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Breastfeeding Woes

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A virtual friend of mine penned this quote on a post about the frustrations of breastfeeding yesterday: “Never give up on a bad day.”

I’ve had a few of those, with our good days being far & between.

In the beginning, little man could latch like a rockstar but couldn’t maintain it. The lactation consultants at the hospital told me I may need a nipple shield & deemed him a, “lazy eater.” He almost lost too much weight in the hospital so we started supplementing with formula. My milk also took practically a week to come in, which didn’t help matters. A friend of mine suggested I start pumping to speed it up a little so I did, getting tiny bits of colostrum in those first days. Once my milk finally came in, things went great for a few days. We laid around the house & did skin to skin all day in his first days while he ate off & on.

I’m not sure where things turned but this blissful state of nursing didn’t last for us. When we tried breastfeeding, not too long after we’d started, he got really frustrated & started to cry, working himself up & making it impossible for him to feed. Along with that, even when he does nurse now, he doesn’t eat long enough to fill himself up via nursing alone. He’ll go 5-10 minutes tops & want nothing else to do with it.

When we saw a lactation consultant for these reasons, she didn’t think he had a tongue or lip tie but did feel like he needed suck training-something I’d never heard of before that moment. She noticed, on both the breast & bottle, he didn’t use his tongue correctly & sucked with his lips instead. In doing so, he was exerting more energy, burning more calories, &, likely, wearing himself out in the process-in addition to losing a lot of milk either way. The lactation consultant also said she didn’t think I needed the nipple shield & hoped we could work toward getting rid of it.

She referred us to suck training with a speech therapist, who also agreed he definitely needed it & he is already doing better with the exercises she gave us to do with him at home.

Fast forward to now: since it has been more difficult for E to nurse than eat a bottle until his suck training is complete, I’ve been pretty much exclusively pumping. Six times a day, without fail. For about the past week, for whatever reason, my milk supply has dropped. It was never fully there, I produced about half of what he needed I think the lactation consultant had said. I was averaging 17 ounces a day & now I’m down to averaging 13. I eat the lactation cookies, drink Mother’s Milk Tea, drink water, eat oatmeal as often as possible, & this is still is happening. It is beyond frustrating to say the least. I feel like I’m trying to do everything right to up the supply & spending a good amount of my time strapped to a machine for absolutely nothing. Not to mention I spend a great amount of time doing this:

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I want to quit.

But I don’t want to do it on a bad day either & then be full of regret later. A friend of mine suggested, before I’d even started breastfeeding, to make small goals. I.E. don’t go into it saying we’ll do it a year, or two. Start with I’ll do it a week, a month, etc, etc. Against all odds, we’re coming up on the two month mark in 11 days. My game plan is to give it until at least then to see if things turn around. In addition to everything else I’m doing, I ordered some nursing supplements so we’ll see if those help.

Have you ran into bumps in the road with nursing?? How did you overcome then?? What advice would you give someone who is struggling with breastfeeding?

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You Know You’ve Been Infertile When…..

You Know You’ve Been Infertile When…..

-When at your 6 week check up, you keep wanting to refer to the UTI’s you’ve had as IUIs.

-When opening up the discussion of birth control, your OB says, “I’m sure you don’t think you need it since it took you so long to get here.”

As I’m sure some of you are thinking, even if you’ve struggled with infertility before, it doesn’t mean you won’t miraculously get pregnant again. We know, she knows. After that opening statement she also added, “Even if you did get pregnant, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind,”

& it’s true. After all of the heartache & struggle we’ve had to get to this place, we wouldn’t mind at all. Ideally, that wouldn’t be RIGHT away.

SO-my options for birth control right now are limited as it is, as we’re still breastfeeding. I have a choice of the depo shot (which I would never do because I’ve read & heard horrible things) & a low dose birth control pill. Right away, I declined those as I already knew I didn’t want any prevention in the form of medications.

