My first Christmas with a living child

This Christmas was so very much better than the last five, because I actually had one of my children with me. It’s still just over 11 weeks until he’s due to be born, but I have him. There’s a contentment to that, which I haven’t felt in a very long time. I’m starting to believe I actually do get to keep this kid.

Five years ago, in 2010, I was still in the midst of my second miscarriage that year, and hadn’t learned yet that not telling people was going to actually drive me crazy. That left me silently buried in intense grief and so very alone. Every Christmas since then, and honestly, even now, I have resented that I don’t have my kids. I have found it to be true for me that I didn’t just lose babies, I lost every age they would ever be. Josh would be 4 and a half, Caroline would be 4, Anastasia would be 3 and Gregory would be 15 months. I will never stop knowing those numbers as they go up for the rest of my life.

But there’s hope too, if this pregnancy keeps going as well as it has been, Sticks will be born a maximum of 3 months and 2 days from now.

I have just agreed to have a shower before he’s born, which I didn’t expect I was going to be willing to do. I was afraid of having things that would just be painful to know about if we lost him. We’ll probably have the nursery painted by then anyway, so how much more could presents hurt? It’s a co-ed shower with The Dad’s family, which is very large, but pretty lovely. I think I’ll be ok.

Now, it is time to rest from all the festivity.

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Caroline’s loss date yesterday

Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of the day we found out Caroline had died and I was given Cytotec for reasons that were never really explained to me. They also didn’t tell me how much it was going to hurt and that there would be contractions randomly over the next two weeks. It didn’t make for a good Christmas.

It’s hard to believe it’s already been 5 years. A very, very difficult and interminably long 5 years that have gone by in a flash.

I’m almost 27 weeks pregnant with a baby that we might get to actually keep. Everything is going well so far, but I don’t know if I’ll ever stop worrying that it will suddenly stop being okay. We call him Sticks, which I suggested because in my favorite movie, Willow, Madmartigan calls the baby Sticks and The Dad accepted it because we hope the baby sticks.

Otherwise, I’m doing really well with the emotions of pregnancy after loss. I feel very connected to this kiddo. I love the way he dances when there’s music, and he seems to especially like Journey’s “Girl Can’t Help It”, and Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. I love how much he kicks when The Dad is talking. He has a silly thing where it seems like he’s trying to get out by pushing about an inch and a half below and to the left of my belly button. I tell him that’s not how to get out, but that I won’t tell him where the exit is because it’s too early.

Surprising no one, I’m finding that having a living child doesn’t make the grief go away. It does do a lot for the deep aching emptiness of having lost all of my children, and the intense longing for physical motherhood, though.

I have a couple painful complications going on, but neither is actually a risk for the baby, so I don’t mind so much. A different muscle in my abdominal wall started having issues as soon as the second trimester started, that can’t really be treated because that’s not safe for the baby. I’ve been doing physical therapy, which mostly made it worse, but since I got a support belt, it’s been better. A little over 2 weeks ago, I started having diastasis symphysis pubis. It’s when the relaxin hormone that’s supposed to loosen ligaments, so the pelvic bones can make space for the baby to come out, is too high and the bones become misaligned and hurt when you move. My physical therapist put it back together pretty well, and now I have a different support belt to hold the bones in place. I have to wear it pretty much all of the time until a month after the birth, and then just during the day for 5 more months. It’s not too bad though. I’ve said for at least 4 years that I’d give multiple limbs for a baby and this way it isn’t permanent.

I was not expecting that!

Yesterday and the night before I was feeling queasy and my breasts were sore and when I felt my abdomen over my uterus, it seemed bigger and harder than is normal for cycle day 7. I told myself I was imagining things and denying reality, and I needed to take a pregnancy test to prove it wasn’t true so I could stop thinking about it.

But that is not what happened when I took the pregnancy test. It looked like this:

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I called my fertility specialist’s office and told them the story of last week’s bleeding and today’s test. They said “Come in for a blood test.” I did that. They said they would call between 2 and 4pm. At exactly 2pm my phone did one of its favorite things, and didn’t tell me anybody was calling, so they had to leave a message.

I may keep that message forever. It was positive! 93! I go in again tomorrow (48 hours after the first) to make sure it’s doubling. I need at least 186.

I happened to be seeing my GYN yesterday afternoon about how it seemed like I had developed ovulation induced migraines, so I told her about the test. She said implantation bleeding can be bright red and last a couple days. She told me the migraines will probably stop, but to call if they don’t.

The Dad and I are so excited! I’ve told all the grandparents and they’re excited too, of course.

I have high hopes and I really, really want this baby. I know we have so much love to give this kid.

I also know that if the child I now carry doesn’t get to stay with me, I will get through. It may take me a little while to want to, but I will live. I don’t want to have those thoughts the day after learning I’m pregnant, but those thought come unasked for when recovering from having lost my first four children.

Our chances of life go from 50% to 85%  with the donor sperm. It’s a pretty good increase, but it’s not all the way up. Nothing is. All of living is a risk of pain. And yet, life is so, so beautiful.