rivka: (adulthood)
It's been a year. (If you're pregnant, please don't click through the link.)

I would have had a six-month-old now. Playing with toys. Maybe sitting up.

If that pregnancy had not ended, I would not have become pregnant with the Niblet who is, at this very moment, trying to batter his way out of my belly with his feet. He would not exist. I will always look at this baby and know that great grief made him possible.

I have no great meaning to extract from what happened to us a year ago. I can only say that you endure what you must because there's no other choice, and eventually it ends. Suffering is finite.

I haven't forgotten; I don't think I could. Who I am has been shaped by what happened a year ago. I can still contact the sadness. But I'm not there anymore.

I survived.
rivka: (rosie with baby)
You know what's not a good idea, when you're damn near 37 weeks pregnant?

Falling hard on the ice on the way into the midwife's office, that's what. I seem to be okay, but I think it's going to be a tense 24 hours until we're absolutely 100% positive that it's not going to send me into labor or anything. We are under orders to call immediately if I notice anything whatsoever that seems funny.

Also, I landed on my right hip, which is the difficult one.

Also, thank goodness Michael and Alex came along to the appointment, or I have no idea how I would've gotten up again.

Fall and resultant shakiness notwithstanding, I managed to come up with a good blood pressure reading of 110/72. No sugar or protein problems. I've gained four pounds (!) since last week, which may partly be a factor of last week's visit being before lunch and this one being immediately after dinner. My uterus is measuring 40cm when I'm contracting and 39cm when I'm not contracting. (Why yes, I am contracting a lot.) I'm Group B Strep negative, yay. (That saves me from having to get antibiotics in labor.) My symptoms are as normal as an extremely normal thing. The baby's heartbeat sounds strong and beautiful.

Then I sent Michael and Alex out of the room and told Kathy about the feelings I had after the hospital tour. She is not the touchy-feeliest of midwives, but she was great. She gently told me that it was entirely appropriate and reasonable and expected to still be grieving and to have negative feelings triggered by my upcoming birth. She thinks that laboring women focus intensely on labor, and that I am unlikely to have significant problems with D&C memories in labor, but she is ready to remind me that I am there to birth a baby. Also, she is fairly certain that if I call when I first notice labor signs they will be able to snag me the room where Alex was born, which not only has positive memories associated with it but is huge and couldn't be more different from the rooms I was in when I miscarried. She's going to tell the other midwives how I'm feeling, which is good.

She also told me, firmly, that the universe intends for me to have this baby, that this is the baby who is meant to be. I'm not sure how I feel about that as a theological position, so I will choose to focus on the part where we are positive that I am going to have this baby.
rivka: (her majesty)
I was already feeling fragile this evening before I discovered that someone had hacked Respectful of Otters.

Michael and I took the hospital L&D tour this evening. We were just there on Saturday afternoon for Alex's tour, but I guess that I was focused singlemindedly enough on her experience, or the surrounding details were different enough, that it didn't hit me the wrong way.

Tonight it did.

We were in a group of six or so glowing beaming hopeful expectant couples. A childbirth educator led us onto the L&D floor. Just across the hall from the nurses' station was the little registration room. I glanced in as we walked by, just for a second, and there was a woman sitting in the patient's chair, crying. Hand up to her face. Nonswollen belly.

This time last year I thought I was eleven weeks pregnant. I had just had my first midwife visit, at which everything looked great. I had told Alex that I was pregnant, and the two of us were looking at pictures in pregnancy magazines together. Two weeks afterward I was sitting hunched over my nonswollen belly in that same registration room, crying, having discovered that what I thought was a baby was just a bloody mess of misdirected cells. Getting ready for emergency surgery.

Everything brought it back. The brief glimpse of the crying woman. Standing at the window of an L&D room looking out at the gorgeous 16th-story view of the city by night. The childbirth educator mentioning the two operating rooms on the floor and the 24-hour anesthesiologist. Asking her about triage, did we have to go through triage, realizing only in retrospect that the reason the idea filled me with such dread was that I'd spent a good long time in triage before my D&C. Remembering how I had felt hearing the heartbeat of a laboring woman's live baby on the monitor, on the other side of the curtain, before I got my headphones on.

