Birth Story aka The Time Everything Went Wrong

For some reason I was convinced that my baby would be born at 38+6, on July 17th. The day came and went uneventfully and I was bummed. In my crazy magical thinking, this automatically meant that I would go over my due date, need Pitocin, then need an epidural and eventually a c-section. And those were the things I didn’t want.

I didn’t have a birth plan per se, not anything written anyway. All I knew is that I wanted to do it as naturally as possible. No pain relief, no inductions, no interventions unless they were absolutely necessary. It may have been the biggest shitshow of all time trying to conceive this little lady, but I had a ridiculously smooth and uncomplicated pregnancy and had no reason to expect that delivery would be any different. Plus the women in my family tend to have short labors and push their babies out in less than 10 minutes and I was absolutely sure I would be just like them.

Since July 17th came and went with no hint of labor, July 18th (Saturday) was the day that I resigned myself to going past my due date. I adjusted my expectations and decided that I would likely deliver on 7/26 now. Don’t ask me why. I have no reason for these weird quirks of mine. I went out for a sushi lunch date with two of my best friends, and I snapped a picture of my big beautiful belly in the mirror before I left. After lunch one of them came back home with me and spent the entire afternoon figuring out how to secure the bookcase in the baby’s room to the wall (and that only took 4 hours and a trip to Home Depot) and putting up the rest of the polka dots on the walls. I was amazed and relieved that the nursery was FINALLY done. I had done three loads of laundry that morning but the rest of my house was an absolute pigsty. But that was okay, because I had all day on Sunday to clean.

I went to bed a little later than normal, around 11. I had been having CRAZY Braxton-Hicks all night and the baby was super active, so I took a really long really hot shower to relax before bed. The baby loves when I take hot showers and I could feel her relaxing as much as I was.

I got up to pee around midnight and noticed some yellow stuff on the toilet paper and in the toilet. I reasoned it was probably my mucus plug, thought, “hmm, maybe I’ll go in the next few days and won’t be late after all!”, and I went back to bed.Before I fell asleep I convinced myself that it was just the evening primrose oil I’d been taking for three days leaking out and to stop getting my hopes up.

At 2:30 I got up to pee again. When I stood up from the toilet, some yellow watery discharge came out. I caught it with the toilet paper and thought, “hmm, what was that?” The toilet paper was stained very obviously yellow so I thought, “hmm, that can’t be my water breaking, because amniotic fluid is only that color when there’s meconium”.

Yeah.

I put on a panty liner and hopped back into bed. I closed my eyes and just as I began to drift, I felt a gush, kind of like when you have your period. I jumped out of bed and ran back to the bathroom and found the liner completely soaked with yellow liquid, which was now running down my legs. “Hmm, this is a lot of discharge,” I thought as I wiped my thighs down.

Yeah.

I changed my panty liner, underwear, and pants, and then…you guessed it…I hopped back into bed. I must have woken Brian up, because he got up to pee and while I was lying there and he was in the bathroom – yup – I felt another gush. Brian came back to bed and I got up without saying a word and headed to the bathroom for the third time. This time a good amount of it gushed out and hit the floor while I was standing in front of the toilet and cleaning myself off. Confession: the first time it happened, I sort of knew exactly what was going on. I was just in denial. I knew I was looking at amniotic fluid stained with meconium, but I didn’t want it to be real so I just pretended it wasn’t happening. Now there was pretty much no denying it.

I put on a real pad this time, hopped back into bed, and consulted Dr. Google. Brian rolled over and glared at me. “Why are you on your phone right now?” he asked sleepily.

“I’m trying to figure out if my water broke or not,” I replied calmly.

He bolted straight up in bed. “WHAT?!? What do you mean you’re trying to figure it out?!?!”

“Well this fluid keeps coming out but it’s not clear, it’s yellow, so I think I’m either peeing myself or there’s meconium in the fluid and my water broke.”

“But…wait…isn’t meconium poop? Isn’t that bad?”

“Well…yeah.”

“Well then call the hospital!”

I shook my head and kept reading some stupid post on BabyCenter that wasn’t even really relevant to the issue at hand. “No, I don’t want to bother them if nothing’s really wrong. If it happens again, I’ll call.”

It happened again. And again. And then the sixth time Brian actually started yelling at me. So I conceded and I called the hospital and spoke to the on-call doctor. When I told her I was also having painless contractions, she told me to head in because she was pretty sure my water broke, and she was VERY concerned to hear that the fluid wasn’t clear.

The only thing I hadn’t done yet in preparation for baby was pack a bag beyond a pair of yoga pants and an extra phone charger, so while Brian scrambled frantically I calmly packed some nursing bras and maternity tank tops and toiletries and clothes for the baby to come home in. I wrapped my exercise ball in a sheet and asked Brian to bring it to the car while I put on a new pad and changed my pants one more time. I was moving in slow motion and completely devoid of any emotion. I think I was in shock. And maybe denial too. I had asked the doctor on the phone if I had to be admitted if my water broke and she was surprised to even hear me ask that. “Of course. Once your water breaks there’s no way the baby isn’t coming. You said you were full term, right?”

