Monday, May 31, 2010

A Wonderful Surprise, Complete Excitement, Deep Sadness...and Hope

This is the story of our baby. I’ve gone back and forth a thousand times on whether or not to blog about this, but I feel that it’s the best way to get the correct word out about what’s going on in our life at this moment. I’ll warn you that this is a very emotional post and one that will be hard for me to write, but I do so for two reasons. 1. I want others who’ve gone through this or who will go through this to know that they’re not alone. 2. Since the news of my pregnancy was recently made semi-public, I feel I need to update you on the status of things. So *deep breath,* here goes.
[The pic above is of my first ultrasound, taken at 7.5 weeks. At this time, I saw the babe, complete with a healthy heartbeat. A moment that left me far too confident, I'm afraid.]

Our Surprise
One evening in May, I started feeling ill. I was sure I had a sinus infection, but the throwing up seemed out of place. After a few days of feeling crummy, I went to the doc where I found out that I did indeed have a sinus infection, but there was something else. I was pregnant. Wow! Cory and I weren’t actively trying for a baby, but we weren’t doing much to prevent such an occurrence either, so this came as a surprise, but not a huge shock. And I’ve never seen a bigger smile on Cor’s face than that day when I told him the news. It’s a look I’ll never forget.

[This ring was a Mother's Day gift from Cory. He said the big heart was mine and the bitty heart was Frank's. Frank is the silly nickname Cor gave the baby. LOL]

Our Excitement
While we weren’t exactly planning for a baby, Cory and I quickly adjusted to the idea of welcoming a little one, especially after I went to my first doc appointment at 7.5 weeks and saw the bitty babe with its bitty heart rapidly beating. If you’ve never carried a child before, you may have wondered why prego women always wrap their hands around their bellies. I know this question had crossed my mind a time or two. Well, I quickly learned that you instinctively do this. For me, it was almost like my way of saying “I’m here for you little baby, and I love you.” It astounded me how quickly I fell in love with this tiny life inside me as my hands sat on my still flat(ish) stomach. And Cory was just as in love. We started sharing the news with family and friends, we bought books (lots of books), we talked names, and we even started making plans to sell my Mustang Sally so we could buy a more appropriate “mom car.”

[We started sharing the news by telling our parents on Mother's Day. We found these cute "Wanted: Grandmother" cards that were just perfect. And we slipped a copy of the first ultrasound picture inside. How fun it was to watch our own moms open and read these cards.]

Our Sadness
I recently returned from a work trip to NYC and Buffalo, NY, where I was gone for more than a week trade-showing and teaching. While there, I started experiencing pain and light bleeding. Since I was doing a lot of walking and teaching for long hours, I assumed it was just my body’s way of saying “hey, I’m tired; take it easy for a while, eh?” Sadly, the night I got home from NY, Cory and I just knew something was wrong. The bleeding was very light, and the cramping was far from excruciating, so I still find it odd that we both jumped to the worst possible outcome, but we did. We sat in bed, each with tears in our eyes, trying to comfort the other. “It will be fine.” “There’s no sense worrying when we haven’t even talked to the doctor.” “The books say that light spotting and cramping is normal in the early phases.” This went on for a few minutes and then we both fell silent until we drifted off to sleep.

The following morning, I went to my doctor and had a second ultrasound. Before performing it, my doctor said that I shouldn’t worry. “The odds of a miscarriage after seeing a healthy heartbeat are only 5%,” she said. I quickly discovered from the blank look on her face as she moved the ultrasound equipment around that we fell into that lousy 5%. My heart dropped. To make matters worse, we immediately started talking “options.” Options? Options for what? Oh, options for how to remove the 10-week-old fetus from my stomach. Yeah, not exactly options I was eager to discuss at that moment. To make a long story short, I went into surgery that night, and by the end of that hellish day I went from being an expectant mother to being a person with an empty uterus and an empty heart.

[One of the many pregnancy books I bought and had started reading. Nowhere in any of these books does it say to expect the amount of heartache and loss that comes from miscarriage. It's such a painful experience, both physically and emotionally.]

Our Hope
It’s been a week since my surgery and Cory and I are doing our best to take each day as it comes. Next to my mom having cancer, this has been the hardest thing we’ve ever had to go through. But, though I’m far from ready to see the silver lining, I can say that we have been reminded of one thing, and that is how lucky we are to be surrounded by people who love us. Our family, friends and coworkers have shown us great love and support, which has made all the difference. It’s helped us realize that there is hope. And while we may not understand why this happened (I don’t think we’ll ever come to terms with that), we do understand that we’ll survive, even if it is one day at a time. We also realize that we’re not alone in understanding this pain. There are sadly SO many who’ve gone through this same tragedy. I was stunned at the hospital after my surgery when the nurse said that 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. It was definitely an eye-opening moment for me.

Another source of hope--my sweet husband. I never thought I could love him any more, but I do. He’s been nothing but a rock of strength and comfort for me, all while licking his own wounds. His heart is as broken as mine, yet he’s been here every step of the way to help me mend. The love he’s shown gives me the hope that we’ll one day welcome a babe into a very loving home.

For all of you who’ve shared in our surprise, our excitement, our sadness, and our hope, I thank you from my heart. You make us stronger, you make our lives better, and we love you!