Oh Hey PTSD!

A week from today is the dreaded NT scan. The scan that triggers anxiety, stress and an epic meltdown. I have such a clear picture of that first NT scan, with the first baby that made it to 12 weeks…

As we approached the hospital, I stopped dead in my tracks, held my stomach, turned to my husband and questioned ‘what if something is wrong?’ He brushed away my worry, without words, telling me I was being a nut. In my gut, I had known something was awry. I shook off the doubt attributing it to this being the ‘first’ pregnancy (or one that has made it this far). However, as much as I tried to reassure myself, I knew something wasn’t right. My biggest fears were confirmed. I remember the color of my nails, the clothes I was wearing, the silent ultrasound sound tech who refused to answer any question or reassure my fears, the color of the doctors hair, the sound of his voice and thick accent, his body language as he entered the room, and the unforgettable feeling of finding out something is terminally wrong with your most wanted child.

This day becomes clearer as we approach this baby’s NT scan. I am prepare for a slow increase of anxiety as the day approaches and most likely an epic, two year old style meltdown as we enter the room.

Boy, would I love to know what innocence and ignorance feels like. I have been robbed and it doesn’t get easier, even after a healthy pregnancy…

Maternity leave rant 

It pains me that taking a maternity leave is causing me stress. I am a New York City public school teacher and maternity leave consists of 6 weeks,if you have a vaginal birth, or 8 weeks if you have a C-section. Unpaid. Basically, the department bleeds you of your sick and personal days and then once those are up, they dock your pay.  However, you do have the option of ‘borrowing days.’ Although- be prepared to pay those days back monetarily when you return to work (e.g. your check will be docked). You are entitled to FMLA, however, if you took any FMLA in the past year, you might not get the full amount of time… Well…I had to FMLA because I was out due to my termination for medical reasons, so I am not entitled to more than 6/8 weeks . In addition, if I exceed 6 or 8 weeks (depending on my type of birth), I run the risk of being knocked off of payroll….This means that if I do not return to work for the few weeks left of the school year, following my 6/8 week leave, I won’t receive my checks for the summer (which I have earned already) and I loose all and any seniority I have accrued in the 7 years I have worked for the department of education.

So with that being said…These are my scenarios:

1. I delivery on my due date (April 29th) vaginally:

I’ll need to return to work June 10th and work for the remaining 3 and a half weeks of school…

I’ll have to pump at work…which I do not believe is entirely friendly. So, I’ll be locking my door and pumping in quiet with the hope that I will not be walked in and it won’t interfere with my job duties. This is if I can pump/breastfeed as I know it can be difficult for some mothers.

2. I delivery on my due date by c-section:

I will need to return to work by June 24th. and work for until June 28th and I’ll be out for the summer.

3. Optimal time but not optimal birth: Deliver 5 days late by c-section:

I do not want this to occur, but its said that this would allow me not to return to work and get the most amount of time with my daughter. Because my maternity leave would end as summer begins, I will not get knocked off of pay roll.

It frustrates me that many companies now have leaves ranging from 3 months to a year, some paid. It pains me that I will only get  a short amount of time with her before I have to figure out child care (rotation of family members).

How in an environment that is predominately woman in child bearing years, is there no paid maternity leave????

I am grateful that I will, at the very least, have the entire summer with her. I am also incredibly grateful that we are surrounding by family members willing and wanting to care for her when I have to return to work. 

I know I have absolutely not control over when I bring her home. I know that she will come when she is ready and I am hoping that is as close to her due date as possible. As I know, nothing is in my control and I know anything is possible, I do pray and hope that she does arrive, safe, alive and healthy.

Comparing pregnancies

Besides the fact that this pregnancy is so far healthy and this is the farthest I have come in a pregnancy before, there is innate differences between the three pregnancies I have had. The first, which sadly only lasted 5 weeks (a week of me knowing), consisted of spotting and cramping…I think I knew we were going to loose it. My head was screaming miscarriage during the entire week. The second pregnancy, although lasted longer, felt off. From the very beginning I was super nervous and felt something wasn’t right. I thought this was a result of me just suffering a miscarriage, but maybe it was intuition? As we know, that pregnancy resulted in a termination for medical reasons. I was right. Something was off. My daughter was unhealthy. I felt it. I knew it when I was spotting off and on, when I was prescribed progesterone, and right before we entered the room for the NT scan.

