Monday, May 28, 2007

Our Parenthood Journey

Parenthood, Part One

After Ted and I had been married for 4 years we decided to venture down that path of procreation. There was so much that went into that decision and we talked a lot about it before we felt it was the right time.

One of the issues was, of course, money. Would we be able to afford a child? Would we be able to provide for that child down the road? What about college?

Another issue was that I had a very good friend (who shall be referred to as Shannon) who was traveling down the infertility route at that time, and had been for several years. I know that it was a very difficult time for her, and when someone she knew became pregnant she always knew that she could call me and just let her feelings out. How would she be able to take it when her "sounding board" and last childless friend left her in the club all by herself? Ted and I decided that we would not tell her or her husband about our plans until we absolutely HAD when we hit the second trimester!

And then of course, there was fear. Fear of the unknown. Would we even be able to get pregnant? What about this labor and delivery stuff? Being that I did NOT like pain or discomfort of any kind, and that the mere thought of a needle sent my blood pressure through the roof, would I be able to handle this?

We pretty much decided that we would just jump into this journey feet first, without thinking analyzing each and every little aspect of it, and then deal with things as they came up.

Afterall, it wouldn't take long, right? I mean, when you start trying to have a baby, it just works right away, right? And my very good friend Shannon was just a HUGE exception, that only happened to maybe one out of around 100,000 women, right? about naive.

Parenthood, Part Two

So that summer I had a regular checkup with my gynecologist and just casually mentioned that we might be thinking about trying to conceive. He told me that at that point he saw no reason to worry and that he wasn't anticipating any problems. If I was not pregnant in a year, we would talk about things. Okay, that seemed fair enough.

We had decided that we weren't going to tell ANYONE that we were going to try. It was going to be our little secret until it happened. But that wasn't going to take long. I would probably be pregnant within two months at the most. That's the way this whole trying to conceive thing worked, right?

I was desperately trying to remember everything Shannon had ever told me about her infertility issues and whether or not there was anything in all that information that could make this happen for us immediately. All I could come up with was a temperature chart. So I bought some graph paper and created my own chart. Remember this was back in the mid 1980s, before the internet could provide anything like that at the stroke of a few keys.

So I had a thermometer and graph paper and I was ready to go. Every morning I would take my temperature around the same time, then graph it. When I saw that ovulation was about to take place, I told Ted, and that evening, we let "nature take its course."

Afterwards, I can remember thinking to myself, "Oh no...what have we DONE???" I got so worked up about this that I was sick to my stomach. And then I thought that, hey, what's done is done, and our lives are about to change forever!

Oh wow...I can't believe how naive we were. We just assumed that it would work the first time. Heck, we were even looking at possible due dates! We thought that a spring baby would be so exciting.

We found out a couple of weeks or so later that it didn't work.

What's up with this??? It didn't work?? Why not? It was supposed to work. We did it at the right time. What was the problem?

Off I went to the book section of our local K-Mart. I was looking for books on getting pregnant, and found a few. I purchased the one that seemed to give a lot of practical information. I was already doing one thing (taking my temperature) so we needed to know what to do next to help achieve conception.

I knew I could have just asked Shannon, but of course did not want to let her know that we were trying. How could I possibly be the next person to tell her that there was a baby on the way?? She really suffered emotionally every time someone she knew got pregnant and knew that she could always talk to me about it because I was not expecting, nor (to her knowledge) were we trying. I felt like if I told her, it would be like abandoning her, so I just couldn't do that. I had way too much respect for her.

So the next month we tried the pillow trick. After our "session" I slid a pillow underneath myself and stayed that way for about 30 minutes. Surely that would work.

It didn't.

Parenthood, Part Three

By early November of 1984, I was sure that this whole baby thing wasn't going to work. Yes, I'm impatient.

Shannon had been working with the Cleveland Clinic's fertility department, and she was going up there fairly regularly. That's about an hour and a half away, so it wasn't always convenient. Fortunately she had the early morning appointments (like 7:15 or so), and she and her husband had to get up really early to arrive on time. As she was talking to me about all of this and the things they were going through, I kept hoping that we weren't heading down the same path in the future.

Of course fertility treatments have changed SO much in the last 20 plus years that she would probably not be treated the same way now as she was then. Without giving away too much of her story (and it is HER story, not mine) let's just say that there were pills and shots involved.

