is that over the last week or so, the potty training seems to have clicked for Julia!  The progression she had to go through was this:

1) First she could tell us after she went pee or poop in her diaper.

2) Then she was able to tell us WHILE she was going.

3) Finally she mastered the skill of telling us BEFORE she needed to go, and giving us enough notice to get her to the potty!

On Sunday she told us multiple times that she needed to go peepee in the potty and she even told us twice that she needed to go poopy in the potty.  She has figured out what it feels like to need to go and she was able to communicate that to us early enough that we made it on time and she went in the potty!  HOORAY!  She’s still wearing diapers for nighttime because many nights she wakes up soaking wet, but I’m in no rush to get rid of nighttime diapers for now.  I’m just so excited that she’s gotten herself to this point and she’s becoming more and more independent.

The other day we were remarking that Julia seems to be right on the verge between being a “Toddler” and being a “Preschooler.”  She’s still a toddler at times but she’s starting to be more and more independent and is learning to do more and more things all by herself.  This is an exciting age!

You say shovel? I say spoon! Yummy!

Julia loved all the snow we got this past weekend.  Her favorite thing to do in the snow? EAT it!  She also liked shoveling it a little bit but for the most part she viewed her shovel as a giant spoon!

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If you think this picture is cute (I think it’s adorable!) Then please go on over to this website: http://a.pgtb.me/ch3cc0/knHTK?w=45064276&e=118309314

and vote for Julia to win this snowy photo contest!  You have just about 1 day to do it.  All it requires is a Facebook account.  So if you have Facebook, head on over to that link above, or this one here: LINK and vote for Julia.

Thanks, much!

 

On another note… I wasn’t able to get into the hospital on Monday because the roads were too terrible after our nearly 30 inches of snow on Saturday, but I went yesterday for my weekly HCG blood draw and got the results back today: we are down to 1005.  So the numbers are slowly but surely heading down, they’re just taking their sweet time.  I really wish that someone could just tell me exactly how long it’s going to take but there’s no way to do that.  I just have to be patient.  Eventually it will get to 0 and then we just wait 3 months.  Right now I’m just not handling the uncertainty very well.  Once we get to 0, waiting 3 months will be easy but waiting for the unknown is what’s frustrating right now.

Luckily from an emotional standpoint, I think we are both feeling better about the whole thing.  It totally sucks but it’s the hand we were dealt and we’re trying to make the most of it.

We started making some of our plans for our upcoming trip to Disneyworld and we are getting excited about that.  We also need to start making some more definite plans for our move up to Harrisburg.  Now that we found a house we need to find a moving company and then we can start figuring out which furniture we’re keeping and selling the pieces we’re getting rid of.  Our decluttering will continue!

Well folks, that’s all I’ve got for now… please don’t forget to vote for Julia! Thanks, and bye!

 

Numbers trending downward!

I went in for my third weekly HCG draw on Monday and got the number back yesterday: 1617.  So the numbers are going down but, as the nurse said, they are crawling down.  I had a big jump from 2600 down to 1600 in the past week so I’m hopeful the speed will pick up and I’ll be at 0 before we know it.  During the week I’m okay and then every Monday morning I have an awful reminder of all that we’ve been through the last couple of months.

I’ve been doing a good job of keeping myself distracted with other things: Ken’s parents were here for the weekend and we had a really nice visit with them.  We drove up to Harrisburg with them on Saturday to look at houses and we think we found one we love that we are filling out the application for to rent starting on July 1st.  It’s great and will give us something we haven’t had in a long time: space!  We’ve decided to rent for 18 months to start–this will give us time to really get to know the area, decide where we want to live more permanently, save more money for a down payment and start to look at houses.  It will also give us time to decide if we like living in a smaller city or in the suburbs and for Ken to make sure his practice is a good fit.

We’ve also been watching (though we just finished yesterday) a great show on Amazon Prime called The Man in the High Castle.  It was a fantastic show but the ending left me feeling very confused.  I’ve also been doing a lot of organizing and decluttering in our house, which is something we’ve desperately needed, and work has been keeping me busy the past couple weeks and will continue to get more and more busy over the next few months.

