Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cycle update/Ideas to honor Sunny

Long post ahead, just a bunch of rambling for now!

Ever since this cycle started, I've been feeling a lot better emotionally. I've been thinking a lot about ways to honor Sunny. I started a journal about three days before I started miscarrying, and I wrote in it that one time, again a few days after I started bleeding, and then once more. I will continue to write in it whenever I feel the urge to do so. I also have a "memory box" which will not have very much in it, but that is okay. It has probably 20-30 pregnancy tests right now. I did the same thing with Audrey....kind of weird, but that's okay.

Last week, a family member brought over a white Bible. It was personalized and said "Baby Martin 2014" on it, and it really meant a lot to me. I've held it close a few times already while crying, and it really helps me feel close to Sunny. It is the next best thing since I can't actually hold him. I was also told by a friend about They send you a free teddy doesn't matter if you had a miscarriage, stillbirth, etc. (I donated a few dollars and plan to do so again when I can, and I definitely will after the birth of my rainbow baby. It is a great organization.) I will definitely be holding that bear close when I get it.

I will also be getting a tattoo one day for Sunny (which is crazy, because I have none and always said I would never get one), but I don't know what I want yet. It needs to be perfect! A few years down the road I want to add something for Audrey and the next baby too, so it needs to be something that won't look strange when something else is added.

On to another topic...I would be 12 weeks pregnant tomorrow. It is a crazy thought. TimeHop shows me every few days what I would look like if I was pregnant right now (since Audrey and Sunny had the same due date, two years apart). It hurts a little, but it also helps in a way, because it gives me hope. Pregnancy announcements still sting, but they don't hurt quite as bad as they did before.

As of right now, I am on cycle day 8 (cd8) and doing fine. I finished my soy isoflavones last night, and am now working on staying hydrated before ovulation. It's kind of hard, because (TMI****) I have only seen EWCM twice in my life, so I really have to try quite a bit to see it. The second time I saw it (this is while checking internally, mind you, I don't ever see it externally) was when I got pregnant with Sunny, and I worked my butt off for that. As in...drinking 80+ ounces of water/juice a day, taking guafinesin, and EPO (evening primrose oil) so I am doing all of that again. The main reasons this sucks:

 1) you have to pee ALL. THE. TIME. Which is fine, because I'm trying to get pregnant and will be peeing all of the time anyway whenever that happens.

2) If you want to take OPK's, which I do, because I never know when I will ovulate, then your pee is watered down if you drink a ton. Which makes the OPK's inaccurate. So you have to drink a lot of water for the first couple of hours, pee a few times and drink nothing/limit your intake, wait 3-4 hours (I can usually make it about 3, 4 is out of the question), take an OPK, then drink a ton more water. In other have to drink a ton only during certain parts of the day, which means you are constantly peeing and drinking. It's all worth it.

 3) I suddenly got really bad allergies right before my period started. I can't sleep at night because my throat is incredibly itchy and raw. The sneezing during the day is tolerable, but the itchy raw throat isn't. I caved and took an allergy pill last night, but I can't take anymore because they dry up your mucus. ALL of your mucus. So I'm going to be pretty miserable until ovulation (which could be two weeks away).

Anyway, lastly...I took my first OPK today and it wasn't positive, but it was darker than I expected it to be. It could be because of the soy. So I will definitely have to take one every day from here on out. I also made myself a chart for my meds/water/etc so I can highlight the square when I've taken each medicine, and drank each bottle of water, etc. I like to stay organized with all of that stuff, because it is really easy to forget!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Fresh Start

The past few days have been crazy.

As some of you know, I chart my cycles to see when I ovulate. This consists of taking your temperature with a special thermometer every morning at the same time, before doing anything else. At the beginning of your cycle, your temperatures are lower. When you ovulate, your temperatures rise. If you have very predictable cycles, charting isn't as important. However, every cycle is different for me.  So far this year since I started charting again, each ovulation day has been different. (CD = cycle day). Not everyone ovulates on the same day each month, but a large amount of lucky women do.

February: cd19
March: didn't chart well, but looks like cd19
April: cd18
May: cd19
June: cd17
August: cd22 or cd25

Now, I bet you're wondering why I don't know my ovulation day this month. The answer? FertilityFriend was (probably) wrong. Anyone who uses FertiltyFriend knows that it is very accurate. However...the first cycle after a miscarriage is crazy. I've always heard that, and I even heard not to chart for the first cycle after a miscarriage because your temperatures might be all over the place. But I like to know what is going on with my body, and I like knowing when my period will be coming.