My due date is a week to ten days after the anniversary date of my D&C. I don't know if I will be thinking these thoughts, having these memories, when I go to the hospital for the birth. Maybe I'll be too focused on labor, too focused on my imminent baby. Maybe it will help that I've already freaked myself out now with the vivid memories that are apparently still locked on to that place. Maybe it will help to be prepared next time, because I swear that for some reason it never occurred to me that it would be hard to go back to L&D, because apparently it's not like I'm a psychologist or a reasonably insightful person or anything.

Maybe I should discuss this with my midwife and doula, but it's hard to think of what to ask for that would be helpful.
rivka: (motherhood)
Yesterday was my due date for my lost pregnancy. Tomorrow, my current pregnancy will reach thirteen weeks - the point at which I lost the other one.

This is a weird place to be.

I am so, so grateful to be pregnant on the day that, by all rights, I should've given birth been complaining bitterly about when was the damn baby going to come already. I've been watching for this day for the last six months, and praying that I'd be pregnant when it came. I know it would be far harder if I were still feeling broken and barren.

And yet it's also hard to be where I am. The end of the first trimester is supposed to be a tremendous relief - the point at which you know that, probably, everything is going to be Just Fine. The point at which you tell everybody. The point at which vanishing symptoms are cause for relief, not anxiety. Last time, at this point, I had even broken out my least-obvious pair of maternity pants. This should be the point where I can relax, having made it through the dangerous part of pregnancy, and look forward to the genuine pleasure that is the second trimester.

Instead, this is the point where I feel like I'm at risk of being utterly blindsided by tragedy.

I've joined a really good mailing list called SPALS: Subsequent Pregnancy After Loss Support. The SPALS list has helped me keep my sanity through some scary early signs of trouble with this pregnancy, and I admire these women for the supportive community they've created. But the reverse of that support is that participating in SPALS makes me all too aware that you can actually lose a pregnancy at any time. Lots of women on the list have had stillbirths.

My midwives told me to take my progesterone supplements until 13 weeks, which I am interpreting as "the end of the 13th week" rather than as "the first day of the 13th week." After that, they say, my placenta should have totally taken over progesterone production, making supplementation unnecessary. But honestly, as much as I hate those damned things, stopping using them feels like stepping out over a cliff and trusting that something I can't see will break my fall. Who knows whether my placenta knows what the hell it's doing? If I wasn't making enough progesterone, who says it will make enough progesterone?

My first-trimester symptoms, bless them, are hanging on until the bitter end. I've had a bad cold this week, and postnasal drip + human chorionic gonadotropin = ZOMG incredible nausea. I expect that as my cold goes away, so will the nausea. In the meantime: my jeans still fit. I have the Incredible Pregnancy Rack of Doom (now size 36H!!), but that's the only place I've put on any weight. There are still eight days until the midwife appointment at which we may (may) be able to hear the fetal heartbeat with a Doppler. I'm still a few weeks away from the earliest possibility of feeling fetal movement. At the moment, to borrow a phrase from [livejournal.com profile] fairoriana, this is Schroedinger's Pregnancy.

It seems like such a cruel trick of fate that all of these dates converge: the lost due date, the gestational age at which my miscarriage happened, the point at which pregnancy symptoms are scheduled to go away, the point at which I'm supposed to remove the supports and trust my body to do the right thing hormonally.
rivka: (chalice)
I know, I know, I only got to Tuesday in my recaps before they petered out... which is pathetic. In my defense: (a) the rest of SUUSI got really, really busy there, for a while; (b) the shooting at TVUUC has been dominating my thoughts this week and has taken me out of the shinyhappy headspace; and (c) let me just say that a head cold and the last vestiges of first-trimester symptoms combine very poorly.

