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The kicks and flutters are a constant now. It is so reassuring at 23 weeks that this little boy (yes, another boy!) growing inside me is active and healthy. I’ve had many tests and ultrasounds in this pregnancy, way more then in my first one with Silas. I think the combination of the IVF, my age and what happened the first time, has dramatically changed the way this pregnancy has been approached- by doctors and by us.
I also find myself comparing the 2 pregnancies often- because that’s what we do. Different but similar aches and pains, the familiar flutters, the swollen feet and ankles, the need to stay fed and hydrated, to be well rested but still active and the never-ending amazement that I can really grow a baby inside my own body. I really still can’t believe it sometimes! I truly feel lucky that I get to be here, a place I’ve been dreaming of for so long in my life.
The doctor/midwife group we chose this time around is just different. It is a more clinical setting, but the warmth is there and the care is impeccable. Some visits have been 5 min long- while others I spend at least 30 getting my questions answered. They are on top of it, making sure that every need we have is met. I even got a call today randomly from one of the midwives, just to see how I was doing. She asked how all the doctors have been, if we’ve been happy with our care. She even asked if they were pronouncing my name correctly! So great. I feel like we are in good hands and very hopeful that this little guy inside me will end up in my arms screaming and healthy.
But as all of us in this community know, nothing is definite and things can go wrong, up to the very last minute. I’m still feeling pretty hesitant that this pregnancy can really end with a live baby. I won’t keep anything for him in this apt until he is alive & kicking. What do we really need? I don’t feel the pressure to set up a baby room (we actually didn’t do this last time either), or have clothes or diapers or anything here until it happens. All the stuff given to us last time is safe and secure at my inlaws. I am confident that when we need it, it will be brought to our home, ready and waiting for us. I refuse to register and really have a hard time even going to that place of decision making. What stroller, bassinet, car seat do we want? Beats me. I checked out what some of my friends have, asked a few questions, but don’t feel like it’s necessary to go there quite yet. I know, I know, a week before I deliver, I’m sure I’ll feel frantic if I don’t have this stuff, but for now, I just want to get through each day. I have lots of people who want to know what I’m going to do about work, daycare, etc. I am not planning a thing. I have some ideas and I know I want to take off some time, but to actually plan what we’re going to do after that is just not going to happen. I planned last time, and then had to take it all back. It was brutal. It just feels better to leave it out there and we’ll figure it out when the time comes.
I’m way more tired this time around. I think being 40 and pregnant is really hard work! I wish I could exercise more, but it’s so hot on the east coast and so hard to get motivated to even take a walk! I am still teaching the kids yoga and am pretty much using it as my form of exercise right now. Every downdog feels heavenly, but my body definitely doesn’t move the way it’s used to! That I remember explicitly from last time. That crazy feeling of not being able to bend and stretch like I am normally capable of.
I know my sister does not want a big announcement made (sorry J), but her pregnancy, only 7 weeks behind me, is so very exciting in my family. My parents are beyond thrilled and daily texts from my mom are not unusual.
“How are my girls feeling today??”
It’s so amazing to see my parents so happy. They have struggled to deal with the grief and loss of their first and only grandson while staying hopeful that their 3 kids in their late 30’s will procreate sooner rather then later. They have to listen to all their friends who only want to talk about grandkids. So now that both of their daughters are preggers, it is a really happy time in the Rosen family. When I start to think about the thought of “What if that IVF cycle didn’t work?” I get a feeling over my body that is so horrific, I don’t even want to go there. It happened and it’s all good. But it is still so hard to even believe sometimes.
We just got back from a fantastic trip out west for a good friends wedding in Lake Tahoe. So beautiful and so much fun. Of course we also stayed a few days in SF- bar hopping, coffee tasting, seeing friends, eating burritos and just enjoying ourselves immensely. Meeting new babies (me with gifts in hand finally!) and seeing pregnant friends, all with a huge smile on my face and excitement for them that was real.
As always, the love and support we get from our friends & family, and those of you who read my words have kept me going. So I just want to say thanks.
I’d like to thank my friend Angie from Still Life With Circles for putting this project out there for us to participate in. Angie is an incredible force in this community and her blog was one I read daily way back when. I don’t read many blogs these days. I write on mine every so often, but it feels different then when I first lost Silas. Back then, it was my lifeline. It was what kept me sane. I devoured blogs, commented daily and made a group of friends who also lost babies around the same time. Our lives have progressed differently since then. Some went on to have subsequent babies pretty quickly, others, like me, took a lot longer, while still others have yet to conceive again. Though our paths were different after our losses, our stories & comments kept each other sane and able to move forward through the early months of heartache, pain and devastation. I will always cherish those beginning friendships and the strong connections we made. These women just got me, they knew what I was feeling and were there for me no matter what.
