The Beginning: Positive Pregnancy Test

It’s been a week since we found out that our little lucky charm #4 has no heartbeat. It has been the longest week of my life, full of heart ache, sleepless nights, tears, hugs, and anger. Tonight as Adrian was driving through the car wash and Ryker was screaming in terror from the sounds and sights, I couldn’t help but think about how the entire car wash experience sums up the past week.

The steady beating of the water and rough brushes swishing back and forth, back and forth. No matter how much you want to escape from the noise and the pounding, you are just stuck there. Trapped. There is nothing you can do to stop the monster machine. Instead, you just have to ride it out. Tolerate the extremely loud noises and vibration. Yet, unlike the car wash my nightmare has no immediate end in sight. It just won’t stop, because a certain amount of time has lapsed. In the end, my car wash does not result in a polished outcome. The outcome is the same no matter how hard I try to wish for it to be better. It sucks. A lot of suck.

It seems that I have missed the beginning of my story and so I wanted to share the happy moments. The 10 days of pure bliss when I knew of nothing but my pregnancy with Stavish baby #4, our lucky baby.

February was a rough month of sickness for our entire family. Ryker battled with a nasty course of bronchiolitis and Xander and Noah both had the stomach bug. I figured I caught the same bug near the end of the month. Every night I felt sick and exhausted. There were many nights I was ready to crawl into bed at 9:30 without even cracking my computer open. When the sickness didn’t seem to subside weeks later and I felt like my pants were getting a bit tight I wondered if I was pregnant. I knew there was a very slim chance I could be, since I was still nursing Ryker and my cycles have never been regular. In fact, I required fertility drugs to get pregnant with Ryker.

The exhaustion did not go away, even when I was getting enough sleep and I started to have a super human sense of smell. After debating over it for several days, I finally dragged my butt to Walgreens on Thursday evening after my two patients at the hospital. I purchased a test with one digital and one standard “if the blue line is a plus sign you are pregnant.”. I figured it is nice to have a “back up option” for down the road if the test was negative.

As soon as I got home, I locked myself in the bathroom even and took the digital test. Afterall that one is pretty fail safe, right? You are either “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant”. There is no “oh is that line dark or not dark?”. After I waited for what seemed like forever, the test results revealed a picture of a book. Huh? A book! That’s not the answer I was looking for. I quickly looked at the directions, which said that a book symbol means there is an error in reading the test. Figures! I shoved the test back in the package and in the box. Then I carried my bag upstairs and stashed it in my closet. Pushing my annoyance to the side, I went on with the normal routines of the night. Dinner, dishes, pack lunches, bathtime, and put the boys to bed. I decided to test again in the morning, since that’s the suggested time to take a pregnancy test anyway.

The next morning on Friday March 13th, I woke up to the sounds of Ryker crying for mama, much like any other morning. Instead of rushing in to get him right away, I stumbled to the bathroom and eagerly peed on the stick. Here are the results that shocked me beyond words.11071207_10155243993700333_278887361_o
Yes definitely pregnant! Shocked. Excited. Baffled. Happy. All words to describe the emotions that ran through my mind at that moment. Unlike all three of my previous positive pregnancy tests, I stifled the urge to wake up Adrian by sticking the pee stick in his face. Instead, I went about the normal morning routine. I knew this was our last pregnancy (suppose to be at least). I wanted the boys to help me tell Adrian, but just didn’t know how. What I did know is that this baby felt very lucky to me. I brainstormed ideas while at work during the morning. I could hardly focus on actual work. I decided to create four clovers with construction paper. Each clover had “Lucky 1, 2, 3 and lucky baby 4″ written on it and they were in decreasing sizes so the baby’s four leaf clover was the smallest. Simple yet fun. My thought was that I would have each boy give their clover to daddy and then give him the baby’s clover.

When we got home from work and daycare the boys were starving and getting crazy so I stuffed the clovers in my purse. We headed out to dinner at the Olive Garden, where I figured I could have the boys pull out their clovers. Except it was never a good time to give the clovers to them, without Adrian seeing them. So I anxiously waited until we were home to pull off the announcement. When each boy pulled out their clover he smiled. Before I even got to the baby’s clover he smiled and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. Are you?”. When I pulled it out he was shocked and happy. It was a moment I won’t forget. I never want to forget that moment of happiness. The warm fuzzy feeling I get in my tummy when I discovered there would be another Stavish baby to love.

7 Things to Not Say to Someone Who Has Experienced a Miscarriage

what not to say to someone experience a miscarriageI know people mean well and often just don’t know what to say when I tell them that I am currently experiencing a miscarriage.  Yet sometimes I wish people would remember the “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” rule.  Or even stop and think before you open your mouth.  I know people do not mean any harm in their words  and probably think their advice is helpful, but it isn’t.  In just four days here are just a few comments that have been like daggers in my heart.  

1.  You just need to be thankful for the three little ones you do have.  You have to be strong for them.  You are blessed to be their mom.  

