Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Doubts

Here's something I have been struggling with for a long time. To post or not to post?

One day I convince myself that it is not something I need to share with the Internet and that these feelings will pass and I'm just having an off day.

The next day(or the next hour) I'm feeling like I need to get it out or I'm going to explode and this is my blog and why shouldn't I write about it?

Repeat those two scenarios many times over and that brings you to where I am now.

Confused.

I'm not even sure I can form coherent thoughts on this topic right now, but it has been bothering me so much lately that I have to try. So here goes.


The doubts started one day at work. When I schedule appointments for patients that come in I am usually looking about five or six weeks ahead. For the most part. But sometimes patients only need to come in every six months. So I have to look at the calendar and see what month that would put us into.

This month it happens to put us into January. My birthday is in January. I'm going to be 38. In 6 short months. For some reason I started kind of obsessing over this fact.

I'm going to be 38 years old. Soon.

And, at the age of 38, I am not(nor will I be), a Mother.

I feel so many emotions when I type that sentence.

Sadness. Anger. Confusion. Disappointment. Disbelief.


In order to get where I need to go I have to start at the beginning. It's going to be long but it's something I have been wanting to get out on paper for a long time, so feel free to skip to the end if you get bored.
The Beginning

I got married young. 22 years old. We knew we wanted kids. We talked about it from our very first date(when I was 18!). I wanted two. Joe wanted three. I figured we could hash that part out later. What was important was that we both agreed. We wanted kids. O.K., Good. We're on the same page.

We also knew we were way too young to have kids right away. We weren't ready. We would wait.

So we waited. 8 years went by. Life happened. Other people we knew got married, divorced, had kids. My Mom died. At that time I was so much in the throes of grief that I could barely take care of myself, let alone another little person. So we continued to wait.

Then, my sister got pregnant. My twin sister. My only sister. I wasn't sure if we were ready or not, but I knew I wanted our kids to be similar in age. That's all I ever wanted. For my children to have a close bond with their cousins. They would be best friends! They would grow up together and call each other on the phone and have sleep overs and everything would be perfect.

So we started trying. I'll never forget the day we threw out my birth control pills. We were giddy with excitement. This was it! We were going to start a family. I was 31. Joe was 33.
It was Memorial Day weekend and we took a road trip to visit my sister and Scott in Millbrae and we waited until they went to bed and we did it on an inflatable air mattress on their living room floor. (Sorry Lisa)

We knew we might not have an easy time getting pregnant. I had been diagnosed with endometriosis ten years earlier(although we did not know the severity of it at that time), and had a fibroid tumor. I had undergone two surgeries to try and correct it at this point. We weren't expecting it to happen on the first try. We knew it could take up to a year for it to happen. We were okay with that.

We also knew we couldn't just leave it up to chance every month. So from day one we did things to maximize our chances. I'm going to spare you the details of those methods, because some of them are things you don't want to envision us doing :) If you have been through infertility, you know what I'm talking about.

What I'm trying to get across it that we never had that carefree "let's see what happens" period of time. No. From day one there were ovulation tests to take, and temperatures to chart, and other stuff that is just plain gross so I'll leave it out. Every single month.

The first six to seven months were fairly uneventful. I was relatively non-stressed about the whole thing. Stop laughing. I was!

Around our eighth month of trying I had a very painful cycle. This was not unusual for me, due to the endo, but this entire cycle was simply awful. From ovulation to the day I was due to start my period I was in constant, stabbing pain. I was also five days late. This was highly unusual for me, but I truly thought nothing of it. Pregnancy wasn't even a blip on our radar. I hadn't started taking pregnancy tests at this point and it never even crossed my mind.

Finally on the sixth day I started spotting and the pain was so unbearable that I called in sick to work and drove myself to the doctor. The endo had sent me to the E.R. on more than one occasion and I really only went just to get some pain meds.

