2015 Can Kiss My A**

*Warning: language alert*  If you are offended by swearing, don’t read any further but do read this article.

Goodbye 2015. I fucking hated you and you were the worst year of my life.

2015 was filled with loss – not just our angel babies but also family members and friendships. It was a year of immense heartbreak.

There were issues, challenges and changes at work and the latter half of the year saw the constant worry of layoffs.

There were situations with our families in various forms that tested the relationships and while some have survived, others have not.

Our circle of friends has struggled too – with layoffs, family issues, illness and more. Consequently, we have struggled with how to be there for them when we are barely managing to look after ourselves.

Our vacations, Christmas and New Year’s were all tainted by “what should have been” or by the miscarriages happened days before we left.

We both hit rock bottom.  It took different forms but for me, 2015 broke me.  It beat me down and 2015 has changed me.  I feel as though I no longer have the mental strength or resilience to manage anymore.  I received a kind note from a former colleague who was sorry to hear of our recent challenges through reading our blog.  He said “You’re a light to all those who know you…a spark plug of energy, and it is infectious.”  I laughed out loud.  I barely remember that version of myself and I doubt anyone would say that now.  How sad.

Please don’t be one of those people that comment and say “be thankful for what you have” or “there had to be some good things that happened” or “at least you have your health/job/insert something you think I should be grateful for”.  You didn’t live my life and I didn’t live yours.  Of course there are people out there who are suffering and who have it “worse” than I do.  My hubby and I chose to deal with that by giving very generously to the organizations that help those people and we have made a point of doing so this year.

But their problems don’t make my problems go away and it doesn’t change the fact I still hate 2015.  It was a terrible year.

Tomorrow will bring a new year, a new day and some new revelations and resolutions.

Until then, 2015 you can kiss my ass good-bye.

With Grace

“You have been through so much and you have handled it with grace”. That’s what our Fertility Doctor said to us on December 15 and it was probably one of the nicest things he could have said – given the circumstances.

You see, we were accepted for our frozen embryo transfer in mid-November and it started with my old friend Suprefact five times a day. Very inconvenient if you have a professional job that requires meetings.

We decided not to tell anyone because everything would happen to close to Christmas and there are already so many emotions around this time of year, why add to the pile?! We are also tired of being the pity case. Tired of “helpful” advice and tired of having to share our never-ending bad news. We wanted this to be just us for a while.

After my period it was more Suprefact, low dose aspirin and some estrogen until my lining ultrasound the second week of December. Everything looked great and the estrogen was increased steadily over the next few days and they threw in some progesterone too. My purse was already a pharmacy, what’s a bit more? Nevermind the fact it’s vaginal progesterone 3 times a day. Sigh.

The transfer was scheduled for December 15 and we both took a vacation day. To say that we were cautiously optimistic would be an understatement. My acupuncturist was scheduled to come for the post transfer treatment. Everything was lining up perfectly.

And then the embryologist called.

He was exceptionally sorry to inform us that neither embryo survived the thawing process and there would not be a transfer today. Instead, we needed to come in and see our doctor.

Shock.

That’s really the only word for it.

We went to see our Fertility Doctor who was at a loss for words.  90% of all embryos survive the thawing process…but neither of ours did. Statistically speaking that’s rather incredible. For all the wrong reasons.

He spent a lot of time with us. He actually left, saw another patient, and then came back. He went through everything in our file. Every test, every result and every procedure. Everything is fine. Nothing is stellar but everything is where it should be or “pretty good”.

He told us he doesn’t know what to suggest anymore. We could do a chromosome testing IVF but he wouldn’t recommend that because it involves freezing and thawing again. We could do another IVF but there isn’t anything that can be done to increase our chances because our results last time were “pretty good” (not great but good). He would not recommend donors (sperm or egg) because ours are fine.  He wouldn’t recommend surrogacy because I do not fit the criteria (and it’s not really a thing here anyways). After all, I can get pregnant and I have been three times. There is nothing to suggest someone else could carry them further. Our antibodies are fine, our chromosomes are fine and my uterus is textbook.

He told us to go home and think about what we want to do and so that’s what we are doing.

As we move from one year to another New Year around the corner, it is already a time for reflection anyway.

Why Christmas is Hard

I have been thinking about this post all week as Christmas draws closer and it gets harder each day.  It seems that a lot of people don’t understand how or why Christmas would be a hard and unhappy time for two people who want but don’t have children and who have had two miscarriages this year alone. 

I am a planner and the minute I knew I was pregnant with the last one I checked how far along I would be at Christmas so that I could start to plan what we would be doing. Which means as Friday draws near all I can think about is the fact that I should be 8 months pregnant and making Christmas dinner. Chances are anyone you know who experienced a loss this year also knew exactly how far along they would have been for the holidays. Or how old their baby would have been. That makes it hard. 

It’s also hard because another year is ending. The end of another year marks another year of TTC over and nothing to show for it other than heartbreak and depleted bank accounts. It’s a loud reminder of time passing. It’s also when people like to say irritating things like “I am sure 2016 will be your year” and you are forced to smile and nod when really you just want to scream “actually it might not be! It might never be, don’t you understand that?!” Smile. And. Nod. 

It’s also a time when everyone joyfully looks forward to a new year. But not those of us with recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility. There is not a lot of hope going into a new year when nothing is in your control and the odds are working against you. 

It’s hard because this is kid season. If I hear one more person say “Christmas is really for the kids” I think I will scream. But “kid everything” is in your face. At the malls, on TV – there is no escaping it. 

But what’s hardest is that this is when family traditions are made and honored and you are faced with the cold reality that you don’t have the family you thought you would to build traditions with and maybe you never will. 

