Settling In

***Pregnancy update post***

I am almost 26 weeks. So that means we have passed viability!!!! I think I mentioned in an earlier post that the baby is measuring 4 days ahead and in the 95th percentile in weight so today at my doctor appointment, my OB ordered another ultrasound because my belly is measuring ahead as well. I’m excited to get another chance to see our little girl again. Have I shared that we picked out a name?? Andersen Elisabeth. We’ll probably call her Andie. There wasn’t much of a debate although Scott like Lauren best but for now it’s Andersen.

Something my counselor suggested to me early on in this pregnancy was to wait to worry about things until it was time. I really took that to heart and it helped me get from milestone to milestone. But it wasn’t until the viability milestone that I’ve started to settle in to being pregnant and began to enjoy it. I’ve been very thankful since the beginning but the worry and anxiety made it hard to enjoy it at times. Around 20 weeks I started to think, “What if nothing is wrong” instead of thinking about all that could go wrong. So the last month has really been different and a definite welcomed change.

I never really bought in to the whole nesting concept but WOW…. the last week I have been going crazy making lists of things that need to be done in the house before the baby comes. I think part of it might be that I start work August 1, which I’m so excited about.

I’ve been blessed with an uneventful pregnancy (minus the tooth crisis which is finally OVER!!!!) and I’m glad I’m finally able to enjoy this time. Thank you for all the well wishes and support.

Saturday will be one year since my miscarriage. What a long freaking year – wow. I’ve grown so much as a person and wife since last year. I still wish I didn’t have to know what it’s like to lose a pregnancy and I still wonder why. I think I will always have these feelings when I think about what I experienced. But I’m sure when the baby comes, it might help me be closer to understanding that she wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t lost my pregnancy last year.

Eventful

This describes my life in the last month and a half. 

First there was the tooth crisis that is still on-going. The root canal relieved the pain for me but they weren’t able to finish the root canal in one day so I had to return a month later. I am still having soreness from this procedure I had last week.

Then there has been appointments of all kinds – doctor, hair, counseling, you name it. I saved it all for this summer and I have been busy!! 

All is well with baby girl. The 20-week ultrasound show no abnormalities. She’s measuring in the 95th percentile in weight and 4 days ahead so we may have another ultrasound to check her size in a couple of months. Due date is still set for October 23. Otherwise all is well and I’m so very thankful for this. 

Lastly, there have been ongoing issues with my in-laws. If you’ve read for a while, you’ll know there’s a history and a deep pain in my relationship with them following my miscarriage. I had made some efforts to resolve this and it was….. for a while. 

My mother-in-law didn’t seem to be very interested in this pregnancy and every comment was about how it related to her daughter’s pregnancy or the baby that was born just a week after my due date. I just want to be an individual. I moved to my husband’s hometown so he could work for the family business. When I go in public, I am always asked about my in-laws. To risk sounding selfish – it’s never about me, it’s about how I’m a part of this family that’s fairly well known in this community. I’ve fought for this pregnancy. I just wanted it to be recognized independently of any one else. So I let it get to my head and became a crazy mess (like really crazy y’all, ugly cray). Then my mother-in-law got very sick – either from her chemotherapy treatments or the cancer. She was in the hospital for a week and prior to my husband and I visiting (four days time), I hadn’t contacted her because 1) she was sick and 2) I don’t know the proper etiquette of texting or calling someone in the hospital. Well this was noticed by my father-in-law and I was given an ultimatum to contact her. This was actually after I had contacted her to see if she needed anything from her home, as we were headed to visit her that same day. So I became very emotional again. But I still went and realized the situation with her health was much more severe than my husband had lead me to believe. She slowly recovered and is now at home, preparing for another round of chemotherapy. 

Amazingly and fortunately, I had scheduled a counseling session for the next day after we visited. I had done this because I was still struggling with my fears and anxiety about this pregnancy, approaching the one year mark since my miscarriage, and the emotional episodes I was having due to my in-laws. Thank GOD I had this appointment. There are no words to describe how much of an impact this hour of my life has made on me and my healing in the last two weeks.

I filled her in and we talked about my expectations and how I act in certain ways with strings attached to these actions, expecting that his family will respond in a certain way. (Inviting his mother to our elective ultrasound was a big step in me mending our relationship. She didn’t go therefore I felt like she didn’t care.) And we spoke about my feelings of rejection due to their lack of support following my miscarriage. “Did they really reject you? Or is this something that you’ve made up in your mind?” Hmmmmm I had never thought of it that way. It had always been black and white – they had rejected and abandoned me when I needed them the most. But were they ever even capable and equipped for what I needed? I’m not excusing them from everything but I do think my feelings of rejected were self-perpetuated. They do care for me – they just show it in different ways than I show care for others (I get very nice gifts but not so much on the emotional front). So she talked with me about behaving in a way in which I have no strings attached to these behaviors. Do it because I want to and because that’s the kind of person I am. And because I want to do it for my marriage. These people are his family after all. 