The exam was very painful. I cried during and wished I had brought Joe with me. Usually he would have been there but it was an impromptu visit and he was at work and I didn't even think to ask him to come with me. I just wanted someone to stop the pain.

My doctor was cold and uncaring. I knew this about her already but she had performed one of my surgeries and I felt some kind of loyalty to her so I continued to see her. I'm weird like that. Or stupid. You choose.

Anyway, she performed the exam and before I could even get out of the stirrups and into a sitting position on the table she said "It appears that you were pregnant, but you aren't anymore."

That's it. That's all she said. I was dazed and in shock. I don't think I even responded to her. I just stared at her with this blank look on my face, trying to understand.

Then she told me if the pain and bleeding didn't go away after four days to call her or go to the E.R. I think she also warned me that the bleeding would be heavy. I can't remember.

She told me I could get dressed and she left the room.

I was stunned. I just sat there in silence. The possibility of me being pregnant hadn't even occurred to me. (I know that might seem strange to you, because we were, after all, trying to get pregnant, but I thought it would take at least a year).

As I got up to get dressed and to wash my hands, I saw the speculum laying in the sink, covered in blood. Covered in blood and...................human tissue. I have no other way to describe it. That's what it looked like.

She left it lying there in the sink. For me to see. Like it was nothing.

I didn't see her on the way out. I don't even think I checked out at the desk. I didn't pay my co-pay or make a follow up appointment. I just stumbled out to my car, in a daze, and I never went back.

I spent the weekend in bed with a heating pad on my stomach changing out Maxi pads every half hour. Joe took the weekend off and laid with me in bed and brought me food and pain pills. We didn't talk about what had happened. We didn't say the word miscarriage or talk about "the baby". We kind of acted like I was just having a really bad cycle.

By Monday the bleeding had slowed and most of the pain had subsided. I went back to work and never told anyone there what happened. My sister was the only one I called and told that weekend. But still it was with a sense of detachment. I simply told her that I had been pregnant(for a very short time), but I hadn't known about it, and now it was over.

Joe and I talked about it later, but I must have been in a state of denial because I wasn't sad and we both agreed that at least now we knew I could get pregnant. It may not have worked out this time, but if it happened once it could happen again. Right?

I don't think I ever grieved that loss. To this day. It was such a whirlwind and I never saw the two pink lines and I never got to tell anyone "I'm pregnant." It was over before it even began.

So we soldiered on and kept trying. We didn't even take a couple of months off, like you're supposed to. We just kept trying.

And trying. And trying. Years passed. We didn't miss one single month of trying.
Not. One. Month.

For five years. That's 60 tries for those of you keeping track. Nothing happened.

I started to lose hope. I had a third surgery for the endo, as well as countless infertility treatments. (Although we never tried In Vitro. We didn't have the money)

Yet we continued to try.

During this time my sister and her husband announced that they were planning on adopting a baby from China. They started their paperwork in late summer of 2003. They were DTC in December of that year. In June of 2004,(Yeah. 6 months) they received the referral of a beautiful baby girl. Our Gracie. Two months later they travelled to China to be united with her.


I travelled to China to meet up with my sister and family and to welcome the newest addition of our family. It seemed fit, as I was in the delivery room when my nephew was born and I wanted to have that connection with my niece.

Being in China was an amazing experience. While I was there I began having feelings that maybe this was something we could do. I recall talking to Joe on my cell phone in my hotel room, in the middle of the day for me, but in the wee hours of the morning for him. I woke him up many times that week, telling him every detail of my trip, and about China, but mostly about the babies. All of the beautiful babies that the families travelling with us had adopted. My cell phone bill for that week was $700.00. At the farewell party in China, while the families celebrated their last night with music and dancing and Rice wine, I went into the bathroom and cried. I wanted to be one of those families. I wanted to celebrate having a new baby. When would it be me? When was it our turn?

I returned home from China and life returned to normal. Whatever that was. Except I didn't have the drive to keep trying to get pregnant. Instead of hounding Joe with the exact dates of my cycle and what were the perfect days to "try", I stopped keeping track at all. I even started lying to him about when those times were. If he asked I told him I forgot. Or that I didn't feel good and maybe we should skip this month.

