thoughts on telling

I’ve gotten to the part in my pregnancy books (my darling husband gave me another, figuring that it’d be too hard to read the one on twins he gave me back then) when the question turns to when to tell. Last time I had a deal with myself of only telling one person per day. I was so afraid something would go wrong, that I’d have to tell people we wouldn’t have a baby (or babies) after all. Well, and then we got to the point where I thought it was safe to tell (and hard to hide), and then things did go wrong and we didn’t get to take home our babies… and emailed everyone we had told, as we couldn’t face the idea of running into people and having to explain it in person. But I digress.

By only telling once we’re out of the trimester, while I understand the reasons so well, sometimes I think we’re not doing ourselves and other women or couples a favor. At that point, the majority of pregnancies do end well, so anyone who has never been in this unfortunate position will assume that announcement equals baby. Sometimes I wish for a society where I could make a cautious announcement earlier, with the knowledge that things are not “safe” yet (as if they ever were), but that I could use some support and understanding already.

I’m not planning any big announcements this time. I can’t stomach the thought. But I have mentioned this new pregnancy to a few people already, when the opportunity came up. Everyone is so excited for us. FIL, who has no medical education but loves commenting on such topics, thinks that my body is now used to being pregnant so everything should be fine. The cynical part of my mind wonders if my cervix is also used to opening… A colleague had seen many Japanese moms around and excitedly suggested that our kid could learn Japanes, while I just hope to make it to 24, 26, 28 weeks. It is very sweet, but at the same time I wonder if they cannot see how we worry that something might go wrong again. But perhaps they cannot stomach that thought.

With the girls, I often felt like an imposter when I said I was pregnant. Not sure why this was, and perhaps it is common after infertility. This time, I don’t. I’m owning this experience, despite all the concerns. In what might have been a spike of exuberant hope (in combination with the fact that I never quite lost some of the weight I put on with the girls, so that I’m already out of pants that fit) I have even ordered maternity yoga pants. And a scarf to hide the bump when desired, or simply protect against windchill. Because it was called rainbow scarf.

sleep

Thanks for all your good wishes! My poor husband basically didn’t sleep last night, getting a panic attack whenever he was about to fall asleep. Which is probably a fairly normal reaction after being told that there might, possibly, be something wrong with one’s heart, but not helpful for getting the much-needed rest. I’m sure he also has some unresolved sadness about losing the girls; who wouldn’t, 5 short months out. And probably the fact that I’m pregnant again, while wonderful, also raises all sorts of worries in him. (I recently got an email about “7 fears of expectant fathers”, and thought like, I’m fairly sure his main fear isn’t listed in there…)

I stayed home with him today (luckily my job lets me do that) to be there just in case, and for moral support. When we took a nap in the afternoon, he still struggled to fall asleep, while I slept soundly for 2.5h… but he did get some sleep, so I hope we are on a path to improvement.

then and now

Tuesday was bittersweet. We feel incredibly lucky and blessed that our embryos and my uterus get along so well, of course, but when we went for celebratory sushi we ended up also talking a lot about A and C. How happy we were to be expecting them, how sad we are that we didn’t get to keep them, and how we worry about the second trimester with Strawberry Baby (on top of the first trimester that everyone worries about).

It may seem like we dwell on the past, but I think it is necessary for us. This all happened less than a year ago, it was our very first pregnancy and we were so excited. Now, excited, but cautiously. But we do have a lot of hope for this baby, and push our doctors harder to take any concerns seriously – although given my history, I think they will do that anyway.

It was my husband who coined the term “Strawberry Baby”: during the 2ww, he said he hoped we’d get another Strawberry Baby. When I inquired, he explained that one of our daughters had looked like a little strawberry on the first ultrasound (which I think to this day remains his favorite ultrasound).* In our native language, strawberry starts with an E, so it’s even consistent. Once he noticed that I picked up the term enthusiastically, he was quick to point out that of course he hoped this little one would stay with us much, much longer than the strawberry stage.

And at the same time, we are embracing this pregnancy and celebrating every day. Reading about what Strawberry Baby is doing in the pregnancy book he gave me last year. We have told a few friends and family members as well as my boss (who has been incredibly supportive through everything) and a good mentor. I want serious weekly pregnancy photos (H is a good photographer, but somehow last time wasn’t too interested early on as he figured that’d have time…). I’m still working on a theme though and might pick something else than what I tried yesterday.


* I thought about including that picture here, but decided it’d be too confusing.

Pink

To pass the time waiting for my nurse to call, I did a routine experiment. And in the second-to-last step, the solution turned pink – which it never had before.*

Hours (hours) after this, my nurse finally got the results and immediately called: 215. A great, solid beta 14d3dt. I almost feel guilty as so many fellow bloggers have had chemical pregnancies lately, and at the same time I know this was only the first hurdle. But for today, I will celebrate having made it thus far.

* After some random guesswork, my colleagues suspect it was just from the marker I used – but I prefer to think it was my baby saying “relax, Mom”

ruptured

I was getting used to my mostly-couch routine, and the babies seemed to be hanging in there. Then yesterday I suddenly felt as if something was weird, and then there was a big gush of fluid. More fluid when I got to the bathroom, and even more.
We went to L&D, who confirmed that my membranes had indeed ruptured, and saw that baby A had very little fluid. We had hoped that they’d be able to save at least one baby, but apparently that’s really difficult – the main risk now is infection, both for the babies and for me. At 20 weeks, they’re much too young to survive. The options we were presented are “expectant management”, also known as wait-and-see, and termination. Gulp. We certainly weren’t able to chose the latter, not after all these steps it took to get here.
They offered to keep me in for the night for observation, but H said he’d much rather have me home with him, unless there was a risk. Hospital germs tend to be worse than homegrown ones, so they don’t want me to stay for long anyway. My cervix was still at 1.5cm, and no contractions, so it didn’t seem as if labor was imminent. After being explained the risks three times over, we went home and cried. I have never seen my husband cry like this. That alone was heartbreaking.
The good news is that I haven’t had any more leaking or gushing of fluid since coming home. Resealing of membranes is rare, but possible. My cervix went into mucus overproduction mode, which I hope also is a good sign – maybe it is trying to regenerate the mucus plug?
Basically we now need a miracle: no infection, no contractions, resealed membranes and refilling fluid. We have an ultrasound tomorrow to see how things are going. If you have good thoughts to spare for us, or stories from other PPROM survivors, please share.