Still in Phoenix, and staying for a while.

thIf things had gone according to plan I’d be getting on a plane this evening and returning to Anchorage. But one thing I’ve learned in all my years is that plans are really just God’s laugh track.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook and/or my daughter’s website know that she’s had three miscarriages in a row. In the middle of the night Saturday she started to spot and cramp. She and Tim went to the emergency room and I stayed here: sniffling, setting up the Roomba, doing dishes and then mopping most of the living area. If I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, I figured I might as well do something useful.

The ER doctor said it wasn’t clear whether she was miscarrying again. “Too soon to tell” wasn’t of much use, but it allowed for hope.

On Monday she had blood drawn and on Thursday the results revealed that her HCG level had continued to rise more or less normally. She already had an appointment for an ultrasound on Dec. 31, so last night I decided to extend my visit. There’s not much I can do about the results – either a heartbeat will be detected or it won’t – but at least I can be here.

Quick aside: I did not make the decision on my own. When asked, she said she’d really like to have me here and her husband said that anything she wanted would be fine with him. Bless his heart: How many guys would still be smiling when their mothers-in-law extended an eight-day visit into a three-week sojourn?

Life is so damned tenuous

I have no idea how my daughter is holding it together. Well, I have some idea: her at-home job, treats that I prepare, posting on her blog and binge-watching of the TV program “Leverage” on Hulu Plus. Abby noted wryly that she probably picked the show because of its premise: Something really unfair happens and a team of experts steps in and makes it all better.

I’m in awe of her coping abilities because frankly my own anxiety and stress levels are as high as an Arizona palm tree. I’ve been flashing back to her near-fatal illness and how sick and helpless I felt the entire time. It’s been hard to concentrate on my own work and as for stress eating, well, let’s just say that bag of dollar-store gingersnaps should have lasted a lot longer than it actually did.

The miscarriages and now this potential threat seem so unfair and capricious. Why should these two people, who are anxious to have a child, be denied over and over? Why should people who don’t even want kids (and who in fact neglect or abuse the ones they have) be rewarded with multiple births?

No answers exist to these questions, except that loss is part of life and life doesn’t always go your way. As I noted in a post called “The fragility of dreams”: 

“Only time will ease the pain you and Tim feel. I say ‘ease’ rather than ‘take away,’ because to some extent the sadness will always be with you. This will be a mournful chapter of your lives, but it need not be the whole book.

“How easy it would be to shut down emotionally, in order to protect yourselves against the possibility of future loss. Don’t. Please don’t. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it’s that sorrows are just as likely as blessings – and that sometimes the two are intertwined.

“Life is so damned tenuous. But don’t let the fragility of your dreams cause you to give up on dreaming them.”

Getting through the days

On New Year’s Eve day the ultrasound will reveal what’s going on: heartbeat or no heartbeat, hope or disappointment. If you’ve got a prayer in you, please send it skyward.

After that I’ll remain for another 10 days – not my preferred time frame, but certainly a frugal one. When I talked with the airline it turned out that before Jan. 8 the cost to change my ticket would be a $200 fee plus as much as $1,050. If I booked for Jan. 9, the damage would be a $200 fee plus a $40 ticket cost difference.

While I believe that some things are worth the cost, paying out an additional $1,250 would be a sharp blow to my budget. Fortunately I have a son-in-law who’s amiable about my staying a lot longer. Apparently he’s never heard the old saw about fish and visitors.

Best-case scenario: A strong heartbeat is detected on Dec. 31 and the bleeding stops. I’ll get an extra 10 days of Arizona sunshine, while my poor DF shovels snow and plugs in his car against the below-zero temps up in Anchorage. I miss him fiercely and was really looking forward to being in his arms again.

(DF’s reaction to my decision – “You need to be there” – reminded me yet again that I have found a genuine treasure.)

If the worst happens, I’ll be here while she undergoes yet another D&C. I’ll be able to keep the house tidy and the laundry done while the two of them grieve. Right now I’m focusing on just getting through the next few days. That, and wishing that the team from “Leverage” could lend a hand.

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  1. I hope all goes well with your daughter. There is always hope!! Perhaps if you explain your ‘medical’ situation to the airline, they will allow you to waive the ‘ticket change charge’? Surely even the airlines have a heart around this time of year.
    May you begin your New Year with good news.

    • Donna Freedman

      The ticket agent suggested the same thing, but cautioned me to get a letter from the OB-GYN explaining the situation. I’ll definitely give it a try.
      Thanks for your good wishes.

  2. I’m so glad for all of you that you’re able to stay. You’re all in my thoughts and prayers (and tears and hopes and wishes) this week. Hang in there.

  3. What a rough time for you all. It’s hard to be the mama feeling so much and unable to do anything about the baby they want so much. Fingers crossed it will all be well and it’s good thing you are able to stay and that you can work from Arizona while helping out. I’ll think a good thought for you and your family and hope for good news.