By the beginning of December of that year, I knew "something" was up. I wasn't feeling right, I was tired and sore, and had experienced a very odd cycle in late November...just some spotting, and that was it. Back then over the counter pregnancy tests were quite expensive and we just didn't have extra money to spend on them. They were around $12-$15 each, and for 1984, that was a lot of money. So, I called the doctor's office and they had me bring in a urine sample the following morning.

When I called back that afternoon, they told me that I was definitely PREGNANT!! They scheduled an appointment for me for the beginning of February.

WOW, what a shock! This was going to really happen! We were going to be parents!

Ted knew what was going on, so he had called me from work and I told him. Then I called my mom. She was just getting ready to leave for the hospital. She was an R.N. and was scheduled to work afternoon shift that day.

I asked her if she could handle working if she had other stuff on her mind. She said she didn't know what I meant, but whatever I had to tell her would have to be quick because she had some things to do before leaving for work. She had no idea what I was about to tell her because, as I said before, we had told NO ONE that we were trying.

"Well...I just wanted you to know that you are going to be a grandma!"

She was very excited (which made me feel good) and then told me to tell my dad. He happened to be home from work for a short break. She put him on the phone and I told him too. He was also very happy. I told each of them NOT to tell anyone else yet, because we were going to wait a while due to the Shannon thing, and we just wanted to make sure everything was okay. After my first doctor's appointment, we would be good to go. They thought that was a great idea.

And all was right with the world!

We were going to have a baby!

Parenthood, Part Four

We were so excited about having a baby!

I'd purchased a book about getting pregnant, and also borrowed several from the library. After going over and over and OVER the information in them, I decided that I got pregnant earlier than I originally thought and had a much-abbreviated cycle after becoming pregnant. So I decided to take the plunge and become one of these "obsessed" mothers-to-be and called the doctor's office. The nurse was very nice and after listening to all that I said, agreed with me. Therefore, instead of being just two weeks or so late, it was more like SIX weeks. She even gave me an approximate due date of early August. WOW!

(As a teacher, we immediately decided that with an August birthday, we would keep this baby out of school an extra year. I'd seen firsthand what pushing a child through the system could do and it was NOT going to happen to our baby! Once I explained it all to him, Ted was in complete and total agreement with this.)

We would be hosting Christmas for Ted's family on Christmas Eve and my family on Christmas Day. Between those two days we would have a total of close to 30 people in and out of the house, and we were NOT going to say a word to any of them about being pregnant. THAT WOULD BE REALLY DIFFICULT!

Throughout this time I was not teaching. In fact, I had decided that I was DONE with teaching and was never going back. I needed a break in the worst way. I had agreed to sub for a principal who I really admired, but that was it. I wasn't even on an official sub list, but just worked for him. In retrospect, it was the best thing I could have done and it is only because of him that I decided to get back into teaching. I eventually re-entered the work force with a new outlook and attitude.

Since we had only been in our house for a little over a year, I wanted to make sure that it looked great for the holidays. I spent a lot of time finding the perfect tree, decorating the house, wrapping gifts so they looked like they were in a magazine spread. Afterall, this was going to be the last Christmas that I would have the time to do this because by the following Christmas, we would have a baby!

We were so attached to this baby already. We would both rub my tummy and talk to it, telling it about the things we would all do together. It was a feeling that I can't even put into words...thrilled, excited, delirious, ecstatic, overjoyed, elated...none of them could even compare to what we were feeling! We were SO in love with this baby! We'd already talked about how we were going to turn the "blue" bedroom into a nursery, and the kinds of curtains we would get, the theme we would use. We had plans!

But then...

Two days before Christmas (when I was approximately seven and a half weeks pregnant, I began to spot. I immediately called the doctor's office and was told that if the spotting was brown, it was "old" and I shouldn't be too worried, but if it was red, it was "new" and the doctor would want to see me. Fortunately it was brown, whew! The nurse recommended that I rest as much as possible and to let them know at the office if anything changed.

I've since decided that an early pregnancy is either going to stick or it isn't, and that decision isn't based on whether you constantly rest or not. I think they tell you that to make you think that you are doing everything possible to stay pregnant.

On Christmas Eve I was cramping a little, but I kept a smile on my face while playing hostess. Ted knew what was going on and did as much as he could to help me. He was great.

