Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It was a . . .

Back in the summer when we underwent genetic testing and met with a counselor to determine the specific chromosomal abnormalities that caused our miscarriage, I asked the counselor if the tests showed the sex of our lost fetus.  She indicated that information was available, and at our request sent us a copy of the results in a sealed envelope, in case we ever wanted to know that information.  At the time we received it, Hubby didn't want to open it.  I knew I wanted to know one day, but at that point my heart was still in a million broken pieces, so I wasn't sure the timing was right either.  So, we've kept the sealed envelope in a drawer, close at hand.

From time to time I'd think of the envelope, and at one point later in the summer I decided that I'd like to open the envelope around the time our baby was due, December 25th.  We were upstate with family for Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, so that timing wasn't appropriate -- I wanted to unseal the information in private.  I also didn't know how I'd react.  But, over the past couple weeks I made up my mind that I wanted to open it before the year ended.  I know there are so many things I have in my life to be thankful for, and I want to make a conscious effort to focus on those in 2014.  I thought by opening the envelope before the year ended, I could try to bring some closure to the situation, and try not to focus so hard on what we've lost.

* * *

Back in May, even before I miscarried, I had a strong feeling that our baby was a girl.  I can't recall what initially led me to believe I'd soon be carrying a bundle of pink in my arms, but I think it was a random dream.  Then, when we vacationed in the Dominican Republic for our anniversary and received a little parting gift from our hotel of a faceless girl figurine, my feelings became stronger.  When I first saw that little faceless girl, I was convinced it symbolized the baby growing inside of me.  And, after our miscarriage when I came home and saw the little faceless girl in a blue dress and hat, I just knew she represented the baby we'd never meet.

* * *

Well, it turns out I was completely wrong.  The little baby we lost back in June was a boy.  Our lost boy.  I'll never forget him, and always wonder what he could have grown up to be.  But the truth is, I'll never know.


My Little Angel

I never got to hold you,
Or kiss your little head
Or watch you sleeping soundly,
All snuggled in your bed.

I can't count your tiny fingers,
Or you even smaller toes
I won't see your smile,
Or your cute little button nose.

I know you are in heaven,
Where there is no pain or tears.
You'll never get hurt or sick,
In heaven there are no fears

And though I'm sad you're not here right now
For us to hold today
I know we'll hold you in our arms
When we're in heaven with you someday

© April Westlake

Obviously a part of me is still very sad, and I am sure I'll always wish for my angel baby.  But I am also grateful to have found out this information.  I have no idea why, but knowing this little tidbit of information, although it doesn't change a thing really, has brought me a tiny bit of closure.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Exercise During Pregancy

I was a Zumba lover before I got pregnant.  Work would sometimes get in the way of me making it to a class, but there were periods over the past 1-2 years where I would Zumba consistently 2 times a week, sometimes 3 if I could squeeze in a weekend class!!!  The rule with exercise during pregnancy seems to be that if you did it before, you can likely safely do it during pregnancy.  I remember one of my favorite Zumba teachers shimmying throughout her pregnancy, up until about a month before she delivered!  I remember thinking she was amazing and hoped that I'd be able to do prego Zumba too!

Alas, here I am, nearly 19 weeks pregnant and only having gone to the gym a measly ONCE so far.  October 13 seems so long ago.... though I can still remember very clearly the nausea I felt when I got off the elliptical machine that day...  It seems like it hasn't let up since then!  ;)

Well, couch potato no more!  Hubby and I went to the gym together today!  {He really has been the one guilting encouraging me to go back for weeks, since all the pregnancy books try to trick you into believing that once the first trimester is in the rear view mirror so is the fatigue and nausea...}

I walked for 30 minutes on the treadmill and then did about 2 sets of 10 bicep curls on each arm using a 5 pound dumbbell before I had to call it quits.  Although I drank a full 16 ounce bottle of water while walking and didn't walk too fast or on too steep of an incline, I somehow wound up feeling pretty crappy by the time I left.  I had a little of a cramp in my side {possibly from the water, though I made sure to sip it slowly} and couldn't even bring myself to lift each arm another 10 reps.  I was a little disappointed, but I guess that's not too bad for my first visit back to the gym in over 2.5 months.  Let's hope it's not another 11 weeks before I make it back again...

I really want to work on some more arm toning and definitely some stretching and other prego-friendly exercises over the next few months.  There are a number of benefits to exercising during pregnancy.  They say that having a baby is like running a marathon, and there's noooooo way on God's green earth I'd ever be able to do the latter, so I'm thinking I need to prepare as best as I can with my remaining "training time" to make it through the delivery!!!   Plus, some studies show that pregnant women who exercise and/or stay fit have shorter labors.  Yes, please!

The Bump website has a pretty handy exercise workout guide {click here} that I'm going to *try* to use for the remaining few months of my pregnancy.
Source: The Bump
Hubby also got me a great workout video for my birthday that I'm going to give a shot, too.  {Even though my current work-out clothes may or may not look like skin on bologna...}

Here's to more exercise in 2014!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Missing Our Baby

December 25th was the due date of our first baby, making this Christmas emotionally difficult for me.  I know I should be happy that we're currently pregnant again and have a new due date to look forward to, and I absolutely am -- but that doesn't erase the great sadness I still feel, thinking of our baby that was never meant to be and wishing instead that we were about to welcome him or her into the world.  When the doctors first calculated my due date as December 25th I was ecstatic that of all the days in the year our due date was Christmas Day!  I couldn't believe our luck, and couldn't possible have imagined or asked for a more perfect day to look toward.  Over and over I thought to myself what a true gift of love that baby would be!

Hearing Christmas carols on the radio and hanging stockings up by our fireplace brought back a lot of the feelings I felt back when I first miscarried and realized I'd never meet our first baby, and it's been a bit harder than I thought it would be to get into the Christmas spirit this year.  While I know I have so much to be grateful for in my life -- certainly more than I could even list on a blog -- some days it's hard not to focus on what we lost with that pregnancy.  Needless to say, this Christmas has been bittersweet... celebrating a new pregnancy while still mourning my first pregnancy. 

It might seem strange to miss a person I've never met, but I do.  I really do.  Especially during the past few weeks, when I'd once imagined I'd be preparing to meet my baby or possibly even have gotten the chance to snuggle him or her first the first time.

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, and send lots of hugs to everyone out there missing a loved one.  The holidays can be merry and bright, but they can also be hard when you're missing the ones you love.

"Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)"
The fire is burning
The room's all aglow
Outside the December wind blows
Away in the distance
The carolers sing in the snow
Everybody's laughing
The world is celebrating
And everyone's so happy
Except for me tonight

I miss you
Most at Christmas time
And I can't get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And I'm all right
But then I miss you
Most at Christmas time

I gaze out the window
This cold winters' night
At all of the twinkling lights
Alone in the darkness
Remembering when you were mine
Everybody's smiling
The whole world is rejoicing
And everyone's embracing
Except for you and I

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Pregnancy Announcements

When I first realized we'd {hopefully} be past the 16 week mark around the time our Christmas cards went out this year, I had a thought -- what if we sent out Christmas cards + Pregnancy announcements combined in one?!?!  I did what I normally do, and turned to Google for inspiration.  Let me tell you, there are some very cute pregnancy Christmas cards out there!!!  Here are a few of my faves:


Since hubby has been waiting to share our news with some of his extended family in person though, we decided against this route, in favor of inserting little announcement poems into regular Christmas greeting cards for the people who already knew or who we wanted to tell via card.  Here are the 3 different poems we used:

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way...
Oh what fun it is to say "a baby's on the way”!!!

Someone tiny and very dear, will join our family in the coming year! With great joy, we are excited to announce that we’re expecting a baby in May!

Our family of two will soon become three… in May 2014 we’ll be adding a baby to our family tree!

The reactions from people who have already gotten their cards are so sweet.  :)  Spreading happy news is fun!!  I feel bad that the people in Hubby's extended family didn't get a poem with their card, but we have a few fun announcements planned for them later this week -- wish us luck!

Friday, December 20, 2013

17 Weeks

On Sunday, December 15th we made it to the 17 week mark!

According to The Bump:

~ Baby continues to beef up.  She's now about 5.1 inches long and weighs about 5.9 ounces.
~ Her rubbery cartilage is now turning to bone.
~ And she's growing some meat on those bones -- putting on some fat.
~ She's growing a stronger, thicker umbilical cord, too.

That all sounds like good progress to me!!!

I am definitely sporting a more noticeable baby bump these days:

Unfortunately, I'm still patiently anxiously waiting for the nausea and what I call "puke burps" {sorry for being gross!} to let up, but at this point I'm losing hope that they will...   I don't mean to complain in a bad way -- if puke burps bring us a healthy baby I will gladly continue dealing with them -- it's just been really hard to try to function as a "normal" human and get anything done {at work or at home} feeling this way almost all day, most days.  There is just so much I need to do {Christmas is in 5 days, AHHHH!}, and while Shep has been working overtime at being an absolute CHAMP picking up a LOT of my slack, I'm feeling a bit frustrated that I'm not making any progress on all the things I want to be doing {including keeping this blog much more up to date than I have been!} while time is passing by so quickly!

This week I had 2 holiday parties to attend: a team party at my manager's home in Brooklyn on Tuesday night and then our company party on Wednesday night.  I've honestly been dreading both of them, because my nausea is always way worse in the late afternoons and evenings.  I must have had a stroke of good luck though this week because I actually felt pretty good at both parties!  On Tuesday night especially I didn't feel like I was dragging myself around, didn't feel nauseous at the party, and had a good time!  We even stayed for the whole party!  I did stay up WAY too late though, and woke up on Wednesday morning regretting my lack of sleep.  Wednesday afternoon I felt really icky but by the time the company party rolled around at 7pm I felt okay to go.  I put on my new maternity dress from Target, and had a good time...

I only stayed for about 2 hours, but I made an effort and that's what counts!  Thursday morning I woke up so tired though that I actually felt hungover -- bizarre seeing as I haven't had a drop of alcohol in months!!!  Getting through the work day yesterday was a bit tough, so I took today off.... TGIF!  :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Team Blue or Team Pink?

One of the first things almost every person has asked when they found out we're expecting, after "When are you due?" is...

"Are you going to find out early whether 
you're having a boy or a girl?"

And the answer is..... nope!  We're going to wait until the delivery to be surprised!

A lot of people have found our response surprising!  Especially in this day and age, when almost everyone I know finds out as soon as possible, I get it's a bit unusual that we're choosing to wait it out.  One of my favorite replies was from a co-worker who proclaimed:  "You?!  Preparation Patty??  You're not going to find out???"  I got a real kick out of that.  I'll be one of the first to admit it -- there is a part of me that is very organized, detail-oriented to a fault, and possibly a bit of a control freak.

But here's the thing -- on the flip side there is a HUGE part of me that just loooooooves surprises.  I mean L.O.V.E.S.!!!  I was disappointed when I thought I'd figured out when and where my "surprise" bridal shower was {though oddly still was surprised when I walked in and saw all those people smiling at me -- even though my hunch was right!}.  A few years ago when I accidentally stumbled upon an unwrapped Christmas gift hubby had hidden from me, when looking for an extra blanket in November, I almost cried and got so mad at myself!  I'm the kind of person who keeps a wrapped gift box containing a piece of jewelry in my nightstand drawer for 6 months.  Yep, you read that correctly.  For our anniversary in May, Hubby bought me 2 gifts, which I thought was too much, so I only opened one of them and said I'd save the second gift for another time.  A couple weeks and then months passed and I told him not to get me anything for my birthday, and that I'd open the second box then.  Well, my birthday came and Hubby had bought me something else, so I decided to wait until Christmas to open it.  Yes -- I voluntarily have decided not to open a whit bow-tied little blue Tiffany box, just because I love the suspense and thrill of knowing I have a forthcoming surprise!

So, although I'm absolutely curious to know whether we'll soon be parents to a baby boy or baby girl, for now we're staying Team Greenladies and gentlemen!!!

At least that's the current plan.  At 17.5 weeks we still have a little time to change our minds, but I don't think I'm going to change mine.  Hubby originally said he wanted to find out, and threatened to bribe the ultrasound tech to tell him without me knowing!  There's no way that he could keep that secret from me though, so that plan is not going to work.  ;)  While I'd certainly be willing to be convinced to see his side of things -- this is his kid too! -- when I pressed him to share with me any good arguments he had why we should find out the baby's sex before the birth, he didn't really have anything convincing {sorry, Hubby!}.  He said he was 50% sure he wanted to find out early but I'm about 90% sure I want to wait, so I think the math works out in my favor for the moment...

I recently saw a post on a message board, advising a mom who was asking whether she should find out her baby's gender, that said:  Do you shake wrapped presents? If no, stay team green.

That seems like very fitting advice for me!  ;)  Team Green we are!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Equal Opportunity Parenting

I came across the below video today and couldn't help but share it further.  The story depicted provides such a sweet and inspirational message, for parents and children alike.  Before you watch it, let me just say that I was definitely sniffling at my desk when I first saw it .... so you might want to grab some tissues before pressing play!

It's really amazing how the world can change if you start looking at it through a different lens.  And who doesn't want everything to "look like a giant cupcake"?!?!