I was tired and burnt out and ready to just give up. I joined a therapy group to help me deal with the anger and sadness I was feeling. I began to give serious thought to living our lives "child free".

While all this was happening, the endometriosis came back with a vengeance. I was in severe pain. The pain became unbearable. It was ruining my quality of life. It got to the point where all I could do was go to work(and leave early almost daily), and come home and and get into a warm bath.

I had to live my life in two week intervals. The two weeks that I felt good we would try to squeeze as much out of life as possible, knowing that when it ended I would be confined to our apartment for two weeks. It was a vicious cycle.

My doctor (again) suggested a hysterectomy. I balked.

I prayed over it. I agonized over it. I agonized over it some more. Was it the right thing to do?

Joe and I talked it over and agreed that this was no way for me to live. It was decided that Yes, I would have the hysterectomy.

So in May of 2007 I had the operation to remove my ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. It was done. The decision had been made. There would be no biological children for us.

I felt like a failure. I grieved the loss of my uterus far more than I grieved the loss of that pregnancy.

And even though I was grieving I still felt like God had a plan for us. We were meant to have children. I knew this deep down in my soul. I just didn't know how.

I began to think more about China. Was that something we could do? Was this the answer to our prayers?I talked it over with Joe. He was on board from the very beginning. No questions, no doubts. Just "Lets' do it".

I started doing research and realized that we did meet all of the requirements. Except for one. We didn't have the initial lump sum of money that would be required to get our paperwork in order and submit it to China for consideration.

Then my Dad stepped in and offered to help. For the first time in a long time I felt Hope. This could happen! We applied to agencies. For the first time ever I began to look at baby stuff in the stores. I even bought a couple of items. Small things, but baby stuff nonetheless. This felt real.

We started jumping through the required hoops and gathering the needed information.

Passports
Birth certificates(not easy to get, being adopted myself)
Marriage certificates(also not easy, as we were married in Nevada, not in CA were we resided)
Background checks
Fingerprints
Home studies
Physicals

That was our first roadblock. My medical physical. My bloodwork kept coming back "abnormal" I had to have tests done. And then more tests done. I had to go to doctor after doctor after doctor. No one could find out what was wrong. And yet my doctor would not sign off on my medical form. We were in Limbo, yet again.

I was discouraged. Why couldn't anything be easy for us? I thought this was a sign.


But Joe was determined. We kept going to doctors, trying to find out why my bloodwork was "abnormal".

Eventually we ended up at the Nephrologist(a kidney doctor). He said that something was wrong, but he couldn't tell what it was until I had a kidney biopsy.

I was afraid. What if something was terribly wrong? I also was afraid of the procedure itself, but honestly, when you have had as many procedures and surgeries as I had by that time, you learn to suck it up and go with the flow. I went ahead and had the biopsy.

A week later we sat in the nephrologist's office for the diagnosis. I had a rare form of degenerative kidney disease. There was no cure. My kidneys would slowly deteriorate over time, and the chances that I would need a kidney transplant in 5-7 years was 60%

We were devastated. We were certain we would not be able to continue with the adoption process. The paperchase came to a halt. We isolated ourselves to lick our wounds and regroup.

I remember thinking that this was a sign. A sign that we weren't meant to have kids. Biological or adopted. It wasn't meant to be. This was not God's plan for us either. I was devastated. I became depressed and angry. I wanted to curl up into a ball and never leave my bed.

Joe refused to give up. He talked to our adoption agency, and my doctors trying to figure out what to do to get that medical form signed off.

Our agency told us we needed to have the nephrologist write a letter regarding the current state of my health and the long term prognosis. They gave us very specific wording to use, and exactly what the letter needed to say.

Joe talked to my doctor on the phone. Multiple times. He faxed them samples of the letter we needed written.