After being on some sort of hormonal medications for the past four years, I don’t want anything else to do with that sort of thing right now. I’m sick & tired of medications that come with side effects. Even before we began our infertility journey & long before I met my husband, birth control pills always made me sick to be honest. I always had bouts of nausea with them. Also, as mundane as this may sound to those who don’t understand, I’m just really tired of having my life revolve around having to remember taking a medication. Eli is 6 & a half weeks old as of today & I am JUST NOW not going into a panic wondering if I’ve forgotten to do an injection (that I haven’t done since 36 weeks pregnant), or take my Aspirin. Just now.

Since I don’t want anything to do with medications right now, our game plan is to use condoms & spermicide for at least 6 months. After that, if we were to get pregnant on our own, then great. If not, that’s okay too. Before infertility, I always thought I wanted at least three kids. In the trenches of it, I always said that, if I could have at least one child, I’d be happy & I am. I know, coming from a 1-2% chance of ever having biological children, we are PHENOMENALLY BLESSED to have Elijah. So blessed! If we go the rest of our lives never having another biological child, we’ll still be happy.

Regardless of whether or not we are able to have more biological children, we’d like to adopt at least one child a few years down the road. I’ve always wanted to adopt &, after going through the fostering classes, both of our eyes were even more opened to the great need for foster & adoptive parents. Likewise, I think there’s also a need for strictly adoptive parents through other avenues (other than through the state).

It’s definitely been a rocky road with lots of twists & turns to get to where we are. We aren’t sure whether or not we’ve left infertility behind as far as battling it again but we do now what are plans are as far as family building goes….what we don’t know is what God’s plans are. & He has some pretty big plans so I guess all we can do is sit back, wait, & see. No matter, we are happy with whatever that is.

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Elijah’s Birth Story

A little over a week ago today, our sweet rainbow baby was born at 11:43 am, weighing in at 7 pounds, 5 ounces, & all of 19 inches long.

With his due date being a week away, we hadn’t quite expected him yet. The day before, I’d gotten up to brush my teeth when I felt these two trickling streams run down both my legs all the way down to my knees. Wondering if my water broke, I called my OB who asked if I was having contractions & whether or not the dripping was continuous. She instructed me to walk up & down the stairs for 30 minutes to see if the water continued/there were any changes. I did & called her back with nothing. Since it hadn’t persisted, she said I could go on about my day as usual & to call if anything changed.

Scott & I decided to do as she said & continued with our plans of taking a walk at the Arboretum. Other than my bump dropping considerably the day before (Friday), there were no signs labor was imminent at that point. Things changed at 2:30am the following morning, however, when I got up to pee for the first time that night. I stood up & had this weird feeling that I can’t explain wash all over me. It wasn’t pain, it was just an off feeling. I walked into the bathroom to discover I was spotting a decent amount of red blood, so naturally given our history, I panicked & woke up Scott to tell him we had to go to the hospital STAT. We weren’t sure whether, or not they’d be keeping us that night but we wanted to make sure Piglet was okay nonetheless.

Scott: I’ll admit, at this point, I’m thinking, “It’s probably normal… they said some small spotting was normal…we’ll go and be back before daylight.” Little did I know, what really lied ahead.

When we arrived, they set us up in a room to hook up some monitors on my belly & check for dilation. Initially, I was only 2-3 cm dilated so I thought for sure we’d be sent home. Instead, the nurse called my OB & she wanted us to walk the halls for an hour to see if there was any progression on dilation. As we rounded one of the corners, I felt my first contraction. It started in my back & wrapped around to the front of the bump. I’d stopped at that point to grab a rail & breathe. We both looked at each other in disbelief that it looked like things were finally happening. Even still, I think we both doubted this would be it & thought we’d still end up being sent home.

Scott: The nurse was kind but you definitely got the impression she was thinking this was most likely a false alarm at first. As a result, I was thinking the same. But when that first contraction hit, I started to think it was going to be a long night. lol

The second time I was checked, I was dilated 3-4. This was the point the contractions were definitely getting stronger & the nausea & vomiting set in (sorry but hey, it’s a birth story-it’s gonna get a lot more gory from here on out, right?). At this point, I still don’t think we got a full on yes to you are staying. I believe the nurse said that we’d continue to see how I progressed in another hour (some details are really fuzzy).  I decided to get some Zofran so I’d feel like getting up & moving through the contractions as long as possible. The nurse fed me some ice chips & also asked if I wanted to use the shower-which ended up being a great idea.

