Wednesday, August 9, 2017

More Than You Probably Care to Know About Pee Sticks PLUS Bonus Genetic Test Results

So I figured I might as well go all in with this whole trying to grow the next child business. Might as well share the details at this point, not like we will surprise anyone. Or maybe we will, you never know about me. But the current plan is to take this month off and let my body heal and reset since this last miscarriage was really physically rough for me. I haven't had a period since mid March. I had the last miscarriage and immediately got pregnant again.  So it's reset time. After this month we'll see how everything is and reevaluate. Emotionally I'm in a fairly solid place right now, considering. My freaking hormones are out of control which is helpful. A friend handed me the perfect metaphor for my emotional self. I'm emotional moss. I'm resilient but I cling to emotional rocks. Truth.

Since we don't want to get pregnant this month but don't need long term birth control, I invested yet again in some handy little pee stick cheapies. There's a method to this. Don't buy the expensive grocery store tests except for a confirmation when you're sure you're pregnant. They're like 10 bucks a pop. And are less sensitive and likely to say negative if you test early. On Amazon you can get them for like a dollar each. And I've always gotten the earliest positives on them.

My soon to be frequent morning routine. *sigh* Peeing into a shot glass is harder than you'd imagine.

The thing about pregnancy tests and ovulation tests is they are in fact difficult to read. Here are today's results.


The pregnancy test is the one that says hcg on it, thats the hormone it detects. A pregnancy test is positive if a second line exists at all, however faint. Ovulation tests (the one that says LH) on the other hand are positive if the second line is as dark or darker than the control.

I still have some pregnancy hormones in my system. Believe it or not, that's definitely a clear positive pregnancy test for me. See that second line? Its right where the second line on the ovulation test is. It's even harder to photograph than it is to see in person. I'm a pro at this faint second line at this point, it is really there, I promise. If I saw that at a different time I would feel sure enough to say I am pregnant without a doubt. This isn't even as faint as the faintest test I've ever had. The ovulation test I'm assuming is confused by the pregnancy hormones. Hcg in your system can make them show a false positive. It looks close to positive but I don't believe it, I'm not ovulating yet. So I'll give it a few more days, test again and see what happens.

Also, I'd like to take a minute to appreciate how costly it is to have a baby. My pee stick bulk order cost me $40. Probably won't last more than 2 or 3 months. That's not including what I spent on the last 2 pregnancies testing my pee. I've had 3 ultrasounds thus far, copays were $150 I believe. Though we got a refund for one for who knows why and I don't know if the emergency room ultrasound cost more yet. $15 for blood tests to rule out ectopic the first time and I may have to have some again if I don't get negative pee sticks soonish. Unknown amount for the genetic test. We weren't in a good place to rationally discuss that, we just did it. ER visit of unknown cost. Plus whatever we will spend on testing and interventions to stay pregnant in the future. Prenatals, iron pills, probably progesterone and baby aspirin the next go around. Little stuff that just adds up. And we haven't even had to do any big interventions yet. Plus beer cost because that's needed.

Still waiting on our genetic test results so that's a bit stressful. And I'm doing way too much speculation. My last ultrasound mentioned a possible bicornate uterus. That would be a problem. But we already had Lyra with no complications and no one has mentioned this before so I'm not sure what to think. And I even had the thought; what if it's autoimmune related? I had rheumatic fever when I was a teen, my body basically attacked itself. And there's some autoimmune disorders that contribute to miscarriage because your body doesn't recognize the baby. And the crappy thing with this would be, there's not research on that as far as I know. Rheumatic fever is on the rare side. So all the unknowns I can speculate about are bugging me.

I have to admit, I'm tired of announcing a pregnancy. It's like, I'm already on the 4th one this next time, it's losing it's newness and shine. So next time I'm just mass texting the family and besties like, "Hey look what I peed on today." And then posting here probably. Whatever though, not the biggest deal in the long run. It's just Facebook likes but it's fun to see everyone excited and its frustrating to do it over and over.

Foster care for little littles, Lyra's age or younger is probably something we will consider and get going on soonish. There's no better way to guarantee we get pregnant and stay pregnant (probably with twins or something) if we get fertility testing done and have a foster child placed with us. Also I said I would never do foster care. So we're for sure destined for that.

Update. Literally as I was writing this post my midwife texted me. We got the genetic test results back. We had a baby girl. That feels so much more real and concrete because I know what having a daughter is like. She had Turner syndrome. She only had one x chromosome. This is "good" news. This condition is not inherited, as in we won't keep passing it on, it was a fluke. It happens in 1 in 4000 to 1 in 10000 pregnancies. 99% of the babies who have this are miscarried or stillborn. While I'm never going to be glad this happened, I'm so glad this was a miscarriage and not a stillbirth. I could handle it if I had no choice. But thankfully, this time I do not have to handle that. The 1% of babies that survive can have plenty of complications in a range of not so serious to serious. Generally, it isn't a fatal condition though if the baby is in that tiny 1% that do survive. I honestly expected no answers with this test. I'm so grateful we did it though.

My mother's intuition is a bit off. Thought Lyra was a boy, thought this last baby was a boy. I was convinced this last one would be fine. Predictions out the window this next one. Who knows.