But here I am. When we last saw SUUSI, I had fallen into bed achy and exhausted after a lousy hike on Tuesday afternoon, unsure about whether I'd be able to handle my Wednesday morning hike. read more & a couple of pictures )
rivka: (trust beyond reason)
In retrospect, I didn't have very strong pregnancy symptoms with my miscarried pregnancy. At the time I certainly felt tired and nauseated, but there's just no comparison to the way the first trimester is beating me down this time around.

It's not totally intolerable, and in fact I actually find the symptoms reassuring. I need all the evidence of pregnancy that I can get. But... it's the difference between having to be careful about what I eat and sometimes being unable to eat; between often feeling tired and often needing a nap to get through the day; between outgrowing my regular bras and outgrowing my maternity bras. (ZOMG I have outgrown my maternity bras and I'm only just entering the ninth week.)

I produced pregnancy hormones last time - enough to make a placenta, even though it had nothing to support. My pregnancy symptoms were real. But they were a shadow of what I'm experiencing now that I'm churning out enough hormones to support an inch-long fetus.

*sigh*

Jun. 21st, 2008 08:50 am
rivka: (for god's sake)
Someone just came onto a message board I read, seeking guidance for a friend. Her friend, who is in her early 40s, just had a miscarriage when she was four weeks (i.e., just barely) pregnant and wants to try again. The poster is looking for a list of recommendations she can give her friend about ways to change her diet and do healthier things so she can prevent future miscarriages.

Here's my Public Service Announcement:

Don't ever do this.

No matter how well-meaning you are - and this woman seems to be very well-meaning - there is no loving way to say, "I figure that you probably killed your last baby. Please straighten up so you don't kill the next one, too."

Especially when you are probably wrong. The vast majority of miscarriages, especially early ones, are caused by profound chromosomal or genetic abnormalities in the embryo. That's even more likely for miscarriages in women over 40. Unless your friend is a crack addict, or something, the odds are overwhelmingly high that she didn't do anything to cause her miscarriage and won't be able to do anything to prevent another. Conception and embryo formation are high-error activities.

I know this woman doesn't mean to imply that the previous miscarriage was her friend's fault. But she's skating reeeeeal close to that, and vulnerable grieving people are awfully susceptible to guilt. It's just... yikes. Just don't.
rivka: (for god's sake)
I just walked out of church in the middle of the service because there was a child dedication for an infant and I suddenly found that I couldn't handle it at all.

This is all part of the process. I know that. But you know what? The process SUCKS.

I do, at least, have awesome friends at church. One of whom followed me out of the service and one of whom just happened to be walking bythe portico at the right moment. Thank heavens for awesome friends, because right now I don't have a whole lot else to hold on to.

This really, really bites.
rivka: (talk about me)
I had a complete physical this morning for the first time in... jeez. I don't know. I don't take any ongoing medications and I've been able to have my Pap smears done by my midwives for the last few years, so I've just never been motivated to see my primary care doctor unless I was sick.

I saw her last month for an ear and sinus infection, though, and she pretty much made me sign up for a physical. I worked myself up into a minor state of stress beforehand, figuring that she would lecture me about losing weight and that I would need to figure out what to say to her.

Except for pregnancy - and literally just for pregnancy; I was below my prepregnancy weight a month after Alex was born, thanks to the revolutionary new "extreme stress verging on nervous breakdown" diet) - my weight has remained steadily between 165 and 168 pounds for at least the past seven or eight years. According to the BMI tables, this makes me 21-24 pounds "overweight," and 7-10 pounds shy of "obese." Since physicals are supposed to address ongoing health issues, it seemed likely that my weight would come up. I dreaded it.

"I'm not willing to consider dieting," I told the mirror in her office bathroom. "Research shows that 95% of dieters regain the weight within five years, and that repeatedly losing and regaining weight has more health consequences than staying steady at a higher weight."

Back in the exam room, the nurse checked my blood pressure (excellent) and pulse (excellent). My doctor came in and checked my blood sugar and kidney function with a urine dip test (normal). She went over my family health history, looked at my ears and throat, listened to my heart and lungs, felt my lymph nodes, did a breast exam, palpated my (pudgy) abdomen, asked about some weird little lumps on my feet, checked my standing posture, asked a couple of probing questions about my post-miscarriage mental health.