I put on my favorite 90s pop Pandora station in the car, and we listened to some classic gems during our 25 minute ride to the hospital – Wannabe by the Spicegirls, No Diggity by Blackstreet, and Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows. My calmness rubbed off on my husband, and we talked and joked about anything and everything except the baby while we sang along to some of our old-school favorites.

We pulled into the hospital parking garage at about 4:15am. We left everything in the car except my purse, and as we walked away from the car and towards the emergency room entrance (the rest of the doors are locked from 9pm-6am), we turned around and noticed that we had parked next to a black Ford Fusion with New Hampshire plates. Brian’s best friend passed away the day of my positive beta, and he had driven a black Ford Fusion with…you guessed it…New Hampshire plates. We both had a tear-filled quiet moment of reflection, and I never felt calmer as I did at that second. I put my hand on my belly and whispered a silent prayer to him, asking him to watch over me and my baby.

We got up to the maternity ward and checked in. We were brought into triage by a nurse named Nicole. She instructed me to change into a johnny in the bathroom and leave a urine sample. I changed and, of course, forgot to leave the urine. They got me into a bed, hooked me up to some monitors, and grabbed the on-call doctor to check me. They explained that they would test the fluid I was leaking and be able to tell if it was amniotic fluid within just a few minutes. They dropped the bottom of the bed, had me put my legs in stirrups, and put in a speculum.

“Oh!” the doctor said.

I looked up. “What?”

“Oh, we don’t even need to test this sweetie, your water DEFINITELY broke. I can see it pooling. And there’s a whole lot of meconium.”

My calmness suddenly wavered a little bit. “This is it?” I asked.

“This is it! You’re having a baby!”

Brian squeezed my hand excitedly. I drew in a shaky breath. “This is it,” I repeated. “It’s baby time.”

By 6am I was in room 490, tucked into bed and hooked up to new monitors and starting to actually feel my contractions which were already coming every 2 to 5 minutes. I could talk through them, and only needed to pause for a deep breath when they would peak. Within about two hours, I realized that I was feeling all the pain in my back and my nurse announced that this meant the baby was posterior, meaning her face was up instead of down.

By 9am the contractions were getting so intense that I couldn’t talk through them anymore. I breathed and I moaned and Brian pushed on my lower back as hard as he could. I tried getting up and moving around but that just made it worse. I was most comfortable lying in bed on my side. Brian stood behind me and let me squeeze his free hand while he pushed as hard as he could on my lower back with the other. He watched the contraction monitor and would tell me when they would start to come down. My contraction pattern was weird, but my nurse said it was very typical of a baby that’s facing the wrong way. I would have one big terrible contraction, and about thirty seconds later I would have another that was about half the intensity of the first, and then thirty seconds later I would have a third contraction that was about half the intensity of the second. Then I had a 2-5 minute break before the next big bad one started.

Around 12:30 in the afternoon, the doctor came by and asked if I wanted to be checked. I nodded emphatically. I’d been having extremely intense contractions for hours now. I had been dilated to 2cm on Thursday at my weekly checkup, and I figured that after all these hours I would be at least a 5. It would be just the push I needed to stay strong and keep at it. And boy, did I need some motivation. I was in AGONY. Back labor is no joke, my friends.

She waited until my contraction passed, and then checked me. I caught her gaze as she started to pull her hand out. She smiled encouragingly. “You’re just about a 3,” she said.

At the same moment she pulled her hand out, the amniotic fluid that until now had just been steadily trickling out of me finally came out with that dramatic TV show gush ALL over this poor doctor who had just broken my heart.

The nurse rushed over to clean me up and I burst into tears. The doctor was very understanding. “I know you said you wanted to do this naturally, but I want to let you know that you do have options. We have a non-narcotic painkiller we can give you through your IV to help take the edge off it you want. It might help you power through. Is that something you want to try or not?”

“I don’t know,” I wailed.

“Think about it,” she said, promising to return in a few minutes.

I turned and looked at Brian. “I can’t do this anymore,” I whispered, tears pouring down my face.

“Of course you can, baby, you’re doing great!”

“No…I mean…I can’t do it without drugs.” I felt about 2 inches tall. Me, the chick with the impossibly high pain tolerance who scoffed at the idea of needing drugs to get through childbirth…I was only 3cm dilated and I was already giving up.

“That’s okay,” he assured me. “You did great without them, I’m so proud of you, but you’re suffering and it’s okay to take the help.”

“You’re not being a wimp,” Lynn, my nurse, chimed in. “Don’t feel bad about any of it. It’s your labor and it’s your decision.”

Lynn was great by the way. We bonded over loving cats with deformities and had been passing the time between my contractions by sharing the ridiculous stories of the jerk things our own cats have done.

The doctor came back in and I told her I wanted to try the Nubain. They gave me a shot through my IV and a shot in my butt and told me it might make me feel a little drunk. It did. It made me feel quite drunk. And it took absolutely no edges off of any pain. Fifteen minutes later I was screaming through my contractions to get the anesthesiologists because I was ready for the epidural.

Brian and my nurse held my hands while I curled over my belly and miraculously didn’t have a single contraction while the epidural was put in. As soon as I got back into the bed I had a big one, and then two minutes later a tiny one, and then I was smiling and sighing with relief as the combo of the epidural and the Nubain put me into an incredibly zen, sleepy state. Now that I was relaxed, the nurses gave me a giant peanut shaped pillow. I had to alternate lying on each side with the pillow between my legs to help open up my pelvis and get the baby to rotate so she wasn’t “sunny-side up” anymore.