In short, FertilityFriend told me that I ovulated on cd22. Which meant by period was due Tuesday. Well, Tuesday rolled around and...nothing. I instantly started worrying. I took a pregnancy test and it was completely negative, so I took another look at my chart. I'd noticed a second temperature shift after cd25, but it could have been a fluke due to slow-rising temperatures. But I told myself not to worry, I probably ovulated on cd25 and my period would be here Friday.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up Thursday to blood! I still don't know which day I ovulated. If I ovulated on cd22, then my luteal phase has extended by two days somehow, which probably isn't the case, but that would be awesome since my luteal phase is on the short side. If I ovulated on cd25, which is more likely, then my luteal phase has shortened by a day, which isn't very good. But I'm not going to worry about that right now. I don't need to - I need to relax! I am just SO happy that I ovulated at all. I was starting to get worried that my high temperatures didn't mean anything, since I had a few low ones, and I was having an annovulatory cycle (which can go on for 40-70 days or longer).

So, I had a 35-day cycle, which really isn't *that* bad. It's on the extreme long side of normal, but it is normal. I am praying that I get pregnant this month of course, with a STICKY baby. I'll be taking soy isoflavones, which I used with Audrey. If nothing happens by January, it's back to the OB, for more tests and probably clomid. I hope so much that we don't have to do that, but if so, then that's what we will do. I really wish we could move my ovulation date up to around cd14-16, because I have read multiple times that women who ovulate later (like myself) don't have the best egg quality sometimes. Of course that is a scary thought to have right after you miscarry, but I have always suspected it. I worry a lot though, that's just who I am.

So the plan this month is soy, and RELAX. Both times I've been pregnant I was very relaxed. I don't know how likely it is to get pregnant on the second try (we did try on our post-miscarriage cycle) but I did get lucky enough to get pregnant on my third with Sunny, so who knows. Technically, it will be our fifth try, since we lost Sunny...and Audrey took two kind-of trying (NTNP) and then six more actively trying (TTC). We will just have to see!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What NOT to say...

I came across another blog post last week that really made me think. This woman, Rachel Lewis, hit the nail right on the head. If you haven't read her blog post, do so. It's perfect. I definitely agree that my loss was all in God's plan. I have accepted that, but it doesn't make it hurt any less. It amazes me how many people just blow it off, like it isn't a big deal. Yet most of these same people are ready for an abortion argument at a moment's notice. An abortion? It was a baby that had a heartbeat, that had human rights, that deserved to live and could have cured cancer! A miscarriage? There was something wrong with it, it wasn't really a baby, you'll get over it, everything happens for a reason, you can just have another one.

"There was something probably wrong with it": Well, maybe. It looked like my baby hadn't really developed. However, there is no way to tell if there was something wrong with the baby, or if it was something else that caused Sunny not to develop properly. There are a few different things that can cause a miscarriage, and without testing, there is no way to tell. I have hypothyroidism and am positive for autoimmune antibodies that can cause miscarriages. It could have also been low progesterone (which I will be tested for if it ever happens again). Even if there was something wrong with it, that doesn't make me feel any better right now. For all I know, it could have been perfectly healthy. My husband and I have both talked about this, and we definitely would have rather lost Sunny than have him been born and be miserable and very sick. But that doesn't HELP the pain any.

"It wasn't really a baby": Yes, it was...I was pregnant. A fertilized egg implanted in my uterus. I'm not sure why people say this, it doesn't make any sense. I mean, if you want to get technical, it was an embryo. Which is still a baby.

"You'll get over it": No, I won't. It will get easier, but I will never forgot the emotional pain, the physical pain, the sadness. I will never not be sad thinking about my baby dying. As soon as I had a positive pregnancy test, I was happy. I was a mommy of two.

 "Everything happens for a reason": I believe that this is true...but it doesn't make it any easier for me. It was God's plan, but it wasn't my plan. I have accepted that God needed my baby more than I did. But I can still hurt, and I do still hurt.

"You can just have another one": Probably, but nothing will ever replace Sunny. If I am blessed with another baby, I will love it dearly, but I will still feel have a part of me that feels empty.

"I'm so sorry. I'll pray for you.": Thank you very much.