I don't know if we will name this baby. Or the last. I don't know what we will do once we get this baby's remains back if we have some sort of ceremony. Or when or where. We'll figure something out eventually. No rush really.  We won't ever know what happened with our first miscarriage. But this raises the chances that this two in a row miscarriage bullshit was a just bad luck. Shitty shitty fucking luck, but most likely random chance none the less.

This weekend is going to be bittersweet, celebrating Lyra's birth and saying goodbye to another daughter all at once. But Lyra is our little shining star in a month that always tries to bring me down. She's a good little lighthouse in the storm.

Going forward is scarier than it was after a single miscarriage regardless of this result. So I'll keep you posted. It's still just life, so it's all a shot in the dark really when you get right down to it, I can definitely take that leap just fine after a little time to get my self back together.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Love Fearlessly

 Today I'm happy. I have decided I don't think I'm made for unhappiness. It doesn't suit me. I just can't do it for long before I have to find a way to laugh or I will lose my mind. My natural state tends towards smiles and laughter and joking. I have been alowing myself my sadness, but I'm also trying to allow myself happiness and remember that's a state I'm allowed too. I'm trying to just concentrate on all the love and caring that's been going on around here. Plus, I still have Lyra who forces me to laugh and be present and happy. She's convinced I'm the island goddess from Moana so I have standards to live up to. Travis says I am like the island demon but hey, can't win them all. I have been doing a lot of thinking lately in this mood I've been in. If nothing else I've learned some things about myself and about what love means to me lately.

In adding another child to our family I thought about what I think a lot of parents think about; will I love this new child as much as my first baby? The first time I met Lyra, I was lucky enough to be one of those people and have one of those births where the immense love I felt for her was immediate and instant, it didn't take time for me. It was a weird feeling to instantly have that love appear where it hadn't existed before. Not that I didn't care for her during the pregnancy, meeting her just added a dimension and made it all the more concrete to me. I'd say I love her with my whole heart but that doesn't seem like a good description to me because there would be no room for anyone else. And there is so much room. I also love Travis, my brother, my parents, my best friends. I guess what I'm getting at is all the reflection I've been doing lately has made me realize I don't have a finite amount of love in me. So it makes me unafraid to keep giving it out. Because love is one of those few rare things that always comes back at you bigger and more intense than you sent it out.

I don't mean to sound all, "I'm so much more enlightened than you," or all wishy washy "love is perfect and makes everything perfect." I've just been looking for the way to make peace with everything that's gone on in my life lately and a way to live comfortably with all the emotions in my head. It just helps me knowing I can come out of this intact and being able to explain to myself just why that is.

I have different types of love, sure, but none of it takes from another.  Loving my brother doesn't make me love Lyra any less. Just like my parents love my brother and I both, but of course they don't love us the same way or for the same reasons. It was an important lesson for me in sharing, having Lyra. It made me almost annoyed and territorial at first. I had this perfect pure little baby I grew and who was solely mine, physically, the first 9 months. Sharing with Travis came somewhat more naturally but it was hard sometimes feeling like everyone else was laying claim to my baby just by loving her. I mean, I got it logically, I always wanted her to love and be loved, but it's hard to let go of someone you never want to be hurt ever. I felt like if someone else loved her, it took away from the importance or value of my love. If that makes any sense, its so hard to put the feeling into words. And jealousy; I wanted to be the reason for every smile and always the person she wanted. But the reality of watching people love her and seeing her love them back has changed that for me. And being a person's everything is exhausting. I feel like I was only afraid because I didn't quite get the fact that she could love Travis as much as she does me, she just loves us for different reasons and in different ways. Or that she could love her grandparents and have fun with them and that didn't change the fact she'd still want her mom at the end of the day. I've learned to embrace the village as a bonus not a threat. Because that village is full of the people who love and take care of your baby when you can't possibly manage, when you have another baby who needs everything you have.

Regarding that village too, I've gotten better at understanding how to spread my needs and finding the best way to be supported for different needs. And I've learned a lot about my friends. I'd call Travis my best friend. But he's not the only one I'd give that title too. And I talk to them all and lean on them for different things depending on the situation. Doesn't make any one of them any less dear to me. None of my friendships came about in the same way, so they're all unique now. Jeri and I bonded over school stress, break-ups and timing (we were both hot messes in the same general time frame). That's a different bond than Emily and I who bonded over embarrassing middle school moments and mean girls. So now I text Emily more often about parenting stuff a lot. And I text Jeri almost anytime I'm annoyed at Travis and want to complain (Sorry, Travis). I know who to text when I just need some distraction and goofiness. I know what friends I don't have to talk to everyday but are easy to pick up where we left off on the rare visit we get. I've also learned what friends are unhelpful in some situations and who I should just have realistic expectations for to not end up hurt. The newest thing I've started to really notice is the acquaintances and strangers who surprise me with kind words and gestures. I have heard it said that losing a baby shows you who your true friends are. It's been true for me. I have a lot of true friends. And I have more lifelong friends than I ever realized. The ones who are there for you year after year, who you can go back to after fights or distance or just plain old life busyness separate you temporarily.

