Sunday, January 29, 2017

rainbow baby | second trimester

Once the first trimester was over and we started telling everyone the happy news, I did start feeling a little better. I wasn't feeling as sick, and then my morning sickness was gone all together, but I was still fearful that something might go wrong. 

The good thing about miscarriage support groups is that you can share your story to help heal, the not so good part is when you hear others stories, you learn what else can go wrong. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that there was a level of fear that I had throughout the pregnancy that lessened the closer I got to my due date. [And then rapidly increased with the thought of actually having to birth a baby.] 

The two most reassuring things in the second trimester were when I started to feel the baby kick, and when we had the 18 week anatomy scan. The first time I felt the baby kick was a little bit earlier than most first time moms. I remember distinctly that I was getting ready for bed on a Friday night and brushing my teeth, when I felt a little flutter. I went to tell Mike that I felt something, but wasn't sure if it was kicking. Two days later I felt another little flutter around the same time. Again I told Mike that I wasn't sure what, but there was something. This happened two more days in a row until I was convinced that I was actually feeling my tiny baby moving around. At this point I was around 15 weeks. This was the best feeling in the entire world. Whenever the baby kicked during the pregnancy [even later on when he discovered my ribs] I felt so relieved and happy. 

Up next was the 18 week anatomy scan. This was such an interesting experience of excitement and worry. I just wanted to see a strong heartbeat. And when we got in the ultrasound room, and got started, we saw that beautiful heartbeat, and then we got to hear the heartbeat, I was over the moon. The tech then did some measurements and started scanning around. She stopped at one point, and then moved the wand abruptly. She asked if we knew what we were having, and I said, "I might now." She scanned back over and said, well, what is your guess? I looked at Mike, and told him that I thought that I knew, but I would let the professionals handle this. Mike said, "well that's a boy."

Everything checked out great for our little Jelly Bean. He was movin' and grovin' the whole time, so it made it hard fort he tech to get all of the images that she needed. She even had me get up and go tot the bathroom to see if he would move. And that he did. He had flipped 180 degrees and facing the opposite direction, which didn't make it easier to get the images, but we got to see our baby a littl longer. 

Most women say that the second trimester is the best trimester, and for me it was the easiest. I wasn't sick anymore, and wasn't yet waddling. Mike and I also got to take a dream trip to London and across Ireland with his brother and sister-in-law. [More on that later]. Watching my belly grow and feeling our baby kick was so incredibly amazing. I didn't take a single moment of it for granted.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

rainbow baby | first trimester

I have started to write this a couple of times, but just can't seem to get the words out the way that I want. I feel like getting it down on the page could jinx something.  That it could all go away. I have wanted this for so long, and now being in the final stretch, I cannot help but share the news.

I am pregnant! 36 weeks and 3 days pregnant! In less than 4 weeks we will be welcoming our little baby boy into the world. The baby that I have prayed for, cried over, and waited for will be here in less than a month!

I took a pregnancy test on Febuary 14th and saw the second line that I never thought I would see. Although the first emotion that I felt was pure joy, the second feeling of fear couldn't help but creep in. Pregnancy after miscarriage is so bittersweet. Excitement for the new life, and grief for the loss of another. Fear that the same thing may happen again. Fear that every time you use the bathroom you may see blood. Fear that the precious heartbeat that you are waiting to hear, never happens.

The first weeks were over whelming. Waiting for the the first ultra sound to date the pregnancy seemed like forever. We did do something different this time around. We told a few people. I knew this time around I would need a support group, that the process would be difficult. We decided to tell our parents, I knew I needed mine to know. So on my mom's birthday, I gave her a birthday card that was addressed to Grandma. My parents were so excited, and the extra support that I needed in the beginning when I was full of uncertainty. We told Mike's parents and his brother and sister in law. I told my boss since I knew I would need to be missing work for doctor appointments. She was so supportive through our loss than I knew I needed her through this blessing.

Our first ultra sound was scheduled for March 10th, the one day I did not want it to be. It's funny how things work themselves out. It was March 10th of 2015 that we saw our first baby for the only time. I am pretty superstitious, so I didn't feel like this was a good sign. What if this was just a repeat of the previous year? Was this some kind of cruel foreshadowing? All I wanted to hear were that things looked good, and that I was farther along then I was on the last March 10th. I was. I was one week ahead of where I was in the first pregnancy. Seven days exactly. We got to see our little Jelly Bean at 7 weeks and 4 days, and it was all so surreal. It still is. As he is wiggling around in my belly right now, I still cannot believe that it is happening.