This article was very timely for me on Mind Body Green and I think that people with infertility and those that love them will find it interesting: 9 Ways To Deal With The Holidays When You’re Experiencing Infertility

Still on the Sauce

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Sooooo…giving up the sauce isn’t going so well.

I have been drinking less…sort of…but I have definitely not abstained from all drinking.  On one hand my brain is saying “Screw it, it is the holidays!” and on the other hand my brain is saying “Oh look, something else you can’t do”.

But there is just so much socializing to be done and I guess I like to socialize with a drink.  It doesn’t need to be more than one, but at least one.  Plus it is much easier than announcing, “Nope, still not pregnant.  Just not drinking.  Seriously.  Yes, I am serious. ”

So I don’t know what to do.  I would like to stop beating myself up though.

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Giving Up the Sauce

If you know me at all, you know I like my wine.  I enjoy drinking wine and have come to love trying new bottles, experimenting with pairing it with food and expanding my knowledge and my palate.

Which is why this decision did not come easily….I have decided to stop drinking.

As a celiac I don’t drink much beer (gluten free beer is truly horrible) and I am not really a fan of hard liquor so giving up wine means giving up drinking.

Up until now I have continued to drink (at various levels) through my fertility journey (minus the times I have been pregnant), but I have decided that in preparation for what may come in the New Year, I would like to stop drinking.

My acupuncturist tells me it consumes vital Qi.  My tummy and thighs tell me it is keeping me chubby.  My brain says, “it is time”.

Why now? Why not after New Year’s or as a January resolution? Well, I think if I can get through the holidays without drinking I will have a better chance of being able to sustain the habit into the New Year.   Also, I shared two fabulous bottles yesterday – a gorgeous Chateauneuf-de-Pape and then later beautiful Pinot Noir – and I think you should always leave the party when you are having the most fun.

Let’s go out on a high note 🙂

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How to “Get Over” a Miscarriage

This post was inspired by a co-worker who doesn’t know that I know about their miscarriage.  I didn’t know how or what to say to them.  So in a perfect world it would have been something like this…

You will never “get over” your miscarriage.  Why the title then? Because after our first loss that’s what I googled in a vain attempt to find to something on the internet that would help ease the pain and bring some comfort.  But no, you will never “get over it”. You will never forget the loss of your unborn child(ren) and that’s ok.  They are always in your heart and always with you.  Over time, it will become easier.  There will still be days where it hits you like a smack in the face. You will read something, see something or remember a date (due dates, anniversaries of the loss) and it will hit you hard.  Those days will never go away, you will just get better at dealing with them.

So what does help? My ideas and thoughts are below, feel free to add yours to the list.

Be sad.  Allow yourself the time to grieve and the time to be sad.  Know that you and your partner will handle grief differently so allow yourselves time to grieve alone and at each other’s own pace.  Cry.  Just let yourself cry.  And after the initial shock and sadness, make sure you find some time to be sad together.  Wallow in the misery together for a bit.  It helps to know the other person is hurting too.

If you can (and I know not everyone can do this), take some time off work.  A few days to absorb the reality of what has happened, to cry and sleep a lot.  To just be in pain.

Don’t put a time limit on the pain and don’t pressure yourself to “move on”.  Take the time you need.  Do not let people belittle your loss.  It doesn’t matter how many weeks it was or how quickly you got pregnant or “at least you know you can get pregnant” or how many miscarriages someone else had before they had children – none of that helps, none of that matters.  This is your loss and your story.

Find a way to memorialize the loss together.  Trust me on this one.  It will feel awkward at first but you will be glad you did it.  We didn’t do this with the first one and as a result I feel  we didn’t really bring closure to the loss until much later.  Memorializing the loss is what the living do to help manage the death of a loved one.  Your child lived and it deserves a goodbye – you don’t have to do a funeral but something to bring closure helps.   After the second loss we wrote a note to the baby together (If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever) and then we burned it (in the jungle in Bali) and said good-bye.  With the third we did a memorial walkWe named all three of them. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t know the gender.  We had a feeling in our hearts and having a name helped us say good-bye. Others have planted trees or purchased plants, others have made donations, got a tattoo – I bought a necklace for all 3. The point is,  just find something that is meaningful for the two of you and do it.

If you don’t have to be alone, don’t.  It can be a very isolating feeling and you are not alone.  I look forward to the day where there isn’t a stigma about talking about miscarriage.  Telling close friends and family can get you an “out”.  A free pass from having to live up to social obligations for a while – take it and use it. It is a also a really good opportunity to find out who your friends are!  If you really don’t want to or can’t tell anyone, then find solace and comfort in a community on the internet.  Search “miscarriage” on Pinterest and you will quickly see you that you are most definitely not alone.

Be angry.  People forget that anger is a part of the grieving process and by goodness you are going to be angry.  Let it happen.  Yell and scream in your car, your house, the shower – whatever. I have a journal, this blog and a psychologist.  All places where I can be very angry and very ugly if I need to be and it is judgement free.  So just go for it.

Exercise.  It releases chemicals in your brain that mimic anti-depressants.  Get out there and do it, even if it is just a walk with your partner for now.

Take comfort in the fact that one day there will be more good days than bad days.  Don’t rush yourself, it will come. And if doesn’t come or you don’t feel like you are moving forward after giving yourself time to grieve – then get some help.  Talk to your doctor.

Oh and one more thing – drink the wine, eat the sushi, have brie – because you can!

IMG_4689If you are interested in an awesome memorial necklace, be sure to check out The Charmed Wife on Etsy.