Fragments, Part One

They wash over me like waves, little memories of Mara and May, and it occurred to me recently that I’ve only ever written down the “big picture” story.  I’ve left a lot of the details unrecorded.  Perhaps because they were too vivid or painful, or instead because they seemed mundane and irrelevant.  But the are, or at least they were, and I don’t want to lose them to the crevasses of my mind.

This will probably be a selfish post, one that’s entirely uninteresting to others.  I’ve hashed and rehashed the major events on this blog ad nauseum.  But for myself – for my own records – I need to see these things in black and white.  I need the lingering evidence of their existence.

I found out I was pregnant on a Saturday.  I was 9 days past ovulation – way too early to test and expect a reasonable result – but I had a spare First Response pregnancy test laying around and figured I might as well give it a go.  It didn’t take long – really, it was visible immediately – but I couldn’t be sure until I watched the seconds tick past on the clock.  Was that I second line I saw?  A real, honest-to-goodness second line?  I made a pregnancy test turn positive?  On my own?

The line only grew in visibility, and by 10 minutes I was certain – in my hands was





Whether or not I was pregnant remained to be seen.  Since I had only that test on hand, there was no way for me to corroborate its message.

Tahd had taken Gabe to a Home Depot Kids Workshop that morning and then onto his office to look at machinery, so I was alone when I took the test, but I didn’t know for how long.  I tried and tried to reach Tahd by phone, but it was to no avail.  When he finally called me back I nonchalantly asked what his plans were, and he said he’d be home in about a half hour.  My heart skipped a beat, and I knew without doubt how I’d be spending my next 30 minutes of that March 6th morning.  I grabbed my keys, locked the house, and took off on a fast walk the few blocks to my nearest Walgreens.

On my way home, a box of digital tests in hand, I quivered with excitement.  What if it was negative?  Could I sustain the precipitous fall from elation to letdown?  How would I feel? Humiliated? Sad? Hopeless? Angry?  But what if it was positive? Could I sustain more elation than I was already feeling, or would my heart simply explode with joy?  Unsure, I walked quickly through the cold, too nervous to slow down and too speed up.

When you take a digital pregnancy test, it begins with a blinking notification so you know it’s processing.


What’s it going to say?


I’m sure it’s going to be positive. Of course it’s going to be positive!


There’s practically no such thing as a false positive.  The first test I took had to be reliable!


But what if it’s not?  What if it’s negative?


Negative! Of course it’s going to be negative! I never get positive pregnancy tests. I’m Heidi, the girl who can’t get pregnant again.


And there is was – solid and clear before my eyes.  No more blinking.


I was really pregnant!

I think I paced the halls for an eternity – back and forth from the bathroom to my bedroom and back to the bathroom again.  Then into Gabe’s room when I needed a change of scenery.  I can’t remember how long it was from the time I got the positive digital to the time Tahd and Gabe got home, but I’m quite sure the loop I walked wore ten years into my carpets.  I didn’t know what to do, how to feel, what to think, or how to be.  Was this really happening?  To me?

A few days earlier a trip to Hobby Lobby had netted me a small nest with some wooden eggs I had painted blue, and I thought they’d be a clever way to share the news with Tahd.  I filled the nest with four aquamarine eggs and topped them with the pregnancy tests and waited with camera in hand for Tahd to find my present.

He did, and the picture – which I’ve shared before – speaks for itself.  I don’t know exactly what was going through his head at that moment, but I suspect bewilderment thoroughly summarized the scope.

Underfoot and oblivious to the gravity of the moment, Gabe bounced around while Tahd hugged me a whispered, “Really?”  I shook my head and Tahd held me tighter and we smiled and trembled while Gabe tried to make his way through our legs.

Panic over possible miscarriage set in that very same day, and the only thing I could think to do was schedule an acupuncture appointment.  While there’s little conventional medicine can do to prevent miscarriage and encourage healthy implantation, acupuncture boasts some reasonable successes at doing both of these things.  Since my acupuncturist had passed away several months earlier, I had two options – to schedule an appointment with a new acupuncturist I hadn’t seen before but about whom I had read good things, or schedule an appointment with the acupuncturist I had when I first began acupuncture a number of years ago. Because of my unsatisfactory experience there, I opted for the first choice, but when I realized it would take several days to get in, I decided to set my worries aside and return to my original acupuncturist for some pregnancy-stabilizing treatments.