We should ALL strive to be both nurturing AND brave.  I'm filing this one under "parenting advice" for sure...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

15 Weeks

15 Weeks!

Hello.  It's the husband and father-to-be with another update.   Our little apple (I got the fruit right this time) is about 4 inches long!  Nicole is still struggling with morning sickness (which I now understand is a complete misnomer-- it should be "all the time sickness") and general fatigue.  The books I read all say this should be on the wane but not yet for us.  Hopefully soon?

Anyway, we told Nicole's extended family at Thanksgiving about our apple.  We surprised them.  Nicole said she wanted to have a "family picture" that I would take.  When everyone was posed I counted down and said "Everyone say 'Nicole is Pregnant'"! (instead of "cheese").  Most of her family was shocked and Nicole's 91 year old grandmother put her hands on her head and said "Oh my God!".  Then she told me: "It's about time."  

The Holidays are approaching so that's more announcements to make.  Spreading good cheer indeed!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

13 Weeks

Hello.  I'm the husband.  Nicole's husband and proud (and very nervous) father-to-be.  Ms. Preggers asked me to post an update on this blog about how she's doing.  She's doing well, and just hit 13 1/2 weeks. Apparently our baby is the size of a peach.

What's with all these fruit analogies?  Last week it was a lime, and then a kiwi the week before that or something.  It seems like every week we hit another section of the produce aisle.  Anyway, our little pomegranate has still been causing Nicole continued nausea and tiredness. Nicole hasn't had it easy, because she was sent to London (UK) for work and travelling is not fun with our little kumquat.  Hence the lack of blog posts.  We are both in London now (I'm just tagging along) and should be back in the US next week right before Thanksgiving.  She's asleep right now!  Nicole and I went to her doctor's just before we left for the UK and the doctor said everything was fine.  The doctor listened to our coconut's heart beat with a little stick and said it was normal.  Oh, and Nicole got pants with an elastic waistband.  Wait, am I supposed to say that?  I mean, I don't know.  Besides the nausea and tiredness (which I understand *might* start to wane now that we're in the 2nd trimester) Nicole is in good spirits, though nervous about every little twitch and pain, which I understand after what happened previously.  I try to be supportive as best I can for her sake and the sake of our happy little strawberry.  I love them both very much.  We haven't told our extended families yet but plan to do that at Thanksgiving.  So that should be fun.  I hope that's a decent enough update for everyone.

PS  No, we haven't seen the Queen.  Yet.               

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nuchal Translucency Screening

{Pardon the tardiness on this topic -- I started this post months ago but never finished it.  Better late than never though, right?!}

The nuchal translucency scan takes place in the latter part of the first trimester, sometime during weeks 11-13.  It's a special ultrasound scan designed to screen for chromosomal defects -- particularly trisomy 13, 18 and 21 {Down Syndrome}, in addition to congenital heart defects.

Combined with specific blood tests, the nuchal translucency ultrasound is called the "first trimester screening".   It's a "non-invasive" way of assessing a baby's risk of chromosomal abnormalities, which means there are no needles and no physical risk to having the screening done.  Since this test is a screening {as opposed to a diagnostic test} it will not provide a 100% accurate or definitive answer -- it's more of a gauge of whether things look generally normal or problematic.  It gives the doctor a general indication of whether there is cause for concern, or need for additional testing, such as an amniocentesis or CVS test.

Here's an illustration of the measurement the ultrasound is designed to screen, along with a more detailed explanation of the screening taken from this source:

The nuchal translucency is the fluid found at the back of your baby’s head and neck, just beneath the skin. The thickness of this fluid can be precisely measured and this is called the nuchal translucency (or NT) measurement. Normally the amount of fluid is small, producing a thin NT measurement.
We know that the amount of fluid can increase in the presence of certain conditions, producing a thicker NT measurement. Conditions associated with an increased NT measurement include some chromosome abnormalities (for example, trisomy 13, 18 and 21) and some structural problems (for example, heart abnormalities). An increased NT measurement does not always mean the baby has a problem but it does increase the risk.
{You can also read more about the NT test here and here.}

Our NT screening took place on November 7th, at 11.5 weeks gestation.  I have to admit, I was pretty nervous going into it, especially since we knew our first baby's miscarriage was a result of chromosomal abnormalities.  The 20 minutes or so spent in the office waiting room before being called in seemed to crawl by {especially since I had to pee but wasn't allowed}, and the several minutes during the screening during which the technician measured and took photos and notes but didn't provide any sort of medical insight lasted FOREVER.

The technician did, however, call our baby "cute" while she was conducting her measurements.  While I'm sure she says that to all the patients, we took it to heart and totally agree.  :)

After about 10-15 minutes of ultrasound measurements and photos, we were escorted in to meet with the doctor.  Thankfully, she had EXCELLENT news for us.  According to the screening, our chances of having a baby with any chromosomal abnormalities were extremely low.  Our specific risk profile for Down Syndrome is 1 in 4,463, and for Trisomy 18/13 is 1 in >10,000.  Better yet, the risk ratios matched that of a 20 year old mother, which made me feel pretty good since I'll be turning 33 in a couple weeks.  ;)  Needless to say, we both breathed a HUGE sigh of relief after receiving these results.  Though there are no guarantees, these odds are pretty favorable!

The NT is often followed up with a second trimester blood draw {usually called a multiple marker, triple or quad screen} to check on the probability of open neural tube defects.  We'll definitely be waiting for those results, but for now will just be thankful for these great numbers!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

11 Weeks

First and foremost, I want to apologize for being totally radio silent lately and to THANK YOU ALL sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, for all of your sweet notes!  They all put a smile on my face just when I needed it -- so thank you!  Although I've never met you in "real life", your support and positive thoughts mean SO much to me!

I'm happy to share that as of Wednesday, our little one has a strong heartbeat of 165 and is growing right on schedule.  And, today I hit the 11 week mark!

Our baby is now the size of a lime and the head-to-body ratio is 1:1.  Can you imagine that?!  S/he looks quite adorable in our most recent sonogram photo, if I do say so myself!  ;)

On this day last pregnancy, I was undergoing my MVA.  That was one of, if not the, worst days of my life.  All this past week I've been really nervous, and each little twinge or pain has my mind racing.  I'm trying to stay calm and stay rational, but that has proven to be quite a challenge.  Lucky for me, my hubby has enough patience and calmness for the both of us.  And, he's a pretty darn good cook, too, so count me super-lucky!