As we talked, she filled out a lab slip: complete blood count, cholesterol, comprehensive metabolic panel, thyroid level and thyroid antibodies (there's a family history).

I brought up my two health concerns: potential long-term damage from my acid reflux disease, and irregular menstrual cycles since my miscarriage. She was concerned about the first but not the second. Apparently I shouldn't be having any breakthrough heartburn when I take over-the-counter acid reducers - which I do, more often than not. She gave me a booklet on lifestyle changes and a bunch of free samples of Prevacid, and added serum amylase and H. pylori tests to my lab slip. I'm supposed to go back and see her in a month to get my lab results and discuss whether the Prevacid is working - she'll decide then whether I need an endoscopy. I'm relieved that she didn't send me for one immediately. (She's usually very big on precautionary testing.)

Her major concerns:
1. I always need to wear my orthotics, because my feet suck. (She was a physical therapist before she went to med school.)
2. We need to get my reflux under control.
3. I need to try not to be anxious and stressed-out about conceiving again.

That was it. Not a word about my weight.

I suppose that she may be waiting to bring up weight loss until she sees the results of my lab tests. But they weighed me, and that would've been enough ammunition for most doctors. So yay, for now.


("But don't you realize fat is unhealthy?" Before posting a comment to that effect, please click here.)
rivka: (her majesty)
A month after I miscarried, I felt mostly okay. I'd read things that would refer to months and years of post-miscarriage grief and think "wow, I'm glad that my reaction has been milder." I was aware of potential future roadblocks - the due date from that pregnancy, the anniversary of the miscarriage - but for the most part I thought I was adjusting and moving on.

As we cleaned the old house, all last week, I became increasingly anxious about the prospect of doing a final walk-through with our landlords. I realized that, of all the people I know, they were the only ones who still thought I was pregnant. I made Michael promise to do the walk-through by himself so that I wouldn't have to see them. Or, more specifically, so I wouldn't have to see them see my regular-sized belly and my pronounced lack of glow.

I don't think there's anything unusual about that, but the amount of time I spent thinking about it and being anxious about it was kind of excessive.

The dolphin show on Saturday was about play - how dolphins play, why animals play, how play is used in dolphin training. There was a video montage of mammals playing. It included a few brief images of human infants. Boom: tears. I cried at a dolphin show. From, like, three seconds' worth of baby exposure.

Sunday, at church, out of nowhere: uncontrollable, but mercifully silent, crying. Not related to the service content.

The only thing I can think of that might behind the suddenly increased grief is that we are gearing up to try to conceive again. (I need to buy an ovulation predictor kit on my way home from work.) That has always been a fraught and anxious process for me, and it seems about ten thousand times more so now. What if we can't? What if it takes a long time? What if it's hard to even bring ourselves to try, and the whole... process... is overshadowed with grimness?

I shouldn't have to do this. I should be about halfway through my pregnancy. I should be wearing maternity clothes. I should have had my high-level ultrasound, and watched blood pumping through the tiny channels of a tiny fetal heart. I should know the sex. I should be making plans for who will take care of Alex during childbirth, and checking out new-baby preparation books from the library for her. I should be pushing to get my grant up and running before my maternity leave. I should be pregnant.

This really sucks.
rivka: (alex closeup)
Still no DSL at home.

So I share with you, with commentary, four Conversations With Our Daughter that I wrote down on lined paper with a pen.


The Erudite )

The Imaginative )

The Embarrassing. )

The Sad. )
rivka: (chalice)
The music committee at church has asked people to write short essays about their favorite hymn. I don't know yet if I want to write up something formal to send in (you know, in my copious free time), but [livejournal.com profile] telerib wrote up something about the trials of adjusting to the Unitarian-Universalist hymnal, and it got me thinking. Read more... )
rivka: (Mama&Alex)
Alex: Why do you have to go to the doctor?

Me: Remember when I had to go to the hospital a while ago? After you've been in the hospital, your doctor usually needs to check to make sure everything is okay.