Recently I feel like work and Julia are the two best distractions I have from all we’ve been going through with the miscarriage and the partial molar pregnancy so today at work, something really caught me off guard… one of my coworkers, who I’ve become very friendly with, told me today that she’s expecting.  And she’s due in July.  I don’t want anyone for a moment to think I’m not thrilled for her and her husband.  He’s also a resident (at Hopkins) and we’ve gone out with them a couple times.  They are such a sweet and wonderful couple.  She’s also an attorney like I am, and I know they will be wonderful parents.  They had been trying since April and I guess she found out in November that she was pregnant.  I am very happy for them.  When she told me, she caught me completely off guard.  I went in her office to ask her some work-related questions, which she graciously answered, and then while I was sitting there she told me her exciting news.  I smiled politely, told her I’m happy for her, asked when she’s due, etc. and then the minute I walked out of her office I immediately started to sob.  I was in my happy and distracted place and her news threw me for a loop.  I was not expecting it and it made me very upset.  It’s hard to explain exactly why it made me upset.  I’m not upset that she’s pregnant.  I’m not even jealous of her.  I would never wish for anyone to experience a miscarriage and especially not a partial molar pregnancy.  But it makes me wonder, why us?  Why did I have to experience this loss?

Knowing that my friend is due around the same time I would have been due is going to make every day at work a constant reminder of what we lost.  She and I could have been pregnancy buddies… we could have been comparing ultrasound photos, talking about our symptoms, feeling our babies kick around the same time.  We would have had babies within weeks of each other, who could have grown up together, played together, gone to school together.  We would have been on maternity leave at the same time and we could have gotten together with our newborns for coffee and stroller walks.

But we won’t do any of that.

Our baby just wasn’t meant to be.  And that’s devastating.  I’m happy for my friend but hearing about her joy and excitement was like a stab to my heart.

Friends who have been through miscarriages have told me it will get easier and easier each and every day.  But today was really hard.  Grief comes in waves and today was a big wave.  Hopefully the snow this weekend will bring with it a lot of fun times with Julia and more distractions.

 

Going down…

I had my second weekly HCG draw yesterday and got the number back: 2621.  So it’s going down.  It’s slow but it’s going.

Hopefully it will speed up a little bit cause at this rate it will still be at least 4 more weeks, probably more, until it’s down to 0 and then add 3 more months before we can start trying again.

But in the meantime, I’m trying to keep a positive attitude and am working on my New Years Resolutions:

  • More knitting
  • More reading (for fun)
  • More exercise
  • More “me” time with friends
  • See more movies in the theater (considering that in the last year I maybe saw 4 movies in the theater, it won’t be that hard to see a few more)

I’ve been working on several of them already and look forward to doing more and more as the weeks go on!

I thought I was doing okay…

I thought I was doing okay…

and then I walked into the OB’s office this morning for my post-op follow up appointment.  There in the waiting room was a dad holding a one-month old, waiting for his wife to finish up with her follow-up visit.  A mom walked in with her 3-month old for her follow-up visit and two very pregnant women walked in, waddling up to the desk to check in for their appointments.

They all have what I wanted so badly and what was taken away from us so quickly.  I know it’s nobody’s fault but I can’t help but be angry, sad and frustrated, and wonder, “why us?”  Why did this have to happen to us?  We are good parents, we are loving parents, why did we have to experience this heartbreak and this loss?  I am so grateful that I will go home at the end of the day and Julia will be there to snuggle with us, to make us laugh, to smile and to cheer us up, but we were so excited to grow our family and to give her the gift of a little sibling, and now we don’t know when or even if that will ever happen.

I felt the tears gathering behind my eyes and had to hold them back.  Then I sat in the corner of the waiting room where I couldn’t see the dad with the newborn, pulled out my phone and played games on my phone to distract myself.

The nurse called me back, checked my weight and Blood Pressure, brought me into a room and then asked what I was there for… “I had a miscarriage,” I said.  “This is my post-op after my D&C.”  Then I started to cry.

I couldn’t help but notice the nice glossy poster on the wall that shows “Fetal development from conception through birth.”  But there’s one thing clearly lacking from that poster: all the things that can go wrong in that process.  Chromosomal abnormalities, other genetic abnormalities, embryos that never develop appropriately, fetuses that die in utero.

I can’t help but wonder why OB offices can’t have two separate waiting rooms: one for the people who are there for happy reasons and one for those who are there for not-so-happy reasons.  It’s hard when you’ve just lost a pregnancy to see happy pregnant women and newborns.  Of course I’m happy for my friends who are expecting or who recently had babies but it’s really hard to see when your feelings and emotions are still so raw.

