Wednesday, January 30, 2019

TTC Update: TFMR

So many acronyms in the TTC world. Just in case you are not familiar, TFMR stands for termination for medical reasons. I gather it covers a wide variety of 'medical reasons'. Basically, in my case, my baby would not have survived after birth. I would much rather have had a baby instead of terminating my pregnancy. I would much rather be sharing a pregnancy announcement than grieving my first pregnancy, my first baby.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had a flash of excitement, and then again when I told a couple of people. But for the most part, I was terrified and not excited. Then I felt guilty for those feelings. My morning sickness started off small but eventually graduated to legit every single morning and sometimes afternoon sickness, throwing up several times. My bucket was my best friend for about two months. This might sound crazy, but I was never mad about it, even when it continued into the second trimester. It meant I was pregnant. But I was still scared, still not as excited as I thought I'd be. I felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I figured after I went to my first appointment, saw the baby, heard the heartbeat, I'd feel better.

We went to the first appointment and I did feel excited and happy when we were looking at the ultrasound, but afterwards... not so much. I kept feeling like there was something wrong with me because I wasn't excited. I kept waiting for the anxiety to go away and the happiness to be the main feeling.

^ I bought this little set a couple of years ago, knowing this is how I wanted to tell KC. It was so emotional finally getting it out of the box and giving it to him. He was so confused at first, why did you get me a tshirt, it's not my birthday or christmas. 

I got the genetic testing done during my first appointment for several reasons. I thought it would help me feel better, thought it would be fun to know the sex of the baby early, and of course the assurance that certain things weren't 'wrong' with the baby. I never expected to get bad news, but who does? Unfortunately, we got the news that there was a 70% chance that the baby had a chromosomal abnormality that was 'incompatible with life'. If the baby had this condition, the chances are it wouldn't even survive to term, let alone after birth.

So for two months, we waited. We waited with this hanging over our heads, constantly in the back of our minds. I went through phases of being up and down, positive and negative. Sometimes I thought it would be fine - I even bought some clothes around black Friday - and other times I was convinced I would not be meeting our baby in June. KC and I picked our names out years ago, but we never called this baby by the name we'd picked out, we called her gremlin or baby. I kept saying 'it' for a long time, even though we knew the sex.

Waiting sucked, of course. I was almost glad that I was so detached, so unexcited. I'm a pessimist naturally and would much rather expect the worst than expect something good and get smacked down by life. Yes positive thinking is great and all, but no amount of being positive would have changed this outcome. 

So we had to wait because they want you to be far enough along that the risk associated with the amniocentesis isn't as high. I know some places do them earlier, but I was okay waiting. We didn't tell a lot of people because I didn't want people to ask for updates or to say things like 'everything will be okay' when they had absolutely no idea if it would be. I know people mean well. I just didn't want to hear it. I was fine to wait, to tell them afterwards when everything was okay.

We had to go to the high risk OB twice, because I wasn't far enough along the first time. In hindsight, that was a possible indication that baby was no longer developing accordingly. Maybe? They did notice a few things that could point to a chromosomal abnormality, but nothing that could be considered concrete until the actual test. We went back a week later and the thing they were waiting on was good to go, so we were able to do the amniocentesis. It didn't tickle, but it wasn't super painful. The needle going in hurt, but after that, fine. I had no issues afterwards. 

^ after the amnio, last photo I took of my belly.

We got the results the very next day. Obviously, they were not good results. In fact, the test showed multiple chromosomal abnormalities and the doctor told me a bit more about what she saw on the latest ultrasound and what they could mean, birth defect wise. How the baby had stopped developing and her heartbeat had slowed more than it should have. She very kindly told me that I would likely miscarry naturally eventually, or deliver a stillborn. The baby could still survive to term, but she would not survive life. I could wait, or I could terminate.

From then, it was calling clinics basically around the country to find a place that would do it after a certain time and as soon as possible. Insurance doesn't help so cost was something we wanted to know as well, but naturally not the biggest concern. It was such an odd experience, calling places and making appointments. I had to take an extra day off work, I'd already had almost 2 weeks off because of the holidays. My boss is amazing though. 

^ sleeps like her mum with her hand at her head. I know lots of babies do this, but let me have it.

And then, it was done. Just like that, one day I was pregnant and the next I was not.