Around 4 the doctor came to check me again and announced that I had only dilated 1cm and was up to 4. “So I guess this is the part where you tell me I need Pitocin,” I said sleepily. “Can you just please give me the smallest dose possible?”

“Of course,” the doctor assured me. “We only give you as much as you need.”

With the help of the Pitocin I dilated to about a 5 by 5:30. It was around that time that I started to feel an intense pain in my left hip with every contraction even though I was still hooked up to the epidural. Every time I mentioned it, they would bump up the meds, but the pain was getting worse and worse and was spreading into my left lower back. By 9pm I was 9cm dilated with a small lip, and I was moaning and wailing through my contractions again. Why nobody thought to call anesthesia at that point is beyond me. But anyway, by 9:15 I was 10cm!

“Do you feel an urge to push?” my new nurse asked. Her name was Carla. She came on at 7. I already missed Lynn.

“No,” I replied, sweating and crying through the contractions.

“Well let’s try to push anyway.”

And try we did. But every time I pushed, the pain in my back got exponentially worse. I couldn’t push. I physically couldn’t do it because the pain was so severe. So she had me roll on my left to push, then my right, then my back, then my left again. Then I begged to get on my back because it felt better. She said no, but I did it anyway. The pain got so bad I started to throw up. My husband held my bucket with one hand and got fresh, freezing cold washcloths for my forehead with the other.

“You’re never going to want to have sex with me again,” I wailed at one point, simultaneously vomiting bile into a pink basin and screaming with my legs in the air.[Note: I asked Brian a few days later if I really said that or if I only thought it. He laughed a lot and said that yes, yes I had absolutely SCREAMED it in the middle of a contraction and the nurse busted out laughing when I did.]

“Yes I will,” he promised. Liar. What a saint.

This is when I started to falter. “I can’t do this,” I moaned. “I can’t do it. I want to go home. I don’t want to be here anymore, I don’t want to do this.”

“You want to do this,” my husband promised, squeezing my hand. “We’re going to meet our beautiful baby girl! Don’t you want to meet her?”

“Nooooo,” I wailed, tears pouring down my face. “I don’t want this anymore, I don’t want to have a baby, why the hell did I do this to myself? I’m infertile for a fucking reason and I shouldn’t have messed with the universe!”

So now I had horrific pain tearing through my back and an equally horrific pain tearing through my heart as I started saying over and over that I didn’t want a baby despite my husband’s assurances that I wasn’t thinking straight. A contraction started and the nurse grabbed my leg to help me push. “NO!” I shouted. “I can’t!”

“You can!”

“I CAN’T!”

“You can!”

We went back and forth like this for a few minutes until finally Carla had me squat and turn around and lean over the back of the bed. I bore down once, and that’s when I lost it. “I CAN’T FUCKING DO THIS!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.

“Yes you can, you’re so much stronger than you think you are…” the nurse assured me.

“YOU AREN’T LISTENING TO ME! I CAN’T FUCKING DO THIS, I PHYSICALLY CANNOT PUSH THIS BABY OUT! IT HURTS TOO MUCH!”

“Yes you can, you’ve got this…”

“I CAN’T DO THIS, YOU HAVE TO HELP ME! WHY WON’T ANYONE FUCKING HELP ME?”

“You can…”

“NO! STOP IT!”

I was hysterical and I was in so much pain I thought I was going to die. I lowered myself back into the bed, I rolled on my side, I grabbed the side of the bed, and I said, “I either need the anesthesiologist or I need a c-section. I’m done. I’M FUCKING DONE.”

I started moaning and I couldn’t stop. I’m pretty sure I put myself in a trance. Doctors came in and out. My husband tried to talk to me and calm me down and I just kept moaning. My parents were in the waiting room and apparently my terrified husband went to talk to them and get a pep talk while I stayed right where I was and continued to moan one long note, punctuated only when I needed to take a breath. Doctors were asking me questions and I couldn’t answer them. I heard someone say “vacuum” and I tried to reply “over my dead body” but I couldn’t stop moaning.

They rolled me onto my other side despite me wailing in protest. They fiddled with the catheter in my back. I felt something cold, and within minutes I was not only numb, but paralyzed from the waist down. The pain stopped. Mercifully the fucking pain FINALLY fucking stopped and I stopped moaning and burst into tears of gratitude.

“How does that feel?” the anesthesiologist asked me.

“I fucking love you,” I whispered in a haze. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

He patted me on the arm and then either the doctor or the nurse (I was still in a haze so this part is tough) told me that they wanted me to sleep for an hour and see if the baby started to come down on her own. I nodded and agreed.

Time passed, but I wasn’t aware of it. Suddenly I was being lightly shaken awake. It was July 20, and it was 12:15 in the morning. “Do you feel like you’re ready to push now?” Carla asked me. “It looks like the baby has moved down on her own quite a bit.”

I still felt no pain. I could move my legs now, but only slightly. And I could feel that the baby had in fact started to come down on her own. I nodded. “I can do this,” I said. Then I looked the nurse dead in the eye and felt a huge pang of guilt. “I’m sorry I swore at you.”

