Archive for March, 2010

The End of This Road: Dealing With Miscarriage

It’s funny how you can look back on situations and realize that all along something was just not right. Inisde, I think I knew that this pregnancy would not make it out of the first trimester and I think that’s why I had so much anxiety about it. Of course, I was praying that I was just paranoid and nuerotic and that everything would be fine. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I had my follow-up ultrasound today and no heartbeat could be detected.

As I sit and write this, it hardly seems like I’m writing about myself, but rather, a woman whose experiences I’ve objectively observed and reported on for the past 8 weeks. “The woman, 29, got off the examination table as emotionless as she got on. She slowly dressed and waited to feel something, sadness, emptiness, remorse; instead, she felt nothing.”

I don’t know what to feel. Aren’t there stages of grief? I think denial is near the top. I’m not going to lie, the thought has crossed my mind that the ultrasound was wrong, that my uterus is tilted, that the detector that picks up sound is broken. I know in my heart none of that is true. And I know that I have at least several more stages of grief to go through.

I cried in my mom’s arms (my husband is in California on a business trip), more out of a sense of “Now what?” than anything else. The doctor who spoke with me today said it could take up to three or four weeks to have this miscarriage naturally. She explained how it would happen and physically, what I would feel. She said that if it doesn’t happen soon enough for me, I can take a pill to induce it. I find this option slightly strange, almost wrong but it’s not one I’m ruling out because if there is one thing that’s worse than finding out your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat, it’s waiting weeks for the miscarriage to happen naturally.

I want to thank everyone for following my journal. And I want to thank you for all the kind comments and prayers you have sent my way. They meant more to me than you can know. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but as one reader put it, hopefully this will be a blip on the radar to motherhood.

Related Podcasts:

How WIll You Name Your Baby

Worry with a capital W…

It started as a normal workday except that I wasn’t drinking my usual cup of coffee. I decided to give up caffeine. That’s what makes this story all the more ironic. I just finished chatting with a colleague when I realized I was about to pee my pants. I hightailed it to the bathroom, dropped the drawers and that’s when I saw it: unmistakable brown discharge. I sat there for a minute staring, filing through my mental cabinet of stored information: discharge, miscarriage, symptoms, signs, blood, brown, red, pink, gray, clotting, tissue, cramping, early, common, warning, doctor.

In my head, I knew I had to call my doctor but not before I called my mom, a nurse, and my best friend who I knew would let me sob over the phone before directing me to think like a reasonable, rational woman and call the OB.

When I finally did call the OB, I was met with the annoying automated menu of choices. “To schedule or cancel an appointment, press one. To speak with a doctor or a nurse or for prescription refills, press two. If this is an emergency, go to the emergency room.” I pressed the correct number to get to my doctor and was greeted by a message saying “the doctor and her staff are not in the office today. Press one to leave a message for the on-call doctor.”

So I pressed one and left this quivering message with my name and birthday and a description of what had just happened.

It took 20 very long minutes to get a phone call back but I was scheduled in for an ultrasound within the next two hours. I immediately called my husband who left work to meet me at the doctor’s office.

While we sat in the office waiting, I looked around at the other women, all obviously pregnant and I wondered if this was the end of our road. I looked at my husband and said, “You know what’s going to happen, right? They’re going to do an ultrasound and we need to be prepared to not see a heartbeat.”
By the time we were called back, I was numb. I undressed from the waist down and the technician came in and turned off the lights and went to work.

Within seconds, we were able to hear a beautiful heartbeat – about 152 beats per minute. My husband, squeezing my hand, leaned over and kissed me as I choked back tears. “A heartbeat. That’s good, right?” The technician confirmed it was very good and went back to work gathering measurements and not saying anything else.

After what was probably only 10 minutes or so, she said something about everything looking good and no obvious cause for bleeding BUT…

At this point, I held my breath and waited to hear the bad news. She went on to explain that the yolk sac (what is that anyway?), looked bigger than it should at this stage and, that according to my last period, I should be 8 weeks and 3 days but the embryo was measuring at 7 weeks and 3 days. “No big deal,” she said. “You probably just ovulated late and that’s why the date is off. I’m sure the doctor will want you to come in next week for an ultrasound. Let me go show her these images and I’ll be back.” The technician’s last words before confirming that the doctor did want me back in a week were, “I’ve seen this go both ways. Fifty percent of the time it results in a normal pregnancy and the other fifty it ends in miscarriage.”

And that’s what we were left with. My yolk sac is bigger than is should be and the baby is smaller than expected and my chances of miscarriage are at fifty percent.

I’m sure you can guess how the rest of the day went. I never went back to work. I went home and changed into pajamas and crawled in bed with my laptop. My internet search for enlarged yolk sac returned results like “embryonic demise” and “probable miscarriage.” I sobbed and slept, sobbed and sobbed some more. My husband held me and tried to comfort me, though I’m sure he was feeling as much grief. My mom came over just to sit with me and together, we tried to make sense of what we’ll never be able to make sense of.