So it's been surprisingly easy for me to love each new baby without holding back. I knew I could continue to give my heart away, as it were, because it just keeps growing back and then some. I did have a hard time for a bit, feeling like I'm grieving harder for this last baby than my first miscarried baby. But I'm trying to accept that it's OK that this is hitting me harder right now. It's something that's happened twice now, this was physically rougher, and hormones are playing with my head harder. I'm just trying to remember it doesn't mean I loved that other baby any less, just that now I'm grieving doubly. I just love them differently. Plus I had a lot more time to anticipate this recent baby, this one wasn't a surprise. Being sad for this last baby more than I'm sad about that first baby right in this minute is OK. I've also already had time to be sad for that first baby. And of course I love Lyra differently than these babies, I get to see her everyday and I get to know her as a person. I love her without sadness so it will always be different than how I love these babies as just memories.

I'm still struggling with some things. Our baby's remains will be sent back to us sometime this week. I have no idea when. I know that delivery will take me out when I least expect it because when else would it happen? So probably this weekend will be a visit to the funeral home and also Lyra's second birthday. And also the date my brother attempted suicide years ago. A grab bag of emotions right there. A lady asked me recently if Lyra was my only. That sucked.

I keep thinking how true it is the saying, "Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." For being so cliche, it is still so true. So for all of these thoughts lately, I'm getting a tattoo to remind myself. Love fearlessly. That's my new life mantra, it seems a worthy goal.

I've been listening to music constantly and it's really helping me cope. I'm gonna drop a few of the song that I keep in my head lately. A little playlist for happiness. And I'm gonna toss in my favorite literary tidbits.

The first couple quotes are from the golden compass.

"We feel cold, but we don't mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn't feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the Aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It's worth being cold for that."

"Every atom of me and every atom of you...we'll live in the flowers and the dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those specks of light you see floating in sunbeams...And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't be able to take just one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight."

"She wondered whether there would come an hour in her life when she didn't think of him-didn't speak to him in her head, didn't relive every moment they'd been together, didn't long for his voice and his hands and his love. She had never dreamed of what it would feel like to love someone so much; of all the things that had astonished her in her adventures, that was what astonished her the most. She thought the tenderness it left in her heart was like a bruise that would never go away, but she would cherish is forever."

And good old Dumbledore.

"Darkness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light."

"The ones who love us never truly leave us."

 As for the songs that have helped me pull it together. Here's just a list if you feel like listening.

No Such Thing As A Broken Heart by Old Dominion
The Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti and Spearhead
Poet by Bastille
I Lived by One Republic
Life in Color by One Republic
Wash Away-reprise by Joe Purdy (the version from LOST)
Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson
Swim by Jacks Mannequin
Something Wild by Lindsey Stirling and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Aftermath

Well things are starting to stabilize around here. Not that it won't take a while to grieve and heal but it seems like we are leaving crisis mode behind. Travis has gone back to work, Lyra is back in my care. I'm feeling a bit better physically, the cramping and intense bleeding has tapered off to just low level bleeding. Most importantly my killer headache seems to finally be receding. I probably will be dropping the frequency of blog and socail media updates shortly. I'm just winging it here, though. 

Emotionally I'm still somewhat of a basket case. I have a few friends who are really helpful with distracting me. That will come in handy the next while. I still am processing and talking, but breaks and normallacy are totally underrated in my opinion. They are always the most helpful to get from crisis mode to normal life mode. I definitely have friends I have been and will be leaning on hard. I've been having some trouble sleeping, the quiet time when there's nothing else to think about is hard. But I'm trying to just work on getting my mind on other things or topics at night instead of dwelling. 

Lyra is officially weaned. I wanted one last nursing picture and to make it to technically 2 full years not about 2 weeks short of her 2nd birthday. But it was time for us, she was not unhappy about it for more that 5 cumulative minutes. And frankly, my milk supply was probably already plummeting with the pregnancy hormones and reduced nursing amount we already had going. The fluid and blood loss of the last days would have finished it off. And I really wasn't up to it the last couple days. But it is a hard thing at the same time, cutting the last baby ties to my toddler while simultaneously losing another baby. 

My mini little baby bump is virtually gone. Theres still some swelling, I think from my poor worn out overworked uterus and muscles, but that's it. That's a little hard for me to see but also it helps me move on. Once I feel better physically I'm going to do some getting back in shape and general being healthy stuff just to feel like me again. My body will be my own for the first time post concieving Lyra. I'm not naive, I know eating disorders are troublesome in times of stress so I need to watch that. But health and weight loss are two separate things so I think I'll be fine, really. For the record, I hate saying that all in here, I really do. These are probably the sentences I will read and overanalyze the most. And likely, the ones I will somewhat shamefully regret later, to be perfectly honest. But acknowledging it helps. And I try my hardest to just face things head on, I'm working on being and raising a fearless person. So fuck it, why not put it all out there and go all in. That's my current attitude right now...fuck it. 

The hardest moment I see in the next week or two is the actual physical logistics of dealing with this loss. We sent our baby and a blood sample of mine off for genetic testing. I asked our midwife what would happen to the remains because it just haunts me. We were told that the testing facility usually discards everything as medical waste but would return remains to us if requested. So I did that. I couldn't bear not to. I have spent the last 24 hours fixated but not speaking aloud about the fact that I needed to call funeral homes and trying (and failing) to mentally prepare myself to do so. This morning (I was going to make calls today during Lyra's afternoon naptime) I got a Facebook message from a local woman that I do not know. She had called around to feneral homes, found me a place who will cremate our baby at no cost, and provided me all the contact and legal infomation I need to do so. I cannot even begin to comprehend this fact. Once I get my head together I will be thanking her fully, and hopefully can find a way to meet and thank her in person. I'm just absolutely blown away. Lately, this last year even, has shaken my faith in humanity and life a little. Things have been so hard and having someone do something like this for me restores that faith. I can never communicate what this means to me.

