Monday, March 12, 2012

Nothing but time will help



It's been strange to observe and notice my anxieties this pregnancy. They seem to come in waves. So on Thursday we saw the heart beat, which oddly, I had less emotional reaction to than I would have expected. But by Friday, I was already thinking things might have shifted. Symptoms seemed less - I was less tired maybe. I was able to eat lunch and enjoy it rather than worry I wouldn't be able to swallow each bite. The symptoms were waning, probably because the pregnancy was waning.

Saturday felt much the same. Despite taking a four hour nap, I told myself I wasn't tired, wasn't nauseated, because maybe I was no longer pregnant.

These are the types of places where in previous pregnancies I might have harangued myself a bit, told myself to pull it together, stop being negative. Well, I'm not doing that this time. This is pregnancy number seven. I have no living kids. This time, I'm allowing myself to feel whatever I'm feeling. If I'm tortured sometimes, I am finally giving myself permission to be. Who wouldn't be scared with a history like this? (And this is what I try to remind myself: I am scared. I don't have any good evidence how things are going to turn out one way or the other. This is just fear. It makes sense in the context I am in).

So I am more understanding this time around that I am going to have a bumpy ride. I am going to be nervous sometimes, reassured other times, and feeling stark-white terror sometimes probably too.

This weekend, I offered myself the possibility to do anything that might help me feel better. It was an interesting thought experiment. Did I want to get my blood levels checked early in the week? Did I want an extra ultrasound before my first OB appointment on Thursday? I gave myself permission to do anything that would help - anything that would give me some peace. But when I played it out in my mind, neither of these things seemed like they would help. I could have an ultrasound and see the heartbeat, but by the next day or the day after, I fully expect to be scared again. And blood work? I don't think blood would reassure me much at all anymore (more just scare me if there's some bobble with the numbers).

So what would help?

The only thing I can come up with is time. Time will help. Somehow just surviving the next several weeks. And seeing if there is still a pregnancy there, with a living, beating heart.

I've lost babies at 7 weeks, 8 weeks, 9 weeks. That is my reality.

I'm in a really rough part of things now. Last I checked there was a tiny embryo alive inside me.  A little flicker of life that could go out at any time. And that sadly, has gone out repeatedly in the past.

So it was interesting to realize that more ultrasounds won't help so much. More reassurance blood work won't help so much. The only thing that I think will help me feel a little bit better is to get past the point of my losses. And I may still be terrified after that, but I think I will also feel more hopeful.

So I'm just hanging on for the ride. Trying to just take care of myself and not go off of the deep end. Trying to remember I can't make this pregnancy succeed - I've done what I can. Now we'll wait to see what happens.

Mo

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51 comments:

  1. I think you are absolutely right. Only time will help.

    Here's hoping that these next few weeks fly by & that you still have that wonderful flicker of life inside of you by the end of it! Hugs!

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  2. Although I have not come anywhere near your loss number, I have had 2 m/c....one very very early and one at 10 weeks. With both of my healthy pregnancies after that...I will admit...I pretty much lived in terror until I got past the 10 week mark with both of them....it was just my own personal goal due to my own experience. And I hear this is pretty normal. I have several friends with a lot of m/c history that have gone on to have healthy babies yet we all agree that the date of our latest loss is the first big milestone to overcome. Hang in there. The good thing about time is that it doesn't stop so every minute...EVERY MINUTE....you are closer and closer to your own milestone. And I am praying hoping along for you everyday.
    kd

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  3. Even without having gone through what you have gone through, I think I believed I'd have a baby when I ... had a baby. Once he was out of my body, I believed he was safe and thriving. Until then, I felt nothing was guaranteed. I didn't walk around white-knuckled, not having had your history and perhaps, also, having some sense that doing so wouldn't help, but you know, knowing that doesn't itself necessarily help (and is not in any case to say I was never scared, which would certainly be a lie).

    It's tough. I hope you can be kind to yourself. I personally found Daniel Silva's books to be good page-turners of the sort that can serve as useful distractions, but if you go that route would recommend the Gabriel Allon series (which is most of them) as if memory serves, the earlier ones have a character dealing with infertility and IVF in them and really, why (in current circumstances) go there (though as I recall it is reasonably well handled in the book -- still!).

