Transition

So transition is described (in reference to pregnancy) as:

“Transition is the phase of labor just before the pushing stage. At about 6 or 7 centimeters of dilation, some of the symptoms of “transition” appear. During transition, contractions become very strong, and often their duration and frequency are less predictable.

At this stage of labor, the laboring woman may feel confused or even unable to cope at all. Legs and arms may tremble uncontrollably. Belching, hiccuping, feeling nauseated or even vomiting may occur. Most women recall feeling irritable and often become astonishingly rude. The coach will need to be particularly attentive and encouraging at a time when it is not going to be too rewarding to do so. The extreme changes in body temperature will require the obvious treatment of either adding or removing blankets.

Toward the end of this accelerated phase, but often before the cervix is fully dilated, the laboring women may feel the urge to push (or what feels like the need for a bowel movement). A couple of these signs, but especially the urge to push, often indicate transition.” –┬áLinda Jenkins, RN

I don’t know Linda.

I’ve never been lucky enough to experience childbirth.

However, I feel like ‘transition’ has kind of been my mantra the last few days.

I feel like I’m on this precipice, this brink of something new. Maybe new isn’t the right word. Just a page is about to turn in my book.

I’ll be honest – when I think of my losses I don’t think of them as babies. I don’t want to be controversial or political – to me, my losses were the loss of a potential body. My GP helped change my mindset on this. My baby is still out there – waiting for the right body.

Miscarrying is such a weird experience. I found this quote while browsing the web tonight,

“To be told my baby had died was incomprehensible. To continue living when my world was lying shattered at my feet was unthinkable. But I survived it and I promise you my friend, you will survive it too.”

You think you won’t survive it. You think you can’t. Some days it still feels that way. Every pregnancy announcement, every new squishy small human born into this world immediately brings me back to that place of mourning. Then I transition to this bizarre place of being OK?

 

I’m not sure whether it’s being OK or being numb, either way I think it’s part of this beautiful transition I am going through.

There are still days where I visualize scraping out my insides.

There are also days when I feel hopeful.

I’m transitioning.

I read somewhere (I’m sure it was from the brilliant mind of Ina May Gaskin), when a mother goes through transition during childbirth she leaves her body to collect the soul of her child. Being I haven’t been through childbirth those of your reading this who have are probably rolling your eyes thinking it’s the most rainbows and unicorns thing you have ever heard. I remember when my cousin was telling me her birth story she explained it like, “you just go into labor-land” – maybe that’s the time.

This will keep me going.

This one idealistic thought, that one day I will finally go to find my baby, will keep me moving forward.

Until then BBQ.

Transition.

MW

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1:30 a.m. Ramblings…

It always just starts as me not feeling good.

Then it’s 11:00 p.m. – I’m working on a project for work. It’s 12:00 a.m. and I’m telling myself I should get in bed.

I don’t even necessarily not feel ‘good’ anymore. I just feel lost.

I’ve generally felt lost for a few months now. Like I’m not quite where I am supposed to be.

Ever.

Like I’m always just a few minutes too early or a few minutes too late.

I walk into a room and even if it’s in my own house it’s like the air is just a little thick.

Like something big just happened and I missed it.

Like someone I love just left the room, or is still there… lingering. I just can’t see them.

Then it’s 1:00 a.m. and I feel this magnetic pull to come here and spill my guts.

Because the reality is if you called me at 10:00 a.m. I would probably be either cheery and be ‘fine’ or be stressed with work.

I would never tell you how I really feel.

Not because I want to be inauthentic – sometimes I just don’t know what to do with what I’m feeling so why ask you to try to get it.

Plus the usual dollar store dribble about ‘being here for me’ is just something we say to fill a void.

If you wanted to be here – you would.

It’s 2:00 a.m. and I feel like seeking something.

An answer.

I get this sudden urge to empty all of my cupboards and scrub them clean.

Like if my fucking cupboards are clean my brain won’t feel so messy.

I desperately want to blare my music. I need to blast out the sound of your heart beat.

