Therapy


I’ve started to see an individual therapist.  I’ve been feeling incredibly depressed lately and it has gotten pretty bad.  I feel completely unmotivated, angry, sad.  I don’t feel like myself and I decided it was time to do something about it.  A friend told me about her experience on antidepressants and how it helped to lift the fog of negativity so she could start to feel like herself again.  I haven’t broached the topic of antidepressants yet but I think I will soon.

I LOVE my therapist.  From the moment I met her and started to share with her (just my background and family history), I felt like she “got me.”  She even was able to articulate some feelings and put a label on them when I’ve been struggling for some time to do so.  As you know, I’ve been struggling a lot with MH and I brought up my “issues” with him.  She said that she wants to work with me on those because I’m committed to working on those but first I need to deal with the TRAUMA (she defined my experience as trauma) of the miscarriage, leading to a difficult pregnancy, leading to bed rest, leading to premature birth, etc.  She believes that when I’ve dealt with the emotions of the trauma of one emotionally challenging thing to another that I will better be able to work on my relationship with my husband.  I love it – I just wish I could speed up time so I feel better faster.

One of the homework assignments was for me to put down on paper each individual experience as a fact and then write about how I felt then and how I feel about it now. I think that I’m able to upload it for you to read (sorry it is so tiny).  These are deeply personal feelings and thoughts and I hope that you will be respectful if you choose to comment about what I’ve written.

Therapy Writing

I realize when looking at the whole picture that I was depressed through most of the last two years.  That I have felt very alone, scared and overwhelmed through the miscarriage, feeling so ill with my pregnancy with Roo, my water breaking, the hospital stay and even now dealing with the ongoing appointments with occupational therapists, nutritionists, etc.  I should probably write about it more here.  I just don’t have the time and I’m exhausted (and depressed, which doesn’t help).

So, maybe some of you feel the same way as I do, even if you haven’t been down the exact same path as me.  Please share with me.  I know I’m not entirely alone here.

xo

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Thank you


Thank you for your comments and support. Most of all, thank you for not being judgmental.

One of the reasons I want this blog to be anonymous is for me to feel comfortable. With only a handful of you knowing me in real life, it makes it easier to share myself and what I’m experiencing without censure.

I am also thankful to those of you who shared that you too are experiencing some of the same difficulties that I am. It helps to know that I’m not alone. That I’m not a weirdo.

Marriage is hard. Caring for an infant and a premature one at that is hard. Combine the two and life becomes extra challenging.

Will MH and I make it through this? I sure hope so. It will take a lot of work on both of our parts but that marriage, right?! With or without the added challenge of a preemie, it takes work.

MH is so sweet. He likes to live in a world where hard things go away once they are said out loud. He thinks that because we talked about it once that it goes away. So not true and I need to help him figure that out.

We got lucky both literally and figuratively today. My dad took Roo out for a walk and it was the first time that we’ve been alone in the house since we left for the hospital. I kind of forced it but I’m glad I did.

I also told him that I’m really feeling angry and resentful and that we need to figure things out. He said that he didn’t know I was still feeling this way about things. (Like I said, he thinks if I mention it once that since its been said that it will go away). I hope that I’m able to help him realize that we really need to work on things together.

I need courage and patience to get through this tough time. I have the courage. But, I lack patience. I need it. I have it with babies and children but I don’t have it for adults. I don’t know how to get it. My lack of patience shows through my tone of voice and it drives MH nuts. Any suggestions on how to keep an even tone when I’m feeling impatient?

Thanks again for being on this journey with me.

Xo

One


It began when I was pregnant – in the first trimester when I was suffering from such bad morning sickness.  I told MH and my parents that this was most likely going to be the only child that I would give birth to on purpose 🙂  Those feelings never really went away and went up after the trauma of my water breaking early, Roo being born early and the stress that having a preemie has had on me.  I love Roo more than anything and I know that if she were my only child than I’d be OK with it.  I’d be more than OK with it.

