Tag Archives: pregnancy

Fortyhood: Biopsies and Babies?!?!

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images“Triple Knee”….”Over the top”….”Reverse Turn”. On this particular Saturday morning, I was finding it difficult to keep up mentally AND physically in my favorite class, one that I have been taking for over 16 years. This usually only happens under one condition. No, surely that’s not what it is. I had a wacky cycle last month; 2 in one month, 11 days apart. Surely I was headed towards the big M. That’s what I had decided was the reason for my late cycle.

“If you just listen to the beat”, someone in the class, seeing my confusion, offered, in an attempt to help me. In my bewilderment, I tell a complete stranger, “I think I’m pregnant!” I’m sure it caught her off guard, lol! She tells me maybe it’s just my period about to start, and I struggle through the rest of class.

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I originally started this blog post on 5/26 and today is 9/28. I honestly don’t even have the mental space to make this post the literary masterpiece I wanted it to be, lol! Yes, I was indeed pregnant and 2 days after confirming the pregnancy, my mammogram came back abnormal. Talk about stressed and anxious?!?!? I had a biopsy and thankfully the mass was benign, and unfortunately, the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, my 3rd in a row.

Sharing such personal stories, open you up for so much judgement; “How old is she?”, “Don’t they know what causes that?”, “Don’t they already have FOUR children?!?!?”, but I have decided in spite of what others think, (and yes, I’m totally aware and informed of the ‘risks’ that come with ‘advanced maternal age’) we travel the road less traveled, thus ‘Offdachain and Outtadabox’.

When faced with breast cancer and a baby, you start to realize that some things are totally out of your control. I have decided that there are far worse things than being judged for my lack of birth control, like death!

I was inspired to complete this post after being invited to a couple’s party last night who had never met us,but read the blog. We had a wonderful time, rapping all the old school hip-hop songs, lol! They kept commenting on how much they enjoyed the blog. It has been forever since we posted, and as you will soon see, so much has been going in our lives. I’m never ashamed or embarrassed to share our lows, because I know it’s not our final destination.

I hope that my transparency will help someone to stop allowing the culture to dictate your choices and maybe stop someone from judging someone else’s (I’m a work in progress on this one).

More to come.

ODB

 

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As We….Proceed: Part 2

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If you didn’t read Part 1, please start here.

She kept circling my stomach. We could hear my heartbeat. She asked me if I was ok, and told her I was. She tried for another minute or so and then she said she thought it was just too early. Hmmmm. She blamed it on her doppler. It wasn’t the most sophistacted. I cautiously accepted it, but I had never ‘not’ heard any of my babies through a doppler. I tried to remember how early it had been detected previously. Of course I googled “How soon can a doppler pick up a heartbeat”. That didn’t help.

I walked out to the truck (ODC and G4 stayed in the car because she was sleeping) and ODC gave me the thumbs up through the glass. It was like he was asking was everything ok. When I got in the car, I told her she didn’t get a heartbeat, but it was probably just too early. We stopped at IHop on the way home. (More comfort food). I tried to sort out my feelings. Maybe I really wasn’t pregnant! My life could go on without trying to figure out how I could ever get a sitter for 5 children. Who in the world actually works with 5 children?!?, I asked myself. ODC was pretty low key about everything, but made it clear that he wouldn’t be ok if something was wrong.

It was Saturday morning and I was going to run at Stone Mountain. I was going to take G4 with me in the jogging stroller. I put her on the potty and then I went to the bathroom. Whoa..is this blood? I called ODC. I was bleeding. I tried to remain calm and decided that I better not go run so I spent the rest of the day in bed. I called my midwife, who I had seen the week before and she told me to wait and see. I knew it was too late for implantation bleeding and of course good old Google helped me find several stories from women who bled throughout their pregnancy or at one time or another and went on to have healthy babies. I spent alot of time talking to one of my closest friends. She had recently expereinced two miscarriages and she was very supportive, informative and most importantly, positive.

The next day, I was still bleeding. I decided to stay home from church and take it easy. When Monday arrived and the bleeding continued, I knew it was time to go to the doctor. (OBs are for problems, midwives are for normal births.)

Thankfully I was able to get an appointment for that same afternoon. We found a sitter for the Gs and ODC and I made our way to the doctor’s office. I was starting to get nervous. Even though I wasn’t thrilled about being pregnant, AGAIN, I never thought that I could LOSE the baby! We get called back and everyone is treating me like this is a routine, first prenatal visit. All the normal questions and precautions were given. I was even offered prenatal vitamins. I was feeling optimistic. I was told that they noticed some blood in my urine, but couldn’t be sure if there was an issue without some further checking.

