Thursday, August 30, 2018

Never the Easy Way

They say an optimist sees the glass as half full. A pessimist sees the glass as half empty. I describe myself as a cynical optimist: the glass is half full, but it's probably dirty, because they don't make dishwashers like they used to!

Despite that being how I always approach live, I'm having a hard time with optimism now.

We saw two babies. Both measuring on track. But only one had a normal heart rate. Baby B's heart rate was way too slow (86 bpm at 6w1d, versus 125 for baby A). My OB gave us a generous estimate of B having a 50/50 shot of survival. Research I read shows as high as 60% as low as 30%.

For the first time in all of this, I am just really angry at the universe, or fate, or whatever. I want both of these babies. I want them healthy. I want to not have to be any more scared of losing them than absolutely necessary. Instead, I get to move forward knowing that there's a good chance we'll lose Baby B, and that vanishing twins cause all sorts of their own complications.

Really, universe? Really?!? You've put me through enough already. Give me this one. Give me two healthy babies. I've been puking constantly for more than a week, and I'll put up with whatever misery you throw at me this pregnancy, just let both of my babies be safe and healthy. Nobody owes me anything, but isn't it about fucking time for a happy ending?

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Wanting First and Third

The early pregnancy days are so, so hard. There's a constant second guessing and worry as symptoms come and go. I've been through this before and it turned out ok, so I'm not as completely terrified as I was in the past, but it's still anxiety provoking. Bleeding keeps coming and going. I promised myself I would stop peeing on things once the FRER test line got darker than the control, but the bleeding threw that plan out of the water and I'm back to testing. They mostly bring comfort.

I went to my first pregnancy after loss support group meeting Monday night. Normally I wouldn't join anything until after the first ultrasound, because the risk of having to un-join feels far too high. This time, I'm trying to be both hopeful and proactive in keeping myself occupied until the ultrasound. The other ladies were nice. All had been through one second tri loss. A few had experienced a first tri loss, too. I was simultaneously glad to be the only one with multiple later losses, and somewhat out of place. One, because I don't want to be the one reminding them that rainbow pregnancies can go wrong, too. Two, because there is something slightly different when you lose your rainbow, too, and are pregnant again after that. I'm not sure I had realized that until now.

That first post-loss pregnancy, you can reassure yourself with all the statistics that this "just doesn't happen twice." You can believe the doctors who tell you "it won't happen again!" By the pregnancy after two late losses, you know that having a 99% chance of bringing home a live baby is still a 100% chance of a dead baby for 1% of people. Further, you know what it is to be that 1%. And you know that doctors can be completely wrong, because really no one knows what the outcome will be. That post-two-loss pregnancy takes any comforts you might have held onto in the first post-loss pregnancy and further dashes them.

I hope to get to go back again in a few weeks. If there's no one home at next week's ultrasound, I can switch groups to the loss support group. Pregnancy after loss meets the first and third Mondays, Pregnancy loss meets the second and fourth. I'll keep going to one or the other, although I can tell you which I'd prefer!

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Don't Be

Welcome to Microblog Mondays! Want to learn more and read more? Head over to Stirrup Queens for the details!

There's a popular sentiment I've encountered during past pregnancies that goes something like this: "It's a good thing to be hopeful and excited and look forward to this pregnancy being successful." Friends, loved ones, even a therapist or two have all espoused some variant of this idea to me during past losses.

My reaction to that? It really pisses me off.

Full disclaimer: at this moment, I AM hopeful and excited about this pregnancy. Just like I was for much of my 2017 pregnancy and much of the twins'. However, I still think this advice is callous bullshit.

Let's look at a few different scenarios. There will be two variants to each scenario, variant "A" and variant "B".

Scenario 1
A: You've been dating a guy for months and you're falling for him. You've started to picture a long term future with him and you find yourself excited and daydreaming about it. Just when you're ready to use the "L" word, he calls to end the relationship.
B: You've been on a few dates with a guy. He's nice and fun, but something just isn't clicking. You're starting to think about moving on, because you don't see a future with him. At the end of a date, he suggests that you should just be friends.

Scenario 2
A: Your dream job gets posted, in another city where you'd like to live. You apply and make it through multiple interviews. Each interview makes you like the job more. You start browsing real estate and thinking of all the great things about the new city. Then you find out they hired someone else.
B: You're happy with your current job, but a friend convinces you to apply to a position at the company where she works. You do a few interviews, and while it seems interesting, you're not sure if it's better than what you have today. They hire someone else.

Scenario 3
A: You've been house-hunting for 12 months and your dream home comes on the market. You love everything about it and can completely see yourself living there. You submit an offer, but it sells to someone else.
B: On your first weekend house-hunting, you see a house you like and submit an offer. It's not perfect, but it will do. The house sells to someone else.

