Beach bellies

One thing I was unprepared for when we went to the beach was all the pregnant bellies I would see.  It was tough enough to see all the families with toddlers, knowing that we had left Littleman at home.  But it was the pregnant ladies that were really hard on me.

At one point, I tried to distract myself from my sadness by inventing a game.  It was kind of a mean game, but since I kept it to myself, I figured it was OK. The game was called “pregnant or just fat?” If someone had a noticeable belly, I would sneak a glance to check (and hope!) that maybe they’d just spent too much time at the buffet. Unfortunately for me, a lot of them turned out to be actually pregnant.

One night, as we sat at one of the bars enjoying some pre-dinner cocktails, it felt as though someone had organized a pregnancy parade.  One by one, cute little pregnant mommies in adorable sundresses marched passed us.  I had been doing really well at making the best of our situation and enjoying the time we were spending together, but seeing all these pregnant bellies was really hard.  And it seemed like every pregnant woman on the beach had a toddler with her, almost exactly Littleman’s age.  It was hard not to think “that should be me!”

I guess that was my preparation for the onslaught of pregnant bellies that have become visible now that the weather here is getting warmer.  No longer are the baby bumps hidden behind big, puffy winter coats.  All those tummies are on display and I’m bound to be faced with them wherever I go.  In fact, I just passed four of them on my way to buy a sandwich.  I guess it’s time to start bringing my lunch…

She’s back…kind of

Two days before we left for our vacation, I started spotting.  It had been about 11 days since I’d stopped spotting from my D&C.  I wondered what was going on.  Was this my first post-miscarriage period starting?  Was this residual spotting from the miscarriage?  And WHY did it have to happen when I was about to hit the beach??

I spotted for a couple more days and then it stopped altogether for a couple of days.  Hmm, I guess this was nothing after all.  Then, BAM, there she was.  Cramps and all, my period arrived in full force 32 days after my D&C.  I was a bit annoyed to have to spend the rest of my vacation this way, but also a bit excited to think that my body was working things out and getting itself ready to start trying to conceive again.

After two days of a regular-ish period, it disappeared.  Hellooo?  Where did you go?  This was weird but since it was our day to travel home, I thought perhaps my uterus decided to give me a break.  No need to deal with tampons mid-flight, right?

The next day (yesterday), she was back again, bringing the cramps back along with her.  And then today, absolutely nothing.  So, was this the real deal?  Or some kind of cruel joke?  What’s up with the one-day-on-one-day-off routine? I have my six-week follow-up appointment with Dr. P later this week, so hopefully I will get some kind of answer.  Until then, I guess I just need to be prepared for anything.

Back to reality

After a lovely and relaxing week in the Dominican Republic, D and I are back in Toronto and (hopefully) ready to face real life again.  Our first vacation without Littleman was bittersweet.  It was wonderful for the two of us to spend some time away together.  And, what’s not to like about white sand, turquoise water, sleeping in, drinking pina coladas and lying in the sun?  But, of course, the reason for our getaway was always in the back of my mind.  If I was still pregnant (I would have been 19 weeks!) we wouldn’t be there.

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For now though, I want to reflect on the positive aspects of our week away.

In the last three years, I have spent 12 months being pregnant and 14 months breastfeeding.  That leaves 10 months, eight of which we spent trying to conceive.  Due to those circumstances (and to having an infant/toddler to care for) I haven’t had much alcohol in the last little while.  I’ve never been a huge drinker, but I do enjoy a nice glass or wine (or two) every now and again.  It was lovely to have a week of no responsibilities, where I was free to drink as little or as much as I wanted.  I enjoyed the mimosa I was offered on the plane on the way down (great way to start the trip!) and I happily sipped the tropical drinks that were available to us any time of the day at our all-inclusive resort.

We also slept more in the last week than we have in the last three years!  I never slept well during pregnancy (except for the first trimester of my first pregnancy, when I went to bed before dark every night).  Littleman has never been an amazing sleeper, so it’s rare for us not to be woken during the night.  After checking into our resort, we took advantage of the comfortable king sized bed and had ourselves a nice three-hour snooze before dinner.  We slept through the night every night (with the exception of hearing some rowdy neighbours arrive home from the disco) and went alarm clock-free for a whole week.  It was heavenly.

And then there was the food.  I don’t generally have high expectations of the food at an all-inclusive resort.  I know that there will be plenty to eat, but I never expect it to be very good.  This resort surprised us, with delicious food and a huge variety of restaurants.  Of course, my favourite part is always the breakfast.  I ate bacon like it was my job (OMG, I would kill for a job like that required me to eat bacon!) and the fruit was fresh and delicious.

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The beach in Punta Cana is amazing.  We’ve been there a few times before and we love the fact that we can walk for hours in either direction.  The pools were beautiful too, although we both prefer to spend our time on the beach.  The grounds of the resort were lush and tropical.