The melody of my womb and the thump thump thump of your small heart.

It plays over and over and over again. Like a carousel I can’t get off.

I haven’t gone to the closet for some time now. I haven’t smelled the shampoo and lotions.

In a way they have lost their comfort. They don’t feel soft and warm any more. They feel cold. My arms just feel heavy and empty after I give in.

It’s 2:30 a.m. and now I’m deciding whether or not I take a few Vistaril to facilitate some sleep.

I have to be up in a few hours to do it all over again.

And I will.

Because it’s what I have to do.

MW

T16 – I was doing so well…

Chromosomes are weird.

The whole process of conception is weird. Amazingly weird. So many things have to match up just right – yet, as a young girl I was always told sex = babies. So who knew staying pregnant would be so hard?

I was doing OK – I hadn’t cried for a few days… I hadn’t snuck into the babies closet to bury my face in the baby blankets I have, touching the clothes I have bought, sneaking sniffs of the baby shampoo and lotions I have…

Then we had our appointment to find out the results of our fetal tissue test.

Our baby had Trisomy 16. I remembered a little about it from my lifespan development course – I knew it typically wasn’t a viable chromosomal abnormality. I knew it was a random event. I knew there was nothing I could have done to change it.

We talked clinically. We talked about the steps we could take. The things we could try. It was trite. It was clinical. I appreciated her candor. I left feeling OK.

I stopped at Walgreens and did what I told myself not to do, and go down the baby isle.

It’s over 12 hours later and I’m still just constantly on the brink of crying.

It’s almost 2:00 a.m. and here I am… sitting on the floor of the babies room, in the dark with just the glow of my computer screen, burying my face into the blankets I have bought, unfolding and folding the little clothes, and smelling the damn baby shampoo. I can do all of this in the almost darkness because I have been here before, and I very well may be here again.

I’m typing this because I need people to know about this. There are so many of us, right now, who are crying for our babies we had to give back. My pregnancies may have only been 12 weeks total – they were wanted desperately.

Hug your local grieving mother.

Hug your local grieving father.

Don’t ask them if they need you – because they will tell you they don’t.

I shouldn’t speak for anyone else. So I’ll speak for me.

I’m raw. I’m wounded. My body is out of my control. I’m having hot flashes. I’m hormonal. My body still thinks I’m pregnant.

I need you. We need you. Collectively.

MW

 

 

I carried you every second of your life pt. 2

We lost our second pregnancy.

I was totally sure about this one. It was going to be a sticky baby.

Measuring 6w2d (two days behind what I thought I was) with a heart rate of 100 bpm – which is the most beautiful music if you want your pregnancy – we were a bit concerned about the heart rate hovering around 100 so we were advised to go back a week later for a follow up ultrasound.

The week was tense. As the date got closer I felt better. There was no way we were going to lose this baby too. It was my rainbow baby.

I still remember how the ultrasound gel felt on my belly as the tech moved the wand around. She clicked a few pictures and then told me we were going to have to a transvaginal ultrasound to see better so I could go pee and get undressed.

There I sat, naked from the waste down with the little sheet over my lap. The knock on the door came and my midwife walked in – weird – and she cut right to the chase. “We weren’t able to see a heartbeat, I’m so sorry. Can I give you a hug?”

My first thought was… if I stand up to give her a hug my naked bits are going to touch her scrubs (which meant some lucky woman in the hospital was in labor), so I stayed seated and she hugged me.

It felt like the air was sucked out of the room.

She offered to have the tech come back in and do a transvaginal just to confirm, but the reality is I knew it was futile.

I was able to get into see an OB and she tried to get me scheduled for a D&C that day but I had eaten a handful of Sweethearts before I left for the ultrasound so I couldn’t be anesthetized – had to wait until the morning.

It was a quiet ride home.

I took a scorching hot bath. I wanted to feel pain but I couldn’t feel anything. I remember sitting in the tub sobbing and Matt coming in and just looking at me.

What do you do? What do you do when your wife is sitting in the tub with your dead baby inside of her? How do you comfort her?