I wish I could say that was all I needed to get excited. To hear the news, but I was still so cautious to get excited, knowing what kind of heartbreak could happen. our next appointment was the one that had broken my heart just about a year earlier. When went in at 11 weeks and 4 days to hear the sound that we never got to hear before through the that magical little Doppler. When we went in it was de ja vu. The doctor tried for a few minutes to find that little bean in my belly, but could not get a good read. She kept say, "I think that was it," "I know I just heard it." While we waited in the room for the ultra sound machine to get ready I couldn't help but start crying, and then sobbing. It was all too familiar. It couldn't be happening again. I just kept saying, "no" as Mike held my hand. I knew that there was a baby in there. I knew there was a heartbeat, I knew this time was different. When the doctor started the ultra sound we saw the baby right away. And then we saw the heartbeat. For those moments he was perfectly still. I stared the the screen for what I felt was 5 minutes, just watching that heart pumping. It had to have been less, because the doctor mentioned how strange it was that she couldn't pin point the heart beat when the baby was so still, and as soon as she said it, he started moving like crazy. Kicks and punches, and multiple somersaults, and he hasn't slowed down yet!

After that appointment, we started telling the rest of our friends and family. And on the day that I was 13 weeks along we posted this on Facebook.

The first trimester was filled with so many emotions, making it through those weeks were the hardest for me. Mike was there the whole way telling me that things were going to be okay. Reminding me to be excited, and sharing the feelings of fear where there were bumps in the road. Making it to the second trimester and past my miscarry date made this start to feel like it was actually happening! 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

spring cleaning

The night that we moved into the house that we are now living in, Mike and I walked into the empty second bedroom, held each other and knew that this would be the first room our baby would ever have. Since that day, the room has never been empty again. We used it as storage and had planned to get it ready for baby later, after we had let everyone know that it was to be the nursery. 

After the loss, I could barely walk into that room. It remained in the same state for more than six months. But after 2015 came to a close, and I still wasn't feeling any closure, we decided that it was time to do something with the room that we didn't use. 

I knew that I couldn't have it empty. I could not just put everything away that had spent the last six months in there and look at that room like I saw it the first night. I could not let it be a blatant reminder of how I felt on the inside... completely empty. 

Mike and I talked about it and decided that we should turn it into a "guest room/ office." This we agreed upon, but I still needed motivation. I had been eyeing a dresser online that I had imagined for a nursery, but could transition into adulthood, so I bit the bullet. I ordered the dresser and set a delivery date. Well if strangers coming into your house is not motivation to clean out a room I don't know what is. 

So this week I took a step that has terrified me for months... and I only cried three times that day.

I will put this one in the win column. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

get moving to move forawrd

These past months I have really tried to get my self out of the depression, and I think that it may be working. I am still sad often, but I am becoming less useless, and trying to actually do things. 

I decided that physically moving my body should help me move forward, after a light bulb moment when speaking to a friend. 

to keep myself motivated I got a fitbit. I started a little at home workout, that I can do without having to leave, and Mike and I started walking a couple times a week (when we see eachother) now that the weather is getting so nice. 

I also went to church for the first time in a long time last week, and I plan on continuing going forward. I was debating whether or not I should go today, but today would have been too hard. Since I have only gone once, the idea of bawling in front of complete strangers was not the first impression that I was really looking to make. 

Today was out due date. And I have been able to keep it together so far, but I know that I would not have been able to at a place where I feel so vulnerable. 

Today I will spend with Mike. The only time I really feel like things will be okay is when I am with him. Today is a day for us, for grieving and for looking toward the future. 

I can get pregnant. We will have children. Moving forward, looking ahead, thinking positively.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

update, what update?

I feel like now is the time that I should have some sort of update, but I am still standing still. 

I have decided that I think that it is about time that I do something about it; what that is, I am still not sure. 

I know that medication (which I have taken before for depression) would help, however it is not the right option. We have started trying again, so medication would not be an option. Now I am just not sure if speaking to someone will be helpful. Whenever I tell a new person about what I experienced, I break down. I can't help but re-live as I explain the process and the pain as I think back. I start feeling everything all over again. I know what the root of my pain is, but could therapy actually help me cope?

I have also contemplated going back to church. I haven't been in a church, or attended a service in over a decade. 

I just feel so empty. Something is missing. I am lost and I need to find myself. Maybe I need help finding Bailey again. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

taking steps is easy, standing still is hard...

