Hello, there!

Why, hello there!  It’s been a while since I’ve written.  We’ve been very busy with lots of fun things.

As far as my recent medical issues are concerned, my HCG level came down to 0 and I have started having monthly monitoring.  Assuming my HCG levels stay down, we should be cleared to start trying again in early-mid June.  The summer will be a very busy time for us since we are moving on July 1st and getting settled in our new house and community, going to Disney the last week of July and then Ken will be starting his new job August 15th and Julia will start at her new school the last week of August… all that to say we may not have much time or energy to devote to “trying” but I feel confident that when the time is right, it will happen, and we will have another baby.

We have been busy with lots of fun things… we had Ken’s 10-year reunion last weekend, we went to Hopkins’ Spring Fair this past weekend, we have Passover coming up this weekend, my mom and Sheila are coming to visit for a weekend in May, and we have lots of birthday parties and baseball coming up soon, too!

Here are a few photos from the last few weeks to give you a sense of why we’ve been so busy.  I’m hopeful I’ll have more time to blog in the next few months and I can’t wait to share photos of our new house as it starts to come together.

Julia & I had a mini photo shoot at the Associated’s annual Hamentaschen Baking Event!

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We also had a super fun trip to Chicago for Cousin Paige’s wedding!  We had a couple days to explore the city–we had a great time at the Museum of Science and Industry and at the Field Museum. We definitely appreciated the city’s great public transportation system, which was very easy to navigate and which brought us from Oak Park, where we were staying, into downtown, with great ease.  The wedding was absolutely beautiful and a lot of fun.  We were up and dancing the whole night and really had a wonderful time celebrating Paige & Megan’s beautiful relationship and marriage!  Megan’s family was so wonderful and the whole weekend seemed like a true coming together of two families.  Mazel Tov to Paige & Megan!

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While we were in Chicago, we also had the chance to meet up with some of the Pumpkin Patch Mamas who live in that area!  The longer our group of Mamas have been together, the more grateful I am for our amazing group.  Even though we all started as an internet discussion board surrounding our pregnancies and the birth of our children, we have become a true “village” of Moms all over the country.  It’s really like we have great friends in all parts of the country.  When I meet moms from the group, it feels as though we’ve been friends for a long time, even if we have never actually met in real life.  It was so nice to meet Rhonda & Lauren while we were in Chicago!

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Baseball is back!

Ken & I went to Opening Day and we took Julia to Kids Opening Day a couple weeks ago.  She had a great time cheering on the Orioles.  She loves saying “Come on, Manny!” anytime Manny Machado is up to bat and she’s started figuring out how to pay attention to the game a little bit.

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Here are some photos from Homecoming (Julia also had a great time at the Hopkins Lacrosse game!)

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And then we enjoyed some lovely weather this past weekend at Spring Fair!

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That’s all for now… I hope to write again soon!

Great News!

This morning the nurse from the OB office called me for the 11th week in a row:

“Hello?” I answered nervously, bracing myself for bad news.

“It seems that your second D&C did what it was supposed to do! Your HCG is down to 4!”

“YAAAAAY!!! That’s the best news you’ve ever given me!”

Now my doctor wants two more weekly HCG draws showing that the number is staying nice and low.  For all intents and purposes, an HCG under 5 is considered negative, so as long as it stays under 5, we’re good.  Then she wants 3 months of negative numbers.  And then we’ll be cleared to try again.  So in May or June (depending on how you count the 3 months–does she want negative in March, April and May, or does she want 3 months from March, which would be April, May and June), almost a year after we initially started trying, and right around the time I should have been due, we will be allowed to start trying again.

Realistically, that will be a very hectic time for us as we’ll be preparing to move out of state, moving, going on a trip to Disneyworld and then getting settled into life in a new place and Ken’s new job, so we may just “not prevent” for a while before actually “trying.” But we’ll be all done with this ordeal and can truly put it behind us.

 

 

Loss and Grief

We’re now 10 weeks post D&C (3 days post the second D&C).  For the most part, I am doing fine.  Emotionally, I’ve put the pregnancy loss behind me and I’m able to function at work and at home without thinking too much about it.  I don’t have random bouts of tears like I did in the first week or two after my miscarriage.  I’m hopeful and optimistic that my second D&C on Monday worked and that we’ll start to see my HCG levels drop closer and closer to 0.  I’ll be so excited when I hear that I’ve gotten to 5 or below and we can start crossing off the days on our calendar while we wait 3 months before we’re cleared to try again.  Of course the bleeding right now is a constant reminder, and there are things that come up that remind me about everything and make me sad, but for the most part I’m fine.

