Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Busting My Own Miscarriage Myths

***Warning:  some of this may be TMI for some***

I really don't like to dwell on the past, especially my miscarriage, but it's something that I can't help but find myself thinking about every once in awhile.  It still amazes me how my prior conceptions of what I thought a miscarriage is like were so different than what I actually experienced.  So, in this post I'm writing about those personal misconceptions and I'm busting my own myths. 
*Note: none of these statements are necessarily based on scientific facts, but from my own, personal experience.

1.  There is a very slim chance of miscarriage after a heartbeat is detected.

I was 7w2d at my first prenatal appointment.  Dr. C. did an ultrasound and everything looked perfect.  I knew what day I O'd, and the baby was measuring correctly right to the day.  There was an obvious heartbeat.  Basically, everything looked perfect and I thought I was in the clear for the next 33 weeks or so.  Yes, the rate of miscarriage decreases a little once a heartbeat is seen (around 6-7 weeks), however it doesn't drop significantly until a heartbeat is heard (around 10-12 weeks).  And even then, bad things can still happen at any moment during a pregnancy.

2.  A miscarriage begins with cramping and heavy bleeding.

My miscarriage started with very light bleeding on a Friday night.  So light that I really thought it was "normal" (despite what some might say, I now do not believe any bleeding is normal in pregnancy) spotting or bleeding.  This continued through the weekend until I was able to get to a doctor to get checked on that Sunday night.  It remained light into that Monday, and I had yet to have any cramping.  Around noon on that Monday I started having horrible cramps that lasted for about 5 hours.  They then, thankfully, subsided.  I had my D&C the following morning.  At the time I went in for the D&C I still had yet to experience any heavy bleeding. 

3.  The cramps associated with a miscarriage are simply like really bad menstrual cramps.

Uh, no.  I felt like I was going to die that Monday afternoon.  Seriously.  I had never experienced so much pain before in my life (and I've been through appendicitis, which I thought was pretty painful).  I remember telling Jeff (as I lay writhing in pain) that if this is anything close to what labor feels like, women are idiots for wanting to do it naturally (I don't mean to offend anyone out there choosing natural birth, but it's certainly not for me, especially after I've had a small taste of what it would be like). 

4.  As soon as development stops, a miscarriage will immediately start.

This is the one that bothers me the most.  Our baby had stopped developing two weeks before we knew it.  Two weeks before I started to have any signs whatsoever that something was wrong.  I stupidly walked around for two weeks thinking everything was just fine when it wasn't.  This is mostly why we (Jeff and I made the decision together) decided to opt for having the D&C versus letting things happen naturally.  If two weeks had already gone by with nothing happening, how much longer was it going to take?  I didn't want to sit around and wait to find out. 

5.  Doing all the "right" things will prevent a miscarriage.

With the last pregnancy I completely cut out caffeine.  I stopped eating tuna altogether (even though they say it's okay to eat occassionally).  I completely stayed away from artificial sweeteners.  I didn't eat lunch meat, even if it was warmed up.  I tried to do all the right things they say you are suppose to do in pregnancy, and I still miscarried.  That's why this time around I'm continuing to live my life like I always have because I know it doesn't make a difference.  Whatever is going to happen will happen.  I'm staying away from the obvious things (alcohol, ibuprofren, still limiting my tuna intake).  But I am still enjoying my morning cup of coffee (or skinny caramal macchiato from Starbucks for my weekly splurge). 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Carrying On A Legacy

My Great-Grandma O'Brien was a remarkable lady.  She lived to be 107, lived in her own home until she was 104, and got her licensed renewed for two years when she was 100.  How cool is that?!  She had a very strong Catholic faith and had been through a lot in her long life, including burying her husband and two of her sons.  She has been gone for several years now, but she has crept into my thoughts quite a bit this week.

One of the legacies Grandma O'Brien left behind was for the majority of her life she crotcheted baby hats for her local hospital.  I can remember visiting her the last couple years of her life when she was in a nursing home, and the whole bottom drawer of her dresser was full - and I mean full - of baby hats she had recently worked on.  She had passed on her crotcheting skills to my grandma, who had shown me as a kid how to crotchet also.  I'm not talking anything fancy here, mostly potholders because a basic square was about all I could handle!  However, several years ago I decided I wanted to carry on Grandma O'Brien's legacy and had my grandma show me how to crotchet baby hats so I could donate them to my hospital.  I made a couple dozen and donated them, and never touched a crotchet hook since.   I guess life just got in the way - planning a wedding, buying a house, trying to have a baby. 

The other night Jeff and I ended up having a really long, great conversation with our retired neighbors.  I found out she is involved with the "Preemie Project" for our local hospital.  They raise money for the NICU in various ways, and also make and collect donated hats, blankets, and booties for the preemies.  After talking with her something in my clicked and I thought "I need to start crotcheting baby hats again!"  So I went through our plastic totes that haven't been touched since we moved last year and dug out my crotcheting supplies and got back to work. 

I always say I want to do volunteer work, but never quite know what my niche is.  But I think this is the perfect thing for me.  It's time I start doing something positive towards becoming a better person. 

And while I was feeling very connected to my Grandma O'Brien this morning while crotcheting a little before I left for work, I said a little prayer to her, asking for her help in letting this be our takehome baby.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Here We Go Again

Sorry I've been avoiding my blog again.  Not only were we away on vacation over the weekend, but I also had some news to share and wasn't sure how to break it gently to those out there that are having T-TTC.  Since there really isn't a gentle way, I'm just going to say it.  I'm pregnant.  Again. 

My BBT went up a little last Thursday at 11 dpo, so I decided to test and here is the result (sorry for the blurry pic):

I'm surprisingly pretty calm about it all this time around.  I think a lot of the reason is I don't want to get too attached this time, only to experience another loss.  I would say the best way to describe how Jeff and I are feeling right now is cautiously optimistic.  I'm for sure feeling more positive about it though and am not letting negative thoughts flood my mind.  Having anxiety and bad thoughts about what could happen isn't going to help anything, and therefore I'm simply letting go and letting whatever happens happen. 

Our first appointment is 3 weeks from today, which seems so far away.  Luckily, we have plenty to keep us busy so hopefully time will fly. 

This last weekend we went to Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, WI with Jeff's sister, husband, and 4 kids.  It was right on Lake Michigan and was one of the most relaxing vacations I've been on.  Most of my time was spent sitting on the beach reading a book.  It doesn't get more relaxing than that.