Yes I just quoted Regina Spektor in reference to pregnancy loss makes me feel. It seems like since the miscarriage I have either been standing still, or taking one step forward and two steps back. 

It's weird that you are told what to expect during the miscarriage. How much you will bleed, and for how long. There will be pain, there will be tears. You need to give yourself time to grieve. What about after? What do you do when you cannot stop bleeding, or you can't start again? What do you do when you find out that someone from your past has the same exact due date that you were to have?

I am not sure how well I am doing at this whole coping process. I have lost people in the recent past. People who meant the world to me. My Grandmother, and woman who I inspire to be like. My Grandfather, the one I feel I inherited my sense of humor from. A man who married my Grandma, and I have known my whole life. I have grieved, and mourned the loss of these important figures in my life. 

My Grandmother was young, 73, and lung cancer took her too soon. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of her, her love, her influence, and how much I dearly miss her. But, like I was told... time has made it easier. I started crying less, and thinking of her with a smile on my face, instead of a tear in my eye. It has now been three years since loosing her, but I remember exactly how it felt. I can still feel it. 

This is different. 

With loosing this baby, my first baby, I lost hope and dreams of what was to come. I have lost a future that I would think of everyday of my short pregnancy.  For the 8 weeks that I knew I was carrying the tiny thing that I wanted more than anything in the world, I started dreaming of what was to be. What would this tiny creation of love look like? Would we have a little person running around with my quick wit, or their fathers love for knowledge? 

We moved into a house while I was 8 weeks pregnant, we moved with big dreams, and walking into what would be the nursery that night while it was empty, Mike and I hugged each other, knowing that this is where we would bring out little one home. Their first home that wasn't. Now, it is still filled with boxes. I don't want to see that room empty again, and have it reflect how I feel. I cant even stand in there for too long, I will think of what isn't. 

I made the realization recently [yes, I know I was in denial] that I am depressed. At first I kept saying that I was, "just sad." But my body is finally back to where it was before pregnancy hormones took over... and I am not done crying yet. When my hCG hormones where still at a level 5, I easily blamed that constant tears on hormones. Well, they are gone now, but the tears are not. Avoiding people and situations is not something that I am doing intentionally, but I am not trying either. I would rather be with the one person who understand what I am going through than be with anyone else. So I just don't really try. 

I wish that I could say that I am starting to get better, but I feel like I am standing still. I can't believe that it has been so long since that Tuesday when there was silence where there should have been a heartbeat. I hope soon that I can start taking steps.

Friday, June 26, 2015

today is a good day

Since my miscarriage, I have been looking for a sign. A sign that even though I lost my first baby, the storm would pass and I would be left with a beautiful rainbow. It seems silly to think someone who lives in the desert is waiting for an actual literal rainbow, but we have had more rain this year than in a long while. Alas, though the rain has come and gone, I had seen no such sight, and complications since the miscarriage has caused my hope to slowly start slipping away. I had been crying more [harder] lately than I had in the past weeks, but then today I saw the most beautiful rainbow across the whole United States. 

This is a HUGE step toward equality, and I am overwhelmed that in our country there is FINALLY marriage equality. Since I met my husband, I knew that I wanted to marry him. There was never a doubt in my mind, and without our marriage I don't know how I would get through this thing called life. Now every American has the chance to marry their best friend; the person that makes them stronger; the person that makes them happier; the person they LOVE. 

Today I have hope, and not just for me… for the future. Today is a good day. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

life and loss | part two miscarriage

Miscarriage was always in the back of my mind. Some people call me a pessimist, although I would see myself as more of a realist. The first week and a half from when I took the pregnancy test, to when we went in for our first OB appointment, I was cautiously optimistic. The second I was that fluttering heart on the ultrasound monitor, I was over the moon. 

When we were in the office with the doctor, Mike and I asked when it was "safe" to start telling our family and friends. Our doctor [who I think is great] told us that there is always a chance that something can go wrong at any point in the pregnancy, however after we hear that heart beat at twelve weeks, your chance for miscarriage is greatly reduced. So we waited, and didn't tell a soul. At first it was hard to not share the excitement, but then our little secret became something for just Mike and I... it was special. 

So the closer we got to our twelve week appointment, the more excited I got, and the farther out of my mind I pushed the idea of miscarriage. Everything seemed to be going great. I had cut out all caffeine and was amazed how easy that was. I was watching my belly grow, and getting more uncomfortable in the clothes that I was wearing. My symptoms were still going strong [although I didn't feel like I ever really had that many]. 