I had two appointments with him, both a little uncomfortable due to the unexplained gap between our last visit and these next visits, but I hoped the treatments were doing some good and were encouraging healthy progress.  I left my second appointment and stopped at the restroom before I went to my car, only to realize I had started spotting during my appointment.  Terror paralyzed me, and I eventually decided to return to his office in hopes that he could do something to help or suggest an herb or could shed some light on the situation.  Instead, he looked at me with confusion and told me I really should talk to my doctor because it was probably nothing.

That was the last time I saw him.  I didn’t like that he took credit when things went well and told me to call my doctor when things began going poorly.

Talk to my doctor was the very next thing on my list, and as a result of both my spotting and my history, my doctor ordered several rounds of blood tests as well as some general activity restrictions. Hormone levels looked wonderful, but the bleeding continued tenaciously and would not stop.  Every trip to the bathroom became an emotional disaster, and I struggled with a scope of of fear and anxiety I had never before known.  As wonderful as my doctor was handling the care of my pregnancy and its complications, he was less wonderful with handling my anxiety, telling me I basically had one option – medication I was already taking and that wasn’t working well for me.  I alluded to the depths of my mental anguish in some of my posts during my pregnancy, but I never fully captured the heaviness it brought. I literally felt like I could not function.  My tremendous excitement at being pregnant was met by at least double the fear, a fear that ate at me from the inside and kept both my body and spirit immobile.

It was due primarily to the lack of help I received with my anxiety that I decided at twelve weeks to switch doctors.  I knew there were more options available to me to treat my anxiety, but I needed to find a doctor who would offer them to me.  At twelve weeks on the dot, I met my new doctor, Dr. D, and instantly fell in love.  He was an older man of Irish descent, and something about his thick accent soothed my spirit.  His assurances that we would be able to effectively address my anxiety didn’t hurt matters, either. Gabe was with me that day, laying on the examining room floor (yuck!) and playing on my iTouch to pass the time, and when the doctor offered an ultrasound I jumped at the chance, excited to show Gabe his new baby brother or sister.

I had two ultrasounds before this one, both picture perfect in which the baby was measuring slightly ahead.  I don’t recall whether this third ultrasound was abdominal or vaginal, but I do know Gabe and I got some wonderful glimpses of the baby!  My only hesitation was that Tahd was unable to be there since he was out of town on business.  What if – by some freak accident – I lose the baby? Shouldn’t I wait until Tahd can be here so we can have this experience together? Am I being selfish for accepting an ultrasound right away just because I don’t want to wait to see the baby again? These thoughts niggled at the back of my mind, but I dismissed them quickly since I was already 12 weeks and the spotting had stopped several weeks earlier.  You’re in the clear, I told myself!  Sit back and enjoy!

Enjoy, we did.  Gabe spent the time transfixed on the screen, eagerly “meeting” his brother or sister. Because this ultrasound included the nuchal screen measurement, the baby had to be in a particular position in order to allow the ultrasound tech access to the skin folds on the neck.  The baby, however, wasn’t positioned properly, so the tech asked Gabe to “tell” the baby to roll over so she could do her job.  As if on cue, the baby’s position adjusted perfectly when Gabe gave his command, and it was in that moment I saw my first baby bond with my second.  He fell completely in love with the idea of being a big brother, and in that moment the baby became very real to him in an almost tangible way.

Only one thing bothered me from the third ultrasound.  Although the tech was thrilled with all her measurements, the first dating measurement showed the baby to be about 11 weeks instead of 12.  This was quickly averaged with measurements from other locations, and I knew that dates can easily be off by several days.  Since the ultrasound tech wasn’t concerned, I resolved to let those fears ride and focus on enjoying the experience.

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  1. Heidi, I’m glad you’re doing this post. I’ve often wanted to know the whole story. The paragraph about the early spotting speaks to me so well. It doesn’t take much to bring back all those paralyzing fears of my 3 losses — all of which had lots of spotting. I hope you are going to tell the rest 🙂

  2. Thanks for writing this all down. Some of it is so hard to read because my heart breaks for you all over again and because it so reminds me of our experience with Lily. Especially the part where Mara was measuring slightly behind. You are really a gifted and talented writer – thank you for sharing your words.
    .-= Emily´s last blog ..three things- my fabulous hubz winter edition =-.

  3. It is hard to read because it seems we’ve all been there in some capacity, but it also comforts to know that we are not alone in this. That paralyzing fear…ugh. Makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it. Thank you for sharing this journey with such raw honesty.
    .-= RenovationGIrl´s last blog ..Whats On Your Plate =-.

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