So since this session, the healing has been amazing. I have been active in the family and I always keep in mind that I am doing it for myself. And I’ve taken the power away from them. It’s all about me and my choices. And I’ve chosen to be supportive for my mother-in-law. I’ve chosen to interact with my sister-in-law when she’s visited. I’ve chosen to hold my niece and begin bonding with her. She’s becoming a person to me. Not just a baby born a week after my due date. And I feel extremely peaceful and happy but most of all proud. 

I honestly never thought I’d get to this point. I thought I would never recover in my relationship with my in-laws and that it would always affect my marriage and my children. I didn’t want to be that person. And I’ve found resolution in a way that I will not be that person. 

Jumbled

This post is going to be a bit of a mess. I’ll start with the bad. That dental work I had last week? Well it awoke a “sleeping giant” as my dentist called it. The tooth next to it is a tooth I had a root canal on about 6 years ago. Apparently it wasn’t done correctly and it’s now causing me a great amount of pain. It started out dull and it’s progressed to radiating through my jaw and my whole head. I broke down and started taking Tylenol, which relieves the pain completely for about 6 hours at a time. I’m disappointed because I wanted to avoid taking medication but I know the pain isn’t good either. Anyway I’ve been referred to a specialist who has a 65% success rate with re-treat root canals so we are going to give it a try Thursday. If he gets in there and it doesn’t look like it will be successful then they will do an extraction and a bone graft so that I can have an implant. Blahhhhh. I could use some prayers. 

At church yesterday, one of the young members who will be graduating high school next weekend gave the Message. She spoke about moving on and it was mainly directed at her peers but I was surprised how much I connected with this. And how emotional I became. I never thought I’d be moving on to this part of my life. After the struggles I faced. It’s finally time. (Well almost.) But the whole time I was also thinking about the journey to get here, as well as those I’ve connected with during this time. When I didn’t have support (well minimal) in my real life, I found it here. I received my first Mother’s Day gift from one of you amazing ladies. I cannot express what this gesture, as well as all gestures mean to me. Thank you. The young lady (I feel so old using that term but she was composed and conducted herself like a lady) ended with Jeremiah 29:11-12.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

I was very overwhelmed by this. I’ve been praying a lot lately and with this has come a sense of peace. I know things are going in a good direction right now but I really am at a place of peace. This baby will truly be a rainbow baby. I was faced with a storm for a reason but I am surely glad it’s clearing up. I hope that if you are still struggling to move on to the next step that you can put faith into the plan God has for you. And I hope your prayers are answered.

Now to the good news. The ultrasound showed a wiggly baby GIRL. I had really thought it was a boy so I was a bit surprised. This wasn’t a diagnostic ultrasound but baby looked good – head was nice and round, fingers and toes all there. We are very happy and I pray she continues to develop and grow to be a healthy girl. We will have the diagnostic ultrasound next month sometime. She did give us the middle finger though – my husband said, “That’s how I knew she was mine.” 

Prayers for all of you :)

Unmedicated Sinus Infection….

Since I was in college, I’ve had chronic sinus infections. And when I get one, I’m out. It’s like I have the flu. Fever, body aches, all the symptoms. I’ve been getting them for so long, I know the course and Saturday it started. I was due for one. And it’s been awful. I can do the nasal rinse but I can’t take my go-to med (Sudafed). Yesterday I ran a low-grade fever all day. I don’t know what I would do (besides lose my mind) if I didn’t have the doppler here at home. I can always check on baby and ensure it’s still alive. I had some dental work this last week and had a bad reaction to the local anesthesia. I felt so guilty and like I put the baby at undue risk. But my doctor’s nurse assured me that it’s okay. But I feel like no amount of reassurance will make me feel like I am really, really, REALLY going to hold my baby in my arms in 5 months. 

My husband turns 32 this week and my gift to him (and to myself of course!) is to have an elective ultrasound to determine the sex of McBaby. I will be 16 weeks 3 days so I’m hoping we are able to find out. Talking about this pregnancy is getting easier but I am somewhat thankful that you can’t yet tell I’m pregnant. I like being able to bring it up when I’m feeling okay talking about it. 

