Monday, January 11, 2010

1 Plus 1 Plus 1

Ok, so I ended up working much later than planned this evening (after 7) so I didn't get anything "creative" done like I had planned.  But I did do something other than sit on my tush.  I did laundry.  :) That's something!  Take it or leave it!

So, I've deliberated about this long and hard and I finally decided (with the hubby's permission since it's his life too) to talk about our current "situation".  Our covert operation.  Our secret mission.  Our...well, you get the point.

Very few people knew this (or know about it now), but we've been trying to conceive now for about 8 months.  While that may not seem long to some, to me, someone who had feared pregnancy with all her heart and had done everything possible to prevent it up until the moment we decided to start trying, who is also very impatient and by most standards "healthy"'s forever.  Or I thought it was...until recently.

Each month, we were bungee jumping.  Or riding a roller coaster of ups and downs.  Whatever analogy you wanna use, we were experiencing it.  Then, in December, we found out we were pregnant.  I found out for certain on Christmas Eve.  What a fantastic present right?!  I was over the moon and more than a little in awe of the little tiny plus sign showing up on the test I took.  I couldn't believe we had done it.  We weren't "broken".  We had made a baby!  Or started to anyway!  I just stared at the test with this dumb grin on my face for a solid three minutes.  Oddly enough, I didn't cry.  Which is very surprising because I'm a huge sap.  I cry over sweet things or sentimental things very easily but somehow, I kept it all together.  Rik didn't suspect a thing!

My husband and I both are baseball fanatics.  More accurately, Braves fanatics.  We go to a game or so every month in Atlanta during the season, sometimes we go to spring training games in FL and we rarely ever miss a game by watching it on TV, going to the game or listening to it on the radio.  Rik was a high school and college pitcher and he has continued pitching in an adult baseball league that plays for several months every spring in Chattanooga, TN for the past 8 or so years.  Baseball is just something we share and we love it.  I took this all to heart when deciding how I would tell him we were pregnant.

That evening, we decided to exchange one gift.  I can never wait until Christmas to give him his presents, but this year, he made me save them all except one.  I snuck away at one point after I took the test and found an old baseball he had in the art studio (he has a huge bucket of them) and then snuck it upstairs into my little knitting room.  I wrote "#1 Daddy" on one side of the ball and then signed it "Love, Shannon +1" on the other side.  I put it in a box with the positive test and a little note that I signed "S. +1" and wrapped them up in Christmas paper.  

Whenever it was time to exchange our gifts, I was so nervous, I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest.  You see, Rik has actually wanted a little one for a few years.  He's been beyond ready to be a Daddy.  It's not something he talks about constantly or anything but he has definitely made it known that he didn't want to wait a year after we were married before we started trying....that was my request (although we didn't wait that long at all).  

I'll never forget being at his class reunion this fall when a lady walked up holding a really adorable little girl about three years old with big blue eyes and blonde braids and then me looking over at Rik and seeing tears in his eyes.  Later, he just said that's exactly what he's imagined our little girl looking like and it had just really gotten him all choked up.  It really hit me hard that he has this pure, sweet desire to have his little girl or little boy wrapped around his neck as soon as possible.

So where were we?  Oh yes.  We were exchanging gifts.  I went first and opened a CD from him while he took pictures.  Then, I took the camera from him and took my sweet (and nervous) time getting that situated before handing him his little wrapped box.  He took forever (as usual) unwrapping his present and I thought I was going to scream before he finally got the paper off the box.  When he opened the box and pulled out the ball, he snorted kind of like he was a little perplexed.  I could see him going through a few things in his head over the course of two or three seconds trying to piece it together and then he saw the test in the box and it clicked.  I have several pictures of him during this whole process and it's really very precious and heart-wrenching.  He just kept saying, "Are you serious?!?!  Are you serious!?!" and then, with huge tears in his eyes, he clobbered me on the couch and kissed me about 50 times.  It really couldn't have been any sweeter.  

Cloud 9.  It's a very nice place to be.  We did sweet little things like call each other Mommy and Daddy.  He'd tell me, "Love you baby" and then tell my belly, "Love you too baby" when I'd leave the house.  I'd tell my belly that Daddy was being a stinker or Daddy was being a sweetheart depending on the situation.  Rik emailed me our company policy on maternity leave.  He checked into all kinds of benefits we have and what we're required to pay out of pocket after our insurance pays.  He made a list of things he wanted to get taken care of before the little one made his/her appearance.  I had looked at tons of baby stuff online, registered us for several baby & parenting magazines.  He had already found a very un-cute Braves mobile online and sent me a picture of it.  We told two of our closest friends because they were in for the holidays and we knew we wanted them to hear it in person and shared an afternoon of giggling and talking about it with them.   It was really sweet and really exciting.  

