Posts Tagged ‘miscarriage’

My Pregnancy: Week 4

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

My Pregnancy: Week 4My husband lay on the ground of the living room before the summer dawn. I spilled the news, the test I just took. Positive. And just like that our world was never the same… again. We’ve already got two little ones who will be 2 and barely 4 at the time of our due date. We’ve done this song and dance before. But there in the darkness he put his hand on my foot and squeezed an exuberant vibe my way. I could hear the smile in his voice as he shared in the quiet, relaxing moment of joy with me.

But by sunlight something happened in me that did not with my other pregnancies. There was second-guessing. Oh my, so early! That can’t be right. Is it even possible? There are the pregnancy tests with the pink lines and those with blue lines and then the digital. There are “5 days sooner” and the dollar-store tests and the test with the “gold” seal that can supposedly tell the earliest. I’ve read the directions and the small print and understand the concept of hCG levels.  All that jazz around home pregnancy tests is still a little hazy to me, even though I’m a smart cookie. I fell under the sway of marketing ploys and went for the gold. It did me good. Five full days shy of my period, at barely three-and-a-half weeks pregnant, I got the “Yes +.”

Then I went online and foolishly read reviews, post-test. Of course there were glowing reviews of how the test was accurate and early, but the other half of the reviews were the ones that sunk in—the ones about false negatives and inconsistent results. With the first two pregnancies I found out at a solid 5 weeks pregnant. We weren’t trying but we weren’t NOT trying, In those instances I wasn’t entirely aware of my cycle’s every move, but I also knew when my period didn’t show up I might have reason to invest in a dollar-store test. Here we were trying for numerous months; we had a miscarriage at 6 weeks just a couple of months prior. I was heightened and on alert, hopeful and unsure.

I think most of us know the triumphs and perils of Dr. Google, there for you one moment and leaving you full of anxiety the next (usually in the middle of the night). I found charts of miscarriage rates based by number of days pregnant. I assure you, I’m not nuts. I think if you’ve ever wanted to be pregnant before you were pregnant, you know the sensation I’m describing. Its effect is particularly heightened if, like us, you’ve had something like two successful births but also two early miscarriages in the last four years. I recognize it’s probably nothing like the emotional charge of trying for years to be pregnant; for us it was 6 months. Then add to the equation a little bit of PTSD I acquired by working in emotional support services at a large hospital. I’ve attended my share of “fetal demise” experiences, and among other awful heartbreaks, that make me hesitant to believe in good things sometimes.

So here I am, hesitantly, excitedly, quietly pregnant. I make frequent trips to the bathroom just for the reassurance that comes with visible confirmation of still no period. I’ve never been so aware of my digestive system as I’m nervous that every little movement and bubble could become a cramp, the start of the end. But it’s not all doom and gloom. In the quiet I’ve also shared my first soft hello with the baby, greeting him or her with sweet, warm hospitality. Come along with me if you will. Every day I live a little more into believing it’s true.

Annie is a mom of two toddlers with a kumquat on the way. You’ll find her downing heaps of breakfast foods and nauseous at any sign of a vegetable within ten yards. That’s a real problem when you’re a vegetarian.

Caring for a Mom Who’s Lost a Baby

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Before I ever had kids, I was familiar with baby loss. My mom  lost a baby early on in the pregnancy after my brother. My husband’s mom lost a baby between his youngest two siblings. I knew friends who had lived and grieved through miscarriages before I was ever married. I always thought this was something I would have to go through.

I never did. That made it hard for me to understand what friends who lost babies were going through. My imagination won’t let me peek all the way over, but I have the faintest idea of what could be there and it’s terrifying.

But these moms–our friends, our family, moms we barely know—need us so much at this time, even though it’s tempting to let fear immobilize you. They need us to step out of our comfort zones and be there, no matter if it’s painful or awkward or silent. Even when they don’t ask. Because, they can’t.

So what can you do for a mom who has just lost a baby?

  • Cook. Ask them—or a mutual friend of family member–if they want company or if they need space. If they aren’t ready to talk to anyone yet, you can leave the meal at the door and text them to let them know it’s there. Be sure to use disposable or reusable dishes so there’s nothing to return to anyone. There are many online tools that will help you organize a meal train.
  • Listen. It’s Ok if you don’t know what to say. Having someone there to listen can help. Talking helps us process. You don’t have to have any answers, and certainly don’t try to offer any meaningless platitudes about life. Just listen.
  • Offer to babysit older children. Taking care of children can be exhausting on a perfectly good day. Giving the parents privacy and space to grieve by occupying their older kids for a day or an afternoon is a wonderful gift.
  • Send a heartfelt gift. Flowers may not always be the best choice since they fade so quickly. A handmade gift, handwritten note, donation to a loved charity or cause in the baby’s name, or a keepsake that reminds them of their baby’s life will be treasured.
  • Remember them. Don’t avoid your friend on the anniversary of the baby’s birth or death; acknowledge it. They will be honored that their baby is remembered, even if it makes them emotional.

When you do have a chance or idea how to help, just do it. Don’t ask. Don’t make them ask. Don’t wait for a response before you act. If you know an extended family member or a mutual friend, ask them what’s needed most and when you can do it. It doesn’t have to be a perfect gesture. It doesn’t have to be graceful. It just has to come from the heart.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three girls who lives and writes in Queensbury, New York. 

Pregnancy Week 28: Being Thankful

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Pregnancy Week 28: Being ThankfulAs my belly continues to grow and my emotions continue to rage, I have been thinking this week about being thankful. It sounds simple, but I feel like it is not always easy to be thankful while you are expecting. I am thankful for the tiny kicks, healthy baby, and possibilities that await my son.

But, it’s hard to be thankful sometimes when I am up in the night searching for Tums, or when I see a stretch mark pop up on my expanding mid-section. It’s in those times that I am forced to reach for a little perspective along with the antacid.

I’ve never had any real health issues, so I assumed getting pregnant would be a breeze. But with my daughter Johanna, getting pregnant was no easy task—it took almost 16 months for us. Infertility affects 6.7 million women between the ages of 15-44 according to the CDC. Most infertility problems result from issues with ovulation in women. Polycystic ovarian syndrome and primary ovarian insufficiency can also play a role in causing fertility issues is women.  More causes of female infertility include blocked fallopian tubes, physical problems with the uterus, and uterine fibroids.

In addition to having problems getting pregnant with our daughter, we also lost her twin at 9 weeks pregnant. Losing a child at any stage is heart-wrenching. Babycenter says that between 50 and 70 percent of first trimester miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities. I know several women who have dealt with the pain of miscarriage far worse than I have.

So when I start to catch myself complaining about how much weight I’ve gained or how many pimples I seem to be acquiring, I stop, look back at how far we’ve come, and decide to be thankful. I am thankful for this life growing inside of me. I am thankful for the chance to be a mother again, and the chance to experience this amazing miracle of pregnancy. What about you, momma, what are you thankful for?

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way in Northern Indiana. She loves her daughter Johanna with all of her heart, and she can’t wait to shower her little guy with love in August!