My confidence after last week's "perfect" scan lasted a couple of wonderfully blissful days before it started slipping through my fingers. By Friday evening, the fear had wrapped it's ice cold fingers around my heart again. I became sure that one of the babies was gone. Problem is, I'm in the no-mans-land between the RE's office and regular prenatal care, and my first appointment with my OB isn't until 11/18. Nowhere to turn for help. And what would they do for me even if I had someone to call? Neither provider offers daily peace of mind ultrasounds that I'm aware of.
I spent time I didn't have on Saturday and Sunday googling symptoms disappearing around 9 weeks (I know, I know...) and what I found just scared me all the more. Nearly every post I came across where someone mentioned their symptoms going away included the qualifier that they were still ravenously hungry, and that's the one thing that is consistently MIA around these parts. All weekend, I was "normal hungry" at best, and ate primarily because it was time to do so, not because I felt I needed to. This is a far cry from the 5-6 meals a day I desperately required to feel remotely human during weeks 6 through 8. I still feel pregnant most of the time, but I feel pregnant with one instead of two. The first few weeks were so intense and... different... but now I just feel the same as I did with E - kinda hungry, kinda queasy, kinda tired, kinda heartburn-y, and kinda normal sometimes too. Really, all of the symptoms I'm left with could just be from the progesterone. I swear that my belly bump is smaller today. And, after weeks of practically falling asleep at my desk at 2pm, I worked an hour late tonight because M and E were out together. It's 10pm now and I'm still not all that tired.
Also of concern:
- I have been having really, really strong cramping every night and occasionally during the days as well. Everything I read says not to be alarmed by cramps unless they are accompanied by bleeding, but I have the PIO to keep that from happening. What if the PIO is standing in the way of my body communicating what has happened?
- I am under huge, crazy amounts of stress right now. I'm dealing with a personnel nightmare at Job #1 that reduced me to tears today and that isn't going away without further stress and discomfort on my part. I'm also behind on everything else at Job #1 because of all the time and energy I've had to divert to said personnel issue over the past week. I'm about 20 hours behind on grading an assignment for Job #2 that I'm supposed to be returning to students tomorrow (not gonna happen). I can't seem to pick up the critical and time-sensitive balls I've dropped for a committee I chair for E's school (more on this later?) and I have outright abandoned my last two month's worth of responsibilities as Secretary of a community board I sit on. I hate feeling so behind. It stresses my Type A personality way the fuck out. And then I feel bad for being stressed, because that's the last thing I or the babies need right now.
- I know that cramping can be normal, especially with twin pregnancies. I remember having cramps with E (earlier though, not this late) where I thought "there is NO WAY a fetus can survive this" and yet he did. My weekend affair with Dr. Google DID reassure me on one thing: The star-spangled, dizzying pains that would seize one side of my uterus for 10-15 seconds at a time were round ligament spasms - totally normal. Interestingly, since finding out what they were and thus being less petrified of them, they seemed to have stopped.
- I know that stress alone does not kill babies. If it did, we would not need abortion clinics because no unwanted pregnancy could ever survive the amount of stress and anguish its mother experiences while making her decision and pursuing her right to choose. If it did, women would never be able to sustain pregnancies through tragic life events, such as the unexpected loss of a spouse or parent, and yet, women do. I know that babies can hang on through the most seemingly hostile of biochemical environments. I also know that sometimes they do not survive in even the most serene and welcoming ones. Wait, this is supposed to be a positive bullet point.
As part of my internet meanderings of the weekend, I trolled various blog rolls to locate every twin pregnancy blog I could find. I figured out how old their children are now and counted backward to find the first trimester section of their archives. I learned that I am in good company. It seems that nearly every twin mom-to-be, at least those who have gone through infertility along the way, experiences one or more periods of being utterly certain it's all over. And yet, in every blog I found, those intuitions turned out to be incorrect. Seeing that helped, and is a big part of why I wanted to write this post even though I'm sure it's annoying to read.
I'm thinking of renting a doppler. I considered one early on in my pregnancy with E but then decided against it after my own OB had a very difficult time locating his heartbeat at one of my appointments. If she couldn't find his heartbeat using her expertise and professional-grade equipment, what hope did I have? I resisted a week at a time and, finally, was able to feel regular movement so it became a moot point. This time around, I feel so anxious and so worried and so sure that something is wrong, I kind of don't see how it could make things worse. I have realistic expectations - I know that I might not always be able to find one or both heartbeats, and that even when I can, it might take a while to do so. I think I could chalk any difficulties up to user and/or machine error and not panic myself further. I could be wrong. But oh.... What if I could find a heartbeat or two? What if it could be that simple to quiet the scary voices in my head? In my weekend tour de blogs, I read at least a hundred dopper pro/con comments as well, including lots of (1) I got one and loved it and here's why or (2) I feel good about my decision not to get one and here's why comments. I even found a comment of my own on tbean's blog - comment category #2, obviously. What I didn't see were any comments of people saying they got one and wished they hadn't. Anyone feel that way and care to share? Or want to offer any recommendations of dopplers they found to be really effective in case I can't resist?
I know that the odds are in my favor. There is a reason seeing the heartbeat is considered a major milestone. Our chances of a miscarriage are low, statistically. But statistics are only so comforting in a high-stakes, all-or-nothing situation like this one. Our chances of miscarriage may be in the single digits, but if we find ourselves on the wrong side of the odds, the heartbreak will be experienced at 100%.
Good grief, this is a mess of a post. My ability to survive the first trimester is seriously in question. If you are still reading, thanks. And also, sorry. I'll be 10 weeks on Friday. Feel free to join in the countdown to the return of my (relative) sanity.