I wrote the following post mid October, 2012. I felt very raw when I wrote it and it was never posted or read by anyone. This morning, in the shower, this post suddenly came to mind and I feel the need to share it. I believe it was God that reminded me of this post, which means someone needs to read it. Here goes:
There is a question that is so commonplace in our society that I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't asked it (me included): "You gonna have a kid/more kids?"
When you get married you realize that is the logical next step in a relationship, right? So people start asking...."when are you going to start a family?" Because just a husband and wife can't possibly be a family, right??? Ohhh, but it is. That's the thing. When you get married, you do become a family with your spouse. Where they go, so do you. Hopefully they are your dearest, closest friend. They see you cry and scream with mascara running down your face and they don't care that you look crazy. They love you more than anyone else. They are your family.
If you are fertility-challenged, then that's all you have. Somedays it feels like plenty and the world is your oyster and you dance off happily to explore it with your spouse. Other days you feel totally consumed and miserable with:
why am I not pregnant?
can I ever get pregnant?
this is cycle day 21....I should've just ovulated, right?
is it too soon to test?
maybe I ovulated late.....should we baby dance tonight just in case?
what if I didn't ovulate at all!???
OH CRAP. My period is here. I'm not pregnant. Or maybe even worse....no period.....no baby.....my body is doing absolutely NOTHING.
This is when the question, "you gonna have a kid?", as totally harmless and kind as it's meant....can make your whole day feel bad. When you are living in Trying to Have a Baby Land, it takes real effort to not think about it. Everywhere you go it's like the pregnant women are following you and newborn babies are staring at you. Family members try to understand, but often even they get pregnant 'without trying'. It can feel immensely alone. It's hard to count how many people I personally know in an agonizing fight to try and have a baby.
This was SO me when trying to get pregnant with our dear Eliana. It consumed me. Then I had her and I could somewhat push the fertility struggle and agony out of my mind as I moved into life with a real live baby. Then we were able to conceive Evangeline in only 2 months of fertility meds. I thought we'd found the magical combo of drugs that worked for my body and I'd be able to have as many babies as we desired.
Spring of 2012 came around and I decided to go in my for annual and at the same time ask for more baby making drugs. I didn't tell Craig...I wanted to surprise him. I thought that if maybe I didn't chart my temp every day and we didn't map out exactly when to have sex, that maybe we could make it less stressful and I could actually do something fun to surprise him with a pregnancy! So I did a round of provera, metformin, and 100mg Clomid. A big fat nothing. My body felt crazy and I thought it was just because I was older and we were under stress with my MIL's health failing. But I couldn't keep it secret more than a month.....so I told Craig I was on meds and we were actively trying to have a baby. There went my surprise! I just knew I couldn't hide the drugs, my clomid moods, and what days we needed to baby dance. We had to be a team. So we started in on the 2nd month of drugs. "It was rough" is an understatement. I had a cyst rupture one night and the whole rest of the month was non-stop spotting, I was moody, angry, and pretty much just felt AWFUL. Add to it my MIL also passed away that month. I felt like I'd gone down the rabbit hole to Crazy Town and didn't know how to get back out. Then the month was over and I had to go get a new month's prescription. I decided to take a pregnancy test since my Ob said I could still conceive even though I'd had a cyst rupture. It seemed unlikely but I desperately wanted a baby and something hopeful and happy in our life following 9 months of horrible-ness.
Whaddya know.....the stinkin' test was positive. And the one I took right after that. And the blood test I went and had done at my Ob's office. I was definitely, for sure, pregnant and about 4 weeks along. I didn't tell Craig and wanted to surprise him on our 7th anniversary, July 16, 2012. That week one of my dearest friends was getting married at our house and I was dying to tell everyone, but I held my tongue. I didn't even tell my mom. I was exhausted and passing out on the couch every afternoon....my boobs hurt, and as is the usual, I was constipated. My sure-fire pregnancy symptoms were in effect. Then something happened.....I started bleeding. Dark red, fresh blood. It was a Saturday and there was no way to go see my Ob and I knew if I went to the ER they'd run tests, tell me to followup with my Ob and charge me $800. No thanks! So I waited til Monday, our anniversary, and went in that morning for bloodwork and an ultrasound. Because I hadn't had my hormone levels checked earlier in the pregnancy, there was no starting point, so the bloodwork was totally inconclusive. The levels suggested I was still pregnant but maybe not staying pregnant. I was told to come back in 2 days to check the levels and again and they needed to have doubled by then. Bad enough I waited all weekend....now I had to wait again! The ultrasound showed a big open, totally empty, uterus. The tech said that would be normal if I was about 4 or 5 weeks. The ultrasound also showed an ovarian tumor and tons of ovarian cysts. It was like bad news after bad news. I couldn't help but cry when I saw my empty uterus and packed-full-of-horribleness-ovaries. It just didn't seem fair. We lost my brother in law and mother in law in the space of 7 months. I needed and wanted something joyful for our family to cling to. Instead I got a miscarriage and a tumor.
After my appointment I drove to Craig's worksite and told him I was pregnant but probably not for long. I felt like I needed to be sorry, like I'd done something wrong. Maybe because it's my body with all the issues. Because I'm the stupid woman whose body doesn't know how to behave like a woman.
