a night of bad feelings

I hate being pitied and pitiful. Because sex equals loss to me. Because I have so many “angels”. Because even though I’m pregnant, I’m still triggered by everything (and unless you’ve been pregnant with a 98% chance of miscarriage, you’d better not tell me I shouldn’t be), and I spend my days reflecting on childlessness rather than enjoying being pregnant.

My mom is mad at me. I know, because she called just to be passive-aggressively nasty at everything I said. I’m sure she has some idea of what’s going on, because as I mentioned I am doing a really bad job at talking to her. I have just been falling silent at every question she asks. I also know she has a whole flock of opinions that, as always, she cannot keep to herself, as if her opinions have anything to do with my life. Whatever. She’ll just have to deal.

Sometimes I can’t stand her. But I can’t really blame her. I am a complete disappointment. Nobody dreams of one day having a schizoaffective daughter. She gave up on me a long time ago. If she lived close enough to see me ravaged by RPL, I’m sure she’d give up even more, just like everybody else.

Situational depression hurts more than when I’m just depressed about nothing.

**********

Is it too pathetic to say that I’m convinced I’ve lost this baby? I’ve had my tingling uterus feeling and my symptoms are fading. I’ve been here before, so I like to think I know my body well enough to make such a bold proclamation. I can hope it’s the anxiety speaking, but that’s a copout. I’d love to be wrong, but unfortunately I’m always right.

Scruffy is desperately clinging to my leg. I try to kick him off, I want to release him back to paradise but I still can’t…

Maybe the only way to stop bad things happening to me is to stop trying to have a baby.

***********

I don’t know what to do. I can’t face another bad ultrasound; if I’m correct and I’m no longer pregnant, I am fervently hoping it will take care of itself. I keep testing my boobs, seeing if they’re still sore. I am a nutcase.

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number nine.

I am eight weeks and five days (ish…baby was measuring a day ahead) today, transfixed by the tea leaves in my head, trying to discern patterns as time marches inexorably towards the ninth week, or the end of hope. I lost my first pregnancy post-tfmr in the ninth week, bled out around the twatwand that the technician refused to remove even as gobs of blood and tissue poured out of me. I swore after that humiliation and physical pain, I’d do anything I could to avoid another natural miscarriage. And that ushered in my abiding fear of ultrasounds that I just can’t shake.

Four months later, I was pregnant again, but it was a blighted ovum from trisomy four. I couldn’t get a D&C until week nine.

And my recent pregnancy, the one that ended January 8, was also in the ninth week. At my first prenatal appointment the doctor couldn’t find the heartbeat on Doppler. A portable ultrasound machine was dragged in and the baby was dead. Trisomy 13. A second D&C.

Nine weeks is a bad luck charm for me, and it is rapidly approaching. I’m not ready for this to be over, but I have no say. Baby is either dead or still kicking. And I grip the armrests on my rocking chair until my knuckles turn white and I don’t want to know but at some point they’ll make me…

***********

I have to admit, I’ve lost so many babies I can no longer keep track of EDDs and miscarriage dates. Since I’m muddled, I only pay respects on Molly’s dates and I suppose I’ll use her birthday and EDD to honor all my lost little ones. No matter how briefly I carried them, the are still my babies. Still my ill-fated children. Still mine to carry in my heart.

My mental health is slipping. I feel strongly compelled to succumb to the symptoms, to stay here in bed, or on the couch, or in this rocking chair. My early pregnancy signs are muddled with anxiety, depression, and the side effects of the medications I need to be okay. In addition, I miss my Trileptal (mood stabilizer) and Restoril (anxiety med) and I’m sure I’m still suffering discontinuation syndrome from dropping those.

I’m rocking furiously in the chair now, as fear washes over me.

I remember my first and last prenatal exam in my last nine week and. How the doctor put her fingers in me to check the size of my uterus, and palpated my breasts to check they were swelling. I absolutely felt like livestock — I once observed a horse being artificially inseminated at horseback riding camp as a kid. Pregnancy feels gross that way, like when I was puking and a gush of watery discharge soaked my undies and shorts. Um, ewww? I grip my bloated belly as if I truly believe there’s something in there. And I pray to the Universe, knowing that no one is listening.

