Story Time

I have been open about the fact that Carlos and I were ‘trying’ again. People would ask, hesitantly, with their tone of voice implying the I-don’t-know-if-this-is-okay-to-ask sensitivity that came with a hopeful heart. I would say that yes, we were, and it was a weird place to be. Most often the conversation about that topic would end there. My head had moved to a really weird spot where I was certain that it just would never happen. I can’t remember if I mentioned this in a post or not, (I think I did?…) but in a moment of sheer panic in January, I texted our doctors nurse and asked to come in for labs, tests and medication for my seIf diagnosis of infertility. I had calmed down a bit by the next day when Carlos and I went in for our appointment. My theatrics had slightly embarrassed me and the understanding and compassionate look I got from the nursing staff and our doctor were enough to make me realize that while it may be the first time some one has demanded Clomid via text message, it might not be far off from other situations they have encountered from a mother who lost a child. I would take a pregnancy test every month a day or two before my period and the dark pink control line and the stark white space indicating a NO next to it was what I saw every time. I became unable to image seeing two lines indicative of a positive pregnancy test. Me sobbing, Carlos holding my hand and our doctor telling me in the most understanding and caring way that I needed to chill out ended the appointment. Those six months of a big NO seemed like a lifetime. I felt angry and sad and like every month after the window of fertility was a waste of time until I would take a test that said NO and then the cycle began again. So romantic. 

Nearing Sylvia’s 6 month birthday in February something changed. I can’t really even put it into words because I simply don’t remember, but something happened that I calmed down with regards to mentally creating conception into a race. Carlos and I went to San Diego for his birthday and spent a long weekend with lots of food, lots of drinks and lots of sunshine. I felt refreshed returning. I had taken a pregnancy test before we left because I knew there was going to be a lot of drinking and when it came back as negative I was heart broken. Just because something else had shifted, didn’t mean my end goal wasn’t still the same. When we came back from San Diego I had a weird, short period, very uncharacteristic, which made me panic. Instantly I thought something was wrong and this was another red arrow pointing at infertility. Carlos calmed me down and reassured me this was just my body still healing postpartum. After our trip and ending out a very long, very snowy, unusual winter here, I was feeling quite uncomfortable with my body. I hadn’t done much physically since Sylvia died and though my pregnancy weight came off within a couple weeks, to not be working out is very unlike me. Annoyed with winter weight, most easily recognizable in my body with larger boobs, I knew it was time to start hitting the gym again. I started running again and stopped eating like a gorilla. A couple weeks later I was at work, mid conversation with a doctor, and suddenly felt like I needed to vomit. More than just nausea, this was vomit that I was swallowing. And then suddenly it was gone. I remember thinking, well that was weird, and continuing on with my day. About a week after that I remember feeling like something was just off. I can’t quite remember what symptomatically it was, or what my head was doing to make me feel that way but something just felt strange. I also don’t know exactly what compelled me to take a pregnancy test because I was still about 5-6 days before I should have started my period, other than milling my thoughts over with friends at work. But I did, I took one and instantly, it was positive. So I took another, and then another after that, two different brands, and all of them were instantly positive. I didn’t crumble to the floor sobbing with happiness like I anticipated I would do. I just kept staring at it in shock. I welled up for a couple seconds and then the emotion passed. I looked in the mirror and really stared into my own eyes. My head was silent. My thoughts, for the first time since August weren’t going in a million directions. You know when you’re swimming in a still pool and you’re under water and not moving and all you can hear is your breath and sometimes your own heartbeat? My head suddenly felt that sense of unrestrained confinement and quietness. I calmly went out to the family room where Carlos was, sat down on the couch and said, ‘Guess what?’ He looked up from the computer, paused, and said, ‘You’re pregnant?’ I nodded.

