One of those perfect moments where everyone is happy.
I wish I could tell you that after learning about folic acid & baby aspirin and discovering OMM treatments that things were easy sailing. Sadly that was not the case. Just 2 days after my first OMM treatment I had a doctors appointment. I was just past 16 weeks – I was super excited for this visit because I would be scheduling my 20 week appointment when I left where I would find out if I would be having a girl or boy. I took my baby (okay, she’s 4 1/2, but still MY baby) with me to the office. I knew for sure I had felt some movements between 12-14 weeks, but not anything super noticeable since. I was hopeful that I was just early and pregnancy books kept claiming that it was okay not to feel anything before 16 weeks – although with my girls I usually felt definite and increasing movement by 14 weeks.
Chris and I – 14 weeks
When my ob began listening for a heartbeat he was unable to find anything. We happened to be in the ultrasound room, so he turned it on and took a look. I kept holding my breath and waiting for an “Oh, alright, here we go” but it never came. We could see the baby’s ribs, I could see his face, his profile, his hands and feet, but he was perfectly still. We watched and continued watching for at least 10 minutes. I just sat there totally stunned. I had always held 12 weeks as my “pass” point – I would have a baby if I could just make it to 12 weeks. My last visit had been at about 13 1/2 weeks and things were great, both movement and a heartbeat, so I felt completely out of the woods. Now I was sitting there in a dark room listening, straining to hear something – and all I could find was silence. The monitor refused to beep and give signs of a heartbeat. My daughter had fallen asleep on the chair once the lights were turned off. I tried to keep it together as I re-dressed and scooped the sleeping girl off the chair and calmly walk to the front desk to schedule an appointment for the next day to repeat the ultrasound and “talk”.
The moment I made it to my car I broke. I sobbed uncontrollably in the parking lot for at least 30 minutes before I could breath enough to drive home. Once I got there I sat on my bed and sobbed the rest of the day. By the time my older girls were out of school I was able to “act” okay to go and pick them up. They hopped in the car and wanted to know if I got pictures of the baby, if I knew if it was a brother or a sister. I sidestepped questions – hoping that by some miracle tomorrow things would be different – total denial. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell Chris what was going on until all the kids were in bed that night.
Of course the results were the same the next day. I’m not quite sure how I made it through that week – other than the simple fact that I had to. My mom came and stayed with my girls – she told my neighbor what was going on and it seemed at that moment I had support from any direction I turned. I do have some of the best girlfriends around. But the inevitable did happen, and we lost our baby. We were told he probably died between 14-15 weeks.
At first I couldn’t bring myself to even consider trying again – I was done. This one was so hard – possibly because I had felt his movements, or because I had tried so long to get pregnant, or because I had made it to my “safety” zone – but I was heartbroken – I could not pull myself together for weeks. I cried daily. I sobbed daily. I would escape to my room any chance I got for a moment to stop pretending I would be fine.
My funny girl that makes me laugh every day.
Slowly I have been able to look further ahead than this moment. It seems like I feel that moment at full impact a little less often. I have passed my due date, I have held babies that would be the same age as mine. I miss mine so badly, but I know I still have a future of more to come, either myself or through adoption. I don’t know that I will ever “get over” this loss, but I do know without a doubt that somehow it was worth it. I don’t even know how to explain that, I would never choose to experience it, but I have learned along the way. I have gained so much appreciation for the girls I have. I love and admire birth mothers who share the amazing gift of motherhood with those who want it so bad. I have gained more compassion for others and realized that everyone has a struggle – we often just don’t know.
I met with my husbands professor again. I love her to death. She told me that we had unfinished business and has continued to see me weekly for months free of charge to get my body into the best possible shape for my next go around. Within a few months I could feel noticeable changes. For one, I no longer craved an afternoon nap (I have for years) and my emotions felt more stable, although I never felt like I was majorly up and down before, I just felt better. My cycles continued to be dry and last for weeks. So she gave me homework. Over a few months we worked in Vitamin B Complex and Evening Primrose Oil. I bought mine through Vitacost and have continued to use that since I am new to the whole supplements world and they seem to have been fine. Both of these were suggested in the hopes of helping my hormones manage themselves better. I saw a small change to my cycles, but still not what I would consider normal. The next suggestion was to make sure all the food I was eating was hormone free. I didn’t think this would be a big change at first, but physically it has made a HUGE difference. I had no idea all the foods that had hormones in them. I replaced ground beef with ground turkey. Apparently the FDA has banned hormones in the use of Pork and Poultry in the US, but Beef is still open game. As far as I can tell, your beef most likely has hormones in it unless it is certified as “organic” which seems to cost about $15/lb – OUCH! For us it was easiest to just cut out beef completely. The surprising culprit for me was cheese. You may have noticed that most milk states on it “From Cows not treated with RBST” but you won’t find that on most other dairy products such as cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, butter and ice cream. Here’s where my Oregon roots make me just a little proud. The one brand I have found that seems to be RBST free in ALL their products is Tillamook. I had a hard time finding a store that carried all of their products (Smith’s carries the cheese) but discovered Win-Co has them!!! It is pretty easy to find out if a product is hormone free – if they are, they will make sure it is visible on the packaging – it’s a great advertisement. Kraft – I have looked and looked – does not seem to say anywhere that they are hormone free.
Within 6 weeks of this switch I could see a very noticeable change. I was what I would consider about 75% of normal – coming from maybe a 15% ever since the D&C after the hemorrhaging of my 4 1/2 yr old’s birth. I still can’t even begin to call myself a health nut, but I have made a few more changes – my OMT gave me the book Fertility Cycles and Nutrition which has been awesome! Written by a mom of 7 and pediatrician on how to realistically change the way you eat. One of my favorite pieces of advice was to look at what you are cooking with now and change one ingredient at a time – don’t change the final product – eat the same foods, just make them with better ingredients. My first replacement was sugar – refined white for raw – which has been super easy, it just takes a few minutes more to dissolve. My husband had been hugely supportive in this and checks labels more than I do. Mostly he tells me why a certain food is better than another (from a scientific / what does your body do with different foods kind of standpoint) which has helped me decide how to make changes.
For several months it gave me a direction – food – I can change my food. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t think there will really be *one* perfect answer that fixes what’s going on for me, but I can see changes – and change is good. If you do what you always do, you can expect what you’ve always got.