As I've stated before, these comments don't bug me very much. People don't know what to say for the most part, so they say the first thing that comes to mind. I appreciate people trying to help me and make me feel better. But these are definitely my thoughts with each of these. However, I love each and every person that has said anything at all to me about our loss. Even if your comment stings a little.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Losing Sunny, our angel baby.

I woke up on Saturday, June 28, and took a pregnancy test (cheap one from eBay). I was only eight days past ovulation (8dpo) but I tested anyway. I have always tested early. At first glance, there was nothing there, so I left and came back a few minutes later to an extremely faint line. Sure, I had to squint to see it, but it was there. I knew better than to get excited though. Sure enough, at the one hour mark, it completely disappeared. I was disappointed, but not surprised. We had only been trying for three months, and Audrey took over double that, so we expected it to take around a year to get pregnant with our second child.

The next morning, I woke up and laid there for a while. Part of me wanted to take another test, but part of me didn't. Of course, I ended up taking one. After a couple of minutes, there it was. A line! I started shaking and was in disbelief. I went to grab a First Signal out of my test drawer and used the same cup of urine (yes, I pee in a cup). Faint but there. I walked into our bedroom and said "Clayton, I was going to tell you a different way, but...I'm pregnant!" I was too excited to hold it in. He couldn't believe it! Three months? It felt like the first try. In fact, it felt like we hadn't had to try at all! We went to Fort Smith and bought Audrey a big sister shirt (which took a few hours) and some FRER (First Response Early Result) pregnancy tests. I had a digital at home left over from trying for Audrey. I held my pee the entire time we were out and came home and used the FRER, and there was a definite line since they are a more sensitive test (12.5mIU vs. 25mIU). We were thrilled! Our due date was March 13th, which was the same due date we had with Audrey. What were the chances!? (Picture below is of 9dpo, 10dpo, and 11dpo, top to bottom).

I had sent my mom a video that morning and also told my brother Patrick,  and we went over to see Clayton and his parents that evening to tell them. I started cramping pretty badly that night. I assume this was implantation cramps. The next day, Monday, we told my dad and brother Devyn. On Tuesday, I took another FRER and a digital. Dark line and "Pregnant"! YAY! As the week wore on, we also told a few good friends. I had no more cramping all week, just a few minutes of nausea every few days. On Friday, July 4th, we told more family. I was exactly 4 weeks. We also decided to make it Facebook official. Four weeks is extremely early, and anything could happen at that point. Around the time your period is due, some studies say your chances of miscarriage could be as high as 50%. However, I knew that if something happened, I would want people to know why I was sad. I am a very open person.

I don't know why, but before I even got pregnant, I had a bad feeling. I have a friend I made online back at the end of 2011, and we started trying to get pregnant together with our first babies. I told her while we were trying for baby number two that I had a bad feeling about this next pregnancy. I wasn't even pregnant yet, but I just felt bad about it. I have no idea why I felt that way, and I know it's probably just a coincidence. Sure enough, even while I told people, I felt differently than I did with Audrey, "not right" about telling. I chalked it up to the fact that it was my second pregnancy.

From 4-5 weeks, I knew something was wrong. I wasn't sick. With Audrey, I was sick from the day my period was due, at exactly 3 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I was miserable by 4 weeks and a couple of days with her - completely miserable. I told a few people my worries and got the same answer -  "Every pregnancy is different. It's okay. Just relax and don't stress. Everything is fine". It didn't help. I just *knew*. My breasts were sore, but nowhere near as sore as they were with Audrey. I also noticed that after 9dpo, I didn't have any stretching feelings at all, no slight cramping. With Audrey, I had light cramps. One day, Clayton and I went for a walk with Audrey and I told him something was wrong. I knew it. He tried telling me not to worry as well. I continued to test, almost daily at first, but finally at about 5 weeks, I tested every few days. The line was getting darker, but not as fast as I thought it should have. However, I was pregnant! I bonded instantly with the little life inside of me. I felt like it was a boy, and I named him Sunny (Audrey's name was Henry Joe before we knew what she was). After all, he made me happy! So Sunny it was.