 

The “wait and see” approach…

After a wonderful rest of our trip in San Francisco, we made it back to Baltimore safe and sound on Sunday night.  Yesterday we got back into the swing of things with work and preschool.  Yesterday I also went for my first weekly HCG blood draw so that the OB can track my hormone levels.  We got the result back today and the number was 3124.

The doctor explained that, in isolation, this number doesn’t mean much of anything.  We know that my numbers have gone down from the 85,000 I had the day we found out the pregnancy was not viable, but it’s probably a little higher than we’d like it to be given that I’m 3 weeks post D&C today.  Friends I’ve talked to said it took them about 5-6 weeks to get their period back after a miscarriage but at this rate it will still be another few weeks before I get mine back.  From here we’ll watch what the numbers do over the next few weeks and ideally it will go down by about 10% or so each week until it gets down below 5.  Once it gets to 0, I should start ovulating and get my period back and then it needs to stay at 0 for 3 months before we can “try” again.  If it starts to plateau or goes up, that would be a sign that something is going wrong and that I might require treatment.

In the meantime I’m going to try not to dwell on the numbers… I’ll keep wishing and hoping for the numbers to go down but there’s nothing I or anyone else can do to make that happen.  We just have to wait and see.  Wait and see.  As someone with a very Type A personality, I don’t like being told that I have to wait and see.  I want to do something but I can’t.

So to keep my mind off of these numbers… I’m going to focus on me.  Ken has a lot of studying to do over the next few months as he gears up for his last in-service exam of residency.  Normally when he’s studying, I just fool around on my phone or watch TV, but this year I’d like to focus on doing things that actually make me happy and are good for me: I want to knit, read more books, exercise and spend time with friends.  These are things that make me happy and that I want to commit to doing more of for myself.

When I’m with Julia I also want to make sure that our time is quality time–not just spent watching movies together but spent going out and doing things.  Maybe I’ll take her on a short trip, and I want to make sure we use our Aquarium Membership and maybe even check out a couple other museums in the spring.  While we’re still living in Baltimore, we need to take advantage of all the city has to offer.

The more I keep myself busy, the less time I will spend just being sad about this whole experience and the sooner I’ll be able to move on emotionally.  I may not be able to move on physically since I’m still bleeding and there’s still HCG in my system, but emotionally I’m ready to move on.  Hopefully my body will follow soon after!

For now, I’d like to leave you with some photos from our trip.

Our first full day in San Francisco, Jim took Ken & me on a wine and beer tour of Oakland.  First, we took the Ferry across the Bay and then we went to a wine tasting room and three different beer places.  We had a great time and were so glad Jim decided to come with us.  1.5.2016(10)

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The next day (Tuesday), Ken & I got to have a Staycation in the city, at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, thanks to my friend Noelle who works for Kimpton Hotels.  She set us up with their Friends & Family Discount.  (Thank you, Noelle!)

The hotel was beautiful and we had a really fun time!  We enjoyed their free wine hour, had a lovely dinner at a British restaurant that served fancy pub food, and we enjoyed a drink at the Starlight Room on the top floor of the hotel.  We got to walk around Union Square and we also decided at the last moment to do a Segway Tour of the City!  It took us around Fisherman’s Wharf and the Marina and was a lot of fun!  We also took a ride on the Cable Car! It was fun playing tourist in my own city.    1.5.2016(9)

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The next day was New Years Eve… during the day we took Julia into the city with us, where we had lunch with some of my high school friends–Amelie, Matt & Jordan along with Matt’s boyfriend and Jordan’s husband.  It was so nice to see them and for us all to be together again for the first time in a while.  I always say that the best friends are the ones you can not see for years but where you feel like you pick up right where you left off when you see them again and that’s what this felt like.  It was like we were back in high school again, gossiping and laughing together.  It was really nice!

