Tuesday, December 18, 2018

I Still Hate 18 Weeks

Earlier this year, I signed up for a fertility yoga program. I did it mostly because I wanted to build a local network of women going through treatments and other fertility challenges. We've kept in touch since the program ended, and get together every month or two for dinner.

At our last dinner, which was last week, I found myself struggling with survivor's guilt. Two of us were now pregnant, both in the second tri, while the other three remained on the treatment roller coaster. They had fears, but also hopeful treatment plans in the next two months.  Everyone wanted to get together again in February, so there have been notes flying to plan the when and where.

Last night, just before bed, a note came in from the other pregnant gal. She'd be 18 weeks by now. Her anatomy scan was supposed to be soon. Her note told us that she was in the hospital, losing the baby. An 18 week loss. Fuck 18 weeks. I am so heartbroken for her. Her news brings back all of the feelings and the memories for me, and I can almost feel what she's going through - albeit I only know what I went through, so the presumption of similarity is purely selfish. I couldn't sleep at all thinking about her, her husband, and their child.

Seriously, universe, why? Why take a loved, wanted, hard-fought baby away at 18 weeks? I know you don't play fair, but why? This is utter bullshit.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Microblog Monday: Unexpected Loss

Slowly over the last few weeks, the amount of movement I've felt has increased. It's certainly not constant now, but when it occurs, there is no mistaking it. 

I love it. 

It reassures me that both babies are still alive. It makes me feel closer to them, and I can't wait for the point when DH can feel them, too. It's a good reminder that I'm still pregnant and they're developing and those are wonderful things.
At the same time, it hurts, emotionally. 

The one soothing memory, the thing that has kept me going through the last 18 months, has been the memory of Quinn moving in my arms while she was alive. That has always been a beautiful, happy memory for me. Now, feeling stronger movement with these two than I ever felt with her, I'm reminded more of the sadness, that she isn't here, than the happiness, that she was. I never expected to feel like a subsequent pregnancy would be detrimental to my memories, but in some ways, this one is. 

I have no idea how to navigate this. It's entirely unexpected.  I knew that loss related memories and heartbreak could and would sneak up on me, but I never expected new, positive associations to mar the few happy aspects I clung to. To summarize as eloquently as I'm able to: loss really screws you up, doesn't it!?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

20 weeks - How Bananas!

How far? 20 weeks
Measuring? Baby girl is a few days ahead, baby boy is a few days behind. Overall, reassuringly normal right now!
Size? Bananas! My huge friend (aka, the stuffed gorilla), who first shared news of this pregnancy with my husband, clearly approves of week 20! For those who are curious, his picture is below. Yes, I am crazy. Blame my best friend and our gag gift war for this one!
Heartbeat? They were 144 and 141 last Thursday.
Total weight gain/loss: Up 16 to 134. I know Dr. Haney encouraged me to eat whatever/whenever I wanted, but two pounds a week is worrying me. The babies are estimated at just over a pound total, so I know it's not all them!
Maternity: Very much so. Just made one of my last purchases, of a bunch of loose dresses. Hopefully that will last me through.
Stretch marks: Nothing new yet.
Sleep: Eh. No real changes. Still with the constantly weird dreams. 
Movements? Feeling a bit more, but it's still very sporadic compared to Quinn. I felt my first kick or punch from the outside yesterday, which was fun.
Cravings? No. Still feeling really 'blech' when it comes to food.
Gender: One boy, one girl.
Miss? I still miss feeling good. I miss my old body and its ability to exercise hard. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my baby bump, but I wish I was one of those 'marathon at 32 weeks, crossfit until delivery' types. I'm more 'barely shuffle 2 miles on the treadmill.'
Looking forward to? Viability on New Year's Day.  4 weeks left!!!!!
Feeling? I told someone that nausea has uninvited his friend vomiting, but welcomed in his friends burps and heartburn. Boy have they shown up with a vengeance.
Comparisons to last time? Still pregnant! Still out of the hospital! Pretty amazing comparisons! Four more weeks to viability. Less than 30 days!