Things are always worse during the night...I think it has something to do with the darkness. Around 4:00 am I woke up with more cramps and the spotting was beginning to turn red. Definitely NOT a good sign.

I went back to bed, but not back to sleep.

We eventually got up and exchanged gifts. Ted had gotten me a pair of diamond earrings. They were small, but they were real diamonds. They were way out of our budget, but something he wanted to do for me. What a sweet guy! I'm married to the best man in the universe!

After opening our gifts we got ready for the day. I had a meal to prepare and we had to finish straightening up from the night before.

The cramps were getting worse. The spotting was getting worse. Come was Christmas Day. Why did this have to happen on this particular day???

My parents and brother arrived before anyone else. I told my mom what was happening, but not my dad. She kept her eye on me throughout the day. A couple of times I just needed to escape and went upstairs to our bedroom to lie down for a few minutes. Once she came in and asked me how I was feeling. NOT GOOD. I was scared. I was worried. I was upset. One of my cousins was there, and she was about four and a half months pregnant with she and her husband's first child. Needless to say, they received a LOT of attention that day! I kept trying to tell myself that things would all be fine for our baby and these two children would be able to grow up together.

After everyone left, I took a shower and just tried to relax, as much as a pregnant woman with red spotting and cramping could.

By the next day it was no longer spotting, but real bleeding with clots. I called the doctor's office. They were very good about always putting me through to the nurse. She said that the doctor wasn't in that day, but she was going to call him and get back to me.

Half an hour later, she called me back. In the meantime, the bleeding had gotten really bad, as had the cramping. She told me that the doctor said that it was over. I was having a "spontaneous abortion." (Oh, how I despise that term.) Because I was only about 8 weeks pregnant, I would not need a D&C. Nature would take its course and we could try again right away.

I was no longer pregnant.

Parenthood, Part Five

We were shocked, to say the least, that this pregnancy didn't stick. Come on...don't most of them work out the way we plan?

We were relieved that we hadn't told anyone besides my folks. That made it a little easier when having to relay the information that we were no longer expecting a baby.

I saw my doctor and he said that at least a third of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and we could immediately try again. In fact, he encouraged it.

We were no longer "innocent." We now knew that a pregnancy did not a baby make. And it was a lousy feeling. I resented the fact that I would now be a worry wart with any future pregnancies. And what about the baby we had lost? We (at least I) needed to grieve for this loss.

Again I went to the library and checked out some books on miscarriage and pregnancy loss. They helped a little, but I wish I could have spoken to someone who had actually gone through it like I did.

Then I began playing mind games with myself. "If I got pregnant again right away, maybe it would be like the miscarriage never really happened." Unfortunately that's when it happened, and we DID get pregnant again, very soon thereafter.

The books I'd been reading all said that if you made it to 12 weeks, you were pretty much home free. (I seriously wonder if those books are still out there, because most of us know that that's not true!)

By the second week in March, I was pregnant, but not taking it for granted. I decided that the miscarriage was just a of those things that just happens, and I was no longer going to let it get me down.

I tried to take things easy, but sometimes I forgot I was pregnant and would still do all kinds of things. Fortunately Ted would catch me carrying heavy grocery bags or things like that. He was so great.

Once again, we didn't tell anyone, because we didn't want to upset Shannon and we wanted to make sure it was a viable pregnancy.

I was feeling pretty good...virtually no morning sickness or nausea. Things were going along so smoothly. This was going to be a very easy pregnancy, I was sure of it! And the nurse at the doctor's office gave me an approximate due date of early December.

Wow...we'd still have a baby at Christmas!

Parenthood, Part Six

Although I was still coming to terms with the miscarriage, I was cautiously optimistic with this second pregnancy. We were getting more and more excited as each day went by.

"If only I can get to that magic 12 week mark, we'll be set!" I kept thinking to myself. Once we got to 9 weeks, it was as though we had the goal in sight.

One Friday evening that spring, we went to a local golf course with another couple. No, we don't golf. (Anyone who knows me personally can attest to the fact that golfing would be the LAST thing I would be able to do!)

Dan worked with Ted, and also played guitar. He's a fantastic guitar player and has played with several local bands over the years. On this particular evening, his band was going to be playing at the clubhouse of the golf course and we went along to keep his wife company and to hear the band play.

