She Strikes Again

My MIL has struck again.  You might remember the incident after the funeral (WordPress is being difficult – see the post “Ties that Bind”), but I think she has actually topped herself this time.

We had a phone call a couple of weeks ago where they mentioned coming to visit and bringing some of DH’s “personal things” that they had been storing.  We inquired about the “personal things” as they had recently moved and delivered us 6 huge rubbermaid tubs of stuff.  I thought we had it all and I only recently just finished going through it!  She said she would “get back to us”.

A week or so later we received an email saying they were coming to visit, arriving on a Thursday night and leaving Saturday morning.  Thinking perhaps they had looked at the wrong days, I mentioned we would be at work on both Thursday and Friday.  To which she responded, they were aware of that but they could entertain themselves.  You see, they are on their way down south and they have a bunch of places they would like to stop at and spend some time at on their way down.  Ouch.  Clearly they would prefer that to spending time with their oldest son who they see twice a year.  Did I mention they are retired?! They can come any. time. they. want.

Also in this email was again the mention of the “personal things”.  I asked (yet again), what are these personal things?

She responded with an itemized list…of baby clothes.

That’s right.  Baby clothes and quilts that she made for my DH when he was a baby.

Baby clothes considering they don’t know about the recent failed IVF and IUI.

Baby clothes that have never been offered the THREE PREVIOUS TIMES WE HAVE BEEN PREGNANT.

Baby clothes that suddenly need to come to our house as we brace ourselves for the sad reality that in a few days his brother and wife will give birth.  The same brother and wife that got pregnant one month after we did and yet are still having their baby while we are not.

Baby clothes from my DH’s childhood to juxtapose that he might never actually have a child of his own to wear them.

Baby clothes that we can one day throw away with our dreams.

And calling them “personal things” – was she just going to stand there in our house while we opened the tub only to realize that it was baby clothes? And then take a twisted pleasure in our pain and discomfort?

Does she want to hurt us? I can’t fathom that ANYONE is that insensitive. It can’t be possible that she doesn’t get it.  Not after what just happened.

Right? Right??

What the hell am I going to do about this one?

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Would you tell?

It’s that time when the latest crop of Infertility bloggers I follow are now pregnant. This is the second time in my four years. Seems to be that it happens in two year cycles. Another blogger recently wrote about feeling isolated and I can relate to that.  It’s a definite feeling of being left behind.

What I have noticed of late is that these bloggers are posting their news (in this instance, none are anonymous) at 5 and 6 weeks. They are even arranging events to surprise and tell their families.

It’s reminded me that there is a difference between the infertile community and the infertility+repeat pregnancy loss community.

After 3 miscarriages, a BFP would be exciting but is no longer an event worth telling the world about. It’s the start of an even harder and longer wait. One that has yet to end in heartbreak.

I admire their optimism and in some ways, naivety, at their the belief that the hard part is over. When I see those early announcements every part of my body hopes that’s the only one they have to make.

I know there is a belief that you should celebrate and enjoy being pregnant even if that’s only for 6, 7, 8 or 9 weeks but I don’t think I could do that anymore.

What about you? Would you tell? When?

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The Ties that Bind

We just returned from my DH’s grandma’s funeral.  She lived where his parents live, which is no where near our hometown.  It is either a 12 hour drive or you can fly halfway (that’s as close as you can get, no direct flights there) and then drive for 6 hours.  Given the limited bereavement time off work, we chose to fly and drive.  Between the flights, rental car and gas…it was not cheap.  It’s money we don’t really have, considering we just paid our IVF fees, but what can we do.  Family is family. Or so they say.

The trip was layered with emotions to begin with – after all it was for a funeral.  The last time we were up there visiting it was right after the 3rd miscarriage.  We left a day after the D&C.  We weren’t in the best of spirits and DH’s brother and wife had announced just before we left that they were expecting.  We spent a week together making fake conversation while everyone avoided the elephant in the room.  She was pregnant and I was not.

So here we are, traveling up there again with the memory of the miscarriage and the regret that the last time we saw his grandma we were “out of sorts”.  The SIL didn’t come, apparently at 32 weeks she didn’t want to brave the drive….

….

…so we had to take his brother with us.  We don’t get along with the brother most of the time. He’s an a**hole to my DH and an emotionally immature and self-centered person in general.  So, like I said, the trip was layered with emotions.

We almost made it without incident.  I don’t count the times I want to slap his brother as incident because it is too frequent.