The only thing I know for sure right now is that our baby has a heartbeat and that has to count for something. I pray that Monday’s appointment will bring good news and I’ll laugh with my husband and say, “All that worry for nothing.” Until then, we wait with a capital W.

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Vitamin D Deficiency

I have been doing a lot of reading about Vitamin D lately, and was shocked to find deficiency is thought to be pandemic. I was also surprised to find Vitamin D is more than just your garden variety vitamin. It works more like a hormone, which has many implications for your pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes, Pre-Eclampsia, C-sections…most of those pregnancy complications we are working so hard to avoid *may* be linked – in some cases – to Vitamin D deficiency.

I’ve recently added it to my regimen, and I’m not even pregnant! My daughter is getting a little extra, too!
Don’t wait -talk to your doctor as soon as possible about this and see what they say. In the meantime, a little bottle of d3 might be worth the investment.

Some natural sources of Vitamin D include:

  • Fatty fishes, such as  salmon, Sardines, Tuna, and Fish liver oils
  • Whole eggs
  • Mushrooms

Visit MayoClinic.com for more information about Vitamin D deficiency.

Adding Baby To The Budget

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I was bored over the weekend so I started browsing for nursery ideas. I came across some really cute things at BabyGap.com. At this stage in the game I’m not paying attention to prices, just daydreaming about how a print will look on the wall, or where I can buy accessories. I passed the computer to my husband and the difference couldn’t have been more stark. “Oh, I do like th….fifty-four dollars? Fifty-four dollars? What is that anyway? What is a bumper and why do we need one?”

According to an online TIME Magazine article published late last summer, the US Department of Agriculture estimates that it will cost me and my husband more than $220,000 to raise our baby and that’s before we pay for college.

I’ve tried to reassure my husband that though we’ll incur a few more monthly expenses, our little bundle of joy will also be our little bundle of tax deductions. That perked him up a little bit but then I showed him the top rated stroller on the market. He grunted something that I can’t repeat and then said “Used was good enough for me. It will be good enough for our kid.”

I’m normally the frugal one in our relationship. When our dog needed $1300 in dental work (don’t judge us), I promptly responded by reducing our monthly grocery bill. When I had a minor car accident and had to pay a $500 deductible, I put my foot down on going out for drinks. Not a cent leaves our checkbook that I don’t scrutinize with the eye of a IRS agent.

But when it comes to the baby, does it really pay to be cheap? “Mommy loves you so much, but not enough to buy the $800 crib.” That just doesn’t sound right. What I’m going to need is a good mommy-consumer coach; someone to tell me where it’s OK to skimp and where I must absolutely buy the brand name.

I’ve been in Babies ‘R’ Us just once: when I was shopping for my cousin’s baby shower. It’s an overwhelming place. Why are there so many choices and how do you possibly make the right one? If you make the wrong one, you can bet the cashiers mock you during their breaks. “Did you see that woman? I can’t believe she bought THAT brand. I feel bad for her kid.”

I saw the sale price of Target-brand diapers today. My seasonal clothing budget is going to become my monthly diaper budget and our entertainment budget will be diverted to a collection of Baby Einstein DVDs (I hear they are supposed to be good for brain development. Who am I to say no to that?) and Rockabye Baby CDs (lullaby renditions of rock bands is better than most of the kiddie music available, right?).

From what I hear about parenthood though, we’ll see a fabulous return on investment in baby smiles and drool-filled kisses and first steps, and first words. And that’s something no one can put a price on.

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Financial Planning: Get Your Finances In Gear

How Will The Health Care Bill Affect My Pregnancy?

The recent passing of the health care bill has been big news this week. While there are those who are thrilled with the news and those who are less than excited, one thing remains true – in form or another, this bill will have an affect on every person in some form or another. However, it can be hard to cut through all of the excess and figure out the hard facts.

A question many pregnant women are facing today is:

How will the health care bill affect my pregnancy?

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, has been quoted saying that the bill features help for women’s health care issues: “It’s personal for women. After we pass this bill, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing medical condition.”

Immediate Effects For Women:

  • Insurance companies will no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender.
  • All health plans will also now be required to cover maternity and newborn care, as well as pediatric services expanded to include dental and vision care.
  • Medicaid will expand services to pregnant women and new mothers, offering more family planning services, home visiting programs and postpartum education and support.
  • Working moms will also get a boost, as employers will be required to offer breaks and space for nursing mothers to pump breast milk.

Read more about how the health care bill affects women at Forbes.com.

Check out The Washington Post for a calculator to find out how the health bill will affect your health care costs.

Seeing My New Identity: From Yuppie To Mommy

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We ate dinner last night at 7:30; scallops and a quinoa salad with roasted brussel sprouts, pine nuts, dried cranberries, and scallions. It was glorious. We have a home-cooked meal 6 nights out of the week and I make an effort to try a new recipe for at least 3 of those meals. As I was eating, my future flashed before me and this is what I saw: Taco Bell bags on the kitchen counter, laptop bags in the entry way, shoes in the middle of the living room, dog toys and baby toys in every room (most indistinguishable), and me with an infant in one arm and a seven-layer burrito in the opposite hand. It wasn’t pretty.