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

Scruffy comes and goes as he pleases these days. He’ll wake me in the morning with a churlish whinny, shaking his gleaming rainbow mane, pawing at the ground with his golden hooves. He is sinewy and strong, muscles rippling under his silky coat. On these mornings, I am in awe of his beauty and power, I hop on his back and my years of show jumping thoroughbreds as a kid serve me well as we canter across meadows and leap stone walls with a sense of absolute freedom.

We have bad days too, days when I can’t get out of bed and Scruffy torments me by prodding me with the golden tip of his horn.

And there are days when Scruffy is tired; for my sake, he keeps up all through the night snorting the Adderall he stole from a kid. His clear eyes go murky and bloodshot, his tongue lolls and bits of foam gather in the corners of his mouth. He smokes cigarettes one after another and tries to act cheerful, but it is hard labor put in to save me from my own personal demons.

I know, as I approach forty years old, that Scruffy will not be with me forever. But I find I cannot make his task any easier. I will always regret being his downfall. I am a hardship assignment for him, and he does his best but I know he dreams of returning to his Elysian fields to gallop with the winds of time and space. Can I let him go, when the time is right? Or will I drag him down to the deepest hell of my existence, extinguish his flame and just keep on bludgeoning him with the impossibility of his mission?

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

I really don’t feel pregnant anymore. But I don’t know if it’s the anxiety. As I type this in realizing I didn’t take my meds. I can’t tell if this is a gut feeling or pharmaceutical.

Is nine weeks, like, some sort of very specific curse? My confidence is gone, the confidence I had just last week. I should have tried Femara years ago; maybe I still had some good eggs left then. What if I’m losing the baby and it’s not chromosomal?

**********

ideas of what.

I lie perfectly still and reflect on signs and signals. I’m convinced the universe is trying to tell me something. My little cat purrs sweetly as he gently pushes my belly with his claws; oh, where did he come from? I spend days doting on him and enjoying his affections, but he does bite, and hard. Why?

I shake the pins and needles from my arms, close my eyes briefly. Am I slipping? With my mental illness you have to always be checking if you are slipping. I know what signs and signals turn into after too long a time. Anxiety shivers in my veins, I am very nervous about this pregnancy and of how it will affect me when I lose it. My symptoms aren’t steady enough to be reassuring. So I wait.

I know it’s a long wait until I see the doctor, but I don’t want to face another ultrasound so I’m fine with that. It’s going to be horrible if I miscarry again — I’m not sure I have anything left to keep going.

***********

I feel myself sliding into depression. I try to examine myself from an outsider’s perspective and it’s a curiosity. Usually pregnancy kicks off a rainbow unicorn’s flush of euphoria, but here I am, still in bed with no inclination to move. I feel the world pressing in on me. Time creeps by slowly and I am a vegetable.

I can maybe go up on my Paxil, but I already find myself on a good amount of Paxil. Paxil is contraindicated for pregnancy, but the psychiatric obstetrician says studies that noted it was unsafe were not well run, and risk is minimal. However, that was on 15 mg, not 30 mg where I am now.

I could call the psychiatric obstetrician and arrange for her to consult with my provider. This would take at least a week and a half. I am absolutely not driving up to see the psych OB in person in Seattle until I have some indication that the pregnancy is progressing. I can’t really wrap my head around the possibility that things are okay, so I’m staying here in Olympia for now. And ten bucks says my provider here is on one of her frequent vacations. Ten bucks is all that’s in my checking account right now.

I can’t breathe when I think of all the steps I’d need to take to change my meds, so I stop thinking about it. Normally the sun would be too tempting to resist, but I’m here squinting in the living room, as if it’s unwelcome in my brain.

I feel alone, so I call my mom. I don’t talk to my mom about trying to get pregnant, trying to carry to term. She knows about Molly and that I’ve had a couple miscarriages, so I’m sure she has her suspicions. We make small talk and I find I can’t do it.

What did you do today, she asks me.