This next month I'm going to try and focus on me. Not on being a wife for Travis, not on being Lyra's mom, not on being perfect for friends and family, not on more babies, not on keeping it all together. Not that I won't keep up on all those big things or that I will be a terrible mother and wife. I don't know that Travis and I have ever been in a better place relationship wise and I feel like Lyra is going to survive us as well as anyone ever does their childhood. I just mean I'm going to be a little healthily selfish. All those people who matter have loved me for years when I'm grumpy and whiny, they won't stop now. They can handle it. And I'm going to buy some new bras that aren't nursing bras and maybe get a job. I'm conflicted about that still though. Not about the bras. Maybe a little about the bras, nursing bras are so fucking comfortable but so hideous. Even the ones that are advertised as pretty. Mostly I miss engineering but I'm determined not to miss the next baby's first year especially after such a fight to get there. So who knows. Maybe I'll start a bra company. Or I might start working on that book to be published upon my death with all my secrets. 

I'm still getting new people and repeat offenders checking in on me. I appreciate every single message, you keep pulling me back up and keeping my head above water. Please keep it up, even if I barely reply. I assure you, I'm feeling the love.  Someday I hope to return it. Thank you.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

It Is Over. Serious Miscarriage Trigger Warning for This Post.

I'm blown away by all the support everyone has shown us this last day. It's been a really intense 48 hours or so. My last post has over 1700 views. In less than 24 hours. It is mind boggling to me. I don't even know that many people. More than anything I've ever written. And it's helping me process to just keep writing. I'm about to get more intense though, if you're squeamish or this triggers you then be warned. I wrote the first half of this this morning. The second half is bad, I am writing that tonight in the aftermath.

So it begins. Woke up with some cramping and bleeding today. Light so far but I'm sure it will pick up. My midwife offered a genetic test. So I'm going to do that. It's fairly gruesome, you have to collect the tissue and store it in your fridge. Anyone want to help me bleach my fridge next week? Seriously though, ugh.

My midwife sent me an email last night that I read at 3 in the morning when I couldn't sleep and was starting to feel crappy. The reason for the ultrasound was listed as threatened abortion. The ultrasound report said I actually measure 9 weeks and 5 days, the tech wasn't accurate. But still, not 12 weeks. No sign of fetal cardiac activity or movement; consistent with fetal demise. It all sounds so clinical. And I feel very betrayed by the math right now. At 9 weeks and 5 days, I only had a 2.8% chance of miscarriage. And like I said, somewhere between 2 to 5% chance that I'd have 2 miscarriages in a row. So naturally I'm wondering if something is wrong. Which factors into the question, when do we want to do this again? A question for another day but it feels like the elephant in the room.

I have a couple of options. Expectant management. Technical term for wait it out and see what happens. 1% chance of infection and could need a D&C later. D&C under general anesthesia. 2% chance of infection and possible scarring. Not my top choice. Anesthesia freaks me out. Also there is medical management. I can ask an OB for something to speed things up. Likely misoprostal. Though my midwife did mention this route was sometimes harder to get someone to prescribe for you which I don't understand. Plus I don't have an OB so this route could be harder. This was my plan but I am just going to wait now since I'm already cramping and starting to bleed.

I had to send Travis out for new Tupperware and a new sanitary baby potty this morning. Because I sure as hell am not using the toilet until this is over. No fucking way. I saw this baby's heartbeat, it is raspberry sized. It's another good reason for the genetic test in my mind, because what else are you supposed to do in this scenario? I don't think I could handle burying this baby in the yard or something. Plus I think that's illegal.

I can't lie, I have friends with similar due dates and it stings. I won't be very pregnant or maybe not even pregnant at all when my first due date passes. That helped the last time but not so much now.

I plan on getting a tattoo in a couple weeks. Probably on our Michigan visit. A Lyra constellation and 2 shooting stars is my thought. I just have to figure out the look of it. But it seems fitting for remembering all my littlest babies short little lives and my daughter's sure to be memorable one.

9 weeks, 5 days. I was driving from Lincoln back to Colorado that day. I'm going to imagine it happened in the quiet moments when I was driving alone, Jeri and Martin peacefully asleep. I wasn't really alone, but I was by myself. I was listening to my favorite music having some quality reflecting time to myself. It was peaceful at least.

This next part, this second part is going to be graphic because it just is what it is. You deserve a second warning though. My baby died inside me and I'm not worried about what anyone else is comfortable with me saying. It really freaking sucked and this is my therapy but you can choose whether or not you read it.

So. Let's get to it then. I started bleeding and cramping this morning and I went and hid in the bathroom. I wanted to be alone. Travis watched Lyra and I texted when I needed moral support or whatever. I planned on taking a shower but I started cramping more and realized that idea was out. I had this silly pink ladybug potty for 3 year olds that I camped out on. Not super comfortable to tell the truth. And my Tupperware dish to collect stuff. At one point I got up and I felt a pop. I knew at that point that it was about to get real really fast. It felt like a diluted version of when my waters broke with Lyra. That's exactly what it was. I started to pass big clotty masses is the best way to describe it. And watery blood. So much of it. It's really astounding. I pretty quickly gave up on keeping anything clean. The bathroom looked like a crime scene, blood on the floor, the toilet, me. Everywhere.

