Monday, August 30, 2010


(August 27, 2009)
The first thing I remember was a woman looking into my eyes and saying, "You're going to be fine." I was confused. I didn't know where I was or what was going on, but usually when someone is telling you everything is going to be okay, it means something is really wrong.

I looked down at my hands. Blood. I felt my forehead, looked at my hand--more blood. Again, "You're fine. Every thing's going to be okay." I looked down at my feet. I was barefoot. My right ankle was the size of a small cantaloupe. I remember thinking, "Oh, this is not good." But where was I? I looked around. The hot, bright, mid-day sun shone down on everything. Blinding. I was on the side of the road. My logic started working. I realized I'd been in a car accident.

The woman was talking to me again. "I found your purse, and your phone. I got them out of the car. Is there someone I can call for you?" I must have given him my husband's name. She stepped away, and came back a few minutes later. I spoke to ____, he is on his way. A female police officer was asking me questions. Accusingly, "Were you on the phone when you had the accident?" I was sure I hadn't been, and yet, I couldn't remember anything. The other woman jumped in. I think she looked through my iP.hone and saw that there were no incoming/outgoing calls within the past couple of hours. I couldn't have been on the phone.

Then the lady came back to my side. Something dawned on me. I looked into her eyes. I said, "I'm pregnant."

"You're going to be ok!"

I remember her telling me, "It must be a girl, then. I have two daughters, and I can tell you, only a girl would do this to you."

Obviously, she was trying to make me feel better, diffuse the situation.

Police officer stepped away and got on her walkie talkie.

Police officer came back and said, "The Ambulance is on its way."

Someone asked me about the car seat in the back of my car. Where is your child? Fear choked me, then I remembered quickly: He was safe at daycare.

The woman, again trying to distract me, asked me about my child. How old? Boy or girl? Handsome Man's face floated in my mind. In that moment I wanted to hold him more than anything, but was so glad he was no where near all of this.

We waited. The sun beat down. Oddly I felt no pain. I looked again at my ankle, how could I not be feeling this?

The EMT's arrived.

Strangely, I remember thinking how cute the young EMT was.

He asked me,
"What day is it?"
I guessed. I got it wrong.
"Do you know where you are?"
I told him I was on hwy x.
I was actually on hwy z.
I had no memory of being on hwy z.
Then, "Ma'am, are you pregnant?"

I looked into his eyes. I felt so strange, like I had just woken up from a dream. Like maybe I was still in a dream. I had dreamed many, many times of being pregnant, only to awake and realize I was not. Suddenly, I wasn't sure any more. I felt stupid. I didn't want to say I was pregnant only to realize I wasn't. To be a joke: pathetic.

"I don't know....I'm not sure!"

The woman told me she was going to call my husband again. She stepped away. She came back to me and said, "Honey, I spoke to ____. You are pregnant."

I started crying. Joy, like finding out my dreams had come true all over again, and then, gut wrenching fear for the fragile life inside of me.

EMT said, "Okay, we are going to take you to the nearest trauma center. How do you feel about taking a helicopter ride?"

They landed the helicopter in a field across the highway and rolled me out into the field. Aboard the helicopter, the female EMT said she was going to give me something for the pain. I refused..."I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant." I kept repeating. She told me the drugs would not hurt my baby. I still refused. I think I told her, "It is a miracle I'm even pregnant. I can't risk it."

They had to cut off my clothes. She told me she was going to check 'down there' to see if I was bleeding. She told me, no blood. That's good. Do you have any cramps? No. I felt nothing.

Then suddenly, it dawned on me. I was in a car accident--with another car. What about the other driver. Were they ok? I started to freak out. She told me, "They are going to another hospital by ambulance. I think everybody is ok. We'll ask when we get you to the hospital."

At the hospital: Rolled off the helicopter. I must have been on the roof. EMT gave my vitals, and said, "Six weeks pregnant. Very concerned about the baby. Refused meds." A nurse looked at me and said, "I'm MaryAnn. I'm going to be with you the whole time."

I was rolled in to the emergency room, and off of the EMT's gurney onto the hospital gurney. For the first time I was aware of the pain. I looked at my right arm. My elbow throbbed. I couldn't move it.I was sure it was broken. The doctor used an ultrasound to see if there was any internal bleeding. He moved the Doppler over my lower abdomen. Silence. At six weeks, not much was clear. He spoke to the nurse in hushed tones. He could see the pregnancy in my uterus, but could not detect the heartbeat. I closed my eyes and sent up a silent prayer: "Please God, don't let this be The Worst Day of My Life."

