Exhale

We made it through yesterday. It actually ended up being a very nice day for us. We didn’t really do anything all day other than spend the day together. It helped to know how many people were thinking of our family. Actually, that’s probably what got us through the day. Thank you, anyone who is reading this, for that.

In other news, I had the ultrasound on my uterus this morning. I felt sick to my stomach on our way there. Sitting in that waiting room wasn’t much fun. The anticipation in so many couples’ eyes was clear. We were like that not too long ago, and I miss that hopefulness.

When we went into our room, I recognized the technician from one of our ultrasounds with Jilly. I’m certain that she didn’t remember us, but I wouldn’t expect her to, especially because everything was so normal and routine at those ultrasounds. ¬†She asked if I’d had a test or anything that showed there may be an abnormality. I felt like it took me an eternity to answer, and eventually I was able to tell her that our daughter was born at 24 weeks. I held back my tears until she left while I got undressed. I cried because I hadn’t prepared myself for having to answer any of those questions and I missed Jillian so much. I missed her so much at that moment that I forgot about being nervous about the ultrasound. It didn’t matter if we got good news or bad news – I just wanted Jillian.

Here’s the good news: according to the doctor, my uterus looks great. There’s no dip, no septum, and everything looks really good. I burst into tears as soon as he said it, so he was probably wondering what was up with the crazy woman who cried upon hearing something good, but that’s fine. ¬†There is no bad news.

So I guess now we just wait. I’ve been fantasizing about the perinatologist calling and saying, “it looks good, so go ahead and start trying whenever you’re ready,” but I’m 99.98% sure that’s not going to happen.

As for now, I think I’m going to resume working on the sweater I had started knitting for Jillian to wear home from the hospital. I haven’t been able to even look at the yarn since we came home from the hospital without her. I’m hoping that someday, I will be able to show it to another daughter and tell her the story about how she got to wear her big sister’s sweater home from the hospital. After this morning’s results, I’m more comfortable with letting myself believe that this could actually happen.

High-Risk Consultation

My appointment was this morning. I think I was more nervous about this appointment than I was about my first ultrasound with Jillian, which I was having because of bleeding and cramping (meaning I was terrified). I was shaking while we were sitting in the waiting room. I was weighed when they took us back, where I learned that I gained 16 pounds between the time I woke up this morning and my appointment. Then Dave pointed out the cart that was on top of the scale. Phew. At least it made me forget about being so nervous.

I think part of my nervousness came from knowing that we were going to have to talk about what happened with Jillian. It actually was a lot easier than I expected. The doctor was nice and I feel comfortable with the plan that we have put in place, which is this:

I am having a 3-D ultrasound next week to double check the anatomy of my uterus. If there’s anything that needs to be fixed (that can be fixed), we’ll do that. If everything is normal, we can start trying in June, assuming we’re emotionally ready. She pointed out (and we already knew) that my next pregnancy will not be a starry-eyed, blissful journey. We’re both going to be scared out of our minds. Anyway, once I do get pregnant and it is established that it is a viable pregnancy, I will have a cerclage placed at 10-12 weeks. I will have either weekly or bi-weekly ultrasounds, and if there are any signs of my cervix changing, we will discuss progesterone shots and/or bed rest.

I feel much better about things. We don’t have to go answer shopping because we heard exactly what we wanted. I’m extremely nervous about next week’s ultrasound, just because I’m so down on my luck that I’m convinced they’ll see that my uterus is totally screwed up and I should not ever try to get pregnant again. I thought that it was enough that the doctor who performed my c-section said it looked normal, but the peri says we’ll get a better look while I’m not pregnant.

In other news, I fell down half a flight of stairs yesterday. I have a bruise the size of my right butt cheek on my right butt cheek. It certainly hurt, but my first thought was Oh, my god, the baby, which caused more tears than the actual fall. All three of my animals came running to me after it happened, which made me cry a little more, mainly because none of them like each other, but apparently they all like me enough to get within a couple feet of each other to make sure I was okay. Cats and dogs are the best.

Just a few updates

1. Jillian’s due date is one month from today. I’m having a very difficult time with this. My heart is aching about the fact that I’m supposed to be 36 weeks pregnant today. I have tried very hard not to think each Wednesday about how far along I’m supposed to be, but as her due date gets closer, it’s impossible not to think about it. I keep trying to remind myself that just because she was due March 24 doesn’t mean that she would have been born that day, but it doesn’t help. The instant I saw the line on that pregnancy test, I knew that March 24 would never be just a regular day for me again (I chart, so I knew before I even took the test what my due date would be if it happened to be positive). I thought it would be a day that bring happy thoughts about my first child. Instead, it’s a reminder of the heartache and pain I feel because my first child was born too far before her due date and is now gone forever.

2. My high risk consultation is on Friday. I’m so anxious about it that I could cry (and have already cried). I’m looking forward to it because it’s a step forward, but I’m terrified that we won’t hear what we want to hear (which just means we will look for another doctor, but the thought of having to find someone else totally overwhelms me).