I can’t think of an answer. I stay silent, all my manic babbling replaced with the distance between us. Have you been writing? she demands.

And truly, I can think of nothing to tell her. She’d flip if she knew I was pregnant again. I know she’s on to me, probably. I mumble something about being really depressed. I can’t think of anything else to say.

***********

I’m sitting here wondering what is going to happen to me next. From hard experience, I know that the most likely turn of events is the absolute worst turn of events. Will this ever stop? Will bad things ever stop happening to me?

I feel like my symptoms have gone away. I’ve felt this way before. Unfortunately, I’ve been right. Every single time.

I can’t maintain any sort of positivity since I learned about missed miscarriages. Can you believe there was a time when I thought if the baby died it would be immediately ejected from my womb? I scoff at my former self. So ignorant. So happy.

What will happen to me next??

**********

hopeful and helpless

Yes, I’ve done this before. The relative ease of my first trimester with Molly is but a very distant memory. Ah, our first pregnancy together was blissful and we were spoiled with thinking yeah, we’re having a baby…until things went bad, seriously bad.

Every pregnancy since, I’ve thought the same thing: we’re actually going to do it this time! I’ve thought that in the complete absence of any evidence that things were going well, and I can’t help thinking that now. Even though I know my odds (98% chance of miscarriage).

Scruffy speaks to me in my head. You bled, and it stopped. You’re nauseous, sleepy. You’re bloated, you look pregnant even if it’s just chub. Your boobs really do hurt this time

And the clincher: I read somewhere that live birth rates increase slightly if you get pregnant following an early miscarriage or CP… where the fuck did I read that bullshit?

No good evidence. But compelling, nonetheless. Compelling enough that I stupidly fucking bought maternity pants because I’ve gotten so fat my old jeans won’t button. Tempting fate…

Oh, let me have just one fucking moment of ignorant bliss…

But the chaos since ovulation — right on cycle day fourteen, after an ill-advised round of Femara directly following a chemical pregnancy. The yeast infection, the false negative HPTs, the bleeding, the fatness. I’m so confused and upset. I just need space to breathe.

There’s nothing I can do. I can’t say, I’ll do a better job of being pregnant this time! and be rewarded for my efforts. I just have to go through the same shit I’ve been through five times already and just hope that the outcome will be different.

Please let it be different.

**********

I want to freeze time here. Yes, I’m anxious AF and time is already moving so slow, but I don’t want anything to happen that will kill hope for me. I don’t want to face another ultrasound, more bleeding, a D&C, a poor prognosis — any of it. The shit that always happens. I know how suddenly things can be taken away and by now I expect it.

I have grown fearful. No one has any patience for me anymore.

**********

Geoff is stressed, irritated at me. I wish I were not so high maintenance, with all my pills and stupid fears. RPL has made me needy, dependant, childlike. I have to get my shit together.

The anxiety is terrible. I am having a tremendously awful time talking about this pregnancy or about pregnancy in general. I’m still triggered by everything. I’m still too fragile.

notes from eight weeks

This is the worst part of early pregnancy. I am wound up, jittery; my nerves sing as I check my body for signs that this has stopped progressing. Are my now-sore boobs sore enough? Is this nausea morning sickness or anxiety? I torment myself.

Waiting to hear from my OB regarding the deluge of watery discharge. I’m exhausted, the wonderful bliss of Femara sleepiness replaced by a deep bone stunning fatigue. I’ve been here before, and know there’s no antidote.

The weekend was wonderful, just me and my wonderful husband and darling little cat. I whined a lot about getting fat, while Geoff was making sure to keep me fed. I braved the outside world to go thrifting, and Geoff was very patient when I had a panic attack and had to go home. Later, we went back…I’m still terrified of people and their judgments but I know one way or another I’ll somehow have to deal…

**********

Ugh! I keep getting these spam comments and accidently deleting my readers’ comments! So sorry, girls. Monika, I’m glad messy watery discharge can be normal.