It was a nice, cool, spring evening and we were having a great time. Of course no one else knew that I was pregnant, so the only baby talk was in reference to Dan and Chris' little boy. He was adorable. He sat on his mom's lap, watching his dad play.

At one point a little girl got up and went to the middle of the floor and began dancing. She must have been 2 years old. She was darling! I kept staring at her, thinking that if our baby was a girl, this is what she might look like in a few years. She had baby blue eyes that sparkled, and a great big smile. She had thick brown hair with bangs, that was absolutely perfect. She was a little chunky and could somehow feel the beat of the music. She was dancing in perfect rhythm to the songs. She was dressed in jeans and a short sleeve pink shirt.

I kept staring at her, thinking about how easily this little girl could be ours....we both have blue eyes, we both have brown hair, we both have fairly nice smiles, and we both are *ahem* a little (okay, maybe a LOT) on the chunky side. We both understand music and can certainly keep a beat.

This is what our little girl will look like when she's two years old!

I just couldn't take my eyes off of her. Her dad was in the clubhouse, but her mother was watching her closely and smiling the entire time we were there.

After we got home that night, I just couldn't get that little girl out of my mind. That's when I more or less figured out that I was carrying a girl. Okay, I know you really can't tell, but I just had this STRONG feeling.

I told Ted about all of this, and he agreed with me. (He's such an easy going guy!) We were both starting to feel really good about this baby.

We still kept the positive thoughts a few days later, when the spotting began. I called the doctor's office and he wanted to see me. He examined me and thought that things looked okay. He said that he was confident that the spotting had stopped and to call him if things changed.

I was scheduled to sub the next couple of days, and that was probably a good thing. It kept my mind occupied. However, the spotting started again and was pretty heavy within two days. My doctor scheduled an ultrasound for me, at a nearby x-ray lab. I got up really early one morning and began drinking and drinking and DRINKING. Back then I didn't drink very much water, so I was drinking Hawaiian Punch, of all things. My appointment was first thing, so I had to be there by 8:00. By this point, the heavy spotting was more like full force gushing and I knew in my heart that it was all over.

I had the ultrasound and my doctor's office called the next morning to tell me that there was nothing there. Nothing. At. All.

We were no longer expecting a baby by Christmas.

Parenthood, Part Seven

Since the second miscarriage occurred at just a couple of days past 10 weeks, my doctor felt that a D&C was not necessary. He met with me a few weeks later and checked me out, and said that (once again) these things happen and it doesn't mean that we wouldn't be able to have a baby. He said that we shouldn't panic, but that we should just relax.

(Oh, my many times have we heard THAT??)

Two miscarriages.


I again went to the library and checked out some books. I read them over and over, copying down certain information. This was back before people had computers in their homes and NO ONE had a copy machine or a printer that would copy! I could take the books back to the library and make copies there at 10 cents a page, but I just felt better writing it all down.

Hey, I was two thirds of the way to becoming a "habitual aborter!" Gee, now THERE'S something to write home about. That's the designation you get after three unexplained miscarriages. Honestly, could they have come up with a worse term?

This is where things got tricky. I was really struggling with my emotions. Why did so many other women get pregnant and deliver babies? It just wasn't fair. There were high school girls out there having babies that they really didn't plan for and I couldn't have a baby that we desperately wanted. What was up with that???

Again, Ted didn't feel the need to talk about the losses, but I did. It was so hard. My good friend Shannon still knew nothing about our issues, so I couldn't talk to her about what was going on. Besides, every few months, someone she knew was getting pregnant and I was the one that she felt she could talk to about her feelings. On the outside she was very happy for these women, but on the inside she was crushed that it wasn't her. I understood more than she ever knew, but wanted her to be able to feel as though she hadn't been abandoned by me. So I said nothing.

We purposely did not try to conceive throughout the summer. Not only were we trying to let my body heal, but my emotions needed to heal too. It was a rough time.

Something else happened to add insult to injury. Somewhere in the rural part of our county a farmer on a tractor discovered a garbage bag tossed into a corn field. When he opened the bag, he found a dead infant, wrapped in a blanket. After an investigation, it was determined that a teenage girl had kept her pregnancy a secret and after giving birth, disposed of the body in this black garbage bag. Other details are a little sketchy in my mind, as this happened back in the mid 1980s, BUT I was so upset.