In addition to being a bit nervous, the reason I've been MIA on the blog is because I've been feeling like total POOP.  {Pardon my potty mouth.}  I've been able to {barely} drag myself out of bed every morning, get my butt to work, and have tried to act like a semi-normal human while I'm there {since nobody except my boss know my little secret}.  But that's where it ends.  By the time I drag myself in the door at night I'm completely useless.  As in I collapse on the couch inside the door and can't even get to the bedroom to get my pajamas on.  Luckily, I've only physically gotten sick once, and I've been able to eat pretty well-balanced meals on most days.  But, for a large part of every day I have this super gross feeling in my tummy that alters between nausea & pain, and disgusting taste in the back of my throat that makes functioning like a normal adult pretty darn hard.  So this is why I haven't been blogging much.  But, since I'm slowly nearing the end of my first trimester, I'm hoping I'll start feeling better soon and can do some more regular blog posts, because I have SO much to discuss with you all!

In the meanwhile, you know what Kelly Clarkson says.... what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!  And in this case, I'm going through all of this for a VERY worthwhile cause.  So, I'll keep the rest of my complaints to myself and leave you with this funny little laugh:

Happy November!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

9 weeks

I am currently 9 weeks and 2 days pregnant.  Our little fetus {we graduated from embryo to fetus on Sunday!} is currently the size of a green olive.  65 days down, and only 215 more to go...
Source: The Bump
My current estimated delivery date is May 25, 2014.  That's 2 days after our 5th wedding anniversary and 5 months after my previous EDD.  {I'm trying not to be superstitious about having another EDD of the 25th, but I will admit it was a bit unnerving when I first calculated the date based on my last period.}

I'm over 20% of the way there, and 75% through my first trimester.  That's a milestone I'm really praying to cross with flying colors this time around.  Since my last pregnancy ended in miscarriage at nearly 11 weeks after seeing a healthy heartbeat, I am feeling especially anxious about the next couple weeks.  I know worrying isn't going to help me or the little olive, so I am doing everything I can to keep my mind busy and to stay positive.  I've been repeating to myself that "most pregnancies end with healthy babies" -- I saw that on a message board somewhere and have adopted it as my mantra for the foreseeable future.

Last Wednesday, we heard the baby's heartbeat and saw it's little body for the first time.  According to the sonogram tech and my OB, everything looked good.  Hearing the swishing sound of the heartbeat was a welcome treat, and of course we got to take home a couple photos of the little one.

I am taking this pregnancy one day at a time, and today I'm hopeful for many more tomorrows of witnessing our little one continuing to grow.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Positive News

First of all, I'm sorry I've been MIA for the past few weeks.  The reason is because I've been hesitant to actually write this down anywhere.  I've only said it out loud a couple times.  But they say a picture is worth a thousand words so here goes . . .

I'm pregnant!

I'm so very happy we have a second chance at a miracle, and I'm really trying to think positive thoughts.  But if I'm being honest, the truth is I'm also incredibly scared.  I'm definitely more nervous this time around than I was last time because I know how seemingly harmless statistics can turn against you in the blink of an eye.  But when it comes down to it, my desire to create a family with my loving husband exceeds the fear I feel of failing again.  So, like the adorable Natalie who was scared to start kindergarten but proclaimed nonetheless: "I'll be bwave."  I will be brave.  It's as simple as that.

To My Fellow Miscarriage/Loss Readers:  I know you have suffered and faced your own pregnancy losses, and I hope this news doesn't hurt you in any way.  Please know that I am so grateful for all your support thus far, and am hoping with all I have that each and every one of you gets your own happy news and healthy baby to take home very soon!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Vitamin D Follow-Up

I was finally able to speak live with the nurse from my GP's office and she has solved my Vitamin D "to-supplement-or-to-not-supplement" mystery!  Apparently the reason they don't recommend I take any supplements at this point in time is because:

(1) Vitamin D is a fat-soluble {not water-soluble} vitamin which means that it absorbs into the body and is therefore easy to "overdose" on {which I already knew but doesn't explain why they recommended I took the supplements before they knew I was TTC};

(2) Doctors are very hesitant to recommend any supplements other than pre-natal vitamins to those trying to conceive and/or who may be pregnant.  {Again, I already knew this but it doesn't really explain why all of a sudden they're not concerned that I'm deficient.}

(3) But most importantly, my levels were close enough to the normal range that my so-called deficiency is not that big of a deal.  Normal range is 32-100 and my number was 29, so I guess the potential risks of overdose outweigh the potential risks of deficiency.  This was the missing piece of the puzzle, and with this explanation I now feel more comfortable with the advice not to take the supplements.  I do, however, think I'll be sneaking in some milk or cheese more often than usual to give myself some piece of mind that I'm creeping towards the normal range without putting myself at risk.

One mystery solved -- LOTS more mysteries to go...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Vitamin D

Last week I had a general annual physical, which uncovered a Vitamin D deficiency in my blood work.  I received a message from the nurse informing me that recent research suggests Vitamins D is important to prevent certain cancers and autoimmune deficiencies, and advising me to immediately begin daily Vitamin D3 supplements of 2000 IUs.  The nurse was very clear that too much supplemental Vitamin D is not good so I should not take more than the 2000 IUs.  My prenatal vitamin contains 400 IUs though, and I didn't see a 1500 IU dosage available, so I called the nurse back to ask whether I should take 1000 IUs instead of the 2000 IUs.  Apparently when she got my message mentioning a prenatal vitamin, she checked my records and discovered my miscarriage.  She left me a very sweet, encouraging message, and said *not* to take the Vitamin D supplements after all.  What the?! 

So, I did the only thing I knew to do... I started Googling like crazy.  And what I found was frightening, to say the least.  Studies have recently shown that too little Vitamin D could potentially cause fertility issues, impede fetal bone development, cause growth retardation and skeletal deformities, and cause a generally difficult and higher-risk pregnancy {click here, here and here for more info}.  I also found some articles suggesting that too much Vitamin D is equally dangerous, but there doesn't seem to be consensus as to how much is too much.  So now what?

According to this babycenter website entry:
The National Academy of Sciences currently recommends that pregnant women get 200 IUs (5 micrograms) of vitamin D each day if they're not exposed to adequate sunlight (your body makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun).  Many experts believe this amount isn't nearly enough.  And the National Academy of Sciences is reviewing its guidelines on vitamin D, so they may change.
"I recommend that pregnant women take a supplement of 4,000 IU of vitamin D a day. And I recommend that lactating women take a supplement of 6,000 IU daily," says Bruce Hollis, professor of pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina, who has researched vitamin D needs.
From everything I've read so far, it seems the risks of NOT taking a 1000 or 2000 IU daily supplement of Vitamin D are greater {especially since I've been deemed as deficient} than the risks of taking such a relatively low dosage of supplement.  But then why did my GP's office warn against doing so???  What don't I know?  Perhaps they're just being overly cautious because they don't specialize in OB?