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All in all, it was a great holiday.  D and I really needed to get away from everything and to spend some time alone.  And we were lucky enough to be able to do that in a warm and beautiful setting.  Getting back to reality will be a little tough, but I feel strengthened by our time together.



A change of scenery

Earlier this winter, D and I discussed the idea of going south for a one-week vacation.  We’ve always loved the beach and it felt like we could use a little getaway this year.  Then, in early January, we found out I was pregnant.  Knowing how many expenses we would have in the coming year, we did the responsible thing and vetoed the vacation.

Now that we’ve lost the baby, we’re thinking that maybe we could use that vacation after all.  Physically, I’ve recovered from the D&C.  Emotionally, we’re both still grieving but trying to stay strong so that we can get on with our day-to-day routines.  We’re hoping that some time away together will help us to relax and refocus so that we can move forward.

The big decision was whether or not to bring Littleman away with us.  We’re not crazy overprotective parents or complete homebodies, but we’ve actually only ever spent one night away from Littleman.  OK, that’s not technically true.  I have only spent one night away from Littleman.  D is a firefighter who works different shifts, so he has spent quite a bit of time away from both of us for his work.

We are lucky enough to have people we trust who Littleman loves: my parents and my best friend (his godmother).  They have offered numerous times to stay with him whenever we need some time to ourselves and now we’re finally ready to take them up on that offer.

Leaving Littleman behind definitely causes some anxiety for me, but I know that he’ll be happy and well cared for.  In fact, he’ll probably barely notice that we’re gone!  And, I’ve come to realize that our happiness matters too.  I think a little change of scenery is exactly what D and I need right now.

Hopefully when we return in a week, we’ll feel renewed, refreshed and ready to face whatever comes next.

The dreaded question

For the first time since my miscarriage, I was asked the question, “when do you think you’ll have another baby?

I hate this question.  Before I got pregnant, I hated it because I was trying to conceive and it reminded me that I wasn’t pregnant yet.  Once I got pregnant, I hated it because I wasn’t ready to tell people that I actually was pregnant.  And now, after losing my baby, I realize how painful the question can be.

One of my colleagues was leaving for a new job, so we took her out for drinks to celebrate.  It was my first social outing since the miscarriage and there were lots of colleagues there who I hadn’t seen in several months.  I work for a pretty large company, so only my close colleagues knew about my pregnancy and miscarriage.

The woman who asked the question did not know what had happened to me.  She probably thought she was asking an innocent question.  A question that, I’m sure, a lot of people are thinking when talking to the mom of a two-year-old.

At first, it felt like a punch in the gut.  I’m sure my face gave away my feelings (I have trouble hiding my expressions!) as I struggled to respond.  My heart hurt as I thought about the fact that I should have been telling her that we were having a baby in September.

I knew I didn’t owe her any explanation or information, but a generic “we’ll see” just didn’t feel right to me.  Finally, I decided to tell her the truth.  I really like this woman and I felt like I could open up to her.  I told her my story.

And, you know what?  It felt good.  I know that people say that talking about your situation can really help you heal, but I don’t think I was ready to do that until now.

The next morning, I received an email from her: “I think it is so important to talk about traumatic things and get support.  I’m so proud of you for…putting yourself out there. It is truly courageous.”

Even though I still hate the question, I’m glad that I had the opportunity to push myself to start talking.

Talking is hard, but I think keeping it inside is even harder.

The big test

I read somewhere that, following a miscarriage, your period won’t return until all of the pregnancy hormone is out of your system.  Once my bleeding stopped, I was curious.  If I took a test, would it still be positive?  I wanted to test right away, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on expensive tests when I knew there was no way I was really pregnant.  Instead, I had to wait for my new stash of cheap tests that I ordered online to arrive.  So, three weeks post-D&C, I took a test.

I’m not going to lie, after all the pregnancy tests I’ve taken in the past, it felt really weird to be hoping for a negative.  Before, anytime I peed on that stick, my heart would pound and I would close my eyes and wish for that second line to appear.  This time, all I wanted was to see that blank white space beside the control line.

Today, I was in luck!  A BFN!  I can’t really believe I feel happy about being not pregnant.  (Well, at least as happy as someone who suffered a miscarriage can feel about the situation).  But, at least this means that the hormones are out of my system and (hopefully) my body knows that it’s time to start thinking about regular cycles again.

Now, we wait and see what this body of mine decides to do.


My second pregnancy story

I started writing a couple of days after my D&C, as I sat at home trying to recover.  It was a way for me to help make sense of my feelings.  Life was a bit of a blur so I suppose it was, in a way, a sort of journal for me to keep track of what was happening to me.

Once I started writing, I realized how much I wished I had kept a journal about my pregnancy with Littleman.  I wished I had written down Littleman’s birth story.  And, I wished I had kept notes about what was going on throughout the first trimester of my second pregnancy.

