What It’s Taught Me

So I went to that young ladies birth the other day.

I visited her at the hospital at 10 on Thursday night to fill out some forms and get to know her better.
She was very kind and very scared, she was “overdue” and being induced. Her boyfriend was there, but he was quiet and not very involved.

I told her to call me in the morning as soon as they started the pitocin. She ended up calling me a couple hours before the pitocin was started. The cytotec was giving her some contractions and she was having pretty bad back labor.
Long story short–we ended in a cesarean after the epidural was given. I’m fairly confident that, given that baby had stabilized for a solid ten minutes before they finally took her back, she probably would have been fine without the cesarean, but she was scared and tired of laboring, so thats what we did.

All in all, it was a decent experience. Certainly not my ideal doula birth–but I still felt useful and like I did some good to help this woman bring her baby earthside. I arrived at 7:30, I left at nearly 8pm. Even though the parents were very sleepy and not very alert after the birth, the mothers older sister called me and informed me that I am “worth your weight in gold”

It was a nice sentiment and I’m really happy to have been there for this family.

That said, as a grieving mother, this was incredibly difficult for me. Since it had almost no reflection of anything I anticipated for my own birth experience it wasn’t as hard as it might have been otherwise, but there were still tender moments where I started to tear up.

When I returned home, I slept a lot. The following day I was still out of it. But I was starting to process what had happened. It kind of shook me. I cried. I’m still hurting.

Even though this birth was challenging and not at all what I was anticipating as my first birth, I think I’m following the right path. Doula work is right for me.

New Horizons

As you’re aware, life has been tumultuous.
Pregnancy, loss, life, moves, careers, learning, etc.

Tonight I am born as a doula and a new woman. A mother to mothers.

I’ve been rather discouraged as of late. My doula training is nearly complete, but I am lacking the crucial birth experience to certify. My appointment for counseling had to be moved, so I have yet to see anyone.

I was hopeful, as I attended a fundraiser for the local doula group on Sunday and had my first client interview on Tuesday.
The client interview, unfortunately, did not go as one might hope. After having to turn down my first prospect I was devastated. I expected that this meant I would not be a doula. I was a failure. I began looking for other jobs that evening when I returned home.

However, life has a way of surprising you.
I received some correspondence from a woman in another state saying her sister was going to be induced soon and needed a doula desperately. As far as doulas go, we are willing to support as best we can, but we prefer to have a few meetings with our client first. I told the woman to have her sister call me–I told her my fee–and that was that.

Two days go by and I hear nothing. I assume plans changed and they would no longer need me. Oh well, I wasn’t cut out for this anyway.
This morning I receive a call from a strange number. I answer. It’s *Ginger*. Her sister had told her to call me to get to know me better and see what I may be able to do for her. She is being induced this morning and if I’m available she’d like me to attend her birth. After a little discussion, we agree to meet at the hospital so that I can get to know her a little more before she goes into labor. She agrees, her sister calls me, we set up a payment agreement. It’s all done.

Now I’m waiting patiently to attend my first birth. I will be leaving in roughly 40 minutes to start my journey. I’m so thrilled and anxious and scared. But I know I can do this. I am a doula. This is my client. I will help her have her baby.

Better Days

I have been news than usual. I’m pretty glad to be seeing some positives in my life.

A) I have an appointment set up for the 20th to see a counselor. I’m so thrilled to finally be seeking the help I need. I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes :)

B) I am fortunate enough to have found a group of other doulas in my area who have invited me to come meet with them all on Thursday. It’s going to be a really great experience.

C) On the 27th, I start my second semester of life modeling! It’s going to be so great. I really miss modeling, it’s been quite some time since I last did this.

Other People’s Pregnancies

My high-school best friend is pregnant. She was so supportive and kind to me during my own miscarriage. But for some reason she keeps updating me about her pregnancy. She just had her first prenatal appointment. She told me all about hearing the heartbeat. I wanted to stab her.

I’m trying to deal with the agreement I made with Eric to not push the issue further and to wait for now. It’s not going well. There hasn’t been a single day in the past 4 days that I haven’t cried my eyes out. I’m not doing well and while I think I might benefit from counseling, I know that that will not fill my emptiness.