I'm guessing that most people have experienced some version of one or more of these scenarios. In each case, A is the 'hopeful and excited' version. If you've lived through an "A" or two in your life, can you honestly tell me that the emotional fall out from things not working out is the same as the "B" scenarios? I can't. I've lived a few "As" and found them really hard. They're memorable. I'm sure I've lived "Bs", but I don't even remember most of them!

Guarding your heart against extra pain by not being hopeful and excited for the future seems completely reasonable to me. Worst case scenario: you didn't enjoy the 'now' as much as you could have. Best case scenario: the worst will be one or two iotas less bad when it happens. That's a reasonable trade off from my point of view. As I said in my disclaimer, I'm not doing that this time, but I have before and hearing people tell me it was the wrong way to go just added more aggravation to already hard situations.

Moral of the story: be hopeful if you want. Be guarded if you want. Don't be telling someone else what to be!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Perfect Trip

Our anniversary trip turned out to be nearly perfect in every way.

The B&B was lovely as always. Our first morning there, we went out in a canoe immediately after breakfast, and the blue heron who gives the place its name was out in the lagoon where the dock is. By the time we returned a few hours later, he had moved to the other side of the dock and was still fishing, waiting for us.

The Perseid meteor shower peaked just after 2 am on the morning of our anniversary, so we got up, went out and laid on the dock watching the meteors go past. It was a new moon, which meant nearly ideal conditions. Alas, the Canadian wild fires impacted air quality, so I'm sure we missed some of what we'd otherwise have seen, but it was still stunning. I found myself repeatedly thinking 'my girls are here, this beauty is for them, this is exactly what I wanted for them.' I also kept flashing back to laying out under the stars with DH many years ago when he proposed on a camping trip, so it really was a perfect night.

Later that morning, we took Quinn's ashes and paddled back out the island where we left Alexis and Zoe. The wind was pretty strong and I'm 100% inept as a canoer (is that even a word? canoeist?), so we didn't take a straight path. Along our route, a loon suddenly popped out of the water a ways off from us. As we paused to watch, he re-surfaced no more than 15' from our canoe and let out a call. We watched as he repeatedly dove and fished and he always kept resurfacing near us. Eventually we decided to head toward the island we needed to reach. The loon proceeded to escort us all the way out, around the island we were closest to, and up to the island where the girls are. As we said goodby and scattered Quinn's ashes, the loon stayed watching a short distance off, and vanished just as we were done. I am completely sure he was an honor guard for Quinn. It was beautiful and perfect and I know my girls are together, and in the right place.

Everything did feel very, very familiar, as we got the call with my beta on the drive out, and it was fantastically strong. Just like two years ago, I also started bleeding, so it was odd being back in the same B&B bathroom, dealing with estrogen and progresterone suppositories and bleeding, but it was almost a comforting sense of odd.

And now for the news I've been waiting for:
Beta 1 at 11 dpo was 119
Beta 2 just came in, at 15 dpo and is 845

That's a 33.24 hour doubling time, per the betabase calculator.

I was over 800 at 14 dpo with the twins, but betabase shows 800 as the median at 17 dpo with twins and 19 dpo with singletons, so it still seems there's a chance we may see more than one heartbeat at ultrasound. I am praying with every fiber of my being that whoever is in there, they are healthy and they are the baby(ies) we get to raise.

For those who enjoy HPT progressions, here's my First Signal/Walmart progression.

Friday, August 10, 2018

I'm NOT Bananas!

This is going to give you more insight into me than I should probably place on the internet, but it's worth a giggle, so why not?

Backstory: My best friend and I have had a habit of sending each other gag gifts for holidays and birthdays for years. As a result of this, I am the proud owner of an absolutely adorable, huge stuffed gorilla. I say 'huge' because: a) He's quite large and b) His packing slip and ear tag identified him as "One Huge Junglie Gorilla". Anyhow, he's really cute and I'm nuts, so it's become a family joke that he's obsessed with bananas. As a result of this, it's not uncommon for DH to return from a business trip to find the huge gorilla on a bar stool in the kitchen, staring longingly at the fruit bowl. He's cute enough you have to laugh when you see him, which seems like a good 'welcome home' to me!

Also relevant: I decided to try the whole 'pineapple core for implantation' thing this cycle. I've been doing pineapple core, frozen strawberry, coconut milk and protein powder smoothies for dinner since 5 dpo.

Today, when DH walked in the door from the airport, after taking Uber home because I'm working, he found the huge gorilla on a barstool, holding a sign that reads:



There's a very positive pregnancy test taped to the sign, too.

Only after nine pregnancies do you start informing your spouse, via huge gorilla, that he might be a dad. I figure this beats the shit out of my recent approach of: 'So, there's a line, but it's pretty faint so don't expect anything.' Note: this line isn't faint. This line is 'I think it might be twins again' strong.

Send good juju our way? It could change at any second, but at this moment, according to three different brands of pregnancy tests and a huge gorilla, I am soundly pregnant. Until proven otherwise, I am clinging to the belief that this is the time we get our take home baby(ies).