Thursday, January 5, 2012

A $30 Leap of Faith

Just before we went out of town for Christmas, I logged onto the group for our local mothers of multiples group to search old forums for thoughts on car seats.  While I was on the site I happened to see a classified in the corner for 16 Dr. Brown’s bottles.  As these were the ones that have worked well for our boys, I clicked through.  It happened to be a mom that I knew from before either of us were pregnant with twins as our older sons would play together when we happened to be at the local elementary school at the same time on the weekends.  And I took a leap of faith.  I emailed her and set up buying them from her.

This may seem like a very small thing, but it was taking concrete action based on an underlying belief that two living, breathing children will join our family this summer.  This might be the normal assumption, but it hasn’t been my general mindset.  But taking that $30 leap of faith has really helped me in transitioning to a world in which I consider the logistics of a successful pregnancy and not just how to handle their possible demise.

On a related note, last week I saw the grief counselor that we had seen after Aurelia and Chiron’s birth.  I found it was really useful to talk through what I was feeling and thinking in general and I had two big realizations from the appointment that perhaps make it one of the best hundred dollars I’ve ever spent (the boys’ clothes still wins though). 

First, my anxiety/craziness is rational.  Yes, I am a bit crazy.  Yes, my body responds physiologically to my obstetrician’s office with a fight or flight reaction that is reflected in my elevated blood pressures.  This is all true, but it’s okay.  It is reasonable that I feel this way and I do not need to be upset or worried about the fact that I’m a bit crazy.  I do not need to apologize to anyone for that craziness.  I do however appreciate that those around me who know the anxiety acknowledge it and support me in reaching a positive place with it.  And as always, I’m blessed with an obstetrician who completely gets this insanity and not only doesn’t judge me for it, but goes out of her way to support me in it.  And hallelujah, she isn’t pregnant this time and so won’t be out for a maternity leave! (Not sure I should be celebrating that someone else is done, but I am ;-) ).

The second one is the one that I really think is critical and has made all the difference in the world as to my mentality and general attitude.  I didn’t write anything last week after we got back in town after Christmas and before New Years and this was primarily because I was uncomfortable acknowledging the degree of distress I was feeling and I was also uncomfortable trying to hide it.  I’m pretty much what you see is what you get.  And prior to my appointment on the 29th, I had honestly been in a place for the previous couple days where it wasn’t just that I feared they had died, I felt sure they had.  Note, I had no reason to feel or suspect this, but I still did.  I was convinced on some non-rational level that they had both somehow died, my body hadn’t noticed and I had a missed miscarriage.

What do I think today?  Well, it’s been a week since my last ultrasound, yet I still feel confident that they are both with me, growing and with beating hearts.  I feel comfortable in the lack of negative evidence, such as cramps or bleeding, and no longer am driving myself to search for positive evidence that can’t exist, i.e. a massively expanding midsection or a development of morning sickness that I’ve never known.

So what was the realization that has resulted in this huge change?

It is impossible to distance myself from those in my own body and while trying to do so will not protect me or make me feel less pain if something bad does happen, it can prevent me from bonding and attaching as I’d like to and thus I am better off to freely give my heart to them as they already have it whether I intended them to or not.

The bottles were the first leap of faith towards that realization.  Then I added in a very helpful conversation with my obstetrician that made it absurdly obvious that she is willing to do whatever will make me feel the most comfortable and an hour of just being able to talk through what I’m feeling and thinking and I got there.  I know this will be a work in progress in terms of ups and downs and that there are still many hurdles and dark spaces out there that we may come to see.  But I know myself and I know my strength and I know I can face them when they come and so I do not need to live in fear of the unknown or produce anxiety in myself about what may be.  For whatever may be, I can manage it.

It kind of comes down to the same attitude that has caused me to feel certain about my relationship with Aurelia.  There is nothing that I can do to undo her death.  And I wouldn’t choose to undo her life, even if I could evening knowing how it would end.

I have my next ultrasound and obstetrician appointment on Monday and will be a day shy of 10 weeks then.  As always, I've produced a pretty good set of questions.  Even if they didn't want to do the extra monitoring, it might be a good idea to keep having appointments every week to two weeks just to keep the question log from getting too long.

