When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath. It means that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds.
Paul and I are officially trying for our 3rd child. Those in the babyloss realm refer to the first child born after loss a "rainbow baby", and while that sounds kind of lame, the above quote puts it into proper perspective. We want to move forward and bring our baby (or babies) home. We can never, ever replace our twins, nor would we want to, and our subsequent pregnancy will be fraught with fear, concern, anxiety and the unknown. It's very possible - even likely - that the birth of another child will bring with it very mixed feelings since our daughter and son should be here, too, but we've read all of that is a perfectly normal response to the very complicated grieving process after a second or third trimester loss.
Physically, my body is back on track. It took longer than I would have wished for my first period to come, a wait that was infuriating to me since my body has always very regular. I felt relief and a bit of resentment when it did finally come. (The sight of blood may haunt me for years, even when I expect it.)
I called and scheduled a hysteroscopy with Dr. M., our fertility doctor, as requested. (For those who don't know, a hysteroscopy is insertion of a hysteroscope, or camera, through the cervix, which has been manually dilated. The uterus if filled with either fluid or gas to expand it and make it possible for the doctor to view every surface. In my case, sterile saline was used and I'm glad, because recovery from the gas procedure brings with it pain up by the shoulder as the gas dissipates.) Paul and I each took half a day off of work for that appointment and drove there in near silence, petrified and worried. I was scared to death that it would hurt. I'm so tired of these invasive procedures I've had to endure as an infertile, each time hearing it wouldn't hurt and then finding myself in excruciating pain. To say I was a little edgy upon arrival at the clinic would be an understatement. When we heard I'd somehow dropped off the schedule, I just about lost it! Sierra said, "Don't worry, you can just try on your own this month and then we'll reschedule the procedure for next," to which - in near hysteria - I exclaimed, "Absolutely NOT! Dr. M. thinks a polyp in my cervix contributed to our loss and we REFUSE to try again until we know it's gone!" She immediately got on the phone with Dr. M. and informed him he would be doing my hysteroscopy even though it wasn't on the schedule (apparently they had several similar issues that day). Once in the room, Sierra convinced me to let her give me nitrous oxide before Dr. M. started injecting numbing medicine into my cervix (the part of the procedure she said actually hurts), and I relented. And wow, I'm so glad I did. I felt the drunken buzz of the laughing gas and heard the buzzing in my ears, but only felt the smallest pinch with the first injection. He had to inject all around the outside of my cervix and I felt nothing else. Whee! The outcome was fine. The offending "infarcted endocervical polyp" that had been the source of much bleeding and spotting during pregnancy was mysteriously absent, either from the D&C or through the natural disintegration of the tissue. I do have three small polyps in my uterus, but removing them would only "beautify" my uterus and wouldn't likely positively or negatively impact a future pregnancy.
And with that, Dr. M. officially gave us the green light to try again. Suddenly, some of the overwhelming dread and anxiety I'd been feeling about trying again dissipated. Paul said he felt relief, too. That appointment had been built into a giant juggernaut in both our heads. As of today (actually, a couple of days ago), we've completed the "trying" portion of this cycle. Now commences the waiting (and the use of progesterone suppositories). Dr. M. claims that I'm technically "more fertile" right now than usual because of our recent pregnancy, but neither of us really holds much hope that this natural cycle will work. Not to worry...I ordered the $850-worth of Menopur from England that we needed to make a full cycle's worth, and it's sitting in the fridge just in case we do need to go back to injectibles in October. (And you wonder what the butter compartment of a refrigerator is for. Menopur and mini-Lupron, FemDophilus and progesterone suppositories, oh my!)
We're peaceful...and afraid. Unless you've experienced a second or third trimester loss, you can't probably understand why we'd feel fear. We *should* be excited, right?! Everyone is so excited for us! Yay, you're trying again, that's great!!!!
It's complicated, so forgive us if we're more cautious than excited. We desperately want to have our own children, if it's in the cards. Obviously, we're doing everything we can to achieve that goal. Oddly, our horrible grief has made both of us want children MORE. Yes, it sucked, and yes, it was so painful, but to see our children with our own eyes, to look at them in love and wonder and imagine what they would have looked like, what their personalities would have been like, how they would have interacted as brother and sister, fueled a desire to do it again. It was worth the pain and sorrow.
But alongside our desire to have children is this fear that we'll only lose them. We have no frame of reference for what a "normal" pregnancy is like, and unfortunately, our experience stole our ability to ever look on pregnancy as innocent and joyful. Babies are not supposed to die before their parents do, and ours did. We also worry a little bit that perhaps we won't conceive again, that this was our one and only shot in 3.5 years of trying. We feel a little angry and yet resigned to the fact that getting pregnant, for us, involves so much planning and scheming and medical intervention, but that's not going to stop us from trying.
Am I physically ready? Yes. Are we emotionally ready? Who knows? Maybe, but probably not. It just really doesn't matter. I'll be 37.5 years old on Saturday. Six more months and our probability of conceiving by any means takes another big statistical hit. We have to go while the goin's good...and pray for a positive outcome.