We decided to go ahead on texting our doulas & birth photographer (who happens to be one of the best friends I’ve ever had) to let them know what was going on. They both responded-Vicky, my friend, immediately, since she’d set my text tone to an alarm sound, lol. She responded saying she’d get to the hospital around 6 am. The doula that would attend the birth replied saying she was the one on call (we had two & knew it’d be one or the other). I stayed in the shower for a good while, as the heat really seemed to help with the pain that was steadily increasing. When I got out, I got sick a few more times & our doula text to see if she needed to come yet. I said yes & decided to use the birth ball to try to cope with the contractions since I didn’t want to venture too far from the room at that point. Our doula text me to ask if we needed her at that point & I had Scott reply with a yes as I swayed back & forth.

Scott: It was here I was starting feeling like this might actually be happening. The contractions were coming closer and closer together (from 10mins, to 7mins, to 5mins and some even closer). Looking back, had we been in Eastern Kentucky and waited from 5min apart contractions, we may have ended up with a news crew on the Mountain Parkway. LOL

The next time the nurse came to check me I was at a 7.5 & we decided to start calling our family to let them know it was officially baby time. Vicky arrived as Scott was starting to make calls & was a big help in letting him know while he was on the phone, I was having contractions.

Before the nurse stepped back out, she’d asked if I wanted any other medicine besides Zofran & I opted to get Stadol to numb the pain. Since you aren’t able to have any passed 8 cms, I got one dose just before the cut off point & I’m immensely thankful I did because, right before she checked me that time I’d said a prayer I could make it through the rest of the labor/birth without an Epidural. For me, the Stadol made me feel a little drunk but helped tremendously in getting through the contractions of active labor.

By the time it was time to push, I feel like it’d worn off but it did help me make it to that point.

Scott: This is when it started to get real. You know that moment in a car accident when time slows down and you haven’t crashed yet but you know it’s happening and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it? That’s the inevitable feeling that came over me. In that moment I knew this was it. We were started down the final moments of this amazing odyssey of pregnancy. There were no more doubts as to when it would happen, when should we go to the hospital, will he be born at 38 weeks or 40. It was decided, we were at the hospital, and it would be 39 weeks!

Our doula arrived soon after this & started helping Scott by showing him how to help me more. AD7A9852

He said he watched the way she talked to me & noted the things she said then tried to do those along side her. I remember her massaging some of my pressure points & putting a cool cloth on me, both of which really helped distract me from some big contractions.

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Scott: I have to thank Shilah again for her help here. I wanted to be there as much as I could for Ces and by observing and working together with Shilah, I feel we were able to better do that.

Since I’d said I wanted to use the birth pool earlier (for labor), the nurse came back to let us know it was no longer occupied & I could do that now. I was wheeled down to the pool room on a bed & waited for it to fill up. Ironically, when my Dr was trying to check the water, she actually pulled up the drain instead & let a bit out. Had I noticed it at the time, it may have served as a bit of comedic relief for me but I was pretty out of it. When in, Scott & our doula Shilah poured hot water down my back & continued with the pressure points. AD7A9952

I heard someone say if you feel like you have to push it’s time to get out & I answered back with I feel like I have to push now.

Scott: She wasn’t in more than 10mins before she all of a sudden said, “I feel like I need to push!”

Here’s where it gets fun again. Vicky later told me there was no medical staff in the room at that point, just her, the doula, & Scott. So she jumped into action & threw a bunch of towels on the floor & said, “I was going to get you to that bed safely” Lol. Someone went to let the nurses & my OB know it was go time while Scott ran to the bathroom while he could before pushing was underway. My sister & mom had just gotten to the room during this from a 2 & ½ hour drive that was probably much shorter since they drove 90 mphs….like we instructed them NOT to. Lol

Scott: I’d been needing to pee for about 6 hour, but I hadn’t wanted to leave her side.   Once she was back on the bed and preparing to push, I realized it was now or never so I announced my intentions to the room and rushed off into the bathroom to relieve myself before the fireworks began. While I’m in there I heard the voices of her mom and sister outside the door and thought to myself, ‘they’re here already?’

