Monday, May 2, 2016

The Story of Linus, Part 1

     Linus is nearly 8 months now and I’ve been wanting to share his story for a while. It’s taken me some time to gather my thoughts and feelings of this part of our journey of parenthood. I think it’s an important story to share, though, especially after losing Bluberry. After sharing our story of Losing Baby Blueberry, I spoke with literally countless ladies who had their own story of loss. I noticed that many (not all, but many) of us had the same knee-jerk reaction to a miscarriage…FIX IT…meaning, get pregnant again and get pregnant again quickly. I think for me it was probably wanting the sense of control back in my life. If I got pregnant again, I was righting the wrong that just happened. Maybe it would be like it never happened, or at least make it feel like it never happened. Maybe I could shift my focus on something living, not dead. Yes, we would be pregnant as soon as possible, I thought. Being pregnant again will fix this.

     At that point in my life I was 35 years old. Being 35 is kind of like reaching an invisible brick wall at which you are supposed to stop having babies. Clearly time was of the essence, especially according to the internet. But month after month after month I was not pregnant. Wow, maybe that invisible brick wall isn’t so invisible? If you’re 35, and after 6 months you are not pregnant, you are supposed to consult your doctor about infertility. At the 6 month mark I stopped and evaluated my feelings. At this point it wasn’t about fixing my broken heart. My heart had to heal in other ways and a baby would not have sped that up. Ok, do I really want to be pregnant? I’m over 35. What if, what if, what if? I would look over at Arlis playing by himself and my heart would shred. He needs a sibling. A buddy. The shared experience of growing up with 2 absolutely insane parents. Ok, yes, I do want another child. But I don’t want to be tested for infertility. I don't want any more bad news. Denial is such a comfortable place for me. But denial is the stupidest place for a person to be. Yet I sat it in it for another 6 months.

     At the end of the year, I reluctantly called my doctor’s office and made an appointment. They couldn’t get me in until after the holidays. So the first week of January 2015 I was scheduled to go find out what was wrong with me. I was convinced having to have a repeat D&C had ruined my body and I just cringed at the things that I was certain I was going to find out about myself. Of course I was still hanging on to the very tiny thread that this one last month I would conceive, but I shoved it to the back of my mind-- since disappointment and I don’t get along very well. I had ordered some very cheap Chinese pregnancy test strips through Amazon (because my pregnancy test budget was already well in the red) and about 9 days after Christmas they came in the mail. Those of you who have been through the incessant early home pregnancy test routines will understand when I opened the batch of tests up and decided to take one just so I could see what it looked like when it was negative. If you know what it looks like when it’s negative, you can later detect the slightest changes that might indicate an early, early positive. I knew it would be negative because even if I were pregnant I was only what they call, 9 days post ovulation (yes, Linus was conceived on Christmas for those math whizzes out there). Most ladies who are actually pregnant would test negative at that point in pregnancy.

     I yelled out to Jonathan as I went up the stairs….got my pregnancy tests in, I’m going to go test one out! He just looked at me from the couch as if I were speaking a foreign language. He is used to my neurotic behavior, but I'm sure to this day he struggles to understand it. I opened the bag of strips and did my thing. As I was washing my hands I looked at the strip on the counter next to me. Was that 2 lines? Clearly these cheap Chinese strips were defective. Or maybe I was hallucinating again. Sometimes when you take a lot of pregnancy tests and you wish SO HARD for that second line….you actually hallucinate the second line. You have to kind of close your eyes and shake your head and look at it again to actually see there’s nothing there. Ok these things are cheap AND I’m hallucinating. I need backup. I called down to Jonathan to come look at it. Yep, he said. There’s 2 lines. It’s faint but it’s there. He then texted my poor sister-in-law (who by then had the pleasure of receiving many, MANY texts of my questionable pregnancy tests over the year) a picture of the strip, for more backup. Emily said that’s how it looked this early with Amelia, my husband called from the bedroom, it’s positive. In that moment, I was in denial yet again. Protective denial but still stupid denial. I can’t believe it’s positive until I KNOW for SURE it’s positive. So I squeezed out another sample and this time there was no doubt that the strip had 2 lines. Two very distinct lines. So, according to the instructions it was positive. BUT, it was a cheap Chinese test, so just to be sure, I sent Jonathan to the store to get a First Response Early Response test, the expensive gold standard of early pregnancy tests that are probably also made in China but are scientifically proven to be the earliest detector. If that was positive, I'd believe 100%. He returned with several of them. Sure enough, 2 pink lines. Days before my infertility appointment, I was pregnant!