“It’s okay,” she assured me.

“No, it’s not. It was incredibly rude and I feel awful. I’m sorry.”

She laughed. “Okay, let’s try this again.”

She grabbed my right leg and Brian grabbed the left. I took a deep breath as my next contraction started. I grabbed under my thighs, curled myself forward, and I pushed for three counts of ten. After I was done, I lay back and I smiled. “I can do this now. I can push this baby out.”

After about an hour of pushing, the pressure started to get intense. And wouldn’t you believe it…I started to feel a pain in my back. I told the nurse in a panic that the pain was returning and she cranked up my epidural…as quickly as it started, the pain was now gone. “I guess I should speak up as soon as I start to feel it, huh?”

“Yes, please do!” she replied. “It’s easier to fix that way!”

Now I’d been pushing for about an hour and a half and I felt like I was about to poop out a giant bowling ball. I yelled. I moaned. I asked why her head was so big. I asked if I was close, and I cried when the response was, “you’re doing great”. That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear that I was crowning, but clearly I wasn’t.

Almost two hours in I was moaning constantly and I only had about a 30 second break between contractions. The urge to push was so overwhelming it was all I could think about. The doctor came in and started stretching me while I pushed which was horrendous, but I knew it was necessary so I tried to breathe through it.

And then suddenly with no warning, the room was swarming with people. The bottom of the bed dropped out and someone propped my legs into stirrups. Carla leaned in close. “This is the worst part,” she told me quietly. “But you need to be brave and you need to be strong and you need to push as hard as you can through the pain, okay?”

“Okay,” I whimpered, realizing that this probably meant the baby was nearly out.

The next contraction started, and instead of taking a deep breath and curling over my belly, I threw my head back and I screamed while I pushed as hard as I could. The nurse was yelling at me to keep pushing. My husband was yelling at me to keep pushing. My body was screaming to stop and I was ignoring it. Suddenly I felt a popping sensation followed by a little bit of relief. The head? Is the head out? I wanted to ask. I stopped pushing because in my childbirth class they told us that you’re supposed to stop pushing once the head is out. Apparently that’s not the case when there’s no nuchal cord and the baby is covered in her own poop.

“Keep pushing!” the doctor shouted.

I threw my head back and screamed again and I pushed as hard as I could and let me tell you, the head coming out isn’t the worst part…the shoulders are the worst part. I had a split second of excruciating pain and suddenly someone told me to look down…

Through the haze of tears and sweat and not wearing my glasses I vaguely saw a something pale and baby shaped and I heard my husband start to cry. Before I had a chance to focus on her, they cut her cord and whisked her away to the corner of the room.

It felt like hours and hours and hours, but realistically, it was less than 10 seconds after being born when Annabelle opened her beautiful little mouth and let out a squeaky little cry to let us all know that she was less than impressed with what was going on. And the rest is history. They suctioned her lungs and they took her vitals and they cleaned and diapered and foot-printed her while I lay in bed, not feeling the stitches and in a total daze. My husband stood beside the table where they worked on her and talked to her and wouldn’t you know but she stopped crying every time he spoke. And finally…FINALLY…after about 15 of the longest minutes of my life, a nurse came over and opened my johnny and they slipped my perfect little 7 pound 11 ounce baby girl onto my chest.

Recovery was no picnic. The day after she was born I took a shower and cried through it because I was certain I would never have another baby. I would never go through that ever again. But about 5 days later once the pain and the baby blues started to subside, and even though I was smack in the middle of breastfeeding and jaundice troubles, I decided that I’m already excited to have another baby. Watch out friends…I give it a year before I jump back into IVF.

So even though I had an epidural, I had P, I didn’t get to do skin-to-skin or delayed cord clamping right after birth, and even though my daughter is primarily formula fed and a refluxy, colicky, cranky baby…I wouldn’t change any of it. No way, no how. She is here and she is perfect and sometimes I just stare at her and I cry because I can’t believe she’s really real. I’m the luckiest girl in the world. OMG. WTF. I’m a mommy.

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5/5/14

A year ago today, I had a D&C two days after confirming that Twin A no longer had a heartbeat and nine days after confirming the same for Twin B. I posted a very lengthy journal about the entire event in my online support group, and now one year later I’m sharing it with a bigger audience in all of it’s raw, unedited glory. I frantically scoured the internet for D&C stories before my procedure and sadly came up short. I just hope this helps at least one person. 

Okay. Hold tight. It was a hell of a ride.
**
We got to the hospital at about 10:30, after a deafeningly silent ride in the car. I spent the night before sobbing myself to sleep and was surprisingly well composed all morning. We sat in the car in even more silence for a solid 15 minutes before I finally said, “Okay, let’s go”.

Walking in from the parking garage to the lobby gives you a bird’s eye view of the gift shop, which is filled with flowers and balloons and giant, fuzzy teddy bears in pink and blue. There is nowhere else to put your eyes except a wall with giant, blown up pictures from the early days of the hospital. Front and center is a nurse holding a newborn. 

So basically we were off to a great start.

We got up to the second floor and checked into the day surgery unit. The woman at the desk ran back to find me a room and left me standing in the waiting area for a few minutes. This was when my cold, mean, “I’m not sad at all” resolve started to wane a little bit, but I still held it together.

