Sunday, October 9, 2011

Back with another update

The short version so you can skip the rest of the shit if you like:

Still pregnant with a viable fetus. Saw the perinatologist Dr. K on Friday and my little parasite (the most affectionate name we've come up with) was measuring ahead a bit with a good steady heartrate and good placement. My cervix measured 3 cm, but on manual exam showed a 'short presentation' - based on this and on my history, Dr. K has agreed completely with Dr. B's assessment and I will have a cerclage placed in 3-4 weeks and start 17p shots weekly at 16w. He said that of course there are no guarantees, which I know, but that he felt pleased and thinks I have a good shot at this.

And now the rest of the crap:

I honestly meant to write more between visits. But I found that every time I opened it up and stared at the blank white box, the fear would rise up again and I quietly closed it and went on my way. Or I'd come here and pour out a very long piece which was either a long rant about work and how buried and unhappy I am (which, once redacted to remove identifying details is confused in the extreme) or a long rambling on how convinced I am that the pregnancy is over or will be soon and god, I am tired of thinking it, how boring to read such things over and over and over.

In truth, I'm coping. Probably not very well, and dear lord do I stare longingly at that gorgeous unopened bottle of Mt. Gay Eclipse, but for the most part (long panicky and repetitive emails and chats with my dear T aside, who patiently listens and soothes though she's probably ready to do herself in to get it to stop already), I plod through each day.

Now that I'm nearly 10 weeks (and oh, yes, after measuring ahead, I went back and changed all my tickers back to where they were before the last u/s because I like Monday ticker-change better than Wednesday, because it's two days ahead my precious), and we've seen a good heartbeat, the risks have dropped to under 3%. We've also heard the heartbeat on the home doppler, which may drop us down to 2%. Not that I'm holding my breath over statistics - they've never been kind in the past. It's more like, ok. Maybe the tension can unwind a click now.

The hardest part was the in-between of the u/s. Just around 7 weeks and not another until 9.5, because of scheduling (and yes, I know how 'lucky' I am to get all this monitoring, I've been told on my birth month board, to which I snapped back that I'd much rather have a healthy normal pregnancy and forgo all the extra u/s ...). That particular time was difficult because it was too early to use the doppler (who am I kidding, we started trying at the end of 8 weeks/beginning of 9), far too early to feel movement, my uterus is still pretty far down in my pelvis (I can find it easily now though!) and the prime time for missed miscarriages. Symptoms are changing as well, as we approach the end of first tri, as the placenta moves towards taking over hormone production, etc.

I went from constant boob soreness to mild achiness in the evening. I went from all-day nausea and food aversions to hunger, interest in certain foods (I can eat tomatoes! and onions! and pickles!), and only some really bad near-vomiting after eating and in the evenings. Fatigue - well, hell, I'm so stressed out that ones particularly hard, and frequent urination? I have been drinking water like I'm a camel embarking on a desert journey, so who can say? Take all of that, through in paranoia, and some cramping, and a massive dose of stressed-out crazy and you get, well, me. It was difficult to function. All my free thoughts pulled together to say AFRAID AFRAID AFRAID AFRAID. I had horrible nightmares about the pregnancy ending in gruesome ways, about my family members dying or murdering others, and finally the past week saw me awake every night between 3 and 4, and be unable to return to sleep because of the things running through my head.

And let's not forget that work is a godawful disaster right now that brings its own high stress levels. I can't even get into all of it, but there is no sense that things are getting better or that that will ever get better (though that is a bit dramatic, really). No light at the end of that tunnel, really. I told a couple of people that I thought I would be coping better overall if I only had work to deal with or if I only had the pregnancy to deal with. The combination, instead of distracting me from the pregnancy or increasing my focus at work, has left me one big mess of a person who feels like she is failing at every thing she touches.

The anxiety levels are through the roof, in other words.