I’ve been working out a lot–well, not a lot, but more than I usually do. I’m trying to take care of myself. Partly so that I can feel good about myself again, partly because I want to be pregnant so desperately and I’m trying to be healthy and fit so that I can successfully carry a child again.

I was doing really well for the last few months. Now that soul-crushing hollow feeling is back. I just can’t even live with this.

Reflection

I haven’t posted since going to the doctor for my follow up on Friday.
The U/S showed everything was clear.
I was reminded of my abnormal pap and that the scrapings he took showed a low grade abnormality still. I was told not to worry.

While I waited a girl came into the office. Very pregnant.
She talked about her holiday with the receptionists. She said she had just come from a big family dinner. “I’m so full!”
“Yeah! Full of baby!” said the perky receptionist.
I cried a little.
Eric decided we needed to celebrate my *relatively* clean bill of health as well as distract me from my emotions by watching Anchorman 2.
We had a good time. I’m glad I agreed to it.

I’ve already had my first period. It started 11 days after my D&C. I was excited at first. Then I cried. I’m empty and my body is just going through the motions again. I cried a lot during those 4 days.

We had previously agreed that we should take this opportunity to be more careful and prepare for life better. Now that everything is getting back to “normal” I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to feel okay again until I have my baby.
I broke down and told Eric this. I didn’t want to, I knew it wouldn’t change his mind. He said he didn’t want to do anything rash–we need more time to make sure we can get back on our feet 100%. I was obviously hurt, but it’s not as though I expected anything else of him. We agreed to revisit the topic in June. 6 months from now. I knew he wouldn’t want to try again, but I was truly hoping that by April we could at least be on our way to conceiving our second child. Last night, though, we had sex. We didn’t use a condom. He pulled out. I told him that he can’t be that concerned about it if he’s not using protection. He just smiled. It’ll only be a matter of time…I hope.

I was excited for all the opportunities that have been presented to me and all the things that may come in the new year. Until this morning. I woke up and realized, first, that in 1 month it will be our second anniversary–which is wonderful, I’m so very lucky to have this man–and second, that this should have marked just about 7 months. That due date is creeping up on me and I’m feeling suffocated. This year will be full of anniversaries. The day I found out I was pregnant. The day I walked into the doctors office and found out I wouldn’t be having my baby. The day that I went to the bathroom after weeks of contractions and pain to find that the bleeding wouldn’t stop.

I expect a lot of pain and misery this year. I don’t know how I’m going to get through it.

Updates From The Otherside

I’ve recently been thinking about how dedicated I was to this blog and how much I truly miss it. A lot has gone on in the month and a half that I’ve spent neglecting this blog so I felt it appropriate to bring you up to speed.

As you are aware, my D&C at the end of October never happened. I was told that I didn’t need it.
3 weeks later I returned to the OB to have a follow up ultrasound and talk to the doctor.
Somehow, there was something HUGE in my uterus. We were hoping that it was just tissue forming for the start of my period. Unfortunately that was not the case. We waited for 3 more weeks doing repeat ultrasounds and finding no change. Finally I agreed to the D&C. That was two days ago. The 17th. Since then I have felt wonderful. The procedure went well and I’m feeling great. No more pain and no bleeding.
I’m waiting till my appointment on the 27th at which I will find out what the pathology reports said it was. I’m nervous, but hopeful.

Apart from all the pain and misery I’ve gone through, I have continued my doula work. I’ve got a website and a facebook page as well as some business cards. I have yet to find my first clients, but I’m very hopeful.
Currently I’m marketing myself as just a birth and postpartum doula but my hope is that during the new year I’ll be able to expand as a full-spectrum doula, working with those who have abortions, miscarriages, still births, surrogacy, and maybe eventually work with trans* folks who are in the middle of transition, or with women who are facing infertility, menstrual issues, or whatever else comes along with having a uterus. I’m really hopeful that my work will allow me to help people who need me and to truly follow my passions.

