Posts Tagged ‘grief’

Charmed

I love Pandora jewelry, particularly the charms. Though I’ve never bought a charm for myself, my husband usually gets me one for Christmas or some other occasion. I don’t have a ton of charms for my bracelet, but I have ascribed meaning to each one that I have received.

The first charm I got was this orange-striped candy bead a couple of Christmases ago from my MIL:

orange candy

Of course I associate it with sweetness and the holidays!

I also have this one, The Red Hot Love bead:

red hot love

You guessed it–this symbolizes the love my husband and I have each other (duh)!

I’ve received a few more since then and my MIL offered to buy me another one last Christmas for my birthday in January. Here’s what I bought:

butterfly

This one is the fuchsia butterfly. I got it to remember the baby I lost last September. Not that I would ever need a piece of jewelry or anything else for that matter to remember. Holidays were particularly hard last year and when I walked into the store I knew that I wanted to get something to remember her with, but I didn’t want anyone to know why I’d chosen it. That’s me, keeping my pain tucked away so the world can’t see. My MIL and husband  just assumed I thought the charm was pretty. This was somewhat true, but I have associated butterflies with her memory since they seemed to be everywhere after I lost her.

This year, my husband took me in the store again and I was immediately flooded with last year’s memory. As I recollected, I realized that this passing year was also filled with the second loss I had in February. I’ve never actually processed the loss to a great extent. Maybe I didn’t because there was no fetal pole or maybe because I was only 5 weeks along. Actually, the main reason was because I was just too terrified, but more about that in my next post.  Anyway, this is what I chose for my latest charm:

guardian angel

This one is the guardian angel.  The angel wings symbolize my second angel baby. The one that was gone in the blink of an eye. The one whose spirit that I have since decided was a him.

I don’t know what next year will bring but I hope that I won’t be buying a charm to acknowledge another loss. Given the choice between having a loss and having nothing, I will gladly take nothing.

I kept thinking yesterday how much I wanted to be able to pick out a charm for my take-home baby–the one that will truly be mine, the one that won’t die, if one exists. What would be even better would be for my husband to select it for me. I can’t tell you how much I want that to happen. I’ve waited so long now that I’m not sure whether I am truly waiting or just merely breathing.

This would be my first baby’s first Christmas. This realization has not eluded me. It would also be my second baby’s first Christmas. I got a beautiful new tree to distract myself. I won’t let myself visualize what my baby would look like, whether she would be talking, or what she would think of the tree. I made it pretty and I made it for her and I made it for him, and I hope I have honored their memories.

I am glad to have my bracelet. It’s funny how something so pretty can make you so sad, but I guess that’s life. I don’t know why loss like this happens and I suppose I will never know. So I carry my losses in my heart and I wear them on my wrist, hoping someday my babies find their way back to me.

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The Way to a Baby

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The way to a baby for me (according to my RE) is. . .

(drumroll please)

Through donor eggs!

Yep, we had our WTF appointment today and the doctor said nothing that I hadn’t figured out on my own already.

It turns out the follicles during the IVF cycle were truly empty and that her initial prediction was that I would get four eggs retrieved. Of course, I got two. She also said that my two retrieved eggs didn’t make it to the cleavage stage which indicates an egg quality issue.  Had the eggs made it past this stage and made it to transfer, she would likely recommend a second try at this with my own eggs.

She made it clear that she would indeed do a second IVF, if this is what I wanted, but predicted a similar outcome.  Taking into account my years of trying, my two losses, and this failed IVF, the egg quality just isn’t there.

I’m a little confused about my husband’s sperm issues with all of this.  Initially, the doctor felt that my 4 IUI failures were due to a lack of fertilization, but now she thinks egg quality issues were coming to play even back then.  So chances are, I’ve had poor egg quality for years now.  The higher FSH that I have now is only compounding the problem, I think.  I remember having my FSH tested over a year and a half ago and it was only 6.5 which was great, but I still had problems conceiving even then.  It just goes to show you that a good FSH does not mean good egg quality, no matter what your age.

I have to face reality. I may only be 37 (which is still a good age for a “normal” woman to have a baby), but my body thinks it is older.  Premature aging.  It’s supposed to be harder for a woman my age to get pregnant, but not this hard.

Ask any woman who wants a child. Her dream is to bear a biological child. I am no different. Not being able to bear a biological child means grieving.

But I have to be honest with myself. I’ve been grieving this loss for a very long time now. I didn’t start grieving when I failed this IVF cycle, I didn’t start when I miscarried, and I didn’t start when the IUIs didn’t work. It’s been a continuous process for years now, I guess.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t cry when she recommended donor eggs. If she had recommended this a month ago, I would have fallen apart. Maybe I’m finally at the last stage of grief–acceptance.

Like I said before, I think I’m done blaming myself. As far as I know, my egg quality could have been gone in my 20’s. I didn’t choose it. I didn’t ask for it to happen and it’s not my fault. I don’t know why it happened to me, but I know I can’t change it.  I used to be a happy person; maybe I can find my way back to it. I’ve got a lot going for me in my life and a lot to be thankful for.