During all of this I was moaning what seemed like really loud to me but everyone around me kept telling me how shocked they were at how calm I was being. The nurse even noted, “She’s the calmest one I’ve ever seen.” My doula later said I was the picture of calm & strength…which seems odd to me because I do NOT remember feeling calm. Lol

Scott: She was the picture of calm & strength. Everyone in the room thought the same thing.

My OB returned quickly, followed by a line of people. We’re talking a lot of people. Scott said there were easily at least 10 people in the room. Once my OB was suited up in a green cover up, she told me to hold my breath & push with the contractions. The first 2-3 times I tried to do this she said, “You’re holding back, you’ve gotta do better than that. That pressure isn’t going to go away until you do.” That was all I needed to hear in the moment & I started putting more force behind what I was doing. A nurse had to remind me to put my chin to my chest a few times & she, alongside my OB, also reminded me to hold my breath on several pushes. AD7A0060

I didn’t realize it was happening but, also during this, apparently my eyes were rolling back in my head with contractions. My friend later noted, “It was like the exorcist.” Lol

Scott: Cesilee was amazing! She was the model of focus and determination. The way she would breath, hold, push, collect herself (eyes in the back of her head), and then repeat, you would think this was her forth or fifth birth and not her first! All without a birthing class!

Eventually, my Dr. told us, “your baby has hair!” &, after what seemed like several more pushes, said, “Okay, don’t push.” & then it felt like he slid out all at once. She put him right on my belly like I’d wanted for kangaroo care all covered in that chunky vernix with his eyes wide open. They had to bother him for a bit to cry, he was a calm little guy, but he did with not much effort soon after. Seeing him for the first time is something I can’t quite describe because it’s still such a surreal moment. After all of the pain & heartache we had to go through, all the uncertainty of ever knowing if we’d ever make it to this point, all of it, was made worth it in that moment. I just kept looking at him in both disbelief and a huge wash of relief that everything was finally over. During this time, Elijah managed to somehow put his hand on my face & melt my heart a little more. Soon after that, they took him over to weigh/measure/& let other people hold him really quick before handing him back to me.

Scott: As his head came out, I involuntarily started screaming, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!!!” (There is video evidence of this thanks to Cesilee’s mom lol). I was just amazed to my core seeing our little boy’s face for the first time. As the Dr. turned him I could see his eyes open. His eyes were open and looking around and he was only halfway into this new world!

While I was holding him & being stitched up, the med. staff kept pushing on my stomach to see how much blood was still coming out since, during delivery, I was asked if I was okay with having a blood transfusion, but I’m guessing, once it tapered off, it was decided I didn’t need one & I was just given an iron pill on the postpartum unit. Later, Vicky, being a birth photographer, said my delivery was the most bloody she’d ever seen during a birth. Scott also later said it was way more blood than he’d seen in any birth videos he’d ever seen. We aren’t sure why since I’d stopped the Lovenox at 36 weeks & he was born at exactly 39 weeks. I was still on Aspirin at the time but, regardless, everything turned out fine.

Before my OB headed out, she came up to us & congratulated us again, saying she knew how long it’d taken us to get to this point.

I cannot put into words just how overjoyed we are that he is here. It’s hard to believe all of this happened & that he is really ours. It’s a funny in a way because, on one hand, it feels like he’s always been a part of our lives &, on the other, we are incredibly humbled by how much of a miracle it really is that God decided to bless us with him. One thing is for sure, I know he was always suppose to be mine & we couldn’t possibly love him any more than we already do-even if we tried. I would do every single painstaking thing we went through again, ten times over, to have him without hesitation.

Scott: I feel I can speak for us both when I say we were very grateful for our Doula Shilah’s coaching through the birth. It was a tremendous help. And of course my complete admiration goes to my wife. She never wavered. I am so humbled by her courage and strength.

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Elijah Cole Born on 5/28/17, at 11:43am, 7 pounds, 5 ounces, & 19 inches long!

“I have died every day waiting for you

Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years

I’ll love you for a thousand more

& all along I believed I would find you

time has brought your heart to me

I have loved you for a thousand years

I’ll love you for a thousand more.”