My doctor wouldn't sign it. There was one line in the letter that he said he did not feel comfortable with. It was one of the lines that the adoption agency said we must have included.
(I'm not going to disclose what that line was. I have to protect myself).

Joe re-wrote the letter multiple times, and included a heartfelt letter stating our circumstances and how this letter could be the deciding factor on whether or not we would be able to have children.

The doctor had a change of heart and signed the letter. We submitted it to our agency and they approved. We were ecstatic. We finished the rest of our paperwork(called a dossier) and submitted it to our agency.

Soon we were "DTC"(Dossier to China) and a short 3 weeks later we had our "LID"(Log in Date).

The show was officially on the road. Again, I had Hope. We started decorating the nursery. We talked about Sophie all the time. We said things like "When Sophie comes home....." and
"Next Christmas when Sophie is here....."

I threw myself whole heartedly into all things adoption related and joined several adoption groups. I participated in secret buddy swaps and sent and received adorable baby stuff in the mail every month. I lived for "rumors" surrounding the state of adoptions in China, and how many days worth of referrals that were put out each month.

I got much more involved in Blogging and even met some of my favorite bloggers.

We knew we were in for a long wait. The letter our agency sent when we were DTC stated a 12-18 month wait. We were well aware that the China had slowed down the processing of dossiers. . We were okay with that. It gave us time to prepare. It was assumed(by the whole adoption community-not just us) that they would speed back up again, like they had in the past. Each month that went by I felt closer to our child.

But China didn't speed up the process. In fact, they slowed almost to a stop, referring only two days in one month.

Every month I got my hopes up and every month I was disappointed. It started to feel very reminiscent of the days when we were trying to conceive. A period of hope, when I ovulated, followed by heartbreak every month when I would start my period and find I once again was not pregnant.

I started to emotionally withdraw from the adoption wait. I stopped participating in the swaps and didn't visit the adoption groups anymore. I stopped following the rumors.

Then China changed the rules and we realized we no longer qualify to adopt from them. Although we are told that we will be grandfathered in under the old rules, and we did make it through the review room, people have been turned down in the matching room(the last step before they refer you a child). We were scared.

It was starting to feel like there was a chance that maybe this wasn't going to happen.

That brings me to where I am now, and the whole point of this post. Sorry it took me so long to get here. If you have followed along this far, bless you.

If current trends in China adoption continue, we could wait another 2 years(or longer) before we see our child's face. We have already waited 21 months.

Lately I have been having very conflicting feelings. I no longer have that sense of Hope.
Now I find myself fearing for the worst, but hoping for the best. I think I'm trying to prepare myself for the chance that this might not work out.

We don't talk about her anymore. We don't say things like "When Sophie comes home", because we really don't have any idea of when that might be.

We closed the door to the nursery and we don't go in there. Although Joe still keeps the light on for her.

There have been times in the last year that I have been glad that we don't have a child. Job losses. Depression. Financial difficulties. Marital problems.

And lately I have been full of doubts.

What if we don't make good parents?

What if we can't provide financially for a child? We are starting to get back on our feet, slowly, but the economy is tough right now. What if Joe loses his job again?

What if my health takes a turn for the worse and I need to have a kidney transplant?

Will I get enough sleep? The kidney disease I have requires plenty of rest or I become sick.

Is it fair to raise a child in a small apartment, with no backyard?

Will I be too old to chase after a toddler?

Have we been married so long(15 years) that the adjustment of adding a child will put a strain on our marriage that is too great?

The list goes on and on(and on).

I think the most frightening part of the whole thing is that I have actually been giving serious thought to what our lives would be like without children. I'm starting to get used to that idea, something I never gave thought to before.

It's getting harder and harder to imagine our lives with a child in it.

In the past, not having children wasn't even in the equation. It simply wasn't an option.

We were supposed to have children. I felt it. I knew it.

Now I don't feel or know anything except that this road to parenthood has been unbearably long and heartbreaking and I find that I am losing Faith.