My doctor ordered labs and we had an ultrasound the following day. It was then we realized that, yes, congrats, we are pregnant and, hey actually you’re almost two months pregnant. That weird period? Actually that was implantation. Symptom-less pregnancy? Apparently no big deal. We heard the babies heartbeat at the ultrasound, a very emotional, very overwhelming experience. The last time we were in that room with that same technician we were told our daughter had died. I sobbed and stared at the little blob on the screen. One hundred and fifty three beats per minute. You can see the little flicker at eight weeks of the heart. Due October 24th. It seemed very out of body and also very natural at the same time. It just hadn’t been that long since I was pregnant, and it was the same time last year, so as shocked (and truly, I was shocked) as I was, on some level the whole thing felt very familiar.

Prior to the actual positive pregnancy test my thoughts on announcing a pregnancy had changed. We didn’t announce with Sylvia until I was almost 16 weeks. You’re told thats when its ‘safe’. We know so unfortunately different now that the very idea of a ‘safe’ time is almost offensive. Prior to being pregnant my head and my heart told me we would announce all future pregnancies when we found out, so that we could celebrate each moment, and if the pregnancy ended without a baby, we could grieve at any stage. However, my head and my heart were so, so, so confused after this appointment, I could hardly think straight. We started telling family and friends and kept it there. This pregnancy will be emotionally overwhelming every moment, so I needed time to sort through a few thoughts before opening the news publicly and inviting hundreds into where my head and my heart were very, very confused.

Originally I had anticipated posting a long, twisted paragraph here about my thoughts, my head space and my heart space but it just doesn’t seem to be generating right now. Explaining emotions generally are easiest done for me on the fly, so I post semi-regularly on my Instagram when a BIG emotion hits me, or the wording comes out most accurate. In short, its muddy, its pretty raw, it certainly isn’t what I expected and its really damn honest.

Medically this pregnancy will be very different. With Sylvia I was so, so symptomatically pregnant. I felt like hell, I was sick, I couldn’t face the water in the shower for 6 months because my boobs hurt too bad, I was bloated, exhausted…pregnancy is rough. And this time, I have quite literally physically felt great. I’ve been running again (five miles three days ago!) though round ligament pain is creeping in and maybe putting that to a halt. I have energy and my boobs are big but pain free. My doctor has reassured me that symptoms really don’t mean much and that all pregnancies are different. I am trying to appreciate physically feeling so good, but at least when you are having pregnancy symptoms, you know you’re pregnant. Not having them feels scary and non-reassuring. Sylvia’s death was unexplained but we are now considered a high risk pregnancy. Myself and the baby will be closely monitored by our regular doctor as well as a specialist. I will have a lot of scans, tests and appointments, hell, we have already had two ultrasounds. Our last ultrasound, pictured above, the baby was wiggling around like crazy, kicking and squirming and allowing for incredible pictures. We will be induced early and likely the first week of October. I will be 29 weeks and 4 days pregnant with Sylvia’s sibling on her first birthday.

I have settled impending panic attacks thus far and not had to rush to the hospital or our doctor’s office for them to check the heart rate. I worry that once I start doing that, it will become a regular occurrence, which is fine, but also kinda stressful. A wonderful friend of mine who works in the birth center is meeting me tomorrow morning though so we can listen to the heart beat. I started getting nervous just now, wondering if the baby has already died. Wondering if I have shared my emotions of the ups and downs only to have to share again that we have lost another baby. But I keep trying to envision tomorrow, projecting positivity. I’m laying down, my friend’s calm and peaceful demeanor and sweet smile provide a very safe place for this vulnerability. She places the doppler on my belly and a strong heart beat will be heard pounding back. I cry, if I’m not already, we hug and I leave the hospital feeling like I just got a booster of reassurance to carry me through another day. And if it doesn’t happen that way tomorrow or the next time or the time after that and this baby dies, then what? Then I still shared these moments and this vulnerability for a reason. I am compelled to do so because I have realized that Sylvia is a lot bigger than Carlos and I could ever be. And Sylvia’s siblings are a continuation of her and her story more so than Carlos and my story. She is bigger than us. And that makes me a very, very proud mommy.

Teresa MendozaComment