And then there was a baby. I knew the second it happened, it was so distinct. It's one of those moment you never want to remember again but you'll never forget. At that point my needing to be alone was over. I had Travis park Lyra in our bedroom with a tablet and we just sat and cried and I kept bleeding. I thought things were tapering off. I'd collected somewhere between a cup and a quarter and a cup and a half of blood and tissue and just everything. We were in touch with our midwife by text and she was making plans to come pick everything up for genetic testing. I had a friend on the way who picked Lyra up for us. Thank goodness for that timing.

I decided to move to the toilet at that point because we thought the worst was over and I had to pee. I'd just been too afraid to do that while in the intense part of the process. That's when shit got real, fast. The second I relaxed I started to pass an insane clot and so much blood. It was like softball sized and took a while. I was so panicked. Travis was right there luckily. I told him we needed to go to the hospital immediately. And then I got lightheaded and felt so hot and weak. While Travis called our midwife to find out what hospital to go to, I managed to put on a pair or those intense absorbent period underwear, a pad and a pair of black althletic pants. I can think in a crisis. I knew I'd likely bleed through it and I wanted something tight and dark. I managed to kind of collapse in a chair after that, Travis tried to keep me awake while he figured out where to go and what to do.

We threw things together to leave so fast after that. Again I managed to have some sense and grabbed a pair of underwear and shorts and pads. Short shorts but at least I had another pair of something. We made the 40 minute drive to Reno and got checked into the ER pretty fast. I had some pretty dark thoughts along the way. I wasn't feeling as bad as I initially had been but I wasn't feeling good and I was worried. The walk to my room was the most horrifying of my life, I could feel blood soaking through everything. I could tell from Travis reaction that my face and noises where telling him what was happening. I literally was expecting to see a trail behind me. I completely soaked through a heavy pad, underwear and pants in the minute or two long walk back. We got a bag to take those clothes home in.

The doctors acted pretty quickly for that first bit. They got IV fluids going and the ER doctor I saw said almost immediately that he was pretty sure I probably had a piece of placenta stuck in my cervix and that was the issue. He said he needed to do a pelvic exam with a speculum and he'd very likely be able to get it out with minimal pain and that would fix things. So that's exactly what happened. It was the worst moment of the whole process probably. At least physically. It's so embarrassing to be in stirrups like that, bleeding all over the place. I was freezing from the IV and stress and blood loss. And I was scared. The doctor was clearly not in a total life or death rush but he said a few things like, "Time is off the essense here." Someone asked if they should wait for the ultrasound and he said that was a bad call. So that was scary to hear. Not that I didn't know that deep down. I was trying not to acknowledge that panic though. But the ER staff was wonderful, I'll give them that. I think the nurse held my hand part of the time, I can't really remember. And the doctor worked quickly but he didn't lie either. I asked if it was almost over and he just said it was going to take some time, there was a lot to clear out and bleeding to control first before he could even see. And of course, not only was there placenta stuck in my cervix, it was retained. So he had to gently pull for a while until it detached. But he was able to lean over and sort of talk me through and pull me out of it while he was working. Other than that I mostly tried to stare at the ceiling, squeeze Travis hand and wait for it to be over. I finally just told myself I had to relax and told my body to stop holding on, that it was time to let go. And that was, fittingly enough, the moment the placenta finally finished detaching. That was the last I really cried for a while. Possibly for tonight. It's too much to cry about right now.

So much blood when that was over. So fucking brutal. I saw the trash can and the floor, it was gruesome. They changed all the sheets, put down some material on the floor and somewhat mopped me up. I had blood on my feet. On my freaking feet, it was everywhere.

At some point our midwife came by and took everything for genetic testing. She told us we made the right call going in when we did. And that if we hadn't we would have had to go in later under dicier circumstances. We have to go tomorrow for a blood draw and to retrieve the abandoned jeep. If it isn't already towed by now.

So then we just waited ages for an ultrasound and then ages again for results. The ultrasound was more painful than usual. I think my poor vagina was just fed up with the abuse today. They finally told us everything was looking good, nothing else retained they could see and we could go home. When the doctor came in for a last chat he said my bleeding had been "immense." And that should not happen again.

I bled a lot when I first got up. It took some doing to slow it enough to get my clothes on. And the first bathroom trip made me rethink leaving the ER. But after that initial bit, things slowed down to really heavy period type status. I have a killer headache. Its even worse any time I'm not laying flat. And I'm feeling generally weak and crappy. I actually am not joking when I tell Travis to come check on me if I've been in the bathroom for longer than five minutes. My ears feel fuzzy when I get up. And my vision went a little weird for a bit after leaving the ER. But Travis is taking tomorrow off and I have another friend to watch Lyra tomorrow. Thank goodness for help.

It was all so brutal and fast and intense it will take some time to really catch up. I'm just reeling a bit. I was pregnant with no sign a single thing was amiss this past Sunday morning. It's only Tuesday night and it's all so over. I just weaned Lyra, this is really just ensuring that happens, I'm too worn out. My midwife said it was unlikely that my milk will come back in but not impossible. I sure hope it doesn't because that would just be a big fuck you from the universe. I also am praying I don't get an infection with all the testing and intervention that had to happen today. That would also be a big fuck you from the good old universe. I would think I shouldn't be that unlucky, but so far I have been.