And it is a terrible, lonely feeling.

In January it will be 8 years that we have been on this rollercoaster and I am ashamed to say that I'm not sure how much longer I can ride it.

Everyone tells me that all of this anguish disappears the moment you hold your child in your arms for the first time. It simply melts away. I believe that to be true.

What I'm having a hard time believing is that we will ever get to that point.




**We are NOT pulling out of the program. We will continue to wait and see what happens. We have no other choice. You can go ahead and bash me for having these doubts if you want to, but I won' t post anonymous comments here. They will be deleted. Feel free to e-mail me with your judgements regarding our financial situation or what terrible parents we will make at scrappermg@cox.net. I have no problem with criticism. I do ask, however, that you have the courage to put your name on it. Thanks. **

21 comments:

RedCookie said...

As you know, we just returned from China. We are jet lagged and sick, but no way could we let this go by without a comment. Sophie is waiting for you and we are sorry it is taking so long. We thought a lot about you during our trip. More to come via e-mail once Her Highness deems us worthy of free time. :)

www.journeytos.blogspot.com

a Tonggu Momma said...

I think ALL of us have doubts at some point. This long, long process tests even the hardiest of souls. I'm waiting alongside you (LID June06)... I've been home and back once before (our Tongginator, adopted in March05) ... and I STILL have doubts at times. Hugs to you. And rather than criticize you, I commend you for your honesty and vulnerability. Seriously, hugs to you. But I also pray that the wait will completely melt away once I hold our next child in our arms.

Donna said...

You've had such a long and sometimes painful journey to parenthood, which will make it all the more wonderful and meaningful when it finally happens (and it WILL happen!)

I'm sure you will be fabulous parents and the financial worries will work themselves out.

Hang in there!

Journeywoman said...

Okay. First off, I need to know, with that last part...when were you in my apartment and what the hell were you doing reading my diary.

You just put my thoughts there. Our LIDs are in the same month It's been a 8 year ride with us as well. I'm 37 now, turning 38 in March.

I too have been wondering if I can be happy without children. If it is a possibility for me. Again, not pulling out either, but yeah.

Damn lady...if you want to email someone who is going through the same shit, please feel free.

You're not alone, you're not a bad person. It doesn't mean you'll be a bad parent for having these thoughts. My brother, in a session of brutal honesty, told me about days when he had his two beautiful kids that he wanted to pack up the car and just drive away and never see them again. Ever. This doesn't make him a bad parent. It makes him human.

Sorry to leave a huge ass comment, but DAMN--stop reading my diary!!!

Nicole said...

Under the circumstances, I think it would be abnormal for you to not have these thoughts at some point. I've been reading your blog for a few months and think that you are very brave to be so honest and open with your feelings. SHAME on anyone who feels the need to be hateful and negative.

Tracy said...

You will make a wonderful mother once Sophie is in your arms (and yes all the pain/hurt really does melt away). I think these feels are just a way of protecting your heart just in case something happens and you are turned down (which I HOPE does not happen).

I am 38 with 2 small children, my husband is 47. There are people all over the world raising children that have serious illness, you do what you have to do.

This wait sucks and after 10 years of infertity I would have been on the floor a weeping mess if I had been caught up in this mess. I had the same thoughts you have had-wondering if I was ever meant to be parent and I wondered why God was punishing me when our surrogacy attempt failed (after a + test).

Sophie is worth any wait you will have. You won't know what you did with your life before she came into it.

Kristin said...

Michelle,

Everyone has doubts about adding children to their family - if they don't already have kids the worry is about the upheaval and change, if they have one child, the worry is about loving and meeting the needs, both emotional and fiscal of two, if you have 2 you wonder if you're crazy to have another and be outnumbered by children...

But, all they are is doubt - not fact or rules or the way things will be. They are doubts and the way to deal with them is to take a deep breath and decide to cross that bridge if you get to it.

Take care... you have indeed been through a lot, but at the end of this journey, you will be so grateful for all of what brought you to your child.