Even though I am (and have always been) very pro-choice, and I don’t think that life begins at conception, I do not feel comfortable saying that what we lost was just a ball of cells.  (In Judaism, life begins at birth.  In some cultures, life begins at “quickening.”  I don’t have a strong opinion about when exactly life begins.  But I do not think that what we lost was truly a life.  It was the potential for life, but it was not itself a life.)  There’s a saying that a mother becomes a mother the day she gets pregnant, and I truly feel that the day I found out I was pregnant this time around, I became the mother to two.  Obviously not to two babies since one was never to become a baby, but to two somethings: two ideas? Two hopes? Two wishes? I don’t know…

When I was pregnant with Julia we marked each week that passed.  I was 16 weeks pregnant, then 17, then 18… we read up about what her little body was doing each week–developing eyebrows, sucking on her thumb, growing 2 inches in length, etc. and we celebrated as we got closer and closer to viability and then closer and closer to full term.  This time around we can’t do that, but every now and then I can’t help but count… if I had the D&C at 8 weeks, and I’m now 10 weeks post D&C, I would be 18 weeks pregnant this week.  We would be almost half way there.  I don’t have much attachment to the weekly progression that we don’t get to see but the one date that does stand out in my mind is July 28th, the day that would have been my due date.

I fully understand that due dates don’t mean much of anything.  Take Julia, for example: her due date was October 23rd but she was born on the 8th.  I was born a week past my mom’s due date.  But still… July 28th would have been an important date.  As we approach that date I can’t help but wonder what, if anything, I should do to somehow mark it, commemorate it, remember it in some way.  I have no doubt that as the years go on, that date will lose meaning but this year I think I want to do something to mark that date.  I just read a beautiful article this morning, available here:

http://www.kveller.com/this-is-how-im-breaking-my-silence-about-my-pregnancy-loss/

In it, the author talks about lighting a Yahrzeit candle, a traditional candle that’s lit in Jewish families on the anniversary of someone’s death.  She lit the candle on the anniversary of the day she miscarried but somehow I feel that it may feel more appropriate for me to light one on what would have been my due date.  This year we’ll be in Disneyworld on July 28th, but I may pack a candle in my suitcase to light on that day as my own way of acknowledging the day.

DONE WITH DIAPERS!

I just have to put it out there for everyone to share in our joy: we are officially DONE WITH DIAPERS!  YAY!!!

The day has finally come.  Julia is totally potty trained.  I’m sure there will be more accidents in our future but something has finally clicked and we are now done with diapers, even at nighttime. No more pullups, no more night-time diapers, no more $ to spend on diapers!  Hooray!

 

 

 

 

 

(At least until we hopefully some day, G-d willing, have another baby.)

 

You know what sucks even more than…?!

Yeah… you get the idea.  This whole ordeal keeps dragging on and on and on and on.

First the miscarriage.  Then the D&C.  Then we find out it’s a partial molar pregnancy.  Then it takes a long time for my HCG to fall (this past Monday it was still 246 so we’re getting there but it’s taking a long time…)

For the past few weeks I’ve been having irregular bleeding.  At first we thought it was my period coming back.  But my HCG level is too high for it to be my period.  Then it kept going for a couple weeks.  My Doctor gave me an Ultrasound order and told me to hold onto it in case the bleeding got worse or kept going on.  So finally this week I went to get the Ultrasound and I found out this morning that there’s still something in my funny shaped uterus.  Maybe it’s some retained tissue, maybe it’s a big blood clot that’s struggling to come out, maybe it’s the “mole.”  Whatever it is, it’s not supposed to be there.  So they’re going to do another D&C on Monday to get it out.  This time they’ll do it with ultrasound nearby so they can make sure they get everything out.

Hopefully that will help my HCG to come down to 0 but it just plain sucks.  I keep thinking we’re done, we can put this behind us.  But then something else happens to make this suck even more and drag this whole ordeal on and on and on.

But the good news is my mom was here over the weekend and we had a wonderful visit with her!  Ken was busy with a review course so he wasn’t around very much, but Julia and I had a lot of fun with my Mama!

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We also had fun going up to Hershey… Julia go to make her own chocolate bar again, and we also made one for Daddy and one for Papa.

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We had brunch at Cousin Rachel’s house with Aunt Lynda and Aunt Karen and most of the cousins.  That was a lot of fun!

My Mama and I also got a lot of time to knit, and she taught me some new things I needed to know.  It was a great visit and as always we were sad to see my Mama go at the end of the weekend, but we have her next visit (in May) to look forward to!

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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.