Now I am settling in for the night. I've had food and a shower to really wash the blood off my feet. My cramping has mostly fully let up. I have a high pain tolerance it would seem. Travis cleaned the horror scene that was the bathroom. I'm probably going to watch some violent or scary t.v. Somehow that's good therapy for me. I can tell myself, hey, at least I'm not a zombie or on the run from a serial killer. It's the small things. I've had a constant flow of messages of support and solidarity. From best friends, family, old friends, acquaintances, people I don't even know. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I'm sorry for sharing the gruesome and terrible reality, but honestly, I'm mostly just sorry it's happening to me. I loved this baby so much.



Monday, July 31, 2017

Miscarriage Number Two

Trigger warning, I'm having a miscarriage. Again. I'm not censoring. I need to talk, so read if you are ok with that. I understand if you aren't. Really, I do. The support I've felt has been the best. I have friends and family who love me and I'm so lucky for that.

Well, bad news. I'm in the lucky 2 to 5 percent of women who have 2 miscarriages in a row. Yaaaaay. Seriously though. What. The. Actual. FUCK. The miscarriage rate at 8 weeks (which is where my baby is measuring, not at 12 weeks like I should be) is like 5%, how am I that unlucky? Especially once you see a heartbeat you are supposed to be a lot safer, statistically. I haven't had a period since March. I have been pregnant and or actively miscarrying for 19 weeks, going on 20. That's half a freaking pregnancy, guys. I haven't even made it out of the first trimester.  IF, that's a big if, we decide to go for it right away again and manage to get pregnant right away again, I won't have a baby until late May. That's more than a year from the the first time we found out we were pregnant.

And also, I'm not miscarrying yet. Nope. Just spotting. I just have the luxury of knowing my baby is dead before my body has figured it out. So I get to sit and wait and anticipate the carnage this time. So glad I can have the full experience. Or better yet, I may have to decide to get surgery. Like, getting my wisdom teeth out was one of the most horrible experiences ever. So I expect this would be worse.  I can't even bring myself to research it. FUUUUUUCK. But yeah. Haven't miscarried yet. That may be brutal. I have no idea if and what testing we may do. I have an idea of what I may be in for in the next few days. I'm scared.

So Sunday afternoon (why the fuck is it always a Sunday?) I started spotting. My brother was still visiting so I told him and Travis because I couldn't hide it.  I had a Friday midwife appointment scheduled but I was able to move it up to Monday because I was panicked. Monday came, my brother went home, my spotting continued.

I somehow made it to the appointment only texting a few friends beforehand. I tell you what, this experience makes you know who your true friends are. The ones who let me know right away they were there for me, after this, after the last time, after the last blog post, you know who you are and I will work to keep you all besties for life. Hold me to that.

I took Lyra to Reno (Travis went to work, we were trying not to panic because spotting can be so normal and the odds were in our favor, they really were) and we killed an hour and went to see the midwife. She spent a good 10 or 15 minutes looking for a heartbeat with 2 separate dopplers. Nothing. I knew. I knew when I started spotting. But I hoped. Oh, did I hope.

It took less than 3 hours between leaving the midwife's office and getting an emergency ultrasound. In that time I sent about 47 emergency texts to my close friends and family and immediate support network. A friend dropped everything and came to Reno to take care of Lyra. I can't thank her enough, it was an unbelievable relief to send Lyra off and know she was safe, loved, and having fun to boot. I am forever grateful for that. I will remember it forever and I will try and pass that love on some way, some how, some when. Travis ended up ditching work and rushing to Reno because he was no use at work after all the stress and drama. I sobbed through the In-N-Out drive through because I knew I had to eat and not pass out or something. Super fun and only mildly embarrasing.

So the ultrasound. Brutal. Transvaginal ultrasounds....They are just as terrible as they sound in general. You are just half naked and humiliated, best case scenario. Worst case is just worse. I knew right away. I couldn't see a heartbeat, I could tell it didn't look like 12 weeks. Lyra was moving and non blobby by 10 weeks. Travis didn't make it in time. I couldn't watch the whole thing. I just sat alone and stared at the lights and cried. I'm honestly glad I'm the only one who had to witness that, nobody needs to see that. Travis came in about 4 minutes after it was over. We ditched the jeep at the ultrasound place and Travis drove me home. We have to figure out the logistics later.

I made some phone calls and sent a few awful texts on the drive home. We got some wine and some ice cream. I'm not sure if I'm semi dairy allergic or not. But I decided today, who gives a fuck. I'm going to be miserable anyway, might as well go all in.

Small blessings though, that's always what I look for. This was over 4 weeks ago. A month ago my baby died. There is no ambiguity in my head. There's no slow heartbeat, there's no 1 week of slow growth that we can maybe recover from. It's over. Even to my untrained eye. We can grieve and move on, not spend weeks in hope limbo. My baby only knew happiness and hope and most of all, love. Never a moment of doubt. I have no regrets being so happy the last 9 weeks that I knew about this little one. No regrets. It's the one thing I know I did so right this time. Clearly there are no guarantees.