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  4. This is a terrific post. You are so right. I'm glad you're giving yourself permission to feel whatever you feel, and also to write out these fears here. It doesn't matter one bit to your uterus or your little one what you are feeling. Hang in there, we're all figuratively holding your hand. xoxo

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  5. Unfortunately, the roller coaster never gets easier. We lost 10 babies in 9 pregnancies. I completely understand the doom being pregnant brings on after you've been traumatized by multiple losses.

    Let yourself feel whatever you need to. I was only upbeat for our first 2 pregnancies. after that I was convinced my death trap of a uterus would lead to the demise of anything that chose to grow in it. Turns out I was right. We even got to 20 weeks with our last pregnancy, and burying my daughter nearly broke me.

    We do have 2 beautiful kids from the miracle of adoption. You never forget the losses, but once you have a living child, the pain eases a bit.

    I am praying this is the one for you guys. In the mean time, stay sane by whatever means necessary. We're all rooting for you!

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  6. Agreeing with everyone. Once you get farther than you did with any previous pregnancies, the fear will (or at least it did for me) ease a teeny bit. But it will likely come back at odd moments to terrorize you, and the only thing you can do is try to work past it any way you can.

    I think you're really smart to give yourself permission to do whatever you need to, to feel ok. That was my rationale for renting a doppler, and it saved my sanity (though don't you DARE rent one until you have a chance of hearing that heartbeat EASILY. That's 10-12 weeks AT THE EARLIEST!) But it helped and even though I felt stupid, listening to Henry's heart beating for ten seconds (which was all I allowed myself) EVERY SINGLE MORNING, it was what I needed to get past the terror until I was feeling movement regularly.

    You do whatever you have to do--and if that is just writing about how scary this is, then please do that as often as you need to. So many of us have been there, and we get it. We really do. Thinking of you.

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  7. Makes a whole lot of sense to me, emotionally. And I'm glad you're giving yourself permission to feel what you're feeling. Yes, you have every right; it would probably be surprising if you weren't so scared.

    Logically, I want to remind you that while you've had losses later in pregnancy...none were of a chromosomally normal embryo, right? This one *should* be different. I so want it to be different for you.

    Time will hopefully help. For me, it came in waves of crazy up until delivery. I hope your visit this week gives you peace (will your OB do an u/s? Mine didn't...)

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  8. I don't have any experiences with miscarriages so I probably can't understand EXACTLY what you're going through. But I had similar fears in between OB/GYN appointments - what if something went wrong! Unfortunately, some of that fear will never go away. Once you have your baby, your fear will turn from risk of miscarriage to risk of SIDS. And then what happens when they fall and smash their head! So for what it's worth, learn to embrace this fear because it will remain with you for as long as you're a mommy. :-) I am praying for you and want this pregnancy to stick for you SO badly. Best of luck.

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  9. Gwinne - I HOPE my ob will do an u/s. I think she will. OMG if she doesn't... I'll have to get one somewhere...

    will find out...

    Mo

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  10. Good for you Mo. I think that letting yourself feel what you need to feel is the way to go. We can't trick ourselves into not being afraid. You've been through so much, I would find it strange if you WEREN'T afraid. Day by day - that's really the only way to get through this stuff in my opinion.

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  11. Mo, I commend u for being real and owning your feelings. That's not easy to do. I can't imagine what u have been thru so I dont have any great advice except to immerse yourself with lots of distractions so that hopefully this critical time will fly by and before u know it u will be well in the clear.

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  12. That's what sucks the worst about pregnancy after multiple losses, nothing but time relieves SOME of the fears. I don't think I ever totally believed my youngest son would be born alive until I actually held him in my arms.

    So, I'm abiding with you and I (at least somewhat) understand your fears.

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  13. As an infertile who has not experienced previous losses, there is a lot of fear in pregnancy (that I don't blog or even talk about... just my personal way of coping with the fear).

    I can't imagine how much more trying it is for someone with one, two, multiple losses. There is no great way to manage the fear... I think you just have to do what works for you. And if giving into the fear is your way of coping, then that's exactly what you should do!

    I wish it were easier, quicker... but it is what it is. And the symptoms will ebb & flow. That doesn't mean anything is wrong, again it is what it is. My m/s didn't kick in until 7 - 8 weeks (but lasted until 18w) so just know that more can crop up later.