Hope all of you are well! Looking forward to updates from all of you! 

Still Clean

Tomorrow marks 7 months of being free of Facebook. I can’t begin to tell you how much this choice helped me when I was in the depths of grief and depression. And part of me knew that when I got back on my feet I still wouldn’t want to go back. I think it’s terribly toxic and I don’t need that crap in my life. I’ve found ways to keep in touch with family and friends. And I don’t know the business of people I don’t really know anymore. So thank you A Calm Persistence for your posts on this over 7 months ago.

Speaking of being back on my feet. I’m getting there. The first 10 weeks of this pregnancy was tougher mentally than I could have predicted. My counselor suggested that maybe a Doppler would help with my fears and it has. It’s been a lifesaver for me. And now that I’ve passed the 14 week mark, I’m starting to feel comfortable about this. I can talk to people without feeling like a fraud.

If someone would have told me 6 months ago that this would all work out, I would never have believed them. But I’m glad I was wrong. Praying for you all always.

On My Mind

I know I haven’t posted or commented a lot lately. But I read daily. I think of all of you daily. And I pray for all of you daily. 

But I haven’t known what to say. Someday Mama recently wrote a post that I got me thinking about how I’ve felt lately in regards to this blog and to all of you who are reading and still facing the journey of becoming a mom. 

I also felt really guilty and still do sometimes. I know how I felt when someone else got pregnant. I know the thoughts I had. I would avoid the topic of pregnancy at all costs. It hurt too much. I was always happy for someone but my sadness for myself was always greater.

So I haven’t known what to say. I’ve had SOOOOOO many conflicting emotions and thoughts about this pregnancy. Some of them I didn’t think it would be fair to post here. I told myself that whenever I got pregnant again, I would just embrace the pregnancy and I despised when someone would worry, when I was thinking, “Don’t you know how lucky you are?!?!” But the truth is, I’ve had a lot of fear. A lot of worry and anxiety. I don’t know if I’ve even been able to fully engage in this pregnancy yet. I’m so scared. 

You amazing ladies who commented and supported me through my darkest days are so very important to me. I know this is my blog and anyone can unfollow if they don’t like reading what I’ve wrote. But I really did not want to cause any hurt to any of you. I value this community so much. 

I think that for now, I am comfortable with giving minor updates about this pregnancy on this blog. If I feel like I want to expand on this, I will start another blog. I am currently 12 weeks and 1 day. I am starting to feel more positive and hopeful but it’s taken a lot to get here and I still feel scared sometimes. Everything is going okay and I have experienced some symptoms but nothing I can complain about.

The road of pregnancy after miscarriage is a tough one. I think I was so focused on getting pregnant that I didn’t think about the challenges I would face. I hope that someday soon, I can support you all through this precarious time. 

Thank You

First, I just want to thank everyone who offered advice and support as I faced a difficult situation with my in-law’s. I did attend the funeral and I did hold the baby. It was my choice. My sister-in-law was sensitive (I think). She asked if I wanted to hold the baby but said I didn’t have to. At first I didn’t want to but eventually I did and I was able to do this on my own time. The baby wasn’t forced upon me and I feel like the family was carefully watching my moves. I know that they love me and care about me. They just don’t know how to deal with this situation. I don’t know if I would either. But I still need to have some boundaries and figure out what’s best for me. There hasn’t been any contact with my sister-in-law since the funeral but this is normal and part of my issues with her. My mother-in-law is wanting to sew for our baby. At first, when I was bitter and angry, I wanted to decline but I know she’s doing this because she cares so I am slowly letting her in again. It’s progress, even if it slow. 

It was so hard not to wonder “what if I hadn’t lost my baby” when holding her baby. But I knew I couldn’t go there. I hope I can continue to grow and move past this because I love children and I really want to be a positive part of her life. 

Another thing, apparently my mother-in-law had told her family and friends about my pregnancy. I was asked about it by many people. And I felt like a fraud. I don’t want to offend anyone or make anyone think I am taking this pregnancy for granted. (I will write another blog post about this.) But as people were congratulating me and asking me questions, I felt like a fraud and I wanted to crawl in a hole. It is still early and anything could happen. I felt like I couldn’t go along acting like this was happening because it could all be taken away in an instant. And again, I felt like an awful person. I tried to be gracious and my husband recognized my distress so he compensated by sharing details when I couldn’t without tearing up.

Miscarriage robbed me of this. Of being able to be excited when someone congratulates me. Of fully engaging in the pregnancy without always being fearful of another loss. I know this is normal and part of the process and my grief. But it sucks. 