She came back after about five minutes that felt like an eternity and led me to the room shoved way in the corner. She handed me plastic bags for my clothes and shoes, a case for my glasses, a johnny, and some hospital socks.

I love hospital socks; the big thick ones with treads on the bottom. I still have the ones from both of my laps and my egg retrieval. I wear them around the house whenever possible. Needless to say, I brightened a little bit when she handed me a fresh pair. Then she left, pulling the curtain and telling me to get changed.

I was wearing a maxi dress, so I pulled that off. Then the bra came off. Then as I shimmied into the laughably large johnny, I thought I felt a gush. “I think I might be bleeding,” I said as B got up to help tie the straps around me.

Then I leaned down to take off my underwear. “Oh. I’m definitely bleeding.” I took off my underwear and checked, but it was black and I couldn’t tell if there was anything on it. I straightened up. I felt another gush. “I think I’m bleeding a lot. Like, really really bleeding.” My voice was getting weaker and weaker by the second as I tried to hang onto my composure.

B looked at me with this horrible combination of sadness and fear. “What do you need?” He looked as frazzled as I felt.

I pulled up the johnny and looked down. My thighs were covered in blood, just as I suspected they would be. “I need to go to the bathroom and wash up,” I told him. Then my heart started to pound as a long, slow cramp came over me. “Something’s wrong.”

“Should I ask where the bathroom is?”

“No. Yes. No. I don’t know. She said to wait here and that she’d be back.”

I lifted my johnny again and looked and now my legs were soaked in blood, running all the way down to my feet. This happened in a matter of seconds. “I need a nurse,” I wailed and started to sob. He jumped up and ran to get one and I stood there with blood dripping onto the floor and my hands over my face, getting more and more hysterical by the second.

Two nurses rushed in with that sexy mesh underwear that the hospital loves so much and they were so nice and comforting and kept joking that thank goodness it happened here and not while I was at home or work or the grocery store. They helped me into bed and I just lay there crying hysterically like an idiot while they cleaned me up and piled absorbent pads all around me and got me into the mesh underwear and a giant maternity pad.

B pulled a chair right up to my gurney and played trivia with me while the nurses got me registered and told me that my sudden bleed bumped me up the priority list so I might actually get in to the OR at my scheduled time. As I wowed B with my ability to firmly tell him that the capital of Chad is N’Djamena through hysterics, and as the nurse asked me if I had any pins or implants anywhere in my body, the bad pain started. It was kind of like endo pain in intensity, but more like way strong uterine cramps sensation-wise. I’d been having them since Saturday and was controlling them with Motrin and Vicodin, but these were really bad. Like, hold my breath and squirm and moan and cry because it hurt so much. The nurse promised that as soon as they got me upstairs, the anesthesiologist would hook me up to an IV and get me some pain meds.

After a half hour or so of more trivia and moaning and breath holding, they finally wheeled me upstairs to the pre-op holding area. The resident and medical student that did my pre-op physical after my ultrasound on Tuesday were there getting all my paperwork filled out. It turns out that my consent form got lost, and someone forgot to tell the scheduling staff that I’m allergic to latex so there was a lot of commotion. The anesthesiologist got me hooked up to an IV as fast as he could, but it wasn’t very fast since he needed to ask me a billion questions first. Then everyone got really concerned when I told them how I’d aspirated under conscious sedation during my egg retrieval.

Then he told me he was going to get me some pain meds. During this little break, the resident came over and asked me to sign the consent again, which I did. Then Dr. C gave me the consent for genetic testing, and I signed that too. Then the resident handed me another form to sign and I picked up the pen and started reading as she told me it was a consent to dispose of the fetal remains, and that I had to sign on the line that says “mother”. I dropped the pen, I turned my head, and I started to bawl. I had already been crying from the pain but now I was completely out of control and could hardly catch my breath. I was vaguely aware that B was next to me and holding onto me while I cried, but I don’t really remember much except feeling like my heart got ripped out. This was also the turning point where I started sobbing and didn’t stop.

I finally turned back and scribbled my signature as fast as I could while the resident squeezed the hand that was hooked up to the IV and apologized about 100 times. Couldn’t they have asked me to sign it during my appointment on Tuesday? I mean, really. What the fucking fuck. That was the last thing I needed.

Anyway, the anesthesiologist came back and shot me with some Fentanyl. We waited a few minutes. No change. So he shot me with some more Fentanyl and waited a few more minutes. Slight change. “Are you crying because of pain in your belly or your heart?” Then he shot me with MORE Fentanyl and said that he couldn’t give me any more than this because it might depress my CNS into not breathing (hey, been there done that buddy. Welcome to my life!), but luckily the last shot took away about 80% of the pain. Then the head anesthesiologist came over to sign off on a form to give me Versed.

Then she got real low to the bed and looked right in my eyes and told me that she had four miscarriages before she finally had a baby, and that it never gets easier and as bad as it hurts right now that someday it will be worth it. The combination of her words and the Versed they shot me with at the same time reduced me to finally lying still and just whimpering and crying instead of sitting up in hysterics.