I sometimes go back and read my early posts, from when I guest wrote on my husband Chris’s blog Elm City Dad. I was raw, angry, sad, depressed. You name an emotion and I felt it. I was honest though about how I felt. I knew people in my life were reading, people who knew and loved me. It didn’t change what and how I wrote, I knew that they actually used our blogs as a tool to help them deal with us. We told it like it was- putting it all out there with real, honest emotion.
I think that because of our blogs, we are still super close to all our friends. It was their way of connecting to us in helping to know what we were going through. Our friends found it easier to contact us because of it. Having email, text, fb, gchat and blog comments gives us so many outlets to communicate and I appreciated every single one of them. I didn’t need my friends calling me. I didn’t need people to worry about “how I was doing.” My blog shared that, and if you took the time to comment or email or text, I let you know that I was ok. They knew and understood I couldn’t see their new babies, couldn’t send a gift or call/write to congratulate them. The jealousy, oh the jealousy. This part of me was a huge loss- not being able to see, hear, watch, read about babies. They were everywhere and it was almost impossible to navigate.
Those early days were so incredibly hard. I couldn’t lose the weight, couldn’t get pregnant, didn’t have my son and really couldn’t make sense of this world that came crashing in on me. I am one of those people though that couldn’t hide in my bed all day, every day, even though I thought that was what I wanted. Chris and I went out, saw friends & lots of music. Leaned on our amazing families & friends a lot. I practiced yoga, went to bootcamps & therapy, and continued my work as a children’s yoga teacher. I struggled through it all, but I think that because we continued to live life, through our loss and grief, really brought us to where we are today. We are still devastated by our loss, but we don’t wear our grief on our sleeve. We worked through it, around it, inside and out. I will always miss him, til the day I die – but my heart isn’t aching like it did in that first year. Sometimes I can’t believe I’m still standing, and other times I am proud to be still standing.
I am finally pregnant again, exactly 2 years & 8 months later. It took a really long time for that to happen. I think for me, it made this journey a bit more tumultuous. My time was spent grieving the loss of my sweet little first born son Silas and then it was spent trying to get pregnant again. After awhile, it turned into just trying to get pregnant again. Silas was there in my heart, but his loss wasn’t my focus anymore. I was determined to get pregnant and after a year of trying on our own, it was time to venture into the land of infertility drugs. I couldn’t believe this was our life. First we lost our child at birth, and then we can’t get pregnant? That just seemed truly fucked up. I mean seriously? We tried every fertility treatment out there, and finally, became pregnant after our 3rd IVF attempt. I am currently 13w4d and was feeling great until last night. We had a bit of a bleeding scare, but found out I have placenta previa and it’s pretty common. Now I am just told to take it easy which I’m attempting to do.
This pregnancy is fraught with the feeling of it being our last hope to have a child. It finally happened and I wont let anything take it from me. Last night, right after the toilet was filled with blood, I sobbed with the thought of having to start this process over again. It can’t possibly be happening. But the bleeding stopped, the ultrasound showed a heartbeat and a healthy baby, and I’m now required to chill out. At this point, I will do what I’m told. Chris wants to wrap me in bubble wrap and put me in a closet and not let me out til I’m ready to birth this baby.
Now that I’m finally here though, I am finding a new relationship with Silas and his loss. I still get choked up when I see my friends kids who were born around when he was. I sometimes can’t believe I could be parenting a 2 1/2 year old. That always breaks my heart. I am constantly now required to answer the question “is this your first?” This brings up all kinds of feelings and emotions about whether to share and break someone’s heart? or pretend Silas didn’t exist? It’s a very challenging question to answer, no matter how I choose to answer it. I always hesitate and I still haven’t figured it out it in the moment.
Silas taught me so many lessons. He taught me that everything in life doesn’t always work out & things don’t happen for a reason (sometimes shitty things just happen). He taught me patience. He allowed me to fall even more in love with my husband (which I didn’t think was possible). I gained a better appreciation for what I have & more empathy for those who are suffering. Over time I’ve learned that when shitty things happen to me, I don’t have to blame myself for it. Blame and guilt, 2 huge emotions that come with loss. I worked through those emotions, and while I’m not completely healed of them, I don’t beat myself up anymore. Silas Orion will always be a light in my life, will always hold a space in my heart and will always be the big brother to the next little Gallagher to come our way.
The last few days have been filled with crazy, crazy news. They found some regrowth in the same tumor spot on little Carly. That enough would make you just want to throw things. Then I got some news about a fellow babylost mom who was pregnant and lost her baby midway through the pregnancy. Really? like, seriously? And then I got some more pregnancy news and then some babies being born news and all these people in my life having their second already since we lost Silas. It’s all just very hard to take, all piled on top of a few days. Somehow I’m still standing.
We are starting IVF again. It’s our 2nd fresh cycle but 3rd altogether since we did that frozen one way back when. We’ve determined this isn’t the be all end all of me getting pregnant. We could not possibly add any more pressure then we already feel going in to this round. If it doesn’t work, we’ll cross that bridge. I’m happy to be in this mind space for this cycle. I know what to expect, I’m not scared, I’m ready.