Doing the best I could to remember the major details, I wrote about trying to conceive for the first time and my experiences being pregnant with our first child.  The birth story was a little easier to write because I’ve told the story so many times.  It feels good to have those stories written down.

Writing about my second pregnancy was harder.  Was I really 3 ½ months pregnant just a few short weeks ago?  This week, it seems, I can hardly believe that was true.

I managed to capture as much as I could about those first weeks of pregnancy, leading up to the discovery of my missed miscarriage, which is where my story on this blog begins.  The story of my second pregnancy is now posted here.

What’s that book about?

The other day I wrote about Littleman’s love of books.  The truth is, he comes by it honestly.  Both his paternal grandparents are retired English professors.  D isn’t a huge reader, but I have always loved books.  I was an early reader and, for as long as I can remember, I have always had a novel on the go.  For me, reading is a way of relaxing at the end of the day.  Of allowing myself to escape from the craziness of work and the business of life.

When the fatigue of early pregnancy set in, most of the novels I chose to read were pretty light and easy.  I had a number of books lined up on my eReader so that I would always have something to read during my public transit commute to work or when I got into bed at night.

The crazy thing is, EVERY SINGLE book I’ve read since I lost the baby has had a storyline revolving around a baby, pregnancy, adoption, infertility or loss.  And only ONE OF THEM even mentioned the word “baby” in the description.  Let me break it down for you:

Book #1 (I was reading this book when I found out about the miscarriage) included an infertile woman who suffered a miscarriage and then went on to have a baby using an egg donor and a surrogate.

Book #2 was about a career-focused woman in NYC, who had gotten pregnant unexpectedly as a teenager and given up her baby for adoption.  She had kept the pregnancy and adoption a secret from everyone in her life, until her daughter showed up to find her years later.

Book #3 focused on an infertile woman whose teenage stepdaughter got pregnant.  The woman ended up raising the child as her own.

Book #4 (my most recent read) was one that I purchased after my miscarriage so I was more careful with my selection.  The description made it sound like it was focused on the families of some teenagers in Nantucket so I thought it was fairly safe.  NOPE.  One of the families struggles with fertility and then loses a baby to SIDS at eight weeks old.  And if that wasn’t awful enough, they threw in a uplanned teen pregnancy too.


Maybe I’m just overly sensitive these days and hyper-aware of these situations.  Maybe I wouldn’t have even noticed some of these plotlines at any other time in my life.  But, I’m starting to think it may be time for change of genres.  Supernaturals, perhaps?  I do love some good vampires, witches and werewolves…

The bleeding

I apologize in advance if you don’t want to hear about the gory details of my post-D&C bleeding.  I need to write about it for myself so I can remember what happened – and for anyone who is trying to figure out what might be normal after a D&C.  Feel free to click away now!

Anyway, a constant reminder of my loss and subsequent D&C was the bleeding and spotting that followed the surgery.  Over the course of the 2 1/2 weeks following the procedure, my body has played tricks on me.  Some days there would be barely any spotting, leading me to think that everything has made its way out of me.  Then BAM it would come back, heavier than the day before.

I kept a log of my bleeding in my iPhone, so I’d remember in case I needed to tell Dr. P about it.  It started out heavy and bright red on the day of the surgery.  Then it turned lighter, then more like spotting.  It varied in colour.  It was pink, then deeper red, then rust coloured, then brown, then beige.

Each time I’d visit the bathroom, I’d hope to see nothing.  Each time, I’d be disappointed.  Then, one day, I got that Leona Lewis song stuck in my head, “Keep bleeding, I keep keep bleeding…”  Oh man, I had totally lost my mind.

I knew it was probably normal to still be bleeding (although I don’t believe there’s really anything normal about having to deal with this situation at all) but I really wished it would end.  It made it hard to forget what had happened to me, even for a moment, when I continued to bleed.

Finally, it feels safe to say that the bleeding has stopped.  It’s been three days of nothing.   It kind of feels like a milestone.  While I should be celebrating being 17 weeks pregnant today, instead I’m celebrating being three days blood-free.  This isn’t a milestone I ever would have expected (or wanted)  to celebrate, but it’s a milestone nonetheless.  It means I’m taking one small step forward, moving away from the miscarriage toward whatever may come next for me.

Group hug

Littleman has discovered a new favourite thing: group hugs.  We’ve always done a lot of hugging around our house.  I suppose there’s been even more of it in the past couple of weeks.  One day, D was holding Littleman and they came over to give me a hug together.  D said, “group hug!” and they gave me a big squeeze.

Ever since then, Littleman has been asking for group hugs.  He wraps his little arms tightly around each of our necks and hollers “group hug!” in his high-pitched voice.  It’s awesome.

This might sound a bit cheesy, but sometimes this community of blogs and forums I’ve found feels a bit like a group hug.  Even though we’re strangers and dealing with a multitude of difficult situations, it’s nice to get some online hugs from supportive people who understand what I’m going through.

Group hug!