I don’t remember much of saying goodbye to B except I distinctly heard someone say to the med student: “This is the hardest part. Watching them say goodbye.” Then they rolled me into an operating room and helped me shimmy my way onto the table. The anesthesiologist asked me if I wanted to be knocked out yet and I said no, so he gave me an oxygen mask. I stared at the lights. People were buzzing around, spreading my arms out and wrapping them in warm blankets. I turned my head and saw that I had bled right through my giant maternity pad and that there was a huge pool of blood on the gurney where I’d been lying for nearly two hours. I tried to apologize. I tried to say a lot of things, but I don’t remember what they were, and no one could understand me anyway. Then they snaked a little tube into the oxygen mask and the next thing I knew, they were wheeling me to recovery.

I remember asking where my babies went. I don’t remember what the response was.

Then I was back in my little room and I had to pee but they wouldn’t let me get up. They gave me a bedpan but I couldn’t go (probably the drugs) and just bled all over it. I apologized. They told me to stop apologizing and to go to sleep. So I did. I slept for an hour and a half and when I woke up they let me pee in an actual toilet and it was the best feeling in the world. They were pleased with my vitals and they let me leave about a half hour later.

So now I’m home and lying in bed and I’m actually feeling good. I don’t have any pain. All the swelling is gone. I feel like a part of me is missing, both physically and emotionally, but right now I’m okay. I’m going to call Dr. C’s office in a little bit to set up my post-op appointment where I will hopefully find out the results of the genetic testing and find out when we can start IVF again.

I also realized last night, and this sucks, that if I get pregnant again with a singleton I am going to feel completely cheated. I was handed this beautiful gift, this incredible miracle, and then I had it ripped away from me. If my next pregnancy is a singleton, I’m going to feel like someone is missing for the rest of my life. I don’t like this.

What I’ve Learned So Far

I’m so awful. I’ll bumpdate soon, I swear. I am nearly 28 weeks and still waiting for that burst of “second trimester energy” to hit before I’m officially in my third trimester in less than 24 hours. So far, no dice. All I do is sleep. Which brings me to a few points I would like to make…

Pregnancy After Infertility: Three Important Things I’ve Learned So Far:

1. I was wrong: “When I’m pregnant I will NEVER complain.”

I held fast to this one for a long time. When I was so nauseous and dizzy that I could hardly breathe, I did not utter a single word of complaint. When my pelvis bones and tendons and muscles started to shift to make room for my newly huge uterus, I kept my mouth shut. When I was so tired and cranky that I could barely function at work, I did all my crying in the car so no one could see me.

And then one night, I was feeling particularly terrible. My hips ached, my ribs hurt, I had a headache, I was tired, and I was having round ligament stretching pains to top it off. I had to ask my husband to get up out of bed and get my heating pad for me. He obliged without any complaints and helped me to get it situated under my hips and he plugged it in and turned it on and…nothing. It was broken.

I took a deep breath. Then another one. Then a shallow one. And then a bunch of quick shallow ones. And like a child, my face crumpled and I started to bawl. 

I don’t know how he did it, but my unbelievably sweet and amazing husband managed to get the heating pad to work before he climbed back into bed and massaged my poor aching ribs for me while I cried and cried and cried because I was having all sorts of terrible thoughts racing through my head, and before I could censor myself, some of them came pouring out of my mouth, too. I hate this. I don’t want to do this anymore. I wish she could stop kicking my cervix right now, it hurts. I don’t feel good. I just want to feel better. Maybe I was better off not being pregnant. Maybe the universe knew what it was doing when it made us infertile. I’m going to be a terrible mom. This isn’t what I thought it would be and I DON’T LIKE IT.

Eventually I fell asleep, woke up totally refreshed and pain free, and had to have a serious talk with myself about not bottling up my feelings until they come irrationally exploding out of me. It’s okay that sometimes I don’t like being pregnant. It’s okay that sometimes I look at my belly and beg my baby to stop kicking me just for a few minutes, or at least move those tiny miraculous feet to a less uncomfortable spot. It’s okay that I moan and groan while I flip around it bed. It doesn’t mean I’m not grateful (very nearly almost) every minute of every day that I got my baby.

2. I was wrong: “Once I’m pregnant I won’t hate pregnant people anymore.”

Three close friends of mine are expecting babies within a few weeks of me. How cool is that?? One is due 6 weeks before me, one is due 6 days after me, and one is due 3 weeks after me. My little lovebug is going to have so many little friends to play with!

When each of them announced their pregnancies to me (including the lesbian couple who did 3 rounds of IUI), I felt that familiar bubble of rage that starts in the pit of my stomach and then slowly takes over my whole body until I’m hot and dizzy and holding back tears and smirking and making some jerk sarcastic comment instead of saying “congratulations” like a normal, respectable adult. I. Was. Fuming.

Why? I have this stupid mindset that if you didn’t struggle (and struggle HARD) that you don’t deserve your pregnancy. How freaking stupid is that? I’m embarrassed to even admit it, but you know what? It’s true. And I can’t help it. I know it’s not healthy and that it’s irrational and downright mean but dammit, that’s how I feel and I’m entitled to crazy bullshit emotions after the roller coaster I was on.

Pregnancy does not cure infertility, not does it take away any of the pain.

3. I was wrong: “I will love my baby more than any baby has ever been loved in the history of humankind.”

Let me start off by saying this: I love my little girl. To quote my homeboy ee cummings, I love her more than anyone on the earth, and I like her better than everything in the sky.