  4. Donna, you and Abby and Tim and your DF are in my prayers. xo

  5. Donna!
    Sending lots of prayers your way. Hang in there. {{{hugs}}}}

  6. My thoughts and prayers are with your daughter and family. I have a wonderful 22 year old son, born after 3 miscarriages (including an induced stillbirth). One thing I learned along the way is that many, many women suffer this problem silently, and only let others know to comfort them. I pray your heartache will ease.

  7. Have been praying for Abby since I read her post right before church on Christmas Eve. Hoping for good news f

  8. It’s times like this that we realize just how fragile life is…Will tell ya that DW had a host of complications with DD2…gestational diabetes….”crazy-high” high nlood pressure… you name it. To bed she went about 10 weeks into her pregnancy and there she stayed until the birth of DD2 6 months later. Doctors cautioned us…did a bunch of testing and still cautioned us more…Buuuut the baby wasn’t listening…came out screaming and healthy…and has been a true blessing. Here’s hoping Abbey and Tim have the same outcome….PS… lying on the left actually lowers the blood pressure in expectant mothers …heard this explained by a specialist many years ago…Best of Luck!

  9. Mrs short

    It’s so wonderful that you’re able to stay. What a gift! And I pray that you’ll be there to help celebrate the good news those two certainly deserve!

  10. My prayers are with you all!!

  11. She’s on a nationwide prayer list, and I’m glad you’re staying. Sometimes a gal just needs her mom.

  12. Sending positive thoughts and prayers! I am 60 years old and still need my mother (via phone) every so often when I am ill. How great that you can stay and be of comfort.

  13. Donna, Tim, and Abby,

    A prayer has been sent for you. I will hold you in my thoughts.

  14. Abby needs her mom right now and I’m glad Tim understands that. Mom needs to be with her daughter.

    Best wishes to all of you.

  15. Zelda Lee Hoover

    I am praying that this pregnancy will continue and your daughter will be blessed with the baby she wants. I truly know the heartache ofthree miscarriages. I have experienced the same thing.

  16. The kids and I are praying for Abby every day. We wish her only the best of everything. So glad you are staying with her Donna!

  17. I’ll be praying for all of you. You are a good mother, and hopefully your daughter will be one also one day. About a week ago we received joyful news that friends who have suffered through many years of miscarriages had a healthy little girl. There is always hope. May it follow Abbey and Tim wherever they go.

  18. Prayers & best wishes to you all.

    This is just one of those times when the $$ does NOT matter. I would be doing the same even IF I had to run up cc debt: however my EF would MORE than cover which is a VERY good reason to have one.

    • Donna Freedman

      Exactly! Having the emergency fund means that I can be flexible — and the reason I have the fund is that I’m careful about day-to-day spending. Once again: I save where I can so I can spend where I want. Right now, where I want is Phoenix.

  19. Kathy Mayin

    All of you have been in my thoughts since I first read this post yesterday. Continued thoughts and prayers are being sent. You are a good mama.

  20. I have been wondering how she is since reading her post. Thank you for the update. Sending lots of prayers and hugs. I hope all goes well. I’ve been where she is (3 miscarriages, spotting, hospital stays), but now have two beautiful daughters. Please don’t give up hope.

  21. lostAnnfound

    Thinking positive thoughts and hoping all goes well for your daughter and son-in-law!

  22. Just finished praying for all of you, and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Please post an update as soon as you know anything. God bless!

  23. Many prayers . Rest in that you are doing the best thing for your daughter(and you!) On my knees.

  24. Lorna Huntley

    Sending prayers your way. For the four of you.

  25. Oh Donna. My best wishes go out to you and Abby and Tim. Here’s hoping its a positive result. Life isn’t fair, is it? But we must plug away regardless. I’m happy for Abby that she has you and Tim.

  26. I’m keeping the lot of you in my prayers and hoping for the best. You and your daughter both have good men by your sides, but it’s true that sometimes a girl just needs her mama.

  27. Autocorrect decided to give me a new name. Regardless of what the doodad calls me, I’m rooting for you all.

  28. We’re sending best wishes for you all. Hope it’s a happy and healthy New Year!

  29. Abby, Tim, you, and the rest of the family have my very best wishes. Hope your visit gets to see a happy ending!

  30. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Here’s to healthy betas and healthy babies.

    • Donna Freedman

      Thanks, guys — and again, thanks to everyone who’s sent good wishes/positive vibes/prayers in this direction.

  31. Mirabella

    My prayers and well wishes are with your daughter and son-in-law during this very trying time. And with you as well.

  32. Cathy in NJ

    My prayers for the mother and baby are with you.

  33. Continuing to pray for all of you. Sending out some long distance HUGS too!

  34. Good luck & a happy outcome for everyone today.

  35. Today is the day…thinking of all of you today.

  36. Wow, I just now read this. Prayers coming your way today.

  37. My daughter had a miscarriage and then two live births. The two successful pregnancies were so stressful for her and for me as she fought to keep them inside her. I cannot imagine the stress after three pregnancies and trying to hold onto the fourth. Unfortunately, her husband did not want me talking to her, much less coming for a visit. The control he demanded made me even more anguished. Good luck with this trial.


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