You could imagine when we heard the news, we were completely shocked and devastated. I had what is called a missed miscarriage, or incomplete miscarriage. The baby's heart had stopped, but my body didn't realize; so my body kept producing pregnancy hormones.

I was given a few options: I could wait and miscarry naturally, I could opt for medicine to help my body along, or a surgical procedure [d&c]. For me, the best option was to have my miscarriage medically managed. I couldn't just wait, but surgical intervention seemed like too much of a risk. 

My doctor told me that I would heal faster physically than I would emotionally. Which for me couldn't be more true. I wonder if it would have been easier to find out sooner that my baby's heart had stopped... but would it have been? I still spent most of my time while pregnant daydreaming about the future, about what our baby would look like. If we were to have a boy or a girl [Mike though girl, and up until the day before my miscarriage... I had thought boy], and what would he or she look/act like? Were they going to have my crazy red hair?

Every week that goes by I still count what week my baby would have been. Last week was hard as the Tuesday that passed would have been our ultra sound where we new if we were having a little Bailey or a little Mike. Next Sunday, I would have been 20 weeks... the half way point, but I am not. 

I have joined an online support group, which helps, but everything still hurts so much. So much was lost on a day that was supposed to be so happy. I have been reading a lot online, and found an article that I found to be extremely helpful.

What has made the healing process harder, is that I still haven't healed physically, and may need follow up appointments, as my hormones my have not returned to normal. I am reminded everyday of our loss, but my body isn't letting more move forward either.

Monday, June 8, 2015

life and loss | part one

Hello old friend...

It looks like just over a year ago, I tried to resurrect this blog, and get back on track. Clearly that lasted a hot second. 

As you can imagine, when a year goes by, there is a lot that can change... and the reason that I am back writing here is that I need an outlet for my thoughts, feelings and grief. This will not be the first time that I have shared a loss on this blog, and although I sure hope that it will be the last, I know that will not be the case. With life comes loss, and change and growth. 

To really start this story, we need to go back, back in time to January 2014, when my husband and I decided that we would start trying to have a family [yes it is one of those kinds of posts... infertility]. We finally felt like we were in a place that we could wrap our heads around the future, and would financially be able to handle the responsibility of another life. So like any other couple we started trying, and tracking my cycles, and tried to get our timing right. A few months went past, and I was frustrated, but not yet discouraged. I have unpredictable cycles, so I knew that timing and tracking would be hard. So I decided that I would start using OPK [ovulation prediction kit]. I would make sure to test at the same time everyday, and most cycles I could pin point the day of ovulation, but other cycles, I would continue to get negatives. Every cycle that past and I couldn't figure out my ovulation date until it was too late felt like a missed opportunity. A missed chance for a baby.

This went on, part of my daily life; ovulation test, basal body temperature, charting and planning. I am at the age where a LOT of my friends are married, and now a LOT of them are starting their families. As we kept trying, more of our friends kept getting pregnant. For some it was easy, tried for a few months and were elated to find the holy grail [a positive pregnancy test]. Yet for some it was a challenge, endless months of trying, testing, treatments and in the end the holy grail, and BIG FAT POSITIVE. I can honestly say that I was never really jealous of any of our friends, but seeing their bellies grow, and watching them with their newborns just made me want a baby of our own even more. 

Then, after a year of trying we decided to go to the doctor and see what the next step would be. Like predicted, our OBGYN said that we could try fertility meds, although I was a healthy person the irregular cycles were going to make it a little more difficult for us, so we decided that is what we would do, next cycle I would take clomid. Well, my next cycle was supposed to arrive and after three days past due [not unheard of] I decided to take a pregnancy test. It was negative. I was crushed. I didn't ovulate... I couldn't have... we have to wait one more month, or longer... who knows when this thing will show up. So I waited another week, and still my cycle didn't start. Okay, I will take another test, there is no WAY that it could be positive, but I'll just take it, and when it is negative I will drown my sorrows in Crispin Hard Cider, and that will be that. So I took the test, and let it sit... and forgot that I had taken it, ten minutes later I came back to the bathroom to look at that stick, know what it would say, until I didn't. I had sprung for the digital test on a whim, and when I looked down I saw the word "pregnant." I had never been more happy in my life. It was February 26th at 5:30 in the evening, and I had no idea when Mike would be home. I called him, thinking that I could keep my cool as asked, "Hey, what time do you think that you will be home?" "I am on my way... what's wrong?" Apparently I sounded like a lunatic, "just wondering, see you soon." Mike, "Bailey, what's wrong?" That is when I recounted the story and repeated that I was freaking out, while sobbing [turns out I did not keep my cool]. Mike came home, we hugged and cried, and dreamed.

