Friday, May 31, 2013

24 weeks: viability, confronting fear and healing

*WARNING* this post starts out talking about pregnancy progress. If you are not in a good place, PLEASE skip this post. As always, there will be others. Take care of yourself first. In the meantime, here's a photo of two happy kitties who are more than happy to welcome you in to their cuddle circle and smoother you in love.

Today I am 24 weeks pregnant. A milestone I never imagined I would see. Due to a scheduling conflict, my bi-monthly appointments are on odd weeks. Hence no ultrasound this week. That said, the news from last week is everything looks great: Beats are on track and I've been told I should be a cervix model (which made both Grey and I pause and look not so fondly at the Dildo cam) as my cervix is holding steady at 3.8 cm. To prove the point, He-Beat decided to use my cervix as a hammock. Grey was quick to point out that he was accomplishing two goals at once: taking it easy while stressing me out. Little bugger.

These past fours weeks have been ones filled with lots of distraction. With the end of the semester has come stressed out students, final projects/papers and final exams, all of which has kept me very busy. But there's also been another element for why I've been neglecting this space. The truth is, after being a part of this community for so long, I'm acutely aware of what can go wrong. Particularly during the 18-22 week mark. Add in the fact that I've been experiencing a lot of abdominal tightening, particularly in the evenings or following moments I've over-extended myself, and it's been hard not to worry. The problem is, I felt like I couldn't talk about these fears here. The few times I've been brave enough to mention this to a couple ALIers, I've been quickly silenced with an "everything is fine, stop worrying" explanation. I understand where this advice is coming from, as these ladies have been through their fair share of heartache and really were trying to ease any anxiety. Still, it felt minimizing and shaming and I worried that opening up here about it would lead to an avalanche of the same if not berating comments about how I needed to get over myself and embrace this pregnancy. So instead, I've been working with David and Dee to get through this period. Granted, there have been moments that have been less than pretty, but using a lot of the tools I've learned over the last year to reprocess negative thoughts and to address anxieties, I've found that I've managed to keep the panic down to a dull roar.

In addition to all of this, Grey and I have begun tackling some festering wounds. I've spoken before about my frustrations and anger over family regarding how they've handle our journey, particularly my anger with Grey's younger brother Lucas. What I haven't talked about much is the discussions Grey and I have had about resolution. Last year when we talked about this, it became very apparent that we needed to come to a temporary understanding of how to handle all of this as it was becoming far too difficult to bear. Hence the agreement was minimizing discussion about Lucas in our daily conversations while not putting limits on Grey's relationship with him. For the time, despite it being far from ideal, it allowed us the peace we needed to address the havoc infertility, failed treatments and repeated miscarriage had played on our relationship as well as us individually. But since then, as we've healed and addressed a number of other more pressing issues, this one has made its way to the top of the list.

The thing is, I've been guilty about stalling on readdressing this issue. Mainly because I don't see a good outcome to talking this through. A big part of this has to do with my childhood, where I was strongly encouraged to stuff any negative emotions or hurts simply because my feelings weren't considered important or because to address them would cause hurt feelings in others. Hence I'm use to running away or being severely punished for voicing my hurts.

Because of this, I've developed a survival mechanism over the years of triaging what relationships are worth salvaging following moments of massive impasse. In most cases, the approach on my end has been to take a step back, assess the situation and the person and then to come back to the table to talk things over, the whole time with me being a nervous wreak. But there have been instances where someone has been so dismissive of my feelings or come across as so self-centered that it's become far easier for me to simply cut them out of my life. I don't like doing this, but in these instances it has been a far better and saner option.

The problem with this approach regarding Lucas, though, is that Grey has a strong relationship with his brother. Hence spending family events where I am clearly avoiding him and his wife are not a long-term solution, especially with the Beats on the way.

Two weeks ago, Grey and I decided it was time to tackle this with David's guidance. The first step being me drafting a letter to Lucas detailing all the anger and hurt I had been dealing with. Writing the letter was hard, leaving me emotionally drained and curled up in a small ball from all the crying. But what it did was provide a first step for our discussion about what the initial goals were with opening the lines of communication as well as allowed Grey and I to get on the same page for what the outcome of all of this could be.