((hugs))

3D said...

You are so brave and courageous for what you have faced and conquered. You are human and you are not alone in your worries. Many (myself included) worry about the same things.

Someone told me this yesterday and it SO makes sense. "Jump and take the leap. The wings will form and help you take flight" I am paraphrasing but you will get there and be wonderful parents.

Keep smilin!

OH MY #6 said...

Oh my goodness Michele I wish I was sitting beside you so that I could give my dear friend a huge hug. My heart goes out to you so much.

You are going to get through this.

Lea
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Lisa and Tate said...

Doubts are only normal in any situation. Pregant and worried about becoming a mom. If it was only 6 months from LID to referral there would be doubts. I know at 28+ months I have had too much time to second guess and doubt many times. I almost pulled out about 4 times.... but a wise friend said to me, "live your life and if you still feel doubts and want to still pull out when you get your referral, then is the time to stop your adoption". Life does not change if you pull out, it still continues with or without the wait and possibility of a child.

You have had an unusual amount of stress and frustration in your life for such a long time, no wonder you are feeling this way....

Be positive that things will get better! You are an amazing person and Sophie desires an amazing momma like you.

Huge HUGS
Lisa

Retro Girl said...

Reading your post brought me to tears. You have certainly been through quite a rollercoaster ride! Sounds like you are a very strong person, maybe more than you realize.

I think the doubts and feelings that you are having are completely normal. It's part of the growing/changing/adjusting process as you move into another phase of your life and your lives as a couple/family.

My husband and I are adopting from China as well...we're only as far as the home study (it was completed today!) We hope to have our DTC by the end of Oct 2008...we're getting so close. It's exciting and it's scary too. I'm 42, he's 38, this is a 2nd marriage for each of us. We've been childless (which was by choice in our former marriages) all these years. Long talks about many things, including mortality, family, legacy, and a late-in-life desire to have kids lead us to adopt. (My husband is an adopted child too, so that factored in). We've had some conversations about fears, doubts...how our lives will change, sacrifices, etc. and I'm sure that will continue...I think it's normal.

My heart aches because of the long wait time...They're telling us it could be anywhere between 2-3 years wait, unless folks drop out of the program or something in China loosens up. I know there are so many waiting children...just waiting for parents. I'm looking at being a first-time mom at 44-45 years old. Am I nuts?! lol. Maybe...but the day I get to hold little miss "Kai" in my arms will be the happiest day of my life. I just have to keep praying as hard as possible that the wait somehow gets reduced...and that we can survive all that time. I've already been praying that we don't have to relocate, or my husband doesn't lose his job in this horrid economy...that we and our families remain in good health...

I'm so sorry to hear you've had all of these obstacles and major issues. *HUGS* I don't even know you and my heart goes out to you.

I wish you well...and will keep you and all the other waiting parents in my prayers. Maybe someday China will stop being so tough and controlling and help these desperately waiting children get homes...

Donna said...

Michelle,

First of all, my friend, big hugs to you! This is a very emotional time and it won't be your last! That's what being a woman is all about.

I'm 9 years older than you are but I'll never EVER try to minimize your pain by telling you that you're young and you shouldn't worry. I remember being 38 and being sad that I'd have no more children (I was divorced for ten years).

Right after I turned 40, I got married again and we started trying to have a baby immediately. Three years, 8 IUI's and 2 IVF's later, we suffered our third (and final) failed pregnancy and I just didn't have any more tears left to cry. I was almost 43 and just too exhausted and heartbroken to think about the baby we never got to hold and the nursery we never got to paint. That horrible room could have the door nailed closed for all I cared. We even considered demolishing it and turning it into a big master bathroom! While we got construction quotes to do that, we also ached for the baby we lost and the children we wouldn't have.

When we decided to adopt from China, the wait was about a year long and that seemed such a long time. We became parents to Gwen 11 months later. Ironically, her birthday was during our last IVF cycle and she was abandoned on the same day we saw our baby's heartbeat.