The investigation revealed who the girl was, who gave birth to the child, and determined that the baby boy had been born alive. HOW COULD SHE HAVE THROWN AWAY HER CHILD????

I was sad for the baby that never got to grow up and become a child.

I was mad at the teenage girl for having made a STUPID decision.

If only she had spoken to an adult she trusted. The baby could have been put up for adoption and grown up in a home with parents who loved him.

This just wasn't fair. Here she was, having a baby she didn't want, and here we were, wanting a baby, but not able to have one.


We got through the summer and once September rolled around, we were ready to begin this journey again.

Parenthood, Part Eight

By the end of September, I knew, without a doubt, that I was once again pregnant.

Talk about conflicting emotions! We were both going through them! We were very excited to be pregnant again, but we were not naive. It was going to be a scary ride, and one that we were not sure we could handle if it didn't go "our" way.

Other than Ted and I, the only other person who knew of our issues (besides my doctor, of course) was my mom. She was an RN at our local hospital and I would ask her questions. Throughout her years as a nurse, she had worked in every department...EXCEPT obstetrics. Just my luck. Even though the OB department deals with newborns and their mothers, there is an occasional horrible situation and information as to why or how things happened comes to light.

At this point, any information she could give me could quite possibly be helpful. But she never worked in OB, so I was out of luck. I would occasionally ask Shannon some technical questions, but her situation was different than mine, in that she could not get pregnant, and I was turning into a "Fertile Myrtle" but just not able to stay pregnant. I didn't want to arouse any suspicion, so I kept my questions to a minimum.

So here we were...pregnant for the third time, hoping and praying that this one would "stick" and we could become parents.

Each day that I was pregnant was a gift. And with each passing day, our confidence levels grew by just a hair.

We got through October with our fingers crossed and all was well. Whew. Maybe we could get through another week. That magical 12 weeks threshhold was in mid December. Could we make it? Maybe....maybe not. But I didn't want to think that far ahead. We were really only thinking one day at a time. That was it.

In November my doctor prescribed natural progesterone for me, so that I could create a wonderful, hormone enriched environment for what was growing inside of me (can you tell I was almost in denial?) So twice a day I inserted progesterone inside of me, then laid down for an hour so that as it melted, it wouldn't leak out. It must have worked because we got through the entire month with no spotting. Come on... I don't like being teased. Could we possibly make it to 12 weeks? Maybe so....but that was too far away.

One day at a time.

Suddenly we were approaching the middle of December. A year earlier I was pregnant for the first time and things went into a downward spiral quickly and pretty much ruined our Christmas. But this year? Things were looking....okay.

I had no morning sickness, but would have welcomed it with open arms if it showed up.

No spotting, and we were almost to 12 weeks.

Of course I had an appointment in early January with my doctor. Was it too early to actually think about being able to really GO to that appointment?? After that appointment we were going to tell people that we were expecting a baby in late June.

On Friday, December 13 (can you believe it??) I would be 12 weeks and maybe, just maybe, we could breathe a sigh of relief.

I woke up that morning feeling just fine and dandy, and decided that it would be okay if I finally admitted to myself that I was pregnant.


Parenthood, Part Nine

It's been a long time since I posted about our Parenthood Journey. If you've totally forgotten where I left off, you can find the last chapter here.


We had reached the critical 12 week mark of our third pregnancy...and it happened to be Friday, the 13th of December. This was quite a day, and I was finally going to admit to myself that this could really work out.

The day was great, and I was so excited. I knew that reaching the 12 week point did not guarantee a baby, but it sure increased the odds, and that was what I was thrilled about. Things were definitely looking up and we were finally about to exhale that breath we had been holding in for weeks.

For the first time in a long time I was going to sleep well that night.

Yeah, right.

I woke up in the middle of the night with nasty stomach pains. It was some kind of a gastrointestinal bug. I just kept rubbing my stomach, trying to sleep, but that wasn't happening. I put the waste basket next to the bed in case I needed it.

(I rarely throw up. Prior to the night I went to the hospital with severe pains and ended up being diagnosed with colon cancer, I had thrown up maybe five times in my entire life.)

Eventually (like about four hours later) I began to feel a little better, and was able to get some rest. However I was a little worried about the effect this had had on the little one growing inside of me. I didn't want to become dehydrated, but the idea of drinking water or anything for that matter, wasn't appealing in the least. I wasn't interested in eating anything either and didn't want to tempt the fates.