I had not had an ultrasound since G1, over 10 years ago. I was a first time mom, and although we didn’t want to know the sex, I just assumed it was required. My subsequent midwives made it more optional, and since there were no problems, we didn’t elect to have one. My body was literally trembling, I was so nervous, “just let there be a heartbeat”. The doctor pointed out some things I can’t remember, then finally, she pointed to the baby. Deep exhale. That day, I was 11 weeks pregnant, but the baby was measuring 7 weeks and there was no heartbeat, it was a “missed miscarriage”. 

The doctor was very sincere and shared that she too had experienced a miscarriage more than once. I was doing ok. ODC, of course, was my rock. She gave us a minute to determine whether or not we wanted to schedule the D&C. I started feeling like I didn’t have enough time to process it all. I was scheduled to go back to NY soon and didn’t know if I wanted to risk the uncertainty of things so far from home. I had some blood work done, just in case, and we left. This was a time I desperately missed my mom. I needed to hear her voice, her genuine concern, and her reliable words of comfort.

Once I was in the car, it actually hit me and the tears began to fall. In my mind, I thought I would find out that everything was fine, or the whole thing was a fluke; I was never pregnant to begin with! I wasn’t crazy about my menopause theory, but it would have been better than this! I started reflecting on the past few weeks, and how things never seemed quite right. I would always tell people “I’m not worried, but I am concerned that I don’t have any real symptoms”.  I recalled how on that prior Friday, the day before the bleeding started, I came home from the gym, dropped my bag and immediately started cleaning the kitchen, for about four hours!  I cleared the clutter, I rearranged things (this was not normal for me, I struggle with the domestic side of things). It was like the typical nesting that happens right before you give birth. My body knew.

ODC had an emotional moment, but immediately went into supporter mode. Krispy Kreme, Chick-fi-la AND Zaxby’s were the stops we made before going home to break the news to the Gs. (Do you see the reoccurring theme of comfort food throughout this 🙂 ).

The girls were heartbroken. They were so disappointed. They cried. They asked a lot of questions; “Where is the baby now?” “Was it a boy or a girl?” ODC and I tried to answer the best that we could. But like most children, they are very resilient and by the next day their main question was “Where are we going today?”

We decided to forgo the D&C and thanks to God’s mercy, my trip back to New York the following week, was conveniently canceled by my engagement manager. She had no idea what had happened, so I knew it was God who was working everything out for us. I had an additional week before I had to return to New York, so I  waited for the awful cramps and the heavy bleeding, but it never happened. Quietly and peacefully, my body did the work to end the pregnancy.

I received so much support and encouragement from friends, IRL and on-line. I found out just how common miscarriages are. If I told 5 people, 4 of them had experienced one. My midwife told me that so many ‘late’ periods are actually early miscarriages, but because of the widespread use of EPTs, we know we are pregnant so much sooner. I didn’t understand the silence. Maybe it’s because I am an oversharer, but why didn’t women talk about this? I know the answer is complicated. How does guilt make its way into something that you have no control over? I found myself feeling bad because I wasn’t initially happy about pregnant, then I started feeling bad because I wasn’t feeling bad anymore!

God, in His infinite wisdom, created our bodies to work perfectly. I learned the value of knowing mine. I learned the value of a 27 1/2 year relationship with someone who has been by my side during the best and worst days of my life. I learned the value of lining up my heart with my mind to truly accept His will. But most importantly I learned the value of every one of my children, they all teach me, even the ones that I never see.

As We….Proceed: Part 1

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I knew that I had noticed a Duane Reade drugstore when I got on the train, headed to my first day of work in over 7 years. New York City, one of my favorite places, and I was getting my hustle on with a 2 month contract position! This was going to be a huge transition for my family, but since ODC is such an awesome husband and father, I knew that we could ensure that the Gs would maintain stability in their homeschooling and overall care. There was only one thing that was keeping me from completely embracing the opportunity and being happy about it. My period. It was late. I had been talking big trash to ODC about how I didn’t need to take a pregnancy test, because my body would eventually would tell me whether or not I was pregnant, blah, blah, blah. Well I wasn’t waiting any longer, trusting my body worked good in theory, but I had to know. It was the one thing that was keeping from actually enjoying being ALONE in such a fun city.

