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.

 

 

 

 

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

Microblog: Pity vs Empathy

Pity:  the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

It’s a subtle difference but it is there.  I don’t need you to feel sorry for me but I do need you to try and understand and to try and support us in our journey.

Pity: “I can’t imagine how hard this is for you – you must find it so painful to even carry on trying”.

Empathy: “I am sorry you have to go through this and I am sure it isn’t easy to keep trying”.

See the difference?

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October 15

It is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.   Tonight we will light a candle for our three Angel Babies and we will remember them.  Jonah. Daisy. Amal. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about them or where I “should be” in the pregnancy I most recently lost.  I would have found out the gender by now. I should be wearing maternity clothes.  We would have started shopping for things and painting the room.  All dreams  and wishes and nothing more.

I hope that one day the stigma of talking about miscarriage will be gone.  I hope one day couples won’t chose to go through the pain alone and isolated in their misery.  I hope that one day we can support each other better.

Let’s start to open up the dialogue like clinical psychologist Jessica Zucker has with her Honest Miscarriage Cards.

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Bad Luck

Please stop asking me why.

I know, it is easier for those left behind to cling to why.  Everyone wants a reason for tragic events.

You can trust us that no one wants an answer more than we do and we don’t have one so please stop asking why.  Because “why” implies there was  something we could have done.  If we knew why then we can say, “oh next time I won’t eat green beans” or some other silly thing we can cling to with false hope.  But ultimately there is no answer and there is no reason why. Something was wrong with the fetus.  The body aborted it.  End of story.  End of our hopes and dreams for the third time.  If  you think that’s hard to understand, imagine being us.  Or any couple that lost a baby too soon.

It is a statistical game and one that we are very bad at (or good, depending on how you look at the world).  1 in 6 couples have unexplained infertility.  20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.  There was a 5% chance we would miscarry after the BFP following our IVF cycle.  We had a 5% chance of miscarriage after seeing the heartbeat at 7 weeks.

Five F**king percent.  We are very good at being that minority.

I wish there was a 5% chance of winning the lottery.

Not Okay

I am not okay. Are you not okay too?

Maybe you are in the same spot where the miscarriage is still raw, or you had yet another negative test or your period came this morning at work. Maybe you just can’t handle one more Facebook baby announcement (there is seriously something in the water) or maybe another co-worker is expecting.

Either way you are not okay because your face has been shoved in your miserable shit just one too many times lately and you are getting a little too close to the ledge.

When I get too close to the ledge I have what I call “episodes”. I had one over the weekend.  A bit of wine and I was off doing something else and all of sudden it came flooding back to me.  I have been to Toronto twice in the last two years and both times I was supposed to do something baby-related with one of my closest friends. And both times it didn’t happen. The next thing I know I am crying and I can’t stop.  It is horrible, embarassing, lonely and alienating.

Once I went to a friend’s birthday party and all the women who showed up were pregnant.  Another time it was a brunch.  Both times I am in the bathroom sobbing and wishing the floor would open up and swallow me whole. I wanted to run out the door and not look back.  I just couldn’t face a room/table full of people and their pity.

When I tell you I don’t have control over these episodes, I mean it.  Trust me. I don’t want to come out to that party with a red nose and my eye make-up rubbed off.  But I can’t stop.  It is a visceral reaction.

Everything hurts. Everything.

Those of you on this journey know what I mean and for those of you not on the journey, sometimes we need space. I can’t make your baby shower/birthday party/kid-centered event. It doesn’t have anything to do with you, it is me. I am not okay.

I know you want to shout it out loud. I do too.