Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today I read an online post on a message board from someone who finds it hard to believe in God because she watched a very good man suffer through cancer and pass away. How could a merciful God allow that to happen?

I feel like I know what she is feeling, I had many of the same thoughts years ago when we had our miscarriage. Why me? Why our baby? Why give us a baby, only to take it away before we even got to meet it, or hold it in our hands? Why would God do something like that to us? People told us it was a baby that was never meant to be--how can God make "mistakes" like that?

In the end, I just had to rely on faith. I had to rest in the fact that I did not know the reasoning, and I probably never will. But I do know that a year later, a close friend suffered the exact same loss and she had no one to support her--she had no family members who had experienced this loss, and was the first among her circle of friends to try for a baby...but I was able to be there and be a comfort to her. I spent hours on the phone with her, just listening. And being mad with her. Crying with her. Telling her it was OK to be mad, and confused, and to want to punch a wall. Meanwhile, she was getting the standard "It's God's Plan," "It was never meant to be," "you'll try again," answers from everyone else.

A year later it happened again to another friend, and I could be there for her too. She is miles away from me, but email allowed me to "listen" to her sadness, and validate her feelings and answer the awful questions that people who go through this have that others simply can't answer: "when will the physical symptoms go away?" "When does my heart stop feeling like it is breaking inside of me?" "Why do people say such stupid things?"

So maybe we lost our baby because God knew that I could get through it and be a support to other people who have no one else. I am not about to say that I was the best source of strength for these two friends, but my experience allowed me to at least be there for them.

Maybe I'm grasping at straws. Maybe I'm deluding myself. But to me, my faith is a journey (I know that sounds hokey), and is constantly evolving. I don't necessarily rest on my faith, I am always trying to figure stuff out.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fair Season

I love Fair Season.

Anyone who lives in a small, agriculturally-based area knows what I am talking about. I look forward to Fall in and of itself, but it is really the Fair that gets me going. Our favorite is coming up in about 6 days and I can't wait. It really brings out the former 4-H-er in me, and suddenly I am really excited about seeing things such as glass jars full of peaches with a blue ribbon hanging off of them, livestock that I usually eat, teenagers trying so hard to be cool, even though they are standing beside a game that gives away stuffed animals, and of course, the Jesus floats.

What is a Jesus float, you ask?

Well, somehow in our area no one thinks it strange that every other float in a parade includes a man dressed up like Jesus, usually surrounded by a crowd of angels pumping out loud gospel music. And as these floats are often sponsored by banks and trucking companies, I can only guess that these angels (and Jesus too) have to get up for work as a bank teller the next morning.

Speaking of parades, there are always plenty of costumed characters bobbing up and down the parade route, some slightly inappropriate. We always look forward to the representative of a local bakery; you would think that a donut would be the best character, but this shop has chosen instead the Long John. Don't know what a Long John is? It's a cylindrical, hot dog shaped confection, but created into an upright parade costume, you can probably picture a certain part of the male anatomy that this resembles. I'll bet they fight over who gets to wear it.

My daughter is scared to death of Mr. Long John, and any other costumed character that might amble her way. I will never forget two years ago when she was curled up on her Poppy's lap next to me, who was enjoying having my lap to myself for the first time in almost 2 years and was blissfully examining a Jesus float. All of a sudden I notice that my daughter is screaming bloody murder. I look over to find the giant , man-sized Sonic milkshake hovering over her, frantically waving and not noticing that he was scaring the bejesus out out of a toddler. I actually had to grab his arm and politely ask that he move along...his work was done. I think my step-dad still bears scars on his arms from her clawing for her life. Luckily we visited our first Sonic this summer and found that she did not suffer flashbacks.

So here is my chance to visit my husband's hometown, remember twirling my flag in that parade just 18 short years ago, help my daughter win yet one more "fair fish", and eat fried oreos. To me, there is nothing better.

I just hope Jesus and the angels throw out some tootsie rolls from their float. I love them.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Year...

A year ago today... Chad and I walked into our first appointment, our 10 week appointment with Dr. Eichenlaub, expecting to hear our little one's heartbeat. It had been a long, hard 10 weeks and I had not been feeling well. The odd thing was, two days earlier I had turned a corner. I was feeling so much better, and I even told the doctor about the change. He did the normal first appointment housekeeping, I was given a journal by the nurse, weighed, on and on. But deep down I was still sick inside. Just let me hear...get that stupid doppler...I need to hear it...
Finally the doppler was placed on my belly. And nothing. Just silence. It did not cause immediate panic; I remembered that it had been hard to find Mia's heartbeat at the first appointment but eventually did.
I could see it written all over Dr. E's face. He took me out in the hall and instructed the nurse to get me in for an ultrasound as soon as possible. "To rule out twins!" he assured me. But I saw it there on the orders: "For purpose of: Viability." Miraculously we were able to get an appointment the next day. I was in shock driving back to work; however I will never in my life forget the song that played from the moment I got into my car until I reached work: "Let It Be," By Paul McCartney of the Beatles.
It was an awful 24 hours. It was the first week of school and I was insanely busy which turned out to be a blessing. I could stare at my computer screen and wish the hours away.