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After lunch, we got Julia home and put her down for a nap so that we could get ready for New Years Eve!  We went out to dinner with Amelie and saw Greg Proops at the Punchline Comedy Club by the Embarcadero.  Dinner was delicious, we had some great drinks and the comedy show was hilarious. Laughing was just the way I wanted to end the year, especially after the rough few weeks we had at the end of the year!  1.5.2016(4)

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The last few days we had were spent hanging out with my parents, relaxing, catching up on sleep and recovering from the cold I seem to have caught while we were in California.  It was a truly wonderful visit and it was hard to leave but at the same time, I’m ready to get back into a routine and I’m ready for work and our life here to distract me from everything that’s been going on.  1.5.2016(3)

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It helps knowing that my mom will be out here for another visit in about 6 weeks and we have a lot of things to look forward to in the next several months, including a visit from Ken’s parents, cousin Paige’s wedding, Passover and of course our big move to Pennsylvania and our trip to Disney in July!

You know what sucks even more than a Miscarriage?

The possibility of cancer… that sucks even more than a Miscarriage.

Let me explain…

Sunday we woke up bright and early in Baltimore, ready to escape to my parents’ house in San Francisco for a week with Julia.  We felt ready to put the whole miscarriage experience behind us and enjoy a week of vacation.  I’m still experiencing the physical aspects of the miscarriage–still bleeding and having occasional cramping–but we both felt ready to get the physical part done with so we could move on emotionally, put the whole bad experience behind us and start trying again to get pregnant and grow our family.

Julia did great on the airplane and we arrived safe and sound in California.  Then Monday morning I woke up to my phone buzzing… I saw a phone number pop up from the doctor’s office but since I wasn’t quite awake, I didn’t answer it and let it to go to voicemail.  I figured they were just calling to confirm an appointment or something.  They left a voicemail.  I listened… it was the doctor who performed my D&C, asking me to call her back ASAP because she had something she wanted to discuss with me.  Uh oh… it’s never good when a doctor wants to discuss something with you.

So I called back…

“So we got the pathology report back following your D&C and it turns out you had something called a Partial Molar Pregnancy…”

A what…?  I had heard of this before because a friend of mine had one… it means that two sperm fertilized one egg simultaneously and the placenta and everything else develops abnormally.  The baby would not have survived past 10 weeks’ gestation at the most and certainly would not have been compatible with life outside the womb.  This explained the oddly shaped gestational sac that my OB found on ultrasound but unfortunately for me, it means I have a 5-11% chance of developing choriocarcinoma over the next several months, a somewhat rare cancer caused by this abnormal placental tissue.  The doctor would like to start collecting weekly HCG draws starting on Monday morning and will track my HCG until it goes back down to 0.  Once it gets to 0, she would like to see it stay at 0 for 3-6 months before we are allowed to start trying to get pregnant again.  If my HCG levels do not get back to 0 quickly enough or if they rise again after going back down, that would be a sign that some of the placental tissue has become cancerous and would require treatment with chemotherapy.  The reason it would not be safe to get pregnant is because a pregnancy could potentially mask the hormonal changes from the cancer so it’s very important that I not get pregnant until my HCG level has been down to 0 long enough.

This news definitely put a damper on our weeklong vacation.  Just as we were feeling ready to move on and enjoy ourselves for a week, we get the news that we can’t move on for several more months.  It could take 3-9 months for my HCG level to get back down to 0 and then we have to wait another 3-6 months before we’re allowed to start trying.  All told, that could be a  year before we’re allowed to try again.

Our reaction?  Well, that sucks.

What else could we say?  We were all out of tears from the news two weeks earlier about the miscarriage.  It just sucks.  It’s scary to think that I could get cancer and it’s frustrating that this whole thing sets us back a year in our family planning.  We had always talked about having kids 3.5-4 years apart and now we won’t even be able to start trying until Julia is close to 4 or even a little after she turns 4.  Assuming it will take a few months to get pregnant (it took 5 months this time around), Julia could be close to 5 by the time we have another baby.  She’ll be close to starting kindergarten.  She’ll have her own life in preschool, her own friends, her own activities.  We will be so far removed from the baby stage that we will feel like we’re starting all over again.  Ken and his brothers are 4 years and 4 months apart and for a long time it was like they were in separate generations because they were at such different stages in life.  When Jon was starting college, Ken was still going through his angsty teenage years and Adam was still a little boy.  We will have to think about what is more important: having another baby so Julia has a sibling, or having kids close in age so that they grow up close and can really play together?  Will we want to go through the baby stage all over again after we have a kid who is potty trained, independent, can play by herself, read, sit still at nice restaurants, and travel?

