6 months, and almost 10 weeks

This is the most compact description of where I am. Yesterday was the half-year anniversary of the birth and death of A & C, and tomorrow I will be 10 weeks pregnant with Strawberry Baby.

Going through all the documents for taxes was painful. I have everything from last year in one big pile (not recommended), and re-encountering the hospital and cremation documents I shed more tears than I have in a while.

And then I had a difficult conversation with my boss, about how much I am getting done lately and how that isn’t exactly enough. She was trying to acknowledge that the last months have been really hard on us, but still. And I think she probably has a point, but still. It has barely been half a year. And half a year is extremely short to “recover” from such a loss, and at the same time extremely long when you miss your babies every single day. It reminded me of how hard it had been to go back to work, how that was so completely the opposite experience of what I thought going back to work after having a baby would be like. Half of my colleagues never even acknowledged that anything had happened at all, and once they find out I’m pregnant again they’ll probably think everything is fine now. The conversation also brought back more basic considerations, although not necessarily of the sort I’d want to discuss with someone who is childfree by choice. I had always thought that, if I ever had to decide between my career and my family, I would pick my family. And then, when we were finally on the way to building said family, due to some cruel twist we lost our daughters. I felt like the choice was taken away from me, at least temporarily. I don’t want any other choices taken. Plus, more simply: only very few experiments can reach a magnitude that does not pale against “my babies died”. Everything else just seems so much less important, still, at least on bad days. I’m not sure that is ever going to change. (Of course bringing food on the table and getting rent paid still are kind of important.)

Yet, given all that happened last year, we feel so blessed to be where we are. 9w6d, or maybe 10w1d, depending on who’s measurements you take, pregnant with our little Strawberry. Everyone keeps commenting how perfect everything looks. The nurse who did our “graduation” ultrasound at the RE was very gentle after I told her of the spotting I’d had, and the fact that my cervix felt sore for a week (!) afterwards. In part because of my already-sensitive cervix, and in part because my insurance thinks that 3 suppositories per day are too much to cover, we decided to keep me on IM progesterone until 12 weeks (usually my clinic switches to suppositories for the last 3-4 weeks).

Less than a week after that, I saw my MFM/OB. He’s a very sweet guy and was so happy to see me pregnant again, it was really touching. The nurses first needed to “close” my previous pregnancy in the computer system, which I thought was odd – the clinic and the hospital where I delivered are affiliated with the same university, you’d think they could communicate that bit. Both nurses also vaguely remembered me but couldn’t quite place me. When I explained that I’d had a stillbirth last year, the first, younger nurse just said “so that’s what it was”. The second, older nurse still seemed a bit confused, but looking through my records she saw that I’d had twins and remembered, and came over to give me a hug. It confirms my experience that more experienced practitioners have found ways to deal with such terrible situations – perhaps, sadly, because they’ve seen it often enough, and thought about what to say.

All the exams and scans went well, the MFM pointed out the spine and arms and legs and other body parts I could not exactly recognize, but was glad to hear were developing as they should. Pictures in the usual location. Now they will start requesting 17-hydroxyprogesterone shots for me, which have been shown to reduce the chances of pPROM and cervical shortening in at-risk patients, and start transvaginal cervical length measurements at 14 weeks. But before that, we have the NT scan. Doing yoga on the artificial grass gym rooftop today, I encountered a ladybug. It reminded me that there had been one of his distant cousins crawling over me on the way to the NT scan with A & C, only to reappear in my hair after the scan. I’ll take it as a good sign.

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11 thoughts on “6 months, and almost 10 weeks

  1. What a delicate place you find yourself in.

    I’m sorry that that you had to have that conversation with your boss, but it sounds like she was sensitive about it.

    I’m hoping that many good things are on the horizon for you and strawberry, and that your burden of grief lightens. This is all so hard. Hugs.

  2. It is so hard to keep pushing toward normalcy while wanting everyone to keep in mind that you’ll never, ever be “over it.”

    I just wish you 1,000 lady bugs, rabbits’ feet, good omens. All the luck in the world.

  3. Love hearing how great everything is going for you. I hope it continues to do so! It sounds like you have great people taking very good care of you.

    Work is so hard to deal with in situations like this. The losses I experienced, though heartbreaking, don’t compare to what you’ve been through, but I will never EVER forgive my boss for the way she treated me afterwards. This woman who has children of her own, who acted like she didn’t understand why I couldn’t just come back to work and be fine the next day. It has been 2 1/2 years since my last m/c, but I still don’t look at her the same. It sounds like your boss may be a little more sensitive, and I hope she continues to give you the time you need to grieve.

    I look forward to your positive updates!

  4. I wish that we as a society knew better how to deal with and treat those who have suffered losses like miscarriages, that are traditionally kind of swept under the rug out of awkwardness. They are losses, plain and simple, and an “I’m sorry for what happened” shouldn’t be too much to expect. You’re in a very bittersweet place, and it must be such a weird mix of emotions. I’m so glad that Strawberry baby is doing well!

  5. I’m sorry you’re facing that situation at work. I had the same worry about how people (not just colleagues, but friends and family) would perceive our pregnancy as having ‘fixed’ our grief over my son’s loss. In most ways, that’s been true, and I think that people really just want to be able to move past the uncomfortable stuff as quickly as possible and ‘focus on the positive’. It’s infuriating and hurtful at times, but I also remind myself that their reactions is more about them than anything. Remembering your sweet A and C with you while also celebrating this new life. I hope things continue to go well for you. I’m glad you’re getting such good care.

  6. Oh wow–the title really brings it home. I can’t believe it’s been six months already. And ten weeks. What a crazy mixture. I’m deeply sorry you had to have that conversation with anyone. It sounds completely stressful. What are you supposed to say? “I am still grieving my DEAD CHILDREN and if all goes well I will be a new mother and if all does not, I will be totally destroyed, so either way you’re not exactly going to get the lab monkey you’re dreaming of.” ???

    I’m really glad there’s something you can give you! I’m sure it’s far from a guarantee, but makes me grateful, because every day must just be so scary. A tiny reduction in risk is still a reduction.

  7. I can’t even fathom how you’ve been getting any work done. Not enough work seems like a really small thing compared to having lost your children. Is life only about the bottom line? I sure hope they are more understanding towards your situation.
    I’m glad that one of the nurses gave you a hug, a gesture that seems like the minimal appropriate response.
    I’m also very glad that you are being monitored closely, and that all seems well at this point.
    Keeping you in my thoughts, dear CC.

  8. I’m so sorry that you are having to deal with work issues. I would be a mess if I was working. 6 months is this week for me too. Somehow it is such a hard milestone. Thinking of you.

  9. I still haven’t been back to work. I wasn’t ready when my 3 months “maternity” leave were up. Honestly, for a while, I thought I would never go back. It just didn’t matter anymore. But, now, more than a year later…I wish I had gone back and forced myself to be part of that world because it is a little lonely without it. So, you may still be angry right now…but in 6 months…when you are about to go on maternity leave again…you might feel differently.

  10. I’m sorry that you’re in a difficult spot with work. Even the best intending employers have a hard time “dealing” with employees experiencing grief….especially of the magnitude that you’ve experienced. I hope the sun shines on you soon, my friend.

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