Finally, a day or so after I turned 5 weeks, I calmed down. I told myself that a most people don't get morning sickness until between six and eight weeks, so it was going to be soon. At this point, miscarriage is said to be about 25% (or as low as 10%, depending on the study). I pushed my worries to the back of my mind. I took a pregnancy test on Sunday, and the line was just as dark as it had been days earlier. But I didn't worry. It wasn't lighter, after all. The days wore on. Tuesday night, I told Clayton while we were getting ready for bed that my breasts didn't feel as sore as they had been. Again, he told me not to worry. Symptoms can come and go. So I didn't.

On Thursday, July 17, I woke up and took another test. It was darker than it had been on Sunday, much darker than the control line. Perfect. Audrey and I got up and got dressed and my grandpa and grandma came to get us. They wanted to take us to Golden Corral to eat with them and some of their friends. Around noon, I started to notice cramping, and I was happy, because my cramping was starting! It was just light cramps. It felt just like it did with Audrey. I enjoyed the day. A couple of hours later, the cramping got worse. It felt like my period was coming. Not just cramping...I felt like my uterus was "cleaning house". I didn't feel good about the cramps at that moment. We had picked my cousin Tabitha up to spend the night with me, and I remember telling her "When we get to my house, I'm going to lay down. I'm cramping." Even though the cramps didn't feel right at all, I still didn't worry too much. Maybe I'd just forgotten what early pregnancy cramps felt like. Maybe it was normal.

We got to my house and I hadn't went to the bathroom in a few hours, so I had to go. I will never in my life forget seeing the blood on the toilet paper. Even with the cramping, I didn't expect it. I hadn't even thought about blood, even though every time I went to the bathroom since I'd tested positive, I checked. My heart felt like it was being ripped into a thousand pieces. I whispered "I love you, Sunny" and jumped up and ran to the living room. I said "Tabby, can you please watch Audrey? I'm bleeding". The tears came then, when I said it out loud.

I ran to the bedroom and called my husband and asked him to come home early because I was bleeding, and then I called Eastside OB-GYN. They closed in 30 minutes, and I just knew that I'd have to go to the E.R. because they always take a few hours to call you back. However, the nurse got my message and called me back within five minutes. She of course told me not to cry, not to worry, it could be implantation bleeding or something else. I knew it wasn't. I was already six weeks pregnant, it wasn't implantation bleeding. It wasn't spotting - it was bright red and heavy. She calmed me down and said that it could still be something else, it could be a bleed behind my placenta. I was told to lay down, take tylenol for the pain, and rest. To come in at 8:30 when they opened for an ultrasound.

I laid on the couch and cramped. I cried. I felt gushes of blood and didn't want to go to the bathroom because it was horrible to see over and over again. Just after midnight, my bleeding stopped. It was like someone pushed a button. I had been bleeding heavily, and then it just stopped. I still just knew Sunny was gone, but since my bleeding was gone, I tried to hold onto hope. I didn't sleep at all that night.

The next morning, we went to see Dr. Wood and have our ultrasound. We finally got called back into the new ultrasound room. I'd already told Clayton that if the ultrasound tech didn't say anything, if she was silent, that it was bad news. I wanted desperately to hear her speak. Instead, I lay there in pain while tears streamed out of my eyes, watching the screen closely. When she got done checking my ovaries, she went to my uterus, and there it was. A small sac. The sac that held my baby. She still said nothing. It was so small - TOO small, because it was the wrong shape. I heard nothing, no heartbeat. It was a completely different experience than when we went in for Audrey's first ultrasound. With her, we heard a fast, beautiful heartbeat. Audrey, just the size of a grape, had wiggled. The ultrasound tech had smiled and talked away happily. She'd printed multiple pictures of our baby for us.

Not this time. I knew then that it was over. The lady measured the gestational sac silently, with a frown on her face. She finished up, and printed the photos. But she took the photos with her instead of offering them to me. She told me to get dressed and she would be back to take me to a room. Clayton and I just looked at each other when she left. We knew. I got dressed and went to a room to wait on Dr. Wood. We waited for a very long time while he saw a few other patients and looked at my chart and the ultrasound photos. It was an awful wait...we knew that it was over, but maybe...just maybe it wasn't. Maybe everything was okay. I just wanted to know. I couldn't stand not knowing for sure. Miracles happen every day, after all.