3. I’m about 95% sure we’re naming the dog Baxter. Things are going pretty well, but I have a whole new understanding of separation anxiety (his, not mine).

4. If you’ve given me a blog award, I’m sorry I’m such a slacker and haven’t posted about it. My goal this week is to make a post with all of them. That’s my one goal for this week. That’s how high I’ve been setting my bar lately. Go ahead, roll your eyes at me. I just did.

Some people just need to stop talking

I went to the dentist today. I was supposed to go a couple of months ago, but I rescheduled it because I didn’t feel like going and explaining everything. I planned on telling whoever called to remind me of the appointment what happened with Jillian so I wouldn’t have to explain it in person, but nobody called to remind me and I completely forgot about it until last night. I had knots in my stomach because I didn’t want to have to explain it in person. My appointment wasn’t with my usual hygienist, which caused even more anxiety about going. I cried on the way there because I was so nervous.

As I was walking into the room, the hygienist asked if there have been any changes to my health since my last appointment. She apparently didn’t pick up on my lack of huge pregnant belly (I looked at my chart while she was taking my x-rays to be processed, and my EDD was the last note written on there). I took a deep breath and started to say, “I had my baby prematurely and she only lived for four days.” Instead, I only got out “I had my baby” before the hygienist interrupted me to exclaim her congratulations. I closed my eyes and said, “she died.” The hygienist said, “oh, I’m sorry,” like I’d just told her I’d stubbed my toe on the way in.

She then cheerfully asked me if I did anything fun for Valentine’s Day. Seriously, woman? I just told you my baby died and you want to chat about what I did for a piece of crap fake holiday? I should have answered truthfully, which would have been that I moped around the house all day because there’s no point in celebrating Valentine’s Day when my heart is missing, but I just said “no” and hoped she would shut up. Instead, she expressed sympathy for my lack of a nice dinner out or any other “fun” things. She was sorrier about that than she was about my dead baby.

I hate people sometimes.

6-week appointment update

Today’s appointment went pretty well. The best news is that my uterus looked totally fine during the c-section. It’s one less thing we have to worry about. My uterus is back to its normal size, my cervix has closed, and the nurse practitioner said I’m healing perfectly. I’m also cleared to start exercising on Saturday, thank goodness.

We set up an appointment with the high risk OB in the practice for next month. As scared as I am for this consultation, I’m looking forward to it. As we discussed with our grief counselor, the only way we will be able to relax at all during my future pregnancies is if we find a high risk doctor we trust. I really hope we like her and we can come up with a plan we’re all comfortable with, for no reason other than I would hate to have to leave this practice. I really feel like everyone there (with the exception of the awful nurse I mentioned before) cares.

For example, we were discussing anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants and their safety during pregnancy today. I said I feel like I’m going to need something during my next pregnancy, mainly because I will be a nervous wreck. The nurse practitioner (who, by the way, called me the Saturday night after Jillian died to see how I was doing and to tell me how sorry she was) said she understands, and said, “we’ll all be a little bit of a wreck next time.” I realize that it doesn’t exactly sound like a vote of confidence, but it was the most compassionate thing she could have said. I would rather have her be totally honest with me than pretend it will definitely be okay. She has assured us multiple times that they will do anything and everything to ease our minds next time (well, except for send an ultrasound machine and tech home with us), and I know she means it.

The OB who performed my c-section came in to say hello before we left. I was touched that she came in because she certainly didn’t have to, and we wouldn’t have thought a thing of it if she hadn’t. I was even more touched by the emotion she showed when she told us how sorry she was for everything we’ve been through. It amazes me how almost everyone in this huge practice has made me feel like they actually care. It’s probably because they do. If the people we’ve dealt with already are any indication, the high risk doctor is probably wonderful.

Six-week appointment

Not much has been going on around here. I feel like we’re just going through the motions. I have my six-week follow up appointment today. I’m nervous about it, but not as much as I was about the two-week follow up. I don’t think I’ll need to be taken back to an exam room immediately like I was last time, which is good. It feels like progress. We’ll see when we get there, though.

I’m nervous that we’re going to hear something that we didn’t hear the last time. I think it’s unlikely, but it is possible. The nurse practitioner was going to check with the doctor who performed the c-section to make sure everything about my uterus looked normal. I can’t remember if I’ve posted about this before, but at one point several years ago, my doctor thought I might have a bicornuate (heart-shaped) uterus. She said that if it was bicornuate, the dip was small enough that it wouldn’t cause any problems. I kind of forgot about it, mainly because she said not to worry about it, and it wasn’t mentioned again until I got to the hospital after my water broke. After the surgery, the doctor told me everything looked fine and there was nothing in her report, but we still wanted the nurse practitioner to follow up to make sure that includes the shape of my uterus.

If I do have a bicornuate uterus, it doesn’t mean that we can’t try again. It mainly means that if I get pregnant again, I’ll be considered high risk and be monitored closely for preterm labor, which will be happening anyway. I’m sure it would cause additional anxiety for me, if that’s even possible when it comes to being pregnant again. I guess we’ll know later.