I'll be honest, despite Grey and David being hopeful about these first steps, I still am not. But then again this is no longer about me and me alone. And upon reflection of our meeting last night, part of me wonders how different my childhood would have been if half of the things we talked about had been exercised more in my family instead of issuing "don't judge" and "get over it" when hurt feelings were voiced or even defaulting to irrational rage when conflicts arose. Hence, despite my pessimistic tendencies, we're pushing forward with another meeting with David scheduled very soon to drill down a but more and hopefully come up with some sort of script that can be used for a conversation.


  1. Isn't it interesting/sad to realize that the way your family handled issues when you were a child all those years ago has directly translated into how you handle things as an adult? Even your blog -- you react in the way you were trained to as a child. :( I so wish you didn't feel that you needed to be silent when going through troubles. We are here to help! Maybe make small efforts every day/week/month/whatever to continue to work on opening up honest discussions - be it with your BIL, your blog, your coworkers, whatever. Learn from your own childhood how you don't want the beats to react to stress, concerns, and hurts in life!

    So thankful you have reached viability week - I hope you can start to feel better every week about this pregnancy and about the support system surrounding you. ((HUGS))

  2. Congratulations on reaching viability and on being a could-be "cervix model" (?!?). It's hard to learn to embrace something that you fear so much could be taken away from you, though. I understand and I'm sorry your attempts to express that have led to responses that felt minimizing, but I'm glad your finding other ways to manage your anxiety.

  3. First of all, cheers to 24 weeks! I've had my share of family issues, mainly with my in-laws, and let me tell you, I applaud your initiative in writing a letter to Lucas. I hope you find some healing in all this. Know that you are an amazing person that can survive whatever comes of it. Hoping for all the best for you. Your comments on my blog have been so helpful, you have a wonderful presence in this community.

  4. Your relationship with your BIL reminds me a lot of my relationship with my father-in-law. Things became extremely tense right before I married my husband Dan and it ended with a lecture from FIL that I could "have" Dan for the rest of my life, but that he wasn't "mine" until we were married. Meaning, essentially, that my disapproval that FIL drove Dan home one night around the holidays while drunk was unwarranted and disrespectful.

    Anyway, my point is that I understand. When Dan called to tell his dad that he was rushing to the hospital for my emergency surgery to remove my ectopic, his dad ended the conversation by scolding him for not calling his sister more often because she had been having some "health issues" which Dan had no idea about. Following the surgery, he did not call to make sure Dan and I were doing okay until I told his wife that Dan really needed to talk to him.

    I apologize for the rambling, I should probably make a blog post about it. Forgiving hateful in-laws is extremely difficult to do. I still haven't forgiven mine and it has been five years.

    I also want to say congrats on the 24-week mark. Hang in there. I know if I ever get pregnant again it will be so difficult to "just enjoy" my pregnancy. It's nearly impossible when you know what we know.

  5. Just catching up on all my favorite blogs and I so look forward to seeing yours. First of all, congrats on viability. I know that is such a HUGE milestone that words can't even begin to explain. Every time I ready one of your updates and see that you and the babies are doing so wonderful, it truly makes my heart smile.

    I am also so pleased to see how you are taking the steps to really deal with the difficult family issues. I know how much pain that has caused in your life.

    As always, wishing you and your family the absolute best!

  6. So glad that your pregnancy is doing well.

  7. Hey! Congrats and hip hip hooray for 24 weeks! Holy smokes is time ever passing quickly!

    I'm glad that you have an outlet for scary thoughts and feelings related to the pregnancy - our blog spaces are wonderful outlets for certain aspects of our journey, aren't they? But yet other parts need to remain private until / if we wish to publicly document those tricky times.

    You and Grey continue to be in my thoughts! Thanks for the update! :)

  8. It sounds like you have a whole lot of insight into your situation, and I think that the way you are handling the situation with Lucas is really wise. Relational healing can be painstaking and requires so much vulnerability. Good for you for writing that letter. I hope that the end results of all of this work are better than you could have imagined.

    And also, your fears are real and warranted. It is terrifying to love something(s) that are so fragile so much. I hope and pray that these weeks go by quickly and uneventfully.

  9. Finally catching up on reading blogs! Congrats Cristy to you and Grey on 24 weeks! What an exciting milestone. Family is so difficult. I wish I had somme words of wisdom on that subject. Will continue hoping that you heal and your fears subside. Hugs!


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