The other night, MH and I had a date night.  My parents stayed with Roo and we went for an adult dinner out and bought some more furniture for our new house.    Over dinner, I admitted to MH that I really still only want one baby and Roo is it for me.  I can’t handle more.  She is the most wonderful, delicious creature but she is a handful.  I can’t imagine having two or dealing with what I dealt with during pregnancy with another child in the house.  I was a little surprised to hear that MH felt the same way.

We came away from dinner knowing that Roo is most likely going to be our only child.  We know that with just one child, we can give Roo the best a child could imagine.  Financially and emotionally having one child is best for us.

We also came away knowing that things can change and our feelings in the next year or two might be different.  However, we are both aware that at our age that window is pretty narrow especially given the challenges that we had conceiving Roo.

My OB said that we should wait at least a year given the challenges we had with Roo’s early delivery.  My acupuncturist and traditional Chinese medicine doctor said that I needed to wait at least three years.  Either way, I am going to find and use a birth control method that will prevent pregnancy in a fail-safe way.  I had wanted to avoid a medicinal prevention but I think that charting while exclusively breast-feeding is going to be unreliable.  My OB recommended a low-dose mini-pill to see how my body is affected (in other words, if my milk supply is affected) and then she recommended the Miren.a, IUD.  I need to learn more to see if it makes sense.

I feel very happy with this decision.  So does MH.  I know that this is the right decision financially and emotionally for us as a couple.  I think our marriage will be better for it.

Anyway, in my heart, I’m a mommy to two – just one of my little babies has gone before the rest of us 🙂

Anxiety Provoked


I thought a lot about this before writing and hesitate sharing with you but I’ve always been very open with you for authenticity and so here goes…

I always heard about post-partum depression and how common it is for women to suffer from it. What I never thought was that it could happen to me. I actually think that I have more of post-partum anxiety than depression. I’m not suffering from any of the classic depression signs but my level of anxiety is at an all time high.

Since Roo came home, I haven’t been able to sleep at night because I’m terrified that she is going to stop breathing or that she will choke on her own spit up. I won’t let her sleep without someone watching her at all times. It means that no one is getting good sleep. I am constantly checking to make sure she is breathing and I always need to know that she is ok.

It has gotten to the point where I need help. So I have an appointment with a therapist on Monday morning. I hope that it helps because I need to sleep, I want my family to sleep and I need to lower my anxiety levels.

I think a lot has to do with the miscarriage and that loss. I think it has to do with the premature rupture of membranes and Roo’s early arrival. I hope to work through my fears and anxieties and get to a better place. I want to be able to breathe and enjoy my daughter instead of being afraid all of the time.

Has anyone else experienced this anxiety? I know that most new moms feel this way but I feel like my level of anxiety is off the charts. I’m not pleasant to be around.

If you have experienced this heightened sense of anxiety, how did you manage it? What did you do? How long did it take for it to go away?

Xo,
Michelle

Baby Roo’s Birth Story: Part One


Early on Thursday, June 7, I woke up and thought that I had wet the bed. I went to the toilet and crawled back into bed to go back to sleep but quickly realized that I was still “peeing” myself. Duh! I wasn’t peeing myself. I phoned the doctor on call who said to put on a pad and if I soaked through it within one hour to meet her at the hospital.

I put on a pad and lay down on the sofa. Within 10 minutes it was soaked through the pad, my underwear and my nightgown. I called my brother, the doctor, and told him what was happening. He said that I should wake up MH and go to the hospital right away.

I woke MH, who was dead asleep, and told him what had happened and he went straight into business mode. He packed himself a bag so he could go to work that morning and we got into the car. I remember talking with him about this being a good practice run for the real deal and that we were lucky that we didn’t have to deal with traffic as it was so early!

Once we arrived at the hospital, I had MH park the car while I asked the front desk where we should go. For some reason, I declined the wheel chair ride to the maternity ward. Looking back, I should have accepted it but I was in denial and walked the long walk.

As soon as we got to maternity, we checked in and they were waiting for us. They took us to a birthing suite and asked me to change into a gown. I had to use the restroom and in doing so I realized that I was also bleeding. As soon as I told the nurse, she said something like “oh your water definitely broke” and I promptly burst into tears.