Today I called my OB's office to get a second opinion on the supplement question.  The nurse who returned my call clearly had no idea what she was talking about from the start.  I explained to her that my GP's office flip-flopped their advice once they found out I was taking a prenatal vitamin, so I wanted a second opinion given that I read online that such a deficiency could cause difficulties trying to conceive and during pregnancy.  I'm pretty sure I even stated outright that I was seeking clarification specifically because I was trying to conceive.  She was speaking in a very dodgy manner, saying that "less is better than more" with pregnancy, and suggested I try to get Vitamin D from food {which, by the way, is not as easy as getting extra Vitamin C, for example} and that my levels were probably low because I hadn't been on the multi-vitamin for long enough, and I should be tested again in a few weeks or months.  That's when I interjected to clarify that I'd already been on the prenatals for 6 months and was just diagnosed as deficient last week.  To which she responded:  "Oh, ok.  Let's see, you're 25 weeks along right?"  {Insert sharp gut punch here.}  I mumbled back that I'd had a miscarriage, which was surprising to her because apparently my "file is still open".  WTF does that mean and how is that possible, seeing as THEY treated me when I miscarried?!?!  I really hate doctor's offices.  Anyway... I ended the conversation with charlatan advice that I could "occasionally" take "a little of the supplement" while trying to conceive, but that I should stop taking it if/when I discover I'm pregnant.

I'm now totally confused AND really annoyed...

I'm tempted to take matters into my own hands and start taking a 1000 IU supplement every other day.  I mean, if I'm deficient, could that small amount really put me over the edge into the danger zone when there are doctors advising that 4000 and even 6000 IUs are acceptable during pregnancy???  Apparently healthy levels are between 32-100, and mine are 29.4, so although I'm not too far below the lower limit, there is a huge gap between the lower and upper limits.  I don't know what to do and really wish my doctor weren't being so dodgy about this stupid Vitamin D stuff!

If anyone out there has experience or information on this topic, PLEASE comment!  I'll take all the advice, anecdotes and even old wives' tales I can get right now!  ;)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Remember Them...

In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we remember them
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them
When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them
When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them
So long as we live they too shall live, for they are now a part of us as we remember them
Text by Rabbis Sylvan Kamens and Jack Riemer from Gates of Prayer, R.B. Gittelsohn

When I first came across this prayer, I had recently miscarried and so the words immediately brought my mind to my lost baby.  But the truth is, this poem could refer equally to any loved one that has been lost.  My grandfather.  My uncle.  My great aunts and uncles and family friends...

We also remember the first responders and emergency personnel who bravely sacrificed their safety and lost their lives 12 years ago in an attempt to serve, protect and save others.  These fallen heroes will always be remembered with great respect and sincere gratitude for their endless bravery and for the sacrifices they made for their fellow Americans.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Be Kind

So true...


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Early Pregnancy Symptoms?

{Just noting this down for my own records... feel free to disregard!  This is a really old post that I wrote up back in September but never published.... just want to publish it so the info doesn't get lost!  I'm using this blog as a way to connect with you fabulous ladies but also as a personal journal of sorts, so apologies for backtracking!}

I have Jury Duty tomorrow and really should be finishing up my work / figuring out how to get to the courthouse in the morning, but I can't help sitting here Googling symptoms and wondering {hoping really... }: Could I be pregnant???

I've noticed the following set of symptoms over the past week or so, and if I'm remembering correctly these are the same things I experienced back in April before we received our first positive pregnancy test!

- dull mild cramps
- gas
- tender breasts
- increased cervical fluid
- vivid dreams
- sensitive nipples/heavier breasts
- a touch of insomnia

It could be that my mind is playing tricks on me, like last month when I noticed morning-time nausea which I talked myself into thinking was morning sickness, even though it turned out I wasn't in fact pregnant.  Still no explanation for that nausea except wishful thinking... But this is a whole set of symptoms.  Am I pregnant?  Could it really be?  Or am I losing my mind completely?

I guess only time {and a scientifically-proven testing method} will tell...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

3 Months

Three months have passed since I heard my doctor inform me that I was miscarrying.  I have now officially been "un-pregnant" for longer than I was pregnant.  It's weird, because in some ways it seems like just yesterday that my husband and I were hopping around our bedroom taking photos and staring excitedly at a simple blue plastic stick, yet it also seems like forever ago.

Emotionally, I am doing a lot better than I started out.  In June, I cried nearly every single day.  In July, I still cried quite often {probably too often for my husband's liking}, and there were many days where I felt that would always be the case.  In August I began to turn a corner, and although there were definitely still tears, hidden away in my pillow, typing at my computer, or while alone in the shower, there were on average more positive days than painful ones.  It's now September, and I am doing my best to keep moving forward... trying my best to remain grateful for the blessings I do have in my life, positive about our future, and hopeful that this month, or some month very soon, we'll be lucky enough to get pregnant again.

"We cannot change yesterday, we can only make the most of today, and look with hope toward tomorrow." - Unknown

I'm so very grateful for all the support I've received over the past few months; from my loving husband, my golden-hearted BFF, and my many online group chat board comrades out there on the world wide web.  I don't think I could've made it through this experience {mostly} unscathed without you.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Encouragement From a Long Lost Friend

I recently regained contact with a friend with whom I was once very close when I was younger, but lost touch with over the past 10 years.  I saw on Facebook that she was expecting a baby, so sent her a private message to congratulate her.  To my surprise, she responded by telling me that she and her husband were very excited to be parents, especially because they had experienced 3 miscarriages in the past 2 years.  Three miscarriages???  In two years??  My heart fell into my stomach and I began bawling.  I felt deep despair -- for her and her husband and their families.  But also for myself, and for anyone else who has been through this horrible experience.  And then I started thinking that if she could survive such a terrible thing THREE times, and still go on to try again and eventually have a healthy pregnancy.... maybe there was a little bit of hope for the rest of us?

She was very kind in her message and went into great detail about all 3 of her losses.  As I read, I cried and cried and cried.  I couldn't imagine how anyone could go through all of this and come out on the other side, still standing.  She ended her message by saying:

I wanted to share with you my (long) story because although it was really hard to go through, I did make it through and now I am pregnant!  I hope your journey is not as long and as painful.  Everyone would say to me after I miscarried that this is the way for nature to get rid of a pregnancy that wasn't going to work, or a baby that wouldn't have been healthy.  Nothing anyone said would help me to feel better.  Months after I would still randomly get upset about it.  Right now though, I can tell you that it is all worth it, and I don't think about all that I went through.  I'm just enjoying now and I am so grateful for this pregnancy.

and then...