"When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me..."

Soon I was in the ultrasound room with Chad holding my hand. The tech was not friendly or chatty, especially when she tried the ultrasound of my belly. She quickly stopped and told us she was switching to a transvaginal to get a better view of the baby. She said, "now, I am going to have the screen down here near me, so you won't be able to see it just yet." Little did she know that I have had many ultrasounds done for various reasons and they have never had to pull the screen so far away from me that I couldn't see it. This was not going well. After a few types on her keyboard she quickly finished, hopped up and left the room.

"Speaking words of wisdom, 'Let it Be'..."

We sat and waited. And waited. About a half hour later, she finally came back and thrust a telephone at me. "It's Dr. Eichenlaub," she said and flew from the room again. And I was not surprised at all to hear the words we dreaded, that our baby had died. His frustration was evident as he told me, "Alison, this just happened. Your baby stopped developing at 9 weeks, 2 days." Chad cried as his face was against my shoulder. My crisis instincts took over and I solemnly made plans for surgery the next morning. And then I had to drive home by myself.

The next few days went so fast. We made all of the calls to family. They came over and helped us cope. They cried with us and for us. And somehow we carried on. We still had to take care of Mia, and Chad was just about to start a new job. Life went on, and this little baby became a memory. We had to stop talking about it to others because it soon becomes clear that people expect you to get over it and stop discussing such a sad topic. And I thought I had flown through recovery.

"Let it be, Let it be, Let it be, oh let it be..."

In January it hit me like a ton of bricks, possibly because it was time to start trying again. That is when I think I started working on my true feelings now that the numbness had worn off. The feelings were raw and full of anger, often directed towards God. And that is when I started this blog, which never turns out exactly the way I had planned. I found a community of women on the internet who have helped me because they too have felt all of these feelings and allow me to feel them.

And here we are, a year later expecting our third child. I never take the pregnancy or my family for granted because I have seen something very precious be taken away from me in an instant. I know what it is like to feel so out of control, yet pulled to lay it at someone else's feet. And while I will not relax until this baby is in my arms, I feel like everything we have gone through in the past year has helped me get to here.

Let it be.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Here I am, or rather, here we are... in week 28; a little more than 10 weeks to go until we are a family of 4. This week has been a little bit of a transition but I can't exactly put my finger on why I am suddenly thinking "when" and not "if". But all of a sudden in the past few days I have actually started getting excited about having a baby.
I am thinking about baby shopping at Babies R Us. I am thinking about what the heck we are going to do about Thanksgiving and Christmas with a newborn. I am thinking about seeing Chad hold his new son or daughter. I am wondering how in the world Mia is going to cope with the loss of her kingdom (or princess-dom?!) and share her parents. I am actually thinking beyond the next minute.
The big question will be getting through the next two weeks and past the awful anniversary that is September 7th. I think I have been so sad thinking back to last August--it was the main month that I was pregnant last year and the most notable in that short 10 weeks, the one that I remember. I remember camping at State College, walking across the stage to get my diploma, coming back to the start of the school year, registering all of the students, dealing with faculty, all the while feeling like crap.
And then September was a big blur.
Yesterday I was putting important fall dates into my calendar and pulled out the one that I used last year to see if I was forgetting anything...nothing. I barely had anything written in September 2007. I went back to the previous year's calendar thinking maybe I had just used the page for September from that one (school calendars go Sept to Aug). Nope. I literally did not write down anything in September last year. Usually it is one of my favorite and busiest months but last year I think I was just in shock. How did I do it? How did I get up every morning, do my job, come home and be a wife and mother when I was just a shell? The mind is a curious thing, and somehow it's like that month was little more than vapor.
So if I can get past September 7, I think I will feel like I am in the home stretch. While I still feel that nagging feeling that it all can change at any moment and head south, I guess I will believe a little bit more.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hitting a rough spot

First off, there is nothing wrong. Let me just start with that. As far as I know, everything is progressing normally, I'm feeling normal amounts of movement today.

But I can't shake the feeling that something is wrong. However, in a person diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, that is pretty much a baseling feeling. I always feel like I am just seconds away from the next big bombshell in my life. My major issue is that I am constantly feeling like I could lose everything in an instant, and that instant will happen right...now. Whenever I am having a really good moment with Mia, or she does something that is just simply adorable the first thought in my head is to preserve that memory like a stamp so that when she's not around anymore, I will still have it. Notice I said, "WHEN", not "IF" she's not around. I'm just so afraid of losing her in an instant that it sometimes preoccupies my thoughts.

And now I am transferring those feelings to this baby who is not even born yet. Yesterday was just an off day. I didn't feel good--too much food like beans and raw broccoli this weekend. I don't know if there just wasn't enough room for the little stinker to move around in there with all of my bloat, but I hardly felt him/her move all day. The baby had been so active Saturday night that Mia actually felt the "bumps" from the outside; so this was to me a drastic change. I couldn't get it out of my mind all day.