I am THANKFUL each and every day for all three of my little boys.  There has never been a day that goes by that I’m not thankful.  I have been a mom for six years, one month, and ten days.  Each day brings its own joys and challenges.  Each day I cherish my time with them.  There can never be enough kisses or hugs for them.  Yet that does not take away the pain I feel over losing my baby.  

2.  I hope you are feeling better.  I hope you feel better.  

I am not sick.  I am not crazy.  I can’t just take some magical medicine and “feel better”.  I will forever live with this pain.  I will forever carry around the weight of missing a child.  Yes, in time I will slowly start to heal.  I will feel happiness again.  Time will heal and tears will slowly be replaced with a sense of comfort (I hope!).  For now though, I am not going to wake up today or tomorrow or the next day and feel better.  

 3.  Oh you were really early in your pregnancy.  

Does that make a difference?  The second I found out I was pregnant I fell deeply in love with my child.  It doesn’t matter if they are 7 weeks or 20 weeks, losing a child is losing a child.  He/she is and always will be a part of me. 

4.  Was the pregnancy planned?

Planned or unplanned would it matter?  No mother wants to lose her child.  This is the most stupid question you can ask a grieving mother.  Just DON’T DO IT!

5.   Oh you got pregnant this time, so you will get pregnant again. 

Well look at you predictor of time and biologist all wrapped into one package with a pretty little bow.  I am so glad you can look into the future and be certain I will get pregnant again.  I hope we will welcome another little one into our family in the future, but that pregnancy will never replace the hurt I feel over losing this baby.  It’s not a band-aid for the pain.  

6.  Isn’t it amazing how much love you have immediately to give to a little cluster of cells. 

I did not lose a cluster of cells.  My baby was beginning to develop hands, feet, eyelids, elbow joints and more importantly had a soul.  It was not a cluster of cells.  It was a human being that I had planned to dress in adorable hats I planned to knit for him or her.  I agree, it is amazing how much love I had for my baby, so please refer to him or her as a baby.  

7.  Everything happens for a reason.  

Bull shit.  There is no reason why some babies survive and others do not.  Mother nature is cruel. Biology sucks.  There is no reason, just the facts.  I lost my baby.  It hurts.  

 15 to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, so the chances are you know more than one mom who has suffered from this earth shattering loss.  When a friend, relative, acquaintance or stranger opens up to tell you her story about miscarriage listen, ask her if she would like a hug, and tell her you are sorry.  If you feel the need to do something for her bring her a meal, take her out for coffee or ice cream, bring her over her favorite trashy magazine or tv series.  These words of comfort and acts of kindness will be so much more helpful for her broken heart than careless words that are painful for her to swallow.   

The In Between Stage During A Miscarriage

10527288_749490328503368_8311141442170409429_nHow do you answer the small talk every-day question, “How are you?”, when can hardly stand to breath let alone look a person in the eye and say “I’m fine.”.  Let’s face it when a stranger or even an acquaintance asks you how you aren’t expecting anything but the average answer, “I’m good. How are you?”.  These days when someone asks me how I am what I really want to say is “I’m barely making it.  My eyes have cried far too many tears.  My heart is broken from the inside out.  Food tastes awful.  I can hardly sleep.  My kids are grumpy and confused.  Did I mention I’m still beyond nauseous, which is tolerable when I was pregnant but now completely just sucks.”.  

The truth is too difficult to speak though and so I just nod and mumble, “I’m making it.” or “I’m getting by.”. These days that’s all I can really do.   

Having made the decision to miscarry naturally, I am in the in between stage of being pregnant and not being pregnant.  I honestly don’t feel like anything is wrong.  I’m just beginning to have a small, tiny baby bump and my pants are feeling a little tight.  I have had no spotting, cramping, or bleeding.  What do you mean to tell me my baby has no heartbeat??!?!?!?!  It doesn’t make any sense.  

Instead of filling my secret Pinterest board for baby #4 with pregnancy announcement and nursery ideas, I’m researching what it’s like to go through a natural miscarriage (expectant management) and the risks of a D & C procedure.  Given my medical history of mild pcos and ovarian cyst removal, I feel that avoiding surgery is the best option.  Emotionally I don’t know how much longer I can be in this limbo stage.  My ultrasound dated my pregnancy at 7 weeks and 3 days but what is not known is how far along I should be.  I have only had one known cycle since Ryker was born and that was in December.  According to the average 28 day cycle, I should be 12 weeks along yet my cycles are never average.  If I should in fact be 12 weeks along than how much more time does my body need to start the inevitable yet awful process?  I feel as if my body is failing me a second time.  It is such a helpless and confusing feeling.  

This is my second day back to work since this nightmare began and it’s rough.  I have so much to do and no motivation to do anything.  The weather all this week has matched my mood perfectly.  It’s been dark and dreary with the occasional rain shower.  What I am thankful for right now is the love and support I have felt from my family, friends, and the online community.  The personal stories that moms have shared with me are gut wrenching and painful, yet so powerful.  It makes me feel like I am not going crazy.   It makes me feel not so alone. So from the bottom of my weeping heart, thank you for your love, support, and words.  They mean so much.  