I’m going to beat infertility, one way or another. My desire to be a mother hasn’t wavered. I choose to believe that God put that desire in me and that he will fulfill it somehow. It may not be in the way I choose, but I believe that it will happen.

I don’t intend to do another IVF cycle with my own eggs, but I will continue to try to conceive naturally. I did ask the RE about DHEA and she said that in some cases it has helped women and it some cases it has not. It certainly won’t hurt to try. Her recommendation is 50 mg in the morning. I will also go back to acupuncture and try changing my diet.

As for donor eggs, it is an option that we are strongly considering in the coming months. I’m not saying that it is a definite, but I’m no longer completely against it and my husband has warmed up to the idea as well. There’s still a major hurdle–money. In case you are wondering, we don’t have any. Even if we still had insurance coverage, my policy does not cover donor eggs.

So there you have it. My day. Now it’s time to clean up my house for the holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

My Mind Jumped the Track

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Missing in action much?

Yep, that’s me.

My last blog post was about two and a half months ago. I never intended to go that long without blogging but I’ve done so for two reasons. Number one, I have nothing new, fascinating, or otherwise engaging going on in the baby-making department. Number two, I think I had some sort of breakdown.

I guess it was gradually building since miscarriage #2, but it hit me full force around June. Over the last couple of months, I began to lose weight. At first, I thought it was kinda cool, because hey, who doesn’t want to lose a few pounds? Then, there was more and more weight loss until my clothes barely hung to my frame. It didn’t help matters that my periods were coming sooner and were much, much lighter. I also had very light brown, sporadic, discharge-like spotting several weeks after the D & C. My ob-gyn said I was fine, but I convinced myself that she had missed something during the D & C and that I would probably start to hemorrhage soon. When those worries stopped, I convinced myself that I had had a molar pregnancy after all and that was the reason for the brown spotting. The pathology report had said I was fine, but all I could think about was the horror stories I read on Google.

Then, I replaced myself with a new worry. The reason I was losing weight and had shorter, lighter periods and spotting was because I had some type of cancer, maybe not related to the reproductive areas, but somewhere else. If I temporarily managed to convince myself that I was indeed fine, I began to worry about my loved ones. Maybe they were the ones that were sick? I spent time obsessing over them, analyzing their words and actions for anything that seemed out of the norm. Then, they cycle would repeat and I would begin to worry about myself again.

To say that I have spent many nights without sleep would be an understatement. The tears I have cried would fill an ocean. This is not living.

After waking up one morning asking myself, “Am I going to die today?” I finally took action and went to the doctor and cried my story out.

The doctor managed to convince me that all my problems were because of anxiety, depression, and grief, which is what I knew, but just needed someone to say this. The reason for the weight loss was obvious. I lost weight because I stopped eating. I stopped eating because I just didn’t have the appetite. I didn’t have an appetite because I was too worried and depressed to think about food. I was worried and depressed because I’ve been reliving everything that has happened over the last several months.

Most importantly, the doctor also convinced me that everything that has happened to me hasn’t been my fault. I told her about the chromosomal abnormalities with the miscarriages and she said, “You don’t have any control over how chromosomes line up.” I cannot tell you how much this has helped me because I’ve been blaming myself for a very long time. Blaming myself for my eggs, blaming myself for being 37, blaming myself for even trying to conceive in the first place, blaming myself for trying again after the first miscarriage. I don’t know, the whole discussion was just so. . .healing for me.

The CBC test came back normal and she prescribed antidepressants which have helped a great deal. I was on antidepressants a year or so ago, but weaned myself off them because I was afraid that they were preventing me from conceiving. It was a very hard decision to go back on them because, obviously, they are a class C drug which may or may not affect a future pregnancy.  It was also hard going back on them because I had to admit that I had a problem that I couldn’t control or couldn’t solve. In the past I’ve always managed to pull myself out of depression and manage anxiety. This time, I knew I couldn’t.

I really don’t know what happened to me mentally over the last couple of months. I call it a breakdown, but I’m not a medical professional. For all I know, a breakdown is something else entirely, but it doesn’t matter, because I’m managing my anxieties better now.  I don’t worry so much about my health, but I do worry that I might have uterine scarring from the second D & C, but that discussion is for another post. I’ve been taking care of the house, talking more to friends (yes, even those with children), and I even forced myself to hold a baby a few weeks ago.  That is major progress for someone who will go well out of her way to avoid making eye contact with an infant.

For the first time in a long time, I feel alive.

More importantly, I can give myself permission to be alive. Permission to blog. Permission to heal.

Permission to just be me.

Golden May

May

May is right around the corner and has always been one of my favorite months, mostly because of the warmer weather and blooming bushes and flowers.  When I married almost 9 years ago, I deliberately chose this month.  For me, May simply meant promise.

This year, things will be different.  May 5 is the due date for the child I lost in September.