Seriously though, what will become of this yuppie lifestyle we’ve spent the past five years building?

Our typical work-week evening sees me going straight from work to the gym. I’m a regular at the 5:30 cardio classes. I get home around 6:45. Adam is home by that time on most evenings and is out walking the dog. Sometimes he’s started dinner, but most often not.
I give my hands a quick wash and pull out the ingredients I need to make dinner. I catch the end of NBC Nightly News and chop, sauté, and season my way to something edible.

Adam and the dog saunter in and within 30 minutes of me being home, dinner is on the table. From there, we eat, chat, and clean-up. By 9:00 or so, I’m showered and catching up on our recorded TV shows. By 10:30, it’s lights out.

I just don’t see how a baby is going to fit into that schedule. Or, maybe I should say, I just don’t see how working out, cooking dinner, and watching TV is going to fit into the baby’s schedule. I’m going to be one of those people I judge. You know…the ones who write into the advice column of a magazine. “Dear Dr. Botts, with a full-time job, a baby, and a house to keep up with, I just can’t find the time to workout or eat healthy. What do you recommend?”

I suddenly see how it can be hard to get a home-cooked meal on the table, fit in 45 minutes of exercise and keep a perfectly maintained home.

Looking back on my own childhood, I don’t know how my mom did it. She made motherhood and running a household look so easy; she never seemed to be teetering on the edge of insanity. She volunteered at my school and ran a Girl Scout troop all while working as a full-time nurse and helping my dad run his own business.

You know, I never really took the time to think of the lifestyle she and my dad gave up to make sure my brother and I were happy and healthy children. How many people actually do though?

Our baby is never going to know us as the ‘yuppie’ couple. We’re always going to be mom and dad. My wish for this baby is that he or she knows us as the most fabulous mom and dad who loved him or her more than anything, and wants nothing more in the whole world than for he or she to be happy.

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All Backed Up and Wishing I Could Go…

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It’s time to buy stock in Sunkist Prunes and Phillips Capsules. I’m more backed up than a one-lane road in rush hour and I now fully grasp where hemorrhoids come from. I drink 90 ounces of water per day, eat at least 3 pieces of whole fruit, and consume more than 4 servings of whole grains. I’m not sure what else I can do. It took me an hour to write this entry because I had several, “This might be it” moments. I can assure you they were all false alarms and I’m starting to think I’ll be constipated for the next 220-something days.

I really thought, that if there were any symptom I would be immune to, it would surely be constipation. My diet regime has served me well in keeping me fit and, well, regular. I subscribe to the school of thought that exercise can fix anything. At least I did — two 30 minute walks a day haven’t done a thing to move me along. Oh well. I can’t complain. I’ve been lucky in other areas. I’ve had very few bouts of nausea. I’m still eating foods cooked with garlic and onion (and enjoying them). No aversions, heartburn or indigestion. Reading public pregnancy chat boards, I’m fortunate and I don’t forget that for a second.

So what is going on aside from the aforementioned? Well, I’m exhausted. I struggle to get out of bed in the morning and by noon I want to see out a locked office and nap under a desk. My breasts are tender. And I can be an emotional wreck one second and calm, cool, composed the next. My sister-in-law and brother sent us a beautiful card and little baby booties. I started to cry before I even read the card.

On another note, seeing the little booties made this pregnancy a little more real. We put them in the bedroom that’s soon to become the nursery. They look really out of place among the office furniture. It’s hard to imagine that in 7 months that room will be transformed from the place we store our junk to the place where we watch our baby sleep.

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I used to be driven, but I pulled over…

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I made a tough decision at work last week. I decided to withdraw my application from consideration for a promotion. The job is exactly what I’ve been dreaming of, with the client group I’ve been wanting to support, and an amount of travel I consider appealing.

I applied for the job just a few days after finding out I was pregnant and had all intentions of riding the wave and seeing where it would take me. I was determined not to let this pregnancy change who I am: an ambitious, over-achieving, intense, career-focused individual. Why couldn’t I take on a new role, pop out a baby, and then go back to work? I’d be gone for six weeks, max. I’d continue to check my Blackberry and stay in touch with my colleagues and before they knew it, I’d be back and just as focused as before.

Something weird has happened in the past 21 days though. The thought of taking on a new role, with more responsibility and more money just doesn’t seem like a good idea. More surprising, is my sudden lack of ambition to go out and grab life by the horns and wrestle it down until it’s mine. My ambition to pursue any activity outside the scope of my normal day-to-day routine is gone. I’ve become downright flaky.

I used to have strong opinions with animated expressions to back them up. Ask me what I think about something these days and you’re likely to get a blank stare. I just can’t muster the cognitive energy to care about anything other than if I’m going to get 10 hours of sleep.

I don’t know whether these recent developments are the hormones talking or the exhaustion. Will I start my second trimester and be back to my old self? Will I regret not going for the promotion or will I care less and less about my career outside the home until I become one of those moms whose maternity leave turns into a resignation?

Only one thing is clear at this moment: my husband is relieved by my less-intense nature. He just said to me, “Either you’re pregnant or I’m finally rubbing off on you.”