The evening before we left, his aunt hosted a supper after the funeral.  My MIL and BIL left the room while we were looking at some of Grandma’s figurines.  They wanted each grandchild/family to take one.   My MIL and BIL come back into the room and my BIL is teary, which wasn’t abnormal as the funeral hit him hard.  Not to sound callous, but he hasn’t seen as much tragedy as we have.  Of course we were sad and hurting for the loss, but we didn’t hysterically weep.  We have had a bit more practice with pain like that.

Anyway, my MIL proceeds to turn to DH and I and proclaim that their Grandma’s mother’s (so their great grandma) ring was given to my BIL and SIL because they are having the first grandchild.  All the siblings agreed, the special ring should be given to the first grandchild, the first grandchild, the first grandchild.

That’s all we could f*cking hear her say.

This is where I tell you that we would have given birth before them, with the “first grandchild” only 6 days from the funeral itself.  Would have.  Should have.  We were the ones who shouldn’t have been able to attend the funeral because we should have been about to welcome our rainbow baby into the world.  But we weren’t.  Three times over we should have had the first damn grandchild.

After a valiant show of effort, I finally started to cry.  To which my MIL, annoyed her story about how great and generous they are was interrupted, said “are you ok?”

“No. I am not okay. It should have been our baby”. I had to excuse myself.

To which my MIL said “She is going to have to get over it. I just don’t know what I can and can’t say anymore, so I am just not going to say anything”.

That’s when my husband told her she should “fucking know better”. She left after I returned from pulling myself together.  She “had a headache”.

It was an awkward goodbye in the morning.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

If Only

If Baby 2 (whom we named Daisy) had survived, she would have been born sometime around this week or next.

She was our IVF baby and we were elated that the IVF had been successful. The IVF process itself had not been pleasant for me. But that’s another post.

The fertility clinic books the 7 week ultrasound for you. You get to go to a special part of the radiology clinic (all in the same building). I was terrified. Once you have been there before, you know The Fear. Most people think they are scared, but it doesn’t happen to them so they don’t really ever know  The Fear.  Or their miscarriage happens with bleeding. Not a lot of people get to experience an ultrasound where you are told there is no heartbeat without any warning. Trust me when I say this. And once it happens to you, there is no turning back. No period in time where you will ever not have The Fear.

The Tech was kind and she did the ultrasound and quietly told us she could not see a heartbeat. We asked for the measurements and it was measuring exactly the right size. There is no grey area with measurements when it is IVF, you know the gestational age to just about the hour. The radiologist came in and told us that he believed it was a missed miscarriage. But because the baby was the right size we asked to see our fertility clinic doctor.

Our doctor said the same thing.

We asked to wait another week and they reluctantly agreed and scheduled another ultrasound for a week later.

I worked that week. I honestly can’t tell you what I even did. I think I was busy. I think I was even efficient – in between intermittent crying periods – because I was dying inside. I was empty.

A week later the tech barely bothered to do a proper ultrasound. The fetal pole was gone. The dead tissue absorbed into the sac. A confirmed fetal demise.

The options were presented, a D&C or try to pass it myself with misoprostol. They push the misoprostol (after all it is non-surgical) and it had worked with the first miscarriage so I decided to try it again.

We had guests come that weekend, it was just before Easter. I don’t recommend houseguests when having a miscarriage. I did the first round and passed a bit of blood, clots and tissue. I went for an ultrasound the next morning at the clinic. The sac was still there. I was given a second round. It is supposed to work with two doses for 80% of people. I didn’t pass anything. We have the most amazing luck with statistics, only it never seems work for lottery tickets.

Next ultrasound and it was clear that the sac was still there.   Misoprostol round 3.

I tried everything with round 3. A hot bath, Advil, cinnamon, you name it.   And still nothing passed.

It was this moment where I stopped believing in God. I am sorry if that offends you.

Three rounds of sitting on the toilet with cramping and pain and waiting for my large blood clot to pass so I can flush my baby down the toilet. And still nothing.

Sunday I was put on alert for an emergency D&C. Monday morning I was instructed to go and sit in emergency. 9 hours later I was discharged from the hospital. D&C completed. Baby gone and over $10,000 poorer with nothing to show for it.

We left two days later for Hong Kong. I continued to pass blood and have excruciating cramps during our four days of sight-seeing. The heat and humidity made everything worse. Sometimes I had to go back to the hotel and just sleep. We then travelled to Bali where we had booked an incredible private villa with our pool. A pool I wasn’t allowed to go in, near an ocean I couldn’t swim in for fear of infection.   What a tragic f**king joke.

I wonder what she would have looked like, our Daisy.

Wonder