Saturday, January 24, 2015

It just seemed so perfect

When I found out I was pregnant with Lark, the timing just seemed so perfect.

Mike and I were wanting another baby, even in the trying stage. But we had accepted that it probably wasn't going to happen anytime soon. I'm nursing Ethan and that has affected my cycle. Just the month before we had a conversation about how as much as we want another baby, we weren't in as big of a rush to get pregnant as we had originally felt.

One reason I felt that way is that if the next baby has a NICU stay, I think for our emotional well being we'd have to be done having babies. With that realization, the next baby we have could very well be our last. I can't imagine never being pregnant again. So, for the time being I was happy fantasizing about the future. For the time being, a large family is still possible. If the next baby is born full term, we will most likely continue to grow our family. But again, there's that chance that we won't have that opportunity.

But then I found out I was pregnant on December 26th. Honestly, I was prepared to get my period. I felt like I was getting my period. I just was okay with the fact that I wasn't pregnant that month. But then my period didn't come and positive pregnancy test!

We were at my mom's when we found out. Mike was giving Ethan a bath and I took the test. I watched the lines appear. Yes, lines...two lines!!! I said to Mike, "There's two lines! Look, two lines!" He was happily surprised as well with an excited reaction "Really?!?!"

Yes, really! We got pregnant before we got that desperation feeling we had with Ethan (and even Marcellus). That feeling where it is so heartbreaking each month to not get pregnant. We had avoided that with Lark. That seemed perfect. But now, when my body is ready, I will have that desperation feeling again. Being pregnant with Lark sparked an even a stronger desire in me to have another baby. To have a growing round belly, to give birth, to have a squishy newborn baby. Each month of not getting pregnant will be crushing.

Lark's due date was Sept 5th. That seemed perfect too for multiple reasons. I would have ended this semester of teaching around 21-22 weeks, before I get into the "risky" zone of pregnancy for me. I then would have had the summer off. With Ethan I went on modified bed rest around 24 weeks. I was teaching two classes as an adjunct at the time. The doctor said I was okay to keep teaching and just to take it easy when I wasn't. Well Ethan was born three weeks later, so if I would get put on modified bed rest again, I'd have a hard time feeling okay with teaching. It would maybe be more of a mental thing, but it would be there. With Lark's due date, I wouldn't have had to worry about that.

It was perfect that I also wouldn't have had to be pregnant in October. When I was pregnant with Ethan I was 20 weeks around Marcellus's birthday. It was so hard. I actually spent the day before Marcellus's birthday in the ER. I'm sure it was stress, anxiety, grief causing physical symptoms, but I was a wreck. Now if I were ever pregnant with a baby that was supposed to be born around Marcellus's dates, then I would be okay with it if the baby came around those dates. It's the idea of being at risk for premature labor around Marcellus's dates that is terrifying to me. And now, being realistic, I think the earliest we would end up having a baby due is maybe December? Who knows, but that's my best guess if things go easily for us to get pregnant again. So yeah, a December due date would put me in prime preterm labor time around Marcellus's birthday. His due date was January 15th.  

The age gap between Ethan and Lark seemed like it was going to be perfect as well. I always thought I would have kids close together, 2ish years apart or so. But that obviously didn't happen. Being such a risk for premature birth, we had to make sure Mike would be graduated before we could possibly have another baby in the NICU. It's something I had been struggling with, seeing other people's pregnancy and birth announcements that have new big siblings Ethan's age or younger. I wanted that close age gap in my family too. But when my pregnancy with Lark came and the estimated age gap was 2.75 years, it just felt right for our family at this time.

Perfect. It just all seemed so perfect. We talked about how 2015 was going to be an awesome year for our family with Mike graduating and having another baby. How perfect. But it turned out to be not so perfect. Quite the opposite and instead 2015 started with miscarrying Lark.

Mike graduating will still be awesome and I can hope that 2015 will bring growth to our family. I just don't know if it will feel quite as perfect as it did for those 13 days all was well with Baby Lark.  

Marcellus, the thought of possibly having a due date near what yours was is terrifying to me. At your birthday and anniversary to be around the gestation you were born is scary. Of course, I know I have no control over these things. I should know more than most that as much as we try to plan and do our best, we don't have control. Life is what it is. It comes as it comes. So, I will need to work on letting go of those fears before we get pregnant again. Oh, Marcellus, I miss you so much. I also think of how perfect your pregnancy seemed. How perfect it felt to become a mommy, your mommy. So many perfect moments with you my baby boy. And those moments are locked forever in my heart. They make me forever your mommy. Forever and ever, I love you! xoxox.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

How am I?