It was determined that I had no internal bleeding, so I was moved into another room. Again rolled onto another bed. Again, more pain. Tests were ordered. MaryAnn stayed with me. She was my advocate: She ensured I had a double layer of lead aprons over my pelvis each time they used the the x-ray machine. And, when I went in to the cat-scan machine to check my brain, she stayed with me, reassuring me, your pelvis is no where near the machine, just your head and neck are in. She ordered a pelvic ultrasound from labor and delivery. We had to wait for them to come down with the portable machine. She waited with me. We talked about my family. My son. My husband. And, why it was such a miracle that I was pregnant. Pretty soon more and more people were (nurses, techs) were in on the story. When the ladies arrived from L & D with the portable machine, MaryAnn held my hand while they inserted the dildo-cam. There was a palpable holding-of-breath in the room while they looked around for the heartbeat. Everyone stared at the screen. Then, there it was: A little flickering light. MaryAnn said, "We have cardiac activity!!" Then she told me, "Call your husband!"

On the phone, my husband was trying to stay calm. He was on his way, but it would take him about two hours to the hospital way up north where I had been taken, from his office in the City. "There's a heartbeat," I said. I could hear him exhale. "There is?" He asked. "Yes, the Baby is alive."

MaryAnn cleaned up my face. Tiny shards of glass were removed from my skin. I asked her to wipe out my mouth with a cloth, as it was full of grit from the exploded air bag. I wasn't allowed to have any water yet until the blood tests were done. The doctor stitched up the cut on my head above my right eye. I knew I would have a scar, but I didn't care. My baby had a heartbeat. Despite the pain I was feeling, I was floating on air.

Remarkably, no bones were broken. My legs were useless. Both legs were black and blue from feet to knees. My pelvis had absorbed so much energy from the impact and was so sore I couldn't stand, even if I could have put weight on my ankle. For many weeks the back spasms I endured were terrible. Especially since I couldn't take any of the "good" drugs due to the pregnancy. But, little by little, I got better. Pretty soon I could walk without the crutches, and with the help of my chiropractor, and physical therapy, within three months I was back to normal. I still have a stiff ankle. I probably won't be taking up marathon running as a hobby. I imagine when I'm older, I'll be able to tell when it's about to rain, because, "my ankle is acting up."

The other driver and his wife were not badly hurt. He had some cracked ribs, and she suffered from a very bruised knee from hitting the dashboard. It filled with fluid and had to be drained, but an MRI revealed no torn ligaments or cartilage.

There were definitely angels on the highway with us all that day.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Friday the 13th: A Pee Stick Story

Not one to be too terribly superstitious, Friday the 13th never really creeps me out. And today is a special day to me for another reason: Exactly one year ago today, I found out I was pregnant.

I was waiting for my period to start so I could call the RE's office to schedule the repeat HSG he was insisting on. I was supposed to have done it the month before, but the insurance clearance didn't come through in time and I had missed the opportunity. I was bummed that not only had I missed that month, but now even though I was going to go ahead with the HSG I would have to wait until the following month to actually start the IUI's.

And, then, my period was late. I'm never late. Early, yes. Late, no.

I was sure that my luck had just gotten worse--that now we were finally going to embark on another round of fertility treatments, and here I was, going into early menopause.

I figured that if I called the RE's office, the first thing they would tell me to do would be to take a home pregnancy test. I figured I'd beat them to the punch, let them know that no, I wasn't pregnant and something was wrong--so please get me in for some bloodwork.

On the way to work, I picked up a home pregnancy test. I felt so stupid doing this. Especially after all those years of buying those pregnancy tests, hoping I would indeed be this time I was sure I wasn't. This was just a formality. I bristled at having to even spend the money.

When I got to work, one of my employees was already there. I got him started on the first set of tasks--we had a big wedding that weekend--and I went down the hall to the bathroom (shared by the whole floor of the building).

As I peed on the stick I literally rolled my eyes. This was so stupid.

As I waited the required 2 minutes, I studied my face in the mirror. Don't be sad when it turns up negative, I told myself. Don't let it ruin your day. This is just a formality. I tried to think about the facial I had scheduled for myself later that day...something to look forward to.

I turned around and picked up the test.

When I saw the big, strong, undeniable PLUS sign, I slid down the wall, onto the floor and stared at it for a good, long time. My hands were shaking. I had to hold my wrist with the other hand to steady the hand holding the pee stick, so I could really see what I was looking at.

Of course later that day I went out and purchased more tests. That night I repeated the test. This time with the type that has two lines. I wanted to do several tests to see if the line kept getting darker, or if it faded. I tried to prepare myself for a chemical pregnancy.

That night I repeated the test. The test line was darker than the control.

Needless to say, it all worked out. I eventually emailed my RE's office and told them I wouldn't be coming in for an HSG. I remembered reading of similar scenarios by other bloggers over the years--urban legends in my mind.

August 13th was good to me last year!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Four Months Old!

My beautiful Grace,Yesterday you turned fournths old. Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday, you were still moving around inside of me. Now you are here, and my life is changed forever. I have a daughter, I have you. Handsome Man became a big brother. And our family feels complete. It took a long time, but somehow, despite all the dissapointments, I knew one day I would hold you in my arms. I dreamed of you.