*********

The anxiety is dreadful today. I time my breathing with my pulse rate and try to shake off the feeling that somebody is grabbing onto me from behind. I hear blood racing through my head, bubbling through the tiny vessels in my brain and I am here as usual with my sweet little cat…

There are no motions to go through. I’ve been here before so many times, stupidly hopeful, thinking that maybe things will work out this time. I should know better, having known nothing but loss. I should know better.

*********

I don’t know why I’ve decided my old Huggy Bear albums are the perfect soundtrack to this pregnancy. I don’t see where the association comes from. Does it make you more a kid if you wanna off a pig? Somehow these punky teen anthems make me feel like fighting to keep my head above water.

Is youth an illusion? Am I drowning?

I don’t plan on interacting with anyone other then Geoff today, but I cake my eyes with black shadow the way I did when I was young, I slick on MAC’s Russian Red lipstick (how long have I had this tube of it?), and I blot it down to a stain so that I don’t look too garish. I lay down on the couch and shake.

***********

I am terrified — petrified — of time moving forward and all this being over. I’m flirting with danger in thinking I might still be pregnant at my intake appointment June 5. I am crazed if I think I’ll even make it to an NIPT draw. Scruffy is sulking in an armchair, sucking down a bottle of Night Train, pushing around lines of speed on a Motley Crue mirror with a bloody razor.

Things can go from good to bad so fucking quickly with RPL. Hope can turn sour, from contentedness to screaming agony in a wink of an eye. And this is my reality. This is my world of shit.

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

My OB’s office said not to worry about watery discharge. There’s been just a cool dampness and I’ve been wearing maxi pads since that one ominous deluge that soaked my clothes. I don’t feel too worried about it. What I’m worried about, inevitably, is the fucking chromosomes.

Did they maybe zip together right this time? Which trisomy is going to get me this go around?

********

dumb ideas

Thoughts flit through my head like drunken sparrows. Mind muddled with medication, I am awake. The skies are aggressively grey, the flowering trees are dropping petals that float like snow on the air. I sip my coffee, contemplating my world and it’s meaninglessness, the stars I once had in my eyes. And then something breaks. The wind comes inside.

I am tired and achy. My legs are sore from the bed rest. I was beginning to feel like the grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, so I’ve been slinking around the residential streets in the afternoons, trying to be inconspicuous. I just want to stretch my legs, don’t look at me…

My next milestone will be the ninth week. I’ve lost three babies in the ninth week. Apparently that’s when my body gives up the ghost. I’ll be 8 weeks tomorrow, so the countdown is sort of on, and the anxiety swirls in my belly as I am wracked with nausea. I haven’t got much done this week due to not feeling well — it’s as likely to be stress as it is morning sickness, I’m afraid.

And time creeps along, I am dizzy and sick and I have my hopes up so fucking high it’s gonna hurt when it all comes crashing down…

*********

Is not the picture on this box of delicious and stomach soothing ginger candy creepy? Redolent with cannibalism (they’re eating the candies!)? Still, these are the best. Double strength, they claim.

Deleted a bunch of spam, I think I deleted a couple comments…was a mistake, not censoring anybody.

*******

I’m having a lot of watery discharge. I threw up a while ago and it gushed out and soaked my undies and shorts. Frantically messaged the OB. I’m in a complete panic. Where is it coming from?

*******

This pregnancy has not been like the others.

at a loss.

It’s another day, and I’ve settled into a prickly sort of anxiety, somewhat irritable, tapping my fingers on the coffee table and trying to read The New Yorker. I can’t concentrate. I keep thinking about Geoff. How much I want to bring home this baby for him. How happy we were before the tfmr. It’s unfathomable how women get pregnant and give their husbands babies without the twisted suffering of both infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.

I might never bring home a child for Geoff.

I’m having trouble dealing. Thinking and speaking as if I’m going to carry to term, the simple assumption that two lines on a home pregnancy test means anything less than the torment that follows when you tell the doctor yes, I want to terminate, yes, I want a D&C as soon as possible…these are impossible concepts in my world. Even attempting to wrap my head around it is horribly painful. Because this is my world, the place I’ve been stranded at for over three years.

I’m prickly because this is a rare path to perdition. And most women out there cannot wrap their heads around me. The cumulative effect of losing five babies, one after another — it’s not something I’d wish on them. It just keeps me an outsider to their worlds.