I’m going to try to keep updating this blog, it will likely not be as frequent as it once was but I do not want to abandon you anymore. I will keep you up to date with my life in general, with my TTC  journey, and with my life as a doula.

Thank you all for sticking by me.

Training in the Face of Loss

I’ve started my training with Intuitive Childbirth.
The coursework is brilliant and engaging and I’m having a great time.
It’s emotionally daunting sometimes and occasionally I need to take a mental health break before I am able to resume my reading, but it’s really feeling like it’s going to be worth it.

I’m planning to work on setting up a facebook page for my services later today and entering myself into various databases to try to find clients. I’m determined for this to work.

It’s definitely making me think about my own miscarriage a bit, although in a somewhat more clinical way.
I’m also finding that, the more I learn through this course, the more I learn about myself. I realize now that a lot of the things I thought I wanted have changed in regards to pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, there are still things I don’t know if I want. That’s okay. I’ve got time. Even though completing this course is giving me agonizing baby fever again and making me wish that I could just get back into it and start my family.

Apart from my occasional break downs during my coursework, I’m mostly doing really okay right now.

We were cleared for sex, which is still a difficult thing for me. It seems every time now I cry shortly afterwards. I can’t think of it as anything other than this is how babies are made. I hope to get over it soon. I feel awful about it.

My niece (6) and nephew (5) visited the other day.

I had assumed that they forgot about the pregnancy. I was mistaken.

My nephew came up to me while I was folding laundry and said “When is that baby gonna be here?”
He proceeded to “remind me” about the baby and how is mom said that I was gonna have one soon. I didn’t know what to say, but fortunately my mother stepped in with “Something happened to the baby so it couldn’t be here with us.” This was a sufficient explanation for him but he did announce “Oh, that’s sad. I like babies!”
It was sweet and innocent and not meant to cause any harm, but it broke my heart and I cried for quite a while.
It’s nice to know, though, that I can stop my crying without having to wait DAYS for my heart to heal. After a few hours I was back in working order, if only a little of my game.

Traumas and Relief

I’ve been neglecting this for about two weeks now. Sorry, folks.
Life has been changing rapidly.
At first I was not posting because I was too overwhelmed, didn’t know how to write. More recently it’s been because I just didn’t feel like sharing. But I owe it to you and to myself and to my baby.

I ended up back at my OB. We scheduled a D&C for Tuesday morning, the 29th.

On Friday I called because I’d been having quite a bit of bleeding and didn’t know if this meant I would no longer need it. They scheduled an ultrasound for Monday afternoon.
Over the weekend the bleeding increased. I also noticed a slight sour smell and was worried about infection.

When I saw my OB on Monday, the U/S showed almost no change. I saw a doctor who was not my regular and he said that he was moderately concerned but that I should be okay.

I had been dizzy all day, but I thought nothing of it. After I left my appointment it got worse. I called the doctor, they told me to head to the hospital. So off I went.

At the hospital I was told to pee into a little pot on the toilet so they could measure the clots and blood loss.
Shortly after I arrived I went to the bathroom with some pretty bad cramps.
I lost 6 clots all at once. It was gross, but I felt much better.

Afterwards, the bleeding slowed to a near stop. By the morning I was not bleeding anymore. They put the D&C on hold so that I could get an ultrasound. After the ultrasound the doctor came in, she said that I could go ahead and order breakfast, I didn’t need the surgery, everything was gone. Since then I’ve had a little bit of spotting, but nothing significant. I feeling a lot better emotionally. I’m able to slowly work on getting past this.
I might write more about my experience in the hospital later on, but for now, that is the gist of it.

As for every other aspect of my life.
I was supposed to tour the cosmetology school I’m planning to attend. But my car is a miserable shit and broke some more, so touring is pending these new repairs.

On a more positive note, and in a bit of irony given the timing, I learned today that I was chosen in the Intuitive Childbirth lottery program for the birth doula course!
It’s bittersweet, but I’m very excited with this new passage in my life.
I feel that it’s a sign from my baby girl. That, while she had to leave me, I should be working to make sure that others are not left like us, to suffer. So that they can be brought into the world with all the love and support that Lily and I were not fortunate enough to have. Click the link for more info on Intuitive Childbirth and if you wish to read my previous post about the program, it’s here.

