So. San Diego has been pretty good. This is my last day here and the week has gone by quickly, which makes me both happy and sad - happy because every week is an achievement for Ember (and me), sad because I'm not terribly excited to go back home to snow and cold and whatever I have to deal with in my real life.
I was anxious about coming on the trip, because I get anxious about everything, after all. Also I'm painfully aware of being unable to predict/control anything about the future, and by future I don't mean a year or two down the road, I mean like tomorrow. Or five minutes from now, depending on the day.
But the flight was quick and uneventful (hurrah for direct flights!) and when we landed it was soooo good to be in a warm place and to see green trees and tropical plants and cacti and grass. In-laws were warm and welcoming, the house we rented is beautiful (even if fixtures and appliances don't always work) and again - warmth and greenness. I spent Sunday and Monday relaxing, reading and thinking this was such a good idea. I found little, secret ways to embrace Ember. We went for a walk by the beach and looked at the sea lions and seals, and I allowed myself to ogle the mommy and baby seals and feel affinity with them. Incidentally, this affinity still does not extend to humans. I don't identify with pregnant strangers and/or families at all. In fact I am quite resentful of them and intolerantly critical of people's parenting skills or lack of skill. I am not a horrible person; I'm self-aware enough to know it is a defense mechanism. But looking at animals makes me feel better and more normal. Animals are therapeutic.
Then there was Tuesday.
I went to the bathroom and there was blood. It was dark brown and there was not a lot, but considering I have had almost none for two weeks it looked like a lot. I scuttled into bed with a roll of tp, threw my clothes in random directions and stayed there all day. I wasn't quite as panicked as the first time it happened, but my thoughts for several hours were some variation of fuck you universe. whywhywhywhywhy. In between I tried to achieve numbness, which was the only way to maintain calm, because, well, I have kinda learned how to do that in the past few weeks.
Meanwhile the bleeding would taper off to a small amount of spotting, then come out more strongly when I would got out of bed, which I only did to go to the bathroom. A couple of times I saw dark red mixed with the brown. By mid afternoon I was crying and whimpering I can't take this anymore. MIL came and held my hand, went over symptoms with me. Do you have cramping? No. Back pain? No. Heavy, bright red blood? No. Well then, everything is probably OK. "My stupid body won't give me a break," I told her. "Your stupid body proved all those fertility doctors wrong," she reminded me. I sipped juice and managed to kind of believe her, especially since I started feeling quite queasy by the evening.
By Wednesday there was very little bleeding, just the occasional, light brown spotting like I had at 5-8 weeks. But inside I felt like I had lived through the same gory car crash yet again. I was angry. I wanted someone to say something stupid or rude to me so I could yell at them, maybe hit them or throw something at them for good measure. Nobody did though. I calmed down eventually. But just for the record, people with miracle pregnancies can have anger issues too. I think part of my problem is that while I'm not the same as I was before the pregnancy (reduced body confidence and energy, weird symptoms that remind me I'm Not In Control) I also have a ton of uncertainty about how all this will turn out. There's still a little voice in my head saying "It's too good to be true." So I haven't been able to embrace a "new" identity. I think it is both unresolved infertility grief and the pregnancy complications. So I'm in a no-mans-land where I feel like I've lost my former physical confidence, but don't trust my body to create this baby successfully and help me morph into a mommy-person with baby. And I'm not really dealing with any of this because I keep bouncing from one crisis to another.
Still, by Thursday I was OK to start doing activities again. As Mr. Turtle observed to me once, "Suffering looks like it's awfully boring." He's right of course. We visited the zoo on Thursday, and the naval museums on Friday. Both were awesome. My energy and appetite peaks around the middle of the day so I was able to fully participate in everything except for the day I spent in bed. The one part of the trip I didn't enjoy at all, as I knew I wouldn't, was eating in restaurants. We went to three excellent restaurants, but my appreciation of food is inversely proportionate to the level of imagination in the preparation. I tucked into hot dogs at the zoo ravenously - so delicious! But tapas was torture. Worst of all was was the chef's table at a swanky golf course. I looked at the three course menu and wanted to cry. Oh God do we have to eat all this I can't make it I can't make it. I survived - eating one bite of side from every dish and carefully avoiding any kind of meat - yecch! - and I actually enjoyed the dessert - chocolate mousse with berry reduction and fresh blueberries and raspberries. Too bad I couldn't just skip to that. In any case, I made myself go along so the family could be together, 'cause family is important. And I'm here writing this, so clearly I survived.
So. This is our last day in San Diego. Mr. Turtle and I took it easy and spent a lot of the day on a trail above the shoreline, which gave use an incredible view of the coastline. We could see and hear the surf below, and sound I find profoundly calming and relaxing. We read and went to a little cafe once for sandwiches. It was perfect.
Ember is 10 weeks 1 day today. I'm going to say that with confidence because hell, all these weird symptoms got to mean something is happening. A few weeks ago, during the first crisis, I had a very wonderful intense email conversation with a friend. She wrote to me: "Keep hoping as long as there is reason to hope." That line has stuck in my head. And day by day I'm trying to live it.