And as a final bonus, the ultrasound shot from last week as well as the cardiac activity confirmation on each.  The tech announced when we walked in that she was just supposed to check my cervix length and not look at the babies.  I said that I was almost certain the doctor had wanted their growth checked (since we are trying to age this pregnancy as there is no LMP and this is harder with a twin pregnancy) as well as confirm cardiac activity.  She looked at a sheet of paper and said that wasn't the case.  Rather than flipping out, I calmly asked if she would just quickly confirm cardiac activity for my sake (aren't we all proud?).  She agreed and also gave us one quick shot of them.  When we got upstairs, my obstetrician was more than a bit annoyed and questioned if she had to absolutely spell everything out and questioned why we would not have want them looked at thus affirming that I was right.  As a result, she's just going to do the ultrasound herself Monday instead of sending me down to the tech.

I didn't take a shot of the cervix measurement, but it did alarm me a bit (see, I'm not completely recovered from my alarmist nature).  At first she measured 2.2 cm, which would be a PROBLEM for eight weeks.  She then said something to the effect of, "oops, didn't see the curve" and so came in at 3.7 cm.  My cervical length at 24 weeks last time was 4.37 and then at 28 weeks after preterm labor and dilation was 3.7.  My doctor wasn't concerned about the relative difference and anything over 3 is fine, so I'm not very concerned, just mainly bothered that I don't feel much confidence in the accuracy of the measurement that was taken.

I really don't think I have an incompetent cervix, so I actually don't have much anxiety on this issue, but I would like a nice clear value and so will be happy whenever the perinatologist takes over the cervical length measurement. 


  1. Aw little beans! I'm SO broody, getting clucky over ultrasounds.

    I think it is totally understandable and rational to be crazy. I was certainly more than a bit crazy when I was pregnant with R and he was (a) nearly three years down the line (b) planned and (c) not twins.

    I do know that there is one thing that I will never, ever regret about my pregnancy with G and J. I never thought it would go wrong, I was cautious but I never imagined that one or both of them would die. I loved them, I planned for them, I sang to them, I read to them. And I'm glad I did, because even if G was only capable of hearing my voice for a very short time, I loved her and I didn't hold back and that is of some small comfort to me now. So I tried my best with Reuben just to tough it out, stick my heart out there and hope for the best. Easier said than done I know.

    Glad that the obstetrician will be doing the scan next time, what a meanie that tech was? I would have flipped out, I am actually extremely proud of you for keeping your cool.

    And all I have to offer is my mantra - every pregnancy is different.

    Oh and the fact that my cervix measurement at 12 weeks was 2.4 with a single baby, they don't suspect I have an incompetent cervix and R wasn't born early. Just kinda stumpy in that department and I have (apparently) an extremely retroverted uterus which probably doesn't help with the curving issues! My consultant said she wouldn't stitch until <2 cm. The measurement does seem to be a difficult one to take technically, I know that my consultant always did them herself.

    Right, I need to go and make another cup of tea now as I think that I am still partly in shock on your behalf still! What else can I say but hang on in there, hoping for you and these dear ones so very much xo

  2. Love to hear that they are doing well and have bottles waiting for them:)

  3. I swear the one on the right is a girl. Just sayin.

    I miscarried after 6 years of trying at 11 weeks 4 days. I had been brown spotting but my blood work showed good signs and my midwife said it could be normal...but I was PRAYING to get to 12 weeks. That MAGICAL number when everything would be ok and the baby would suddenly confirm his or her reservations for the next 7 months in my uterus. I remember looking on the screen for the heartbeat when they confirmed the miscarriage. SEARCHING for something. Shell shock continued through each and every one of my pregnancies. I had bleeding through each of them and after every ultrasound I was certain to see one or no heartbeats.
    I would take a deep breath and wait for the bad news. Thinking that I was preparing myself for it.
    I agree with you whole heartedly...that you cannot control the outcome....all we do is miss out on all of the good stuff worrying about that outcome being a bad one.

    I want belly pictures. Come on !

  4. So the gist of this post is: You're crazy, but that's OK?
    I like that!!
    Embrace the insanity!

  5. What a great picture of your babies! Got to have faith - where would we all be without it! I am hoping to find my faith soon.

  6. A huge thing! Good for you. I am almost 22 weeks and I still don't dare purchase a single item.
    It's funny the games we play with ourselves, mostly in the name of self-preservation. As if any of it would soften a negative outcome.

    But, happily, those two look pretty great!

  7. I'm so glad you have a therapist who can help you put things into perspective! So glad they're thriving!