You don’t. You just don’t.

I didn’t sleep that night. I laid on the couch, watched TV, and played Candy Crush. I literally did not sleep a wink.

I vacillated between sobbing and just wanting to die.

It was finally time to get ready to go to the hospital and I couldn’t wait to be sedated.

It was done. Again.

Everything about this D&C was different for me. The bleeding and clotting was different. The hormone crash was different. I have never felt closer to Matt in my life than I have the last three weeks. I have wanted to be closer to him. To feel him. I feel like when I am touching him is the only time I feel alive.

I work exclusively from home and have the most amazing boss and co-workers. That group of women has become my family. They were the only ones who knew we were pregnant.

I had an unrelated GP appointment scheduled and told my GP about the second loss and she gave the typical apologies and told me about her experiences with pregnancy loss.

She then said something that has slowly but surely made this experience a bit less shitty.

She told me, while my two pregnancies were losses, the spirit of our child is still the same. It just needs the right body. The first two bodies weren’t good enough so it has to wait. She laughed and said when we do have our child, one way or the other, it will be a spirited child because it had to wait so long to find us. Someone else told me, “your baby will find you.”

It will.

One way or the other.

MW

 

Missing you.

It’s 2:06 a.m. and sleep won’t come. I can’t stop thinking about you. A woman on a fictional TV show felt her fictional baby move for the fictional first time and I am still reeling.

It’s not just my womb feeling empty tonight, it’s my heart. There is no momento to hold on to. You barely existed. It’s still shocking how such a small thing can rip the biggest hole in someone’s life.

I should be giddy with excitement, waiting to feel your little flickers. Instead I am awake, listening to the wind howl outside, feeling this sudden urge to bury my face in the baby blanket I bought for you. To smell the lotion I bought for you. To fold the clothes you’ll never wear.

The closet door will wake my husband. I don’t want anyone to see me curled up on the floor of the room your crib should be in.

I miss you.

MW

My Miscarriage

I mean, we both lost the baby.

It’s not my burden to solely bare. Matt was there. Through every Earth shattering second of it.

We went in for our ultrasound at what should have been my 9th week.

It was discovered just the week before I had some ovarian cysts and a UTI – all normal of course. I had my first ultrasound and got to see our little chicken strip. Baby was measuring small but of course dates can be off, especially when you stop hormonal birth control and don’t have a good idea of your cycles.

I brought home a picture of our baby Quade, or BBQ as I referred to it.

Pregnancy symptoms were so welcomed. I didn’t mind the bloating, (extra, amplified dizziness), feeling like I was low-key going to vomit all. day. long. I ate crackers. I quit drinking caffeine, I quit taking dangerous meds weeks before I found out. I was going to do this right. I was going be a mom. In ten months, sometime around May 16th I was going to have a warm, wrinkly, sweet smelling baby in my arms.

I bought stuff. I ignored people who said to not do too much. I ignored my doctor to just get through the first trimester. Nothing could go wrong I told myself. Matt and I have been through far too much to have anything go wrong.

In the very, very bottom of my stomach I could feel this twinge of something… I ignored it. Just because miscarriages are super popular in women in my family I was going to beat the odds. I gave up soda for this little nugget – nothing could happen to my baby.

But, it did.

We had our ultrasound and the first thing that felt strange was the tech wouldn’t let me see my baby. I asked if she could see the baby and she said she was seeing what she needed to see and when I asked about a picture, she said she would give it to the nurse because that was procedure. We excitedly made our way upstairs. Blissfully fucking ignorant.

I had all of my medical records printed off, my immunizations, my discharge papers from the ER with the cysts… I had our first ultrasound photo to compare and show our midwife. She came in smiling and shook our hands.

She went through some paperwork and then said it. The words that instantly steal away all the air in my lungs. “There was no heartbeat.”

My first thought was run. My second thought was, I killed our baby. My third thought was, Matt is going to hate me. My last thought was, my body has once again betrayed me and I am carrying a dead embryo inside of me and had been for probably days. I had been sitting up late, dizzy, talking to my dead baby about what I hoped for it’s future.