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36 Week Update

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How far along? 36 weeks & 2 days

Gender: Boy

Maternity Clothes?  Obviously lol I rock my maternity yoga pants most days….even though, confession time, they’ve literally never been to yoga…oops!

Stretch Marks? Yep, on my newfound cleavage & the sides of my hips.

Belly button in or out?  Definitely stretching out but, somehow, still in.

Sleep: I’ve been pretty lucky here. I’ve only had pregnancy insomnia less than a handful of times. Most nights, despite my 4 trips to the bathroom, I still manage to sleep pretty well surrounded by all my pillows.

Best moment this week: Getting to see baby Elijah on the ultrasound yesterday! He always cracks us up since he’s so stubborn, which hasn’t changed. Yesterday, he directly ninja kicked the probe the tech was holding over him….he showed her 😛 Learning that baby is head down & not breech was also a HUGE relief. AND I FINISHED MY LOVENOX INJECTIONS Sunday night!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Symptoms: My chronic, as my OB deemed them, yeast infections & BV have honestly been the worst thing since the second trimester. Other than that, I’ve started to have some swelling in my feet, which I need to keep elevated more often.

I also remain the reigning bathroom champion of the house for pee breaks lol

Through all those minor inconveniences, the scares, & the blood thinners I’ve been on, it’s still so odd to me that, because of the constant infections I’ve had, when nurses or nurse practitioners I’ve seen say, “Man, this pregnancy has really been rough on you.” Thinking back to everything I had to go through trying to get pregnant, all of these things feel so small to me. I would take them all for the rest of my life if that’s what it took to be where I am. When we were struggling, I always vowed, if we ever got pregnant, to never complain about anything because I know the absolute hell & heartache people go through in hopes of getting to the other side. I feel like, for anyone who has battled infertility, our perspective is vastly different from someone who was lucky enough not to have fertility issues.

Miss Anything?  SUSHI, SUSHI, SUSHI!!! I may have eyed the Kroger sushi this weekend & dramatically looked up at my husband to say, “I can’t be strong anymore.” LOL Note: I still have not had sushi 😛 He does, however, have strict orders to go get 3 rolls just for me once Piglet is born.

Cravings? Still ground beef & steak.

Food aversions? Still chicken *gag

Queasy or sick?  I had one episode a few days ago. Other than heartburn, I’ve been in the clear on this for a while now.

Any trips to Labor and Delivery? Not yet. I hadn’t started to dilate at my appointment yesterday yet but she did say my cervix had started to soften.

Looking forward to?  Meeting this amazing miracle

Next Goal: Get rid of the most current yeast infection &, hopefully, pass the group B strep test I had yesterday.

 

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Infertility Awareness Week 2017

If you looked through my latest Instagram feed (or any social media really), you would probably never know that, for years, we struggled with infertility issues. Unless you glanced through the hashtags after some of the bump shots & pregnancy updates, you wouldn’t realize what it took to get here & how much this week will always mean to us.

Infertility is such a terrible thing & one major reason for this is because of how isolating it is. You feel it’s just you, for the longest time, because it’s not something we as a society bring up in conversation often. It’s not something that typically comes up in small talk. “Beautiful weather, today!” “Yeah, perfect for another round with the dildo cam to check my follicles!”

The above conversation just wouldn’t happen…& maybe that given example should not lol but I do hope more conversations surrounding infertility do! This year, the slogan for Infertility Awareness Week is Listen Up & I so hope that people do just that.

Not only is infertility extremely isolating, it also comes with a lot of ignorance on the part of those who have not struggled that can only make things more hurtful for those that do. I wrote a blog post a while back on What NOT To Say To Your Infertile Friend & another on helpful things to say instead if you would like to read more on that.

Personally, I am forever grateful that we were so open about our struggles. One reason being is that I, hopefully, educated a few people about the presence of infertility (1 in 8 couples struggle!!!). While many of my followers are from the infertility community, it is my hope that some were not & still read on, learning something along the way.