Luckily for now those decisions don’t have to be made… for now we have to get through the next 6-9 months hopefully without getting cancer!  Just like so many things in life, we have to try to look at the bright side, we have to try and find the silver lining and hopefully we will come to the conclusion that this was somehow a blessing in disguise.  Here are a few good things that will come out of this whole situation…

  1. We are going to Disneyworld!!!  We decided to book a trip to Disney at the end of July.  Julia will be almost 4 and this will be her first trip to Disney.  Ken’s older brother and his whole family might come join us as well, which would be so much fun for Julia!  She’s at the perfect age for a trip to Disney and she’ll be old enough to really enjoy it.  I won’t be pregnant so I’ll be able to go on all the rides with her!  We are going to go all out on our Disney trip… we are staying on property, we’ll do the character breakfasts we’ll do the wake-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn thing to get into the park super early and we’ll stay late to watch the parades, we’ll book our fast passes and meals 180 and 90 days out to make sure we have the best experience at the parks that we can.
  2. I won’t be pregnant and we won’t have a newborn when we’re moving, which means I can do all the heavy lifting I want/need to do, and I won’t have a big belly getting in the way of packing or unpacking boxes.
  3. We can take the next 6-9 months to focus on our health… on eating healthy, getting into good shape through diet and exercise.  Maybe I’ll find a 5K or 10K to train for to have an end goal that I can work toward.
  4. Julia and her younger sibling (if there is one) won’t be in college at the same time, which means we won’t have to pay college tuition for two at once, and we may even have a one-year break in between paying for college!
  5. If we do have a second one, Julia will be old enough that she will have her own friends, her own preschool class, her own activities that will keep her occupied and she might not notice that the new baby is replacing her as much as she would realize it now.  She will also be old enough to help out a little bit and she may be old enough that she can babysit when she’s 12 or 13, for her 7 or 8-year old younger sibling (at least long enough for us to run to the grocery store or run an errand or two).

So for now, this sucks.  I’m sad and scared and frustrated all at once but I have hope that I’ll be in the 95% of women who get Partial Molar Pregnancies and don’t get cancer.  I’m optimistic and I have hope that the statistics will work in my favor in this case.  I’m excited to spend the next 6-9 months focusing on our little family of 3 and showering Julia and Ken with love and attention.  I’m also looking forward to spending some time over the next few months to work on me: to knit, to read, to exercise and cook healthy dishes.  I’m glad I’ll have time to devote to our upcoming move and more time to focus on my professional development at work.  Maybe I’ll find a good conference to attend, maybe I’ll get more involved with my sorority.  And when this whole experience is behind us, we can decide what’s next for our family.

For now, I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!

A few more things…

After the amazingly positive response I received on the post I made yesterday, I wanted to add a few additional thoughts.

Sharing the News

Getting pregnant is an exciting thing and it’s natural to want to share that news.  People go to great lengths to plan funny or exciting ways to share their news.  They make funny videos, do photo shoots, take cute pictures with their older child holding a sign saying “only child expiring July 2016” or with a tiny pair of baby shoes between the parents’ shoes.  When I got pregnant with Julia, Ken and I told our parents right away.  Within a week of my positive pregnancy test, we had told the rest of our immediate and extended family.  Within a month we had told pretty much all of our close friends, and by the end of the first trimester we posted on Facebook to share the news with the world.  We were blessed with a fairly easy pregnancy and we got to bring a baby home at the end of 9 months.

I am the type of person who likes to share exciting news with the knowledge that if anything horrible were to happen, I would want the support of my friends and family.  I’ve never been a private or secretive person.  (If I were, I wouldn’t have this blog!)  But deciding whether or when to share news of a pregnancy is a very personal decision.  When we started telling people, a couple friends were surprised and suggested that we wait until 12 weeks to tell more people.

This time we did the same thing we did last time… we told our parents immediately and shared the news with some close friends.  We told Ken’s whole family on Thanksgiving (my sister-in-law asked if I would drink some of the sangria she was planning to make, and when I said no, she immediately knew something was up!)  I don’t regret telling people, even though it has been hard to un-tell people.  I’ve had to send texts and messages to people saying “Never mind, there won’t be a baby in July.”  But the outpouring of love and support I’ve received from those same people has made it all worth it.  Next time I will definitely be a bit more guarded with my emotions surrounding pregnancy and I have no doubt I will be on pins and needles until we have a healthy ultrasound and see a heartbeat but I don’t think I will hesitate to share our exciting news because even if it ends with sadness, it’s still exciting at the time, and if anything were to happen again, I know I will need the support of friends and family.

