Three weeks after I delivered Penny was my "postpartum" appointment (with a miscarriage you don't bleed 6 weeks, its about half the time). My doctor had asked me about if we wanted to try again and the time frames that doctors recommend for trying again. He said it is suggested that there should be at LEAST one year between deliveries, which means wait 3 months and then try. I told him that keith and I had not discussed it. He said to talk and then if we decided not to I was welcome to call him and talk about "the pill" or whatever (I haven't used the pill since before Ada). So, I got up the courage to talk to Keith about it. Things had been still and emotional roller coaster and I was nervous to bring it up. We decided in August to fast about it and try to decide. We fasted and then at the close of our fast sat and talked together for a while. Thru talking we both felt that there was another baby (we both felt a boy) that was for our family. We decided to try again. We did not wait the three months recommended as for us it is a little hard to get pregnant. Typically it has taken me 4-6 months to get pregnant. September passed, followed by October, then November. I know that only three months, but my heart was broken and ached constantly and I just wanted something happy and it wasn't happening. In December I was at a play date with a good friend who had also lost a baby at the same age as Penny. She had since had another baby and I talked to her about it. She suggested I download this app that tracks ovulation and such (which is what they had done in our situation). I downloaded the app the next day. Well, a day or so later came and I realized I should be starting soon (I'm very very consistent). It was Sunday December 10th and after church I decided I was close enough to my "start" date/late that I would check. I know in the movies they show them peeing on the stick and then waiting the 3 minutes to get an answer...but, its never taken that long. I can usually read it with in 30 seconds. Well, the stick said negative. I was so angry and frustrated I threw it in the cupboard and was angry with everyone for a few hours (I didn't tell Keith I had taken it). After a few hours of frustration, disappointment and anger it kept bugging me. So I got the test out of the bathroom cupboard to check, and somehow magically it had kept changing and now showed two lines. I was totally shocked and surprised. I decided I would save it as my gift to Keith for Christmas. Things were so crazy and busy he wouldn't notice anyway. 5 days later was Penny's due date. And the day I had FEARED since May came. I had anticipated being a total reck that day. Keith actually took the day off and worked from home too. However, somehow knowing about being pregnant made it a little easier to handle. The pain of that day seem lighter. I had been croqueting blankets, like the one I made for Penny, to donate to the hospital where I delivered. For her due date I wanted to give someone else who would be in my shoes comfort. We had received little boxes with items in it when were delivered and I clung to those boxes and items desperately. I wanted to give something back. The hospital was very gracious and kind. I was even able to hold back tears until I made it out. Being back in that same hallway with the dumb pictures of perfect healthy babies on the wall made me feel claustrophobic. But, I made it. I had written a card to the nurse (Shelby) who had been with me when I delivered Penny. She apparently had switched hospitals, but the head nurse said she would make sure she got it. The anticipation of telling Keith was so exciting to me that it for once replaced the depression I'd been struggling with. Maybe it sounds silly, but I put the pregnancy test in a little box and wrapped it and put it under the tree for Keith. My friend, who was due two days before Penny, had her baby and I will admit it was still hard. I still avoided babies or any talk of babies.
Christmas morning was a simple one. Money was tight with trying to get the house ready to put on the market and so we didn't do very much. We let the kids open their gifts and then it was finally time for my big moment. I was so excited and nervous. He was surprised; he didn't know. He just cried and we hugged. The kids were confused, but easier distracted by other things and moved on. We were able to just enjoy a moment together. We had church that morning so quickly got ourselves ready to go. Off and on all morning he would come hug me and just smile and say he was SO happy and it was the best gift he'd even gotten. It made me so happy. Everything just felt light and happy. I didn't feel alone, or dark or anxious like I had for months after Penny died. We spent the afternoon with his family and he asked if he could tell his parents. Normally, I don't like to tell till closer to 12 weeks, but his parents had been so incredible through the past few months I didn't mind. Honestly, his parents made so much more of an effort to make Penny a real part of our family than my parents. I was still afraid to even talk about her with member of my family, where Keith's family had been so open and talked to us as if she was real and didn't diminish the huge grief we constantly felt. Before Christmas his parents bought a little 3 ft pine tree and gave to us as our "Penny Tree" to plant at our new house. Keith's sister had contacted all our ward and friends and asked if they wanted to put a butterfly or angel ornament. It was truly the best gift we could have during December when our arms ached for our baby we didn't get. So many friends (even friends from out of state) put precious ornaments for Penny on the tree. Ornaments I will treasure all my life! Keith's parents were so happy Christmas day when we told them and I was happy to share with them. Up to this point I had not struggled with sickness yet and was doing fairly well in my new anxiety problems.