Take care of yourself and think positively!  Good things happen to good people!  It's the way of the world and what you deserve!

Reading her words made it sound so easy to try to think positively, though thinking positively seems impossibly scary for me at this point.  But, after learning what this woman has been through, I do feel a slight glimmer of hope.  And I feel encouraged that if she could be so very strong and brave enough to try again and again and again, and to maintain hope that one day she'd get her miracle baby, that at the very least I should give it my best to try to follow in her footsteps...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Another AF = Officially TTC

This was the first month since our miscarriage that I honestly thought I might be pregnant again.  I've experienced a few minor bouts of queasiness over the past couple weeks along with a couple odd twinges in my abdominal area.  I hoped those were signs of fertilization and implantation, but, alas, good old Aunt Flo came for her monthly visit.

As if getting AF isn't annoying enough, this month's was abnormally painful and heavy.  I know that's typical for the first AF after a miscarriage, but this is my third AF, and it was much worse than my second {and maybe even my first, too}.  Which of course had me Googling and then wondering after reading random web posts whether I could have experienced a chemical pregnancy.  Apparently the bleeding from a chemical pregnancy can often be accompanied by more cramps than usual.  What I've come to realize though, if not accept, over the past several months is that there are some questions I will never have answers to.  In this case, I didn't take an early pregnancy test so there is no way to know for sure whether I could have experienced a chemical pregnancy or whether I just plain got unlucky with AF this month.

Regardless, I guess we're officially now in the bucket of couples who are "TTC", or trying to conceive.  I don't know why I dislike that expression so much.  I think it's because the very terminology implies that while we're "trying" we're really failing {or else we'd be pregnant}.  I might as well say we're "FTC".

Hopefully next month brings better results...  But knowing that the odds of getting {and staying} pregnant quickly aren't really on our side makes it hard.
  • According to this UCSF Medical Center, "In nature, 50 percent of all fertilized eggs are lost before a woman's missed menses."  In a study referenced on this miscarriage site, "in a study that found that 22% of all natural conceptions fail to complete implantation, it was also found that 31% of pregnancies confirmed after implantation end in miscarriage."  Those are not great chances.
  • According to this Baby Center post, of all couples trying to conceive, approximately:
  • 30 percent get pregnant the first cycle (about one month) 
  • 59 percent get pregnant within three cycles (about three months) 
  • 80 percent get pregnant within six cycles (about six months) 
  • This trend continues and by about four years, 93 to 95 percent get pregnant.  
I am bursting with disappointment and impatience after one month...  I can't imagine going through this for many months or, gulp, years without losing my mind.
Though the statistics can be a bit daunting to say the least, at this point we absolutely need to remain optimistic.  So, here's a cartoon to lighten the mood:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not Broken

Have you ever instantly become drawn to a song, without knowing why?  When I first heard Pink's "Just Give Me A Reason" I involuntarily began crying as I listened to the lyrics.  The song is about a couple going through a hard time in their relationship, convincing one another to hold on and give it another try.  Does this apply to my marriage at the moment?  Absolutely not {thankfully}.  Then why was I so immediately smitten??  The tune is catchy for sure, but so are a lot of songs I don't feel such an emotional connection to.

The lyrics speak to me in a different way...about our miscarriage.  This experience has been so hard -- more physically and emotionally difficult than anything else I've been through.  At times during our miscarriage I wasn't sure I could, or wanted to, hold it together.  But the truth is, we're not broken.  We still have one another.  We still have our love, and our marriage.  Together we can, and will, one day try again.  Shortly after our miscarriage I often thought about whether I would always be too scared or too weak to ever try again, or whether our first pregnancy experience would forever taint any future ideas or dreams about starting a family.  I was already so in love with our little one, even though I'd never even seen more of him or her than a blurry sonogram photo.  Losing our first baby was so much to bear, and although I am sure the pain will continue to lessen over time, I don't think it will ever completely disappear.  But now that a couple months have passed, I've realized it's like the song says -- we're not broken, just bent.  And we can learn to love again.

Now every time I hear this song, I feel a little bit of hope.

Just give me a reason
Just a little bit's enough
Just a second we're not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again
It's in the stars
It's been written in the scars on our hearts
That we're not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again

Oh, we can learn to love again
Oh, we can learn to love again
Oh, oh, that we're not broken just bent
And we can learn to love again

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Miscarriage Exprience

Have you ever heard that getting negative thoughts out of your head and onto paper {or in this case a computer screen} removes their power over you?  Well, this post is my way of investigating that theory.  I realized I've never written out my actual miscarriage experience.  As it was both physically and emotionally traumatic, I thought perhaps by writing everything down it might become less scary to recall or carry around with me as a part of my past.  So here goes...

Warning:  This post is a bit graphic and contains what some might consider TMI.  Proceed at your own risk!

There are multiple types of miscarriage... natural/spontaneous, induced through drugs, surgical.  In my case, I started miscarrying naturally, though was prescribed drugs to help the process along and ended up getting a MVA {a.k.a. Manual Vacuum Aspiration - similar to a D&C but uses vacuum aspiration instead of scraping to remove the tissue, and does not utilize general anesthesia so you're awake in the dr's office}.

When I started miscarrying, I was nearly 11 weeks along into my first pregnancy and didn't know any of this info.  Looking back, I don't feel that my OB gave me all the info I needed to prepare myself as much as possible for the experience, so I'm hoping by sharing my experience that I can help inform others' and maybe draw your attention to some different options.  Read how my scenario played out below.  {I've tried to keep the descriptions as "objective" as possible without a lot of emotional narration.}

Sunday mid-afternoon:  After getting out of the shower, I felt the urge to pee. I didn’t have any pains, but there was a certain discomfort in my pelvic area that made me want to pee before even getting my robe on. Looking down, I saw bright red blood come out in my urine stream and immediately my heart sank. I threw my robe on, screamed for my husband, hopped into bed and propped my feet up on pillows. The time was 2:30pm. I called my OBGYN’s emergency service line and anxiously awaited a return call. The on-call doctor happened to be the one I saw at my recent visits, and she returned the call within a few minutes. She asked whether I had fallen or had any cramps or pain {which I didn’t} and advised that unless I was soaking a pad an hour {which I wasn't -- the blood was really only coming out when I urinated} to wait until Monday morning to come in.  For several hours after that call I laid in bed, scared to death. I knew bright red blood could be bad, but I didn’t have any pains and the blood only seemed to be coming out when I urinated. Of course I spent the rest of the day searching for and reading info about miscarriage, and was generally terrified at the mere possibility.  I don't know if I was too gullible or desperate, or both, but I came across some posts online from women who experienced scary-sounding bleeding during pregnancies that ended up being totally fine.  And, we'd already seen a very healthy heartbeat at 8 weeks, so I tried to convince myself we'd also be fine.  After doing my online research, I slept with my legs up on a pillow and hardly bled on my pad at all at night.