Alex: Does your tummy still hurt, Mama?

Me: No. I feel okay. But the doctor needs to check my insides to make sure everything is okay there.

Alex: But HOW are you going to take your OUTSIDES off?
rivka: (for god's sake)
Seventeen days after my D&C, the pathology report is still not back. That's the bad news.

Fortunately, though, that's the only bad news. Based on the way my HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin, a.k.a. "pregnancy hormone") levels have been dropping like a stone, taken in context with the immediate experience of the D&C, my midwife is certain that what I had was a "blighted ovum" - a fertilized egg so messed-up that it made a placenta but wasn't able to grow or sustain an embryo.

My HCG level as of Friday was a stunning 33, down from 190 the Friday before. (I don't know what it was the night of the D&C.) We have high hopes that it will hit zero sometime this week. Then my body can go about the business of returning to its normal rhythms.

An exam showed that everything is getting back to normal: uterus and ovaries feel normal, cervix is closed, and there's physical evidence that the hormones are normalizing.

We can start trying to conceive again as soon as I've had a couple of normal cycles. If I get pregnant again, we'll monitor the pregnancy more intensely: HCG levels beginning at the positive test, progesterone levels, an ultrasound at 7 or 8 weeks. But there's no reason to believe that this would happen again. It was one of those random chances.

Needless to say, I'm still very very sad. (Wow was it hard to be back in my midwives' office.) But it's a big relief to know that there isn't anything horrible hanging over my head. There's no physical aftermath to a blighted ovum pregnancy. No long and frightening period of monitoring. We can just focus on the long, long job of picking up the pieces, emotionally.

So: sad, but thankful.
rivka: (for god's sake)
On Wednesday, someone from Mercy Hospital (where I had my D&C) called and left a message. She said that if I wanted to talk about my experience, she was there to listen. Yesterday's mail brought a sympathy card from the same person, who appears to be a nurse working in the pastoral care department. The card said that she was sorry for my loss and praying for me and my family daily. She hoped I was being kind to myself, and that I was being helped by support from family, friends, and God. She enclosed a little religious poem. (Not my flavor of religion (it's a Catholic hospital), but not offensive to me.)

It was nicely timed, I thought: two weeks after my miscarriage, a point at which an experienced counselor should be able to identify which patients are having a normal grief reaction and which ones are in real trouble. Also a likely point for someone with inadequate support to be feeling as if everyone's forgotten her loss.

Years ago I read a book about a woman who had a late second-trimester miscarriage. Afterward, none of the hospital staff - including her own OB - were willing to talk to her about what happened. They deflected her questions, avoided her eyes, refused to let her see the body. And my mother recently told me two stories. When she was a young married woman, my grandmother told her that she should never tell anyone she was pregnant until four months had passed - because that way, if it didn't work out and there was a miscarriage, no one would ever have to know. And a colleague of my mother's who also did maternal/child nursing once staffed a table on pregnancy loss at a community health fair. An 80-year-old woman came up and told my mother's colleague all the details of a miscarriage she'd had 60 years before. It was the first time she had ever told anyone at all. Sixty years later she was still burdened by her secret grief.

I am so grateful that it's not that way now.

Throughout this awful process I have been sustained by an incredible outpouring of love, support, and kindness. I've been stunned by the number of women who have quietly taken me aside to say that they too had a miscarriage, and that they know how terrible it is, and that I have their love and support. Instead of feeling alone, I've felt encircled by a large community of women, kind and gentle with me because they've shared this grief. Some of them are my age. Some of them are grandmothers or great-grandmothers. All of them survived, but none of them ever forgot.

I've also been sustained and upheld by all of you. It's touched me more than I can say to receive loving sympathy from my friends who are committedly childfree, as well as the ones who know what it's like to desperately want a child. To have people who barely know me refuse to walk away from the raw pain dripping all over my journal. To have repeated assurances of concern and support pour in again and again when even I have begun to be exhausted by my own neediness. To get presents in the mail: cookies, chocolates, more chocolates, an unpublished novel draft, a mix CD, cards with messages of love. It's been so much. It's helped so much.