I can remember laying there with my feet in stirrups looking at the flickering heartbeat on the ultrasound and thinking our dreams had finally come true. Little did I know that, on the other side of the world, Gwen's birth family was kissing her goodbye forever. How ironic that we lost our baby the same summer they lost theirs but, when the dust settled, we had a baby! Gwenny!

I turned 44 just one week after Gotcha day.

A year later, we were back in China adopting Maddy. She was from our agency's Waiting Child list so we were able to bring her into our family almost immediately. She was 24 months old, tiny, and perfect. I turned 45 just a week after we came home from China. My two daughters were 2 years old and I was so incredibly blessed (and tired!).

This year, I'll be 47 (I'm shocked to even type that number!). I have two little girls who are 4 years old and one son who is 20. Every month, I get my period and I struggle with equal amounts of grief and relief about not having a baby growing inside me. I know there aren't that many months left (if any). I wonder what I'll lose the opportunity forever. The opportunity that I never really had except in the random rare instance.

It's so natural to crave motherhood. I believe that's the way God made us: If we don't crave it before we're pregnancy and deeply mourn it when we lose it, then how can we possibly SURVIVE it when it finally happens?

So, with this in mind, I want to tell you some things about early pregnancy so you'll be less haunted over what you saw in the sink after your early pregnancy loss. Not to minimize that loss but just to arm you with some information. You might already know this but I'm sharing it just in case you don't.

On the day you miss your period, you're about 2 weeks post conception. It might be early enough to get two pink lines on some pregnancy tests but still much too soon to see anything on an ultrasound. Many women don't even know they're pregnant this early so they won't blink an eye if the miscarry in the next few days.

Since Doctors measure you pregnancy from the first day of your last period so they'll say you're 4 weeks pregnant on the day your period is due.

A week later, you're 5 weeks pregnant (one week past your missed period and three weeks post conception). Most ultrasounds still won't show anything other than a very small gestational sac (no fetus yet). At this point, your pregnancy looks like a tiny black olive on the ultrasound. You have no pregnancy symptoms. If you lose the pregnancy (and 25% of miscarriages happen around this time), you probably won't notice anything other than heavy bleeding. You won't see your "baby" and the tissue from the pregnancy will be indistinguishable from clots and flow from a regular, heavy, period. Sorry to be graphic but I want you to understand that you didn't see "human tissue" of your dead fetus. I know those are two horrible words to see together but, trust me, I was very relieved to know that what I saw after two of our failed early pregnancies wasn't our baby. I hope this brings you some comfort too.

At five weeks, if the fetus is visible (and it probably won't be for at least another week), it'll be about the size of a grain of rice. Even in the 7th week of pregnancy, many Doctors won't get worried if they don't see the fetal pole and heartbeat on the ultrasound. In most healthy pregnancies, there will be a visible heartbeat by the 8th week (one month past your missed period). At this point, if you miscarry naturally (without a D&C), you can expect to see some tissue but you still won't see your fetus as it's still just too small. The tissue you see after the miscarriage is the gestational sac and it'll will look like a small bit of wet paper tinged with blood.

It's still heartbreaking and tragic and not something you ever completely get over. But it is what it is. In our case, it was three babies that couldn't have ever been born without the loss of a sibling (our three pregnancies overlapped). In the end, none of them made it but Gwen and Maddy wouldn't be in our life if any of those pregnancies went the distance. Honestly, I look at my little girls and think about all the what-ifs and send a silent prayer skyward that things worked out like they did.

I think you will too.



Donna


Our blog: Double Happiness!

Donna said...

Ugh! No time to fix the typos! Please forgive me!

I just wanted to add that anyone who would come here without knowing you personally and criticize your financial situation or "fitness" to be a parent, is probably mentally disturbed.

It's one think to know someone and give them constructive criticism and another thing to just spew your anonymous opinion all over the place just because you think you can get away with it.