Monday AM:  Woke up, checked for blood. There was a little bit on my pad but no clotting and no pains.... yet.  By the time I got to my doctor's office at 10am though I felt the cramping pretty badly {similar to period but more severe}, and felt the bleeding worsen. Upon arrival at the office, my OB confirmed the embryo was not detectable in the uterus and I was miscarrying. She advised me to try to let the process complete naturally, and sent me home with 4 pills of Methotrexate to take every 6 hours over the next 24 hours to help the process along. The pills caused my bleeding to worsen and the cramping to be VERY severe at times {especially for about 1 hour after each dose}. I've never given birth so I can't say for sure that the pain was like contractions, but it seemed like it to me. Thanks to the pain, I barely slept at all that night which honestly made everything a lot harder to handle.  My OB underplayed the pain I would feel from these pills; had I known I would've tried to time the pills differently so I could've tried to get at least some sleep during the night.  {Side note: I ended up passing a large clot-like tissue in the middle of the night which was about the size of a flattened prune, which for some reason I decided to put in a jar during my hysteria after seeing it because I think I had read something about doing that on a message board. This was VERY traumatic to go through at home, but the tissue sample ended up being used for lab analysis and it was determined that chromosomal abnormalities were the cause of my miscarriage.  So, although this was a very painful thing to have gone through and have seared into my memory, it helped provide me with information that confirmed the miscarriage was not a result of anything I did wrong.  Therefore, if possible I'd advise other women who have the opportunity to do this as well.  My doctor never mentioned the possibility that this could happen, which I feel was a very important omission.  Seeing something like that come out of me is something I'll never ever forget.  It was something I feel I should've been more prepared for by my doctor, not some random online message board I'd once skimmed after finding out I was pregnant.}

Tuesday: After all that physical and emotional trauma, my OB didn't think the progress was significant enough because my uterine lining was still "too thick" for her liking, so she scheduled me for a MVA for Wednesday AM and sent me home with more RXs to take "in order to prepare for the procedure".

Wednesday:  Had to take Misoprostol pill {plus some antibiotics} 2 hours prior to my MVA.  The instructions were to insert vaginally but luckily I had the guts to ask my doctor on Tuesday if there were any other possibilities, and she told me I could put it under my tongue.   {Another thing I would've appreciated her being more forthcoming about!}  At the time I didn't know the side effects/reasons for taking the Misoprostol; I thought it was required for the MVA because she didn't really explain any other reasons for taking it.  However, it had an effect on me similar to the Methotrexate, though without as much cramping pain {but definitely some!}. Since my own experience, I've read up on these drugs and I now know that both the Methotrexate and the Misoprostol are not necessary to take prior to a MVA or D&C -- they're usually used instead of the surgical options.  After taking them, it is also typically recommended to wait anywhere from 1-3 months before trying to conceive again, which was not disclosed to me by my doctor.  I don't know that I would've refused the scripts, but it would've been nice to have the information prior to picking up the pills from my pharmacy and being blindsided, while experiencing severe physical pain and sleep-deprivation.
{Read about my MVA experience here.}


So, what started out for me as a "spontaneous" natural miscarriage ended requiring pills, more pills, and a surgical intervention to complete.  Those 3.5 days were exhausting.  The good news is that about an hour or so after the MVA procedure was complete, the cramping and pain stopped, which was a huge relief.  I was able to take an additional 2 days off from work, which allowed me to sleep, mope and cry at will, and watch TV to try to take my mind off of what I'd been through.  Asking for that additional time off was a good decision.

In sum, the miscarriage process can be hard on your body and emotions, and all treatment options have their pros and cons. It is a personal preference whether you prefer to be at home in private, whether there is someone who can stay with you at home in case of emergency, whether you just want to go the surgical route and get it over with quickly but with the caveat that there will be lots of doctors and poking and prodding involved, etc.

My experience was a combination, so I can now see the pros/cons of the different options. But, all of the steps I experienced occurred at the direction of my doctor -- I was in too much shock to really ask any questions or ask about other options, I just followed orders blindly and cried. The only thing I'm thankful for is that I somehow thought in a moment of panic to capture the tissue sample I passed at home in the middle of the night, because that was the only tissue able to be tested for genetic abnormalities. {There was no useful tissue collected from the MVA.}  That one event ended up being really helpful in my process because it provided some type of information and some form of an answer to explain what had happened.

My advice to anyone out there going through this is to take care of yourself, lean on friends and family for support, and follow your instincts.  Do what feels right for YOU and ask lots of questions until you get the information you need.  Once it's over, take time off from work if possible to rest and try to heal emotionally and physically after the medical process is over.  Nobody should have to go through this -- sadly, too many of us do.

Monday, August 5, 2013


"Motherhood is a state of both the mind and the heart, a sacred place that is yours no matter the distance between you and your child. Not even death can take it away." ~ Dr. Joanne Cacciatore

I live in a large apartment complex, so frequently share the elevator with neighbors from my building.  Recently, I shared the elevator with a little girl, who looked about 2 years old, and her mom.  At one point during the elevator ride from the comfort of her stroller, the little girl looked at me, pointed up at her mom and proudly announced "my mommy".  She then looked around, saw that I was the only other person in the elevator, pointed at me with a bit of confusion and asked "someone else's mommy?" several times, while curiously looking back and forth between her mom and me.  I couldn't quite make out what she was saying at first, but after the second or third time of her repeating the question, I caught on.  I can only imagine how my expression changed, from a friendly smile into a face of stone, likely.  The mom laughed nervously and I just stood there, speechless.  It felt like I was punched in the gut.  How I wished I was someone else's mommy.

Back in June, after I first told my BFF about our miscarriage, she sent me a message encouraging me to take whatever time I needed to grieve and to not let anyone tell me that I don't have a right to mourn my lost baby.  She went on to tell me that "I am a mommy now and no one can take that away".  I remember feeling so stunned upon receiving that part of her message.  Up until that point, I hadn't thought of myself as a mommy.  In fact, part of why I was so angry and scared is that I thought I might never have the chance to be a mommy.  But after thinking about it, I realized that I was a mommy... a mommy without a baby.  At the time, I didn't realize that it was okay to feel that way.  I'd never held my baby -- I'd never even seen him or her except for the shadow on the screen during my first ultrasound.  I hadn't even heard his or her heart beat, though the sonogram tech did.  Medically speaking I didn't even know if I technically ever had a baby; I knew I had an embryo and possibly a fetus {depending on various opinions of when the embryo becomes a fetus}, but could I legitimately say I carried a baby?