Forgiveness

Forgiving has never been my strong point. I hate this about myself. I will give all of my love and support to a person until they hurt me. And then I’m done. I’ve ended friendships because of this. It is something I want to change about myself. Especially now.

I’ve written a few times about the situation with my in laws. Short story. Sister-in-law announced her pregnancy the day I miscarried. They did not know. Following my miscarriage, I received relatively little support from my in laws. (Ex. I sent a text to my sister-in-law about my miscarriage. She didn’t reply for 4 days and when she did, she used a pregnancy symptom as an excuse to for replying sooner.) For the 8 years prior to this, I’ve felt like a part of the family and I’ve supported all members of my husband’s family in many ways. (Sitting through chemo treatments, sending care packages to Afghanistan, taking care of things at home when they were away, making a point to drive 5 hours to see my sister-in-law when my husband couldn’t have cared less.) I don’t regret any of this because it’s who I am and I thought of them as family. Well the let down from the lack of support following my miscarriage was epic. I felt like my self-worth tanked because I must have not been important enough for these people to support me. I felt like an outsider, no longer a part of the family.

Part of the problem was my expectations. I am a very emotional person. I feel strongly for others and go out of my way to make others feel comfortable. This is not how my in laws operate. They are emotionally distant. They have a hard time with difficult situations. I expected them to do something they really aren’t capable of. Since I’ve been in the picture, I’ve been that bridge between them. I usually know what’s going on with my mother-in-law’s cancer treatment before her children do. I have to encourage my husband to make time for his family. 

So following the let down, I then began to avoid them and after a couple of months of this, it finally caught up to my marriage. In January, I sat down and talked with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law. They both expressed their apologies. And I expressed to them why I was hurt and how deep it was. I thought it would get better. I thought they would show care and concern. I thought they would show support. But it hasn’t happened. It is the same as it was before. Me being let down. 

Now I know some people might judge me for the things I’m about to type but please know, I realize some of this is irrational and I wish I felt differently. 

Well my sister-in-law had her baby the week after my due date. I tried to prepare myself. Tell myself this is all going to work out the way it should. That I would be a good aunt and I need to embrace this kid. Now that they are here for the weekend, I have no interest in meeting the kid or giving any of them my support. What is wrong with me? Who doesn’t want to meet a baby? It isn’t the kid’s fault that this family can’t support me and that it the timing was tough for me. 

What makes me feel like even less of a person is that my husband’s grandmother passed away this week and this is why they are in town. I feel like this is selfish of me to make it about myself. I need to just suck it up and deal with it. But I can’t. I am going away to a friend’s 2 hours away tonight so I’m removed from the situation. I will attend the funeral but other than that, I feel compelled to make myself unavailable. 

I need some advice, perspective, scripture…. something. I need help. I can see this ruining my marriage. And I don’t want people to look back in 5 years and remember me as an awful person. 

Life…

Life has gotten away from me. I’ve been naughty. I’m sorry. But I have kept up with your blogs and words and I’ve continued to pray for my friends. Those of you who are TTC, taking advanced methods – IUI, IVF, medications, those who unfortunately are facing miscarriage and grief, and those of you who are cautiously making your way through a pregnancy. 

Life consisted of many things in the last few weeks. I took my praxis in school psychology for my license. I know that almost everyone in the education field (in my area at least) has had to take a praxis exam. And if you have, I’m sure you understand what a ridiculous test it is! There was too much guessing for me to feel comfortable. It wasn’t even an exam you could study for! Craziness. But I should find out in a week or so if I have to take it again in June and pray that I pass then or I won’t be able to start my job. 

Speaking of my job. I signed my contract and have my assignment for next year. I am very happy and excited to have my own schools. I also spoke with my boss about the pregnancy, considering I’m due 3 months into my new job. (But I learned a while ago you can’t mess with God’s timing.) She was very understanding and it put me at ease. The agency also offered to pay for my insurance so I can get on it now rather than transition to it in October. Very blessed. 

We traveled to Colorado for Spring Break. I’m not a skier. I have a serious (irrational) fear that if I ski I will either die or get a traumatic brain injury. And the only time I’ve tried, I had a panic attack on top of a mountain. So I got to shuttle the skiers around Breckenridge and relax. It was nice but I’m always ready to be home. And I’m super sick of snow. 

I continue to be amazed at the connections that I’ve made since July. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers. And I am especially thankful for Elisha. I don’t have to tell you all how amazing and inspirational she is but I definitely have witness to this. Thank you, thank you, thank you :)