As soon as I climbed into the bed, they did some sort of litmus test to confirm the fluid exiting my body was amniotic fluid, which it was. Almost immediately, I was asked to sign a number of papers, told we would need to transfer to the hospital that handled high risk pregnancies and had the level 3 NICU and that they were going to do several procedures to me.

The first procedure was to give me an ultrasound to check the position of the baby – she was head down. The second was to hook me up to an IV, where I would be given magnesium sulfate, which would slow any labor down as well as provide the baby with a boost to her brain if I were to deliver her early. The third was to give me a sterile forcep check, which confirmed that I was leaking amniotic fluid (again) and that I was potentially 1 cm dilated. And the fourth and final step was to give me the first of two steroid shots to help the baby’s lungs mature rapidly.

There is a side effect of magnesium sulfate that gives one hot flashes and makes you feel a little loopy in the head. I was given a push of four bags of magnesium, which means they rapidly pushed the four bags through the IV. I felt and acted a little drunk while this was happening, again, I was in denial and was dealing by being silly.

As soon as the IV push was finished, the ambulance arrived to transport me to the hospital. The nurses wished me good luck and off I went with MH left to fend for himself to find his way to this other hospital.

Once we arrived at the other hospital, I was taken immediately to labor and delivery. Some of the same exams and tests were taken there. A very nice doctor examined me and confirmed that I was one cm dilated and that by all sounds, I could potentially deliver that day. I was hooked up to a machine that I came to know intimately by the time I left. The machine monitored both Roo’s heart rate as well as any contractions that I might be having. At the time, I was contracting every 3-5 minutes but I wasn’t feeling any of them.

The doctor told me that I needed to have an amniocentesis test done immediately to determine if I had an infection. As soon as she said those words, I got scared. She told me though that the risks for the amnio that hold true at 20 weeks also hold true for them except the largest risk is that the needle accidentally breaks the bag of waters, which causes death at 20 weeks, but since my water had already broken on its own that risk was already removed. I consented to the exam and held onto MH’s hand tight. Within three minutes of me consenting to the exam, it was over. I didn’t want to see the needle going in so I have no idea how large or small it was and in fact the “pain” that I felt from the steroid shot was worse than the amnio needle going in.

We were told it would take 2 hours for the results to come back and in the meantime we should eat breakfast and try to relax. Right?! If the results found I had an infection they would induce me immediately and if not then we would talk about what options were relevant. My head was spinning. I was terrified and confused.

I might be having a baby that day? I was 31 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I wasn’t ready emotionally, physically or literally! We had just moved into our new house.

To be continued…

26 Week Bump Photo and Brief Update


I know I did an update at the beginning of the week so I’ll make this short and really focus on my bump pic:

Somewhere along this journey recently, my bump has grown.

Roo is getting stronger and bigger!  I’m loving it.  Though, yesterday, I noticed that Roo wasn’t moving much and it made me nervous.  I called the doctor since I hadn’t felt her all day since the night before.  The nurse had me lay down and drink some juice and sure enough Roo started to kick and move around though a lot lighter than usual.  Today, she’s back to her usual self kicking quite hard and having a ball in there 🙂

I tried on some maternity clothes at H&M yesterday and got really frustrated.  I’m clearly not the same size anymore.  I thought that the sizing guidelines were to try on maternity clothes in the same size as when not pregnant.  Well, I’ve either gained a lot of weight or my body has taken on a whole new shape (ha ha clearly!).  I got frustrated and need to try again another day.  I think that I need to go up a size.  Did this happen to anyone else too or is it just my crazy body?

This week I learned that a friend/former grad school classmate of mine is also pregnant and due with a baby girl on August 8.  This now brings the total for August babies in my circle of friends to five, including Roo.  I wonder what was going on in November!  I’m the only one who struggled to get pregnant and had a loss.  I’m so happy for everyone else though in spite of how easy it was for them including one new friend and wasn’t planning on this pregnancy – she has twin boys who are six years old.  Only one of these friends know how much I struggled.

