Seven Weeks, 5 Days ~ April 15, 2004
This is the peak week for my miscarriage anxiety. Getting through this week is a moment-to-moment task, not improved much by the other issues compounding my life. Taken as a whole, the week has been pretty awful. But tucked in corners and poking up from behind outcroppings everywhere I turn are signs of hope, bright points and little precious gifts, harkening to the spring growth nosing its way into my garden despite the miserable, cold, overcast, rainy, awful weather.
First, the anxiety. This is the week (week 7) that I started bleeding with both of my two later losses. All I can do this time (or any time) is wait out each day, and hope I wake up pregnant again the next day. Today, I am pregnant. Take a breath, and let it out. Right now, this moment, I am pregnant. In the scope of the big picture, the whole week is dark gray with stress and worry and bad memories. but right now, right here, I am pregnant. And that is a bright point.
Then there's the nausea. I've found two other helps for it, both of them very potent. The first is Breathe-Right strips (the things used to help stop snoring). So far, every morning after using one overnight, I have NOT had to throw up before breakfast. YAY! They improve the quality of my sleep enough that I am more rested than I've been in weeks. Unfortunately, they don't keep Brendan from having nightmares and waking me up every 20 minutes for hours on end. Ah, well, even when I lose quantity, I still get to keep the quality. Waking up feeling rested and comfortable, no matter what the remainder of the day feels like, that's a pleasure.
The second nausea-fixer is Preggie Pops. I had kind of shrugged them off as 'maybe useful for some women' before. OH, are they useful! I've used up a whole bag in just over two days, and they do work very well. Calms things right down, immediately. I can't stand the Lavender flavor (tastes like soap to me), but Ginger, Spearmint, and Sour Raspberry - instant feel-better lollipops. They might not last long, but for just a while, I'm myself again. Ahhh!
Beyond the physical, I've got work. I love my work, but my job (as a
whole) is not much fun at the moment. Morale has taken another big hit, and we're trying to pretend we aren't exhausted by the constant onslaught of new plans and deadlines and threats of doom-unless-we-impose-drastic-changes from management. Each time, it is a new promise, and old promises are tossed out the window. I don't know anyone at work who is happy with the situation, but there are still rays of hope. a brilliant and assertive fighter placed in a critical position unexpectedly, a new range of opportunities opening up in another area. The big picture is dreary with trampled hopes and the tatters of lofty goals from two months ago (and four months ago, and six months ago, and last year), but there are little sparks of hope growing up amongst the wreckage, refusing to die.
At home, there are so many things that need to be done. and poor Will is juggling tasks, his own job stresses, the housework, house renovation and repair projects, and managing my moods. Not to mention he's helping me out in the garden when I'm able and the weather cooperates. I feel bad about how much he's having to take on, but by evening, I'm both exhausted and afraid to make any sudden movements. Still, I did manage to get the taxes done in the evenings this week, and we even ended up with just a little bit of a refund this year.
The nausea also kills our love life completely. I can barely provide a cursory kiss, let alone a 'real' one. My tolerance for being touched has gone down with the nausea going up, and Brendan hasn't let up on his need for contact in the process. Will is the one who gets cut out, instead, as I can't even bear too much snuggling at night. Still, when I'm curled up in the recliner trying not to even think, he comes and rubs my forehead or hands, he has been cooking every dinner and cleaning up afterwards (we usually split those tasks), and has been very patient with my sudden bouts of immobility. I know he would be within normal husband behavior to be really frustrated and cranky, but he's been very good about not dumping it back on me. Even his occasional moodiness he immediately regrets. I appreciate the extra patience he's shown (and he even warns me when it is likely to run thin). I'm lucky to have him.
The boys have been the least dreary situation of the week. Gabe has been away at 'Baba's Big A'Benture Camp' this week. Baba is my mom, and she does a week-long overnight camp for the older cousins (Gabe plus one female cousin the same age), twice a year. She's wonderful with the little adventures (parks, gardens, zoos, baking, crafts), but is beyond great at the big adventures. In past Baba Camps, they have seen a real live princess (from Sweden), and taken a cruise on a genuine tall ship - I can't remember the other big adventures right now, but they're all things that made me misty thinking what great memories these kids will have. Tomorrow, they're going to see the Freedom Schooner Amistad. This week, they've already been to see a program on raptors, spent a day in the 'Old West' (including being deputized and commissioning work from a blacksmith), and written letters to the new mayor of our town congratulating him on his election (that was their own idea, but Baba helps them put these ideas into action). There's never a dull moment at Baba Camp.
Baba Camp is also break time for us. Gabe is away all day and overnight for a week, in a place we can completely trust. We miss him, but we also get the ease of managing only one child, instead of two, for a week. Brendan gets to be the 'only' child for a week, have all our attention instead of having it always divided or limited by someone else's demands. And at the moment, having that little extra leeway is useful.
So, today is well past the hump of week seven, and still no sign that there is anything wrong. With the last pregnancy that made it to around now, I wasn't feeling 'pregnant' much, and certainly didn't have constant reminders of pregnancy from my body. This time, I have that 'there's an orange sitting on my bladder' feeling all the time. Oh, and the nausea. Hmmm, I think I've mentioned that part! (snerk!) Those physical signs are a reassurance. Beyond that, I have that 'there's someone home down there' feeling of pregnancy. I tried to explain the feeling to my father-in-law earlier in the week. The closest I could get was the sense you have that someone is in the house with you, versus the feeling that you are in the house alone. You might not be right about the feeling, but you know it when you feel 'there is someone else here, not just me'. Feeling pregnant is like that for me - a comfortable sense of a familiar presence, always there, even though I can neither hear nor see them. Only instead of being in the house, it is in my body. I'm not sure that my father-in-law can grasp the concept entirely - he's never been pregnant, after all! But it gives a good reference point.
Seven weeks, five days, and I'm still pregnant. My symptoms aren't fading, and I have no signs at all that anything is amiss. I still have to make it past the 12-week zone. But the stress in anticipation of those weeks is not so huge. I think I can cope. My first midwife appointment is next week, too, so that should get me some additional grace, if all goes well. I'm nearly through this week, as awful as it has been. Tonight, my mom is taking Brendan for the evening, and Will and I will get a date for the first time in weeks (too bad I'm out of preggie pops!).
Outside, the sun is out for the first time in almost a week. Last weekend we put in a new raised bed, weeded Gabe's and Brendan's gardens, and planted two flats of snapdragons, two flats of petunias, and more than a dozen primroses. I've planted a bunch of seeds, as well - now all I need to do is watch for signs of life poking up from the dark earth.
Yeah, spring is here. There's hope everywhere.