And Baby Makes Three

I haven’t blogged in a few weeks (or three…). The main reason for the blog void has nothing to do with being busy since I’ve mostly been holding the couch down. My blogging is as much a means for me to process my thoughts and emotions as it is a means to communicate, and I have avoided processing anything for almost a month, which is exactly how long I’ve known that I’m pregnant.

The first week was perfect, with great hcg levels that more than doubled. The second week brought cramping and spotting which was painful and scary and frustrating, but the numbers were still good, and our first ultrasound showed all the right pieces and parts in the right places. Last week we got to see the heartbeat, and this week we got to see the heartbeat again and see that our baby is growing just like it should be. I have avoided thinking through most of this process, which probably sounds as unbelievable to you as it is to me.

As introspective as I am, I haven’t let myself think much at all. Over-thinking the spotting in the face of such good test results would have discouraged me, and I might have given up. Over-thinking the heartbeat would have encouraged me to start planning nursery themes and looking forward to baby registries and showers, and I wasn’t ready to throw caution to the wind. I think the psychological term for that is protective pessimism. As much as I haven’t given up, I haven’t felt safe in my hope yet either. Baby steps are in order. (Pun intended…) I realize that saying I can’t abandon all fear of disappointment in the face of God’s new plan for us probably indicates a lack of trust. Instead of running full-tilt into the joys of pregnancy, I’m creeping into it – trying it on for size, testing for each step like a first-time high rope walker.

I trust that God is at work and that there is a plan here (as there has been all along), but I also feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop as if I’m conditioned to expect the worst. I suppose physically, I am. Spiritually, though, I know that there’s really not another shoe. No matter what, God is God, and God is good. So what keeps me from doing cheers and signing up for the weekly baby update app and zapping things at Buy Buy Baby? As much as I truly believe this baby is sticking around, I have a world of experience in loss, so I may not really believe it until a week after the baby is delivered. I suppose I wouldn’t need to dig very deeply to find that there’s a fine layer of guilt not too far beneath the pain. To dive whole hog into pregnancy joy feels like a small betrayal of the babies we’ve lost, as if there was no joy in their presence or as if I might forget them. I know it’s an irrational thought, but grief is not rational.

One of my favorite poems we studied in a lit class I took my senior year in college is “Surprised by Joy” by William Wordsworth. You can find the full text very easily if you search for the title. The theme of the poem is moving on from grief, and the writer is surprised and more than a little guilty to be feeling joy in place of the sorrow and separation. It’s a beautiful poem – I’ve always thought Wordsworth was the most aptly named poet in history – and it much more beautifully than I can sums up the feelings I have about this pregnancy, especially a pregnancy following so closely after our latest miscarriage. If you’re disappointed that I haven’t been more enthusiastic about such great news, give me some time. I’m not much of a squealer to begin with, but I’m sure in a few more weeks I’ll be driving you nuts with baby updates and using lots of exclamation points!!!

For now, to answer a few of the questions I get a lot, we are right at 8 weeks, and our due date right now is January 31, 2013. Although our very first pregnancy technically lasted longer than where we are now, it was a blighted ovum, so having seen the fetal pole and now the heartbeat means that we know this isn’t a blighted ovum. This is the first time we’ve ever been able to see a baby; this is the first time I won’t just be wishing to see a heartbeat – now I can’t wait to hear it!

E Is for Embryos

During the embryo transfer, the doctor uses a very small catheter guided by ultrasound to place the embryos inside the uterus. During our transfer, they printed a picture labeled with “B” for bladder, and “E” for embryos (actually the air bubble where the embryos are – they’re too tiny to see), and we got to keep it. I have never had a pregnancy ultrasound picture that I got to keep. All of our pictures before this one were the sorts of things doctors don’t let patients keep: empty sacs or an empty womb where a baby should be.
This picture is different; it’s actual proof that our embryos started out in the right place – proof that we have done absolutely everything in our power to have a baby that is genetically our own. This picture is worth thousands and thousands of words. Words of hope and possibility and life. This picture makes me feel like this could be the first positive step towards holding a baby of my own. It feels like a real pregnancy.
Monday is the pregnancy test, so we have less than two days left to wait. By Monday afternoon we’ll know if either (or maybe, just maybe, both) of the embryos implanted. Then in a few more weeks, maybe we’ll have another good ultrasound photo to add to the album.