Anyway, I know that several of you, dear readers, are currently undergoing treatment with medicated IUI or IVF cycles and I’m praying and hoping that this cycle is the one that leads you to a successful pregnancy!  I’m cheering you on 🙂

Stubborn


MH is stubborn.  He’s so funny.  I’ve been asking him to sit with me with his hand on my belly to try to catch one of Roo’s little kicks that she gives me at night.  MH will do it for about 2 minutes and then is over it. He gets so frustrated so quickly.  Then, when she starts to kick up a storm and I tell him, he gets stubborn and won’t come back. I’ll let him come to me and I know in time he’ll feel her.  She’s an active little girl and I know she’ll let her Daddy feel her kicks soon!

*******************

If you’re here from ICLW: Welcome!  I’m in the middle of my second trimester of my second pregnancy (first one I lost at almost 6 weeks) with my first take-home baby – I hope and pray!  After our loss, we tried and tried each month with each cycle ending in tears and disappointment.  Six months after our loss, I went to a fertility specialist.  Because of my age, they did all the requisite testing and came up with a DOR diagnosis – finding me with fewer than half the amount of eggs I should have during a CD3 follicular u/s.  I was very disappointed – actually devastated.  Following that diagnosis, we tried a couple of IUIs with Letrozole without success and I started to look for answers elsewhere.  That elsewhere came up with a diagnosis of elevated natural killer cells.  We were told that my chances of getting pregnant and keeping the pregnancy beyond the first few weeks of conception were slim.  More devastation.  After much debate/discussion/research, we decided to move onto IVF.  The last natural cycle before starting the BCP for the IVF cycle, we were surprised with a BFP.  In all, our journey from going off BCP right after our wedding to our loss to this pregnancy was a year and a half.  That’s not as long as many but it was long enough for me to seek out the infertility community, which embraced me with open arms.

Today, I’m taking this pregnancy day-by-day.  It definitely has its ups and downs.  I try not to complain because I’d rather be here than not be pregnant.  I try to embrace the positive and negatives of pregnancy but accept the fact that as much as I wanted to love being pregnant especially because of the many trials that we encountered to get here that being pregnant is not my cup of tea!!  I hope you continue to read and follow my journey even after ICLW for March is finished!  Leave a comment and I’ll be sure to stop by and follow your journey too – we all need support and cheerleaders no matter what stage in this adventure we are in.

 

A Most Difficult Decision


When we brought our little guy, Winston, home at the end of October, we were thrilled to add a new family member to our household.  He brought MH and me a lot of joy and happiness but also a lot of frustration and anxiety (on my part).  Having a puppy (and a new baby) is a LOT of work.  Because I work out of the home, I’m home all day long and I thought it would be perfect for us to get a puppy because I could care for him and be at home to meet all of his needs.  Great, right?!

Yes!  Except that being in a new city and only knowing less than a handful of people is hard enough but being stuck at home with a new puppy makes it even harder.  I found myself getting more and more frustrated with having to be responsible for this little (adorable) guy who didn’t leave my side and when I left his side, he cried.  As he grew older, he became aggressive at times – nipping and biting (though never breaking skin or drawing blood) when he got frustrated and angry.  He also was underfoot all the time and tripped me a couple of times.

We signed up for obedience training, etc.  Then my nausea kicked in and I could. not. stand. the. smell. of. Winston.

I was coming off my hinges.  I was/am depressed.  I felt stuck at home because of him.  When we found out that I am pregnant, we were thrilled but started to slowly consider how a dog would affect our family as it expands with a baby.  We became concerned because he continued to nip at us especially me during the day.  MH worried about Winston tripping me while pregnant – we know that I’d be OK but the further along in pregnancy I become the more challenging it can be if I fall especially if I’m home alone.  I could go on…

Taking Winston for a walk a couple of weeks ago, a woman came up and gave Winston some pets.  She looked up at me and said, “Petting a dog just lowers my blood pressure.”  She thanked me and then walked away.  I realized that having Winston in my life raised my blood pressure and brought me angst.  I’m hormonal (I know that will go away as my hormones even out) but there’s more to how I am feeling that is directly tied to him that I can’t explain with words.  I told MH that I felt like I’m dating a guy who I really love but know deep down that it can’t last forever.