By that night I was able to sip some water and eat a few crackers. Then I gave in and called my mom. I wanted to talk to her as an R.N. and not as a mother at that point, because we still didn't want anyone to know that we were pregnant. I decided that I had to tell her so that she could tell me what, if anything, I should do. She assured me that I was doing the right thing by trying to eat and drink a little. I had a feeling that was all I could be doing, but I just needed the reassurance.

I felt a little better by Sunday evening and was starting to relax once again.

And then it happened.

I started spotting. Again. I felt the world coming down on me.

Parenthood, Part Ten

I knew I would have to call my doctor in the morning, and until then, there wasn't much I could do. I wasn't spotting very much, but definitely enough to make me worry.

Somehow I was able to get a little rest that night, and Ted had to go to work in the morning. I told him I would let him know what was going on as soon as I knew something.

Finally 9:00 came and the doctor's office opened. I called.

Darn it.

My OB was out of the country. It was a little over a week before Christmas and he was OUT OF THE COUNTRY! The office gave me the number of the OB who was covering for him. There were only about three OBs in our area at that time, so I guess I was just lucky that all three hadn't decided to go on vacation for the holidays.

By this time the spotting was quickly turning into bleeding and I was starting to really panic. I called the other office and the woman I spoke to just drove me crazy. After I explained the situation, she said, "Well, we'll need you to come some time today so that we can make sure everything is okay."

I knew darn well that things were NOT okay and I wanted to be seen ASAP.

I nicely told her that and she told me to come in at 1:00, the doctor's first appointment of the day. Back then the doctors spent the entire mornings doing rounds at the hospital and didn't see patients until after lunch.

My mom called and wanted to know how I was. I told her what was going on and she said that she would be available if I needed her for anything. It was her day off from the hospital and I didn't want to impose on her unless it was absolutely necessary.

I was able to get in touch with Ted (remember, this was before cell phones) and he said he'd call back later on to see how things were going.

I began bleeding more and more. By the time I got to the doctor's office I was a mess both physically and emotionally. I told the receptionist that when I checked in. Do you think they'd have a little sympathy for me???


I sat there in the waiting room until almost 3:00, TWO FREAKING HOURS, before being called back to a room. I told the nurse that I had a real mess on my hands and would need to use the restroom. She told me that they needed a urine sample to do a pregnancy test. I told her that wasn't necessary because I knew that I was no longer pregnant.

She insisted.


That was a messy sample. That's all I'll say about that.

Thank goodness they gave me some towels to sit on in the examining room. Eventually the doctor came in. He was NOT pleasant. He actually yelled at me because I had shown up alone. He said that I needed a D&C right away and I should have brought someone with me to drive me to and from the hospital. I told him that it was a week and a half before Christmas and I wasn't going to tie up someone's day while I waited in his waiting room for TWO HOURS.

I was not happy.

In fact I was mad, hurt, angry, and every other negative word you can come up with.

He told me to go home, get someone to bring me back to his office to sign some papers, then take me to the hospital. I went home. I couldn't get in touch with Ted, but I was able to get my mom. I really hated having to call her to help me out, but I didn't have a choice.

She came to my house, picked me up, then took me back to the OB's office. I signed the paperwork and was told to get to the hospital right away because the doctor would be over soon for the D&C.

Fortunately things went smoothly as I checked in at the hospital. When I changed into a gown, I was so glad to be rid of the messy clothes I had on. I told my mom to throw them away. I'll never forget what I had on...heather gray pants and a light pink sweater. I didn't ever want to see those clothes again.

I was on a gurney outside of surgery and the nurse told me that we were waiting on the doctor. After another half hour of waiting, she called his office. He had a couple more patients to see and then he'd be over.

Sure, no problem. I was just lying there losing the baby we wanted so badly, the baby we had been praying for, and he was taking his good old time.

When he got there, he never said a word to me and just did what he needed to do. My anesthesiologist was wonderful, though, and he made me feel better by talking to me. In the meantime, apparently Ted had gotten home from work, read the short note I left for him, then called my folks' house. My mom wasn't there, as she was at the hospital with me. But my dad was home from work. Ted explained the situation to him. He'd had no idea I was pregnant, which was how we had wanted it. However, my mom had thought she would be home by the time Dad had gotten home, so she left a note for him, just saying that she had to go out for a little while. After that phone call, my mom was able to call Ted and tell him what was going on.