And that's how we will move on. Hope and happiness and love. I have no idea when we will try again. I have all the feels right now. I want a baby. I want a break. I don't know that I can make it through all the holidays not pregnant. I don't know that I can handle them pregnant. Know that next time though, I don't think I'll wait to share even to the first ultrasound. Everyone can share in the first  ambiguous pee stick joy. Look forward to it.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

11 weeks

How preggo I am: 11 weeks and 4 days

Baby size: I forgot to check for the first time this week. Already this poor baby is getting younger sibling treatment. Stormageddon is profiterole, brussel sprout, poker chip, bee hummingbird sized. About 1.5 inches long already. I'm starting to feel like I'm getting a bump. Mostly I think it's my uterus growing and smashing everything else outwards more, but I'm still going to count it. I'm definitely feeling over the bloat at the very least.



Morning sickness: Not bad!! I've still only puked twice and my stomach isn't bugging me as much or as intensely as with Lyra. For perspective, twice a day with Lyra was pretty standard. On the drive down the mountain once this week I had to stop and dry heave on the side of the road by the dam store. And also once at a Mexican restaurant on the road trip home. I think my brother is getting a good dose of birth control from hanging out with me.  But still, I'll count this as a major win.

Food cravings/aversions: Mexican food. I think I made the mistake of talking about it too much. Now it's all I want to eat.

Other symptom: SO HUNGRY. I get full after like five bites and then want to eat again desperately in an hour or two.

Weight gain: Nothing so far.

Sleep: Lyra's been generally sleeping better, so I am as well. Other than I'm usually awake for the day by 5 or 5:30 which is mildly annoying.

Mood: Pretty happy lately, my road trip was fun and we didn't run into major issues.

Gender: Unknown still.

Lyra stats: She's got like four more teeth working there way out. She's a bit moody about it. She's been eating like crazy because I'm so over nursing and we are down to one bedtime session. At this point its like a sixty second max nursing session and two of the last four nights she hasn't really asked so we skipped it. It's a little bittersweet because it is the last of her newborn traits she still has. But at the same time, I'm so done, I really think it's the pregnancy hormones that caused the shift. I'm setting her 2nd birthday in two weeks as our hard end date.

What I miss: Wine. Seriously my desire for alcoholic adult drinks has not faltered this pregnancy. I can't really complain because it's so much better than being so sick that beer sounds disgusting. But still, I miss an evening glass of wine or brunch mimosas.

Movement: Every now and then I still feel like I might feel something questionable. But could still be all in my head. I also feel like I might already be able to feel where my uterus is. I'm hoping it isn't already starting with the braxton hicks action.

Best moment this week: Surviving the last of the road trip home with the mastiff! Also it was just awesome catching up with old friends this week, having some long chats with my brother and besties, and seeing some road trip sights.

Looking forward to: In-N-Out tomorrow with my brother. And also just getting back to normal life after all the adventuring lately. (Check out my Ode to Nebraska previous post if you want to hear about all those shenanigans). And also I'm excited to see my baby bump get more real in the next few weeks!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ode to Lincoln Nebraska: A Roadtrip Story

Parts one and two of my three part quest to collect the last member of my family from the wilds of Michigan have been completed. They went better that I could have hoped and absolutely epically fabulous respectively. Boy, do I have some great memories now.

Part one was rather tame, all things considered. Lyra watched TV for two days straight, had McDonalds for most meals, and ate too much candy. She was happy as could be and didn't give me any trouble. I'm shocked, quite frankly. The first day we stopped three times and the second day we only stopped twice. That's it! We stopped in Salt Lake the first night and had a great dinner with friends that we will have to visit with more in the future. It felt like a vacation, not a quest. We made it to Colorado with very little fuss. I had minor car troubles, my transmission is testy but as long as we go slow up the hills, I have some faith we will make it back to Nevada. 

The road trip part two was epic. I left Lyra with my parents overnight and took my brother, Martin, and friend, Jeri, along with me for company. We departed for Lincoln, Nebraska to meet up with my in-laws who were bringing the dog, and one of my closest childhood pals, Jake, who happens to live in Lincoln and doesn't mind a spur of the moment visit. Only a little bit of a random asortment of people. Especially considering I was bringing my current in-laws along to meet my first husband. Long story short, Jake and I were two of the most easily coerced/forced victims in a church camp theater act of the Jacob/Leah/Rachel bible story orchestrated by none other than my mother. Thanks again, Mom. I think I forgot to mention the whole first husband thing to my in-laws. Oops, in my defense, I just forgot to mention it. 

So we set off on a Saturday, bright and early. Just kidding, we were like 15 minutes late because first I knocked over a bowl of cereal on my shorts with Lyra's life size plastic shark (thanks for the consideration you show with your gift choices, Martin) and then Lyra wanted to nurse. And then as we were finally leaving, both Jeri and Martin had to stop to pee because they somehow didn't have time for that while I was nursing Lyra for 10 minutes. They were worse than the pregnant lady.

Our first stop was good old Greeley for gas and food. And also to empty two absurdly small bladders and my own pregnant one. I felt minorly like a fool as we pulled into Starbucks and I realized my shirt was on backwards. After laughing at me, my supposed best friend said, "I thought your shirt looked funny." Thanks for the heads up, pal. After a second wardrobe readjustment we hit the road again to a fabulous eclectic and growing playlist. Interrupted only by YouTube video breaks. My Google search history is now full of everything from "Ludacris raps Llama Llama Red Pajama" to "Actual cannibal Shia Lebouf" and "Flight of the concords you don't have to be a prostitute." Every one of those is worth googling, give it a go. You're welcome.