We went out two days later and bought six or seven books on pregnancy.  He bought three books on "Being Pregnant Too" and how to get ready for raising a baby from a Dad's perspective.  I bought a few nutritional/exercise books and another book that I really liked about things your girlfriends will tell you that your doctor never will (hilarious read, by the way).  The lady at the register was officially the first person we told we were expecting.  She got chills and tears in her eyes.  It made our day!

We had decided to keep the pregnancy quiet for a few weeks because we assumed I was just four weeks and we both knew that there was always something that could go wrong.  We had read the books, or at least the first few chapters of all of them.  So, we thought we'd give it a few weeks and see the doctor first.  Oddly enough, I had an appointment with my OB/GYN on the fourth of January to discuss with her why we weren't getting pregnant and to have my labs done to see if I needed any hormone injections.  We decided we'd just keep that appointment and surprise the doctor with the news so they wouldn't put us off till the 8 week mark before seeing us. *sneaky!*

My birthday was the 29th so we had our dinner plans scheduled that night and a masquerade party a few days later to celebrate with everyone.  It was my big 3-0 so we were going to make a big deal of it!  ha.  Anyway, we passed the days between Christmas and my birthday by making grocery lists including all the necessary foods I was going to have to start eating with matching exercise programs, reading our books, taking pictures of my 4 week pregnant belly and talking constantly about "plus one" and what he/she might look like, which room we were going to put him/her in, what kind of budget we needed to start adapting to and other newly pregnant things I'm sure every newly pregnant couple considers.  We were excited to say the least.

Then the old birthday rolled around.  Before Christmas Eve, I had been dreading the fact that I was turning 30 but looking forward to the evening (we always do something just the two of on the actual day) and then the party a few days later.  But, since we had gotten the news we were expecting, I couldn't care less about either event.  ha!  All I wanted to do was work on being pregnant!  But the day came and with it, unfortunately, lots of sadness.

On Monday, the 28th, I started spotting and cramping a little bit.  I knew this was normal and to be expected but after a little while, I called the doctor just to tell them what was going on (I needed to anyway) and she said she wanted me to come in the next day around 8:30 for blood work to make sure things were going in the right direction.  During that evening and on into that night, the spotting and cramping got worse and worse and worse and by morning, there was little doubt in my mind what was happening. 

We got up early after hardly sleeping and dragged ourselves around the house and through the morning routine in a funk.  It was like walking through really thick fog but not needing to see where you were going anyway because you knew the way.  You could make it from point a to point b without much thought or mental presence.  We held hands on the way to the doctor and I talked to one of my friends who had suffered several miscarriages before having her little girl in 2008.  She tried to be upbeat and explain that this is part of the process for a large number of women but I just didn't want to accept what I already knew in my heart.

We were having a miscarriage.  We were becoming a statistic.  We were swaying the "bad" number instead of building the "good" number in that scenario.  I didn't want to add to it!  "33% of women will miscarry during their lifetime" - I wanted to be in the other 66%, thank you very much.  But no one asked me what I wanted.  In just one day, I became 1 in 33 out of 100.   Take a number.  

Rik wouldn't leave the doctors office until someone saw us.  They only wanted to draw blood and send us along.  He wasn't going to let that happen.  A nurse took us back to a room.  She was very kind and answered several questions that we had, wrote me a Rx for 800 mg ibuprofen tablets ($4 at walmart for a 30 day supply, fyi), and told us to call if we had any other questions.  Then she just told me to go back home, get some rest, they'd let me know "for sure" that afternoon or the next morning.  So I did.  And they did.  

My hCG levels were at 5 and my progesterone levels were "non-existent" to quote the nurse that called me at lunch the following day.  Not that I needed any confirmation.  If anyone reading this has experienced a miscarriage, you know what it's like and you know you don't need a doctor to tell you what's shakin' down.  