When I found out months ago that I was pregnant (after 2 and a half years of trying) and that the baby was due in May, I thought it was a miracle and a true blessing from God.  Little did I know that my world would soon shatter.

May 5 was to be my golden day, my day when my miracle would be in my arms.  This brings to mind a poem I found several years ago:

A Golden Day by Paul Laurence Dunbar

I Found you and I lost you,

All on a gleaming day.

The day was filled with sunshine,

And the land was full of May.

A golden bird was singing

Its melody divine,

I found you and I loved you,

And all the world was mine.

I found you and I lost you,

All on a golden day,

But when I dream of you, dear,

It is always brimming May.

 

This sums up what I really feel.  I had my dream, but she slipped through my fingertips, leaving nothing but a memory and a mark.

I wonder if I will feel any differently after her due date passes.  Will it just be a difficult day that I must get through?  Will the days afterward bring the enormous amount of healing that I need?   Will I finally be “ok” from here on out?

I try to stay busy these days, keeping my mind and body occupied but it seems that the reminder of what I lost is everywhere I go.  I go out and about and everyone is either pregnant or carrying an infant.    Literally, they are everywhere I turn my head.

Work is particularly hard.  There are two women who are pregnant, about as far as along as I would have been, who are having their showers tomorrow.  I can’t stand it, because I know I should be right there with them.  I’m not jealous.  I just hurt and I don’t know how to make it stop.  It makes me want to run as far as I can and never look back.  If only that were possible.

Another co-worker’s wife had a shower last week and there is yet another co-worker who is newly pregnant.  I’m not particularly close to any of these women, but the sight of their bellies is just too much.  Just the other day, I was having a conversation with one of them and for some reason, she kept stroking her stomach over and over as I was talking to her.  It felt as if my throat had plunged to my stomach,

So, yeah, work sucks, but it is the only thing paying the bills.

Speaking of bills, they are unpaid.  This is the time that we would have been saving for and planning for our IVF, but we are swapped with medical bills from pregnancy failure number two which I can only refer to as our pseudo-pregnancy.  So, here we are, not saving and not planning for much of anything.

Do we try again on our own?  In an unbelievable twist of fate, I’ve gotten pregnant twice in 5 months after years of trying.  Of course, both of those pregnancies were lost.  I asked my ob-gyn about repeated loss testing and she felt as if this wouldn’t really tell us anything.  She believes that both losses were “random” chromosomal problems, unrelated to each other.  Maybe she’s right.  I just don’t know.

I want a child, but trying again frightens me.  It frightened me after my first loss as well.  There are so many things that can go wrong and so much that has to go right.  I need one healthy egg and one healthy sperm to do what they are supposed to in order to make a healthy child.

I need a miracle.  I guess we all do.

 

 

O Christmas Tree

English: A Christmas Tree at Home

Definitely not my Christmas Tree!

Decorating a Christmas tree is a tradition that goes back to my childhood.  I particularly remember these clear, plastic icicles I always put on the tree, no matter how old I got or how worn out they became.  I’m sure my mom thought they were the tackiest things ever, but she still encouraged me to put them up.  For me, they pulled the look of the tree together.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve decorated my own tree, minus any plastic icicles.  I don’t go overboard decorating and my tree doesn’t mirror anything you would see from Better Homes and Garden.  It is simply me.  My continuing of a tradition.

This year, I. . .

Wait–there is no tree.

For the life of me, I can’t bring myself to put one up. For the most part, I’ve barely noticed.  However, the last couple of days, something feels missing.

It’s hard to explain, but I don’t think I could look at a Christmas tree in my living room without feeling a profound sense of sorrow.  The baby that I carried, the one who was carried for such a short period of time, the baby that took me two and a half years to conceive, is not here.

This would have been right around the time I would have found out my baby’s gender.  My girl.  What I waited for, forever.  It’s a very hard thing for me to accept and I honestly try not to think about it.  I’m rarely successful, but I try.

There have been times over the last few months when I have felt like I have been crushed by the sheer weight of this grief and very much alone.  I’ve probably asked the why, why, why question so many times that God is sick of hearing it.  But, still, I can’t help it.  When you wait so long for your dream to come true and that dream is ripped right out of your hands–where is the logic in that?  There has to be some logic, doesn’t there?  There has to be some sense to the universe, right?

I hate to admit it, but for the most part, writing has made it worse.  So I haven’t been doing it.  Sometimes, writing is very liberating and healing.  At other times, it makes me relive what hurts the most.  So, I’m at a crossroads.

Part of me wants to hold on to something, I guess.  Maybe I will put up a tree, if only for the sake of the cat.  She loves playing around it and in it and I only pretend to be upset with her when I come home to find my ornaments on the floor.  She better watch out though or she may not get the kitty condo for Christmas!

I guess that’s what people do who have suffered a loss.  They try to hold on to what they know (like decorating a tree in plastic icicles), even if they are falling apart on the inside.  It’s funny– you never know  the type of burden a person is carrying by merely looking at them.  The best a person can do for one who is hurting is to simply be there for them and that can be a hard thing to do.   We can only try.