"How are you?" might be an innocent enough of a question in casual conversation. But when you're going through something difficult in life that question may sting. How am I?! Do you really want to know how I am?!? Even the phlebotomist that took my blood on Tuesday morning asked how I was. I wanted to look her in the eye and tell her she was taking the blood that would most likely (and of course now we know it did) confirm that I was miscarrying and then ask her how she thinks I'm doing. But I didn't. I had Ethan with me so I managed a half smile and said "okay."

And then there are the people who really do want to know. "How are you doing?" They know you are going through heartache and pain. And they genuinely care about your well being. They genuinely want to know, even if the answer is uncomfortable.

So, how am I doing? Honestly, I don't know right now. How am I supposed to be doing? I'm trying to sort it out. At first I was feeling very very angry. Incredibly angry.  As soon as things started on Thursday and through Tuesday, anger was my biggest emotion.

Then Tuesday the physical process really started. As my womb started to empty, so did my being. I feel empty, distant.

Ethan brings us so much joy. He really does. And I'm still feeling that joy. I still laugh at his silliness and am still warmed by his sweet hugs. But right now it just doesn't permeate my soul like it usually does. I know it will again, but for now it's like there's a shell even he cannot crack. I do not feel fully present with him and I hate that. I hate it so much. For me and for him. I can tell he feels it. I need to get back to being fully present with him. But at the same time I need to grieve for this pregnancy, for Lark. I need to grieve for Marcellus. I just need to grieve. I will find balance again.

And I still am angry. I'm angry about this miscarriage, I'm angry about Marcellus dying, I'm angry that Ethan was premature and in the NICU. And most of all I'm angry all of those things are true for me. All of them are my reality. And that's not even including the emotions that I deal with from placing Angela for adoption. I won't include that here because in a way I chose that grief. I made the decision to place her for adoption. Yes, I grieve not having her here. But again, I chose that, so it's different.

All my planned babies. All the ones I longed for before I even got a positive pregnancy test. Something has gone wrong. Marcellus's death being the most terrible, awful, horrific of them all. And now this. Now another baby gone. Who would have thought that my least traumatizing pregnancy and birth would be the one that resulted in two days of extreme measures to slow labor, a 2 pound 5 oz baby and 10 weeks in the NICU?!

I guess one reason I'm not entirely sure how I'm feeling or how I should feel is because of losing Marcellus. Yes, I am incredibly sad right now, yes I am angry, yes I feel empty, yes I am grieving. But when Marcellus died I literally could not function, I could not sleep, I could not eat. I almost fainted a few times. I sobbed and wailed and cried and cried and cried for whole days and days and days on end. My arms physically ached for the baby that was supposed to be in them. We spent days in the funeral home holding our son's dead cold body as our last physical moments with him. We planned a funeral, came back to an empty house with no child to care for. I didn't know how I would live. I thought my heart should stop when his did. I didn't think there was a chance to be happy again. It was dark. Very very dark. Very dark.

Miscarrying Lark sucks. It truly does. But for me, it does not come close to touching the intensity of Marcellus's death. And I think in a way that is preventing me from properly grieving this loss.

I need to grieve for Lark, for the dreams and hopes that started as soon as we saw that positive pregnancy test. It's going to look different than my grief for Marcellus and that's okay.

Marcellus, miscarrying Lark not only brings grief of another baby lost, but it also brings up some of the grief and emotions surrounding your death that I have not felt (or let myself feel) in awhile. Some of the same rawness is there again. Some of the deep deep anger. It's not fair all of this. It's so not fair. I want you here with your little brother. I want to be 7 weeks pregnant with Lark like I should. I want you and Ethan to both be waiting for the arrival of a new sibling. But we're not. You're not here. Lark is gone. Only Ethan is here on earth with me. And while I am so so so thankful for him, I miss you like crazy. Every day I miss you and long for you. Every. Single. Day. And now I long for Lark too. I wonder if you two are together. Are you? A younger sibling on earth and a younger sibling with you. I don't know that I necessarily find that comforting because really you should all be on earth with Daddy and I. I love you all so much! So so so so so so so much!!! xoxox. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Goodbye Baby Lark

For 13 joyous days we got to dream of you, anticipate you. But almost as quickly as you came into our lives, you were gone. Or were you never really here? We never even got to see you, I never got to feel you. Many didn't even get to know about you.