However, Christmas ended and I had to pack up those precious ornaments (some I couldn't, I just couldn't put them away). The reality of moving was starting to set in as we packed things up at the house and frantically got the house ready to list. The sickness started full swing a few days after Christmas and suddenly I felt crushed by a new anxiety. This MASSIVE, pressing feeling that this baby would die too. That if I told anyone or admitted it to myself it would somehow all go horribly wrong again. I could NOT get a grip. I truly felt I was going insane. I couldn't stand to be around people, church was horribly stressful (not to mention seeing everyone's babies), and I lived in CONSTANT fear...constant fear! I think I cried myself to sleep for about a month. I struggled with sleeping so I would hold it together till I could tell Keith was asleep and then cry till I finally fell asleep. With all of my other pregnancies I was tired at night and always fell asleep on the couch before normal bedtime, but I struggled going to sleep and even staying asleep. I'd wake up in middle of the night and be wracked with sickness and heartache. I closed myself off as much as I could and stopped doing playgroup or even getting out of the house much. We were busy with the house and I tried to work out still 3 times a week, but that slowly dwindled as evenings were consumed with house projects. We got the house ready and listed by the end of January. Keith and I hardly went on dates anymore, let alone communicated with each other. He would sometimes express that his seclusion was just missing our Penny. I was SO filled with anxiety I couldn't even handle talking about the pregnancy. I had dreams that I was pregnant with twins, which is what I thought when I was pregnant with Penny. I really felt like I was crazy inside. I functioned as best as I could normally, but inside I had no idea who I was. I felt alone within myself and just alone in my anguish. I didn't know how to talk to anyone and didn't feel I had anyone to talk to.
We decided to go back to my doctor that I had with LaRue and Ada in Mesa since we were moving out there it only made sense to start and finish with the same doctor. Keith met me in Mesa when I was a little over 11 weeks to have my first appointment with Dr. Beck. I'd been struggling pretty bad with anxiety that whole morning and the second I walked into that office I had a full on melt down. I lost it! I felt like I was drowning and couldn't breathe. I couldn't stop crying. The people in the office probably thought I was crazy as did the nurse who took us back. I couldn't sit on the table thing. Dr. Beck walked in and looked at me and asked if I was ok? He's a great doctor, but not a very sympathetic guy. Its business in a gentle and quiet manner, but not emotionally touchy feely. He asked me to sit at the table so we could do the ultra sound. I'd had dreams for weeks of getting on that table and having to look at another ultrasound with my baby curled and not moving. I was shaking and crying and he probably thought I was nuts. He turned on the machine and the first thing we saw was the heartbeat. I just cried and cried. I felt so dumb, but I couldn't get a grip. He checked and said everything looked ok. I kept asking if there was any hydrous or cystic hygroma or ANY indications of problems. He said he didn't see anything, but would check at the next appointment as well. We briefly review my pregnancy history (hopefully after that he didn't think I was totally insane). He said things seemed fine and that he'd see me in a month. Keith went back to work and i went back to my parents house to pick up the little one. I was still fairly hysterical so mom told me to go lay down upstairs and calm down. She came up and asked how the appointment went. I told her the doctor thought everything looked normal. She said something about how "the other one" wasn't ok and my body got rid of it and now I can focus on this one that is ok. I know she mean well, but that was a little too much for me. It hurt! My own parents don't even see Penny as a person that is a part of our family. I should be understanding, but honestly...it just created this anxiety with my family. I don't even want to talk about the baby to anyone because I'm afraid of what they will say. In my mind I can see that is overly sensitive, but I don't feel comfortable now talking about this baby...to anyone.
I feel irrational and anxious all the time. I know I can (and should change) the way I'm feeling and acting, but most the time I just don't want to. It hurts and I just don't want to deal with it so I just go through day after day pretending as if everything is normal. I don't talk about the baby. We haven't told anyone and I just left days pass consumed with regular life because I don't know how to handle myself. I don't know who I want to be. I don't want to be consumed with this anxiety and sadness, but I don't feel like I can ever be different. It's easier to just be alone and go through the motions right now. Life has changed me and I don't know who I am.