2 1/2 years out and still trying. How do we stay hopeful? Any suggestions? It’s so hard. I expect not to be pregnant now. It makes the letdown month after month so much easier. I don’t cry much anymore when I get my period. I just expect it. A few weeks back I decided to stop trying so hard. No more acupuncture, herbs, teas, vitamins. I just don’t want to keep putting in effort, time, money, etc when it hasn’t worked. So this month we just said fuck it and whatever happens happens. I’m starting IVF anyway if and when I get my period. We decided to try a new clinic- and this one isn’t having me do a rest down before the cycle. So I just start right with my period. Time to shake things up a little, when things aren’t working, change it up.
I am still having bad days mixed with good days. There are moments where I stop dead in my tracks and think- wait, did my baby really die? I still can’t fathom it sometimes. I also cannot believe I can’t seem to get pregnant. I know everyone in this IF world thinks that- but after our loss, it just seems so unfair. I got pregnant easily the first time, no issues. I wasn’t so young either. How many times can I say this? but its 3 years since Silas was conceived. We’re in that phase of his pregnancy where it was so new and so exciting, but 3 friggin years ago! So long ago. I want to feel that again so badly it hurts.
I am going to do restorative yoga, just like the NY times article said to do. (yeah yeah I’m a yogi, I should know this but I generally don’t do restorative). I’m going to stay calm and not stress. Even when I’m poking myself with needles day in and day out & driving almost an hour to the clinic at 6:30am on these really cold winter mornings. I’m going to breathe, and relax and take care of myself. (At least this is my plan).
We now have a few trips planned- Florida to see my parents, and this is immediately after we find out if this cycle worked. Then we are going to Costa Rica for my 40th and for Chris’ bday and so I can do a teacher training. We also have a trip to Lake Tahoe planned for the summer for a wedding. So all of these trips are something to look forward to, regardless of whether I’m pregnant or not. I have chosen not to add that to the equation anymore. It did me no good when planning for my sister’s wedding. It made it complicated and depressing.
I choose to let these little things make me happy these days. It’s all I can do to stay sane.
Sally Kempton, a tantric meditation teacher, shared that with us in my class with her at the sf yoga journal conference. Obviously it struck quite a cord with me. I’ve been thinking of this statement as I go through my days. Fighting the feeling to let my loss and continuous pregnancy struggles get me down.
But I’ve been feeling so lonely these days. I miss Bandha and his neediness. I don’t have a 17 month old tearing up the place like I should. There is a never-ending emptiness that can’t even be filled with all the fun we try to fill it with.
My trip to SF was just that- a complete whirlwind and pure fun. I spent tons of time from one end of the city to the other, meeting friends for lunch, dinner, bars, hospitals, you name it. I ate so well and drank lots of cali wine. I took yoga, meditation, pranayama & acroyoga classes at the conference. It was a blast. I went from friend to friend, place to place and did everything I could have wanted and more. I am lucky to have had the opportunity and I have the greatest group of friends ever.
Meeting Paige and Aliza was incredible. From the second we met, I felt like we were old friends. It was really easy- us babylost mamas speak a language that only we share. Meeting Sev was awesome. I loved holding him and smelling him and taking in the new-babyness. I need that in my life. I don’t do that, I haven’t done it since losing Silas and I felt it was time. I am finding myself opening up to babies and pregnancy. I’ve shielded myself from it for a long time, for protection which is truly understandable. But I’m over it- so over it. So tired of being angry and sad – this trip helped open me up to the parts of myself that I miss.
I spent the following week after my trip pretty much on the couch every night. I crashed and crashed hard. I found it hard to do much else besides lay around and watch tv. The effort to fill my void with goodness truly took its toll when I came back to the loneliness I was escaping. Don’t get me wrong, having Chris to come back to was the best. I missed him so much while I was away, it was hard to be out there without him! We are a team – more then ever, and without him I don’t feel whole. But there is a void that is hard to escape, and it fills our lives so profoundly.
I am working hard to meditate on this statement and rise above the shit we’ve been handed. What other choice do we have really? In so many ways we do have so much, and I need to recognize that as much as possible. There are so many out there rooting for us and its amazing. It is very powerful and it propels me forward and out of bed every day. With Chumby being exceptionally snuggly these days, it really has become so hard for the both of us to get up in the morning.
Chumby has definitely changed since we put Bandha down. She is all over us, both of us now. She is way more lovey with Chris then ever and it’s so sweet. It used to be all about me, but now she wants to snuggle with him too. We are planning on getting another kitty for her to torture- just waiting for the right time. A new cat will definitely help fill the void here and piss Chumby off so bad, but I do think she is lonely too.
We’ve started the injectible fertility meds. I don’t really want to go into too much detail about the timing of it all. The only thing I’ll ask is that you cross your fingers that the lucky socks will work their magic when the time comes!