Loss

miscarriage quoteIt’s been 11 days since I found out about you.  

It’s been 19 hours since I found out we lost you.  

“There is just one baby.  I am not seeing a heartbeat, although the image is very grainy.”  my doctor said, as she quickly shut off the machine.  She then explained that she would send me over to Tower Radiology in White Plains to get a better look at the baby.  She wanted to be certain she wasn’t missing anything.  I knew at that moment that I would never hold you in my arms.  I would never feel your soft skin or smell your sweet breath.  I would never hear your first cry.  I would never nurse you, or bath you, or hear your first giggle.  

Before my doctor left the room her nurse placed the bag of prenatal samples and the hospital registration information on my chair.  I left them sitting in the office, knowing I would have no need for them.  That would be one more thing to stare at.  One more reminder of this awful, horrible day.  I got dressed through tears, trying to avoid eye gaze with my six-year-old and husband.  I tried to be strong.  I tried to keep positive, but my mother instinct was telling me to flee.  

On my way out, I was told that I would need to have the routine blood work done.  I did not feel the needle going into my arm, just the heaviness in my chest.  The utter despair in my heart.  Somehow I managed to then make my way to the car.  I called work to tell them I would not be making it in to see my evening patients.  Adrian had an appointment fora shot for his knee which was on his way.  He stopped to have it done, while Xander and I waited in the car.  The wait was almost unbearable.  My mind raced.  How could this be happening?  Instead of leaving my first appointment with a due date and pictures of my little lucky bean I was left with a broken heart.  

Eventually we made it to Tower Radiology.  When we pulled into the parking lot, I saw in huge bold letters 4D baby photos.  The radiology suite was part of the spa 4d ultrasounds.  The room was well decorated with luxurious chairs and there were large photographs of newborns, as well as 4d views of babies throughout the room.  As a newborn photographer, I loved the photos, but as a mom in this situation I wanted to tear them off the wall.  Instead, I laid down on the sonogram table and went through the motions of having an internal sonogram again.  

Before the exam started the radiologist tech explained to me that the radiologist would view the images and then discuss the results with my doctor.  My doctor would then call me to tell me what the results were.  When the procedure began, the radiologist tech chatted to me about her children.  She was professional and warming.  When the exam was over she again explained the next steps without making eye contact me.  I knew what that meant.  Any small amount of hope I had that my child had a heartbeat was squashed at that moment.  Again I left the office with no ultrasound pictures.  Just despair and emptiness.  

I got into the car and tried not to break down.  I grasped my phone in my hand, waiting for my doctor to call.  I looked at the time- it was 5:19 pm already.  We had to get the other two boys from daycare by 6:00 pm and so we headed toward home.  On the way, my doctor called.  I took a deep breath and answered, fighting back the tears.  The words on the other end were not a shock, “I’m sorry. Unfortunately the radiologist did not see a heart beat.”, my doctor stated in an empathetic voice.  I asked her if they could see how far along I was and told me 7 weeks, 3 days.  My heart sank as I grieved for my little October angel baby that was gone.  

 

 

Day In the Life: Working Mom

Last year as part of Catch the Moment 365, I did a Day In the Life weekend post, where I documented a typical weekend with photos. This year as part of the challenged, I decided to document a week day full of boring meetings, paperwork and of course some photos of the boys. Here is what our day looked like a few Wednesdays ago.

Morning wake up and two out of the three boys are still in bed.sleepy boysMorning routines with three little ones are always chaotic morning routinesFinally off to school and work we go. This one was less than impressed.day in the life-2Noah was excited to greet his friends at daycare.day in the lifeChilly walk into schoolday in the life-3Followed by a small ice cream for breakfast, because I was too tired to argue with him.day in the life-4Once the bell rings, I send Xander on his way to class and I settle in to a day of IEP meetings, snacking, and chatting with a friend on my lunch break over text.work routinesAfter lunch I finish up a few more IEPs. So. Much. Paperwork.day in the life-5Finally the day is over and I pick up Xander. He is excited to receive a note from his friend.day in the life-6About twenty minutes later we leave and head home, passing the Speech department’s Valentine’s day themed bulletin board on the way.day in the life-8day in the life-7When I get home Ryker is taking a very LATE nap, because he spent most of the day with daddy at the doctor’s office. He was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and so I let him rest.day in the life-9He finally wakes up around dinner time. The boys devour pickles with their hamburgers. dinnerShortly after dinner is bedtime routines.day in the life-10Then I wrestle Ryker to sleep. He is a bit of a mess from feeling so rotten. I pass the time with my cell phone, browsing various blogs, Facebook and Instagram. day in the life-11Eventually I fell asleep in the chair with Ryker, so there are no more photos beyond this.

Yup, this pretty much sums up an average week day for us. What does yours look like?