It would be pointless to say that we were sad and depleted and shaken to the core.  We were in the depths of despair to quote Anne of Green Gables.  But we kept trying to pull each other back up and out of the funk by reminding each other that we had gotten pregnant.  We could do it again, hopefully.  But for a few days, it was really hard on both of us.  I think outwardly, we both did a really good job.  We got back to work the next day, we laughed with our friends, I survived the teasing from my co-workers about being pregnant instead of having a "stomach bug"(the excuse I gave them), and Rik did his best to cheer me up when he thought I was down.

But honestly, during those first three or four days, I was confused about what the next steps were and felt like no one was telling us what to do and I needed them to tell me what to do.  Did I need to have a procedure done?  How long does a miscarriage take?  When should we go back in for a visit to the doctor?  How long until you can try to get pregnant again?  Could a miscarriage cause other health problems?

We felt completely lost.  Neither of us knew what was going on.  We still had the appointment that Monday (the 4th) and luckily they didn't tell us to cancel it (since we were no longer pregnant) when we got our lab results.   So, we decided we would make a list of questions and ask the doc everything we needed to ask her then.  So, we had my little masquerade on the 2nd as planned and plugged along until Monday.

Monday, the doctor calls and has to reschedule because of an emergency.  We were so frustrated when we couldn't reach anyone to actually get the appointment rescheduled and even more frustrated when we found out it wasn't with the doctor, but with the Nurse Practitioner!  We still hadn't met our doctor! 

Tuesday morning around 4 am, I woke up and started vomiting.  I ended up throwing up 7 times in 9 hours.  Because we were already clueless and scared, we immediately thought something was wrong related to the miscarriage.  Especially after the PCP told us to call the OB/GYN and if I didn't stop throwing up to get to an ER.  Furthermore, the OB's office asked me how quickly I could get there and when I said thirty minutes, she said, "See you at 10:30".  It was 10:02.

It ended up that I only had a stomach virus that kicked my butt for about 24 hours and it did take my mind off of "things" but I literally thought I was dying at one point.  I even came back in the house when we were leaving to go to the doctor to pet the dogs one last time in case something happened to me.  But I survived.  We are surviving and the doctor gave us the ok to start trying again now that my body has recovered (we killed 2 birds with 1 stone during that visit AND I got to meet the doctor so that's the silver lining here).  Trying again just seems weird though.  It seems odd to think we can just get right back to it, but what do I know?  

So that's where we're at now.  That's our situation.  Our covert mission that failed.  And here we are working through it.  I'm working through it online when I haven't even told 90% of my family or friends.  I've just read so many blogs written by people who have been trying to conceive for years, gone through fertility treatments I can't even decipher, much less understand and have had more miscarriages than you can imagine...and they still manage to make it through each and every day with a certain strength and determination and grace.  I'm in awe of these people I've read about these past few days.  It's made me realize that I can get through this and maybe blogging or talking about it with others will help.  It's a bump in the road compared to what some have gone through and we'll keep traveling down this path as long as God allows us to do so and hope for the best.  We want a family and if we're able, we'll have one.  I look forward to seeing Rik with our little one's arms wrapped around his neck more than you can possibly know.

Till next time,


  1. Hi there, I noticed you as a new follower, and followed you back here. I am so very very sorry for what you are going through. I know how hard it is, that doesn't mean I know exactly how you feel as we all have different journeys, and I don't take anything away from yours. I do want you to know one thing.....that joy you saw on your husbands face when he found out you were pregnant that first time....while you will never forget it (and it will look different next time) I have a feeling you will see it magnified when you hand him your miracle child.....I can see it building in my husband's eyes, and I can't wait to see him hold our daughter as I KNOW that it will be even more than that first time I told him I was pregnant. ((hugs)) take care of yourself and your husband.

  2. This TTC business is such a rollercoaster of emotions! Glad you got the go ahead to try again.

    And I'm so so sorry for your loss. Its such a terrible experience and no one should have to go through it. I'm sorry you did. Big hugs.

  3. Love you, beautiful lady, and your darling husband, too. Keep the faith...the two of you will make incredible parents and there is a little girl or boy waiting in the wings for the right time.

  4. This is such a powerful post, Shannon. Wow. I'm so sorry that this was your hellish entrance into the wonderful, supportive world of TTC/IF blogger women. It's hard to know that I'm writing this to you nearly two years after the fact and you are still waiting. :( I am glad, however, that you thought to reach out to other women in the ALI community who could support you through this process. I look forward to following your journey from now on...