    Cheering for you!

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  14. Single mom, thanks for this. i'll reflect more on this, but i don't think i'm giving in to the fear. i think i'm trying at least for more of an acceptance strategy...that the fear and I will just have to co-exist for awhile...there is no great remedy that I can think of. so trying not to go headlong into it but also to try not to be critical of myself when it comes up. not sure if that makes any sense.

    thanks so much for your comment!

    mo

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  15. We bought a doppler on ebay, to see if the heartbeat is still there, at any time we needed to be reassured

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  16. molly - i think a doppler is definitely in our future!

    mo

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  17. Mo...I ended up switching OB's to an office that was more willing to accommodate my paranoia (mostly because they didn't see it as paranoid...they saw multiple markers for high risk pg). But that 8-week/no-u/s visit was really hard.

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  18. Mo - In IVF, every minute is a small victory. Especially when you've "been there, done that." I could never get past the five-week mark. So, when I got my last BFP, in W5 every time I saw the hour change on my clock, I took a deep breath to celebrate. Live in the moment.

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  19. ivflygirl...i like that! thank you!

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  20. I think that letting yourself *feel* the fear and not trying to talk yourself out of anything is healthy. Sometimes we need our rational side to step up and put the emotional side in check for a while. You are right, you have done everything in your power to make this work. Like the PPs state, it's one day if not one hour at a time. You are holding great as far as I'm concerned. Lots of hugs and calming thoughts coming your way.

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  21. Hi Mo

    Been in your shoes....and I would say that some regular chin wags with a good counsellor did not hurt...i would encourage you, if you go that route, to also have her on speed dial for those times when you can't talk yourself out of the tree, and also that they be willing to see you on a prn basis. My friends, spouse and colleagues could only do so much, and often I felt guilty going over the same ground with them...compassion fatigue was my fear...and so I took it to the counsellor...a good decision for me.

    physician chick from the great white north

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  22. Mo you are reading my thoughts aren't you?! I am terrified at every minute. I guess three losses (or more in your case) will do that to you. This weekend I went on the boat with my inlaws and worried over every bump and wave the boat hit. Then, my 30 pound nephew jumped in my arms at family dinner on Sunday and my doctor told me not to lift anything over 10 pounds. I worried all weekend that my beta wasn't going to go up. But, it did. I am trying to be positive, but it is so hard. I don't have any words of wisdom, just wanted you to know that I feel your pain. I am here to support you no matter what happens and I am praying like crazy that we are holding our babies later this year. Xo

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  23. ...and its ok to all of the sudden need doppler, u/s and anything else that will help you to get thru the day.

    but you are right, what's done is done, and now its just time ticking away to the eventual outcome (hopefully a poopy diaper!). you're doing great so far.

    yes get a home doppler, and use it as little as you can to get by, but as often as you need to get by... its a delicate balance!

    and if i were you, i would want to be on a weekly u/s schedule- totally common with rpl patients. i hope you can get them on a good machine with an experienced tech, too.

    thinking of you every day, mo. one day at a time.

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  24. Yup. You have to resign yourself to the "I just don't know and that's okay" mentality. No amounts of blood tests or u/s will change the outcome.

    I do hope you will do things that make you happy - a short walk in a favorite peaceful spot, a mani/pedi, cuddle with your favorite person/pet.

    I also strongly recommend the Circle + Bloom guided meditations, as sometimes it's very helpful to have a voice blocking out all that negative thinking that cycles through our heads.

    Time.

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  25. Beautiful post. Sounds to me like you're in as healthy a mental space as you can be.

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  26. Mo, you are so clear headed. I would probably he incapacitated with fear if I was in your shoes. I continue to hope and pray for you and Will and this little baby.

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  27. Acceptance is a wonderful place to be. I'm just about there myself. I'm not excited about my pregnancy. I haven't told anyone other than immediate family. I don't fantisize and rub my belly. I've been feeling guilt about this and now I realize I'm waiting. I'm waiting for tomorrow and our NT scan, I'm waiting until viability, I'm waiting to get to a gestational age where there is little chance of negative effects from prematurity, I'm waiting to be sure there is no birth trauma. Until then I'll gradually work up to my excitement. Acceptance is a wonderful place to be while you wait.