It looked a little stormy for about 5 minutes so we launched in to storm stories. And Martin (our driver at the time) made sure to tell us, "If you see a tornado make sure to holla at your girl." Which became road trip quote number one. We had to stop at the Nebraska sign and take pictures. Which is where this epic gem of a photo occurred. I mean, just zoom in and it gets better and better.


There are seriously too many good photos to include here. Go follow my Instagram (@miriamghoward) or Facebook if you want the rest of them. After laughing so hard we cried, we were on our way again, Martin at the wheel, myself with shotgun privledges because no one wants the pregnant lady to get carsick. We were casually chatting about the kool aid museum we wanted to stop at (a let down, trust me) when I felt something tickle behind me ear. I felt a bug or something and as I pulled my hand away to see what it was, I realized it was a tick. Naturally, I jumped and screamed and reflexitively threw it away from me. Unfortunately, I threw it in my brothers direction.  He was naturally a bit concerned and confused about what was occurring. He started screaming something along the lines of, "Oh my God! What the fuck? What the hell is wrong with you? What did you throw at me??" Meanwhile, I was writhing in terror in my seat screaming, "There's a tick! There was a tick on me!" So Martin started yelling back, "Why did you throw it at me?!? I'm driving, why would you do that?" After this back and forth, some hysterical laughter and intense searching mid drive for the missing tick we had to make a stop for lunch and gas. The story doesn't end here, but we will get to that in due time.

As we pull into the complex with the q-doba we are aiming for, we all see it at roughly the same moment. The entire car let out this collective gasp as we spotted a giant Sinclair dinosaur statue complete with saddle. Immediately I'm all, "Pull over, pull over! We have to stop here!" So that's what we did.



We grabbed burritos to go and were on our way again in short order. Jeri gave Martin a scare the first 17 times she burped, she really puts some power into them. We are driving down the highway and I'm still shotgun at this point and Martin is in the backseat. I turned to him and said, "Ugh, I feel like I am getting phantom itches because of that damn tick." Martin let out a huge dramatic gasp (bigger than the combined Sinclair dinosaur reaction), his eyes bugged out and he said very intensely, "Oh my God, don't move." I sensed the seriousness of the situation, froze and started yelling, "Where is it, where is it? Get it off me!" Luckily the tick wasn't on me, it was on the seatback behind me doing a stealth crawl up towards me. Martin grabbed it in a napkin and tried to squash it. Turns out ticks are hard to kill. So Jeri is just laughing and driving and trying to keep us from crashing. I'm screaming, "Kill it! KILL IT!" And Martin is shrieking, "It won't die! It won't fucking die!!" I finally calm down enough to say, "Throw it out the window," and Martin looks intensely pained before rolling down the window and saying, "I just hate to litter," and tossing the tick, napkin and all out onto the highway. Absolute insanity.

The rest of the drive was a little tamer. There was a lot of Martin dancing to 90s songs. We arrived in Lincoln and reunited with Dinger for a few minutes before locking him in the air conditioned back of the Jeep to calm down and nap. We all headed to dinner which we a good reunion. Afterwards, the in laws headed off to rest and the rest of us headed to the souvineer shop because we had decided we desperately needed matching corn shirts to match our matching corn beanie hats we'd acquired at a gas station. And boy, did we find them. The checkout lady gave Jeri quite the talk about how rare these were and how lucky we were to find three of them. Nebraska, man, what a glorious place.



After that Jake and Martin spent some time reconnecting and reminiscing over their bromance. I convinced them to share a s'more, Lady and the Tramp style. That memory will live with me forever. My favorite moment might have been when Martin said to Jake, "Bro, your beard tickles." I did not appreciate these two properly as teenagers.

I was only allowed to use this photo after promising to specify there was a s'more there. There really was. #bromaceforlife

The evening and next morning were a now typical hilarity filled event. Jeri and I shared a bed and sometime during the night she moved and I thought she was Lyra. So I grabbed her arm and began patting her to try and get her to sleep. At some point I was confused enough to sit up and look around and say, "Lyra? Where's Lyra? Lyra's not here....I don't think Lyra is here...." before giggling to myself and laying back down to sleep. Somehow everyone else slept through this.

When we woke up I texted the in laws to meet before we all left. Unfortunately, I had to text back again that we were running late. Martin used body lotion instead of regular soap in the shower. Apparently, that can be a hard situation to remedy quickly. I wouldn't know. I can differentiate the word "soap" from "lotion." I did however have my karmic retribution for that mockery when I put on Martin's glasses instead of mine. I felt some legitimate panic that I was going blind or had ruined my glasses overnight somehow. That's how I learned my brother and I have similar taste in eyeglasses but vastly different prescriptions.

The kennel strapped to the Jeep set up that destroyed our milage.

Our trip home was remarkably uneventful considering the 140 pound cargo in the trunk. We stopped and took many more ridiculous photos. At the Colorado border someone yelled at us to, "Go back!" Jokes on them, we were back.

So here we sit, in Colorado, waiting until Wednesday to head out. My brother is coming with me to drive back to Fernley and stay for a few days. More road trip adventures await! My plans changed this time due to my brothers new job schedule and Travis' upcoming surprise work trip to Bolivia.   And there you have it, that's how my roadtrip to Lincoln, Nebraska was one of the most epic roadtrip adventures thus far. Who woulda known.