Honestly, cell phones sure are a handy thing these days!

Anyway, Ted came to the hospital just as I was being released. He'd brought some clothes for me to change into, and he was able to take me home. I felt so bad that I had made my mom go to the hospital on her day off, but I really didn't have another choice.

A mere 24 hours before, we were so excited about the possibility of a baby...and now it was all over.

So over.

Parenthood, Part Eleven

After we got home from the hospital, I can remember sitting in the bedroom with Ted, talking. I told him that I was actually a little relieved that this was all over. Even though it hadn't been very long, I was tired of the cramping and the bleeding. He was in a different place than I was. He'd had no physical symptoms of pregnancy or miscarriage. I had. Therefore, I could put some closure to it because I was no longer suffering physically. As far as suffering mentally, that was an entirely different thing.

Christmas was a dismal day for me. We were going to spend the day at an aunt and uncle's about an hour away. All I wanted to do was sleep that morning. Ted kept trying to get me up so that we could open our gifts. I didn't care. I wasn't interested. He was doing his best to make me feel better, but it just wasn't working. I felt as though I was just starting a downward spiral and there was no way out. I tried to shake myself out of it, but that wasn't working.

So, two Christmases in a row were marred by miscarriages. Would the holidays ever be the same? On New Year's Eve that year we went out to dinner with my parents. I recall that I had on a white blouse with a bow at the neck and a beautiful shade of blue boucle vest. (Before you start laughing, remember that this was the mid 80s!) During dinner I had very little to say. I just wasn't in the mood to talk. I was thinking about how I just couldn't seem to do anything right. Then I spilled a drop of food on the bow of my blouse. I went to the restroom to try to clean it and ended up in tears. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. Would I ever be able to do anything right again?

After another week or two I was starting to "come back." Nothing in particular triggered it, but I was just glad that I was no longer wallowing in self-pity.

Once again I spent some time at our local library, trying to find out as much as I could about miscarriages. I was now a habitual aborter, a lovely title given to those women who suffered three or more miscarriages without a live birth. Oh what joy.

When I visited my own OB a few weeks later, he examined me and I bombarded him with questions. He sort of smiled as I asked him things. At one point he even laughed. That's when I said, "Well, we're obviously beyond you now. I want you to recommend a high risk OB for us."

He did and I went home, called that doctor's office and made an appointment. The only bad thing was that his office was in Columbus, almost 2 hours away. We would be seeing him quite often if things worked out, and that was going to involve a lot of driving back and forth. But if it worked, it was going to be worth it.

We went to the appointment. The office was in a hospital in a rather crappy part of Columbus. Of course they were running behind. There's a big shock. The doctor himself was....alright. Nothing great, but okay. He immediately started talking to us as though we couldn't get pregnant. THAT was not our problem. Our problem was STAYING pregnant. He had us watch a video about getting pregnant (a waste of our time) and then handed us a packet of information. He told us to make an appointment to come back for some testing.

We went to the desk and the woman had my head spinning with all the information. I finally told her that I was not ready for all this and would call when I was.

As we left, I told Ted, "Take a good look around, because we're not coming back." I was definitely NOT impressed. He wasn't either.

On the way home, I was reading the information he had given us. Our insurance was not going to cover any of this, so I was really scrutinizing everything. I could NOT believe that they were going to charge us $900 to see if bull sperm could impregnate the eggs that they were going to take out of me!?!?! Why on earth do we need to know if my eggs and bull sperm could work together???

That's when we decided to take a break from all the baby stuff.

We needed to just back off for a little while, relax, and enjoy each other.

There have been times in my life that I have drifted away from being a faithful church goer. Throughout the baby journey, I had been attending mass each and every week. At the time Ted was not Catholic, but he would occasionally go with me. Usually I went on Saturday evenings, but once in a while I would attend on Sunday mornings.

After the D&C, I began going to church a little earlier so that I could have my conversations with God. I can be quite a talker, and even though I was talking "in my head" while kneeling there, these were some pretty intense chats. Praying is something I have done, and still do, quite often. And although I know my prayers are heard no matter where I am, I somehow got this feeling during these challenging times, that when I prayed while in church, I had a little more of a direct line, if you know what I mean.