It was only after discussing with other women who had been through similar losses that I felt comfortable thinking of myself as a mother without a child.  That phrase sounds like an oxymoron, but in fact it perfectly describes how I feel.  Before my pregnancy and before my loss, I hadn't spent a lot of time thinking about miscarriage.  Of course I knew people who'd experienced miscarriages, but I never stopped to think about how truly horrible such a loss would feel.  I am ashamed to admit this, but I guess I always assumed that miscarriages that occurred in the first few months wouldn't be that  hard or that  traumatic.  I always knew it would be sad, but didn't know it would be life-changing.  I didn't know how utterly in love you could fall for someone so tiny, so fast.  Logically, how could the loss of a 10.5 week old fetus hit me as hard as the death of my 91 year old grandfather, whom I loved for literally my entire life?  I guess I used to assume that since you didn't "meet" the baby before an early miscarriage that it wouldn't be as devastating.  But it was.  It truly was.

Coming to the realization that I am a childless mother in a way helped me admit to my feelings instead of trying to deny or rationalize them away, even if only to myself.  Only then did I feel like I could openly and honestly begin to grieve for my lost baby.  A baby I never did, nor will I ever, have the chance to meet has changed me forever.  In that brief period of 10 weeks and 5 days, I became a mother.  And now, a part of my heart will always belong to my first unborn child.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Silent Tears


Today would've marked the 19th week of my pregnancy.  I wonder how it would've felt to reach "the halfway mark"...

I'm nearing the point where I will have been "un-pregnant" for a longer period of time than I was pregnant.  I wonder how that will feel...

I've already been "un-pregnant" for a couple weeks longer than the period during which I knew I was in fact pregnant.  Unfortunately, if anything that fact only makes me feel worse, not better.

I also wonder if or when my brain will stop automatically calculating weekly gestation milestones each and every Wednesday...  Eventually, time will run out.  I would've never been 52 weeks pregnant even if I hadn't miscarried, so I guess this counting ritual technically can't go on much past December.

Eventually, it will be time to move on... time not to forget, but to focus on something new.  I can't imagine it but I guess that's the goal of the grieving process -- processing and accepting what has happened in order to move on.  Do I even want to move on?  Honestly, I'm not sure.  Will time heal this pain?  Only time will tell...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Too Good to Be True

I remember the moment I read in one of my pregnancy books that an estimated 25% of women don't get morning sickness while pregnant.  Most women would be thrilled to find themselves in that category, but I distinctly remember feeling uneasy upon reading that statistic.

You see, I just don't have good luck.  It could be the 2 mirrors I broke while moving into Manhattan 7.5 years ago; it may very well be something else.  But whatever the reason, luck is generally not on my side.  If 25% of women don't get morning sickness, that means 75% do, and those kinds of odds are rarely in my favor.  Nevertheless, I don't consider myself overly superstitious, so I tried not to focus on that fact too much and instead hoped for once I was on the right side of the odds.  But, there were several other reasons I feared this pregnancy seemed too good, or at minimum, too easy, to be true:
  • We got pregnant on our second try.  I know some women struggle for months and some for many years to conceive.  For as long as I can remember, even back to my teenage years, I've always had a deep-seated fear that I'd be unable to get pregnant.  To learn we got pregnant so quickly was very surprising to me after so many years of worrying.
  • Our baby's estimated due date was the 25th.  Not only is my birthday the 25th, but so is my mom's.  I know babies are rarely born on their due date, but the potential for this happening was pretty neat.
  • And not just any 25th... our baby was due on December 25th.  Christmas Day.  I can't think of a more beautiful way to celebrate Christmas than to welcome a new baby of our own into our lives.  I've always loved Christmas {and not just because of the presents!} and it's always been a very big tradition in my family for many extended relatives to gather from near and far.  The news that our baby was expected at Christmastime made the experience all the more magical for both my husband and I.  We were absolutely delighted to learn we were pregnant, and over the moon with excitement when we calculated our due date.  I went to numerous different web sites, repeatedly filling in dates, to be sure it was true!
  • We pulled off two YouTube-worthy surprise family reveals.  Our moms both live about 1.5 hours away {in different directions} and we successfully orchestrated the biggest Mother's Day surprise by inviting them both over for brunch, and then presenting them with matching "grandma to-be" t-shirts while recording their priceless reactions.  And, they didn't suspect a thing.  It was such a fun and memorable surprise, and the timing was perfect because we'd just had our first ultrasound 4 days earlier, so even had photos on hand to insert into their cards.  We even got a baby bottle of bourbon for my brother, so the new uncle-to-be wouldn't feel left out.  Then, a few weeks later, we surprised my aunt, uncle, cousin and 91 year old grandmother who live 7 hours away during what they thought was an experimental laptop video-conferencing for my job.  I prepared and sent via FedEx to my aunt four sealed envelopes, each containing a piece of paper with one of the letters B, A, B, Y.  They opened the envelopes simultaneously and put the clue together while we silently watched from our laptop.  We captured their wonderful reactions on video through the wonders of modern technology, and were so excited to be able to tell them our wonderful news "face to face", even though we couldn't do so in person.  This may not sound like a big deal, but it meant everything to me.  As I mentioned, my grandma is 91 years old.  She is the brightest light in my life and I felt so honored to tell her that she was going to become a great-grandma.  Her reaction was absolutely priceless.
I know these things all probably seem pretty petty, especially as compared to the incredibly serious and solemn occurrence of a miscarriage.  But at the time, these small details magnified the excitement of experiencing our first pregnancy beyond anything we could have imagined.  Everything just came together o perfectly.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be too perfect.  It was too good to be true.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


We finally got the much anticipated call from our Genetic Counselor, and we're normal!  {Chromosomally speaking anyway.}  Our karyotype results show that my husband and I each have 46 normal chromosomes, with no translocations.  That's good news.

It means the chromosomal abnormalities that caused our miscarriage were not inherited; they were "de novo" or new, likely due to errors during cell division.

It doesn't mean that they won't occur again; it's certainly not impossible, though from the research I've done so far, it seems improbable that we'll experience a chromosomal abnormality twice in a row.  As we've come to realize, there are no guarantees -- but I'll happily accept this prognosis.

This has been the longest 13 days of my life.  Who am I kidding... it's been the longest 53 days of my life.  Although hearing these results don't change or lessen in any way the loss of our first pregnancy, confirming that the miscarriage was not due to any inherited abnormalities does, finally, give me some sense of hope back.

We still have a few unanswered questions, I plan on doing some more research online, and we'll likely place a follow-up call to the Genetic Counselor to obtain more information; but for now I'm going to enjoy this small bit of relief.
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