Things will get easier though. I hope. At least now, we're into fetus-hood. We're into the point where the doppler is working (and oh, obliging baby, how grateful I am that you are so kind - placed right at the top of the uterus, my parasite moves right near the probe and obligingly swims back and forth at that spot - no real searching or following, not like with Gabe. The technobeat freight train fades in and out and we let out a breath we'd been holding and there it is). We have a plan in place for my treatment. The pregnancy has been so different from Gabriel's - no bleeding, no worries, no scares except in my head. The baby will get bigger, the heartbeat easier to hear and measure. The trimester will end, and a cerclage will be placed. The monitoring every other week will continue, movement will start. As each of these things happens, another click of unwinding, of ability to move or to breathe. Not relax - ever relax? I doubt it. But easier, I hope.

I am able to do a little more - my family has been told now. I think we'd have liked to wait to make any announcements until after the cerclage (that certainly is the general plan for the rest of work or Jason's family, make sure that goes without disaster), but alas, my brother's wedding the week after placement makes it difficult, as everyone else is going and we are not. Everyone seems excited and hopeful though and my brother was really nice about the announcement. I bought canvas to make letters for the name for this one - Oliver or Vivienne (I'm starting with Vivienne, as nearly everyone believes it to be a girl). Cream letters, with sage green trim for Oliver or mauve trim for Vivienne. The colors were so clear. I didn't shake like a leaf this time. I had a few moments of doubt, but not the paralyzing fear of even a week before.

This is as positive as I can be, I fear. I feel an uncomfortable duty to pretend to happiness and delight, to be grateful for the symptoms that were dragging me down, and I can't do it. I feel terribly for those who would love to be in my position, but I can't manufacture emotion. Abstractly, I am happy, and hopeful. Emotionally, I am numb and want it to stay that way. The fear is hard enough when I am numb. Attached and hopeful and stupid? I don't think I could get out of bed again. So we go about every day, breathing in and out, trying to do one day at a time. Some days it works better than others. That, really, is the essence of life, I guess.

Oh, and as an odd post-script? At nearly 10 weeks pregnant, for a lark, I took one of the internet cheapie tests that are still laying around here (can't pass them off on anyone, not just quite yet, not really) - these tests that were the bane of my ttc existence with their faint lines and squinting, that gave me the first unbelievable positive at 9 dpo? 10 weeks pregnant, and the test line is still not darker than the control line. Wow.


juliane2004 said...

I'm so happy for you :) Glad to know things are going well with the pregnancy.

Angela said...

Pregnancy after loss is so difficult. I'm typing this with my one month old rainbow baby in arms, but getting to this place was so hard I thought I would lose my mind.

Looking back I wish I would have done something about the PTSD during the pregnancy.

I think that's the best advice I can provide: talk through it now, seek counseling now, don't be afraid to talk about just how hard it is, how scared you are.

10 weeks, you are moving right along. I am so glad you can hear the heartbeat via doppler. It's such a reassuring sound.

Renel said...

Oh it looks so good to me. I am so happy that you are coping and things are "going well" I can imagine that doppler to be a lovely best friend. Sending all kinds of light and positivity your way for you and your parasite :)

MK said...

I'm very excited for you. I would highly HIGHLY recommend seeing an anti-natal loss specialist and if you can't find one of those, an counselor. I was a fucking basket case with Zoey. Nightmares, freak outs, I couldn't enjoy being pregnant. Finally, at 13 weeks, my ultrasound tech said, "we need to help you calm down and stay sane. Anxiety is not good for you or the baby. We need to figure this out for you and her." And they did. Zoloft and Clonopin daily with instructions to take a half Clonopin before ultrasound appointments (because they were stressful for me). Talk to your doctor, I was lucky they recognized that I wasn't PTSD-free and helped.

MSC from GP said...

I really recommend the book, "Still to be Born." I had to skip some chapters altogether (because they talk about other things that could go wrong in order to help people with their specific situations) but there are some real nuggets of knowledge in there that helped me through PGAL.

Thinking of you.

Aoife said...

Hi Eliza, I'm here from Glow... There's just no easy way through this long 40 weeks is there? I am glad that you are clocking up the days though, and I hope it's a little reassuring to know that they will soon add up to a full trimester. I know that means entering extra-terrifying-second-trimester territory for you, but I hope with your new treatment plan that it feels a lot different to your pregnancy with precious Gabriel. Take care of yourself. I'm quietly hoping and keeping everything crossed for you.