But time went on, days, weeks, months and years, and I started to doubt if I would ever hold you in my arms in this lifetime. If maybe, you were just a dream that was too good to be true. If the love I felt for you was make-believe and I was just torturing myself.

And, then, one day, not on my schedule, but yours.....

You made your presence known.

Not sure if it was too good to be true, I panicked through those first early days of my pregnancy. Every morning I woke up expecting you to be gone. But you stayed. First a flickering light on a monitor told me your heart beat within me, then, eventually, you fluttered inside like a butterfly.

And you grew...

And grew...
And then one day, again, on your own schedule, not mine, you came...

So tiny and perfect, your father held you close to my face and your dark eyes peered at me, as if you were a wise old soul, sizing me up for the first time. Like we'd met somewhere before and you were remembering me, and I, you.

Four months have flown by and you have blossomed from a tiny little fragile newborn (I used to call you 'my little sparrow') to a full-fledged chunky, roly poly, laughing, giggling, gorgeous little girl. Just four months and you are constantly rolling over on your belly every time I put you down and trying to crawl. You don't like your car seat and you squirm and protest every time I put you in it. You are a wonderful sleeper and you let mommy get her beauty rest all through the night (most nights) and I need it! Razzes, peekaboo and any thing that tickles your funny bone make you giggle, which is music to my ears. You study your brother, and I can see you love him already and are trying to memorize his every move so you can catch up with him soon and play.
(Handome Man and Grace--Grace at 2 months old)

You are sweet and friendly and smile at everyone, but for now, you love your Mommy the best. And I love you, my precious, precious little girl. God gave me you, God gave me Grace.

Monday, August 9, 2010

She's Baaaaack!

Aunt Flo, that is. I knew she was coming because about 2 weeks ago I had the WORST ovulation pain, ever! So, here it is...the first period I've had in a whole year. I feel a little sad, in a weird way. Somehow this feels like it marks the end of a larger cycle. The process of conception, gestation, birth, and the post-partum phase is now officially over. My little Grace is turning 4 months old tomorrow--no longer a newborn, by any stretch. She is getting big, and chunky and active...she's already making those first attempts at moving on her own. Sort of a pilates-style scoot on her belly, with her arms and legs up in the air. Totally hilarious. But, time feels like it is moving way, way too fast for me. Where is the pause button? I know I am going to blink and Grace will be walking, then talking--not a baby anymore. Just look at Handsome Man. No longer a baby or even a toddler...he's all Big Boy. We're almost (finally) potty trained. Today I will go sign him up for preschool. He often says, "No Mommy, I want to do it ALL BY MYSELF." And I know with Grace it will go the same way...I'll turn around one day and my baby will be gone, replaced with a Big Kid. And I know it is as it should be, but, I am so grateful to have both of these little ones, so grateful to be in this moment in time, so grateful to have a baby to hold in my arms...I just want to soak in it for a while longer. The days pass by too fast. And, the return of old Aunt Flo, marking the end of a certain era for me, does make me a little sad. And, in another way, I feel happy, too--happy that my body is doing what it is supposed to--getting on with the business of its monthly cycle. Not missing a beat, moving forward, ready, perhaps, to create another life? Wait, what? Hold the phone...huh? Oh, I don't know, peeps. I'm certainly not ready for another baby right now, I'm way too overwhelmed. And there's no guarantee lightening would strike twice in my uterus. But, I'm just sayin'. It's not like we're going to prevent, per se. When I went in for my 8-week post partum check up, the doctor (the one who delivered Grace, unfortunately, not my Doctor Wunnerful) was all, 'So what form of birth control are you interested in?' I had to laugh. Really? After all I've/we've been through--all the time we spent (or at least I spent) pulling my hair out, wishing I could be like 'everyone else' and just get pregnant--after all the years of that just NOT happening, it was really surreal to be having that discussion. When I told her we would just see what happens she seemed a little amused. Not in a condescending way, probably in a happy way--happy for us that all of a sudden the possibilities were there again. Or maybe that was my own feeling. I don't know. Possibilities are nice. What is also nice, though, is that--I am not really worried anymore. I don't look at my period as a failure. Another month without conception. At least for now my period is a sign that my body is on my side. It's working. I'm 38 and my body still wants to procreate. So, we'll see. By the time I'm really ready for another baby it might truly be too late. I know that's very possible. It's also possible it just won't happen twice. But, that doesn't scare me anymore. The thought of not being able to conceive no longer chokes me and cuts at my heart. My cup runneth over right here, right now, and I am moving forward with a new outlook on life, a new appreciation and sense of gratitude for this body God gave me, and for what I went through these past 5 or 6 years. It was all worth it. Oh, and p.s. if my periods are going to be like this one so far from now on (pain free! What?) the HOORAY!!!!! Thank you body!!