In church we have a guest minister, who happens to be the dad of a high school friend. I have found myself really enjoying his words and humor, it's kind of like a friendly grandpa telling stories. He ended his sermon yesterday reminding us that bad things happen and it is not always for us to immediately understand why or how they might fit into God's plan. The tears came back, as they always do the million and one times someone has said that to me since we lost our baby last September. I don't hate the words as much as I used to, but I still just trip right over them. With the crummy way I ended up feeling yesterday, were his words foreshadowing? Should I prepare myself for yet another bad thing to happen? Is God going to take away this child as well before I have a chance to know him/her?

I can't even bring myself to believing that I will actually give birth to a baby on November 7th. I don't hear the words coming out of the OB's mouth that everything looks good and is progressing normally. I find myself fixated on his news that the ultrasound technician was not able to get a great scan of the baby's heart when the procedure was done. I didn't hear that there is most likely nothing wrong, because if there was, she would have seen it. I am just second- and third-guessing our decision to not repeat the ultrasound.

I'm just waiting for the bad news.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Everything's "normal"

Here we are, at week 19 with all test results coming back "normal". This is shaping up to be similar to my pregnancy with Mia, only minus the pain from the gallstones (had that sucker removed last year). Now we wrestle with another matter, one that I cannot believe I am facing. What do we do AFTER this baby is born to make sure it is our last?
That sounds crazy, coming from someone who worked so hard for a year to get pregnant. But those memories are fresh. I don't ever want to go through this again. I don't want to temp, have to pee on a stick, or face these nerve-wracking doctors appointments and ultrasounds.
The kink in this is that our health insurance does not cover birth control, although my sister claims that it paid for her IUD (she and Chad have the same employer). The alternative to shelling out great sums of money out of pocket for the rest of my child-bearing years is of course more permanant. I will be having this baby by a planned c-section and my OB is willing to do a tubal ligation at the same time, as long as I am 100% sure.
When I brought this up with Chad, his first response was, "is it reversible?" OK, I said, there is our answer right there. Even the fact that you are thinking about future children tells me that we can't do this. Dr. Eichenlaub agreed. He said, "you guys can't even be 99.5% on this. I need 100%."
But knowing the worst case scenarios that are possible, I am afraid something bad will happen and I will end up feeling it was a mistake. I told Chad that I feel like I am messing around with God a little bit. What if something happens with this baby? What if I lose a child? There goes my chance to have another. But then I think that no child is ever a replacement for another; certainly after a miscarriage I understand that.
So I go back to that feeling of never wanting to be pregnant again. And the anxiety circle begins again.
I am hoping that I feel better after my 20 week ultrasound next week and feel like I have some answers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wow, a long coming update

I can't believe it's been so long now. And here I am, still very much pregnant, and very thankful. This week I have finally allowed myself to feel like this is going to happen. I have tried to stop myself from thinking that anything I do is going to jinx it. I got out my maternity clothes and have even worn some of them to work. We have started talking openly to Mia about the fact that she is going to be a big sister. (She's confused, by the way...she keeps talking about the baby in HER belly and how SHE is going to be a mommy...someday, Mia. Someday a looooooooooooong time from now.)
We had our 14 week appointment on Monday, and I found out that I have only gained 1/2 lb. since my 10 week appointment. Dr. E jumped all over that and asked what was going on. I told him that at the beginning of May, right after we moved, I got very sick and lost about 5 lbs. in as many days. He seemed to let it go at that, but told me to basically let the weight gain begin! I told him that I gained too much with Mia (about 50 lbs) and stopped short of saying that I am doing anything I can to avoid that happening again. I am not restricting food, but I feel like I am eating much better. With Mia, just about all I could eat at this point were carbs like milk, ice cream, bread, waffles, and McChicken sandwiches. I was also not running around after a toddler.
Basically I am petrified of breaking the 200-lb mark again. Granted, that happened when I was 41 weeks and miserable after the foodfest of Christmas 2004, but I am just afraid that I will never lose that weight. It's so vain, but I want to be healthy too.
Anyway, on matters other than weight, Chad and I made a sudden decision to go ahead with the quad screen. I wasn't going to, but now I want to be prepared. Up to this point my feeling has been that it would be near impossible for me to terminate a pregnancy if something were really wrong. After going through a D&C that was definitely not my choice, I can't imagine making that decision on my own.
But now I feel like we need to be ready for whatever might happen. There is no history of birth defects in my family, but there was no history of miscarriage either and that happened to me.
The baby, which I am pretty sure has a wee-wee, is up really high in my lower abdomen. I was shocked when Dr. E pointed out where my uterus is. I knew that I could feel the bottom of something right below my belly button, but I had no clue that it was the baby. I guess I figured that like my previous pregnancy, at this point the bottom of my uterus would still be tucked down in my pelvis. Weird.
That made it very hard to get a heartbeat reading, although it was definitely there. Maybe baby is towards the back; Dr. E. says he has absolutely no concerns that this baby implanted anywhere near my C-section scar or my cervix--it's not even close!
All of this talk made it much easier for me to accept that this pregnancy is going to stick. I had caught myself getting excited up to now, always stopping myself with, "you're not lucky enough to really have a baby." I can be really cruel to myself.
Next appointment is in June, and quad-screen test will be sometime next week, when I am 15 weeks.