I still feel sad and fragile, and I expect that I will for quite some time. But I also feel loved and cared-for. I'm pretty sure I'll be okay. For which: thank you.
rivka: (for god's sake)
Grief is kicking my ass today.

We went grocery shopping for the first time in two weeks. At the milk cooler, Alex was hopping around being helpful.

"Mom, do you need your yellow milk?" (Milk in the yellow carton is low-fat. She drinks whole milk, in the red carton.)

"No, I'm not going to buy any." I hate milk. I only consume it when I'm pregnant and need the extra calcium.

"But you don't have any yellow milk at home."

"I know. I'm not going to have any milk for a while."

We turn away from the case. She's still not done. "Mom, you drink special milk, right?"

Yes. When I was pregnant, I drank "special" low-fat milk that was just for me, not for underweight toddlers. I'm not pregnant now. I won't be buying any more low-fat milk unless I get pregnant again. Okay? We're not buying milk in the yellow carton BECAUSE THE BABY DIED.

I didn't say any of that. I just sent her off to the deli with Michael. And had the two of them play Letter Searchers in the check-out line so she wouldn't notice me crying.

OMG grief is just kicking my ass today.
rivka: (for god's sake)
Not when accepting sympathy from horrified people who've just found out.

Not when explaining to Alex again that there isn't a baby.

Not even when sorting and packing up some baby clothes for the move.

But without warning, this morning, while waiting for the elevator to take me to the hospital blood lab for a quantitative HCG follow-up, I completely lost my composure and started to cry. Half an hour later, I'm still feeling incredibly fragile. No idea why.

I would feel less broken right now if my reactions were easier to understand. In a way, it would make more sense if I were crying all day or unable to get out of bed. Instead, 90% of the time I feel totally normal and functional. And then: not.

The other thing that set me off without warning was hearing my father-in-law's voice, when we called him to make sure they'd escaped the tornadoes that slammed through Memphis on Tuesday.

Until recently, I had never really thought about the fact that the reason Michael was adopted is that his mother had several miscarriages, ultimately ending in a hysterectomy. Michael's father has never said a word to me about it. But somehow the kindness in his voice when he says "Hi, honey" connects me to this pain of his, more than forty years old but still present.

Michael's father is aware of, and solicitous of, Michael's pain and grief in a way that no one else seems to be. (I love Michael dearly, but I am ashamed to say that my grief is pretty self-centered right now.) I'm so glad that there is someone who sees his primary job as taking care of Michael. And yet what an awful, awful connection for a father and son to share.
rivka: (for god's sake)
Just talked to my midwife's assistant. I was a little confused about my discharge instructions from the hospital, which said to follow up with my midwife in two weeks. Originally she had told me that I'd be following up with a perinatologist (an OB who specializes in high-risk pregnancies) to monitor my hormones, because if this is trophoblastic disease it will be vitally important to know whether my pregnancy-hormone level goes all the way down to zero and stays there. (If it doesn't, it means that tumor cells implanted somewhere else and are continuing to grow.)

At the hospital, apparently, someone told Michael that my hormone levels were lower than they'd expect to see with trophoblastic disease, and that they were leaning more towards thinking it was a "blighted ovum" - a fertilized egg so chromosomally damaged that it was able to produce a placenta (and therefore pregnancy hormones and symptoms) but not an actual embryo. But that's not something they can actually diagnose until the path report comes back - which won't be for two full weeks, because (among other things, apparently) they have to do a chromosomal analysis.

So it turns out that we're going to be following a middle path. I don't need to go straight to a perinatologist, but I also can't just coast until my two-week follow-up at the midwife's. Instead my midwife will be ordering weekly hormone-level tests until we figure out what the hell this was all about. That seems reasonable to me. It's somewhat of a relief that they're not just slapping me onto the full trophoblastic protocol, and yet I also really really want to know what my hormone levels are doing.