Despite my tumultuous pregnancy history, I felt differently with this pregnancy. I was a little more at ease. I have stopped analyzing everything I consume and I feellike this might actually be our baby. I am completely aware that until I take home this little girl, we are not in the clear. I am fully aware through my experience and through hearing about others, that pregnancy does not always equal baby, however, I am beginning to feel more hopeful…Like this could actually be our living daughter.

What could of been 

Last Christmas was my first period after my first loss, a miscarriage at 5 weeks. It took 6 weeks to get my period back, and I was eagerly waiting because I was desperate to try again. My husband and I knew we wanted to have kids, but he preferred to not know about the details of ovulating of cervical mucus. To spare the poor man, I silently calculated my fertile window and plotted my seduction. At the end of January, I was pregnant. I was shocked, but relieved it happened right away. The moment the test turned positive, I was nervous. Naturally, I thought this nervousness was a result of just suffering a miscarriage. I told myself- get passed 5 weeks and then you should feel better. I passed 5 weeks… But was still not settled. At 7 weeks, my husband and I were headed to Puerto Rico. Our first doctors appointment was scheduled for the Monday after our return. The first day of our trip, I started to spot. It was brown… Not red…I discovered this after our first meal in San Jaun.  Maybe the flight? All I know is I was bracing myself for another loss. And I was anxious. When we got back to the hotel-  I refused sex and instead went to sleep. I woke up the next morning and ran to the bathroom. Red blood. A couple drops. My heart sank to feet. My pulse raced. I began to sweat. No no no, this can’t be happening again! I called my mom and I called my mother in law. Both assures me that spotting can be normal. I went about my day, trying to enjoy the time with my husband. I kept checking my underwear. No more red… Some brown…. Some tissue. It wasn’t a lot, but it was concerning… This continued the whole week. We returned to New York and the next day went to our first appointment. To our surprise- there was a heartbeat! I felt okay, but I was still super uneasy. At 9 weeks… I was spotting again. Still brown. I was then told I have low progesterone and was giving supplements. Somethings didn’t feel right. I became obsessed with looking up statistics of miscarriages and risks associated with weeks gestation. I was a ball of anxiety… Then our 12 week scan arrived, our nuchal translucency. We walked to the hospital and I remember thinking ‘shit, I am scared.’ My husband hushed my thoughts and ushered me through the automatic doors…

I often wonder if my intuition knew something was wrong from the beginning. Did my mind know my baby wasn’t healthy? Was the anxiety that I was feeling meant to let me in on my body’s failure to multiple and divide correctly? 

Even though I am noticeably pregnant- I still resent pregnant woman I see. I immediately get upset because I assume their journey to pregnancy was easy and their innocence is still intact. I resent them. I resent the families that get to announce their pregnancies at 12 weeks… Thinking they are bringing their baby home. I resent that fact that I posted a picture of our gender reveal on Instagram and had immediate anxiety. What if I have to explain another loss that I have made so public??? Why did I have to be so stupid. I should of kept it quiet longer… I miss my innocence. 

If I didn’t have the miscarriage, I would have a 5 month old baby.

If I didn’t have to terminate for medical reasons, because my daughter had extra chromosomal material on chromosome 8, my daughter would be almost 3 months… 

Instead, I am so grateful that I am carrying their sister. Every day I am thankful that I am pregnant and every day I am hopeful that I will bring this baby girl home in 4 months. I love her so much and I can’t wait to show her just how much when she arrives. 

Today is intense…

Today is an emotionally charged day. At this exact point in my last pregnancy, 15 weeks, we were terminating our daughter due to medical reasons. I am currently 15 weeks and carrying a so far healthy child, yet all I can do is replay that terrible week and the subsequent weeks I had to endure in April. I wish it ended there….Exactly one year ago today, I found out I was pregnant with my first. That pregnancy last exactly a week before I had a natural miscarriage. I have quite a bit of mixed emotions.  Technically, if my first pregnancy was healthy, I would of had a baby in July. I would of never had to terminate for medical reasons.  I never would of have to endure the worst emotional roller coaster of my life.  If my second pregnancy was healthy, the same would apply…and I would of had a daughter in October. She would of been roughly a month old.  Instead…I am still at the beginning of my pregnancy and everything beyond today is a mystery….