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.

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Thoughts from Mother’s Day, and I’m making progress

I wrote this on Mother’s Day, and thought I posted it, but it didn’t post:

It is a day to honor mothers. Most years, I only notice honoring of women who have given birth to children who are still here. This year, maybe because I was vocal on facebook about my motherhood status, I have seen more acknowledgement of mothers whose motherhood doesn’t look like the regular, expected kind. It feels validating, and that’s nice.

I was anticipating a very difficult day, since my only children are gone. Therefore, it was a difficult week. I cried and moped quite a bit.

I also had hoped to find out this week that I was pregnant, but once again, I found the opposite. It hasn’t been that many months this go-round, but it being the sixth time trying to get pregnant, with no births and four deaths, every month of failure, of delay, is another reminder of what I do not have. Of what I don’t know if I will ever have. My child; to hold, to raise, to see grow, who will call me mom.

Meanwhile, my therapy is going really well. I’m learning to be mindful in everyday life. To pay attention to my emotions, where they come from and what they are urging me to do. To decide to act in ways that are more effective. I’m learning a lot of different ways to tolerate distress without hiding myself in the basement zoning out in front of the TV, or eating way too much, or both. The ways are mainly distracting myself until it gets better.

Most importantly, the skill I’ve learned from my Dialectical Behavior Therapy is what’s called Radical Acceptance. I had read a little about it pretty soon after I started DBT, and I was certain it was never going to happen. I mean, just accept that all my babies were dead and pretend it’s fine? NO.

It’s way more nuanced than that. It is complete acceptance, but not saying it’s ok, or that I like it. It is the acknowledgement that the things that have happened are my reality, and they cannot be changed. My being angry and bitter that my children are gone was never going to bring them back. There is no way to get them back. My anger only served to cause me suffering. So, it started to seem like maybe it wasn’t the best thing to keep in my head.

I feel so much lighter. The world is not as dark and terrible as it was. A lot of things still suck, but a lot of things are good, and it’s ok to enjoy them. It’s not a betrayal of my children. I will always believe that the last five years would have been happier if I had gotten to keep them with me, even one of them, but nothing can ever change what has happened and what is, I can only change how long I let it keep me from living a life worth living.

Practicing starting discussions with my imaginary children

With all my researching, I’m getting excited that I may actually get to be a mother to a child I can talk with. The thought right now is that we will accept up to two children up to age 9.  I may get only four years until teenagers! So, I’ve started practicing starting discussions. I like to be overprepared.

The first is the rules of our house. These will have to be discussed with the dad when he’s less busy (his boss is on vacation so he seems to be doing both of their jobs, but he gets 24 days of vacation plus Irish holidays, so we’re not complaining). (Also, I’ve decided his name on the blog will be “the dad”.)

The first and most important rule will be we all treat each other with kindness. I believe kindness, compassion and acting in a loving manner is the best thing a person can do. Sometimes we fall short of the mark, but kindness and forgiveness are closely related.

The second will be open communication. Say what is on your heart, our home is a safe place to do that.  I believe this is the great strength of our marriage. We both say what we’re thinking and listen to what the other has to say. I won’t say this part to the kids, but I believe our communication style is what has led to the miscarriages strengthening instead of weakening our marriage. It has been safe for us to grieve and mourn in our owns ways while leaning on each other for needed support. It has been mostly me leaning and him being strong, but that’s pretty well expected with our respective genders. The whole point of adopting these kids is to be a safe place for them to land, a home for them to be themselves and become who they want to be.

Then there’s the obvious rules like rowdy playing with wrestling or throwing balls happens outside. Take off your muddy shoes when you come inside. Brush your teeth. Obey bedtimes. You have to bathe because smelling like you don’t makes everybody around you unhappy. Eat your vegetables, the cats won’t. That kind of thing.

Of course, there will have to be the sex talk. I’ll take the girl(s) and/or the dad will take the boy(s). This will of course change if our future daughter has been sexually abused, then I’ll need help figuring out how to talk to her. I’ll know where to get it and that’s important. I remember mom told me what sex was when I was nine and my response was “Why would anyone want to do that?”

I’ll share the difficulty I had at age nine at summer camp being made fun of for still being a virgin. I felt like there was something wrong with me that I hadn’t even started thinking that way yet, and as far as I know nobody had been thinking that way about me. I’ll share my later realization that it’s not about what other people think of my sexual history, it’s about what I think about my sexual history. And it’s about what she thinks about her own sexual history. It’s about feeling good enough about yourself that when other people push, it won’t change the way you want to behave. Even a boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s about knowing in your heart what is right and doing that. And that at some point she will be a grown up and in love and want to have sex, and that’s OK. But that before she does, she needs to realize all of the emotions that go along with having sex. That it often means more to a woman than it does to a man. Not always, but a lot of the time. It can mean that the possible subsequent break-up hurts a lot more. And she should be aware of the risks of sex, of pregnancy and STDs. That only if she and a partner have discussed these things and are ready to protect against the physical consequences and risk the emotional should she go ahead, and then not to feel guilty about it.

Then there’s drugs. Our children are possibly going to know some about this before they come to us, but it they don’t, here’s my side. I’ve never done any non-prescription drugs except I ate a pot brownie once and didn’t notice anything except more giggling. That’s because I know drugs are bad for you. I’ve never been offered more than pot, but I turned it down almost every time it was offered, and I’ve never regretted that. Drugs are especially bad for growing brains, which happens until you’re 25. It’s a big risk. The damage to your brain, the addiction possibilities, the legal consequences, it just isn’t worth it. There are so many other ways to feel good, that are good for you. Going for a good long hike, laughing with friends, singing your heart out in the shower. And again, it’s about feeling good enough about yourself that you can push back when people push.

And finally for today depression and suicide. It’s scary and sad, and you feel like you’ve done something wrong to be feeling so distressed.  These are feelings I know well and understand. Always, always, always talk about it. Again with the open communication and our home is a safe place. I know adopted children can feel lonely and abandoned and wonder why them. If they need to talk to me, I’ll be there, and if they need to talk to someone else, I will find that someone else. These feelings make it hard to feel good enough about yourself to resist sex and drugs and other things you may not really want to do. That’s why you need to talk about it.

So that’s a lot of lectures I’m planning in my head right now for an imaginary 9-year-old girl.