I am in a lot more pain today, although it's nothing 800mg of ibuprofen can't handle. I now admit that yesterday I was being a macho, irrational, self-denying idiot. So today I didn't just stay home in the morning - I stayed home, resisted the urge to do "just a little" packing or cleaning, and laid on the couch for two and a half hours watching West Wing reruns. And I asked Michael to arrange his schedule so that he could drive me to and from work.


Emotionally I am coming along. I am sad but not completely prostrate with grief. However, I notice that I am banking a lot on being able to get pregnant again almost immediately, and I suspect that if that doesn't, or can't, happen then I will probably fall apart in a big way. And that might well be a problem.

If this is trophoblastic, standard medical advice is that we not even try to get pregnant for a year. Which would realistically mean that we'd wind up with kids who are five years apart or more, which... feels like a family with a big hole in the middle of it, where another kid should've been. Honestly, even a four-year gap seems like too much to me, except that that ship has clearly already sailed.

It's also the case that I'm almost 35. Even if we can start trying again right away - if it's a blighted ovum, for example - there's no guarantee that it wouldn't take a year or more for me to get pregnant. And I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't handle that well.

I think I will be able to cope with a baby deferred. I don't think I'll be able to cope with maybe-not-another-baby. Or a family with a big aching hole in the middle, instead of kids close enough to play together.


I also notice that I am channeling a lot more emotionally energy than I normally would to planning and organizing things for Alex. This seems reasonably healthy as long as I keep things under control practically and financially. But boy, have I ever been doing a lot of shopping for the perfect big-girl bed with the perfect accessories. And the best presents for her birthday, two months away. It's nice to be able to divert my energy towards the kid I actually have. It's nice to have a kid to divert my energy to.
rivka: (for god's sake)
Saturday morning, Michael brought Alex up to our bedroom and the two of them climbed in bed with me. She noticed my hospital bracelets right away.

"What's that?"

"That was a bracelet from the hospital. I got very sick yesterday and had to go to the hospital so doctors could take care of me. They put the bracelet on me so that everyone would know who I was."

"Did you ride in a fire truck?"

"You mean an ambulance? No. Papa drove me in the car."

"If you're sick you should ride in an ambulance," she informed me.

She asked some questions about whether different parts of my body hurt. "...What hurts, then?"

"My tummy hurts." I took a deep breath, realizing that this was the time to explain. "Do you remember that we said a baby was growing in a special place in my tummy? There is not going to be a baby. We thought a baby was growing there, but Mama was just sick. I hurt in the place where the baby was supposed to grow. Maybe someday a baby will grow there, but not for a long long time. So that's very sad."

Alex made a little sad noise.

"I know," I said. Michael and I put our arms around her. "We're all sad that there isn't going to be a baby."

"Mama, do you feel better?" she asked.

"I'm a little better, but I'm still sick. I need to rest and lie down a lot today, and I can't pick you up or have you climb on me. In a few days I'll be better."

We set up a signal: I would keep wearing my hospital bracelets to remind her to be gentle with me. When the bracelets came off, it would mean that I could pick her up again.

A couple of hours later, she looked up from playing. "There's not going to be a baby for a long long time?"

"That's right," I said. "Maybe someday, though."

I sent her and Michael off to church by themselves this morning. She turned around at the door and looked earnestly at me. "Mom, get lots and lots of rest."

"Okay, honey. I will."




I thought I would never ever post song lyrics in my journal, but I've had a Meg Barnhouse song on repeat play for the past three days, and it's helping more than I imagined a song possibly could. It's a conversation between her and Julian of Norwich.

lyrics below )
rivka: (for god's sake)
The short version: My bleeding got worse, and my midwife had me come to the hospital whether or not they had room for me. I had to wait a very long time. In the interim, the bleeding got downright dramatic. I had the D&C, and by a couple of hours later I felt surprisingly okay: tired, crampy, and weak, but okay. I waited even longer for the hospital to finish things up and then came home. Michael, Emily, and [livejournal.com profile] wcg are heroes.

The long version: warning: includes a description of what makes bleeding qualify as 'downright dramatic,' plus some other graphic content )

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