I had no idea what it actually entailed and it was absolutely miserable. It's a two day procedure, I obviously only know my own experience being as far along as I was. Your body is not ready to give birth, so they make it so. That was quite painful for me, though everyone's experience is different. I couldn't keep anything down that day and couldn't eat or drink after midnight so I was just completely and utterly miserable. On top of being miserable because of the situation. The next day is the actual procedure that you're put under for. I woke up and I was no longer pregnant. All the women at the clinic were so unbelievably kind. They made a horrible experience a bit more bearable.

After the procedure, I had no appetite, no desire to drink anything, but since I had been throwing up for over 24 hours KC force fed me sprite and ice cream (kindly, of course). I slept most of the day away, in a bit of pain physically and emotionally. The next few weeks, I watched and felt my body change. My emotions are all over the place, but so is my skin and according to the scale I lost quite a bit of weight. I didn't realise how much my body had changed until it changed back. My milk came in. How messed up is that?

^ this photo made us laugh, doesn't she look like the terminator?

KC was absolutely amazing. Naturally, I did not expect him to be careless or whatever, but he went above and beyond. Of course, he was going through this too, just not physically. This was such a hard time for us and it broke my heart to see him in pain. I felt so helpless and guilty, like it was my egg, my body, so my fault. I know it takes two people to make a baby and we were just ridiculously unlucky, but it's how I felt. Logic has no place here.

My friends were also insanely kind, both in real life and online friends. There's nothing you can really do for people in a situation like this, except be there for them. That's enough, knowing people care is.. I don't know, heartwarming? Helpful. I don't know how to explain it. But it's good. Feels like a big warm hug, all the time.

I was 18 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Our baby was a girl. In my head, I named her Constance after my nana. She was due to arrive in June and I couldn't wait to meet her and start our life together.  I spent the pregnancy detached and wary, but I was excited to meet my daughter. My daughter. These ultrasound photos are all I have of her, so I am sharing them.

I know we didn't try as long as other people, I know you can't compare, but it still felt like finally, we were pregnant and had gotten through the TTC journey, at least for our first. It's not fair. I am so angry, I am so bitter. I am so devastated. I feel broken. It's so unfair. I am so bloody angry. Most of the time I am fine and then it hits me and I feel much like I did when my nana died, like someone takes a knife to my gut or cuts me off at the knees. I have cried more in the last couple of months than my entire life. Then, other times, I feel fine and totally normal. Then I feel guilty, like I am not going through this the 'right' way. 

This should go without saying, but please, do not use my post and my grieving to tell me my choice was wrong. I respect your opinion and choice when it comes to your own body and life, please offer me the same respect. I am sharing this because it's my story and my experience. 

We made the right choice for our family. I read something that said 'I suffered so my child did not have to' and that is how I feel.

As for what is next for us and TTC - right now I am just trying to get through this. I am almost 32, not old but not young, and it's not something I can put off forever. I am trying to be more positive this year, trying to focus on happy things, I'm not ignoring this or not dealing with it, I'm just trying to do both. I am curling my hair when I feel like punching something, I am dancing like an idiot when I feel like screaming. I am not going to the gym, I have no appetite but I know I need to eat so I am trying. When all else fails, I eat ice cream or peanut butter sandwiches. I am planning fun things, like concerts and cruises. If it puts a smile on my face, I'm doing it.

In the words of Taylor Swift, I'd like to find my old self but I'm still trying to find it. Not what she meant, I'm sure, but it's how I feel. To find it,  to find me, I'm trying to focus on the happy while still grieving. I feel so out of it, so unlike myself right now. Like I am detached from myself, watching from the outside. Which sounds so ridiculously dramatic, I don't mean it to. Just trying to put my thoughts down.

I've been dealing with this in some form or another since November, so there is a part of me that's glad we got answers and can 'move on'. Of course I would have preferred the opposite outcome, a healthy baby, but the constant not knowing and waiting was horrible. I am sharing today because I do feel like I have a bit of a handle on it now, not that I will ever be 'over it'. I always feel better after sharing things, like it's a step in the direction of dealing with things, if that makes sense.

I'm not quite sure how to end this, but there you go. I was pregnant, now I am not. I feel broken, but I am getting there. I will get there.

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