The one regret I have is that we told Julia, too.  People warned us not to tell her but I think because my first pregnancy went so well I expected this one to be uneventful, too, and I didn’t want to wait.  She’s sometimes a rough-and-tumble kind of kid and she was being a bit too rough with me, wanting to sit on my belly to “ride the horsey.”  So we told her by explaining that she needed to be gentle with me because there was a tiny little baby inside of my belly.  We told her it was teeny tiny and that it was going to grow and grow and grow and eventually come out and she would be a big sister.

On Friday after my appointment, when we found out that the pregnancy was not viable, we had to tell her that we were wrong and that there wouldn’t be a baby.  Her reaction surprised me–she started bawling.  She was devastated and kept saying, “I want a baby brother!  I want to be a big sister!”  She still brings it up even a week and a half later.  Whenever we are sad, she asks, “Are you sad because there’s no baby?”  And every time she asks it breaks my heart.  Next time we will NOT tell Julia until much later in the pregnancy.  I can’t bear to break her heart again like we did this time.

Why I’m still very blessed

I have one beautiful healthy 3-year old.  I know I can get pregnant (and fairly quickly at that).  With Julia I got pregnant the first month we tried.  This time, I stopped my birth control (and weaned) in July.  I got pregnant our 5th month trying but my guess is that the first few months my hormones were leveling back to normal after birth control and breastfeeding.

I know that the number one predictor for having a healthy pregnancy is a prior healthy pregnancy, and when I came home after my D&C, Julia was there waiting for me, giving me hugs and promising to take care of me.  She reminded me why this is all worth it.

Many many women don’t have that when they lose a pregnancy and that would be so much harder to handle (in my opinion).  At least I know that I’m only 30 and that my body seems to know how to do this.  Unlike so many friends of ours, we do not seem to struggle with infertility because I can get pregnant, it’s just a question of getting pregnant with a healthy embryo and staying pregnant.

My heart goes out to families struggling with getting pregnant in the first place because that is a very difficult road to walk.  We are lucky to live in an age with lots of technology but it’s not easy to need testing, to take hormones or shots, to make your body ovulate if it’s not doing it on its own, to create embryos using eggs and sperm removed from the body.  That’s a much more expensive and treacherous road to walk and I feel grateful we have not had to do that.

Comparing Losses

Pregnancy loss sucks, no matter when it happens, and no matter how.  And everyone experiences that loss in their own personal and unique way.  I don’t think there’s ever a need to compare one person’s loss to another.  I do think the timing and type of loss we experienced may be slightly easier to handle than it would have been if I had been farther along, or if we had seen a heartbeat one week and then went back to see no heartbeat the following week.  But pregnancy loss is not something to compare or compete on.  It sucks and each person experiences it in their own way.  A loss at 7 weeks is just as sad and tragic a loss as one at 13 weeks.  It’s a personal experience and sad no matter when it happens.

The “M” word

After I posted yesterday’s blog post, I got about 12-15 messages from people saying “I read your post.  Thank you for sharing your experience.  I had a miscarriage too and never felt comfortable talking about it.”  There is this horrible silence that surrounds miscarriage.  It’s as though the word is a bad word.

I really think that needs to change.  Because people don’t talk about it, when it happens, you feel so alone until people start sharing their experiences and then you realize you are in good company.  The statistic I’ve heard is that one in 5 known pregnancies ends in miscarriage.  On top of that, there are miscarriages people experience when they never even knew they were pregnant.  They assume their period is just late and heavier than usual but it turns out they were pregnant and just never knew it.  One high estimate is that 1/3 of pregnancies ends in miscarriage.  And yet there’s still this silence around it such that people feel so alone and isolated when it happens.

I don’t know how to change the culture around Miscarriage but I’m going to do my part by talking about it, sharing my experience and encouraging others to share their experiences.

Miscarriages suck.  I wouldn’t wish one on my worst enemy.  But it’s not a bad word.  It helps to talk about it and to know that you’re not alone when it happens.