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  28. I think it's great that you're giving yourself permission to freak out as much as you want, as well as take any steps to reassure yourself. A very sensible approach given what you have been through.

    These next few weeks are going to be tough, and I hope you get through them as smoothly as possible. Let the time pass quickly!

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  29. I'm glad you're being so gentle with yourself. And I haven't been through anything like you (just a couple chemical pregnancies and a late miscarriage), but with this pregnancy I was really scared until I got past the point where I had miscarried the time before. Then the fear didn't entirely go away, but it lessened A LOT. I hope this happens for you as well.
    Praying for everything to go perfectly for you these next 3 weeks and beyond...

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  30. You are absolutely right, only time will help and even then until that baby is in your arms you might not be completely convinced that this can turn out ok. But that's fine, this is your reality and whatever it takes to get you through each day successfully sounds like a perfect plan!

    And perhaps you can do what I did to ensure I had an ultrasound every 2 weeks until I was into my 3rd trimester (yes, I was that paranoid my pregnancy would end like my others). I scheduled alternate visits with my OB and MFM, so I really only saw them once a month but on alternate 2 week schedules. And they were willing to accomodate my need for a quick scan. I hope yours is as well!

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  31. For what its worth, I think you are doing great. No one can blame you for feeling the way you do after everything that you have gone through. I am constantly amazed at your strength. We are all pulling for you!

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  32. You guys could buy an ultrasound machine! :-).
    You are right though, only time will tell! Praying time flies!

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  33. After your positive heart beat scan I was going to ask what the furthest along you'd ever been and add that it wouldn't be likely that you'd have your first exhale until you passed that point and then likely not until you entered your 2nd trimester.

    I fully recommend renting a fetal Doppler at some point. After so many losses, I too, was completely uneasy during most of my pregnancy. The Doppler reassured me in a way that nothing else could have. And, it bonded me to my son in a way that still makes me teary thinking about.

    Good luck! You ARE doing it!

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  34. It DOES get easier in some ways - especially once you start feeling movement (though that can be another thing to panic about on occasions). Like you, I had 6 losses and, like you, I was terrified. I think I had a little more faith than I had done in the past because our pregnancy number 7 was through donor eggs. BUT my two best supporters during our losses (from our Miscarriage Association support group) also finally got their take-home babies - who were genetically theirs - one after 6 losses and one after 7! And the one who lost 7 now has 2 kids. It CAN work out.

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  35. Yup -that sounds exactly right to me. You and the fear will get to know each other quite well and it will ebb and flow. Sounds like a little DBT is in order here- the whole "You can't stop the waves but you can learn how to surf" business. Keep surfing, Mo. Moment by moment.

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  36. Thinking of you my friend. Hoping that time does pass and that you are able to find peace and enjoy this pregnancy. You are in my thoughts!

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  37. Oh gosh I so remember this feeling. And you are right, time is the only thing that will help. Each minute, day, week is a milestone at this point. It is hard to celebrate, so just keep breathing and try not to overanalyze if you can.

    When you start having doubts, stop the story in your head. Just actively tell yourself that you are still here and until proven otherwise, which may never ever come, you ARE still pregnant.

    Little flicker and all...you are still pregnant.

    Hugs to you!!!

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  38. Although I didn't experience the losses that you have, I did finally get pregnant at CCRM after failed IVFs previously, so I do understand some of the anxiety you're feeling. No matter what, don't let anybody tell you that you're being "ridiculous" or too anxious during your pregnancy - because NOBODY understands how you feel and what you've been through, and you have every right to do all the "ridiculous" things you need to do, to keep yourself sane. I even drove 2 hours, twice a week during my first trimester to get ultrasounds from a friend who's an OB. And I'm sure she probably thought I was crazy, but really, who cares. Because having peace of mind and being able to relax has to be good for your baby! So do whatever it takes. Somebody mentioned the doppler... I definitely recommend it as well! At 10 weeks though... not sooner. And if you have to keep it in your glove compartment like I did, to check on your baby multiple times during the day while you're at work, don't feel bad about that either! :)

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  39. There is a great organization called Tiny Heartbeats (www.tinyheartbeats.org). Their mission is to "provide fetal monitors to pregnant women who have previously been through fetal miscarriage, fetal demise, ectopic pregnancy or stillbirths, lost a child to complications from pregnancy, or those women in high risk pregnancies."

