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.