I worry about the children of such people.

Special K said...

I think honesty is brave. We feel what we will. And there's nothing wrong in that.

You've been through a lot. And yet you keep going. That takes a strong person.

We all have doubts. About how we'll parent, if we should, what's going to happen with China. It's all normal. But we have to keep the faith. Or else we'll go crazy. :)

Hang in there.

Michele said...

Michelle,
I am so sorry that you have been through all of the things that you have. You are so brave to write what I imagine many others in your position are feeling. With the ever growing wait, many families are feeling exactly how you are but are too aftraid to say it aloud!! Hang in there. Take a step back and protect your heart if you need to. As you said, you aren't pulling out of the program and at this point there isn't any need to. I wish things were different...I really wish they were. Becoming parents shouldn't be so difficult for people who have good hearts, lots of love, and homes waiting for children. You have our support!

Pam and Jeff said...

Ditto. My thoughts at times.

M3 said...

{{{{{Hugs}}}}}}

Kylie's momma said...

Hi Michelle, Well I'm a little late piping in here but all I can say is by posting all this, that you're very courageous to say what I'm sure a lot of folks are feeling and thinking themselves. I can't imagine what you went thru before you started all this and now this wait....GRRR! I feel for you and for all those beside and behind you! It's so unfair and venting is about all you can do and for sure you should let off some steam and cry some too. Your turn IS coming and Sophie IS waiting for you. I know you hear that over and over but it's true. But first and foremost you BOTH need to do what YOU guys need to do. If waiting, stopping, changing or whatever it is, but it's up to YOU both. So never feel bad about your decision! I sure hope your dragon boat races went well. Still think that is so so cool! Anxious to hear all about it and of course see some pix. Sending you hugs as you wait and wait! Don't give up...21 months is a long time and you've made it this far! Susan
PS. So sad about your flowers too! We have vandals who hit the cemetaries every Mday weekend! So sad that people are that lazy to steal right off your house or even worse your grave!

Kayce said...

I'm finally catching up. I'm sorry I didn't post earlier...

I so wish we lived closer. You are such an amazing woman and like others have said, so courageous to be so open with your feeling, emotions, and thoughts. You are not alone in your doubts, I too doubt this and other things in my life daily.

As for the people who judge, I have no comment because no one has the right to judge another. NO RIGHT. No one has any idea what someone elses bank account looks like. You may have thousands in your checking and when it gets to a certain dollar amount you may think your dirt poor. But if you have 5 cents or 5 thousand, you are still rich. Rich in love, friendship and many other blessings. I am so glad to call you a friend and can not wait until your girl is in your arms, forever. Happy 21!

Keep the faith and I hope you're feeling the hugs right now.

Laura said...

Michelle, hugs to you for all you've been through. The wait is getting to all of us. I have the same doubts, but am afraid to post them on my blog. I did tell friends on Saturday that I'm doubting this daughter will ever be a reality and am thinking of just moving on with life. If I didn't have to try to explain it to my girls, I might even hang it all up right now. I don't talk about her much any more and am behind in swaps. I also am not signing up for any more. Why do I need this stuff if she's never going to happen?

But I also believe in miracles. If she's meant to be, everything will fall into place at the right time and she will become a reality. I have another version of what "3d" was posting: "When you get to the end of all the light you know and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught to fly."
I have this posted on the bottom of my monitor here at work and I read it often.

I'll also hang in there, but in a way, it's nice to know so many others are having the same doubts right now. Hugs to you and know that you're not alone.

Lisa said...

Michelle,

You know I know exactly where you are coming from with this never ending wait! I am so glad that you are not pulling out though. I think its only natural for all of us to have doubts about everything esp becoming parents be it the first time or the 7th.

I have, as you know, agonized about a lot of the same questions you are having. In my heart though I know that Diana is in China and that she will be placed in my arms at the exact moment she is suppose to. I hope you continue to hold on and know you truly are not alone! Hugs to you my blogging buddy!