After a LOT of tears and many discussions, we came to the agonizing decision to find Winston a new home.  Yesterday, the rescue group for Winston’s breed came to our house and picked him up.  I cried all day (and every day before for many days).  We know that he will end up in a good home.  I talked at length with the head of the group about what we hope for his future and she promised me that they will find him a good home, a good family.  In my heart, Winston will live with a family who loves Winston as much as we do.  She also said that more than half of the rescues that they make are because this breed bites and nips babies and toddlers…that clearly is a concern for us with a new baby on the way…

I know that our decision might bring a lot of criticism and it is criticism that I understand and respect but will not respond to.  This was an extremely difficult decision that I will not beat myself up about because of others’ opinions.  This was the only decision that we could deal with as we think ahead to our future with a growing (human) family.

MH wanted his wife back.  I wanted myself back.  I already feel the thin veil of depression lifting.

I KNOW that Winston will be happy with his new family.  Right now, he is at doggie camp and playing with some new friends until the right family is selected.  We told him over and over again how much we love him – I looked him squarely in the eyes and told him multiple times in the last few days together.  I’m confident that he knows it.  We spent a LOT of time focusing just on him in his last days with us in our home.  We snuggled a lot with him (even I did in spite of my nausea) and held him in our arms to show him how much we love him.

Winston was the right pup for us but it’s the wrong time.  There may be another dog in our future but there might not be.  Winston will remain in our hearts forever.  It’ll be a while before our hearts heal and before we can look at dogs without feeling a deep ache…

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Dear Winston,

We love you so much.  You brought us incredible joy and happiness in the short time that you were in our life. Your endless snuggles on the couch and your greetings in the morning when we let you out of your crate will be missed.  I know that the new family whose lives you enter are incredibly lucky.  We will miss you every day.

We love you always,

Mama and Papa

On This Day


For the two weeks that I was pregnant last year, I spotted and cramped the entire time. I knew that something was wrong but there wasn’t anything that could be done.

We kept our New Years plans and drove from SF to LA for the Rose Bowl except we never made it to the game.

By NYE night I had full on bleeding and cramping off and on. Not knowing what to do, we went to Mt Sinai emergency room where we stayed until they released me about 10 minutes before midnight.

I held it together in the hospital when they told me my beta numbers were too low for my pregnancy to be viable. I held it together when they gave me my care instructions. But as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot and clock struck midnight, MH pulled into an empty bank parking lot and pulled me close where we both cried and held each other.

This year even though I’m carrying a baby inside me, I’m terribly emotional and sad today. That little one we lost will always be our first. We will never forget that little one.

I hope and pray that this is our last New Year without another family member in it and I hope the same for each of you. Happy New Year to each and everyone of you, my friends!

6 weeks, 1 day


Today, December 11, I’m 6 weeks, 1 day pregnant.

Holy cow – I’m starting to realize that this could be it!  I also know that “it” could change in a second so I’m trying not to get too excited.  I took a pregnancy test on Friday and it said that I’m pregnant!!  Yay!!!  If it weren’t for the few symptoms that I’ve been having, I wouldn’t think that I was pregnant at all.  It’s kind of bizarre.

I had a not-so-big-after-all scare yesterday.  If I hadn’t had a previous loss I would not have been freaked out but I did have a loss so I did freak out.  WARNING TMI: When wiping early in the afternoon, I noticed a pink tinge of CM on my tp.  I freaked out and made Mark cancel our plans for the rest of the day, so I could sit on the couch and not move in fear that the pink streak would turn into a full-blown bleeding session.  He was a sport and did so willingly.  He decorated the Christmas tree for me while I sat on the couch and directed where each ornament should go on the tree.  Luckily, there were no more incidents when wiping and today I feel much more secure.

According to a pregnancy website (The B.ump), which I don’t care for too much, my little one is the size of a sweet pea:

Symptoms (which I embrace whole heartedly because each remind me that I’m pregnant): sore boobs, very frequent urination, extreme fatigue, desire to eat and drink almost all day long, bloat especially at the end of the day

Food aversions: none!

Food cravings: none but I’m hungry all the time!

Mama’s physical changes: boobs slowly growing, one very large zit on my chin

Next milestone: first ultrasound on Dec. 27 and first OB appointment on Dec. 28