We went out for dinner that night for our anniversary and we clung to what the nurse said, "the doctor thinks it's all ok....you'll be fine. Just come back in two days to retest." I later found out that my Ob knew I was miscarrying and what the nurse said came across as major false hope (SO not helpful). So I prayed I would stop bleeding and the baby would soldier on. I'd even had a special pregnancy announcement made on Etsy for Craig....figures the first time I get to surprise him it's with "Surprise! I'm pregnant....for now."
The lab work 2 days later was conclusive. It didn't 'stick'. I was officially not pregnant anymore. I was given a follow up appointment for a month later and sent off to bleed quietly. And so I did. For 2 whole flipping weeks. Prior to miscarrying, I had no idea that women bleed that long. Or that heavy. Every time you see the blood it's a reminder that your body failed you in keeping the pregnancy going. It's a reminder that you're not pregnant anymore.
And then baby shower invites come in the mail or on Facebook. Someone posts their creative "we're pregnant!" announcement on Facebook (or in my case 3 different people did). And yes, they all have roughly the same due date I would've. And it sucks. It's been nearly 3 months and it still sucks for me. I had surgery and am now tumor free. But I'm also still baby free.
And now I'm right back where I was 5 years ago. "You gonna have any kids?"
The thing is, for many of us it's not that simple. I can't just get off the pill, or take out an IUD and wind up pregnant after one night of fun. I haven't been on birth control for 5 years. I've conceived 3 times, all three with provera, metformin, and clomid. Before the miscarriage I at least felt like my body knew how to stay pregnant. It somehow missed the memo to ovulate, but it knew how to carry a baby. Then I miscarried and the innocence of how much it hurts physically and emotionally to lose a baby was robbed from me. Now I wonder if I'll always fear a miscarriage. If God allows me to be pregnant again...will I get to enjoy the pregnancy? Will I be afraid and checking for blood every single time I pee?
These are the things that women who miscarry don't say. Are afraid to say. Are shameful to say. Now, it's a fine balance to accept my loss and move forward while also being joyful and happy for my friends that are having babies. My loss doesn't mean they aren't allowed to be happy. I get that and I AM happy for them, truly. But yet I'm still bummed for me. See how this is a weird cycle? As my own health improves, I'm better able to separate my misfortune from someone else's blessing. I can truly celebrate with friends.
There have been times that it's hard to be in a doctor's office and listen to the 19 year olds next to me going on about how easily they get pregnant and how "they didn't even want to be pregnant." I honestly wanted to go over there and smack them. I think of women who eat whatever they want, smoke, drink, are morbidly obese, etc. and can STILL easily get pregnant. It just doesn't feel fair. That's the thing about miscarriage....it likely never feels fair. I didn't do anything to cause it and there was nothing I could do to stop it. But I'm more sensitive now. I find things people say offensive when the Diana of 4 months ago would not have. Miscarriage changes us. Changes how we view our world and getting pregnant. I couldn't understand that until it happened to me.
I have debated so much about posting about my loss. I've gone back and forth on it this whole time. But I think for me I've realized that I did lose a baby, and it matters. My feelings matter. Remembering my baby matters. Helping others understand what someone miscarrying is going through, matters. My dear friend Rachel has been so courageous in sharing her journey of loss on her blog The Lewis Note, and that has encouraged me also. Did you know 1 in 4 women will experience a baby loss at some point? I don't say that to be fear mongering...but rather, why is it not talked about? Why is it hush hush? Women need to feel understood, validated, encouraged, and given the freedom to be all over the place in their hormones, to not return calls, to be late to play dates.....while the world moves on, many woman are experiencing a miscarriage, alone.
So this is my journey, a very personal one. I might be high functioning....I come from a long line of over achievers and people who press in through the pain. So I cook, and create, and sing, and clean, and so on and so on. Often it's a tight rope walk to keep sane and to stay in the joy of my Saviour and not wallow in the grief or sadness too long. But the downside to people like me is that everyone thinks we're fine. That we're super mom and have it all together. Even my mom and husband often don't know how hurt I am on the inside. It's takes vulnerability to show my hurt and I think sometimes I'm afraid I'll be judged for showing my hurt or people will have their 'fixes' (I was told once to just pray about it and that fertility meds are unGodly), or that somehow accepting my pain will make me flounder in it. The reality is that often healing comes through vulnerability. By letting people see our hurt and what we might perceive as 'weakness', also allows them to help us and love us.
So here I am. Moving forward and taking care of me and my family and working to trust God and have faith that He is Faithful. Tackling life as a mom and the mundane everyday things as best I can to give my 3 children stability and security that the last year has achingly lacked. If you are experiencing a loss, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry you're entering into this club that none of us want to be a part of. You are not alone.
Early miscarriages can be tricky also, because when you don't get to see a heartbeat or know the gender or feel a flutter I think your mind starts to tell you it wasn't real and it doesn't matter and your feelings are dumb. I was 5 weeks when I miscarried. It was still a baby regardless of me not ever feeling it move.
That's where my post ended. I didn't know how to finish it and it never got 'published'. I conceived our little boy just days after this post was written. What an amazing God we serve. I never would have guessed my Rainbow Baby was on his way and how differently my life would look not even a year later. When my lost baby's due date, March 15th, came around I thought about the baby and I was sad, but also having a new baby growing made it so much easier. I know many women don't get that sort of consolation on their lost baby's due dates. Even though I'm over 38 weeks with my little boy, I do remember what the pain felt like and I pray this post helps someone in their pain and feelings.