Now, the real star of the show, my huge amigo (please note he's wearing my husband's Banana Republic shirt). :)

Also, 20 week bump picture. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Abandon Hope Ye Who Enter

I know it's early to be thinking of such things, but I was pondering all the hopes I've abandoned with respect to pregnancy and childbirth. Our first pregnancy, which ended in a 10 week MMC, I had hoped for a vaginal birth. I wanted it to be followed by a few days spent just with my husband and the baby, learning to be a nuclear family together before adding grandparents into the mix. I hadn't planned on finding out the sex, I hoped to wait for the delivery room announcement. I felt pretty good during that pregnancy, and hoped to enjoy every second of being pregnant. I was still working out daily and hoped to continue doing so.

  Sounded charming, no? Ha!

 After three miscarriages, I was still hoping for the vaginal birth, but when expecting twins, I knew a c-section was likely, so I abandoned that hope. I also knew we wouldn't get nuclear family time alone. Instead, I'd have grandparents whose help I'd badly need immediately after surgery. Thus, I abandoned the alone time hope, too. After the losses, I wanted to know the babies were healthy as soon as possible, so I abandoned the hope of not knowing the sex and found out early. I did still hope that I'd be bringing term babies home from the hospital with me, and there'd be no NICU time. Once the worst nausea passed, I enjoyed my pregnancy and hoped to keep doing so.

 This time around, I'm still nauseous, I still feel awful at 19 weeks. Nausea has said goodbye to its dear friend vomiting, but invited in its pals heartburn and endless gas. I've abandoned the hope that I'll get to enjoy any of this pregnancy. I know that between the c-section (and possible hemorrhage) and prematurity/NICU time, I may not even get to HOLD my babies before the grandparents do, never mind having alone time. Since I want the kids to know love and comfort as soon as possible, I've (sadly) come to terms with that. 

Hopes, abandoned.

 Now? Now the only thing I feel I can hope for is healthy, living babies. Heck, even that feels demanding. I know how lucky I am to even be pregnant again, to even have a shot at hoping for healthy babies. That makes it slightly easier to let go of all the hopes I've had to abandon. . . but only slightly. Why do I feel compelled not to grieve over all the hopes that won't be met simply because I've known worse grief? I realize that loss has taken so much away from me, and now I'm letting my knowledge and associated guilt force me to adapt in ways I don't want to adapt. I think it's time to work on that. It's ok to be angry, even if my babies survive. Logically, I know that. Emotionally, I still need to accept that it's true.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Highs and Lows

Our official anatomy scan was yesterday. We had an early one two and a half weeks ago at my request, since the anatomy scan milestone was a big one for me. The good news is that everything is still looking good with the babies. Hearts, brains, diaphragms, kidneys, arms, legs, nasal bones: all were within normal ranges. Both babies were beating up on each other the entire time - heaven help us if they keep that up! Lefty, our girl, is estimated at 10 oz, and Righty, our boy, at 9.

There was some less good news, too. Nothing downright scary yet, but less good. My cervix has shrunk from 4.9 to 3.8 in two and a half weeks. That means that the uterine irritability I've been feeling has been causing cervical changes. We're not to the place of worrying yet, but we'll keep monitoring. To be fair, I don't know what else we can do if we reach the point of worry (e.g., 2.5 or lower). I already have a TAC which is the gold standard, so anything else would be like trying to put a bandaid on a broken steel beam that's been welded back together: if the weld doesn't hold, the bandaid sure won't help. There's a great study that shows at 19 weeks, a cervical length between 3.5 and 4.0 is correlated with a 23-29% probability of delivery before 35 weeks in di/di twins. Once again, I knew that was likely anyhow, but I'm still hoping for 37.

We also found out that Righty has marginal cord insertion. While this could be nothing, it's correlated with a number of negative outcomes, like abruptions, pPROM, and growth restrictions. Those are scary words for anyone, especially someone with my history. Further, since Righty has measured behind his sister this entire time, and still is doing so, we'll be monitored a bit more closely for his growth.

So, high note: both babies look great and are moving up a storm.
Low note: As expected, my body is pretty shit at this 'being pregnant' stuff. Hopefully it can keep holding out long enough to keep them both safe.

One day at a time continues. Pictures below are Lefty first, followed by Righty. Very different profiles than Quinn had, although maybe that's just gestational age. For now, I'm guessing they'll look more like their Dad's side of the family than mine.