Secondly, had I not had the support of the blogging community & truly wonderful ladies I found on Instagram that were walking my walk, I don’t know how I ever would have survived it. It was one filled with many tears, breakdowns, sooooo many damn needless, surgeries, procedures, & just plain out grief. If you are struggling with infertility, please, PLEASE, do not go it alone!! Reach out to the wonderful community out there that I am so thankful exists.

Lastly, as we are rapidly approaching the arrival of our own rainbow baby, I hope that our story is a symbol of hope to those who are still waiting. We went through 3 IUIs, 2 rounds of IVF, several medicated cycles, laparoscopic surgery, & two devastating losses. We were told that our chance of having a child was 1-2% & we should look into other options. Despite it all, we are here! Praise the Lord! And I want that to give you HOPE! Anything is possible, our story is a living example of that.

My heart is with all of you still in the painful throws of waiting this week & always. ❤

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A Sobering Timehop

A year ago today, after 3 failed IUIs, 2 failed IVFs, & a laparoscopy, I had a status update saying something to the effect of we believed, by the next year, we would become parents one way or another. It was a very sobering read as we took our hospital tour today. It’s still so mind-blowing to both of us that we are here &, again, reminds us of how much we have to be thankful for.

It also served as a reminder to me to do a pregnancy update since I haven’t done one in over a month 😛

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How far along? 32 weeks, today exactly

Weight Gain? Around 17 pounds

Maternity Clothes? All of them! My absolute favorite brand is, hands down, Jessica Simpson!

Stretch Marks? On my sides & my girls

Belly button in or out? Still in…miraculously enough 😀

Sleep: Getting more difficult.

Best moment this week: Our hospital tour today

Symptoms: Heartburn, back & hip pain

Miss Anything? Again, I still miss sushi & wine. But, again, I’d happily give that & anything else up for life if it meant I got to have this.

Movement: Reduced a little, which is normal at this stage as baby is running out of room

Cravings? Remains the same as far as sushi, rum, & sweets go but, recently, hot dogs also got added to the mix

Food aversions? Still chicken!!

Queasy or sick? Sometimes

Looking forward to? Finishing up the nursery & breastfeeding class this week

Anything new? Breastfeeding class this week & we recently (last week) met with our doulas to discuss our birth plan-which I also need to blog about (oops).

Complications / Medications? Still taking Lovenox injections, baby Aspirin, & Methylfolate daily. Complications: None

Nursery Update: After FINALLY choosing bedding/curtains (I ended up designing my own on Carousel Designs), we have decor ready to go. We’re hoping to hang the curtains & put the final touches on everything this week!

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Evolving Fears Of Pregnancy After Loss

Early on, I thought if we could just make it to the second trimester, my fears surrounding pregnancy after loss would disappear. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that was not the case when I kept experiencing random bouts of spotting that sent me into my OB’s office in a panic each time.

Once that died down, I thought, surely, now I can relax & trust that all is well. I will be 32 weeks this Sunday &, sadly, I can tel you this still isn’t the case for me. My fears with P.A.L. haven’t gone away, they’ve only evolved.

Early on, there was, naturally, the fear that this pregnancy would, like the others, end in miscarriage. Into the second trimester, I worried about the spotting I kept having, the infections, & the possibility of preterm labor. Now, nearing the end of the third trimester, I keep finding myself worrying about labor & delivery.

Will we go to the hospital when we should? Too early, too late? Will he come out okay, breathing/screaming/blood covered & all? Or will something go wrong?

As much as I try not to let my mind wonder to all the possible things that could potentially go wrong, I can’t help but repeatedly keep finding myself there.

Which brings me to wonder, does the fear that is so associated with P.A.L. ever fully go away? & what does that look like?

Coming upon the close of this pregnancy, I have came to the conclusion that perhaps it doesn’t. It can only be dealt with.

For me, that means coping by making lists & getting as prepared as possible (over prepared more than likely).

I have a list of things that still need to be done before he arrives. A list of things we need to get ready in our home, not including the nursery, & a list of things we still need to buy for baby. I also have a handy dandy hospital bag list ready to be marked off-which will, more than likely, happen this weekend. Along with anything else I can busy myself with in the meantime.

Have you experienced the evolving fears of pregnancy after loss?? How did you cope???