*********

I don’t think my mom is buying the business as usual stories I’ve been telling her. I can’t think what to say to her these days. Omitting this most recent pregnancy, plus the two that happened in quick succession prior — well, there’s nothing else happening. Geoff works, I hide in my apartment. She asks if I’m writing, if she can read something, and I flub my answers.

I want to tell her everything, have her offer me some confort. But she won’t. So I am quiet.

My mom and I are really close. I suspect I’m not fooling her. I don’t plan on ever telling her about a pregnancy until viability. That’s a long time to keep secrets. I told her I was pregnant with Molly at 12 weeks; stupidly, before the genetic screening, oh, I was such a baby unicorn then, so ignorant and innocent.

I don’t want you to get excited, she told me, A lot of things can go wrong.

How the fuck do you deal with that? Or her smug attitude when things did go wrong? If she were here now, she’d be lecturing me for getting fat. How the fuck do you deal?

***********

daily musings

Losing babies to chromosomal abnormalities is a dilemma of hope and despair — if the baby is sick from the moment of conception, already declared doomed as “incompatible with life” from the moment sperm met egg, was she ever real at all? And questioning reality is a real conundrum for a schizoaffective girl, especially if it happens again, and again, and again.. These thoughts and my own stories tumble round in my aching head as I lie on the couch. What is real? What is love? Can you love someone who’s not real?

*********

It’s only been a couple of days, but the fear and anxiety are creeping back in despite my best intentions. I knew this would happen, but am disappointed in myself anyway. I keep looking for signs that things are over, overanalyzing internal signals from my body and searching the external world for lucky pennies and the like.

I can’t go out. My belly is so puffed up that I look pregnant, and the startled response from my therapist yesterday confirms this. I’m terrified of running into people I know (a likely scenario in this small town) or fielding questions from complete nosy strangers. I feel okay walking around residential streets, but not, say, going to Safeway. Geoff smiles when I complain of this, not understanding that at 7w4d I should still be my skinny ass self. Maybe it’s a good thing, he says, but memories of having to un-announce my pregnancy with Molly keeps me indoors. I can’t go through that again. I just can’t.

I wish I had an IRL friend to confide in. But I trust no one. So I hide.

**********

I keep reminding myself that I’m not special. All those feelings I have of being doomed, being cursed, being God’s punching bag are just literary devices by an amateur writer at best, pure narcissism at worst. In fact, I tell myself, there is no deity or higher power that gives a fuck about my little dramas, that is watching me closely enough to see fit to punish me for my stupid adolescent indiscretions or whatfuckingever. This is reassuring to me.

But science, the chorus chortles. And I lie down exhausted, because who can fucking deal with that? I’m an old lady with a bad history. Who can fucking deal?

**********

My intake appointment with my OB’s office is June 5th, and my first doctor appointment is June 20. I feel as though I will die waiting this long.

**********

perfect

Here I am, in the apartment we moved into because I was pregnant with Molly. I am aggressively tired although my nerves are on edge, ass aching from now-lifted bedrest, hair tangled from neglect. I feel amazing. It’s been three years.

I want to believe things will continue to go well but I’m no optimist. The skies are grey and I long for the sun. I’ve been here before, several times; I know to be cautious. There is a part of me inside that’s broken and tender. I cannot wish away that sore.

I’m hoping my OB’s office calls soon to schedule my appointments. This can’t all be real, I can’t trust my heart anymore. It’s unbelievable to me that I passed yesterday’s ultrasound, oh, yes, this exhilaration is familiar and fragile and I must be oh-so gentle in hoping but I can’t help spinning out.

I’m always spinning out.

The day is going slowly. I saw my therapist this morning and it feels like it was days ago. I guess having things to fret about makes the hours feel like aeons…

If I could, I’d stop time and stay here forever and ever. This moment is perfect.

doomsday, update

I’m sitting on the couch fidgeting around on my huge stupid maxi pad — I’ve had no bleeding or spotting for three days, but I know if I went maxi-pad free, I’d start gushing blood immediately, ruining my clothes and also my hopes and dreams. A mild superstition I carry around. Don’t be too cocky, the chorus sings at me. Don’t jinx yourself.