I guess there are no Dollar Trees in NYC. I went into the Duane Reade store, picked up the test and a few items and headed back to my hotel. As I’m walking, I start having a conversation with God. “You know we trust you right? We have surrendered this area to you, right? You wouldn’t have us deal with this NOW, would you? Things are finally looking up, we are going to have some money and we can really start to turn things around, it’s not time for a baby!” I had pretty much convinced myself that God loved me too much to set me up like that. I had four cycles since G4 and one of them had been around the 30 day range, so it was reasonable to think that this cycle was similar. I’ll spare you all the logistics, but I stared at that stick, and my heart started racing, that line, it was coming….no way, no way, no way!

Why was I even surprised? Every pregnancy has been ‘unexpected’. Of course I know how these things happen, but birth control has not been our MO over the years and more recently we have been convicted about using it, hence G4. 🙂 This time, however, I thought I was being mindful. I guess not. The first thing I do is call ODC. Here I am alone, in a hotel room, in NYC, after my first day of work in over 7 years, and I have just found out that I am going to have a 5th child! The phone rings, and goes to voicemail…FOR 2 HOURS!!!! Now, there is no way I can call and tell anyone, before I tell my husband. I flick through the channels, scan Facebook, and keep trying to call every 5 minutes. Two hours later, I finally get him on the phone. “Hey…I love you”, “What’s wrong?”, “I’m pregnant”. Silence. I think this was the first time I had every told him that he said “I’mma need a minute”. Regardless of how much you believe in something, it is important to acknowledge that you are human and doubts and fears can be real. I wasn’t offended and within about 30 minutes, we talked, and ODC was like, “okay, we’ll be fine.” But something was different, for the first time, I didn’t cry about being pregnant (and I’m not talking happy tears). Instead, I called a girlfriend and told her the news and all my ambivalent emotions and ended the night with some New York pizza and buffalo wings. Yum, comfort food! The next morning, I got up, got dressed to workout, and was like…”Here we go!”

The next few weeks involved me going back to NYC for about 3 days each week. Life was crazy busy! I had the chance to tell my family and few close friends, but another first was that we did not immediately make a huge announcement. The major reason was because I was working, and I wanted to complete my project before telling my coworkers that I was expecting. With all the traveling and maintaining my workouts, I started to realize something was different. I wasn’t feeling that severe exhaustion that has been present with every one of my pregnancies. I was still nursing G4 but I wasn’t experiencing any breast tenderness. That was odd. I even begin to joke with people and say that I wasn’t really pregnant, I was just going though menopause. (I was only slightly joking. I had read (Google is dangerous) that a false positive pregnancy test could be the result of menopause.) “Every pregnancy is different”, “It’s just because you are too busy to notice”, and the one that silently made me cringe; “Maybe it’s a boy!” (more on that here).

The week before Thanksgiving, I made an appointment to see a new midwife. ODC and I decided to back to what we knew and loved; homebirth. The connection was immediate, even just over the phone. The thought of another homebirth started to get me excited about this baby. I was going to finally do EVERYTHING I wanted. Video, professional photographer at the birth, labor in my jacuzzi tub…okay, it was time to focus on what I knew; I LOVE babies!

I love the fact that midwives allow you to talk and they really listen. I shared with her how I wasn’t thrilled about being pregnant. She told me that was very normal, even for some people who are actually “trying”. She said normally, the exception is women who have dealt with infertility. I felt guilty for not being “happy”, but this was normal for me, and with her assurance, I reminded myself that I always get past it and start to look forward to having a newborn. I also shared with her that I didn’t “feel” pregnant. She offered to check the heartbeat with a doppler, even though this just a consultation and not an official prenatal visit. Then she realized that her car was gone and her equipment was in the trunk. We would check it on my next visit. At this point, I’m about 10 weeks pregnant. We end our visit (ODC and G4 are with me) and I tell her that I will get back with her when ODC and I make a decision. I could barely get my seatbelt on before telling ODC that I wanted to use her. He just looked at me. I knew he liked her too, but he never likes to seem eager to pay anyone! A few minutes down the road, I realize that I had left my cell phone at her house. I called her to let her know that we were coming back and she told me that she realized her car was at the house (her husband had parked it further back) and if I wanted her to check the baby’s heartbeat she could. I ran back in and and she took me into her examining room. I got on the bed and lifted my shirt ready for the cold gel to hit my puffy belly. Now, even though I didn’t “feel” pregnant, my body was already taking shape. I definitely had a thick midsection! The midwife started moving the doppler around. I nervously waited for the big confirmation.

To be continued.