Now.

If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have said of course. I love my baby. And I did. Kind of.

The minute I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I fell hard and fast in love with my twins. My heart damn near exploded. And then when I lost them, I wanted to die. I was so devastated that I honestly don’t know how I got through it. So this time, I did not allow myself to fall hard and fast in love. I put up walls and I guarded my heart, because it couldn’t possibly survive breaking that intensely again. I refused to even believe she was real for a long time. Even now sometimes I attribute my giant belly to eating too much ice cream, and her movements to really enormous and oddly placed gas bubbles. 

I feel better now that she’s at viability, although I know all too well that things can still go terribly wrong. I’m finally allowing myself to fall in love little by little and it’s not what I expected, but it feels wonderful.

Pregnancy after infertility and losses has not been what I expected it to be. But it’s a beautiful place to be, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

19, 20, and 21 weeks pregnant

WOW. I suck. Sorry guys. It’s been an eventful 3 weeks since I last updated, so let me try to sum it up real quick…

19 Weeks: I was nervous as hell going in for my anatomy scan at 19+6 but to my absolute relief, girlfriend is PERFECT. She’s breech (not a concern at this stage) and she’s also a stubborn little bugger. She was facing my back with her hand over her face and would not cooperate to get good pictures of her heart, even after chugging apple juice and being poked and shaken by the ultrasound tech! I go back in 2 weeks for a repeat scan and I’ve never been so excited for an ultrasound in my life. I think I’m there, guys. I’ve finally come to terms that I am not only pregnant, but actually going to have a baby. It’s a beautiful place to be.

20 weeks: my belly exploded. As in popped. As in I look VERY pregnant now, and not just fat. It’s awesome. Being halfway done with pregnancy was surreal and bittersweet. I LOVE being pregnant, I love every second of it, even the crappy parts. But in the same breath I cannot wait to hold my miracle in my arms!

21 weeks:

How far along?: 21 weeks and 6 days 

How big is the peanut?: the size of a banana!!!! 

Total weight gain/loss?: 11-13 pounds, depending on how bloated I am

Maternity clothes?: I love them 🙂

Sleep?: I have good nights and bad nights where my hips and ribs hurt like crazy.

Best moment this week?: starting my registry AND seeing a kick from the outside!!! She’s getting so big and strong!!

Symptoms?: heartburn, hip pain, cramping 

Food cravings?: I’m not as ravenous as I was a few weeks ago, but I am still very much stuck on sweets

Food aversions?: none!

Gender?: a little princess 🙂 

Labor signs?: not even close! 

Belly button in or out?: IN!!!!! 

What I miss?: nothing. I miss nothing about being a miserable non-pregnant infertile person. Nothing. 

What I’m looking forward to?: my next ultrasound, and two days after that the magical 24 week viability mark!

Milestones?: seeing kicks and also B being able to feel kicks without me having to say “that was one”

Bump?: getting bigger and more beautiful by the day

18 weeks pregnant

Not much to update this week besides having lots of menstrual-type cramps that are freaking me out and being able to feel my little lady doing gymnastics.

Also, I listened to Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time” on my way to work yesterday and BAWLED. While little lady did her morning gymnastics.

How far along?: 18 weeks and 6 days 

How big is the peanut?: the size of a sweet potato 

Total weight gain/loss?: still holding strong at 9 pounds 

Maternity clothes?: pants always, and I’m about to need tops. I’m wearing stripes today and they look very awkward 

Sleep?: I’m sleeping better but having the craziest dreams! 

Best moment this week?: finally announcing my pregnancy at work. Believe it or not, the world did not end…

Symptoms?: heartburn, backaches, cramping 

Food cravings?: I am suddenly ravenous. I want to eat everything. I want 15 hot dogs smothered in ketchup and mustard, I want a chocolate milkshake, I want a salad with lots of cucumbers and ranch dressing, I want fried shrimp and tartar sauce, I want an egg salad sandwich, I want onion rings, I want tortilla chips and salsa, and I want it all RIGHT NOW. I just finished my lunch about 10 minutes ago.

Food aversions?: absolutely none. GIVE ME ALL THE FOOD.

Gender?: a little princess 🙂 

Labor signs?: not even close! 

Belly button in or out?: IN!!!!! 

What I miss?: nothing. I miss nothing about being a miserable non-pregnant infertile person. Nothing. 

What I’m looking forward to?: my anatomy scan which is in 6 days 

Milestones?: none this week

Bump?: it’s bumptastic and I absolutely love it!!!

17 weeks pregnant

I keep bargaining with myself about when I’ll let myself truly believe that I’ll have a baby in my arms in a few months.

First it was, “once I see a healthy heartbeat on ultrasound, I’ll be convinced.” But I wasn’t.

Then it was, “well once I see a healthy heartbeat at 7 weeks, I’ll be convinced.” Nope.

“Healthy heartbeat at 8 weeks?” No.

“Once I see the baby at my 12 week scan I’ll KNOW everything is fine.” Wrong.

“Once I get my NIPT results back, I’ll know for sure that everything will be okay.” Nope.

“After I hear her heartbeat at my 16 week checkup, I’ll have nothing to worry about.” Wrong again.

“Once I can feel her moving I’ll be much calmer.” Negative.