I spend a great amount of energy trying to avoid jinxing myself. But I usually fuck up, and bring down the wrath of the heavens.

I’m concerned with the watery discharge. When I go look back at all my other pregnancy charts on Fertility Friend, I’ve marked watery CM throughout early pregnancy, but I don’t remember how much. And it might just feel like there’s more of it because of the maxi pad. I fret endlessly about leaking vital fluids. My god. What could be wrong?

I remind myself of the tingling uterus episode yesterday afternoon, of my 98% odds of miscarrying again, of my fading symptoms. Interestingly enough, my boobs have finally started to ache. Not acute pain like I’m used too, just a deep soreness that feels like they’re bruised up.

“Hope” is my least favorite four-letter word. Scruffy’s taken off; he left yesterday afternoon muttering about having a lot of things to do. But he must be lurking close. Sometimes, like in the morning while I pour myself a small cup of coffee, I feel a knifepoint between my shoulder blades. I whip around, thinking I see a glimpse of a gleaming rainbow, but there’s nobody there.

**********

Shit, Scruffy is back, hooves burnished gold and that gleaming mane he tosses about so insolently as he watches me here on my couch. I am curled into a fetal position and I tuck myself up even smaller and close my eyes. It is only 9am.

I am laying prone on a conveyor belt, being transported slowly through time. I’d do anything to get off. I don’t want to go to this ultrasound.

********

I feel like during my last nine week miscarriage, I was not waiting so long to have my first ultrasound. But according to my records, I did wait. I tested at 13dpo, just like this go around. I even did my betas earlier. Of course it was around the holidays, so maybe I was busier?

I was so happy for that pregnancy. This one has elicited so much fear, especially since feeling the tingling. I am petrified to go to my appointment; I am just so sure it’ll be either no heartbeat or no baby. If only my body didn’t hang on to these pregnancies and create these “missed abortion” scenarios (or a tfmr).

I rest my hand on my belly, already feeling attached to someone who might not even be in there. This is bad. This is really bad. I wonder how I went from IF to RPL. Why all the sudden I started getting pregnant and losing babies. Why. Why.

And the fear is huge but I figure if I haven’t capitulated to the urge to soothe myself with a large dose of benzodiazepine, I must have some hope remaining.

Why.

**********

Ooops, forgot to take my Geodon. I can feel anxiety mounting, and it’ll take a bit before the meds kick in. It’s amazing how much panic can distort your perceptions — I’ve had panic attacks so severe that I’ve been convinced my teeth were falling out. Really, when I touched my teeth with my tongue, I’ve felt them moving.

I wish Geoff were here. I know I’m keyed up enough that I’d probably be yelling at him, though. All of this will be over soon.

***********

I am actually wringing my hands. 1pm. I’ve never felt this nervous before. What the fuck is wrong with me? Drops of blood fall from Scruffy’s horn, and he offers me a cigarette. Is that my blood? I’m getting confused, lost. So tired.

I can’t imagine walking back into The Baby Factory. God, I hate ultrasounds. I think my last nine week miscarriage traumatized me but good. It was so recent, but seems so far in the past.

*********

Baby measuring on track at 7w3d, heart beat 131. Fuck me gently with a chainsaw. They didn’t even use the twatwand.

***********

Geoff is making me shrimp for dinner to celebrate and I’m frantically trying to gauge what needs to be done to pass muster at tomorrow’s inspection. They are inspecting random units, right during the hours I have my highly anticipated therapy appointment. This enrages me, because I have to make sure they don’t let out my dear little cat. So we call in the morning and they tell us if we are among the randomly chosen units and then WHO GIVES AN EVERLOVING FUCK. Why do I have to deal with this today?

I really would rather not clean the apartment and to attend my therapy session and also YOU MOTHERFUCKERS JUST DON’T LET MY CAT OUT.

Bah. I know the world can’t stop for my little triumphs. I am exhausted and happy and just want to be curled up in bed with Geoff…