What is strange to me is how life can continue on with this huge secret... we weren't going to tell anyone until 12 weeks when it was "safe." Everyday I walked around beaming on the inside, quietly to my self, and Mike and I would take about our baby every evening. We went to our first OB appointment to get an idea of how far along I was, and while the doctors were thinking 8 weeks I knew that would not be the case. We went in for the ultrasound and there was our little flicker, all that I could make out was that heart beating strong [158 bpm] and the wonderful tech took some measurements "6 weeks and 2 days." We left beaming, and knew that we had to keep our secret for 6 more weeks. Time passed and we shared out moments, the soon to be mommy and daddy. I was tired at 5 pm like clockwork, and would take a nap when I could. Laundry would make me cry, a TV show, or commercial, or nothing at all would make me cry. As the weeks went by, we started getting more excited, and started planning when we would tell everyone. Parents were to be first. We planned a dinner, so we could tell his and mine at the same time. And next our siblings, we would tell them individually, but my sister was coming to visit at the perfect time. And lastly our friends, we had just moved, so we planned to tell them at a "house warming party" so they could all hear it at once. Our twelve week appointment was finally here. Time to hear the heart beat, that beautiful sound that would put us in the "safe zone" and give us the go ahead to share our secret. 

It was Tuesday, April 21st, and when I woke up, I didn't feel great... not bad, but not great. I went into the bathroom and was spotting. Spotting can be a totally normal thing to happen during pregnancy. I told Mike, and we were leaving in an hour to go to the doctor, so I knew that I would just tell her then, but I couldn't shake this feeling. Mike drove us, and I couldn't help but cry the whole way there. When we arrive, we waited [I always feel like I am in the waiting room longer than any other patient], the nurse finally called us back, and I told her about the spotting. We waited again, for the doctor. She asked me how I was doing, and I mentioned again that I was spotting. She reassured me that this could be totally normal, she did a quick exam, and everything still looked normal, so it was on to the heartbeat. She told me that it could take a couple of minutes to find the heartbeat, and to try not to worry. I tried... it didn't work. I cried the whole time, she couldn't find the heartbeat. We were told that they would get me in between ultrasounds so they could check on the baby, and see what was going on. We waited. When we went in there was our amazing tech, who asked if the doctor would stay in the room. When I looked at the screen I knew right away... that is not what we are supposed to see. I heard my doctors voice, "your baby developed to about 8 weeks and 4 days, and it's heart stopped beating." I am sure she said more, but it was all a blur. I can't tell you after that exactly what happened. I know we cried, I know we went into another room, and I know the doctor expressed her condolences and told us how we could handle this, my miscarriage.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

favorite beauty tubers

Lately I have been watching A LOT of YouTube. We don't have cable or satellite, so if there is nothing new on Hulu or Netflix, I am probably surfing the net, or watching YouTube. 

I have a few favorites out there that I watch regularly to get my beauty fix. Here are my top five channels where I never miss a video:

Bailey from Making Up the Midwest has wonderful concise videos that include reviews, swatches, tutorials and more. I am not going to lie, I first found her when I saw the name "Bailey" in the comments section of another YouTuber. I might have been drawn in by her name, but I come back again and again for her videos. 

Stephanie and Tracy from Eleventh Gorgeous are sisters with big personality. They are fun to watch and have a mix of beauty and life style videos, and never take themselves too seriously. I first started watching these girls when I found an Ipsy vs. Birchbox video on their channel. 

Emily at Beauty Broadcast has a great mix of high end and drug store products with reviews, tutorials, first impressions and haul videos. She posts quite a bit of content, where there is always something for everyone. She also has an express channel that delivers even more content and even features her husbands opinions. 

Estée from EssieButton is one of the first beauty bloggers that I started watching. She is a Canadian transplant living in England. She has a very likeable, quirky and adorable personality... and I might have a little bit of a girl crush on her. It is also extremely helpful that we have similar skin types and tones which makes her product recommendations a home run for me every time.  

Leigh Ann from LeighAnnSays is another YouTuber with big personality. She brings a mix of mostly drugstore makeup hauls, tutorials, clothing hauls and looks, hair, and nail videos that are always interesting. Watching her videos is like sitting down and chatting with a friend.