July 23, 2007

Hope and Stress

Hope is still alive. Today's appointment went well. But this pregnancy in particular, because it is the one that has provided us with the most hope, is also one of the very most stressful experiences of my entire life.

And that's saying something, because I'm not exactly a stranger to long-term, high-level stress: I served as a full-time caregiver for my diabetic, bedridden grandmother when I was 12 and 13 (while still going to school); when my dad left and my mom fell apart right before my senior year of high school, I got a job and spent two years making the mortgage payments before my mom was able to pull herself together enough to function; R and I lived through about two years of continuous uncertainty during which his company conducted 8 rounds of layoffs.

All of those were painful, difficult experiences. But this is different. The stakes are even higher.

Everything went fine all last week. I was calm. I reached yesterday and I thought, "If tomorrow's appointment goes well, I'm going to try very hard to be a normal pregnant person. I'm going to try to relax and enjoy this and let myself blithely, naively think that of course there's going to be a baby - a happy, healthy, perfect little baby - that pops out of me in a few months."


I went to the bathroom last night. And wiped. And saw a chunk of mucous that immediately made my mind think "cervical plug." Followed by, "Oh, God, my cervix is dilating." And, "This can't be good." And, a little later, "Why are those uterine pains not as strong? Does that mean my uterus is shrinking back to its normal size? Oh, God, my uterus is shrinking! This is SOO not good."

You can imagine the night I had. And of course, I went online and found a web page written by a woman who lost something at 10 weeks that sounded a lot like the mucous I saw. Everything seemed fine for her for several more days, and then she started bleeding and miscarried.

I didn't tell R about any of this, because he wasn't feeling well yesterday, and I didn't want to add stress to the headache and nausea he was already experiencing. And I couldn't come post on here because I can't figure out how to get Blogger to let me switch over to the new Blogger, so I have to go through a convoluted process to reset my password every single time I want to log on even though I haven't forgotten my password. And I just didn't have the strength or energy last night.

Fortunately, my appointment was already scheduled for this morning. Once again, I was in tears by the time the ob walked into the room. But he did a cervical exam, and he said my cervix was very tightly closed. He thinks what I saw may have just been the byproduct of all the progesterone suppositories I've been taking.

Then we did the ultrasound, and he was quiet as he studied the screen. I didn't see a flicker anywhere, but then again I didn't have the best angle for viewing. I kept waiting for him to say something, and then finally I couldn't take the silence any more and asked, "Do you see something? Is there still a heartbeat?" There was. Apparently, I need to tell him to speak up sooner next time.

The baby measured right on track. We were hoping Kiddo would be 1 cm today, and it was 9.9 mm - close enough! It measured exactly 7w1d, which is what I am today. And the heart rate had increased to 148 bpm, up from 111 bpm last week.

My ob knows what we've been through, and he's good about not just blowing off my concerns and saying "Everything looks fine, don't worry." Instead, he's taking a much more realistic approach. Last week, after the ultrasound, he said, "This is a step in the right direction, but you're not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot. You've still got a ways to go."

This week, he said, "These are a few more steps in the right direction." I like that he's not just taking a cheerleader attitude, but at the same time, I wish I was the kind of patient that would allow him the luxury of that attitude.

I'm trying to be grateful for this. I want to be hopeful. After almost 4 1/2 years of hell, I want to be happy that we're here, that we're seeing a heartbeat and making progress. But instead, I'm in tears. Partially tears of relief, I'm sure, but if I'm being honest, a lot of those tears stem from fear, too. I don't want to be like this - for Kiddo's sake, for my sake and even for R's sake. But I don't know how not to be.

Larisa of "The Waiting Womb" wrote a post at the beginning of this month about the "ifs" of IF. It struck a chord with me, because I, too, wonder "When will the 'ifs' stop?"

The ob said we could come back in two weeks, but he left it up to me. Our next appointment is for next Monday morning. As we were leaving the doctor's office, R asked me if we are going to have weekly appointments for the whole duration. Yes, I told him, yes, we probably are.


Nico said...

I can't tell you how happy I am for you! I can imagine how scared you must be feeling, but I'm sure that my imagination doesn't even come close. I saw a comment, I think on Thalia's site when she got pregnant this time, (or maybe it was Thalia herself who said it?) that she should not think about what might happen tomorrow or the day after or a few weeks down the line, but just try and enjoy the fact that today, she was pregnant. That seems like a good way to tackle the fears to me. That's my assvice of the day, feel free to ignore me or tell me to shut the eff up. xox.

Thalia said...

I think it's fantastic that you've got this far. That comment nico mentions was originally liana's I think - saying that although she lost zappy at 16 weeks, what she regretted was that she hadn't allowed herself to enjoy the pregnancy beforehand. See what you can do - start with enjoying the 5 minutes after the ultrasound, then try to build up to 10 minutes, etc.

I got a LOT Of discharge from those pessaries, so try not to let that wind you up.

twirl said...

I've gone back and forth between hope and fear a lot. I don't know that the fear ever goes completely away. I feel better after each good appointment and then worry again right before the next.

I've made an effort to take each milestone (heartbeat, first tri, anatomy screen, movement, viability, etc.) for what it is. Each is important all on its own and if I take them individually it's not so overwhelming.

On another note, I've read that the mucous plug is not a constant thing - it regenerates. So even if you lose some mucous, you've most likely already replaced it. Also, there can be a LOT of discharge, even after you stop suppositories.

Congratulations on all of your little steps. I hope things keep moving forward for you =)

Anna said...

HUGE sigh of relief. And I'll tell you know, the ifs never stop. Never. You just learn to function with them. I still have the ifs, and my son is nearly 16 months old! I never really relaxed thrughout my pregnancy, and looking back I can't even say "I wish I had", because when you KNOW what can happen, you can't just sit back in an "ignorance is bliss" kind of attitude. I did feel much better once he was out, healthy and had 9 & 9 apgars. Then, when he got jaundice, I felt better after the light treatments and we were discharged. But it never ends - you think of stupid accidents, that something could happen to change and hinder their lives forever, or worse, something fatal. So the worrying will never stop.

I am SO glad that all went well at yesterday's appointment, and I am praying all will continue to go well. But it is impossible not to worry knowing that there ARE no guarentees. Take everyone else's advice - just try to enjoy and live in the moment. But I really know what you mean. Every day that passes means there's that much more to lose if something bad should happen. But look at it this way, too: NBHHY. I wishing you all the best and keeping my fingers crossed. Toes, too. (((hugs)))

Marie-Baguette said...

I am so glad everything is going well. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you

Anonymous said...

Great news so far! Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

How are you doing?


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