Ted and I were still not on the same page when it came to dealing with the miscarriages. I wanted to talk about them. He didn't. My friend Shannon still had no idea what was going on. If I couldn't tell her, I couldn't tell any other friends, so when we spent time with any friends, they had no idea what we were going through.

I wasn't sure how much more of this I could handle.

Parenthood, Part Twelve

After a few months of resting my body, and relaxing with my husband, we finally decided that we were ready to explore our options. Returning to my original OB was not one. Nor was seeing the OB who covered for him while he was out of the country.

That left the only other OB in the area, Dr. D.

I made an appointment.

He was running on time. Point for Dr. D.

His nurse came into the room first to talk to me. She read over the form I had filled out and talked to me. She looked me in the eye and took notes on what I said. She put her hand on my arm and told me how sorry she was for our losses. Another point for Dr. D. He obviously knew how to hire a good nurse.

She left and he came in within a minute. Yet another point for Dr. D....very little down time.

He studied what his nurse had written in the chart, then put it down, sat down and began to talk to me. Like the nurse, he looked me in the eye while he spoke. We talked about miscarriages in general, then mine in particular. I had been keeping a temperature chart and he studied that and pointed out different things he noticed about it. Point again for Dr. D. He treated me like a person, and not just any old patient. Then he said that he wanted to examine me, so he would leave the room while I undressed.

After the exam, he mentioned karyotyping, a genetic blood test to see if there was anything incompatible between Ted and me. He really didn't think it was going to be an issue, but thought that we should rule out the incompatibility. He thought it was rather expensive, but would check on it. He asked me to get dressed and meet him in his office. This man was really racking up the points.

By the time I got in there, he had found out not only how much it cost ($40), but also that we could have it done at our local hospital. Point again for being on the ball and getting information for me in a timely manner.

Then he looked me in the eye and said he was going to be honest. He said that he felt he would be able to help us carry a baby to term, but the only way we could do that was to get pregnant again. He understood completely if we were reluctant to do so, but whenever we felt ready, he would be ready to help us, and I was to let him know the exact minute that I thought I was pregnant. He said that I had a luteal phase defect. I asked him to put that in layman's terms. He said that until the 12th week or so, the uterus provided all the progesterone for the embryo. After that, the placenta took over. Apparently MY uterus was not providing any progesterone and I was essentially starving the embryos, and then miscarrying.


A diagnosis.

Someone who could help.

When I left the office, I felt absolutely WONDERFUL!

He had given us hope.

Parenthood, Part Thirteen

We decided to have the karyotyping done. Fortunately it showed that everything was fine. There were no genetic incompatibility issues with us. Then Ted had to be checked. We found out that things with him were just fine too. The only problem was my luteal phase defect and Dr. D felt that he could treat it successfully once I was pregnant.

Around that same time we also decided that we owed it to ourselves to check out adoption options in our area. We met with a nun from Catholic Social Services and were put on a pre-waiting list. Once we moved to the bottom of the actual waiting list, all the paperwork, home visits, interviews, and home study would begin. Oh yeah, and it would be a 5-7 year wait for a newborn. And a newborn was a baby under a year of age. Not exactly what we were hoping to hear, but at least we felt as though we had a "Plan B" in the works if "Plan A" didn't work out.

I was still going to church extra early every weekend. I would pray about all kinds of things before mass, but always ended with praying for some kind of a sign that I would get pregnant and have a healthy baby.

Then I noticed something.

Each week while I was praying before mass, a different family would come into church and sit near me. Sometimes it was in the same pew. Sometimes they would sit in the pew in front of me, and sometimes in the pew behind me. But a family with a baby would always sit near me. It's not as though the church was crowded on Saturday evenings. There was plenty of room all around, but a family with a baby would always sit close by.

Finally one week it dawned on me. THIS WAS THE SIGN I'D BEEN LOOKING AND PRAYING FOR! I actually said to God, "Duh...this is the sign, isn't it?" And then a family walked in, genuflected and sat down in front of me. A family...with a baby.

I practically smacked my head with my hand right then and there and thought to myself, "You DUNCE! The sign's been right here all the time and you just now picked up on it!"

I could barely sit through mass before getting home to tell Ted. He was as excited as I was about all of this, but we still knew we had to be ready emotionally if things didn't work out.

After more talking and praying, we decided that we would give it one more try.