    After six miscarriages, I strongly relied on my doppler to provide much needed sanity checks. But still, my first question at my daughter's birth was "Is she alive?" Gratefully, she was and is a crazy, climbing toddler today. I send you all the strength and crutches and tools you can use to get through every spiralling panic.

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  40. I think fear is inevitable and you are very sensible to accept that. Also though it is handy to talk yourself off the ledge sometimes - just because living at that level of fear is really exhausting!

    My pregnancy so far has been a mixture of fear, resignation to failure, extreme joy and total excitement. As long as you occasionally feel the last two (and these get more prominent the more time passes) then you've got some balance.

    But really you are right - time is your answer and you'll be amazed how slow and at the same time fast it can go. x

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  41. It is so impressive that you're allowing yourself to feel what you're feeling, and that you're facing the fear and terror head-on. You are incredibly brave, and honest with yourself, and I love that about you.

    Our situation was very different, but still I lived in fear of losing them the entire pg and until they left the NICU. It is normal after so many losses and with a high-risk pregnancy to guard your heart, to be anxious, and to only believe it is truly real when you hold your baby in your arms.

    Time doesn't heal wounds, but I do believe it'll help ease your fears as you go past the weeks of every previous loss, and as you reach every pregnancy milestone.

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  42. I pray that that this flicker of life carries on for months to come, so that you may meet face-to-face, in a very happy time. Hold on...minute by minute...to any peace you can.

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  43. Your right fear is normal and good for you allowing yourself to feel it. Take good care of yourself. Distracting yourself with things you enjoy can really help the time go by. I read a lot of trashy novels those first couple months.

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  44. Oh Mo, this is such a hard place to be. I can only imagine how stressful this waiting is for you. I think it is very wise of you to recognize that another beta or ultrasound would only help temporarily. But if it would help you to have weekly ultrasounds, I say do it. Don't let anyone make you feel silly. You have been down one hell of a road to get here and you have legitimate reasons to be scared out of your mind, with all that you have been through.


    Definitely rent or borrow or buy a good doppler in a few weeks. I rented one at 11 weeks from babybeats and couldn't find the heartbeat the night before my NT scan and TOTALLY freaked out even though I knew it was a little early. It took me a while to figure out where to look for the heartbeat, and sometimes it took a long time to find it, but that reassurance was beautiful. I still have it, now at 24 weeks, I check every 3 or 4 days because this little one does not kick a lot. I will be keeping it to the very end, just for reassurance. I had a few days with Birdie where she didn't move much toward the end of my pregnancy and I was so scared that she had died.

    I hope that the next few weeks go by quickly and uneventfully! There are so, so many people pulling for you guys!

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  45. I haven't been by recently but just wanted to say how excited I was to read about last week's ultra-sound! I think you're right about the time. For me, it was the only thing that really helped my frame of mind. It was a process of one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, one-day-at-a-time.

    What have you heard back from the miscarriage wizard about your immune tests? Are your NK cells staying low? What about the cytokines?

    Keeping everything crossed that this little baby sticks around to meet you in nine months!

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  46. Thinking of you each day- counting the days as they go by and cheering you on each day!!!

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  47. I hope the next few weeks go by quickly and you come out the other side more hopeful with an ongoing pregnancy. Nothing will make this time easier. Bloodwork is pretty useless at this point. If I manage to get pg again, I'm sure I'll be sneaking frequent peeks on my U/S at work to keep my mind at ease.
    There's no shame in getting ultrasounds for reassurance if it will help keep you sane. Sounds like you're doing a good job of that yourself so far.

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  48. thinking of you mo...
    u/s tomorrow? hoping for all the good things for you.

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  49. You are doing amazing Mo. Everyone in your shoes would be terrified, only a crazy person wouldn't, you are doing great taking it day by day. I pray this little one stays in there all 9 months.

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  50. Thinking of you. I second the Doppler. It saved my sanity. And I used it nearly every single day until I could feel consistent movement--and sometimes after just because I liked the sound. :-)

    Do what you need to do to get through this. There's no right or wrong.

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