Medically, you may not have been considered a baby. But to us, you are our baby. As soon as we found out about you on Dec 26th, our family view changed to include you. Even with our fears (of premature labor, how Ethan would do, etc.) our hearts instantly expanded with love for you.

But something went wrong and you didn't grow. We will never know why. Your short existence did bring us joy and excitement. I was so excited for you. And now you're gone. We have had to say goodbye. I miss you already. My heart yearns to have you safely in my womb.

Goodbye Baby Lark. I love you.

We found out we were pregnant on Dec 26th while we were in MN at my mom's house. We were trying, but honestly didn't think it was going to happen that month. So, we were excitedly caught off guard to get a positive pregnancy test. We told a lot of our family and some close friends in person while still in MN. We nicknamed the baby Lark after enjoying a fun trip to Lark Toys.

Of course the first trimester is always a little nerve wracking not knowing what's going on. But I've never had problems in the first trimester before. In fact, I was trying to ease any first trimester fears by telling myself that between all the pregnancies my mom, sister and I have had, there has never been a miscarriage. Well, I guess there's a first time for everything and if it's something bad it seems I'll be the one to experience it. So here I am, having the first miscarriage in my family.

Earlier last week I would mention that I didn't feel pregnant. My exhaustion (an early pregnancy symptom for all of my pregnancies) seemed to go away. Something just felt off. Then on Thursday, Jan 8th, I had some bleeding. I went to the doctor and they didn't see much of anything on the ultra sound. The doctor said he maybe saw the start of a gestational sac, but that it was too small for the computer to even measure. He said at my suspected gestation, about 5.5 weeks, that they would expect to see a more defined gestational sac. He listed 3 things that could be going on, 1) Chemical pregnancy where the baby never develops, 2) Ectopic pregnancy or 3) I'm just not as far along as I thought. While I wanted to be hopeful, right away I didn't think 3) was very likely. I had my blood drawn and my hcg levels were checked. The number on its own doesn't give us any new information. I get my blood redrawn tomorrow (Monday, I'm writing this on Sunday) to see if they are going up as they should, decreasing (chemical pregnancy) or leveling off (would then suspect ectopic pregnancy).

Yesterday (Saturday) I started to get my hopes up. I hadn't had any bleeding since Friday morning. This whole time the "waiting game" has been awful. I already missed work on Thursday with everything going on. I didn't want to get my hopes up just to have them smashed early in the week. I don't want to have to miss more work. So with it being the weekend, which gives me time to process, I took another pregnancy test last night.

I took one Thursday night too (the nurse at the OB said my test earlier that day was faint and this was before I had my results from my first blood draw). The one I took last night is lighter, a sign my hcg levels are going down. That this is really happening. That there is no hope. Some people have said to hold on to hope until I know for sure the results of my blood draw. I'll let them hold on to that hope. Is it fair to say goodbye to Baby Lark before we are 100% sure? Maybe not. But for me I need to start this grieving process now to be able to function during the week.

So today, I say goodbye, yet again.

Marcellus, when we were in MN visiting your spot we talked to you about how you were a big brother again. Another little sibling we hoped to have in our home. But unlike Ethan, that little sibling is not staying here with us. And we grieve. We grieve not only the life we anticipated, but never got to know, but we grieve everything we've been through. We especially grieve you. I do have to say this is nothing like the intensity of losing you. But it still sucks. It still hurts. I still and will grieve. And all this grief is intertwined. Intertwined with the daily grief of you not being here. Of having to say goodbye to you when you were 12 days old. Of knowing I carried you safely until 28 weeks gestation, but that still wasn't enough. This baby didn't even get to six weeks. We never saw his or her heart beat. For you, we held you as yours stopped. It's all very different and it all sucks. I miss you my squirmy wormy. I miss you so damn much. Loving you always and forever. xoxox.

Updated Tuesday, 1/13.
I got the official call this morning confirming what I already knew, that I am having a miscarriage. Physically things have really picked up in the process today as well. So today is what we will consider Baby Lark's "birthday."