Today I’m thinking, “once I see her moving around during my anatomy scan she will finally seem real.” I somehow doubt it. I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I won’t believe she’s really real until she’s in my arms and I’m looking right at her. Even then it might be a little bit iffy.

***

How far along?: 17 weeks and 6 days
How big is the peanut?: a pomegranate or a turnip
Total weight gain/loss?: still holding strong at 9 pounds
Maternity clothes?: I am still in awe of maternity pants
Sleep?: I’ve finally reached the point where I can’t sleep half on my belly anymore!
Best moment this week?: feeling the strongest movements yet, and also having my work friend toss me a lab coat yesterday and hiss, “Put this on, your belly is sticking out!” because she knows I haven’t told everyone yet
Symptoms?: heartburn, plus I’ve had some menstrual-like cramps that kind of freaked me out but went away after a few minutes with a heating pad
Food cravings?: OJ and anything else sweet
Food aversions?: nothing really
Gender?: a little princess 🙂
Labor signs?: not even close!
Belly button in or out?: IN!!!!!
What I miss?: nothing. I miss nothing about being a miserable non-pregnant infertile person. Nothing.
What I’m looking forward to?: my anatomy scan which is in 13 days
Milestones?: none this week
Bump?: I officially look pregnant!!!

How I Got My BFP

I hate these posts. I hate them. I LOATHE them. I am obsessed with them. I love them and I want to take them home and dress them up and take pictures with them.

You know how I got my BFP? I finally got lucky enough that one of my eggs wasn’t so ravaged by endometriosis that the DNA was normal, and the ICSI pixie picked up one of B’s sperm that was also amazingly genetically normal. The two were combined through the magic of science and then the resulting embie started to divide over and over until it made a decent quality blastocyst that was then stuck in a little straw with its twin and frozen for two months and two days.

My lining was thick and my hormones were artificially altered to prime my uterus to receive said genetically normal blastocyst. She was lucky enough to find a good spot and settle in, and my body was kind and calm enough not to reject her as it rejected her twin (who I very strongly suspect initially implanted but then failed to develop as suggested by my extremely high beta HCG values).

But that’s not what you want to hear, is it? You want to hear about the magic combination of supplements and the lucky pink underwear and the mug of bone broth I drank and then nearly vomited up 10 minutes before my transfer. How do I know this? Because a few months ago, I would have devoured every word of this post over and over were it written by someone else. And then I would have taken it home and dressed it up and taken pictures with it and hugged it while I cried myself to sleep.

How I Got My BFP

Acupuncture (or as I like to call it, Crackupuncture): I did 5 rounds of IVF, 2 without acupuncture and 3 with. I got pregnant all 3 times I used acupuncture. Coincidence? I sincerely doubt it.

Try to find someone who specializes in women’s health, and for the love of God don’t just blindly take any herbs they recommend. Talk to your doctor about how they could interfere with your cycle or meds. A good acupuncturist should tell you this anyway.

Sanity: About a month after my third cycle resulted in miscarrying twins, I had a very bad morning and ended up having an epic breakdown at my RE’s office after a particularly painful SHG procedure. One of my nurses came in and sat down beside me and told me that they were all worried about me because they knew I was suffering in silence, and she implored me to start seeing to practice’s health psychologist. I was hesitant and resistant but I finally relented and now I love my shrink so much that I’m still seeing her even though I was released from my RE months ago. To sit in her office with no judgment and bawl about how badly I ached to have my babies back and how petrified I was to be pregnant again and how insanely rageful I felt every time yet another one of my friends got knocked up with zero effort felt SO GOOD. SO. GOOD. I strongly recommend it.

Supplements: 3000mg of fish oil, 2000mg of Vitamin D and 900mg CoQ10 for fresh and 2000mg Vitamin E for frozen cycles. And a prenatal, of course.

Diet: Mostly paleo with lots of fruits and veggies and healthy fats. I made and drank a TON of homemade beef bone broth leading up to my transfer.

The Day Of: I started my morning with some avocado and some bone broth. I put on my lucky pink underwear that I’ve worn every time I’ve gotten pregnant from a transfer. I straightened my hair and put on a full face of makeup and wore leggings with a shirt dress and a big comfy cardigan. Immediately after transfer I went to acupuncture and slept through my hour with the needles.

The TWW: I wore socks every day. I put a heating pad on low on my belly every night. I sobbed my heart out from day 6 up to day 11 (test day) because I was 100% certain that my cycle had failed. I ate and drank only warm food and beverages except for some chocolate coconut milk ice cream when I was feeling particularly crappy. I assembled a ton of Ikea furniture.

The Symptoms (which I blatantly ignored): tender breasts that I didn’t recognize because the tenderness was actually in my armpits, increased thirst, lightheadedness, feeling endlessly angry and sad (not out of the norm for me), lethargy, insomnia (waking up around 1am every night), and developing a sudden fondness for extremely hot water with a squeeze of lemon.

My Parting Advice: I strongly believe that I didn’t do anything to influence my BFP. Seriously. It all boils down to having the right embryo in your uterus at exactly the right time when your hormones are perfect and the stars align. BUT – obsessively doing everything in my power to make it work made me feel productive and like I was actually influencing the outcome and that in and of itself is incredibly valuable.