 Finally, he came in and sat down with us. He told us he was sorry. The ultrasound showed a gestational sac, but my uterus had already started contracting...the sac was squeezed tightly, so tightly that he couldn't tell gestational age. It was squeezed so tightly that he couldn't see anything in it, and there was nothing resembling a heartbeat. No flicker, no sound. I cried. After he left, I broke down completely. I will never, ever forget the way that I felt at that moment. Empty. Devastated. I laid on the bed shaking and crying for what felt like a lifetime. I couldn't catch my breath. Clayton rubbed my back and held me and I just bawled.

I can't tell you how many times I researched miscarriage symptoms during that three weeks that I knew I was pregnant. How many times I came across women having the same issues I had (no stretching cramps, no morning sickness, a bad feeling) and how many times it turned out the same way mine did. I knew a miscarriage would be horrible, but there are so many things nobody tells you. Unless, of course, you read posts on miscarriage support groups. There, there is truth. It doesn't matter how early you lose your child, it hurts. It's a pain like no other, losing your baby. I know that if I had been further along, or if I had my child here on earth, that it would have hurt more. But the fact is that it is still shocking how much it hurts early on. I am writing this almost three weeks after I started bleeding, and I am still hurting. I still cry.

Not only do people not tell you the truth about how much you will hurt emotionally, but physically. I cannot tell you how many people told me "It will be okay. Miscarriages, especially in the first trimester, are just like a period." A couple of people told me it would be a heavy period. It was not. Nobody really prepared me for it. A couple of people tried to, but you still don't understand until it happens. Nobody told me that blood wouldn't just drip, but at times, it would pour. Nobody told me that I might have to physically push to get some of it out. In some ways, it was childbirth. Nobody told me that I might have contractions for days. After Sunday, I just knew that it would pretty much be over since I had bled so much. Not so. I continued to bleed that week. I bled like a heavy period for five more days, and during that five days, I had contractions. Tylenol wouldn't cut it, and Advil finally took the edge off of it on the last day. It really felt like early labor. Clayton and I had planned a vacation to Branson weeks earlier, and since I felt like the worse of it was finished on Sunday, we left. Some of the contractions made it hard to breathe. I never expected that with an early pregnancy loss. Finally, I woke up on Saturday spotting and spotted on Sunday, and then it was over. I bled heavily and contracted for nine days, and spotted for two. Hardly just like a period.

Probably the worst part of the entire thing is the way people react. Most people just act like it didn't happen. They don't say anything, don't mention it. They might not say anything to me at all, or they might discuss everything but the loss, avoiding it entirely. I know that this is normal, people don't want to bring it up. They may be uncomfortable mentioning it, or they may be afraid to mention it, not wanting me to start crying. However, mentioning it won't hurt me. I'm already thinking about it constantly. I am okay with nobody mentioning it though...the few comments I have gotten have been a bit insensitive. I am not upset about those either. Nobody knows what to say, and that's fine.I expected that, and I was told that it would happen. People don't know what to say, so they just say something, and that is fine, because they are acknowledging it. I'm an open person, and I want to talk. That is how I heal, by talking about things.Writing my feelings down. That is how I get through them.

I was pregnant with my child. Now, I am no longer pregnant, but I don't have my child. I will never hold him for the first time, or ever. I will never hear his first cries or his first word. His heart should have been beating. I will never know if it started beating or not, because my doctor wasn't able to tell when the baby died. But he was a baby. I will see him again in Heaven, but it seems so far away. I can honestly say that I will never be more thankful for Audrey than I am now. I've been so sad, but she has brightened every day since we lost Sunny. Her beautiful smile, her cute laugh, and her silly personality. I cannot imagine losing a baby and not having another child. It breaks my heart. Knowing that I have Audrey gives me hope that I can stay pregnant. It is possible. I have to trust God.

We buried the tissue that I passed with a note. It was very healing. I am so glad now that I announced my pregnancy, and that I  had to "un-announce" it. I feel the same way I did with Audrey's birth...I won't keep quiet about the emotional pain, post-partum depression, miscarriage. I will be here to talk to anyone going through ANY of those things, because I went through them. These things aren't talked about very much, but they happen every day. They're common. Why stay silent? Silence makes it worse. I know that my parents and my in-laws hurt, too. Sunny wasn't only my child, but he was a grandson, a great-grandson, a nephew, a cousin. He existed. I'm going to use my loss in the only positive way I know how, and that is to help anyone going through it. I'm an open person (even though I didn't used to be) and I know that makes some people uncomfortable, but if I help one person in my life tremendously, it is worth it.