The Doom

I saw my OB today and had another ultrasound.
Lucky me, I found out that, after all these ultrasounds, my insurance is no longer covering them in full. Awesome.

It seems there’s still some thickened lining in there. The doctor said that it seems like it’s just a clot that’s going to have to pass sometime.
She offered the D&C but did say that my body should be able to pass it on it’s own.
I told her I’d wait.
After I got home I had another gush of blood.
I go back next week, if it hasn’t ended by then, I may just do it. I’m so emotionally exhausted right now.

The appointment was rough.
When I got into the waiting room, I started having a panic attack. I was tearing up, but fighting it.
Literally every woman there was pregnant. It was horrible.
They took my blood pressure. My usual 112/55 was up to 145/82. Pretty remarkable, really.
As soon as Eric and I were alone in the exam room, I sobbed. Heavily. It was painful and ugly and I didn’t want to be there.
I think that once this is over I won’t be returning. It’s too hard for me.
Dr. Allen walked in as I was dabbing my eyes with her rough, exam room tissues. I apologized. She excused me and told me it was more than reasonable.
After discussing the physical aspects of it she asked how it was going emotionally. I admitted that it had been hit and miss. She assured me it’s normal but that, if in several months from now, I’m still consistently sad more than happy, then I need to evaluate what’s going on.

I’m afraid that, with my new influx of appointments, things are going to get rough again.
As soon as I step foot in that waiting room I remember everything.
Knowing that, this time, I wasn’t even a little bit pregnant was really hard. At least the last few times I still had something to hold onto. Now I just have the memories of the pain and the emptiness of knowing that, come April, I won’t be holding my new baby.
I’ll be mourning my unborn child.
And that’s a hard thing to realize.

My Apologies

I’m a little surprised at myself.

If I’m not mistaken it’s been at least 2 weeks since my last post.
Very out of character.
Let me explain:

When I undertook the Capture Your Grief project, I wrote down, in my journal, all the topics for each day.
Sometimes, I would take a moment in my day to look at those topics and think about what each one meant to me and what I could do to portray that.
To be perfectly honest with you all, just thinking about these things was enough for me. Something in me told me that I did not need to share with the world because this was my personal world and I was happy in it.
For the first time, I was feel genuinely content, like Lily and I could move on, separately but together.

I’ve also endured some absurdities lately that made it hard for me to bring myself to write.
I began looking for a job, even though I knew it meant that I wouldn’t be able to start school right away as I would need time to adjust. I felt that I needed to pull my own weight. I knew that my mother would be content with me just going to school and finishing that out, she is in no rush to push Eric and I out of the house.
I also know that, months ago, Eric and I agreed that he would help me with school while he was working, but I felt he would resent me if I was not working as well.

I landed a job as a waitress.
It was the worst idea I’ve ever had.
After my first 4 hour shift (which was only training) I had a meltdown and could not go back.
I still have not explained this to Eric. My mother is the only one who knows the whole story.
She assured me that she expected me to finish school first because she knew that, with my mental state, I would not be able to do both at once and that she was okay with that and suspected Eric would be as well.
She said that it wasn’t worth making myself feel sick over a job that I didn’t need to have when I had a wonderful family at home supporting me in my decisions.
I’ve felt crazy the past week or so because of this. My mental health is really strained and I am exhausted.

On the plus side, I’ve taken to baking. I’ve learned that I am excellent at making cupcakes. I’m thrilled. :)
In my need to feel like I’m useful, I’m doing things that I enjoy that also bring happiness to others.

I suppose I’ll leave you with an update and a promise of tomorrows.
I have an appointment with my OB tomorrow. I’m still getting spotting off and on. Tonight I had a huge gush of blood and then nothing. I’m hoping my ultrasound and bloodwork tomorrow look promising. I don’t know what to expect. I’m anxious to go back there again. I haven’t been there in over a month. To me it is still the place that took my baby away.

I’ll give another update tomorrow when I get the chance and know more about what’s going on.

I apologize for the hiatus.

Thanks for listening.