I had a missed miscarriage she explained. Super common. I could go home and wait for my body to catch up and pass the tissue, I could take Cytotec and miscarry at home with the hope of completely passing everything, or have a D&C. I immediately said I wanted a D&C. I felt like there was an invader inside of me. I felt physically ill. I wanted to get home to punch myself, punish myself somehow for screwing this up.

All of this was happening at warp speed. Matt didn’t have time to process. I don’t remember what he said I just remember screaming, “A D&C is basically an abortion, they just suck everything out and it’s done…”

The next thing I remember we are walking out of the clinic and Matt is holding me up.

We went to Arby’s and ate dinner.

See, the cruelest part is, with a missed miscarriage, your body still thinks you’re pregnant. So despite all of this trauma happening emotionally, I felt nauseous as I hadn’t eaten for at least four hours and bile was creeping up my throat and it was either eat or dry heave.

The next three days are a total blur. By the time I went to bed that night I had convinced myself they were wrong. My baby wasn’t dead. I would get a second opinion.

We went in the next morning and the OB we saw looked me dead in the eyes and said this pregnancy was not viable. She was compassionate too. My analytical mind needed to feel sure before I had my D&C. Less than 24 hours later and I was home from surgery.

It’s been three weeks today since my D&C. I feel so many different things. First, I have made a good start on forgiving myself. There isn’t a damn thing I could have done to save my baby. Second, I am beginning to believe I didn’t let anyone down by losing our baby. Finally, I am grateful to my body. My body knew this pregnancy wasn’t viable and nature did what it was made to do. BBQ wasn’t meant to be born alive. I am thankful my body knew what to do. I wish it didn’t have to be the case, but it is.

I am processing everything one day at a time and am looking very forward to when we can start trying for BBQ2. Because we both know we are going to be pretty fucking cool parents.

To all of you out there who have been through this, we are bonded together in this horrific trauma and I am sorry to all of us mamas whose babies were planted on Earth to bloom in Heaven.

I know my goddaughter Chevelle is taking great care of BBQ.

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My tattoo for BBQ

 

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My locket for BBQ.

Not for lack of trying…

It’s been a long time since I’ve been here.

Not for lack of trying…

I started working for an online company in February and it’s both exhausting and exhilarating having something to be responsible for.

My mental and physical health fluctuate so frequently this time of year. Of course they are really one – intertwined, woven together into a weird little ball… which is always moving, dizzy, nauseated.

Sometimes I scare myself. Not because of what I am incapable of doing, but what I am capable of doing now. The catch 22 is now that I am ‘better’ (able to be ambulatory more often, able to fake it better, medicated), some days I am running around chasing my Goddaughter and the next day I am only capable of looking at the TV and hating my plight. If I wanted to hurt myself I could. I have to make the choice every day to keep going. Even on my good days. More so on my good days. This is what the reality of a chronic illness looks like.

It’s always there. Staring at me. My monster.

It’s why those around me see me and think, shit she is better – because until they see me they don’t think of my illness. They mean well and I know this. Why is it that the sick person always has to be patient and understanding though? Why can’t our families and friends just get it. Or try to get it. Even our care teams – my Meniere’s doctor always says how great I look. He doesn’t live with my disease though. He doesn’t get dizzy when he sits down on the toilet or bends over to pick up a book. Most of you don’t get dizzy when you turn your head to check for oncoming traffic. Most of you don’t get dizzy in the shower because, HELLO it’s a shower and there is water, movement, noise, tactile stimulation, smells… most of you don’t get dizzy just by scrolling through your emails.

I was so upset by something a few days ago I was searching for how much it would cost to buy an RV and just go… hit the road. Pack up the essentials and just leave. We could be free. At least trick ourselves into feeling free for a moment.

I had a friend recently tell me I am helping people by writing these things. I was humbled these ramblings were helping someone, in some way.

I hate the saying ‘all pain is the same’ – in a way it is true though. We are all connected in some way and this weird, shared experience with pain.

MW